“The toughest thing I’ve had to overcome in my life was my depression. It started my 7th grade year during a tough time. And it carried on up to last year around this time.

Although I’m still dealing with it, over the years, I started doing things to help overcome it. I started painting in the summer of last year. One painting that I did that a lot of people like, and is my prize possession now, is my painting of J. Cole. And just yesterday, I painted Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons. I also painted an elephant in some grass. And I painted a flower for my mom, because she loves flowers. Really, I just randomly paint random things.

And it’s weird because painting was something that I didn’t like doing when I was younger. I actually tried different things. I tried basketball. But I didn’t like it. I was also in the chorus. And singing is fun, but that was not something I wanted to keep doing. I tried sewing. I do hair, but that gets tiring. So, I needed something that didn’t involve other people, something where it could be just me and my own thoughts. And that’s why I came back to painting.”

– Ayana, sophomore political science major from Atlanta, Ga.