Society tells us we go to college to get a higher learning and to find out who are supposed to be in this world. However, Symone Campbell went to school with a clear knowledge of who she wanted to be and the impact she wanted to have on her campus. Symone has many accolades under her belt from being awarded from the NAACP to her activism work. Her most important influence is how vocal she is about self love for being a young Black woman in a society that tries to tear that down. We had the honor to interview the role model and just figure out a little more on who she is.
TQS: What initiated you to become vocal about the injustice issues rather than just sitting back?
Since I was younger, I have always been vocal about things that are wrong. I would always make it known that’s it’s really not okay to treat people wrong because they are different in your eyes. So when I got older this instinct to be vocal always stayed with me. I didn’t know much about police brutality until hearing about what happened to Trayvon Martin and I was just 16 years old. I immediately hopped on to the activist wave, attending protests and joining the local NAACP youth chapter in Syracuse, and I’m still riding this wave today. I couldn’t just sit back and I still can’t just sit back. Sometimes I tell myself maybe I should just relax a little with the activism work I do because it seriously takes an emotional and mental toll on me, but for some reason, I just can’t relax. Once you are passionate about something, especially when it pertains to the injustices of people, it’s very hard to just sit back and do nothing about it.
TQS: Who was someone that inspired you to be a part of your BSU (Black Student Union)
Growing up I watched A Different World (from elementary and still now lol) and all I ever wanted to do was to go to a black college and be like them. My dreams of attending Howard didn’t work out so well so I ended up at Buffalo State. I’m not sure if you know but Buffalo State is considered the SUNY HBCU. There are sooooooo many black students and so many different organizations that were created for black people on campus. The first week of my first semester in college, my sister and I immediately wanted to know where and when the BSU hosted programs. To our surprise, there was a NAACP Chapter, AASO (African American student organization) and BAM (Black Active Minds). There were a lot of other groups for Black students but these three stuck out to me the most and ever since I have been a member of AASO and BAM and the Vice President and President of the NAACP Chapter.
TQS: What has been your proudest moment so far?
SC: So far, I would say that my proudest moment is graduating college in three years with my twin sister. We both did not expect to do this but it’s happening and feels so surreal. Both of us are presidents of student organizations (NAACP & BAM), a part of the McNair Scholars Programs, work, have a social life, and have been able to continue being outstanding students as we both have kept over 3.0 averages and made Deans list several times our three years being in college. To some, these things may just be expected, but to us, it’s very important and only has pushed us more to continue on to graduate school.
TQS: You are very confident from your skin to your figure, were you always this way?
SC: I have always been pretty confident but there are times in my life where I’ve had emotional breakdowns and still do. I’ve pretty much always been on the plus size side so fitting into societies norms of size has never worked for me. It can be very emotional sometimes knowing you don’t fit into societies Norms, and hearing people say it only makes it worse sometimes, so I usually will just have my moment and then I’m back to myself again lol. I’m still working on being 100% confident, But caring about other people’s opinions sometimes gets to me a lot. And for my skin, my mom always told me I was beautiful and did her best to make sure my sister and I never felt insecure about anything. So, I’ve always been confident in my chocolate skin and will continue to be.
TQS: For women who look up to you and leave you those sweet comments, how does that make you feel?
SC: I think the women that look up to me and leave me really nice comments are just amazing. Sometimes I’m just like are they talking about me, do they really think this, haha, but it’s really all love because I know my hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s always nice to have people back you up, especially women so it really makes me feel good to know we’re queens seeing the queens in each other and don’t feel weird or hesitant to let each other know when we’re doing our things!
TQS: Where do you want your career journey to take you?
SC: I’m about to receive my BA in sociology and In the fall I’ll be attending the University at Albany for the Africana Studies masters program. I plan to really immerse myself in this program so I can master black studies. After I receive my master’s I hope to attend Howard University to receive a Ph.D. in sociology, doing sociological research on black people and our lives in this society. I want to become a professor one-day teaching courses like the sociology of the black family and other cool courses I have taken as an undergrad. I also think about one day possibly being a director of the McNair Scholars Program, being in this program has seriously helped me so much with learning about research and learning about how to keep continuing my education so if I can do that for other people, especially young black people that would be great. I just see myself working at a college and being a really cool professor or something.
TQS: Lastly, would you say you made younger you proud?
SC: Yes, I would say I made my younger me very proud. I always knew I’d go to college and do things to make me successful but I never knew what exactly I’d be doing, at one point I wanted to be a lawyer and anthropologist lol. Although I’m not those things, I’ve still been pretty successful and stayed true to myself so I know I made my younger self-proud
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