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Interview with Brittany Johnson

Interviewee: 
Johnson, Brittany
Interviewer: 
Penry,Misty
Date of Interview: 
2004-02-10
Identifier: 
UAJO0013
Subjects: 
UNC-Charlotte;Clemson University
Abstract: 
Brittany Johnson,a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, talks about her experience at UNC-Charlotte and at Clemson University. In the interview she talks about her academic, social, and family life while at UNCC, as well as how UNCC has influenced her future.
Coverage: 
Charlotte, 2000-2004
Interview Setting: 
The J.Murrey Atkins Library
Collection: 
UNC Charlotte Memories
Collection Description: 
The interivew was conducted as part of a series of interviews recording UNC Charlotte students' reflections on their college experiences, campus life and their educational and career goals.
Interview Audio: 
Transcript:
MP (Misty Penry): I am Misty Penry, an intern with the Oral History Project here in Special Collections at Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It is February 10th, 2004 and I am here at the Atkins Library conducting an interview with Brittany Johnson to get an idea of her experiences here at the University as a student. Ok, let us begin with some of your background. Where were you raised?
BJ (Brittany Johnson): I was born in Kankakee, Illinois, which is about an hour outside of Chicago, that's where all of my family is from Chicago, the Chicago area, and Indianapolis. And when I was five we moved to Pennsylvania. And I lived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for I don't know, five years until I was in about fourth grade. And it was all because of my dad's job. He was transferred. And then he got transferred again to Charlotte, North Carolina that's where the headquarters of their company is. And we've been lucky enough to stay here. You know, it's been like thirteen years now or so. And so that's, I would say definitely, would say Charlotte is my home. That's where I was raised, where all my friends are, that's where everything is at. So, Charlotte, North Carolina.
MP: [laughs] Ok, Where did you go to high school.
BJ: I went to high school at South Mecklenburg High school. It's about 40min. away from UNCC, it's down on the south side of Charlotte.
MP: How different a neighborhood is that from here?
BJ: I would say it's a nice part of town down there. It's, I like it, it's very commercialized I guess, definitely all the malls and stores and stuff. So it's not too different. It's just, you know, it's nice to have 40 minutes between my home and my school. So.
MP: Right. So, what was your high school experience like there?
BJ: I really enjoyed high school. I guess I was kind of, I don't know, maybe a goody goody, I don't know. But academics were very important to me. I was definitely you know going to do my best in all my school work. Because I knew I wanted to come to college. But it was a really good school for that because it had all different AP courses. That's all I took my junior and senior year. So that gave me a big head start into college. It was a good size school. It was about 2,000 people. So, it was a nice size school. I had a great time. I had a great four years there.
MP: What was your graduating class?
BJ: I think close to 500, it was a little below 500. Probably about 480 or something.
MP: And you graduated what year?
BJ: 2001. 2001.
MP: Ok. Did your parents' educational background influence you to strive for those good grades or, what was their educational background?
BJ: Well, my dad. They both went to a small private school affiliated with their church up in Kankakee, Illinois. It's called Olivet Nazarene University. And my mom actually she went through her sophomore year there because her and my dad meet and they got married and they had me. So she dropped out of school and my dad finished school. But my dad has always and he is a very very, not competitive, he just has a good work ethic. I mean, he was going to finish school. And it's very important to them. School, I have two younger brothers, and for all of us it's like a requirement in our household. You have to go away to college at least for one year. Like we don't care if you don't want to go, you need that experience. So, they were very influential for me. They were always there to push me along and make sure I did good and I didn't, I wanted to go my self. I didn't want to disappoint them. So.
MP: Right. So then your parents were very positive about you going to college?
BJ: Oh yeah, there was no. I don't think ever in my mind I ever thought I wouldn't go to college. Like, since I was in I guess high school. I guess I took it for granted. I know for some people it's not that easy of an option to go to college. But for me there was no other. I'm going to college. There wasn't even a second thought about it. My parents I don't think would want it any other way either. So.
MP: Ok, I want to know what other schools you were looking at and how you came to choose UNC-Charlotte.
