Traditional BSN Spotlight: Jakeria Wilder

Posted on February 26, 2024 by College of Nursing
College of Nursing

Jakeria Wilder standing outside of the College of Nursing. data-lightbox='featured'

Jakeria Wilder transferred to the University of South Alabama in January of 2023 to pursue her bachelor’s degree in nursing and continue using her passion for helping others. During high school, Jakeria always knew that she wanted a job in the medical field. Once she realized nursing was her true calling, she knew South was the place for her. 

Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she moved to Mobile with minimal knowledge of what the city would be like. She picked USA based on how inviting, diverse and close the campus is to her home. Jakeria quickly realized that it is the perfect place for her to settle and continue her studies. Now, she is on track to graduate in the summer of 2024.

South’s campus is only about a four-hour drive from her home, so Jakeria likes to make monthly trips to visit her family while still prioritizing school. Moving to Mobile was a big step in her life, and she has grown not only academically but also individually as a person. She recognizes the importance of balancing campus life and life as a nursing student.

“I really created my own path for myself and created my own expectations for myself and let it solely be based on what I want. I’ve learned that I can make new friends. I had been talking to the same people since high school and never learned how to branch out,” Jakeria said. “The person I am closest to now started nursing school with me and is actually from Birmingham, and I never would have known! It just really opened my eyes and helped me become very open minded. I feel like I could move anywhere now and be okay.”

Jakeria is constantly inspired by her mother who works full time while also assisting in taking care of her grandmother, her father and her siblings. Jakeria finds peace in knowing that her family will always be there to support her no matter where she is.

“My mom does a lot. She wears a lot of hats and takes care of my grandmother. She’s like the sibling everybody calls when something is wrong, but she does it well. She’s very strong and has been through so much, and she’s still a light!” Jakeria said. “I also have a very supportive father that inspires me to reach my full potential. He also carries a lot of other responsibilities, but handles it well.”

When she is not traveling to see family, she is spending time with her friends, exploring downtown Mobile, making good use of the scooters around town and expanding her palate at all the restaurants the city has to offer. Jakeria believes that having a solid support system is a key factor in going through nursing school because you will always have someone that understands what you are going through.

On top of having a group of friends and family both on and off campus that you can rely on, Jakeria is a firm believer that your own mental health and wellbeing matter above anything else in order to be able to be your very best self. Nursing school is no easy feat, but there are three things that she pushes herself and others who are looking to follow a path similar to hers to live by.

“Stay organized, celebrate all your wins, small and big, and give yourself grace,” Jakeria said. “Get some ice cream or some Taco Mama and celebrate with some good food because you’re not going to have it together all the time.”

Finding people who can support you in and out of the classroom is a key factor for Jakeria. While some students may be nervous or intimidated to speak with their professors, she has learned that it is the best way to stay involved. While every professor and mentor has made a unique impact on her time at South, she has made a special connection with Dr. Shanda Scott, Dr. Debra Swanzy and Dr. Theresa Wright.

“When we first started in the first semester, our instructors were very intimidating, but you can tell they really care and are rooting for you. They’ll pray for you and just be there. A lot of people don’t realize that,” Jakeria said.

On top of being a full-time nursing student, Jakeria is also involved with the College of Nursing EMPOWER program and the Nurses Christian Fellowship community. She was able to experience her first South homecoming in the fall semester and is now excited for other festivities that will happen on campus in the coming months. 

After a full year in Mobile, Jakeria enjoys it so much that she plans to stay here and eventually pursue a master's degree in nursing at South. As far as long-term goals go, she hopes to one day make the move to Nashville, staying close enough to home that she won’t get homesick but far enough so she can continue to grow.

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