Nathanael Williams: Determined & Willing to Find Career Success
An 18-hour drive and a dream of something better is what brought Nathanael Williams to Oconee Fall Line Technical College.
After leaving his home, family and friends in Detroit, Mich. in 2013, Williams was determined to find career success. “Even though I didn’t want to leave, I felt moving to Georgia would bring about better job opportunities,” Williams said. “I had a diploma in digital media,” he shared, “but unfortunately the only opportunities I got out of it were unpaid internships working as a production assistant or camera assistant on various indie films.”
Williams knew he wanted something better, a consistent career that would carry him throughout life; but figuring out what came next wasn’t easy. “I arrived in Sandersville and started to do more of the same. An internship here. A part-time job there,” he shared. “But I didn’t want a job; I wanted a career I could be proud of.”
While following one lead after another, Williams encountered an obstacle that would put him in need of obtaining his GED. “I was frustrated because at the time I felt this was another setback in a long line of setbacks,” he said, “but I’m glad that I was wrong.”
“I found out OFTC was a GED testing center through a quick google search and decided to go check it out,” Williams shared. “And so began my journey with OFTC.”
Surprised by the genuineness of those he encountered on his first visit to the college, Williams was taken back by the attention and concern shown to him by OFTC faculty and staff. “I was relieved that I did not have to jump through hoops to join the GED program and that it was free other than having to pay to take the actual test.”
His adult education instructors pushed Williams to pass his test and even offered to flip the bill if he passed, a gesture that’s impacted him to this day. “To say the least, I did indeed pass and haven’t received a bill yet,” he laughed.
“Some people may view that gesture as something small but for me it was a powerful tool of motivation and encouragement; one I hope not to forget when it’s my turn to have an opportunity to inspire someone.”
After receiving his GED, Williams decided to take his interest in computers and put it to good use. “I’ve literally always had an interest in computers and their capabilities,” Williams shared remembering that his father introduced him to his first computer. “I vividly remember flipping this big red switch and being fascinated by the sounds this thing made as it came to life. I wanted to know more about those sounds and what went on beneath the surface of these machines.”
So Williams enrolled in the Networking Specialist Program, an ever-evolving field. “This is what I love most about the Information Technology field,” he said. And his determination paid off. During his first two semesters, Williams made the President’s list, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, was awarded the Zell Miller Grant which covers 100 percent of tuition, has been involved in the Student Government Association and was named the college’s 2017 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) recipient. “I came to OFTC with the mindset to take every beneficial opportunity offered to me and to be proactive,” Williams shared, “something I did not do in high school.”
And Williams certainly has made the most of his opportunities. “I’m glad I was accepted into the college’s Federal Work Study Program,” he said referencing his position within the college’s IT Department. “While working in the IT department, I get to apply hands-on what I’ve studied in the classroom.” When he graduates from the program, Williams hopes to use these experiences to jump-start his career, something he’s certain he’ll be prepared for.