BackgroundInterview Date:February 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of about 90 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in Turnt Tigers, which is a pep rally team for the school. We go to all the football, basketball and baseball games and try to get people to come out and show spirit for the teams.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
It’s more so reading and writing. We’ll have the occasional test or writing lab, but mostly just reading.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
Most English classes are on Tuesday and Thursday, so sometimes your class schedule will be just on Tuesday and Thursday. You can’t spread out your classes across the week. What I like about the department is you can take the core classes without having to take prerequisites. It gives you the opportunity to save time and finish those classes. It’s easier to finish the major because of that.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s partially competitive but mostly collaborative. Our professors encourage us to make group message groups for the class to discuss general questions or talk about essays. Its competitive in the sense that everybody wants to try hard and succeed in their goals. People want to get certain GPA’s and certain internships, so people will be competitive in making sure they get the extra credit and studying hard.
How accessible are your professors?
They’re fairly accessible. They give us their office hours and if you can’t make their office hours they give us their emails and phone numbers. Some professors give out their Skype username and will book Skype meetings with you if you can’t make an in-person meeting.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice so far?
I chose English because Morehouse doesn’t have a journalism program, so that’s why I’m a Journalism minor. I thought I wanted to go into sports management, so I was a Business major at first. I realized I want to do sports journalism, so I changed to a Journalism major. I’m happy with my choice because I was always a good writer. It’s a difficult major because there’s a lot of reading, but that also makes it easy to handle at times.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman year the hall you stay in is very important because we have strolling, and if your house wins the stroll you have bragging rights for the year. You also base your initial friendships off of who you meet in those halls. My house was at the top of the hill, and we’d tell other people, “Just go back to the bottom of the hill” [laughs]. It’s competitive that way. After freshman year you can be a stroll coach for incoming freshmen.
Freshman: Brazeal House with one roommate, but then changed to a single room.
Sophomore: Wiley A. Perdue House, which is a sophomore and junior hall. I had one roommate.
Junior: Otis Moss Suites with three other roommates. It was great because it was an apartment-style suite, so we had a kitchen, refrigerator, and two bathrooms.
How was transitioning from Baltimore to Atlanta?
In terms of location, it’s not that different to me. I transitioned fairly well, partially because I have family down here. If you’re from Baltimore, you’ll see some similarities. You’ll miss home, but not too much.
Pros and Cons of being in Atlanta, GA?
1) You get a lot of opportunities, especially if you’re a Business major. A lot of big companies come down to pick out the top tier students.
2) It’s great to be in a Black space as a young Black man. Atlanta is growing into the new Black space, so you’ll see celebrities in Lenox Mall, which is a luxury mall near campus. [About 50% of the population of Atlanta is Black.]
3) Being in the Atlanta University Center [Consortium]. If you don’t want to be at Morehouse, you can go to [Clark Atlanta University] or Spelman. Even if you don’t want to be in the AUC, Georgia State and Georgia Tech are maybe 10 minutes away from us. They will come to us and we will go to them too.
1) The AUC is a food desert, and the Wal-Mart in the AUC is not as good as it should be. There are a lot of fast-food options, but not a lot of healthy things.
2) Morehouse College is [about a mile] from Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I can see the stadium from out my window. Traffic from big events can get really hectic.
3) We’re not in the safest space sometimes. We’ve been told [AUC students are targeted in crimes].
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
Freshman year people will have parties in their halls. Other than that, there are 21+ and 18+ clubs you can go to. There are also a lot of house parties. People will post on Instagram, “Hey I’m having a party, guys pay $5 girls are free,” or something like that. People from Clark, Spelman, and Morehouse will go to those parties.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Friday, Saturday, and bars will have promotions on Thursday nights. There’s a pizza place that has promotions on Thursdays that a lot of people at my class go to.
What are some of your favorite events that happen at Morehouse?
Homecoming is the biggest deal. Everybody and their momma come back for homecoming [laughs]. It’s basically a big cookout across the whole campus. People will then go to the homecoming football game. It’s a whole day thing that starts at 8AM and goes until people want to leave.
How happy are you with the options for weekend activities at Morehouse? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m fairly happy. I’ve been here for three years so I know what to expect. You love it your freshman year, but once you get into your school work you realize you can’t go out every weekend. Overall, it’s fairly good.
How has being at an HBCU impacted your weekend options?
There’s definitely a different culture. It’s something that I personally enjoy more. The music is better. Your freshman year you go places with your hallmates and you get closer to them that way. The hall-culture is something that I like about it too.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Mostly through my freshman hall. I’ve also made friends through clubs, classes, and just sitting in the cafeteria not doing anything cracking jokes. Being active on your freshman hall can really make your experience at Morehouse way better. You’re able to spread out and see what you like and what you don’t like.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s very social. There is a lot to do on campus and there are lots of organizations. You can always hear people saying, “Yo! What’s good bro?” Especially on the first day of classes people will be saying hi and dapping each other up. It sometimes can be a little political because people join organizations to do certain things so that they can get a certain internship or job after college. [People will do certain things for results.]
