"You see, Ron and Cindy are proof the HSU family is not just the current students, faculty, and staff, but it also includes former students, parents of current and former students, retirees, and more."
Until my senior year of high school, when I told my guidance counselor I wanted to study Nonprofit Management, I had never heard of HSU or Abilene, Texas. There are not many small colleges or universities offering a nonprofit program, and of the few that do, none were in Indiana. When I applied to Hardin-Simmons, it was almost as an after-thought because I thought it would be impossible for me to attend school in Texas. Obviously, God had other plans for me.
As with many, though not all freshmen, I became extremely homesick. At the ice cream social during Stampede week, I met an alumni couple, Ron and Cindy. When I told Cindy that I’m from Indiana, she immediately asked if they could do anything for me. I told her I needed a “mom hug.” So, gracious and sweet Cindy gave me a hug and essentially adopted me. Over the past years, she and Ron have become “my Texas parents.”
You see, Ron and Cindy are proof the HSU family is not just the current students, faculty, and staff, but it also includes former students, parents of current and former students, retirees, and more. I learned this in a big way before my second year of college.
Just one week before returning to campus for the start of my sophomore year, a plane crash killed my best friend, his mother, and his sister. Emotionally drained, I did not know how I was going to make it through the coming school year. I know my dad drove me back to Abilene, but I don’t remember anything about the 16-hour ride from Indiana. I was numb.
When I arrived on campus after a two-day drive from Indiana and walked into my room in the residence hall, I found multi-colored post-it notes with scripture verses and words of encouragement covering my entire desk. Friends greeted me with flowers, balloons, hugs, and love. That’s when I truly understood the extent of my HSU family.
During the healing process, I tangibly experienced the HSU family again and again. When I got sick, one of my professors offered to help me get to a doctor’s appointment. When I flew home for the funeral, a friend went with me just so she could be there for me. When I needed friendship, my Honors community surrounded and supported me. When I had to fly out of DFW for spring break, a friend got up early on Saturday morning just to drive me there and turn around and drive himself back.
Now as a senior, I have the privilege of living in Anderson Hall as the undergraduate chaplain, and I absolutely love it! I lead Bible studies and I’m involved in peer mentorship. The Lord has given me incredible opportunities to be family with a whole new group of students. Getting to live with the freshmen and continue that family legacy, support, and friendship is an incredible blessing.
HSU truly is a family.