Four years ago Ozzy Gezer moved to the United States from Istanbul, Turkey at the ripe age of 21. When asked what pushed him to leave behind his parents, younger brother and sister he said, “The schools are easier. Professors are more friendly.” He also pointed out that, “It’s easier to make money here.” Easy must be taken relatively. Ozzy currently supports himself and his education by way of a job at a gas station. Although that is not the most glamorous of jobs, clearly Ozzy does not need to have an ideal job to be happy. A familiar sentiment to many immigrants to this country.
A friend of Ozzy’s, also an immigrant from Turkey, currently owns several gas stations and earns a 6-figure salary. Examples like this are what allow Ozzy to dream big with an open mind. In an ideal world he would be making movies and working to move back to his friends and family in Turkey. However, he has worked hard maximize his opportunities in the future.
Currently taking his final semester of courses at Nassau Community College, Ozzy will be moving closer to Manhattan later this month. This is so he can transfer to Hunter College where he can obtain a Bachelors degree in Mass Media. Meanwhile, he has maintained an internship at Ch. 29 Telicare with the simple goal of learning whatever he can. His work at Ch. 29 ranges from being a camera man, to assisting with production to even making copies. He is thankful that he has the opportunity to learn and possibly receive a recommendation for a future job.
All of this is being supported by nothing but his job managing a gas station in Far Rockaway. Ozzy flatly noted that last week he worked 55 hours. I was floored, how can a person take two compressed summer courses as well as work 55 hours a week without going insane? “I worked 18 hours on Sunday.” he said. Ozzy clearly is not afraid of putting the time and effort required to accomplish everything he dreams of.
I was skeptical regarding why he would leave his family behind to start a career, and upon further questioned I discovered another reason behind his decision. Military service is required of all males ages 20 to 41. However, there are ways to delay the length of service as well as lessen the extent of danger one will be exposed to. By pursuing a four-year degree here in the United States, Ozzy is given until he is 29 to begin his service. Furthermore, said service is lessened in length to 12 months, from 15, and most importantly, he serves as a reserve officer instead of a private. This is the most crucial difference, due to present tensions with the Kurdish both in Turkey as well as in northern Iraq (which borders Turkey) privates can be thrust into the front lines at any time.
Ozzy Gezer moved here four years ago on a mission: to obtain a bachelors degree, and to lay the groundwork for a promising career in a field that can both make him happy and earn good money. Both of which allows him to keep himself out of harms way during his military service. Ozzy’s determination, work ethic, and optimism for the future make him living proof that the “American Dream” is still alive and well, and an inspiration to all of us.