Leaving Home to Find Myself at College

I knew I was going to go to college before I was in high school.

When I was a middle school student, I had the opportunity to visit multiple predominately white institutions (PWIs), and I knew then that, despite these universities seeming warm and inviting, I wouldn’t do well in that type of environment.

So I researched different colleges and that’s when I learned about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). When I first saw their step shows and battle of the band videos, I was completely set on attending an HBCU. I wanted to be around people who looked like me. I knew that by attending a PWI, I could possibly set myself up to feel like an outcast, and my learning opportunities would be limited.

I visited and applied to multiple HBCUs to which I was accepted, but what made me chose Alabama A&M was how warm and welcoming the students and staff were during my college tour. Alabama A&M was one of my top five choices, and I just loved the weather and southern hospitality.

Before I left for college, I relied on my mom for everything because I knew she would always be there to help me. I had to step up and become more responsible with my priorities, such as doing my homework and finding time to study. College taught me how to balance my social life and school life, choosing whether to go to a party or stay in and study. I’ve learned so much about myself such as how I’m very opinionated and defensive toward people I don’t know well. I also have become more in touch with my emotions.

When I came to college in the South, I expected to learn more about different cultures and meet different types of people. My classes are interesting and every day, I learn new things. It has been different than what I expected because though the classes aren’t very hard, they require more reading and studying. Moving from the Midwest to the South for college changed me because I am more willing to meet new people and have become more independent. I’m proud of how I’ve grown in such a short period of time, and I am happy with my decision to attend an HBCU.

Akiaharia Davenport is a freshman at Alabama A&M University. She studies Psychology and is also pursuing a minor in Business Management & Administration.

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