First-generation graduate shines
Jaleesa Denise Wade started her freshman year at UH in fall 2008 with plans to getting the prerequisites out of the way for nursing school — she never came with the intent on getting her degree. Now, she’s the first in her family to graduate from college.
Wade studied human development and family studies with a minor in health and graduated with a 3.3 GPA. Wade now has her sights on nursing school in fall 2013. She said she hopes to attend UT Health Science Center in the Texas Medical Center.
Wade says the highlights of her years at UH were meeting lifelong friends and having the opportunity to discover her inner self. She still has fond memories of September 2011, when UH played Texas Tech in football.
“UH had won by one point and I remember everyone rushed the field, including me,” Wade said.
Compared to being a freshman, she says she can feel a difference in the toll that the semester takes on her now. She remembers how young and wide-eyed it was to be new on campus.
“You don’t really care about your grades.You aren’t used to classes and you don’t think about paying for consequences later. You don’t take it serious,” Wade said.
Although beginning with a tough start, Wade isn’t a stranger to hard work. She took 12 hours a semester and completed 300 hours of an internship with Health Bridge Children’s Hospital. She also maintained two jobs — on campus at the UH Children’s Learning Center and at Textbook Solutions.
With all the stress and worry, there are still things she will miss about UH.
“The beautiful campus, Cougar Red Fridays, Student Programming Board events, living on campus, meeting new people, the parties and UH traditions, such as Finals Mania, are the things I’m going to miss most,” Wade said.
With no plans to return home to El Paso in the immediate future, she hopes to find a job in her field and further her education with a master’s degree.
“I’m excited; I can’t believe it’s almost over. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real and I think I have to sign up for classes, but when the day finally gets here, I think it will be real to me,” Wade said.