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Articles / Majors & Careers / From Challenge To Possibility: These Students Overcame Adversity To Pursue Their Dreams

From Challenge To Possibility: These Students Overcame Adversity To Pursue Their Dreams

P Written by Possible Dreams, Possible Paths | June 8, 2021

Real Stories of Students Who Beat The Odds To Pursue College and Career Goals

Possible Dreams, Possible Paths

Watch the videos and read the transcripts below

For high school students, this is a huge moment of change—both for the world, and for your life. How can you use everything you’ve learned and experienced over the past year to move forward—and find the best path toward your goals?

Possible Dreams, Possible Paths is a new site where you can hear students like you share what’s shaping their dreams, goals, and paths—and start exploring your own paths to making your future possible.

Created through a partnership between educational nonprofit Roadtrip Nation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this site aims to help show you that you’re not alone in tackling the challenges of this year—and help connect you with the resources and support you need to keep moving forward beyond high school.

Here’s what you’ll find on the site:

  • Stories from real students
    • Watch videos of students sharing what they’re going through, and what’s motivating them. Topics covered include mental health, plans beyond high school, social issues, family and responsibilities, and more.
  • Resources to support your goals and plans
    • Explore resources from organizations who want to help you realize your goals. Connect with paths beyond high school, and find the support you need to get there.
  • A place to share your own story and make your voice heard
    • Share your future plans and dreams—and what kinds of support could help you get there. Plus, read responses from other students, and see what others are going through right now.

You’ve made it through a lot this year—but this site will show you, no matter what you’re feeling, you’re not alone. And there are resources and support out there to help you find pathways to your goals and dreams. This is just the first step of many.

Explore Possible Dreams, Possible Paths, or browse the videos and quotes below.

Identity, Family, and Community

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Devohne, Port Lucia, FL

Nothing's more liberating than being able to express myself

A software engineer defies social norms and pursues creative outlets.

"I definitely do feel like computer science is lacking diversity...I'm more than just a black queer person. I'm also an ally to many, and an ally to really all."

Saba, Fort Worth, TX

It Took Time To Feel Proud of Who I Am

For Saba, accepting herself and her heritage was an important step to reach her goals.

"It took time to get to this point...where I'm finally getting accepted to colleges and seeing the scholarships, it took time. Did I ever think it was gonna happen? No, because I grew up with many insecurities with many, many changes in my life."

Stephanie, Hidalgo, TX

My parents came to the U.S. to give me a college opportunity

Stephanie dreams of being a doctor, but fears debt and leaving home.

"The medical field is a very well-paid field but it's very expensive to study at the same time and going into debt is something very scary."

Gavin, Austin, TX

Learning To Love Writing As a Student With Dyslexia

A student with dyslexia pushed through reading struggles and found his passion.

"I kinda went from not really liking [reading] and not really enjoying myself to, then, here's this real big change."

Plans Beyond High School

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Felipe, Los Angeles, CA

How I Found A Love For School Through My Love Of Music

Felipe's love of music reignited his passion for learning and helped him get into top colleges.

"When I discovered [music], it was just a whole different world. It instilled this dedication, passion, discipline, that transferred over to my academics."

Korey, Houston, TX

College seems like the answer—but what if it's not for me?

Korey's parents are her biggest supporters, but now that it's time for college, she's not sure she's ready to leave them.

"Once you graduate, you have to do something with your life... you don't know what you're gonna do. But...you put in all this work, and it's finally paid off. So it's bittersweet."

Jonathan, Favorite Color Navy

Finding My Way As a First-Generation College Student

Jonathan's guidance counselor and friends helped him apply for college when his family could not.

"It was hard at first, but I looked around and I had all these people that helped me...Counselors at school helped me with everything. My friends have probably have been my biggest supporters."

Sophia, South Lake, TX

Trying To Find Balance—and Decide What I Want To Do With My Life

For Sophia, joining ROTC is a way to narrow down her diverse interests and develop discipline.

"I know something that I struggle with and that a lot of my friends struggle with is kind of balancing things and knowing where to put all your weight... Sometimes you gotta take a step back and have a little bit of a breather."

Fatima, Fresno, CA

Searching For Support Applying to College In My Small Town

As a first generation student, Fatima is thankful for the friends and teachers who helped her navigate the college admissions process.

"While I was doing my applications and everything I finally realized, I finally get why people drop out, because it's so hard and stressful to try to understand and apply yourself, to go somewhere.”

Mental Health

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Ray, Atlanta, GA

Therapy Changed My Life, Shaped My Future

A struggle with depression inspired Ray to change majors from Business to Psychology.

"I’m at the point where money isn’t as important to me as just being happy. I know what it feels like to not be happy for a really long time."

Melanie, Brooklyn & Queens, NY

Growing Up As a Happy Girl With A Lot On My Shoulders

After a close call, Melanie realized she needed to get off the streets and back into school.

"Even though I did a lot of negative stuff, there was that energy, inside of me that knew that okay, Melanie, you could do better."

Summer, 19 years old

Opening Up About My Mental Health Helped People Around Me

After a rocky childhood, Summer finds joy in helping others.

"Graduating is very shocking. It seems so unreal, because I honestly never thought that I was gonna make it there."

Ester, Brookfield, WI

Overcoming the heavy stuff and getting a chance at life

After living with drug-addicted parents, Ester finally found a safe home and a chance to heal.

"I say, Ester, look at all the stuff that you've one through and look at where you are now."

Money & Work

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Taiheem, New York, NY

Making My Dreams Work On A Very Low Budget

Taiheem's love of making music inspired a career in information technology.

"In four months, 16 weeks, my life changed. I had graduated and I had a job. And...I felt proud of myself. I felt I was able to support my family. And that was the start of my career in the tech industry."

Denise, Brooklyn, NY

Working 80 Hours A Week To Give My Family a Better Life

Denise was burning out when she realized she needed to find a better way to help support her family.

"I just want financial well-being, and a happy life, with the ones around me that I love...If one thing fails, go to plan B, if plan B doesn't work, go to plan C. Just keep trying, as long as you keep moving forward, you can't stay back."

Ikie, Warden, West Virginia

Earning a Scholarship Was My Only Way Out

Ikie dreams of using his college education to give back to the same community that helped him during hard times.

"No matter what life throws at you, you just get back up. You beat the odds. That's what you do. You beat the odds."

Yasmin, Harvey, IL

My Community Needs Help. How Can I Give Back?

Yasmin wants to work in the medical field to help others heal.

"I wanna make a difference in my community starting by taking a risk and stepping outside my comfort zone."

Social Issues and Action

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David, 15 years old

Owning My Identity and Fighting Disenfranchisement

David's not sure yet if he wants to be a politician, a musician, or an actor, but he's clear on one thing: his commitment to social justice

"I know all this stuff...I don't want to just sit with it all up in my head and just continue to think about it. I want solutions. I want to take action. I want to try to remedy these problems."

Megan, Cranbury, New Jersey

Experiencing imposter syndrome as a woman in computer science

For Megan, Confidence Came From Seeing Other Women In Computer Science

"Being in an environment where you are very conscious that you're different from others, makes it a little bit more difficult to wanna go to class...It makes me feel like, maybe I'm not really cut out to be a computer science major. Maybe I'm in the wrong major."

Written by


Possible Dreams, Possible Paths

Created through a partnership between educational nonprofit Roadtrip Nation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Possible Dreams, Possible Paths allows students to connect to stories and experiences from their peers, through video interviews centered around topics like mental health, plans beyond high school, social issues, family and responsibilities.

Explore the website for more inspiring, real-life stories and resources for students.

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