By: Kennady Harrell
Earlier this year, in January, the spin off of Black-ish, Grown-ish, aired, giving insight on
the college life of Zoey Johnson. In the show, college is portrayed as a place of freedom,
parties, new friends, new experiences, dealing with relationships, and mostly the place to be.
We have all been persuaded by shows like Grow-ish into believing that college was full of
excitement, which it is, but now that we are here, things are a little different than in the tv shows and movies.
College is a transition. It is a major change from high school to college. Recently, I had
the opportunity in interviewing two bright young ladies on their first week of college, here at
Southern University. Shelby Jeter, majoring in business and elementary education from Bosier, Louisiana, and Nina Santos, a nursing major from Bowie, Maryland, both gave insight on being away from home, the culture difference, difference in classroom settings, campus life, and their experience so far at Southern.
To begin the interview, I asked them what their expectations of Southern were and if
their expectations were met. Jeter’s response was, “My expectations were that is was going to
be exactly how I pictured it. With a lot of students walking around, enjoying college, and mostly independence... Southern did meet my expectations for the most part, I knew there would be bumps in the road because we all have them but my expectations were met”. While her expectations were met, Nina had a similar mindset. She stated, “I imagined Southern to be a lot of black students walking around being independent. On my first day arriving, I thought there would be a lot of vendors coming out, such as food, hair, and nails to showcase their businesses. Overall If i could rate it on a scale of 10, I’d give it a six.” Personally, I agree with the ladies, my expectations was to see a lot of students on campus in the form of a big family.
I expected Southern to feel like home and gladly, Southern’s faculty, staff, and students gave me a warm feeling. Nina Santos had the luck of experiencing the home feeling as well, she
mentioned when she first came on a tour here she met a staff member named Ms, Hughes, who made her feel extremely welcomed. She said Ms Hughes gave her true insight of what Southern would be like and she treated Nina like she would her own.
Moving forward with the interview, I had the pleasure of asking them about the culture
shock and the difference between where their from and Southern. Jeter, being from Louisiana, didn’t really experience much of a culture shock, she stated it was just different meeting new people from all over. On the other hand, Santos experienced a major culture shock coming from Maryland to Louisiana, she said “going to parties and events, it’s such a difference in music from PG County in Maryland. I love how they get hype, like this is their song when the DJ plays Louisiana music. However, I also wish they would include music from different states, like I want to hear my music played sometimes because there are people here from all over. We have people from Chicago, Memphis, Texas and etc. there should be some form of inclusion to kind of give that ‘at home’ feeling off.”
As the interview proceeded, we got down to a deeper rooted issue. I began to discuss
with Jeter and Santos about campus life, small things such as having to go to the cafe for your meals because even though we are free, we don’t have the ability to just get up and go get Chipotle or Raisin’ Cane's. Santos began to discuss the lack of funding Historically Black
Colleges and Universities receive. She stated, “While I love my HBCU, I sole heartedly hate the fact that we receive less funding. If we had more funding from the government rather than alumni and having to dig out of our pockets, our selections of food would be better, we would have better buildings, better housing, our campus would overall be improved. Take LSU for example, if you look at all of the nice buildings and the resources they have on campus, that is because of funding. If HBCUs receive the same amount of funding as PWIs, they wouldn’t be viewed with a negative connotation and we would have the same availabilities such as a variety of food choices as PWIs.” The lack of funding is something that dates back way before my time and is still an issue today. Recently, the president, Donald Trump, proposed a plan that would cut the funding towards HBCUs by 30 million dollars in comparison to the funding 10 years ago,according to the organization Educations Votes. Proper funding is something HBCUs desperately need in order to thrive, cutting the funding we do have is not beneficial.
Lastly, in the interview, we discussed the difference between highschool and college
from the class setting to our daily schedules. For me, in highschool, it was the same routine.
Wake up at 5:30 in the morning, get dressed for school, go to school, complete after school
activities, go to work, do homework, sleep and repeat. In college, it is completely different. You don’t have you parents or someone to wake you up for class, someone telling you to study, or do chores, or complete your homework. College teaches you independency. For Nina Santos, her take on the structure difference between college and high school is helpful. She stated the staggering of her classes and going to class at different times on different days keeps on on track. It helps her become mindful that she has to remember her schedule for different days and learn to adjust. On the other hand, for Shelby Jeter, she mentioned the difficulty it is because she doesn’t have her parents to wake her up and make sure she’s on task with everything. She has to learn how to become independent and self-reliant.
With having this talk with Shelby Jeter and Nina Santos, I’ve came to conclusion that
college isn’t the same as how it is portrayed in Grown-ish. College is a bit more difficult and
requires focus. I look forward to the great things and experiences at Southern University. With the turnout of welcome week and the first few weeks of classes, college has many lessons to teach me but nevertheless, I’m ready to learn, this is an experience I’d like to call Adult-ish..
HBCU SPOTLIGHT TV
Putting the focus back on the greatness of HBCUs. We are putting the spotlight back on the greatness of our HBCUs whether it is athletics, academics, service, music, and culture. We are giving exposure to the culture, togetherness, and phenomena of those colleges and universities, hoping to increase becoming the primary choice for African Americans entering college. As well as those willing to transfer to receive the education and experience.