I Didn’t Become Who I Am Just by Sitting Within Four Walls

by Aliyah Gillespie

I didn’t become who I am just by sitting within four walls. I’ve traveled, I’ve loved, I’ve lost. I’ve seen things and been places, with no pictures for evidence; asked questions and been rejected, keeping a cool composure for my enemies. I’ve slept, I’ve dreamt, I’ve fantasized. Fantasized about tomorrow and yesterday with the present still passing along in time; hated to sleep and dreaded to wake, with countless objectives still to do on my mental agenda.

I didn’t become who I am just by sitting within four walls. I’ve read, I’ve studied, I’ve cried. I’ve thought about leaving and giving up, despite the 36 credit hours; asked questions and knew the answers, keeping a cool composure for my professors. I’ve fantasized, I’ve slept, I’ve dreamt. Dreamt about life after Millsaps while I’m currently still here; undergraduate, dental school, these countless hours of work that I must incorporate for the lavish lifestyle I plan to live I didn’t­—I have not become who I am just by sitting within four walls.

I didn’t become who I am just by sitting within four walls. I’ve fought adversity, controversy, and mediocrity. I’ve had experiences and been in situations, with no other option than to be strong; I didn’t ask questions, fighting to remain calm for myself. I’ve dreamt, I’ve fantasized, I’ve slept. Slept hard on the decisions that I must make even before its time for them to be made; locations, vehicles, babies, so many hidden agendas that I have yet to encounter I haven’t—I will not become who I am just by sitting within four walls.

My name is what it is and I am who I am, and I am who I am because of what I have done and what I am doing. My works label me as a product, a product who has read and studied. Prayed and studied. Understood and studied. Learned and studied. Practiced and studied. I worked, and I am still working.

I did not become who I am just by sitting within four walls.


Aliyah Gillespie is a sophomore from Egypt, Mississippi who is majoring in Spanish with a concentration in Pre-Dental. She enjoys writing creative nonfiction and traveling in her spare time.