Nearly four years ago, I started my college career, bright eyed and bushy tailed, at the University of Cincinnati. I was never completely thrilled, and eventually I found a new home at Wittenberg University. In late July as I was meeting my roommate, buying new sheets, and getting ready to start my new life and semester in Springfield, I suffered the worst tragedy of my young life: the passing of my father.
Most colleges have a motto; here at Witt, we have “Having light, we pass it onto others.” I never thought a college could embody a motto so fully until I suffered a tragedy with a Wittenberg family I didn’t know existed. It started with phone calls to financial aid and admissions, unsure of my future just days after my father’s death. Then, naturally, Pastor Rachel Tune became a part of my life. I moved in like every other new transfer student and I started my first week of classes. On August 29, I went to class as if it were any other day. But when I came home, I had a letter and a flower on my door from Pastor Rachel and the chapel. August 29 would have marked my dad’s 46th birthday, less than a month after he passed.
Recitation Hall’s inhabitants and Pastor Rachel would mark the first of my incredible experiences on campus, but they would not be the last. The faculty was just as supportive in all of my decisions. Dr. Cynthia Richards, in the English department, vowed to help me with anything I needed (and always made sure to ask me how I was feeling), and Dr. Tom Taylor in the history department made sure to help me with my goals for internships and careers that I still wanted to foster (and wrote me the world’s best letters of recommendation).
It wasn’t just in staff and faculty where family came. I joined the Torch, eager to start a new hobby. Little did I know my best friends would come from this. I even did something I swore I’d never do – join a sorority. A few tears, lots of talks, and an initiation later, I became the first sorority woman in my family by becoming a Kappa Delta. My mom said she prayed for something good to come of Wittenberg. Little did she know that my “something good” would come in the form of 90 sisters. In these sisters, I found someone to always talk to. I found people who had even gone through the same thing I had, and came out the other side all the better.
While home went away with my dad, my mom supported me from Cincinnati the best she could. But I found home somewhere else. Home is the winding and confusing halls of Ferncliff. Home is the old wooden floors of Reci. Home is the quiet that falls over Hollenbeck during a study session late on Thursday night. Home is complaining about the CDR food, and Post food, and Simply-to-Go food, and Dominos pizza when it takes too long.
Home is a place. Home is where you family is. When people claim we’re one Wittenberg family, they mean it. It may not always be noticed day-to-day, but when a member of our family is in trouble, no matter how new they are, we band together and we help them, no matter what the cost.
I never thought home would end up in a small town between Dayton and Columbus. I never thought home would involve something named Wally Witt or Ezry. I never thought home would be Wittenberg, but let me tell you… Between football games, basketball games, late night Cards Against Humanity games, and all the studying that came with my fourth year in college, I have found my home and I could not have asked for more.
I harbor only one regret: that I only have one more year to spend at this amazing place.