Wednesday, February 1, 2023

An Open Letter to Ole Miss: One Graduate's Tribute

Editor’s Note: The following letter from a soon-to-be Ole Miss grad is a touching tribute to a wonderful college experience.

Mike and his girlfriend, Bailey, during Double Decker. and writer Mike Houde dedicate these thoughtful words to the entire Ole Miss family, past and present.
A Letter to the University of Mississippi:
As of May 10th, I will be a graduate and alumni of the University of Mississippi. This is something I say with an unquantifiable amount of pride, and an equal amount of sadness.
I know I’m not the only one, but I’m so incredibly sad to be leaving the University of Mississippi that I can hardly put it into words.
I came here as a wide-eyed 19-year-old from Virginia who had only ever been to the real South once or twice in his life. I floated the idea of going to school elsewhere, but Ole Miss was the best choice I could have ever made.
The people I’ve met here, the places I’ve seen, the experiences I’ve had; all these factors have led me to fall in love with Oxford, Mississippi. There’s nowhere else in the world like it. I can say, without any shadow of a doubt, that the four years I’ve spent here have been the best of my life.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. The typical stresses of finals, projects, and homework always drag everyone down, but even the bad times were pretty damn good, because I was here.
Sure, Ole Miss has also seen it’s share of controversy, but at the end of the day, we’re all Rebels. We’re a community that, admit it or not, loves one another because we’re Rebels. Whether it’s sports, a party, a class, or a concert, I’ve seen more unity and compassion here than anywhere else I’ve ever been.
To the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors that still have time left here: enjoy it. Love this school and this town with everything you have. When it’s your time to graduate, you’ll look back with the same amount of gratitude and love as I do.
Ole Miss is truly a magical place, so don’t take a single second here for granted. Sure, you can come visit after graduation, but it’s not the same. Right now, your job and responsibility (other than class, obviously) is to have as much fun as you possibly can. You’re in the best position to do that here, so don’t miss out.
As my life moves from undergrad to a weird limbo between choosing a law school or applying for jobs, I look back on my time here with nothing but fondness and satisfaction.
So thank you, Ole Miss. Thank you for everything.
tents1-300x200Thank you for the Grove, football games, and beer showers at baseball games. Thank you for Walker’s Challenge, the free concerts, the library, and the Library. Thank you for Funky’s, the Round Table, the Levee, bonfires at Sardis, Rowan Oak and Double Decker.
Thank you staff. Thank you professors. Thank you faculty. Thank you for it all.
As I move into the next chapter in my life, I know I go well-equipped with both knowledge and memories from my tenure here. I may be physically graduating, but the words of Frank E. Everett, Jr. ring true.
“The University is respected, but Ole Miss is loved. The University gives a diploma and regretfully terminates tenure, but one never graduates from Ole Miss.”
Thank you, Ole Miss.
Sincerely,  Mike Houde