An Open Letter to My Mentor

Dear Mentor,

Maybe I say it too much, maybe I don’t say it at all, but let me put it out there right now: thank you.

For all that you’ve done, do, and may do in the future. You are so appreciated. You swept in to guide me, even when you didn’t need to, selflessly, patiently, and full heartedly. You knew coming into this type of relationship that they serve mainly as a one-way street, where you teach and give all that you can, and I attempt to absorb it all, and you stayed anyway.
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Do I Really Have To Do This Every Semester?

Let’s face it. Many of us won’t get the “dream” class schedule. You know… the one with early classes (nothing before 11 a.m.), that all end early (nothing past 3 p.m.), and here’s the kicker: no class on Fridays. I’ve only heard rumors of those types of schedules, but that does not mean you cannot make the most out of every semester at your university.

If you’re anything like me, picking courses each semester is much like deleting old e-mails: you have to do it eventually, but letting the task marinate seems like a better idea most days.
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Beating the Winter Blues as a Sunny State Student

Source: http://community.blogs.wesleyan.edu/tag/snow/
Source: http://community.blogs.wesleyan.edu/tag/snow/

If you’ve already been accepted into college, you’re probably thinking, “What now?” Well, you have to complete the FAFSA, continue your schoolwork, and daydream about what your college experiences will be like while doing so. However, one facet of college life that students often overlook is the climate of the state they’ll be moving to in just a few months. I was one of those students and I wish I could’ve prepared a lot more for Connecticut’s climate during summer in Florida. Below is a list of ways you can beat the winter blues when coming from a sunny state, whether it be Florida, California, or Texas, and how to plan ahead – and what to expect – for the climate in a timely manner.
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Dear QB: How do I talk about QuestBridge in interviews?

DearQBWhether you’re a freshman in college or wrapping up your senior year, you’re likely applying for internships or jobs this time of year. When it comes time to interview, you don’t have to be afraid of highlighting QuestBridge. In fact, you can use it to your advantage to highlight your strengths and set yourself apart from other interviewees. Here are a few ways you can leverage your QuestBridge story:
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Capitalizing on College

This month we’re featuring posts from Quest Scholars who have learned (or are learning!) savvy spending tips for college, including searching for outside scholarships and financial aid tips. Keep reading and stay tuned for more!  

Jokes about the perpetually broke financial state of college students and the inundation of memes on the internet about the emptiness of student wallets plague our generation’s perception of college. Yes, college is expensive. But colleges are, to many people’s surprise, taking steps to help low-income students.
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Paying for College: The Search for Outside Funds

January is a good time to plan ahead for education-related expenses in the coming months. Quest Scholar Alum Victoria Turner shares her first-hand experience finding the best outside funding options available for students. Make sure you check with your financial aid office to see how outside funds can be applied to your financial aid package. 

paying for collegeThe aid package you receive from the financial aid office can determine whether you attend a school. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than receiving an acceptance to a college you love when the accompanying aid letter doesn’t match what you need. Luckily, financial aid officers and organizations like QuestBridge work hard to fund you. If you’ve sent out your very best applications, just sit back and cross your fingers, toes, and any other crossable appendages while you wait for letters.
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End Your Year With Reflection

As many of you know, reflection is woven into QuestBridge’s founding story. In the early days of QuestBridge, “Reflection Time” created a space where introspection and personal reflection could be explored, practiced, nurtured, and strengthened. At the very beginning of 2015, QuestBridge Co-Founder and CEO Ana McCullough wrote a blog post about the importance of taking time to reflect: Continue reading

Summer Service Grant | Photovoice: Picture Dis(Ability)

Last summer, Carrie Chui (University of Chicago ’15) received a Summer Service Grant from QuestBridge to explore how photographs can speak louder than words for adults with mental and physical disabilities. Below, she reflects on the growth she both experienced herself and witnessed in others over the course of the summer.

Looking at their own photographs, Shirley and Phuc could not hold back their smiles. I was also elated, seeing their work finally come to fruition and arranged neatly along the gallery walls. Continue reading

A Brief Guide to Internship Applications

DInternships Blog Photoecember begins soon, and in addition to cinnamon and nutmeg, the sweet scent of internships is in the air. The path to an internship can be long and winding for those of us who don’t finish our first semester of college with a clean set of A’s, or who realize they have an interest in an area late in their undergraduate years. Those who cannot break into the field will find it harder and harder to secure their first internship when competing for spots with those who have more experience. The gap only widens each year.
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Turning a New Leaf Over

Autumn on college campuses is a picturesque time of year. However, the changing colors can also signal a change in seasons of life for Quest Scholars, making it more important than ever to seek support from your Quest Family. Today we’re featuring a post from 2013 by a Quest Scholar at Grinnell who reflected on her first autumn in a new place.

Stop and take in nature once in a while.A huge, orchid-like tree stands reaching into the heavens. With colors of purple, orange, red, yellow, pink, and green, it stands magnificently. It is untouchable and beautiful. That was how I always pictured fall. The colors of the trees changing and nature changing itself into something even prettier than it was before. Fall is my favorite season and has been for a while now. But moving away to college, it hit me why I really love fall. The changing of the tree colors means time has passed by since I moved to Iowa from Missouri. It means that I am starting to notice things around me that I haven’t noticed before. It means that I am also starting to miss family and friends. Going off to college, it is easy to miss family, friends and places. For me, the idea of missing home was never really a problem until fall started. I guess you never really notice something until there is a physical reminder.

Experiencing fall in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa, was not something I envisioned at the start of the year. I guess you can say that I am one of those people who doesn’t think about what’s to come but who lives in the moment. I pictured myself freezing in the cold winter of Iowa, but I never pictured the fall and all the beautiful colors I might see. I always thought that fall was experienced the same way no matter where you were. But that is not the case. During the early days of fall when the leaves were starting to change and my friend and I were walking to the store, he looked over at me and said, “Wow the colors are so beautiful. Now I know why artists paint trees in the fall.” And with that remark, I wanted to laugh and ask if he had been living underneath a rock. But as he continued to talk, I soon realized that every place in the U.S experiences fall differently. He is from Miami, Florida, and the trees don’t change colors into the dark reds and purples he was seeing right then and there.

Stop and take in nature once in a while.

It made me realize that that fact was also true for Missouri. Where I lived in Missouri, the colors varied and were more vivid than the ones in Grinnell. Thinking about those trees made me miss my home, my school, the huge orchid-like tree, and my friends. The seasons change. It is a fact of life. No matter where you are, you are sure to notice the difference. Moving to a new state, however, makes you notice these changes even more. Fall signals the change into winter when everything appears bleak and dead. However, fall is also a reminder of time and the beauty of nature that we all tend to take for granted. Nature is something that has always intrigued me, so whenever fall rolls around, I am reminded of all the things around me that I don’t notice during the other three seasons. It is not simply because of the colors (well, it has a lot to do with the colors), but it’s also all the things you can do during fall like celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. So with each year, I impatiently await for the arrival of the fall season. And each year, I am not disappointed no matter where I am.

— by Charlotte Gbomina, Quest Scholar, Grinnell College

This was originally posted on 11/07/2013 on the Quest Scholars Network Blog.