PWI’s, also known as predominately white institutions are colleges or universities where the majority of the student body is white.
That’s where I chose to go for undergrad. All of my life, I dreamed of going to this particular PWI because it had one of the best veterinary programs in the country, and I knew that my lifetime goal was to become a vet.
I guess you can call me naive, because even though I knew where I would be going for the next 4 years of my life following high school, I never really thought about certain things that would come along with attending a PWI as a minority.
For example, it took me forever to find friends who looked liked me, and when I finally did, I stuck to them like glue.
Also, those were the girls who encouraged me to start rocking my natural hair, so I did. The first day I rocked my new natural style ended up being the last day.
Everything was going great until I walked into English 101 and when my professor saw me it was as if she saw a ghost. She had this look of disgust on her face as if I came in wearing a trash bag on my head or something.
I shrugged it off because I didn’t particularly like that professor anyways, but I got those same odd looks from other professors later that day and also students.
Even one of my classmates asked me if I had a long night because she clearly thought I didn’t have enough time to do my hair that day for class, even though it was done.
Granted, it was a bit frizzy because of humidity, but it was still cute, in my opinion. When I got back to my dorm that day I cried to my roommate because I was really excited about my new natural journey, but I couldn’t deal with the looks and comments, so after that day, I wore my hair straight, and eventually ended up getting a relaxer the next month.
You may be reading this and think wow, that was drastic but when you are going through it, nothing seems drastic.
If I could go back and give a pep talk to freshman year of college me, I would tell younger self that no matter how many odd looks or strange comments you get about your hair, don’t change for anyone. Just make them adjust to you, and if they don’t oh well.