A senior’s love letter to the university


Photo courtesy of Abby Sink

Staff writer Abby Sink on a rooftop in Evansville, IN. Sink is a senior public relations and advertising major.

Abby Sink, Staff Writer

“Well, we did move you in four years ago, now,” my dad said.

It was around  3:30 p.m. on Nov. 21. The road was still wet from the rain and raindrops slid down the car windows. My father and I were heading back to my dorm from the hospital where my grandmother is still being taken care of here in Evansville, IN. We were talking about a restaurant that I had forgotten we’d ever eaten at, sipping on our Starbucks that we pick up every time he comes into town. That’s when it hits me: I’m about to enter my final semester here at the university. 

This, of course, was jarring to even begin to think about. My entire life is grounded in this university, and, although I do want better for it at times, I love attending this university.

I’ve met my closest friends on this campus, built bonds I hope to last a lifetime, discovered who I am and where I can go from here. 

I’ve never been one to claim Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. I myself am more of a Christmas or Halloween girl, but I can’t help but feel thankful at this time of year for the moments at the university that made me who I am.

So here I am, closing out my final fall here with a love letter to the university. 

Dear USI,

I came here on a gut feeling and, as I have learned through the years, my gut feeling is never wrong. You lured me in with a beautiful campus not too terribly far from home, and I’ve been enchanted by you ever since. Littered with my favorite florals in the spring and lit up in autumn’s natural confetti in the fall, you are the glue that keeps me together. 

Freshman year I found myself starting new. I was around completely new people and still was hiding parts of myself that made me feel trapped. A surprise run-in with a young woman, whom I now consider one of my closest and most trusted friends, would introduce me to a key aspect of my university experience: The Activities Programming Board. Suddenly, USI, you made me feel welcomed and at home.

Sophomore year you offered me leadership opportunities, a support system that made me feel safe enough to come out of my shell (quite literally), and a final normal fall semester. I remember Fall 2019 fondly. My classes were engaging, I was moving up in the world and people, for the first time in a long time, knew the real me. More notably, before Fall 2019 I had felt quite lost on the potential of my life, but my position as the head of advertising for APB offered me an insight into a line of work I felt at home in: digital advertising.

It was in March 2020, the spring of my sophomore year, when everything changed. My life and support system you gave me was suddenly ripped away. Suddenly, USI, you were gone by no fault of your own. There were echoes of you, sure, in the familiar voices of my peers and professors, in the echoing audio of zoom calls, the encouraging posts from official accounts and the comfort of memory posts that appeared online. But the absolute lack of you impacted me in a way I never could have predicted. It was at this time I realized I had blossomed in a way, at this university, that meant I had outgrown my garden back home.

Junior year was the return to campus. Everything was different, scary and strange. Time spent at home had changed who I was and made it so that I didn’t feel like the same woman who had left in the previous semester. But you brought me back. Slowly, sure, and with some bumps in the road, but just like when I was frightened and scared as a freshman, you welcomed me in. I felt at home again. 

Now, here we are. I’m entering my last semester at this university, and I can’t help but feel thankful. I’ve lived and loved here for four years now, and plan on sticking around a few more years in Evansville because of the spell USI cast on me. The people here are inherently good.  At the end of the day, the experiences I’ve had here with the people I’ve met have me too attached to leave. I’m grateful you’ve wrangled me into staying in the Midwest for a little while longer. So, USI, my love, thank you. I wouldn’t be half of the woman I am today without you offering me a field to blossom in. You have your quirks, but all the best people and places do. Your faculty and staff have offered me guidance, your students gave me a sense of belonging and your organizations have offered me the potential to challenge myself and strive towards becoming a better leader and individual overall.

I cannot wait to see what our last semester together has in store for us.

Yours, always,

Abby Sink