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3 Women Recount HBCU Graduation Memories

3 Women Recount HBCU Graduation Memories

As college studies begin to dwindle, graduates are exiting the doors of their HBCU. Many are walking across the stage for family and friends or being highlighted in a non-traditional format because of COVID-19. Despite how graduation is done this year, there will be many memories for these graduates. This is also the time of the year where recent graduates will often time reminisce on their graduation day. Whether it;s their Facebook memories that show their graduation post from 2, or 4 years ago or a random flashback to one of the greatest moments of their educational journey; graduation memories from HBCU alums are much different than most.

Receiving a degree from an HBCU is more than just fancy cardstock paper. Many of us are often first-generation graduates while the rest of us may be continuing a legacy or being given an opportunity because someone where counted us out. However, despite how we got to our HBCU, the memories, friendships, mentorships, role models, and leadership is what made or is making our college experience memorable. These same aspects add emphasis to the degree to which some people may only see to the eye as a certificate of completion

Just like me, many other HBCU graduates have memories from their HBCU, and graduating is just one of many for them. Therefore, below are graduation memories from three HBCU alums and advice for students interested in attending an HBCU or for parents who are encouraging their child to attend an HBCU. 

Imani Horry

Institution: Voorhees College

Major: Psychology 

Graduation Year: 2021

Q: Describe your HBCU graduation memory?

A: At first I was a little let down when I found out that graduation was going to be virtual, but I honestly made the best of it. For me it wasn’t even about the ceremony. For once in life I felt like I accomplished something that no one can take from me. Also, in a way I ended up liking that my graudation was virtual because my family didn’t have to travel far to celebrate this GREAT life achievement.

Q: What is one thing you miss or will miss about your HBCU?

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A: One thing that I will miss about the HBCU experience is the long lasting friendship/ familyships I’ve gained while at Voorhees College. 

Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to attend an HBCU or is currently attending an HBCU?

A: Advice that I could give to any incoming college students is to Find Your PURPOSE. What I mean when I say “Find Your PUPROSE,” is that you need to understand your reasoning for going away to school, find what makes you a better you, and find ways you can contribute your “why” to your campus life. Get involved. Don’t be that student who doesn’t engage with people or participate in activities on campus. Get your face known around campus in a POSITIVE light, because these opportunities will open up many doors for you later in life and make a more enjoyable college experience. 

Kamiah Washington 

Institution: Benedict College

Major: Criminal Justice 

Graduation Year: 2021

Q: Describe your HBCU graduation memory?

A: The day of graduation I was so excited to get my day going. I woke up early that morning to get brunch with my roommate and then we both got our makeup done. Graduation was at 7 PM so by 5 PM we went to the stadium and when I got there I just couldn’t believe it that I was the third generation to graduate from college. The set up was amazing!  Due to COVID most seniors didn’t stay on campus, so seeing everyone again like freshman year made me want to cry. Hearing my name being called, walking across the stage, and smiling super hard while taking my picture with our President, Dr. Artis was the highlight of my graudation day.  

Q: What is one thing you miss or will miss about your HBCU?

A: Homecoming for sure! Tiger Fest was all about showing off that school pride. Being around my kind, having fun, and getting the full experience of being at an HBCU is what homecoming meant to me. I also will always remember the support on my campus of Black-Owned Business during this time. It’s wonderful to know we was always there for each other when it came to supporting one another. 

Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to attend an HBCU or is currently attending an HBCU?

A:  My advice to someone considering attending an HBCU would be to choose the town of your school wisely. Although, I love my HBCU, I’ve heard a lot of students say that they wouldn’t have chose the school first if they had known more about the location and town; which is perfectly fine. You want to be somewhere comfortable and in a place where you feel all your needs will be met; especially since this is your first official time away from home. So my advice to someone wanting to attend an HBCU would be to follow their heart and attend the school of their choice despite how others feel about it and to those currently attending an HBCU continue pushing and remember great things come from HBCUs!

Amesha Arnold

Institution: Paine College

Major: Public Relations/Communications 

Graduation Year: 2018

Q: Describe your HBCU graduation memory?

A: My HBCU graduation experience was one to remember. Paine College has what’s called “senior week.” This is the week of graduation where there’s a different celebration each day leading up to the graduation. It was bitter sweet of course, but it was filled with so much pride in the success stories that my HBCU produced. 

Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to attend an HBCU or is currently attending an HBCU?

A: Advice I’d give someone that is attending or desires to attend an HBCU is GET INVOLVED! There is a large network/community of people at all HBCUs that are ready and willing to provide you with opportunities. Even three years after graduation, I’m still able to call upon people that I met or worked with during my undergraduate career.

These three students from various Historically Black Colleges and University are well versed in their thankfulness for their HBCU upbringing and sheds light on their experience from graduating from an HBCU. HBCUs are special and rich to our culture. Therefore, we must continue to shed light on these institutions and the experience Black Southern Belles and Beaus are gaining while attending. If you want to share your HBCU graduation with us feel free to tag us in your graduation photos @Blacksouthernbelle or #blacksouthernbelle in your post!

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