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Help Camila graduate from Yale

$15,187 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 298 people in 9 days
Created March 13, 2019
Hello everyone. My name is Camila Soto, and I'm the beneficiary of this campaign.

When I was asked to answer a question on Quora about the University Admissions Scandal, I never would have thought my answer would lead to this miracle.

https://www.quora.com/How-do-students-at-Ivy-League-schools-feel-about-the-Varsity-Blues-bribe-scandal/answer/Camila-S-Espinoza

I've spent the last 6 months looking for opportunities and help that never came. Today, a group of kind-hearted strangers have changed my life, and I will never be able to repay you for your contributions. Rest assured that I will never stop fighting. I will fight until my very last day at Yale, I will fight for all my future patients, and I will fight to support as many people as I possibly can, in the hopes that they won't have to endure what I have. Thank you so, so much.
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I've been trying to craft the perfect post.

They all started the same; On a cold Tuesday night in New Haven, the loudest cheers of celebration could be heard from blocks. The neighbourhoods, perplexed that such tiny human could produce such ear-piercing sound, were wondering what on earth could have caused such glee.

7 drafts later, and I just deleted it all.

The truth is that I'll never be able to find the perfect words to thank you for this, for what you have done. We passed our goal only a few hours after I published the last update, and it was at that moment that I could breathe for what felt like the first time in 7 months,

You have brought back the air and oxygen into my life. You have brought back a level of peace I had forgotten existed. You have given me back my sanity and my faith. You have restored my courage and my strength. I don't know, truly don't know how could I ever repay you for this, how can I truly thank you for it all.

I can promise you though, that I will continue to fight. I have already confirmed my next meeting with the Dean of my school and the Associate Dean of Global Health and Inclusion the last Friday of March, and I plan to have many more meetings ahead to request more support for low-income students in grad school.

I'd like to keep you updated on my progress, so this campaign will remain open for the sake of convenience. Feel free to message me (I really love receiving messages from you) here or on Quora, and ask questions. I will try my best to answer as quickly as possible.

Some beautiful people have chosen to donate again, which is just mind-blowing to me. Your generosity knows no boundaries. Please know that all the extra donations collected through this campaign will help me close the gap between my loans and the costs of my tuition even more. The additional costs added to my program (15K divided evenly in two years) created a gap of 25.5 K per year between my loan and the total cost of my tuition. After your donations, that gap has been reduced to 18K per year. If you feel like donating for other reasons (like to get me a meal or a cup of coffee) just say so and the money you provide will be used exactly for that.

You are my heroes. Thank you, thank you so much for this unbelievable miracle. You have made the impossible happen, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

Thank you for changing my life.
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Today, I received an email from the GoFundMe team. They donated $500 USD to my campaign, and now I’m $103 USD away from my goal (read with automated, shocked voice).

And I still cannot believe it.

This process has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I spent 7 months hearing the word “No” and “There’s nothing we can do”, and then you, ALL OF YOU came and changed that.

YOU changed my life.

I don’t think you’ll ever truly understand just how much you are altering the course of my future, but here I go. I’d like to help you understand a little of where I come from (and there’s some important information at the end as well, so please keep reading):

My mom and dad come from poor families. Dirt-poor as my mom calls it, since she grew up in a house with no floor. I’m the very first Chilean accepted into this program. I’m the first in my family (and the first woman in my extended families) to graduate from college, and the first person ever to seek a Masters degree. I’m also the only bilingual person in my family (so none of my loved ones have been able to read your beautiful messages, but rest assured that I have and will continue to translate it for them)

Things like an acceptance letter from Yale don’t happen to people like me, as you can imagine. I don’t come from money, I’m not a legacy. Most of my family haven’t even heard the name Yale because academia wasn’t a reality for them. I had no one to guide me. Google was my best friend when I was trying to learn how to write a resume in US format, and how to do an application process. I had to choose only one university to apply to, because the paperwork was going to cost me 2 months worth of salary. But I kissed my savings goodbye. “This is an investment” I told myself and kept going. I was not just applying for an opportunity to help Hispanic/Latinx and low-income patients, I was also going to be able to help my grandma, and my aunts, and my cousins, and my parents when they needed me.
I still can’t shake the feeling that I got into a party I wasn’t meant to be invited to. Places like Yale are not built for people like me. But here I am, causing trouble, still helping my family in any way I can (for example, my grandma needed dentures recently, she had nowhere to find $80.000 Chilean pesos or $120 USD, and I got them for her. She was losing too much weight), and trying to keep myself above water.

I moved to the US alone and the cultural shock has been an interesting experience, so I’m still figuring everything up. How to pay bills in the US, how to rent or lease without credit score (and what is a credit score. A very peculiar concept if I must add), how to use all those amazing coupons, and more. I feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing 100% of the time (as a lot of adults out there. Let’s just fake it until we make it), but I must be doing something right, because I’m still here.

And all of you are making sure I continue to stay here so I can fight. And you have donated your hard earned money, so it’s very important to me that you know exactly what will happen with it. So here I go:

This money will go exclusively to cover the extra costs added to my tuition for the second and third year of my program (15K divided equally into two years). This money doesn’t cover all my tuition, just the extra costs added to it, and this is important to highlight. I always knew I had a 18K gap per year between my loans and my tuition for the second and third year of grad school; one that I would have to cover with hard work and creativity. But the increased costs in tuition meant that now I had a 25.5K gap per year to cover, and that was impossible for me.
Then you came in.

I have told you that you are giving me a fighting chance and I mean it. This money was never meant to solve all my financial issues, but it will keep me in my program, and give me a chance to do just that: Fight, work hard.

If this campaign collects more money than originally intended, then all that will go straight to cover my tuition, closing the gap even more, and effectively giving me more room with my finances to cover meals, bills and my rent.

Regardless of what happens, regardless of where this ends, I will never be able to forget how the kindness of almost 300 strangers that came in like fairy godparents, magically uplifted me when I was down in a very dark hole I couldn’t get out of.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, and the heart of my family. Thank you.
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I am so moved by the incredible response of all of you, and it's time I introduce myself properly. My name is Camila Soto, I'm a Chilean midwife and a first-year Grad Student at Yale. After graduating from University in 2015, I worked as a midwife for 2 years in the public healthcare system of my country serving vulnerable population. That has always been my calling, but I wanted to do more. I decided to apply to Yale and become a Certified Nurse Midwife and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner in order to serve low- income population and immigrants (especially Hispanic population) in the US and the world. As a bilingual clinician with an interest in global health, with experience working with at-risk patients, and an immigrant myself, I knew I could represent patients who didn't have a voice. They could see themselves in me as much as I could see myself in their stories.

I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I persisted. I began my first year of grad school knowing well that I would have to fight, but during September of 2018, we were told that my chosen speciality would see an increase in tuition of 15 thousand dollars, something I couldn't afford. I had 21 meetings with different members of my faculty to seek help. I wasn't a candidate for federal loans, my school couldn't increase my loans since I had already filed for the maximum amount they could provide to finance my education, and I was not a candidate for any additional national scholarships in Chile or the US. I run out of options.
This campaign was born out of the generosity of strangers after I answered a question on Quora that revealed the struggles I had faced as a low-income student and immigrant studying in an Ivy League university. I had run out of hope and you brought it back to me. Thank you, all of you, for changing my life.
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$15,187 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 298 people in 9 days
Created March 13, 2019
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