When I moved to Auburn in 2010, I was in desperate search of the feeling of home, a place that exists internally and transcends geography. Moving into Harper Hall in the Upper Quad was only my second time moving, if you count coming home from the hospital swaddled in a blanket on the same day my parents and brother moved into my childhood home, where I spent the next 18 years of my life.
Home had always been an emotion I felt, not an architectural structure or location on a map in which I resided. I recall many nights, from elementary through high school, when I was wracked by anxiety while lying in my daybed just down the hall from my parents’ bedroom. When it came time to join my freshman class at Auburn University, I was hunting for home. Like many adolescents my age, I felt an influx from the inside out and was unsure of where I belonged or what I was destined to do.
Like many young women my age, I sensed an overwhelming pressure of competition and constant nagging that I should question my worth. The first two years I spent as a liberal arts undergraduate student were a constant struggle with inner, personal strife and the self-fabricated falsehood that I would never feel at home. My life hit a tipping point when I joined my first extracurricular activity as a public relations representative for The Auburn Circle, the university’s student-generated literary and arts magazine.
Whether by some cosmic influence, or a more ordinary coincidence, joining The Circle forced me to recognize that I had thoughts worth knowing, feelings worth sharing and a knack for connecting with others. It wasn’t until I felt homeless that I realized I could create my own home. And as I began to unveil my quiet insecurities and coax them from their hiding places in the back of my mind throughout the rest of my college career and beyond, I began to discover it.
At Auburn, I met professors and colleagues who have shown me the true power of teamwork, challenged me and inspired me always to challenge myself. At Auburn, I met friends and loved ones who have shaped me and helped grow me into the successful, compassionate, open-minded, courageous, and self-reliant person I am proud to be today. At Auburn, I met who I am and who I can become.
To me, there is no more meaningful home.