|By Emily Dickinson|
“We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.” Mitch Albom
“To survive you must tell stories.” Umberto Eco
Tengo mucho que hacer and yet I always make time, somehow, when my alma mater comes calling. Every year, I read scholarship essays. I may have to carve out time between mommy duties after busy workdays. It is time well spent.
My task is to read 25 scholarship applications in a week’s time. The applicants are asked to detail their extracurricular activities and respond to three short essay prompts. They are asked to discuss their lives, their leadership, and their goals. As a former English teacher and Upward Bound teacher, I have spent hours helping high school students tell their story to colleges in a way that is authentic and compelling. It is no easy task. The scholarships for which I serve as a reader are earmarked for first-generation college students. More often than not, these young people balance family caretaking and part-time jobs with their busy schedules of honors and AP classes, club meetings, practices, and volunteer work. Their stories are worth hearing.
During my recent reading gig, I read stories that have made an impact on me. While some applications were less than engaging, there were some who stood out. My heart ached for the student with a lifelong health challenge. I felt teary-eyed for the young farmer whose reflections on love of land and animals were wise and poignant. I pondered the limitless courage of the child who raised both parents while they battled addiction. While I may never know whether or not these young people won the awards or admission, I did my small part to help.
I cannot lose sight of the opportunities I was given. I was one of those students. Someone saw my potential and helped me. I will not stop offering those opportunities to others. In return, I am blessed with the gifts of inspiration and motivation. I am reminded of my purpose.
|Image by Tom Grey|