A Second Chance: Pearson Scholar Overcomes Obstacles In Pursuit of Academic Success

I recently graduated from Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan with an Associate of Science in pre-medicine biology. After suffering from several unexpected chronic medical issues, I left my high school in order to have a fresh start at the local community college. Next fall, I will be transferring to the University of Michigan with aspirations of attending medical school. Without GRCC, I would not have been given a second chance to advance my educational career as no one believed in my intellectual capabilities. As soon as I arrived on campus, I discovered an honors society that I knew absolutely nothing about and thought it could be a good way to find friends. I’ve never underestimated something more.

Pearson Scholar Marcus Barissi

Phi Theta Kappa has undoubtedly been one of the best experiences of my life. Once I became a general member, I was asked to fill the Secretary position for the remainder of the year. I enjoyed the responsibility so much that I became the Vice President the following year. During my time in Phi Theta Kappa, I have had the opportunity to attend multiple conferences, both at a regional and national level, and I was able to meet with people across the country who are interested in the same subjects as me. There is no way I could possibly promote this organization enough, especially considering it is where I met my wonderful girlfriend. The two of us became very close as we worked together on projects, recruitment, and fundraising events. She and I are shown in the picture at a beautiful restaurant on a lake close to our home town. Taking a chance on something you’re not entirely sure about can truly be life-changing.

While I enjoy my education, there is one aspect of it that I absolutely despise: the financial burden. School is already challenging enough, so having additional stress is not healthy. Once I was notified that I won this scholarship, I felt two emotions simultaneously: a wave of relief and a sense of pride. It was relieving to know my extremely terrifying amount of student loan debt had been reduced, and I was proud because someone immensely far away read a very brief application and decided I was worthy enough to receive such a prestigious award. This has inspired me to continue working towards my goals, as I have people who desire to see me succeed. There was a dark and devastating time in my life where no one thought I possessed the characteristics of success and they wished to see me fail. I will always be appreciative of the financial assistance from Pearson but more importantly, I will be grateful for their consideration and recognition.

A feature of my scholarship includes the access to a mentorship program. Over the next few years, I am able to communicate with a Pearson employee to have thought-provoking and profound discussions. After just a single meeting with my mentor, I can already tell I will find benefit from our relationship. When I learned about this portion of the scholarship, I was not sure what to expect. This concern was irrelevant as this mentorship has proven to be helpful to me in regard to my personal objectives. Despite being from a different field, my mentor has utilized her network of contacts to aid me in my journey by offering resources. She also reminds me of why I work so hard: to prove some people wrong, and to prove other people right.



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