- Auburn won us over at Camp War Eagle with its loud and clear message to parents: “We want you to be involved. Stay involved.” Auburn faculty, staff, and administrators are dedicated to our students’ success. Resources abound. Auburn wants us to remind and encourage our students about these things often.
- Worry less. Trust more.
- Transition from a “manager” to a “consultant”…quickly!
- Attempt to visit your AU student face-to- face, if even for a quick meal, at least once a “quarter” (or twice a semester).
- Watch AUPA Board President Dr. Michael Ramsey’s presentation on adolescent brain development (link here). Just when you think you fully understand your college-aged son or daughter, this presentation will leave you with several thought-provoking and research-based insights.
I feel privileged and humbled to be able to share these thoughts with you. One year ago, our family sat dutifully in our living room, watching the pre-Camp War Eagle webinar. What a difference one year makes! War Eagle!
Auburn University: The View from Out of State
Written by graduating senior Clara Frances McClure, daughter of AUPA Board of Director Representative for the state of Florida, Dr. Bob McClure.
Coming to Auburn University from out of state can be intimidating to the incoming college freshman. And, I will not lie, you will be in the minority, with most students coming from places such as Mobile, Huntsville, Montgomery and, of course, Birmingham. I will also say it may take a while to become familiar with the suburbs of Birmingham itself, as residents and native Alabamians consider these their own almost “towns” within the city. However, these factors should not deter or intimidate the newbie out-of- stater. As a native Floridian myself, I am certainly in the minority when it comes to my particular area of the country; yet, my experience at Auburn has been the most cherished years of my life so far and I could never imagine calling another school home.
Originally, I am from Tallahassee, Florida, a large college town in and of itself. And yet, I chose Auburn because of the overall welcoming atmosphere of the campus. This true “Auburn Spirit” is why students coming from out of state should not be worried about being in the minority. Throughout my four years at Auburn, hometown has never been a deterrent for the amazing friendships I have found. At first, it may seem as though everyone knows everyone else or has some sort of connection based solely on their Alabama blood. However, I can assure you, a true Auburn man or woman, of which there are many, will not so much as blink at the thought of another state. People here, as I have so often found, want to get to know the person, not the residency.
In fact, I would say there are a few perks to being from out of state. First of all, you are, initially, completely anonymous. You can be whoever you want to be, introduce yourself with no reservations, and be kind and hospitable to anyone and everyone. Knowing every person you pass by in college may seem like a security blanket as an incoming freshman, but actually anonymity, making your own way and being free from your parents and high school friends to do so, is thrilling. There is a certain beauty in anonymity, not in a disingenuous way, but in a way such that you don’t see people for their high school experiences or anything other than the person you come to know, and they see the same. There is little or no judgement. I found this freedom gave me the option to be bolder, introduce myself to people and make as many friends as possible.
Another upside is that being out of state is unique and interesting. It is a great conversation starter and connects you with people based on common interests, rather than who you both know. I loved sharing where I was from with people because it made me feel special in a way, as well as opened the door to great conversations.
Being out of state at Auburn has been an amazing experience for me. There will be some days you wish you were from B-ham, Mob Town, The Gump or the 256, but these moments are few and far between. I have made so many life-long friendships and have had experiences I will cherish forever. What I have come to realize in my years here, and what I hope every freshman realizes too, is that a city, region or zip code does not define Auburn students, it is the Auburn Spirit that truly defines us. And that is borne out every day here in the 334.