2020 TSA: Jahine Grady's Transfer Story
In the weeks leading up to the NISTS 2020 annual conference, we're highlighting the transfer stories of this year's National Transfer Student Ambassadors. All four students will attend the conference and participate in a student panel conversation during concurrent session one on Wednesday, February 5th.
What’s your major? Why did you choose it, and what do you hope to do after graduation?
I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. I choose this major after losing interest in computer science. My developmental psychology professor at Richard Bland Community College was a licensed family therapist, and she always discussed how we could use psychology in a variety of careers. I enjoy observing behavior, as well as understanding the way the mind works—especially in education. I want to pursue a career in education, so the way we learn, understand, and comprehend is essential to know.
After graduation, I will be teaching middle school science in Charlotte, North Carolina. My long-term goal is to go to law school to study education law in order to become effective in policy-making and legal management in the realm of public education. After gaining my advanced degrees, I hope to work in the US Department of Education, where I will observe, represent, and advocate for minorities and communities with underserved education systems.
Did you complete an associate degree before transferring? What led to your decision to complete it (or not)?
I gave myself a goal to transfer after my first year of community college, so I did not complete an associate degree before transferring to Morehouse. Particularly after the 2016 election, the campus atmosphere felt unaccepting. Racial profiling was prevalent, and there was a clear indication that it was my time to depart.
What were your concerns about changing schools? What was most challenging about transferring/ acclimating to a new campus?
Well, during the summer before my fall transfer, I researched all I could about Morehouse College. I felt prepared and thought I had everything I needed to go into that space as best as I could. However, the culture and lack of transfer resources made it difficult for me to acclimate to the campus, and I had to develop my own “figure it out yourself” mentality. It seemed like all the guidance, support, and direction was only given to the freshman class, so me and other transfers had to make our own way. The culture also made it hard to figure out our place in the campus community; if you weren’t set on what you wanted to do after graduation, you were stuck trying to “figure it out yourself.”
What did you do to find support/community on campus?
I found support by asking for help from individuals I felt had my best interests at heart. A few professors and administrators really helped me acclimate by helping me find tutors, counseling, and many other forms of support in that first couple of months.
What is something you wish you knew before transferring?
I wish I knew that it was okay to fail. It seemed like, in an environment filled with success and achievement, I was the only one not grasping the will to do the same thing. I also wish I had taken more classes at my community college that match Morehouse’s general education courses. Getting credit for the classes I took at Richard Bland has been extremely challenging.
What one piece of advice would you give students who are considering a transfer between schools? What about the faculty and staff who work with transfer students?
For future students, my advice is to never give up. Understand and research the space in which you’ll be transferring then commit to it. This is an opportunity to better your life in many ways, so continue the pursuit of improving yourself.
For my faculty and staff, please have a sense of understanding for transfer students. Transferring is not an easy decision because moving from one space to another is a life-changing decision. Please provide patience, understating, and guidance to those who transfer because you are a part of the environment they choose to transfer to.