INTERVIEW WITH AN UNLIKELY SCHOLARSHIP WINNER

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Sometimes, money springs up in the most unexpected places.

Sometimes, money springs up in the most unexpected places.

Every now and then I hear a scholarship story that is part inspirational and part hilarious.

Oliver’s story is one of those stories that I just had to share. Hopefully, you’ll find it as entertaining and helpful as I did.

DIANE

So, tell me a little about your academic background.

OLIVER

Uh, I went to a pretty standard public high school in Miami. After high school, I took a year off because I didn’t plan on going to college. I think I was literally so average that I might have been dead middle in my class.

DIANE

Why didn’t you plan on going to college, and what changed your mind?

OLIVER

I just didn’t really know anything about the process. I didn’t know how to apply, no one really explained to me what I was supposed to be doing, my parents didn’t go to college… I could just keep going on and on. My only saving grace was that I took the SAT on a whim and managed to churn out a decent score.  After about a year of just lounging around, I decided to give community college a try.

DIANE

Tell me about how you found your first scholarship and why you decided to apply.

OLIVER

I planned on transferring from community college to a private college. I thought “whoa, that’s going to be expensive.” I just Googled a few things and found the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation. I don’t know why I “decided” to apply. I just thought “why not.”

DIANE

Did you think you’d win the scholarship?

OLIVER

No, of course not. I just applied for them and honestly forgot about them. It was hard for me to even apply because… I just felt like I had nothing to offer.

DIANE

What do you mean by “nothing to offer”?

OLIVER

When I think about myself, I don’t think “scholarship winner!” or an amazing student. To me, I thought that the types of students that win scholarships were like actually amazing. I mean I had like a 2.7 GPA in high school. Maybe it wasn’t that awful; I just never did my homework! I just wasn’t really checked in. Extracurricular activities were basically non-existent.

DIANE

What scholarship did you win, and how much was it for?

OLIVER

It was the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation’s ALPFA scholarship for minorities in finance and accounting. I think it was $1,250 and a free trip to Arizona for the award ceremony.

DIANE

How did that make you feel? You’re now a “scholarship winner!” as you’d like to say.

OLIVER

It was pretty cool. I was really mostly happy about the money! Huge relief.

DIANE

What advice do you have for students thinking about applying for scholarships?

OLIVER

Just do it, man. Find them and just apply. Then forget about them forever and wait for the letters to come in.  It’s certainly worth it because it’s money that you wouldn’t have had in any other circumstances besides getting a job. This was definitely the easiest $1,250 I’ll ever earn in my life.

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