BJ: Actually a big decision in what schools I was looking at was that I wanted to do architecture. And there's not that many schools that offer architecture. And in North Carolina the only one's are UNCC and North Carolina State. And being from Charlotte, UNCC was my last option. I did not want to go here. Because, like I said earlier it's forty minutes away from my home. And so I ended up going to Clemson University. And, basically because they did have architecture and I liked the campus because it's very different from UNCC which is kind of not in the middle of a city, but it's real busy you know around here. And at Clemson, it's just like in the middle of nowhere there's nothing around. It's just pure college town. So I guess, you know, academics were important. I think for me the biggest thing was just campus. The campus setting was how I chose my school. Because I visited UNCC, I visited North Carolina State. I visited, I went up to Chapel Hill a few times just with friends and stuff. I visited Clemson, and I fell in love with the campus. And that was what drew me in and that was what, you know why I went there. I ended up going to UNCC because of a relationship. And my boyfriend was at Chapel Hill. And we both decided to transfer to UNCC. Meet half way. And I, do not regret it. I've really enjoyed my stay here. So, it was a good decision even though I didn't want it initially. It was a good decision. So.
MP: Ok. Will you tell me a little more about the differences you saw in Clemson's campus verses here? I know you said it was more of a rural thing then here.
BJ: I guess also there's lots. You know you walk on like say Chapel Hill, or down at Clemson. There's just this kind of historic kind of presence that's in the campus. You walk there and the architecture, the buildings, the huge just quads or the fields, that you can just. You know everyone's playing frisbee, everybody's outside, everyone's riding bikes, everything. It's just a different kind of atmosphere then here. Which I think when I visited it, it. I don't know. It just didn't seem like the same kind of small community, not community, but almost like a family kind of, just a fun setting that you feel when you go there. Here it's more like ok I've got to go to school, you know, that's what I've got to do. People are here to go to school. And there's not all the, the constant activities or constant stuff that's going on. You know, here as there was at Clemson especially with football season, so. There's always a lot of people down there. I think that's something, you know, if I miss anything that's what I miss. Because the, the campus isn't. I don't know. I guess because it is a commuter school and it's not completely geared toward everyone staying there all the time. So, that's a major difference. Academically, I don't feel like there's any difference. I don't feel like. I feel just as challenged here as I was at Clemson. So, academically I feel really good about this school.
MP: Ok. So what were your initial feelings when you first transferred here? How did you feel about the school and your goals?
BJ: Of course it was nerve racking to transfer here. That's a big decision. Am I ruining the rest of my life or am I doing something that will be good for me? So, it was really kind of scary. I guess. And too, it's hard to transfer from a school because I had my core group of friends at Clemson. And coming here it's kind of like, "Am I going to meet people, how's it going to be, how are the programs going to be?" And, I don't know. I guess because the college of architecture here is I think very different from the other majors on campus. Just because there's not that many people that are in it and you're always working there. So it's a very core group of people. You know everyone in there. And I think that really helped me coming here because I met everyone. We all took the same classes together we hung out and did everything together. And so I think that kind of helped relieve some of that initial stress. Course it's always stressful going to a new school and trying to find your way around. And not knowing where buildings are and not knowing what people do or how people are and so. It was nerve racking definitely those first few weeks. But you find your spot. You find your place. And I think that the close-knit setting of the college architecture helps with that. So.
MP: So are you are you still with the architecture major?
BJ: No, I switched. The main reason, you know, that I chose this school and I switched. And I guess that was because architecture is kind of a very stressful. Being over there is very stressful. And I'm a very, I don't know, get all my stuff done, be done early, you know orderly. Always have my lists and stuff. And it just got to be too much. It got to be so much where I just didn't enjoy it. I like, I didn't want to go to studio. I didn't want to, I was so nervous I didn't want to go. Not that my grades weren't good. My grades were fine. But I just, I stressed myself out. And I was double majoring in history. And I ended up switching to history. Which was the big, faux pa, I guess. Because Robert's family, who also, Robert transferred here from Chapel Hill. They were so upset because I switched to history. And if I would have known that early I could have just done to Chapel Hill with Robert and he wouldn't had to leave. But, oh well. You know, things happen in their own time. And, we're glad we're here. But it was just kind of funny. So.
