What obstacle have you overcome?

By: L’Oreal Kennedy

The path through academia can be quite treacherous but the rewards are immeasurable. I am a first-generation college student and the first person on either side of my family to earn a doctorate. My mother started going to school at the age of 12 and stopped at the age of 16 once she became pregnant. Without the precedent of higher education in my family, I was tasked with navigating college on my own. I experienced domestic violence, isolation, anxiety, depression, and even homelessness. What kept me going was knowing that other Black folks came before me and broke down seemingly insurmountable barriers. I knew that I needed to use their guiding footsteps and make sure that those coming after me also had opportunities to explore higher education and discover a career in which to immerse their passions. The feeling of knowing that you are where you are supposed to be and that your journey will positively impact others is indescribable. Know yourself and follow your heart.

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