3 D’s to Achieve

Desire, Decide, and Determined

Ashley and Michele (my daughters)

As a mother, I know that their achievements are driven by their desires, their decisions, and their determination.


Just like a small fire will not give much heat, a weak desire will not manifest into an excellent result. If you want to achieve a goal, the first step is desire. You must want it badly enough to make a commitment and to be willing to make necessary sacrifices.

For as long as I can remember, my daughter, Ashley, desired to attend an HBCU (Historically Black College) not just any HBCU, but Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Spelman College, a historically Black college, a global leader in the education of women of African descent, is dedicated to academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and the intellectual, creative, ethical, and leadership development of its students. Through diverse learning modalities, Spelman empowers the whole person to engage the many cultures of the world and inspires a commitment to positive social change. Spelman is known for students that are the Cream of the Crop, the best of the best.

She was determined to attend Spelman College and to be a woman that would change the world. There is something special about a Spelmanite woman, a Spelmanite, a word that describes who she is, a woman that is always ready whenever and wherever.

Spelmanites aspire to change the world throughout various minority communities upon gaining knowledge from such a prestigious institution. Spelman College breeds illustrious women: Alice Walker, Rosalind Brewer, and Stacey Abrams, who are willing to take on the torch and continue to light the flame that keeps on burning. She too, aspires to do the same.

As a preteen, she watched the television sitcom A Different World where a group of students at a historically Black university struggled to make it through college.  It aired for six seasons on NBC and was part of the Thursday night line up from September 24, 1987, to July 9, 1993. The show was inspired by student life at historically black college and university.  As an adult still enjoys the reruns and recites every line of every episode.


Often, we get in our own way. Can you relate? The self-doubt, fear, and the critical inner voice that keeps us from taking action. Not taking action is a decision.

Every day we are required to face situations in life. Some of these choices are easy, and at times, some of them can be difficult.

Decisions that seem to be the most difficult are those that require a deeper level of thought. Examples like where to attend college, what career path would be best? These decisions are difficult because they are life-changing decisions; they shape who we are, and they shape our future.

Ashley did not have a plan B. When you have a desire for something you do not have, a plan B. One example, Beyonce knew she wanted to be a performer. She did not say, “if I do not sing, I want to be a skater.” Ashley decided to go after her dream of attending Spelman College.

Ashley worked hard in high school, and in the same, school year her brother died from injuries sustained in a car accident. She went on to become the first Black Valedictorian at her High School.

She could have decided to give up, but she was determined.


What is important to you? You have to be determined to get what you want.

She was determined to continue her education at a prestigious college. Although she was determined, with determination comes roadblocks. For instance, a member of our church, behind my back, attempted to use her influence to encourage Ashley not to attend Spelman. Sometimes the very people you think are on your side are the very ones against you. You may ask what her reason was. I do not know. All I know is Ashley dismissed her opinion because she knew her desire and her decision and was on to the next goal. Whatever you want, know there will be people and situations that will slow you down.

Ashley was so determined that she only submitted one college application, Spelman. She was accepted. Looking back at her educational journey, she was grateful for the admission decision made for her. During that time, she was grieving the loss of her brother. The loss of her brother could have easily sent her on a downward spiral, but she was determined. She did not lose sight of her dreams, desires, and determination.

She completed her degree at Spelman in three years. Then she was accepted into Northwestern University, a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. Ashley went on to obtain her master’s degree from Northwestern.

As a mom of three, I have come to realize that my rewards come in moments. Moments when I least expect them, at Sunday dinners, a drive. I am blessed to witness my children’s content in the space created for them. They may be watching a movie, on their cell phone, or looking out a window.  It may be in my home or sharing a bench. Just a quick snapshot in time when I realize that they are healthy, happy, and loved. 

They will experience growing pains and question themselves and the world around them, as we all do. Continue to encourage your children to be their best and to go after what they want. It will not be easy or without a sacrifice. Once they have a desire and decide to take action, their determination will see them through.

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