Episode 3# – Finding Angels: Navigating BMCC’s Supportive Network

Episode 3# – Finding Angels: Navigating BMCC’s Supportive Network

 In this episode, Iqra Sheikh interviews Djibrilla Hamani, a Business and Administration Major at BMCC and member of the Student Government Association and the Student Success Program.

Djibrilla Hamani Interview


Interview highlights

Check out more information about organizations that Djibrilla mentions in his interview:

Student Government Association

Student Success Program

Housing Options


Transcripts

Raquel: 

WELCOME TO ANOTHER EPISODE OF BMCC OPENLAB STUDENT VOICES. I’M RAQUEL NERIS, AND IN THIS EPISODE, IQRA SHEIKH, FROM THE OPENLAB TEAM, INTERVIEWS DJIBRILLA HAMANI, A BUSINESS AND ADMINISTRATION MAJOR AT BMCC. MEMBER OF THE STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION AND THE SUCCESS PROGRAM, DJIBRILLA HAS A UNIQUE JOURNEY TO SHARE. LET’S DIVE INTO HIS STORY AND DISCOVER HOW THESE PROGRAMS CHANGED HIS EXPERIENCE AS A STUDENT.

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Iqra:

Ok, hello everyone. This is Iqra from the OpenLab, and I am here with… 

Djbrilla: 

My name is Djbrilla and I am a student at BMCC. I am majoring in Business and Administration.

Iqra:

Aw, yes! I’m so glad Tiffany put us in the Loop! So, what year or semester are you in for your degree?

Djbrilla:

This is my second year at BMCC and I have one more semester.

Iqra:

Wow so you’re almost done.

Djbrilla:

Almost done…but to be honest, BMCC makes it so that you want to stay more.

Iqra:

Yea it’s so beautiful here. Like, the campus is great, and you’re right by the water, the pier…The One World Trade Center and Fiterman Hall is just spectacular. 

Djbrilla:

Amazing. Even last night, we were at an event with President Monro…and I was telling him the fact that BMCC is located in lower Manhattan helps a lot. …And people like Tiffany. Tiffany James is the director of the student success department. She’s amazing. …I’ve met people that I don’t know who are like…Tiffany is still at BMCC? Can I just say hi to her?

Iqra:

How’d you find out about Tiffany?

Djibrilla:

Someone introduced me about her when I was going through something about school because of school…and to be honest…our first interaction was like…you can come to me anytime you need any assistance…and it just feels like …her job isn’t like a therapist but I know I’ve really thrown a lot of stuff at her and she’s there to listen. So those experiences…really make it like I really want to be here but… but I know I have to go to my second degree which is my bachelors.

Iqra:

This kind of leads to the purpose of this episode which is talking about…how has joining a program or an extracurricular activity or some type of mentorship humm that BMCC offers to students . So since you started out with talking about Tiffany who is the director of the student success program…you said you were going through somethings…hum, what were you going through? If you want to share…You don’t have to share if you don’t want to …you can just share in the most basic level what you were going through… was it were a mental thing or a physical thing or the challenges because I know you’re like…I don’t know because you’re an international student…so what was it?

Djbrilla:

So as an international student, it can be really challenging. First of all, the fact that you have to adapt yourself in the city, and the life of being an American but also we can talk about financial stuff because sometimes it’s really hard for a student to kind of really work… being able to work and pay their tuition. So I was going through, I was actually facing homelessness…so that was happening and I couldn’t even like register for class. And then we were really kind of really looking for strength … There is someone called Asziz and he works for UMLA. He is the one who introduced me to Tiffany…and from there like…

Iqra:

You found the dorms? Is that how you found the dorms? 

Djibrilla:

I found a room through someone. 

Iqra:

Ok, Everything is connections.

Djibrilla:

And Tiffany just really taught me… it’s always…try to have angels…it’s really important.

Iqra:

How do you know when you’ve found an angel though? Because you can meet all kinds of people…but you don’t know if they are the angel. So how do you know… is it the gut feeling? 

Djibrilla:

I wouldn’t say it’s the guy feeling…For me for example …I can literally meet someone on the street…the fact that person just have this genuine smile of like…its a smile that sometimes says “good morning” or “ afternoon”. It’s just a facial expression, but It’s like if someone introduces me nice…that smile is there…and I feel like its genuine and that’s why…that’s actually an angel even if its human…you don’t even have to talk or say anything…sometimes it’s just gesture…75% of communication is just gesture…25 is only like oral. So sometimes people don’t even need to say hi to you… sometimes this person can just have a really good impact on your life. 

