I confronted my share of challenges, however the HBCU expertise owes me nothing — Andscape

I walked into my traditionally Black faculty and college (HBCU) with aspirations to be a plastic surgeon residing in Beverly Hills, California, with Rodeo Drive at my fingertips. However I left my HBCU a well-rounded sports activities journalist prepared to inform the tales of the underrepresented.

After I rolled my 14 suitcases by means of the East Village dormitory at Florida A&M College with my mom, grandmother and father, I felt like an overdue egg that lastly hatched. We traveled from BWI Airport to Jacksonville, Florida, and drove three hours to Tallahassee.

Earlier than I set foot on the “Highest of Seven Hills,” I used to be in a bunch chat with about 12 different ladies coming into the college with comparable pursuits. I felt totally outfitted to tackle the basking warmth and Fried Hen Fridays, with outfits strategically deliberate for the upcoming week of lessons and laid delicately throughout my mattress.

“Transfer 900 miles and 13 hours away from residence,” they mentioned. “It’ll be enjoyable,” they mentioned.

After just one week of lessons, I rapidly realized I used to be what some could think about “misplaced within the sauce.” Normally when individuals go to varsity out of state, they lean on college students who’re from the identical metropolis as them. My targets and pursuits didn’t align with theirs.

Day after day, I discovered myself trying melancholy within the eyes as I slowly started to understand FAMU was not the HBCU on the seaside I as soon as thought it was. I had no mates, no tribe and nobody to depend upon inside arm’s attain. This seek for companionship become my essential focus, not excelling within the classroom.

As soon as I noticed I used to be now not in sync with my research, I started to take every day journeys to the S.H. Coleman Library on campus. At some point when strolling to my regular examine spot, I finished within the library’s Starbucks to get my traditional iced venti chai latte. I then glanced on the neighborhood board and observed the Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity was internet hosting its annual Miss Black and Gold Pageant. Initially, I didn’t pay the posting any consideration. However I then bumped into one of many chapter members, who’s from Bowie, Maryland, like myself. He noticed me studying the flyer and steered that I take a look at my luck and apply.

I had lately dyed my hair a shiny blue raspberry colour to slot in with a earlier group of mates. All of us agreed to dye our hair totally different colours to face out throughout homecoming. To be taken significantly for the pageant, I dyed my hair again to black.

I made a decision to use, and I interviewed with the fraternity the next day.

As I used to be strolling residence later within the week, I obtained an e-mail notification saying I had been chosen. I used to be overjoyed by this chance and began to really feel like I actually belonged on the college.

Through the pageant course of, I gained 14 sisters and three brothers. I realized find out how to stroll in heels. I had attended Bishop McNamara Excessive College for dance, a performing arts faculty in Forestville, Maryland, and had not discovered a solution to proceed to pour into this ardour since arriving on campus. The pageant fed my starvation to bop and carry out. And on pageant day, I used to be named Miss Beta Nu, which I consult with as one of many highlights of my faculty expertise.

Throughout her time at Florida A&M College, Alexis Davis was named Miss Beta Nu.

Angela McDaniel

This satisfaction didn’t final 24 hours. The next day, considered one of my on-line banking accounts obtained hacked, leaving me with $2.89 to my title. I used to be removed from any monetary help I might obtain from my dad and mom. I used to be nonetheless starting to foster friendships with my pageant sisters and didn’t wish to be seen as a burden.

The identical group of ladies I made a decision to embark on the rainbow hair journey with have been nonetheless round. I knew they didn’t have my greatest pursuits at coronary heart, however I wished to belong and was afraid to lock eyes with melancholy once more.

As an alternative of aiding me with methods to become profitable or search authorized motion towards my hacked account, they made enjoyable of me for not with the ability to take part in actions with them. They stopped providing to offer me rides to Walmart and alluring me to Taco Tuesday. 

A number of months glided by and I used to be capable of get on a strong monetary footing, however I used to be nonetheless ignoring the crimson flags of my mates group outdoors of my pageant sisters. Though I used to be dealing with social challenges, professionally, I used to be beginning to get readability.

In East Village, I met somebody who would wind up being considered one of my closest mates, some extent guard for the boys’s basketball staff at FAMU, MJ Randolph. He wished to get his story out however didn’t belief any native Tallahassee writers to execute it authentically. We jokingly introduced up the thought of me writing it, however I noticed this as unattainable on the time as a result of I used to be not a journalism pupil.

