Brookings became home for SDSU graduate

Kali Lingen

During my freshman year at South Dakota State University, Brookings felt nothing like home. I moved around a lot when I was growing up, so a new place was not that odd, but a new place far away from my family and friends was a first for me.

In the fall of my sophomore year my parents moved away from the town where I graduated from high school. Visiting them didn’t feel like home anymore and Brookings suddenly felt like my hometown. When I would leave campus for a weekend, getting back in South Dakota – or back in the 605 as I liked to call it – was a fantastic feeling.

I think the people and places are what made SDSU and Brookings feel like such a great community. The people I met while at SDSU shaped my college years and my life. If I hadn’t become a community assistant with Residential Life and if I had chosen a different major, I wouldn’t have met some of my closest friends.

Places like Nick’s Hamburger Shop and the Nine Bar & Nightclub will always hold a special place in my heart. The first time I went to Nick’s was the spring of my junior year. Clearly, I was missing out in the years prior. If you haven’t gone to Nick’s yet, go right away. You will not be sorry.

Thinking about the Nine brings back a lot of fond memories. I think of going there every Monday night of senior year to have a beer or two with a friend. We called ourselves the Monday Night Club. I can’t help but smile when I think of those Monday nights and how I miss them. Mondays are rough and the 9 eased that. It didn’t hurt that I was hanging out with a great friend.

On campus, Yeager Hall was important for me because I spent countless hours in that building over the course of my four years at SDSU. The residence halls where I lived, and then worked, also hold many memories. They were my home for four years and I would not have it any other way.

All of these memories contribute to that home feeling Brookings held. Of course there are things I don’t miss, like homework and walks across campus in sub-zero temperatures.

I’ve visited Brookings three times since graduating almost two years ago. It still feels like home, a little, but that home feeling is starting to subside. It is a bittersweet feeling. I still haven’t found places to replace the home feeling of Nick’s and the Nine in Saint Paul, Minn. I think those spots are irreplaceable.

When your time at SDSU has come and gone, you will look back and have fond memories of places that were important to you. Those years will come and go in a flash. Everybody says that, but it is so true. College flew by in an instant. Create those memories and make Brookings feel like home. You will be happy you did.