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From Us In Charcoal: Perry Sosi

Get to know them:

What’s your year, major, hometown, and pronouns?

My name is Perry Sosi and I’m a senior studying graphic design in the College of Fine Arts. I was born in Accra, Ghana but I grew up in Rutledge, Pennsylvania which is about 25 min outside of Philadelphia. My pronouns are he/him/his.

What’s your family background?

My family is Ghanaian. And most of my extended family lives in Ghana.

How has your family background influenced your upbringing?

Being raised in a Ghanaian household meant that values such as discipline, respecting authority, gratitude, humility, hospitality, perseverance, and a relationship with God were highly emphasized. My upbringing also heavily influenced my diet. For me to really enjoy a meal, it must be very spicy.

Do you have a favorite cultural celebration or tradition?

To be honest, I feel like my family hasn’t really practiced any cultural celebrations or traditions since moving to the US, but we do occasionally practice formal greetings when we interact with other African families. This is where the host welcomes their guest(s), asks about how they and the family are doing, and also about the purpose of their visit. And the guest in turn will also ask about the host and their family.

How did your journey with Charcoal begin?

I first became aware of charcoal back in 2019 when I was on campus during the multicultural weekend (MCW).

"I remember seeing the beautiful large portraits of POC hanging on the walls in the original HTC."

Then I believe it was my sophomore year that my boy Irvin, who is the acting marketing director, joined Charcoal and that was when I got to have a glimpse into the kind of work that was being done and who some of the amazing individuals are that make up this organization. Junior year I decided to apply for a design position and was accepted, but ultimately I declined to join

the team. Because when I saw the incredible work that was being done, I knew that this wasn’t something I could join and half-ass. I would have to really dedicate the necessary time and attention to contribute to Charcoal and my schedule didn’t allow me to do that. Funny enough though, some people thought I was already in it this whole time because my work has been displayed at some of the events and of course because it would only make sense for someone who is so into visual arts to be part of such a collective.

"I’ve been super inspired by the growth and quality of work in all of Charcoal’s written and visual mediums that I just knew I had to be a part of it before I left Boston University."

What are your positions within Charcoal?

I am a layout designer for Charcoal.

How long have you been in those positions?

About 2 months.

Best and hardest part of the position?

I can’t really give a proper answer to this because I haven’t had the opportunity to truly engage in the position yet due to my just starting out.

Are you part of any clubs outside Charcoal?

Yes, I am a part of the Navigators, Daily Free Press, WTBU, and Brothers United.

Do you feel a sense of community in any? Compared to Charcoal?

I think Navigators has provided an awesome sense of community over my four years.

"Being connected to a group of people with the same faith has been helpful with staying on track in my individual journey and also everyone is just very genuine and loving."

. As for charcoal, although I haven’t technically been a part of the community until this semester, I have always felt a connection to people in it and it’s always been good vibes. I think naturally as a group of POC who have a common denominator in our experience in PWI it is pretty easy to find a common ground, but it’s great that we can expand on that base to learn and grow with each other at this exciting time of our lives.

What are your hobbies and passions?

Art and sports are my two greatest passions. In my free time, I usually turn to creating some sort of design or illustration or I’ll go to the courts to hoop. Outside of those things I enjoy doing street photography, listening to music, playing the viola, and watching Netflix.

Deeper Questions:

What’s been the best thing about your college experience?

Going into the final two months of my undergrad experience, I’ve had more and more opportunities to reflect on how I got here. I believe the greatest thing about my college experience has been both the special and trivial moments I’ve spent with people from different walks of life. Then after that, I think having the space to learn, make mistakes, and grow within the bubble that is provided as a college student is very special.

Do you regret anything from your college experience?

I don’t have any serious regrets, but I do wish that I managed how I balanced my time in a more healthy way. I was so invested in building myself and my brand in preparation for post-graduation that I left myself susceptible to frequent burnout. I would’ve liked to spend more time creating memories with friends, reading, and gaining practical knowledge.

Would you change anything?

If I could change anything, I think I would’ve taken more advantage of the pandemic period in terms of utilizing time to educate myself about financial topics. I was more focused on growing social media clout than really learning how to monetize my work and improve my financial literacy.

Has there ever been a time when you felt you were struggling or overwhelmed?

I demand a lot from myself because I feel like I have to make my parents’ decision to immigrate to the US worth it. They sacrificed so much, and out of my love for them I just want to give back what they’ve given me and even more. Consequently, I allowed myself to undergo several periods of overwhelming pressure by saying yes to too many opportunities. I had to go above and beyond to get a step ahead. That’s the thing; it always feels like I’m a step behind and have to do more. It’s a difficult thing to wrestle with and a common experience for people who don’t come from an extremely wealthy background. But regardless, we move.

How did you overcome it?

I don’t think I really developed any strategies for overcoming this sense of being overwhelmed until senior year.

"I made a conscious decision not to allow myself to curate a stressful environment, by letting go of the need to constantly produce."

As a creative trying to have a large impact, it feels like you just always have to be making content and putting things out there in order to grow. That is partially true, but it must be done in a sustainable manner. I think that, and giving all my worries to God is what has helped mitigate the frequency with which I experience stress, although it is still present.

How did you grow/ what did you learn?

I think what I’ve learned in trying to conquer overwhelming situations is the importance of rest and remaining still. It feels counterintuitive to do that amid all the pressures and stress of school, work, and my future, but it allows you to refocus, re-center, and reposition your mind, spirit, and body. I’m still pretty bad at being still and resting, so it’s something I need to continue to practice and improve on.

How have you changed over the years?

From high school to college

I don’t think I changed that much from freshman year of high school to freshman year of college. I do think that I stopped caring as much about how other people perceived me and grew in self-confidence.

From freshman to current year

From freshman year of college to now, I think I’ve become more open to engaging with unfamiliar experiences and have grown to be more confident in doing things independently. Additionally, I feel as though I’ve become m

ore selfish in terms of prioritizing my personal growth. I think that’s the nature of participating in higher education. You kinda have to go all in on yourself to make the investment of time and money worth it.

Plans for the future (near or far)?

What are you gonna do with that $300,000 degree

In all honesty, I’m not sure what the future holds for me. My career does not have a set path, which makes it difficult to navigate. However, I do plan to enter the world of sports design following graduation. My goal is to work with an NFL team doing graphics and/or photos for social media. If the NFL doesn’t work out, my next options are the NBA, a collegiate program, or a sports marketing agency. I just want to be working at the intersection of visual arts and sports in some capacity. And then further down the line, I want to work for myself and branch out into full-time freelance while also exploring other avenues of work like photography and clothing design.

Final Questions:

How would you describe/ define yourself to other people? How would

they describe/ define you?

I would describe myself as approachable, open-minded, kind, humble, laid-back, a good listener, creative, and personable but introverted.

Others would describe me as humble, dedicated, creative-genius, down to earth, thoughtful, clever, easy-going, hardworking, detailed, patient, personable, driven, organized, imaginative, reliable, movie, kind, determined, talented, God-fearing, interesting, goofy, innovative, unique, personable, extraordinary, ambitious, passionate, bubbly, positive, colorful, caring, appreciative, respectful, responsible, resourceful, consistent, reliable, focused, and a learner.

Can you give us a hot take?

Music producers carry most of today’s mainstream hip-hop songs. They deserve more credit than the artist themselves.