I understand that right now is the time where a lot of you are receiving some very pleasant news and others some pretty disappointing news. I remember how happy I was when I opened up that email that was going to determine the next part of my college application process and I read the words “You are a Finalist”. Somehow it made all of the obstacles I overcame, all of the times I cried in my bed at night thinking I wasn’t going to make it, and all of the times I thought I was not going to be successful very insignificant. It was like I was a kid in a candy store, but I was a kid who worked hard, earned her own money, and could choose whichever pieces of candy she wanted – I controlled my own destiny. To all of you that received that same email: Congratulations! You all should be very proud of yourselves because not only did you achieve something that many in your life thought was impossible, but you did not let your circumstances deter you from success. Not to mention you still have the chance to receive a fully paid college scholarship!
To everyone who received a not so pleasant email: This is not the end, but only the beginning. It may seem like the end of the world, it may seem like you failed yourself, but even you have much to be proud of. Applying to QuestBridge is not just about receiving that four-year scholarship. You basically completed most of your college applications way in advance because you had to write so much on the application, you put your heart and soul out there for a bunch of people to read, and that is a hard task to accomplish. Most importantly, you will now have erased the word ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary. Not only can you apply to a top-tier college/university, but hopefully now you know you are also worthy of attending one. Although this was one rejection, this will just be another obstacle that was in your way when you tell your story of success. You have every right to be upset right now and you should know that it is okay to cry and be a little disappointed. You can even take the day to eat a whole container of ice cream. Just please do not give up. Use this as fuel to add to the fire because I know you all have the potential to attend an elite college/university. Tomorrow will be a better day.
Whether you are now a QuestBridge Finalist or not, we are all Quest Scholars inside. We all embody high-achieving, low-income students that are making something of themselves. We are some of the nation’s brightest, most under-served youth, and that is not something to be ashamed of, but to be proud of. We have overcome so many odds and have not just overcome them for ourselves, but for all the younger students in our communities, who will look to us as an example. An example that they can be successful. Remember that we are the next batch of leaders of this nation and our potential is endless. Congratulations to you all and I wish you all the best of luck!