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Leaving a Legacy at the University of Arizona

I’m writing this week’s post in English because it’s something I want to share with everyone(a próxima semana, vou regressar a português 😉 ). I know I already posted a picture of this one Facebook but there is a fascinating story behind it that I would like to share with you.

After the second week of school or so during freshman year, I decided to buy a Moleskin journal to write down my thoughts and ideas. I was just beginning a new chapter in life and my brain couldn’t handle it all. I needed to write things down and let my ideas flow from my mind onto paper.

I ordered a journal off of Amazon and received it shortly(thanks to my free two-day shipping trial) that week. I began writing random figments as the week progressed. Then, five days after I had received my journal, I wrote something that I had completely forgotten about until last weekend when I was skimming through my journal entries.

This is what I wrote this on August 29th, 2013.

Journal Entry

Now you’re probably wondering, “Okay. What’s the big deal? You thought something big was coming your way and you said you wanted to leave a legacy- I don’t get it?”

foto (2)

The reason that this is so crazyis  because of what happened exactly one week ago from today- I received the The Honors College Outstanding Freshman of the Year award from the University of Arizona’s Honors College as.

I couldn’t believe it! My thoughts from the beginning of the semester had become more than just thoughts- they had become real life!

I remember the exact feeling I had had in those moments during the start of school. I was excited, nervous, happy, and scared-all at the same time. I wanted to do something great and leave a legacy here but I had no idea how I would go about it.

Around the end of March/the beginning of April, I found out about this award and I knew I wanted it.

I was at the Slonaker House(the Honors College house) for an Honors College Ambassadors overnight visit when I happened to notice the plaques on the wall with names and the words written “HONORS COLLEGE OUTSTANDING FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR.” The dean of the Honors College was standing right next to me so I gathered up the nerve and asked,

“How do you even win that kind of award?”

“Well, each year we ask professors to nominate students for the award by submitting a letter of recommendation. This year, however, we didn’t receive as many nominations as we would have liked to so we’ve extended the deadline till next Friday. If you’d like, you can ask a professor to nominate you but they must submit a letter of recommendation.”

My eyes lite up because I knew exactly who I planned on asking: Melissa Fitch(Profa)- one of my favorite professors at the university and one of the professors who had just written me a recommendation letter for my study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I knew I only had a week for her to submit the letter and I knew she was super busy so I made sure to email her as soon as I arrived at my dorm.

Luckily, she liked me and found time to submit the letter of recommendation before the deadline. I received the email notifying me of my nomination that same weekend and I was then invited to write an essay explaining how my academic and social work embodied the Honors College mission statement.

At first, I felt like I was cheating since I had asked a professor to nominate me, but then I reminded myself that:

a. the Dean suggested that I ask a professor to nominate me

b. the professor could have said no

c. I still have to write the best essay to win

I decided to accept the invitation and write an essay for the award. I struggled at first because the prompt was semi-vague and I wasn’t sure what I was going to write. I had only a week to write it. I wrote an outline and emailed it to Susan Kaleita, a staff member at the Honors College,  and my mom, who helped me flush out my ideas and write the award-winning essay that I wrote, which you can read here. I worked really hard on the essay and I am proud of the outcome. Writing it made me want to write a book about my backpacking experiences in Europe because it was so amazing what happened during my travels. It was troublesome choosing only one experience to write about.

Now, I have the plaque that I posted a picture of above AND my name will go on a plaque in Slonaker and will be there forever. Hence, I have created a legacy for myself here at the University of Arizona and fulfilled what I had originally written in my journal at the beginning of the year 🙂

I wanted to share this with you today because I still cannot fathom the fact that I wrote about this at the very beginning of the year and it came true! I took advantage of the opportunity presented before me and this is what happened.

A little side-note I want to add that puts the cherry on top of this cake-I was rejected by the Honors College when I first applied my senior year in high school. That’s right REJECTED. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have high test scores? Who knows! But hey- that didn’t stop me. I reapplied and went through the Freshman Review process to make certain that I got in. I was constantly emailing Sara Dorer, an Honors College Recruitment and Outreach counselor, to ensure my admission into the Honors College the second time around. However, thanks to her assistance and Bill Kimsey’s recommendation letter, they finally accepted me.

The main point of this blog post is to inspire you to never give up, pursue your dreams, and most importantly, to believe in yourself. I did all of these things and look what happened. Of course you’re going to fail multiple times in life, but you can’t give up! If you persevere  and take advantage of every opportunity presented to you, then you’re going to succeed. Keep a positive mental attitude and good things will come your way.