Senior Jesse Breslin has words of advice for incoming freshmen
For Jesse Breslin, bad grades are like dollar signs.
Every D or F is another dollar off his scholarship.
Now Breslin, scheduled to graduate today, wants to talk to incoming freshmen about how important school is, even at the beginning.
Breslin, who will attend Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla., on a wrestling scholarship, had the idea to talk with current eighth-grade students when he saw how the current crop of MCHS freshmen were faring.
“Sitting in senior English, Ms. Duncan had a stack of DNF (Did Not Finish) lists, and there were six pages of freshmen,” he said. “I thought if I could somehow change one person’s thoughts, so they would start doing work as a freshman, they might be better off when they try to go to college.”
Part of Breslin’s motivation for talking with students – he will share his experience with current eighth-grade students Tuesday – is because of his poor grades as a freshman.
“I lost about $1,000 off my scholarship because I got a D my freshman year in English class,” he said. “I never took it serious. I don’t like English, and I thought there was no point – if I don’t like it, why do it?”
When Breslin talks with the new students, he plans to tell his story.
“I’m going to ask if they’re prepared for college and if they’re prepared to pay for it,” he said. “When I was a freshman, I wasn’t thinking about college at all. I was thinking about making it through these four years, then being able to sleep in or do whatever I wanted.”
Part of Breslin’s struggles came from not asking questions.
“I didn’t understand it, and I was afraid to ask for help,” he said. “If I would have asked for help, I wouldn’t have failed, and I wouldn’t be paying all this extra money out of my pocket.”
With Breslin paying a large portion of his tuition, the extra money makes a difference.
“The college I’m going to costs $21,000 a year, and I think I’ll end up paying $6,000 out of pocket,” Breslin said. “The rest will be student loans, and my scholarship will be $5,000, and I know it could have been about $1,000 more.”
The change in Breslin came when he was a sophomore in high school.
“I started becoming better in wrestling, and I though wrestling in college was a complete possibility,” he said.
But, while he was researching colleges, he discovered admissions would be looking at his grades from all four years.
“I decided that I should start working harder in school, starting my sophomore year,” he said. “If I had started earlier, it would have been a lot different.”
The dedication he showed on the mat carried over into the classroom.
“My grades improved,” he said. “I still get the occasional C. But, I’m understanding what I’m being taught, and I ask for help if I need it.”
Even with his diploma in hand, Breslin wishes things had been different at the start of his high school career.
“I definitely wish I would have applied myself earlier,” he said. “It would have been nice for someone who wasn’t a teacher to tell me that. I thought teachers wanted us to work hard, because they didn’t want the hassle of trying to teach us.”
Despite his earlier stance on teachers, Breslin now wants to join their ranks. He will pursue a major in physical education and health.
“I decided I wanted to be a teacher my junior year,” he said. “I like to help people – more, I want to help them help themselves.”
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