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An Addiction to Self-Discovery

by Mia Dunlap 

Greetings everyone, my name is Mia Dunlap and I am addicted to self-discovery and to the quality welfare of under-represented youth.

I have grappled with this addiction for a number of years before acknowledging it.

In August 2006, when I made up my mind to attend Spelman College, I confirmed my addiction to self discovery.

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My Life, My Story, My Song

by Mia Dunlap 

Sometimes I feel like crawling under a desk and convincing God to allow me to die. Frankly, it’s not easy being the first in my family to graduate high school in four years and also being the first to go to college. That reality puts an indescribable pressure on me that causes me to be too terrified to fail and even more afraid to admit to myself (let alone anyone else) when life gets overwhelming. Some nights I have found myself laying in my dorm room hiding under my pillow, wishing I didn’t feel so alone, so empty and so forgotten. Most of my associates have decent relationships with their parents, giving them a place to be vulnerable and cry. I, on the other hand, have successfully mastered the unwanted skill of not knowing how to cry, even when I want or need to. In the moments where I have felt safe enough to be vulnerable, I’ve been too afraid to let those times slip away in fear of their infrequent return. In the rare instances that tears form, I surprise myself.

Spelman College did not always feel like an option for me; $27,000 a year seemed out of reach for a poor girl who grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes public housing development and whose family income never exceeded the poverty line. But the nurturing environment at Spelman is priceless. Every once in a while, though, it would be comforting to get a card from my family that simply says “Be encouraged,” or “I’m here if you need me,” or perhaps a telegram to say, “I believe in you.” However, when that doesn’t happen, I ask God for the strength to get out of bed and help me to encourage myself because giving up is not an option. Sometimes, my courage comes from reflecting on how history has proven that girls like me, living in the projects with a part-time father, have a slim chance of making it through high school, and college isn’t even on the radar screen!
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