Being Black on Campus

Racism is alive and well on college campuses across America.

This isn’t the age of legal segregation, but black students still don’t feel welcome on US campuses.

Microaggressions aren’t that big of a deal, but taken along, they are:


That’s why folks have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #BlackOnCampus.


And it’s not just students who are speaking out. Black professors have also chimed in with their own experiences. 


Around 15% of US college students in the country are black, but only 6% of college faculty are. 79% of college faculty are white.

In fact, there isn’t a single state flagship university where the black faculty reaches 10%. And only a handful of them have more than 5%.

In the last 25 years, the number of black students on US campuses has increased, but dropout rates remain disproportionately higher for black students, compared to their white classmates. 

Only 21% of black college students graduate in four years, compared to roughly 43% of white students.

Many universities have a formal system for reporting racist incidents and hate-crimes, but this isn’t enough. And it is some kind of apathy from administration.

Fifty years after the Civil Rights Act, when will colleges create a safe and welcoming environment for black students?

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28/6/16 10:37 PM // typing out notes from my seminar today + awesome view of Oxford from the top of the tower at St. Margaret’s Church. I have a total of 3 courseworks to complete so far. The summer course has been pretty great and I’ve made more friends than I expected so 😁

ok losers it’s your girl polcry here to run you through the basics of what the darn heck to bring with you to university to cover your naked body 

B A S I C S 

If you’re edgy and ~minimalist~ these’ll probably comprise the majority of your wardrobe. Regardless, you’re going to want to bring at least a few each of these.

LEGGINGS: at least one black pair, possibly more if you’ve accepted the inevitability of not giving a shit how you look at for 9ams. You can also get funky and bring patterned ones if you so desire, you maverick.

JEANS: I prefer jeggings for the comfort feel and ability to do spontaneous high kicks, but if you’re a fashionista boyfriend or bootcut jeans are cool too. Trust me, the freshman fifteen is real and if you have to choose between a lil’ too big and a lil’ too small, go big. Belts exist for a reason.

T-SHIRTS: you can get a wide array of fits of tees, so bring a few of your favourite style in simple colours like white/black/grey/striped. I find slightly wearing a slightly oversized tee gives off a certain effortless vibe, especially if you tuck the front in to the waistband of jeans to give it an IDGAF drape and pair with cute AF shoes. Hella cute with no effort. 

SWEATSHIRTS/JUMPERS/SWEATERS: I live in jumpers. I’m not going to lie. Go oversized with leggings or skinny jeans, maybe add a layer underneath if it’s a lil’ chilly. If you live somewhere that feels like the depths of Antartica, you might want to go with a finer knit and layer under and above. The struggle of getting a thick coat over a chunky jumper is real, guys. Turtlenecks, crew necks, V-necks. They’re all good. Avoid collecting too many sweatshirts with your university’s name on it, though - you will look over-enthusiastic. 

SHOES: one word: COMFORT. Campuses are big places. Chances are, you’ll be walking a fair bit. I love trainers - I have a pair of black Nikes, a pair of white Reeboks and a black slip-on pair. Converse, Adidas, New Balance are all popular. They crop up on the feet of almost everyone. Look down, and I guarantee the vast majority of any university class are wearing trainers. 

If you’re like me and enjoy torturing yourself, you can also wear heeled boots. I find them weirdly comfortable, probably due to my excessively hyperextended knees. Pointy ankle boots always look chic, but frankly people will be so surprised that you’ve made an effort that any type will impress. Zara’s always a good choice for cute boots. 

I’d avoid opened-toed or flats that expose a lot of your foot during autumn/winter/spring. It’ll probably rain, and then you’ll be cold and miserable and have soggy feet. Wellies (or rainboots for you strange Yanks) are a good choice if you’ll be in a wet climate (hello England), but they can be a bit cumbersome. Try and get some lower-cut ones to reduce the weight and to stop you from stomping excessively. 

COATS: this is pretty personal. Again, if it’s wet, I’d recommend something at least water-resistant. I have a North Face windbreaker that I keep in my car in case it starts tipping it down, but it’s not particularly warm. Leather/suede jackets look cute but are not a good choice if it looks like it might rain. Other than that, anything goes. I have a cute beige pea coat from ASOS that I love, and a shearling jacket from Bershka which is far too cool for a dork like me.

