By Caitlin Dunnells, Staff Reporter
Hardin-Simmons University has always been a part of me. Growing up, I used to attend HSU festivities by participating in the Kid’s Posse Club. The club was designed specifically for the alumni’s children. I was lucky enough to be a member of the club.
The Kid’s Posse always gave me freebies. I loved receiving free pillowcases, stuffed animals, CD holders, keychains, shirts and magnets. I also enjoyed getting postcards in the mail from HSU students wishing me a Merry Christmas or a happy birthday.
I collected those gifts from kindergarten until I was 14 years old. I loved showing off my gifts to my friends. My room was decorated with HSU gifts and I treasured them. In fact, I still have several of the gifts to this day. They continue to decorate my apartment, but the difference is that I am now a student at the school I grew up loving.
In middle school I enjoyed attending sporting events for HSU. My dad and I would travel to watch football, soccer and basketball games. We always made sure to go to the games versus University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton since we only lived half an hour away. We cheered for the “right team” of course, even though we had several UMHB friends that we would sit with.
I particularly remember watching a basketball game at UMHB during my seventh-grade year. The game was intense and went into double overtime. As a middle schooler, my dad wanted to leave early, especially because I had a math test the next day. I begged and pleaded to stay and finish the game even though I was not the biggest basketball fan. At that moment, I realized HSU was becoming a piece of me. I loved watching and cheering on the teams. I loved attending HSU events. I loved being associated with HSU.
Junior year I began to think of what college I should attend. I visited several other schools, but HSU kept sticking with me. One day during the school year, a mutual friend came up to me and pointed out my HSU keychain on my backpack which I had received from the Kid’s Posse Club. She mentioned that she was looking at attending and suggested that if we both decided to go to HSU that we should room together. I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t believe we would both end up attending. In the end, we did, and I was delighted to have someone I knew going to the same small school as me. Looking back, I laugh at the fact that the old keychain was what helped me find my college roommate.
Freshmen year of college I was both nervous and excited. I was excited to finally be at the school that I grew up dreaming of attending. However, I was a homebody who had never been away from home for long periods of time, and I was terrified that I wouldn’t fit in. Luckily, HSU has such a welcoming atmosphere and so many friendly people. It was an easier transition because the school was so homely, and the people were so caring.
I am now a senior and can’t believe where the time has gone. I feel like yesterday I was just a little girl excited to get a new gift in the mail. I am thankful for the memories I have made and am looking forward to enjoying what I have left at this amazing school. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self how unbelievable this school truly is.
HSU has and always will be a part of who I am.