Stories from the Learning Lab: Dwayne Mallard

January 25th, 2016
Dwayne Mallard reads his story at the Adult Learning Lab. With him are Sara Smith (left) and Liz Rohan with the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Students at our Adult Learning Lab participated in a writing project to briefly describe their unique personal journeys now aimed towards the shared goal of getting their GED and furthering their education. The project was facilitated by Liz Rohan and Sara Smith with the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and the stories are collected in a publication called, “A Look Inside the Lab: Student Voices.”

This story was written by Dwayne Mallard:

As the nomadic one in the family, I was born in Lincoln Park, Michigan, but I grew up in Detroit, up until I was 23 years of age. Now I reside in Detroit solely. My Dad was a diesel mechanic and my mom was a housewife. I grew up in a strict household.

I didn’t do so well in K-12. I dropped out of school in the 10th grade after jumping from school to school. When I dropped out of school in the 10th grade, I dreamed of going to Europe, so I started saving my money. I moved to Europe in 1993, and I landed in Amsterdam, Holland for 6 months and stayed in Frankfurt, Bremen and Hamburg, Germany altogether for one year. It was a wonderful experience to live abroad. I learned so much about myself.

My luck and money ran out which inspired me to travel and see more of America. I decided to move to New York to study show design and culinary arts. I stayed in New York and Chicago for six years. The cold and windy city blew me out of town so I moved to Miami for five years working in the hospitality industry. It was fun but it felt very lonely and I missed my family.

My dream is to sing and play music professionally. I practice my guitar everyday and study for my GED. It’s very challenging because music and studying require a lot of time, practice and dedication. Music and traveling inspires me as I volunteer once a month singing at a nursing home for the elderly who have dementia. I like helping people and I would love to study music therapy. However, I have tried three times to complete my music studies, I always come to a road block and fail this class. I need my GED to try one more time and I hope this will be a smoother ride to my destiny in life with this next attempt.

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