April 25, 2016

Difficult, Not Impossible

Boenell Kline '17

Major: Communications Studies
Hometown: Milton, PA

On paper, I would not have been someone that most would have chosen to invest in. I struggled academically through high school, scored borderline disabled on my SATs, and had to go to my high school guidance counselor 11 years after graduating because I did not know how to fill out a college application. 

Despite my academic disadvantage, Bloomsburg University took a chance and allowed me the privilege to become a Husky. 

Because of my academic struggles, I was placed in developmental classes as a freshman, and it was not long before I began to fall behind in my math class. But, I was blessed to have an amazing instructor who noticed me struggling and made it a point to help. 

For nearly 10 weeks, I did my homework at her feet during her lunch hour where this woman, Dr. Tara Diehl encouraged me. She told me that I was smarter than I realized, I was more than I had become, and I was afraid to learn because I was afraid to fail. 

At first, I did not believe what she said, because I had a track record of failures that followed me, however, around midterm, I took her advice to heart, and I began to “stand-up” on the inside both personally and academically. I was able to rise to become one of the top students in her class, and I learned a valuable lesson; just because something is difficult does not mean that achieving it is impossible. 

From this semester on, I have devoted myself to encouraging and helping my fellow students, as well as taking every opportunity I’ve had to share my struggles to inspire others who feel that they too are at a disadvantage. 

But my journey did not stop there. Just like I was able to grow as a person, I was able to grow as a student. In 2014, I was given another opportunity to stretch myself beyond where I ever thought I could go when I received multiple emails about competing for an Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Creativities Award. I never thought that research was something I could do, because research was for “smart people.” But, with the help of Dr. Angela La Valley, my research mentor, we did just that. 

Dr. La Valley allowed me to design my own research project under her supervision, during which I was able to use the ways that I viewed the world to help other people. It was during this experience that I came alive as a researcher, had my ideas validated and encouraged, and fell in love with the idea that I could use my life experiences to contribute to a scholarship that could ultimately help someone else. 

One of the research projects that we worked on made it into a national conference, where I was asked to present our research in the faculty division in Las Vegas. This was an exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But when I saw how much the plane ticket, room, and transportation would cost, I knew that I was not going to be able to make this trip without some help. 

So, I began to fill out applications for scholarships. Thanks to the Brinley Crahall, Jr. Endowed Scholarship and the Class of 1960 Scholarship, and the William D. Greenlee scholarship, I was able to get on that airplane, step foot in a room with other professors, and present my passion. 

As I look back, I wonder where I would be right now if those along the way would not have taken the time to invest in me. 

Would I have known that two majors and a minor lived in me? 

Would I have known that the way I see the world benefited anyone?

Would I have been able to get on an airplane to present my research if it had not have been for individuals who were willing to take the chance and invest in a stranger? 

During my personal Journey here at BU, I have been privileged to be surrounded with many who have gone above and beyond the outlines of their job descriptions and who have given of themselves to help make me into the woman I am today. If I attempted to thank you all individually, I’m afraid I would miss someone.

So to all of my professors, friends and mentors who have invested in me, thank you. To the donors who were willing to invest in a stranger, thank you.

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