2017 Scholarship Winner


Shaoni Dasgupta Photo

Shaoni Dasgupta

Academic Magnet High School

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Henry Ford once said “If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” This form of security that Ford refers to can, I feel, only be obtained through education. Education is the impetus to experience, the fountain of knowledge, and the reservoir for opportunities. However, ironically, one cannot obtain this precious jewel without capital.

Throughout my college application process, I was slowly, and frightfully, enlightened about the costs of college: tuition alone is expensive, but adding the costs of books, board, and daily expenses is mind boggling. Moreover, I have observed the repetitious stereotype of the “broke college student.” The stereotype of eating ramen noodles for one’s entire college career was not something I planned to adhere to. Consequently, in junior year, I decided that I would try to make it a prerogative to graduate debt free from college. Of course, my parents would contribute a substantial amount, but I wanted to relieve as much burden from them as possible.

 I had three steps for success: first, I needed to get a job; secondly, I needed to increase my credit score such that I am not totally reliant on my debit card, hence avoiding the unwanted path to bankruptcy and ramen noodles, and get a credit card; lastly, I needed to apply for as many scholarships as I could. Now at the time, my naïve mind thought that this plan was easily attainable.

By the end of junior year, I was slowly settling into panic mode, as I had applied for at least 10 jobs and did not receive any responses. Finally, I was able to obtain a cashier position! Though excited, I did not know what to expect. Definitively not an easy task, I worked 8-hour shifts over the summer and was paid minimum wage. At this rate, my plan was going to be very difficult to attain, yet I refused to believe that it would be unattainable.

As a senior, I am still working every Friday and Saturday. Slowly but surely, I have attained over $2000! Along with my job, though, I worked on my Senior Thesis Project over the summer. My project was science related and encompassed a technique that can be used to reduce alcohol craving and addiction. This project opened numerous avenues for me, permitting me to apply to several STEM related scholarships. In fact, I was a semifinalist to a prestigious science scholarship known as Regeneron Science Talent Search and received $2000 for myself and my school.

As for attaining a credit card, I am still working at it. My parents have invested in a shared card with me as a holder. However, I have still not been able to get a credit card for myself. However, the only thing I can do is to keep on trying.

Education is the best economic policy, and I intend to attain it comfortably.