September 25, 2008

Positively Brainy

After attending USC for two years, I transferred and graduated from UCLA in 1985, becoming the only male in my family to earn a college degree. College was full of fun times and tough times. I had never even stepped foot in the Golden State before my first week at Southern Cal. Coming from Indianapolis, Indiana, I had lived a relatively sheltered life, but a few weeks in LA LA land took care of that.

During registration week, while I was walking on fraternity row, an anonymous voice from inside the Sigma Chi house at USC called me nigger. This was around the same time I learned that the all-white fraternities didn't let black students like me rush. It was all a crushing blow to my young soul. I came to California to start anew and find a place to fit in. A few days after landing at LAX, the rich white boys who ruled the school had put me in my place.

That night, I borrowed a friend's bike, rode to the nearby LA Memorial Coliseum, and cried my broken heart out. I also vowed to eventually get the hell out of USC. Two years later, I found a friendlier school in UCLA. I also found I was more the public education type. Most of all, I'm glad I persevered and got my diploma, one of my greatest feats. And I'm glad I took the message to heart when my parents emphasized the importance of a good education. Thanks, mom, for the love and support, and the cookies!