How College Taught Me About Me

When I was a little girl, I was very curious. Starting at a very young age, I was obsessed with asking questions. It was how I learned about the world around me. When I was asking simple questions, I got answers from my parents. Then I started school, and many of my questions were answered by my teachers. I became an avid reader, and questions I didn’t even know I wanted to ask were answered by books. One day, when I was in about 6th or 7th grade, a random question I had led me to an old encyclopedia set I thought we kept just for decoration, and a whole new world was opened up to me. From that moment forward, if I had a question, I did my research.  

In high school, seeking out answers led me to participate in extracurricular and volunteer opportunities. Being involved helped me to understand my peers, the people around me, and my community as a whole. Becoming a leader within those activities allowed me to see how my actions could have a direct impact on my world, whether big or small. At the core of it all was a desire to know more, to learn more. The more I learned, the more I asked, the more I researched, and the more I wanted to know. Intellectual curiosity has undoubtedly been vital on my journey, and I think ultimately it’s what led me to Yale. 

Yale University wasn’t exactly on my radar. Honestly, I didn’t even know about Yale until my senior year of high school. But I did my research! I applied and was accepted, took a leap of faith, and with the support of my family, I enrolled at Yale in the fall of 2001. What I found at Yale was an environment where I was encouraged to learn, both in and out of the classroom. What I also found was a new, exciting world that was every bit as challenging as it was invigorating. Yale was a struggle academically and sometimes socially, but despite the struggle, I loved it. I would do it all over again if I could. Because for as many questions as I had, Yale had questions, too.  

At Yale, I wasn’t just absorbing knowledge, I was sharing it. My peers, my professors, my roommates, and my advisors wanted to know me, to understand me and where I came from. Yale taught me more than I have ever learned and will ever learn anywhere else, and that’s because Yale taught me about me. Yale taught me that I have worth simply because of who I am: my history, my experience, my opinions, and all I have to offer the world. Yale taught me that for as many questions as I might have, I also have answers deep within me, enormous potential waiting to be unlocked.  

Truthfully, this is why I do the work that I do in college access and why I’ve committed fifteen years to helping students navigate their paths to and through college. Every day my goal is to impact students on their college journey because I believe every student deserves the opportunity to feed their intellectual curiosity and reach their potential. 


Rebeca Gonzalez 

Chief Program Officer: cafécollege/Outreach/Upgrade/Scholarships