“Anyone at Thurgood Marshall Academy could tell you that I’ve changed” says Tamiya Hall, a 2014 graduate and a current freshman at Norfolk State University (NSU). Now mid-way through her first semester, Tamiya’s transition to undergrad marks the end of a long personal journey into a goal-oriented college student: “I have truly changed my perspective on school and life, and I am proud of myself.”
Tamiya chose to attend NSU after visiting the campus several times. Each time, she fell in love: “Everyone was so welcoming and the administrative team actually cared and took the time out to help with anything you needed.” She notes that the university’s proximity to home was another reason she chose to matriculate there.
Though many students enroll in college without a specific major or career in mind, Tamiya already had a goal set – nursing – inspired by her experience caring for her ailing grandmother. “When my grandmother was sick, she came to live with us and my mom let me help her care for her. Taking care of my grandmother before she passed away showed me that being a nurse was something I really wanted to do. I love taking care of people and giving them that motivation and encouragement to do better.” Long-term, Tamiya’s career goal is to become a Registered Nurse (RN), “but first I have to graduate from college with a degree in nursing,” she notes.
With a packed schedule of science prerequisite classes, Tamiya admits that “NSU isn’t easy, with a heavy workload, long lectures, and the stress of living with a stranger.” But Thurgood Marshall Academy prepared Tamiya for the rigors of college: “sitting through lectures, given so much work at once, the weekly quizzes, and being on your own are all tasks I had at Thurgood Marshall Academy that I have here at NSU. I wouldn’t say college is easy but, it’s manageable because I had been doing this for four years before I even came to college.”
Outside of class, Tamiya works as a study hall adviser for NSU athletes. Tamiya says she “chose this chose this job because I think it is very important for athletes to succeed while in college because they are juggling a lot of commitments, between school and sports. There are times when they will come to study hall feeling down, and it’s my job to encourage them not give up.” She connects her role as a study hall adviser to her career goal: “these skills will help me in the nursing field because I will have patients who are about to give up and but it’s my job to motivate them to fight for their lives.”
Though Tamiya is fully immersed in the routine of college, Thurgood Marshall Academy still plays a role in her life. “When I wasn’t able to pay for my college textbooks, I called [Alumni Program Manager] Ms. Levine and asked her about getting help to pay for them. She sent me the Alumni Emergency Fund application, which helps fund college students textbooks. If it wasn’t for the emergency fund, I don’t know how I would be passing my classes. I could not be more grateful and thankful for that.”
Tamiya recognizes that this type of continuing support for Thurgood Marshall Academy’s alumni is unique. “My friends [at NSU] don’t have that kind of foundation. I truly thank Thurgood Marshall Academy, and I wouldn’t trade my high school experience for anything.”