For Nenelwa Tomi, attending Goucher College has been all about taking advantage of opportunities and learning how to balance a broad swath of interests.
Though her plans have changed, she originally entered Goucher planning to major in international relations.
“I was really interested in the international studies program,” Tomi says. “I really, really liked that Goucher required you to go abroad; other schools didn’t have that. I think that if you just stick to yourself and the things you know, you could be really closed-minded. I think it’s good to open yourself up and experience other cultures.”
She wasn’t able to go abroad her first year at Goucher but wants to go to Ghana this fall, and then she wants to go to India and then Tanzania — the country where she was born.
In the meantime, she has found ways to learn about and help different types of people on campus, in Baltimore, and around the world.
As a member of Umoja, the black student union and African alliance, Tomi volunteered with the House of Ruth, a shelter and counseling center for abused women and their children.
Tomi learned about the plight of the poor in South Africa from a friend and fellow student who studied abroad in that country. She and her friend plan to raise money for the villagers he met by selling pins they had given him.
She also has taken advantage of extracurricular programs at Goucher to cultivate the love of choral music she developed during high school.
Tomi joined Revelations, Goucher’s gospel choir, and she has performed at numerous venues and raised money for AIDS research as a member of Red Hot Blue, Goucher’s co-ed a cappella group. She also finds time to participate in student-run musical theater performances.
“When I sing, I just feel like I’m in my place. I just feel like I’m the most free and the most connected,” Tomi says.
And so she has decided to change her major to music.
“You just need to be really open and not have too many expectations because those expectations change,” Tomi says. “You have to be ready and willing to explore and expand your horizons. There are so many opportunities to grow at Goucher. You have to find your niche.”
Although it won’t be her major, she does plan to continue to pursue her interest in world cultures and international relations. A class in post-colonialism inspired her to minor in Africana studies. Tomi is interested to see how she can combine the two very different programs.
“I think it’s about finding a balance,” she says.