My biggest goal in life has always been to attend The United States Military Academy at West Point. My senior year of high school, that did not happen. If you're interested, you can read more about that here. In a very short period of time, I had to make a decision on where I would be attending college in the fall. In a turn of events, that no one expected, I did not pick The University of Texas or Texas A&M or even go back to my roots and attend LSU. I picked a small private school in the heart of Dallas, Texas.

SMU was the decision that I never saw coming, but one I will never regret. I found a home, love, community, family, and so much more. While I loved where I was, I chose to reapply to USMA and was appointed in February 2017. My year at SMU is coming to a close, but here is my love letter to the place I will always consider a home.

Dear Southern Methodist University,

Thank you for being one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen. When I first walked on your grounds, I knew that something was special. Thank you for Bishop Boulevard and all of its oak trees and paths. Thank you for Dallas Hall Lawn and the chance to lay out and read a book on days with perfect weather. Thank you for kickball games, soccer, and catch in front of the most picturesque building on campus. Thank you for Boulevards-even when SMU doesn't win the football game, we always win The Boulevard! Thank you for nights in Ford Stadium and Moody Coliseum. Thank you for Fondren (and its Starbucks) and its thousands of places to hide away from the world to get some work done. Thank you for having the world's best Catholic Center and Campus Ministry (but more on that later). Thank you for being minutes from Deep Ellum and Downtown Dallas for endless exploring.

Dear Macs Place,

Thank you for being open until 2 A.M during the week and for always having Ben and Jerry's. Thank you for having the world's worst pizza that I love to get after football games and before Netflix sessions.

Dear Jacy and Tessa and Madison and Alexis and India and Chelsea and the rest of my teammates,

Thank you for spotting me, cheering me on, and telling me when to get off my ass and start the next set. Thank you for getting me through the hardest year of training I've ever had. Thank you for supporting me even once you knew that I was leaving.

Dear Alec and Alexis and Alex and Olivia,

Thank you for being the world's best study group. Thank you for not judging me for anything I said in a Red-bull-induced haze. Thank for you finding ways to make the fourth hour of talking about rotifers and arthropods fun.Thank you for answering late night texts begging for help on a chemistry lab. Thank you for Macs and Sonic and Torchys runs to pregame a late night of studying. Thank you for saving my grade approximately 100 times.

Dear Coach Miller,

Thank you for taking a chance on me. I know a 5 foot 3 hurdler is something that seems laughable on paper. But, somehow you let me be a part of your team. Thank you for coming up with workouts to make me faster and stronger, and for nitpicking my form until it is now almost perfect. Thank you for telling me exactly what I needed to hear, even if it wasn't always positive. Thank you for letting me race at Frisco, I will never forget my first indoor meet. Thank you for making the little girl, who used to watch college sports with her dad and dream about being one of those big kids on T.V.,'s dreams come true.

Dear Cody and SMU Catholic,

Thank you for being some of the most inviting people I've ever met. Thank you for giving me a home in the C. Thank you for letting me dance around like an idiot at one in the morning and loving me anyway. Thank you for midnight breakfast. Thank you for the 5 o'clock mass where it is socially acceptable to wear Nike shorts. Thank you for all of the coffee (there has been A LOT). Thank you for cutting me off from the coffee when it's that time. Thank you for SMUCUS and Thanksgiving dinner and Mardi Gras and Valentines Day parties. Thank you for Sunday Suppers, because the best way to start the week is with anything NOT from the dining hall.

Dear Dave and Lauren,

Thank you for letting me into your group of singers without a question. Thank you for helping me bring music back into my daily life. Thank you for challenging me to find my own harmonies (and not judging me when I completely lose they key). Thank you for all of the beautiful music you write and give us a chance to sing.

Dear UTA ROTC,

Thank you for pushing me beyond what I thought my limits were (did you know you could throw up three times during two miles? Neither did I...). Thank you for giving me friends to help me embrace the suck and to find a way to make me laugh at six in the morning when I'd already been awake since 4:30. Thank you for giving me leadership, tactical, and physical training that will only make me a better cadet. Thank you for giving me friends who will drag me out of my cave (more on that later) on a random Thursday night for adventures.

