BackgroundInterview Date:June 2017
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2017 – 5-year program with 2 co-ops
High School Experience: Private school in the suburbs of Boston, MA with a graduating class of about 150 students. There was a culture of going to college.
Major: Business with concentrations in Management Information Systems and Marketing
Extracurricular Activities: I worked as a resident advisor. I am part of Project Play where I volunteered in a school at Boston once a week and taught the importance of conflict resolution. I was also involved with a few cultural groups over the years.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
It varied over my five years. There were always readings, you had to examine case studies, and we had a lot of group work. In terms of major assignments, we had presentations, papers, and exams in all the business classes. We had lots of presentations. Also, at least one class a semester had a curve of some sort.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I think the department does a good job of opening different tracks to people. First, you take your prerequisites and then you can take multiple paths within the department. I think they did a good job explaining the paths and what they were. Professionally, they were fantastic in guiding me down a specific track and then helping me find co-ops in that area.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
After going into Northeastern undeclared I was very much looking for something I felt comfortable with. I guess after going through the process of going to different classes and thinking about being an engineer I felt most comfortable in the business classes I took. Towards the end of freshman year and beginning of sophomore year, I found that I liked business classes and then liked the comfort of being in the same classes semester after semester and liking them. I’m happy with my choice.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
I lived in all on-campus dorms.
Freshman: International Village in a traditional double. I had a corner room
Sophomore: Willis Hall in an apartment with 4 people.
Junior: I had a single bedroom in an apartment in West Village F. I had a single because I was an RA. There were a total of 7 people in the apartment and all the other guys shared double bedrooms.
Summer after junior year: I had a single in International Village.
Senior: Same exact living situation as junior year.
Summer after senior year: I had a single bedroom in an apartment with 2 other people in 407 Huntington. Typically, those apartments are quads but because I’m an RA I got a single.
5th year: I had a studio single in 337 Huntington.
What was your favorite living situation?
I think as needs change as you get older, the studio single was the best because I always had the place to myself. I could always have people over when I wanted to, which was nice. Realistically I didn’t have a bad time in any of the dorms. Sophomore year might be my favorite because I was not an RA and very carefree just hanging out with my friends. Willis is also a great spot on campus.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I never felt I was in danger. I think that’s partially because I’m an African-American male so I don’t feel threatened. There aren’t any areas where I felt uncomfortable walking alone, though I was normally with people. I was never worried wherever I was.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
El Pelon near Fenway. I don’t go out to eat very often because I have a meal plan.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The Prudential Center.
Pros and cons of being in Boston?
Pros: (1) Boston is a great place to walk and explore. It won’t leave you bored.
(2) The number of people felt right for me. There was enough that I was content but not going crazy. [The population of Boston is about 672,000.]
(3) Accessibility- if you wanted to go anywhere just hop on the train or use a ride service. It’s also fairly bike-able.
Cons: (1) The harshness of the seasons can get to you. You can have Snowmageddon and you’re not going anywhere. There are days when it’s piled up to your chest.
(2) Depending on who you are as a person, the city can feel cold people-wise. My friends from the south and other countries have felt that when they try to be nice to strangers Bostonians will look at the ground or mind their own business.
(3) There are not too many people of color at the university or in Boston. We are a very small percentage. [About 45% of residents of Boston are white.]
I don’t think I have too many negatives, though.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
It varied between years 1-2 and 3-4-5. Years 1-2 I was going down to the hill [Mission Hill] and trying to figure out what’s going on. Knowing lots of people helps a lot because then you’ll know about which places are doing what. Once you’re 21 you’ll go to bars more. The places I went to often were Howl at the Moon, Tavern in the Square, and Connor’s, which is the local campus bar.
What are “Open Parties”?
I went to those in my younger years. If a group that I was a part of had something I’d go to it. They wouldn’t be happening all the time so the infrequency of them made you want to go.
What is an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
There are things to do, but knowing where to find them is big. My crew was very into going out and partying but then we’d occasionally go out bowling when we became 21. It’s tough because after the grind of the week you want to party. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember many nights not going out. When I didn’t go out, I’d go play basketball until the gym closed. Sometimes when I was a resident advisor, I’d have a program on a Friday night too.
How happy are you with the weekend options at Northeastern? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I always felt that I had something to do, but part of that is my personality. I end up meeting a lot of people. I knew of a lot more things going on than the average person. There were some days when we weren’t tailgating or nights when we weren’t going too crazy. There isn’t much school spirit here. It’s a mixed bag, there was enough where I wasn’t distracted and still had fun. It was definitely alright for me.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met one through orientation. My orientation group pulled my friend into our group because his group wasn’t having a great time. I met another one through with them during the summer of our third year.
How would you describe the social scene?
I didn’t feel a social pyramid because of co-op. Once you’re a working professional and you’re making money and trying to get experience, you don’t care if somebody’s an athlete. There are cliques, like the people that always go play basketball, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing because you find the cliques that you like. It’s not like Mean Girls.
Do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
At Northeastern, yes. As an RA, my role is to make sure people are mixing. I’m also exposed to more people in general. I think they do mix but it is hard. It’s not like a lovey-dovey scene. There are people that stick to their group, like there are groups of African-Americans that just hang out together but when it comes to a situation where there is mixing we can do it. In terms of mixing there is some work to be done. Racially, Black people are a small group. There can be a lack of diversity at times. If you are a minority here you will sometimes be the only person representing your culture in a class. [About 6% of the student body is Black.]
What was the impact of Greek Life?
I had a bunch of friends in it but I was not. Not being in it didn’t have much of an impact on me, I still could go to the parties.
Do people seem happy with Northeastern by senior year?
Yeah, I think so. A large majority of it is because of the co-op program. It’s a major reason that makes you not lose focus. At the same time, you do go to school and want to meet people and find your way, and I think I did that. Most people do stay and have that experience. The school’s really whatever you make of it, whether you want to have a great time or do your own thing.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
As of now, not yet. I’m hoping to use that a little more. As a fresh alumnus, I haven’t leaned on that yet. I’m hoping the experience I already have will help me out too.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Northeastern before you entered as a freshman?
I would remind myself that it’s still school and you still have to do your work. Freshman year I went out a lot and could have used a few bumps up on my GPA. Luckily co-op reminds you of that sooner rather than later.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The place you see on the tour is not the same place in the winter. Some people forget that. Then walk the city for the same amount of time you walk the campus. You’re going to be everywhere if you go to Northeastern. Try to know the city if you can and go to other places nearby. See what people are there and what people you’ll be around.
Reasons to attend Northeastern:
2) The size, you’re never running out of new people, and it’s never too big that you’re losing your friends. [There are about 18,000 undergraduates.]
3) The life-minded individual. You’ll find people that are already thinking about work and trying to be successful.
4) There are a good number of cultural groups. This was great for me because I was able to find those.
5) The professors have been good at teaching and getting back to me. There are professors I’ve had that are still talking to me. At least in my concentrations, the professors care.
Reasons to not attend Northeastern:
1) School spirit. If you’re looking for something like a UNC basketball game, you’re not going to get close to that. It’s hard to get people to go to games. The spirit is tampered down to an extent because everybody is focused on other things.
2) If you’re a person of color it’s a small circle for your population, especially in Boston.
3) People are coming and going constantly because of co-op. You might not see your friends for a long time. You also grow up very quickly because of co-op and it sometimes feels rushed. If you’re the guy that likes stability and continuity you’re not going to like it. I didn’t see one of my boys from freshman year until 5th year.