Nowadays, it seems as if there is this never-ending debate on which type of higher education institution a black student should attend – a PWI or a HBCU. Now if you’re unfamiliar with these terms, PWI stands for Predominantly White Institution and the acronym HBCU refers to a Historically Black College or University. Whether you have a stance in the debate or not, each has its pros and cons but if I had to pick a school to attend, I’d choose Hillman College!
Yes, Hillman College — the fictitious HBCU from the hit tv-show A Different World, a spin-off from The Cosby Show. A Different World initially focused on Denise Huxtable as she embarked on continuing the Huxtable legacy at Hillman. Now if you’re like me, A Different World ended shortly before I was born. I grew up watching The Cosby Show but would always hear great reviews about A Different World although I never got a chance to see more than a handful of episodes.
Well earlier this year, Netflix announced that it would have the entire series in its stock. I took this as an opportunity to see what all the hype was about; plus I needed a new show to binge watch. After a few episodes, I was hooked – in a month I had watched the series in its entirety in between going to classes.
I’m that friend that watches each and every type of show just to say I’ve watched it and A Different World is one of the best series I’ve ever watched. *Kanye shrug*. It shows young, black intellectuals from all different walks of life trying to get along and accomplish a common goal – higher education – a lot of which we don’t see nowadays. It also tackles topics such as racism, politics, career goals, love, and the importance of friendships.
Trust me, if you’ve watched the show, you’d agree that Hillman seems like it would be a bomb school to attend. Here is why A Different World was one of the best shows to ever grace the television screen:
- Dwayne Wayne was a real gentleman.
Some say chivalry is dead, well boys, take a page out of Dwayne Wayne’s book. In the first season of the show, Dwayne pined over Denise and I mean he was head over heels infatuated. But no matter how much she politely rejected him or showed her disinterest, he was always there for her, always on her side, a true friend. Nowadays if guys are friend zoned, they become bitter. But we should all remember eventually Denise finally agreed to go on a date with Dwayne and there was even a kiss.
- White people go to HBCUs too.
Believe it or not, people of other races attend HBCUs too! In the first season, Marisa Tomei played one of Denise’s roommates, Maggie, who just so happened to be white. No, her race was not a big controversial storyline, nor was it ever really mentioned. She fit right in and showed that race is nothing but skin deep.
- Ron and Dwayne had the ultimate friendship.
You might think that you have the best friend of all best friends, well think again! Ron Johnson and Dwayne Wayne had the best friendship of all time; the best bromance of all time. They were honest, supported each other in the smartest and stupidest of ventures, never stole each other’s girls and truly emulated what real brotherhood is.
- The variation of different types of black people.
So apparently there’s this crazy notion that I’ve heard for years: all black people look alike. Well just like anyone else of any other race, background or creed, we come in all different shapes, sizes and beautiful melanin shades. A Different World showed the various types of black people: Freddie, the bi-racial, black power activist; Whitley, the middle class posh princess; Ron, the oh-so average jokester; Dwayne, the nerdy ladies’ man; and Kim, the hardworking, aspiring doctor, among others.
- Dwayne + Whitley.
Before there was Olivia and Fitz or Cookie and Lucious, there was Dwayne and Whitley. In the beginning, Whitley despised Dwayne and he wanted nothing to do with a stuck-up rich girl, not even for friendship. But as the series developed they started to become unconventional friends of sorts and eventually ended up marrying each other in the end. Talk about finding your college sweetheart — ladies, take notes!
- Hillman was poppin’.
I know it’s only a TV show, but it always seemed like the atmosphere and people at Hillman was just so bomb. Something was always happening and it looked like the ultimate college experience. The lessons, the people, the teachers, the surroundings, everything was just kind of perfect.
- Love for your college can run deep.
Even after Dwayne, Whitley, and Ron graduated, they all seemed to stick around Hillman; it was an extended college experience. Hillman wasn’t just a time frame for them, it was a lifestyle, a mindset that was near and dear to their hearts and something they carried into their adult lives.
It took a show from the late ‘80s to show me that college shouldn’t be as stressful as we make it. It should be a time for growth, figuring things out and finding people that support you, even the crazies. So if this wasn’t enough to convince of your future enrollment in Hillman, then at least you have a new show to binge watch. Thank me later!