The Schuler Program equips bright, motivated youth with the support they need to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges and beyond. Writing from thirteen schools located in the greater Chicago area in Lake and Cook Counties of Illinois, scholars reflect on their academic experiences, cultural exposures, college applications processes, and more.
by Sarafina Milianti, Round Lake High School, Class of 2014
The Round Lake High School Schuler senior class (minus two)
I would be lying if I said the last three and a half years were a
piece of cake. I faced many challenges and hardships, but my Schuler family was
always there to help me along the way. Despite the circumstances, I always had
comfort in knowing I had such a strong support group to back me up or guide me
in the direction I needed to go. I learn new things every day through Schuler,
and I can honestly say I wish every student had the opportunity to have such an
amazing program to be there for them.
Working with such an intelligent peer group was probably the
hardest challenge I faced as I interacted with them each day in the Schuler
office, class, or STEP (after-school enrichment programs). I always knew they
were there to help me, and I was there to help them, but for some reason the
back of my mind would never let me process that truth. I always found myself
trying to compete with my classmates or comparing myself to them, and that made
things much more discouraging.
This challenge led me to talk more with my Scholar Coaches, who
were always available as mentors. I knew I could always trust them because they
knew how this part of life went. I remembered the most important thing I
learned from my junior year Scholar Coach: comparing yourself to others gets
you nowhere in life except feeling bad for yourself. I came to realize that
each person has their own traits that make them who they are.
My Scholar Coaches taught me many life lessons, but I am glad I
spent so much time with my peers too. My Schuler
class has become so close over the past years to the point where we even bake
cakes as a "family" for our College Counselor. We work on Calculus
together, study for finals together, and have homework dates at Panera every so
often. I learned not to live my life comparing myself to my peers, but to use
them as resources. I use this knowledge to help my peers as they
help me. We are all in this race together, and Schuler helped me realized the best
parts of the experience.
I encourage all future Scholars to take advantage of all the
resources you are given through the Schuler Scholar Program. Whether they are
your peers, Scholar Coaches, or even extra study books, they are all there for
you, but it is your responsibility and choice to take advantage of those
resources. I'd say, the more you use the better, but never forget to be a
resource for others as well.