Letters Home: Checking in with Our College Freshmen

It’s been a while since we waved our class of 2019 off to college. This is the first in our “Letters Home” series, in partnership with the T.C. Williams High School College and Career Center, in which our newly graduated Titans give us their impressions of life away from home.

Sophia Parker is a Political Science major on the pre-law track at Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women located in Atlanta. She received funding from the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria.

She writes,

There’s nothing that can quite prepare you for college. For many, it’s their first time being away from family, familiar settings, the normalcy they’ve had the entirety of their lives. You’re now expected to manage your time completely on your own. Don’t remember when that upcoming Spanish quiz is? Check the syllabus. Don’t feel like going to class? Well you can most definitely skip but you’re losing quite a bit of money doing so. You go from the nurturing setting of high school where competition mainly remained in the sports setting, to college where you’re not only competing with your peers but with yourself as well. All of these things can be challenging and put a toll on your mental health which is overwhelming – and a lot to handle for any first year student.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. I attend Spelman College, the #1 HBCU in the world, as a Political Science major on the Pre-Law track. College for me has meant trying new things and exploring the person I want to become. I’ve tried out and made my dorms dance team and am even apart of a DMV club which allows me to keep a piece of home with me. Being in the honors program has allowed me to test my intellectualism and engaged in meaningful discussions with the girls around me. Everything in high school was standardized and everyone had to fit the same academic mold to meet the standard of “excellence” high school expects from you. However college is not like that. Attending a small, private, HBCU, liberal arts school was the best decision for me because I’ll never have to worry about my teacher not knowing my name, or feeling unsupported by faculty, or worse of all… being the only Black girl in a class.

While the diversity at T.C. Williams and Alexandria as a whole is unmatchable, something I do miss about home, being surrounded by like-minded intellects is allowing me to learn and grow around people who look just like me.

I do miss the deliciousness of mumbo sauce, the quaintness of Old Town at night, and of course, the advisors who helped me so patiently get to where I am now, specifically Ms. Morris. I plan to return to Alexandria as an adult and hopefully send my kids to T.C. Williams as well. While Atlanta is dynamic, diverse, and home to biggest group of Black college students, the Atlanta University Center, Alexandria will always be home.”

ACPS, Alumni Profile, T.C. Williams