The Homecoming Reception here at Harding University is something I have been
involved with for a few years now: I was a volunteer and made food as an undergraduate
involved in HUSSHA. After graduating back in May, I started as a graduate student here and have continued to volunteer with HUSSHA. The reception has always been something I enjoy being a part of because people come back who have gone to Harding in the past, most of them through the years I had not known previously. This year was different though because I was able to experience the reception from the perspective of both roles: being a graduate of Harding, seeing friends who had graduated with me, and as a student serving and volunteering through HUSSHA for the same friends. I found a different deeper joy this year while making the goodies because I knew who I was making them for, and how much I missed their smiles. In my undergraduate years the reception was fun, but did not mean much to me, and I honestly did not really see the point of it. This year was different though, I understood why it was important, and I was looking forward to the reception. As an undergraduate I could not see the real value of the friendships I was making and how much I would miss them after we all went our separate ways after graduation. The point of this reception was to spend time with my friends, talk to them about life, and enjoy their company. This reception was such a blessing, and I appreciated the experience so much more being on this side.
Harding really is a special place. This department is amazing: the teachers here are supportive and want us to succeed. I have enjoyed being in graduate school here and have loved getting to know my cohort. I have gotten so much closer with these twenty people in the last ten weeks than I thought possible. I can see this reception meaning even more to me than it does now once I graduate with my masters; I will probably come back every year because the people here really do care about each other. Watching the teachers talk with the graduates that came to the reception this year was inspiring to me. They were asking them about their lives, they cared about them even after they graduated. They could easily only care about us while we are here in school, but they go the extra mile, and continue to care about all of us long after graduation.
Madison Taylor, BA, current first year graduate student (Kilo class)
Photos by Felicia VanWinkle, current undergraduate senior