Persistence and perseverance pays off for IT graduate 

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Benhur Hadgu describes his college journey as an uphill battle that taught him never to give up. He says, “It's easy to start anything but hard to finish.” Like many Mason students, he started his journey at Northern Virginia Community College so he could develop the habits and learn material that would prepare him for higher education.  

“When I entered NOVA, I was determined to be successful and reach my goals. I worked hard to build good habits and routines to study and learn,” he says. “I took advantage of NOVA's opportunities, and I started to develop my mindset. I took Math and English courses from the beginning and worked hard to overcome my challenges. I always wanted to be in technology.” 

After completing his Associate of Science degree, he found he still was not quite ready for a four-year college. He decided to get experience in IT and enrolled in Year Up (a program within the Cisco Networking Academy) which provided hands-on training and prepared him for an internship at Blue Cross Blue Shield.  

When Hadgu enrolled full-time at Mason he was working part-time, but when he registered, he found out that some credits did not transfer from NOVA and had to retake core prerequisites and core programming courses. “I struggled the first semester due to the intense curriculum requirements, but I persisted, adapted, and did well in my courses after adjusting to Mason’s higher standards and more serious environment.” He says, “I made sure I was always around positive associations with people that stretch me and bring out the best in me.” 

It took Hadgu four and a half years to complete his bachelor’s degree from George Mason University, but he says it was all worth it. “Mason is a good school that gives students a lot of opportunities. I now understand why it's essential to go to a good school. My life has improved. I have learned, grown, and become a better human being due to being challenged, disciplined, and pushed academically.”