Black Woman With a GED Details How She Got Into an Ivy League School

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Vida Biggins documented her experience as a black woman attending an ivy league.


Reported by April Taylor

Vida Biggins recently wrote a blog for about her own experience as a student at an ivy league school.  The path she took was not one that is often talked about in the media.  As she states, “By the age of 14, I’d already checked every box on the list of criteria for the stereotypical lost cause.”  She says that her experiences as a black girl with a drug-addicted, abusive, and absent father was just one component of why she felt that way.  She had also been mοlested by a family member she looked up to.  As if these things did not present her with enough road blocks and emotional trauma, she also dropped out of high school in 9th grade just a few months prior to having an abοrtion.  While many would expect Biggins to have given up and thrown a pity party, she overcame her circumstances.

Her path to redemption began when she quit her retail sales job to get her GED, with the hope of enrolling into medical school.  While her story is inspirational, Biggins does not want people to buy into the illusion that her happy ending is a fairy tale.  She talks about how she was uncertain of herself in some way at nearly every point in her journey.  She talks about how scared she was and how unprepared she felt when she began studying for her GED.  She also discusses how flashbacks of her failures in elementary school plagued her when she first starting attending classes at a local community college.  When she was accepted into Columbia University, she says she felt like she had, “pulled off the biggest hoax in history” because she believed she was not as smart as or as cultured as her fellow ivy league classmates.

Despite her childhood experiences and her constant battle with her own doubt, Biggins is a black woman who has beat the odds to find herself living out her unlikely dream.  She has experienced the success of being the president of student organizations, earning a myriad of awards, delivering speeches, and having her scientific research published.  She reminds people that her most defining moments are those when she felt as though everything was going to crash down and her sense of hope was miniscule.  She also reminds readers that there are many ugly moments between the first step towards a dream and reaching the finish line, the moments that make achieving a dream less like a fairytale and more about the, “the reality of blood, doubt, and tears.”  She ends her blog with the following powerful statement:

“The truth is that accomplishing a dream is a matter of endurance.  Not everyone is going to believe in you and sometimes you might not believe in yourself.  You do it anyway.  You worry that it’s all coming crashing down.  You do it anyway.  And, at times, you feel like failure is lurking around every corner.  And still, you do it anyway.  When life gives you every good reason not to be great, you give life the finger and go be great anyway.  That’s what dreams are made of.”



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