Nia Lartey’s College Journey: Settling in at GWU

Nia Lartey, a freshman at George Washington  University, participated in the 2018 Acel Moore workshop. This is her first  blog post on her college experience.  

Since my days at Headstart, I’ve heard of this magical land called college. Depending on the stage in my life, I heard it described in different ways. In second grade it was a place I “had to go,” although I didn’t see the hype around going to what I was already doing: attending school.

Then in 8th grade, my history teacher told the class how college was great because it was the only time in your life where you had the “privileges of an adult, with the responsibilities of a child.” Again, I didn’t see the difference between me (blessedly) not having to pay the bills and going to school, but onward.

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Now, having been in the place that has only existed in my mind for a little over four weeks, I’ve started to understand what everyone was saying, especially being in downtown DC. My friend and I experienced the National Museum of African American History and Culture this past Friday, and instead of having to plan weeks in advance, decided a few days before and made the half-hour trek (as opposed to what would’ve been a 2-hour drive from Philly). I saw a Trump-supporting float and walked by a White House Trump protest on the same night. I saw DeRay McKesson and Shaun King speak in a two-week span (and went to dinner with DeRay McKesson– which has a fun backstory!)

Some people in my classes are from Australia and others just a Metroride from Virginia. For my Justice and the Legal System class, I have to go to the Supreme Court to watch an oral argument, and I’ve  volunteered at an on-campus event featuring Chuck Todd.

But that doesn’t mean that college is Nirvana where everything is “perfect and dandy.” My freshman class is GW’s largest,  roughly at 2,800.  Yet there are only 168 black women and 50 black men; I went from being in an all-black school to being the only black person in some of my classes;  to my chagrin, I overslept two events twice for the first time in my life; and in my second week, I confidently walked my friend and me three blocks to class… or rather, to a class I had in that building just three hours before.


But I’m taking it all one class at a time, one day at a time, and one moment at a time! I still have the rest of the semester, (let alone the rest of the year) to go, and I still text my twin sister stupid, silly twin things (only when I feel her telling me to via telepathy of course).

But if there’s one thing I am sure of (no offense, Philly), it’s that this aspiring political journalist has definitely found her home, and is more than ready to get on exploring it.

Smiling as always (and loving DC),

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