Student Spotlight 2023: Alexandria Durrant, U.S. Navy

Tell us about yourself.

I am from Asheboro, North Carolina, and serve as a corpsman on active duty in the United States Navy. I decided to join the military because, while in high school, I quickly learned that I would not be able to afford college without going into debt. I also didn’t want to stay in my small town where I felt I wouldn’t progress. My mom persuaded me to look more into the military. Although nervous, I realized the military offered me ways to challenge myself while immersing in a rate (job) I found interesting. It was a win-win. A fun fact about myself is that I love basketball and have been playing since I was in the sixth grade.

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?

Before attending the humanities course at Columbia University, I took some college courses in high school and one since joining the military. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have imposter syndrome on the first day of the course. I was a bit overwhelmed by being at such a prestigious college and the amount of work expected from me. I found myself saying, “How did I get here? I don’t deserve to be here.”

By the end of the course, my confidence increased exponentially. WSP really challenges you to think outside the box and to push yourself to become the dream student you want to be but maybe don’t know how to be. Once you embrace the rigor of the course and step outside your comfort zone, the belief you will have in yourself will be at an all-time high because all of the work and long hours you put in really does pay off.

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

Some key insight I gained is how to articulate my thinking so that people can understand me during discussions. I also learned how to network. Learning how to talk to other people and be personable was challenging, but it was such a fantastic way to express who I am to others and ask questions. But the most important thing I learned was analytical skills. This helped me understand passages deeper, which led to more meaningful discussions about what I read and what I think the author is trying to portray. As a person interested in obtaining an international relations degree, this skill is crucial in helping me break down text that may be difficult to comprehend and learn what is being said without being lost.

How would you describe your overall experience?

Transformative!

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