Midland University - Fremont, Ne

Warrior Skills teaching life lessons to students

Warrior Skills teaching life lessons to students

Dec 10th , 2019

The path to success was one filled with many detours for Tierra Williams. Williams arrived in Nebraska after a life-changing event as a child uprooted her family and brought them to a place she knew little about. On August 29, 2005, Williams’ New Orleans home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. With few places to turn, Williams and her family were given an opportunity through FEMA to relocate to Auburn, Nebraska. 


They were given a vehicle and a house where they were allowed to live rent-free for six months as they began to put the pieces of their lives back together. In her new surroundings, Williams would excel as both a student and athlete at Auburn, earning a scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Williams shared her story of perseverance to a group of Midland students on November 24 as part of the Warrior Skills “Weathering the Storm” event at Eppley Auditorium. 


What Williams went through in her life is a unique situation for any individual, but overcoming adversity and facing challenges is something students go through every day. That’s where Warrior Skills comes in. The program is new to Midland University this fall and Sidney Hirsch, Director of Student Development and Warrior Skills, views Warrior Skills as an opportunity for students to develop leadership and communication skills as they navigate through the various obstacles life can place in their way. “Tierra went through a huge culture change and she overcame adversity to be successful,” Hirsch said. “Students will come to us who have had struggles and can relate to her. Our goal is to get students here and have them see that you can overcome any challenges you may be facing.”


Warrior Skills aims to assist students by focusing on four pillar core areas - Personal Enhancement, Social Responsibility, Leadership, and Career Development. A variety of workshops take place throughout the year that can guide students through everything from time management to handling stress. “The goal of these workshops is to teach life skills so that students feel ready to face whatever challenges they may encounter in their college career, or afterward in professional life,” Hirsch said. ”We want them to have the skills that can allow them to be successful.”


Hirsch was a cross country/track & field athlete at Wichita State University and went through a life skills program at WSU that helped her thrive while wearing many different hats. It also gave her a perspective that allows her to advise Midland students who may be facing some of those same challenges. “It’s helped me in this position because I know what athletes may need at this point in their lives,” she said. “I can help them balance school, athletics, a job, family, and friends. Through my own experiences, I know what workshops might be the most beneficial to them.”


Warriors Skills has seen a large contingent of student/athletes participate in the early portion of the program, but Hirsch is optimistic that will expand to the entire student base. “I feel like a lot of coaches have bought into Warrior Skills and are seeing it benefit their athletes,” she said. “With continued support from the faculty, we will work to get more students involved who might not be in athletics.”


Warrior Skills brings flexibility and variety to its workshops and Hirsch said the opportunity exists for expansion and development within the program. “We send out surveys after each workshop to see what the students like, or don’t like, about each of them. I enjoy hearing how they might have helped them,” Hirsch said. “Our goal is to eventually get all students to these workshops. We want to get to the point where freshmen are getting personal enhancement skills, sophomores are doing more social responsibility workshops, juniors are doing leadership workshops and seniors are doing career development. We want our students hitting each pillar in their career at Midland. We also have plans for larger events where we get more student and community involvement.”


Warrior Skills presents opportunities for Midland students that are unique to smaller universities. Hirsch said student skill programs are much more prominent at larger institutions and are specifically geared for athletes. She is excited that Midland is providing those connections for its entire student population. “It’s unique in that we have the opportunity to be able to work with all students,” she said. “It has been fun to work with a smaller group of students and see this program build.”


To learn more about Tierra Williams and how she arrived in Nebraska, visit here: 

To view Williams’ Midland presentation, visit here: