Thursday, April 19, 2007

HC Makes Me Thankful

HC is a quaint campus situated atop a hill overlooking the mighty Ohio River. As soon as my parents and I entered the campus, I was charmed. Everyone greets you with a friendly hello and students can often be found sprawled out on blankets in the quad. The 1100 or so students are typically identified one of three ways: major, Greek affiliation, or "that's so and so's boy/girl friend". It was a campus that made me feel comfortable and made me feel like I might just fit in. It felt like a place where I could finally be myself.

It sounds like heaven, no? It sounds like making my college choice should have been easy, right? Well, no. I waited until the last possible day to send in my acceptance letter to HC. I really only had one criterion for making my choice and that one criterion made the choice nearly impossible. I wanted to go to a university that no one from my high school would be attending. That meant that I could literally attend any college in the world except for the big three: Indiana University, Purdue University, and Ball State University. I'd always wanted to attend Northwestern in Illinois or Pepperdine in California. In the end, I think I must have chosen HC because I didn't want to go too far away from home, I didn't want to just be a number, and I didn't want to make my parents spend a million dollars on my education.

My time at HC was almost over before it really began. I too made the the mistake of trying to have a hometown boyfriend and my freshman year was miserable because of this. In the end, a housing snafu at the university I almost transferred to was the reason I ended up at HC for a second year. In that second year, my hometown boyfriend dumped me within the first week of his own college experience for the first girl he slept with on a drunken Friday night. After a freshman year that was tougher than I had anticipated, my sophomore year was the turning point. I met so many wonderful and fun students and I learned that it was possible to have fun in college.

I made friendships with women that still endure today. I found peers that had been the nerdy kid in their high school classes too. I found people that I could relate to and that I could talk to about theology, philosophy, or the last episode of Felicity. I joined a sorority that taught me so much more than I had expected. I learned that I could be a leader and that I could excel at things outside the classroom. I learned that a ritual bond can tie you to other women much like the vines of violets grow entwined. I truly see my experience at HC as a major turning point in my life.

By the time I graduated, I was self-assured, I was confident, and I knew that I was supported by my community. Having that kind of self-worth at 21 is an amazing thing. It gave me the confidence to apply for and get a job that only seven women a year get offered. It gave me the confidence to walk into a room of three hundred women and motivate them.

Looking back, I am beyond thankful to HC. HC is just an almost magical place. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school where professors invited us to their homes for dinner. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school where the students appreciated intelligence and wit. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school that still sends out quarterly class notes with e-mail addresses, birth announcements, and wedding announcements. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school that gave me a group of people that I can always count on. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school that helped mold me into an appreciative, confident woman. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school that has made me everything I am today.

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