An Interview On
Howard University

Background

Interview Date:May 2019

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Black
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public high school in Long Island, NY with a graduating class of about 400 students. There was a culture of going to college but mostly going to SUNY or CUNY schools because that’s what most people could afford.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Elementary Education
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I’m part of the Ladies of the Quad Social Club, I’m in the National Society of the Collegiate Scholars, I used to be a community member of the NAACP Howard chapter, and I am in the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
In a majority of my extracurriculars I have taken leadership roles, so it helped me become independent, learn how to network with people, and the importance of fostering genuine relationships for the benefit of myself and also to leave a lasting legacy in the organization.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
It varies from course to course because each class requires us to look at education from a different perspective. The more you get into the major, the more it becomes online because it requires you to go out into the field and do practicum work. Also, along with that, it is a lot of written responses to articles or writing prompts to pinpoint our pedagogical style. It’s a mixture of everything, but going into the field is a large amount of what we do. Because the school day conflicts with regular class time, a lot of our work is online.

How do you feel about having a lot of your work be online?
Sometimes I would like to have more conversations with my professors in person. But, at the same time, it does help because we get to see how the coursework actually applies to the classroom. I think that a lot of majors don’t get to see their practice in the field until after they graduate. Depending on the course or what I’m looking for at that time, it can be good or bad.

Is there anything you think your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I have enjoyed some of the assignments our professors have given us and the guest speakers who have come into our classes just because they opened my mind more than the school already does.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s very collaborative. That’s because as future educators we have this understanding that people work better in a more communal setting.

How has going to an HBCU impacted your academic experience?
It made me reflect on the type of education I’ve had my entire life. It made me think back on all the times that I should have spoken up for myself if I didn’t feel challenged or wasn’t being pushed enough.

How accessible are your professors in your department?
I believe they’re very accessible. They respond to their emails but I’m not one to go to office hours.

Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I actually went to Howard undecided because the basic conversation people give to educators is that they’re not going to make any money blah, blah, blah. But, after spending the first year taking random requirement classes that I would need anyway I realized that education is where I’m supposed to be and what I want to do.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Harriet Tubman Quadrangle with one roommate but she didn’t come so I was in a single.

Sophomore: College Hall South with one roommate.

Junior: Howard Plaza Towers, West in a suite with two other people. I had my own room and they shared a room.

What has been your favorite living situation?
College Hall South because they had central lounges in each floor. When you didn’t want to be in your room you could sit in the lounge and possibly see people, so it really promoted you to be social. But with [Howard Plaza] Towers, it’s not like that because they are apartment-style and the RA’s don’t do as much to bring us all out there.

How was transitioning from your hometown in Long Island, NY to Washington D.C. in terms of location?
The transition was fine. I have a lot of family in Brooklyn so going to D.C. wasn’t too much of a culture shock. I was used to taking public transportation and seeing different living environments where some areas are gentrified and areas are not. If you’re from the New York City areas, it won’t be overwhelming.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel like I’ve been in a pretty safe environment. Being outside at night you have to be somewhat cautious. Not that I’ve been in grave danger, but that just comes with any city at night.

Pros and cons of being located in Washington, D.C?
Pros:
1) If somebody is a foodie, there are a lot of random restaurants always popping up.
2) All throughout D.C. you have access to public transportation.
3) Specifically with northern D.C., there is a lot of African-American history. There is also African-American history subtly placed all throughout D.C. which is a great benefit. It’s nice to see names and find out what they’ve done.

Cons:
1) If you’re not one for noise, it’s not the best place to be because there are so many restaurants, bars, and nightlife. I have had problems with people being lout outside, but that’s what will happen in a city area. We’re also near a hospital and it’s annoying to hear the ambulances go by.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Howard?
I really don’t go out that much. Pretty much any Howard event that happens at night is what I go to, or if my friends have a performance or event off-campus I’ll go support that. There’s always stuff to do, you just have to know about it. With anything, so performances, parties, even random screenings in D.C., it’s better if you follow a party promoter page or even just a D.C. event page because that’s how you find out about things. I’m not really a social person, so I’m not looking for things to go to.