MP: Now, your boyfriend?
BJ: Robert.
MP: Robert. What's his major? What is he studying?
BJ: He's a physics and math major. He's a double major physics and math.
MP: Wow. [laughs]
BJ: So. You know, and the thing is I guess. After coming here, the programs aren't that different than at other schools whether it be like physics, math, architecture, history, whatever. I mean it's the professors who kind of make or break the courses and so we both felt very challenged here. Like it was a very school.
MP: Good. You mentioned your professors. Have there been like especially influential professors here for you? Or really interesting, challenging courses?
BJ: I think. I guess I've had different experiences being an architecture major and then switching and being a history major. Because with architecture you get to be so close with your professors because you're there nine hours. You have class nine hours a week during class time. And you're constantly there afterwards. I mean they know everything about you. Your class size is about twelve to one professor. So, you get very very close to them. And that's really nice to be on the level of a colleague almost with a professor. And, really you know get their input on stuff. I think when I switched to. What made me switch to history was one of my classes that I took with Dr. Melissa Feinberg. It was Communism in Eastern Europe, and I took it when I was doing my double major. And, I feel in love with it. Like I absolutely fell in love with it. It was great, the readings were great. It was challenging. It was something that I never would have thought of. I never, I didn't even know much about it. And, and it got me so intrigued and so interested. I'm like this is what I want to do. And so, that just solidified my decision to switch from architecture and so. Definitely, she was very influential in the course that my college career has moved in. So.
MP: So how do you feel the history faculty works? Do you feel that there's a disjuncture between you and them or it's just not as close-knit?
BJ: Well, I just. I was, I've been in the honors program of the history department. And like I really enjoy that because they have it's called a Davenport Seminar where's it's just like. I think we had about twelve people in our class. And it was just pure three hours of discussion and writing and talking and it was that same feeling that I kind of felt like I was missing from my studio. Because you know, sometimes you can get into a class. Like one of my classes, you know it's a history class and has forty students. And forty students, that's a lot to be able to have a discussion. And I mean, almost too much I feel like and since sometimes you almost feel like you get cheated. You don't get as much out of the course as you could just because the professor can't have a good discussion because there's so many people in there. But that course I really enjoyed. I think it really pushed me the most in my writing and in just in being able to discuss different topics. Just because of the setting of it. I wish more classes were like that because it was really nice. I know it's so annoying when you walk in the first day and you see like 45 people in your history class [laughs] and you're like how is this going to work. But, I don't know, I don't know. I've really enjoyed my professors that I've had in history as well, so.
MP: Very good. So, aside from your school work. What types of, are you involved in extracurricular on campus or?
BJ: See that's something. I think it was hard for me, like. At Clemson I was very involved in like extracurricular school, actual activities. And then after switching, it was one of those things that I got so caught up in school work and everything that I think if I had started here as a freshman I would have been more involved in, you know, on-campus activities. And instead I think I've just put a lot of effort into my work. But not only that, I'm very involved in my church that's in Charlotte. And so that takes up you know a lot of time, it's just, I put into that. And so that's really important to me. And I think, I mean of course I go to all the basketball games and do all that stuff and hang out with my friends and stuff. But, an actual extracurricular group I wouldn't say I'm really involved with. Just because there's so many other places I feel like I don't have enough time to juggle everything as it is so.
MP: Yeah, I can identify with that.
BJ: [laughs}
MP: So you mentioned your church. What type of activities are you involved in there?
BJ: They have always different outreach programs that are going on throughout Charlotte, you know. And, and then I teach a fourth grade class every Sunday. And you know, maybe that's something that stirred me away from teaching actual history. Just because I enjoy doing it every Sunday, but it's a lot of work just for Sunday. I have about 25 kids, and we're in there for about two hours, two and a half hours. And it's, you know it's fun. I love them to pieces. But I just could never see myself as a full time teacher so. But that's probably the biggest thing that I'm involved with there. You know, a lot of getting stuff together during the week and making sure I have everything for the kids, so.
