If there’s something that colleges and universities love, it’s diversity. Not only because of the student body, and the rise of the population, but let’s be honest. When people see diversity, the university sees dollar signs. However, I truly believe that administrators don’t understand what African American students go through. I would know, I’m one of them.
I attend the University of South Florida in Tampa, which is a predominantly white institution (PWI). I will admit, USF is a beautiful campus. The environment is beautiful. However, walking around the campus, I knew I felt like I belong, but I felt like there was no one who looked like me. Yes, the school spirit was there, I just needed that feeling that I made the right choice.
Something that my father told me, was that the world does not look like you. The world is different from you. Yet, I still feel uncomfortable. Although I felt uncomfortable, I had to make a choice. Was I going to let the lack of diversity define my college experience? Or was I going to tackle this with black excellence? I had to learn to adapt to the PWI environment.
One thing that I realized about being at a PWI, you have to get used to it. I will be honest. You have to face situations such as colorblindness, microaggressions, and even racism. As a black woman, not only I have to remember who I am, but I have to learn to educate others without being called, “the angry black woman.” And if I am called by the stereotypes of a black woman, then I will gladly reintroduce myself as an black college student, who is pursuing a career as a writer.
Black excellence can be displayed in any shape, and any opportunity, it’s how you display it that matters. Even though there are moments where I want to leave, I refuse, because not only I want to finish what I started, I also want to take in the experience and live life to the fullest and remind myself on why being black is beautiful.