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Defining My Future, Letting Go of My Past

From a young age, we are always told to “push through” any trials or tribulations that life throws in our face. For most of us, it’s just empty advice that adults hand out—I know from experience.

Before my time at Milton Hershey School, I was struggling with grades, emotional stability, and managing stress in my life. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to handle the intense emotions I was experiencing. Without the guidance I needed from adults and important people in my life, I was hopeless. That was until Milton Hershey School entered my life.

Maggie, an MHS freshmanI was eager to come, but I was also terrified. When I arrived at the school, things were not the easiest. I couldn’t stop thinking about my past, and I held on to what I had been through. Even though I was faced with constant reminders that I wasn’t perfect, I tried my hardest to move on. Every day, adults and mentors reminded me that I deserve to reach my full potential and I could be so much more than what life had originally planned for me. Even though I’m a pretty consistent self-motivator, without the guidance, advice, and constant encouragement to be better, I’m not quite sure where I would be right now.

As I continued to persevere through challenges, I realized I could be anything I put my mind to. I no longer have to face the same restrictions on life that held me back when I first arrived at MHS.

I’ve learned you can’t overcome your past by constantly reminding yourself of the negatives. Instead, you have to realize those difficulties are what shape you.

You must use those struggles to become even better. I have so much potential to do what I want with my life, not just follow the guidelines life laid out for me. I have dreams of college and success—things that were never options before MHS.

For anyone who has been in a similar place as I once was, you should know that it’s not your past that defines you. It’s how you allow that past to affect your future.


Maggie enrolled at MHS in seventh grade from Harrisburg, PA.

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. View full Equal Opportunity Policy.