I can’t say that I have ever referred to TCU as my “home away from home.” In fact, it’s different from my home. Home is a place in St. Louis, Missouri, where the Cardinals making the post-season is a sure bet, Friday night football is mediocre at best (but watched with great company), and family dinners are a daily staple. Or at least that was what I thought before I packed up my life into boxes and shipped them just over 600 miles south to begin my college career as a Horned Frog.
The Saturday a week prior to school starting, a little blonde freshman frog and I spent the day talking about our best friends from our hometowns as we assembled Milton 109, desperately trying to choke down the homesickness that crept into our voices with each “my mom makes the best meals” and “my sister did the craziest thing.” It didn’t take long for the nostalgic childhood memories to dissipate into the new ones that we formed as best friends; whether it was making the trek to Kroger together, venturing out to mixers decked-out in everything neon, or exploring all the happy hour deals that Fort Worth had to offer, TCU and all it has to offer became my home.
Diving into the TCU community head-first certainly contributes to why it has become my home, but even if I had been reluctant to get involved, the people here are so passionate about this place that I inevitably would have found my fit here. Joining a sorority, becoming a member of the TCU Showgirls, selecting three different majors, interacting with faculty, and applying for a variety of programs all have made up the unique experience that this school is for me. Back in St. Louis, I was involved in several diverse areas of my community, and this has translated to my current involvement in Fort Worth. They say “the more things change, the more they stay the same”; there is definitely some truth in this cliché. I’ve found my place at TCU, places where I feel comfortable but where I’m also pushed and challenged to grow. Staying the same in some ways, but changing certain aspects that have helped me discover more about myself and the world around me.
TCU is my home. It has been for almost four years now, and that time has gone by faster than I care to think about. I didn’t realize it at first, but many things about this purple-and-white world are so very similar to the place I grew up in.
The people I spend my weekends or late nights in the library with have become people that I could have known forever. The insane, full-of-life friends I made without a doubt have turned into family. My literal family is here next to me (my younger sister joined the Frog Family in 2015) with a comforting hug when there are tears and a bull horn to cheer me on when I succeed. It’s not my home away from home, because home is where the people you love are. Home is where you are happy, filled with purpose, and pushed to be your best self. Yes, my parents and family are back in St. Louis; I still have a bed in their house, and a room decorated the same way it’s always been since 5th grade. But I’m there two weeks out of the year, and they’re only a phone call or quick flight away. My home is my livelihood—those heated political debates I had around the family dinner table haven’t changed, they’ve simply moved to a few more tables with a few more people and a few more perspectives. The teams I go to watch now wear purple instead of red and white or blue, but I still get to watch the green and gold lose (my high school’s colors) when the Frogs beat Baylor. The more things change, the more they stay the same. But I know that my home here at TCU is one where I’m thriving, incredibly happy, and am molding into a person that will make my family and community proud.