Collecting Places to Call Home

With roughly 200 days until graduation, I am acutely aware of how little time I have left at IUPUI. I’m a very sentimental person. I tend to connect deeply with the people and places in my life. Though I know wonderful new things are just on the horizon, I am dreading the emptiness that will come from leaving IUPUI behind next May.

IUPUI in the fallMoving to Indy three years ago was difficult for me; it was a lot of change in a short amount of time. I was naively resistant to the adjustments I needed to make in order to thrive in my new environment. I’d like to think I’m much more flexible now. (Mentally, at least, don’t ever ask me to do yoga.) Back then, I thought that home meant one place. These past three years have taught me that “home” doesn’t have to be singular. Instead, it’s a collection of spaces where I feel comfortable.

One of my homes, as I’ve talked about before, is IUPUI. The decision to come here was not as strategic as I’d like to say it was. IUPUI is a relatively inexpensive university and its in a great location. (My girlfriend was also already a student there, which might have had a tiny bit of influence over my choice.) Sure, I didn’t have any idea how to pick the perfect college or the right major, but no one really does at age 17. My education has opened door after door, each of which enclosed a new opportunity for growth. I’m constantly amazed and grateful at how good of a job 17 year-old-me did in choosing IUPUI.

Though I wasn’t sure what to major in when I first applied, I chose journalism and never really strayed from that path. The concentration of public relations was decided later. I love PR because it allows me to combine the analytical planner and creative writer parts of myself. It’s also special because PR practitioners have to wear a lot of different hats and look great in all of them: event planner, media coordinator, speech writer, social media manager, etc. IUPUI has been a great place to hone the skills I need to succeed after graduation and I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with professors who understand what it’s like to work in the field – they are not restricted to academia.

IUPUI courtyard

I have enjoyed the past three years at IUPUI. I have loved feeling the last remnants of summer wrap around me in a warm breeze as I walk to Gateway Garage at the end of a long day. I have loved passing by the flowering courtyard trees in the spring and watching the petals stoop to gently kiss the grass. I have loved hearing the cicada-like buzz of chatter as classes end and students descend upon the sidewalks outside University Library. Most of all, I have loved finding a sense of community, and a sense of self, here.

I will always be an advocate for higher education because I owe so much more to this university than just the classes I’ve sat through. It was here that I made friends who I consider to be a second family. I built relationships with women whom I will consider to be my mentors for the rest of my life. I fought for scholarships and jobs and learned how to support myself. I learned how to be a leader and to assert myself. I grew from a teenager, stumbling around trying to figure out how to function, to an adult who understands how to survive. (Although, that doesn’t mean I don’t call up my mom with questions sometimes.)

I don’t know what I’d be doing or where I’d be if I hadn’t decided to moved to Indianapolis three years ago. Sometimes I think about what it would have been like if I would have gone somewhere else. But that’s only sometimes. I’m sure that I made the right choice in coming to IUPUI. I’m also certain it’s going to be incredibly hard to leave.

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