Dear Meritus Community,
My name is Ryan Juan. I am a Filipino immigrant who moved to the United States to pursue the American Dream. Growing up in San Francisco was challenging. My mother was a live-in caregiver, so I was alone with my grandmother and relatives most of the time. I attended Balboa High School before going to California State University, Fresno, where I will graduate this year with a degree in criminal psychology. I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and work in a correctional facility.
I first heard about Meritus College Fund during a presentation at my high school. I was hesitant to apply, but did so at the urging of my college advisor. I remember drafting and revising my essay over and over. When I received an email from Meritus inviting me to interview, I was excited but nervous. I gathered what I could from my closet to look formal and interview-ready, since it was my first interview. I practiced what I would say in front of a mirror. A few weeks later, Meritus emailed me congratulating me on my acceptance. I was so happy, I can hardly describe it!
Meritus helped prepare me for the transition from high school to college: I came in to meet other Scholars in my cohort and attended workshops covering budgeting and time management. These workshops prepared me to think ahead about how to use my time and where to go for resources if I needed help with homework, advising, or financial aid. Meritus helped me achieve my goals through mentoring, especially the check-ins with Nic and Ellen over the past three years. They have been there through my ups and downs, every semester.
Being the first person in my family to go to college, attending a four- year university and graduating with a Bachelor’s degree is a huge achievement. However, this accomplishment is not all mine. I share it with my parents, who never had this kind of opportunity. They worked tirelessly, day and night, and encouraged me throughout my life.
The support that Meritus College Fund has provided me is a huge reason why I am on track to getting my Bachelor’s degree. I want to thank Meritus and all of its donors for investing in students’ dreams and aspirations. You truly made a difference in my life.
2014 Meritus Scholar and future graduate of California State University, Fresno