First Experiences at Millersville

"cows"

Reflecting on their first day at Millersville University, many narrators shared similar reactions. Since a majority of the narrators grew up in settings very unlike rural Lancaster County, they used phrases such as "it was a culture shock," "the smell," "it's in the middle of nowhere," and "all of these white people." 

Caseem Luck

"Like, when I first came up here for Accepted Students Day, I was like, 'Yo, we really driving through cornfields. Like, we're cows at and, like, Amish people live around. Like children of the corn I’mma get murdered.'"(1) - Caseem Luck

"So, it was definitely a culture shock just from Cabrini and from my home town of Upper Darby and Lansdowne. For example, the smell. I think everyone just gets used to it after a while, but like I'm still never going to be used to manure. It’s not a pleasant smell. Like, it’s not present in the Philadelphia Area."(2) - Jordan Alexandra Yates

"Horse"

Due to moving to a drastically different environment, most narrators experienced some type of culture shock. Lacking a support system and consciously aware that they constituted the minority on campus, they felt uncomfortable and anxious which complicated the transition. Terrence Pearson explained that these emotions manifested into a hesitancy to get involved in campus social life which included activities, events, and clubs:

I can’t say “live and let live” because there is still a large portion of black people on campus who still don’t feel safe, who still don’t like leaving their rooms or straying from the norm because they are afraid that they are either going to get judged or physically harmed.(3) - Terrence Pearson

Christhiena Stinson

"It’s completely different. Like, honestly I’ve never been the minority in the area. Like, in every class I’m pretty much the minority. Like, in every part of, like, this campus I go to, I’m pretty much the minority. So, it’s like. . .yeah, that’s-that’s completely different for me cause’ at my high school the minority was the white kids."(4) Christhiena Stinson

Two additional narrators supported Pearson’s statement, describing how the populace at Millersville relied on stereotypes to make snap judgements about black students on campus. For instance, during her first year Brittney Brown found it difficult to connect with other students because they used pre-existing stereotypes to make assumptions about her.(5) This appeared to create a visible, racial divide. Sub-divisions even formed between individuals of the same race as well, where some narrators talked about being called too light or white by other students of color which was used to discredit their experiences. Disconnected from other students and the university at large, narrators acknowledged that they became unsure of where to go, what to do, and who to talk to. This led them to feel pressured to conform to the norm. For a few narrators this meant putting on a fake mask and pretending to be somebody they weren’t.

However, several noted that Millersville was a friendly and welcoming environment. 

Nishay Carson

"It felt great. Like, I like the. . . I actually really liked the vibe when I first got here. People were very welcoming and everything. It just seemed. . . it just seemed very great. I actually had to come through a program called PSSI. So, like, before school actually started I already kinda had some friends, so that was kinda cool. Like, I wasn’t. . .I didn’t feel really alone and stuff."(6) - Nishay Carson

Diamonic Holmes

"It was different. Like, it was different than what I expected, but in a way it was good because I think it was definitely a challenge to kinda adjust to the people here and the culture here."(7) - Diamonic Holmes

Shaun Carter

"So, I knew instantly there’s gonna be a lot of people here that I’m gonna like, a lot of people I already know, and I already felt comfortable for a minute. One, just everything was small, there was maps everywhere, everyone’s very helpful; even when I transferred here in the spring, where most people already knew everything from the fall, everyone was very inviting and welcoming."(8) - Shaun Carter

Millersville Campus

1. Caseem Luck, interview by Lauren Hart, December 6th, 2017, transcript, Millersville University Archives and Special Collections, Millersville, PA

2. Jordan Alexzandra Yates, interview by Tyler Funk, September 28th, 2018, transcript, Millersville University Archives and Special Collections, Millersville, PA

3. Terrence Pearson, interview by Basil Wright, May 1st, 2018, transcript, Millersville University Archives and Special Collections, Millersville, PA

4. Christhiena Stinson, interview by Alicen Teigel, May 9th, 2018, transcript, Millersville University Archives and Special Collections, Millersville, PA

5. Brittney Brown, interview by Jeremy Hull, May 9th, 2018, transcript, Millersville University Archives and Special Collections, Millersville, PA

6. Nishay Carson, interview by Jeremy Hull, May 1st, 2018, transcript, Millersville University Archives and Special Collections, Millersville, PA

7. Diamonic Holmes, interview by Carley Allen, May 8th, 2018, transcript, Millersville University Archives and Special Collections, Millersville, PA

8. Shaun Carter, interview by Emily Young and Lauren Davis, May 8th, 2018, transcript, Millersville University Archives and Special Collections, Millersville, PA

First Experiences at Millersville