My Rollins Life: The Freedom to Explore

February 02, 2022

By Jaheim Morris ’24, as told to Elsa Wenzel

Jaheim Morris ’24
Photo by Scott Cook.

By the time Jaheim Morris ’24 graduates from Rollins, he will have engaged with nearly every corner of campus on his pathway to purpose.

For communication major Jaheim Morris ’24, his time at Rollins began four years earlier than most Tars. As a student at Jones High School in Orlando, he participated in the Upward Bound pre-collegiate program for aspiring first-generation college students, attending mock college interviews, social events, a weekend writing workshop with English professor Victoria Brown, and even a summer stay on campus.

By the time Morris enrolled at Rollins in 2020, he already had a budding social network on campus and a drive to get involved in all the different opportunities the College had to offer—from joining the Black Student Union and serving as a peer mentor with the EMBARK program to representing Rollins as an admission ambassador and diversity envoy.

Hear from Jaheim in his own words about why living and learning at Rollins is the one-of-a-kind experience he’d always hoped for.

Jaheim Morris ’24 (first row, center) and members of the Black Student Union kick off celebrations for Black History Month.
Jaheim Morris ’24 (first row, center) and members of the Black Student Union kick off celebrations for Black History Month.Photo by Courtesy Jaheim Morris ’24.

Making Connections

“What really stands out to me about Rollins overall is the vibe of the campus and the people who are here creating it. I enjoy the small classes and the close-knit relationships with faculty and staff. You really tend to find your people in the places you’d least expect, and you start to value those friendships. My friend group is very diverse, so I get to hear a lot of different insights and views. The Center for Campus Involvement is a great resource for becoming active on campus. I would definitely say that I’ve grown as a people person, and it really means something to me when people on campus say that.”

Finding a Voice

“When I first came to Rollins, I could sit in front of an audience of people and talk, but my voice would shake because I was nervous. But now, I can get up there and do it no problem because of the public speaking skills I’ve gained at Rollins. Recently, I spoke on a panel with the Black Student Union to the Rollins Board of Trustees about diversity, equity, and inclusion, which was a big moment for me. Most of my classes have included giving presentations, and my work study requires me to communicate with campus visitors and faculty on lots of different levels. As a peer mentor in the EMBARK program, I help students from underrepresented backgrounds transition to life at Rollins. Right now I have over 50 mentees, which is helping me develop leadership skills that I know will serve me in the future.”

Jaheim Morris ’24 working on his laptop at Dave’s Boathouse on campus at Rollins.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Grateful for Guidance

“I have so many mentors at Rollins, and each of them has contributed to my growth as a student and a person. The conversations and interactions are always positive and constructive. Teasa Mays, Rollins’ assistant director for diversity and inclusion, is one of the reasons I’m here. My friend and former admissions counselor Joshua Colson ’18 really helped me build the confidence I needed to speak to the Rollins Board of Trustees, and sociology professor Matt Nichter has taught me so much as my academic advisor. His Black Lives Matter class really hit home. He approached the course with such respect and patience, and I really opened up to him personally. This kind of guidance is not available everywhere, and it’s greatly benefiting me in my professional, academic, and personal life.”

Critical Support

“Rollins was always on my radar because of Upward Bound. I received a full scholarship, which not only created an opportunity for me to attend Rollins, but through my interview process, I was exposed to different faculty members on campus, which led me to further opportunities and experiences. Having this scholarship has made all the difference, and figuring out all the details was a lot easier because of the financial aid counselors who helped guide me through the process.”

Forging a Path

“I’m a Sutton Hall council member and would love to be an RA and experience different leadership roles. I’d also really like to do an internship. I’m interested in research, coordination, strategic work, and possibly marketing. I’m still doing a lot of exploring, and Rollins is the perfect place to do that because there’s so much opportunity. Studying abroad is definitely something I want to do, and there are so many programs to choose from. I really want to experience another culture—ideally, I’d like to go to Europe or South America.”

Aerial view of Lakeside Neighborhood
Photo by Scott Cook.

Jaheim’s Favorite …

Study spot: Study rooms in Lakeside Neighborhood, which overlooks Lake Virginia.

Place on campus: My dorm because it's calm and comfortable. Plus, I have my roommates and friends in my hall, and we hang out a lot.

Park Avenue hangout: Park Avenue Pizza is my all-time favorite. It’s a great go-to spot for a boys night.

Campus dining venue: The main dining hall in the Campus Center is always great because it has so many options, and Bush Cafe is perfect for breakfast on the go.

Thing to do when he’s not in class: Listen to music and catch up on new movies and shows, like anime or Marvel films.

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