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Refusing to be defined by a number

By Meital Caplan
January 7, 2017

In Nov. 2016, we talked with Taiya James, a OneGoal – Chicago Year 2 Fellow and Prosser Career Academy senior, about what she’s most looking forward to in college and where she sees herself in the future. 


What I’m excited about right now is just getting to college. I recently went on a college tour and just being on campus, it finally hit me that this is real. I’m going to be here soon. Give me a couple of months and I’m going to be a college student.


I’m going to do so many things during that time:

I’m going to have fun.

I’m going to complete my school work.

I’m going to join the debate team.

I’m going to pledge a sorority.

I’m going to re-invent myself.


I haven’t always felt this sure about me getting to college. When I first took the ACT and saw my score, I started crying. I was so down about it. I felt not as intelligent as my classmates. At that point I was ready to give up, thinking ‘what is the point? I keep trying but I’m not going to be able to go anywhere with this result.’

But now I’m not letting a number define who I am as a person. I can’t let that one number stop me from trying to accomplish my goals and be who I am.

I want to look back on my life and say ‘Taiya did it.’ When I look at my life five or 10 years from now, I want to be able to say that I graduated high school, went straight off to college, then earned my law degree, and that all of the goals that I’m setting for myself right now I accomplished.

MORE: Chicago, Fellows