Campus Life | January 27th, 2023

Trip: HBCUs, Our Home Away From Home

By: Kyla Sanford
Trip: HBCUs, Our Home Away From Home

Every year, approximately 2 million students transfer universities due to numerous factors, including financial aid, a desire for a change in location, major life events, family obligations, lack of social fit, and more. Lack of social life can be problematic not only because it affects your entire college experience but it can also impact your mental, physical and emotional well-being. School is already challenging, so finding the right environment for your college career is essential.

Transferring schools or moving can be a difficult time in one’s life. You’re moving to a new environment with new faces, people, cultures, and lifestyles to pursue the unknown. But for some, leaving their previous school may have been one of the best decisions they’ve made for their college experience.

Autumn Dancy, a fourth-year environmental science transfer student, agrees.

“My friendships made my college experience,” Dancy said. “I would not have the same happiness that I have now if I didn’t have bonds with the people I met and all the experiences I would have to go through on my own.”

According to Hobsons, 93 percent of transfer students reported being satisfied with their decision to transfer. On the other hand, 73 percent never initially saw themselves moving from their original schools.

Finding the right fit isn’t always easy; sometimes, our needs may change. Our school environments can make all the difference in finding your place in the world. A space that genuinely promotes community can make it much easier to see where you belong.

Maya Johnson, a fourth-year psychology transfer student, shares that she started at a predominantly white institution but just couldn’t find her footing there. Everything changed once she visited FAMU’s homecoming, the ultimate HBCU experience.

“Here, it feels like a community,” Johnson said. “It was easy to build stronger bonds. My other school was a commuter-type environment. There was no school pride, so no one really wanted to stay there to make friends anyway.”

These relationships can make all the difference in how you view your college experience. Connections and community can ultimately make or break one’s college experience.

“Luckily, I have people I love and care about to enjoy those experiences with, and it just makes it that much better,” Dancy said.

Getting involved is one of the best ways to find your circle, and many have found success in surrounding themselves with people who are as open as they are to building those connections.

“It’s kind of like a family away from home,” Johnson tells Journey. “Maybe it’s an HBCU thing, but at FAM(U), they try to promote community and everything! It makes me want to be around the people here more, and they wanna be around you.”

Everybody needs somebody. It’s how we get through our days. It’s how we feel again and get pulled outside our daily cycles. Some take longer to find than others, but once we find our tribe, there is nothing you can do to break it.

HBCUs are our tribe. As students, faculty, and parents, we often come together to share our love, pride, and admiration for our culture and its institutions. No matter what trials and tribulations we face, we show up for one another in the best ways we know. How blessed are we to have an experience where we feel at home even when we’re hundreds of miles away?