Ladies and gentlemen, homecoming season has passed, but it’s never too early to prepare for next year’s festivities.
Homecoming at HBCUs across the nation are on a whole different universe, and while there’s much debate surrounding which HBCU has the best homecoming of all time, all HBCU homecomings are special.
Over the years, we’ve given you 21 reasons why Howard University’s Homecoming is the greatest homecoming of all time and every Howard Homecoming party that’s worth your time and money.
Quite frankly, we can give you 21 MORE reasons why Howard’s is the greatest of all time, but this isn’t about Howard Homecoming, it’s about HBCUs. So today, we’re going to educate those who are looking to venture to an HBCU homecoming for the very first time.
The gems we’re about to give you constitute your survival guide to HBCU homecoming success. Whether you set out to the nation’s capital to enjoy Howard University’s homecoming or head to the backwoods of Greensboro, North Carolina to enjoy #GHOE, HBCU homecomings will never let you down.
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Behold, the ten things every first timer needs to do for the perfect homecoming experience:
1. Think Of A Master Plan
This “master plan” should consist of the five W’s. Who? What? When? Where? Why? Oh, and throw in the “how?” too. Who are you going with? What events are you going to attend? When are you going to find time to eat? Where are you staying? Why is this sh*t so crazy? And how are you going to accomplish all these tasks?
2. Bring A Ride Or Die Friend/Crew
Having a “down” friend or group of friends is extremely important when attending any HBCU homecoming. Your friends can make or break your experience.
Here are the types of friends you leave at home:
* The Debby Downer/ Negative Nick
* The homebody (who never likes to party)
* The Sloppy Drunk (you don’t want to be a babysitter all weekend)
* The overly dedicated boyfriend/girlfriend (who’s on the phone giving a play-by-play to their significant other every hour on the hour)
Here are the types of friends you bring:
* The Down For Whatever Friend (this friend is literally down for whatever, and knows how to roll with the punches)
* The Responsible Ratchet (this friend knows how to party, but also knows when to tell you to stop drinking)
* The Wingman Wendy/William (this friend will pass you the alley-oop, play defense when needed, and know the offensive playbook like the back of their hand)
Basically, your “down friend/crew” should be willing to yell, “P.O.P. hold it dowwwnnn. Pimp Squad, baby!” from the back of a police cruiser. Sounds crazy, but you need a friend that exhibits this level of dedication.
3. Drink Lots Of Water, Pedialyte Or Gatorade
We gave you three options. Pick one. All of these liquids are a must. You will end up at a local hospital with severe dehydration if you rage all weekend with no water. Remember folks, agua, hydrate yourselves.
4. Take Advantage Of Your Uber App
Uber is a newer item on our survival guide, but its level of importance is high. You will be inebriated all weekend, so make Uber your temporary best friend.
5. Bring Umbrellas
Even when the weather forecast says sunny and 70 degrees, it always manages to rain during such a festive time. Don’t know why, but it just does. If you decide not to bring an umbrella, make sure your poncho game is strong.
6. Do Not Drink Any House Party Punch
This is pretty simple. If you stop by a house party, bring your own bottle. Not to be courteous, but for your own safety and sanity. Don’t drink the house party punch, “O Cup,” “We Dat Juice,” or any other mysterious community punch. Just don’t.
7. Bring A Couple Of Fresh ‘Fits
When you attend any HBCU homecoming, you’re venturing into the “Flex Zone.” We know you’re used to turning up to the “No Flex Zone,” but at HBCU’s everyone is flexin’ and finessin’. Bring your Sunday best. Well, don’t dress like you’re going to church, but go online and get some stylish gear. You will be judged if you look like you belong in a 2000 issue of The Source magazine.
8. Leave Room For Nap Time
Sounds slightly juvenile, but trust us, you’ll need at least two designated hours that can be used consecutively or separately. The rage is real, and being delirious is even more real. Your body needs rest, find a time to “turn down.”
Best turn down time usually happens on Saturday, after an alumni tailgate and before the Saturday night turn up. Now, you’ll be tempted to hit up a “tailgate after party,” but we recommend you eat something hearty and return back to the telly/friends’ house to gear up for the night.
9. Avoid Any Regular Night Club Parties
This is where things get confusing. Most HBCU homecoming aren’t just an event for that respective school’s students or alumni, it’s also an event for whatever city or town you’re school in located in.
You will see party flyers, all of which will say “Official Homecoming Party” with some random C-List rapper hosting. News flash, there won’t be any cool HBCU students or alumni there. The club will be filled with mindless out of towners (like yourself), “locals,” and predators. Don’t go. Instead, keep your eyes and ears open to talk about the next move. There will be multiple moves every night, find out what events you need tickets for and what events you can gain access to by just showing up.
10. Remember: You Can’t Do Everything
A very rich man once said, “I’m everywhere, you ain’t never there.” That rich man is Jay Z, and you ARE NOT him.
We know, HBCU homecomings are very exciting, but you can’t be at every event for the next four days. Doing “the most” is the ultimate L. Commit to your event choice. If not, you’ll be feeling cheated by only experiencing partial parties.
Pick your parties, beverages and brunch spots wisely, folks. Oh and most importantly: have FUN!