By Breegan Petruska
Welcome to Faces of GRCC. This is a project we are working on this semester to feature and learn more about our classmates here at Grand Rapids Community College. This week we are featuring Shonyah Hawkins, 19, of Grand Rapids. Hawkins is in her first year at GRCC.
Hawkins graduated from Catholic Central High School in 2019. While many come to GRCC to take their general education courses before moving on to a university, Hawkins has also decided to continue her basketball career. Playing as a point guard on the basketball team has been a major element in her life, keeping her in school.
“If it wasn’t for basketball, I wouldn’t be in school right now,” Hawkins said. “I am a better learner and student in the classroom than in online classes. Basketball keeps me disciplined enough to get my assignments done because it’s not just for me I have to stay eligible for, but for my teammates as well.”
Like many students, Hawkins has found this semester to be more difficult due to the circumstances of how classes are being delivered due to the pandemic.
“I am taking online courses this semester. The semester is challenging. Online classes are hard because it feels like the classes are optional. It takes a lot of discipline to get all the assignments in on time.”
This pandemic has been difficult for students for a number of reasons. Students have had to adapt to online learning with some spending more time feeling like they’re teaching themselves.
Unemployment has also posed a serious financial challenge for many students. In addition to this, athletes like Hawkins, have had to wait longer for sports seasons to start. Luckily for Hawkins, she was able to find a much needed work-study job during this pandemic.
“Covid has made me struggle in school, but it also helped me find a job,” Hawkins said. “Oddly, it seems like everyone couldn’t find work, but I did. It also helped me take a much needed break that I needed from school and sports.”
After GRCC, Hawkins plans to further her academic and athletic career at a four-year university. While she isn’t sure where she would like to go to school next, she is hoping to study at a university out of state and major in social work. She is hoping to open mental health facilities all over the world and help low-income communities.
Her message to the GRCC community is to never give up and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help in a time of need.
Would you like to share your story? Featuring the voices of GRCC students, faculty and staff will be our focus this semester. Do you have a story you’d like to share or know someone who we should feature? Let us know! We would love to hear from you.
Email our Feature Editor Breegan Petruska at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message us on one of our social media platforms to share your story: