Mr. Jordan Brown, a 2013 program participant at the University of California Los Angeles. Mr. Brown graduated from Morehouse College in 2016 with a degree in biology. Today, he is a second-year dental student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

What obstacles did you overcome in your educational or career journey?

In 2012, I received advice that transcended me from a failing biology student to a DDS candidate on a full scholarship at the University of Michigan.

Prior to beginning college, I did not possess the understanding of basic biological principles and therefore I enrolled in an intensive pre-freshman summer biology program. This program was constructed to prepare high school graduates for the rigorous science courses of post-secondary education. Midway through the program, I was struggling to understand basic concepts and I was embarrassingly far behind. I had not passed a single biology exam, and I did not believe I was smart enough to become a dentist. My demeanor was saturated with self-doubt, and I questioned my ability to take future advanced courses like biochemistry or physiology.

Toward the end of the summer program a world-renowned cosmetic dentist gave an influential presentation that altered my reality. In all aspects, he was a dental rock-star. He was an expert in oral implantology and a distinguished lecturer. One segment of his presentation inculcated within my young mind and transcended my outlook on education. He said, “look around the room, every person in this room is smart enough to become a doctor, becoming a doctor is not about smarts. It is about the degree to which you are willing to work”. As a failing biology student with at least 8 years of coursework ahead of me, this felt like a life-raft. The lecture initiated an unexpected revelation and altered my outlook on fulfilling my ultimate aspiration. I modified my study habits and I truly learned how to study. From that point forward, I was determined to be the hardest worker in any room I stepped in. I began to treat school like a full-time job by adopting an early-morning routine. I began going to professor’s office hours, and I made many sacrifices to be in the position I am today.

After my first semester at Morehouse College, I began to function competently and consistently. I earned high marks in every biology course and I graduated with a 3.80 cumulative GPA. This new mindset enabled me to graduate as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and I earned acceptance into one of the top Doctor of Dental Surgery Programs in the world at the University of Michigan. These accomplishments are not stated to boast, but to inspire and motivate. A single message revised my ethos and liberated my academic uncertainty. Everyone reading this is “smart-enough” to achieve their ultimate desires and it is never a matter of intellect, but perseverance.

Work while others sleep, learn while others party, save while others spend, and you will live like others dream.” I urge you to believe in your capabilities and you will achieve the world.