Before I first stepped foot on Howard’s campus, I was clueless. I was apprehensive of the people I would meet, the classes I would take, and the roommate that I thought was going to be a nightmare from hell. I soon found out that my roommate was an angel and that I didn’t have to worry about making friends. But even though I was used to waking up at 7 am every day in high school, these 8ams were honestly not it. Beyond 8ams, there was much greater Howard culture that I was much ignorant to.
…is everything and more. No matter what organization you’re apart of or want to be a part of, a level of foresight is needed to keep everything under wraps and keep your business out of the public eye. Freshman may not know exactly how to navigate this, but after a while it becomes easier to be on top of everything that you want to accomplish while not exposing your interests.
2. “Pop-Out Culture”
Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was “Pop-Out Culture”. I’m someone who knows how to dress for the occasion, but apparently the occasion was everyday day in fur coats and a fully beat face! And while there is nothing wrong with a full face every day, it could make an impressionable underclassman feel as if they have to dress a certain way or act another. I applaud everyone who has the time and dedication to put effort into their craft of finding an outfit every day and making it look effortless, but that doesn’t mean dressing in sweats for morning classes makes you any less! So my advice for new students is to not get overwhelmed with all the beautiful people on Howard’s campus but rather bask in the originality and culture that Howard provides daily. Get to know yourself and what your style is and you’ll come to appreciate your own aesthetic without feeling that you aren’t good enough because of what someone else is doing.
3. Time goes fast!
On an academic note, something I wasn’t aware of until after Freshman year was that there is no time. There is no time to think about switching your major or pondering different concentrations after a certain point in the semester because if you do decide to switch or look into an alternative, it may come with some setbacks. Because you may have already taken core classes for one major, if you try to switch to another major, especially one that is in a completely difference school and/or field than what you had originally planned, then this might force you to pick up more credits that you need per semester. This may also lead to taking courses over the summer in order to catch up. I’m not saying this is the only route you will encounter during your college career, but it is a possibility. It’s not impossible to change your major, but be aware of how it may impact you graduating on time.
4. Have a working resume
Your resume needs to already have some type of substance even before you step foot on campus. Counselors and other teachers in high school will tell you that you have time to build your resume, which is true since future employers cannot expect so much from high school seniors, but you need to have enough to help you get your foot in the door which may lead to job or internship opportunities.
It’s difficult to gain membership to organizations and other clubs and activities on campus if you have no work or volunteer experience at all. So, in high school you should at least try and do three solid clubs or activities that look good automatically your freshman year, because it could easily become one of your greatest regrets and also lead to missed opportunities for scholarships and internships in the future. Also, do these things not only because you need something to put on your resume, but because they mean something to you. The more passionate and the more you care and nurture what you do, it will help make a much smoother and easier transition from high school life to college!
5. Use your resources
Try and get in contact with seniors and juniors in your projected field of study. They will be able to tell you what the classes you need for your major requirements are actually like and can give you a heads up what to expect. Not every school has course descriptions, so getting the knowledge first hand from those who have more experience at the institution and in your major, will only end up being an asset and in your favor for when you do go through matriculation.