Senior Profile: Jada Pickens

Photo courtesy of Jada Pickens.

What is your preferred name and major(s) and minor(s)?

My preferred name is Jada. I am a Social Work major.

What are some of the jobs you held at McDaniel?

During the years of 2014-2016 I was a Resident Assistant for First-Year Housing living in Rouzer. I lived in Rouzer for 3 years. Currently, I am the Head Resident Assistant for Greek Housing (Blanche Ward, ANW, and Forlines).

What organizations were you part of at McDaniel?

I am a member of the Black Student Union (BSU), Vice-President of Voices of Praise (VOP), and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

How much did you enjoy your time at McDaniel?

I truly love McDaniel. I picked McDaniel because of the small environment. Graduating from a class of 16 people at a small Christian private school, McDaniel fit me perfectly because of the class sizes and student to professor ratio. My freshman year, I remember moving in and my RA telling us “Welcome Home!”. When I became an RA, I used that phrase so often with my residents because after a few weeks McDaniel truly does become your home. I have never felt out of place here.

Who do you think is/was your best mentor(s)?

My best mentor has been Nyambi Shannon. She is the Area Coordinator of Independent Housing, and has also become my Soror during my time here at McDaniel. She has pushed me to be the best person I can be. Nyambi has mentored me not just in education, but also in life in general.

What were some of the challenges you encountered and how did you overcome them?

A challenge that I recently encountered was the passing of my father on January 20, 2017. He passed away suddenly, three days before the semester started. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life. My dad was my best friend and my twin. We shared the same face. It was challenging because I felt as though I didn’t have purpose on this campus anymore. It was hard to try and finish school because he is the reason I stayed in school. He and my mother always pushed me in my education. He was more excited for graduation than I was. Of course, dealing with his death is still hard, but I am continuing to push on with my life and make him proud.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I received a job working at the Trellis School in Hunt Valley, MD., as an Applied Behavioral Analyst (ABA) Instructor. Trellis is a school specifically designed for students with Autism.

What is your best memory at McDaniel? What is your worst memory at McDaniel?

My worst memory on McDaniel College was when I received my first and final F. I was taking a really hard math class just for fun, and I didn’t do as well as I wanted to do. I cried my eyes out. Instead of giving up and letting the F stay on my transcript, I decided to retake the class and prove that I could do better than what the grade on that paper reflected. My best memory on the campus of McDaniel is watching my past residents grow throughout the years. It’s nothing like watching the freshmen start off knowing nothing about McDaniel and then by the time they hit their junior year, they are running organizations on campus, becoming RAs themselves, or just making a difference.

What advice can you give to those not graduating?

It’s not when or how fast you finish, but as long as you FINISH. I say this because throughout my college career, I have had a lot of challenges hit me. I’ve been hospitalized and I’ve dealt with deaths, my father and Justine Tinnin, Class of 2016. Life gets hard, but you cannot give up. I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve done at McDaniel because it has made me a better and stronger person. It’s been a hard four years, but I am almost at the finish line, May 20th 2017. As stated before it’s not about how fast you finish or when you finish, as long as you finish is what matters.