My first homecoming, I pondered what I was truly supposed to do that Saturday morning. Like I’ve said, we’d prepared for the stories we’d heard and all the fun it’d be. So though my alarm was set for ten in the morning, I was instead woken up at seven by the sounds of girls running wildly through the halls. I stumbled out of my room, heading to the bathroom, realizing these girls weren’t headed to the bathroom either but were already dressed and cheering with their faces painted. I was stunned, have I overslept? Have we missed something crucial? I flicked on my phone, realizing Instagram-ers had all ready uploaded dozens of pictures of trucks and SUVs hauling in grills and ping-pong tables for the tailgate.
Surprised, I ran to my friend’s room and begged them to hurry with me. Exhilarated, we charged down Main Street as quick as we could, trying to make up for lost time. There were so many people all ready out and about that we were stunned. Parents, faculty, alumni, students, family and friends, all gathered around at boulder field screaming and singing faces painted and ready for the game.
Well let me tell you, the air was electric. By electric I don’t mean static because it was rainy/misty out, I mean you could feel how happy everyone was. There was a photo booth, free beaded necklaces, and so much more. What was most memorable was the sea of cars lined up side-by-side, back-to-back, leaving a small gap between rows for the festivities. Homecoming was clearly not a UNH activity, rather a UNH holiday. We were welcomed to join in with the hamburger eating and games all through the day. Long into the night the holiday ran on. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was a festival where everyone was invited. It was brilliantly fun to be able to cheer for the UNH football team and then have some random older women, most likely a middle-aged alumni, stand on her seat to high-five me. The whole day was great; I have never experienced a moment where I felt so accepted, included, and excited with so many people.