Iqra:

Oh that’s beautiful. 

Djibrilla:

Yea.

—–

Raquel:

IN THIS INITIAL CONVERSATION, DJIBRILLA SHARED PERSONAL CHALLENGES AS AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT, INCLUDING FINANCIAL STRUGGLES AND FACING HOMELESSNESS. WE ALSO LEARNED ABOUT THE VITAL ROLE OF MENTORS LIKE TIFFANY, THE DIRECTOR OF THE STUDENT SUCCESS PROGRAM, IN PROVIDING ESSENTIAL SUPPORT AND FOSTERING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY. IN DJBRILLA’S PERCEPTION, THEY ARE LIKE “ANGELS, ” CAPABLE OF OPENING DOORS BY GIVING THE RIGHT SUPPORT WHEN MOST NEEDED.

NEXT, DJIBRILLA SHARES MORE DETAILS ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCE AS A SGA CHAIRPERSON AND SENATOR.

—–

Iqra:

So you met Tiffany and now you’re in this program. The success for students…?

Djibrilla:

Yea.

Iqra:

Do you have to have a certain GPA or something?

Djibrilla:

No. So actually you do not. The thing is like…this is what I tell students. The SGA…which is the Student Government Association, I always tell students I think that it’s really important to knock on doors. Some people just come to school take classes and leave school … so, you don’t need a good GPA…you just need to know that these people are people there for students. … So sometimes I tell Tiffany, I’m like …how do you deal with our… I’m not supposed to curse here, right?

Iqra:

No…but all of your…Yea… let’s say the word “baggage” when you wanna say the “s-h-i-t” word! Hahaha…

Djibrilla:

I’m not going to say that…but I always tell her…I don’t know how you guys handle our life…

Iqra:

Baggage.

Djibrilla:

Baggage. 

Iqra:

Baggage or trauma…

Djbrilla:

Yeah, trauma, because I think maybe you guys also need therapy as well…because sometimes listening to other people …it can be a lot. And she was telling me that is our job…and that means a lot. That really means a lot. From someone who came from a place where like…having services can be challenging where I am from, for example. The service is out there and the people are supposed to give the service, they are doing their job… and moving here, like, people wanna listen to you. That’s an amazing thing. But you don’t need a GPA, coming back to your question, you don’t need a GPA, you just need to go there and talk to them about your challenges and they will give you the services that you need.

Iqra:

Wow…yea…so it seems like you’re involved in multiple resources with BMCC…the SGA and this student success… How have both of these resources impacted your overall college experience in BMCC?

Djibrilla:

That is a beautiful question. Umm… As I said I’m part of the SGA…in the SGA I am a senator …the SGA is basically a government of students in the school… I am also the chairperson of international students, so any kind of issue or anything related to international students …I am the person for that…so to be honest the SGA has helped me out a lot and what I mean by a lot I mean like it gives you this perspective of…before finishing school you have this experience of work…we have our offices were we help students. This morning a student called me for something they wanted and I was able to redirect them to where they were supposed to be… and it is an amazing feeling to just feel l’m helping while also gaining experience. …we have to also abide by our rules how we conduct our meetings, so those are stuff that ok…school is helping me and I’m also learning as well, and I;’m not even gonna talk about networking. I’ve been to an event where the SGA allowed me to be there. I met people that the SGA allowed me to be there. Coming back to the success center, it’s just amazing. Yesterday I was at an event…the mmigrant Club in the Murray building. It was just really good to sit there and listen to people, everybody talking about how their immigration journey is…so, those are stuff that I always tell students. Sometimes I even tell like, join all kind of like, really “ knock on those doors”. People are there just waiting for you there. And I understand a lot of students also go through some stuff, that’s why they cannot…

Iqra:

Yeah, and we get in our heads too.

Djibrilla:

Yes, exactly.

Iqra:

Survival of the fittest maybe…I don’t know life is so complicated! 

