Jeffrey Tejada, Assistant Director of Admissions



I’ve stumbled but I’m still standing….

13 years removed from earning my Bachelor’s degree and Jeffrey Tejadanow on the verge of completing my Master’s degree, I can’t help but reflect back on the time that has gone by and ask myself “How and why has this taken so long?” Always a strong student and high achiever, better put an “over achiever”, I enjoyed the routine that came with being a student: the class room lectures and discussions, the late night homework, papers and study groups, even those dreaded blue book exams!  As the second oldest child of a first-generation immigrant family from the Dominican Republic, who journeyed to the United States in search of opportunity and better a life for their six children, I took pride in performing well in the classroom knowing that I was setting an example for my 4 younger siblings.  A graduate of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, MA, Tufts University and soon after admitted and enrolled at Northeastern University School of Law, in many ways I had set the standard of academic excellence amongst my family – a model that everyone could be proud to follow at least that’s what my mother kept telling me. Except only one year into my law school career, the academic momentum that I had gathered from elementary school on forward abruptly came to a halt. A year off from law school to enter into a business venture with my older brother suddenly became an eight year hiatus from the academic world that I always had so much passion for.  Needless to say, the business venture faltered only twelve months into the enterprise and just as suddenly I was facing the difficult reality of life as an adult: business debt, rent, a mortgage, a car payment and unemployment. All which made returning to graduate school a bit of a challenge.  As I struggled to balance my career and personal life and find the time to return to school, the younger siblings that I once mentored had gone on to earn their bachelor and graduate degrees. Though I was extremely proud of their achievement and repeatedly was told that I inspired their path to success, attending those graduation ceremonies always served to bring forth a feeling of melancholy and emptiness in knowing that I never did fulfill my full academic potential.  I couldn’t help but feel incomplete both personally and professionally. Therefore, at this point in my life, there is nothing that drives me more than finally achieving my goal of earning my graduate degree and fulfilling the promise I had shown all those years ago.

As a first-generation Dominican-American, earning my graduate degree will be the culmination of a journey that began three decades ago in the Bradford Street Projects on those tough, unforgiving streets and neighborhoods of Lawrence.  As harsh as our family circumstances were, life was easier then.  There were no bills, mortgages, school loans or the other responsibilities (complications) that come with adulthood -just a young boy with a dream, who was willing to work as hard as possible to earn an A on his report card simply to witness how proud his mother would become and to see that wonderful smile envelope her face. Those good grades continued throughout my high school and college years and the pride it instilled in my mother, a woman with only a 7th grade education and no recourse but to endure the grueling and grinding work of the factory assembly line for the past 35 years, fueled me. But somewhere along the way I fell off the path. I got lost. In my rush to achieve the American Dream, I allowed my desire to earn money surpass my desire to continue excelling in the classroom.  

During my time away from school, I’ve enjoyed much professional success and reward from working for the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Social Services, and now Middlesex Community College. And yet none of it has compared to the personal fulfillment I have felt from being successful in the classroom.  Now that I am two courses short of earning my degree, I can’t help but begin to feel a personal sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as I finally bring closure to a chapter of my life that is so central to my identity and yet a chapter that, for far too long, had been left unfinished by this student.

__________________________________________________________________________

Name: Jeffrey Tejada

Department: Admissions & Recruitment

Title: Assistant Director of Admissions 

Campus location:LC Lowell-Cowan Center Admissions Rm 314

E-Mail: TEJADAJ@middlesex.mass.edu

Phone: (978) 656-3380

Last Modified: 9/21/17