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The Stories They Bring

Going away to college, fresh out of high school, we tend to become nostalgic, even resentful, of the fact that we now have to leave momma’s nest and carve a life out for ourselves. College, for most people, is where you find yourself and decide what to do with your life; with a little bit of help and support. This support may come from a family member, a friend, a teacher or even a simple object. Yes, even students that are almost done with their college careers hold on to something that will continue to carry them once they’ve graduated and retreated from the halls that once held their names.

The Stories They Bring

Hong Zhang Durandal is an international student from Bolivia and a senior Business Administration major. “My brother and I used to travel through the rain-forest and camp out there. It was very intense”, Hong recounts about his days before coming to Berea. A physically active individual, Hong has also been jump-roping for a while. Back in Bolivia, he and his trainer had a vigorous exercise routine that involved plenty of cardiovascular workout. This jump-rope is what he has brought with him to Berea. It’s a part of his old world that he can willingly share with his peers at his new home.

Jonas Hollon is a sophomore Sustainable Architecture major from Lee County, Ky. He carries with him a handkerchief his grandma gave him. She lives in Washington and he’s only seen her twice, but he thinks she wishes him well wherever he goes. “I pull out the handkerchief everyday, say a little prayer [for my grandma] and move on with my day”, Jonas says with a quiet smile. He has left, like many other students, a tight group of friends he wishes were here with him in Berea, but luckily this gives him a chance to make a new set of friends and adapt to his new surroundings.

Most freshman are struck with a sense of nostalgia during their first semester in college, but Jeff Kincaid and Christa Dickerson find themselves adjusting quite nicely. Jeff comes from Bland, Virginia while Christa is from Birmingham, Alabama. The two have fallen in quickly with the same tight knit group of friends and that kind of connection makes missing home a little more bearable. Jeff brings with him a picture of the football team he was on back in the day. “We weren’t the best team, but it was awesome to play with those guys. We got close, like brothers”, Jeff says. Christa brings to the table a book of sketches and a surprising urge to bowl. Back home, Christa reigned supreme as a national racking professional bowler.”I’ve been to Las Vegas and Indianapolis for nationals, I placed fifth at the state level, first in my city and I’m on the all city-state team”, Christa remarks candidly and modestly with a glimmer in her eyes. It’s something that pushes her to excel, to become more, to explore and learn about different things in the world.

Jemma Safaryan is an exchange student from from Armenia. She’s majoring in American Studies, is here in Berea for a year, and carries with her a handmade bracelet. What makes this bracelet special, however, is that her best friend, who lives in Tennessee, has a matching one. She finds that connections are essential in nurturing a positive relationship and the bracelet reminds her that even if her home is across an ocean, even if her friend is a state away, we all hang on to those sentiments that make each day a little bit easier to bear.

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