Under the Money Tree with Jasmine Stanley
If you are a student and the money tree in your parent’s back yard has withered up and died, you might want to consult Jasmine Stanley. Although the Stillman College psychology major is not interested in becoming a therapist, she does have expert advice for financially needy students. Last year, good grades, tenacity, and creativity helped Jasmine to win a $500 Amtrak Travel scholarship, a $2,000 Stillman College Golf Tournament scholarship and a $10,000 Anheuser Busch scholarship.
One of Jasmine’s first suggestions is that students try to be ideal scholarship candidates. “Keep your grades up because, even if you are only required to have a 2.5 for a scholarship, your chances will probably be better if you have a higher grade point average. I’m in the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Blue Pride Marching Band, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I’m also Miss Band and a resident hall assistant—which is a job,” says Jasmine. “But I know I’m here for school and that’s always my top priority. Sometimes I have to say, ‘Sorry, guys. I have to study now.’ I do my homework. I go to class. Sometimes you get credit just for going to class. It shows that you’re trying. And you have to know your limits and not be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be too proud. In my freshman year, I needed help in English so I went to tutoring. I’ll take help if I need it.”
Jasmine warns that hunting for scholarship money is not a job for the hypersensitive. “When you get a rejection letter, you may want to give up and not apply for anything else, but you have to keep applying. Last year, I applied for twenty scholarships and won three,” says Jasmine, who admits that rejection is never an exciting prospect. But if students have what it takes to bounce back after a series of brutal rejections, and keep sending out applications no matter how discouraged they may feel, she believes that they too could win big in the end.
Applying for scholarships can add hours of work to a student’s already packed schedule, and some students fear extra labor even more than they fear debt. But Jasmine has found creative shortcuts that allow her to apply for numerous scholarships without sacrificing study time, work and other important activities. “A lot of students won’t apply for scholarships because they don’t want to write dozens of essays. I learned that I could save time by writing a general, rough draft essay. Of course, you have to tweak it and make sure it answers the questions they ask on the application,” she warns. For Jasmine, the effort is always worth it when she wins a scholarship. In 2011, when she received $10,000 from Anheuser Busch, she recalls, “I was so relieved. I paid off my entire loan for that year!”
Jasmine knows that being a student can be difficult, especially when money is short. Although she cannot direct a student to the nearest money tree, she has found that encouragement from family members is almost as good as gold. “My cousin, Destini Solomon, just passed the bar. She is also in Delta Sigma Theta. She had a 4.0 in college. We talk almost every day and she gives me encouraging words. She says, ‘I know it’s hard juggling so much. Don’t give up.’ But Destini can’t be there for me every moment, so I have to encourage myself. I tell myself that I have to be great, and remind myself that God will put no more on you than you can bear.”
“If you can’t find anybody to encourage you,” Jasmine adds, “Encourage yourself.”
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