Earlier this month, police were frantically searching for 19-year-old Columbia University sophomore Nayla Kidd after she mysteriously went missing. Kidd later turned up "safe and sound" in Brooklyn, and it came out that she had rented an apartment in East Williamsburg to start a new life and "get away from it all." Kidd talked to the Post this weekend to explain why she left her life (and full Columbia scholarship) behind without telling anyone.

"I wanted the time to make sense of my situation alone and have the space to comprehend it," Kidd told the Post. "I felt like sharing would force me to explain something I hadn’t even figured out myself. It wasn’t normal to just quit school. But I never expected it to get so out of hand."

Kidd explains in the first-person piece that she grew up as the only child of a single mother who worked as a cancer-research scientist at the University of Louisville. She found meaning and self-worth in her academic life, which culminated in her full scholarship at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia.

But once she got there she went from star student to slacker: "School just wasn’t interesting to me anymore because I didn’t have any close connections with my teachers," she wrote. "I felt like I had to choose between living a life I was passionate about and doing well in school. Even though I was wired to be a good student, I didn’t feel ­inspired."

Her descriptions of "waking up every day for months with a feeling of dread and doom" is probably a familiar feeling for a lot of young people—the difference is most young people don't suddenly shut down their Facebook accounts, change their cell phone and bank account numbers, and move out of their campus dorm with nary a word.

But that's what Kidd did—she found a $750/month apartment near the Morgan Avenue subway stop, and moved in April 29th. She didn't talk to her mother on Mother's Day, she ignored frequent phone calls from the few people who had her new number, instead spending the time "completely focused on myself."

The cops tracked her down by May 16th, and she was reunited with her mother, LaCreis Kidd, who wrote a very short piece about how she handled the experience also for the Post: "When I was finally re-united with Nayla, it was a bit awkward," she wrote. "How could she just cut me off like that? But I told her I love her and I don’t care what’s going on in her life, she should know she can always talk to me. I’m not angry, but I’m still recovering from such a traumatic experience."

Kidd has no plans to return to Columbia, but she does have plans for what's next for her:

I realize now that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone else or myself. School isn’t for me, and I’m OK with that.

There are a lot of different things I would like to work on and ­develop now. I want to make and produce music and work on my writing.

I want to continue my modeling career and see if I can make money doing freelance gigs. I’m back in touch with my friends and family, but I’m not going back to how things used to be.