Thoughts on Visiting my Alma Mater for Homecoming Weekend

This past weekend, I took a trip down memory lane and posted ALL about it on my Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee!) by visiting my alma mater Meredith College for its Homecoming Weekend known as Cornhuskin’. Growing up in high school, I lived for Homecoming weekend – the football game, the dance, the shopping for the dance, and the friends. However, when I got to college, I attended an all-women’s institution which meant that our Homecoming Tradition – our always loved Cornhuskin’ – would look A WHOLE LOT different than it did for me during my high school years or for that matter most other college’s. Indeed, one of my favorite parts of this Fall season was getting to visit and experience Cornhuskin’ as an alum of Meredith College.

Cornhuskin’ at Meredith College is our Homecoming tradition, since we are proudly undefeated in football/have no football team – LOL! We also have shirts to prove our undefeated pride in football, too. Cornhuskin’ is pretty much a class competition – the Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors ALL compete against one another – via dances, skit, can art, Hog Callin’, Tall Tales, sweatshirt design, t-shirt design, prop design, on-campus spirit (to win a spirit stick – my class won twice) and much more!! – for bragging rights and the right of winning this most prized tradition. Everything within the class competition revolves around a theme that is then tied into the amazing Meredith College sisterhood given the year of college and ongoings that come with it – my Sophomore year our theme with based on Hercules and the strong sisterhood and we wore togas to dance and throughout our skit. It seriously is very Corny but seriously one of the best ways to spread joy and bond with classmates of all years.

Unlike in high school, Cornhuskin’ is a mega Meredith College community effort that takes effort from practically everyone in the community for months. Although a totally optional activity for all students, many many many of the Meredith College classmates of mine would participate, since it was a great opportunity to bond with classmates. We would start Cornhuskin’ practices in September where we would dance, rehearse skits, paint signs, and make up rhymes in the on-campus parking lots from 9pm until 1am sometimes. The next morning, we would get up and do it all again along with the hustle of classes, committees, jobs, and everything else in between. It was stressful to say the least. And, in fact, my Sophomore year of college, I felt VERY lonely as my friends from Freshmen year had transferred to other schools/drama had happened with those who stayed that I almost considered not participating due to the stress and feeling lonely. BUT, in the very end, I am super proud of myself for taking that leap and doing Cornhuskin’ and so so so happy that I did. The blood, sweat, and tears put into making Cornhuskin’ happen by all within the Meredith College student body made it soooooo worth it in the end when we would perform in the amphitheater at night in front of our family, friends, faculty, staff, classmates, alumnae, and community members.

Due to COVID-19, I did not get a Senior year Cornhuskin’. Meredith College staff did a GREAT job at attempting to give us an as-typical experience as possible, despite nothing looking the same during the 2020-2021 timeframe anyways. Though, in the end, it was sad that we in the Class of 2021 didn’t get a Senior Cornhuskin’ along with the classes of 2022, 2023, and 2024 behind us in their respective years. My friends and I in the Class of 2021 definitely felt some remorse towards that fact that we didn’t get a Senior Cornhuskin’ coming back to Cornhuskin’ this past weekend. COVID-19 took a lot from all of us, and I think it is important that we ALL acknowledge that everyone lost a lot from it and that it isn’t easy at times either. It’s HARD! Loss is hard and there is a major component of COVID-19 that we don’t talk about much: grief. Grief comes in many forms, but the occurrence of my beloved Cornhuskin’ my Senior year of college was hard to lose and it is something that I am still processing and miss all the time. Personally, I wish I got to experience it as a student and get Corny one last time with all of my classmates by my side.

On the flip side, I am SUPER grateful for the Meredith College sisters and classmates of mine that I do have to this day right in my corner. I got to both reconnect and bond with so many of my classmates some of which that I haven’t seen since I graduated or since before COVID-19 times. It was truly a blessing to see Hannah, Alanna, Kearra, Aspen, Jane, Lexie, Laurie, Sarah, Caroline, Cassie, Chandler, Faith, Aly, Kiran, Meredith, Bailey, Jasmine, and my Lil/Grand Lil’s Lelia, Madelyne, and Jordan and many more. I also got to bring my Papa and dog Rosie along to experience it all with me. Rosie dressed as Corny Corn and wore her pineapple Halloween costume from last year in the parade (we got to walk in it as Alumnae with other fellows alums!). We spent hours, after the main events of the class competition, talking in the parking lot just like the good old days of Cornhuskin’. SO many memories were made. I felt apart of the Meredith College community yet again after gaining my Meredith Angel wings and flying off to Washington, DC for my post-graduate life. Currently, I am still struggling to find my way in the Washington, DC area, but knowing that I have SO many fellow Meredith College Angels in my corner is such a sweet feeling and makes me know that I WILL find my way in my new city just like I did at Meredith.

Meredith College prides on its slogan of “Going Strong”. We Meredith College Angels, through it all, are strong – we have gone through tough things and we will do it again. Cornhuskin’ as a student was tough at times – the late nights practicing and then even later nights studying, the long days of classes, committees, and work, the stride to maintain a clean apartment and eat three meals a day, and everything else in between – is not easy for anyone to strive for. BUT, at the end of it all, as fatigued as we were, we loved every minute of our time well spent via Cornhuskin’ and our hearts were filled with gratitude and many many special memories made along the way. We truly were and are still continuing to be going strong the Meredith way, NO MATTER how Corny we may be at times!

XOXO – Katie <3

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