portrait of Amil

Insecure to Unstoppable: How I Achieved Success in my First Year of College

Learn from Amil Greene '22, Student Writer

Insecurity. That awful thing that makes you doubt the essence of who you are. These feelings are completely normal and affect every single one of us.


In the current ‘technology era,’ companies are now profiting from this less than satisfactory feeling all of us experience from time to time. Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are known for their ability to influence politics and world wide movements, but also for instantly changing our societal standards of normality with a singular post. Opinions, ideals, and morals all can sway with the tap of a button just because the majority seems to be supporting a new phenomenon. Social media and college-experience “noise” from the people in your everyday community may open a door for doubts and insecurities to creep in.


Now, I know it sounds like I have it all figured out. But trust me; I have been there myself.  Almost halfway through my junior year of high school, I was sitting at home eating dinner after hours of tutoring on a school night when my mom got a call from the doctor.

The news my mom received over the phone was so shocking that I can remember everything about that moment.
Scottie dog logo in purple


I was wearing a light blue dress with white sandals, and we were having maduros for dinner. My sister was on her way to another “Top Teens of America” meeting and my dad was just coming into the house from playing a long game of golf. My struggle to comprehend certain topics had always been one of my insecurities, and the confirmation of my learning disability did everything but comfort me. My family members were ecstatic over the news because it meant I truly was putting in my best effort and that, “it was not my fault.” However, I shrank inside because all I could reflect on in that moment was how this diagnosis meant my troubles would never come to an end. “Incurable” is the word they used and that haunted me throughout the rest of high school.


I carried the same negative energy on the first day of classes at Agnes Scott. I couldn’t help but quiver in my seat when I saw how extensive the syllabus was. The expectations I had set for college life looked a lot like “Stomp the Yard” or “Drumline,” but I learned quickly that those movies had it very wrong. Getting an A+ at such a rigorous institution is not a piece of cake, even for someone who did not have a learning disability like myself. I had to learn how to not let my insecurities in the classroom hinder me from achieving my dreams. These three main tools transformed my first-year experience: Rashad, Jeni, and my planner. 

Scottie Community Saves The Day!


Director of Accessible Education Rashad Morgan and the Office of Accessible Education came to my rescue! I was extremely comforted to know that the office had resources to help me succeed. If I needed a new accommodation listed, it was never a hassle and they went the extra mile every time with a smile.


For any student, the Center for Writing and Speaking and the Wellness Center are among the favorites of available Agnes Scott resources. The Center for Writing and Speaking is a favorite among Agnes Scott students because of the efficiency of the student tutors available, but also the professional development programming in the evenings. Student tutors are always willing to share tips about how to tailor an assignment to a specific professor, which is refreshing if you are nervous about speaking directly to the instructor.


The Wellness Center is a safe space where you can take yoga classes, talk to a counselor, or learn more about stress management. In general, it is extremely helpful to use the provided resources on campus to help you along the way. 

portrait of Amil

Treat Yourself


Second is Jeni. Even though Jeni is not a member of the current Agnes Scott Community, Jeni’s Ice Cream in downtown Decatur was a fun place where I could reward myself after overcoming my doubts. Rewarding yourself with Jeni’s or just doing something to make yourself feel good is essential to staying confident.

It’s easy to stray from self care when you’re trying to keep up with the monotony of assignments and obligations. Self-care is essential and will give you motivation to keep going.
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Plan, Plan, Plan


Lastly, be sure to plan, and plan some more and even more. You will be surprised how much checking something off on a list will make you feel like you’ve got your life together! Even if the old school physical agenda is not your style, free apps where you can set reminders for assignments is a great alternative at your fingertips. Tracking assignments, journaling ideas, or even pinning pictures of your goals in your work space is an immediate way to turn a dream into a tangible reality.


Those three aspects made me feel like I was an intelligent, capable, and confident college student. My learning disability does not define me or what I am capable of achieving. Whatever insecurity, doubt or worry you have is completely normal, but this is your time to shine! I challenge you to make the most out of this new chapter and live your best Scottie life. 


Ziyana Amil Greene is a sophomore at Agnes Scott College from Long Island, New York. She is pursuing a bachelor of arts in political science with a specialization in leadership development. In her free time, Amil enjoys reading, hiking and listening to podcasts about world-wide politics.

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