During this time of change, we want to give a shoutout to all the Kentucky teenagers and young people who will be “graduating” into their next phases of life – especially those who will be receiving their diplomas from high school, college, or career/technical programs.

While we realize that there are many who are bemoaning the fact that they are missing out on the pomp and circumstance celebrations, we want to publicly celebrate this major accomplishment in your life journey.

One such upcoming first-generation college graduate warmed our hearts with this blog celebrating herself:

Four years ago my life could have gone much different. I had every reason not to go to college, yet I still took a leap of faith on something I didn’t believe that I could do!

Growing up, I struggled in school, had self-doubts and didn’t think I could be successful in college. I knew I didn’t want to sit in Shelbyville for the rest of my life, so I took my journey to Eastern Kentucky University.

That was one of the best life decisions I could have made for myself!!As a first-generation college student, you realize so much about yourself. You sometimes feel defeated and think how it would be so much easier to give up.

But, with the support of my family I kept going! When I graduated from high school, I made a promise to myself I would give myself a better chance. Not that my mom hadn’t done that, but I wanted more for myself. If I had given up when times were hard, I wouldn’t have provided myself the opportunity to better myself.

I kept remembering that I had two siblings at home that I had to set an example for. They may hate me now because now they have NO choice but to graduate college. Along with two little cousins that needed that strong female example in their lives!

As I come to an end of a chapter in my life, I can’t be anything less than blessed. I’ve made a name for myself; I’ve reached goals I set for myself; and I’ve overcome my biggest fear (failure). I went to college as a scared, doubtful little girl, but thanks to EKU and my sometimes-struggled journey here I come – an independent, educated woman.

Although I wasn’t able to have a physical graduation, as of May 8th, 2020 I will be a college graduate of Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Health Science with a degree in Child and Family studies with a concentration in Child Development.

Watch out – here I come!

Malaysia Hardy
Collins High School, 2016
Eastern Kentucky University, 2020

Congratulations to Malaysia and all of the 2020 Kentucky graduates!