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News Local Students reflect on homecoming week

Students reflect on homecoming week

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Students often say their most memorable experiences from college are of homecoming. With this year’s theme being Sweet Home Southern Miss, students reflected on how Southern Miss has become their home.

Austin Sharp, senior sports management major, described his favorite memories from the homecoming football games throughout the years.

“[I have loved] seeing all the former players come back for the game, the throwback uniforms we have used and how many fans show up for Eagle Walk,” Sharp said.

Sharp has worked as a student assistant coach for the football team since his sophomore year and believes the demeanor of the team during homecoming week is the same as any other week.

“Just like every week, this is the most important game of the year,” Sharp said. “Obviously, we want to win the game because it’s our homecoming. Fans will be fired up. There will be a lot of Southern Miss greats here, but we want to win each week. So, I would say our guys know what the game means for the university, but we also know we have to win in order to reach our goal [of winning the conference championship].”

Imani Harris, senior public relations major and 2018 Miss Southern Miss, said she barely remembers homecoming from her freshman and sophomore years.

“Being a senior has made me relish all the events for homecoming week. I can’t really remember my freshman and sophomore years, so I have made a genuine effort to remember this one,” Harris said. “As Miss Southern Miss, I feel responsible for showing younger students about how fun homecoming week actually is.”

Similar to Sharp, Harris loves seeing Southern Miss alumni come back to participate in the homecoming parade.

“The parade every year is always my favorite. Getting to see some people’s college years come full circle is so exciting,” Harris said.

Being from Petal, Harris did not like the idea of being so close to home, but she believes she was still able to have a college experience that felt like she was far from home.

“Southern is just a little square mile, so I was able to have that far away college experience even though my house is 15 minutes away,” she said.

Both Sharp and Harris believe that the people, both at school and in the community, are what allows Southern Miss to feel like home.

“I think what makes [Southern Miss] home is the hospitality of this school and city. People care about you,” Sharp said. “Anywhere you go, people acknowledge you, and ask you how your day is going. The little things. Everyone in this city is personable.”

Harris said she loves the Southern Miss community.

“Service, community and involvement have always been common things in my experience at Southern,” she said. “Those three things have allowed me to find my people and have been the main things that make me feel like I belong here.”

After Harris won Miss Southern Miss, Harris posted on Instagram her history of being involved in elections, but never feeling good enough because she rarely won. Despite this feeling of unworthiness, Harris believes people should stop basing their self-worth off positions.

“It’s always going to be a recurring cycle,” Harris said. “You’re always going to feel on top of the world, then something will happen, and you’ll be right back to not feeling good enough. My advice is to not base feelings of worthiness off of the things you do, but to base it off of who you are and how your relationships with people are.”

“Once I stopped allowing leadership roles and positions define my self-worth, I actually was able to start winning, but I enjoyed myself more because I didn’t let winning define me,” Harris said.

Even though elementary education major Hannah Robinson is only a freshman, she believes Southern Miss has quickly become her home.

“I’m from Mobile, and I have only gone back home once since coming to college,” Robinson said. “Before I came to college, I always wanted to be home anytime I was out. I definitely feel more comfortable here than at my high school.”

In comparison to high school, Robinson noted the differences of homecoming at Southern Miss.

“I think there’s a lot more school spirit than there was in my high school. We don’t dress up, but it’s easier to get involved,” she said.

Robinson participated in the dance competition and said, “There were a lot of technical difficulties, and I hurt my knee but it’s fine and I still had fun.”

Harris believes students should make an effort to get involved in the homecoming events.

“Homecoming is always student led, so it’s always going to change. There’s always going to be something you don’t like. But this is the week you’re always going to remember if you get involved, so just try to enjoy it,” Harris said.

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