Niyja Bouie Joins UPchieve!

Hello readers, my name is Niyja Bouie and as you’ve probably guessed by the title of this article, I am excited to be one of UPchieve’s blog contributors. Before I start off in an attempt to provide you with interesting, thought-provoking, and helpful content, I wanted to give you my background and talk about the reasons why I’m so thrilled to be a part of the UPchieve team.
Let’s do a little time travel. It’s 2009 in Detroit, Michigan and I’m just beginning high school. It’s just my luck that I’ve been accepted into Communication and Media Arts High

School despite my average GPA and a long list of summer school requirements. I wouldn’t deem myself a bad student or unintelligent, but I would say that I had a lot of obstacles to overcome with little resources to do so.

Living in a poverty-stricken neighborhood filled with crime and distractions, it was easy to get sidetracked from academics. I was fortunate to be able to attend a school that catered to my talents and passions which were writing and mass communications. Even though I loved certain parts of school like english or science classes, I was struggling with math and even with getting to school on a daily basis. After-school math tutoring wasn’t an option as I had several buses to catch to get home and I had to make it home by dark. I couldn’t afford a private tutor so I just winged it. My grades, which I had previously brought up significantly, were now below average.

Fast forward to 2012:  everyone was applying for college. I had done okay on the ACT test but my math score was bringing my average  down. There was no way I was getting in to any school on my wish list and so I went to community college. I decided that I needed to change locations and I was hoping for a stable environment and more academic resources. I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The community college offered basic math which was still a struggle for me, but they also offered free tutoring until late in the night and my apartment was just minutes from campus. I finished my first year with a 3.6 GPA and transferred to Western Michigan University where I could study what I loved around people who loved to learn and were all focused on academics.

I realized that sometimes, in fact most times, when a student isn’t excelling to the best of their ability it’s because of their environment. No matter how intelligent someone is and how much they have a drive to learn, with proper resources the student can often perform better and their struggle to do so can be made easier.

Coming back to the present, and I obtained a Bachelors of Arts degree with a focus in Creative Writing and Mass Communications in July of 2018. I graduated college with a 3.4 GPA and although I struggled through math the whole way, I had resources to help me perform to the best of my abilities.

Organizations like UPchieve.org are essential to communities worldwide. If I had accessible help with my academics while in high school, my experience would have changed for the better. Being able to contribute to students’ success is such a pleasure for me because I want to be a part of something that I needed during my adolescence.


Niyja Bouie