I know what you’re thinking…I’m black so I’m supposed to love my HBCU because of the history and culture behind it. Believe me when I say I am in love with my history and culture. I’m damn near a Civil Rights Movement historian and no one supports the “Black Lives Matter” movement more than me. That doesn’t mean I need to love my HBCU… right?? Let me start off by saying that I wasn’t raised around a lot of black people. I lived in the suburbs and went to mostly white private and public school between elementary and high school. When we would go out of state to visit my mom’s side of the family, I felt so out of place because I “acted white” whatever that means. I speak proper English and avoid slang at all costs. When I got to my HBCU, I felt out of place there, too. There were people who looked just like me, that’s what makes a lot of people feel comfortable. I felt nervous and queasy. A lot of the students were there to party, a lot of the professors weren’t good at explaining things, Financial Aid and other staff weren’t there to help you, they were simply there to collect a check. The atmosphere was ghetto, the people were ghetto. I got through my first semester alright because I thought this was how it was supposed to be. Then, I went to visit my best friend at her college. This college is where a good amount of my friends from back home went. It was PWI and I fell in love with it from the moment I drove on the campus. The people and the environment were so friendly. I felt comfortable and at home. Just because I am black doesn’t mean I need to go to an HBCU. It also doesn’t mean I’m a “sellout” or an “Uncle Tom” for deciding to transfer to a PWI. I know what makes me happy and being at an HBCU made me miserable and depressed. I will always support HBCUs, though. For my own mental health, though, I need to be around what I know and am comfortable with. I love my culture, but I love myself a little bit more.
New Years Eve, a time of drunken fun and celebration. It is also a time that many people stress over whether or not they have someone to kiss. This was honestly my first time going out on New Years. I went out with my best friend. We went downtown and crashed a party, unfortunately, someone with a gun crashed that party, too. It wasn’t even midnight by the time we made it back to her car. We were pretty shaken up so we went back to my house and sat in the driveway for a few minutes until midnight. When the clock in her car showed 11:59, she took out her chapstick and began applying it. At 12:00 she leaned over the console and kissed me. I expected it to be a quick peck on the lips but it was full on passionate kiss. She slightly bit my lower lip. I had my hand on her lower back. She tasted like her cherry lip gloss. I couldn’t help but smile when our lips parted. Even though she was the one that kissed me, I hoped it wouldn’t make our friendship weird. It didn’t seem to change our relationship because she never brought it up and I was afraid to. She kept going on talking about the guys she likes and I begin to get envious. So, on New Years I realized…I’m beginning to fall for my best friend.
I started college less than a month ago. Before I started college, though, I took English Composition 1 and 2 online over the summer. When I began college, I was in Advanced Composition with upperclassmen. It was nice being around mature people. On that first day, I forgot my pencil pouch in my dorm, so I asked to borrow one from the guy sitting in front of me. He seemed like a cool guy. He wore designer clothes (Polo, Jordan’s, and fancy suits on business Tuesdays). After class one day, I asked for his Snapchat and thus, a complicated relationship formed. We hung out a few times, watched movies…he always made me laugh when he sung along to the soundtrack of movies. We did have sexual relations and of course, I was the one who ended up becoming attached. Giving your body to someone has a way of messing with your head. I would have done anything for him but he claimed he wasn’t ready for a relationship yet. Apparently, he didn’t have a lot of luck with relationships in his past and didn’t want that to happen to us…he didn’t want for me to hate him. Too bad I already kind of did. I loved him at the same time, though. I wanted nothing more than to be around him and laughing with him. After we had the talk about his unpreparedness for a relationship, he began to ignore me. I didn’t get any calls, or texts, I didn’t even get a “Hi” when I walked by him to sit behind him in class. Sure, I could text him or approach him first, but how desperate does that make me look? I know I should wait for someone who will appreciate me at great lengths and actually take me time getting to know them and want they want from our relationship before I give myself to them, but I didn’t do that with him…now I am stuck on him like white on rice. I think about him constantly and he clearly isn’t giving me a second thought. I’m most likely going to meet another guy who is worthy of me and will want to marry me but right now, I couldn’t even fathom giving my heart to anyone else except for him. He has my heart and mind and I think he knows it, he just doesn’t care to have it. Only time will tell how we end up and who I’ll ultimately end up with. It’s excited and scary. Deep down I know that no other guy will take the place in my heart that he has because he was my first love and my first heartbreak…that’s something that he will always be.