To what extent do people of different sexual orientations mix socially?
They mix a lot because Morehouse is an all-boys school, so you’ll have both heterosexual and homosexual males. They mix a lot, but it’s not always positive because you have people from different walks of life. I’d also say it’s diverse because you have people from the Caribbean and from Africa. [About 1.5% of students are international and about 94% are Black students.]
What is the impact of going to an all-male school on your social experience?
It really has had none because I’m cool with it. Nothing has changed my life and made me think or feel differently about people. I have noticed that I am more aware of things around me and the words I say. I’m more aware of what’s offensive and not offensive. Masculinity is a big thing at Morehouse, and sometimes people will be called out for over-expressing their masculinity but there are also people who try to act blind [to the culture of masculinity]. There are some effeminate men here, and sometimes they will integrate and sometimes they won’t. If I were to hang out with a gay friend all the time I’d probably have somebody make a joke about it, but I would just ask them why they care so much.
How would you describe the student body?
We have a great student body. We have a lot of future leaders and businessmen here. Everybody is so driven because a lot of them come from impoverished neighborhoods or are first-generation students, so they want to make something for themselves and make their families proud. We don’t have the best retention rate, so there are some people who have to leave Morehouse early. I have friends who left after freshman year who I still check up on because you develop that bond so quickly. [The median family income at Morehouse College is $65,900 and 9.4% of students come from the bottom 20% socioeconomically. The 2017-2018 retention rate was 84%.]
How do you like the size of your school in terms of undergraduate enrollment?
Because we don’t have the best retention rate, the size of your class won’t be the same year over year. [The six-year graduation rate for students who entered in 2011 was about 55%.] I don’t pay attention to the size because it’s not going to be the same from your freshman year to senior year. It’s a fairly small school and a fairly small campus, but we share our campus with Clark Atlanta and partially share a campus with Spelman, so you can venture over to another school and not even know.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Me personally, no, but I haven’t looked for jobs through them yet. It does help you a lot of times because, especially in Atlanta, we always joke that we have to wear our Morehouse gear to the airport in case you see alumni. You can always network that way because alumni always love speaking to younger Morehouse brothers. You’ll run into somebody at the airport and they’ll give you their contact information. You meet alumni at Homecoming and you can reach out that way. If you’re driven, it’s a very positive group.
What did you use the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I haven’t used the career office. I have gotten most of my opportunities through professors because a lot of times they are very, very helpful in finding opportunities. You have to be the one to be active in it though. Through the Journalism program, I’ve been to three Hawks games and NASCAR event with my class. From there, I’ve met other people and have been able to be on the set of NBA on TNT and other stuff like that. The Journalism program will also send out opportunities.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
Have you used financial aid? If so, how helpful was the financial aid office?
Financial aid is rather difficult. You can spend a good portion of your day in the financial aid office. It’s gotten better, but in the past, it was pretty bad.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Morehouse before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew how to properly apply for scholarships. I also wish I knew what clubs to join and not to join because sometimes stuff is a lot of fluff but not a lot of substance.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
On a good day, I would just say look around campus and be conscious of where you are. A lot of times you will see brothers are walking around and talking. Pay attention to the social life, so how people interact with each other on campus. On a sunny day, people will be out more than on a rainy day. Make sure to look at the social life and campus life.
Reasons to attend Morehouse College:
1) The brotherhood. You have so many great brothers who have attended before you and so many great brothers who will attend after you.
2) Morehouse has name recognition. Peoples’ faces will light up when you say you go to Morehouse because they know what it means to be a Morehouse Man.
3) The opportunities after Morehouse are great. Big companies will recruit from Morehouse and love Morehouse students.
4) The overall experience of being at an HBCU. You might not think that it’s diverse because it’s an HBCU, but people come from all walks of life to Morehouse and it’s a beautiful thing to see. To be in a Black space as a Black person, it’s a great place to learn about yourself and your culture and heritage. [Between 2014-2016, 65% of students came from the South, with about 12% coming from the Northeast and about 13% coming from the Midwest.]
Reasons to not attend Morehouse College:
1) If you’re more of an introvert, you’re not going to have the best experience because, although it’s very academic, the school really encourages you to branch out and be more than just a student. You have to be a little adventurous and be able to get out of your comfort zone.
2) The financial aid office can be tough to work with. [HBCU’s across the country have been struggling financially.]