Cat’s Meow: Come home to WKU

Caitlin Herrington

I remember my first Homecoming parade in 2009. I remember standing in front of Parking Structure 1 with a small group of friends and watching as fire trucks sped through campus before the parade began. The theme was “Roll out the Red,” but it seemed FarmHouse got confused and thought it was “Stop, Drop and Roll.”

No worries, the float still got second place.

But that’s not the point. The point is that this week should be valuable to every Hilltopper, not just the Greeks. Many people seem to overlook the importance of this week and head home before the game even starts. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

This is the week, more than any other I’ve experienced, where the Hill trulycomes to life.

People from the community and alumni from throughout the country flock to this campus to celebrate the spirit of being a Hilltopper. After all, it’scalled Homecoming for a reason — this place is our home.

I don’t think I really grasped the concept then as much as I do now. That’s probably a result of my impending graduation. It’s less than two months away, and as excited as I am to begin the next  chapter of my life as a  “big kid,” every day I dread leaving just a little bit more.

It isn’t just the people or the places that I’ll miss, it’s the fact that, as of Dec.15, my role as a Hilltopper changes completely.

I won’t be here to yell at the refs at football games or scream at the top of my lungs while the opposing team shoots free throws. I won’t be running back to the Student Publications building at the last minute because a story didn’t fit or a caption was wrong. I won’t even be sprinting uphill to try to get to class on time.

I’ll be somewhere else, watching the games form my TV and viewing the online version of the College Heights Herald.

The fact that this is my last Homecoming makes all that ring just a little bit more true than it did last year.

I now have friends that actually have to come back to cam- pus for Homecoming, and knowing that my role next year will be the same is a little disheartening.

What’s life on the other side of WKU going to be like? How am I supposed to know what time it is without Guthrie playing America the Beautiful?

What will I do when the drive home doesn’t include College Street with Cherry Hall lit up in red and white at the top of the Hill?

This week is going to be surreal for me, but it should also be full of memories for you.

It doesn’t matter if a float catches on fire, if you’re Greek or if you dislike football. What matters is that you’re here — and you’re a Hilltopper. That’s something that will never change or be taken away from you.

Whether it be for a year or four (or five…) this campus holds a significant place in the hearts of many. It’s where we meet best friends and future spouses. It’s where we learned to work hard and pick our battles. It’s where we branched out, took leaps of faith and grew up a little.

This campus holds victories and defeats for every one of us, and after we graduate, that’s what we will remember. And that’s what we will celebrate. This week is full of traditions, but the most important is honoring this week for exactly what it is — coming home.