Three Things I Wish I Had Known Before Leaving A Historically Black College (HBCU)

Three Things I Wish I had known Before Leaving a Historically Black College or University(HBCU)

I already know what you’re thinking: “why on earth would she leave a HBCU?” I hear that every time I tell someone I transferred to Georgia Southern University from Howard University. Howard is an amazing school, and I would go back if I could, but it is extremely expensive. Georgia Southern has been my home for the past two semesters and it has been great, but there are some things I wish I knew before I came.

3. The Marching Band

I didn’t even think about how different the football games would be before I came to GSU. The school spirit is incredible at any college football game, but the band that plays during a historically Black university’s game is what really hypes the crowd. From the dancing girls to the drum major; the band is on point at all times! Halftime is always something to look forward to at an HBCU because you know the band is going to show out. Songs like “You’re talkin’ out the side of your neck” will have you up out of your seat chanting along no matter what the score may be. At a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), on the other hand, bands aren’t as popular. Granted, GSU does have a great marching band, but the feel is entirely different.


2. Housing

On campus housing at Georgia Southern is top notch. At Howard and many other HBCUs the dorms are pretty old, you have to share a room with someone, and you have to use a community bathroom. Here, many of the dorms are apartment style which gives a lot more privacy and comfort. However, the unity and fun is lost. For example, I stayed in the Harriet Tubman Quadrangle at Howard. All of the names of the dorms are significant. We also had a hand symbol, dance team, stroll team and a “brother dorm”, Drew Hall, where the guys stayed, just to name a few. These activities made dormitory living tons of fun and made you excited to be a representative of your dorm; regardless of the fact that your amenities are not topnotch. At PWIs there is pretty much no such thing as dormitory unity (nor are there significant hall names).

1. History

Howard was founded in 1867 and has produced some of the greatest African Americans of all time. Thurgood Marshall, Taraji P. Henson, Toni Morrison and Debbie Allen are just a few of the greats that attended Howard. Not only that, but in class at Howard we were assigned to read and study books by African American authors, and were taught African American history that our teachers in high school skipped over. As an African American student, this was a fascinating and liberating experience. I love myself as an African American woman ten times more and am eager to continue to learn more about my culture. Obviously at a PWI, such as Georgia Southern, the culture and history is not the same. In class last semester I was not assigned a book by an African American or African author nor did I learn anything about African American culture or history, despite having a world history class. I didn’t come to GSU expecting a lot of my own culture to be represented but I was also not braced for the extreme lack thereof.

All in all, there are both pros and cons to attending either an HBCU or PWI. I learned that it is best to focus on the positives and not dread my situation. I have grown to love Georgia Southern and to stop thinking the grass is greener on the other side because it’s green where I water it.