Dreams delayed: She hopes to be here some day

Driving down Fairfield, Leya Bobbitt passes Detroit Mercy every morning on her way to work.

Growing up right off Puritan, Bobbitt remembers walking to Detroit Mercy every year for Safety Street when she was a kid.

Even as a youngster, Bobbitt knew Detroit Mercy was in her future.

But almost four years have passed since she graduated high school, and she hasn’t attended yet.

“Well, money was the biggest issue,” she said. “My mom, not me, thought it would be less expensive if I went to community college first to knock out some classes and then go to Detroit Mercy.”

Bobbitt agreed and began attending Wayne County Community College (WC3) in fall 2013.

Soon, Bobbitt’s plan took an unexpected turn.

“My granny got sick in January,” she said, “and that took a huge toll on my family because she was pretty much the backbone of the family. With her in and out of the hospital, things weren’t going too good at home.”

Her grandmother’s failing health affected her schoolwork, which in turn left her behind in her classes.

“Midterms were coming up and I knew I wasn’t going to do good but I didn’t want to just give up,” Bobbitt said.

So she reached out to a friend who attended Detroit Mercy to help with her studies.

When she walked around campus and studied in the library, Bobbitt said she felt this was where she belonged.

“I loved it,” she said. “I told Tiara (her friend) I was coming here next year no matter what.”

But Bobbitt had no idea what was about to happen next.

On March 28, Bobbitt’s mother called her and her sister, Ayana, telling them their grandmother had died.

“It was about 10 p.m. and my mom called crying, saying she was gone,” she recalled. “I swear I never felt so much pain in my life.”

After her grandmother’s death, Bobbitt stopped going to class and didn't even think about school for a time.

“I know that was wrong for me to do and I know my granny wanted me to stay in school,” Bobbitt said. “But I don't know; I didn’t feel anything.”

She secluded herself in the house, barely talking to anyone or going anywhere.

Months passed before she eventually decided it was time to get back to life.

Bobbitt found a job, saved up for a car and last fall returned to college after a two-year absence.

“I’m back at WC3 part-time now so I don’t get overwhelmed,” she said. “I’m just taking it one semester at a time.”

Bobbitt said her friend motivated her to get back into school. Tiara had graduated in May 2015.

“Seeing that gave me a lot of hope,” she said. “I’m not giving up just yet. I know it’s going to take some time but it’ll come when it’s the right time.”