by Emily Hamilton
3,000 (technically 2,852) miles is how far away Boiling Springs is from my home town. My name is Emily Hamilton, and I am a sophomore here at Gardner-Webb. I was born and raised in Washington State. The place I call home is a small town (much like Boiling Springs) located in the top northwest corner of Washington, along the Canadian border, called Everson. For those of you who are looking at colleges now, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret (for those of you already at college, you know this already), but being away from home, be it 3 or 3,000 miles, is HARD! Y’all (southern slang worked its way into my vocabulary mighty fast), have probably already heard this, thought about this, and imagined how you’re going to react to being away from home. But let me tell you, Gardner-Webb has felt like home to me since day 1.
Moving across the country to go to school came with quite the culture shock. Some things that I have experienced since coming to North Carolina include but are not limited to:
1) Eating at new restaurants like Chik-Fil-A, Bojangles, and Cracker Barrel for the first time
2) Quickly incorporating “Y’all” and other southern slang into my vocabulary (as noted above)
3) Discovering my disgust for the southern delicacy - grits
4) Experiencing humidity like I’ve never felt before
5) Enjoying my first (and many more after that) Cook Out milkshakes
While this was all a huge adjustment to have to make, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. Right from the get go I was surrounded by a community that cared. Every single person on the Gardner-Webb campus goes above and beyond to make sure every students’ needs are taken care of. There is always someone to talk to when you need to talk, someone to pick you up when you’re down, someone looking out for you, and someone willing to go on that crazy adventure with you. These “someone’s” are professors, advisors, classmates, staff, the guy who works at CVS across the street, and most importantly, they are the friends you make who quickly become the people you cannot imagine life without.
There are so many different activities and organizations to be involved in at Gardner-Webb. I am personally in the Honors program, and I can honestly say that applying to the program was one of the best decisions of my life. Some perks to being in the Honors program are:
1) Taking honors classes
2) Living in the honors dorm
3) TSD (Try Something Different) – getting to eat various ethnic food (Indian, Thai, Moroccan, etc.)
4) Hikes, ice skating, and other excursions
5) Service projects
6) The people (my personal favorite part of Honors)!
Along with participating in Honors events, I also attend the weekly worship service called the Gathering. Every Tuesday night our amazing student worship band plays (and they never disappoint), and either Neil, our campus pastor, or a guest pastor/speaker from the community speaks. This has been a great way for me to take a break from the stress that accompanies school, and spend time in fellowship with my peers.
Gardner-Webb is not the only place I have found community since coming to North Carolina. I have also found a wonderful church community. The first several weeks of school my freshman year, a friend and I church hopped every Sunday until we found the church we both felt was right for us. We quickly became members at Zoar Baptist Church. We have strong relationships with other members of the church and are involved in different ministries. I personally help lead the recreation for Team Kid on Wednesday nights, and this has and continues to be one of the most impactful and meaningful experiences of my life.
3,000 miles is a long way to be from home, but I have found 3,000 reasons why Gardner-Webb is the right place for me. Everything I have mentioned and more is what draws me to Gardner-Webb, but what keeps me here are the friendships I’ve been blessed with. Every school has a lot to offer by ways of academics and extracurricular activities, but only Gardner-Webb has the people who can make a school a home from the very second you step foot on campus.
Emily Hamilton: Sophomore. Washington state native. Lover of chocolate, soccer, books and Netflix.