Serenade is a time for MUW students to come together as a university. No matter classification, everyone stands in front of the President’s house singing songs, holding hands and sharing smiles. As I stood looking out at the new freshman faces, so eager for knowledge, friends and a new adventure, I couldn’t help but become overwhelmed by the realization that I have less than nine months to spend here. After nearly six years of affiliation with the “W,” how am I supposed to let go or cherish the time I have left when it seems to be so fleeting? How do I learn to call anywhere but here home?
My MUW journey began in the summer of 2008 when I lived on the campus while attending Mississippi Governor’s School. Everything about it appealed to me- the blue and white, the fresh cut grass, the kissing rock. As the daughter of a history teacher, the historic appeal and deep traditions rooted in the fiber of MUW’s being excited me. Not only was it a beautiful campus, but the people at MUW were unlike any I had ever met before. When I spoke, I felt like people truly listened and showed interest in what I said. For the first time I had the acceptance and understanding I had so longingly desired in high school but never found.
Because I am a native of Columbus (and my mother and aunt both are alumni), I decided to dual enroll my senior year of high school at MUW to begin earning college credit. The first class I ever took was with Dr. Erin Kempker. Her passion and enthusiasm breathed life into me. Every class was new and exciting, and I can still hear the music she would play as we waited for class to begin. When it came time to actually apply to college, the choice was an easy one. MUW was where I felt at home.
Each semester at MUW seemed to bring an array of vibrant people and new adventures. My freshman year was an intense one. I became involved in almost every organization on campus I could squeeze into my planner. It was the most exhilarating and beautiful time of my life. I made more friends than I ever thought possible. Sophomore year brought lots of emotional turmoil as I began to make changes in my life for the better. By pledging an honorary social club, I was given the opportunity to meet people who would help me grow and learn as I underwent these personal changes. Junior year, of course, meant I got to study abroad in Brussels, Belgium, with the Ina E. Gordy Residential Honors College, an experience that will forever remain one of the most cherished in my life.
This reflection on the past three years could never truly sum up the innumerable amount of lessons I’ve learned, laughs I’ve shared or friendships I’ve made while at MUW. The people I have grown to love while at the university are my future bridesmaids, children’s god mothers and nursing home roommates. I sincerely believe that Mississippi University for Women is my home and always will be. Every day as I prepare to apply for graduate school, I keep saying to myself how much I wish I could just stay here, but I know MUW has prepared me for life outside of its doors.
Wherever I end up, I know without a doubt I will have the education MUW provided me with to propel me into all future endeavors. Meeting others, no matter how vast the differences between us may be, will never cause a problem. I have learned to love, laugh and appreciate everything thanks to my time at this wonderful university.
May everyone have a great first semester at MUW. Remember to enjoy every single second of the collegiate journey. It passes faster than one may think possible. I can only hope all incoming freshman and junior transfers experience all that I have come to love at Mississippi University for Women.