In America, Homecoming is a commonality, a rite of passage that occurs in early autumn and welcomes back alumni and current students to their respective schools.
True to its name, the event is a celebration of returning: to your school, to your dorm, to your friends that you parted from during the summer. While the idea seemed peculiar to me; I have never felt more welcomed by my adopted home.
The day was hectic; starting with the darties (daytime frat parties), followed by a football game between the Columbia Lions and the Penn Quakers and ending with more frat parties and pizza.
The darties were short-lived but fun and in a rush to see the game, some friends and myself clambered onto the back of the Columbia sports bus with a host of other undergrads.
I have been to the imposing Lawrence A. Wien Stadium before, to watch other Columbia football games, but it never seemed so tremendous as when filled to the brim with students from the two opposing Ivies. The atmosphere was alive with Columbia school spirit that, fittingly, culminated in the Lions winning; their fifth consecutive win of the season.
Revelling from the win, all the undergrads rushed the field to celebrate Columbia’s victory; a physical manifestation of the solidarity between the students.
If you can imagine the crowded, excitable scene of the darties, you can fathom how collective elation hung in the air while the night progressed.
As night fell over the sweltering Saturday and the celebrations drew to a close, Columbia seemed to fully become itself; at once monumental and mundane, teeming with cheerful Columbia scholars.
Starting and ending the day with my friends in the aged brownstones enshrouding the university, highlighted the sense of return implicit in the tradition’s title. We concluded the day as it commenced, commemorating the community of Columbia and embracing everyone home.