Life Continues Even When Everything Else Is Falling Apart
For years I looked forward to my senior year. Finishing high school, preparing for
college, and starting that next chapter in my life was all I could think about since middle school.
When I received an email in March of 2020, I, like many others, was excited to learn that spring break had been extended by a week. It wasn’t until a few days later upon watching the news and hearing talks of an illness that had closed doors across the world that I realized the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, I have begun the process of preparing myself to attend a college in
an entirely different state and am almost done with my senior year, which I did completely
online. Reflecting on all that has happened this year I am acutely aware of one thing: I finished high school during a global pandemic, one that has greatly impacted millions of people and been disregarded by many others.
I never thought I would be taking care of my two sisters and mom, all of whom had
contracted the coronavirus last year at the same time, while simultaneously drafting my personal statement for college applications. The pressure of online classes, applying to college, and a part-time job brought my stress level to an all-time high. This, coupled with the reality of the pandemic and the rising tensions across the country as people began to see the racism that people of color, especially Black people, faced every day, I began to lack the motivation to finish my senior year.
First Generation College Student
It was then that I turned to my family and friends. I talked to my sister who
graduated during the height of the pandemic last year and to my friends across the country who were struggling just as much as I was. I began to remember that life continues, even when everything around you seems like it is falling apart.
Now, I am headed to my dream school, Vanderbilt University, and I am days away from prom and graduation, two events that I thought I might never get to experience. Every time I completed another assignment, exhausted after a night shift at my job, and every party or family gathering I sacrificed to get here meant something.
I am a first-generation college student going to university on a full-ride scholarship to
study medicine and become one of the people who have worked so hard this past year to keep people healthy amidst this unprecedented time of sickness and confusion. While the path here was hard, it has prepared me for what is to come, and I know that whatever comes next will be just another story I tell when there is nothing left to overcome.
About Lesleigh Taylor
Lesleigh will graduate in the first graudating class from the Duncanville High School Collegiate Academy with her diploma and an associate degree from Mountain View College. During her high school career, Lesleigh was Youth and Government vice president, vice president of Student Council and secretary for the National Honor Society.
Lesleigh will attend Vanderbilt University where she will pursue a degree in medicine, health and society. The program investigates the cultural, economic, demographic and biological factors that impact health. She is planning to become a doctor.