Philip KwashieImagining that you are going to make a difference in the world, and actually being someone who has the ability and strength to make a difference, those are two very different things. Just ask Philip Kwashie.

Philip has lived out that difference.

When he first arrived at Sage from his home in the Bronx, Philip describes himself as living in a shell. He had a real interest in people, his plan was to study Psychology, “to see why we do what we do.”

And yet, he wasn’t outgoing. He was an observer, not a doer.

But the Sage community, Philip says, broke open the shell. Professors called him by name. Other students reached out, so he reached back and made friends.

In the classroom, as part of the Law & Society program, Philip examined how psychology mixes with the study of criminology and law, to create a picture of how the world can work sometimes. “It got me to be more well-rounded in my thinking.”

Before long, Philip was out in the world and engaged. He got an internship with the New York State Assembly. “A path started to open up for me,” he says. His perspective began to change.

“I saw that it’s not always about how things affect just you,” he says. Part of his job at the Assembly was to listen to the problems others have, and explore solutions that can be turned into laws. “That changes you.”

Looking back at his college years, Philip thinks the key was that Sage became “more like a family than a school setting.”  People cared enough to follow-up with him, to see how he was doing and check on the progress he was making.

“I stepped out of my comfort zone. And, like I said, the path opened up for me.”

He’s walking that path with confidence now.