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Opportunity is Everywhere

Maribel Sanchez knows a thing or two about opportunity. Her parents moved to Dodge City, Kan., from Mexico to open up a world of possibilities for their children, and Maribel has never lost sight of that. Today, she attends Wichita State University where she is focused on taking advantage of every opportunity that comes her way in an effort to achieve her dream of one day working in higher education.

And she’s off to a pretty solid start.

For Maribel, her Youth Entrepreneurs experience was instrumental in helping shape her goals. After seeing how excited her older brother was to take the class and participate in Market Day, Maribel decided to join the class with her sister and see how they could be successful together. She immediately latched onto the Foundational Value of Opportunity, something she understood from her personal life; thanks to her YE experience, she could now see how it would benefit her professionally as well.

Even with all her confidence, motivation and skills, Maribel still struggled internally with thinking she wasn’t good enough or deserving enough of the opportunities that came her way. 

“I’ve always had to struggle with feeling like I shouldn’t be the one who wins. I think it plays a part with being female and a minority.”

But she hasn’t let that doubt stop her from trying. After continually seeking out opportunities and relying on the encouragement of her family and friends, she’s realized that she has what it takes to be successful and her confidence continues to grow.

Today, Maribel is focused on her education and finding internships that help her learn more about the type of career path she wants. She even went back to her old high school recently to speak with YE students about the importance of working hard and not giving up. For her, it was yet another opportunity to learn, grow and build her confidence.

“I told them a lot about working hard and not giving up on their dreams and not being discouraged, but really the working hard piece is what I tried to stress to them.”

For Maribel, working hard is something she has always been committed to. From applying for scholarships to applying for jobs, she is always on the lookout for new opportunities and she continues to stress the importance of taking the lessons from YE and applying them to everyday life.

Listen in to her YE AND ME podcast as she describes in further detail what her YE experience has taught her and hear what advice she has for current students and educators. 

Discussion Questions

  • Maribel spoke about the internal barriers that she faced as a high school student and even still today. Do you have internal barriers that are holding you back? What about external barriers? 
  • How can students best address both internal and external barriers in an effort to achieve success? 
  • Often times students pursue opportunities that don’t end up providing the results they are after. What can you learn from those experiences? 
  • Maribel mentioned the Foundational Values of Opportunity and Win Win. How do you see these values translating into your own experiences after high school? 
  • Many YE alumni discuss learning through failure. Can you recall a time when failing at something actually taught you more about yourself or your goals? Describe.
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