Lessons from a Single Mother

Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you'd like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you've had to help us understand you better -- perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background -- we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.


When I was four years old, my newly divorced mother transplanted us into uncharted territory: a sunny locale called “Florida.” I was too young to understand the magnitude of this life-changing event. Initially, money was scarce and the refrigerator in our small, second-floor apartment was often empty, but my mother’s arduous work ethic and benevolent nature masqueraded these challenges.

Soon, my demeanor mirrored her irrepressible personality. Her kindness taught me to respect people unconditionally, while her resilience bestowed upon me an unmatched will to persevere. I began to empathize with her struggle and endeavored to care for her like she nurtured me.

While some deem being the daughter of a single parent a shortcoming, it is my truest strength. My mother’s indomitable spirit has uniquely defined my experiences, so I convey her lessons to others and continue this chain of goodwill. Her teachings will allow me to meaningfully contribute to my collegiate peers’ educations in particular.

My resolve and enduring positivity will encourage optimism among my Blue Devil cohorts during times of academic and personal hardship. When we are attempting to complete a particularly difficult assignment or studying for an exam, I will be...

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