Hello, I'm Natasha Wilson Clark and I'm from SUNY Plattsburgh currently studying away at Alabama State University through the National Student Exchange program. I chose to do the NSE program because I found out about it through one of my friends who was also doing it in our junior year. So I was like, why not participate in the program? So, I decided to, and given all the choices, I picked the top schools who were known for Communication and Alabama State happens to be one of them. Also a perk about it was it happened to be an HBCU and I wanted to transition from being a part of a predominantly white institution to a historically black college and university.
Being at ASU was definitely a culture shock and I have loved every minute of it being here. This is my second semester here at ASU and the education here is very enriching in terms of your major and what you want to do. When I came here I was confused about what I was doing in my major. But after completing my first semester here, it's like, "Oh, I had a plan. This is what I want to do. This is what I like to do". My plans were changing. I felt things were going in motion for me. Many of the professors, they're very invested into your education and invested in a way that they give you field work. They put you immediately in your field. They don't give you busy work. As much as busy work, it can be good to set the foundation, the field work is what helps you ignite your passion and what you want to do. And I felt like that was something I learned being here and I really loved it. I was like, okay, like I started writing more in PR. I started writing, actually I started writing different things for PR that's needed within my field.
Aside from my studies, it was a breath of fresh air being here because the people here are definitely nicer than people in New York City and it just felt great to go outside of my room and not have headphones on. Like literally I was getting stopped here and there with people like, "Hey, I like your outfit today. Hey, I think you look good. Hi, my name is so and so", and I was just like, "Oh my God, this is cool. This is like, I was like, wow, I fit in here". Especially coming from a campus where people go about their business. It's like the people here kind of like stop and talk to you. So it's like, Oh! And then boom, I made new friends.
When I came down to ASU, I think the most difficult part was trying to pack all my clothes and stuff to bring it down here and like get on a plane with it. I had to send a few boxes down here. But when I got to ASU, the heat threw me off. One day it was 111 degrees and I was like, how do y'all do this?
I got to meet four other exchange students. One whose name was Natasha too, but she happened to be from Minnesota and the other two were from Florida. Also. When I got here, I immediately traveled to Atlanta to get my hair done. I was like, Oh my God, this is so cool. I got to drive around. I was like, Whoa, yeah, I get to do all of this. Then being here I learned that football happened to be the main sport rather than basketball and I had to quickly learn a new game. So I learned that there are three classics here at ASU. The first classic is Labor Day Classic, which they play against Tuskegee. The second one is Magic City Classic, which they go against Alabama A & M. And the third one is the Turkey Day Classic when they play against Prairie View A&M from Texas. My favorite one happened to be the Turkey Day Classic which was on Thanksgiving because the alumni and the new people the band, the Hornets, everyone, they all merge together to put on this great 15-minute halftime show. And I thought it was really amazing. I thought it was really fun. It brought everyone together. Even though it was on Thanksgiving Day, it was really fun.
With the fall semester wrapped up, I came back for the spring semester here at ASU and just this past week I walked to downtown Montgomery and I've seen more things within a week. Like I've seen the statue they built on in December of 2019 of Rosa Parks. I got to see the fountain. I walked past the legacy museum. I've got to see the different restaurants they have down there. Like I felt like a real tourist and I was just like I understand why people would feel so excited to be a tourist. And I took really cool pictures of the monuments and the statues.
The semester is off to a pretty slow start, but I know the pace will continue to pick up once February hits and hopefully I'm able to finish strong being here for my last semester.