I grew up in a small agricultural town in central California. I didn't always have the best home life. Growing up without my father, eventually left by my mother, I stayed with my grandma. She grew up in similar conditions to me - a rough family situation in a dead end town - but pursuing an education got her out of that vicious cycle I've seen in my own hometown. She truly instilled the importance of education on me that it is not just in bettering your situation, but in bettering yourself as a person.
Ever since I was a kid, college wasn't a what-if, it was a when. My grandmother was a teacher, as was my mother, the importance of education was always a given in my mind. But after the recession and other untimely events impacted my family, for the first time college became a question of can I afford to pursue my dreams? If it wasn't for the financial aid and scholarships I received at NYU Shanghai, there is no way I'd be able to continue my education past high school, and definitely, no way I could study at such a prestigious and wonderful institution. While I may see this aid as just numbers on a sheet of paper I receive every term, the reality of it is individual contributions by generous benefactors. My hometown is a dead end, without the gift of education I'd be stuck there unable to truly pursue my goals. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that gift.
While I initially chose NYU Shanghai because it was extremely far from home, I've fallen in love with it more and more every day. The small school atmosphere allows for a more intimate and close-knit learning experience. Being able to truly be friends with your instructors is rare at other institutions, and doing it in a city as spectacular as Shanghai is an opportunity I'm so grateful for. This is a city of the future, I see it develop every day, and I'm so glad to be here developing with it.
I have an avid interest in computer science, particularly in data analytics and machine learning. I collaborated with friends from home to create a data visualization startup, and I'm excited to be able to put my education to use prior to graduation. I really want to stay in Shanghai and continue to work on my startup. Graduate school is in my future plan, but I'd like more real work experience first to truly know in what field I want to pursue a higher degree.
---Marcus S Arellano ‘18, Computer Science & Interactive Media Arts Major