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An Ode to HBCUs in the Fall

Fall semester holds many promising things in its grasp as students partake in the activities their university offers to them. Fall semester can easily be a favorite choice between the two seasons. Second semester activities like “Spring Fest” or “Spring Fling” couldn’t even begin to hold a candle to the smells and sights and emotions surrounding Fall semester. Homecoming is a cathartic experience after the first month of immersing yourself back into college work (and stress).

The highs and lows of the annual Homecoming game and the tailgating that precedes gathers you into a rush of great pride for your own HBCU. Somehow, whether it’s your first game at your HBCU or your 15th, you’re in the stands and suddenly the excitement washes over and you feel…warm. The Illustrious Alumni that come back to every Homecoming seem to have a grasp on exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a warmth that can’t be defined with words or long winded explanations, but by your school colors painted throughout the crowd.

That same crowd that’s waiting in anticipation of a touch down so that their school can take home the big win this year (or the crushing loss). That same crowd whose bustling during the timeouts and halftime so that they can reconnect with their classmates. The same crowd whose eyes can’t seem the pull away from the band dancers who gracefully fulfill every intricate dance move as the band blares out their contribution to the atmosphere.

The triumph of your first A of the semester swells in you as you prepare for your next day during the week. You knew you would accomplish many more this semester but the first one meant so much more. It was solidifying everything in your mind that you knew you were going to accomplish at your Historically Black College.

It’s that brisk October air filling your chest that ignites your desire for a good ‘move’ during Homecoming season. You’re hungry for a good time to escape the disappointments or celebrate the successes of your week. Blackboard troubles seem to melt away as you search for shelter in someone’s apartment. Pre-gaming with your friends before the big kickback seems to give you a dose of exactly what you need. Although it’s purpose is to do the complete opposite, the music vibrating through your chest sends you into a place of ease. You’re finding comfort in a cup of some liquor and solitude in a room packed full of people. These are the nights you will not, no, cannot forget.

Do you remember your first party encounter? Think back long and hard. You’re smushed like a sardine but you can’t help but thinking, “Wow I’m finally at a college party”. The music is different, but it’s not like you can really make out the words. There’s too much noise, you can’t even hear yourself think let alone talk to your friend who’s only 5 inches away from you.

And that’s when you hear it. It’s a shrill, high pitched whistle that pierces straight through the music. This whistle could belong to anyone, to be quite honest. But that whistle, whether it belong to the Alphas or the Sigmas or even those Ques, seems to part the crowd like the Red Sea every time. The sound demands the respect of some space and the attention of your gaze. The women of different sororities follow suit while throwing up their org elegantly as the boys drink up their movements. You’re in the belly of the beast, in the heart of the party and you can’t help but feel this great sense of community.

Even strolling through your campus can be a good time at the right HBCU. It’s that time of year when the trees are exploding with rusty reds, vibrant yellows and brassy browns. You drink in the campus couture. The HBCU standard for fashion is high only to due to Black excellence flowing everywhere you go. The student center is teeming with excited freshman, laid back juniors and reserved sophomores. As always, the Chick-fil-A line is packed so you breeze towards the edge of campus where you pass by the stadium where the school’s football team is hard at work (as usual) preparing for the upcoming game this weekend. You can also see the lacrosse team running through drills, preparing for their next big game. The dusky chilled air whisks past your cheeks which forces you to pull your jacket closer to your body for warmth. You admire all that your HBCU is in its entirety.

 

As I said before, the HBCU fall experience isn’t something that can be defined with words or long winded explanations. It’s your home, your community, your sanctuary, your headache, your joy, and it constantly reminds you why you couldn’t imagine even for a second going to a PWI.

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