Kyra Dawkins

Year of Graduation: 
Kyra Dawkins

​ "It has opened doors for me to have connections to my future. I’m so glad I decided to come here."

Kyra Dawkins ’16 is a senior from Cleveland, Ohio. In fall 2015, she spent the semester in Tema, Ghana, living and learning at the SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College. After graduation, she hopes to study neuroscience in college.

My first term at Exeter, I was a little bit overwhelmed. I thought that the workload would bury me, but with time I learned to prioritize what really needed to be done. I had to recognize that I couldn’t do everything perfectly. Exeter has allowed me to realize I can do my best on everything without the pressure of expecting myself to be perfect.

In terms of academics, I’m most proud of finishing my History 333 in the spring of my upper (11th grade) year. It’s this big paper that’s supposed to be 12-22 pages (mine was 17). I wrote about the manifestation of colorism within African-American society. I didn’t expect to pick that topic, but I ended up really enjoying the research. The process was long and strenuous — there were a lot of late nights — but the entire project was exciting because it was the big moment: I was doing my History 333, enjoying the process and not dreading it.

During my lower year, I took this course called Pre-Colonial Africa. It’s an area of history that intrigued me culturally. My teacher, Mr. Boadi, was amazing. I fell in love with the students who were willing to go deep and discuss this material — material I didn’t even know existed before the course. My experience in the class inspired me to apply for Exeter’s term-abroad program in Ghana.

Seniors Kyra Dawkins, Julia Jackson and Efe Airewele in their school uniforms in Ghana

At Exeter, if you want to experience something, you don’t just read an article. You experience it tangibly by going to a foreign country or meeting a professor that is actually teaching in or researching a field that interests you. Personally, my passion is neuroscience. We’ve had at least five different assemblies where leading neuroscientists have spoken. I’ve been able to meet these people, make connections, get their email addresses and stay in touch.

I can’t have the same kind of conversations back home that I have at Exeter. There’s a freeness and intellectual curiosity here that I just don’t really experience anywhere else. For me, Exeter is a place — the ultimate place — for a well-rounded, tangible, hands-on education. I’m not sure who I would be without Exeter. Exeter has taught me to re-evaluate what it means to be intelligent. It has taught me that I no longer need to be perfect. It has opened doors for me to have connections to my future. I’m so glad I decided to come here.