AFTER FINISHING UP THE FORMAL PORTION OF THE INTERVIEW,
The Shiny Red Suit HOW I MET DR. JACQUELINE POLLARD
I always loved school, so when September rolled around each year, I was always ready to get back to class. Before I got to high school, I used to get in trouble for talking too much in class, but I respected my teachers and was eager to learn. Social studies was my favorite subject, but I enjoyed them all. I was fortunate enough to have a number of wonderful teachers and mentors over the years, but one in particular sticks out in my mind. Her name is Dr. Jacqueline Pollard, and I’ll never forget our first interaction. During my freshman year at Spelman College, I had an interview as part of the process to earn a scholarship. I was fresh out of high school and had no idea what I was doing. One thing I did know was that I needed to dress nicely for the interview. So I signed up for a Macy’s credit card, bought a shiny red suit, and got my hair done. When I was heading off to that interview, I thought I was the belle of the ball. DR. POLLARD CALLED ME INTO HER OFFICE. ‘THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL SUIT,’ SHE SAID. THEN SHE PAUSED FOR WHAT MUST’VE BEEN A SECOND OR TWO, THOUGH IT FELT LIKE AN ETERNITY TO ME. ‘BUT IT’S NOT APPROPRIATE BUSINESS ATTIRE. ’
me a curious look and stared at my suit, which
world was just as important as academic skills. That first meeting was the start of her becoming one of the most important mentors in my life. I never had trouble with staying up late to read, do homework, or prepare for tests, because I’m a natural bookworm. But I needed a lot of help navigating the adult world that was unfamiliar to me. Dr. Pollard made a huge difference. She wanted me to succeed in life and the classroom. I’m so grateful for everything Dr. Pollard has done for me over the years. She’s truly an inspiration. The help of teachers, mentors, coaches, and loved ones is essential for young people. I’ve tried to pass on some of the lessons I’ve learned from my influences to my children. However, I often remind myself that I still have plenty to learn. In fact, I need to stay informed and keep my mind sharp so I can help my children with their “sophisticated” homework assignments. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they teach math differently these days. Sometimes I struggle to keep up! Hopefully the kids haven’t picked up on that yet.
only made me more certain that I had hit a homerun with my outfit. The scholarship interview included an entire panel of people asking me questions and assessing my qualifications. They all had similar
expressions on their faces. By that point, it was settled. I was prepared for the interview, and I looked like it too. After finishing up the formal portion of the interview, Dr. Pollard called me into her office. “That is a beautiful suit,” she said. Then she paused for what must’ve been a second or two, though it felt like an eternity to me. “But it’s not appropriate business attire.” My initial reaction was one of shock, but it was quickly followed by relief. This educated, successful woman wasn’t afraid to give me some real talk. She knew that I had no idea what to wear for an interview — I was just a kid, after all. Dr. Pollard was gracious enough to take me under her wing. As a new student advisor, she knew that learning how to navigate the adult
–Lashonda Council- Rogers, Esq.
Dr. Pollard was the first person who shook my hand when I arrived for the interview. She gave
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