How has Ole Miss impacted/benefited you?
Ole Miss has been nothing short of a dream. Growing up I used to write “Ole Miss” over and over in my notebooks. I mean, besides the giveaways and involvement shirts, I never really had a lot of Ole Miss gear. I knew when I came to Ole Miss I wanted to make an impact; however, I didn’t realize how much it would change me. Ole Miss has opened my eyes to so many different ideas, types of people and mindsets. I think the greatest way Ole Miss has impacted me is that it taught me how to love and accept all people no matter their background, aspirations or situation.
What is your favorite memory from Ole Miss?
This is a hard one, because I have so many great memories– from meeting some of my best friends to all the organizations I have been blessed to be apart of. But the first one that comes to mind happened before I was even a student here. It was the weekend of transfer orientation in the spring. I was finishing my sophomore year at junior college. I came to Oxford a day early to stay with my friend from high school. We woke up in his residence hall, went to breakfast at the Johnson Commons, and I actually went to a couple of his classes with him. Luckily they were larger classes so the professor didn’t see me sneak in. I thought it was awesome, and I can remember thinking, “Wow, so this is what it’s like at Ole Miss.” I had always dreamed of going to school here, but I couldn’t afford to attend directly out of high school. I didn’t even know if I would be able to go that fall because I had yet to hear back about scholarship awards, but I thought that day was the coolest thing. I can even remember the lecture in the political science class. I took notes, asked questions, and even took a pop-quiz! It was incredible! I saw first-hand what a normal day as an Ole Miss student was like, and it made me want to work harder to be there. The next day, after orientation was over, I received an email from the Lucky Day committee informing me that I had been awarded the scholarship. I immediately called my mom and we both screamed– with tears of joy rolling down my face. It was official, I was going to start my dream school in the fall. This is my favorite memory from Ole Miss because it gave me a taste of the excitement of going to school here. It pushed me to become involved when I got here, so I could share that same excitement with those around me.
What made you run for Mr. Ole Miss?
I never thought in my life I would have the opportunity to run for such an honor. I don’t know if a transfer has ever even attempted before. When I first transferred to Ole Miss I really didn’t plan on being involved. I was pretty involved at my community college but thought I could never do the same at a larger school. I just knew that I wanted to meet people and really absorb as much of Ole Miss as I could. As I became more involved, I noticed a lack of transfer students who were active in the community. When I talked to other transfer students, they would often tell me of their difficulties of fitting in or how they didn’t realize that they could do this or be a part of that. It was definitely their mindset that transfers are limited, and in terms of their amount of time as a student at Ole Miss, it’s true. That is why it is important to be intentional and impactful during your time here. I remember when I was at orientation and the leader said “You can do whatever you want on this campus, don’t let transferring stop you…you are not ‘just a transfer,’ you’re an Ole Miss student.” That really stuck with me. It wasn’t until a week before school started that some close friends really encouraged me to think about it. I began to see it as an opportunity to show all students that this is no set mold for Ole Miss students. We all have different Ole Miss experiences, but that doesn’t mean that we are any less a part of this school. I want everyone to know that it doesn’t matter how you got here, when you got here or where you came from; all that matters is that you’re here and you belong here. This is your Ole Miss too.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Ole Miss?
Be open. You will never grow if you never push yourself to try something new and always remember to be yourself while doing it.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
I don’t really care if it’s my name that’s remembered, I just want to make a change in the culture and have it stick. I want everyone to continue remembering transfers in the conversation. I hope one day Ole Miss becomes the number one school for transfers in the state, and that every student, especially transfers, knows that this place is for them and they can do whatever they want on this campus.
What would your advice be to upcoming freshman?
To all incoming freshmen and transfer students, don’t be afraid to step out there or dream big. If there is something you want to do during college, do it. Ole Miss is a place of endless possibilities, but you have to be willing to try in order to experience them.