Tomar Thomas: A Minor Setback for a Major Comeback
Written by: Tomar Thomas
Like many people, I had my early 20’s completely planned out. I planned to attend a 4-year college on a full-ride volleyball scholarship, major in nursing, graduate in 4 years, and start my first full-time job by the age of 22.
As I am sure you could probably guess, things didn’t go quite according to plan.
In August of 2015, I began my collegiate athlete journey at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. It was just the beginning of one of the most life changing phases of my life. As planned, I majored in nursing and began taking my prerequisites to apply for the nursing program my junior year. When the time came to apply for nursing school, I gathered up all of my requirements and sent them off for review.
Waiting for someone else to dictate your future is probably one of the most nerve wracking feelings but I was so sure of my plan that I had an immense amount of faith. In June of 2017, I found out I was accepted and in August I began my nursing school journey.
If you’ve never attended nursing school or witnessed someone attend nursing school then you may not know but it is an intense couple of years. Countless hours of studying, class, clinical, simulations, and more tests than I could count. Everyone thought I was crazy to add all of this on top of my existing volleyball schedule, but I was so determined to be successful with both.
My schedule looked something like: weights, eat, class, eat, physical therapy, class, practice, homework, sleep, repeat! That didn’t include the hour long bus rides traveling across Texas and Louisiana for games almost every weekend. I was exhausted to say the least! I felt completely burnt out and the worst part was that no one truly understood the stress I was under. My teammates couldn’t relate because none of them were pursuing a similar degree, and my classmates couldn’t even begin to comprehend my student athlete lifestyle.
The semester was flying by and I felt like I was drowning. I was struggling to keep up in class with multiple chapters being reviewed daily, but I had too much pride to ask for help.
I suffered in silence instead and to this day it is one of my biggest regrets.
I’ll never forget the day I finally gave up on trying to do everything alone. One night after a home game, I facetimed my mom. She answered the phone with the biggest smile, just excited to talk and before I could even get a word out I just began to ball hysterically. I told her everything I had felt over the last couple of months and as mothers do, she quickly tried to discover solutions to all of my problems. At this point, I was failing two of my classes and was struggling to keep up with all the coursework. I started to seek tutoring, which really required me to put my pride aside, and I met with all of my teachers to try and figure out how I could bring up my grades. Even after exhausting all of my resources, it just wasn’t enough.
Finals came and went and I failed two of my classes, which meant I would be dismissed from the nursing program.
I was absolutely devastated!
I considered leaving Lamar to figure out what my next steps would be in my career, because finishing nursing school meant more to me than volleyball. I felt like staying there would be a waste of my time and reminded me of how much of a failure I was. My head coach at the time begged me to stay and finish out my senior year with my teammates, and after taking Christmas break to think and talk to my parents I decided to stay. I spent the next year and a half really trying to figure out who I was without nursing, and what God was trying to teach me.
I did graduate from Lamar in 4 years, but not with the degree I expected. In May of 2019, I obtained a BS in Health. I didn’t even want to attend my graduation. I felt so embarrassed, sad, mad, and helpless. I moved back home with my parents and started the journey of applying to nursing schools all over again. I started comparing myself to people online who were financially established and living out their dreams. I felt like I was behind in life and by the time I would finish another nursing program I’d be too old.
But..not so fast.
Fast forward to today, I am officially Tomar Thomas BSN, RN as of December 2021. In the 4 additional years it took for me to complete my nursing degree some beautiful things blossomed.
I started dating my current boyfriend of 4 years, discovered who I was again, and started taking my social media career seriously.
I finally came to terms with the fact that everyone is on their own path, and what is meant for you will always be for you!
I spent so much time feeling embarrassed of my failure instead of congratulating myself on how far I had come as a person. I got caught up in the “what wasn’t” instead of the “what is.” I learned that my grades did not define me and I am so much more than just a student. I was also creative. I loved fashion and playing dress up. I also really loved being in front of the camera. If I was never forced to step away from such a demanding degree, I would have never had the time to fully pursue a social media career.