Sasha Cheek, 21, is the Drum Major of the 2023 DSU Approaching Storm Marching Band. Her drum major name “Elektra” tells you everything you have to know about her on the field. She brings the energy to every performance. But marching band isn’t the only thing she brings the energy to. She gives 100% into everything she does.
Q: Where were born and what was your upbringing like?
A: I was born in Englewood, New Jersey. It was 10 minutes away from Manhattan so everything was very expensive and cluttered. I never went without. I did band obviously, did dance, singing, acting, I was very into the arts. With the grandma I had, I’ve been skydiving, horseback riding. Very adventurous.
Q: Who has been the greatest influence in your life that has impacted the man/woman you are today?
A: Freedom-wise my grandma was a great influence on me. But my dad is my best friend. I didn’t mess up because I learned from his mistakes when he was younger. Because of the stories that he told me. Growing up hearing those things and him telling me that education is important and all of those things. It really drilled it into my head. But as far as pushing through the way that I do every day, that lesson came from my grandmother. All of the emotional stuff and how I deal with things in my personal life, came from my Dad.
Q:Can you tell us of your education history and what your goals or life ambition was when you were a student in High School/College?
A:I got my diploma from Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ. I went to a special academy school through the public school, something I had to get into when I was in 8th grade. So that led me into the medical field and I already knew I wanted to be a nurse. So that set me up for college. And when I got to college I just said I wanted to do nursing. I got a scholarship for band and a scholarship for academics from DSU so I was like “Sold!”. I also want to get my MBA. I want to be an entrepreneur a bit as well.
Q:Can you tell us of your job/education experience prior to what you’re doing now?
A: I volunteered at Englewood Hospital for a year in high school. I do a lot of clinicals. I also worked at Taco Bell for 2 years. And H&M for a year. Before that I worked at the pool in my town. But as far as my education, the clinicals and Englewood Hospital.
Q:What are clinicals?
A:Something that nursing students have to do every semester. We go to hospitals and do things hands-on. I’ve done a psychiatric clinicals and I’m starting a maternity clinicals this thursday. I also have done adult health and pediatrics. It is a way to figure out what concentration of nurse you want to be in this field. I also just got accepted into the Christiana student nursing externship, so that’s a job that starts in december.
Q:What was the most memorable point at that job/school?
A:It was probably either my first day of clinicals ever or my first psychiatric day. With the psychiatric, I can’t speak too much on it cause it’s confidential but when they shut down the building, they shut it down, and you got stuck in it. My first day of Clincals ever my patient had delierium, and that being your first patient, it was just a lot, since I’ve never had to deal with that before. That was very shocking to me.
Q:Is this where you thought you’d be 5 or so years ago?
A:With my major, yes. With band, no. I really didn’t think I was going to be Drum major again.
Q:You were drum major in high school?
A:Yeah, I was. After my last game in high school I was so happy cause I knew I was never going to do that again. I was going to be very happy to play my pic and stand in the corner. But, it didn’t happen.
Q:Why did you decide to be drum major again if you didn’t want to?
A:I feel like I wanted this program to go in a better direction. And if it wasn’t me than there was so no options. I would feel bad if I was still playing piccolo, and we had no drum major. It kinda worked out cause I don’t have to memorize music and all that. So it’s less stressful in ways which allow me to focus on my school work and all that.
Q:What are your plans for the future?
A:With the externship it sets up at Christiana. I would already have an into be a Registered Nurse there. If I graduate and take the NCLEX, which is the test to be registered to be licensed. So I will probably stay in North Delaware till I get enough experience to be a travel nurse. I still don’t know what concentration I want to do, so in the years I am an RN I can focus on that, then become a travel nurse to make really big money.
Q: What is it about being a travel nurse that is so appealing?
A:Other than the money, my family is starting to scatter. So I would like to be able to move around and visit my family when I want to. I also really want to move to Maryland. I could set up a home base in Maryland and then also like, spend a month here, spend a month there and also continue to work.
Q: Why do you want to live in Maryland?
A:It was something my uncle said to me a while ago. He said that money is going to be where the water is. So I just always wanted to live in Maryland after that. I really wanna stay on the coastside. Something nice and safe and not too expensive.
Q:What kind of advice would you offer a student, who is undecided on his or her career path?
