Ashley Ventura's College Essay

Alicia Hansen - Sunday, December 15, 2013

SALT student for 2 years 

Student at Syracuse University 
Scholastic Art Award winner 2013 

The most common question any child is ever asked is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Before the summer of 2012, I thought, “I’m not a child anymore. 

What do I want to be?” Unfortunately, I still didn’t know the answer. This was where NYC Salt entered the equation. NYC Salt is a non-profit photography organization that helps inner-city youth learn who they are and inspires them to be who they’re truly meant to be. I was recommended to enroll by my guidance counselor, and this organization has changed my life immensely. This was surprising, because I had never gotten an opportunity to fully invest myself in something I found satisfaction in. I have learned to see things with a whole new perspective, and it has motivated me to take every single chance given to me in order to live the happy and successful life I’ve always dreamed of. 

Over the summer of 2012, I was given the chance to attend the School Press Institute at Syracuse University. Accepting this opportunity finally gave me a chance to travel away from home and experience a new environment. Even though I’m from a working class family and acknowledged as a minority, it doesn’t mean I’m not able to create a major goal I can accomplish. I discovered the meaning to “anything is possible,” because while studying there, I felt completely excited by everything I was introduced to. It felt as if I was destined to be there at that moment because I was happy. Not only did I love what I was learning — I loved learning itself. This encouraged me to continue seeking what it is I would like to become. That week convinced me that I was capable of completing any goal I wanted and that I was also capable of dreaming as big as I wanted. Being the daughter of a single mother, I have never been able to afford any kind of enrichment activity as wonderful as the School Press Institute. That experience allowed me to build a bridge of hope for myself. My whole entire life I have been preparing myself to be successful and to fully invest myself in something that truly inspires me. On the quest to fulfill the answer to that mocking question, I have maintained a positive attitude towards everything I have been accomplishing. I’ve participated in many school activities to help me figure out what I would like to be — everything from cooking classes, to track, to dance, to photography. Those activities allowed me to gain marvelous experiences which I am grateful for; however, individually none of them were my calling. Until I went to Syracuse, I wasn’t exactly sure what that was. Now, I am sure that what truly inspires me is the idea of growing as a person. What I want to be when I grow up is the best version of myself. I’m hopeful and anxious for my upcoming journey, where I can share the ideas I’ve gained with people who aspire to be happy and grow limitlessly the same way I do.

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