My Ascend Story – Juan Moreno
By MLT Ascend Scholar, Juan Moreno
Meet Ascend Scholar Juan Moreno, a sophomore at Georgetown University. Juan shares how he gained confidence by changing his mindset – a lesson his Ascend Coach helped reinforce.
When I got to college I had a lot of negative thoughts. I would tell myself, “I don’t think I’m going to do well. I don’t deserve to be here.” The stereotypes about my socio-economic background gave me the message that I wouldn’t succeed at a prestigious university. Even some people from my community and family told me they didn’t think I would succeed. So I felt really unprepared. I didn’t feel good about myself.
My mom was more encouraging, though. She would bring me back to reality when I was imagining all the negative outcomes from me going away to college. She would say, “You are there for a reason! I know who you are! You work hard.”
Besides my mom, I’m really close to my MLT Ascend Coach, Adam. He’s really cool, an awesome guy. He gave me that extra push, that extra support. You can’t have too many people supporting you!
One class I was struggling with freshman year was calculus. I didn’t have the foundational understanding from high school. I didn’t have good study skills. I was overwhelmed with my homework and exams. Adam helped me to develop a plan to succeed. He told me it was all about mindset. He said, “Tell yourself that you are going to succeed and you will.” He was right! I did succeed. I did really well on the final exam.
I transformed all those negative messages I had about not doing well and used it as pressure to work harder. I built up my work ethic and as a result, I had a phenomenal first semester.
By working hard and getting the grades I wanted, it boosted my confidence. When I did my best and really prepared, I would go in confidently and get the grade.
More than academics, now I feel confident finding my place and where I belong. I have found friends that have gone through the same situation as me.
I’m capable of doing things that I used to think were impossible. There were low points, where I didn’t think I could do it, and I DID. That taught me that if I continue pushing and fighting, I will do well.
I’m privileged to go to Georgetown. I want to return to my community and use what I know to fight injustice. I don’t want to be someone that leaves and forgets about who I am and where I’m from. It’s important to give back.
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