Kayla returned from Christmas break with the news. She received an email while she was out of school. The University of Mississippi has accepted her into the 2020 entering freshmen class. She plans on taking her high school diploma, the nine dual enrollment credits she earned while in high school, as well as the knowledge and experience she earned through the Health Science program at the Clarke County Career & Technology Center to the Psychology Department at Ole Miss.
She explains, “It has really helped me to know that I wanted to go in the medical field. I want to be a psychologist because I’ve always been interested in what happens in the brain. I’ve seen a lot of friends with depression. I want to make sure that other kids don’t have to go through it and they know there are options out there. I took Health Science classes my tenth and eleventh grade years. I basically eliminated all the other outcomes. The only thing I am thinking is psychologist or psychiatrist, which means medical school. The basic difference between Ph.D. and an M.D. is prescribing medication.“
When asked how she feels about graduating from high school and moving to North Mississippi from the small town she has always called home, Kayla smiles, “I’m excited! I’m happy to graduate. Mrs. Reeves really prepared me last year because she graded me really hard. This year I was more prepared for the Comp I class, and I made better grades because she was tough. Neither of my parents graduated from high school. My mamaw raised me as a single parent because my dad died when I was four. She always told me, ‘You’re going to graduate and go to college.’ We didn’t have all the money, but she always provided for me and my brother. She wants me to go, but then again she says, ‘Stay home.’ The only thing I didn’t tour at Ole Miss were the sorority houses. I’m trying to not stack up so much debt. I hope to get all the scholarships I can get. I have to get my FAFSA complete.”
Kayla has set herself up for success by maintaining a 3.6 GPA, participating in organizations such as the National Technical Honor Society, National Honor Society, BETA Club, and FBLA, and working a part-time job as a waitress after school. Those experiences have combined to provide her with much of the confidence she will need to continue her education, but, as she explained, so much of what she needed she got from her grandmother.
Even with all of her confidence, Kayla made sure she had other options if the University of Mississippi did not accept her application. For others looking to go to college, she suggests,
“I was always the one who procrastinated. Don’t procrastinate. Try out the programs at the Career Tech Center. It’s a completely different atmosphere up there. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Have a backup college or plan B.”