Homecoming was not made for me.
I don’t mean that in an outwardly negative way either. I’m not saying the tradition of Homecoming celebrated by high schools and colleges doesn’t mean something to others, or that it doesn’t reach out to a large amount of people.
It’s simply that these traditions were clearly not made with someone like me in mind.
While I have never loathed the concept of others celebrating Homecoming, it has never particularly excited me either, or ever caught my attention.
This is true of both the college and high school equivalent, at least in terms of celebration. Now — due to expectations I suppose society puts on teenagers — I did attend Homecoming in high school for a very brief amount of time. I believe I stayed for all of an hour each time I attended. I never engaged in any Homecoming celebration that led up to the final dance, and aside from the allure of buying a dress, there was really nothing about Homecoming that appealed to me.
When it came to the dance, I found the blend of country and pop intolerable — as by nature, I enjoy hard rock and metal music — which was not available at Homecoming dances, even upon request for the most benign of songs. I have always found sports to be boring, and I chose study hall over as many pep rallies as I possibly could in high school.
I know there are a large number of people who find all I listed above to be not only appealing but enjoyable. Just not me.
I never cared who the Homecoming queen was in my high school, and I cannot remember the names of any members of the “royal” court, much less their faces. While I was passionate about many subjects in high school, I never quite cared about school spirit and to this day have only attended one football game.
This hasn’t changed in college. I am immensely passionate about my field of study, and through it I have gained insight into many other fields. I have even become inspired to look into new passions, ideas and concepts I never would have before. Yet, my time in college has not changed my view on this particular celebration.
Homecoming is still something I never bothered looking at twice.
In fact, I was baffled by the concept that Homecoming in college was even a thing when I first heard of it. With tuition increases and other more important funding for UNM programs needed, I wasn’t quite sure why Homecoming celebrations still existed.
I suppose you learn something new everyday. In my case, I found an aspect of college Homecoming that made it far more impressive than high school Homecoming ever was. I don’t mean in themes or music, which are strikingly similar, or even difference of location.
Aside from the Homecoming Week Kickoff Rally and Homecoming Tailgate, which are both to be expected of such a celebration, I was interested to see a few parts I had not expected to be associated with the Homecoming celebration.
For instance, becoming a member of the Homecoming Club and donating ,” according to the Alumni Association website. As a student, I find anything benefitting other students through the alumni programs and student scholarships to be completely worthwhile. This part of Homecoming doesn’t focus on those who will undoubtedly enjoy the celebration alone, but rather will benefit all students.
A second, and perhaps even more important point, is the Homecoming Community Service Project, run by the Alumni Association, which “will be collecting nonperishable food items and protein packs Monday, Sept. 25, through Friday, Sept. 29, in support of as part of the eighth Annual Homecoming Community Service Project.”
Students contributing to food pantries makes the celebration of Homecoming go from a frivolous affair that holds a narrow appeal to a community outreach that can benefit those who need help the most.
Maybe the celebrations, the food or the music still hold little appeal to me, but — perhaps for the first time — I did find a part of this Homecoming that I felt was worthwhile.
Homecoming was not made with someone like me in mind, and I highly doubt it ever will be. But to be honest, that really doesn’t matter too much, because I doubt metal and rock concerts appeal to everyone either.
Homecoming was made with someone else in mind. But if this Homecoming also advocates a worthy cause, then frivolous as many of the events may be, it does give the entire UNM community a chance to unite in something that may make a difference in the long run. And that is something worth celebrating.
Nichole Harwood is a news and culture beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers alumni and art features. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or on Twitter
@Nolidoli1. The views presented in this column are her own.