Queen’s students & alumni share what Homecoming means to them

Reminiscing about everything from tricolour outfits to campus landmarks

These students and alumni reminisce about the importance of Homecoming.
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Queen’s Homecoming is a time to celebrate togetherness and school spirit, but not everyone experiences it in the same way.

In honour of this year’s festivities, The Journal asked staff, students, and alumni to share what Homecoming means to them. These submissions can remind us that Homecoming has a different meaning for everyone, but in the end offers a chance to reflect on our time in the Queen’s community.

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“I think Homecoming can be summarized by waking up on Saturday morning to the sound of bagpipes in the distance. It’s simultaneously completely ridiculous and exactly what you’d expect from a university that’s been around for 178 years. 

Homecoming is waking up way too early to make pancakes with my housemates, pretending I’m not cold in my carefully-planned tricolour outfit, and hoping I don’t lose a friend in the sea of students that fill Aberdeen.”

Amelia Rankine, ArtSci ’20

“I love Homecoming, but not just because it offers a chance to rock my best tricolour gear.

In my case, most of my best friends are Queen’s grads. Without Homecoming, we wouldn’t have an excuse to drop everything and reunite. However, it isn’t just reminiscing about the past with my friends, Homecoming offers a chance to catch a glimpse of the future.

I consider myself lucky to have friendships that are worthy of reunion and celebration. Plus, when I get to meet alumni I don’t even have a personal connection to, I realize we’re all connected in the greatest way.

When I see the bear hugs, kisses on the cheek, and harmonious Oil Thigh chanting, I realize how strong Queen’s ties really are. We all share the fact that our time at Queen’s was such a pivotal moment in our lives.

Homecoming reminds me of this tiny corner of the universe that we here at Queen’s get to experience and occupy, and I’ll celebrate that.”

Pravieena Gnanakumar, ArtSci ’20

“Wearing tricolour from head to toe and squeezing onto the best party streets makes up the bulk of what most current Queen’s students think Homecoming is all about. While this is all fun, it’s so different from the Homecoming memories a lot of alumni have.

Returning to Queen’s, years after graduating, takes on a whole new meaning—at least for me.

Highlights can be just walking one more time down University Avenue, admiring all the buildings you forgot were so beautiful. It can mean marvelling at the changes that make the University look so different—and often better. It can include remembering the staircase you ran up in a panic to hand in an essay on time, or a sidewalk you fell on when you had a little too much to drink.

Homecoming is walking by all the houses you lived in in the student ghetto, remembering all the good times, but also shocked you actually lived in such places.

The Homecoming weekend is full of the hope to connect with familiar faces and a bit of sadness thinking of all the people you know you may never see again.

Homecoming for alumni is the opportunity to breathe in all the Queen’s traditions, soak in the ongoing school spirit, and remember a time when you still had your whole life ahead of you.

And for many, partly thanks to Queen’s University, the life you’ve led since graduating is a good one.”

Nancy Nagle, ConEd ’86

“As an Engineering student, Homecoming is a day full of tradition.

In first year, our orientation leaders, known as FRECs, host a big party for us, and we get dyed purple head-to-toe for the first time. While sitting in a kiddie pool filled with purple dye may sound strange, once you’re purple, you can walk down University Avenue and pinpoint every other person in your year and faculty, which fosters an amazing sense of community.

As an upper-year student, Homecoming allows us to meet alumni and see where a Queen’s education can take us, hear how Queen’s has changed, and become part of the greater community.

At Patio Ritual at Clark Hall Pub, an alum told me, “Don’t worry, you’ll get a job, you went to Queen’s!” He also informed me that he’s an ordained minister and attempted to legally marry me to one of my friends. Alumni are both reassuring and chaotic, which makes for a fun weekend.

All in all, Hoco is about friendship and the Queen’s community. It’s the one day in the entire year that brings everyone together, no matter what else they have going on.”

Juliana Brown, Eng ’20

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