Kiaundra Harris


William E. Sedlacek of the University of Maryland created and established a developing system of college readiness called the eight non-cognitive variables. Each variable stands alone as important, but the one which hits home for me is the one on which I would like to focus: “a strong support system.” Although a system indicates more than one person or thing, my intent first, is to acknowledge a small inner circle within my personal support system, then narrowing to the one person who has made the most significant impact in my life. That inner circle consists of my Grandmother and my extended Godparent group. Indeed, these very special persons have been with me throughout my life, providing words of encouragement, constructive and loving feedback, and fantastic assistance on all levels.

During my eighteen years, I have dealt with multiple hardships such as having promise after promise broken, having to move from place to place numerous times, and dealing with the lack of finances in my family. These situations left emotional scars. Because of the fantastic presence of my Grandmother, I had someone on whom I could depend; someone who always stepped up for me, smoothing out the rough edges, wiping my tears, and uplifting my heavy heart. The most important advice my Grandmother continues to give me is: never give up – keep trying always. Early on, understanding her advice was not totally clear to me. However, watching my Grandmother handle her own struggles, never giving up when all seemed to have failed her provided me with an eye-opening, real world look at her using her own advice. As I continue to encounter challenging situations especially with relationships and falling short of achieving specific goals, I will hear my Grandmother’s voice: never give up – keep trying always. And, I will!