The transition to college is different for everyone and whether you’re moving 100 miles away from home or 1,000 miles, homesickness is a feeling we all know too well. It’s the feeling you get when you just want a home-cooked meal and to be surrounded by family and friends in a real house – not a cramped dorm room or tiny apartment.
Dr. Joseph Eakes, head of the horticulture department at Auburn University, has opened up his home and his Tuesday mornings for students to gather for a special breakfast made by his wife, Bess Eakes.
The idea started when their son, who didn’t live at home at the time, asked if a friend could stay over who lived in the dorms on campus and was feeling homesick. The next morning Mrs. Bess made breakfast for the friend.
Students have enjoyed warm, buttery biscuits with peach preserves and friendly conversations with their fellow classmates every Tuesday morning for the past seven or so years. Although the breakfasts have been temporarily paused due to family matters, the Eakes’ fully intend on starting back up come next semester!
“We wanted students to have a place to come that’s a home,” Dr. Eakes said. “So if you’re homesick or hungry, our house is open Tuesdays at 7 a.m. until you leave.”
Kira Chaloupka, graduate student in horticulture, is grateful of the biscuit tradition and says it offers not only a home-cooked meal, but also fellowship.
“Aside from the opportunity for a student to enjoy a free home-cooked meal, this casual event breaks the barriers set up in a formal academic setting,” Chaloupka said. “It says to a student, ‘you are more than just a name with a face and I want to get to know you.’”
The biscuits are not the only comfort that has become a staple of the Tuesday mornings. A simple, yet inviting and warm hug from Mrs. Eakes tells students that they are welcome and should feel like they are at home even if you’re not a horticulture student.
“Having breakfast at the Eakes’ is about more than just eating some of the best biscuits you’ve ever had,” Stephenson said. “It’s proof that he cares and proof that his wife cares. I’m sure there are faculty members across campus who care about their students, but noting really makes a student feel more cared for than a free breakfast and a hug…the College of Agriculture has a rare gem in Dr. Eakes.”
Another student who appreciates the Eakes’ generosity is Britton Garrett, a senior majoring in horticulture. He not only is a fan of their delicious biscuits, but their loving spirits as well.
“I could give you the cliché that Auburn professors and those in the College of Ag are amazing, are serving out the Auburn Family and believe in the Auburn spirit, but doing just so in the case of Dr. Eakes and Mrs. Bess would be an injustice and belittle who they really are,” Garrett said. “Their love and care for students goes beyond anything the university can take responsibility for and is deeper than anything an article on a website can attempt to portray.”
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