A former Penticton student’s dream of attending Cambridge University has been put off for a year.
Karly Drabot’s crowdsourcing effort came up $36,000 shy of the $50,000 she needed to complete a one-year master’s degree at the prestigious school, and on July 31 officially declined her invitation to attend there.
“I knew midway through July that I likely wouldn’t achieve my goal, but I pushed through to July 31 just trying to remain as hopeful as possible and not give up,” Drabot said.
The 23-year-old grew up in Penticton and has been on her own since the age of 16. She held down multiple part-time jobs to support herself while attending university in Kelowna.
Unable to save the necessary money for Cambridge or tap into regular student loans since the school is overseas, she put her pride aside and asked the community for help through her website.
The community wasn’t always kind.
“I received a fair amount of discouraging emails just essentially saying that I was greedy and selfish and lazy and that I should get a job,” Drabot said.
“Reading those was pretty tough… but it definitely pushed me to remain confident and assured in what I was doing,” she continued, and “forced me to gain a confidence that I didn’t have before.”
“Then, of course, every few days I’d get a really kind email with a donation and just really nice words that would totally make all of the negativity worth it.”
Drabot plans to reapply for admission to Cambridge for the fall of 2014. In the meantime, she is preparing to spend the next year working as a university researcher. She’s also trying to get in touch with donors to return their monetary gifts.
“Thank you to everyone in Penticton who donated and believed in me,” Drabot said. “I was really touched by the support that I received and it was a very, very humbling experience.”