I had to take a moment to bask in the enormity of what I had done. How I had achieved a goal I had dreamed of and had recently given myself 10 years to complete – I completed it this month.
I started a scholarship for students who identify as BIPOC from lower-income households to pursue their undergraduate degree, but I need your help to keep it going.
How you can help
Contribute to the fund. Every dollar you contribute goes directly to the scholarship. There are no fees for you nor for the applicants.
Encourage applicants! Please share this with the students in your life who need a little help funding their education. It’s expensive! Friends don’t let friends get crushed by student debt.
Shame and failure: Payal’s story
My personal college experience was well…unfortunately, I didn’t really know what I was doing in college. I don’t mean I didn’t know what to major in. I mean I didn’t know why I was there! I was just following along the path that had been drilled into me, being a good Indian child meant going to college, getting a ‘good job’ and securing financial freedom. Not the worst thing to drill into your child, except when that child has dreams of being an author, actor, psychologist (Things That Aren’t Real Careers for $500, Alex).
I found the courses way too hard (re: boring) the first semester and immediately used up all ‘withdraws’ for the entire year. I then started a trend of failing or barely passing. The shame of realizing I’d be late to class made me skip entire sessions, and then the shame of knowing I’d fail the test meant I wouldn’t even show up to take them. So great was my shame I felt I couldn’t ask for help. I thought I’d failed right out of the gate and lost my scholarship immediately.
But lo and behold – the disqualification for my scholarship didn’t happen at the end of the semester. So, I had one more semester to pull myself together. Don’t worry, I effed it up and lost the scholarship – permanently. So that was the first piece of bad news I had to deliver to my parents. Their first-born child, their innocent daughter who they paid to let live in the dorms (even though the university was about 2 miles from their house) had also lost thousands in tuition.
You’d think I’d do better after having crashed so hard, but nope. I did so poorly that I was booted from the University! It’s pretty bad when the number one ranked party school in America KICKS YOU OUT. Thankfully I was able to re-do a few classes with professors who’s names I don’t remember now but am grateful to for giving me that chance and changing my grade. I finally graduated with a 3.0 GPA, a job and a loan to buy my first car (which I still have – the car, not the loan). Whew.
With resources, we can do amazing things
Given that I can, over 20 years later look back and say, hey you did okay. Better than okay. But I wonder…. if I knew what I wanted to do AND I had the resources, how different would my life be? So, this scholarship is for those kids out there like me, not feeling quite American and maybe not feeling like their fit into the culture of their family either, trying to make their way and just need a little boost financially.