As my last year at Auburn University goes speeding by, I can’t help but get a little emotional when I think of all of my lasts here. My last football game, my last chance to roll Toomer’s Corner, my last first day of classes, and my last year of being under my parent’s wings.
But as Thanksgiving break begins, I’m taking the time to stop and think of what I’m grateful for here at Auburn University. And I’ve found that the list is incredibly long. So with a tear in my eye and a heart full of love for this sweet, Southern town, I’m here to tell you what I’m thankful for at Auburn University this Thanksgiving. And hopefully, you feel the same.
First, I’m thankful for gamedays. Let’s just cut right to the chase. There’s something thrilling about a crisp, fall Saturday spent tailgating and celebrating Auburn football. The intro videos that always manage to make me tear up, my heart so full of Auburn pride that it could burst, and the way the crowd comes together to become a family. There’s just something about Saturdays spent at Jordan-Hare with your favorite people that will never get old.
Second, I’m thankful for the sense of Southern hospitality here in Auburn. No one is a stranger in this town. There’s kindness all around and a small town charm that clings to every branch, building, and street sign. If you’re a part of the Auburn family, you’re a part of everyone’s family and that’s the end of that. Everyone is kind to everyone (including the opposing team’s fans on gamedays) and everyone is more than willing to lend a hand.
Third, I’m thankful for the diversity found on Auburn’s campus. No matter where I go or who I’m with, there is always something new to discover. There’s always something to do and there's always someone new to meet. Friends of friends from far away places that can teach you things about the world that you never knew. It’s an amazing collection of people, and I couldn’t be more proud that we’ve all come together to settle down in the loveliest village on the plains – even if it is just for a four-year time period.
Fourth, I’m thankful for Toomer’s lemonade. There is nothing, and I truly do mean nothing, that can turn my day around quite like a nice, cold glass of Toomer’s lemonade. There’s something so perfect about that tangy, sweet, and slightly sour, mix of heaven that sits in a Toomer’s mason jar. And I can’t get enough of it.
Lastly, but most importantly, I am thankful for the Auburn Family. When looking at colleges my senior year of high school, I never dreamed I’d end up in the state of Alabama. I thought for sure that I’d be going to an in-state school and just settling for a run of the mill college experience. But when I came to visit Auburn’s campus, everything changed. I felt a sense of belonging here. I felt like I fit. And I had only been here for an afternoon. Nothing could have prepared me for the kindness, warmth, and sense of community that makes up the Auburn Family. It’s going to make leaving Auburn so much harder, but I know I’ll be welcome back anytime.
I can only hope that the rest of you in the Auburn Family are experiencing the same type of gratitude for Auburn that I am this Thanksgiving. I hope you never forget what amazing memories are held here and that on those hot, miserable, sweaty days that will come back around in the summer, you remember the taste of Toomer’s lemonade.
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