The Importance of Scholarships

Submitted on January 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Recently, Vol State student and President's Ambassador Tasie Guenthner spoke to the Alumni Association. She's a scholarship recipient, through the President's Ambassador program, and has this reminder about how important that money can be for students struggling to realize their dreams:

Hello my name is Tasie Guenthner. I moved to Nashville in the spring of 2005, leaving my parents and sister in North Dakota. My sister has since had a little girl named "Grey" and I would like to share a story about her with you.

Because they live so far away I don't get the opportunity to see them very often, so we do video calls over the internet. She is now two and a half and full of her own ideas. Usually, she can barely sit still long enough for you to see anything but a streak of yellow hair flying past the screen, but the other night she asked me "what do you want to be." It was a bit random and I wasn't sure where she was going with this so I asked her "what can I be?" She informed me "a princess, a flag, a pillow, sunshine, a superhero, or Batman."

She is two and a half, and to her the "what do I want to be question" has an infinite number of possibilities, even sunshine. Why do we, as adults, loose that sense of endless possibility?

Before I ultimately made the decision to start college I had lost that optimistic sense that we can be anything we want if we set our minds to it. I had become complacent and fearful of change. I had been working at a string of stable yet unfulfilling jobs for almost 10 years.

I realized that although I really prided myself on my strength and independence, I had been living in fear of actually trying. You cannot grow if you're not willing to stretch. So I sat down and thought about what brought me joy and "what I wanted to be when I grew up."

Not being from this area I had no idea where to even begin when it came to picking a college. A co-worker of mine (one of your fellow alumni) pointed me in the right direction. She explained how flexible the online classes were and college started to not sound so impossible anymore. I made the decision that I was going to pursue a degree even if I was working forty plus hours a week. So in January of 2009 I officially started classes.

By February, I wanted to simultaneously eat eight pounds of chocolate, go on an extended vacation and never read another book. Fortunately my experiences as a student did get better.

I also realized a few things about myself. I had never been anything but an average student in my academics in the past and now I fully grasp the importance of what I am pursuing, as well as what I have to loose, and nothing but my best will do.

I also figured out that big question of "what I wanted to be when I grew up"; a dietician, and then hopefully go on to be a chiropractor. Well I did the math on this one. To be a chiropractor is a seven year program, and because I worked full time, I only took about two classes a semester. It would take me 17 years to realize my goals at this pace. I needed to except that I would be in school until I was forty-five or I needed to re-evaluate my educational goals. Truthfully both of those options where painful to except.

That's where you came in. I have now received a scholarship that has allowed me to accelerate my career path without having to give up my goal of becoming a chiropractor. It will no longer take me 17 years to achieve my goals. In two and a half years from the end of this semester I can feel the satisfaction of having completed the dietician portion of my degree. Within 6 years I will be a chiropractor. Just being able to say that feels amazing. Because of the generosity of people like you, what I felt was almost impossible is now becoming a reality.

But your donations have given me so much more than just the opportunity to accelerate my career path. When I received this scholarship I received a helping hand. A chance to not have to be "independent and strong," perhaps the first chance like that in my life. Your donations gave me the opportunity to not just quit my job and pursue my education full time, but also the confidence that only being believed in can give you. Volunteer State Community College believed in me even when I did not believe in myself. You gave them the power to do that.

You have changed my life, my path, and my perception of self. Your continued support will give other students like me the opportunity to grow and succeed. What an amazing gift. I want to thank you for what you have done for me personally and for that continued support and the impact it will have on future students. Thank you.

For information about how to donate visit: www.volstate.edu/Foundation/Giving.php

Visit the alumni page: www.volstate.edu/alumni

Pictured left to right: Lori Johnson, College Foundation; Tasie Guenthner, student; and Karen Mitchell, College Foundation.

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