Heart of a Lion
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Heart of a Lion

My journey to the roaring pride lands of Southeastern.

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Heart of a Lion
Dawid Dapszus

There are plenty of small towns with small schools, but there’s no other place like Hammond, Louisiana. It’s home to the greatest school in the world, Southeastern Louisiana University, the place where Lions roar with pride. Known for our subtly named football stadium (Strawberry Stadium, that is) and our even more interesting downtown district (Thursday nights, anyone?), I can’t think of a better place to call home. I not only bleed green and gold, but I genuinely love my school.

When I first began considering colleges to attend, my initial plans centered around much bigger schools like LSU or possibly an out of state school like Baylor. It wasn’t that my mind was so set on those specific universities, but they were the ones to most frequently send me mail. Almost every day of my junior year, I’d come home to find a new envelope telling me how wonderful their schools were. But then, one day, I received a letter from Southeastern. It wasn’t a particularly life changing moment, but just another school letter encouraging me to apply. Like I had done so many times before with other schools, I went to Southeastern’s website and decided to do it (best to keep my options open, I thought). Little did I know, it would become one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Since coming to Southeastern, I’ve met so many amazing people by way of so many unique experiences.

The first day I set foot on campus, I went through a jam packed orientation experience, full of spirit competitions, themed color groups and a never ending amount of ice breakers. We laughed, we cheered, we clapped; Needless to say, it got me super pumped for college. It initially took me a while to warm up to everything because of my shy nature. However, I soon realized I had made the right decision. Walking around the school that day made me feel like I was more than a number, but that this place I’d spend my next four years would become my home, and it certainly has.

The next time I set foot on campus was during move in day, nearly two months later. Unlike most freshmen, I came to school about a week prior to move in day to attend band camp. Although I’m not majoring in it, music has always had a tremendous impact on my life. Since middle school, I’ve been involved in band and I knew I wanted to become a member of the Spirit of the Southland. For those of you that don’t know, band camp is a week long activity comprised of learning entirely new music, putting on precise drills, but most importantly, bonding with people that understand you on a deeper level, through music (unless you’re on the set of "American Pie"). It was a bit intimidating. Summer orientation was over, and I was now with the big kids. Contrary to my fears though, I got the opportunity to make new friends from various academic years and it actually went just fine. It was a great way to get tips and advice on maneuvering the new frontier. Not that bad of a deal, in my opinion.

My next big moment of falling in love with my school came when I decided to become an orientation leader. It wasn’t something I had planned on doing back when I started school at Southeastern. After realizing how much I enjoyed the experience and how awesome it would be to give that back to an entire class of graduating seniors, I decided to give it a shot. As an orientation leader, I was graced with the company of 20 other amazing people that had the same fascination for Southeastern Louisiana University as I did. It went far beyond leadership training; I learned how to be open, how to be a team player, and overall, I was reminded why my school is the greatest in the world.

I now stand here today, a junior at Southeastern. I’m an ambassador for the office of admissions, a proud brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and one of the drum majors of the Spirit of the Southland marching band. I’ve come a long way from that nervous incoming freshman at orientation. I’ve met more people than I can mention and I’m so thankful for each of them. Hammond has taught me the value of small towns, and that life isn’t about the notorious moments, but the minute experiences that bond us to the things we love. To my peers, Lion Up, and to the city of Hammond, I will forever love you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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