Nephtalie Numa: From Haiti to FSC

Adult students have all kinds of things on their minds when they enroll in college: tuition, convenient class hours, family responsibilities, transportation. The list goes on and on.

But FSC Spring '19 graduate Nephtalie Numa had an issue that put her in a class few occupy: her accent.

That's because Numa – a mother of two - grew up in Haiti. Learning English there is mandatory in middle school and high school, but, as she says: "When you learn a language, and you do not practice it, you lose it quickly." Therefore, says Numa, "When I came to the U.S. in 2008 I barely spoke English."

Before enrolling at FSC, Numa attended Suffolk County Community College, where she majored in Communications. She considered studying nursing because she had been working in health care, but, she says: "Communications, journalism, marketing, and public relations have always been my dream."

Numa also found release from her fear about her accent when a professor told her that everyone has an accent, and used herself as a model. The professor told her that when she travels south, everyone knows she's a New Yorker. Her advice to Numa: your accent is who you are.

"That advice changed my life completely," Numa says.

After graduating from SCCC and enrolling at Farmingdale, she naturally gravitated toward the Professional Communications major. She chose FSC because of its affordability, and found herself fitting right in. Even more, her FSC professors helped take to the next level of her college career.

"My fondest memories are of my wonderful professors who supported, encouraged, and helped me invigorate my confidence. They contributed to my success at FSC."

Numa – who describes herself as well organized, team member, competitive, and creative thinker - graduated cum laude and a member of Lambda Pi Eta, the national communications honor society. Flush with success, she is now giving advice to other adults who may be considering college for the first time.

"The idea of going to college might seem overwhelming. However, you can do it if you are willing to make the sacrifices necessary. The first step is to know what you want to study, and research about all the classes you need, so you don't waste time taking classes you don't need.

"Second, prioritize school over everything else. Yes, everything else. This might sound selfish; however, this is the mindset that will help you succeed. If you have kids, sometimes you will have to skip some 'quality time' to either go to school or study. When this happens, remember that your college degree will help to give your kids a better future.

"Third, reach out to your professor, and take advantage of your school resources, such as the library, the writing center, the tutoring center, and everything that might help you succeed.

"Fourth, ask for help when needed. Reach out to family members, ask for their support. Fifth, be patient, and before you know it you will be a college graduate!"

nephtalie numa headshot
Last Modified 3/6/20