The moment I met Amanda Condon, I knew she was full of passion.
After hearing her story and seeing her passion, I knew it was something that needed to be shared with the world. Thankfully, I was able to ask her a few questions about her journey!
HelloFlo: What is Scholarship Hot Spot?
Amanda Condon: Scholarship Hot Spot is a Facebook group that serves as a place to post vital information related to scholarship opportunities, college advice, and more. This group allows students to network and share information that they have obtained through their experiences. What makes Scholarship Hot Spot different than other groups is that it is a free resource that is open to ALL students regardless of where they are or what degree they are pursuing. Also, students benefit from a multi-national award winning administrator that ensures legitimacy and quality information.
I created Scholarship Hot Spot in January of 2015. It started out as a personal digital platform to
store information and links that I found in case I lost my paper copies. When I started college, I
searched for an online support group that could assist me with navigating and understanding
the world of scholarships. There were a few college campus groups but nothing that was open
nationwide to virtually any student. I wanted to create a place where students could go to learn
and ask questions about college without the intimidation factor. It started with one student and now there are over 850 students nationwide currently using the group to assist them with their educational needs.
HF: Why is it important for ALL students to have support in their educational journeys?
AC: Support is the fundamental of success for all students because the assistance enables the
student to perform better than they would alone. Regardless of age or financial situation, the
stress that surrounds continuing education is substantial. The lack of a good support system
causes many students to drop out or give up on their ability to complete college.
Some students face barriers such as not being able to afford food after paying for tuition and
books. Other students face criticism at home for trying to better their lives through education. No
matter what the student faces, the supportive networks in their life can be the determining factor
of failing or succeeding. In most cases, students that receive support and assistance from
people in their life are more likely to reach degree completion.
HF: How do you balance being a student with being a mom and all of your other adventures?
AC: For my first Halloween contest in community college, I dressed up as a student calendar and
won. As president of the student ambassadors, I could not miss the party because I was
overwhelmed with classes, volunteer work, and parenthood. I did not have the money to buy a
costume, so I looked around my messy house for ideas. This particular month was a busy one
packed full of appointments, commitments, meetings, and responsibilities. My desk looked like
the desk of Albert Einstein, and that is when I thought of the most cost efficient, funny, and
creative costume ever. I grabbed the large calendar off my desk and began filling it with my
schedule for that month. In less than thirty minutes, I was on my way to compete with my
classmates. As a single parent, college student, and dedicated community outreach coordinator,
I have learned how to think smarter and not harder. The three keys to successfully balancing
parenthood, working, and excelling in school are creativity, innovation, and grit.
HF: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through your journey?
AC: The most valuable lesson I have learned along the way is the importance of self-worth. When I
walked in to enroll in college classes, I had a damaged sense of self-worth. At that point of my
life, I was unsure if that feeling of inadequacy would ever heal. I was a single parent who
dropped out of high school at an early age and struggled to survive in a world without an
education or supportive network. I had limited skills in the workplace and I was a reflection of
poverty in modern day America. I was intimidated by the very word university because I did not
feel like I was worthy of a quality education. These judgements against myself were lies. They
were insecurities that I allowed to define who I was instead of where I was at that time in my life.
During my sociology and psychology classes, I studied about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I
started to understand why my self-esteem was so low and how I could help myself. My
reflection of my self was the product of my basic living needs being unmet. I felt insecure about
employment and being able to provide my family with food. These were temporary obstacles
that could be overcome through education. Once I realized that education was achievable, my
reflection of myself began to improve. Studying this theory helped me understand that building
self-esteem is a process and not a destination.
HF: What can others do to make their dreams a reality?
AC: Go mad in your pursuit of your dreams! Lose yourself in your passions and advance opportunities that seem crazy or insane. Build a network of diverse backgrounds that share common interests.
HF: What is your passion?
AC: My passion is teaching others how to overcome adversity in life. They say knowledge is power
and I say knowledge is how we control our destiny. No matter what we face in life, there is a
way to overcome. Some situations require us to pursue knowledge and others require us to use
what we have already learned along the way.
I feel like there is nothing more powerful than a testimony of life experiences. When a story is
told that makes you feel an emotion, it can impact you for the rest of your life. My passion has
allowed me to use the experiences that caused me the heartache as inspiring tools to help
someone alone their journey. If it is lonely at the top just take a few people with you.
HF: If you had one piece of advice for a non-traditional student, what would it be?
AC: I would tell them that being nontraditional does not separate them from the rest of the student
body. At the end of the day, we are all students. This label does not define who you are. I wish I would have learned this lesson earlier in my academic career because there were many times that I felt awkward and out of place. What I finally realized is that it was me creating a barrier and not my nontraditional status.
HF: Where can people learn more about the Scholarship Hot Spot and find your work?
AC: All of my contact information can be found on my website.