'It's time for this Cardinal to fly': Tiana Johnson ’22 on journey to graduation, finding her voice

Corporate communications major Tiana Johnson discusses her journey to LU, her time at the university and how she found her voice to share the stories she has to tell as she prepares for graduation on Saturday.

Q: Can you tell me the audience about your background?
A: My name is Tiana Johnson. I was born in Andrews Airforce Base, Maryland, but was raised in Beaumont. I graduated from Ozen High School. I am 23 years old. I have two brothers and two sisters. My family has a turtle named Frank.

Q: What is your major?
A: I majored in corporate communication.

Q: What interested you in your major?
A: What interested me in this major is that I love to write and tell stories. I thought majoring in this would open the door for me to do both on a professional and business level. I believe I was correct. I will say though I did not always want to study this subject. When I was kid, I was interested in science and dreamed of being a veterinarian. That dream was squashed when I realized I may have to cut an animal open.

Q: What attracted you to Lamar University?
A: What attracted me to Lamar University is that it is close to home. I don’t think I would have made it through college without my supportive family and I wanted to be as close to them as possible every step of the way. Tiana Johnson

Q: What was your first day at LU like?
A: My first day at Lamar University started at 9:15 a.m. I believe the class was intrapersonal communication with Professor Ruth Stanley. I want to say I had three classes that day, and I literally sat in my car in between them because I was so unbelievably nervous and felt like I did not know where to go. I came overprepared with a backpack full of school supplies and was still worried I wasn’t ready. I got through all my classes but was so nervous that I did not eat and got a headache.

Q: What are some of the organizations you’ve been involved in?
A: I have been involved in the Lamar University Press, an on-campus newspaper, Lamar University Television and Lamar University PRSSA. I became an editor for the press. I was the treasurers for PRSSA and the student news producer for LUTV. LUTV will always have a special place in my heart.

Q: What has been your proudest or favorite moment during your time at LU?
A: I’ve really grown as a person, and so many moments helped me do that. I think any moment where I had mustered courage to go for what I wanted has been my proudest. However, if I had to choose one, it would be the moment I opened the doors to LUTV. I stood by those doors for at least 10 minutes before I decided to go in and say I wanted to learn and help. That moment to me is symbolic of how I opened the door to many more opportunities. Also, some of my other favorite moments were made in that studio.

Q: What have been your biggest challenges?
A: I think my sophomore year was my hardest year. My first car flooded out in Imelda and my grandpa died. The year was hard financially, mentally and emotionally. Luckily, all my professors were kind and worked with me. Without the grace of God, I probably would not have made it past that semester.

Q: How do you think it will feel to graduate?
A: I think it will feel surreal to graduate. I feel like I have spent forever at Lamar but at the same time no time at all. I am writing my answers two days before graduation and that astounds me that it’s so close. I think I will be relieved and excited to graduate, but also a l little sad. I made good memories and great friends. My team here grew me but it’s time for this Cardinal to fly.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation I plan to first take a nap (lol). However, on a serious note, I plan to continue working at 12News for a while. The real question is what am I doing after 12News. That is undecided, but I am excited to see what the future holds.

Q: How do you think your degree will expand your professional opportunities?
A: I feel like my time at Lamar University has already expanded my professional opportunities pre-degree. I was blessed to able to work for an area station full-time before I even walked the stage. I think the degree will make it official and is a tribute to all my hard work, but I really believe the it is the hands-on and real-world education and experience Lamar University provided that is what will expand my opportunities and open doors. The degree is the proof in the pudding and icing on the cake.

Q: How will Lamar University contribute to your future success?
A: Lamar University has already contributed to my success.
I think I would like to say that I found my voice at Lamar University. When I first got here, I did not talk much muss less stand up for what I believed to be right. I was a communications major with stage fright, but Ruth Stanley taught me how not to fear a stage. I thought my voice was one that would always be drowned out, but Gordon Williams showed me I had stories to tell. I really didn’t believe in myself much until I got to Lamar University. I grew professionally, mentally and emotionally. I learned how to handle stressful situations with grace. I learned hard work pays off. I made more friends than I thought possible. I really did enjoy my time here. I loved every minute of Lamar University.