MP: Ok. How has being involved with your church and just doing the friend thing affected your experience here?
BJ: [pause] I don't know, I guess. I feel like I've had a great experience even though I wasn't involved in a lot of activities. I mean I have my, I think everybody once you get to college kind of finds your core group of friends. I don't know. I think somehow they magnetically come to you or something, because there's so many different types of people. You're bound to find someone that you know is just like you. And so, you know, I think getting involved in architecture I really met a lot of people that I really, you know, was a like and got along well with and so you know. Constantly doing tons of stuff with them you know out of school and in school. It's, it's been nice. I think it would be lonely to not have friends or not have a, an activity to be in school because I think sometimes it can be overwhelming. You know, you walk into a class. It's hard to make friends right away. Or hard to make deep friends. It's easy to make acquaintances. But hard to make friends. So I feel you know, lucky, that I've found all these people. So that has definitely helped my college career be enjoyable.
MP: Do you feel like being at UNC-Charlotte has changed you as a person? Has it challenged the way you were raised?
BJ: I wouldn't say it's challenged the way I was raised. I think it's probably deepened or put more depth into how I was raised, because I was always raised in a, in a very conservative Christian home. And that's something that you, I think it's hard because you're just kind of raised in it so you just kind of go along with it. And I think being away from your parents for the first time or just getting away on your own. Either you like go with it or you drop it. You know, either you get more involved with it and you find out what your beliefs are or else they just totally fade away. And for me it was this thing of I went to college and it was like "Ok, I need to find out what I believe in." And so that was real important to me. That was something that never struck me before coming to college. And if I hadn't come to college I don't know if it would have ever struck me. Or if it would have been that I just kept going on with something that my parents believed in and everything. And so with like for instance my church group or with the friends that I have you know, that was a major thing for me was you know reading the Bible, reading, doing stuff, finding friends that I could share my faith with or different stuff, has just helped me to kind of deepen my faith and everything more than challenge it. But in a way it did. Because it was like "What do I believe" when I come to school. Do I believe in this or do I not believe in this, and especially in a lot of the classes that you take. It's like, you know, everyone has their own biases, everyone has their own ways. And that makes you really, especially history. And you really need to find out what you believe. Where are you coming from? And that was a major thing for me. So I think it's definitely strengthened my faith. Even though for a lot of people it might be, have the opposite reaction. But for me, that was the definite thing.
MP: So, in what other, if any ways has being a student here contributed to your growth as a person or scholar?
BJ: As a scholar I'd probably say some really good time management skills [laugh], or organizational skills. Which I know will be so important in the future. Just keeping track of everything. Because I'm one of those people that get stressed out if everything's not in order but there's got to be some leeway there and you've got to just tug along, keep on going. And you know what, when there's a lot of pressure you've just got to deal with it. And I think that's been a major thing because you know, when else are you going to have five papers due in one week or something. You know, I mean. When, I don't know, I think that's a definite thing. That it just helps you manage yourself well. Manage everything about yourself. You know. Am I going to make decisions, am I going to go work out today, am I going to go out with friends today, or am I going to get my work done? You know, what am I going to do? Prioritize. And so that's definitely important. As a person, I just say what I said before you know. Strengthened my faith. But it also makes you appreciate your friends that you make here. Because I think the friends you make in college are for sure the friends that you're going to have for awhile. It's just on a different level then high school or anything else. Because honestly, I don't think I've hardly talked to a single person that I was friends with in high school. It changes. And so I feel like you know you've got to not take these people for granted. And these are your real true friends. And so it's, I don't know it helps, that helps strengthen you as a person. So.
MP: How has your transfer here, as well as your boyfriend's, changed or strengthened your relationship?
