Kumbaya?

Why I chose a white university.

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In an academic environment that has a racial breakdown that's comparable to the entire United States, I began to realize that my university had a lot more in common with the real world than I'd thought. School shielded us from the harsh realities of the working world and the financial obligations that Sallie Mae would soon demand, but it taught us how to tolerate and accept those who were culturally different from us.

Everyone benefits from sitting next to someone who looks different. HBCUs definitely have their own appeal, but I still have no regrets. Those daily opportunities to combine classroom discussions on skin color with real-world experience gave me the kind of education that neither I nor my white peers were prepared for.

Delece Smith-Barrow is the lifestyles producer at Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive. She is a 2006 graduate of the University of Maryland-College Park.