Meet our Fall 2018 Finalist Achiever : Justin Meza!


Posted by Janie O'Brien / Nov 5, 2018 / 0 Comments / Posted in Student's Corner

Justin Meza Photo

Name: Justin Meza

School: Pepperdine University

Major: Philosophy

Program: Teaching Credential Program

Graduation Year: 2021


Congratulations to Justin Meza, one of our finalists at SDL Achievers Scholarship 2018! His motivation for always seeking out opportunities impressed us, and we are happy to offer him a prize amounting $100 to help pay for college tuition. Congrats, Justin! Stay motivated and always dream big!


How to Overcome the Odds and Make Your Dreams Come True

Beating the odds is an interesting concept; this suggests that there is a mathematical principle at work and that people can do something to defy this principle. This, of course, sounds ridiculous but it has been done all throughout human history. I am proud to say that I feel I have participated in this historical phenomenon.

I am currently enrolled at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. I was accepted into their International Program as a Resident Advisor in Shanghai, China. I have no family wealth, and yet I have shared meals and participated in extracurricular activities with children of well-known celebrities. I am overcome with awe that this is the life I live every day, but how did a poor Hispanic boy from Mojave, California get to this place in the world?

I remember when I was younger I was always looking for opportunities such as selling snacks at my after-school program to get “club bucks.” Later that summer, I opened a lemonade stand that created so much revenue, that I had paid for my school supplies.

I continued to seek out opportunities, once I was in high school. As soon as I turned 16, I walked all over my town, applying for every restaurant position I could. Once I had a job I never quit, all through high school I worked and helped to provide for my family. From that, I learned that the first step to overcoming the odds is to look for opportunities.

I knew I was going to get a job and I knew that there was a job out there that would hire me, I just had to find it. Even in the workplace I always looked for ways to improve my job and my status, taking extra shifts and working doubles on Saturdays. These basic opportunities are ones that many people overlook, but they can yield fantastic results if you pursue them and work hard.

Hard work is hard to come by in this day and age, but if you want to succeed you have to put all your effort into it. It is only when I reflect on my life that I can see how my struggle has paid off. While in the moment, it can feel as though your struggle is all there is and that you are not progressing at all.

To overcome the odds, you must press on and know that you will achieve all you thought and more. Others will not let your hard work go unnoticed; my bosses and my teachers know where I am and what I am doing and to this day offer any help they can.

Working hard can be unfair at times, but as Dave Ramsey, a well-known speaker on financial growth, says “You have to live like no one else so that you can live like no one else.” This expression is unbelievably true, to beat the odds you may have to miss out on some smaller pleasures; but when you look back, you will know you made the right choices, in the face of adversity.

When my principal heard that I was going to attend Pepperdine University, he asked me if I thought Pepperdine would accept me. Even further still, when my sister’s boss, a school advisor, heard I was applying she said: “he probably won’t get in.” These comments are extremely common when you try to fight the current and go beyond your norms, but you cannot let them discourage you.

You must persist and be determined on your goals, regardless of who tells you otherwise. Pepperdine was not the only school I applied to, and they were not the first school to send me a decision. I had received other letters of acceptance, but I had also received several rejection letters as well. If these schools would not accept me, why would Pepperdine?

Maybe my scores were not as good as I had thought. What if they did not see enough potential in me and all my hard work had been for nothing? These thoughts were not strange to me in the weeks that led up to my acceptance to Pepperdine, but I had to stay determined and believe that I was good enough and that I could beat the odds.

In conclusion, beating the odds is something that, on the surface, seems impossible and can feel impossible. However, humanity has been beating the odds all throughout human history. There are several things that you have to do if you want to beat the odds. First, you must seek out your opportunities to improve yourself.

Next, you must work hard even when it feels unfair, and you have to work when no one else does. Finally, you must resist adversity, even from yourself. When things get tough, you have to stay determined and believe in yourself and your hard work. Doing these things is how I have come so far and how I will continue to grow. I have overcome the odds and so can anyone else.

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