Your Current Situation Is Not Your Final Destination

Listening to the American life podcast, “Three Miles,” brought some similar feelings I had when I was in high school. For instance, the beginning of the podcast, which was conducted by Chana Joffe-Walt, studied a program that a public school, which was in a poor area of the Bronx with 97% black and Hispanic students, would visit a private college, which was 70% white students who 1/5 received financial aid and located 3 miles away from the public school in the Bronx as well, in order to be exposed that there is more to life than the hardships all the public school students were dealing with in their every day lives. The programs purpose was to expose students to an area that could help them receive better lives; but, more importantly, they wanted the public school students to interact with the private school students too. This program gave the public school students two perspectives, that they could never afford a fancy place like this to attend or they saw a brighter future for themselves. Many of the public school teachers told students that they are exceptional and can attend a fancy college, students like one in particular, Melanie. Melanie discusses why she ran away from high school and didn’t attend college because she did not receive a full ride scholarship even though she was in the last round of interviews and also believed she was smart for her poor high school and not fancy college smart. This leads me to a time in high school when I was applying for colleges and stuck to community colleges because I did not have the money to attend and my parents did not save up any money for me to either. I remember telling one of my favorite teachers that I would attend a community college and he told me that I was better than that and smart enough to attend a four year school. So, it lead me to applying to more four year schools and I did get accepted into a private school and a public school as well; however, when I looked at the yearly tuition and how much financial aid could cover me, I knew it wasn’t ideal because I would have more loans and debt to pay back in the long run. It turns out I saved tons of money and received an awesome education and tons of memories of amazing professors from my community college; but, I relate to Melanie because I remember feeling and questioning myself if I was good enough or if community college was better for me or not. I even related to another student named, Jonathan, who actually received the scholarship that Melanie wanted; but, he was embarrassed that he couldn’t afford the textbooks, so he couldn’t complete the homework and stopped attending class. He truly did not want to fill in the stereotype of a colored student not completing the homework or attending class; but, he didn’t know what else to do. When I first attended college, I felt the same exact way. I was making money by serving tables and had other bills that needed to be paid for and I constantly felt and still feel today, embarrassed or not worthy because I cannot afford a lot of things. However, I had a more of a positive mindset like his friend and another student from the public school, Raquel. She learned how to use the library sources and was able to complete the homework and never gave up even if she didn’t receive the grades she wanted. Luckily, I had financial aid that covered the cost of my textbooks and I wasn’t scared anymore telling my story. When I was in high school, I was embarrassed to tell people that I was poor and was going to a community college and now, I embrace my struggle and want as many people to know that your current situation is not your final destination. I am now a year away from graduating college and becoming a teacher. More importantly, I cannot wait to tell my story to my students and inspire them by telling them that hard work with a positive mindset, with a no matter what attitude, could get their dreams turned into a reality.

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