University of Delaware
BackgroundInterview Date:February 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021, transferred to start her sophomore year in Fall of 2018
High School Experience: Public school in Middletown, DE with a graduating class of about 450 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Public Policy
Minor: Women and Gender Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I am a part of the student government, I [have a leadership position] in Make It Count and I interned for a congresswoman, which I got through some faculty members.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Make It Count did because when I got to UD I knew I wanted to do something with civic engagement, so I went to the Biden Institute and they told me to check out Make It Count. I’m very happy I’ve been part of Make It Count because I’ve been able to do a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do and been able to impact a lot of people’s lives.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Right now, I’m completing some of my [general education requirements] and doing the general Public Policy courses. I have a few Public Policy papers every couple of weeks. Generally, it’s a lot of papers and a lot of reading.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
What they do especially well is I have the time to do internships, study abroad, or other things outside of school because the course load is not that much compared to the more intense majors. I like that I have space to do those things. What they do poorly is advising. I’ve never spoken to my advisor because I don’t know where to find him. I’ve emailed him so many times, and he’s never gotten back to me. I’ve been to the department so many times to see if he’s there and he hasn’t been there too. Thank God for the degree audit! They just are very disorganized with advising.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it was particularly competitive or collaborative?
It can be both competitive and collaborative. Public Policy is an interesting major because we all want to go into leadership, legislation, or something with a big role in society. Because of that, a lot of people want to be the smartest person in the room, so it is competitive in that sense. It is collaborative also because with public policy there are so many things you can learn from other people and so many things other people can learn from you. I find that in a lot of my classes we all try to learn from each other.
How accessible are your professors?
They have been relatively accessible to me. Last semester I had a lot of adjunct professors whose main occupation was not teaching, so they weren’t as accessible. My Public Policy professors in the department have been accessible.
Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Yes and no – I actually dealt with this a lot in one of my classes last semester. Most of the time, Public Policy courses are divided into Democrats and Republicans. There were a lot of times where the minority party spoke and everyone would react by saying, “Why would they say that? That’s the wrong answer.” So, in that way, I don’t think people are very open. Everybody will say that they are open to people’s opinions, but in reality, they are only open to them when they are the “right answer.” When they are not the “right answer,” they are more skeptical.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m very, very happy with my choice. I really just love everything that has to do with legislation, political advocacy, social justice, and things like that. I love it, it’s exactly what I want to do when I graduate college.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Sophomore: Ray Street with one roommate in a suite where we share a bathroom with another double.
How do you like going to school so close to your hometown?
It was very interesting because I went to a school very far away from my hometown first but then I came back and it was an amazing experience. I didn’t realize how much I missed being close to all my friends. Here, I get to see the friends I grew up with every day. It hasn’t impacted my life nearly as much as I thought. It’s also much easier for me to go home if I need a break from campus.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
That’s something I was a little bit surprised me because it’s a public school and the campus is open to everyone. I haven’t experienced anything crazy, so I think it’s been pretty safe for me.
Pros and cons of being located in Newark, DE?
1) It’s a little town, so it gives miniature city vibes, but not too much like a city. It’s cool to have Main Street and everything there.
2) It’s really cool that I’m right next to the state legislature
1) It’s a bit far from D.C. and other cities for me.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I don’t do much because I have work. If anything, I would go to an event that’s happening on campus. Like, I’m going to Perkins Live tomorrow. I’ll hang out with my friends too.
What are some of your favorite on-campus events?
I do love going to campus concerts. I’m going to a Gospelrama that’s coming up. Perkins Live is great because they have a lot of amazing people come like magicians and comedians. Also, a lot of organizations, like the Biden Institute, do talks and panels that I like to go to. Those are probably my favorite things to go to.
How happy are you with the weekend options at Delaware? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pretty happy with them. I’m not really a house party person, I’m more of a club or a kickback type of person. They only have bars on Main Street, which I’m not into. I wish they had more clubs, but I understand that we don’t have them because it’s not a big city.
How was transitioning socially as a transfer student?
It was easy. I’m an extrovert, so it was pretty easy for me.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I either grew up with them or went to high school with them.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
I think it’s really cool. I think it can be divided racially. A lot of people tend to hang out with people who are similar to them. People are nice, but I just wish the social scene was more diverse and inclusive.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
People of different sexual orientations definitely mix. I’m not so sure about people of different races because there are so many clubs specifically for Black students, like the CBC and BSU, that Black people go to those clubs instead of clubs that are majority White. Also, White people probably don’t think they can join Black clubs, but literally everyone can join every club. [About 71% of undergraduate students are White.]
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
I feel like they mix a lot but there are certain areas where they don’t mix because obviously they are closer with the people in their organization. I’m actually thinking about joining a sorority. I mix a lot with them because I have a few friends who are in a sorority so I hang out with them, go to their events, and volunteer with them.
How do you like the size of Delaware in terms of undergraduate enrollment? [There are about 19,000 undergraduates.]
I think it’s a pretty good size. I thought it was much bigger, but I see people I know every day. If it were smaller, it’d be too small, and if it were bigger, it’d be too big.
How would you describe the Black community? How strong is it?
I do think it’s divided between people who are in Greek life and not in Greek life. Being in Greek life kind of makes you a celebrity to other people so a lot of people don’t end up doing it for the right reasons. In the Black community, everyone knows each other because it’s pretty small, so the people who are social you will know as you meet them. [About 5.5% of students are Black.]
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
My mentor’s a graduate and she helped me find programs that I’m going to be doing next year, like a D.C. study abroad program. Not necessarily internships, but programs I can do.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I’ve never been to the specific career office, but I find Handshake very helpful.
Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
I am in Principles of Computing right now, so by the end of the semester, I’ll have some knowledge into those things.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how easy are they to work with?
The financial aid office was not great for me personally. When I walk in there for a physical visit it’s a lot better than the phone calls. When I needed something done before I could make it to campus, so I made a phone call and they told me the wrong information for the amount in loans I should take out, which is serious information. I called back and check again and they said that I didn’t have to do that, but what if I had actually taken out that money!
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Delaware before entering as a transfer?
I wish I knew more about the Master of Public Policy 4+1 program because I would have catered my coursework to that program so I would only have to do one year of graduate school.
What is something a prospective Black student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
Don’t feel like you only can subject yourself to Black organizations. You can join White organizations and shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about it. You can gain knowledge and experience from every single organization on campus no matter what race it is supposedly geared towards.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They should learn more about the organizations and clubs on campus.
Reasons to attend Delaware:
1) It’s a really good school. If you care about your major and you put in the work, you will get a lot of opportunities that a lot of other people might not have the opportunity to get.
2) There are a lot of resources there to help you and guide you.
3) People have good jobs after college. [For the Class of 2018, 95% of graduates are employed or pursuing further education.]
4) It’s a great place socially. There are a lot of events the school hosts.
5) Although there are not that many people of color, it’s a good place to meet students of color. [About 71% of undergraduate students are White.]
Reasons to not attend Delaware:
1) If you don’t like a school with a lot of students.
2) The campus is a bit big so you may want to take shuttles to your classes. If you don’t like that, then you may not like UD.