Homeless to Harvard

lizzy.jpg  book lizzy.jpg


Someone once found me in tears, I mean I couldn’t help myself. She was shocked ready to comfort me, only to burst out in laughter after telling her the reason for my tears. She couldn’t believe I was crying because of a movie. Has anyone ever watched HOMELESS TO HARVARD? You will end up like me. In tears and it’s not all tears of sadness, and no good ending but the end will also send tear drops lingering on your eyelids.

If you are a lover of books sit down with a good mug of coffee and read BREAKING NIGHT: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and her Journey from Homeless to Harvard. But if you’d better sit down with a bowl of popcorn, watch Homeless to Harvard. This true story will leave you inspired with an urge to achieve more. It kinda gave me the inspiration to apply for my school admission after a long time of procrastination and seeing all odds against me. Voila! almost finishing my second year. Seemed bumpy at first wondering where I’d get aaaall that fee, but I thank God I’ve never lacked nor missed an exam.

Lizzy Murray experienced homelessness at age 15, persevering through many challenging personal circumstances. She finished high school in two years while living on the streets of New York City. In 2009, she earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard. This is a story of one young woman’s indomitable spirit to survive and prevail, against all odds.

Growing up in the Bronx with drug-addicted parents, Liz Murray dropped out of school and was homeless by the age of 15. Neglected, she and her sister were forced to steal food to survive. They ate ice cubes because it felt like eating and split a tube of toothpaste between them for dinner.’

The two girls turned up to school dirty and riddled with lice. Liz was so bullied as a result, that she began skipping classes, eventually ceasing to attend at all.

Both of her parents were hippies. She learned as a young child how dependent her parents were on drugs and recalls how at age three or four, she watched her parents administer the substances daily.

The parents stole her birthday money and even sold the family television to score another hit.

When Liz was 15, she learned that her mother was HIV-positive, and had AIDS. She died shortly after, and when her father got evicted for failing to pay the rent, the family was homeless. While her father, who also died of AIDS in 2006, found a place at a shelter, and her sister moved to a friend’s sofa, Liz slept on Subway trains and park benches. Liz was one of those people on the streets you walk away from on sight.

But at 17, she made the decision to turn her life around. Seeing her mother die without fulfilling her dreams motivated her to seek her dreams otherwise it might never be. Just like her mother who kept on saying she would fix her life one day, and she never did, she would end up the same way. She completed four years of high school in two, gaining the support of a teacher who spotted her determination and potential.

As a reward for their efforts, her mentor took his top ten students to visit the prestigious Harvard University. Inspired, she decided that it was within her capabilities to attend, and after winning a New York Times scholarship, she graduated successfully.

Liz now works as an inspirational speaker, and talks to teenagers about resisting the temptations of drugs, and not letting hardship hold you back. She has given speeches alongside Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Dalai Lama, and was given a Chutzpah Award by Oprah Winfrey.

This is a testimony of how life can have its twists and turns but if we stick it out, it doesn’t matter where we came from or what we’ve been through because at the end of the day where we are heading is all that matters. Most of all we have a huge part to play in our destinies.


About cessyiel

Am about your average girl, very opinionated. I live in a glass half full world. In my world, every hurdle is a stepping stone to greatness. Every wall hides behind it bronze when I knock it down, and another appears, behind it there is silver. When stubbornness persists, and another emerges suddenly, the surety in my heart is that there is gold. I believe in possibilities with the right motion set in place. Writing is my comfort zone, and I put my heart out to express how we ought to respond to life and its many hurdles.

Posted on March 2, 2016, in Life. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: