Finding Balance: Make a Smooth Transition to Post-Secondary Growing up with eight siblings helped me realize early on that it’s vital to follow your dreams no matter how big they are. As the youngest, looking up to them as they accomplished their goals inspired me to do the same. Civil-environmental engineering sounded like an intimidating post-secondary major until I considered that it is no different from any other field of study—they all require studying, dedication, enthusiasm, and most importantly faith. It also is a career field in which I can grow and even venture into many other fields, such as botany or marine biology. When I started freshman year at Lincoln University, I was skeptical about the new environment despite being ready to start my journey to independence and adulthood. Having other siblings who attended college helped my transition go smoothly. But even with some ideas of what to expect at college, I still had a lot to learn in order to succeed. For instance, the workload at college surpasses high school by far, and although it’s manageable, it takes a significant commitment to stay disciplined and study and stay on top of everything. Colleges offer many resources and support services that can help you manage the work, but it is your job to make sure you get the help you need. Fortunately for me, Lincoln University has an abundance of resources for women of color interested in my specific field of study and my schedule allows me to get my work done along with other tasks without feeling as if the workload is too much. Lincoln University also provided me with the tools necessary to travel to classes they did not offer. I took advantage of courses in Atlanta and even traveled to other countries to learn and do research. In Thessaloniki, Greece, my work concentrated on probiotics in Greek yogurts and kefir. While visiting St. Augustine, Trinidad, and Tobago, I worked on a project to evaluate and optimize a banana fibre extraction device. These projects were amazing opportunities that opened my eyes to what I love the most about my career choice: travel! Although I do enjoy the traveling aspect of my program and field, when traveling for a vast period I always begin to miss my family and not having them around to support me has an emotional effect. That’s why my role as a Lincoln University research intern in solid waste management has been my favorite traveling experience so far. I am conducting my bachelor and graduate studies on pharmaceuticals in drinking water and while working on this project my family could come visit me in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Having their comfort and support motivated me and helped me stay focused while working in the unfamiliar environment for a long period. As a student and young adult, it is important that you find an overall balance in your work, relationships, and educational and social life for a smoother post-secondary transition. Don’t limit yourself—there are many opportunities available and there is no wrong time to learn anything! Tyia Pratt Tyia Pratt graduated from Pittsburgh University Prep in 2014. She is now studying civil-environmental engineering with a focus on pharmaceuticals at the first Pennsylvania HBCU (Historically Black College and University) to accept the Promise scholarship, Lincoln University. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she plans to continue her studies in graduate school.