Nisa, a rising senior and student athlete at Hastings College, is breaking barriers and defying the odds as she persists throughout her college career. Majoring in health systems on a nursing track, Nisa has big plans to make a difference in the medical field with the hopes of someday becoming a pediatrician. Nisa’s journey to college wasn’t an easy one, but with the help of College Possible, she has been able to persevere despite the hardships faced throughout her college career and beyond.
The start of Nisa’s journey with College Possible
Nisa was first introduced to the College Possible program by her high school counselor. Having already known that college was something she wanted to pursue, Nisa felt that the purpose of College Possible would help her fulfill that goal. “I always knew college was my next step after high school, and College Possible could help me get there.”
While it was Nisa’s personal ambition that motivated her to go to college, she was well aware of the choices she had after high school. Nisa says, “Options after high school aren’t broad. My family made me aware of three choices: attending college or trade school, joining the military, or immediately entering the workforce.” Since Nisa didn’t have much of an interest in any trades and saw the military as a far-fetched option for her, she decided to pursue her goal of getting a college education.
Before joining College Possible, Nisa felt uneasy and overwhelmed about applying to college. Being a first-generation college student, nobody had paved the way before her to help guide her in the process. “The college application process can be intimidating,” Nisa shares. “I wasn’t comfortable until after my experience with College Possible because they gave tips and tricks to apply, found applications that worked for multiple schools, provided waivers for applications, and provided clarification on different concepts of applications, which was helpful being a first-generation college student.”
“Many of the students in which College Possible serves are indeed just like Nisa,” says Aminatu Issaka, director of college access at College Possible Omaha. “They are first-generation students who want and desire to succeed academically and professionally; however, lack the knowledge and access to resources to achieve these attainable goals.” College Possible Omaha serves 1,600 students annually, “It’s part of our mission to provide College Possible students (via our amazingly qualified coaches), the tools and guidance required to navigate those ‘unknown waters,’ which is just one of the many ways in which we aim to lessen the degree divide and diversify the global workforce.”
Nisa is also a student athlete at Hastings College, where she competes in track and field. As Nebraska’s top hurdler during her high school career, Nisa was recruited by numerous schools but chose Hastings College after receiving a full-tuition scholarship. Being a student athlete comes with its own set of challenges, like balancing athletic commitments with academic responsibilities. She says, “Being a student athlete isn’t easy, but it’s well worth the process.”
Nisa’s College Possible coaches have truly made a difference in her college experience, providing support and encouragement throughout her journey. They provided regular check-ins, particularly during critical times. Nisa says, “They ask about my wellbeing, the college I attend, FAFSA completion, registration, and more.” Nisa shares that her coaches always knew the perfect time to reach out, which amplified the support and encouragement she received. “My coach was checking in with me during a season of hardships, but I was able to get the support I needed and regained my focus,” she says.
“I’ve been Nisa’s coach for her junior year, and it’s been amazing to see how she never gives up, no matter what obstacles come her way,” shares Say, Nisa’s College Possible coach. “I’m grateful to have been a part of her journey, and I can’t wait to see the incredible things she’ll accomplish next.”
A college degree means the world to Nisa, who has had to jump hurdles while experiencing family tragedy, mental health issues, and physical injury. “Getting a degree means that I overcame the barrier of hardship and reached the finish line,” she shares. Despite the challenges Nisa has faced, she urges others to remain positive and not let circumstances define your journey.
From nursing to pediatric medicine: Nisa’s ambitions in the medical field and beyond
Upon completing her degree at Hastings College, Nisa plans to attend nursing school to begin her career as a nurse. She will eventually go back to school to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatrician which will allow her to truly make a difference in the world. Nisa’s ambitions don’t stop there, as she wants to discover entrepreneurial opportunities for herself in the medical field and the fitness business industry. Ultimately, Nisa’s goals and aspirations revolve around attaining financial stability and breaking generational cycles of poverty.
As Nisa continues her college journey with unwavering determination, she serves as an inspiration to others, proving that with resilience, support, and a positive mindset, obstacles can be overcome. Offering guidance to others, Nisa shares, “If you’re stuck in a season of hardship, don’t dwell in it. Put in the hard work because eventually the season will change.”