I cannot remember a point in my life when I desired anything other than becoming a teacher. As a child, I played school with my little cousins and friends just so I could practice for my future career. But what I didn’t realize as a child was how expensive my dream was. I came from a middle-class family, and it seemed as though we’d always struggled to make ends meet. My dream of attending the University of Connecticut seemed so out of reach, but I wasn’t willing to settle for anything less.
In the beginning of my senior year in high school, I began applying to colleges, but in my heart I had already made my decision. The University of Connecticut was the one. But a huge hurdle stood between me and my dream – lack of financial resources.
At first, I was ready to give up. I mean, who was going to give me, the average high-school girl, that kind of money? I wasn’t the smartest person in my class, not even close; but my heart was in the right place, and I was determinded. I knew that scholarships were only given to the really smart kids, or so I thought. I applied for every scholarship I could get my hands on. What did I have to lose? And then my guidance counselor told me about the financial aid system. I applied, but I didn’t think I would qualify for that either.
After the holidays, my friends started receiving their acceptance letters from colleges, and I eagerly anticipated mine. Finally, a letter arrived from the University of Connecticut. Feelings of fear and joy overwhelmed me, but I was ready. I opened the envelope with trembling hands as tears engulfed my eyes. I had done it! I had been accepted to the University of Connecticut! I cried for a while, feeling both extremely excited and afraid. I had worked so hard to get accepted; what if I was denied admission because of my financial status?
I had been working a full-time job, but that was barely enough to pay for tuition. My parents couldn’t afford that kind of money, and I wasn’t going to pretend that they could. I was the first person in my family who would attend a university, and I knew how proud my parents were; but it was impossible for them to finance my education. However, my parents are incredible people, and they taught me never to give up on my dreams, regardless of the obstacles that I encounter, and never to lose sight of what I truly want out of life. My parents were right, and I continued to believe in both myself and my dreams.
Months went by before I heard anything from the financial aid office. I assumed that I didn’t qualify for aid, but I wasn’t ready to lose hope yet. At least, a letter arrived. I opened it eagerly, but it was a false alarm. The letter requested more information in order to process my application.
This happened over and over, and my hopes kept getting shot down. Finally, a bulky envelope arrived. I knew this was the one that would determine whether or not I could attend college. I opened the envelope and could hardly understand what any of the documents inside meant.
The following day, I brought the documents to school and asked my guidance counselor to take a look at them. He looked up at me with a huge smile on his face and told me that not only was financial aid going to help me out with my expense, but I had also won two of the scholarships I had applied for! I was in shock at first, then I cried. I had actually made my dream come true.
I am now a junior at the University of Connecticut, pursuing a degree in English. In the beginning og the new millennium, my dream will become a reality. I will be a teacher.
I live by this quote: “Reach for the sky because if you should happen to miss, you’ll still be among the stars.”
– Rosa Torcasio