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What makes Clemson ‘feel like coming home’

Amanda Tuten, Staff

The first time we step on campus is an experience.
Often an experience of nervousness, excitement or trepidation, landing in Clemson for the first time is like nothing else.
“Coming to Clemson for me was like coming home – I guess you could call it a homecoming,” Freshman AJ Richardson said. An elementary education major, Richardson is from Aiken, but moved out of state a few years ago, before landing right back in South Carolina.
“I have a lot of family and friends here in Clemson,” Richardson said. “Everything worked out.”
Richardson is a part of Clemson’s Call Me MiSTER Program, or Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. The program is designed to “increase the pool of available teachers from a broader more diverse background” in South Carolina schools, according to Call Me MiSTER’s website.
Richardson found a home within the program. “I found the Call Me Mister Program and now I’m back, right where I belong,” Richardson said.
Everyone on campus has a different story of belonging—what drew them here above other universities. They have their own unique reasons for being drawn to the orange and purple sunsets, the sound of the uneven Union bricks underfoot, the sparkle of the reflection pond on a sunny day, and the rolling green of Bowman field.
Alumni, Bill Marshall of Charleston, found lasting professional and personal relationships hidden in these hills.
“I was an architect major at Clemson. The major, as you know, is not easy. Through the many hours in the studio, I created a relationship with one of my professors, and even to this day I would consider him to be one of my best friends – he was even in my wedding,” Marshall said.
“The relationships built at Clemson are truly like none other,” Marshall said.
For freshman navigating these first two months away from home, amazing memories are made. Memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world, good and bad – like the time I was 20 minutes late to my very first college Spanish class because I managed to walk around campus twice in search for one of the most recognizable buildings on campus (that’s the day I learned how to use the My Clemson app). Or like the day I got to run down Bowman field to 200 new sorority sisters that all shared my love for philanthropy.
The community of Clemson seems to speak volumes to those who stumble onto campus for the first time.
Student body President, Joey Wilson, pointed to the fervor of the game as an expression of that community.
“Every home game, no matter what team we’re playing, when Clemson rubs the rock and runs down the hill, it’s surreal. My favorite Clemson moment is the feeling I get when the team is running on the field and 80,000 people are screaming, in unity, C-L-E-M-S-O-N! It gives me chills and reminds me of all of the amazing times I’ve had here, the lifelong friendships I’ve formed, and of how truly special this university is to me and so many others.”

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