Meet Agassy.

“For starters, I didn’t really know what to do, I felt lost when applying to college in general. I relied a lot on my college advisor and the friends from my year who were applying because I didn’t really have anyone else to ask. A lot of times it was just me going into the office everyday and saying, “Is this right? Is this right? Is this right?”–I probably drove my college counselor crazy. She always kind of steered me in the right direction, towards scholarship opportunities, with waivers, the SAT, all that. So when it came to applying, it felt like a lot at the time because it was such a huge undertaking. My parents always told me, “You have to go to college,” and that’s fine, but when it came time to apply and I asked what to do, they just said, “Oh, I don’t know.” I needed to rely on other people for it. I applied mostly in-state and to one out-of-state. I got in to FIU, UF, UM–and then cost kind of came into it, like how am I going to afford these things? FIU was going to give me a full ride, UM wasn’t really giving any money, and it was just one of those things where I wanted to go to all these places but I didn’t have the money, I didn’t know what to do because my parents didn’t save up any money. One day, a letter came in the mail saying I had qualified for a scholarship at UF called the Florida Opportunity Scholars Program. And a friend of mine also got the letter and we were just confused about if we had to repay it–we didn’t know the difference between a scholarship or a grant or a loan, subsidized or unsubsidized. We found out that we didn’t have to pay it back and that we were paid,¬†for four years and we just jumped up and down in the parking lot, talking about how we were going to be UF Gators. In my head, I figured I was leaving town, leaving the nest, and I had never left home, I always lived at home with my parents, so I was scared. I got to UF and I got here and I said, “Now what?” and my parents just told me to get a good job. But that wasn’t the first step. They told me to go study, which I got, but that isn’t it. I was luckily able to hold onto some friends who were a year above me in high school and they became my mentors, they steered me in the right direction, took me to my first football game, helped me register for classes, told me where to live, everything. They were the ones who helped me establish myself. And I had others, like my First Year Florida instructor and peer leader, different people in different places. I joined my fraternity which really helped me determine the kind of person I wanted to be. My struggle was trying to finding where I needed to be–I thought about going home a lot. But I couldn’t go home, I didn’t have the chance to afford another school, people were relying on me. It was that constant struggle. And at the end of the day, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else but the University of Florida.”

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