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Gabrielle Awuma

“This place is too great to keep it to ourselves.”

I realized that Hollins isn't just one thing. It’s different for every one of us, and it changes on a daily basis.

For me, Hollins is knowing that the topic of media criticism will come up in every class I take with Professor Bratic. It’s knowing that only the painters know what I mean when I say that something’s very de Kooning with a hint of Courbet as we trade postcards. It's those random moments when you’re sitting on the floor of library commons playing jacks for three hours or having movie marathons under blanket forts where you discover the real Hollins.

It's in that moment when Hollins becomes more than a school. Your classmates become your sisters. Your professors become your mentors. Classrooms and studios become your dorm room. Moody Plaza becomes your personal patio, and the dining hall becomes the main source of your entertainment. It's when you unconsciously call Hollins home.

Our definition of Hollins changes and grows every day with each new experience we have. The Hollins I knew as a first-year is not the Hollins I know now. As students, it’s our job to find and rediscover the real Hollins—our Hollins—and Instagram it our fullest ability because this place is too great to keep it to ourselves. For me, the real Hollins is about the relationships we build with the people around us. I found mine in the painting studio, under a blanket fort, and on Tinker Mountain.

Where will find yours?

Excerpted from Gabby’s Opening Convocation speech, September 2013. A studio art major, Gabby is the president of the Student Government Association. She’s from Bakersfield, California.