Posted on: June 10, 2021 Posted by: Historically Black Since Comments: 0

Bennett College is an all girls HBCU located in Greensboro, NC and founded in 1873, that has produced some remarkable leaders and world changers. We started the “Becoming a Bennett Belle” series to speak with Bennett College graduates and learn more about what becoming a Bennett Belle is all about.

Graduation Year- 2019

Major- Business Administration

What was your life like before attending Bennett College?

My life before Bennett College was a life where I knew I was capable of some greatness and began tapping into that, but I was not 100% confident in my ability to do great things, or to strive for excellence. I’ve always been an overachiever, however prior to Bennett, in high school I focused on my classes and doing well in my classes but there was a lack of desire or purpose.

What inspired your decision to attend Bennett College ?

Well truly, I believe God chose that path for me. I initially was going to Spelman College however because of someone financial uncertainties my family and I ended up deciding that I would go to school in the next year, in hopes that my family would become more financially stable. I was devastated, however accepted that I would be staying home. As the first week into August came and as many colleges began to prepare for the semester, a family friend who was serving as an ACT prep tutor for me during senior year of high school, was surprised to hear I wouldn’t be attending college that year. Especially given how well I did in high school. She spoke to my mother and I and was adamant that although Spelman didn’t offer me any scholarship money, that I shouldn’t lose hope because there was another all girls college available to me in NC, thus hearing about Bennett College.

This family friend actually was an alum of Bennett College herself and encouraged me that this was the college for me. She connected with another alum who was apart of a scholarship organization and said she would do the rest. All I had to do was submit an application. 10 days before the semester at Bennett College was about to begin, I sent in an application and within a couple days found out I was accepted. Bennett provided me with a scholarship that would take some of the financial burden I was struggling with. Without having much knowledge about Bennett College or never stepping foot on the campus, I went out on faith and traveled to North Carolina with my mother and the family friend to begin my journey at Bennett College. The rest is history!!!!

Are there other HBCU graduates in your family or are you first generation? If first generation, how does it feel starting the legacy of HBCU greatness?

I am a first generation HBCU graduate. My mother attended Clark Atlanta for 2 years however transferred to a PWI. It feels so amazing to be starting a legacy of HBCU greatness. I feel greatly indebted to my HBCU for how it helped mold me into the young woman I am today. I feel like a walking billboard for HBCU greatness and proudly root for any HBCU , especially in spaces where mention of HBCUs or knowledge of their existence or importance is small half of the time.

How did attending Bennett College transform you into the woman you are today ?

Bennett College transformed me into the woman I am today by giving me the tools and space to excel so greatly. Bennett college was my medium (soil) and I was the flower that upon matriculating through Bennett became a flower I never imagined I’d be. Bennett college fostered a supportive community that empowered me to walk fearlessly in the pursuit of all my goals, dreams and endeavors. Bennett was a safe space that gave me the opportunity to be challenged and learn and make mistakes that helped shape how I did things. There was so much space for opportunity at Bennett and I began taking on every opportunity I could get my hands on.

I saw Bennett as the place that helped me and i also felt that I wanted to help Bennett. Through this environment, I felt supported to stand out and strive for greatness, try any and everything, and through my sisters and community at large I became more confident honed in on skills and talents that I was just beginning to see in high school. Skills and talents that didn’t fully materialize until finishing college at Bennett. Bennett transformed me by showing me how to deal with doors that seem to be closed but could be opened through innovative thinking and persistence. Bennett transformed me by helping me see how much of a star I was, Bennett helped me see what was possible for me and helped me become someone who takes on challenges, uses a foundation of excellence to bring forth value to others. Bennett college helped me to acknowledge I am worthy, I have value, I am valuable which has changed and impacted how I show up the world!

What were some of the most memorable moments of your HBCU experience?

My most memorable moments: Traveling to china (with a group of 20 other girls) for a clean energy project, traveling to Brussels to attend a international leadership conference, Ebony Soul (our version of homecoming), Being an orientation leader and meeting so many new belles during orientation week, gathering all the seniors together to take senior pictures(something that hadn’t been done in 12 years), and cafe Takeovers

Leave us with some words of advice for future Bennett Belles

Take on all opportunities even if you feel like you’re afraid or you can’t or there is some self-imposed barrier you have put on yourself, just do it. Don’t let the feel of failing stop you from pursuing opportunities. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Think about the legacy you want to have when you leave Bennett and stick to it and make sure everything you do supports the legacy you want to leave behind. Don’t be afraid to speak out, be a voice and make changes you see that can positively impact your sisters. Embrace challenge and change.

Instagram handle

https://www.instagram.com/tylerbinion14/

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