New School, Old Concepts.
Backstory : As I end my 3rd year run working in orientation as an undergrad I desire to give some advice to first time in college students. Even more specifically first time in college students of color.
Post : It’s time to own it. You’ve made it through the practice round, although it didn’t feel like practice. You shot and you scored and now it’s time to show college what you’re made of.
1. You CAN do it. You’ve faced obstacles so far that could have held you back, but they haven’t. You may have had to take on responsibilities younger than most, but you’ve handled them like a grown up. You made the grades to get in, now all you must do is persevere, which you know how to do oh so well. Are the rough times over? Not at all, they are just beginning. This may be frightening, but in hindsight after all you’ve been through you will make it through this too. All the people who said you couldn’t are about to eat their words.
2. Little Black boy, little Black girl you are special, you are valued. This world has many ugly sides, but you are made of unwavering strength, solitude, and years of over-came struggles. This college life is for you too. No matter what your neighborhood looks like, no matter the affects the world has tried to force upon you. You too will inherit the earth. As you stride through a world filled with hate, injustice, and racism know that you are the changing force that will create a new world. You will inspire the next generation by simply being you. You will inspire your moms , dads, siblings, cousins to soar.
3. Study; study those books. You know the price, now pay it. You never had to study in high school right ? I know you’re smart, but it’s time to maximize your experience, and increase your knowledge. Prepare yourself for every test, educational or not. Learn through life, learn through the mistakes of others. There is nothing more dangerous, and safe in this world than knowledge.
4. Read These Books
a. The Souls of Black Folk – W.E.B Dubois
b. Their Eyes were Watching God – Zora H. Hurston
c. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
d. Up from Slavery – Booker T. Washington
e. Kindred Another Country – Octavia Butler
f. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
g. Uncle Tom’s Children – Richard Wright
h. Assata – Assata Shakur
5. Take CARE of SELF : Learn to love yourself in ways this world could never could. Take time to pray, reflect, meditate. Your wellness is so importance. This doesn’t just mean physical wellness ( although super important ) take steps to make sure your mental wellness is taken care of as well. You are the ruler of your kingdom, the world is truly your oyster, but you must be able to experience it.
6. You’re not alone. There’s many students out there just like you. Nervous of what the world has to offer, nervous that they won’t be enough. Nervous that they just can’t do it. Find strength in the fact that many before, and many after you have felt the same feelings. Make friends, have fun, study hard. These are the first years of the rest of your life. What you do now will set the tone for your future. Take it seriously, love yourself, do what you know you need to do.
· These are the tips I wish I had known.
Living long and prosper.
_ Ralph St.Vincent Bradley
Student, Intellectual, Black AF, Artist, Negus, Political Enthusiast