Ole Miss is a big school, don’t get me wrong. I enrolled here as a freshman in 2015, from a high school class of 80 kids to a freshman class of almost 4,000. I was over 1,000 miles away from home and knew next to nobody. Still, something stuck out to me that an admissions counselor once said during orientation: You can’t make a small school big, but you can make a big school small.
With that idea in mind, I got involved. I participated in IFC recruitment and rushed a fraternity where I would ultimately become vice president as well as find some of my best friends. I wrote for an online satirical newspaper, The Black Sheep, to further pursue my interest in writing. I joined the American Marketing Association to meet more students in my major. All of these organizations provided support for me and shrunk the size of the sometimes overwhelming school community. Because of my experiences, I would urge all new students to try and go the same route.
However, the clubs and organizations I joined aren’t for everyone. A lot of awesome groups exist on campus, and one in particular is Hip-Hop Rebs. Founded in fall 2015 by Kendrick Wallace, Hip-Hop Rebs was established to provide a fun, carefree atmosphere for dancers of all levels to come and learn combinations during a weekly workshop. Though the group started out from humble beginnings, it now boasts around 300 members.
“I feel like this organization is special because it allows people from every major, every class, really any student on this campus to come and have a fun time dancing,” said Catherine Klocke, president of Hip-Hop Rebs. “Students can come to the workshops when they can, there is no mandatory (number) of meetings one must attend. It is a great way to meet new people and have a good time!”
For the fall semester, Hip-Hop Rebs has met on Thursday evenings at the university’s recreation center. At each workshop, the choreographer for the week teaches routines that last from 30 seconds to 1 minute. At the end of the workshop, members have the opportunity to video and watch others performing the routine.
Wallace, who now works in the Office of Leadership and Advocacy as a graduate assistant, is pleased with the growth of the organization since his time here. He urges new students to give it a try.
“Getting involved in Hip-Hop Rebs is just a way for you to go have fun an hour a week,” Wallace said. “I think we get so caught up in the idea that we always have to be working in college, but you still have to make time for yourself to enjoy the experience.
“Most of our members come in and say, ‘I’ve never danced before,’ but it’s more about going somewhere and connecting with students who aren’t necessarily just like you. It’s putting yourself out there and having fun that really shapes your experience at this university,” he added.
So if you are like me, Klocke, Wallace or any other student that has set foot on this campus for the first time, put yourself out there! Make this big school smaller, and find a community within the community, such as Hip-Hop Rebs, that will allow you to maximize your experiences here at Ole Miss.
For more information about Hip-Hops Rebs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jules Cook is an integrated marketing communications major and intern in University Communications at the University of Mississippi.