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Eboni Boykin spent her youth living in homeless shelters and, sometimes, cars with her single mother and younger siblings.  She once bounced around countless schools in Mississippi and Missouri, but these days she calls New York’s Columbia University home.

Boykin, who is now a sophomore at the Ivy League school, first shared her story of overcoming her obstacles to be the first person in her family to graduate and go to college, last year on MSNBC’s “Education Nation Student Town Hall.” The show’s host, Melissa Harris-Perry, recently followed up with the thriving teen to get an update on her progress.

“It never really ceases to amaze me, where I am, it never really sinks in,” Boykin said. What’s even more amazing is that she’s in college on a full scholarship, an accomplishment she’s especially proud of.   “I don’t have to bother my mom with my expenses,” she said. “I’m sort of in a place where I can take care of myself. I’m absolutely determined to finish what I’ve started by coming here. I’ve wanted this for such a long period of time that it wouldn’t make any sense not to finish.”

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After getting over typical freshman jitters, Boykin seems to be blossoming beautiful at the NYC school. “When I started here at Columbia, I didn’t feel prepared at all, at least by my high school,” she said. “My first semester was sort of tumultuous in that way. It was a lot going on and I felt overwhelmed and really small compared to everything that was happening in my life. As time went on, I found friend groups, and activities to get into, and started to get the hang of my work. Now I’m in a more secure place.”

It’s stories like these that prove we can all do anything we want, as long as we work hard and stay focused. We’re so proud of Boykin and can’t wait to see where else her beautiful journey takes her.

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