Meet Tamara: Have a Post-Secondary Plan
PeerForward alumni have followed many career paths and found much success. Here, Tamara Braggs-George shares her journey.
When did you become a Peer Leader? What was your summer workshop experience like?
I believe that my PeerForward experience helped mold me into the woman, educator, daughter, sister and friend that I am today. The year was 2009 and it was the weekend of July 4th. Although it was not my first time staying on a college campus, it was my first time on Nova Southeastern University’s campus, and I was in awe with how beautiful the campus was. Throughout my experience, the writing sessions stood out most for me. I was able to find my voice, put all my thoughts on paper and begin to embark on my journey to reach heights that I once thought were unattainable.
How did you and your fellow Peer Leaders help create a college-going culture?
Following my PeerForward experience, I wanted all of my peers to understand the importance of having a post-secondary plan. With the help of many of my fellow Peer Leaders and our PeerForward staff and coaches, we were able to implement many college-going culture initiatives throughout the school year. The two that I am most proud of are the “college acceptance wall of fame’ and the “college acceptance morning shout.” Both initiatives highlighted seniors for their college and scholarship acceptances. The first was posted on school halls and lockers, the second was part of all-school morning announcements, which increased my peers level of motivation and excitement around the college going process.
How did PeerForward help you prepare for college and what was its influence your college experience?
PeerForward helped me prepare for college by opening my eyes to opportunities that I did not know were possible. Prior to my senior year of high school, I felt as though I had to follow in my parents’ footsteps academically and professionally. After meeting one-on-one with my College Coach and working in depth with my Writing Coach, I was able to engage in self-exploration and discovery, which ended up informing my college and career path. Throughout my college experience, I heavily relied on the friends and mentors that I made through PeerForward. In relying on them for moral and emotional support, and I made sure that I was a reliable source of support for them as well.
What obstacles or challenges did you have to overcome in order to get to college?
The thing that made college seem unattainable for me was the cost of tuition. Although I am a third generation college graduate, I do not come from an affluent background, and prior to my PeerForward experience, there were a lot of gray areas as to how I could afford to go to college. Once my workshop was complete, I was confident in my self-advocacy skills and understood how to obtain various forms of financial aid. My Tower of Power session was incredibly impactful. Beyond being engaging and informative, it helped me understand how to financially get to and through college.
What campus activities are you currently involved in?
Although, my school did not have any fraternities or sororities, I was an active member in various activities on campus. From my sophomore through senior year, I was an editor, producer, narrator and content writer for multiple projects on WSTU95, St. Thomas University’s online news and television channel. In April 2014, I was inducted in our university chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), which is an honor society highlighting students for their academic standing and leadership potential.
What do you plan to do after college?
As a college graduate, I realize that my journey isn’t over I have multiple goals that I wish to accomplish. I am currently teaching Math, Music/Art and Health for 4th-10th graders at Prestige Christian Academy. I make it my mission to equip my youngest to oldest learners with vital information about college. I make sure they understand that regardless of their socio-economic status, college is a feasible goal, and one they shouldn’t be afraid of pursuing. Eventually, I would like to teach Media Studies at the collegiate level, but for now I enjoy helping my students tap into their true potential on a daily basis, in the same way College Summit helped me tap into mine.
What advice do you have for high school students who are on the fence about going to college?
My advice would be that it is okay to be unsure! This will not be the last time that you face this type of uncertainty, whether its about college or just life in general. PeerForward Alum can attest to this. The most important thing however, is for you to try. Understand that we are our biggest critics. The only limits that exist are the ones we set for ourselves. It is imperative to have a post-secondary plan because it helps set a steady foundation for your future. Remember, nothing is impossible, the word itself says; I’m possible.