Robin’s Story: They Say

Facing College: Diverse Student Voices from Michigan State University

As told to: Jordan Robbins

They say life is supposed to be more happy times than sad.

They say life is short, so live in the moment and don’t regret.

They say to be yourself and not let the opinions of others stop you from chasing your dreams.

They clearly don’t know my life.

My life has been a series of unfortunate events. My siblings and I had to leave our parents and were moved from foster home to foster home, city to city and family to family.

I wondered if my life would ever be normal.

I just wanted an out.

I wanted to go somewhere no one knew my name and they didn’t know me.

No, no, no, I didn’t want that. I NEEDED that.

Growing up, I worked hard for my grades.

I spent numerous nights studying for hours.

I spent extra time with teachers.

And I made sure that I was proud of what I was doing academically because, honestly, my grades were the only thing keeping me sane.

I went to class every day. I joined clubs.

I knew there was more out there than the small towns I had spent my entire life in, and I knew that whatever was out there, I wanted to experience it firsthand.

I hoped that whatever was to come would bring me clarity, peace, and everything else I was searching for.

And the only way to do that was to get out, just pick everything up and leave.

Leave for college.

I’m not going to lie, leaving was scary.

Every second leading up to when I left I told myself I was ready, I wasn’t sure if I could actually do it, ya know?

But I knew I had a goal in mind and I was not going to let myself down.

Not this time anyway.

After being tied down for eighteen years of my life, I was ready to be on my own.

Leaving was the easiest part.

The hardest part was fitting in and finding myself in a place where I had no one.

But truthfully, I should have been used to that by now because I went my whole life with no one.

I have struggled throughout my life with trying to love myself and find my place in this world.

When I was younger, I would do and say anything anyone wanted, simply because I thought that the main goal in life was to be the most liked person.

But I was wrong.

If I had learned one thing while being in foster care, it was that I needed to fight.

Fight for myself and not care what anyone else thought because this was my life and they couldn’t change me no matter how hard they tried.

And once I was settled at college, I noticed how much easier I could breathe. I could breathe because I cut out all the negative people from my life.

I shut out everyone for a little while, and the people who reached out to me were the people that I kept in my life.

The ones who didn’t notice my absence were the ones I let go.

Life has not been the easiest.

But college has allowed me to become my own person.

It has allowed me to start a whole new life.

A life where I can make my own decisions and I learn from my mistakes.

College has changed who I am and I love getting to know this new me.

Since being here I have learned who my real friends are.

I have learned to accept and appreciate others.

I have learned that I need to create my own opportunities for success.

But the most important thing that I can take away from this journey is that I have learned who I am and who I am not.

I’m so thankful for all the ups and downs in life, for the people who doubted me and said I would never make it, and for the people who supported me the entire way because I would not be where I am without them.

Because it was in the times when I was alone or in the times I thought I couldn’t do it that I found my own strength.

And I think it’s that strength that has allowed me to find my purposes in life and help me achieve my goals.

They say life is supposed to be more happy times than sad.

They say life is short, so live in the moment and don’t regret.

They say to be yourself and to not let the opinions of others stop you from chasing your dreams.

Well then, they clearly don’t know my life.

Life isn’t easy.

But everything that has led me to this point where I am now . . . 

I will forever be grateful.

And I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

This story originally appeared in Facing College: Diverse Student Voices, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

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