Hailey Gilman, gilmanhe@miamioh.edu

Mega Fair was overwhelming. I remember first walking through the gaggle of groups as a freshman and feeling frightened. How could I possibly narrow my interests to fit my schedule? Boasting nearly 600 student clubs and organizations, there seems to be a niche for everyone.

Now, after participating in Mega Fair as a sophomore, I have seen things from the other side. I examined fearful freshman, clinging to their roommates, relinquishing their unique ID to student groups as though it were a badge of honor.

They seem to wonder, which organization do I belong in? Which organization will be my namesake? It’s as if we all believe the smallest, most quantifiable facets of our life on campus will define us, when in fact, isn’t it simply Miami University that holds us all together?

From the moment of your arrival on campus, you are your major, your residence hall and your past. After all, you will be asked the same four questions for your first week in Oxford.

“Oh, you’re a philosophy major? So is my roommate!”

“You’re from Chicago? What high school?”

Your name, major, dorm and hometown are your identity. Students utilize these components as they attempt to make surface-level connections. Such is understandable of course, as one is forced to make hundreds of introductions throughout the first semester.

Slowly, you forge connections through your residence hall, whether it is through run-ins at the water fountain, initial hall meetings, or greetings to those with an open door. You share camaraderie with your fellow residents, as you partake in various hall events, including the dreaded fire safety workshop, and you will never believe another hall could rival your own.

Then Mega Fair approaches and your companions become those within your chosen organizations. Rush takes place and your new brothers and sisters are your selected confidantes and entertainment. Classes are now regular and your preferred study group develops a routine.

As freshman year draws to a close, most feel assimilated within the student population. We return sophomore year with a sort of righteousness, returning to greet friends, revisit old haunts and dominate our new schedule.

And though we’ve undergone the same experience, it feels similar to a rite of passage to shout at clusters of young underclassmen, “Freshmen!”

It is only natural that small sibling-esque rivalries should form on campus, between classes, residence halls, and even student organizations. Truthfully, we can’t expect the College Republicans and College Democrats to agree on everything. But even between colleges, alienation occurs. Before the addition of my marketing major, the Farmer School of Business seemed to glisten behind its gates, with opportunity beyond all imagination, just out of my reach as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Of course, now a Farmer student, I don’t see why I ever felt so excluded from the school, yet I know of similar mindsets held by others, feeling as though their college is its own entity.

These attitudes, these silly psyches that our majors and organizational involvement on campus define us, disregard the overwhelming fact that we are all RedHawks. Each of us has gone through the same process of applying to Miami, exploring the campus and determining our favorite study spots.

Our differences aside, we all take part in the Miami experience. Each of us has walked past President Hodge’s house and marveled at its beauty. We have hastened our steps around the seal, rubbed the sundial and remarked at the picturesque quality of MacCracken’s quad.

Truly, whether a student organization or club, residence hall or house, major or college, takes up the majority of your time on campus, we must all remember, we are all Miami. Bound together by history, academia and tradition. And if in the future, I happen to be walking through an airport, train station, mall or event, and I have the good fortune of spotting someone in Miami apparel, I won’t be fazed if they were a freshman when I was a senior. We are both Miamians, and even with our differences acknowledged, we share a commonality of true love and honor.