An Interview On
Howard University

Background

Interview Date:April 2019

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Biracial: Black and Middle Eastern
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school in New York, NY with a graduating class of about 150 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Sports Medicine and Computer Science double major
Minor: Sociology
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete, I’m part of the athletic board, and I’m part of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
My sport has had the largest impact on my experience. It’s really rigorous and time-consuming. Often times we’re traveling during exams. I also have workouts and practices throughout the week.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for both of your majors?
For Sports Medicine, I have a lot of quizzes and each class has about three exams throughout the semester for each class. In addition to that, I have weekly online assignments where we have to write discussions on certain medical practices as well as some hands-on lab work that we have every week.

For Computer Science, we have problem sets and sometimes quizzes. Most of it is online work, so we spend a lot of time in the lab doing trial and error and learning how to code. The major graded assignments are mostly exams.

Is there anything you think either of your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
I feel that in Sports Medicine and Computer Science that it’s more about the actual community of students. There’s a lot of studying together and working together on assignments and things like that because the work is really difficult. I really like the culture of helping your fellow students. Department-wise, I think the professors are willing to help you and their offices are open, so you get out what you put in.

How accessible are your professors?
They’re pretty easy to access. You just have to shoot them an email, but sometimes they don’t check their emails very frequently. If I send an email on Monday, they might not see it until Wednesday or Thursday. A lot of professors also give their office phone number and if they’re there they’ll pick up the phone, so it’s usually better to contact them through the phone. Our school is unique in that it’s more phone-oriented, which I think is a plus actually because they’ll pick up and tell you to come in at a certain time.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s a mixture of both. It’s competitive in terms of course load and coursework. I feel like I’ve been challenged on every test that I’ve taken. Even though the classes are hard, I feel like I get a lot of information out of them. In terms of collaboration, you are able to work together and with your professor to learn the material.

How has going to an HBCU impacted your academic experience?
I attended Howard because it was the best option of schools I got into academically. Attending an HBCU has been great for me because I had been at a private school where I was often the only Black kid in the class. Often in private school, I felt as though I was competing against my peers but at Howard, it takes out the question of if I can achieve in this setting because we all share common experiences and common goals. We also have common opportunities, so I think it’s leveled the playing field in a sense.

Why did you choose your combination of majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I’ve always loved sports medicine. I suffered an injury in high school and once I overcame the injury I fell in love with the process of being able to push a student-athlete to their max but also encouraging them to complete the task. I decided to do Sports Medicine so I can go to graduate school for physical therapy.

I chose Computer Science because of the encouragement of a friend. I’ve always really liked coding and technology and started thinking about how video game developers come up with ideas and concepts. That made me think about what actually goes into making the game, and that made me want to get into coding and Computer Science.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: College Hall North with one roommate.

Sophomore: College Hall South with one roommate.

Junior: Howard Plaza Towers, West in a suite with two other girls. We all have individual rooms.

What has been your favorite living situation?
I preferred living in College Hall North because it was very clean and new.

How was transitioning from your hometown in New York City to Washington D.C. in terms of location?
There are a lot of similarities between D.C. and New York. In terms of traffic and size, it maybe is comparable to New York City. Personally, I do like D.C. but I don’t see myself living here for more than two years after graduation.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I actually had a Title IX case but I feel like sometimes Howard was very lackadaisical regarding safety issues with my case because they thought it was a small situation. Once I got to the head investigator at Howard and he was very on top of everything, but I can’t say the same for the officers that are under him. [See Washington Post article from a different case, “Howard student accuses university of botched investigation into sexual assault allegation”]

Pros and cons of being located in Washington, D.C?
Pros:
1) There is a lot of shopping. I really love to shop.
2) There is so much history and culture in Washington, D.C. besides what you see on TV and read about. There is a lot of historical beauty and as you travel around you learn about each part and it’s [historical significance].

Cons:
1) The weather fluctuates very quickly.
2) D.C. can be unsafe at certain times of night. Howard has a really beautiful campus and then you go over a few streets and it’s a bad neighborhood.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Howard?
I usually like to go get food with my friends and I go to a lot of movies at the movie theater right by campus. One thing I like about the area around Howard and Washington, D.C. is that there is a lot to do pretty close to campus, or at least an Uber ride away. I’m not a real partygoer but certain big parties I’ll maybe go to. Like, if my team throws a party I’ll go to it because it’s kind of my responsibility or if a team we’re really close with throws a party I’ll go to that. But, I maybe go to three parties a year. I mostly stay inside and watch TV [laughs].

What nights do you tend to do things with your friends?
Since I’m an athlete, I have practice at 6PM. Depending on the week, I’ll do stuff with my friends on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and sometimes on the weekends. But I also usually try to get homework done on the weekend, especially if we’re traveling.

What are your favorite things to do around campus?
I like to go to the gym and get some extra cardio in or something. I like to sit out on The Yard and just chill. I also go to some of the little mixers that the sororities and fraternities have, they have [philanthropy events] that you can go to and meet other like-minded people.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Howard? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I wouldn’t change anything.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Most of my friends I met through athletics. Howard has a lot of really great teams. People who share common interests with me are also people who have worked to get where they are and we tend to mesh well. I also think it comes from proximity because we’re physically close together so we’re forced to talk with them and learn about them. There are a lot of athletes in the Sports Medicine program so I meet athletes in class too.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
I feel like, in a way, it’s a hierarchy. It’s a hierarchy based on what organizations people are in and what people’s perceptions of the organizations are. Some people don’t fraternize with people in certain organizations just because they’re members, but, most of the time, they’re just regular people. Some of the clubs have an application process with references, a resume, and all of that. It’s like you’re getting a job. If you’re a person like me who likes to talk to everybody and doesn’t mind talking to somebody different than you, it’s really just about what you make it.

To what extent do people of different sexual orientations mix socially?
It’s pretty common to have LGBT friends. I don’t feel the school is separated between the LGBT people and the heterosexual people. I feel that everyone is pretty accepted here. I haven’t heard of any incidents with LGBTQ people over my three years.

How has going to an HBCU impacted your social experience?
I don’t think it has very much. I think being an athlete impacted my social experience more so.

How do you like going to a school the size of Howard? How has it impacted your experience? [Howard has about 6,300 undergraduate students.]
It’s small and fairly intimate. The size is another pro of Howard because the professors here know your name.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not very much. I’m not really connected in that sense.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
Most of my jobs and opportunities I’ve gotten have been off of my own merit, so I haven’t used the career office much. The Sports Medicine department has its own advisory so that’s where I look for jobs that are posted and apply.

Have you learned any computer programs or languages that will be helpful to you professionally?
I know C++ and Python.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? If so, how easy is the office to work with?
They’re terrible. If you’re not on them every day then things might not get done. I don’t think it’s completely their fault though because they’re fairly understaffed.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Howard before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew that the administration and financial aid offices are not very good. Howard is really about the community. With the administration and financial aid office, there’s a lot of bureaucracy to get by to get anything done right. I also think it teaches you that you have to work for things to get what’s right for yourself.

What is something a prospective student-athlete may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
Howard University is a community where academics come first. Just know that schoolwork is key and just because you’re an athlete doesn’t mean that you’ll find ways around your schoolwork.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Check out the weekend options that aren’t necessarily on school property by trying to stay with a student or talking to somebody.

Reasons to attend Howard:
1) Howard is a great community of people. Howard people all share very similar struggles and experiences so it’s easy to talk to people and share common goals.

Reasons to not attend Howard:
1) Don’t come to Howard if you’re not willing to advocate for yourself.

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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