By the time Angie graduated high school, she was at the top of her class and breaking barriers being the first in her family to go to college. Overall, Angie is an extraordinary College Possible student, but this story isn’t about her. This story is about her younger sister, Kathy.
When Kathy first started in my College Possible cohort, she craved attention, both negative and positive, and had trouble working collaboratively. When the time came to write personal narratives or talk about her positive qualities, she stayed quiet. If Kathy didn’t have straight A’s, she struggled with the thought that she might not go to a four-year college after high school. She didn’t need another adult to point out all the ways she wasn’t like her sister. What Kathy did need was a coach who could see and support her and her dreams.
Like Kathy, I am also the younger sibling of an incredibly talented older brother. Over time, I learned I could be the best version of myself. However, that mentality didn’t come overnight. I had to be coached, mentored and reassured that these things were all true, because I was never going to believe it on my own.
Kathy is not Angie, but she is a brilliant, joyful and charismatic person who has a bright future in front of her. As her coach, I am grateful to be a part of the network that is building Kathy up so she can find her own path and create her own success. Some of my most impactful moments at College Possible have come from my experiences supporting Kathy.
As coaches, we tend to forget that this type of support is some of the most important work we do at College Possible. Yes, we help students with their college applications and FASFA, but we also get to nurture students’ spirits and help them believe in themselves.
In a way, we are paying respect to those who did the same for us, which is incredibly meaningful to those of us who identify with our students.
A few days ago Kathy told me her plans for college, and for the first time they seemed well structured and genuinely her own. She wasn’t trying to be like Angie. Kathy did it because it is what she wants for herself. Every day I see her growing, and that is truly the best part of being a College Possible coach — watching students become more confident, collaborative and empowered through knowledge.
– Mireya Rosas Barajas (they/them/theirs), high school junior coach