An Interview On
Spelman College

Background

Interview Date:April 2019

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: African-American
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school in Atlanta, GA with a graduating class of about 23 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Education Studies
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I am in a sorority, I’m on the quiz bowl team, and I’m part of the Pre-Alumnae Council

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The quiz bowl team has because I’ve gotten the chance to meet students from different backgrounds and build a small community through that.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I have a lot of reading, I have to write papers, and do research. I also have field experiences periodically.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
They ensure that their students consider different career options, graduate on time, and are enrolled in the correct courses. We are presented with various career opportunities as well as furthering our education. They’ll show you options that aren’t being a teacher where you can use the Education Studies major.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s collaborative. At Spelman, I rarely feel competition in the academic space. We all support each other to do our own individual best.

How accessible are your professors?
Very accessible. You can email them or go to their office hours. Some of them will even give you their phone numbers so you can text them.

How has going to an HBCU impacted your academic experience?
It’s impacted the experience tremendously. We receive great opportunities that other students don’t necessarily receive. It feels like a family and is a community where everyone wants each other to succeed. One example is we got an exclusive screening of the Beyoncé just because of our notoriety as a highly ranked HBCU. We get opportunities but are also nourished and everyone wants the best for us. Additionally, going to an HBCU that is for Black women is great because I know that I will never be discriminated against.

What has been your favorite class in your major?
Psychology of the Inner-City Child. I enjoyed that it was applicable to life and enjoyed the conversations that were spread with my professor and my classmates.

Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice so far?
I chose it because while I have a passion for education, I don’t foresee myself having a career in the classroom. My major is a non-teaching certification track so I can still study the subjects I want to at a larger scale.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Howard-Harreld Hall with one roommate.

Sophomore: Living and Learning Center 2 with one roommate.

Junior: Beverly Daniel Tatum Suites with one roommate.

What has been your favorite living situation?
Howard-Harreld Hall. While it looked less nice compared to the other two, there was a community built within it. I knew pretty much everyone that lived in the dorm and we got to hang out a lot in the lounges, so it was a great experience to meet a bunch of people.

How do you like going to school in your hometown?
I like it a lot more than I expected. The part of town the school is in is a different part of town than I grew up, so I’m able to have new experiences, try new restaurants and places to shop around.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Spelman’s a gated campus and you have to go through security to enter and exit so I always feel safe.

Pros and cons of being located in the Atlanta University Center in Atlanta, GA?
Pros:
1) It’s a growing city so there are always events to attend, places to eat, etc.

Cons:
1) Public transportation is not developed. It’s difficult to take it anywhere you go. You usually have to use a combination of ride-share and public transportation.
2) The weather isn’t consistent.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I do a little bit of everything. I enjoy going to concerts and festivals, I like trying new places to eat, and I’ve gone to some of the bars. Thursday nights are pretty active. There are different restaurants that might have discounted drinks and happy hours that students go to, and then Friday and Saturday are pretty active. Academically, I’ve gone to some conferences in the city.

What’s the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
The fraternities and sororities have parties and around Homecoming some of them have their annual party. They won’t have parties on a weekly basis, but they do throw big parties annually. There will be off-campus parties that are hosted in apartments and houses and sometimes the people hosting it will all be in the same fraternity and sometimes not.

How happy are you with weekend options at Spelman? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I don’t think I would change anything. The only challenge is that a lot of people live within a 10-minute drive or more from campus, so things aren’t usually in walking distance.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
I did a summer program before I came to college and met a lot of people there. I met people through my sorority. Also, my freshman year I was president of my residence hall so I met people through that.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s really great. There’s something for everyone which I think is awesome. There are lots of different clubs and organizations that are not just at our school but also at two neighboring colleges, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta. A lot of students are able to participate in organizations that are throughout all three campuses or just at one of them, which is great.

Do you feel like you are more so a student of Spelman or a student of the Atlanta University Center?
I would definitely say Spelman. I wish I knew more people on the other campuses. I know a lot of people on my campus, but I think it would be great to be able to do more on other campuses.

To what extent do people of different sexual orientations mix socially?
I would say they mix, but I think there is a lot of homophobia across the campuses, so it can be challenging as far as hanging out with each other. It can be an issue among the Black Christian community, which is the predominant religion on campus, and it’s also because we’re in the South. [See The Nation article, “It’s Time for HBCUs to Address Homophobia and Transphobia on Their Campuses.”]

To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
All the time. I think a lot of it has to do with being a small, single gender institution. Before people become Greek they have non-Greek friends and those friendships typically continue.

How do you like the size of Spelman in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has that impacted your experience? [There are about 2,100 students.]
I love it. I love being able to meet different students across different disciplines and different years. I’ve really been able to benefit from that. Also, having professors who know you and having small classes has been great.

How has going to an HBCU impacted your social experience?
I think it makes things easier because everyone has a common denominator of being Black and also women, so we don’t have to worry about discrimination. It also makes for an easier social experience because we don’t have to worry about being put in any boxes, you can just jump right into a conversation and people are really friendly.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
It has not directly helped me with jobs or internships because I haven’t needed to reach out to them. I’ve been able to find internships and jobs through the career center and other clubs and organizations. I am going to be using them for connections in the city that I’m interning in and am connecting friends with alumni who live in the cities they’ll be interning in. I have been able to connect with a lot of alumni over LinkedIn and message them about their day to day roles in their jobs. If I see an alum who is at a company that I could see myself working at, I’ve been able to connect with them. Also, if you meet somebody in public the name Spelman carries a lot of weight so it can connect you to a lot of potential recruiters.

What did you use the career office for? How helpful have they been?
They’ve been extremely helpful. I have utilized them ever since my freshman year for mock interviews, applying for jobs on their website, being able to know what companies, and doing resume reviews. They’ve been extremely helpful and I have really appreciated them and they all know me by name.

Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
I am learning a statistics software now but I don’t foresee myself needing it in my career. I was pretty proficient in most of the Microsoft Suite when I came into college.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Spelman before entering as a freshman?
I guess just how great of an experience I was going to have. I was excited to go but I just didn’t realize how amazing it would be. I would have pushed myself to sign up for a club at one of the other institutions so that I could have met more people at [Morehouse and Clark Atlanta].

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
Ask any student about their experience. Every time I see a tour, especially if I’m not in a rush, I always stop by and talk to the students. Yesterday we had a group of high schoolers in the cafeteria and I was able to talk to a lot of them. I think from the tour you get an overall perspective, but by speaking to a student you get a sense of what it’s actually like. It can show you how real the love for Spelman is.

Reasons to attend Spelman College:
1) The alumni network.
2) The sisterhood.
3) The fact that you have four years of not being discriminated against racially or by gender. You’ll never be able to get that again.
4) The study abroad opportunities are amazing. A high percentage of students study abroad. [In 2017-2018 406 students studied abroad in 28 different countries.]
5) It’s a lot of fun to go to the number one HBCU and there are a lot of opportunities and experiences we get because of our ranking and the excellence we produce.

Reasons to not attend Spelman College:
I can’t think of any to not. I don’t regret anything about my decision. I always tell people, especially prospective students, that I’m very biased. I think any Black woman should go here.

Notice: Spelman College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Spelman College.

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