BJ: I guess that was a decision we came to because it was like, ok, either we'll be apart for four more years and hopefully survive. Which I had no doubt that we would. You know, or we could do the same thing that we're doing five hours apart at the same place. You know, and that's the decision we came to that why be five hours apart when you can be here together. And if it was one more year, you can deal with a year. But four more years, I was like that's a long time. And so it's just been nice. It's been nice having him around. It's actually, I know it's seems kind of odd or backward, but it's help me focus more on my work as a student here. Just because you know, when I was at Clemson it's like, "Ok, when can I talk to him, when can I see him?" You know, every other weekend or once a month traveling up to Chapel Hill for the weekend and then coming back. It's exhausting. It really is. And so, I think being here has actually helped me you know I guess, more on an academic level be more focused. And then also to have more time for my friends. I'm not always worried about when I'm seeing him now. You know, I can see him whenever. So I can go out, be with my friends, do stuff with my friends. And so it's changed it. Deepened our relationship. It's been good for us.
MP: What are living arrangements right now?
BJ: I live on campus. I live over in Oak Hall. I've always lived on campus when I was in school. That was a big thing of my parents. Not necessarily to live on campus. But to not live at home and go to school. Just because of the same reason they wanted. They wanted me to more than anything to just get the experience of being at college. You know, if I decided after a year that wasn't what I wanted to do well then fine. You know, it was just the matter of being on your own. Not totally on your own, but being on your own enough to realize you're making decisions for yourself. You know, you're an adult. And so, I've always lived on campus and you know it's to the point where you go home for Christmas or summer and it's like "Oh when can I get back to school," because things just change. I mean I love my family to pieces but it's hard to make that adjustment again after being away from them. And so I visit them all the time, I love them to pieces but it's just hard after you know, not living with them for a year and then having to go live with them for like three months and be around everything. So, I really like living on campus. Not to mention I would hate to have to drive here everyday. Because even from my house at rush hour it could be a good hour to get up here. And I think that just add a whole other pile of stress on this stuff. It's nice waking up, getting shower, and taking five minutes to walk to class. So, maybe I'm just lazy, I don't know. But that's really, really nice. I wouldn't have it any other way. I really like it.
MP: So you feel like being on campus has contributed to your education?
BJ: Yeah, definitely. I mean first I'm not under, the, I'm not, I don't always have my parents hovering over me. You know, they don't really care. And then also, you know, it's easy to get together with friends, really easy because everyone's here. And so, you know, if we all want to go one night then they're all there. Or if I want to go to the basketball game I walk five minutes out of my room. Or you know, if I feel like I need to be at the library all night well then I walk ten minutes up to the library and I can research all night. It's just so much more convenient actually being on campus. And I mean I, actually like being on campus more than being close to campus then to being off campus. Because I can walk everywhere so, I really think that has contributed. I think maybe you have a different type of education I guess if you, not education a different type of experience if you're not living on campus, or living near campus. Just because you can't, I don't know. I would think it would be hard to be involved in a lot of stuff or be able to do a lot of things on campus, so. I really think it has helped.
MP: Tell me a little bit about Oak Hall. Like. Like, what's your room like, how many people do you live with?
BJ: Oh, I, it's a suite. And so there's two bedrooms, which two people are in each bedroom. So I have a roommate and then I have two suitemates. And so there's four people that live in there. And then we have a big living room and like then a big bathroom. And stuff. So I mean, it's not. I don't have a kitchen or anything. But that's no big deal because I just eat on campus or you know heat stuff up in the microwave or whatever. I don't think if I had a kitchen I'd actually use it anyways so it's not that big of a loss. But, I like it. It's right across the street from, like literally it's about two minutes from all my classes. So I can wake up in the morning, roll out of bed, and walk to class. That's always an added plus. And you know it's really not that bad. I, I enjoy it. I like it. I like it better my than first year here. Since we transferred late, I was in the high rises. And I hated that. It was so small. The rooms were so small. And so, it's two people to a room. And it was just like ity bitty, itty bitty. And it's so nice to have my own bathroom now. I don't have to share it with a whole entire hall full of people. And I, I just couldn't stand it. [laughs] I couldn't stand being in the high rises. I'm so glad I'm out of there. Plus they're kind of further out of way to campus. So it's a longer walk to everything. But that was by far my least favorite thing. And it's so loud over there because that's where they put all the freshmen and it's just like constant party or something. And it's so hard to study or get anything done because it's so loud. Where you walk over to phase five where Oak Halls is it's just like peaceful it's really relaxing. Definitely like that better than my previous year. So.
