A college offers a gamut of opportunities and benefits for the students that enter through its great academic archway. Not the least of these being the chance to build firm community with other students in the often dreaded residence halls.
I have had the pleasure of experience that particular benefit during all four of my college years. I have survived the dark basement halls surrounding Chrestman 31. My friends and I reigned high in the Pound (aka 3rd floor) of Ratliff. We kept it classy junior year in New Men's, and then finally, I arrived. I gathered the squad, and we set out for University Place, or as they are known to students on campus, the Pods.
Now my intent with this article, as is with every article, is to be honest with whomever happens upon it. So from the honest perspective of a senior that has spent his entire college career in various residence halls, being surrounded by my closest friends and living in thriving community has always been, and still is, the most meaningful part of my college experience. By far. I hold fast to the notion that finding earnest community is at the heart of thriving on a campus like Mississippi College. Especially Mississippi College.
I am being honest when I tell you that moving as close to off-campus as I'll see as a student was less than easy. Don't get me wrong; pod life is the good life. I love the semi-autonomy of being able to cook and having my own room. But mainly cooking. (If you know anything about me from my other blogs, you know I love food). I just never imagined that my community would ever be any different than it had been my prior years.
What I didn't realize was that my idea of community had been centered around the easy access I had to it. For three years, I was only a dozen steps and one doorway away from a group playing Mario Kart or going on a ridiculous adventure. It won't always be that way; I assumed my people would always be around, but I couldn't find them because I wasn't looking.
There are so many ways I could express how I have enjoyed the Pod experience. But none greater than the lesson I learned about community. It takes work and it takes willingness to put effort into the relationships that are most valued.
It's a simple lesson which took tough few months to learn, but when it was, it opened up an entire world (cue Aladdin) of opportunity to grow and share life with friends old and new.
Living in a new place with more freedom comes options I have more than enjoyed exploiting. So the rest of this is mainly pictures of great times I have shared with even greater people while living in community at the pods.
Dinner with friends is always an unmatched treat:
Mexican is a Pod favorite:
No matter how hectic life can be, take a moment to eat pizza on the porch, of course overlooking my Pod's favorite place, Kroger: