Junior Year: My HBCU Experience

Howard U. is my home away from home.

Junior Year: My HBCU Experience (Courtesy of Caleb Brantley)

ChicagoIn just two weeks, I will be boarding a plane back to Washington D.C. for my junior year of college. This 1 hour and 50-minute flight will feel like the longest and most anticipated flight I’ve had in the longest time! It would be an understatement to say there is so much I’m looking forward to when I get back.  

I look forward to stepping on campus to attend my class lectures and end each day with campus activities. I look forward to going to my favorite D.C. food staple, Ben’s Chili Bowl. I look forward to doing my school’s favorite chant “HU … YOU KNOW!” and singing the lyrics to “Dreams and Nightmares” or doing the “Swag and Surf” dance. 

My name is Caleb Brantley. I am a junior political science major, criminology minor, from Chicago and I attend Howard University. I look forward to going to my home away from home. This isn’t even half of it! 

I look forward to moving off campus this year! Back in March, I secured the lease to my brand-new apartment. It’s about 20 minutes away from the campus so it’s not too far. I love the fact that I have a place to call my own. What makes it even better is that my roommate is the same from the previous year. Not to mention that we’ve known each other since freshman year. There was no way that we were splitting up now. He’s probably the first roommate, outside of my own brother, that I enjoyed sharing a space with. This year with him and the new space is going to be great!

Not only will I be living with my roommate, but my entire friend group is staying in the same building. I’m looking forward to seeing them as soon as I arrive! The one thing about Howard, and any college for that matter, is that finding a friend group early on might seem difficult, but once you find one, you guys become bonded right away. We formed this group last year, and it seems as though we’ve known each other for years.

Last year alone, we went to a pumpkin patch, the Howard vs Harvard football game, which we lost, unfortunately, the movies and several restaurants. If it wasn’t obvious, we’re stacked on our dollar bills. If we wanted to stay cheap though, my roommate and I hosted kickbacks and other events at our place just for our friend group. He hosted a Friendsgiving and a secret Santa get-together. We also stayed up past midnight countless times on random nights. 

In short, I really love hanging out with my friends and I’m looking forward to attending my classes. 

This year I am taking 19 credit hours, which is equivalent to six classes. I tried to add in one more, but our limit is 21 credits. But it’s OK, there’s always next semester. The classes that I do have, however, should be very promising. This semester I am taking Technical Writing (Pre-law), Constitutional Law I, Intro to Political Theory, American Foreign Policy, Spanish II, and College Algebra II. This will be the first time that most of my classes are in person. 

Being at Howard has taught me that the in-person class setting is so much better. I get to connect with my peers and professors in a more productive way compared to online classes. Most importantly, I just love that my major allows me to take classes that involve abstract thinking. I love when there are multiple answers to a question. Perks of being a political science major, minus all the papers that I must write. 

One of the last few things I’m really looking forward to is participating in more clubs and extracurriculars. While I am a part of a good number now, I want to see if I can expand my interests. I’m currently thinking about joining the gospel choir at Howard and the mock trial team. As of now, I am a part of the Future Law Scholars, the NAACP, the Wesley Foundation, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. 

These are just some of the things that I am looking forward to, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. I guess even I might be surprised. Who knows what will happen at Howard. Here’s to another year!

Caleb Brantley (he/his) is a Chicago native who attends Howard University in the nation’s capital.

Edited by Nykeya Woods

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