Finding a home in unexpected places

Having grown up only two hours away from Tuscaloosa in Montgomery, I was no stranger to the odd ways of SEC college girls. The way they talk, act and dress was completely normal to me.

Despite my parents’ being avid Auburn fans [insert disgust here], I knew I would fit in at Alabama. The “uniform” of Norts and a huge T-shirt had already trickled down to parts of my high school as early as 2009, and I was a huge fan. Both my parents had been Greek in college, so naturally I would participate in rush, join a sorority and fit in perfectly with the image I was already creating for myself.

Let’s fast-forward to senior year of high school. I attended several sorority teas in Montgomery, fell in love with various houses during preview weekend and was accumulating my necessary recommendations. The dresses were bought and the plans were made. Until my parents threw a rock in said plans by telling me I would have to pay all of the sorority fees by myself.

Since I didn’t own a small fortune, my dreams of being the perfect, stereotypical girl at the University were over, and I wasn’t sure how I could possibly find a niche at this huge all-Greek (in my mind) university.

Yeah, it was hard. It felt like all my friends were Greek and meeting all these great new people and I wasn’t. They were all going to awesome parties and bars every night and I wasn’t. They all had drawers and drawers of new Comfort Colors T-shirts and the only shirts in my drawers were Anvil (ugh).

But what I came to realize in these past four years is that this university has so much more to offer than Greek life. Because of my circumstances, I was able to discover so much more meaning for my time at the University. Not to say that Greek life is meaningless; it’s not. Some of the most influential people I have met here are Greek. But I was able to do so much without being defined by a few letters of some weird alphabet.

I’ve seen a tornado destroy the place I called home. But I’ve also seen students doing anything and everything they can to restore this home. I’ve seen the downfall of pledgeship and the continued segregation of the Greek system. But I’ve also seen, finally, the integration of it. I’ve seen two national championships, and only a few losses, and will always love the Alabama Crimson Tide, and my parents can deal with it while they’re on the Gus Bus.

I’ve had the opportunity of a leadership position within the Honors College Assembly and worked with student leaders who have passion and a vision for this campus. While I planned parties and endlessly pomped, you all were creating sustained change to reach every corner of this university. To all of you amazing people, thanks for making HCA what it is. Stay classy casual, y’all.

As a Young Life College leader, I’ve been able to mentor younger girls from all backgrounds across this campus. They’ve taught me what it’s like to be young again. Girls, thanks for accepting all of my quirkiness.

To all the new and returning Honors College Ambassadors, don’t be offended when a University Steward mistakes you for a prospective student. If you’re short like me, it happens a lot but can be avoided by actually wearing your name tag.

Being a part of The Crimson White this past year has helped me realize that even though we’re young, and a lot of people don’t take us seriously, they should. So much amazing change has happened in the past few years, and it’s all been done by students.

Thank you, Mazie and Mackenzie, for hiring me to join this crazy, amazing CW family.

To Lowder, thanks for always co-conspiring to use hashtags that Mackenzie would never let us get away with.

And thanks to everyone who has accepted me as I am and helped me grow into the somewhat mature adult I am now. Keep rolling that tide.

Lauren Robertson is the assistant community manager of The Crimson White.

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