Student Spotlight 2022: Ernest Johnson, U.S. Navy

Tell us about yourself.

I am from Lumberton, NC, and on active duty in the Navy. My military occupation rate is RS or Retail Service Specialist. I chose to join the Navy to escape my small town and to travel and see the world. I also wanted to use it as a platform to better my future and pay for college without placing that burden on my parents. Some fun facts about myself are that my mother and I share the same birthday, I am a certified scuba diver, and I once took a selfie with Oprah. 

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

I attended the humanities and business & entrepreneurship courses at Notre Dame. Before WSP, I attended some college classes, which were prerequisites for a Navy nursing program, but I decided to shift course. 

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? 

I participated in WSP to gain insight into full-time college and to utilize it as a tool to help with my transition to school after the military. Before the course, I was confident I would be open to whatever was placed before me, and I was nervous about what that would look like. However, I gained confidence I didn’t know was possible upon completing the course. 

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

Some key insights I gained during the course were the importance of referencing the syllabus often and utilizing a professor’s open-door hours. Also, to get involved in both veteran and non-veteran student communities/activities. Overall, WSP taught me that there are a ton of resources to help with the pursuit of my degree and that people genuinely want to see me succeed. 

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