For the last two and a half years, I have pursued a bachelor's degree at Regent University; a college where not only Christian values are promoted freely everywhere among campus, but the minority rate of students makes up about half of the student body, so the environment is quite colorful. Yes, I am a black student and Regent is a PWI (predominantly white institution) but there's no place that I'd rather be. It's not anyone's place to shame every black person who didn't choose to attend an HBCU (historically black college or university) because we all have different reasons for the choices we make and there is still a lot of good that a black person can do at a PWI. I have the prime opportunity of getting to know people while squashing all stereotypes that are portrayed by media and entertainment in the simplicity of being myself.
It's no utopia though, to say the least; black students in higher education settings must contend with assumptions about their competence and their interests from both their teachers and their fellow students, then there's the pressure to represent your entire race positively by succeeding at everything. I, like many students, work my butt off constantly because I have the ambition to pursue my goals. My hard work is paying off in retaliation of hate and disbelief from naysayers. There are people who see the color of your face and try to put you in your place when they have no idea who they're dealing with.
There are some people who don’t want to understand my views and will never be open-minded enough to even try because they just don’t care. They don’t care because it doesn’t affect them. Even so, I can honestly say that these experiences have helped me discern what good character is and it's made me more miscellaneous of a person ready to break barriers through the bigger conversations. If you are a person of color at a PWI, it is great to see you all taking advantage of what Martin Luther King Jr, Ruby Bridges, and many others worked so hard for you and me to receive: equal opportunity.
That said, I wouldn’t trade the friends that I've made for anything. My circle is literally a blend of different colors, backgrounds, and accents from all over the world that continues to grow. The best part about is that I bond with each person in friendship to where I am seen as content within my predestined color. Sure, not all racism has been purged but a large amount has left our society and the progress is what matters in change. Hopefully one day, racism will be a subject only spoken about in history textbooks.
At the end of the day, we're all college students with a common goal facing the same hurdles– exams, professors, balancing school with sanity, and trying to figure life out. Regardless of where you go, nobody knows what life after college holds and no one has the right to judge someone else's journey to success and prosperity. It's not about where you get your degree rather than what you do it with it and how hard you're willing to work to live your dreams. Yeah, I’m a black girl who chose to go to a PWI and I don’t regret that choice because it has helped me reach new horizons and be pushed further to my full potential.