July 16, 2010
Small Contributions, Big Differences
As part of our mission and commitment to public service, UHEAA sits on Utah’s Jump$tart Coalition (devoted to promoting financial literacy) and sponsors a couple of small scholarships every year. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what a big difference $1,000 can make in the life of a student.
Yesterday, we received a letter from one of the winners of the scholarship thanking us and describing the goals that we are helping her to reach, and I think that some of this bears repeating. The winner (whose name I am not including to protect her privacy) writes:
“This letter is written to thank you for your financial assistance in the form of a $1,000 Utah Jump$tart Coalition scholarship as I begin my university career at BYU this fall. I am most grateful for your generosity. As a serious student who recognizes the great worth of an excellent university education, I would like to tell you something of my academic goals.
I plan to major in Communication Disorders which is divided into two related fields, speech language pathology and audiology. The first helps people develop their communication skills or otherwise rehabilitate those who may have lost those skills. The second deals with the measurement of hearing and hearing impairment. I look forward to specializing in one of these areas and perhaps going on to graduate work.
Thank you again for making my college education possible. I can assure you that I plan on making the most of it.”
Although the $1,000 scholarship seems small standing on its own, in context, these are a few of the things it could pay for:
1. Approximately 25% of a year’s tuition at BYU.
2. Books and supplies for two semesters.
3. An up-to-date laptop for this student to use at school.
Reading her letter, my own eighteen-year-old anxieties and fears came back to me in a rush. I, too, paid for my education with a patchwork of different scholarships. Without any one of those opportunities, I might not have made it. In fact, when one of my scholarships ran out right before my very last semester, I almost did leave school. Where I stand today, a $1,000 scholarship doesn’t seem very big. But remembering where I stood years ago, when $1,000 was the difference between graduating or not, I again feel the gratitude and the hopefulness of that education placed within my reach.
When I think about why I am a part of this field and why I love this work, I need look no farther than this. This person’s education will help her to grow in ways she hasn’t yet anticipated yet, and eventually, she will work with disabled or injured citizens as they strive to improve their lives. And although UHEAA’s direct contribution to her experience may be small by itself, it puts her one step closer to success on her own terms.
Most of all, I want to thank her for taking the time to write to us and remind us that small contributions matter.Posted by: Sumiko