Ayn Rand once said: “The question isn’t who’s going to let me, it’s who’s going to stop me.” This is a quote Ms. Senior for the 2019-2020 academic school year, Damaria Joyner, chooses to live by and keep her motivated.
Ms. Senior DSU, Damaria Joyner
Raised in the Foster care system in Boston, Massachusetts, Damaria was raised by a single mother who managed to work long hours at night while still caring for three young children. Growing up in this circumstance, she viewed it as a way for her to stay focused on her studies, to beat all odds. “Growing up, I’ve never really had any role models, just people and circumstances I did not want to be like. I really just want to break all my generational cycles,” she stated.
The first step she needed to take to break this cycle was actually attending Delaware State University. “I’m from Boston, and there’s no Historically Black Colleges/Universities around there. It actually takes me about seven hours to get home. Being so far away from home was a struggle at first, but I knew I had a purpose and I had to make the best of this opportunity. I’m very close with my sister, and had to fill this void of being homesick. I got heavily involved on campus, joined different organizations on campus, building these relationships with my Hornet family. Since my freshman year, I met some of my ‘bestest’ friends who I know are going to be in my life for a lifetime. I am also a part of the Delta Lambda chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, and I would forever be thankful for that. I came into college with just one sister, and now I got a bunch.”
When asked about some of her most memorable experiences at Delaware State, she described it to be very life changing. “I took several risks here at DSU. I couldn’t dance and was literally dancing in front of the whole school at coronation,” she stated. Her time at Delaware State helped boost her confidence as she took on some of her wildest dreams. “Coronation this year was based on Beychella, and I had to make Beyonce proud.”
“Besides becoming Ms. Senior, being an AKA was one of my top memorable experiences at DSU. My Probate Day was literally one of the best days ever. My adrenalin was crazy! From March 25th, 2018 I was officially an Alpha Woman! From that moment my life has never been the same. Since I joined, I can definitely say that there has been major growth in the way I view myself as a black woman in society.”
Throughout her years at DSU, Damaria explained that there were several obstacles she faced, but learned to bounce back from every situation. “College was literally the most stressful thing I’ve ever done, but that just shows I can withstand anything.” When asked, “How will your position as Ms. Senior impact your life after DSU,” she stated, “I know I can achieve it. DSU helped showed me that I can do anything!”
The new Ms. Senior DSU further stated that “my platform when running for Ms. Senior was P.E.R.I.O.D. which stands for perseverance, excellence, resilience, integrity, opportunities, and determination. For my platform, I wanted to use a popular slogan that everyone uses and will remember. P.E.R.I.O.D. is a mindset and constant reminder I will get the job done, PERIOD! In other words, you got to always remember that I will persevere, excel in everything I do, be resilient, have integrity, offer and take on opportunities that will change our lives, and always be determined to reach our goals.” Very confident with her platform, she hoped that she would be able to impact at least one of her peers throughout this process.
Attending an HBCU was one of her best decisions. “This experience helped me grow as a black woman in society. Like I said before, coming here taught me that I can do anything. Like I really achieved every goal I set for myself — literally, no regrets!”
Reminiscing about her time at Delaware State, her closing remark was: “I will forever be a hornet. I love my HBCU.”