Every year since graduating, I’ve told non-Emory alums about my upcoming trip to Homecoming, and they always look at me inquisitively before asking “why?” I try to explain briefly that it’s my alma mater and Homecoming is a time when we can all get together and “come home”, as the name implies. They continue to question what we do, claim it’s just a “tailgate”, or even wonder if I’m just making it all up. So, I decided to talk about this annual event and why it is so special.
Most of the people I’ve been around since graduating went to large schools, and maybe the have different traditions, or they even see some of their previous classmates more often. Regardless, it seems that alumni of other schools don’t understand the sense of community we share.
Although I couldn’t wait to move out of Southwest Virginia after graduation, I love getting to come back to my alma mater every October. It’s the one time each year that I get to see the people I miss and love, especially since I moved almost 400 miles away. We always come in Friday evening, so Mychael can hang out with his fraternity brothers, and then we go to the tailgating field around 9:30 Saturday morning. When we get on the field, we usually go in separate directions and I spend most of my time with my sorority sisters and our brothers. People make fun alcoholic beverages, some are great while others are horrendous, and truth be told, we are usually drunk before the football game even begins at 1 pm. We take so many pictures, talk about our lives, embarrass ourselves (or maybe that’s just me) and judge those around us. What more could you want from an autumn weekend in the mountains?
Going to Emory & Henry was such a privilege and I’m so happy to have been able to go to an institution that provided a community and a wonderful liberal arts education. Because it is such a tight knit community, you leave Homecoming saying “oh no, I missed getting to talk to so many people!” You feel like you’re finally back home: the place that shaped you into a real functioning adult, where you felt heartbreak, where you met your best friends… surrounded by the people you love, the professors that taught you how to get your life together, and the ducks (the quacking ones, not the fraternity).
And I better get to come back once a year and enjoy it since they own me for the rest of my life. (I’m mostly kidding, but damn private college is expensive)
Emory & Henry will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Thanks for letting me get sappy for once in my life, y’all.