How to Make Them Proud

Let’s set the scene. Toddler Amanda, at Christmas opening gifts. I’m in a onesie with my hair all over my head, Mom is holding the  large video camera (early 90’s style), and my Dad is helping me open gifts in a golden terry cloth bathrobe. “You are going to be a doctor! But first go to Spelman,” he says as I open my Big Bird Doctor kit complete with stethoscope and plastic band-aids. I’m more concerned about the gifts than what he is saying.

That was years ago and I only have home videos to prove it happened. Almost 2 decades later things have changed. We don’t live in that house anymore and my Dad’s voice is really only a distant memory. I am also, not at Spelman or any Historically Black College/University (HBCU).  A decision I have never regretted but always wondered, “What if?”

Call it fate or the stars aligning but 20 days before my graduation day I was in Atlanta for vacation and visited the beautiful campus of Spelman College. Walking around my friends and I saw banners with beautiful pictures of Spelmanite’s that said, “Welcome.”

“Welcome” is exactly how I felt. The picstitchadvertisements had young women who looked like me on them, making it easy for me to picture myself there. It felt like it could have been home. I wonder if that is how white students feel when opening N.C. State ads that usually feature students that look like them front and center.

Now don’t get me wrong, this post is not about my wanting to reverse the clock and go to the school that would have made my Daddy proud. N.C. State holds a dear place in my heart and I will always be a part of the Wolfpack.

Just because I don’t look like the first class of Freshmen at N.C. State doesn’t mean I have not changed my school for the better with my presence. Now being older (not that much) and wiser (barely) I know that I have made my Dad and Mom proud by accomplishing the goals that I have set for myself, not the ones they made for me.

photo (14)
N.C. State’s first freshmen class in 1889, in front of Holladay Hall. Me in front of Holladay Hall 2014

Spelman will always be a beautiful thought even though I’ve only visited twice but sometimes it takes seeing what may have been to make you appreciate what actually is.


Until next time,


One thought on “How to Make Them Proud

  1. Beautiful. “…sometimes it takes seeing what may have been to make you appreciate what actually is.” Putting that one on a post-it note.

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