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Mercy Made a Difference- He Paid it Forward

Michael DiPreta

Michael DiPreta, a senior who is majoring in public accounting, had a bad moment during a semester twisted up by COVID-19.  “My biggest obstacle was academics. At one point, I was taking five accounting courses.  And it was just a stressful semester.”

Mercy College responded to his anguish:  “I went to my PACT counselor, and my PACT counselor provided me with the resources for therapy within Mercy.  And when I went to therapy, it just made me feel better about myself.”

In fact he says multiple people from the College reached out to him:  “people that cared, and who wanted me to do well.  And not just academically but also mentally and physically as well.  So the fact that I was able to have those resources and to be able to be provided that help really meant a lot to me.”

When he got the chance to pay it forward, Michael took it.  A classmate was struggling – a fellow senior who was so close to the end – but was feeling “miserable.”

“He didn’t want to do anything with his life.  He literally told me, ‘I’m so upset I don’t want to go to school anymore.  I just want to quit.  I don’t want to pursue my bachelor’s.  I don’t want to learn.  I don’t want to be in class.  I don’t want to do anything.”

Michael had been there, so he hung in with his friend, urging him not to sabotage his education.  “I said, ‘these times may be hard.  And the style of learning has definitely changed.  And it’s definitely a little bit harder.  But if you quit now, you came all this way, and you’re going to regret that later in life.’  I told him ‘you can do this, you only have one semester left, and you’re so strong.’ ”

The encouragement made all the difference.  His classmate did stay in school, and will graduate with Michael in May.  “And I was so happy to hear that.  That means a lot to me.  Because I was able to convince somebody to stay in school instead of having them  just drop out and give up on themselves.”