Although “A Day in the Life” articles were paused for this school year, the center is delighted to say we have one more student to highlight before the semester ends. This article’s interviewee is Tomi Ola, a senior graduating this year and continuing her studies at St. Kate’s Grad School. Interviewing Tomi led to insightful conversations, hilarious moments, and great advice for current Katies.
Before Coming to the U.S and Differences in Schooling
Tomi describes her education being difficult because of how she was two years younger than the average age of students in the grade when she started school here in the U.S. Compared to Nigeria, where she describes education to be more prescriptive, math was easier to comprehend because of tutors. Here in the states, she was able to understand and put into use her learning style as a visual learner and application of learned materials. Schooling in the U.S. provided a more comfortable environment for her mind and learning abilities especially because of family members attending the same school due to circumstances.
Applying for Colleges and Coming to St. Kate’s
At the age of 16, Tomi didn’t know what she was going to do after having just graduated high school. She instead focused on enjoying her summer and decided that she would the worry about the next chapter later. She ended up Googling colleges near her and enrolled in Inver Hills Community College and took classes there until she transferred in 2021 to St. Kate’s. Although the pandemic was a stressful and overwhelming event, it provided her with time to reflect on personal and career goals. Tomi makes a joke before becoming serious and compares the pandemic to a wakeup call about her future which allowed her to slow down and carefully think about the path she wanted to take.
Time at St. Kate’s and Grad School
After she got accepted as an undergraduate, she worked as a telecommunicator at alumni relations for St. Kate’s, and became a program assistant at Residence Life during the aftermath of COVID-19. This role helped her learn more about the resources and opportunities St. Kate’s offered such as the 3+2 program.
On deciding her major, she initially wanted to do Public Health, Psychology, and International Studies, and found that the schedule for these classes would lead her to spend a lot of time in college. She then chose to major in Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Psychology with a Concertation in Computer Programming and Analytics to transition more easily into the 3+2 program because of certain classes not being available if she wanted to pursue a minor in Computer Sciences.
During her undergrad, she was worked as a Psychology lab instructor, research assistant on a project involving Photovoice (community-based project), orientation leader and usher at the O’Shaughnessy. Through presenting and aiding as a lab instructor, Tomi was able to increase her confidence level. She was also the Senate Organizational Affairs Chair for school year 2021-2023 and has had a long-standing affair in the Student Senate. Another internship she’s had is at Youth Farm because of her personal interest of learning to grow her own food. This curiosity soon led her to attending classes and now aids instructors in teaching classes.
A Day in the Life
Currently a grad student, Tomi is in training to become an RA for the remainder of the semester and will be one for the upcoming school year. She usually wakes-up between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. to start her day by cleaning her room, praying, and working out at the Butler Center. How she goes about her day depends on her school calendar so there are three different outlooks for each day. This year, she is trying to document her life with a camera (which she loves dearly but has unfortunately taken many hits). Here, she shares what she does weekly with her audiences (when she remembers to bring her camera).
Mondays and Fridays
Monday and Fridays are days when she has no class and takes time to work on projects from her job at Restoration for All Inc., a non-profit organization, where she is a program and staff coordinator. In addition, Tomi works with partner organizations to help create programs.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays
An average of three meetings per day that deal with work, extracurriculars, and school. She then works on school assignments and attends class in the evenings. If she doesn’t have class on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, she takes dance classes. On off (no in-person classes) weeks, she takes the time to work on school projects.
On Saturday, she partakes in Youth Farm activities of tending plants in their greenhouse. She takes dance and cooking classes when she has free weekends. She is active in her Church and community.
Advice to Students
Keeping quotes in a note app is something Tomi is all about when I asked her for advice she would give to students. Although some are from her role models (especially Baba Enoch Adeboye, Tyler Perry, and Mark Tuan), she is pretty creative when it comes to making a few of her own:
“Life is not easy, but you are the driver of life. Potholes will always come; it’s your attitude that determines how you will navigate around them.”
“Everyone’s experience is different; own up to your experiences and attitudes to new experiences. You won’t get anywhere without changing.”