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I had the traditional college experience. Right down to the delivery pizza in my dorm room, gargoyles guarding limestone buildings, and painting my face cream and crimson for ball games (oh, and learning some stuff, too). For me, that’s what higher education was meant to be. It’s what worked for me. And it helped shaped me into the person I am today.
I know the traditional higher education experience isn’t perfect for everyone. Some folks aren’t ready to head off to a big, impersonal university at 18. Some folks want to learn skills not taught at universities. Some folks don’t want to go into more debt that I paid for my house. And that’s all fine. I believe there is no one right answer to the question, “what’s next?” But for me, the right answer involved those darn gargoyles.
There is something really powerful in having an alma mater. Now, I know lots of folks have colleges they attended and graduated from, but I think considering a place your alma mater is a whole different thing.
Not to get all over-educated, hoity-toity on you, but alma mater loosely translates to “nurturing mother” and for me, that’s exactly what my time at Indiana University felt like—like I had this institution supporting me like my Mama would have been if she wasn’t living 80 miles away. And that’s a connection that stays with you.
Of course, how you feel about your college experience often tints how you feel about your alma mater’s sports teams—and for me, I proudly wear my candy stripes, bleed cream and crimson, and love my Indiana Hoosiers like the alumna I am.
There are exactly three things that people outside of Indiana know us for—basketball, the Indy 500, and corn. And, not to be all stereotypical, but I love basketball, I go to the Indy 500 every year, and corn is delicious. We aren’t know for our football stature—we’re like the only team in the Big 10 that isn’t—but that’s okay, because we all still cheer our heads off like we’re a gosh darn football dynasty (and maybe this is our year!).