I decided to take the way less traveled on the way back from Laramie this past weekend.  Rock Creek Trail is nestled in the mountains just south of Arlington.  As a little kid, I always remember going to Laramie and seeing how beautiful the changing colors were on the trees.  Sunday was the first time I ventured into this little canyon, and I’m sure glad I did.  As I sat along the banks of Rock Creek, I reminisced about the great weekend I just had.

I never understood the purpose of homecoming growing up.  In high school, it was just one giant week of popularity contests and school pride events.  I was probably most active during senior year, where, in shock and awe, I participated in every single day of homecoming.  I dressed up as a senior citizen, helped build the bonfire, painted people’s bodies for the football game, and yes, even went to the dance.  People who know me know that I hate school dances.  Or dancing in general.

As a senior, I still didn’t know what homecoming truly meant.  Rather than ponder, I just sat back and enjoyed it.  It was my last year.  Four years really flew by.

College was no different.  Granted, the first two years went by fairly slowly, but I was completely okay with that.  I had a blast as an undergraduate.  I was involved, I had a great group of friends, and I had the best brothers I could ask for.  One thing remained constant from high school: homecoming week was a really big deal.

The celebrations were grandiose and there was a larger sense of school spirit.  Being in a fraternity, you were highly encouraged to participate in some event that week.  Homecoming week certainly brought out the competition in each house.  It would behoove certain people to find their niche and contribute in their own individual way.

Homecoming Sing was always something to look forward to.  Each house got to show off their school spirit and household talent in a sing-off.  Last year, one of our members re-worded the lyrics to some country song; the name which confounds me because I’m not a devout listener of country music.  Along with the lyrics, he helped coordinate some dance moves which we hoped would impress.  Though we didn’t win, it was a fun experience.

I got involved more as a member – and later, as an executive – of ASUW.  The pig roast, the hyping-up of people in Simpsons Plaza, the volunteer spirit through The Big Event.

This weekend was my first homecoming as an alumni.  I felt out of place.  It was weird.  My entire scholastic career, I’ve been on the opposite end, participating in festivities as a student.  This time, I was a college graduate.  A lot of the people I went to school with (save for Cameron) weren’t there anymore.  However, as the weekend progressed, I saw more and more familiar faces.  My big in the fraternity came back to celebrate.  My best friend, who is now in law school, took some time out of his busy schedule to have a few drinks.  My aunt, along with her boyfriend, my cousin, and her boyfriend, all went to the Buck at 7:45 PM on a Friday night.  That is officially the earliest I’ve ever been there.

Several fraternity alumni came back this weekend.  People who had been in the house long before I was there.  I tailgated with them in the parking lot of War Memorial shortly before the game.  Everybody was so happy to see one another.  Everybody acted like they hadn’t even been gone that long.  Those long-lasting friendships withstood the test of time.

My family gathered at my cousin’s house for some homemade pizza after the game.  We celebrated togetherness and family.  It certainly was a homecoming to remember.

This weekend made me realize what homecoming meant.  I had such a huge family on campus, between friends, fraternity, and actual family.  You really get to pick who will be in your family at your home away from home.  Though you may be gone, and off to bigger and better things, you can always come back home.  Your family will still be there, awaiting your arrival, ready to reminisce and relive the good ol’ times.


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