Umoja Spring, 2023 Graduate Interview Questions
Nestic Nicole Morris
University of WI – Milwaukee
Spring 2023 Graduate
Q: DESCRIBE YOUR COLLEGE CAREER AMID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?
“For me the transition back to in-person has been the most challenging thing for me for my senior year. Because I attend UW Milwaukee, that means a lot more time on the driving and up and down the highway. My program was much more convenient when classes were online. I always felt like the time that I was spending on the road was time that I could be studying.”
Q: WHAT DID THIS PAST YEAR TEACH YOU ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW?
“Boundaries and rest are beautiful things. Both are necessary in order for me to keep living, learning and growing. Too often we take on everything for everyone else and it begins to affect our bodies to physically learn to make room for rest or our bodies will make you rest.”
Q: DESCRIBE YOUR MOST REWARDING COLLEGE EXPERIENCE.
“My most rewarding college experience was receiving my Undergraduate degree. I started pursuing my degree at 18 but did not complete that degree until I was 28. It was ten long years of setbacks and frustrations, and there were times even when I was “doing right,” there were semesters when I wanted to quit; however I finally completed that degree in Spring of 2014. At the moment I have no plans to further my education beyond my Master’s but even if I do, my undergraduate degree will always be my greatest experience.”
Q: WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING YOU’VE EVER HAD TO DO?
The hardest thing I ever had to do was continue to pursue my Masters after my mother passed away. Even when she fell ill, and I would talk to her on the phone or on a visit she would make sure as she would say “getting my lesson”. She was there every step of the way during those ten years of undergrad. She let me live in my parents’ home rent-free, sent money for essentials, and even made my siblings send me their hard-earned money! I know that she is proud.
Q: WHO INSPIRES YOU?
“Many people inspire me but my mama will always be at the top of my list! She didn’t get to finish college because she put her focus on the family she and my dad created. Through her life experience, she took her love for cooking and served her community by making sure that no children went to bed hungry. I am also inspired by the village. Growing up on the pre-gentrified south side I learned what it meant to be a part of a village. We weren’t blood-related but we were village related and that meant we loved each other despite how the media tried to depict us. I am inspired by the many Black folks that taught me what it means to be Black and proud. That taught me to reach back to leave the door open for the next generation of Black excellence. Lastly, I am inspired by the black and brown kids who’s teachers have written them off because they don’t learn in a “traditional sense.” I want to show them to know that even when people write you off you are still required to be your true and authentic self.”
Q: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
“I don’t know what the future holds for me in the next 10 years. So much of my time has been spent on school, work, and community building that hopefully, it includes lots of rest, financial stability and leisure travel. So much of my life has been centered around being on the go, work and school so I look forward to not having to do anything!”
Q: HOW WILL YOU CHANGE THE WORLD?
“That sounds like such a giant undertaking! I will show up in all spaces as my true and authentic self. I will not live a small life just for the sake of others’ comfort. And hopefully, that will inspire the people around me to do the same. I believe the world will/can be a better place when people are able to show up as who they are. Not who they are pretending to be, or who they think people want them to be. They can just be and still be loved and supported.”
Q: IF YOU HAD TO START A NONPROFIT, WHAT CAUSE WOULD IT SUPPORT?
“While I have worked in a non-profit all of my life, I think that the nonprofit complex has us in a chokehold! The recurring theme that I have seen with most nonprofit organizations (especially when they are first starting out) struggle with funding sources and the barriers that are in place for them to receive and retrain those sources. There is a significant disconnect between funders and organizations and their needs to be more community conversations, training, and focus on why this continues to be the case. There are so many amazing grassroots organizations that are led by folks who saw a need and created an organization that can’t get funding for various reasons. Many of these could be solved if they were able to get funding. Not just receive the funding but also the tools and education to retain funding to support people in need. Until this is addressed, Madison will continue to have gaps in services and continue to do a deserves to those we are supposed to be in service to. If I were to start a nonprofit organization, I would focus on how both organizations and funders can work together to keep organizations stable.”