Many assume the HBCU experience consists of chicken Wednesdays, club-hoping on school nights, and a spectacular school marching band.
Well, I wouldn't argue with this notion.
My sophomore year in college, I acquired a seasonal position selling pillow pets, which soon ended in January. Therefore, I couldn't afford my campus apartment.
So, I did the unthinkable!
I walked aggressively towards the former chancellor, (Charlie Nelms) with the intent to tell him how full of crap his speeches were; about supporting students in need. Blah! Blah! Blah!
And I was really close in his face, and he was five seconds from calling security! However, an individual from the housing department came and saved his day.
Side note: Would you believe the chancellor had five security guards? But I didn't care, I needed to make a point to him about fraudulent messages he made just to protect his reputation. Eventually, he was forced into retirement because he was stealing money, look at God!
Now my intent was not to be aggressive, but I was frustrated that I was about to leave college due to my lack of housing. I remembered a tall man grabbing me by the arm before I can utter a word to the chancellor. He then said, "What's the problem?" I began to tell him my housing issues, and to my surprise, he was the director of the on-campus housing department.
Now he didn't fix the problem; I was definitely homeless and living out a suitcase on my friends living room couch. However, it felt good that he acknowledge my concerns and was willing to write a letter to my apartment complex.
I used my creativity and found a place to stay for the rest of the semester, illegally!
However, my experiences at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) was a great way to celebrate my African-American culture, but a lot of the skills I needed was learned based on life's mishaps and on the job training.
My freshman year at NCCU was the best socially.
However, when upcoming freshman asked me about the academics, honestly there was an awkward moment of silence. It really depends on the program.
I suggest college applicants research the program of their choice before researching a college, it sounds backwards but it’s the most effect way in one’s decision making process.
As African-Americans, sometimes we feel obligated to say the college we attended was great because we are black, and not because we felt like the experience had a positive impact on our career path.
HBCU's were created as a cultural investment to African-American students. The culture is seen as PWI (Predominately White Institution). Therefore, assuming that all HBCU values are more aligned to every black student's values: the urban music, southern food, and religious references at convocations.
One factor that would determine whether an African-American student chooses a PWI is the fact they find HBCU's are uncompetitive. From my experience, I've had employers state that they're looking for recent graduates who graduated from a prestigious institution, now we all know what was insulated.
In retrospect, I attended George Mason University for grad school and it was no better academically.
The primary difference was that my professors were more
organized and professional. My first interview after college, I competed with forty recent graduates and I was the only black candidate. My reality had been blurred, and I became more aware of the things i needed to do to become more appealing to employers.
What was your college experience like?