A:I would try to do things, like internships or volunteer jobs of anything that I would be interested in. Talk to the people who do it and ask them for the good and bad stuff about that career. For people who really don’t know what they want to do, first I would say to do something that you love. Not just for the money but really something that you will enjoy doing. Just look at your interests and see what is possible. Also, don’t think you have to do one thing for the rest of your life. Nursing is not the only thing that I want to do. I wanna own an ice cream shop. Just little things like that. Like maybe after being a travel nurse, I could be a school nurse, have summers off and run an ice cream shop. Don’t limit yourself.
Q:How would you describe the state of higher education in America today?
A:I feel like it sucks that you absolutely need it, cause a lot of people aren’t really in a place where they can get it. Back in the day I felt like it wasn’t necessary to have a degree for certain jobs where it is now. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And for certain majors like you spend so much money for this degree then you go try to get a job and they only pay 15 dollars an hour. Like that’s crazy. Education was put onto me very heavily, because my parents didn’t get a college education. When I was growing up, my dad was laid off and didn’t have a job for 3 years, and I saw that and said “I can not do that.”. So I really do believe that you need an education but it sucks cause back in the day you didn’t really need it. People would hire you and teach you as you go or something. It is just harder to get done what you have to get done now.
Q:How are you responding to online teaching and learning? Which is better: face-to-face or virtual learning and why?
A:I don’t have any online classes anymore because of my clinicals, and I’m a senior and all that. When I did though, I don’t remember anything from those classes. I was not really paying attention to those 8ams. I was in my bed half asleep. Thank God they recorded the classes. I think that there are certain classes that can be online like English comp classes, but I don’t understand why medical terminology is online, or anatomy, or microbiology. I definitely prefer face-to-face learning. It keeps me actually engaged.
Q:Have you ever traveled outside of the United States? Where, and how does life outside compare to that in the US?
A:So,I’ve only been out of the country once, 2 years ago. Me, my mom, and my moms friends went out to Aruba in a resort. There was a moment where we went 4-wheeling and it was a little eye opening. It wasn’t too bad but it was different.
Q:Are you interested in politics? If no, why not? What is your take on the state of politics and the future of American democracy?
A:No I am not. It just isn’t something I’ve gotten into yet. I’ve only voted once, and it was through the mail cause I was here(at DSU). It just feels like choosing someone who’s going to do less damage, so I just can’t really get into it.
Q:What does the future hold for America?
A:I would say the one thing I’m scared about is the heat wave situation. There is no reason why it is November and it was 60, 70 degrees out. I also just can’t stand the greediness. People are getting really greedy, I was not brought up like that. Some thanksgivings I was out with my mom feeding the homeless on some thanksgivings. So the fact that I see people being greedy and putting their 2 cents into everything with social media, it rubs me the wrong way. I also think people are getting really lazy. People are lazy, greedy, and in everyone’s business and judging everyone. You never know what people are going through. So that’s what I think about America’s future right now.
Q:What are your hobbies or extracurricular activities?
A:Band, band, nursing, and band. I used to hair a lot, I would make money from that. Don’t text me about no hair though, I have no clients right now. I used to dance as well. It really is just band, I miss playing my instrument now that I’m a drum major so it’s not even really like a hobby but yeah, band and nursing.
Q:How would you describe your philosophy of life? That is, how do you see this life and what principles get you grounded and moving forward?
A:That’s an interesting question for a 21 year old. I don’t know, I think my philosophy in life is just to be the best you can be. If you put 100% effort into something I can never be mad at you. If I know, whatever I did, if I put 100% effort into it I can never be mad at it. I also know that if things don’t happen, that’s how it was supposed to happen. God doesn’t play games. He does everything for a reason. I failed a class last year. Which was very hard for me because if you’re a nursing major you have to retake the whole year if you fail a class. But they were offering that class I needed over the summer and I was able to take it and really actually understand and take in the content of the class. And now I am back on track to graduate. God did it for a reason. It was more of an opportunity than a hindrance.
Q:Let us end this interview with a memorable quote from you. How would you describe yourself to the world?
Complete the sentence: I am…
A:I am Elektra!(laughing) No but actually, talk about a quote. Dot your I’s and Cross your T’s.
No matter what you do you should always commit to it 100%. That way you don’t regret it and god take care of the rest. Knowing that you put in everything that you have into what you do is the reward and everything else will work itself out.