The Loveliest Village

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The Loveliest Village

Callie, Staff

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As a junior in high school who is also a massive Auburn fan, watching them compete in March Madness is almost a painful experience, making me contemplate why I can’t just be a student there now. There will never be another experience like this. By not at least being a student in Auburn, I feel as though I am completely missing out on this momentous occasion. These jealous, longing feelings have a tendency to show up whenever there is any interesting event happening on the Plains.

I feel like many young people have a place that they experienced as young children and later fell truly in love with; as someone whose parents still associate with Auburn, I find that it is my happy place. When I talk with friends who spent lots of time on other campuses, I realize these feelings are not isolated with me. Others had the same experiences, just at different colleges.

I’ve decided that this is a feeling that would develop as we actually attended college, but some of us were lucky enough to get that chance very early in life. Allow me to share some of my absolute favorite locations, traditions, cultural aspects, and other unique characteristics found only in the Loveliest Village on the Plains.

  • Atmosphere– Something magical floats through the air in small Southern towns like Auburn. The small boutiques with trendy clothing, quaint coffee shops, bookstores with university clothes and accessories welcome anyone who stops by. There are beautiful, sunny days with friendly crowds and winning sports that can make a person feel more at home than they could sitting on their own couch. Even walking through older buildings on campus, there is a wonderful, educational hush that seems to remind you of all the young minds who were influenced in those very halls. In all of the places I have been during my life, none of them have felt the same as the time I’ve spent in Auburn.
  • Traditions– People who don’t know anything about Auburn probably know we’re the crazy fans who roll our trees after winning. It’s not as crazy as it sounds; I promise. In the event of a football victory, or any major athletic win, students and fans stream to the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and College Street. While walking, I am always struck by absolute euphoria; I reach peak excitement when surrounded by thousands of other people who share the same joy with me. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a row of trees spilling out toilet paper that was hurled up there by anyone and everyone who could get their hands on a roll. For a stretch of time, downtown Auburn will have the appearance of a snow-heaped village in the mountains somewhere, despite the weather. We also have an eagle that circles Jordan-Hare Stadium before all home football games. Tens of thousands of fans cheer in unison while he slowly circles the field, a pregame tradition everyone should get to experience at least once.
  • Restaurants– If you aren’t in Auburn for anything very entertaining, the easiest thing to do is have a meal at one of the amazing restaurants around town. Southern specialties can be found at Acre or Amsterdam Café. Barbeque establishments such as Moe’s or Bow and Arrow are incredibly hard to beat. If you’re in the mood for American food, stop by the Draft House or Five Guys for a burger; Little Italy and Pieology have outstanding pizza. When we are in town for a meeting of my dad’s or to visit my brother, it’s practically law to go eat somewhere in town.
  • Culture– Most of all, I feel like the impactful thing about Auburn is the culture that surrounds everything within it. On gamedays in the fall, people passing on the sidewalk greet each with a casual “War Eagle” whether or not they know the person. When you’re at a sporting event or restaurant, it’s quite easy to start a conversation with your neighbors. At an autograph signing with the football team, players were genuinely interested when speaking with my brother about coming to the university. Conversations flow easily, even though the link of a single school doesn’t seem to be enough of a connector. When I got the chance to meet our defensive coordinator, we didn’t greet each other with a “hello”; we shook hands and exchanged a “War Eagle” and continued the conversation. Just like that, we were comfortable with each other. I feel that there is something wonderfully unique found only in Auburn that comes with the care exuded by all people associated with them, whether it be students, fans, employees, or simple visitors.

As we high school juniors are slowly beginning to make big decisions on where to attend college, some of us have gotten a head start. We were introduced to colleges at an early age, but that’s okay. Now our classmates are choosing their happy places and it brings me nothing but great joy to know that soon, they will fall in love with their place like I’ve fallen in love with Auburn.