Though everyone’s university experience is unique there are some things as black students that we all face and are generally unavoidable wherever you go.
Here are some of our top tips for surviving university when you’re a black face in a predominantly white space:
Join your cultural society to meet like minded individuals that share the same lived experiences as you. Often in these spaces, the black students are far and few between. Though the cultural society won’t contain them all you will meet a handful and maybe even your best mates!
When an event is advertised as ‘Caribbean Carnival theme’ you can be sure as day it will not resemble any carnival you’ve ever been to so don’t even bother. Unfortunately, promoters paint a whole culture and region as an aesthetic that can be worn. It’s so frustrating to finally feel like you’re going to go out to a goodnight only to hear the drum and bass remix of ‘hold yuh’.
Let’s be honest, Sean Paul – Temperature is the closest thing to Carnival you will hear in the club and when that’s over you better get used to that Basshunter and Skrillex.
Although it’s important to make an effort to get to know people at uni, don’t feel like you have to go to every single event, especially if you know you won’t enjoy it. It is usually these nights you regret the most. Everyone suffers from the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) but sometimes it’s just money spent and time wasted for NO reason.
For the sake of your mental health, you do NOT have to engage in every single discussion/debate on race and identity. If I had a penny for every time someone said or tagged me in some nonsense about race I’d be a rich woman. If I engaged in the discussion every time they did, I’d be a dead woman. Preserve yourself!
Although, there will be times when you feel like you’ve just had enough and you have to pop off. Just know that your anger is justified and these spaces can be too much so it’s okay to shut someone down every now and again.
Self-care is a MUST! University can feel very suffocating you need to ensure you put yourself first, have an allocated time regularly dedicated to doing things that YOU enjoy.
Mental health is a huge factor of your university experience.Black girls are more likely to self-harm than any other group, we know that mental health is a something that exists when you’re at university and it is very important that you are aware of the facilities your university and your city has to offer.
Lastly, always remember that you are incredible and very able. Just being where you are is a massive achievement. Don’t be so hard on yourself and be unapologetically you in everything you do.