Meet Lauren Adelle Woods. Lauren is from Charlotte North Carolina. She is a 2015 graduate of Hampton University, OPhiO15, and earned her BA in Broadcast Journalism.
1.) Why did you choose to come to Hampton?
My answer may be a little bit strange for this one, but honestly. Growing up, I was immersed in a predominantly white environment. I was raised in an all-white neighborhood, went to all white private schools where I was THE ONLY black student 6th-7th grade, and attended a predominantly white church for all of high school. During my senior year of high school, part of me wanted the full experience of knowing what it was like to be a part of my own culture and this is when I began my search for the right HBCU. I knew I wanted to major in journalism, so I eventually cut it down to the colleges I thought had the best journalism programs. Hampton ended up winning, then I took a trip to the Scripps Howard School of journalism and it was pretty much love at first sight.
2.) What was your favorite thing about HU?
I always loved our festivals that we would have with all the different vendors. The food there was always amazing and so were the parties and fashion shows. Those were some of my fondest moments with friends that I’ll never forget.
3.) What challenges did you face, if any, and how did you overcome them?
I would say definitely starting a new life in a new state where no one knows you, there’s no one to watch you or help you if things go wrong. My biggest challenge was staying focused in school instead of partying. Surprisingly though, I remained a Dean’s List honor student all 4 years. But I could have had higher grades if my work had more quality. The key to having a fun, but studious college experience is to find balance in moderation.
4.) How did it feel having to go back home after graduation? Was it a big adjustment?
It was a huge adjustment going back home. When you’ve been independent for so long it’s a major change: working, going to school, having your own place then having to go back to your parents. During the June 2015 storm, my apartment at The Heritage (along with other residences) were basically destroyed so I didn’t have anything to go back to unfortunately and my insurance wouldn’t cover it. So I was left with going back to my parents and finding a new job. I was feeling comfortable in Virginia so it was a heartbreaking having to leave it all behind.
5.) Your favorite memory while being here?
My favorite memory actually wasn’t at Hampton University but working at Cinebistro at the Peninsula Town Center. Almost every night felt like a friend’s night out. We were all so close and always had so much fun together. The employees there are like my family away from family. So my favorite memory would have to be the moment I got hired there because it introduced me to people I will never ever forget.
6.) What are you doing now?
Currently I am a production assistant for WBTV News in Charlotte, NC. The money is good and I absolutely love it there. People wonder why I never complain since the media industry is a tough business. But when you’re doing what you love there are no complaints. I’m at the start off of my dream job to work behind the scenes and there is nothing else to do but go up from there. I also model part time and continue my photography business on the side as well.
7.) What advice do you have for current and incoming journalism students at HU?
BE INVOLVED!!! Take advantage of every opportunity that Scripps Howard has to offer in your field of interest. Also be a part of every career fair that Scripps hosts. Be relentless, confident and passionate while speaking to future employers. Know what you’re talking about and do background research about their companies BEFORE you get there so you can hit them with good questions. They like to see you be involved that way. Always have several copies of your resume in a folder as well as personal business cards that you can design at any local Kinkos or other printer stores.
When professors see you being involved outside of the classroom, they will be more willing to help you achieve your goals and give you connections to future employers. Yes it’s their duty as professors to help you in general, but when they don’t see you trying they pretty much ignore you. Don’t wait until the last minute with assignments. You guys know all too well how long it takes to make a package and that’s something that won’t have great quality if you do it overnight. Professors grade news packages very harshly, so you need to put your soul into them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get advice if you are struggling. Also SAVE ALL YOUR WORK ALL FOUR YEARS FOR YOUR REELS. Whether it’s from class projects or internships, employers want to see quality AND quantity. And lastly, have fun! Don’t be too stressed. You picked this major for a reason which means it’s something you love, right? Don’t be afraid to get creative or break the rules sometimes. This major can be a vast canvas that’s just waiting for you to design a masterpiece. You guys have all the tools and brushes, don’t be afraid to get messy and just have fun!