Student Highlight: Focus and Dedication

Losing a bad habit early in my life will only help me succeed in the future.

Walter was not a straight-A student. In fact, he would tell you that his high school career began as pretty below average. Walter describes his academic standing in ninth and tenth grade as “unsatisfactory” and says he lacked the motivation to be proactive in his schoolwork. 

Competitive gaming had taken most of his time up until this point. But, Walter soon realized his friends and peers were starting to talk about pursuing higher education. Thinking about his grades, he knew they would not get him where he wanted to go in life. 

“At the end of tenth grade, I began to understand that my work ethic and efficiency were not going to cut it, so I began to change my mindset for the following years,” Walter said. He began focusing on getting his work done ahead of time to improve the quality of his assignments. 

His grades quickly began to improve. With his newfound focus and dedication, Walter began to pick up dual enrollment classes that allowed him to take college courses while still in high school. This work ethic and perseverance helped him pick up his GPA and better prepare for his next goal in life — college! 

Walter recalls thinking, “The decisions I make now are what will make or break me, and losing a bad habit early in my life will only help me succeed in the future.” He was committed to getting his degree from that moment forward. 

Unfortunately, my grades in high school do not reflect my academic potential because of the mistakes I’ve made. But, I have been working hard to make up for that and finding ways to be more involved. 

At the same time, he became more involved with Fulfillment Fund programming. In-classroom lessons and advisement helped Walter navigate the cost of college and how to pay for it, as well as helping him to understand how to manage his time more efficiently and the valuable skill of self-efficacy. They also provided information about which colleges specialize in specific subject matters and how competitive they were in terms of requirements. All this information helped him select the schools he would apply to and ultimately attend. 

Walter began to have conversations with his Fulfillment Fund advisor and college counselor about what he was passionate about and how he could make a career out of it. His English teachers inspired and introduced him to literature from all over the world and different writing styles. He wants to be a teacher someday and teach English as a second language because he feels it is a language that opens many doors. 

In addition to his personal goals, Walter was motivated to go to college because he wanted to be the first in his mother’s family to go to college. “I want to show my mom that she has been a great mother and that the only reason I have these opportunities are because of her sacrifices,” he said. 

Now, a Fulfillment Fund Scholar, Walter is majoring in English at California State University, Chico. He first visited the campus with Fulfillment Fund during our Northern California college tour the previous year. He learned a lot about the university and the programs he was interested in on this trip, which Walter says he would have never known about had he not attended. 

Though he struggles to stay engaged with online learning, Walter wants to maintain straight As for his college transcripts. His check-in with his Fulfillment Fund college success advisor has helped keep him motivated during these difficult times. He also finds it helpful to discuss how his major will one day turn into a career, and Fulfillment Fund webinars allow him to explore different options. 

“I have ambitions and dreams for my future like everyone else in the world, but I don’t think I will be able to fulfill them without an education.” 

I want to show my mom that she has been a great mother and that the only reason I have these opportunities are because of her sacrifices. 

STORY UPDATE: Walter is in his second year at Chico but is still living in Los Angeles. He hopes to find an apartment in Chico for the Spring Semester. It’ll be a new transition for him since he has never had the opportunity to live there. He is majoring in English and Minoring in Japanese.

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