College is expensive—so expensive that many students have to start planning and budgeting for student debt.
Even if you’ve never enrolled in a college course, you’ll learn this pretty quickly by just watching the evening news or talking to any weary-eyed college student you pass on the sidewalk (although you might want to avoid such conversations during finals week).
Since 2008, we have been trying to alleviate the stress that college-bound students feel when they see their first fee bill and wonder, “How in the world am I going to pay for all of this?”
Our Team Pelican scholarship award program has awarded over $50,000 in 10 years to high school graduates across Louisiana. Last year, in light of cuts to Louisiana’s Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), we doubled each scholarship award to $1,000—and we’re not done yet! This year, we’ve extended an award to our out-of-state members as well, totaling $12,000 in scholarships!
These awards are all about celebrating the stellar students who earn them.
Being that our scholarship program is in its 11th year, we started to wonder—where are our deserving winners now? We checked in with Hannah Parsons, one of our scholarship recipients from 2008, to see where college life has taken her.
What college degree did you pursue?
I received a degree in Elementary Education from LSU in 2012.
What is something interesting you’ve learned about yourself that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t go to college?
What I loved about college was all of the new people that I was surrounded by. I was able to learn so much from them and their cultures. I found a love for traveling in college, and it is something that I am still obsessed with.
How did a Team Pelican Scholarship Award help you in college?
The scholarship covered all of my textbooks for my first year of college, which was very helpful since college brings so many unexpected expenses! It was nice to not have to worry about coming up with extra money for books.
Were you in any extracurricular activities or groups? Which ones?
I joined Phi Sigma Pi at LSU. It is an honor fraternity, and it was probably one of my best college decisions. I was able to go on so many fun trips and meet people that are now my closest friends.
What has was your favorite moment in college?
There are so many moments in college that were so special, but my favorite by far was walking across the stage and receiving my degree.
In what new ways are you active in your community?
I am an elementary teacher in Port Allen, so I am very involved with the school and many of its outreaches.
How are you staying financially well since leaving high school?
Budget, budget, budget! Before I get paid every month, I plan out where all of my money will be going using an app called “Every Dollar.” It helps me to make sure all of my bills are paid and shows how much money I have left over to have fun with!
In your opinion, what’s one of the toughest parts of college?
The toughest part of college was prioritizing everything that was going on around me. Projects, homework, test, work, having to take care of myself for the first time and have fun at the same time was tough.
I am a list maker, so every day I made a list, and the most important things were at the top. When I got that stuff completed, then I could move onto the fun stuff.
If you could give advice to a high school student right now, what would it be?
Explore different jobs and make sure you pick one that you are gonna love every day. Working is really hard, but is so much easier if you are doing something that you are passionate about.
Whether students need help with textbooks, tuition, meal plans or even everyday supplies, college scholarships can go a long way to relieve financial stress and allow them to focus on what’s most important—achieving their dreams and making the world a better place, just like Hannah did.
Do you know a graduating high school senior? What do you think they’d do with a $1,000 college scholarship?
I’m a rock music enthusiast, vocalist, and lover of comedy. My joy comes from entertaining others. On most weekends you can find me moonlighting with my band in the Baton Rouge area.