How to Survive your First Homecoming

Tips and Tricks for Navigating the Homecoming season

Every year Alumni, families, and students from neighboring schools travel to the various
homecomings of each of the 103 HBCUs. From Day Parties to Tailgates, the essence that
is found at homecoming of a Historically Black College or University, is like no other.
“oldhead’s” grill on the yard, Greeks pop out to rep their colors and letters, and past
friendships are rekindled. For a first-year student at a HBCU homecoming can be a lot to
take in.

I myself am a freshman at Hampton University, and have only experienced Homecoming
through the eyes of my parents. As I embark on the journey of my own first Homecoming, I am beginning to understand what it means to experience this for myself. Therefore, I sought the advice of those who’ve gone before to learn what it takes to
navigate this iconic event.

In the Words of Hampton University Sophomore Sobenna Egwuekwe “Everything is
taken to the max. If you think you are prepared…you are not.”

Welcome to Black Fashion Week

One thing that Homecoming at HBCUs is notorious for is Fashion. Black people know
how to dress up, and Homecoming is their fashion week. Sobenna advises to put on your
best fits all week, but also have the confidence to match what you are wearing. It truly is
one thing to put on a fit, and another thing to wear it.

Jackson state sophomore Heaven Lomotey also suggests that you are comfortable in what
you are wearing. You should be able to endure any emergency, weather, or situation while
wearing the outfit that you have on. When it comes down to it, it’s important to own your style. You don’t have to dress like everyone else, and when you do “pop out” find a way to really make it you.

Meet New People and Make Connections

The longer you dwell in the HBCU community, the more you realize how much of a
“small world” it is. Homecoming is one of the best times to network, meet new people,
and gain new connections.

Whether it be visitors of school or alumni, the community spirit that comes with being at
an HBCU homecoming can provide you with various opportunities.
Do not be afraid to talk to the alumni, they have been in your position before, and are
always looking to help. Terronce Estell, a Morris Brown College Alum states, “Make
sure you meet and connect with some older alumni that might assist you in your next
levels.” There have been several instances where students may gain internships, or even
job positions, just because they asked an alum how their day was going.

Stay safe and Prepared

Yet with such a large amount of people, it is also important to stay safe. In light of the
recent misfortunes at Morgan, and Bowie State University, it has become even more
imperative to watch one’s surroundings. As cliche as it sounds, you should always travel
in a group, the buddy system may save your life.

You also don’t have to tell everyone all of your business. If you meet someone you are
not familiar with, do not immediately give them information about your place of
residence, age, name, etc. Other tips include always having your phone charged, and
surrounding yourself with the right people

Work Hard so you can “Party” Harder

When you move intentionally, homecoming can be a lot of fun. Hampton Alum Bettye
Watkins suggests that you enjoy as many of the activities your schedule will allow.
Classes do continue to occur, so get your work done before being “outside”. It’s important
to remember that your academic priorities always come first, don’t let the excitement of
the events keep you from getting your work done. If you prepare in advance, the entirety
of the week will be much easier.

As stated by Howard Alum Tasion Kwamilele “Homecoming is not just about attending
the Big game and showing school pride, but also about celebrating your journey, and
becoming a part of the rich legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

At an HBCU, homecoming is the biggest event of the year. Typically, you only get four
opportunities as a student to experience it. Therefore remember to be safe, genuinely
enjoy the memories, and take time to take in the grandeur of it all.

Check out this Post by @thehbcuseries on instagram created by Hampton Alum: Megan McIntyre

Where the HBCU Culture Resides