Reflections from Spencer’s Coffee on the morning of Homecoming

I got up early on the day of the Homecoming. I had a lot to do over the weekend since my schoolwork had been woefully pushed to the side all week as I built a Homecoming float with my sorority, so I got to Spencer’s around 9 a.m., braving the cool morning with my new Homecoming sweatshirt. I set up near the front of the coffee shop and began to work.

There weren’t many people there when I first arrived, and I was lucky to claim a whole table for myself. As the morning went on, the coffee shop began to fill, and I quickly realized that many of these people were WKU alumni in town for the game. These weren’t older alumni — most were only a couple years removed from their graduation date. I recognized many of them as having been students when I first got to WKU.

It sparked a weird, existential crisis within myself. This will be me in two years, making the trip back to Bowling Green to reunite with friends. We’ll meet up the morning of the game to share coffee at Spencer’s and talk about where we are now and how much we miss college, minus the papers and all-nighters. I don’t know if there’s a word for feeling nostalgia for something you’re still experiencing, but that’s what I began to feel.

In a little over a year and a half, I’ll be a WKU alumna, but watching these reunions made me realize that WKU isn’t the only thing of which I’ll be an alumna. I’ll be an alumna of going to Spencer’s for Waffle Wednesday, of going to GADS for the 12:40 a.m. fresh donut drop, of yelling and singing at the top of my lungs on sorority bid day.

Becoming a graduate of my school is something I’ve always known would happen, but I had never really thought about the little things. And really, though it’s cliché, it’s the little things that have made up my college experience — little things like the weird smell of the guys’ floors in Minton Hall, the way campus looks on a clear autumn morning, the water that rushes down Normal Street whenever it rains.

For better or for worse, these small moments are what make my college experience complete. I’ll always think back on that time WKU canceled classes and my friends and I went to Nashville, or when the owner of GADS gave us a strawberry cake donut straight from the fryer. But I’m worried I won’t always remember the little things I take for granted.

And maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe that’s okay. I still have a year and a half to keep experiencing these little things at WKU, and ahead of me, I have a whole lifetime of new little things to take for granted.

And someday I’ll come back for Homecoming. My friends and I will reunite at Spencer’s over Hooded Sweatshirts and Spiced Apple Chai Lattes. We’ll laugh and reminisce on the big moments that made college special. And maybe as we’re walking around campus or driving through Bowling Green, the little things will come back. Maybe they won’t.

Whatever the case, the little things are still part of my life right now, and I’m going to enjoy them for every moment I can until I am an alumna.