I’m a freshman at the University of Florida, which is currently the Top 7 Public School in the United States. The university has high standards when it comes to academics, and I’m truly grateful to be at one of the most academically excelling universities in the country. It wasn’t easy getting here. That being said, I truly love it here but I, along with many other black students here, recognize the low diversity and racial tension.
Black people make up 7.08% of the population here at the University of Florida, which is 0.27% less than the Asian population and nearly 8% less than the Hispanic population. Meanwhile, the Caucasian population makes up nearly 60%. I found these statistics at the University’s website here, and the charts and data reveal one thing: the University of Florida gets an A in academics but most certainly a D or F in diversity.
Featured Image Based on the Netflix Original Dear White People
At such a large university, it’s easy to feel like just a number on campus, especially as a minority. That’s why I am trying to get involved in as many clubs and organizations I can handle. In fact, I participated in the Black Student Union events and program the week school started. The black community here at the University of Florida is small but strong. It’s genuinely nice to be surrounded by people who share the same culture and tastes as you. Not only am I a Black Student Union member, but I frequently visit the Black Enrichment Center, which is a lounge for black students to study, socialize, or simply be present. There are so many ways to get involved in Black UF, which I find enlightening. However, when I step out and go to the library or class, I am reminded that the black population is small. Many times, there is only one other person in class that looks like me.
Although I am involved within the black community at my university, I still face issues from being a minority, as I mentioned the lack of diversity in the classroom, and and a female. Women still have to protect ourselves, try to arrive and leave in groups at parties, and beware of frat boys. There were A LOT of things I had to learn, just in my first month, about the black community, including how I present myself, who I associate myself with, and how to properly join different organizations. I also tried applying to a leadership program within the Black Student Union, and when I didn’t get in, it was hard to believe. I was not prepared for the rejection, but I have moved past it (although the wound is fresh).
I have been involved in more clubs and organizations beyond the Black Student Union. I have joined Women in Sports Media, which is perfect for my major in journalism. At this point, I plan to be involved within the black community here at UF, but I’ve also learned to engage in more clubs and organizations, especially those that relate to my major.
That being said, it took a month for me to settle in, get rejected (and not just from my leadership program), and still put myself together. Although I’ve always wanted to leave the house and be on my own, I miss my family and close friends, so the first month was hard to combat homesickness and feelings of loneliness. However, I’ve made quite a few friends, I’m involved, and I plan to excel academically which is the number one reason I’m attending this university. There’s still a lot more learning to go since I’ve only been here a month, but I feel like I’m already growing and learning to face the issues of the real world.