“I am a Brazilian 18-year-old, who is heading to the United States to study mathematics at one of the best universities in the world. I am not a genius, and I am constantly afraid of being wrong. Not being a native speaker in English, I cannot let my fear of making mistakes suppress my desire to dare. At Stanford, I need to be able to speak to professors, present ideas, and ask for help. It doesn’t matter who has the highest grades or who seems perfect in my eyes. I must prioritize my own experience. My college experience will be strengthened by my errors. It is impossible to be a mathematician without committing mistakes, whether you are Euclides or me, and I hope my mistakes will guide my path to the things I hope to achieve.”Alessandra Maranca, Student at Stanford University
Share your journey and why this is important to you
Allowing yourself to be wrong is an important step towards your academic goals. If you fear failure and that devours you, you might become afraid to try in the first place. You can taking a risk by saying a word with a definition you’re unsure of or by solving a problem that you think is beyond your abilities. Without room for mistakes, people live in fear. Without failure, how is learning possible? Which answers do you remember more: the ones to questions you answered wrong, or the ones to questions you answered right? Making room for mistakes is making room for improvement. One should be able to say they were wrong in a more proud manner than saying they were right. Learning is a road sedimented with mistakes; one can not immerse themselves in education without making them.
How would you like to inspire others?
I hope that by seeing my story, people will understand the importance of daring. The importance of collecting mistakes and learning with them. It takes courage to leave your country to pursue your dreams. But being proud of being flawed takes more courage. My advice is this: dare, boldly, because no one else can do this for you. Make space for your mistakes and take pride in trying. Because courage is admirable and perfection is impossible.
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