MP: So do you live with friends? Or do you, did you get assigned roommates? How do y'all get along?
BJ: We just, I just signed up for my room. I didn't know these people. Next year I know I'm living with my friends over in Witherspoon. So I mean that'll be good. But I think I've been fortunate in the roommates that I've had. I've always gone with whatever put me with whoever. And I've, I've been pretty fortunate. We all get along really well. You know of course four girls in a room, they're going to bicker and fight over little things. But, but there hasn't been anything major. And if there is, it's been resolved very easily. So, we get along pretty good. As long as everyone keeps their trash picked up and the bathroom clean [laughs] then everything's always fine. It's just the little bitty things that you know can get to you.
MP: So, what would you say are some of your most memorable experiences here?
BJ: [pause] I don't know. I've got to think for a second. [laugh] I don't know. I guess one really memorable experience was my trip up to Chicago with my studio for architecture. That was really fun. Because there weren't, there isn't that many people and we had a week up there. And it was different than like. I know like study abroad would be like this as well. But this was my first kind of actual college trip with a college class. And we were up there for a full week. And it was just like they dropped us off at the airport. And it was like OK our hotel is on this street. Go take all these photographs for an entire day and just meet us back at some point. So it was like. You just had the city kind of to yourself for whatever for a full week. I mean not. You had assignments to do but you know. There was no one looking over you. And you know, at times it was a little leery. When we first got there we were all like "What do we do?", "I guess we get on the el", "I guess we get on the train and find a way to our hotel." And but I, that was definitely fun. Because any trip, you know, you get to know people on such a different level then you do in a classroom. And so, that was great. We had a blast. We had an absolute blast. Just going around. The city's beautiful anyways. And plus, that's kind of where I was from. But, that was fun. It's fun being on planes with people. And hanging out with everybody. Going out to eat with everybody every night and every day. That's definitely was fun. Made a lot of good friends on that trip. So. [pause]
MP: How do you feel about UNC-Charlotte's reputation?
BJ: I guess I've had a good deal of experience with its reputation. First of all, being from Charlotte and being from a good area. And you know high school, it's a pretty good high school. That was like the last place on the earth that anyone wanted to be was UNC-Charlotte. You know it was like. Actually I hardly know like any people that. I know people came here but I guess because I was in all the AP classes. Of course there was no one who came to UNC-Charlotte you know. Carolina, Duke, you know it's just every other. There's so many big schools in North Carolina. That I think Charlotte kind of gets a bad rap. Because there's just so many prominent, all the ACC schools and everything. And so, you know, of course then I didn't want to come here because of that. I was like I'm better than UNC-Charlotte. I don't need to come here, I'm not coming here. That was like. I remember telling my parents "I am not going to UNCC. I don't care if I don't get into architecture at Clemson. I am not coming here."
MP: [cough]
BJ: And that was like my biggest fear that I was going to be here. I was like so worried about that. And then after I got to Clemson and we're debating this transfer and everything. You know and we actually came and visited the school, which I think lots of people make their assumptions without ever even coming to this school. So after we actually came here and I saw the architecture program and I saw all the different stuff. Then you know my thinking started to change. And plus I wanted to be with Robert. And I think that was the worst like few months of my life. Because my parents were like "You're an adult, make your own decisions, you'll do find wherever you're at." Robert's family was like "You are not transferring from Chapel Hill to go to UNC-Charlotte." That was like over my dead body will you do that because you were wasting your whole entire college career transferring to UNC-Charlotte. And I mean, it was ridiculous. Everyone we talked to. I remember we went. We stopped by our high school to pick up transcripts because we had to send high school transcripts to UNC-Charlotte. And the counselor remembered Robert. And she was like "What, what are you guys picking up high school transcripts for?" And we're like we're thinking of transferring. And she's like "Well to where?" And we're like "UNCC." And she was like "What!" And she was like "Come into my office." And so she brings us into her office. Shuts the door and is like "You do not do this. That'll be the biggest mistake of your lives!" And it was like what is so wrong with UNC-Charlotte? And we just couldn't understand it. I mean everyone, you know other than my family, and maybe it was because my family didn't have any ties to any schools around here just because they were from Chicago and not from North Carolina. But everyone we talked to it was terrible, it was absolutely terrible. And I don't know. It was just awful. And I, after being here. I mean it's ridiculous what people say about this school. It's a great school. I mean it really is a great school. And even our friends who were at Chapel Hill and Clemson they're like "Oh you guys must be having it so easy down at UNCC taking all their easy classes and stuff." And we're like "What are you talking about you know." Everyone just assumes that it's not good. But, I mean. You look at the faculty, you look at the classes that are offered, you look at all that stuff and it's you know all right up there with any other school. I feel like it's a very good school. I don't know. I was kind of leery to transfer here because of what everyone was saying. But I'm glad I did. It was, it is a great school. I feel good about it. So, that's that. [laugh]
MP: Well I'm glad you feel good about the school. Do you see any problems here with anything?
