By Lorynne Benavides —
As I reflect on my time at Tarleton, a rush of memories flash through my head all at one time. From driving down backroads with my friends to late nights in the library losing vision from the florescent lights, I can’t help but wish I could bottle up every ounce of memory from this place and keep it forever.
Everyone’s Tarleton story is different. There are traditional routes of those who went from high school to a bachelor’s in four years, or those who changed their major too many times to count. Then there are the ones who took the two to four-year hiatus to figure out what in the world they were doing with their lives. This one was definitely me. I’m the Hiatus Girl. Regardless, I made it and the time is actually here.
Flashback to my freshman year in the fall of 2012. I was a bass player on the Tarleton drumline, majoring in art. I lived in the OG Traditions Hall, and if you’re older than most grads, you know the dorm I’m talking about. Three girls to one room was something even my mom harped on avoiding when I was young. Never spend the night with friends in odd numbers because someone always gets left out. I ended up quitting the drumline mid-semester and dropping out and moving back home due because I wasn’t ready to be an adult and it showed.
Fast forward seven years later and I’ve got a perfect little boy, Axel, and am ready to begin the next chapter of my life. I changed majors five times, I moved a lot and I beat the statistical odds of single mothers in college. I have some regrets, though, if I’m being honest. I wish I would have been more involved in this university and I also wish I would have finished my education before having a kid. However, my journey is the reason why I love this school so much. It’s unique to me and no one can have the same story as mine. I can’t wait to see where my learnings and experiences at the best kept secret in Texas takes me in life. Speaking of the best kept secret, this school definitely lives up to that description.
You don’t really realize what kind of place this school is until you let it be your home that always welcomed you into it. It doesn’t matter what route you took at TSU, the fact that you made those connections with your professors and classmates is enough to look back and smile. This is the place you invested so much of yourself in. This is the place you found yourself, lost yourself and then found yourself in again. If you’re a Texan once, you’re a Texan forever. If you bleed purple once, you bleed purple forever. The gates of Tarleton are always open to me, and they’ll always be open to you.