Meet Ja’Nai Williams ’24, a Communication Studies major with a focus on interpersonal communication and a minor in Spanish. In this blog, Ja’Nai shares how Ball State helped her rediscover her passion for learning, ultimately finding her calling. All while building lifelong connections in and outside of campus!


Can you describe your journey prior to Ball State University?

I had been on the fence about going to college, due to becoming burnt out on education as I grew up. The global pandemic of COVID-19 happened and honestly made that decision so much harder for me. I delayed enrolling until early July (if even that). I initially wanted to study psychology because of the strong need for mental health support, but I realized that might not be the best route for me. I really wanted a career that could thrive with just a bachelor’s degree. I then chose communications due to it being something everyone needs, which lead me specifically to the Department of Communication Studies at Ball State, where I chose to focus on interpersonal communications.

What has been your favorite class opportunity during your time at Ball State?

I enjoyed meeting Tiara Thomas (Grammy and Oscar award-winning singer-songwriter). It was an interesting full-circle moment, especially since our moms worked together. Our paths were now crossing on an entirely different professional plane. I appreciated having the opportunity to get to know her, especially since we shared a similar but often overlooked perspective on school, passion, and how the two can coexist. I also got to sit 3ft across from John Quinones (What Would You Do, ABC) during a workshop where he talked about his experience as a Latino journalist. That was pretty crazy!

How have your experiences at Ball State shaped your personal growth?

Coming to Ball State was like building my life from scratch, I rebuilt a desire for learning and have had so many amazing opportunities thus far. I’m more aware of how to empathize and adjust to others, but I also learned that it is not selfish to advocate for yourself when needed. I think these things in turn allowed me to find more things that align with my purpose. Through Ball State, I was able to step into a more open, unapologetic version of myself.

What do you think is most important about Ball State?

Community–everyone who comes through Ball State is not going to stay here and that’s okay. Building community especially on campus helps a ton though! A solid support system greatly improves the overall college experience whether short-lived on not. I think many people don’t want to go because they don’t feel like they would fit in. I believe we all have potential, and supporting one another is an important part of that. Community not only supports and motivates us, but also puts us on the path to where we want to go.

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?

Still being here and almost done with my degree! I know that sounds minimal, but it’s hard especially when you don’t know what’s at the finish line. Being able to push past uncertainty and even your mind is extremely difficult and something worth being proud of regardless of circumstances.
Another big moment for me was presenting a paper at the Communication Research Conference this fall. It showed me that sometimes the one who needed to shake the table might just, in fact, be you! I had been recommended the previous semester, but I tried to avoid it because I didn’t believe my work was “good enough” to be discussed in this type of setting. Eventually giving in, I came out of the conference hoping that I had a strong message that could spark change. This event helped renew my academic confidence and challenged me to see myself as limitless.

What are your plans after college?

To explore what career choices excite and best suit me!

Can you share one thing that people don’t typically know about you?

I’m pretty adventurous! I love my space and comfort, but also venturing out, especially into nature!

Are you involved in any student organizations at Ball State?

I participated in NewsLink Indiana as an anchor, reporter, and associate producer. NewsLink has been amazing, they provide spaces to connect with those who are similar as well as events such as volunteering, game nights, etc. There tends to be an overlap of organization involvement, especially around my peers so we often keep each other updated on all the events around campus.

Interested in an experience like Ja’Nai’s? Check out the Department of Communication Studies.

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