If you look at Cameron Warren’s resume, you might assume she doesn’t have any downtime. But that isn’t true. She has some, and tends to spend it watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.
That’s actually where she came across one of her favorite quotes: “Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back.”
She recalled the quote while sitting at Tate Street Coffee House, one of her favorite places to study near UNC Greensboro’s campus. It’s a concept she’s been wrestling with since coming out of high school in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
“I have this issue with being vulnerable and not looking smart,” she said.
Warren was an excellent student in high school, but college almost didn’t feel like an option.
“It didn’t occur to me how much it cost until later, and I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t think college is going to be it for me,'” she said.
That changed with a phone call.
“I was at the library applying for scholarships, and I got a call from a number I didn’t know. They were like, ‘Have you heard of the UNCG Guarantee scholarship? It’s for low-income, high-achieving students and I think you’d be a shoo-in.’ I was like, ‘When is the application due?’ And they said, ‘In a week,’” said Warren. “It was a really quick turnaround, but I got to it.”
She’s continued to get to it ever since. Warren is a business administration major but has professional experience in both marketing and photography. She’s volunteered with the Food Recovery Network in Greensboro, served as an executive board member with Beta Gamma Sigma, and has been heavily involved in the National Millennial Community.
If only from a logistics standpoint, being so involved poses challenges. But it’s almost like Warren has surprised herself in learning to enjoy those challenges.
“I like the challenge that accompanies that, not being the smartest in the room,” she said.
This realization clicked into place when she found herself staring at the Iguazu Falls in Argentina. She’d traveled there while studying abroad in Uruguay, yet another chapter in her college experience.
“That was one of the most gorgeous things I’ve seen in my entire life,” she said.
Warren says her time abroad cemented the “just go” mindset she discovered when she applied for the UNCG Guarantee scholarship. She’s even blogged about it.
“It was the first time where I just did stuff without thinking about it,” she said. “I just took every chance that I could.”
After graduating in May, Warren hopes to find a job in Virginia and rendezvous with her boyfriend, whom she met in high school. But she’s grateful for what felt like a personalized college experience at UNCG.
“UNCG was the only campus where I felt like I belonged, for some reason,” she said. “The UNCG Guarantee Program, like, I owe my life to it. I owe everything. They’re the reason I’m here. So I should pay homage to them.”
Warren has two pieces of advice for prospective students: first, talk to your professors.
“Interacting with professors has just been such a huge thing for me because a lot of the organizations that I’m a part of have come from that. Having those interactions makes a huge difference,” she said.
Second? Don’t let the fear of looking stupid hold you back.
“Be vulnerable. That’s what ultimately changed my life: changing my mind, perspective, and attitude, and reframing it in a way where it’s alright if you want to be smart, but don’t let that hold you back, let that drive you,” she said. “I think I was always striving to be perfect, and be a perfectionist, but recently I’ve been trying to combat that. Instead of being like, ‘Is this perfect?’ Just ask, ‘Are you proud of this?’ And I think that has helped me in terms of, you know, you’re never going to be perfect, but if you’re trying your best what are you upset about? That’s all you really can do. Be kind to yourself.”