In the midst of my sophomore year in high school, my life took a turn. I came across upon a writer who changed my life as I knew it. I was never a bookworm, but I had a feeling that this book was different. "Deja Dead", by Kathy Reichs, was the turning point for my college decisions. I was awed by this book and it's characters. After reading all of the books in the series and watching the TV show over and over again, I was sure that I had found my passion. I knew that Forensic Anthropology was going to be my future.
In my junior year of high school, time came to research and figure out the colleges I wanted to apply to. At first I wanted to go to University of Arizona and follow in my Aunt's footsteps. I knew that they had a pretty good Forensic Anthropology program and I had seen the campus. I was pretty happy with the idea of spending my college years there. But one day, through a suggested video on YouTube, I stumbled upon University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Until that moment, I never understood why people were so insistent in getting into their dream schools. My life became centered around UTK. I fell in love at first sight. I studied harder than I ever had before. I put more effort into school and extracurriculars than I ever imagined doing. The summer before my senior year began, I visited UTK with my family. I had never felt such joy in a school. Although it was my first time visiting, I felt at home. Upon arriving home form our trip, UTK took over my life. I had a UTK lanyard, UTK stickers on almost everything I own and even a bumper sticker on my car. This was all before I even sent my application. The three month wait for the response from UTK was unbearable. But it was more than worth the wait. On February 20th 2020, my dreams came true. I got accepted to my dream school. I was over the moon. For years, I had dreamt about that moment. I had wondered how hard I would cry, how loud I would cheer. It was nothing like I imagined. I was so proud of myself. I knew that if I set my mind on something, nothing could stand in my way.
It wasn't until two weeks later that my dreams started crumbling before my eyes. When COVID-19 struck, my mother's business took a big hit. That's when we made the decision to use my college funds to keep the business afloat. I was still hopeful. I could take a gap semester and help mom until business was back to normal. But CODIV-19 didn't stop. Everything got worse and worse. I began questioning what my options were. I could stay with my mom for a few years until I saved enough money to enroll. I could choose to go to a Community College and transfer in a couple of years. But both of those options would require the business to stay afloat. The longer COVID-19 continued, the less likely it seemed that I could eventually enroll at UTK. Then we began discussing the worst case scenario. The possibility of moving back to Turkey became more and more real by the day. My dreams were slipping between my fingers and there was nothing I could do about it. As a last result, I chose to start this campaign.
I need help. As an international student and due to my visa status, I haven't found any scholarships that I can apply to for financial help. I'm not allowed to work. There is nothing I can do to hold on to those dreams. I need to obtain $45,000 to support myself through freshmen year of college. And even more in the continuing years. I had no idea I could feel so helpless. I had no idea that I would have to watch my dreams be torn apart in front of me and not be able to do anything about it. I had no idea that I could be this powerless. If you can find it within your heart to help me pursue my dreams, I will be eternally grateful. Thank you for reading and sharing my story. <3