Spring is scholarship season at Elevations Foundation. Our team is busily reviewing scholarship applications and preparing for our Celebration of Community on May 14, where we will recognize our 2020 scholarship recipients. We recently got in touch with one of our 2019 scholars, April Cardenas Borrego. April received an Elevations Foundation M.R. Hellie Memorial Scholarship, and we wanted to learn how things are going and what advice she would offer college-bound students.
Where are you going to school, and what are you studying?
I am currently attending the University of Colorado Boulder, and I am double majoring in Ethnic Studies and Sociology with a minor in Communication.
What led you to apply for an Elevations Foundation scholarship?
My family has been a part of Elevations Credit Union for as long as I can remember. When starting my scholarship-searching journey, I came across the wonderful opportunities that the Elevations Foundation has, mainly focused on helping and supporting the local community. The comfort and confidence I received from the positive representation of the organization encouraged me to apply for the M. R. Hellie Memorial Scholarship. I knew that I would be closer to my dream of higher education with the helping hand of the Elevations Foundation. For this, I will forever be grateful!
How has the transition to college life been for you?
My transition to college life has been, overall, a great learning experience for me. At the beginning of my first semester, in all honesty, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I had to find my place in the community and become a part of it. I had to learn to find a balance of academics and the social part of life. I was introduced to a new environment and a greater sense of independence than ever before. Thankfully, I was able to build connections, find my community, and become more connected with the new life I am now living. I learned and will continue learning ways to get through the next years of my college adventure.
What’s one thing that has surprised you about college?
One thing that has surprised me about college would be the number of subjects that are available to study and build a career from. In college, new experiences and opportunities will give you the advantage of expanding your education and provide you with access to the courses that spark your interest. College offers you the opportunity to be on your own and to allow yourself to choose what you want to do. It gives you the chance to grow and find the person you want to become in this world. Overall, being exposed to new studies and options to choose from truly surprised me and inspired me to take on the types of learning that interest me.
What are you hoping to do when you complete your studies?
When I complete my studies, I hope to use the knowledge, lessons and skills I’ve learned and experienced to apply positive change within the community. Like the Elevations Foundation, I want to help others achieve their goals and dreams in life. Although I do not know the exact path or career choice to take, I have a passion for helping others, whether it be the youth, homeless, elderly, etc. Thus, helping others that are less fortunate, creating the chance to grow a strong and united community, is one of the actions I want to be able to make. Continuing my education is also what I keep in mind as the thought of making a more significant impact motivates my passion for helping my community.
What advice would you offer to current high school seniors as they prepare for college?
To current high school seniors, I advise you not to procrastinate. Trust me; it feels so much more relieving to do the fun things and not feel guilty about not having your homework done. Work hard on scholarships because they help a ton and give you more time to focus on your studies instead of worrying about how to pay off your tuition bill.
I also advise you not to be afraid of following your goals and dreams. It might sound cliched but, anything and everything is possible when you work hard for what you want in life. Do not let your fears stand in the way of what you could and want to do. Make sure to take every opportunity that comes your way. Know you have support from others, and you are never alone. And most importantly, make sure you take good care of yourself. Know your limits and understand that it is okay to ask for help. With that, good luck and do not worry — you’ll make it!
Elevations Foundation has provided over $491,350 in scholarships since 2010 to support college-bound students in our community. Find out more about Elevations Foundation scholarships and please consider donating to our scholarship program so we may continue making college a reality for promising young people like April Cardenas Borrego.