– 

Raquel:

IN THIS ENGAGING DIALOGUE, DJIBRILLA SHARES INSIGHTS INTO THE DYNAMICS OF JOINING THE SGA. HE REVEALS THAT ACADEMIC SUCCESS ISN’T ABOUT GPA BUT ENGAGING WITH AVAILABLE RESOURCES. DJIBRILLA EMPHASIZES HOW JOINING SGA WAS CRUCIAL FOR HIS PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH.

IN THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION, DJIBRILLA SHARES HIS FINAL ADVICE FOR STUDENTS.

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Iqra:

Ok so we talked about how these programs impacted your overall college experience which you say…is probably for the best. It helped you tremendously, right?

Djibrilla:

Absolutely.

Iqra:

So what advice can you give to future students attending BMCC…instead of…’cause I know you also mentioned to go knock on those doors…but is there anything else you can give besides telling students to just put themselves out there or reach out to the resources there…I guess…how do you know what are the resources there then?

Djibrilla:

That’s a good question as well…

Iqra:

Yeah…yeah. How do you know.

Djibrilla:

That’s a really good question…my thing…to be honest, my first semester was a disaster here. Why? Because I was taking online classes, so I wasn’t able to come on campus and I… I didn’t know a lot of stuff. I wish I met Tiffany and Azsiz earlier. But honestly it had to happen to me for me to really understand…so the thing is like… in French we have this saying…tu dois sortir sus zone de confort. You have to come out of your comfort zone.

Iqra:

Oh, yep. That’s the first step…

Djibrilla:

That’s literally the first step…and when you are able to achieve that you can do anything on campus.. Going to talk to someone…by just saying hi to someone, just showing your face. I have people that I just show my face to say hi, and when whenever there is something going on they are like, did you hear about this? Actually, that’s what I want. I wanna know. Data is currency. Information is currency. When you got information you can accomplish anything. So  the first thing is like…come out of that comfort zone…knock those doors. Whatever like, a thing that you see just scan it, or sometimes just ask. Ask someone that you see with the blue badge. And that’s what students don’t know, blue badge means this person is working for BMCC. Ask them a question. Asking questions helps you. And, i don’t know in America, but in french we have this saying like, Il n’a pas des questions idiotes. Like, there’s no, like, idiot question. A question is just a question. Someone is asking because they don’t know. Even though some people have other intentions, when someone ask a question, they need an answer. That’s why you need to go to those people and ask them questions. I tell the student…for example…BMCC has a pantry where literally, like …food…you wanna save your money…maybe you don’t cook…go to the pantry. BMCC has a counselor…students don’t know about it. BMCC, for student immigration issues, BMCC got a legal counselor.

Iqra:

Yeah, they do your taxes here for free!

Djibrilla:

They do your taxes. So all of these stuff is like, it’s just because you…

Iqra:

Yea you’re in your head…in your shell…

Djibrilla:

Yea in your head, in your shell.

Iqra: 

And you’re not coming out to talk to people to ask for help.

Djibrilla:

That’s right… 

Djibrilla:

You have all these things …and now you own an EMPLID. That’s beautiful.

Iqra:

I know! BMCC has so many resources…I miss going here.

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Raquel:

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THIS PODCAST EPISODE FEATURING DJIBRILLA HAMANI AND IQRA SHEIKH. IN THEIR CONVERSATION, DJIBRILLA EXPLAINED THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING MENTORS, EMPHASIZING THEIR SUPPORT DURING CHALLENGING TIMES. DJIBRILLA’S EXPERIENCES UNDERSCORE THE IMPORTANCE OF STEPPING OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE AND ACTIVELY SEEKING CAMPUS RESOURCES. HIS ADVICE SERVES AS A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FUTURE STUDENTS, ENCOURAGING THEM TO ENGAGE WITH AVAILABLE SERVICES AND MAXIMIZE THE WEALTH OF OPPORTUNITIES AT BMCC.

THIS EPISODE IS PART OF OUR SECOND SEASON CALLED MAKING MORE OF YOUR COLLEGE EXPERIENCE, IN WHICH WE FOCUS ON HOW JOINING BMCC INITIATIVES, SUCH AS CLUBS AND PROGRAMS, CAN HELP STUDENTS ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH US AND, IF POSSIBLE. YOUR EXPERIENCES IN OUR PODCAST. YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT.

I WILL SEE YOU IN THE NEXT EPISODE OF THE OPENLAB STUDENT VOICES PODCAST.

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