I remember it like it was yesterday, my mother and I are not the mushy gushy type at all. So as I was getting closer to being settled in my dorm room, I literally was all choked up fighting back tears. We both knew that this was it. I wasn’t going to be gone for the weekend, we wouldn’t be able to spend our Sundays watching LMN. I would be five hours away from home in another state. This was it. My freshman year of college was about to begin and I wouldn’t be back home until christmas break. We were never good with goodbyes either. In fact, I squeezed my mother tight and said “I love you,” that was it. I refused to tell her goodbye. The first few hours after she left, I laid in my bed; in my new home away from home. The tall twin was nothing like my bed at home. I stared at the ceiling in awe, like wow this is it huh? I tried to make it feel as close to home as possible. A few individual picture frames, a big 100 picture collage frame and my Nick Jonas poster. There was no way I was leaving Texas without him. A bit uncomfortable, I shuffled around in my bed to find a letter under my pillow from my mother. I read it, cried, read it again and cried even more. I never told my mom that. I didn’t want her to worry, but a part of me was second guessing myself and my decision. I still have that letter to this day.

It was only a matter of time before I would be fine. It was actually three days later. First week of workouts and honestly, I was too freaking sore and tired to feel anything else. It was tough, but I made it. Being with my teammates made me realize that we all were basically uprooted and put in a foreign place so it made me feel a lot better.

The greatest parts of who I am were shaped, molded and created at home with my family, my friends, coaches and teammates. Those characteristics and qualities flourished at Southern University. We have our ups and downs, our issues but baby we are here!

At Southern University I found myself, I grew into a woman. Don’t get me wrong, it was definiteIy a culture shock. This was the most African Americans I had been around in my life, but I felt for once I belong. I didn’t feel the need to explain myself or be apologetic for being me. I learned about what it is to be an educated black woman. I made lifelong friends and created memories that I will never forget. I learned how crucial networking is and how much of a difference mentorship makes. I found love and even though there are another 100 HBCU’s you would be surprised at the many shared experiences.

The point of this entire post was to share my experience but first I want to touch base on what I learned.

1. Save everything. 

SERIOUSLY.

Whether it is your work on a zip drive or your billing statement from 3 semesters ago, you better learn how to file. You would be amazed by how many papers or paperwork magically disappear.

2. Find some patience. 

There will come a day when you will feel like you are getting the complete run around. Just “woo-sah,” I promise it will get done.

3. Learn to deal with different personalities.

The individuals in financial aid would rather be somewhere else, just like you. No need to go head to head with the woman. There are 2329746002 more students waiting outside in a line wrapped around the building. They will post your scholarship.

3. You can not be soft. 

You have to really man up and grow some tough skin at an HBCU. The environment in general has the ability to chew you up and spit you out if you are not on your p’s and q’s.

4. Do not let anyone belittle your education.

You will hear the discussion on why PWI’s are better than HBCU’s 1209746355 times during your undergrad experience. Just keep on pushing baby. If they knew better, they’d do better.

5. Do not let anyone in your hair.

You will find a lot of women on an HBCU campus that can do hair. Now I am not taking that from them, but you HAVE to be careful just going to anyone. Unless you want to pull a Jada Pinkett at the end of the movie “Set It Off.”

6. You have to watch “Boyz n the Hood.”

I don’t know why, but my colleagues made this a must just for me. lol

7. If we lose, we still party like we won.

As crazy as this sounds, it’s just how it is. At first it was frustrating, but it’s a matter of living in the moment. You realize that you’ll win some and you’ll lose some, but the biggest thing is you live to see another day.

8. You’ll probably learn Frankie Beverly and Maze “Before I Let Go,” before your school song. 

FACTS. Don’t argue, accept it. Every tailgate you will hear it.

9. You’ll always feel like your defending your HBCU.

“I don’t see why you hatin’ from the outside of Jaguar nation? Can’t even get in.” *Chris Brown voice*

10. The Human Jukebox is the best band in the land.

Y’all knew it was coming. lol All about that JUKE BABY!

As graduation approaches I can honestly say, I would not trade this experience for anything. I found myself, I found my voice here at Southern University. Many individuals did not support my decision. Many people expected me to come home at christmas break, but here I stand stronger than ever. It was a great place to learn, but it honestly went beyond the classroom. Being at an HBCU prepared me for the life experiences and for that, I am forever grateful.

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Southern University, 

Defenders of the gold and blue

We will always loyal be

And raise a cheer for you. 

All for one and one for all

We’ve got the will to win for thee

And we’ll fight, fight, fight

Til we win the victory. 

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