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Interview with Tariq T, People Driven Scholarship Winner

People Driven Credit Union’s scholarship program was established to enhance the educational opportunities and advancement of our members.  Since it’s start in 1990, we have awarded over $328,000 in scholarships.  In it’s 29th year, a total of $14,000 in scholarships went to 10 winning member entrants.

This year’s topic was to write a note to yourself, the day before your first day as a high school freshman.

Interview with Tariq T, one of this year’s scholarship winners:

Tariq wrote the following, winning entry:

Dear past-self,

I know you’re starting high school today and believe me, it’s going to be a life-changing and hectic four years that are going to go by in the blink of an eye. Throughout the next four years, you will learn a lot about yourself and the amazing world out there. You’ll learn that not everyone has the same work ethic and morals as you. You will soon find out that everyone isn’t blessed with the same great parents and upbringing, like you. Self, man, this is weird talking to me in the third person. Sometimes you will overthink things and worry too much about the risks involved. Do you want advice from the older, wiser, more experienced, better looking you? If no, I don’t care, here it is anyway: don’t be afraid to have major goals and risk it all! Sometimes, you just have to roll the dice and take a chance. They say big risks produce big rewards.

Also, you’re going to a new school, and this is the first time you’ll have to make a lot of new friends. So, for the first two years of high school, don’t be afraid to talk to more people and be outgoing. As a freshman, you won’t be 100 percent sure what you want to do with your life after high school. Soon, you’ll learn that writing, telling stories and filmmaking is what you want to do. You’ll be happy to hear that you fulfilled a life-long dream of yours – writing and performing your own play with your high school drama club. Make sure you make connections with people within the film industry. I took the initiative to reach out to people and it led to me becoming a production assistant on two film sets and meeting a lot of great people. You’ll be surprised to learn that your stutter didn’t define you; however, you still have a long way to go before you become at peace with it. This is going to be a very interesting four years for you.

You have to learn from your mistakes, so you can be better in life and in college. Speaking of college… start early and have a plan; keep your grades up and apply early for many, many scholarships to help pay for the way-too-expensive colleges. I want you to look towards the future. My most important message to you is that you aimed high with your goals and accomplished a lot. Congratulations! Currently, you have an overall GPA of 3.8; you are a member of the National Honor Society and the Thespian Society. You also became the first student in your high school to write, direct and act in your own play and were accepted into all of the universities to which you applied. These four years will go by quickly, and one day you’ll be heading off to college. Then, before you know it, you’ll be graduating college.

And, that leads me to… Dear future-self, Hey, I know you graduated from college yesterday. Congratulations! Throughout the last four years, I’m sure you have learned a lot about yourself and the world. I have many questions that I want to ask you about your college experiences. The main one is “What have you done the last four years to prepare for your future career as a filmmaker?” Did you write numerous scripts and create short films? Are you ready to go out and be a major part of the film industry? Did you take advantage of your resources, professors and make strong connections with classmates? In a few months, I will be embarking on the next chapter of my life – becoming a college student. I’m sure I… we… us… you, made some mistakes, but that’s okay! What major piece of advice would you give the younger, less experienced, no facial hair you? You should pick up a pencil, or whatever technology you guys have in the future, and write a letter to me, on my first day of college. I think it’s something you won’t regret!

Tariq will be a freshman at Grand Valley State University.