BackgroundInterview Date:April 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Biracial: African-American and Hispanic. I identify more as Black.
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021, I transferred and started Fall of 2018
High School Experience: Public school in the suburbs of Connecticut with a graduating class of about 250 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Media Management
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete and am joining the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council next year.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I like [my sport] but it’s also really hard at the same time. It’s made my experience good because I have a family here, but balancing it all out can be hard.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
We have in-class assignments that are due by the end of the week and then we have tests. Projects are rare, but we do have them.
Is there anything you think your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
With some professors, they do a good job of teaching you concepts and making you understand the work.
What has been your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
I’m currently taking Principles of Speech and that class helps you prepare to present and makes you a better presenter. When I came here, I wasn’t the best presenter, but having them teach me what to do and not to do in different situations when you’re presenting really helped me improve my public speaking.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Depending on the professor, the classes can be more competitive or collaborative because some professors make the class more difficult. Some make it more difficult because they will teach you the material in class, but you have to teach it to yourself outside of class too.
How accessible are your professors?
They’re very accessible. They have office hours and most of them are always there. You just have to make sure you email them too because it will show that you’re interested and want to learn, so they respond well to that.
How has going to an HBCU impacted your academic experience?
I want to do really well both in college and outside of college, and being around a strong Black community helped me focus more and make me want to prosper.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I chose my major because I really like music and I want to manage artists and work in the music industry when I get older, so I thought that would be the major that would best fit that.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Sophomore: College Hall South with one roommate.
How was transitioning from your hometown in Connecticut to Washington D.C. in terms of location?
At first, I thought it was going to be harder than expected. But, the transition went pretty well because I found my people and still stick with those people. Having those friends made things so much easier.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
At first, I didn’t think it was that bad. But, a week or two ago I saw a drunk guy [attack two people] and the police had to come. So, I don’t know how safe I think it is now.
Pros and Cons of being located in Washington, D.C?
1) Being in the capital.
2) The city has so much to offer. There is Georgetown, U Street, and all of that there to do.
1) We’re not in the city directly so we have to travel to get into the city. I wish things were closer to our campus.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Howard?
The nightlife is really fun here. We like going to eat at restaurants and bars. We also like to go to clubs in D.C. Thursday and Saturday nights. There are also off-campus house parties. As you get more involved in the Howard Community, groups [that host events] will follow you on Instagram and you’ll find out about them that way.
What’s the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
They’re really big in the nightlife. From the Fall to Spring they’ll have an event once a month or every other month. They also play a big role with the off-campus parties but they aren’t exclusive. If you see something about the party, you’ll be able to go, but some of their parties are more lowkey so you might need to know someone to find out about it.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
The museums. It’s fun to go see art and learn about history. We also like to go to Capital One Arena to see a basketball game.
How happy are you with the weekend activity options at Howard? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I like it. There’s always something to do. People like to go to the same places and it’s fun. People also like to go to other colleges like Maryland, Georgetown, and George Washington.
How did you meet your closest friends?
The people on my team are my closest friends. It’s so nice having that bond with them because we practice together and eat together. When I started off coming as a transfer I thought it would be hard, but that first week you come is where you get to meet everyone. Because I was a transfer, I still felt like a freshman so I met people in my dorm and in the cafeteria when everybody was trying to meet people and get people’s numbers.
How was transitioning as a transfer student? Were there any resources that helped you adapt?
The transition was easy for me. They helped you but made it so you had to help yourself at the same time. You have to open yourself up more, and that is what helped me.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
The social scene is really good. You never see someone alone and people seem happy. People have their friend groups. It’s cliquey, but, at the same time, there’s another part where it’s also not cliquey. There are certain groups that are based off of what city they come from, like Los Angeles and Chicago. They will associate with those people but they are still friends with people outside of that group. People have friends outside of their group so they are not usually just in the same group all the time.
To what extent do people of different sexual orientations mix socially?
It’s common to see people mixing. People don’t really care if someone’s gay and are friends with everyone. You never see any bashing or anything.
How would you describe the student body?
People are really calm and chill most of the time. Most people are really nice. Sometimes people will seem very serious and kind of mean but then once you get to know them you’ll see that they’re very nice and not as mean as you thought they were.
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially? How strong is the Greek presence on campus?
From what I’ve seen, even though people are friends with their brothers and sisters, they’re still friends with people outside of that. I’ve seen them mix where their friends from their fraternity and not in their fraternity become friends. For example, I have some friends in Greek life.
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 fine. It hasn’t affected me. It’s not like it’s a big campus but it’s not small at the same time so it’s a good number. I’m enjoying it because I think it’s a good size.
How has going to an HBCU impacted your social experience?
I feel like I know more about Black people than I did because back home I went to a predominantly White high school. Coming to an HBCU was kind of a culture shock at first. After the first few weeks, I felt more comfortable because I had never had the experience of being around this many people like me.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how easy is the office to work with?
Financial aid depends on which person you get. Sometimes they will be nice and respectful but if you don’t get a person like that they will have attitude and act like you’re doing something to then when you’re not.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Howard before entering as a transfer?
The food is okay but could be so much better. Also, sometimes it seems like the administration doesn’t care in certain situations and they’ll give you the “Howard Run-Around,” [which is what students call it]. They’ll tell you to go to one place and that place will tell you to go somewhere else. I had to do the Howard Run Around because of an issue with financial aid. That happens a lot with financial aid so you have to make sure you are on time with deposits.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Homecoming. That is really fun. Also, being on The Yard is something they miss because during the spring and fall is when The Yard is packed and people are socializing and enjoying themselves. It’s nice to see the Black community succeeding and being happy in that way.
Reasons to attend Howard:
1) The community.
2) The history behind Howard and the sense of meaning you feel here.
3) You’re on your own and have to be independent, so you have to grow up quickly. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned here.
Reasons to not attend Howard:
1) Financial aid here can be difficult to work with.
2) Sometimes there is nothing happening on campus one week so people will be bored.