This Q&A is part of the story series Voices of Drake that highlights the diversity, ambition, and passion of the incredible people who make up our campus community. In honor of Black History Month, we will be sharing a collection of interviews to spotlight Black voices in our community. This week’s story introduces Michael Blake, sophomore in the College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Michael Blake. I am a sophomore at Drake and studying entrepreneurial management in the College of Business and Public Administration.

Why did you choose to attend Drake?
When I was first deciding where I would spend the next four years of my life, I made a list of my strengths. Drake aligned with my strengths but also shined a light on areas I needed to improve upon, and I loved the sight of a challenge.

What is your favorite thing about Drake?
My favorite thing about Drake is the community, particularly the different types of clubs and groups you can join and meet new people. Starbucks in Olmsted is also my favorite spot for grabbing something and/or studying.

In what ways have you grown since coming to Drake?
Since coming to Drake, I naturally matured as a person while taking on more responsibility in my personal and academic life. I have learned to better manage my time and make sure I have a system.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?
After graduation, I hope to own a piece of property and start my real estate journey with my family. My dream job is to be my own boss in a career that I love, while making a good amount of money and helping people. I have a real love for culinary.

Who have been some of your important mentors during your time at Drake?
My mother has been my main mentor during my time at Drake. With COVID it has been difficult to establish a connection in real life with other people. I will say, though, that Professor Jennifer Harvey has had a significant impact on not only my college life but my personal life, and I am so grateful for her.

Are you involved in any student organizations, groups, or community service work? Tell us about those experiences.
I have been participating in the Coalition of Black Students events while on campus. They are so fun, and I always end up meeting someone new. Also, back home I have my own non-profit dedicated to helping my community learn about financial literacy and how to achieve it.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is the shine of black representation in America and around the world, such as Black businesses, inventions (past or future), and accomplishments. Also, it means to display the various skills and greatness of Black people.

What do you hope is accomplished during the month of celebration and recognition?
What I hope is accomplished during this month is the spread of love, happiness, and the appreciation of people.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and what lessons did that person teach you?
My mother has had the biggest influence on me while putting me on the right path in life. She has always told me to make sure I do what I must do, so I can do what I want to do. That phrase she says often always sticks with me whenever I get the urge of procrastination, fatigue, and laziness.

How do you like to spend your free time? Tell us about your hobbies and interests.
I am the most active, inactive person I know. I love to play sports and compete, but I also have no problem staying inside and watching a Netflix show or playing video games with my friends. So, I would say it is the best of both worlds.

These past few years have been like no other. What advice would you like to give to a student thinking about coming to Drake next year?
I would tell them to make the most out of their visits. Drake has a ton of fun options to help you participate and gain school spirit.