A year ago, The Temple News found four faces of the Class of 2010. The mission was to track their progression as the reach their ultimate destination – graduation. With one year down, we check in with two of the four sophomores as they straddle the line between underclassmen and upperclassmen status.
‘Focused’ best describes Neteria Augcomfar’s first semester as a sophomore.
“Since school has started I haven’t done anything but get on school motivation,” the African-American studies major said.
Augcomfar ushered in the school year with a new apartment on 17th and Diamond streets where she lives with two other roommates. Living off campus, she sometimes feels out of the loop, she said.
“I have to try even more to be involved because it can be extremely easy for me to disassociate myself from Temple except for going to my classes,” Augcomfar said.
She does not, however, regret the choice to move off campus in her second year.
“I wanted my own space . . . and I knew by junior year we were going to get kicked off campus anyway,” Augcomfar said.
Her new residence keeps her connected to the community, she said. The Church of the Advocate, where she volunteers as a tutor for a youth program through Sankofa Community Empowerment Inc., is located directly across from her apartment.
Sankofa Community Empowerment Inc., which meets on Main Campus, is a community-based organization that seeks to mobilize and empower communities and people of African descent. The group has afforded Augcomfar with several community leadership and mentoring opportunities, she said.
Last semester, Augcomfar participated in the launch of Temple’s Black Student Union.
“My initial involvement with the BSU was very positive. I got involved with the BSU because I believe every person should be represented by an organization because there is strength in numbers,” she said.
Although Augcomfar still has a positive attitude toward the group and believes a black student union should exist on campus, she said “confusion between the BSU and the student body” has left her feeling disconnected from the present organization.
For now, school, Sankofa and poetry are her priorities this semester. The main difference between her first year and sophomore year is that her social circle of has shrunk to a more comfortable size, Augcomfar said.
“Everyone that you come across that you call a friend may not be there six months from now,” Augcomfar said. “It’s a saddening type of experience to have to let go of people.”
She added that she is not looking to add friends to her crew of mostly New Yorkers, whom she met through taking trips back home to New York City together.
Brandon Wilkins is about his boys. Quarter to 1 p.m. in the afternoon on a Wednesday, the three of them – communications major Wilkins, sophomore undeclared Curtis Caldwell and sophomore political science major Phil Goode – meet up in the Student Center, grab something to eat, crack jokes and scope for girls. It’s their ritual to share at least one meal together a day.
“It keeps us together,” Wilkins said. “When we graduate, we’ll be like, ‘Man, those were some great times.’ I see it now when I go home and feel like I am missing the action.”
The trio met through friends while living in Hardwick Hall. Now, Wilkins lives in the Edge at Avenue North, Goode stays at Temple Towers and Caldwell commutes to school from his South Jersey home.
“[Brandon] was always on our floor,” Caldwell said. “We used to go to fourth meal together every night. It was horrible food but good company.”
The crew may hang together often but they are not afraid to be themselves, Wilkins said.
“We not trying to be like the rest of the crowd, we’re not trying to be like each other. We are still ourselves,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins is also about his books since his parents were not impressed with his first-year grades. He is still determined to make the dean’s list, which he said he plans to achieve this semester.
“I just don’t feel the urge to be into the same stuff that I was last year. I am going to bed earlier. That’s a big step up from last year, getting more sleep,” Wilkins said.
The extra hours of rest is the building block to his success this semester, giving him more time to study, get work done and be on time for class, he said.
Wilkins still aspires to be a radio DJ. He plans to submit a proposal for his own show to WHIP, the student-run radio station on campus.
“I would want to talk about the issues within the black community that I feel strong on in a light sense, not in a serious, over-the-top but in a more comical-type way,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins said even in high school he has always been the funnyman but this summer he became seriously interested in making people laugh professionally.
After watching NBC’s Last Comic Standing, he was convinced he could do a much better job than some of the featured stand-up comedians.
“I have the vision to make jokes,” Wilkins said. “[Comedy] is something I already want to do in communications. It is something that looks thrilling.”
Before the semester ends, he hopes to find an open mic to practice his stand-up routine.
Malaika T. Carpenter can be reached at email@example.com