Today is "commitment day" for your average joe or jane high school senior making their final choice on where to take their talents onwards for higher education. It's the day confirmation deposits are due for fall semester. Cash (or check, or credit card) will be laid on the barrel head.
As part of that, a lot of communities here on SB Nation are taking the time to talk about why we choose our school. We welcome every single one of you who read this to please comment below with your stories. Even if you didn't attend Auburn, tell us why you made what choice you did make, and tell us how you came to your Auburn fandom.
For me, I have been an Auburn Tiger fan since I've been old enough to have memories. It's funny what little things you remember, though. I have a very vague memory of my father talking about seeing Bo Jackson play in the living room of my grandparents' house. I can remember knowing vaguely that Auburn had a chance at the 1988 National Championship. In the midst of my Georgia Southern fandom which really developed in 1989 (more on that at one point this summer when I'll discuss 1989 in detail).
But how did I choose Auburn when it came time to go to college? My fandom and love of Auburn was only strengthened through my years of growing up in Georgia. If you're an Auburn fan forced to live amongst the Bulldogs, then you completely understand what I mean. If you grow up in the state of Georgia as anything other than a Georgia fan, you'll come to despise just about everything about them.
I fell in love with the campus of Auburn University on my first trip. That love was only strengthened with each visit. It's the perfect small college town. It's close enough to larger cities that you're not in complete backwoods, but it still maintains that southern small town feel. Plus, it's a small town that embraces the love of all things Auburn. Even the fire engines are orange, blue, and white! There's still the "town and gown" conflict at times (see the hubbub over the Block Party Concert following A-Day), but for the most part Auburn the town knows it exists as it does because of Auburn the school. It's a lesson some other towns are still struggling to learn.
From the orange and blue sunsets, to the rolling hills of Alabama pines, it's just a beautiful little town. The school also happens to be very good. Oh, and I do so love the sports teams.
I only applied to a few places. I really only wanted to come to one. As an out-of-state student, Auburn can be expensive, so I was extremely lucky that I received a four year ROTC Scholarship offer. I had thoughts of being an Ag Science major at one point, but at the time that wasn't listed as an accepted major for an ROTC Scholarship. I find that hilarious today, as the Army has been in desperate need of Ag Science folks on their Ag Development Teams in Afghanistan. So, I went with my other love: History.
I've been back in Auburn for three years now, teaching at the same Army ROTC program I commissioned from. I have a feeling I'll be moving on before long, as the contract I am on may not last past this fiscal year. I wouldn't trade my time back in Auburn for anything, though. You hear our coaches talk about "we believe if we can get them on campus, we have a shot" when it comes to recruiting. It really is true. If you can get someone to come to campus, they'll fall in love. Auburn just stays with you. You always want to find a way back.
For all those high school seniors around the country making their final decision today, I just want you to know one thing. You're going to discover that from the first moment you arrive, Auburn is not your school. Auburn is your home.