The HBCU vs PWI Debate: My HBCU Story

The HBCU vs PWI Debate: My HBCU Story

Everyday it seems like Black Twitter always gets into a reoccurring discussion over which is better, HBCUS (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) vs PWIS (Predominately White Institutions). Some of the biggest HBCU advocates on twitter are @Anti_Intellect & @iamyaokhari in which most of the arguments are started and held in their mentions.

Some of the debates rise from the discussion of which universities are better to attend for black people. There are some students that are very prideful of their historical black institution and then there are black people who feel that HBCUS are “less than” a PWI.  In my opinion, I do feel that HBCUs are better but it’s because I truly believe that no one can teach us better than us. At an HBCU you learn way more than academics in the classroom, being on a black campus is a different type of atmosphere.

Of course I’m sort of biased but I feel like at this point, as long as you’re in college and getting a degree with a career to follow then that’s what matters. But I do feel that every young black person should consider going to an HBCU. Here’s my HBCU story:

Growing up I knew I always wanted to go to a HBCU, just because. I watched A Different World, School Daze, Drumline, and Stomp the Yard and I just knew that I had to go. I had four school choices and only one of them were a PWI. I didn’t get accepted into that one school. I emailed and asked why didn’t I get accepted, they told me because of my ACT score  which I fell one point short. I cried.

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Two weeks later I was accepted into Prairie View A&M University which was my first choice, but my friends were all supposed to be going to the school that denied me. I was actually really excited and was more prideful than ever. I got accepted into a summer bridge program where I was able to take two summer classes for free which has helped me oh so much.

My first year of college was amazing. I swear leaving home, being on your own, and being in a new atmosphere after so long with all new people was exciting. You learn a lot about yourself, you start finding yourself. I was really involved with different organizations, going to different events, and seminars. I feel actually going out and exploring campus and the different people is where you learn about life. But being on campus and in class in general is where I feel like I learned about my people and history the most. My teachers teach me more than book information, we learn how to grow, survive, and maintain being black in America.

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#IMATTER Campaign, says “I matter and I am fighting for black lives”

I’ve had some great people come into my life like professors, staff, and even upperclassmen to teach me so much and I’m like a sponge, I soak up and retain the information.  I’ve seen so many people come to campus to speak about many different topics like MC Lyte, Kirk Franklin, Keisha Knight-Pulliam, Erica Campbell, and more. When a situation affects the community, we come together to discuss and try to come up with solutions as college students. Everything is specific toward us and I feel like that’s very important. We all need each other and we need to teach one another.  One of the best seminars I attended was a seminar called ‘Freeze! We Are Under Attack’ which taught us how to handle being handled by the police. We need to know these things.

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Interviewing MC Lyte

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A picture that was drawn on the side of a main building after a situation that happened in America. (I can’t remember)

Career and academic wise everything is laid out for you, you truly have to want it to grab it. For me it’s easy, I’m a mass communications major and I talk and tell everyone my goals and plans and people are always open to help. The staff and professors aren’t boring and uptight (most of them), they’re like your uncles, aunties, grannys, and so on. They are truly here to help and make us progress, even the janitors will spit some knowledge on you. When they say a HBCU is like a big family reunion, it is.

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@ Panther Camp, which is a week where the freshmen learn the history of the school and meet their building mentors.

As a junior, I’ve had so many great opportunities just by telling someone what I’m interested in and they’ve connected me with someone else. The professors have plugs….they are the plug. I’ve gotten to meet some great people in my field and have gotten great opportunities. A student organized a trip to Selma for it’s 50th anniversary and a bus full of students went there. That was one amazing experience to say that I was there to see the 50th anniversary of Selma. It was a feeling that I can not explain but will able to able to to tell my children one day.

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Classmates on the historic bridge

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This summer I have the opportunities to go on two trips in my field to Minnesota and to the DMV area for free. Both through different organizations that I am apart of. I have been invited to off campus events because of referrals from professors and I can say it’s all thanks to my school and my hard work and dedication. I’m truly out here trying to make the most of this college life, it’s all up to you.

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Houston radio personality, Ayana Mack invited me to shoot her hosting a seminar with 90s sitcom stars from A Different World and Living Single

Of course there are fun times like partying and campus life. I went to visit a PWI and it just wasn’t the same. The parties were lame and the campus life just seemed dead because everything is separated. To my understanding there are “white events” and “black events” versus at a HBCU, everyone is involved as one. Which is probably why during our Homecoming and Springfest there are hella thirsty PWI students hitting up our events. Our parties, kickbacks, basketball games, football games, probate, hump days, and talents shows are pretty much always live. If there’s a DJ and music everyone can vibe to then it’s a good time. To see some student life, watch my vlogs posted on my channel.

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PV vs TSU basketball game

Campus life is something that can not be explained to someone not at an university or someone at a PWI. It’s a different type of life and you won’t get it until you enroll into a HBCU. HBCUs are filled with great history and a program to enrich the next generation of African-Americans to make the world a better place for us. It’s all about helping the next generation to be better than us, paving the way.

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I would say that I’m always trying to persuade the kids younger than me to come to a HBCU because it’s an experience like no other, it’s your home away from home. I don’t know how any of you were raised or brought us but I always learned that no one can teach you better than your own people. Just like Tom Joyner said, you can’t expect them to tell our stories, it’s up to us. Here, they teach us we came from kings and queens,  we still are, and how to remain. We have to work 10 times harder than them and here we learn how to be on top with all with all the odds against us.

I close to say, “Begin with the ending in mind”, go with which ever university you feel will give you the most you need out of not only your career, but life as well. College isn’t all about your career, its always about the experiences that come with these 4-6 years.  Don’t feel you’re not “black enough” to attend a HBCU, don’t feel like our academics are not equal to PWIs, don’t assume we’re “ratchet”, don’t feel like we aren’t diverse because diversity doesn’t equal race; there are a wide range of black people here (and other races do attend), and most importantly don’t bash HBCUs. Remember that at one point these schools were the only places that educated you. They were made for you.

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I love my HBCU & PVU is the place to be and it ain’t never gone stop.

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