My name is Treandra Thomas. I am a first-year VISTA serving with the Capital Area College Access Network, in two schools in Lansing, MI (Woodcreek Achievement Center and Wilson Talent Center). My primary responsibility is to make sure as many students as possible understand their transition into college, from college applications to FAFSA applications, by giving presentations about resources in college and tips to be successful while in college. This is both rewarding and challenging because most high school seniors are expected to know exactly what they want to do at the age of 18 when most of us don’t figure it out until we are in our late twenties.
My favorite part about this experience is getting to see all of my students accomplish things that they thought were impossible. I have students doing a little bit of everything. Some are entering the workforce, some are going to universities and some are starting at community colleges. Needless to say, I am proud of them all because they are doing what they need to do to be successful in life. My whole goal for them is to have a plan that they are comfortable with and for them to be able to be unapologetically themselves in every aspect of life.
My students do not only learn things from me, I learn a lot from them as well. They often think in a simplistic way, which is amazing when you feel like you have a problem or cannot decide what you need to do. It is very reassuring when I hear them say I should take time to myself or I should make sure that I am happy with what I am doing because it means that they are listening. Being a VISTA has opened up my eyes to not only what I want to do with my life, but also how I look at life as a whole. I want to continue to inspire and help those who often get left behind because these are the children who are the most special. They are the ones who have gotten me this far. My favorite part about my service is seeing my students smile and seeing them accomplish just one of their many goals.