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October 16, 2015

This is the first year I have really thought about the word Homecoming. I’m not sure if I just never took the time to think about it, or if this is the first time it has really applied to me. I was introduced to the idea of Homecoming in high school, but that was always confusing because I was already home and nothing about the word “Homecoming” communicated the fact that I would have to get dressed up and go to a dance. Next, we experience Homecoming in college, and at this point, there is only a football game, no dance (thank goodness), and you can tell people are visiting Lynchburg because suddenly it feels like you’re in D.C. rush hour traffic. The word is basic enough – it implies that you are coming home, and now it makes sense, because that is exactly what Lynchburg has been for me: home.

This past May I graduated from Liberty with a major in Advertising and a minor in business, which is kind of amazing considering that I did not anticipate coming here for college. Beyond that, I never would have guessed I would stay. When I started doing CSER with Student Activities my sophomore year, I never would have guessed that I would end up working for Student Activities full time. I also never would have guessed I would be starting grad school. Yet here I am, not just a student at Liberty, but a resident of Lynchburg – I have chosen to stay here. No offense to Lynchburg, but I would have to say the reason I have chosen to make this my home temporarily is not because there is no place I would rather be, but because Lynchburg has been home to the people I want to be with.

That’s the thing about homes: they are nothing without the people. And the thing about college is that it is only a temporary home. So why get attached to the people you know will find a new home once your four years are up? Because the memories and the things you learn from them will stick with you forever. And although you will all find new places with new people that make those places a home for you, it doesn’t change the fact that this was also once your home. That is the great thing about Homecoming: the people come back to the place they once called home. We get to celebrate the place we called home for four years (or five… depending on what kind of friends you have). Homecoming isn’t about celebrating the place that we currently are, but the place that helped form us.

I realize that some of you may not be in my shoes. It may be your freshman year, and you may not have any idea what to expect. You’ll attend your first Homecoming Parade, get dressed up for the football game, and take too many pictures. You’ll meet a cute guy and eat late night food after the game with him and his friends (and probably end up marrying his roommate). But soon it will be your last homecoming as a student. You’ll be experienced, you will have gone to your fair share of football tailgates and parades, and you may even choose to skip the festivities altogether because you’re too good for that now. And one day, you’ll get to be in my position. You will be a graduate, you’ll have earned the right to be called an alumnus, and you’ll feel even more unfamiliar with the construction going on around campus. You will also be able to look back at your freshman pictures from your first college Homecoming and realize the people in the pictures are still standing next to you today.

From here on out, you’ll have many different homes. You may get an apartment where you get your first, “grown-up” job, or your parents’ home may become your home once again while you figure out how the major you chose will provide you with any sort of income. Some places will only be your home for a year, and others may become the place your kids will consider home. While it is sad for me to realize my homes in the future won’t be shared with the same people I have shared my life with for the past few years, it does not change for a second that Liberty University is a place we have all once called home.

At Student Activities, we have a full calendar of fun and unique events for you to get together with your friends, or even to make new friends. From the Homecoming Parade, to our monthly movie nights, concerts, and Coffeehouse, there’s almost always something for everyone. Check everything out on our website here.