TCC graduate thankful for experience

Published 8:59 pm Saturday, December 20, 2008

Setifah Jordan did not know what she wanted to do with her life.

“I’ve always been a college person, you would have thought I would have gone to college out of high school, but I didn’t because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself,” she said.

She went to work at the Norfolk Naval shipyard, and for three years she maintained a good job – an apprenticeship to be an electrician.

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The problem was she did not like it at all.

“I quit,” she said. “Everyone was so surprised, but I hated it.”

She had begun taking classes at the Tidewater Community College – Portsmouth Campus part time while working at the shipyard. And while there was still a lot she didn’t know, she did know TCC was where she wanted to figure it out.

“I wanted to get my hands in anything, everything because I wanted to get the full college experience,” Jordan said. She began by working at the school’s Welcome Center, where she got to meet with professors, deans and fellow students every day.

Through that, she learned a lot about the school’s Student Government Association. Before long, she was the SGA parliamentarian, and then the president. She did all her extracurricular activities while maintaining a 3.8 grade point average.

“It just opened me up to so many things and so many people,” Jordan said. “I was making great friends while going to school.”

In fact, it was through those friendships Jordan found the direction she had been waiting so long for.

She came to TCC to get her associate’s degree in science, and she planned on becoming a biology teacher. But, while talking about her future plans one day with one of the school’s deans, Jordan was told of the pharmaceutical programs in the area.

Currently, she is applying to the Hampton University pharmacy program to pursue a career as a pharmacist.

“It’s through the people and the friends that I met at TCC that I really found myself,” she said.

And TCC was happy to give that experience.

For the school’s fall semester graduates, Jordan was selected as the Portsmouth Campus student to compete to be the student commencement speaker for the class of more than 1,600 students. Along with the nomination, Jordan had to prepare a speech, get recommendation letters and speak to a panel of judges.

She was selected as the school’s runner-up.

“I was really nervous in that room, but it’s a huge accomplishment for me,” she said.

Jordan is the first woman on her side of the family to graduate college, and she says she is proud to say she graduated from TCC.

“TCC has just helped me out so much,” Jordan said. “All the friendships I have made, all the staff…If there’s any student who doesn’t know where they want to go, or who you want to be – start here. I’m a firm believer your dreams can take you anywhere.”