Mercy students are often described as driven and determined because of the dedication and hard work they put into everything they do. For Dianey Lujan ’19, that work has spanned more than ten years and throughout it all, Lujan has never wavered in her desire to earn a college degree.
“After I graduated high school in New Rochelle, I had a gap of around ten years where I was working as a waitress. Then I had the opportunity to bring my mom to the U.S. from Mexico,” explained Lujan. “As soon as she came here she kept asking me what I was going to do with my life,” said Lujan.
It was Lujan’s mother who gave her the idea to go back to school.
“My mom wanted me to have a better future in this country, one of her dreams was of me to have a career and a better future,” said Lujan. “Nobody in our family went to college, I’m one of 11 kids, but she knew I could do it. I went to Westchester Community College because of her,” said Lujan.
At Westchester Community College Lujan excelled in her classes and through her counselor there learned about Mercy College.
“It was my lucky day when I met with Michelle, my admissions counselor. She was visiting Westchester Community College, and after talking to Michelle that day I knew that Mercy College was where I wanted to continue my studies,” said Lujan.
“Admissions helped me see how I could continue my studies from my humanities major and take it further. I’m a Spanish major here and I love it,” said Lujan.
After she was accepted, the Admissions staff at Mercy helped make the credit transfer process seamless and Lujan was able to jump right into classes.
“It was such a relief having all the paperwork handled and knowing my credits would count where they needed to. I just had to focus on my studies, they handled the rest,” said Lujan.
While at Mercy, Lujan has enjoyed her studies and the new things she’s been exposed to.
“It’s so interesting. We study Spanish literature, Caribbean literature and Afro-Spanish literature. The Spanish Civil War and poems, novels and essays. I love seeing how these writers have impacted the world of literature,” said Lujan.
Lujan is excelling in her classes and is a member of the International Foreign Language Honor Society, although she jokes she doesn’t want to know her GPA.
“I was talking to my counselor and she was telling me I had a great GPA and I was like ‘Oh, don’t tell me,” laughs Lujan. “I have a 3.9 GPA and it just makes me so happy,” said Lujan.
In October 2018, Lujan’s world was changed forever when her mother passed away.
“My mom was everything to me. She was my role model, I wanted to be like her all the time. She was lovely, kind, and happy all the time. She had such a good positive attitude to any situation she had to go through her life. She definitely had a big heart. I had the best mom in the world. I will love her forever. She encouraged me to keep working hard at school and in my personal life. She always believed I could go to college and be successful,” said Lujan.
While volunteering in a photoshoot for the Marketing department, Lujan said that her mother would see Mercy ads on buses and billboards and point them out to her.
“She’d tell me that could be me and I could be one of those people,” said Lujan. “I believe that things happen for a reason and that the photoshoot happed because I am now sharing my story with other students that could identified with me, as a Latina student and being the first generation to go to college.”
Adjusting to life without her mother and finishing classes has been challenging, but Lujan said the support she’s gotten from her professors has made that difficult time easier.
“I’ve been working with my professors and getting time to catch up, everyone has been very caring and I’m not worried about finishing the semester. I am so thankful for having such great support,” said Lujan.
While Lujan is close to graduation, she knows her college career is not over.
“I definitely want to go for my master’s in Spanish, hopefully pursue a Ph.D. one day,” said Lujan. “Maybe I’ll be a professor at Mercy one day. That is one of my dreams.”
After looking back on her time at Mercy, Lujan said the key to being successful is to find the courage to follow your dreams and in the right time, everything will work out.
“After losing my mom, my life had changed forever. However, my academic dream is not over, now more than ever I have the courage to continue with my academic and personal dreams…all because of my mom. It’s never too late to go back to school. I had a ten- year gap, I could’ve been like ‘Oh, I’m too old’, ‘Oh, my English isn’t good enough’, or any other thing but I kept working and I’m still going for more,” said Lujan.