Miribel, 20 – FUNDED

Miribel Tran believes if there’s a will, there’s a way. The Stanford University student has been hit with personal hardships that have affected her ability to pay for hidden college costs. However, the future health and wellness entrepreneur is a winner of our #MyCollegeCosts Challenge, underwritten by Charles Schwab. She wants to use her funding to pay for two basic necessities: textbooks and a meal plan.

What is your professional dream?

I ultimately want to become an entrepreneur that disrupts the mental health and wellness industry. I have been fascinated with the human mind and psychology since I was 5 years old. However, before I branch off and do my own thing, I want to gain the necessary experiences that will prepare me for that position. Right now, I hope to be able to do this through pursuing product management and marketing internships at rapidly growing technology companies.

What are challenges you’ve faced while trying to fund your professional dream?

I believe one of the hardest things that I’ve faced is trying to learn how to prioritize your needs versus the needs of those you love during difficult circumstances. It may be easy to fund my dreams when all is well, but when my family is facing a rough time. I care about them more than I do about my own needs, so their needs ultimately triumph my own. Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem like the rough times will ever get better, however, it is all worth it to me because I really care and love my family more than anything.

What hidden cost of college did you want funded and why?

I want my textbooks and food costs to be covered, because those are funds that I have to take out of my own pocket to pay for and are not covered by any financial aid at my college. Due to my grandmother being sick and my mother working many jobs in order to pay the bills, I have learned to play my own part in helping save more money by using online PDFs of textbooks at my school’s computer (rather than buying books from the store or from other students). Food costs, especially healthy food, is also expensive on campus and I’ve had to cut down on what I buy and eat in order to help save money around the house.

What does winning the #MyCollegeCosts challenge mean to you?

Winning #MyCollegeCosts means the absolute world to me! It means that there are resources and support available out there for young women to support their dreams, endeavors and ambitions. I am so thankful to the 1,000 Dreams Fund for providing these kinds of resources. I truly have been able to have more peace of mind lately knowing that many of my needs–both personal and professional–are being taken care of. It has been a true life-changer.

What about the challenge most excited you?

Being able to harness the support network of those around me to help me achieve my dreams. Crowdsourcing votes and talking to friends and family to all take part in helping spread the word about this opportunity made me excited and fulfilled, knowing that so many people cared about me. It was a fun competition!

How do you fund your college costs? (e.g. part-time job, scholarships, etc.)

I fund a majority of my college costs through local and regional scholarships that I earned from high school. In addition, Stanford also pays for a large part of my tuition through the financial aid programs offered. I also use my savings and earnings from previous internships and current jobs on campus in order to pay for whatever college costs might arise.

What advice do you have for young women facing financial hardship while pursuing their college dreams?

Do not despair. Know that there are always resources out there and people who are willing to help and the hardest part is doing your research and learning more about what is available for you. Apply for as many scholarships, both small and large, and make sure to manage your time wisely around those activities, especially since it is not an easy task.

If you can’t find any opportunities (or have exhausted the list of current opportunities), create your own! I have found that some of the best ways for me to fund my college costs are through providing value to others. Utilize a skill that you may have, whether it is tutoring, creating websites from scratch for others, doing marketing and social media consulting for businesses, selling/renting your clothes out to other students and so much more. There is always a way to be the ultimate go-getter and create opportunities to make it all work. Have faith in yourself and it will work out.