The article was a catalyst to altering my main to journalism, and a completely new world opened up for me. Though I used to be experiencing what appeared to be skilled triumphs, I used to be nonetheless having problem navigating FAMU’s social scene.

It might take the social scene clashing with my security to pressure me to let the buddies group go. All of us attended a celebration a couple of block away from my dorm. As we entered the social gathering, I used to be very enthusiastic about what was to return since my mates have been near the male host.

The male host got here to talk with us. We have been all standing in a circle speaking, taking part in totally different ingesting video games and debating about totally different sneakers. He provided to point out us his sneaker part in his room. All of us agreed to view the gathering, however I used to be too busy having my first encounter with heavy ingesting to understand my different mates didn’t come alongside.

I discovered myself secluded and now not in management. Quickly afterward, I used to be sexually assaulted. Feeling at an all-time low, I returned to my dorm and commenced packing up for Christmas trip. My dad and mom had bought a flight for me to return residence the next day.

Throughout my time at residence, I used to be extraordinarily quiet. My mom observed and requested me every day if every part was OK. I falsely assured myself that I used to be fantastic and easily drained from the lengthy semester. The three-week break flew by and earlier than I might blink, I used to be boarding my direct flight again to what felt just like the jungle. I quietly sobbed all the flight with the hood of my hoodie up, hoping to go unnoticed.

I spent all the three months of the spring semester alone till I met somebody who on the time fulfilled my fantasy of discovering love at an HBCU. Walt Disney World is about 4 hours away from FAMU. We deliberate to take a four-day journey there as a substitute of getting a standard faculty spring break.

As we entered the land “the place goals come true,” I used to be nonetheless sad. I turned pissed off as a result of I used to be at what was known as the happiest place on earth however might nonetheless not handle to get out of melancholy’s sight for even a second. He turned pissed off with me, and it spilled over into the connection.

Feeling the necessity to escape helplessness, I known as my mom and requested her to fly me from Orlando, Florida, to Bowie. After flying again residence with my small carry-on and solely sufficient garments for a brief weekend, I by no means returned to FAMU.

I contacted my professors explaining to all of them the hardships I had confronted. And in true HBCU trend, they rallied round me. They provided to satisfy with me on Zoom and FaceTime to make sure that I obtained my credit and completed the semester from residence.

After I returned to Maryland, I didn’t know what to do subsequent. Not being at school felt like an out-of-body expertise. Due to the discomfort this prompted me, I knew I wished to get again into a school classroom as quickly as doable.

I utilized to North Carolina A&T State College and Towson College. I in the end selected N.C. A&T as a result of it was away from residence and near my father’s household in Danville, Virginia. I additionally fell in love with the infinite alternatives and household ambiance.

As soon as I moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, in August 2019, I used to be reunited with many highschool mates and felt I used to be in a protected place. I started writing for the varsity’s newspaper, The A&T Register. I wrote for the paper a couple of times weekly. My contributions led to me changing into the lead sports activities reporter for the paper. I obtained the notification on my birthday that I might be filling this function.

That notification helped me notice I used to be on the proper place on the proper time, doing the suitable factor with the suitable individuals. It got here after back-to-back denials of my purposes to the Rhoden Fellowship program.

Alexis Davis was initiated into the Alpha Phi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority throughout her senior 12 months at North Carolina A&T State College.

Alexus Brown

Throughout my time at N.C. A&T, I used to be capable of take part in pupil authorities actions as a senator for my faculty, the chief industrial officer for Deliberate Parenthood Technology Motion, and beginning an annual donation drive for anticipating and new moms. On April 3, I used to be initiated into the Alpha Phi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Whereas being a Rhoden Fellow, I attended my first NFL recreation, met Vice President Kamala Harris, realized extra about my college whereas being ESPN’s eyes and ears on campus, and gained lifelong mentors. As a result of my mixed work in school and Andscape, I used to be capable of land three full scholarship rides at Arizona State College, the College of Maryland and Northwestern College.

As I step into my subsequent stage of life, I’ll miss the spontaneous journeys to Taco Mama with my mates and being surrounded by people who look identical to me. However, I stand agency in my perception that there are greater and higher issues ready for me. My HBCUs owe me nothing.

Alexis Davis is a senior multimedia journal journalism pupil from Prince George’s County, Md. She is a sports activities and tradition contributor for The A&T Register, the campus newspaper at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro.

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