Sometimes tradition should kick rocks

Kalea Sanders will be graduating from FAMU later this month. Photo courtesy Sanders

My time at Florida A&M University is finally coming to an end.

What an extensive journey of self-growth and social knowledge. Although attending an HBCU has been a wonderful experience full of opportunities, there are pros and cons like many facets of life.

One of the biggest pet peeves I’ve retained toward my HBCU is the concept of tradition. Tradition plays an enormous part in a student’s experience when attending most institutions. The difference between a PWI and an HBCU regarding the idea is the rate of advancement. Many non-Ivy League PWIs tend to be full of typical students willing to morph with the times.

For example, a millennial may have more influence at a PWI in making strives for equal opportunity than at an HBCU.

Not to say that the same practice wouldn’t be successful at an HBCU; however, I do believe it would take much longer for things to get done.

This is because the concept of tradition surrounds HBCU culture.

Many people never want to stray from tradition, which can be more of a hindrance than anything.

Financial aid is “traditionally” slow at an HBCU. By accepting this reality, you place the power in financial aid’s hand to continue serving at an alarmingly underachieving level because that is how things have always been.

Student advising can sometimes become so disengaged with students that the student will have to advise themselves on what classes to take and to not take. Should this behavior continue to be accepted just because taking the initiative in the advancement of one’s own life can help a student grow, or do we as students and some faculty members not want students to have the best and most engaging experience at the nation’s No. 1 public HBCU?

I will take things a step further and discuss the oh-so-fun topic of Greek life.

Why is it that students are so infatuated with the idea of old Greek life?

I have met people who believe their organization is unique in every way but discuss the culture and tradition of that same organization well before they’ve ever entered and even after a hiatus.

Those same traditions and practices that have banned organizations in the past continue to be brought up with no regard to the consequences they can produce today. But for some reason, it’s all worth it in the name of tradition.

Just because your Greek organization used to do something really stupid does that mean you have to continue that same thread today?

What about the concept of a fraternity and sorority?

The women in a sorority predominantly do “the less daunting work.” However, the men can take the lead when it comes to heavy lifting. I’m never opposed to asking for help when I need to, but I most definitely don’t need it just because the idea of a helpless young woman plagues the minds of many men. Not all men, thankfully.

I, of all people, understand that there should be spaces that allow women to conglomerate the same as men, but why should these old stigmas continue to live on just because our sexes are separated?

I’ve had about enough of these stigmas thrown my way, and I would hope one day that students at my HBCU would learn how to let go of these decrepit themes.

This is our time as students. Why live in the past when we can generate something new and morph experiences into our own? The concept can always stay, but these practices should get lost.