"We are UWTacoma" storytelling

May 23, 2019

Sharing our (first) Stories!

Yesterday, we held our second pop-up story collection event, with our third and final event coming up next Wednesday (noon to 1:30 pm) in the atrium of the Birmingham Building (BBB). We hope many of you will stop by, pick up a writing prompt (or two!) and share your UW Tacoma stories with us. Rachel and I will be there–with goody bags for those who stop and say hello, as well as our Jelly Bean Jar for you to look over and hazard a guess at how many it holds. We’ll be awarding a $15 Anthem gift card on Friday, May 31st to whoever comes closest to the actual number–so be sure to stop by and give us your best guess. We’ll also be holding a prize drawing on the 31st, for those who’ve submitted a story–either at one of our events, through our online Google form,  on our Facebook page, or by dropping your completed prompt/consent form at the front desk in the TLC!

But in the meantime, I thought I’d share one of the stories that came to us  at our kick-off event. The “speaker” is Dani Combs, a UW Tacoma senior; the author is our project intern Rachel Howe.

Introducing Dani Combs….

For many people, family support plays a crucial role in higher education success. Dani Combs, a senior in Writing Studies at UW Tacoma, attributes her success to her mother: “ My mom has been the most supportive person when in school.”
Through her unique academic challenges including dropping out of high school, only to come back and actually graduate a semester early, and then her decision to pursue higher education, Combs claims her mother has been with her through it all. “Coming from so much doubt and uncertainty” about whether she would succeed, she  added, “I can say that my mother has been one of the biggest helps to my success.”

After completing her General Education requirements at community college, her mother asked her the all-important “What now?” question. Her mother mentioned UW-Tacoma because of its proximity to home and the option to stay at home and continue to work: “I could stay at home and not pay housing and everything that ties into that.”

For Combs, the hardest part was the actual transition from community college to university. “For me, the most challenging thing is the time needed to actually study and get work done well.” She felt the challenges and the pressure to succeed, and part of her solution to this was to find and create a designated study space. “I still live with my parents, so I had to ask my mom if this transition would be okay. She was more than happy to help!”

Together, they turned her sister’s old room into a study room, and filled it with a plethora of supplies to help Combs be as successful as possible: bookshelves, a desk, pens, notebook, and even notecards. It may seem like a small gesture, but it has made a huge impact on Dani’s academic success, helping her to achieve high grades, and repeated Dean’s List Awards.

Speaking of her mother, Combs said “Her support has gone beyond supporting giving me a place to study. She’s helping my mental health by giving me an outlet to rand and unwind to, without judgement. She repeatedly asks how my classes are going, not because she is helping me pay for them, but she cares about if I’m growing as a person because I have come so far.”

~ Rachel Howe