Alumna, Christina Williams, finds her mission in life
November 06, 2013
Christina Williams, like many people, earned a college degree only to discover her life’s mission after Commencement. She recalls feeling a wave of relief after earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Elizabeth City State University in 2002. To her delight, she landed a job with the Currituck County Schools as a computer technician the Monday following her Commencement ceremony. Williams had always liked computers. More importantly, she enjoyed learning how their functions can simplify our lives. Yet, she eventually realized that repairing computers was not fulfilling. Williams did not want to simply resolve problems with computers. She wanted to teach people how to use technology. She turned to the local library, where she’d previously worked part time, as a place where she could share her knowledge. For the next nine years, she worked, in part, teaching local residents how to use computers. Years later, she began teaching part-time classes at College of The Albemarle. "It is just simply amazing watching people learn to use a tool they once feared," said Williams, who clearly enjoys what she does now. "God didn’t give that knowledge to me for me to keep it inside. I’m the kind of person who needs to deliver it. Maybe that’s my mission in life." As a teacher, she abides by several mantras. First, she reassures newcomers that classes will help them overcome their fear of using a computer keyboard and mouse. She also reassures them that people learn at different speeds. Finally, she assures them their desire to learn is most critical, regardless of whether they are interested in a beginner’s course or a more advanced-level program. They are driven to take computer courses because of their needs, such as the need to create a resume or a business plan, she said. And that need and desire will help them to succeed. "I tell them, ‘If you don’t get onboard, you won’t be able to do things online like your taxes. You will be left behind. Technology is not waiting for you,’" Williams said. She also tells them, "Don’t worry. I’m going to help you and you are going to succeed. Aren’t we all here to help each other anyway?" At COA, Williams has taught classes related to human resource development, resume writing and job-search skills. She has met people determined to learn the intricacies of using Facebook so they can flourish as entrepreneurs. Using Facebook for business can differ from the typical techniques people employ when using the social media outlet for casual exchanges. Williams says she finds her work fulfilling and a lot more than a means of contributing to her family’s income. She credits her instructors at ECSU with propelling her to a rewarding career that allows her also to work as a consultant. "I had a good experience at ECSU. It was a good school. I spent a lot of time in the library as a student," Williams said. "I tell my students, ‘Don’t even let a change in your family interrupt your education. You can do this.’" She said it’s a joy to teach computer classes. "The students touch my life and I touch their lives."