Erin, 18 – FUNDED

Erin Flick has recently dealt with some pretty serious health challenges, even having surgery in the height of the pandemic while trying to finish high school and secure her college plans. Even so, this 1,000 Dreams Fund Scholarship recipient is focusing on the positive and prefers to see herself as a more complete and understanding person because of the chronic pain syndrome she copes with. Her enrollment at Appalachian State University in North Carolina also makes her the first person in her family to go to college. She plans to study human services psychology.

What is your professional dream?

My professional dream is to create my own private counseling practice in low-income or underrepresented communities.

How will you use the 1,000 Dreams Scholarship?

I plan on using a portion of the funds to buy permanent textbooks for me to keep rather than rent, and I also plan on using it to fund the extracurriculars, psychology conferences, and research presentations that Appalachian provides.

How is this scholarship helping you get closer to your dream?

I am a first-generation student, and my family lives on a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. Not only am I the first person on both sides of my family to go to college, I am the first person to already have my first year of college completely paid for. This scholarship creates opportunities for me to continue to learn more about what I want to understand and achieve with no monetary boundaries on top of my first year being paid for. I am excited to use this scholarship to have a better understanding about what I want to do for others.

What advice do you have for other young women who are wanting to pursue their dreams?

It’s almost cliché, but never give up. No matter what other people do to you, only you can decide what you want and how you get there. If you want to go to college, go to college. If you don’t know if college is right for you, but you still want to see if it could be, try community college. If you know college isn’t right for you, and you can still be successful, go on and be successful. Only you know what’s right for you. And if you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask someone for advice, but make sure the final decision comes from you.

​Have you had any setbacks? How did you move past them?

I had incredible medical setbacks. I was recently diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) in October, a condition similar to carpal tunnel but starting in the nerves of the neck. The cause of my TOS was three extra ribs above my collarbone — two on the right and one on the left. I had invasive surgery to remove one of the right extra ribs in the middle of March, during the height of the pandemic.

I am still recovering from that, but I already have the left extra rib scheduled for next March. And during all of this, I still had to go to school; I still had to apply to colleges; I still had to do college tours, and so on. It was like I could never get a break. Once my surgery was completed and I started rehabilitation, it caused me to reflect on who I was and how other people saw me — and I think I’m a more complete and understanding person because of it.

What’s next for you? What is your next goal?

I like to think the whole world is ahead of me, but I know that I want to finish my undergraduate degree, and once that is over, it’s right back to school I go for my counseling master’s degree. I enjoy learning, and I don’t think the master’s degree will be the end of it. I have already completed one of my goals to have the first year of college paid for. Now it’s on to the next three!