BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public college preparatory charter school in Washington, D.C. with a graduating class of about 85 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: Yes
Major: Undeclared, but I plan to declare Sociology
Minor: Undeclared, but I plan to declare a double minor in Psychology and Marketing
Extracurricular Activities: I’m on the Shoresteppers step team, I’m in Black Student Union, I’m in EROS which is an LGBT Alliance group, and I’m a part of Caring for Kids.
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
I’ve never been part of a team before, so being part of Shoresteppers pushed me to come out of my comfort zone. It also makes me feel included on campus.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken so far?
Sociology 101. Taking that class last semester made me realize that I want to be a Sociology major.
What is a class you did not like?
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s collaborative. It’s pretty open and I like that the classes are so small because it’s easier to understand the material.
How accessible have your professors been?
They’re very accessible. They answer emails very quickly.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: Queen Anne’s House with one roommate.
Sophomore: Sassafras, which is an upperclassman dorm. It is more luxurious and has an elevator. I have one roommate and am in a suite with a common room and another bedroom.
How was transitioning from Washington, D.C. to Chestertown, MD?
The transition was very tough because I’m used to a city. In Chestertown there are not that many stores around. I feel isolated because I don’t have a car. It’s tough but different, and I think different can be a good thing.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel like Washington College is very safe because I haven’t encountered anything or felt like I was in trouble or be harmed in any way.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Middletown. there’s a Walmart, Chipotle, Chik Fil A, and a few shopping places. I like going there because I feel like I’m in the city again.
Pros and cons of being in Chestertown, MD?
Pros: (1) Because you’re more isolated, you can focus on your work.
(2) It’s not heavily populated, so the slow environment allows you to think and rest for yourself.
(3) The beauty of the town. The nature, the trees, and all the grass. I’m not used to seeing that being from D.C., so I like the scenery.
Cons: (1) Because I’m in more of a rural area, I can’t get anywhere if I don’t have a car.
(2) The population is not very diverse. [About 71% of Chestertown residents are White.] That makes me feel not at home because I’m used to a strong African-American population in Washington, D.C.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
I like hanging out in the common room because it has a foosball table, air hockey, and a big tv. Sometimes we go for a movie night or a girls’ night in.
What have been some of your favorite times at school so far?
One of my favorite moments was our first annual Afro-Caribbean Pageant because I felt very included on campus and I like to learn about other cultures. Basically, you come and represent your country. You bring your flag, talk about your culture, and afterward, you try food from various countries.
How happy are you with the weekend activity options?
I’m pretty satisfied. Even if I don’t have time to make it, I feel the events are interesting.
How was transitioning both academically and socially as a first-generation student? Were there any systems in place to help you with that?
It was kind of difficult because I didn’t have any guidance or advice from family members. Coming to campus, I got a lot of help from my mentor [who is a faculty member on campus]. She hosts a lot of seminars with whatever you need help in. There are a lot of good seminars hosted by the career center.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met my closest friend was my freshman roommate. Last year she was in my dorm. We sat in the common room and talked a little bit and realized that we had a lot in common, so we became roommates.
How would you describe the social scene?
Overall, it’s the right amount of fun. There’s always an event going on on-campus. There’s always room for people to participate, but there’s not always a turnout. There are a lot of cool events, but sometimes people don’t show up.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I feel like in terms of race here, this school is so open. As far as sexual orientation, I feel that there’s no separation. People don’t look at you differently, it’s very inclusive.
What have you used the career center for? How helpful have they been?
I did a couple of seminars with them. I had one LinkedIn seminar with them where they helped me set up my LinkedIn account. they’ve also helped me apply for internships and job shadows, and helped me with my resume.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating are they to your needs?
Yes, they’ve helped me a lot. If there is ever a problem or something that needs to be filled out, they will email you. That happened to me a couple of times and I just went to the office and fixed it, it took like 5 minutes.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Washington College before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew that there weren’t very many activities that I’m used to. I feel like coming here was a completely new thing and there are a lot of things here I have never done or related to in the past. For example, the school hosts a lot of intramural sports, like ultimate frisbee, football, or soccer, and all of those are things I never would have tried.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The musicals and plays on campus. That is something I really loved going to when I got here.
What is something a prospective African-American student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
That [about 8%] of students are African American so they wouldn’t have to worry about fitting in. For me, I do like this school, but it doesn’t have a lot of African-Americans. When I started I didn’t know anybody, so I was looking for people who had something in common with me, but it’s hard to fit in with everybody on campus. Finding that little group you can relate to will make someone feel better.
They also may want to know that, although this school doesn’t have the same activities as an HBCU, you can start any club that you want and you can make it what you want. Basically, you make college what you want.
Reasons to attend Washington College:
1) If you want a family or community environment. it’s more of a tight-knit place where you can know people’s faces and names.
2) If you want to be isolated and relatively in the middle of nowhere where you can do your own thing.
3) I feel like these professors genuinely care about how you’re doing.
Reasons to not attend Washington College:
1) If you’re a minority, you may feel out of place at times. That is only because most of the activities are created by White people and they are the ones having fun at them, and the minorities may not be familiar with them.
2) If you’re somebody who likes to get out and be a busy-body. If you don’t have a car it’s hard to get places. You have to drive 30 minutes to get to Chipotle here.