Jennifer Gonzales

Student

Location: San Angelo, TX

"After transferring for the spring 2011 semester, I was back in my comfort zone, but I didn't stay there for long."

I'll never forget my first semester of college; I was in the honors program and struggling to keep up with my course work. I took the easy way out by transferring to a less challenging school in my hometown, and I used a newly diagnosed illness as an excuse to leave.

I leaned back because I was scared. I was intimidated by the prestigious university I was at and the other people in it. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel like one of the "smart kids." I thought that if I went to an easier school, I would feel more confident and I would have a better chance at success.

After transferring for the spring 2011 semester, I was back in my comfort zone, but I didn't stay there for long. I decided to take charge of my college experience and be a prominent member of the university community. I joined the concert chorale even though I had never been in a choir. My work in various English literature courses earned the respect and attention of my professors, which gave me the opportunity to work as a tutor in the writing center. I have been on the Dean's List every semester that I have been enrolled as a full-time student, and I hold a 4.0 GPA in my upper level courses.

Leaning in has given me more confidence in myself and what I am capable of. Although the small voice in my head that tells me to settle, that I would be happy with a "small" life, won't go away, I will not listen to it. I will not be afraid. I choose to maximize my potential and take risks. I choose to follow my dreams. I will succeed.