ErrDaisha Floyd

ErrDaisha Floyd – Tampa, Florida

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

It’s a 45-degree day in New York City, and ErrDaisha Floyd does not yet have a good coat. The Florida native doesn’t like the cold, but she’s at her dream school — Columbia University — studying what’s she’s always loved — sociology — and that makes all the difference.

Columbia has been Floyd’s college of choice since before 8th grade, when she called the university to see what kind of advanced placement classes they preferred to see in college applications. “They wrote me back a big explanation,” says Floyd, which she took to heart. She’s had her sights set ever since.

So, when she arrived at the Bovard Scholars program, it wasn’t so much about deciding where to go, but how to get where she already wanted to be.

The most important part of the program, for Floyd, was writing her personal statement. “I was really thinking about who I was and who I wanted the college to see me as — and I was able to create a story about myself in my statement that, I really think, was the most valuable thing in getting me into Columbia,” she says.

Floyd wrote about being the youngest of nine siblings and half-siblings, and about wanting to be the first to go to college. She wrote about her father dying of a brain tumor when she was just 8 years old, and how that split her life in two — one chapter, before he died, that was stable, and another chapter where instability was the norm. Floyd wrote about her mother, who dropped out of high school to have her first child, going back to school to get her G.E.D. as well as a degree in early childhood education — and what that taught her about the power of education.

“I was really thinking about who I was and who I wanted the college to see me as — and I was able to create a story about myself in my statement that, I really think, was the most valuable thing in getting me into Columbia.”

Now that Floyd’s at Columbia, it’s not quite what she expected. “I’m just now understanding that, no matter how much preparation I got from going to Bovard Scholars or talking to people who went to Columbia, getting different perspectives, it basically was never going to be enough,” says Floyd. There was nothing that could really prepare her for the ways that college, and Columbia, could change her life. “I had to experience it for myself to understand.”

To future Scholars: “I wasn’t expecting to make as deep connections as I made — especially not with the counselors, but friends as well. [The program] created that for us.”