Don’t Say You Can’t

Eighteen-year-old Dawn Loggins is on her way to Harvard as part of the university’s 2012 freshman class, but she doesn’t fit the stereotypical profile of a Harvard student. She was abandoned by drug-addicted parents, and left to live with a neglectful grandmother. She was into her teens, before she realized that she was supposed to shower regularly. She wore the same clothes day after day to school, and endured the ridicule of her classmates. By her senior year, she was homeless.

It would have been easy for Dawn to give up, feel sorry for herself and lower her expectations to mere survival, but Dawn chose to challenge herself and to not let herself be defeated by her circumstances. Surely, no one expected very much from her.

Undeterred by her reality and helped by some very kind school staff, Dawn committed herself to academics, even while working part-time as a janitor and living on couches. Those efforts earned her Harvard acceptance and partial scholarships. Facing an Ivy League tuition with very limited finances, Dawn’s struggles aren’t over, but her attitude has given her an edge that will help her overcome the odds.

Dawn’s words when asked how she does it: “There are no excuses. It depends on you and no one else.”

Those words are powerful. When it seems that we can’t catch a break, we probably need to create a break for ourselves, like Dawn did. There are no excuses, it depends on you and no one else.

For more on Dawn’s story, see http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/07/us/from-janitor-to-harvard/index.html.

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