When you embark on a new journey, it is difficult—sometimes impossible—to visualize what it will look like. You try to explain to friends and family what you will be doing, but you just come up blank. This was my experience the summer before I began my term of service with College Possible.
I had no way to conceptualize the impact that working in this organization would have on my life—how it would push me to grow, and how that growth would change and shape me forever. When I began working with my cohorts, I thought I would be helping with the ACT exam and giving them as many resources as I could, encouraging them along the way. I hoped that my work would have a positive impact on their lives and help them reach their goals of getting into and graduating from college. However, I had no idea of the profound effect they would have on me.
Seeing the resilience and resolve of my students as they face the unbelievable inequality in the higher education system has been humbling and inspiring. These students, facing a system that tells them they are less worthy of success than their more affluent peers, reject that narrative. They will not accept being viewed as less than equal and they work harder than any other high school students I have known. It is amazing to witness, and I am so grateful for what these 16 and 17 year-olds reminded me about life choices: Life is whatever you are determined to make of it.
-Katherine Stein, AmeriCorps member and College Possible coach