When I first came to Brown, I remember telling myself how my destiny would not be determined based on where I got educated; that my values of making an impact would only be amplified by Brown, not determined by them. And as I prepare to commence my last year, I can’t help but reflect on the ways Brown has positioned me to make the impact I envision.

During my senior year of high school, I staunchly held a pessimistic view regarding my ability to catalyze change, particularly regarding my own personal and financial adversity. With a slight push from my friends and mentors, the next thing I know I’m channeling my energy senior year to do more—to ambitiously aim to create the change in the life of my family and myself I didn’t think was possible. So I applied to top programs. I sent applications to scholarships with a 1{53c6eff5ce19621f7316832cfedf08caab022021f1679c62c3f44b8900ceaf72} chance. It didn’t matter whether I actually believed I would be successful in my pursuits, all that mattered was that I tried—tried to be better than who I was.

Going into my last year at Brown, I come back to a familiar state: being pushed by mentors to look at competitive fellowships; research graduate programs that align with my interest; making an effort to continuously grow, mature, and change.

But when I think about why I wanted to improve 4 years ago, it was to change my world—bringing financial stability to my immediate family, instilling a sense of hope that change is possible, accumulate knowledge and experiences that benefit my siblings. However, when I think about why I want to evolve into an even better person now, it is to change the world. That isn’t to say that the problems that exist in my household are gone (they aren’t), but rather recognizing that the problems I face are not unique to myself. I’ve been able to tackle the problems I experience while having the bandwidth to identify similar issues our world faces and the confidence to believe I can make an impact.

As I move forward, much of my next steps are determined based on how the next experiences I seek are for the purposes of positively affecting the spaces I enter. So if I attend graduate school, it is to meaningfully contribute to new knowledge in a field I am passionate about. Should I get a job a take a gap year, I hope the work I do will improve the quality of living for an audience in need of change. Either way, I know that the next thing I am ready for in my life is to channel my education and seek more opportunities to learn for the hopes of being the change agent I know I can become.