Student Spotlight 2022: Harold Payne, U.S. Navy

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and am an active-duty hospital corpsman in the United States Navy. I decided to join the military when I realized I lacked structure, discipline, and purpose. Before the military, I had jobs working in construction, food service, retail, and logistics, but never to an advanced degree. I also didn’t perform well during my first attempt at college and had no intentions of pursuing advanced education. I knew I had to make serious changes to my life to become the better person I wanted to be. I will never regret that decision. Something fun and exciting about me is that my favorite genre of music is hip-hop/rap, and the first album I bought was Aquemini by Outkast, my favorite group of all time. 

What was your educational background prior to attending WSP, and which of our courses did you attend?

Before attending the humanities and STEM course at the University of Chicago, I completed three semesters in college. 

Why did you decide to participate in WSP this summer, and was there a shift in your confidence level from the first day of the course to the last day? 

After deciding to continue my education, I started researching different universities. WSP was recommended for veterans by many of the institutions I was interested in, and I thought it would be a great opportunity. I knew that I would have to put a lot of effort into reacclimating myself into becoming a full-time student. My confidence was low because I spent a lot of time focusing on what I believed to be my academic limitations. WSP was able to help me implement tangible skills and habits that will help me succeed academically. Being able to attend lectures from well-established and passionate professors, as well as being in the company of veterans that have made great strides in academia, erased my previous doubts. 

What were some key insights you gained during your courses, and what is your biggest takeaway?

My most valued takeaways from the course were evaluating the best “fit” collegiately, overcoming imposter syndrome, and the discussions we had during the College Success sessions. For me, the most important academic portion of WSP was the writing workshops, tutors, and assignments. Writing is an essential part of pursuing a degree, and the workshops helped me develop strategies that improved every facet of my writing process. 

In one word, how would you describe your overall experience?

Inspirational!

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