Deesha Dyer ’95: Alumni Advice
The Secret to Confidence
Before coming to Milton Hershey School, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house. I always watched her balance a million things while still being there for us and other children who weren’t in our family. My grandmother Louise was a strong female role model as well as her mother, my Granny. I was blessed that they were family.
When I enrolled at MHS, my middle school houseparents, the Mladenoffs, helped to empower me. They never gave up on me through adolescence and trying to navigate through puberty. Mrs. Mladenoff always spent time with the girls in my student home and really poured so much love into us. That empowered me to always do the same in my life wherever I go.
I also developed my independence at Milton Hershey School. Being raised away from my family from an early age and then graduating and going into the world pushes you to be independent. I learned to do things for myself pretty quickly and learned so many lessons along the way.
Some of the main lessons are:
- It’s okay to not know something and express you don’t know it. That’s the only way people can help you, and in turn, it helps you gain confidence. Learning and being open to learning is the way we continue to grow.
- Independence means different things to different people, and I have come to respect that.
- It’s okay to not always be strong. Sometimes, you don’t have it in you and you need to send your Superwoman cape to the drycleaners. It’s important to balance and rest.
- Strength is different for every individual, so don’t feel like you have to look, act, or carry yourself like someone else who appears strong. Define it for yourself.
- Don’t compare, contrast, or live your life off what you see on social media or TV. While the people may be real, they are showing you their most filtered self. We can’t walk around with an Instagram filter on our lives, our faces, and our bodies. Stand tall with your head up in who you are.
- Embrace your quirks with confidence and know you have a unique talent, personality, and vibe that no one else has—and that is beautiful.
- Don’t feel pressured to figure it out all at once. One step at a time.
Confidence is an evolving process. I feel confident in many things but still lack confidence in others. I think that’s natural and normal because we are always changing and discovering new talents about ourselves.
I carry the lessons I’ve learned by trying to exude and present confidence in all situations—even if I’m not feeling confident.
I meditate on confidence daily because believing in yourself is truly the key to growth, personally and professionally. I try to use my confidence to help me take risks.
One of my favorite quotes is from Audre Lorde. She is my favorite poet/writer of all time.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde
This quote always sticks with me as a reminder to care for myself. In turn, I can care for others.