It seems like yesterday I was watching my home quickly fade in my rearview mirror on August 12, 2016. As I faced my first life transition and my family and I made the 90-mile trek to Tuscaloosa from Selma, Alabama, I felt my eyes become glassy and a lump form in my throat. The easiest way to describe my feelings at that time could be sadness for leaving my family, friends and home along with nervousness for the journey that lay ahead.
The day I left home to become a student at the University was one of the hardest days of my life — or rather, that is what I thought at the time. I could not have been more wrong. It was the first step on the best journey of my life. As a relatively shy kid from a small town in rural
Alabama, this place allowed me to grow personally and professionally into a man ready for the road ahead. The most meaningful part of this journey is the relationships I have made during these four years. I know for a fact that the absence of in-person contact with these lifelong friends will be the toughest part of the coming weeks, months and years. It is a testament to our community that we have been so blessed to call a place “home” that makes saying goodbye so difficult.
On May 7, 2020, I drove from Tuscaloosa back to Selma and my life transitioned again. I felt that same lump form in my throat and my eyes becoming glassy once again. Only this time, I also felt immense gratitude for the life-changing friendships, experiences and lessons I will always carry with me because I was fortunate enough to be a student at The University of Alabama.
In my car that held boxes full of four years’ worth of stories and memories, I thought about fall Saturdays in Bryant-Denny, sunny Friday afternoons in the front yard of my fraternity house, rainy days where I forgot to wear a raincoat on the way to class, meaningful class discussions, cramming studying for exams, gameday weekend traffic — you name it. There were good days and bad days, but those days alike are what have made this entire journey so beautiful to me.
We are living through such strange times, and yet another transition only adds to the burden already on our minds. But, my mind also goes to the words Stevie Nicks sang so appropriately in the song Landslide: “Well I’ve been ‘fraid of changin’, ‘cause I’ve built my life around you, but time makes you bolder, children get older, and I’m getting older too,” While our world may have been hit by the COVID-19 landslide, and we leave the life we have built as undergraduate students at the Capstone, I am hopeful for this transition.
Sure, it will be tough; however, legends are not made in easy times. They are forged through the determination, resolve and strength needed to get through difficult moments like these. It is my expectation to see incredible things in the future from so many of the legends in the Class of 2020. We have made our mark on The Capstone, and now it is time to go off and do it again once more. Best of luck to each of you in your future transitions and journeys ahead.
Hats off to the class of 2020, and always, Roll Tide!
Harrison Adams is a recent graduate who majored in economics and finance with a minor in social innovation and leadership. He served as SGA President for the 2019-2020 academic year and plans to attend law school at The University of Alabama.