My Coker story began in the spring of 2012. When I first stepped foot on Coker’s campus, I had no idea it was the place I would soon call my home-away-from-home. I was still a junior in high school, and I was only there to watch my older sister walk across the stage in front of the iconic Davidson Hall at her graduation. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the day that made me want to choose Coker.
Let’s fast-forward just a little—to November of 2012, my senior year of high school. I hadn’t applied to any colleges yet, because I didn’t want to think about what I was going to do after high school yet. I remember considering a few large universities. But when I tried to picture myself at those bigger universities, I saw myself in a huge crowd of students—just a number, not a name. The more I thought about it, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted my professors to know who I was. I wanted to be able to connect with more than just the people who sat beside me in some huge auditorium. I wanted my voice to be heard. I thought about Coker, and what my sister had told me about it. I remembered walking up the blacktop of Davidson. The smiles, the laughs, and the friendly faces that surrounded this campus are what drew me in. Right then, I knew that Coker was the place for me.
Just a few short months later, I was walking across my own stage—but for my high school graduation. I thought to myself that in two short months, I would be in college. Not just any college, but Coker College. That summer flew by, and August came quick. As I loaded up my car with all my stuff, I was nervous, excited, anxious, and just full of so many emotions. The drive from Sumter to Hartsville was only about an hour, but it felt like an eternity. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I remember walking through the library for orientation. All of my sister’s former professors and mentors were coming up to her and greeting her, asking her how she was and what she was doing there. Then, once they realized that I was her little brother and that I would be attending Coker, they all turned to me and welcomed me to the family. After the check-in process was over, I drove my car to the JLC parking lot and was met by even more people with open arms: literally, open arms. I stepped out of my car, and a group of people came up to me and started unloading all my things. At first, I was super confused—I didn’t even know these people—until my sister explained that this was just something that Coker does for freshmen on move-in day. How lucky are we, right?
Once I got up to my room (which was on second-floor RTC, thankfully), I was able to finally meet my roommate. We had talked during the summer and planned out what we were bringing, but it was the first time we met in person. We hit it off instantly, and are still really good friends almost two years later. After I was all settled in, I said goodbye to my parents and sister, and suddenly realized that I wouldn’t have someone watching over me all the time. I was in college.
As soon as I could, I started getting involved with different organizations on campus. I knew that if I wanted to make the most out of my time here, and to make the difference that I wanted to, I needed to get involved. Best. Decision. Ever. I have been able to meet so many people through my campus organizations, and everyone seems to know who I am. I got exactly what I wanted: to be known by my name, and not as “that kid in my class.”
As I finish up my second year of college, I could not be happier with my decision to attend Coker. The friends I’ve made here, along with the bonds I have with my professors, are unlike anything I could have found at another college. I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. At Coker, people not only know my name—they know my story. They know that I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and I will continue to work hard to make sure my Coker story is all that it can be.