Beating the Odds Summit Reflection

Frank Perez recently graduated from Eximius College Preparatory Academy, where he was served by a College Advising Corps adviser.

Attending the Beating the Odds Summit at the White House was truly an experience like no other. We had the opportunity hear the First Lady talk about her own college experience and how she too beat the odds. This event truly inspired me and reassured me what my adviser repeatedly told me: college doesn’t have to be hard – there are many ways one can succeed in life, but it all begins with college.

Our first day at the Summit was filled with excitement. We were all taken into the Dwight D. Eisenhower building, and led to a room labeled “LIBRARY.” I began to engage with various people in the room and we talked about our future plans, colleges we are going to attend, and sharing stories of what got us to where we are today. It was great to network with people who have similar goals. I felt like I was being taught the importance of networking with as many people as possible in order to be successful, not only in college but in future careers.

The second day was also exciting, as we were in the White House and met with the First Lady. Everything about this day was amazing, but what truly stood out to me was the First Lady’s responses to the questions in the panel. She kept telling us that college was easy and that if “she could make it through college, then anyone could.” It was inspirational because she was once in my shoes as a first generation student of color venturing far from home for college. Before this event, I always worried that college might be too hard for me and that I might fail when I got to college, but listening to the panel members encouraged me to not be fearful and do the best that I could in college.

A couple of the First Lady’s quotes shoot out to me: “failure is a necessary part of growth and success” and, “The difference between that failure and success is that somebody stopped trying, so don’t stop trying.” I was afraid to fail in college because I was so used to hearing people say that college was too hard, but through this panel, I learned that it is okay to fail from time to time, as long as you get back up and keep trying.

Having a support system like College Advising Corps by my side has been of great help to prepare for college. My adviser, Mr. Santos, fostered a college-going environment in our school. If it were not for Mr. Santos, I would have never received the Posse Scholarship. He supported me along the process, making me do mock interviews and reviewing my application and essays. He even made me re-write my personal statement over six times because he felt that it was not good enough! I can now see that my hard work and Mr. Santos’ dedication were all worth it.

I am glad that College Advising Corps selected me to attend this event. It has changed my perspective on college tremendously. It made me feel like everything that my college adviser has been telling me is the truth – college doesn’t have to be hard. The only thing that matters is that you never give up, especially when College Advising Corps is there to support you along the way.