L O U N G E W E A R 

PJs: buy yourself some new ones. Please. Your flatmates don’t want to see your lady parts through that ever-expanding hole in the crotch. Some university flats feel like the pits of hell, so it might be a good idea to bring a few pair of short PJs too. You can always swap them out for joggers or leggings when you’re not snoozin’. I can always find cute pyjamas in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Primark. 

SWEATPANTS: as comfy as PJs but with the added bonus of being socially acceptable. Whether you prefer a tapered, slim fit or big ‘n’ baggy, make sure they’re stain-free and don’t smell funky. Bring a couple of pairs and rotate through as necessary. 

BRAS: regardless of whether you have the athletic capabilities of a sloth or Michael Phelps, you will want to bring sports bras. Hides the nips with basically no discomfort. Bralettes are cute too, but I’m an advocate of sports bras if you’re just slugging out in front of Netflix and nobody is going to see it. Forever 21 do a massive selection of surprisingly pretty sports bras with all sorts of fancy backs. Not so good for exercising, but really the majority of people don’t wear sports bras to exercise. 

F A N C Y 

PARTYING: this will depend a little on where you attend university. For me, going out outfits are high-waisted jeans, a fancy-ish crop top and flat shoes of some description. Club floors get hella slippery. More casual dresses are fine too, but make sure you gauge what your friends are going to be wearing so you don’t look too overdressed.

EVENTS: bring a nice dress or trousers/shirt. There will be fancier events (sports balls, end of term balls, society balls). They don’t always require black tie, so a cocktail dress is a good choice. Boys, bring a suit jacket. It doesn’t have to be tails or a tux, but bringing a tailored blazer that’ll match or compliment a pair of trousers you own will come in handy. And absolutely NO JEANS. Along the same lines, bring at least one pair of smart shoes/heels. Ladies, flats are more than acceptable for fancy events. Just make sure they’re cute. 

BUSINESSWEAR: “But Isabelle!” I hear you cry, “I’m in college! I don’t need businesswear!” Yes, my friend, yes you do. Interviews happen. You might need a part-time job, or get a spontaneous interview for an internship. Bring an office-appropriate skirt/trousers and a blouse/shirt, and some simple, smart shoes. You don’t have to go full-on Olivia Pope, but make sure you have one suitable outfit in your repertoire. 

Q U I C K   T I P S 

Accessories make an outfit: bring a choice of belts, scarves and miscellaneous wraps or shawls. By throwing on a buckled belt and a cute layered necklace, you can go from meh to a-meh-zing. 

Sign up for student discounts: British students, that means unidays. Register with your university email for discounts ranging from 10-25%. They’ll notify you when retailers that don’t have a permanent discount (like H&M) run promotions as well. Make sure you use your discount for eating out and going to the cinema, too!

Quality > quantity: the capsule wardrobe trend is real, folks. I’m an advocate of having a smaller, but better-made and better-fitting, wardrobe over one that’s overflowing and filled with cheap, low-quality clothing that’ll last a couple of wears. If you’re wearing pieces day-in day-out, make sure they’re flattering and of good quality. Having a smaller wardrobe makes moving in and out easier, too, and you’ll spend less time staring at all your clothes trying to mentally piece together something cute. 

Expensive =/= good quality: along the same lines, just because something is pricy doesn’t automatically make it of good quality. You can get really good basics at affordable shops. Feel the material (and make sure it’s relatively opaque), make sure the stitching is solid, and that it doesn’t have pulls or piling or holes. I like New Look and ASOS for simple pieces. 

Make an effort: it sounds silly, but lecturers and tutors do appreciate it when you don’t turn up looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed. Looking presentable makes them feel like you want to be there, which can make them a) like you more and b) more inclined to want to help you out if you need it. It isn’t that hard to put a pair of jeans and a blouse on instead of throwing a pair of joggers on under the T-shirt with ramen stains on that you slept in the night before, is it?

That’s pretty much it. University is a place to explore your own personal style, and you’ll see a massive variety in how people dress. Express yourself, learn what you like on, and don’t feel under pressure to dress a certain way! Style is definitely a creative outlet, so if you want to - use it and enjoy yourself!!

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28/7/16 7:08 AM // last week’s bullet journal spread + details. sorry for being inactive but life’s been pretty hectic recently. I’ve got a debate today for the student council campaign and I’m super nervous… but anyway