NextGen Views & Voices

Written by on June 12, 2017 in Seattle Housing Authority - Comments Off

By Abdul Malik Ford

Abdul Malik Ford is working toward a bachelor's degree at Western Washington University.

Abdul Malik Ford is working toward a bachelor’s degree at Western Washington University.

I am honored to be able to write for The Voice once again and I hope that all of you student readers out there can benefit from my freshman story.

At the beginning of college, I was a little anxious about how I would go about this journey without my parents and closest friends. After a little while, I started to look at things through a completely different lens.

The great thing about college is that it is a place where you get to start over, whatever or whoever you were known for in high school is now gone. In college, it is completely up to you to define yourself.

I wanted to be a really active college student so I attended events, fairs and club meetings. The campus makes this easy to do because at the start of the school year, Western Washington University (WWU) hosted a huge information fair. This fair is for students to discover the different groups, clubs, unions and activities offered around on campus.

I settled down and chose a few groups that I would actively participate in: the Black student Union (BSU), Eco Reps, Hall Council (HC), and the Residence Hall Association (RHA). I specifically chose these groups because they resonate with me the most.

BSU allows me to be connected with my small black community at WWU As an Eco Rep I’m closer to my environmental studies interest and it gives me the opportunity to be a sustainability educator in my resident HC and RHA. This allows me to contribute to the community by hosting and planning events for students to attend.

At first, it was difficult to balance everything out. Fall quarter I put too much emphasis on my social life. I learned this the hard way when I received a 2.6 GPA.

Winter quarter I spent a lot less time on socializing and sleeping because I was trying to focus more of my time on academics. My hard work paid off as I was able to achieve a 3.5 GPA with the tweaks I made to my schedule.

This spring quarter I have a set and balanced schedule that allows me a certain amount of time for procrastination, socializing, academics, work, hobbies and clubs. Future employers and organizations are not going to be only looking for a degree with an empty resume. They will be looking for that degree in addition to work experience, community involvement and a resume indicating your experiences.

I’ve found that it’s okay to not know what is coming next in your story. Don’t let the fact that you have no idea what you are going to study determine if you want to pursue higher education. I used to think I needed to have everything figured out until I came to college. I was relieved to find out that I was not the only one who didn’t have a set plan.

But be sure to plan before even arriving on campus! I applied to campus jobs early in the summertime before school began. And my involvement in the Bellingham community undoubtedly helped me get a coveted resident adviser job for the 2017-2018 academic year, so my room and board will be fully paid for next year.

So if you’re starting college soon, be sure to research what kinds of opportunities are offered by your school so you can start the year off ahead of the curve!


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