Every since Kia Jeffers was a little girl in second grade, she has dreamed of becoming a nurse. She knew early on that was exactly what she wanted to be.
“I’ve always had this passion to want to help people,” said Kia, a pre-nursing student at UNC-Charlotte.
Her journey to her studies in the Queen City was made a bit easier because of Career and College Promise classes offered at James Sprunt Community College, free classes which grant college credit to high schoolers who successfully complete their courses. Kia took advantage of those classes while at Wallace Rose Hill High School in Duplin County.
“I took English 111, English 112, Pre-calculus, American History I and II, Sociology…” said Kia, who was able to transfer 31 credit hours of college coursework to UNCC. “The CCP classes definitely helped me get most of my general education requirements out of the way for my bachelor’s degree.”
As Kia found out upon entering UNC Charlotte, CCP classes are not offered everywhere.
“Many of my classmates at UNC Charlotte did not have the chance to take college classes in high school.”
“They are like, my school did not offer anything like that… so I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have taken so many classes through James Sprunt,” she said. ““It helped my GPA at Charlotte and helped me to get ahead. It allowed me the room to make mistakes, but correct them if needed.”
Kia says that the classes at James Sprunt prepared her for college life at UNCC.
“We had to write papers a lot at James Sprunt and at UNCC we have research papers due at least 5 times a semester, so it helped.”
Also helping her was the ability to take Anatomy and Physiology I and II, classes that got her closer to being accepted into the 49ers’ School of Nursing, a program that she cannot wait to be a part of at UNC Charlotte.
With a high GPA, CCP classes, and an opportunity that allowed her to attend Governor’s School at Meredith College during the summer of 2017, Kia could have chosen any university she wanted.
“I chose to go to Charlotte because it felt like home.”
Kia never imagined the tragedy that would unfold on the campus of UNC Charlotte on the last day of class.
“It was nerve-racking because that has never happened in North Carolina before,” she said as she recalls the day when the shooting took place, in which a gunman stormed into a classroom and killed two students and injuring several others.
“I was on campus and I was getting a lot of text messages saying there was an active shooter, and I was outside at the moment. It was kind of scary to think you go to school and you don’t think your safety is going to be compromised.”
Just as many other students, Kia was celebrating the end of the school year and getting ready for the concert that was to be held campus that day.
“It was just a normal day. It was the last day of class. I was outside the football stadium because we were having a concert,” she said. “The shooting took place by our library, so it was far apart from each other.”
But once the text messages were received, chaos erupted.
“Where we were standing, someone got scared and started running, so all of us just started running everywhere.”
UNCC made exams optional for students, and Kia decided to just leave campus and come home for the semester.
“I came on home. I packed my car and left,” said Kia. “I was going to go back for my exams, but I was still a little scared, because I was thinking those students were just in class and someone just walked in… so you could be in class and anything could happen. It made me want to stay here….You can never be too careful, because the campus is so big.”
But determined not to let fear stand in the way of reaching her goals or obtaining her degree, Kia vows that she will be back in class at UNCC in August.
Very motivated and driven, this summer Kia will be completing Nurse Aide I training at James Sprunt, and also volunteering at the hospital, both requirements for the School of Nursing at UNCC.
As she looks to the future and towards the day when she completes her degree, Kia said, “I’m going to jump right into nursing and ultimately work as a traveling nurse, that is my main goal.”
She also plans on continuing her education and going after her master’s degree, but for now she is looking forward to spending her summer with her family and friends, relaxing, and just enjoying life.
As for advice she would give to other students, Kia said, “If you are in high school, take as many CCP classes as you can at James Sprunt. They will definitely help you achieve your goals and give you a head start in college.”
– Cheryl Hemric / James Sprunt Community College