COLUMN: Freshman: There’s no place like the Hill

Mercedes Trent

The first thing one of my new friends asked me when I arrived on campus was, “Do you have a Red Towel yet?” And then he tossed me one.

Holding the rough cloth in my hand, I remember wondering what I was supposed to do with it and what it was in for.

In the months since, that Red Towel has been useful. I’ve swung it over my head at athletic events while yelling my lungs out, used it to get hot dishes out of the oven and followed the towels on WKU signs to navigate my way back to campus.

The spirit of the Red Towel is important when identifying yourself as a Hilltopper. And when we say “Hilltoppers,” there’s an important, probably breathless, emphasis on the word ‘hill.’

After a few days on campus, I realized it’s not just a nickname. The Hill is part of my everyday culture here. I love arriving to class and panting as I take my seat, my classmates nodding in understanding.

That sense of mutual understanding, of community, is what I love about WKU. When I got to college, I decided I wanted to try some new things that would have been restricted to me back home, like Greek life.

WKU gave me so many opportunities to try things like this and, through these opportunities, so many new types of people to work with and befriend.

I’ve interacted with more people while at WKU than I probably ever did in my small hometown of Winchester, and that has been invaluable. Also, I’ve enjoyed the many ways WKU offers to expand interests and knowledge outside the classroom (and usually pick up a little extra credit), by taking advantage of its guest speakers, events and clubs.

A typical day for me is never the same. Some days, I have sorority meetings to attend, Herald interviews to conduct, classes and homework, while others I may have an extra credit lecture, a Pilates class at the gym, a charity event and an on-campus concert. Many nights end late with GADS runs, and too many Saturdays have been spent shopping at the mall and the second-hand boutiques or in the car for a small road trip to Nashville. Sundays are soccer and Frisbee days, and I can almost always find a game to join on South Lawn or in the Valley.

I’ve also spent plenty of nights inside, lounging in the hall with the people in my dorm. Sometimes a friend cooks us dessert on the floor kitchen and we sit in the hall outside, holding the door open and reading magazines aloud to one another. I’ve gone to other dorms to play card games with international students, and I met my closest sorority sisters standing in the dinner line at Bene Pasta.

WKU is the kind of environment where you can comfortably meet so many people and become a part of so many unique things that maybe you’ve always looked forward to doing or that maybe you had no idea how perfect you were for.