How Teachers and Technology Got Me to College
As a teenager, I always took my academics very seriously. I knew I wanted to go to college, and I knew I needed to have the grades to get there. So when I got to high school, I made a vow to myself to always put my best foot forward, and to never let anyone or anything stop me from getting into a good school. Seven years later, I’m almost a senior at Temple University and I couldn’t imagine myself at any other school!
Getting to college was no walk in the park. It was more like walking on pins and needles. I come from a city with underfunded schools and a significant lack of resources. Already, I was at a disadvantage compared to other students. It would have been so easy to relinquish my dreams of going to college, but I refused to let those disadvantages prohibit my plans. The biggest asset to my schooling weren’t the teachers who gave me the most homework or gave the toughest tests, but the ones who saw my potential and pushed me because they believed in me. These are individuals that showed me the love, devotion, and support that everyone needs to be successful. I’ll never forget my Algebra 1 teacher, Mrs. Valsamis, who yelled at me like a mom would when I messed up because she cared, or my college-prep mentor, Mrs. Wilson, who made it her business to ensure I had the support that she didn’t have when it came to getting to my dream college. The most impactful are those who see more in you than you can see in yourself, and become the people you remember and love forever.
Although I had the help of those who supported me, which was most imperative in order for me to perform well, I had to help myself too. I remember having to go online after school, on YouTube, to find tutors that made videos to further explain math equations or even a complex book that I couldn’t quite grasp in class. Going to a public school with about 25-30 students in your classes, it wasn’t uncommon to not get the extra help you might have needed. Of course, there are many books and textbooks created that can explain things, but it is not equivalent to seeing a math problem get solved, or hearing someone explain or synthesize a high-level reading book. That was when I really started to utilize the online resources since my school didn’t provide any after school tutoring. Without the various Youtubers who use their platform to educate, I don’t think I would be as academically successful as I am today.