How I Made Over $1,000 A Day Back In High School
In October of 2006, part of my family and I moved from Brazil (South America) to the United States. We moved into a 1,176 sqft rental house. 2 bedrooms. 1 bathroom. My father, my mother, my two brothers, my three sisters, and I; there were 8 of us at the house.
Because I knew no English when I first arrived, after talking to the IPS’s superintendent, I enrolled back in high school for my junior and senior years (even though I had just graduated from high school back in Brazil).
Back in Brazil, one of the things I enjoyed the most was to be active in the community and socialize. Here, due to my language barrier, for months I felt constrained within myself. I couldn’t meet people and carry on conversations. I couldn’t be helpful to my peers in my math class. I couldn’t ask to hangout with friends… Time slowly passed by. As I learned through my limited resources, I found just the right medicine. Every 21 days, until my graduation day on May 17, 2008, I walked to the library a renewed my rented red, 9x6x3 inches translational Portuguese-English and English-Portuguese dictionary. I renewed that dictionary 27 times! And I carried it with me everywhere!
As I continued my junior year, I learned an exceptional beautiful word (no, it wasn’t “Christina”): “Scholarships”. What?! I could go to college with all expenses paid for?! My tuition?! My books?! My fees?! My dorm?! And even my food?! Knowing that we couldn’t afford even a single course at a community college, I jumped on the opportunity.
“Dad,” I said, “you and mom have been such a huge support and blessing to me. I know that I want to go to college; and I know that it is expensive. I don’t want this desire to be a burden or a headache for you and mom. So I’ll come up with a plan and work towards it.”
From my understanding, I couldn’t apply and/or receive scholarship money while I was a junior. However, I needed to have a feel for the applications. I needed to understand the process. So, with it in mind, and understanding that I would not get any scholarships, I started the process anyways. At the end of my junior year, I felt I gained enough knowledge and experience. I applied to 12 scholarships; and was a recipient of none.
I had a plan. One week I would look for and narrow down to 3 scholarships I could apply for. The following week I would apply for those 3 scholarships. The next week I’d do the same thing all over again: look for and narrow down to 3 more scholarships I could apply for; and again apply for them the following week. No matter what, I needed to stick to the plan!
Although my senior year was very busy, I never forgot the desperate need and urgency to meet my goal. And that kept me working at it. Here’s a sense of what a typical weekday would be like for me:
6:00am - 7:30am: Wake up, get ready, and walk to school
7:30am - 2:30pm: School time
2:30pm - 6:00pm: Sports (Soccer, Football, & Baseball)
6:00pm - 6:30pm: Walk back home
6:30pm - 7:30pm: Dinner w/ family
7:30pm - 11:30pm: Homework
11:30pm - 3:00am: Scholarship search & application
I often hear from students how busy they are (or hear from parents how busy both their children and they are). It’s simple, if you truly want something, you make time for it. No secret sauce here.
Almost everyday I went to my counselor’s office asking if she had seen or heard of any scholarships I could apply for. I knew I made her life much busier. But I needed to take the risk of aggravating her… I simply needed additional guidance. I searched for scholarships myself as well. I pulled my weight. I opened many online accounts with scholarship platforms. Yet, after months of submitting applications, I still had not received a single scholarship. I think I had given up already, to be honest. Thinking back now, I continued applying for scholarships simply because I had created a habit of doing so. I expected the same result I was getting: nothing.
Then, I received a letter in the mail with a $1,000 scholarship! It completely revived my spirit; and I kept pressing on more optimistically. Then another $5,000. Then interviews, banquets, and more letters. Suddenly, Senior Award Day came around in the second week of May and my counselor was up on stage making some announcements. One of which was that Maycdon Sprowl (me!) has received over $574,500 in scholarships! Of course I screamed, what else would you expect?!
As I think over my junior and senior years, I believe there were three crucial factors for my success: TIMING (starting early), COMMITMENT (time management and discipline), and SUPPORT (father, counselor, teachers, coaches, community, and peers).
What a ride; and what a blessing it was to be able to graduate from Wabash College (~$160,000) debt-free. Little did I know that the average student loan payback time is 21 years; and the average monthly payment is $499! Imagine the financial constraints and constant stress for life?!
Because my teachers saw that I was applying for scholarships and getting them, they started asking me to help other peers; and that I did. I even helped a peer senior get a full-ride to Harvard University. Whether you are a student, a parent, or an institution, I can coach you on how to move toward a Debt-Free College Degree™. Remember that the sooner you start planning, the better prepared and more money you are able to get & save. Feel free to contact me today for a FREE 15-minute chat at 317-969-5483.
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About the Author
Mike Sprowl is becoming the most sought after Readiness & Flourishing Coach and Consultant in the coaching community. He is famous for helping clients find a direction, implement personalized pathways, and facilitate flourishing and growth so that their lives are meaningful and purposeful without being negative.