Maddie De Pree Is A Junior, Volume 4: In Which I Have Mad Amounts of School Spirit

By: Maddie De Pree, Columnist

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hated almost everything about high school. I hated the halls, the people, the events, the classes — seriously, it was kind of unhealthy. By the end of my junior year of high school, I was ready to graduate, wipe my hands clean and never look back. I haven’t even set foot inside Decatur High since graduating. I can honestly say that I have never once missed it.

All this is to say that Furman Homecoming makes me feel a bit sentimental. I never felt any school spirit in high school, so it has been a totally refreshing experience to attend an institution that inspires and excites me every day. This is my third year at Furman, and a lot has changed since the fall of my freshman year.

Frankly, when I arrived as a freshman, I didn’t think I would find my niche. I knew I wanted to join a few clubs, but I still was not sure how everything would pan out for me socially — how would I make friends? What if I didn’t make any? I carried a lot of anxieties with me that fall, and I became cynical and afraid.

It was around Homecoming of my freshman year that I started to find my Furman groove. There are a few photos that prove this. In one of these pictures, I’m standing with my then-acquaintance, now-best-friend-slash-roommate, Hannah. The picture was taken on Homecoming weekend of 2016, our freshman year. She and I didn’t know each other that well, but we had decided to go explore the tailgate together. Hannah, as always, looked stylish and cool. I, for some reason, had decided to parade around in a purple wig that we had found at Party City the week before. It was boiling outside, and we bonded over our mutual hatred for the heat.

During our exploration, we heard that there was a tent on the mall with build-your-own Chipotle. We searched for the tent, found it, and waited in line for about 30 minutes. (I think we hyped ourselves up for those burritos during all 30 of said minutes.) And then, when we finally reached the front of the line, the only remaining toppings were lettuce and sour cream.

We stared at these offerings for a while, then cracked up — because what could be more predictable?

Oddly, that was the moment that I knew I had picked the right school. I already liked Furman’s academics — I admired all of my professors, and my classwork was stimulating — but I had no idea I would meet people who laugh at things like depleted burrito toppings. I don’t know why, but something about this anticlimactic burrito scene made me realize that I had found an actual friend. And thus, it was on the mall with Hannah (and a paper plate full of lettuce and sour cream) that I started to love this school.

When I think about all the things that have changed since that day on the mall, I get sappy. Hannah and I have seen each other through a lot of highs and lows. I’m talking a lot— I cannot imagine life without her, and somehow, it all started at homecoming. Somewhere on the mall, I found my people and my place. So, happy homecoming, people. May you feel as homey here as I do.

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