Meet Kaneisha: Options Are Better Than Limitations
PeerForward alumni have followed many career paths and found much success. Here, Kaneisha Wheelock Perez shares her journey.
When did you become a Peer Leader? What was your summer workshop experience like?
I became a Peer Leader in the summer of 2008 at South Carolina State University. I come from a military family, so three months prior to my workshop, we moved from Texas to South Carolina. I didn’t know anyone at my school, so the workshop had even more strangers, and I shared a suite with three other young ladies, each from a different school and city. These dynamics enhanced my workshop experience and benefited me socially, educationally, and emotionally. Through every session, I learned that I’m a key player in every part of my life, and that the only limitations to my success are the ones I set.
How did PeerForward help you prepare for college and what was its influence your college experience?
At my Peer Leader workshop, I learned the essentials of financial aid and the options that are available to students like me. As a first-generation college student, this information was pertinent and helped me make informed decisions about my collegiate career. The tools I learned at my workshop enabled me to prioritize my college applications, complete my FAFSA, effectively transfer schools to a four-year institution, and get into graduate school.
What obstacles or challenges did you have to overcome in order to get to college?
Managing my time effectively was a challenge for me during my senior year. It was tough spending my last year in a high school where I didn’t know anyone. PeerForward helped me build up the courage to get involved in student activities, maintain my grades, and apply to colleges all at the same time.
What campus activities are you currently involved in?
During my undergraduate career at the University of South Carolina, I was the President of the Black Social Work Student Association, member of the Undergraduate Social Work Student Association, on the Dean’s List and a member of the Carolina Service Council. I graduated the University of South Carolina with Honors and a Distinction in Leadership; I was also awarded Student of the Year by the University of South Carolina College of Social Work. Now, in graduate school at the University of Buffalo, I am an Arthur Schomburg Fellow and a member of the Joining Forces Military Collaboration in the School of Social Work.
What do you plan to do after graduate school?
Following the completion of my Master’s, I plan to get my Clinical Licensure in Social Work. My passion is working with the military population, given my military upbringing. I hope to provide counseling to military personnel and their families, support veterans reintegrating into civilian life, provide outreach services in the community, and eventually get involved with legislation. Recreationally, I’d like to use my credentials to help me be of service to others by volunteering with “Give An Hour,” an organization that offers free mental health counseling to veterans.
What advice do you have for high school students who are on the fence about going to college?
If you are on the fence, apply! It is better to have options rather than limitations. Email or a call an admissions representative at your school(s) of interests and share your concerns. They’ll be able to inform you of the resources they offer to help you navigate your college career.