My 2020 Grad Story: Diversity

TMCC student Haruna Takahama
Rebecca A. Eckland

This semester, TMCC is celebrating our graduating class of 2020 in a big way. Even though we have postponed our commencement ceremony until the Fall, we are so proud of our graduates who will still earn their degrees when the spring semester ends on May 16.  

This series of news stories demonstrate how our graduates have faced challenges and persevered to complete their degree program. Each student was asked to provide one word for their journey. Haruna Takahama calls her story “Diversity.” 

Facing Challenges and Accomplishments 

Haruna Takahama is an international student from Japan who is majoring in Business at TMCC.  She was inspired to pursue this degree by her father, who insisted she has the capacity to become a successful business owner one day. Although it hasn’t been an easy journey as an international student who also serves on the Student Government Association (SGA) and who works in the DISCO, Takahama said these experiences have definitely shaped who she is today, and who she will become in the future. 

“It was challenging for me to understand some class lectures because I’m an international student,” she admits, but devised strategies that helped her to succeed, such as reviewing the class material before the lecture and preparing as much material as she could for each class in advance. 

“I feel a sense of accomplishment in my business classes, especially the accounting class I took in the Fall of 2018. I studied a lot, and I got a good grade. Although it was difficult for me to understand the process of calculation and the flow of money through a company, I enjoyed learning it,” she said.  

Serving on the SGA as a Senator

SGA members on a hike

Takahama served as an SGA Senator this year and worked on improving the recycling program on campus.

Serving on the SGA as a Senator and working at the DISCO offered Takahama her most poignant challenges and experiences. “I had an excellent opportunity to cooperate and communicate with many people. It was the best moment and memory to be involved with a lot of people because I can know various ideas and cultures through many events at TMCC.”

While an SGA Senator, Takahama led an initiative to improve recycling on campus through an educational campaign. “I worked on the improvement of recycling boxes, and I made posters that communicated the importance of recycling, and what is recyclable and what's not in cooperation with the Sustainability Committees and the Marketing and Communications Department. I hope that it will be helpful for students to understand what is recyclable and for the campus to improve its recycling program.”

Plans for the Future

Haruna Takahama's senate portrait

Takahama said that facing challenges has shown her that she can accomplish many things in life.

Takahama plans to continue her education by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in business after graduating from TMCC. “I was thinking of going to other states for my Bachelor’s degree to learn specific areas of business, but I don’t know how this unfortunate situation will unfold. No matter what, I want to graduate from a university in the United States,” she said. 

Even though moving to a new country and adding the challenge of a foreign language didn’t make her college experience exactly easy, Takahama finds value in the unique challenges she faced as an international student at TMCC. “I worried a lot about class and making friends because I have a different culture and speak a different language. I feel nervous when I give a presentation and speak in front of people, and it will be difficult to tell others what I want to say in a different language. However, I learned people here are so kind and tried to understand what I want to say. These experiences make me have the confidence to communicate with others.”

When asked, Takahama calls her academic journey “diversity” in honor of her experiences that were not only challenging but incredibly rewarding. “Although I’ve worried a lot about staying here, I learned that trying to do something new and communicating with many people leads to [an increase in my] confidence and [sense of] fulfillment. Having the courage to do something new makes me grow... [I’ve been able to...] change my life at TMCC.”

Join us in celebrating TMCC’s Class of 2020! Visit TMCC’s Facebook page for live interviews with our graduates, and updates about their incredible journeys.