BJ: I don't know of any general problems. I guess you know you always have I guess a few faculty that you don't get along with and you wish things would be differently. But I think that's going to happen probably at any school. I mean because there's definitely been some. Well one faculty person that who just did not feel like I got what I should have gotten out of a course that I took. And you know that was ridiculous. But you know you have options with that. You can write to the chair of the department and you know tell them. I mean I had kind of almost a little conference with her. And we talked about what was going wrong with this class because I just felt like I didn't hardly get anything out of it. And so, I mean I'm not. There's ways to go about it. Some people get so up set with classes and they just go off the handle. You know, that's just not going to do anything for you. You've just got to you know do it intelligently. [laughs] And you know we were able to talk and, what worked, what didn't work, why this didn't work. You know and figure stuff out. And so I think you know. I felt good that she understood that some stuff was going on and you know. There's ways to help out. I think evaluations and, and talking to faculty is important so that everybody else can do well, so. I don't see any really, granted we don't have a football team. I see that as a big problem. [laughs] I see that as a very big problem. I mean, I don't know, I just think UNCC is starting to be a pretty big school. It's starting to grow and I don't know, that's a huge thing. There's nothing better than on a cold crisp fall morning waking up hearing the band walking down the street. Going out, everyone outside, everyone tailgating for the football game you know, tons of people out. There's just nothing more fun than that. So, I miss football Saturdays. I miss them real bad. [laughs] So I think we should definitely get a football team. That's my little clip for that. But, we need one. I think it'd be good for the school to have one. Some good publicity, some good money making opportunities and I don't know. That would be the biggest problem. [laughs]
MP: Would you see that in the future for us?
BJ: I would hope so. I mean I really would. Because there's tons of building going on right now. You can tell, and especially like on campus housing and everything. And so, you know that the, the university is just growing and it's just going to keep continuing to grow. And I think, I mean from all the housing projects that are coming up that maybe it's trying to be more of a, a college, not a college town. But more of just an old college campus where everyone kind of lives on campus. I mean I'm sure it'll always be a commuter school just because of the location that it is. But maybe not as heavily a commuter school. And so, I mean when you have that situation. And sports are important to your school. To be proud of your school and to you know get involved in your school. I think sports are really important. So, I would hope that would be something. Especially if they keep on building and expanding. I think that would be important to have that.
MP: What other things do you see in the university's future?
BJ: I don't know, I don't know. I guess a big thing is you know I think they're higher level academics graduates programs and stuff, I think will probably get a bit bigger. Now maybe they'll be more well known or have more of a good reputation to them. I guess. Just because right now that's one of the processes that I'm in, you know looking for graduate schools, because I graduate in May. And I think that's really important, something I want to do. And so, you know, I think that UNCC probably. You know at this point has a pretty good you know graduate school and offers different stuff so maybe that'll be something that well get expanded as well. You know, as they're, especially their PhD. programs and everything, because I know that they don't have too many of those yet. And so maybe that's another area in academics that it can you know keep growing in. [pause]
MP: So what are your plans upon graduation?
