The Jovial Jane Taimalie
The following is an account given by Princess Fox, Director of Student Programs, on Jane Taimalie:
They say people are resilient; I see this as I work with college students, specially this young Beacon, Jane Taimalie. Jane is a junior, majoring in Business Administration. She came to us her freshman year from the island of American Samoa, for the first time living in place where she has to learn a whole new culture and a whole new language, away from family and familiarity. Jane is an English language learner, her first collegiate year being the first all-English experience she’s had in her entire education and life.
As a person whose first language is also not English, I have an inkling of what Jane might be going through. Although I knew how to read, write, and speak English fairly well when I immigrated to the United States my freshman year in high school, I still know the difficulty of having to learn to communicate and listen to everyone around me. Imagine listening to a language you’re unfamiliar with and how ‘fast’ it seems — English sounds exactly the same to those of us who did not grow up daily speaking or hearing it. As widespread as the English language is, it is still very different when you are thrown in the middle of it as a non-English speaker, expected to read, write, and converse; now imagine having the expectation to do all that in an academic, collegiate level. This is Jane’s reality. What is amazing is that this brave girl is most definitely not merely surviving a new world, she’s THRIVING in it!
Up to the point of being at NCU, her only exposure to the English language had come from watching television on the weekends, her dad’s legacy of playing TD Jakes sermon on the radio, and singing English songs in the choir at church. Her junior year of high school, a teacher from Tennessee joined the staff at her school and began teaching her formal English writing for 45 minutes a day with 45 other students. This same teacher was the one that opened Jane’s eyes to the possibility of college, where most of her peers either joined the military or began working immediately after high school. Outside of these experiences, Jane’s first true, full-time exposure to the English language was not until when her time began at NCU.
From the beginning, Jane has dedicated herself to fully soaking up all that NCU has to offer. Academically, Jane studies with about five different dictionaries for every reading assignment and every paper she writes. She has yet to ask for ‘special’ consideration from her professors because she wants to be held at the same standard as her peers, pushing her towards excellence. As she gets deeper into her major courses, she admits that it is becoming more and more challenging; however, she knows that the supportive professors and staff on campus will help her through this time of transition to make a plan that will help her succeed and finish strong.
Socially, Jane is a student leader and has always participated in campus events, even often volunteering to help. She has always said, “I will be there no matter what because I love to be involved and to help.” As for her peers, she has a strong presence that is often strongly missed when she’s not around. Her friends say that she exudes the presence of the Holy Spirit, and you can feel it when she is in and out of the room. She is positive and is the first to cheer her friends on with all their endeavors.
During the second half of spring semester last year, Jane had to take time off from school because she lost her father unexpectedly. Through this time, Jane has inspired myself and many others on how her faith has been lived through such hard times. She was an emotional and spiritual anchor to her mother and 8 brothers (most of whom are older than her). The joy of the Lord continues to be alive in her through her grieving. She is sincere, authentic, strong, and inspirational through this time of loss.
Jane’s hunger to spend time with the Lord is infectious, which has been her sustenance these past few months. As she continues to feel the hole in her heart her dad left, and begin to feel a stronger pressure of navigating her education as a language-learning student, she finds herself intentionally spending more and more sometimes quiet, sometimes emotional, moments with the Lord. These moments are when she hears God’s continued whispers of the GREATNESS that He has planned for her; therefore, she must continue to run the race and not grow weary.
Every moment I spend time with this young woman, I am more convinced that mentorship does not only come from people who are older than us. God has definitely used Jane to urge me to pursue the Lord stronger, persevere, find JOY through the hard times, and live a life of worship. Her desire to follow the Lord’s leading in her life, wherever and whatever, has encouraged me to step out of the boundaries I have created for myself in serving God and His people. Jane’s confidence in who God has made her to be has opened my eyes to embrace the person that God has created me to be.
As a Beacon, Jane is 100% all in. She embraces NCU as her home and is open to all that God has to offer through this place. There are no excuses for Jane — obstacles are not hindrances, but only mountains to climb to help build strength for future valleys and mountains.