Unless you’ve been under a rock (and just don’t care for urban media) you read about the backlash Vibe Magazine is getting regarding a story published about former cross-dressing Morehouse students. I won’t go into details, but regardless of the story’s content or point, students took it personally, defending their dear Morehouse to the death. Amongst the pandemonium, I read a tweet in my timeline that said HBCU elitism is hysterical.
You know what I say to that? Damn right! Why shouldn’t it be?
Nothing gets us more excited than rattling off famous alumni, bragging on our historical value or how great our marching band is, except that which emcompasses it all— HOMECOMING.
That’s right. It’s HBCU Homecoming season, one of the most wonderful times of the year! I attended mine this weekend, and I’m still recuperating. In 11 years, I’ve only missed one, and I still regret it. Around July, even May, the buzz question is likely to be: “You goin’ to Homecoming?” The week prior to the festivities, I listened to the male BFF talk about the foolery and debauchery sure to ensue for the weekend. Things that only college-age folks should do, he and his boys were planning to do 10x. When I questioned his sense of decorum, he simply replied like he always does: “What do you mean?? It’s HOMECOMING!!
This is the standard answer/excuse to do things you have no business doing for the weekend. Maybe that’s the appeal of it all. Every year thousands of alumni, some even with baby strollers and diaper bags in tow arrive on campus ready for tailgating, football games and partying (My linesister and her husband attended with all four of their children–eight-month old included).
One might ask why must we travel from near and far every year. Is it that serious??
Is it really possible to compact the culmination of feelings, good times and experiences of four years into two to three days?
YES, even if you almost kill yourself in the process. After you take the following week to re-up, you know it was worth it. (I’m speaking from experience here.) As I get older, I see that Homecoming should be more than a weekend, but a time to reflect and learn, even while recovering from a hangover. I present lessons Homecoming should teach you:
1. Fine ain’t always forever.
How disappointing it is to see the “finest guy/girl on the yard” at Homecoming resembling Mr. Potato Head. Time can either make or break all of us. Yes, marriage and babies can change us, but atleast be recognizable. If seeing folks who have “fallen off” doesn’t sadden you, it should atleast inspire you to tighten yourself up.
2. Graduation does not equal maturity.
Unfortunately, when we walk across the stage and become an “adult,” we don’t automatically change mentally or emotionally. Having a high-paying job, big house, spouse and even children doesn’t make some any less of the assholes they were in college. All you can do is give them time… or not give a damn. It is what it is.
3. Thankfully, things and people can really change–you included.
Remember that guy/girl you used to be head over heels in love with? That chick who hated you for no apparent reason? That non-ceasing awkward feeling you had always when around that certain someone? All of that can fade and things can be back to normal. What a relief.
4. But some things remain the same.
Aside from minor changes, you can actually have the same or somewhat similar fun you had in college. For many, this is the one time of the year when they can swap the suit and tie or power suit for jeans, fitted dresses and glam to down endless drinks (or Omega Oil, Alpha Punch or Nupe Juice). Everyone seems to have the same agenda: go in. Have you ever smelled or felt a memory? That happened to me as my friends I danced uncontrollably in the middle of the floor at party. Just like old times.
5. You really didn’t know everyone.
Know matter how off the charts your popularity was, there’s always someone you missed that you wish you hadn’t. Maybe they sat next to you in Biology or worked with you at your off-campus job. Maybe they always saw you in the union. So when they approach you, it’s a surprise. Just because you didn’t see them, doesn’t mean they didn’t exist.
6. I’m not sure it’s possible to have a good Homecoming if you didn’t make the best of the time you had when you were there.
Maybe I’m wrong, but why come “home” to a place you didn’t care for when you were there? Homecoming isn’t only about partying, but it’s about appreciation for your school, reflection on your experiences. Have you ever gone to Homecoming with someone who hated their college years? Me neither, but I can imagine it’s not fun. No, you can’t get the time back, but you can make the best of today.
7. Looking back, it really wasn’t that serious. Really.
Everyone has regrets. It’s not humanly possible not to. Possibly, there were some missed opportunities, slip-ups and rejections while in college. It happens. Then, you may have thought you weren’t going to live through it all. It’s funny how when you mature, work and acquire real responsibility and bills, those old wounds and hurts dim in comparison. Hopefully, you can find strength in them. So when you see that girl who “stole” your boyfriend or you think about the pageant you didn’t place in, do us all a favor–think about your life now and let it go.
No matter what school you attended–Happy Homecoming! And if you didn’t go to school, find one to attend. It hasn’t stopped anyone else.