Administrator puts perseverance to the test with new memoir

Dr. Ozalle Toms presents her new memoir Letting Perseverance Finish now available for purchase Jan. 1, 2022.

Dr. Ozalle Toms presents her new memoir “Letting Perseverance Finish” now available for purchase Jan. 1, 2022.

Brooklyn Stevenson, Campus News Editor

Assistant Vice Chancellor Ozalle Toms started the new year successfully by publishing a book titled “Letting Perseverance Finish” January. 1. The Student Diversity, Engagement and Success leader is very grateful for the experience and the accomplishment of publishing this book. She had her doubts and had to do her research, but Toms successfully published a memoir that she is proud of.

“I’ve always had conversations with people where we talk about our childhood and our past and our upbringing. It’s kind of like a common thing to do with people. And I would kind of talk a little bit about my background. And people will say you should really write a book about your experiences and I’m like, oh, yeah,” says Toms. “My ‘why’ for writing the book was that there are a lot of children in foster care across the United States. 427,000 kids are in foster care, and then in addition to that, there are a lot of people who have experienced trauma.”

In the book, Dr. Toms talks about experiences of childhood abuse and trauma. She also talks about her experiences in foster care and how those experiences had an impact on her adult life. “You know, it’s like, when people experience trauma, you know, there are some who kind of get stuck and they never move on from it”, Toms stated. It was important for her to talk about how she got out of the cycle.

After many years of research papers and articles, Toms was nervous to publish a memoir all about herself and her personal experiences.

“So first I was like, ‘Well, who’s going to buy a book about me? I’m not somebody famous. I’m not Lebron James or anybody like that. Does somebody really care about my life?’ I had to remember when I was writing it that I was writing for a particular purpose.”

On top of multiple doubts about publishing a memoir, Toms had to figure out how she wanted to publish it and how to properly go about writing a memoir. It is very different from formatting and publishing research papers.

“In addition to doing research on writing a book, I had to do research on, should I self-publish or publish with a publisher,” says Toms. “And so, I talked to a couple of colleagues who were very successful with their books.”

Toms put a great amount of hard work and time into creating and completing her memoir. To put so much effort into something so personal, you want people to be glad they chose to read the book. Toms was definitely grateful and glad about the reactions to “Letting Perseverance Finish,” especially after going through her doubts and nervousness. Accomplishing anything personal and receiving love from people for it is a good feeling for anyone.

“As people read my book, sending me messages in the middle of the night, say ‘Wow! Thank you so much for telling your story. This is going to help so many people. Thank you for putting yourself out there like that,’” says Toms. “So initially, when it came out, I worried that everyone was going to talk about me, but then the responses I’ve received from people since it’s been out there has been amazing. So at this point, I do feel like the book is doing what I wanted it to do. And I hope that it even does more as I try to reach those who I’m trying to really target with the book.”

After receiving such positive feedback from readers of “Letting Perseverance Finish,” Toms is going to have book chats where people can also get their copy signed. The readings will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15 at Andersen Library, and from 6-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 at The Book Teller.

Printed copies of “Letting Perseverance Finish” by Dr. Ozalle Toms arrive for readers after being published Jan. 1, 2022.