For two years, I lived on campus, which I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. There were many Nerf wars, sporting events, movie-viewings, and random trips to Wal Mart, each of which was likely distracting from impending homework. I met so, so many amazing people, from fellow students to faculty to staff and so forth. Never again will I have the opportunity to live like I lived on campus, and, while I am still hopeful for the future, that does sadden me a bit.
As time went on, I made so many potentially life-altering decisions, some of which did not appear to be so important at the time. I moved off campus, into an apartment. I accepted and turned down jobs that could have shaped my career in very different ways. I only changed my major once, but I still change my goals for life pretty much every day. I learned how to actually write, which ultimately lead to this blog. I spent a lot of time with a great girl, who I eventually proposed to (inside the fountain at the Trent Lott Center on campus). I had the opportunity to serve so many awesome junior high and high school kids at my church that I've been able to mature alongside (at very different levels!). I poured my heart into many great sporting events and served my university through various on-campus organizations. I learned a lot about business, movies, TV, people, God, sports, writing, women, Tanner, procrastination, Southern Miss, teenagers, swimming pools, parking violations, and just life in general.
Now, as I sit here in the library, writing about my feelings, it's easy to see how my time at Southern Miss has not been a temporary experience, but, instead, it has become my life. A few weeks ago, when life got a bit overwhelming, I rode over to campus, left my phone in the car, and spent some time talking with God and calming my anxious spirit. Before I went, I didn't really think about why I went to campus, when I could have just gone to my room or the church or even just stayed in my car. I realized, as I walked around and prayed, that there will never be another place in the world that fills me with as much comfort and serenity as the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi. There is no way to adequately explain why that is, because there truly is some sort of magic about Southern Miss that fits perfectly with the very small part of me that believes in "magical" things and feelings. In case none of that made sense, I was trying to say that this place is pretty freaking awesome.
Looking back, four years later, I'm preparing for yet another "summer camp" experience, where I introduce something brand new into my life. At first, it's sure to feel awkward and temporary, but, as time goes by, it will become my life. Do I know where I'm headed?... Not at all. Am I ready?... I don't know. But, I know that God will guide my path, and, if all else fails, I will always find comfort in his arms and in the arms of The University of Southern Mississippi...
I could have gone on forever, but, instead, here are a few pictures for you, because they are worth 1,000 words...
I caught a We the Kings drumstick at Eaglepalooza... pretty cool stuff!
Sweet thang's graduation (the first one)
Diligent studying in Apartment 178E
I ate nothing else for my entire freshman year
We locked the keys in the car after I spilt Sprite on my leg... what a memory
Me and sweet thang on the fake friendship oak
Freshman Finale 2010 (that was four years ago!)
We are so old!
We were kicked and beaten by the students sitting behind us, but we overcame!
Trying to mimic the football poster from that season
We look good... Eagles for Phil!
We actually beat Memphis (I'm in there somewhere)
My 21st birthday... Rockette-style
Gatti Town... The casino for kids!
My last day on the Judicial Board... Fun memories
Baseball... We still look good
This is not a re-enactment...
She had no idea what was going on...
She was just taking my picture because she dared me to get in the fountain, and I did!
Without my parents and football, who knows if I ever become a Golden Eagle...
Peace out, undergrads! Catch you on the flippity flop... Southern Miss To The Top!!! (That rhymed)