...a lot of the habits I fostered [in EJP] have helped me out here
- Prateek Maitra, EJP Alumnus
One month after his release from prison last fall after seven years of incarceration, former EJP student Prateek Maitra enrolled in the University of Illinois at Chicago. He applied while still in prison and because of the college credit he earned through EJP, Prateek—now in his second full semester—has junior standing as a marketing major.
Prateek says it is not always easy to overcome his past. “If I type my name in Google, the first thing that comes up is a criminal record,” he says.
One thing that keeps Prateek motivated is his deep desire not to return to prison. “I feel like when I start backsliding on my studies it’s a step in the wrong direction and a step closer to jail and I don’t even want to think about it.”
“I’ve been doing really well academically, and it was kind of a surprise to me because I thought things would be six times harder when I got out, but a lot of the habits I fostered [in EJP] have helped me out here,” he describes, saying that the ability to read multiple texts, take effective notes, and ask questions during class were all skills he learned from EJP.
Prateek says he’s struggled to move away from what he calls a “convict mentality,” which he describes as “the mentality of getting ahead as opposed to working in a team.”
“Selfishness is the predominant school of thought inside,” he explains. “I think the quicker someone can abandon that, the quicker they can move on.”