HomeBLOGSAsk O: The Advice Column (October 30, 2021)

Ask O: The Advice Column (October 30, 2021)

Dear O:

My name is Greg and I’m a (in my opinion) highly intelligent individual who attends a Predominately White Institution (PWI) in the South. I’m a Junior now and to be honest with you I think I’m missing something. I’ve been at this institution for 3 years now and I think I’ve gotten out of it everything that I can. I’m in multiple organizations and committees and have a plethora of friends but I still fill unfulfilled. It’s gotten to the point where I’m considering transferring to an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to get more intuned with my heritage and have a sense of belonging. Lately, on certain social media sites, there has been a lot of propaganda about HBCUs and how wonderful they are to attend which has piqued my interest. Here is where the dilemma begins. I’ve told a few of my friends that I’m considering this option and they tell me that I’m ‘crazy’. They say things such as, “You won’t be able to find the type of job that you’re looking for with an HBCU degree”, “They’re not financially stable” or “They don’t have up-to-date equipment or facilities like PWIs do.” Some of their points are valid from what I’ve seen while doing my research but I’m still intrigued to go even though I know about the problems that they have. I’m on the fence now O and I’m hoping that you can give me some advice that will help me to make a solid decision. What should I do?  

Might Be Attending an HBCU?

Dear Might Be Attending an HBCU:

If you think that you are missing something, you are. Trust yourself. PWIs offer everything in the world, but the experience of being around people that look like you. In HBCU environments, you learn a lot about yourself, other people and your culture. Most importantly, at an HBCU, you learn how to matriculate through life as a minority. You learn how to thrive in spaces that weren’t created for you to thrive in. HBCUs not only teach you the curriculum, but are a guide through life that no other type of institution can provide.

On the same note, you can’t listen to the HBCU slander. Instead, do your own research. Research how many doctors, lawyers and educators are produced from HBCUs. Research how many actors and authors are produced from HBCUs. Research all of the public and political figures that are produced from HBCUs. Look at your current Vice President of the United States who made history by being the first woman of color to be elected to that position and she graduated from an HBCU.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter what type of institution you’re at. It matters that you feel at peace and at home all while pursuing the degree of your choice. It matters how the institution of your choice is preparing you for life outside of college. That small piece that you think you are missing matters.

Your HBCU friend,


Olecia James
Olecia James
Olecia James is a Senior from Cleveland, Mississippi majoring in Journalism/Mass Communications. She will be a contributor to The Campus Chronicle for the Fall 2021 Spring 2022 academic year.


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