I wish I could tell my younger self about how the little decisions I made would affect me in the future.
Maybe I’m too young to daydream about what I would say, but I always picture it as a letter.
I know you don’t think that you are supposed to be an American Honors student. I know that graduation is getting close and that you only applied to one school when you meant to apply to six. I know that you don’t quite meet the math requirement. You looked at the application and you wondered after filling out all those boxes if you will really stack up.
You’re right, there probably are more qualified people than you.
But you should try anyway.
I promise it will be worth it. I can’t give you any details, because I don’t want to ruin this awesome future. No spoilers.
Love, Tatiana from 2015
Obviously, I never received that letter when I was younger, but I got something close. One of my friends was in the pilot class of American Honors here in Spokane and recommended that I go for it. It was at in-class visit where five AH students lined up at the front of the room and just talked about their experiences.
As they introduced themselves, I knew that no matter how weird it seemed to me that I would apply, it would be worth it.
"I never thought of myself as the “smart” kid."
They were simply motivated, passionate, and loved learning.
It was weird because I never thought of myself as the “smart” kid. There were kids in my class who took harder classes. They got higher GPAs.
But the people at the front of the room that day didn’t seem like “mad genius” types - like Sherlock Holmes or Matt Smith as the title character of Doctor Who. They were simply motivated, passionate, and loved learning.
"I decided to take a chance on this new program."
It wasn’t what she said, but what she didn’t say that made the difference for me.
I decided to take a chance on this new program. A few weeks later, I called the admissions office to see if my application got through, and I found out that this new program took a chance on me, too.
Soon after, I sat down with my advisor. I told her about my struggles in math and my uncertainties about chemistry. Then I told her that I wanted to go into medicine to help get healthcare to the underprivileged in my community. It wasn’t what she said, but what she didn’t say that made the difference for me. She didn’t say that I should try for something else. “Students are organizing study groups for math” she said, “Have you tried Khan Academy?” This was the vote of confidence I needed.
"This was the vote of confidence I needed."
I later became a Student Ambassador for the program. When I talked to potential students the one concern they all seemed to share was, “I don’t know if I’m qualified. “ They all asked questions like, “Is my gpa high enough? Did I take the right classes? Can I do honors coursework?” I recognize this kind of self-doubt, and it’s reasonable. Making any change (especially a positive one) in life prompts questions like this.
I think it is healthy to ask those questions. My answer to them is always the same. I didn’t “feel” qualified either. But I tried anyway and I don’t regret it.