Before I came to the University of Exeter, I was unsure about what to expect. I assumed because of how large the University is, the environment I would be in would be better than the previous schools I had attended, which had always lacked diversity.
However, it wasn’t until I spent my first week at Exeter that I noticed how easy it was to feel out of place as I walked around campus. Finding people that looked like me seemed to be a rare occurrence. Whilst my time here has been tainted by racial microaggressions in all sorts of contexts, I tried to not let this affect me and got involved in many aspects of University life.
I joined societies such as Women’s Basketball, and although when I joined, it was yet again hard to ignore that I was the only Black member, I was fortunate enough to meet people from all sorts of cultures and nationalities. I started to feel like I wasn’t an outsider but actually belonged because of how inclusive the members were, and I have made lifetime friendships.
Today I am on the committee of Women’s Basketball, and it is encouraging to see how supportive members of the committee have been in celebrating Black History Month. My top tip for studying at the University of Exeter as a black student is; do not feel discouraged by the lack of diversity you see, and instead try to get involved as much as you can with different societies. You may inspire others to join as well. .
It’s easy to feel as though you won’t meet people that share your interests, but you will be surprised. I know I was.