I would like to preface this interview with a thank you to Oakel Parrish for taking the time to sit down and do this interview with me.
For this week’s student spotlight, I sat down with Oakel Parrish for an interview on his version of college life. For many, university life can be an arduous, stressful, time-consuming endeavor. For others, the experience can be one of the greatest memories in their life. And for many, it can be a bit of both. Before the interview, I wanted to ensure that I had questions focusing on the good and the bad. Life is full of ups and downs, and the college experience is no exception. By including questions that look into both sides, I think it’s easier to illuminate the truest rendition of this segment of life.
Why did you choose to attend UNCG? Were there any factors that went into choosing UNCG rather than another school in the state or country?
- I chose UNCG because it’s not too far away from my house. It’s still in North Carolina and the cost of attending here is good. You know how North Carolina has really good colleges, and this was a pretty good college to go to from what I’d heard, and my dad also works here.
What are you currently majoring in? Do you have any plans right now for what you’re going to do with your degree once you graduate?
- I’m majoring in bio-technology, and as of now I don’t have any ideas of what I’m going to do with that degree. But there’s probably going to be like a path for me.
Do you feel like the classes offered at UNCG are preparing you for your future?
- Some of them, yes. Some of them, not really. I definitely feel like some of the Gen-Ed classes help round you as a person, but other classes just feel completely unnecessary and are just there to be hard, like bio-math.
What do you think that your classes do well with and what do you think they lack?
- I think the classes do well with getting stuff organized at times… I can’t really explain it. They do good at teaching it, but also that’s where they lack because they’ll always expect you to thoroughly understand something. It really depends on the professor. Like for classes you have to, like, find it out yourself, and I think that’s a really bad way of teaching, but like bio-math actually wasn’t that bad for me. The professor would just tell us, like, “We do this and then this.” And then somebody would ask, “Why do we do this?” And he’ll explain, “This is why we do this,” you know. I actually didn’t mind him personally but I can see why people didn’t like his teaching style. Another thing is I hate how professors will lack empathy. For instance, with some classes they’ll be like, “Yeah if you have an absence that you can’t excuse, have a written doctor’s note or you’re going to get points taken away.” Like that’s fine but if you have to miss it because of a wedding or something like that too bad, it’s not a medical emergency. Like there’s stuff going on in life and there are things you have to attend.
So do you think that the attendance policy at UNCG needs work?
- Maybe. Just depends. For instance in English, I have this really chill professor, and as long as you give her a pretty valid reason for why you can’t, like, do the homework, she’ll extend it for you, and I think that’s really chill of her. But in half of my other classes it’s like, “Yeah we need a doctor’s note,” like there’s just some things that happen in life and you have to miss it. It just feels like some professors lack that kind of empathy and I think that could be worked on.
What is your favorite place on campus and why?
- That’s rough. I really do like the museum because it does have a lot of cool stuff there.
The Weatherspoon Art Museum?
- Yeah. In general I like to hang out with my friends at the esports center because we will just be stupid there and have the time of our lives just hanging out.
I still haven’t been yet. I definitely need to go.
- Yeah, I think there are a lot of good places on campus, but I’ve had a lot of fun at the esports center, and that’s probably just because I’m a person that likes to do stuff online. But it’s also like meeting your friends in person.
- And maybe the library…. I don’t know. There’s just a lot of other places I just can’t think of.
Oh yeah, I like the library a lot, but I don’t like going there with other people. I spend a lot of time there by myself. It’s just a very nice, relaxing, tranquil place. It’s very nice.
Are you interested in any of the clubs on campus or not?
- As of now no. It feels like… it’s probably my fault for this but sometimes I will apply for the club, but I won’t get an email back about when the next meeting is or whatever. I just don’t get that kind of information, like I haven’t gotten any emails back about when our next meeting is.
Right. So, have you applied for multiple?
- I think two, yeah.
Do you work while attending classes?
- I do, yeah.
Where do you work?
- At Fresh Market.
How many hours do you work per week?
- I’ll work about, in a week, between like 16 and 24. Nothing much.
Do you think that you find it difficult to balance schoolwork with the job?
- Depending on what classes you take it definitely can be. If it’s something very study intensive, my god you are going through hell. It’s a terrible combination. But if you’re just taking classes where you have to, like, type stuff up or you don’t have to study as much, it’s not that terrible. You’re going to have to have a good sense of time management, but other than that it’s not crazy.
Do you have any plans currently to get any further education after you get your bachelor’s degree?
- Probably, just because it’s kind of the way the world works right now. You probably have to get a Master’s for a decent paying job now, but I mean why not further my education.
What kinds of things would you have wanted to know as a new student coming to UNCG?
- That’s a rough one to say. They always say time management, and I agree with that, but also it’s fine if you do bad you know, but make time to make or hang out with your friends. I think that the college experience is–at least for your first year–it’s very important, and your first classes aren’t going to be as important as the ones after it. I’m not going to say like completely flunk it, just know you don’t have to take it as seriously.
Are you currently living on campus?
Do you think that housing on campus is worth the money that you spend on it?
- So I have mixed feelings because it’s a very different experience depending on how far away you live. I still think it’s worth it, and that’s because I feel like I have more choice of what to do instead of my parents nagging me. If you get to know the people on campus more and you get to know the people around you, it’s definitely much better. If you’re here to have the whole college experience, I definitely would say it’s worth it. If you’re just going to UNCG to get your degree, then it’s probably not worth it for you.