"This is not Nayla. She prides herself on doing her very best in school," her mother, LaCreis Kidd, said at the time.
Now, it seems like school was why she left. In an op-ed piece in the New York Post, Kidd is sharing her story.
Kidd wrote that she went off the grid because she "needed to break from my old life of high pressure and unreasonable expectations."
As the daughter of a single parent in Louisville, Kentucky, Kidd said she performed well in school.
"Louisville bored me, so when I was going to start high school, I insisted on moving to California to attend boarding school," she wrote. "My mom didn't want me to move so far away but supported my decision."
She applied and was accepted into The Thacher School, a prestigious boarding school in Ojai, California.
Kidd said she performed well because she had a close relationship with teachers at the school.
"I enjoyed the praise and self-worth I felt when I excelled in school, and I wanted to keep aiming higher," she wrote.
But when she got to Columbia, she felt "alienated and alone and didn't find the Columbia students very welcoming."
"School just wasn't interesting to me anymore because I didn't have any close connections with my teachers," she wrote.
Kidd decided in April of her sophomore year to plan her escape and decided that she wasn't going to tell anyone.
With money saved from her work-study program and by selling clothes and school supplies, she saved up and found an apartment for $750 a month through a Facebook group.
She emptied her bank account, opened a new one, deactivated her Facebook account and got a prepaid cellphone.
Kidd said she still doesn't know how police found her, but she gave her new prepaid number out to a few friends. She suspected that a friend must have given her number to her mother, who called her repeatedly.
Kidd said her mother was understanding.
"You don't have to explain anything," her mother told her. "An investigator told me you might be stripping. Even if you're a stripper, you're gonna be the best stripper out there."
After spending years in school, Kidd decided that school isn't for her, which she said is OK.
"I'm going to keep living in my new apartment and have no plans to go back to school again," she said. "I always told myself I needed to find gratification through academia, but now I want to find it on my own through the arts."
Kidd said she wants to continue her modeling career and work on her music and writing.
"I finally broke down because I was living a life I thought I should be living instead of living the life I want," she said.