Williams improved her grades and found a passion amid “grief and restoration”
November 2022 – Jaquayah Williams C’22 describes her time at Drew University as a rollercoaster—a rollercoaster she was able to navigate thanks to the help of dedicated faculty.
“I went through some of the most tragic events possible—a house fire that burned down my family’s home, and later the death of my father,” said Williams.
“In my journey through grief and restoration, including the birth of my daughter, Drew really helped me with everything I needed to get back on my feet by providing counseling, housing, and food security. Having an excellent support system, including Drew’s understanding faculty, are the reasons I continue to thrive as a student.”
Here Williams corrects herself. Scratch “understanding” and replace it with “embracing.”
“I remember heading back to Drew for the first time after becoming a mother. I brought my daughter to the bookstore to pick up some books before the semester, and immediately the faculty embraced her as one of their own. It felt so freeing. I’ve learned to embrace motherhood by being transparent about my role as a mother. I let my professors know if I’m having difficulty balancing things, and they are both understanding and concerned in an invested way. It really helps lessen the stress of wondering if you’re making the right decisions and sacrifices. When she sees me walk across the stage, I’ll know it was all worth it.”
Drew’s faculty has also helped Williams secure critical financial aid—through the Oliver J Winsett Scholarship—and figure out her future after crossing the Commencement stage.
“They helped me find my passion for sociology and helped me turn my grades around in the process,” said Williams. “They held me to high standards and saw the best in me. They’re one of the reasons I am the strong, critical, courageous, and resilient person I am today!”
She is on track to graduate this December with a degree in sociology and plans of going into ministry and working to become a guidance counselor or college counselor.