Titan Pride

Illinois Wesleyan

In 1997, I made a life altering decision. Instead of going to U of I, I decided at the LAST minute to stay in Bloomington-Normal and attend Illinois Wesleyan. I wasn’t sure when I filled out the forms, got my roommate’s name or was packing my stuff it was the right decision.  Even when I walked out to the softball field for the first time,  I wasn’t sure.

13 years later, I can tell you I did.

Reflectively, I know Illinois Wesleyan was the right place for me.  It was small, and beautiful, and friendly and an easy place to be me. The days in Ferguson Hall were my first memories. 6th floor Ferguson…those girls (Emily, Erin, Liz, Des, and Jacqui) were the first new friends I made. But there were more, so many more. My Kappa Delta girls are women I am so proud to still call my friends.  On the softball field I met an old friend and a new one. A best one. Also in Ferguson,  I met another best one.  And today, the two of them are still the two best friends I could ever ask for.  There were chapter meetings, library study sessions for accounting tests, mozzerella sticks in “the dugout”, Derby Days, May Term trips and Final Four basketball games.

The sense of community and belonging became overwhelming.  I belonged.  I was finally at a place where I liked me and loved the people that surrounded me.

In the four years, I made mistakes too, a lot of them. I made bad decisions, struggled in a freshman Economics class and cried when my heart was broken.  I lost friendships, ended relationships and burned bridges. I changed majors trying to find my story, my truth.

That experience- those four years is  why I still today call myself a Titan. But, yesterday was the proudest day I have had as  Titna.  I walked with my head even higher, told my husband stories and spent time talking on the phone with Ann Harding. There was a call for help. To give someone else the experience that I had. That Heather had. And Adam had. And Jaclin had. Give a little and some with more will match with even more. And people stepped up.  And gave more.  And more. And the response was incredible. Over 1500 people donated. And so much money was raised they extended the fundraiser until midnight. My Facebook feed was full of people sharing the link or encouraging people to donate.

The best part of the day, is that I went to bed knowing that other kids get a chance to have their story unfold on the sidewalks of Illinois Wesleyan. They get to have the four year experience that has defined me and so many of my friends. That is awesome. And that is why I am proud to be a titan.