Dear Future Flinn

October 12, 2009

By hammersmith


Nesima Aberra, a 2009 Flinn Scholar, offers Arizona Flinn Scholarship hopefuls advice on completing the application for one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships in the United States. / Learn more about the Flinn Scholarship at

Every year, a few incredible students surprise us–after they’ve knocked the socks off our application readers and interview committees and earned the Flinn Scholarship–by declaring, “I never thought I could become a Flinn Scholar.” One of our newest Flinn Scholars, Nesima Aberra, has a few things to say about that:

Dear Future Flinn,

You’re probably looking at that greeting and thinking, “Future Flinn? How does she know I’m going to be a future Flinn? I can’t be a future Flinn.” That’s what I thought when I received an email just like this one a year ago. Let me introduce myself first, before I get into why you shouldn’t underestimate yourself and the possibilities that the Flinn Scholarship will give you.

My name is Nesima Aberra. I’m a freshman majoring in journalism. I’m also a writer, daydreamer, amateur pastry chef, karaoke lover, world-peace enthusiast, bookworm, teacher, volunteer, actress, and cartoon lover. So as you can see, I’m not very easy to pin down, and I’m positive you aren’t either. That’s the beauty of being a Flinn. None of us, I repeat, none of us, are the same. Every Flinn Scholar comes from a unique background and has her own hobbies and dreams, opinions and philosophies. But the one thing we all have in common is passion.  A passion to learn, to explore, to question, to travel, to try, to fail, to succeed, to share, and then do it all over again!

Applying for college is scary stuff–I know. There are so many choices, tests, and essays to consider. You might think the best thing to do is go to some wonderful out-of-state, Ivy League school to prove your intelligence and make something of yourself. That is not true at all.

Being selected as a Flinn Scholar awards you an incredible scholarship covering all four years, travel, and study-abroad funds, special invitations and programs for Flinns only, and best of all, the pleasure of being a part of the Flinn family. Our family goes on retreats, has dinners, volunteers in the community, travels together and has an amazing time. This past summer, I went to the annual Flinn summer retreat at Lost Canyon and went on hikes, performed raps at midnight, played shuffleboard, jammed on the keyboard, and bonded with all my new friends.
I’m so glad I got over my nerves and applied for the Flinn scholarship. So don’t worry at all. Focus on what your strengths are, what makes you unique. There’s no typical candidate that the review committee looks for, so be yourself–seriously. You don’t have to be an expert at astrophysics, speak Armenian and backpack in the Amazon every summer (although if you do, you are my hero.)

Take your time and allow your own humor, charisma and beliefs to help you tackle those essay prompts and the rest of the application questions. Know that you, and only you, have that special dream, and if the world doesn’t get to see that, then you’re only doing a disservice to yourself.

I really hope you’re up for the challenge and truly consider the Flinn Scholarship. It’s changed my life and helped me open up to all the opportunities I never thought I would have before.

Hope to meet you soon, future world changer!

Photo by Flickr user ehrgeizier