By Bri Strickland
It seems like just yesterday I was a wide-eyed first-year Mustang strolling the Boulevard, unsure of what the next four years had in store for me. I came to SMU without knowing a single person so my first few months were marked by awkward first encounters and countless handshakes. I remember wondering if I’d outgrown the campus or if I had even made the right decision to come over 1300 miles away from home.
Fast forward three years – home is no longer just in sunny South Florida. Half way across the country I’ve made a whole other life with friends that feel more like family. There’s something to be said about one day waking up as a college senior and relishing in the people you’ve surrounded yourself with. In retrospect some of my greatest college nights aren’t reminiscent of a scene from Animal House, but are late nights spent sitting in the halls talking for hours or going home with a local friend for Sunday night dinners with their family. The college experience is stereotyped and marked by an accumulation of social and academic expectations but the interpersonal connections made in these four years are often overlooked and underappreciated. I can honestly say that the people I’ve met at SMU are the kinds of people I want to continue to influence me and help to grow to as a person.
I can’t believe I ever thought I could outgrown the SMU campus or the city of Dallas itself. The ‘bucket-list’ I scribbled down in my dorm freshmen year, is only 25% complete. As a senior, I feel qualified in saying that I’ve never felt like I’ve outgrown my university or its city. Naturally, my first few years at SMU were characterized and filled with on campus happenings like movies on the lawn, sporting events and more. As I became an upperclassman, a whole new world outside of the campus walls opened up. I suddenly myself engaged and exploring Dallas itself more. Whether it was a new restaurant opening, an art gallery walk in Deep Ellum or catching up with recent SMU alums, I felt a reinvigorated surge of curisoity for the city around me.
Even after over three years at SMU, I find myself still experiencing new things and meeting new people. When it comes time to graduate in May, I don’t know if I can bring myself to leave because I feel as if the best is yet to be in this capitivating city and on this enchanting campus.
So I guess it’s time to consider graduate school then?