Dear Daniel and Erin and Courtney and Smythe,

Thank you for being my FYSH leaders. On that first Tuesday night, I wasn't even sure if I was going to be active in a campus ministry, but I figured I should try it. I am so happy that I did. Thank you for supporting me and checking up on me and for encouraging me along this journey. Thank you for asking the hard questions and helping me grow in my faith. Thank you for being the best small group leaders ever, but more importantly, thank you for being my friends.

Dear Adam,

Thank you for wearing that Taylor Swift bracelet the first night of FYSH. If you hadn't who knows where we would be. Thank you for being my football buddy and for making sure I feed myself. Thank you for asking me to drive you to go get a fish and for creating our squad on your birthday (I STILL SAY IT IS NOT PRONOUNCED PEE-CAN, YOU ARE WRONG). Thank you for watching a football game you couldn't have cared less about in the middle of finals when you should have been studying because you knew I needed someone there. Thank you for the memes (I don't know why I say this like it's in the past tense, we know you won't ever stop tagging me in them). Thank you for adventuring to find all of the puppers and doggos.

Dear Lorien,

Thank your for being down for my random adventures (that usually involved food, let's be honest). Thank you for hanging out on my beanbag and getting no actual work done. Thank you for randomly being down for having deep conversations and ranting about my thoughts on things. Thank you for not running when I dropped that bomb on you first semester. Thank you for always doing my hair. Thank you for being a Division-1 social media stalker.

Dear Caroline,

Thank you for being one of the few people that understands my love for both the state of Louisiana and the state of Texas. Thank you for being my token srat friend. Thank you for never judging me by what I'm wearing because chances are you were just as lazy when you got dressed that morning. Thank you for always being down for food whether it's trying something new or going get Sonic or me dragging you to Torchys for you to order yet another taco you don't really like. Thank you for telling me what I needed to hear even when I didn't want to hear it (and even when you knew I wasn't going to listen to you for the hundredth time). Thank you for loving Target as much as I do and for getting excited about pretty things on the end-caps with me.

Dear Olivia,

Thank you for putting up with me this year. I know I am not always the easiest person to live with, but here we are less than four days before you move out and you haven't killed me yet. Thank you for always buying enough food to share, and for always being willing to share it. Thank you for two A.M. Love Actually viewings, and deep life conversations when we both should be sleeping. Thank you for telling me when to stop procrastinating and to get my stuff done. Thank you for not hating me when my clothes are all over the floor. Thank you for taking out the trash when it was gross and I probably should have done it. Thank you for letting me borrow everything from clothes to a clean towel to your Tupperware. Thank you for understanding my love of potatoes and for being willing to go pick up cheese fries and potato soup and come home and watch Gossip Girl. Thank you for not getting mad when I threatened to smother you in your sleep because you snore. Also thanks for buying nose strips, my morning coffee bill thanks you too. Thank you for a great year and for being an awesome roommate.

Dear Peyton #308,

Thank you for going from a blank slate on August 17th to reflecting pieces of my home back at me everywhere I looked. Thank you for having the world's comfiest bed at 3 A.M. when I drag myself home from the library (and at 7:30 the next morning when it was time to get up for class). Thank you for being the place that I liked to spend so much time in, my friends called it my cave. Thank you for being a suite because I almost died at 3 A.M. trying to get to the bathroom WITHOUT having to walk down the hallway too many times. Thank you for being close to the hall microwave for pizza rolls and popcorn. Thank you for being a great place for a movie night. Thank you for being the place I could go and cry in on days I needed it and for being big enough to make a dance floor when I just needed to dance it out.

Thank you, SMU, for all that you gave me this year. I feel like all I've said through this article is thank you, but I also feel like there is no way to say it enough. Thank you to everyone I didn't mention by name, you were just as important on this journey and I love you.

Pony Up, SMU.