In the spirit of back to school season approaching us, I thought it might be helpful if I interviewed my sister, a recent college grad, about any advice she had for you college students. Being the first to go to college in my family I wish I had someone to guide me and tell me helpful hints about college. I learned a lot of great things that I was able to pass down to my sister. If any of you have questions regarding college and what it’s like, feel free to contact me or my sister. I will leave my sister, Nasro’s, social media handles below if you would like to get in contact with her.
What was your major and why did you pick that major?
While I was ultimately “pre-law,” I majored in English and minored in philosophy. My path to my major of English wasn’t exactly direct, but overall I think it’s the most “me.” I’ve always been a voracious reader and I’ve always just been enamored with words and the power of language. I basically grew up within the pages of one book or another, so really, I picked this major because I wanted to study what I love.
What do you plan to do with your degree?
Here’s where the pre-law part comes in. My overall career goal is to become a civil rights or human rights lawyer, inshallah. I hope to use the skills and knowledge that my degree has allowed me to develop to ultimately get into a dope law school and then really just work to create a more equitable world.
That’s really neat that you studied something you love and plan to use it to help people. Do you have advice for others on how to pick a major?
After the lovely existential crisis I had during my freshman year due to my being in the absolute wrong major, I feel so strongly about the importance of studying what you love! I mean it, do not commit to a major you’re not passionate about, that you have no drive for, simply because it will lead to money/success/parental approval. Study what you love — this is not to say don’t be unrealistic, of course. You can’t be naïve, so if your passion may not exactly lead to a feasible career option, you gotta get creative and find a way for it to work for you. So even if you have to think outside the box, I think it’s so important to pursue a major that makes you excited because it’s ultimately your life and it’s you who will be working in whatever field you choose, day in and day out. Also, majoring in something you’re not interested in is not fun. 0/10. Would not recommend, kids. So really, find your passion, and if you don’t have one, that’s okay, take some interesting classes and experiment for a bit until you find something that excites you. That’s what college is for.
From your personal experience what are some tips you have for individuals that will be attending college?
Okay, first, this is really nerdy but whatever, take advantage of the really cool guest speakers and lecturers that the campus often brings. Sometimes attending a random guest speaker on a Tuesday evening can totally transform your thinking. Plus, you can connect with cool people. Second, and I firmly believe that this is important even outside of college, always attend any event with free food. Finding campus events with free food will quickly become an advantageous skill. Third, buy your books online from places like Slugbooks or Thriftbooks and avoid the school bookstore. There are few scams in this world more devastating than the school bookstore scam. And lastly, befriend your professors. A lot of them are highkey cool as hell, but it also helps to develop a rapport with people who will be grading your work, ya know.
I second all of the tips above, take advantage of all that your campus has to offer! Moving on, can you tell us about some difficulties you faced in college and how you overcame them?
Being the child of immigrants who did not have access to higher education isn’t the easiest because they often don’t have the same frame of reference for this experience, so it can be tough for them to understand what you’re going through. Additionally, there are a lot of things that you have to navigate on your own that students with parents who’ve attended college may not necessarily face. Luckily, I have older siblings who were able to lead the way for me and offer assistance.
What life lessons have you learned during your time in college?
Man, I feel like this is a loaded question. Personally, I feel like I really did a lot of growing up in college. I came in as an anxious 18-year-old and left as an arguably less anxious 20-year-old. Truthfully though, I think I really did develop a better understanding of both myself and the world in those three years, and I learned quite a few lessons. I learned the importance of speaking out and being confidant in my own ideas. I also learned that not everyone you meet will always see the world in the same way that you do and have the same values, and that that’s okay.
How is post-grad life? What are your plans?
It feels super surreal to even think the term “post-grad” applies to me. I still refuse to accept my admission to adulthood. For now, I’m living a bit like a college student as I’m back home for the summer. But unlike the last three years, after the summer is over, instead of heading back to college, I’ll be heading to another country. Starting in September, I will be serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco, inshallah. For 27 months, I’ll be volunteering and living in Africa trying to make the world a little bit better. I am both ecstatic and petrified, depending on what day you catch me.
Any last-minute things you would like to add?
I think college campuses are absolutely incredible, I really do. College is a genuinely unique experience because for four years of your life your greatest responsibility is to simply learn. You get to be totally immersed in an environment where knowledge is everywhere and you get to learn all the time, in classes, in different clubs and organizations, with guest speakers, and by meeting interesting people. There is so much to learn and explore so don’t stress too much and try to enjoy the experience for what it is.
There you have it folks! Nasro’s contact information is below if you have any questions for her, or would just like to wish her a safe journey as she enters an exciting chapter in her life.