Education Social Commentary

Why I Commend Nayla Kidd for Ditching her Ivy League Life

When I first read that the Columbia University student who had gone missing had actually planned her escape, part of me wanted to grab her by the shoulders, as if I had known her my whole life and shake some sense into her! Like girl, do you even realize how serious this is? While you were busy creating a “new life” for yourself, your family and friends were worried sick about you! Not to mention the time and the manpower it took to search for you.

On the other hand, I wanted to give her a big ole fat, church lady hug and here’s why. So many people are stuck! Stuck living less than remarkable lives. Stuck working jobs that they hate. Stuck with a spouse that they can’t stand. The fact that this 19 year old decided to ditch her Ivy League education and create the life that she wanted is inspiring. Adults twice her age don’t even have that type of courage to start over.

In the black community in particular, education is seen as a golden ticket out but people don’t understand the pressure that comes along with it. You are fighting for a moment that is so much bigger than yourself, paraphrasing Halle Berry’s 2002 Academy Award speech. It’s for your ancestors who weren’t even allowed to become educated. It’s for your mother who sacrificed her education to raise you and your siblings. It’s for your immigrant father who fled a war torn country in hopes of creating a better life. Those few examples were my story. Everyone has their own but the point is, she passed on an opportunity that many don’t get in life, which seems rather selfish.

Whether this is all one huge mistake is up to her to decide. We’ll never know if she would’ve gone on to become a doctor, lawyer, whatever, however, staying in a situation just to live up to others expectations could’ve even lead her down a much more treacherous path. There’s entirely too much pressure to have everything figured out at such a young age. I commend her for having such courage and following her heart.

What are your thoughts?


The College Grad



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