Why did I choose Washburn?
Recently, I had an eye opening conversation with a very respectable gentleman. He saw in me what I thought I lost. He told me “you’re a very inspiring young woman and you’re doing it.” He told me “you might not think you’re doing much, DeyJa, but think of all the single parents out there, like you, who shut the doors to an education because they think they can’t do it being a single parent.” He encouraged me to share my story in any way that I could so here I am.
The most frequently asked question is why I chose Washburn. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I moved to Topeka in October 2016. For those of you who have asked, I may have given you an entertaining spin from what really brought us to Topeka. For length purposes, I chose to leave out significant ends of the story, but here is a fair taste of my truth.
Once upon a time, almost three years ago, I was being preyed upon by a very hungry snake who had a thirst of every drop of my happiness. The snake wanted to take it all from me. The snake and prey chase had been ongoing for almost a year until the snake leaped full venom, teeth forward, ready to sink it’s teeth into what was left of our sanctuary. Low and behold, the snake was frightened by a strong and brave knight who was wearing armor that was so gleamy you could see your own clear reflection in it. She lent out her hand and carried my daughter and me far East. The knight in gleaming armor is my sister. My sister, my daughter and I, ventured out mid-starlight and when we ran out of gas money we stopped in Kansas, made our way to the capital and planted some loose roots in the Kansas dirt. I was so busy hiding for the first year of my daughters’ life that I forgot about growing. When I was able to walk around the empty streets of Topeka, I realized how the city had been loved so hard that it was cracked, battered and broken in some places. I saw myself in the city, and within the first five months of living here in Topeka, I graduated with my GED from Washburn Tech in the graduation in May 2017.
During graduation, all graduates were able to shake hands of all the founders of Washburn University while walking across the stage. When I was walking across that stage in Lee arena, the tips of my fingers were numb from all the adrenaline rushing to them. I hurried through shaking the first five hands. When I reached President Jerry Farley, he stopped me briefly on stage, took a deep breath, I mimicked, as he looked straight in my nervous eyes he said, “I’m proud of you.” I understand that Farley has probably said that to hundreds of students before, but it sunk into my skin like the cheap oriental tattoo on my shoulder, permanently. Sure enough by fall 2017, I was enrolled at Washburn University.
I would like to recognize that Farley took the simple 10 seconds of one of the biggest moments of my life simply to bring me back into the moment to appreciate my accomplishment instead of rushing through it. This act of humanity made me realize this man cares about his students. I want to be a part of the institution who has a leader like him. I appreciate the dedication and true passion that the Washburn community has shown me throughout my time being here.
If you want to partner and share your experience, email the author of this article.