I realized when I was just a kid that I wanted to go to Winthrop while on a walk with my aunt around the campus. Everything was so big and unfamiliar. The beautiful architecture and huge trees drew me in as we walked their dog that was bigger than me. As I visited with my husband just a few weeks ago, we walked around as alumni down the brick and through the historic buildings. I reminisced about all of the memories that those 425 acres hold.
When it was time to apply to colleges, I knew that Winthrop was my first choice. You were the only college I ever really considered going to my entire high school career. I wanted to be a high school history teacher, so it just made sense to go to the best teaching school in the state. After being accepted, a friend and I went to Homecoming 2007 and I was so excited to meet people (who I had no idea would become invaluable friends during my time at college) and see a basketball game. (Yes, even though you didn’t have a football team, I still love you.)
Just a few months later, I attended my very last Model United Nations competition at Winthrop as a high school student. I’ve told this story on the blog before, so I won’t do it again, but because of this program, I met the love of my life. If it hadn’t been for you, Winthrop, I would never have met my other half. I spent four years with this man on your campus, walking along the pathways, sitting on your benches, and working out in your gym with him. So many of my memories of you include him.
I had a feeling my freshman year that teaching wasn’t what I wanted to do, but decided to stick with it for a few more years. But during my junior year, I realized that it wasn’t something I thought I could do anymore. To be a teacher, your heart has to be in it. So instead, I changed my major to Integrated Marketing Communication after meeting with one of the professors in the department. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. It led me to discover a whole new field that I had never considered pursuing professionally and helped me to find my true passion in life with two amazing internships to boot.
I don’t think I realized it at the time, since as students we tend to complain incessantly about our current situations, but I don’t think I realized just how lucky we were. Winthrop is an amazing college with involved professors, small class sizes, and an extremely supportive Greek system. The school is small enough to recognize a face in almost every class you take, but big enough to meet someone new every day. The new facilities mixed with the historic classrooms make for the perfect combination in a college.
During my time there, I served as a vice-president of my sorority, president of the College Democrats, and smaller terms as a member of various campus organizations. I discovered a love of photography and developed my skills as a leader. I realized that sometimes it’s okay to eat lunch by yourself, but in a school so close-knit, you’ll hardly ever have to. I learned that professors are there to support you, if you’re willing to ask for their help and work hard.
I don’t think it’s possible to fully thank you for everything you did for me in those four (and a half) years. It’s amazing to think that you’re continuing to inspire students each day. I hope they each realize just how lucky they are to go to such an amazing university.