The summer break is in full swing for many of you college students. And although I’m sure you’ve already applied and been accepted to your chosen college or university, I wanted to provide you with some insight on the HBCU experience.
Going away to college is an amazing experience. And attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) offers one that is truly unique. When applying to colleges during my senior year of high school, I always knew I wanted to go to an HBCU. My first inside look at the college experience was with the popular ’90s show, “A Different World.” Yes, I knew it was just a TV sitcom and only recounted a fraction of the HBCU experience, but I was still fascinated, leading me to Howard University in Washington D.C. Once I settled in at HU, I felt right at home.
HBCUs have such a rich cultural history and offer a unity that predominately white schools may not. HBCU’s were created many years ago to provide an opportunity for black people seeking a higher education. Today, some people are not in support of black students attending predominately black universities because they say it’s not representative of the real world and does not offer the same educational values as other universities. I can only speak from my own personal experience, and I can’t explain how honored I am to hold a degree from an HBCU. Not only did I encounter a highly intellectual learning environment, but also a culturally supportive one. Yes, once you enter the workforce you will encounter people of many different cultures and races. But, my well-rounded education from HU has prepared me for anything and everything, making me the boss I am today!
Over the years, HBCU’s have bred many successful people who have made great contributions to our society including filmmaker and activist Spike Lee; billionaire media icon Oprah Winfrey; Black Enterprise publisher and entrepreneur Earl Graves Sr.; and NAACP Image Award-winning actor Lance Gross.
Although many HBCUs have a ‘party all the time’ rep, don’t get discouraged. You’ll find a party every night of the week at any college— it comes with the collegiate territory. Just don’t wild out, enjoy yourself, and make sure you work hard but play in moderation.
If you’re considering an HBCU or are looking forward to entering one this fall, good luck and enjoy the unique experience you will treasure for years to come.
Yandy Smith is a music management powerhouse and co-founder/CEO of Everything Girls Love, a lifestyle, Web publishing and fashion brand. With valuable experience collaborating alongside entertainment heavyweight Mona Scott-Young at multimedia conglomerate Violator Management, and later, Monami Entertainment, she has worked with music industry greats including 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, and Jim Jones.