In high school, I was definitely not a model student. I got detentions for being tardy. I missed between 30-80 days a year because of my depression and anxiety. My mother was in hospice when I was in grades 8-10. She died the day before finals my sophomore year. I failed some classes during some quarters. I outright failed a class for one semester. I hated math and never did well. So, when junior year rolled around and applying for colleges came to be a priority – I knew I wanted out of my town.

Going in to my senior year, I did not have a math class on my schedule because I knew I struggled greatly in math. However, a few days before my senior year was set to begin, my “guidance counselor” called and told me I was now taking Trigonometry since I had said I wanted to be a nurse and “nursing schools want to see four years of math.” I argued that they wanted to see a good four years of math and a decent GPA, none of which would happen if I took another year of math. So, when I got a C- the first quarter, my “guidance counselor” called me in again and asked why I was doing so poorly in Trig and said that it was putting my chances of getting into nursing school at stake. I told her I had argued with her about not taking a math class, but she had no recollection of the conversation we had over the summer. So, I continued to get Cs in math because I literally hated it and sucked at it.

Then, when I started making my list of colleges – Rivier College, University of Vermont, Elms College, Florida Southern College, Regis College, University of New Hampshire, and Endicott College, my “guidance counselor” said I’d be “lucky to get into community college.” While there is nothing wrong with community college, I had clearly communicated to her, multiple times, that I did not want to go to a community college since I did not want to live at home. So, she began adding colleges like Anna Maria College, Dean College, Nichols College, and The University of Framingham to my list that I was applying to. I had no interest in those colleges – one because they were small, two because they were close to home, and three, I knew I wanted a more rigorous workload in college. Because of my grades and absences, my “guidance counselor” only saw those and not the student who did love certain classes and did quite well in them. She did not see my 1640 SAT score or my 30 ACT score. She only saw my 2.99 unweighted GPA. She made me apply to colleges I had no interest in because they were “likely my only opportunities” to attend college. She would call colleges, like UVM and tell them that I had a 2.99 GPA and asked whether I would “be a good candidate” for their school. She would never allow me in on the conversations to explain why I had a 2.99 GPA – my mother was ill and died, and I had depression. The “guidance counselor” would only come back out of her office and say that I could not apply there since I was not a potential successful candidate. When I would apply for colleges against her “advisement,” she would refuse to send out my transcripts or recommendations, so I could never finish my applications at places like UVM. UVM was my top school, but she wouldn’t allow it because I was more of a “community college student.”

The only reason she allowed me to apply to Endicott College was because, while they said potential nursing students needed a 3.5 GPA, they would consider other students due to extenuating circumstances. After I applied to 13 schools because she said I needed to in order to have some choices since I was not going to get into all of them – I was accepted to all of them. I was accepted into 11 of the school’s nursing programs and accepted to all 13 colleges and universities I applied to. Even though about half I never even wanted to apply to in the first place, but they were “more likely to accept a student like [me].”

Well, I was accepted into Endicott’s nursing program and sent in my deposit to attend in December of 2011. I went to Endicott, and I was on Dean’s list 7 out of 9 semesters; I got an on-campus job working at the Writing Center; I rarely missed any of my classes unless I was very ill or had a funeral to attend; I graduated a semester early with Magna Cum Laude; and now I am graduating graduate school from Endicott with Summa Cum Laude. I was hired as an associate professional writing tutor at Endicott. I was told I wouldn’t and couldn’t amount to anything by my “guidance counselor,” but here I am, five years later, and in a week I will have my Master’s degree.

To anyone who has been told they can’t – you can. Don’t let other people tell you what you want or can or can’t do. Only you know your true potential. Prove people wrong – you can crush it.