For Homecoming, I experienced almost every single emotion in less than 48 hours.
Sidenote: The cover photo is freshman year (when I found my friend group) and we did a photo shoot throughout the dorm lol. I did everyone’s hair and we put on the best outfit we could find. Our “group name” was Alias. We all had an alias/nickname and gave every guy that we referred to frequently one. They just never knew it. 😏
I had the chance of going back to my alma mater, Central State University, for Homecoming. It was fun and interesting. I got to see many people I haven’t seen in a while. Well, not in person. Social media has given us the tools to see each other enough with one click.
Let me take y’all back. Summer 2006. When I was looking at colleges, I told my mom I wanted to go to a “Black School”. I didn’t know it was called an HBCU (Historically Black College/University). I went to Wilberforce and, reluctantly, Central State. I say reluctantly because I didn’t want to go to a public school. In my head, it wasn’t my type of school. I visited two PWI’s (Predominantly White Institution), as well. All of the schools I visited were in Ohio. I was in Cosmetology school at the time and wanted to be able to work. My Cosmetology license would only be good for Ohio unless I was tested in other states. I ended up not even taking the test, another story for another day.
Wilberforce (WU) and Central State (CSU) are literally across the street from each other. Look it up on Google Maps. We went to each other’s parties and one year, some Central students had to stay at Wilberforce because we didn’t have enough residence halls for all of the students. Yes, that’s how close we were. I visited Wilberforce first, then Central. When I stepped on Central’s campus, it felt like home. I came down thinking I was going to choose WU, and went home knowing that CSU was the school I wanted to go to. I was accepted into each university I applied to, but chose Central State University.
Fast forward to school. Man, that first year was tough. Specifically the first semester. Within two months of being on campus, I called the other universities to see if I could just transfer. I told my mom too. I hated it there. It could be because I was the “quiet girl”, but I just hadn’t met my friend group. One thing about me is I hate to force friendships. I did get into a pageant the first week, because this was my “fresh start”, but I just didn’t mesh with the people in it longterm. Everyone was great though.
My mom sent me the card below around that time. Translation: Get your shit together. I started meeting people later that semester and throughout my years there I became involved in clubs, etc. This university was like my Part 1 to NYC living. It made me work harder.
CSU is where…
I saw a guy walking into class in the Communications building (formerly known as Cosby) with his textbooks in a shopping bag that was breaking. Another guy pulled him to the side and asked if he needed a bookbag, that he was prepared to give him. The guy said no. Less than a month later, they both crossed into fraternities (different ones).
There was also the senior trip when we went to DC. Man, that was the craziest weekend ever. A couple of COMM majors in a 16 passenger van with one of the coolest professors. Ha! We were able to run wild at night, and run wild – we did. Hey, we were technically grown.
It’s where I found out my grandfather passed away. I was sitting in the cafe with my roommate when my mom called. She told me to just call her back when I got to my room, but I begged her to just tell me what it was, and she did. Man…
To lighten the mood, it’s also where I decided to “dress like a girl”, which includes wearing a 4-5 inch pump that I couldn’t walk in if I was getting paid. I sashayed through the lobby (where I was an RA) and got all these compliments. Then, as soon as I get out of sight walking to the parking lot, I trip and fall. Mud all over me. My friends had to go back to my room and get me new jeans and shoes. I wore flats for the rest of the year.
Walking past Hunter Hall (when it was an all boys residence hall), I remembered being “peer pressured” into going there with some friends. I’m going to put that in quotes because even though I didn’t want to go, I went anyway lol! We were hanging, talking, listening to music like that dorm was co-ed. Smh. We ended up getting kicked out maybe 30 minutes later and as I’m walking out, the guy who I was “talking to” saw me walking out. Agh…I even called him about an hour later just to see if he really saw me.
Me: Oh, what are you doing?
Him: Nothing, just got done watching you walk out of here.
Yikes. To this day, my friend says, “…and you didn’t even want to go”. Right.
Oh, and Wesley, the headquarters of the College of Arts & Sciences where I nearly failed my Black History class. I know, I know. My children, if I have them, will know the importance of HBCUs.
I have so many other memories, but it’s way too much (or too crazy) to put into a post lol.
The people you meet will change your life. Even those you don’t even meet. When you see them, you’ll feel like they’re family.
I think of myself back then and to where I am now and what I’m doing and I’m so proud. I can say this little school in the middle of nowhere Ohio created my foundation as an adult. There’s nothing about this experience anyone can take away and if you didn’t go to an HBCU, you won’t understand. Especially mine.
I never stay too long in Ohio, even when I go home to Cleveland. It’s not that I hate it, but it reminds me of the dreams I had when I was a younger, and that I have so much more to accomplish to make her even more proud than she probably already is.
For God, For Central, For State!