Home is where the heart is

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

Homecoming has never been a big deal to me. Well, at least the sports aspect of it never was. I only ever go for moral support.  Even in high school, the only reason I went to the big game was to watch my friends in the band perform. I by no means miss standing outside in frigid temperatures whilst fighting my way through massive crowds just to find a place to sit. However, there is something that I miss about the way the whole community used to come together to support our school. Alumni would come from far and wide, and everybody and their mama would be at the parade and game. It was only a few years ago, but it seems like ages.

For the past couple of years, I have been in attendance to some of Francis Marion University’s (FMU) homecoming festivities. I will admit, during my freshman year I had no idea that we even had homecoming until the actual weekend. Last year, though, I found myself outside early Saturday morning watching a train of decorated golf carts circle the Patriot Mile. I waved as my friends from various on-campus organizations passed and wondered why there were so little people in attendance.

It turns out that even though homecoming is one of students’ favorite times of the school year at FMU, it is less because of school spirit and more because of the parties that happen that weekend.  I have even heard some students say that they would be more invested in campus-related homecoming activities if we had a football team.  Personally, I think I would feel the same either way, and it kind of saddens me that more people do not agree.

FMU may not have the fanciest celebrations nor does it have the same kind of community support as larger schools like Clemson or the University of South Carolina.  What we do have is a kind of self-made pride that many other schools cannot compete with. Can other schools say that they are among the lowest tuitions in the state but have academic programs that rival those of schools three times their size? What large university can say that its teachers actually recognize their students outside of class and are concerned about them when they are absent? Who else has a leader like our president, Dr. Fred Carter, who actually takes the time to do small things like visit student housing to make sure that the accommodations are sufficient? The pickings are few, but I am proud to say that FMU is among the ranks.

Sadly, this homecoming I will be spending my time in Conway, S.C. completing one of my nursing clinicals. I will be unable to ride in the golf cart with my Baptist Collegiate Ministry buddies, walk the mile with my fellow Resident Assistants or support my friends in the Student Nurse Association. So, I ask that you go in my stead. It is highly unlikely that you do not have a friend or organization to support, and the reality is that they need you more than you think. Take the time to show love to the people and place that has supported your academic and personal growth. That is what homecoming is all about.