What are some of your favorite things to do off-campus?
I like going to Temple Hills [Roller Skating Rink] because they have really cheap skates and it’s a part of D.C. culture because you get to see people from people there skating like how you see in movies.

What are some of your favorite on-campus events?
I like going to the fashion shows. It’s fun to go see the different fashion shows at the different universities in D.C. to see how different people do things.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Howard? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I just wish D.C. houses weren’t so narrow because we can’t have house parties so we’re stuck going to a club. Then, if you’re not 21 you’re pretty limited on some weekends if you do want to go out. Also, if you want to go to a house party at [University of] Maryland, the Uber is like $30.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them freshman week. The week before classes start there are events every day to get people to know people. We’ve been kicking it ever since.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
Everybody is pretty social. It always helps to join organizations because you get to become friends with people in the organization and then meet their friends. Even talking to people in your classes is a good way to make friends. Howard is a very social place, you just have to be okay with talking to different people.

To what extent do people of different sexual orientations mix socially?
I haven’t heard of or noticed certain groups hanging out with people [based on their sexual orientation identifiers]. A lot of my friends are actually gay, so I think mixing happens pretty frequently. Everybody just wants you to do what you want to do.

How would you describe the student body?
Depending on who you are, some people might end up only becoming friends with people from their state. Personality-wise, that’s how peoples’ personalities differ. People tend to group with people from the same place from where they’re from.

How has going to an HBCU impacted your social experience?
Getting to know different Black people throughout the Diaspora is definitely different. I got to meet somebody from Alaska and I have never thought of Black people living in Alaska before. You think that they’d be very different from you, but they’re really not. It’s nice to learn how diverse Black people can be.

To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
For me, some of my closest friends just became members of a Greek organization and it’s nothing different. It depends on who the person is and how they want to take those letters. But, if you’re friends with somebody before they join Greek life, it shouldn’t make a difference and to my knowledge, it usually doesn’t.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I haven’t connected with any School of Education alumni but I know a lot of my peers have while being out in the field.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I only used the career office one time to get a Howard Alum Mentor. She is really nice, but that’s pretty much all I’ve used them for. They do have career fairs, but I don’t think those are geared towards people who have social anxiety problems because going to them is really overwhelming.

Have you learned any computer programs or languages that will be helpful to you professionally?
We work with Scratch which helps us teach kids how to code in a very basic way. It was really cool to learn and inspiring because I never thought I’d be in a space where I’d have to program anything.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? If so, how easy is the office to work with?
I have used financial aid ever since I’ve been at Howard. In my situation, they have been helpful and responsive, but I don’t think my financial aid problems are as serious as other people’s. I definitely heard of people having issues, but I don’t think any system is perfect.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Howard before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew how hard it was going to be to navigate your personal self socially. Freshman year, I really wasn’t prepared for what college was going to be like, so it was a lot. The number of people was overwhelming.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
A student should look at all of the names of all of the buildings on campus because they’re named after pivotal people in our community and I don’t know if people notice that.

Reasons to attend Howard:
1) I feel like I’ve found so much pride in myself and in my people and what I can do from the type of support that Howard gives you. It might not be directly from Howard, but speaking to people who have graduated from Howard who have gone to do great things is really empowering. If you’re a change-agent, Howard is the place to be.
2) Howard is an HBCU and I think it’s important to support any HBCU.

Reasons to not attend Howard:
1) I don’t think you should come to Howard if you’re not the type of person that’s willing to fight for their education or stand for something. At times, students find ourselves having to self-advocate because Howard is not perfect.
2) If you’re a lazy person, don’t come to Howard because you have to figure things out for yourself. You have to be able to work hard here.

Howard has its ups and downs, but it’s definitely the place to be if you want to change yourself or be somewhere where you need that push.

Notice: Howard University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Howard University.

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