As the fall and a new school year approach, we would like to take this opportunity to share some words of wisdom from our latest Binc scholarship winners. Each spring, after the Binc Scholarship Program ends and the awards have been announced, we at Binc have the distinct pleasure of receiving a pile of wonderful thank-you notes. We hear from high school seniors anxiously awaiting the start of their traditional college careers as well as from established booksellers juggling work, family along with their studies. Many of this year’s Binc scholars are well along in attaining their undergraduate or graduate degrees, while others are just beginning and a few have yet to decide the direction their studies will take. Whether they are freshmen or grad students, traditional or non-traditional students, from Vermont or California, they all have stories to tell and lessons to teach us. Here is some of what we have learned from the 2014-2015 class of Binc Scholars.
Lesson #1: Don’t be afraid to reach for your dream
One of our “non-traditional” scholars who is pursuing a Master of Public Affairs degree writes: “It is never too late to seize the moment, change direction and take control of your destiny. It is this spirit that has helped motivate me to return to graduate studies after two decades.” A good reminder that it is never too late to try something new. It doesn’t need to be a new career, maybe just a new genre of book to read!
Lesson #2: Inspiration can come from anywhere
From another Binc scholarship winner and pre-med student we learned that your life’s calling can come from almost anywhere. “I realized what I wanted to do when I found myself looking at the books in our Medical section at Books-A-Million with interest, instead of with frustration (mostly because I’m short and it’s difficult to straighten the heavy books on the top shelf!).” So, look up and down and all around, life may be trying to tell you something.
Lesson #3: Important relationships stay with you forever
Leaving the bookstore job you love for college can be difficult, as one bookseller told us. “After working for many years at the Northshire Bookstore, it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to folks who have become my family and have provided me with so much community.” Stepping outside your comfort zone can be tough, but you can always go back for a visit!
Lesson #4: There is more than one way to achieve your goal
“I have been a bookseller for close to ten years now and am saddened to be leaving the profession. However, as a teacher I know I can continue to nurture and instill the love of reading and an appreciation of stories in our children.” This Binc scholar has found another way to continue doing what he loves and reaching a new audience. Those are going to be some lucky kids in that class!
Lesson #5: Books are much more than just reading material
“The world of books has always been there for me in some way, whether as an escape, a form of employment, or, now as a provider of financial aid.” If you are a true book person, you will find that books, reading and learning are woven into the fabric of your life.
No matter the story the scholarship winner told us, the recurring theme of each letter was of thanks to the Foundation and a sense of relief of having some of the financial burden of higher education removed from their shoulders. The Binc Foundation would like to thank our generous donors for making these scholarship opportunities available. Without the support of book people across the country, these students would not be able to focus as fully on their studies.
A final quote from one winner tells us – “Your very generous scholarship will open many doors to my future!” We at Binc hope that those doors all lead to a brilliant tomorrow.