By Ainsleigh Cunningham
They all say life is like a book — made up of many chapters that take place in different settings with different characters.
The chapter that includes my time in Oxford, and the University of Mississippi is one that I do not want to move on from. If I had the chance, I would read on and on about the places and people that have made this chapter in my life so special. But alas, this is a book and the story must go on.
When I think about my time in this picture-perfect town, I think about the car-load full of stuff that had to get up to the eighth floor in Crosby dorm on move-in day as a freshman. I think about the late-night POD store runs and creative microwave recipes I tried, since, after all, a microwave was the only kitchen appliance I had access to in the dorm. I think about the fire alarms that would jolt me awake in the middle of the night where my roommate and I would sleepwalk down the eight flights of stairs to sit on the curb for hours it seemed.
When I think about sophomore year, I think about living in a neighborhood with all of my sorority sisters. I think about getting ready with my best friends for game days in The Grove. I think about walking hand in hand with them from Old Taylor Road to The Grove. Looking back, I cannot remember a game day where it was not either sweltering hot or frigid cold– either way, we did not mind.
When it comes to junior year, I think of turning 21, along with every other one of my friends. I think of planning birthday parties, painting 21st birthday signs, and finally being able to get in the Library- the one where no studying takes place. Nearing the end of junior year is when the pandemic hit. It was an extremely discouraging time, not only for the senior class of 2020 but also for the junior class of 2021. There was not much hope or a foreseeable end to the pandemic itself. During the pandemic, I found that the couches in The Graduate Hotel make for an excellent study and Zoom space and that there is never an excuse to not have a game night with close friends.
Now, as I close my senior year, I sit on the same couch I have so many times before during my college career. I think about how at first, as a shy, naive 18-year-old, I did not have any clue how I would survive four years of college, or four years away from my mom’s home-cooking for that matter. But here I am, graduated, moved out of my college apartment, eating at my favorite local restaurants for the last time, and saying goodbye to the ones I love the most- the ones that made this whole thing worth the while.
While my chapter in Oxford is coming to an end, the good thing about it just being a chapter is knowing that I am flipping the page to a brand new one. My next chapter holds a new setting, new characters, new lessons, a new job- a lot of new, to be honest. Thankfully, my time in this idyllic town at this unrivaled university has equipped me to do just that- flip the page.
However, this is and always will be my favorite chapter. Thank you, Ole Miss.