BackgroundInterview Date:November 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Half Black/Half White
Graduation Year: 2020, transferred in second semester of her first year. Is part of a 5-year program.
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public high school in Brookline, Massachusetts with a graduating class of 500 students. There was a strong culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Extracurricular Activities: Student Government Association, Club Rugby, and RA (Resident Assistant).
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
Becoming an RA has been very influential. I’m a transfer student, so by becoming an RA I was able to immediately become part of a bigger community.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for Nursing?
I take four classes, two clinical placements, and a lab. Two Clinical Placements take place in the Boston Hospital and are usually 6 or 12-hour shifts. Otherwise, I have standard classes or a 4-hour lab during the week. We are usually graded on examinations, and there really isn’t homework once you are in the nursing specific courses.
Is there anything that you feel the Nursing department does especially well or especially poorly?
Our first year they set us up with a five-year plan including all our classes, clinical placements, and labs. Having everything mapped out is nice and it just lets us know what exactly we will be doing the next four or five years.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think both, it’s pretty hard to get into the program but it is also hard to stay in. Once you have the experience of going through the program, we are pretty much guaranteed a job. Students work together outside of classes on clinical work, so we really form a tight-knit group.
How accessible have the professors in your department been?
If they are a standard full-time professor they have office hours. Some of them are either adjunct or clinical professionals, so it depends on their affiliation with the Northeastern.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
Absolutely. Starting in high school, I studied at the Harvard Medical School through a program bridged with my high school. This program motivated me to get into medicine, so at my first university, I studied Biomedical Sciences. When I transferred, I learned that Northeastern’s nursing program is one of the best, and it would allow me to get hands-on experience [while pursuing] my undergraduate degree.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived over the past three years?
Freshman: International Village
Sophomore: RA for freshman housing with no roommates
Junior: RA for upperclassman housing in the West Villages
How was going to a school so close to your hometown?
Considering I live 10-minutes away, people assume I go home a lot. I’ve been able to separate [my home life and school life] pretty well, and actually don’t go home that much unless I need something. There are also not many people from my high school who go here, so it hasn’t made a difference to me.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
We are in the middle of a city, which makes the campus accessible to anyone. We have such good security on campus that makes me feel safe, and we are always up to date with local news around the city.
Pros and cons of being in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston?
1) I am surrounded by a diverse group of people. It’s really nice because the culture I experience comes not only from the students but the locals who live nearby. [Boston’s population is about 45% White, 23% Black, and 19% Hispanic.]
2) Boston Common is right down the street. [It’s an 8-minute drive.]
1) It’s a highly-populated city and people will just come onto the campus to use our [public] facilities. [Boston is considered the 23rd most populated city in America.]
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Northeastern and [the city of] Boston nightlife meshes pretty well if you are of age. We have a bar near campus that people frequent, but you have to go downtown for the clubs and other nightlife. They are relatively high scale venues with expensive covers and specific dress codes.
What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
With my nursing requirements, I don’t usually go out during the weekdays except maybe on Thursdays. On the weekends, I’ll go out with my friends.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Northeastern? If you could change anything, what would you change?
It’s decent. I don’t think we are a party school. We also don’t have on-campus houses for Greek life, like the movies. Our frat houses do what they stereotypically do, but are away from campus. We also don’t have a football team to support, but we do rally around hockey which is fun.
What have been your favorite times at Northeastern?
We have an annual underwear run, and it’s ridiculous. We run from campus, down Huntington Avenue, through town, and back to the freshman quad where we have a dance party. It’s put on the news and the outsiders think we are crazy. We also participate in the Beanpot, which is a lot of fun. We all go down to the TD Garden, and we actually won for the first time in 35 years. [The Beanpot is an annual hockey tournament between Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern.]
How did you meet your closest friends?
I started rugby this year, and the people I’ve met I have become really close to. Also, being an RA allowed me to make a lot of friends [from the start.]
How was it blending into the social environment as a transfer?
I’ve taken my transition by the horns by joining Residence Life and Rugby. These have been a means of meeting people and creating a community for myself. I wouldn’t say there are systems in place to help this transition.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Northeastern?
It exists if you go find it. There are a ton of niches, tailored toward both academia and social life.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
I don’t see people mixing that much unless you encompass multiple identities within yourself, [such as being Black and Bisexual]. We have a large LGBTQ presence on campus, but I personally don’t see much intermingling of [people from different races or sexual orientations] that often. I try to make a diverse friend group as I’m diverse myself. [In Fall 2018, the student body was 16% Asian, 8% Hispanic, and 6% Black, and 1% Native American.]
How strong is the Black community on campus?
I think we have a great presence and voice. We make ourselves very visible on campus.
Do you feel more so like you’re a resident of Boston than a student at Northeastern?
As someone who lives on campus, I don’t think so. I know some of my friends absolutely feel this way [because they live] off-campus.
How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I’m pretty indifferent. I think gravitating toward nursing has put me in a smaller community because we are so tight-knit. [Northeastern’s undergraduate population is 18,269.]
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice for Northeastern by senior year? Do you think people leaving loving Northeastern?
What is the social impact of the co-op program?
If you have an established friend group and you all co-op at different times, it’s hard for everyone. Despite this, you do create professional networks and personal bonds with new people, so it doesn’t necessarily impact your community on campus too much.
Has the alumni network helps you find internships or jobs?
I have not communicated to any alumni. Because we are off from classes for 6-months during the co-op, you are really able to create a network of your own.
To what extent have you used the career office? How helpful have they been?
They’re wicked helpful, because they help you find co-op opportunities to explore. They also guarantee nursing students callbacks and interviews from employers because they prefer us so much.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs? Were they responsive to your questions?
I have relied on it heavily. As an RA, they have satisfied me on every end and I’ve had no problems with them.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something a prospective student of color should know that has not been mentioned?
It can be challenging to navigate the campus, classes, and dorms as a person of color because you may not see people that look like you all the time. Once you find that niche and the support through groups on campus, you will have it the rest of your time here. I want to hammer home that whatever you want on campus either exists or can be created as long as you take the initiative.
What is something you wish you knew about Northeastern before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew more about the co-op programs because they are one of the drawing factors of the university.
Reasons to attend Northeastern:
1) Co-ops are a way to make connections and lots of money during college.
2) We have a really diverse campus.
3) It’s in the heart of Boston and close to other universities.
4) We have incredible professors.
Reasons to not attend Northeastern:
1) It’s really cold at times.
2) It’s busy at times and during finals you may not find a seat in the library.