College Dreams found me when I was in middle school. At that point in my life, I had never really given college a thought – I was just excited to make it to high school. Neither of my parents had even finished high school and, though they encouraged my education, they were completely unaware of post-high school options. Rebecca Clark invited me on a trip to a University of Oregon Ducks football game and, to this day, I remember the awe I felt upon seeing a college campus for the first time. The atmosphere, the laughing groups of friends, and buildings, and the energy as unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Rebecca was the first person to tell me that college was 100% possible for me and from that moment on, college was my goal. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a smooth journey. I had always had an independent streak and wanted to prove that I was capable of navigating my life without help. I never wanted people to “look down” on my family or I for being first-generation, low-income, Latino, etc. Rebecca never hesitated to offer words of encouragement and support whenever I’d see her. And I never forgot the most crucial part of College Dreams’ motto – “the HARDER I work…” No one is going to hand you over a college degree; you do have to work for it. It took me longer than what I would’ve like, but with the help of a wonderful support system, I finally graduated college with my Bachelor’s of Science in Communication from Southern Oregon University. In my final two years at SOU, I had a wonderful student worker job in the Admissions office that, much like that UO game did, changed the direction of my life. I knew a career in Higher Education was in my future. Upon graduating SOU, I started working as an IDA Specialist for College Dreams. It was truly rewarding to be part of the organization that had made college a possibility for me and to be able to advocate for them. My second job after college took me across the country to Indiana Wesleyan University where I worked as a Program Support Specialist. That job cemented my passion for Higher Education and that experience helped me get my ideal job. I now work as a Transfer Specialist for the Admissions office at Indiana University Kokomo, a regional campus of the Indiana University system. This Grants Pass girl, who never thought she would leave her hometown, is now able to go on work trips to cities like Indianapolis, Chicago, and Atlanta! I am eternally grateful for College Dreams for finding me and for letting me know that it was possible for me to become so much more than just another statistic.