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THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata
THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

While most 19-year-olds are looking forward to finishing up their second year of college, Trivendra Persaud is gearing up for graduate school.

Persaud, who lives in Richmond Hill, has been a self-motivated student ever since he emigrated from Guyana to America at the age of 4 with his parents, his brother and his sister. He went to P.S. 54 in Richmond Hill until sixth grade, which is when he pursued an education in the York Early College Academy. In the 10th grade, he enrolled in his first college credit classes, and by the time he was a senior, he had already earned 58 credits toward his higher education.

“I know that hard work pays off,” Persaud said. “I always have a major focus on school work but you always have to keep that balance and have some fun.”

But it is not so easy for him to keep that balance. Along with going to school up to six days a week and through the summer and winter semesters, Persaud works three days a week at a law office and volunteers his time at Jamaica Hospital two other days. He said organization is his key to getting everything done, but that along his path toward success he had to cut some ties with friends and naysayers who were holding him back.

“I had to cut a lot of friends because they were pulling me down,” he said. “You know, they tell you to stop taking so many credits, to go hang out more instead of studying, but I knew I couldn’t do that. It was work now, party later for me.”

Because of his determination, Persaud is set to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in psychology in the spring. He is then looking to go back to school for his master’s and become a practicing occupational therapist. He one day wants to open up his own practice and said he has always had the urge to help people, especially when they cannot help themselves.

“I always think to myself, what if I was in that position?” he said. “I want to help people. I do it because I feel it should be done.”

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