Monday, October 3, 2022

Oxford Stories: Why a D.C. Girl Chose Ole Miss

oxford stories dc girl

Even as a senior, the first question many people ask me is: “How did you end up at Ole Miss?” I have always given the same answer. But as my time at Ole Miss comes to an end, I have learned there are so many other reasons I came and stayed.

My first visit to Ole Miss was when I was 12. My parents had friends who went to Ole Miss and Arkansas, and they invited my family to go to the game.

That game and the experience I had in the Grove surrounded by so many people stuck with me until I began applying for colleges. I told my parents and college counselor I wanted to go to Ole Miss or a school exactly like it, but there is no school exactly like Ole Miss.

Ellie Darcey with Ole Miss friends.
Ellie Darcey with Ole Miss friends.

After visiting several schools scattered from Virginia down to South Carolina and even Ohio, I liked many of them, but I was not in love with any of them.

I had to convince my parents that maybe I was going to be attending a school more than eight hours away, and they were going to have to let me expand my college tour a little farther.

I was able to convince my dad to take me to visit Ole Miss in the spring of my junior year. It was the last school on my list.

It was my first time to be in Oxford since I was 12. It was everything I remembered, and so much more that I hadn’t noticed at a young age. Even as a junior in high school, I was able to appreciate it.

I was in awe of the campus. That’s something everyone says when they visit, and many ask if that is what brought them to the school.

My dad and I got lost a few times looking for buildings, and students asked if we needed help. No one at the other schools had asked.

My dad found out there was a baseball game that weekend. Though I have never been a baseball fan, I actually found the game exciting. Watching the student section from the stadium made me jealous, and I just wanted to be a part of it.

When the visit was over, my dad didn’t need more convincing that Ole Miss was the school where I not only needed to be, but where I wanted to be.

Convincing my mom that 16 hours is not as bad as it sounds was the challenge. She understood that Ole Miss was where I wanted to go, but she had a hard time understanding why, so I told her.

The school, itself, was what I was looking for. It’s on the smaller size, which is what I needed coming from a graduating class of 28. I did not want to attend a large university. And someone on my tour said most class sizes aren’t much more than 20 students – a fact that not many other schools had told me.

I wanted to go to a school that had school spirit. My high school did not have a lot of school spirit or competition, and that was something I wanted to have in my college experience.

Coming to Ole Miss or talking to alumni more often than not, you will easily see how much they love Ole Miss. Going to a school where it was hard to say anything but how much I loved being there was something I wanted.

I also loved the small town of Oxford. Coming from D.C., the idea of a small town was so different for me. I liked how friendly everyone was and how easy they were to talk to, completely different from what I had become used to at home.

Ole Miss also appealed to me because I wanted to try something new. I didn’t want to go out of state or to the other popular universities that people in my area attended. Ole Miss was different enough that it would be a new experience for me.

As I finish my senior year at Ole Miss – when people ask me what brought me here – I should probably just start saying “everything,” because there aren’t many things I have not learned to love about Ole Miss and Oxford.

Column by Ellie Darcey as seen on

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