ORANGEBURG, S.C. – Seeing the Marching 101 Band in action was a major selling point when incoming freshman Lamar Johnson selected South Carolina State University to launch his life an adult.
“I grew up at Battery Creek High School (in Beaufort), and I would always come down here for the Band Fest, so I was excited to see that drumline and the heritage of all that,” said Johnson, who plays the snare drum and intends to major in music education at SC State. “I liked the family atmosphere and the culture, so it was really nice.”
This week, Johnson was among approximately 150 freshmen committed to attending SC State who got a head start on college life through Bulldog Ready. The event offered freshmen and their parents the chance to complete the enrollment process and iron out any kinks before classes start in August.
Lamar Johnson is ready to join SC State’s Marching 101.
Sponsored by SC State’s Student Success & Retention and TRIO Programs and the Enrollment Management Team, Bulldog Ready helped freshmen obtain their student IDs and receive help from such offices as Admissions, Financial Aid, Housing and the Brooks Health Center well ahead of fall orientation.
The event also settled some transitional nerves for students leaving home for the first time.
“It’s pretty big to me, because this will determine what I do with my life or if I’m going to do something else,” Johnson said. “So that’s kind of scary, but I feel like I’m ready for it.”
Along with joining the Marching 101’s drum corps, Johnson intends to make the most of the SC State experience.
“I want to make friends, be a part of organizations and do as much as I can to help out the school and be a part of as many communities as I possibly can,” he said.
Likewise, freshman Nia Harkness said Bulldog Ready eased her anxieties about starting classes, meeting new people and living with a roommate she doesn’t know yet.
Upperclassmen give incoming freshmen and their parents a tour of the SC State campus.
“I won’t have so much piled up on me when I first start school, so this is a big help,” said Harkness, who has several SC State alumni in her family, as well as some fellow freshmen. “I have two cousins and a friend coming, so (her transition will be) a little easier. I’ll already know three people.
“It (Bulldog Ready) makes me feel good and I accomplished a lot. I’m just starting my journey.”
With a long-term goal of a career in chiropractic care, her journey will include majoring in biology. Though she is unsure whether she will pursue a military commission, she got a chance to speak with members of SC State’s ROTC Department about joining the Bulldog Battalion.
Freshman Nia Harkness learns about the SC State Bulldog Battalion
“I first started (Junior) ROTC at Richland Northeast High School,” Harkness said. “Then I started doing drill team, and then I became an officer, so I just wanted to continue it.”
Bulldog Ready also eased the minds of some parents about seeing their children off to college. But for parent Colisha Chestnut Frasier, Bulldog Country is familiar ground. She completed her undergraduate degree in social work in 1994 before earning a master’s degree in guidance counseling – both at SC State. Frasier also holds master’s degree in clinical counseling from Webster University and a doctorate from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
She and her husband are soon to be empty nesters. Their son, Christaan, will be a sophomore this fall, and their daughter, Lauren, will start her freshman year. Both will be leaving home for the first time, since Christaan’s freshman studies had to be completed virtually because of COVID-19 precautions.
“For him not being able to come to campus because of the pandemic, it was very challenging for him because he had to do a virtual program and he’s a hands-on person,” Frasier said of her son, who majors in business administration. “However, he learned what sacrifices mean and had an awesome year in the end.”
Frasier said Lauren will major in audiology and speech pathology, in part because her brother has a hearing impairment.
SC State alumna Colisha Chestnut Frasier will have two children at SC State this fall and a third at another school.
“Lauren has always helped him with school and his skills, so she wanted to further that education,” Frasier said.
As a Bulldog alumna, Frasier believes Lauren’s innovative and extraverted personality will serve her well at SC State.
“What we want for Lauren on this campus is to make sure she embraces this family-oriented atmosphere and that she will also put God first and allow God to lead her,” Frasier said. “She can interact with all the others from diverse cultures and have a rich experience while she’s on campus.
“I feel like she’s prepared because of how outgoing she is and how much she loves people and interacting with all kinds of different people. She’s always wanted to go to an HBCU (Historically Black College or University), and I think she will benefit from that experience, as well,” Frasier said.
For more information about enrolling at SC State, visit www.scsu.edu/admissions.
For more about Student Success & Retention and TRIO Programs, visit www.scsu.edu/currentstudents/studentsupportservices.
More images from Bulldog Readycan be found by clicking here.