Financial Aid at Stanford: Jemima

Financial Aid at Stanford: Jemima


(light, upbeat, piano music) (people chattering) I always knew that I eventually wanted to better affect teenagers
in their mental health, in some way. And so at Stanford my senior year, I had my epiphany but
also like midlife crisis of, wow, you don’t just have
to become a psychologist or psychiatrist to affect mental health. Everything affects mental health. Education affects mental health. Socioeconomic status
affects mental health. And that freed me. I majored in human biology and I chose to concentrate
in the biological and psychological determinants
of adolescent mental health. – [voice off camera] Girl, what? (girls laugh) Post-graduation, after
completing a one-year fellowship, I started working at Eastside College Preparatory as girls’ dorm residential faculty. So, that basically means
that I live and work in the girls’ dormitory, which is a private, semi-boarding school for
all first-generation, low-income students of color. (girls talking) My family is really big. (laughs) I have five siblings. My mom and my dad are actually
both from Lagos, Nigeria. My parents got divorced
when I was in second grade. She has always kinda been the
main supporter in my family and so she was working
nights as a nurse in Phoenix. My mom is my rock and my shining star. She has sacrificed so
much throughout her life to be able to support us. I went to a big, public school in Arizona, but neither of my parents were ever, oh you have to go to college, but it was always just implied. Like we just knew it —
like, we go to college. Since I was younger, I’ve
always been very saddened at the idea of stressing my mom out. I think knowing that she,
like, worked really hard at nights to take care of us. So when my mom said she’d support me, it was me kind of not talking
to her about finances, ’cause I didn’t want to stress her out. I never wanted to be another strain. Just — it’s, like, yeah … I’ve
always made it work. So afraid or just saddened
at the idea of her being up at night or something, being, like, How am I gonna pay
for Jemima’s college? I don’t remember actually looking at how much Stanford would cost. It’s, like, my step-dad brought it up. ‘Cause it was my step-dad who
was like, it wasn’t an option, so kinda just, don’t
even fully consider it, there’s no way we can pay for this. Which is like really disheartening. I was like this is my super-reach school, but it’d be cool. (laughs) And so I still applied. Then once I did get in and I saw the sticker price, then I was like, alright. (laughs) Don’t really know what
my plan is here, ya know? And just hoped against
hope that financial aid would make that tip. I think in typical teenage
fashion I very much compartmentalized limitations
that would have been on my education. It very much was like, yeah it would have been really
cool to go to this school but it’s too expensive and I probably, actually would hate it. You know the way that when you
can’t actually have something you diminish it, like, I never
wanted it in the first place? I remember, like, getting
my financial aid letter, and being, like, so blown away. That financial aid package was like, oh … it’s not only that it’s possible to go to Stanford, it’s the financially responsible
decision to go to Stanford because this package is really good. (laughs) You know, like, really good. There was definitely a lifting of a burden and just excitement. I’m going to Stanford. Such an exciting feeling. Financial aid covered the
quarter where I studied abroad. I’d never left the country in my life and getting to do it
on Stanford’s dime was, I can’t even say dream come true ’cause I never thought to dream about it. Sometimes schools seem inaccessible
because GPA or price tag and just being able to be
like, ignore all of that and just think about, “What
do you bring to the table?” My friend from school was like,
that’s a really good school, don’t tell yourself no. You deserve to at least find out. It worked out for me.
(laughs) You know?

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