EDUCATION

Column: I've lived all over the world, but I chose the South as my home

My A&M parents and siblings and I in the grove!

Grace Baxter
Oxford Stories

I am 19, but I have lived in the South for 11 years. That means I’ve spent over half of my life in the South, and I would not want it any other way.

I am the proud daughter of a U.S. Navy captain, and due to my father’s job, I have had to move, on average, every 18 months to two years.

We have been stationed all over the world, but some of my favorite duty stations where we were assigned have been in the South. My dad has told me since I was in high school that he knew I would end up in the South, and that it is my place.

When thinking of where I wanted to go to college, I realized my sophomore year of high school that I wanted to be in the South. I would only look at schools at college fairs located in the South. I only toured schools below the Mason Dixon line, and only applied to those schools.

Something about the strong traditions that all Southern schools seemed to have captivated me, and I was enchanted the first time I stepped on the Ole Miss campus.

I was raised by two Texas A&M Aggies and all of the traditions and customs that come with that school. When my family and I went to the Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss game in 2013, I made up my mind that I would attend school here one day.

I didn’t tell anyone for two years, until we were back for another A&M vs. Ole Miss game in 2015, but at that point, my mind had been made up for two years. My parents tried to get me to consider Texas A&M seriously, but I just knew Ole Miss was my place, and they quickly saw that.

Fast forward to my junior year of high school. Everyone is doing their college visits and talking about where they might want to go to college one day.

I attended Brussels American School in Brussels, Belgium for most of my high school career, and I was one of the only studens dead set on going to school in the South. I didn’t even consider schools outside of the South or outside the SEC. I knew what I wanted to do, and my mind was set.

Fast forward a little more to my senior year, and I began talking about all the Ole Miss stuff – the over the top dorm rooms, the football season outfits, and the recruitment process.

All of the schools my peers were considering did not take any of these things as seriously as Ole Miss does, and a couple people thought I was a little bit crazy.

Now, a sophomore at the University of Mississippi, I can’t even imagine how my life would be if I had attended a school outside of the South. All my high school friends ended up spread out all over the world, and I am happy in the sweet Southern comfort that I have found here.

This includes by matchy-matchy dorm room freshman year, the perfectly coordinated red and blue outfits for football season, and being in a sorority.

The traditions we have are part of the school — the Grove before a big football game, jumping in the Phi Mu fountain, and the endless Hotty Toddys. I can’t imagine going to college anywhere else.

I am absolutely in love with the South and everything about it — the people, the traditions, the food. The South gets a lot of heat for being more old fashioned and slower paced than other regions of the country, but I like it. It’s refreshing to me.

Growing up in a military family, I was used to a crazy, fast-paced life that never seemed to slow down. That has been one of the biggest blessings I will ever have in my life.

It taught me so much, but mainly I learned that not everyone has had the same life experiences as me. Not everyone has moved 11 times, or lived in 12 different houses.

I have grown up with such a different lifestyle compared to a majority of the students here, and that is OK. Everyone is just as welcoming and loving here in the South, regardless of your background and where you’re from.

I love the South and everything about it. Specifically, I love Oxford. This little town in North Mississippi has such a special place in my heart and is captivating to every person who has visited me.

Oxford is such a magical little town that is so much more than four years at college.

Grace Baxter, 19, is a sophomore pursuing a degree in IMC. She is a member of Phi Mu sorority. She is a Navy brat, and has lived all across the country and abroad. This gives her a different view of the world, and she is thankful for all the unique experiences.

She lives in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, right outside of Honolulu. When she is not in school, she likes to spend time in the kitchen creating new recipes, spending time with family, and shopping. One of her favorite hobbies is traveling.

Her favorite places include Fez, Morocco, Vienna, Austria, and Brussels, Belgium. She also enjoys trying the local cuisines and different foods that are unique to that area.

Though she loves to travel, Oxford is always tugging at her heart, calling her back. She adores the small town charm and the way it made her feel at home so quickly. Her favorite parts about the Velvet Ditch are the Square and the Grove on game days.

She enjoys writing. She hopes to pursue a career in public relations and enjoys writing press releases and doing social media.

Most recently, she has joined the PR team for the American Legion Auxiliary Hawaii Girls State, and hopes to become the director of PR this upcoming Girls State session. She has also worked on yearbooks and helped with school newspapers. She is thrilled to continue to explore Oxford as a journalist.

Categories: EDUCATION, OPINION, TRAVEL

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