We’ve spent the last month reading and editing thousands of poetry entries submitted to the She’s the First #VoiceYourVerse Poetry Anthology via Zinch.com’s poetry contest for a chance to win a $500 dollar scholarship (including a $500 scholarship for Jancy, matched by Chegg)!

We read and experienced so many beautiful entries but we picked a winner that we think you all will adore! This winner will be featured in our first ever She’s the First Poetry Anthology (now on sale!) and her poem will be performed at the She’s the First Poetry Fundraiser on April 17th.

Meet Julia Solano from Hayward, California.


What was the inspiration behind your poem?

I’m not a ‘guru’ or specialist on anything, but I’ve always liked giving advice to those who are willing to listen. Also, the thought of being a starving college student is just a little terrifying.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to an incoming freshman?

Have fun. No, really. I’ve met way too many smart, dedicated kids that are so terrified of their futures that they don’t even enjoy the present. High school happens once. Enjoy it responsibly.

If you could study abroad any place in the world, where would it be?

Anywhere with good food. Just kidding! Kind of. Honestly, I would be excited and more than willing to go anywhere. Australia, England, Italy, Taiwan – you name it.

How are you more than a test score?

I personally dislike standardized testing. Don’t get me wrong; while it’s definitely important to do well and study for them, there’s just something unappealing about a four hour bubble sheet escapade. Now if my entire personality were distilled down to that, I feel like I’d have a rather dull existence. Fortunately, it’s not.

This interview is also available on Zinch’s Scholarship Blog: More Than a Test Score.

And now, without further ado, we bring you the winning entry by Julia Solano:

If the world was my classroom, and each thought was my stage

I would teach a girl to stand upright, even in the most perverse of days.

I’d tell her to listen intently to the sound of raindrops on windowpanes and to savor good meals and hearty conversations,

to stock up memories, for the harder days.

I’d tell her to find passion.

Which sometimes sits in creased eyelid and tilted back heads. It drips down cheeks and lands on laps where twiddling thumbs and impatient lovers gasp and thighs and arms brush.

Is sometimes found in the fury of violin strings or the pit-pat of fingertips on keyboard keys.

It’s sometimes found in careers and other times in songs, anywhere where souls drop themselves like beats and bombs or arms link like they belong.

Found sometimes in Starbucks tea on warm summer days or in rushed paintings or in heated debates.

Passion, like the electricity that tap-dances over feelings and fingertips, late nights and eager hips.

I’d tell her to wait for patience

Which sometimes pounces behind trial and error, raised voice and silent terror.


The quiet ideal that breathes slowly whilst angered storm and untaken back mistake.

I’d tell her to never sell herself to fall in love

I’d show her the scars on this worn heart of mine, the bruises in bulk and sanity that I sacrificed for a once lover once upon a time.

Because being herself is the greatest gift she could give.

I’d tell her to search for wisdom.

Because every moment has its lesson, every scar represents a past transgression. Many know but fewer understand, life’s a gamble and the cards are in her hands.

I’d tell her that life isn’t about checklists, calendars or to-dos.

Life is a dance, a journey.

It exceeds a classroom and trickles into every essence, every part of you.

Julia’s entry and many more will be available in print edition on April 7th. Pre-order here!

We are also proud to announce the runner-ups to this contest. They will both receive a Beats by Dr. Dre prize pack. Their poems will be featured on the She’s the First Tumblr in the near future:

Entry #99 Katherine Davis

Entry #1844 Crystal Townsend