As someone that was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, my introduction to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) was from movies like Drumline and Stomp the Yard. While these movies depicted a Black college/university, they failed to show any sense of reality of the average student at an HBCU. I first heard about Southern through my older cousins that attend the school, and after that introduction, all I knew about the school came from seeing videos of the Human Jukebox online. But, after flying across the country to attend this school… I constantly need a reminder as to why I am here.
Unfortunately, the majority of the stereotypes you hear about HBCUs before you attend one are 100% true. Admissions will take a minute to get you any information, the cashier’s office will always play with your money, and important information will be given at the last minute with minimal details. Now, while the expectation was maybe this HBCU will be different, it is not. At times this school lacks coordination and the value of other people’s time. I cannot even express how much of my life I have wasted waiting in an unnecessarily long line for something.
Ultimately, what I think was the biggest shock about coming to an HBCU was how similar to high school it is. People still feel the need to flex on others as if we are not equals. Girls still fight each other over guys, and people are still getting caught up in the same petty drama.
However, what I am not about to do is act as if I hate it here, and regardless of how many times I have said that, I never really meant it. Coming to an HBCU has been an empowering experience for me. The opportunity to come to a school like this is a blessing in disguise. Since I have been here, I have met so many different types of Black people. Every day seeing students, professors, and staff is something I wish every Black student could have. While this school is not perfect in the slightest, I still chose to come here despite what I previously heard about it, so, I have no business being mad or regretting my choice. I guess my only option is to see it all the way through.