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Scholarship Reflections

As United Way of Long Island DREAMS for Youth Scholarship recipients complete their first year of college, they often send reflections on what they've learned and how their scholarship helped them find their way. Here are just some of their stories:

My first year of college is officially over, and although it has been the most academically and emotionally challenging year of my life, I can honestly say that I can not wait to do it all over again. Without the DREAMS for Youth Scholarship, I would not have had the opportunity to attend a school like Monmouth University, and because of this I am incredibly grateful. I have had the best year of my life, and I am able to look back and see how much I have grown, both academically and as a person. I have made amazing friends, I have taken amazing courses, and I am ready to continue pursuing a career in education that would not be possible without this scholarship. Thank you once again for this life-changing opportunity! -- Kristina, Monmouth University


Thanks to the Dreams for Youth Scholarship, I was able to attend my dream school,Howard University. I had a very eventful freshman year and I was able to partake in numerous opportunities, such as interning for the American Association for Access and Diversity during my spring semester. I am so extremely grateful to have been awarded this prestigious scholarship. --Taylor, Howard University


First and foremost, I wanted to thank you for sending out the scholarship in full for the spring semester. It truly means a lot to me and I am so grateful for having received the scholarship in the first place and having the possibility to representing Long Island, New York in such a diverse school here on the West Coast. Read more about Anna's freshman year experience -- Anna, University of California Berkeley


My first year of college was definitely a learning one. Specifically, as a first-generation college student I had to learn how to navigate the adult world and attend classes with little advice to move forward with. Through college, I learned and am still learning how to budget my money for books, food, and personal items, balance work, school, sports, sleep, and a social life. Without the scholarship from United Way, I would have not been able to buy books for my first semester. I had saved up a bit of money before leaving for college, but severely underestimated the cost. I am beyond grateful that I was able to rely on United Way. So much so that I joined the United Way Foundation Committee here at Earlham College. I am giving back to such a wonderful organization that gave me help. Thank you for choosing me for the scholarship more now than ever. I appreciate you all for everything you do. -- Alexis, Earlham College


I truly can’t thank you enough for the scholarship you provided me. I worked very hard this year and ended with a 3.67 GPA my second semester. This scholarship helped me avoid the need to take out student loans my freshman year.  I’m trying very hard to not be a financial burden to my foster parents even though they promised to do everything they could to allow me to graduate from my bachelors debt free. I wanted to take extra classes this summer so I can dual major and I was able to do this financially because of the scholarship I received from you. --Amos, SUNY Polytechnic Institute


I was lucky enough to be one of the recipents of the Dreams For Youth Scholarship and I am happy to report that my first year at The University of Richmond went very well. This is due in part to the funding of this scholarship as it gave me the drive to succeed and keep trying to do my best both in and out of class so that I could put the scholarship to good use. I struggled like I never have before in certain classes (calculus and accounting to be specific) but overcoming these challenges made me realize I am capable of accomplishing my goals and getting through difficulties if I put my mind to it. The first semester was a mix of getting acquainted with the rigorous coursework of my new school and also being able to enjoy and get to know my new surroundings. The second semester was a little easier in that I knew what to expect and I had the security of knowing I was capable of studying hard and having it pay off with good grades. I am so grateful to be going to such a wonderful school and the Dreams scholarship has made me want to continue my education and find other ways to help continue with my passions and my dream of owning a business one day. -- Emma, University of Richmond


My first year at college has been an amazing experience. I have been exposed to so many opportunities, people, and learning material. I truly believe I have found my academic passions throughout this first year at Barnard College, which I am excited to pursue for the next three years. I plan on double majoring in political science and women/gender studies, with a minor in race/ethnicity studies. At Barnard, I am constantly surrounded by a group of politically active and extremely motivated individuals who are just as passionate about learning as I am. It is with great appreciation that I thank you for aiding me in my financial process with the Dreams for Youth Scholarship. Because college is extremely expensive nowadays, it is hard to find the funds to afford going to a private institution such as Barnard. I am so thankful to have resources such as Dreams for Youth to help me with my finances. -- Olivia, Barnard College


The United Way scholarship definitely helped me throughout the year. It was the last piece of financial aid that made sure I could go to school with very little debt in my future, allowing me to focus on my studies without fearing not having enough money to complete the academic year. I am extremely grateful to have been able to attend my first year of college with so few financial concerns. I hope another deserving student will be able to reap the benefits of this generous scholarship and encounter a fulfilling college experience. -- Ilana, SUNY New Paltz