Happy, Happy Homecoming

So Homecoming was two weekends ago. You know, that eagerly awaited weekend where all the newly graduated alums escape back to the faux-reality of college, while the current seniors attempt to forget that they’ll be the ones “coming home” next year. I wanted to write about this sooner, but that little thing called school has kept me pretty occupied lately. Free moments to write are to be cherished because they are rare haha

So why dedicate an entire blog post to Homecoming? I’m not a senior or an alum (and I don’t plan on being either, because I’m staying at college forever…), and even though I wasn’t coming back nor ignoring the fact that I would be leaving soon, that weekend meant something to me this year.

Being 21, I got to finally go to the tailgate in the main parking lot on campus, something I’ve looked forward to for 2 years now. As an underclassman, you would pass by it onto the way to the football game and hear the sounds of pure college kid happiness and just yearn for the day you could actually participate. Finally, this year I could.

Tailgating is an event in itself, a rite of passage for any college student. Cars with their trunks wide open, music blasting, grills smoking. Corn-hole bean bags flying, best friends swaying and singing, everyone just smiling and laughing. The beer is never cold, and the mimosas never seem to run out. The lazily falling leaves against that bright blue, autumn sky, you’re just happy to be alive.

Imagine a sea of plaid flannels and down-vests, tall brown boots and skinny jeans. Ray Ban sunglasses are a must, and ladies… don’t even show up without a big white bow in your hair. To get anywhere, you have to weave in and out of groups, carefully avoiding all the extended arms holding iPhones, because what good would a moment be if it weren’t selfied and Instagrammed? You can barely hear the country music over the squeals of reunited friends, and everywhere you look, there’s another American flag flying and people dancing in pick-up truck beds. It’s chaos and happiness, all rolled into one.

As I made my way from one end to the other, carefully observing all that I just described, I felt like a freshman again. I was watching all the cool upperclassmen being so stereotypically “college,” and I felt every so slightly out of place. What was I doing here?! I’m not old enough to be here! But then it hit me. I was a cool upperclassman, being so stereotypically college and loving every second. I felt old and young, all at the same time. It was part of being young, part of being free. Just hanging out in a parking lot with a bunch of your friends, not worrying about a thing, just wondering where to get another beer and if they’ll play your favorite song. These are the moments you remember when you’re older. These are the moments you remember feeling at “home.”

Maybe homecoming is about coming back, or maybe it’s just about enjoying where you are. Here’s to tailgates & being home.

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