Being a D1 Athlete and Why I Chose an HBCU!
"Going to college was a privilege. Going to a black college was paradise." - Unknown
Being a D1 Athlete
Being a D1 athlete has to be one of the hardest but most rewarding phases of my life. I truly didn't know the amount of things I was capable of doing at once until I began playing basketball in college as a Biology major. All my life I've been involved in different things along with school, but when you get to college, since you're there 24/7, it's expected that you can do a lot more and they can take up more of your time. So between practice and classes and homework, I did sometimes feel stretched pretty thin. But, in the same breath I would say, if there was one experience I would never change, it would have to be deciding to be a D1 athlete. Yes, it requires 10 times more effort and work then the average student, but the relationships you build and the feeling you get that although you had less time to accomplish tasks and you were still able to accomplish them, is beyond any other feeling. Nevermind the fact that you're seen as a little campus celebrity doesn't hurt either and you get a whole bunch of free gear to represent your school lol. The relationships that I've built with my teammates and my coaches have been relationships that have pushed me and made me better. It's an amazing feeling to be doing what you love and being surrounded by people who love you and you love them just the same. You form a special bond with your team because you're the only group on campus who can understand the exact struggles and pains you feel because you all go through it together. It's also great to choose an environment in which it feels effortless to get along with your teammates because down the line when you need someone to lean on, you're going to want someone you can be around to help you lol.
Choosing An HBCU
Some feel as though choosing an HBCU lowers your ability or doesn't use the full capacity of your ability, but similar to every other decision in life, it's all about what you make of it and how you put your spin on it. HBCU's are no different then any other school, it just celebrates the beauty of African Americans and celebrates our intelligence. It provides somewhat of a safe space for young African American students to feel free in their expression and to give a specific place for them to feel most welcome. The reason I chose an HBCU was because for most of my life my schooling was at a predominantly white school. Throughout my High School years, my school began to become more diverse, but it wasn't truly an environment that understood the struggles of the African American within America. It was a Christian school, so it always gave the Christian response, as opposed to a raw and real response. So with this previous environment in mind, I wanted to have that HBCU experience when I found that becoming an option for me. Now having spent two years at an HBCU, I wouldn't change anything about my decision. SC State has provided a space where I can be me to the fullest, I can experiment different things about myself, and I can learn new things from other people that I couldn't learn in another setting. It's also an epicenter for creativity and small businesses. I've seen more forms of creativity and expression within these past two years then I've seen in all my previous schooling and I love it. I know that it's not an ideal decision for everyone, but I strongly encourage African American athletes to choose an HBCU because it's an experience that can't be formed anywhere else. Yes, you'll get support at a PWI, but the support goes so much deeper at an HBCU because you truly feel like your peers are your brothers and sisters and only want to see the best for you. I've been encouraged to see that recently big time, high recruiting class athletes have chosen to go to HBCU's and I feel as though other recruits should follow in those foot steps. It is such a rewarding experience and I can't express it enough through my words. I just encourage that choice onto everyone who has the opportunity. This isn't just for athletes, it's for everyone even if it's just simply for education. The reward and knowledge you receive from an environment who celebrates your history and gives you the raw truth about whats going on around you can't be replaced. It's just a place full of love and opportunity where you can feel like you have the biggest amount of opportunities right at your feet. The people that surround you want nothing, but the best for you and that's exactly what I feel like you need in a college experience.