My College Graduation!

On May 21, 2016 at 3pm, I graduated from California State University, Channel Islands with a Bachelor’s in Studio Art, with an Emphasis in Time Based Media.

 It was an incredible experience. It was something that I worked hard to achieve and it was finally here. After spending 5 years there, lots of hard work, dedication, sleepless days and nights, all nighters, tears, laughter, good and bad memories, I can finally say I did it! Man, I thought I would never see the day, honestly.

I remember back in high school in my AVID class and my teacher Mr. Jennings was reading to us the stats of students who actually finish and get their degree. The number was so low. As much confidence that I had in myself to do it, I didn’t think I would do it as college life was rough sometimes. I am happy to be a part of that percentage of students who graduated. I was an educated woman! An educated black woman, at that!

Getting ready for Commencement was interesting. It was a huge deal to me and an even bigger deal to my family. I showed my 2 little sisters that you can go to school, follow your dreams, and graduate. I was the first born and I had a degree. It was a surreal experience.

I was with my art group the entire time. To be with my fellow art majors as we shared this moment is something I will always cherish. I even saw friends from other majors as well. A unique experience that we all get to share for as long as we live. We all had different experiences yet the same.

The head of our art department, Luke, asked if I would do the honors in leading my fellow art majors into commencement. I would hold the Art banner and lead into commencement. I was shocked and felt honored to do such a thing. To lead my classmates into victory, that’s what it seemed like.

Surprisingly, I did not cry a lot like I thought I was because I am a big crybaby. I think I was in a state of shock because I couldn’t believe I, Tiarah, was about to graduate college. It hit me a few days after, don’t worry!

The president of our school, President Rush, was retiring and we were his last graduating class he would see off. It was awesome to see him go and get a photo with him and everything. To shake his hand and to have a conversation with him about my future plans is something that brings a smile to my face.

So, here are a few photos of my commencement day! Enjoy!


Inaugural Black Student Stole Ceremony

So with all the fun of graduating college comes all the cool ceremonies you get to attend. I was honored to attend CSU Channel Islands first Black Student Stole Ceremony. This was to honor and recognize the black students who were graduating. It was nice to connect with the other black students on my campus and celebrate each other’s success. Being a black college student in a primarily Hispanic school, it is hard to spot us out. So being able to celebrate our accomplishments with people who understand the struggles it was being a black college student was great. I am immensely proud of everyone who graduated. Here are a few photos from the event!


Each student poured sand into this box and on the back, we were able to sign the back. For the future graduates, they will continue this ritual also and it will continue as a legacy.


The man in this photo is Dr. Sawyer, or Doc as everyone calls him, is the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at CSU Channel Islands. He is such a brilliant man! I met him my first day at CI during Discover CI, where prospective incoming freshmen come to visit the campus and get things going before heading to orientation. He has looked out for me and motivated me so much. I could not have done CI without him.



These girls have been there since my first day of checking in to CI. We were roommates for 2 years, my freshmen and sophomore year, and somehow we stuck together and graduated together. They are amazing and I cannot believe our time at CI has come to an end. It isn’t often you meet people in your life that stay by you through things like this. Forever grateful for their constant love and support!


This is me in the courtyard by the art building. This is me with my Kente cloth stole and medallion. I wore these proudly at commencement. This was the day before commencement and I took this time to walk around my campus one more time. It was a great experience to attend this! I left my legacy here at CI and I couldn’t think of a better way to end it!