A happy accident
Sometimes taking a wrong turn can get you to the right place. Just ask Naysia Humphrey.
“My mom and I were actually on our way to visit another college when we accidentally found Berry,” Naysia said. “The campus was so beautiful. We started asking questions, trying to find out more about the college.”
As luck would have it, a Discover Berry event for prospective students was scheduled for the following day. Naysia and her mother stayed to attend the program and had a serendipitous encounter that undoubtedly changed the course of the younger woman’s life.
“We wandered up to WinShape and just happened to meet Bob Skelton, who told us about the WinShape College Program,” the junior from Flowery Branch, Ga., explained. “It was more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for.”
The WinShape College Program provides leadership and values training as well as scholarships of up to $32,000 for eight semesters of tuition at Berry. Skelton is senior director of the WinShape Foundation, which sponsors the scholarship program in collaboration with Berry. Naysia applied to WinShape and was accepted, but her enrollment at Berry still wasn’t a certainty.
As the eldest of two children in a single-parent household, Naysia was sensitive to her mother’s struggle to provide for the family and didn’t want college expenses adding to her burden. Naysia knew that if she was to come to Berry, she would need more financial aid than the WinShape program could provide.
After a lot of thought and prayer (and some sage advice from her then 9-year-old brother, Zion, who told her, “Sis, you need to be at Berry.”), Naysia decided to pursue enrollment. She applied for more financial aid and ultimately was awarded state and federal scholarships and grants. When she was hired for an on-campus job, the final piece of her financial aid package fell into place, making it possible for her to enroll at Berry.
Naysia currently works the maximum number of hours allowed throughout the academic year and during the summer, serving in both the advancement office and the president’s office. She says her on-the-job experience has been as valuable as what she’s learned in the classroom, challenging her to get out of her comfort zone, to become more flexible, and to strive for excellence in all that she does.
And it’s not just her campus job that provides firsthand experiences. Next spring, the psychology major and family studies minor will volunteer with a WinShape Community Impact Team focused on marriage and family. She is especially excited about the opportunity because it will give her experience in her future field of work.
Considering where she is now, there is no doubt that the WinShape program has had a profound effect upon her life.
“I am so thankful to the Cathy family [founders of WinShape] and others for their generous support of the WinShape program,” Naysia said. “It’s been a growth experience for me in my walk with Christ and in my relationships with other people. I’ve learned how to be more nurturing, how to give and receive correction, and how to live life with integrity.”
Maybe stopping to ask for directions isn’t always the best idea after all.
Written by Debbie Rasure
Originally published in "Berry" magazine