Money is so much more important than optimists believe. Even I try to devalue money by leaving it out of important decisions in my life, but let’s face it, money can make serious impacts on our lives.
I’m not going to go into socioeconomic statistics, because I have not looked them up, but in my case, money has always been the deciding factor of academic and social opportunities.
How much is it going to cost? Those were the first words my mother and sister had said to me when I told them I had been accepted by Harvard. At the moment, I was so excited myself that I didn’t care, but after a few hours, I had calmed down and noticed how much those words really broke my heart.
I know my family was ecstatic about Harvard. My parents never graduated high school; the thought of their children going to college is a dream come true, let alone the thought of their child going to one of the top universities in the world. However, no matter how great of an opportunity, if we didn’t have the money to pay for it, there was no way we could make use of it.
I had applied to numerous summer programs earlier in my high school career and have been invited to some as well. However, my parents would always have to pay thousands of dollars to send me to these programs, and it was an investment they could not afford. I was chided when I complained.
Years later, I’m being bombarded with opportunities to conduct productive opportunities with my summers again. Most notably, my professor had asked me to come with him the Shanghai to study medicine and conduct research at Fudan University for two months. It is an opportunity that provides invaluable rewards, but costs nearly $8,000.
The moment I told my mother the figure on the phone, an eerie silence crept through our call. I looked off the ledge of the sides of the staircase at Widener knowing the next few words my mother would say: is there any financial aid available?
Unfortunately not. There are, however, competitive grants that I can apply for. Competitive. Less than a hundred percent. I took a deep sigh, letting out my disappointment.
I was lamenting over the thought of having to apply to a total of 4 grants in hopes of obtaining enough funding to go on the trip, but the moment I thought about studying medicine and conducting research in a cultured nation overseas with the professor I most admired, I became driven and determined.
It looks like my winter break will be pretty busy, but I have my eyes set on a plane to Shanghai. I know this is what I want to do, because no matter what the situation may be, I (1) do not feel overburdened by the extra requirements that I have to meet to go on the trip , (2) I can’t stop thinking about it, and (3) I’m not deterred by the possibility of failure.
Bring it on.