Student Spotlight Interview with NAJRUL ISLAM

Student Spotlight Interview with NAJRUL ISLAM

Penn State Abington, BA in Information Science and Technology ’19

CORE: Introduce yourself!

ISLAM: My name is Najrul Islam. I am 20 years old. I came to the United States ten years ago with my mother and older brother. We are originally from Bangladesh. After we moved, I finished high school in the States then went to community college for a bit. I am currently at Penn State Abington for my Bachelors in Information Science and Technology.

CORE: How did you hear about RISE?

ISLAM: I heard about RISE when I was in high school. I was apart of this program that explored the college process and career options by doing things like visiting private schools. We got a first hand view of what these experiences would be like. We also were told about resources that would help us, which is where I learned about RISE.

CORE: What are you studying and why did you choose it?

ISLAM: In Bangladesh, we did not have updated technology. We were very behind in comparison to the United States and people in Bangladesh were not interested in exploring technology but I was. I started off by being interested on the pieces of devices and then the software that helped them work. With that interest I just pursued technology with my education.

CORE: Who is your support system?

ISLAM: When I came to the United States with my brother and mom it was really difficult. Only my brother spoke english, my mother and I did not. We struggled a lot due to language but especially financially. In Bangladesh the average person makes about 350 dollars a year. Because of that, and my moms inability to work, it was really up to my brother and I to work to go to school and get our education.

CORE: As we reach the end of the term, what challenges do you find yourself facing?

ISLAM: The biggest challenge is always finances. There are the obvious loans but thats still something that you have to worry about paying back later on. Finding a balance is difficult. I take 7 classes and work 20-22 hours a week. Even now when I’m kind of on break, I decided to take this online coding course to improve my skills since I feel like there’s still a lot for me to learn. When I have time I hang out with friends. What I really try to do is focus on teaching myself the skills that will help me in my field. Like with this online course, I chose to do this and focus on it because my goal is putting myself ahead. It also helps that I love coding in general.

CORE: Where do you see yourself postgrad?

ISLAM: That’s really hard because I’m so focused on my skills right now. I’m not where I want to be with coding so it’s all about learning right now. Hopefully though once I have those skills I

will be coming up with an app that people would be interested in. I want to design software for a company to help improve people’s lifestyles. Again, this all starts with working on my skills first.

CORE: What is something you think everyone needs to get through the hectic parts of the school year?

ISLAM: Passion. Be passionate. If you are passionate with what you’re doing, the stress doesn’t get to you as much because you’re enjoying every moment of it. For example, I have a class that I know I love because Im never looking at the time. Then once its over, Im surprised. You don’t mind spending time on something if you love it.