Meet Imani

I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.

Grades

“I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.”

When I was a junior, I was expelled.

Grades

“When I was a junior, I was expelled.”

I didn't know what I wanted to do.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I didn't know what I wanted to do.”

I don’t really put myself out there a lot.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I don’t really put myself out there a lot.”

I’m proud to say that I’m doing very well.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I’m very proud to say that I’m doing very well.”

I went to school for practically nothing.

Cost

“I went to school for practically nothing.”

Money is out there to help you—just look.

Cost

“Money is out there to help you—just look.”

It was stressful but rewarding in the end.

Cost

“It was stressful but rewarding in the end.”

I wanted to be a teacher.

Cost

“I wanted to be a teacher.”

I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.

Cost

“I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.”

It hits you at once.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“It hits you at once.”

I wasn’t sure what to do.

Cost

“I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Everything was in fine print.

Cost

“Everything was in fine print.”

I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.”

I had to deal with a lot all at once.

Responsibilities

“I had to deal with a lot all at once.”

I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.”

It pretty much gave me a full ride.

Cost

“It pretty much gave me a full ride.”

People are willing to help if you ask them.

Cost

“People are willing to help if you ask them.”

I was intimidated since I was undocumented.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was intimidated since I was undocumented.”

My father did not want to help me.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“My father did not want to help me.”

I have a good chance of becoming more stable.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I have a good chance of becoming more stable.”

Leaving the reservation is a huge step.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“Leaving the reservation is a huge step.”

Meet Imani

 

My mom is disabled.
Imani describes how she dealt with the guilt she felt about going to college.
I just assumed I wasn’t going to go. (01:08)
Find out why Imani’s mood lifted.
I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.
Now Playing
My mom is disabled. (01:08)
Imani describes how she dealt with the guilt she felt about going to college.
My mom is disabled.
Now Playing
They thought I wasn't trying hard enough. (01:18)
Imani discovered she had ADHD.
They thought I wasn't trying hard enough.
Now Playing

Snapshot

Year in college
Senior
Majors
African-American Studies and English
Family income
$20,000–$40,000
College
Public four-year university
Published yearly in-state tuition and fees
$8,690
Favorite book
Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism by Derrick Bell
Two things she can't live without
Hot sauce and her credit card
What the future holds
Law school and a move to China
Imani faced several challenges when it came to college, including a condition that made it difficult to learn and a disabled mother.
Her obstacle 

When Imani was a freshman in high school, things were not going well academically and she thought she had little chance of going to college.

Turns out there was a reason she was not succeeding in class. Imani has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). “Worst of all was not knowing I had it. [My parents and teachers] thought I wasn’t trying hard enough. I was getting Cs and Ds and zoning off in class.” Not only was Imani earning low grades in school — particularly in math-related subjects — she was also forgetful and disorganized.

There were other obstacles, too. Imani's parents couldn't afford to pay for college, and she was concerned about her mom.

“My whole life, she's been sick,” Imani says. “I used to feel ... like I was betraying her by leaving the house and having fun. And I felt if I ever left for college, I would be leaving her.”

How she overcame it 

Her parents became concerned about her lack of concentration and sent her to a specialist who diagnosed her with ADHD and put her on medication. Imani was then allowed to take extra time on tests and received one-on-one guidance at school. She also made an extra effort in her studies.

“My comprehension of class materials was many times below average when compared to the rest of the class,” she says. “I compensated for this by going to office hours every week. Additionally, if there was extra credit I always completed it so I could boost my grade. I also organized study groups with people who were doing well in the class ... That improved my grades a lot; I ended up graduating with a 3.7.”

Still, Imani worried about her mother and how the family would pay for school. But her mom supported her decision to go to college and, together, they researched scholarships and grants and found a combination that paid for Imani’s schooling. She decided to live with her parents and commute to school so she could still help out at home.

Life at college 

During her freshman year, Imani went through an intensive evaluation process for her ADHD. Based on the recommendations of university mental health professionals, she was given a learning plan that her professors are required to follow. It includes extra time on tests and essays, as well as a note taker who helps her keep track of what happens in class.

In addition to her majors, Imani is studying Chinese. “I've always been interested in traveling outside the United States,” she says, “so living in China is an awesome life experience I look forward to having.”

How Imani paid

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Imani funded 100 percent of her freshman year tuition and fees with gift aid — money she doesn’t have to pay back. She even had $3,000 left over to help with expenses. She lived at home with her family.

  • State Academic Scholarship: 60%
  • Book Scholarship: 4%
  • Federal Pell Grant: 36%

State Academic Scholarship: For state residents; usually used for in-state colleges only.

Book Scholarship: Provided by the state.

Federal Pell Grant: Doesn’t have to be paid back; eligibility based on need.

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