Senior Story: True Potential

Being a member of SRLA really showed me my true potential, it made me realize that anything is possible as long as we work for it. This experience also taught me that there is no reason to be afraid when you have so much support around you. When I joined SRLA, I went in with such low self-esteem, thinking I would fail in the first few days, but I still gave it a shot. When I knew that I was making it through my first races and my speed was increasing, I knew I was going to be able to make it until the end. From that point, I realized I was capable of doing anything I proposed myself.

My experience with SRLA also had an impact on my academic life. When I started thinking about what colleges and majors I was going for, I found myself with so many doubts about my capability. Since I was a kid I have dreamed with becoming a businesswoman, but I was afraid to work towards pursuing my dream because Business is a workforce mainly dominated by males and I was afraid of being discriminated for being a women and a Latina. Also, when I started choosing the colleges I was applying to, I was mainly seeking for safe colleges (colleges I could easily get in) because I did not believe I was good enough to apply to top colleges in California. I was afraid of not being good enough for a well-known college or to even get into the business major. But with my experience with SRLA, I realized that I am capable of getting into my dream college and pursuing my dreams. I had good grades and a list of extracurriculars, but I was still afraid of failing.

After the increase in confidence and courage I gained from SRLA, I gave it a try and applied to colleges like UC Berkeley, Harvard University, The George Washington University and many others. I gain trust in myself and had a serious increase in confidence because I now i know that I am capable of anything and that whatever I propose myself I make it a reality. Also, I have noticed that I have so much support around me, it is only up to me to seek out for it. There are so many amazing people that are willing to lend a hand and keep us going. Having a great support system and an amazing experience with SRLA truly increased my self-esteem and confidence which has allowed me to have a better performance in school and has also allowed me to set greater goals for myself. I have applied to my dream colleges and am now proposing myself to become a successful businesswoman. I knew it would be hard to go to the college I wanted to get into, but from the marathon, I learned that no matter how hard the journey seems, it is possible to finish as long as you put in the effort and work towards what you have set in mind. Getting into college as a first generation student without enough support is hard but not impossible, I worked towards my goals and feel grateful for the outcomes. I feel great about myself because I am accomplishing my goals, I got accepted to my top colleges, which are UC Berkeley and The George Washington University (I also had an interview with Harvard University, which was incredible), I am planning to study business, feel confident about myself and unstoppable.

Ashley will continue with her efforts as she attends UC Berkley this fall with a 2019 SRLA Scholarship to help with all her academic needs! Ashley is also the recipient of a special $500 Honda Dream Scholarship. American Honda, in recognition of its 60th Anniversary and partnership with Students Run LA, awarded 45 SRLA students who applied for the Honda Dream Scholarship a special one-time $500 scholarship this year.

To make a donation to support the next class of SRLA runners to help them work towards their goals like Ashley did, please click here.

Christine Pajak