Though it wasn’t always easy, Ramla Geilani is proud to say she’s graduating this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped her college experience and made things harder, she said.
“The hardest thing about graduating college during a pandemic was starting to lose motivation,” Geilani said. “Us college students didn’t really get to experience the regular college experience this past year and a half due to the pandemic.”
And even before classes went remote, it took some time for her to adjust to Highline.
“During my first quarter of college the classes were very overwhelming, and I had a habit of procrastinating when it came to getting my work done and would complete everything last minute,” said Geilani. “But you get used to the classes after a while, and one thing that really helped me was breaking my habit of procrastination.”
Geilani, who is 17, grew up in the Seattle area. She made her way to Highline through Running Start, a dual-credit program for students in their final two years of high school to take certain college classes for free.
“Highline was the most convenient school for me to attend,” she said. “It was the college that was closest to my house.”
While at Highline, Geilani also worked as a student employee in the Advising Center. Her dedication and hard work stood out to her supervisor, Renata Cummings, who is Highline’s associate director of Advising and Transfer Planning.
“She took on special projects and has helped improve our feedback numbers by following up with students who come in to see advisers,” Cummings said.
She also said Geilani’s maturity and professionalism, which she’s noticed despite only ever knowing her remotely, are admirable.
In addition to helping students with her work at the Advising Center, Geilani has received help from advisers at Highline herself, and suggested others do the same.
“You’re not always alone,” she said. “You have resources around campus that are there to help you, and the best thing you could do is take advantage of those resources.”
Geilani said even though college can be difficult, it’s important to keep going.
“You’re the only person that can make things possible for yourself, you must believe in yourself,” she said. “College isn’t always easy, you might have times when you want to give up, but you must persevere, we can’t always give up when things get hard.”
Geilani is aware that all she’s achieving at such a young age is worth celebrating.
“I’m proud that I’m graduating high school with more credits than I need,” she said. “I’m proud that I’m 17 and receiving my high school diploma and associate’s degree all in the same week.”
In the fall, Geilani plans to attend the University of Washington Bothell where she will pursue a business degree.