Cathy Sterling discusses transferring from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied music, to NC State. Interview on October 21, 2010. (3:03)


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As a high school student I had this fantastic music teacher, Mrs. Freeman, 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:06.041
but she had a small group called the--. 00:00:06.041 - 00:00:08.439
I can't remember the name of it but just a small group, maybe twenty singers maximum, 00:00:08.439 - 00:00:13.533
and I auditioned for that, got into that, 00:00:13.533 - 00:00:16.505
Tried out for a scholarship at UNC 00:00:16.505 - 00:00:19.859
and got accepted for a scholarship 00:00:19.859 - 00:00:22.844
and was among very few freshman women that were allowed at that time, 00:00:22.844 - 00:00:28.699
and in the South you were still a girl, you know. 00:00:28.699 - 00:00:31.531
And our curfew was 7:00. We had to be in the dorms, the doors were locked. 00:00:31.531 - 00:00:36.504
Not even holding hands on campus. I mean those--. 00:00:36.504 - 00:00:38.226
Like I said this was that transition. Within two years all these things--two or three years--these things were blown out of the water. 00:00:38.226 - 00:00:44.559
And I fought it. I mean I was a very independent spirit, 00:00:44.559 - 00:00:49.076
and I'm like, "But they--!" because the guys go by outside the windows going, "Nyah, nyah!" 00:00:49.076 - 00:00:55.239
And I'm like, but they get to! So, but I didn't know music theory, 00:00:55.239 - 00:01:00.505
and I look back and I think who in the world thought this was a good idea? 00:01:00.505 - 00:01:04.838
Some day I'll write it up because it was the classic freshman experience of everything going wrong. 00:01:04.838 - 00:01:12.605
So at some point I called my mom and I said, "I'm coming home," and she wisely got it. 00:01:12.605 - 00:01:22.420
She didn't question me or challenge me. She was like, okay, so my voice must have been really awful. 00:01:22.420 - 00:01:29.054
I came home, kind of recovered, and then came to State, 00:01:29.054 - 00:01:35.172
and my SAT scores were terrible but they wanted girls so badly because they just had started this liberal arts program, 00:01:35.172 - 00:01:44.788
and I can't remember the gentleman's name. He was there for many years in student financial aid. 00:01:44.788 - 00:01:51.514
He was a great guy. 00:01:51.514 - 00:01:54.878
He just really saw me through and the grants were generous back then, the scholarships and grants, what you got. 00:01:54.878 - 00:02:00.116
It was the defense--. Later the initials were kept the same but they were basically defense loans because we were--. 00:02:00.116 - 00:02:10.621
When Russia sent up the satellite suddenly it was about let's get people in colleges because we're just so far behind 00:02:10.621 - 00:02:18.721
so all of this money was made available. So as I look at my children and go, 00:02:18.721 - 00:02:23.840
it's not easy now, and they make this debt. I made virtually no debt out of college, 00:02:23.840 - 00:02:28.556
just virtually no debt, and it was because of that. 00:02:28.556 - 00:02:33.326
I got the grants and the loans and I was a female in the right place at the right time. [Laughs] 00:02:33.326 - 00:02:39.420
So when I came onto campus there were very few. It was not uncommon I was in classes where I was the only girl in the room surrounded by guys, 00:02:39.420 - 00:02:52.142
and it turned them to regular goofballs, I have to say. 00:02:52.142 - 00:02:55.820

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