Besides maintaining a 4.4 GPA and being active in extracurricular activities, Jamaija Rhoades stayed busy working in the community as a volunteer, one of her favorite things to do. She particularly enjoyed volunteering at St. Mary’s Hospital. “Originally, I decided to volunteer because I wanted to gain more exposure into the medical field so that I could determine if working in a hospital was something that I truly aspired to do for the rest of my life,” Jamaija stated in an essay. Within just a few months, she was able to become immersed in the medical field, and determined it was exactly where she wanted to be.
One of Jamaija’s favorite experiences volunteering at the hospital was seeing patients happy from small deeds, like getting discharged. “Discharging the patient really brought a lot of joy to them, and one of the most memorable experiences I had at the hospital was when I discharged new parents,” Jamaija said. The new parent’s excitement was contagious and consuming for her. She enjoyed receiving heartfelt comments of appreciation from the patients she worked with during her time in the hospital. From discharging patients, to taking them outside to see the sun shining, Jamaija enjoyed it all.
Because of her experience and a long-time goal to join the health field, this fall, Jamaija will attend Spelman College in Atlanta. There, she will major in health sciences and minor in Spanish. “I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, but recently I’ve decided that I want to be a pediatric nurse practitioner,” Jamaija said. “I think volunteering at the hospital had a big impact on that too because I really enjoyed it.” She chose Spelman because she likes the idea of going to an institution full of other educated Black women. The main lesson she will take with her from high school to college is to manage her time well and not procrastinate on assignments.
Jamaija also volunteered at William Byrd Community House and Mary Scott Elementary School, which prepared her for working with children. In school, she was the senior class president, the sophomore class vice president and a member of multiple organizations like FBLA, Key Club, National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She also participated in the Virginia Commonwealth Health Science Academy and was a Delta Sigma Theta Debutante. In her spare time, Jamaija also enjoys playing the piano, spending time with friends and watching movies.
From growing up watching medical shows like “Stories of the ER,” Jamaija is even closer to being in the field that has inspired her for so long. She thanks both of her parents for inspiring and encouraging her. “They had me at a pretty young age, but they still have provided me with all of the things that I personally needed,” Jamaija said. “They’re still achieving their goals and they support me in whatever I want to do.”