Contributing Author: Taylor Bembery Twitter: @taylorbembery
You’ve made it across the stage at commencement and now you have the bragging rights of being an alumnus of your perspective alma mater, but for the past four, five, or hell; maybe six years, you have celebrated homecoming as an undergraduate student. You participated in all the festivities including the pre-game, the turn-up, and the horrible hangover the morning after but now it is time to elevate the celebration of your first real homecoming as an alumnus. Yes, first “real homecoming”, because everyone knows that homecoming is designated for alumni to prowl on their old stomping grounds; and now it is your turn. Homecoming season usually starts in late September and ends in early November, so here are some tips to make the best of your first homecoming experience as an alumnus.
1. Save your money, even if it’s funny.
Preparation is key. No matter if you have a temporary job to keep your head above water or you landed your financial rewarding dream job straight out of college, you should still be saving your money. Attending homecoming as an alumnus, you have to pay for travel accommodations, alumni parties, etc. The days of using your student ID to pay for meals and free entry to the homecoming game are over. Now you actually have to fund yourself.
2. Donate, If you can.
There is always a huge controversy on whether alumni from HBCU’s support their universities after graduating. Considering times may be hard and Fed Loan
Services are sending letters to mailboxes like clockwork; it is understandable that some recent graduates may not have the money for endowment. However, if you can’t donate your money, donate your time through giving advice or mentoring an incoming freshman that is majoring in what you received your degree in. Even donating as little as $25 to $100 makes a difference. Whether you are providing service or payment, it all moves your alma mater into a progressive direction.
3. Adapt a Healthier Lifestyle
For some, productivity slows down due to transitioning from college to “the real word”. You can’t control the changing and competitive job hunt but one thing you can control is your health. Don’t be the alumnus that let themselves go after graduating! Pick up good habits such as eating a well balanced diet, meditating, and committing to a fitness regimen. Those actions will ultimately contribute to a happier and healthier you!
4. Make Travel Plans Earlier
Dorm life on campus is over and you might not be able to crash at your friend’s apartment, so don’t wait until the last minute to book travel accommodations. Usually the best deals for flights and hotels are available one to two months prior to the event. Also, check with hotels in your college town before booking because they may provide alumni discounts on rooms.
5. Make a mends and reconnect with old classmates
If you’re still frenemies with someone because they were “talking” to the person that you liked on campus; squash the beef and get over it. I mean the whole idea of becoming an alumnus is basically a rites of passage to put away childish behaviors. Don’t hold a grudge with someone, reconnect with them and use homecoming as a reunion for positivity and fellowship.
6. Plan to share the “HBCU Homecoming Experience”
So you may have that cousin that never got the chance to go to college or maybe you have a friend that attended a “PWI” that doesn’t quite understand the passion you have for your HBCU. Share the “HBCU Homecoming Experience” with your family or friends by bringing them along to enjoy a weekend of life-changing festivities and memorable moments. Once unfamiliar people get a glimpse of the heritage, pride, and lifestyle at a HBCU, there will be no question that homecoming at HBCUs are the pinnacle of college experiences.
7. Get Business Cards Made
Believe it or not, all the opportunity you are searching for may very well be at homecoming weekend. There will be alumni there that are seasoned in their career fields so: network, network, network! You may meet someone that can help you get closer to you dream job or gain a great mentor. Being that you are fresh out of undergraduate, you are going to flock to attend events that are for current students, however don’t forget to attend alumni mixers, day parties, tailgating events, etc. Leave a lasting impression by providing other alumni with a professional business card.
8. Have fun!
After you graduated and the commencement bliss wore off, you might suffer from an occasional case of the HBCU Blues. You may find yourself reminiscing on good times back in undergrad or possibly try to figure out how college went by so fast, but don’t go playing the world’s smallest violin too fast. There is no reason to be sad that your college days are behind you, so don’t hesitate to go to your first homecoming as an alumnus. Don’t forget to purchase new paraphernalia from your university once you get there, so when you leave you can still represent your HBCU in your hometown, work place, etc. Remember to have fun because homecoming only comes around once a year.
Taylor Bembery Short Biography:
Taylor Bembery is a graduate of Jackson State University from Detroit, Mich. Taylor has had the passion of learning and talking to others about their experiences since she could pick up a pen and pad. She focuses her life around The Seven F’s: Faith, Family, Finances, (her) Future, Fitness, Fashion and Fun. Her life motto is: “I love telling your story.” and she is determined to become a champion for people through storytelling.