Remembering Where I Came From

Written by Cecilia Bellet

The morning of homecoming, my older brother Daniel walks in the front door of my house with a giant grin on his face and says, “I forgot how cold it gets here. Do you have a hoodie I could wear?”

I run upstairs and grab a box of jackets from underneath my bed. Going through the wrinkled clothes, I pull out some of my brother’s old hoodies and smirk to myself. They take me back to freshman year when I was never prepared for the weather.

I remember being on my own at Hillsdale for the first time, suddenly finding myself a nervous freshman all too ready to hide behind my brother’s shoulder. Daniel was a confident, well-liked junior who thankfully didn’t mind his little sister following him around to events. Every weekend I failed to anticipate the drop in temperature during a football game or cookout, so every weekend Daniel rolled his eyes and forced me to pull his huge hoodie or flannel over my dress. I would act embarrassed to be wearing his oversized clothes, but admittedly it always comforted me.

Just as Daniel was quick to comfort me, so was he to remind me of where I came from. By dragging me to church on Sundays and calling me out for my poor decisions, he encouraged me to synthesize the values that my family instilled in me with the freedom I found on Hillsdale’s campus.

Daniel’s friends took me in that year as well. Morgen, as upbeat as her red hair and as laid back as her easy laugh, was there whenever I needed someone to talk to. She encouraged me to get involved by not only setting me up with an on-campus job but also pushing me to join many of the student clubs I’m involved in today. Through her selfless friendship, she helped me overcome my timidity and become confident on campus.

When I found myself struggling through core science classes, I could count on David to drop his MCAT prep to help me with my assignments. He would poke fun at me with his ridiculous sense of humor for my stupid mistakes and pester me about being too busy. David’s valuable and frank upperclassman advice drove me to seek a consistent balance between academics and social life.

Three years later as a senior, these memories come rushing back to me from that old box of jackets. Returning downstairs with one of Daniel’s hoodies, I find David next to my brother with his typical smirk and tired eyes from medical school. Asking about my plans after graduation, he jumps right back into giving me advice on graduate school applications and interviews. Seconds later, Morgen greets me with a tackling hug. She asks when I need to be ready for cheerleading and if we have time to run by our sorority house beforehand to see friends.

In the midst of all this homecoming chaos, I realize for the first time how much all of them have done for me. Whether it was teaching me how to take care of myself, getting me involved on campus, or showing me how to study, the roles of these generous upperclassmen in my first years here defined my experience on campus. The values and leadership that I have cultivated at Hillsdale are rooted in these three mentors who took me in when I was a cold and nervous freshman.

Cecilia BelletCecilia Bellet, class of 2018, hails from Nashville and studies economics and French.