I’m leaving Louisiana State University in less than two weeks.
I remember the first time campus came into view. I rode with a friend from high school and saw Alex Box Stadium as we neared Nicholson. I had to do a double take because the college baseball stadiums I had seen prior to this one paled in comparison. Then I saw the cathedral of college football, Death Valley.
I wasn’t a Tiger fan prior to deciding to attend LSU. In fact, I was far from it. I knew nothing about the University or Baton Rouge. I had no idea what the Chinese Bandits or Golden Girls were. Tigerland sounded like a theme park. I remember asking, “There’s a real tiger on campus?” to my tour guide during Spring Invitational.
As I walked across campus and noticed the beauty — and the character — of the place that would soon be my home away from home, I felt something that will never fade. I felt proud. I wasn’t even a student yet, and I felt invested in the success of this place. Noon came as we walked around campus with those purple drawstring bags, and I heard the Alma Mater for the first time. As cheesy as it sounds, that’s when I felt like I was home.
STRIPES acclimated me to the world of being a true Tiger. Saturdays in Death Valley taught me how to be part of a movement; I’ve laughed, cried, cussed, and celebrated in those stands. I witnessed the LSU Miracle Over Tennessee. I watched us beat Bama. I was a student when our team was arguably the best it’s ever been with a 13-0 record. I was there.
I was a student when the (almost) flag burning occurred, when we made the Anderson Cooper RidicuList for incidents I don’t want to bring up again, and when students (recently) decided studying without clothing was more conducive to memorization efforts. I was also here when the Finals Week videos gained serious notoriety and Alabama students reported the Championship Bounce as “inappropriate” on YouTube.
I have taken too many tests in the basement of Himes Hall to count. I have listened to countless lectures in Hodges, Coates and Allen Hall among several others. I’ll always have nightmares about falling up the stairs of Cox Auditorium on the first day of classes.
I have had the opportunity to join several student organizations to find my confidence and stake my claim in the flagship university of Louisiana. There have been moments when I felt so overwhelmed, I wanted to call it quits. What I’ve noticed more than anything is that the people I’ve met have been the motivating factor in my decision to stay for four years. Some I’ve fallen out of touch with, but each person impacted me and ultimately encouraged me to start and finish as a Tiger.
I have worked for incredible employers who have taught me more than I could ever put into words. They have also taken me in as their own. Thanks for that Aimee Frierson, Josh Garland, Jay Ducote, Kristen Morrison, Matt Dardenne and Joe Martin.
I’ve seen #LSU18 trending lately — I was also at LSU when Twitter wasn’t a popular social media platform…does that make me old?
Here’s my advice to #LSU18, #LSU17, #LSU16 and even #LSU15: Make it count. You won’t be here forever. And go visit Mike more; he seems to love the company.
Bleed purple and gold because you can and Love Purple, Live Gold because you should.
Geaux Tigers and Forever LSU.