Hopefully, we all have a place in our lives that we can go to where we feel at ease. At ease with ourselves, life, and makes us just feel supremely content to just be. For me, and for many of my friends, that place is Clemson, South Carolina. The video below calls this place “home”, but that just seems too simple a weird to fully encapsulate Clemson. This past weekend was homecoming, and I felt like everyone of my friends were all having the same conversation last week; How good it feels when we are within Clemson city limits. How much easier you breathe when you see the “Welcome to Clemson” sign. The sheer giddiness that comes over you when you see your first tiger paw painted on any of the roads leading into Clemson.
I remember the first time I went to Clemson for a tour. The whole family went (though my brother and dad immediately disappeared) and my mom and I just had a feeling that this was the place I was meant to be. It just felt right. Going back every year now is equal parts frustrating and soothing. I, and as I have found out everyone else, is constantly oscillating between feeling frustrated at all of the changes to our beloved college town, and in the next second feeling so relieved that this place still feels exactly the same as it did when we were students.
I’ve known people who were completely confused by our intense love for the place we affectionately refer to as “God’s Country”, as though we should be pitied for loving our college years as much as we do. I can’t help but feel sad for these people because they obviously didn’t have as fulfilling a college experience as I did. I think the reason we take Clemson so seriously and hold it so dear is because this is the place where we each became ourselves. It’s the place where me made the friends we will have the rest of our lives and where we committed the stories that we’ll never tell our parents or our children.
We’re a passionate family, us tiger fans. We bleed orange and we photobomb every Gameday broadcast with a waving Clemson flag (seriously, we do). Our happy place is a small town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Maybe the video is right. As the saying goes, “there’s something in these hills”, and maybe that something is that feeling of being home.