Latoyia Hall '10

Latoyia Hall

Latoyia Hall '10

Major: English
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
As a high school senior, I was looking for a place where I felt like a real college student. During Bowdoin's Experience Weekend I felt that I was not just visitor; I felt like I already knew the campus and that I was actually a part of the student body, which made me confident. Plus, I actually had a moment where I visualized waking up for the next four years on the campus. I also purchased an expensive Bowdoin sweatshirt, which I considered an investment in my future. My decision to matriculate was meant to be.

Why did you choose your major?
In high school I loved to read and write, so choosing English as my major was a natural move. But choosing a minor: that was difficult. I dabbled in abnormal psychology for a while, and thought that I would enjoy double majoring in psychology and English. This path, however, was not as promising as I had imagined. Although I was interested in abnormal psychology, it was not a subject that I was naturally talented in. I realized my passion was studying literature and that is what I stuck with. If I could decide all over again, I would minor in Italian.

What has been a course you especially enjoyed at Bowdoin?
I would have to say my senior seminar White Negroes, taught by Professor Guy Mark Foster in the English department, was one of my favorite courses. The class explored racial identity and how that identity is perceived and interpreted. I particularly enjoyed this class because of one of the unconventional assignments we had to do. Each student in the class had to go out and try to convince someone we didn't know that we were the opposite race (of what we appeared to be) without using any makeup or changing our appearance in any way. Most of us were intimidated by this, but how often do you get to try things like that for class?

What professor or professors have especially inspired you during your time at Bowdoin?
All of my professors have been awesome, but Professor Foster has inspired me the most. I have taken multiple courses with him and I always look forward to his classes and meeting with him in his office or at a meal. He is passionate, enthusiastic, and knows how to connect with students. He expects his students to put their best foot forward, but is supporting in a way that makes you want to do well. Professor Foster and Professor Marilyn Reizbaum have made me a more mature writer and helped me find the confidence to pursue a career as an author. Their advice and encouragement were invaluable, especially as I began applying to graduate school. There are so many components to graduate applications that it's easy to become overwhelmed. Having people who have gone through the process helping me focus on my goals made a huge difference in how I approached my applications.

Which staff members have you connected with most?
The staff members I connected with most work for the Dining Service. Because I have tried out so many different campus jobs, I have met some pretty awesome people. While working in Jack Magee's Pub, I came to be really good friends with Angie Menard who makes all the pizza students eat. On nights when it was slow we would crank up the music and sing along with the radio in back while doing food prep. I also worked with Mona Paschke and Irene Gamache in the Café early on Friday mornings, often serving construction workers who were renovating Adams Hall. Whenever I was working with Mona and Irene, we would play "Build me up, Buttercup" by The Foundations. I still see Mona and Irene almost every day, and every time I hear that song I think of the Café.

Cheer_Squad.jpg
The Cheer Squad after a football game on Whittier Field.

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
As a first year I joined the Bowdoin Cheer Squad and I have been a member ever since. I have built strong friendships and have had many laughs and great times with the other girls on the squad. One way in which we give back to the Brunswick community is by mentoring middle school cheerleaders. During my first two years here, I was also an active member of the African-American Society.

My work experiences have varied dramatically. I worked for a year in the pub as a grill cook on the busiest nights of the week, Friday and Saturday, and I then worked at the Café making lattes and cappuccinos. I've also worked in the Bowdoin Express convenience store (C-store). Currently, I work as an intern in the Career Planning office and with Residential Life as the deputy commissioner of intramural sports, where I coordinate and manage the intramural

What have you done during your summers?
My summers have been consistently inconsistent. By that, I mean I have worked at the same nonprofit organization called Philadelphia Youth Network in Philadelphia for some time, but have served in a variety of capacities. The organization aims to provide professional summer employment to inner-city and low-income students in the Philadelphia area; last summer we served over 8,000 youths. I started working for the organization in high school as an intern, and I participated in its summer programming where I worked closely with a vice president of Comcast. In the summer of 2008, I worked as a project assistant and I was responsible for assisting with the creation of academic portfolios. Last summer, I had the opportunity to work as a program officer and was responsible for managing and maintaining the recruitment efforts of several smaller youth-based organizations. All these experiences have sharpened my professional skills.

What is your favorite Bowdoin memory?
I strongly oppose pulling all-nighters. I love to sleep: If sleeping were an Olympic sport, I would win gold. However, one night during my first year, a few of my friends and I were frantically working to finish papers and studying for exams in Moulton Union. It was maybe four or five in the morning, and we were all delirious from exhaustion when someone began singing a song that they were listening to on their iPod. We slowly all joined in and then started making a music video remix on the spot! We laughed ourselves to sleep, and still joke about it today.

What are your plans for after graduation?
My ultimate academic goal is to earn a Ph.D in English. After graduation, I plan to obtain a M.F.A. in creative writing. As far as my career, my dream is to be an author, but I have expanded my vision to include careers that would allow me to be as creative as possible. I love to have lots of artistic control over my work and want to work in an environment that allows me to do that. My dream job would be one where I wake up every day looking forward to and feeling passionate about working.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
My advice to first-year students would be to enjoy Bowdoin while they can. Although students here take their studies seriously, you have to have fun because the small, precious moments with friends will be the best memories you have. Once you graduate, you probably won't have the luxury of waking up late and going to brunch with your best friends. Simply put, enjoy the people and the time you have.

What quirky or fun thing do you wish you had known before you came to Bowdoin?
I wish I had known
the real story behind Ivies Weekend. Even as a senior, I am still wondering how it came to be. There are several stories floating around why we have Ivies, but I don't know which of the stories are true. Also, the C-store sells the most delicious kettle corn I have ever tasted, and I don't know how I will live without it after graduation—it's that good.

Story posted on July 13, 2010

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