Scholarships Do Exist!

Samantha Afetian is the media relations intern for the SDSU’s Marketing and Communications Department.

Last Friday was an ordinary, groggy Friday morning. I hauled myself to class while the majority of my fellow comrades were probably still sleeping cozy in their beds, lucky enough to not have a Friday morning class.

Having arrived early to my journalism lab, I sat down at a computer and opened my email. Still blurry eyed from sleep and cognitively incoherent, I was shocked to read “Congratulations on being selected to receive the SDSU Retirement Association Scholarship for 2011-12!” I was instantly awakened from my morning stupor and absolutely elated! I got a scholarship? No way.

Every little bit helps
Back in December, I began looking for scholarships for a few reasons, some may resonate with you:

  1. As soon as I graduate I’m in debt. Scholarships sounded like an easy way to subsidize my education without having to worry about interest payments. It’s like free money.
  2. Scholarships would allow me to continue with my extracurricular activities, such as my professional certificate program through the College of Extended Studies.
  3. I am studying abroad this Fall semester, so I figured scholarships could maybe help me with that.

Now obviously one or even two scholarship awards wouldn’t be able to cover all of the extra costs of my education, but they most certainly help. That is why I applied for as many scholarships as I possibly could.

The scholarship journey
I honestly didn’t think that I was “scholarship” material. I don’t have a significant financial need (though it’s significant to me), I’m not in any leadership roles, and I don’t log 100 hours of community service a semester. Obviously I was skeptical but I thought that I would give it a try regardless.

The SDSU Retirement Associate Scholarship is a generous scholarship to a student who is related to a full-time or previously full-time faculty member at the university. I had recently discovered that my great-great uncle, Lester Tenney, was an accounting and finance professor here at SDSU after World War II, so I decided to apply on a whim. I wrote the essay, crossed my fingers and sent it in.

About a month later I made the first round of cuts and was invited to a scholarship interview. I had done a little bit of research on the association and prepared a portfolio of writing samples just to supplement the interview, but I was nervous. During the interview I did my best to highlight my attributes as a student, but ultimately I chose to stress the fact that I genuinely love SDSU and as media relations intern I try my best to put out stories that will make others want to be a part of the university, too.

I honestly thought that I wasn’t going to be chosen.

But, lo-and-behold, they decided to award me a $2,500 scholarship, and I could not be more thrilled! Not only will the award help me accomplish my academic goals, but it also is a great honor in that I have been chosen for my merits to represent SDSU as an award recipient.

Final words
Students: When it comes to scholarships, you never know until you try.

Donors: If you’re thinking about sponsoring a scholarship, please do it! You have the power to help students pursue their passions, dreams and aspirations.

1 Comment

Filed under Admissions, Alumni, College Community, Greater Good, Prospective Students, Students

One response to “Scholarships Do Exist!

  1. Thanks for sharing these tips and your insights. With the rates going up year after year it pays to find supplemental ways to offset the costs. Unfortunately, many students are left borrowing excess funds or choosing between eating 3 squares a day or trying to get bye with limited classroom materials.

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