• Tue. May 28th, 2024

With a limited number of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years in our lifetimes, we must decide how we want to spend them. Do we want to travel the world? Do we want to live in a peaceful meadow, away from the hustle-bustle? 

Briana Nicholson has decided how she wants to spend her life: taking every opportunity that comes her way – especially when it is to uplift others. 

Nicholson is an adjunct professor in the Communication Department at Sinclair, but first entered the college as a high school student taking what are now referred to as College Credit Plus courses. 

Though she is from Dayton, Nicholson spent 17 years in Columbus working for a state department of higher education. Once she had a family, though, she needed more flexibility, and began to look for teaching opportunities just before the pandemic.

Nicholson saw that Sinclair had an opening and decided to apply, given that the college was already familiar to her.

“I was called so quickly I almost didn’t think it was real,” Nicholson said. 

Photo credit: Briana Nicholson

From there, she began teaching courses such as interpersonal communication and public speaking, both in online and in-person formats. Being an adjunct allows her to extend her time to other institutions as well. For example, she assists students with their doctoral dissertations and offers mentoring and coaching. 

When she came back to the Miami Valley, Nicholson felt the need to “reconnect within the Dayton community” and “rebuild those relationships” she had prior to moving. She involves herself in various aspects of community service, including helping those in domestic violence shelters. Nicholson likes to share these experiences with her students. 

“I try to bring in the importance of taking pride in community and service and supporting others,” she said. 

Not only does Nicholson share parts of her story with her classes, but she also allows them to share theirs. One of her favorite parts of teaching is being able to help students on their path to achieving their goals. 

When asked about the opportunities and challenges of being an adjunct, she said that the position itself is both of those things.

“My role can oftentimes feel a little disconnected,” she said. Given that she may not spend as much time on campus as other faculty members, she sometimes wonders about her contributions to the college. 

Again, though, being an adjunct allows Nicholson to dedicate her time to other things beyond teaching. 

“You’re presented with the unique nature of still having one foot outside the door and one foot in,” Nicholson said. 

For a time, Nicholson thought she would continue governmental work. She has family in the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area and has made several trips to the capital. But it seems that, for now, her heart is in education. 

Briana Nicholson has decided how she wants to spend her life: taking every opportunity that comes her way – especially when it is to uplift others. 

Carly Webster

Even when she is not in the classroom, education is a big part of Nicholson’s life. She starts her days with quiet time, using it to reflect or read scholarly journals, news articles, and other material.

“I try to make sure I learn something new,” she said. 

She ends her days with the same thing, often enjoying documentaries. Nicholson tends to avoid news on television, as she finds some of the content to be “jarring.”  

Having her attention split between so many things has helped Nicholson learn an important lesson: finding time to rest is crucial.

“In my twenties, I felt like I had to be all things to all people,” she said.

Years later, Nicholson realized that she had been doing things that could have been delegated, and that she had been giving urgency to tasks that weren’t so urgent. Thus, part of maintaining her sense of balance has been deciphering her priorities and making decisions about what is realistic. 

Both as a person and an instructor, Nicholson sees herself continuing to help others in any way she can.

“It hasn’t been hardscrabble for me to have these opportunities,” Nicholson said of her various experiences. “I’ve been very blessed to be offered opportunities and to be in a position to accept them, and so I see myself still making myself available in that way.” 

Photo credit: Briana Nicholson

In her free time, Nicholson is a nature lover. She has visited many iconic spots and has even more on her bucket list. She is also a big fan of Elvis. 

Thank you, Briana, for your service to the college and community! 

Carly Webster, Staff Writer and Business Manager