UCF was a Second Home to Me

UCF for me has always been about a blend of transformation and tradition. In 1996, I visited the campus when was still a Senior in high school and shopping around for a college. I was amazed at all the construction going on, but somehow it also felt homey, and familiar. The tour group I was with had to detour around several construction sites, and this only made me feel more attracted to the school: it was a work in progress, just like myself. I could see the older parts as well as the bones of the new parts to come, and the growth wasn’t just encouraging, it was exciting! I couldn’t wait to come back, and see what else would have changed.

When I finally started at UCF, the Student Union had just opened. The great seal on the Student Union floor was surrounded by velvet ropes, to prevent people from walking on it. I have memories of that tradition being phased out, as the University grew, and I am not sure if it is still followed or not. But personally, I know that I will not be setting foot on that seal ever in my life. I just can’t bring myself to do so. No matter how crowded that building becomes, I will always make a little question-mark shaped veer around it. Even if the seal were no longer there and the building were changed completely, it would feel strange, somehow.

In a year or so, I will be pursuing my Master’s Degree. I look forward to revisiting the old familiar places, and exploring the new. I want to visit the fourth floor of the library and see if my study carel is still there; I want to sit by the Reflection Pond and watch people pass by; I want to feed the squirrels outside the Humanities Building; get lunch in the Student Union, and see if the boardwalk is still there. I want to explore the new places too: see what that outdoor mall business north of the campus is all about; see what’s happened to the Visual Arts building; see how many familiar faces might still be around for me to say hello to.

The school may have changed a great deal, but I know I will still recognize it. I feel certain that it will recognize me, too!