Each week, The Flat Hat profiles one person — a student, faculty or staff member, or alum that is deeply connected to the College of William and Mary. This week, The Flat Hat presents its second profile in a series about nontraditional students on campus.
In fall 2013, Jasmane Ormond ’19 found herself at the beginning of an undergraduate path which would lead her to meetings with state senators, an honor society induction in the Sir Christopher Wren Building and two distinct college campuses. This path began at Thomas Nelson Community College.
Three semesters later, Ormond signed up for a co-enrollment program; if she maintained a minimum GPA while taking classes at both TNCC and the College of William and Mary, she would be guaranteed transfer admission to the College upon completion of her associate’s degree.
For the following semesters, Ormond took Latin classes at the College and transferred in fall 2016.
“Going to William and Mary and Thomas Nelson at the same time was definitely interesting,” Ormond said. “… The first year I did Latin was very interesting because we had classes four days a week, but it was only 50 minutes a day. I was so used to going to class twice a week. The second year we took Latin, we had the class in the classical library in Morton Hall and that was definitely an experience that was different from Thomas Nelson.”
These experiences in Morton highlighted the differences between Ormond’s campus experiences and affirmed that she truly wanted to transfer to the College.
“My Latin professor when I was a co-enrolled student was Georgia Irby,” Ormond said. “She taught all four semesters; I had her for two straight years. She stood out to me because … I was really intimidated by the fact that I wasn’t a normal William and Mary student. When we took our first test, I remember how upset I was with my results and how defeated I felt. I didn’t finish the test in time and I knew I wasn’t going to get anything higher than a C or a B because I didn’t finish in time. I sat in the parking garage bawling my eyes out for like an hour; I felt like I had ruined everything I planned for.”
When Ormond shared this with Irby, she found that her professor was willing to work with her to make sure that she would have enough time to turn in her assignments, something Ormond said made a huge impact.
“I didn’t realize how much that pressure was blocking me from success,” Ormond said. “… I think that I was able to succeed in her class because I knew I could trust her. I knew I could be honest about my own personal shortcomings. She was a professor that, two years later, came to my graduation at Thomas Nelson. That made me feel safe enough to come to the College. If she could be so accepting and inclusive of me, that was a reflection of everyone on campus.”
Ormond’s time in Irby’s class also led to her induction in Eta Sigma Phi, a national collegiate honor society for students of Latin or Greek. She said she counts the day of her induction as one of her most memorable experiences at the College.
“That day was very funny because I had no idea that this was happening, all I knew was that I had an email that said to go to the Wren building, maybe for a meeting or for a class,” Ormond said.
While Ormond was a co-enrolled student, she was heavily involved in student organizations at TNCC. She served as the Student Government’s president, was in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and was a part of the Student Virginia Education Association.
Through these involvements, she worked with local second graders and spoke on behalf of TNCC at a student loan roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C.
When Ormond transferred to the College in fall 2016, she was just about to turn 28, lived off-campus, and, unlike many other undergraduates, she was a student-parent of two children, who are now 10 and 6 years old.
She said that as a nontraditional student she has run into problems with expensive student fees or with navigating the campus as a student-parent. However, she tries to find ways to get involved and make a difference for others.
“I joined the Student Culinary Council, I’ve been a member for the last two years,” Ormond said. “I’ve tried to contribute the voice of students who might have lower incomes, people who don’t live on campus and people who can’t afford meal plans. I figure if I’m having a problem then it is easy to complain about a problem that I am having, but I would rather try to do something about it or at least contribute. I try to join different groups and offer my opinion.”
Ormond has also gotten involved with the Parking Advisory Board and served as one of former College President Taylor Reveley’s president’s aides. In those roles, Ormond said she was able to share issues she was having with parking and being a transfer student and propose solutions.
In May 2019, Ormond will have completed her accounting major with a concentration in finance — something she was drawn to through the encouragement of others and a love of analytical puzzles. While Ormond is still considering applying for graduate school, she is planning on sitting for her CPA exam and hoping to get a job with an accounting firm after graduation.
For Ormond, being a transfer student at the College, and also trying to navigate undergraduate life as a student-parent, brought its ups and downs, but she said she is also thankful for the new experiences she had after transferring. Looking back, her favorite memory comes from those first few days as a full-time student.
“One of the greatest memories I’ve had here was during Orientation,” Ormond said. “In 2016 I turned 28 during Orientation and my [Orientation Aides] had our group surprise me with balloons and cupcakes and I just thought it was the most awesome thing. When you’re in grade school, you can celebrate your birthday with your friends in your classroom if you are born between the months of September and June, but if you are born in August, you don’t get to celebrate in a classroom. Even though I was turning 28, it was kind of awesome to celebrate with people I was going to school with for the first time. It was really awesome to feel like you’re never too old to have that kind of experience.”