BJ: It's kind of scary right now. I was able to graduate a year early whenever I switched to history major. At first I was like that's really cool. Because I had so many AP credits from my high school. Which, who would have thought AP credits would help you out that much to graduate an entire year earlier. When I was taking them I was just taking them because they boosted my GPA up real high. And I was like "Oh cool my GPA is like almost a five" you know. [laughs] But now, that was just like, it played into my, my schedule so much because instead of starting with general courses I like had AP credits for all my general courses. And so it was basically diving into my major. And so, you know last year I thought that was really cool that I'd be able to graduate a year early. And now, it's like a little stressful. Because I'm like "Well, I'm graduating a year early what am I going to do with my life?" So I've been talking to graduate coordinators and getting applications together. And I'd really like to come here for their graduate public history graduate program. Just because of the convenience again of the campus, you know living in Charlotte. I would love to stay in Charlotte. I love this city. You know, that would be a good option for me. And you know, other option I can't decide is just going out and starting my life with work. Which I don't know, I don't know what will come of it. I guess I'll find out in May. But I want to definitely have both options open. I think it'd be good to take advantage of the year that I gained from being able to graduate in three years instead of four. And so, I, you know if I could take advantage of that and go ahead and try to get a masters degree in two years. You know, I'd like that. So probably most likely I think full time graduate study is what's next for me. Not leaving school yet. So, we'll see.
MP: Do you feel like your experience has shaped your graduate school plans?
BJ: I guess so because. I mean I. I don't know. I think after being in some of the history courses that I've taken and stuff it's like you know. I think you know when you're born if like you're going to be a teacher or not. You just have something about you that's like teacher quality. But I think in some of my history classes I really like found out that I just love writing. And I love researching. Like that was just the best thing. You know so then it's like. You know what, maybe I don't have to be a high school teacher. Maybe I can keep on going to school and do something else. You know and I think that was a big trap for me whenever I was like switching history. I was like what am I going to do with history? I've got to be a high school teacher. You know and I'm like "I can do it, I can do it, I can be a high school teacher." When I had no desire whatsoever to be a teacher. And so I think just, teachers challenging you. And you know, doing stuff. And, and especially my Davenport seminar I felt like it improved my writing so much. I felt like I was a good writer before, but now you know I feel very confident in my writing. And so, you know that's definitely influenced my decisions to you know start graduate school and see where that goes. Because I feel like there's more out there for me then. Not that teaching isn't good. But you know, I didn't have it and didn't want to get stuck in it. So, I think that has definitely shown me that there's more out there that I can do so. Definitely influenced me in that way.
MP: Very good. So if you had to do the college experience over again would you change anything?
BJ: I don't know. I don't think I would. I think it was great for me to go to Clemson first. Because I feel like if I went here first just because of what I was told about this school, and what I had felt initially about this school. Then I might have always thought that I didn't give myself everything that I could've had. I might have gypped my self. I think I really would have felt that because this was the last place that I wanted to come to. But you know after being at Clemson for a year, I got to see how that school ran. You know and then. And also being apart from Robert I think was good because I had my own life down there you know. I was my own self. Granted I still wanted to be with him, but you know it's good to be independent as well. And so, you know coming up here made me realize this was a good school you know. This was a really good school. I had good relationships here. I mean it's been. I think the chain of events was good how it happened. I think it's good I was at Clemson first. I think it was good that I didn't go to school with Robert at first because I didn't want to get stuck in a trap with the same people. So, you know, after like, the decisions were hard to make at the time but they worked out for the best so. Definitely feel good about being here.
MP: Well that's all my questions. Do you have anything further that you want to add? [long pause]
BJ: Not really. [laughs] Not that I can think of. [pause] I don't know, I think I'm pretty good. Except we do need to get well I know we're getting a student but that's long in coming we need that [laughs]. I just thought of that when you were talking about the future of UNCC. We definitely need a student union. I know it's coming but [laughs] I don't know. It's nice to see all the stuff coming up around the campus all the buildings and everything. It's nice to see that it's. I really feel like it's going somewhere. Like it's going to be really good school and like I'm going to be proud to have my diploma from here. Definitely, so I think that's about all I've got to say.
MP: Well, good. Thank you very much for doing this interview Brittany.
BJ: Thank you. Thank you.
MP: And for posterity huh. [laughs]
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