About the Author

Raya Reaves is the Founder and Finance Coach of City Girl Savings, LLC. She teaches women how to create and stick to realistic budget plans to reach their financial goals. Raya resides in Austin, Texas, with her boyfriend and two Yorkie dogs.

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Reader Interactions


  1. My alma mater is Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. FAMU changed my life!! My experiences there were times I will never forget!!! I love my HBCU!!

  2. Hi from Round Rock. You’ve said what I tried to explain to the many students I taught and counseled over the years. Campus culture IS important. Shout out to the smaller HBCUs that are doing the important work without notice, acclaim, or television spots, including the many small HBCUs colleges and universities in, Texas: especially my HBCU Jarvis Christian University!

  3. I LOVE MY HBCU and thank you for the shout out, HAMPTON U is indeed an amazing and magical place to learn and grow. Once you step foot on our “home by the sea” your life is changed forever. I am class of 1992 and still rep it like I graduated last year. I also share a love for all HBCUs and support the experience that comes from these legacy rich institutions. Your statement, “We’re not just going to college for the education. We’re also going to college for the experience. ” is perfectly said and I will be sharing that with my village of young people when I speak with them about college choices.

  4. Love your story. My father and brother attended Tuskegee University, but like you, I opted to attend a “PWI” – The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama (go Jaguars)! As the old folks say, “I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now”. I thank God for my experience and for keeping me through those experiences. I served as the president of the Black Student Union on campus and was called the “N” word by a member of a predominantly white fraternity while walking back to my dorm from an eight o’clock night course with one of my Asian friends, but it worked out okay. “God has a way” (another old folk saying). That part of my life prepared me for what was to come and what is to come. As that old Negro song says, “I believe I’ll run on and see what the end gon’ be. There’s something in the end for me”.

  5. Dillard University, New Orleans! #DUmyHBCU

    The culture, the nurturing and the love was an extraordinary experience for me!!

  6. Hello, I went to Norfolk state for my undergraduate degree and the Lincoln University for my graduated degree. I love both experiences. When I attended NSU I was 18 years old, and I attended LU as an older adult; I graduated in 2014. Both experiences were different yet the same in may ways. Thank you for the article, it actually put a smile on my face and had me think about being on Campus (NSU).

  7. Penn State University (“We Are”) class of ’71. Only 500 Black students on main campus of 25,000 back then. The brightest spot for shy me was joining Delta Sigma Theta–came from a small town knowing nothing about Greek life. More than 50 years later those DST women are still connected virtually and IRL sharing highs and lows. Real community.

  8. Although I never got to experience the college life, I enjoyed reading this because I did make sure my daughters did and I’m so glad to know they probably could write a similar story sharing their experience. One went to a diverse school and the other did not. I love hearing them share with each other about college life. As I read your story I felt sad for myself as a young girl but fulfilled as a mother.

  9. I toured a few PWI colleges on the east coast. I ended up attending Tufts Univ. in Medford, MA. and received my graduate degree from Long Island Univ. During Tufts black student recruitment weekend I was hooked. I had never been around so many academically focused and friendly black students. My Dad was a Hampton alum. We visited the campus after I had already committed to Tufts. As I look back, I wish I had included HU on my list. Thank you for the great article. It brought back fond memories.

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