I have this friend, Farah. In fact, she’s my oldest friend. We met as second-graders waiting for our mamas in carpool. We were theater geeks together all through high school. We even ended up attending the same college, Emerson in Boston.
Farah’s funny. Smart. Hard working. And man, can she hustle.
I don’t mean running shady billiards games or moving quickly down the football field. I mean she goes after every lead, every opportunity, big or small, to achieve her goals and get things done. It’s something I’ve always admired about her (and the reason why I’ve invited her to write for CollegeXpress in the past).
Just thinking about her makes me feel like such a slacker sometimes! But she also reminds me of the importance of hustling throughout the college experience. As you might’ve guessed, she was busting her butt then too, especially when it came to finding ways to pay for her education.
In the college search and subsequent years, Farah hustled to get scholarships, applying to every one she could find, leaving no scrap of an opportunity unturned. And as it so often does, that hard work produced results: an affordable education. She’s the perfect example of the scholarship search advice we dole out all the time; when we say apply to every scholarship you’re eligible for, we’re not being hyperbolic. We mean it. Yes, it’s time consuming. And it’s hard—but it also gets easier over time. You learn what to look for in determining your eligibility. You end up with a long list of scholarship search terms relevant to you, your interests, and your life experiences. You figure out the right questions to ask if you’re unsure. And you develop a little cache of application essays you can rework for different scholarships, so you don’t need to start every application from scratch.
It takes some serious hustling to be successful in the scholarship search. But you may be wondering if it’s worth it. You’re probably not going to win all of the awards you apply for, so why bother? Well, think of it this way: if you spend 10 hours looking for and applying to scholarships (which is not a lot of time, BTW) and get just one $1,000 scholarship out of the deal, you’ve essentially repaid yourself $100 per hour. And I don’t know about you, but my jobs in high school didn’t pay anything near $100 per hour! You’re also saving money in interest for tuition money you didn’t have to take out as student loans.
Of course, Farah didn’t just hustle in her scholarship search. She was also involved on campus, took advantage of cross-registration opportunities at other colleges, and developed a substantial writing portfolio through a rather prominent music blog (which also led to several opportunities to review and see concerts for free). Oh, and she had a nice social life too—despite making time to geek out with me playing Name That Tune. Truly, when I think of people who capitalized on their college experience, she is at the top of the list.
Today, Farah works full time in the intellectual property department for an educational media company, does freelance writing and sound editing jobs, and pursues her interest (and talent) for drumming. She also mentors for the Emerson College Gold Council and New Hampshire Scholars—so if you have any questions about your scholarship or college search, music journalism, or just want to challenge her to a game of Name That Tune, feel free to get in touch!
Just like in college, Farah still puts herself out there and works really hard. And that’s exactly what college is all about.
- It’s about working a part-time job (or two), along with an internship, along with full-time classes.
- It’s about managing your time effectively and going after the opportunities you want, the ones that will make you happy and prepare you for the life and career you want to lead—even if it means less time goofing off.
- It’s about following your passions and never, ever giving up.
If you take a page from Farah’s hustler playbook, I can guarantee you’ll make the most of your college years. Trust me: they go by fast, and you’ll be glad you did.