Brenda's Journey to College

We celebrate iMentor students who have worked hard this year in pursuit of their college aspirations. Not only did seniors chart their own post-secondary courses and succeed in executing on those plans for college, but they managed to accomplish all this while navigating the challenges of remote learning as well as other hurdles related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Congratulations to all!

Today we hear from iMentor Chicago student Brenda, a student at North Grand High School, and Olga Vasquez, Brenda’s mentor for the last two years.

Brenda will be attending Taylor University, her top-choice school, this fall. She shares about her experience applying to college this year and her hopes for the future. Olga reflects on what has been most meaningful part of going through the college process with Brenda.

Brenda, where do you plan to attend college, and how did you make this decision?

Brenda: This fall I will be attending Taylor University. I make this decision because the school has everything that I am looking for and more. It is the place where I can see myself for the next four years of my life, and they gave me an opportunity that I could not reject.

How did having a mentor help you with your path to college?

Brenda: Having a mentor help me with a lot of things. Olga helped me by comparing universities, helping me practice for scholarship interviews and fill out applications, and understanding so many things about college that I know are going to be very helpful for my transition from high school to college.

What did you learn about yourself through the college process?

Brenda: Throughout my college process, I learned that everything is possible. You just have to believe and have faith. I learned that I am capable of things that I could not imagine. SI SE PUEDE! You are the one who sets the limits.

Olga, how did Brenda navigate the college process, and how did you try to support them?

Olga: Brenda is a delight to work with. She has considered and diligently grasped every opportunity available to her with enthusiasm and a positive attitude. She researched and applied to the universities she was interested in and ultimately accepted by all!

During our conversations, I was able to raise areas to consider during her personal essay writing. I joined her on virtual visits to several universities websites and reviewed the courses she would be taking for her majors of interest. I experienced what stirred her and became one of her many cheerleaders!

Brenda, what are you looking forward to about going to college?

Brenda: When I go to college, what I am looking forward to is having more independence, getting to know a lot of people, and starting new relationships, getting involved in campus activities, but most importantly getting my degree.

Which careers are you considering, and what do you hope to be doing in five years?

Brenda: The career that I am considering is law; I want to become an immigration lawyer. In five years I will be in school still, maybe with a job, but studying, because after my four years of college I have to attend law school if I want to become a lawyer.

Olga, what was the most meaningful moment for you in this process?

Olga: The most meaningful moment for me was the day Brenda shared whether or not she was accepted by Taylor University. I was elated! Brenda will be attending her number-one desired university and with a fully paid scholarship! I rejoiced with her, and again when she showed me the video of her family reading the acceptance letter. What a moving moment — to be able to see her family celebrate her accomplishments.

What do you wish for Brenda as she starts this new chapter in her life?

Olga: As Brenda begins this new chapter in her life, I hope that she maintains the same enthusiasm, positive attitude, and diligence in her work that she has demonstrated throughout these last two years; that she remembers the excitement and sense of fulfillment that she experienced with the outcome of her hard work; and that no matter what circumstances she may encounter, she always can find ways to address them and learn from them. Brenda’s a winner!

Learn about becoming a mentor. Read about why iMentor NYC mentor Sherman Reid believes in helping young people find their spark, and how a personal experience motivated iMentor Bay Area mentor MG Bertrand to become a mentor.