College is many different things to many different people: a place for career advancement and high marks, a social melting pot where students from across the board of all different backstories come together, a booming, multi-LED light-colored rave where the booze and blaring music come a-plenty. But for me, multiple parts of college have become like home.
It definitely didn’t start that way. I applied to Piedmont on a whim because the application dues were set at the low price of free. My best friend at the time was going, so that meant instant roommate, so why not? Two weeks after, I get the call, I get the ever imposing ‘you’re going to college now’ packet in the mail, and I enter college as a nursing major.
I quickly realized my mistake in major, switched to mass communications on the fly and became the first advisee of Dr. Joe Dennis, who became the guide to my future. I met a flurry of people, went through a tidal wave of emotions, and before I knew it, I was moving into the dormitories for the last time in 2019.
Along the way, I’ve met people that have changed my life forever, as cliche as that is to say. I’ve gone under the alias of Gertrude with my dear Prudence, served some on-air tea with Tracy, wrote a sports story that somehow won a state award and moved up in the mass communications ranks from lonely yearbook section editor to the showrunner of the student council.
“I’ve experienced the growth of a ragtag college kid family that gives me so many reasons to wake up and keep going. I’ve found my best-friend-soulmates.” PHOTO / Nathan Blackburn
If there’s anything to credit for me making it this far in my life, it’s the people I’ve gotten to know and love. I’ve been brought into a family by a professor that is practically now my mother. I stepped into my final dorm suite in the fall, and by the winter, walked out with a family of college kids.
People my age have helped shape me into who I am, writing this. One of my best friends in the entire world, I’ve met here. I’ve written sitcoms with them. I’ve gone to a park in the rain and screamed expletives at the top of my lungs with them when everything closed in a little too tightly. I’ve found home in this person.
I could write a 20-plus page dissertation on how the college experience has shaped me, changed me and helped me grow. However, I’d like to leave with this: college, at times, is just another painful part of life to get through before the grass starts to look greener on the other side of the graduation stage. But overall, Piedmont has become a home for so many reasons outside of a dorm.
I’ve experienced living without a physical home. I’ve experienced not wanting to live anymore. Now, I know what it’s like to be a Tingle-Strawn, when my professor brought me into her home when I had nothing else. I’ve experienced the growth of a ragtag college kid family that gives me so many reasons to wake up and keep going. I’ve found my best-friend-soulmates.
I’ll be leaving soon, yes, but I’ll come back when I’m in town again. We all get a little homesick sometimes.