COLLEGE: How Howard Happened

By Jaylin Paschal

June 23, 2016. I went to Starbucks after I finished work at my internship. It had been a normal, but good day. Driving home, I received a call from a 202 area code and "Washington, DC" as the caller ID. Answered, expecting it to be someone from the summit I was to attend in DC the next week.

"Hello, Jaylin? This is a call from Howard University."

Eye roll. I was still pissed at HU. I had applied back in November, and in April I found out I wouldn't be able to go due to a very-small-damn-near-nonexistent financial aid letter. Yes, I know. Bratty and entitled reaction that I was trying to get over. I was still bitter about it, hence the eye roll.

"Yes?" I asked, most likely with an unintentionally sour tone.

And the conversation that took place after was to completely alter the course of my life. My financial aid award had been upgraded. Nearly quadrupled, actually. And I was offered the Capstone, a full scholarship.

So much for Ohio University. The school where I had already been through orientation, with a student ID card, a schedule, a roommate, and a dorm assignment. Just weeks after I had finally come to terms with the fact that I'd be studying in Athens--the last place on Earth I wanted to live; the campus culture I was dreading; the town of cicadas and hills--, I find out I can live a dream of mine, and go to an HBCU in the nation's capital.

With the way things played out, I'm more than sure the ordeal with OU was meant to humble me and teach me about money, appreciation, and positivity. I was put in a situation where I had to make the best out of something I really didn't want. As soon as I stopped hating OU and accepted it; began searching for good aspects rather than listing the bad; things turned around for me.

photo via @PickMyFro

It's a bit ridiculous how excited I am to be going to The Mecca. It will be worlds away from all I know, including my high school. An HBCU will be almost completely different from any educational setting I can remember, as I've been in a predominantly white, suburban school district since first grade.

I won't be "the black girl." I won't be the only person of color in a room. I won't be expected to act, or talk, or dress, or behave "black." I can retire from N-word patrol. I can actually, finally have a black teacher.

And to make things all the more magical, I get to do it in Washington, DC. Which is practically my-- and any other politico's or commentary writer's--Disneyland.

What I'm most excited about though, besides the world-class education, or the vast cultural experience, or amazing social scene, or the historic campus, or the HBCU culture, or the renowned professors, or the buzzing, busy DC vibe, is taking Creative Liberation along for the ride. Let's see how this goes.