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Maybe I’m Just Not Black Enough

It’s Tuesday afternoon, and my friend and I are leaving the financial aid office rushing to catch our meal swipe for lunch, when I suddenly stop and beg her to make my picture. I remember her yelling at me when I knew we only had a few minutes left to catch our meal swipe. The admission building (where financial aid is housed) is one of the most elegant looking building on campus, the ideal background for a cute picture to post on Instagram. I hand her my phone and began to my own mini photo shoot, while she complains that she’s just going to snap pictures until I stop posing.

She hands me back my phone and I scroll through the pictures and notice something I’ve never notice before. I looked like the ideal representation of an HBCU student! I continued to scroll through the pictures noticing how much you could tell I attended an HBCU from just a single shot. It was the first time since coming to Savannah State University that I felt like I belonged or that I was where I was supposed to be. 

Attending an HBCU was never a part of plan. I always pictured myself attending an arts school. My dream school was Savannah College of Art and Design. My major was going to be writing due to my career aspirations of becoming an acclaimed blogger. I had my plan all figured out, until the cost of my education came into play. When the cost of attending SCAD became too expensive I had to come up with a plan b. I discussed my options with my best friend and she suggested I come to her school. She told me all the major her school had to offer, the campus activities that attract student, and biggest selling point it was a historical black university. It never occurred to me to attend a HBCU.

Growing up, I would hear my family members discuss HBCU’s and their importance but I never really had an interest in them. I would hear talks about the curriculum being geared mostly towards African-American fundamentals and the culture from which we are molded from, not about the importance of the arts, and worldly experiences. Don’t get me wrong I’m extremely proud of my heritage but I wanted to attend a college that geared more towards things that interested me and made me feel comfortable. Would I even feel accepted at a school that didn’t even offer my dream major? Would I fit in at a school where the courses being offered I never knew existed? What if I didn’t make friends because my personality wasn’t that of the typical HBCU student? 

These questions rushed through my mind, but I told myself that maybe this was the college experience God wanted me to go through instead. So, I called my best friend and told her all of speeches worked and she convinced me to come join her.

From the moment, I stepped on campus my perception of HBCU’s were dramatically changed. I began to meet students were just like me and wanted the same things I wanted out of life and even a few who opened my eyes to world events, politics, and culture that I was blind to. I also found a new major and career aspiration! I changed my major to social work and I have been extremely pleased with it ever since. Learning how I could help directly change the world for the better and still get to write and blog about my experiences was like a dream come true.If you would have asked me when I first graduated from high school would I be attending a HBCU I would have looked at like you were a one-eyed snake! I was convinced of the stereo type HBCU’s get and the perception they have of only being about pro-black topics with very little knowledge about the arts, politics, world events, and cultures around the world. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Every day I am thankful I attend a HBCU, and I know I made the right decision for college. If you’re considering attending a historically black college or university and you aren’t sure if you’ll be accepted, or if you’ll have active interest on campus or even if your major will be relevant to the curriculum, I advise you to throw these notions away and that you put these notions away and take a chance of a life time and find your perfect HBCU!










Hi, My name is Otissia McKinnon. I was born and raised in South Georgia and now I currently attend Savannah State University as a Social Work Major. Helping those who are unable to help themselves is my passion and I intend on making it my life's work. I thoroughly enjoy writing, editing, building and branding social media content. My future plans are to build a women's organization that not only empowers the youngest of hearts but encourages girls as they grow older to be the most loving and successful versions of themselves they can be.
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