Culture, EDITORIAL

Essay – What it Means to be a Bison

By Courtney Diggs, Staff Reporter

All college students remember being in the final stride of their high school career anxiously refreshing their web browsers to find out if they were accepted into the college of their choosing. When making a final college decision, various aspects can be taken into consideration, such as the location and academic ranking. No matter your reasoning for choosing Howard University for your undergraduate or graduate years, the culture of the school makes being a Bison a truly once in a lifetime experience.

People have their own unique ways of bonding with others, but Howard University students primarily find themselves bonding in the different cafes. Every week in the Annex and Blackburn Cafe, students can find themselves standing in a crowded cafeteria for soul food Thursdays. There’s music, southern dishes and smiles all around creating a warm, comfortable atmosphere for the day’s visitors. When all these aspects come together for the predominantly African diasporic student body, it creates a homey feeling for many out-of-state students missing their families living miles away. Students of the space find themselves socializing and creating friendships with one another because of the bonds food can create. Though the cafes can be used as a calm meeting space, they also can be used to kick off a weekend of partying.

On the first Friday of every month at Punchout in Blackburn Cafe, a party is held to get students hype for the upcoming weekend and give a fun jumpstart for the rest of the month that will follow. The music choices range from Dancehall to RnB, bringing the diverse student body together. Attendees dance, sing along or just sit talking with one another of nurturing and forming relationships with their peers on campus. While students can find themselves socializing within the University’s buildings, they also converse in the outdoor spaces as well.

The Yard is the most popular space in which people can find themselves coming to socialize at during the warm weather seasons. It is the staple piece of Howard University that people from across the country can find themselves hanging out in because of the various types of events that are held in the area. The popular time of year for Howard University is fall Homecoming week. The highlight of the party week is Yardfest held toward the end of the festivities. The Yard’s culture goes beyond just the large events held on it throughout the years, though.

The Yard is an intersection of passageways between several of the different academic buildings, Blackburn and Founder’s Library. During the warm weather, people can be found lounging in the area enjoying the weather to finally get out their dorms for something other than eating and going to class. Some students bring their speakers to blast music in the air for all to enjoy or ice cream to have satisfy their sweet tooth with friends. The kinship created on the Yard and in the cafes gives a social culture to Howard that is not seen at other colleges and universities. It has such a welcoming atmosphere that people from all over come to enjoy it as well. The socialization aspects of the University are not the only things that make being enrolled at the school unique.

The academic and career opportunities held within Howard University are enriching. The university pushes a lot of various career initiative events, specifically ones to help create or improve resumes and cover letters. To get a good job in the workforce, one needs to hold a substantial resume and cover for applying to various companies. The Office of Career Services provides these workshops frequently for students to attend through the academic school year for applying to internships, jobs, and more. The office, also, provides different job and internship opportunities for student to apply to in their chosen career field. Howard, also, holds different career fairs, networking events, and panel discussions with name brand companies for all majors to go and excel. While the school itself provides essential career events for students, the faculty members of the school do as well.

The faculty members of Howard University are not just random teachers straight out of college, but professionals that worked in their field and now ready to pour their knowledge into the younger generation. Since the professors worked or are currently working within the fields they are teaching, they still hold contacts from their career. This allows them to give students connections to other professionals in their field and begin building their contact book as early in their college years as possible. The frequency of these types of events and ability to connect with working connections puts Howard students at an advantage compared to other schools because there are opportunities to mingle with professionals in their field and learn hands-on skills more often. The career opportunities at Howard University are endless for its students and alumni, which helps the school to create exclusive experience for the people that attend it.

A Bison is not just a mascot of Howard University, but a treasured part of society. Companies seek out Howard’s students for career offers because of the known skill set and knowledge that current students and alumni hold after leaving the University. People from other schools long to be apart of the Mecca in order to get the popularized campus experience seen on social media. You may have chosen to be a Bison on your college acceptance day but continuing to stay one is a sacred privilege that can be taken away so those of us who remain must continue to uplift the legacy and ease the burdens of those who come after us. Getting into Howard University is not an easy task nor is keeping the grades and finances to stay in. The experience of going through the rough hustle and grind with peers to support you along the way is not something offered at all colleges. Do not leave this campus closed minded and not allowing yourself to fully experience the life of a Bison, but rather embrace the role and changes that will follow.

May 4, 2019