SMEDLEY: Home is where the heart is

<p><strong>Muncie</strong> prepares for Ball State's homecoming, even though it is considered as a university event. Homecoming has a positive impact on local businesses, restaurants and gas stations from out of town visitors. <em>DN PHOTO JORDAN HUFFER</em></p>

Muncie prepares for Ball State's homecoming, even though it is considered as a university event. Homecoming has a positive impact on local businesses, restaurants and gas stations from out of town visitors. DN PHOTO JORDAN HUFFER

People always ask me, “why do you like Muncie?” Many people from Muncie can’t wait to leave, and I think it’s that way with a lot of people’s hometowns. 

For me, there’s just something about my hometown that I take pride in and enjoy. I understand I’ve lived a very good life and that may have something to do with my appreciation for the town that raised me, however, it hasn’t always been this way. 

Anyone close to me will tell you, from the time I first thought about going to college, I said I didn’t want to go to Ball State University. I wanted to get out of Muncie and go to somewhere like Indiana University or somewhere else outside of the town that raised me.

I wanted to be different. Many of my family members went to Ball State and I wanted to try something new, "live my own life" and I thought going to Ball State would prevent that from happening. 

Notice all of these things are past tense. 

Here I am, one academic year at Ball State, the college I previously swore off, under my belt. I never could’ve imagined just how helpful and essential to my future and my happiness this University would be. 

My expectations were exceeded in every aspect. I owe so much to my personal and professional development to Ball State.

I think over time I’ve learned a lot about myself and my core values/desires. Doing so made the decision to enroll at Ball State that much easier. 

I know the two most important things in my life are my family and my girlfriend, most of which live within a 25-minute radius of Ball State. Going to Ball State allows me to see them as much as possible, providing me with motivation and mental health boosts essential to my success. 

I’ve discovered I’m passionate about storytelling, and what better school to go to than Ball State, a university that has highly acclaimed Journalism/Telecommunications schools, providing resources and programs to students that want to kick start their careers. In my first year, I became involved with the Ball State Daily News, the publication this very column will be featured in. 

Over the course of the academic year, I feel my abilities as a journalist grew exponentially, as I covered Ball State Women’s Basketball and Baseball and wrote occasional columns and features for the Sports Section. I went from having minimal experience in the field of journalism to learning something new every day. 

Through editor shadowing and experience, I learned more about writing for a publication than I knew there was to learn. There’s still so much more to learn, but my experiences my freshman year put me where I am now. 

May 9, 2022, I started as Summer Editor In-Chief for the Ball State Daily News. This would have been unfathomable for me at this time last year, maybe even at the start of 2022. 

Yes, this column is my love letter and almost my apology letter to Ball State, but it’s also to Muncie, as I mentioned earlier. 

I used to be like many people I know, yearning to leave the town that I’ve spent 19 years in. A town that I have seen change as I have grown up. 

Yet with all the changes I’ve seen, so much has stayed the same and that’s comforting to me. I’m a homebody by heart, so if I would have left Muncie for college, left my family and friends for college, I would likely be a shell of the young man I am right now. 

In Muncie, I know the roads like the back of my hand. In Muncie, I lived with my mom and stepdad for 14 years, in the same neighborhood as my aunt, uncle, and two cousins, who truly feel like the little brother and sister I never had, the same neighborhood as my stepsister, stepbrother in law and three nephews and countless family friends. In Muncie, I met my girlfriend of two years.

As a sidebar, shoutout to my dad and all my family in Anderson, Warsaw, Upland and beyond, who I love just the same as my Muncie family.

Eventually, I will likely move out of Muncie. I think that’s bound to happen and that’s okay. 

That said, I’m not ready yet and I’m going to continue to be proud of my hometown and glad I chose Ball State University. While not everything I hold near and dear to my heart is in Muncie or even Indiana, so much of it is. 

When someone complains about living in Muncie or living in Indiana, I don’t get offended, I usually just quietly stand by and think about how I unashamedly admire this town. It’s not everyone’s favorite place, but it’s home to me. 

Ball State has become home to me and it’s given me more than I thought possible. Muncie has given me more than I can type. 

Home is the word that keeps coming to my mind and that’s exactly what Muncie is. It always will be.

Contact Kyle Smedley with comments via email at kyle.smedley@bsu.edu or on Twitter @smedley1932.

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