College seems like the perfect chance at freedom and independence. That is exactly what it is for most students. Many students do not shed a single tear when they arrive at college. It was different for me. From the time I was a little kid until my mom was getting ready to leave me in my dorm room, I could not wait to experience college. Just as my mom was getting ready to leave, though, I burst into tears and begin hyperventilating. I will be the first to admit that I am emotionally attached to my mother. I had lived with her for eighteen years. Yes, we had our ups and downs like in any relationship but she is my mom. I did not know what I was going to do without her being in the next room. My college was only an hour away but it felt like an eternity compared to how close I was used to being to her. It was kind of easy to bury my homesickness when I was in class or with friends, but one quick idle second, that homesick feeling was quick to take over. I began tearing up and I felt a tightening of my stomach. It is not like it was just my mom that I missed (I did miss her the most, though). I missed my step-dad, dog, and all my old high school friends. A few of them came to visit me when they got a little break from their college life. I would have gone home a lot more than I did and gone to visit friends at their colleges, but my mom did not let me take my car the first semester of college. She wanted to see how well I adjusted to college without out (meaning: she wanted to see my grades before she handed back the car keys). It is nice not having someone asking where you are going every time you leave the house, but I missed that security of having someone know where I was. It is not like I owed my friends any explanation of where I was going. After a few more weeks, I am sure the homesickness will die down and I will make a lot more friends that will help take my mind off of home. Deep down inside, though, there will always be this empty space in my heart that can only be filled by being back at home 🙂
College provides great stories to share with old high school friends…that is, if you have very many left. Going to different colleges than your friends can cause things to drift. You may notice that you do not talk to some of your friends as much. That is normal because you all are starting new lives at college: making new friends, joining different clubs, trying to keep your head above water, and getting use to college life. When you reunite with old friends, it may seem like things have changed…because they have. Y’all are not in high school anymore. Your friends have changed, you have changed. That is what happens when you start a new chapter in your life. It might be strange to see your friends because you may not be able to pick up where you left off, but if the relationship is worth it, you will get passed that awkwardness of reuniting. You will get busy in college between the papers, exams, finals, clubs, rushing, and parties. Sometimes, that makes it hard to keep in touch with all of your friends. Whenever you can, though, call your friends or send them a quick text to see how they are doing. They will appreciate it. You become a different person at college. Just don’t forget who was there when you were a quirky freshman with braces. Try your best to keep those deserving old friends in your life but if the relationship is continuously proving that it has run its course, let it be. Some relationships are only meant to last a certain amount of time. Other relationships, though, are meant to last a lifetime. It is up to you to figure out which relationships are which and fight for the ones that are meant to be.
Good friends are something that everyone needs, whether they want to admit it or not. We all need someone we can confide in, laugh with, splurge on Ben & Jerry’s with, who will tell us like it is to our face but defend us behind our backs. I was blessed with those kinds of friends in my life. I had a lot of good friends, but none of them will ever compare to the three best friends I made when I was young. I met two of them in middle school and one in high school. They met so much to me and I thanked God all the time for them. During senior year, though, as graduation approached, I began to worry. I wondered what would happen to my relationship with these three amazing young ladies. I knew that there was a chance that I would remain friends with them for a long time. Something was telling me, though, that I might lose one or maybe even two of them just barely after graduation. My gut feelings rang true. The few weeks after graduation, I stopped talking to one of them. We did not have an argument or a falling out, we just began to grow in different directions and communication ran thin. She was not going to college for a while to take care of her dad (he was all she had left) and work (she had a job at the mall). She was a bright young girl and plenty of offers but her dad came first… anyone could understand that. As the weeks and months went by, I heard less and less from her. I would see her post a selfie on social media and I would send a quick message to check in on her but that is all I really heard from her. We were able to hang out one day during Christmas break of my freshman year of college. We finally found a day where we could sit and catch up for an hour. I naively expected things to be like they were in high school and that we could just pick up where we left off. Things were different. I do not know if it was her or me that changed, maybe both. It was quiet and awkward. I felt could not talk to her and that we would not understand what the other was going through…because we wouldn’t. She was doing her own thing and I was doing mine. My other two best friends I kept in contact with quite frequently. We stayed in touch the summer after senior year and even throughout college. We would all visit one another at college when we got the chance, and when we had breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas, summer, etc.) we would spend every moment we could together. I kept in contact with my other friends from high school and made a lot of new college friends. None of them, however, will replace the one I lost from high school. We may be at different points at life for…only God knows how long, but maybe one day, God will allow us to come together again and reunite. Maybe God did this to us for a good reason and wants us to stay that way. All I know is, I had good friends in high school and graduation caused things to shift around a little bit. Just know that God is going to put every relationship through a test and if relationship cannot eventually figure out the answers, don’t try to cheat and figure out answers to try make it work. It was just simply not meant to be.
Going to college is a life-changing experience for anyone who chooses to go. It would be something that flipped and reversed the routine and lifestyle that I was used to and comfortable with for so many years. I would not be living in the house that was built in a still-developing neighborhood when my family and I moved in. I would be living in an apartment-styled dorm with three girls that I had never met. Which would give me independence, but did not give me that same safe feeling. I would not be spending majority of my time with the friends that I had known since middle school. I would be spending time with new friends, doing new things. Which would give me great stories to tell with my old friends, but I would rather living the stories with those old friends. I would not be able to finish an assignment in less than twenty minutes and still get an “A” on it. I would be writing eight-page essays in four different classes. Which would teach me time management and about topics at hand, but I would miss high school…when you got credit for a signed syllabus or bringing tissue. Being in college means independence and owning up to your mistakes. It is a chance to learn things inside and outside of the classroom. Being away at college makes being home that much more special. It makes home feel even more like home. Catching up with old friends makes me appreciate their friendship even more. College is a whole new walk of life and I plan to enjoy every step 🙂