On Navigating A P.W.I as a Woke Black Person

I have committed a sin and chosen a P.W.I. (primarily white institution) over an H.B.C.U (historically black college or university). It was a very close decision, but I decided to place myself in the institution I felt most uncomfortable in. Going through freshman year questioned my sanity, as it does with everyone, but it also made me question whether I had made the right decision.My high school was extremely small and was a charter school in a low-income (mostly minority) area, and by the time I graduated, I was the only Black girl in my class. High school was never easy, and a lot of the time I was ostracized by my classmates. For college, I wanted to get as far away as possible (for various reasons), I wanted top tier, and I wanted to get out of the hood with a scholarship.

Coming to a P.W.I. has put things into perspective for multiple aspects. A lot of people here are very entitled. I was so unprepared the other day when I got a knock on the door from the RA telling me that a cleaning crew was coming through all the apartments to come clean in preparation for the next session. I’ve had two roommates (both white females) who have felt that they had the right to take my food without asking, empty it, and then not replace it (one time it was on my birthday). I’ve seen students walk past the housekeepers without so much as a grunt of acknowledgement, despite them being there every single day.In addition, my P.W.I. loves media attention. And what causes media attention? Fuckery. There has been fuckery up to my ears in the past year. And the amount of people who think it’s okay for a noose to be hung up in the middle of the night, for the Confederate flag to be painted on a fraternity cooler for formals, for the BSA to be cussed out every time the university decides to cover up yet another racially charged incident, it’s a shame. And I know that every school has their drama, so I wouldn’t be spared wherever I go, but I know that I wouldn’t have to deal with people who genuinely questioned whether a topic was racially charged or not. I am, however, very grateful for the groups of people I have met. Coming here has exposed me to a whole other world of intellectuals and has shown me that I am not alone by far in my black intellectualism. It’s been so nice being able to have a conversation that could span a day just about one part of the racism and issues we face as students and as part of a group of oppressed minorities.

Being in a P.W.I. has shaken off the rest of my sleepiness, but there is still so much more it could do. As a black person it has proven that I am not cared for, and I am without a doubt sure that I am not the only person who feels that way. I don’t regret coming here, but I do wish that I had known a few things before coming in for freshman year. Now as a sophomore, I hope to help out the incoming freshman and look after them the way so many students have been and are looking after me.

What was your college experience concerning this topic? Let me know, and as always, thanks for reading!

-JW

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