Sammy Morrison ’23 is a communication studies major and nonprofit management minor.
“I’m a huge foodie. My dad is a chef—he’s the current dining director and head chef at the University of Texas at Austin. He’s been a professional chef for years. My parents owned a restaurant named Sammy’s when I was younger, in North Carolina, and they carry on the recipes from that restaurant to UT. Sometimes they’ll send me pictures from the dining hall there, like ‘Sammy’s barbeque sandwich’, or ‘Sammy’s key lime pie’. Food is a big, big love language between me and my family.
Growing up with a chef for a father was awesome in one sense, and kind of tough in the other. Because, like I said, food is the love language. I’m eating awesome food all the time. I’m always so excited to go home for Thanksgiving. I know the meal is just going to smack. And I’m always coming home to a good, homemade meal made with love on my table. And that’s really awesome. But in another sense, I think it puts a lot of pressure on the relationship with food for everybody in the house. Just because food is the love language, so there’s a lot riding on it. Like, if you go pick up Chinese food for dinner, and you pick up the wrong order—that’ll ruin somebody’s night. There’s a lot of pressure riding on food. But in the same breath, all of this pressure is with phenomenal food. Just banging food. So there’s two sides to that coin.
My parents started working at UT right when the pandemic hit—my dad as a chef and my mom as a student admin. We moved to Austin two days after school got shut down freshman year. And it was crazy! It was really, really tough on my mental health; lots of physical change and mental change all at once. I remember moving and having to stay the night in Louisiana because they had closed the border to get into Texas due to Covid. It was really, really crazy to move with my parents. I lived with them in an apartment on UT’s campus, because our house wasn’t ready. It was my parents, me, my two cats and a dog, all squished into this one-and-a-half-bedroom apartment on UT’s campus for about two months. It was wild. And it was such a harsh transition from high school into freshman year of college to having all the freedom your freshman year, to having no freedom, in a one-and-a-half-bedroom apartment—with your parents!—it was horrible!
I will say I’ve definitely come out a stronger person from it, but it was so tough. Also, with online classes at that time—it was the end of the semester, I think we had a couple weeks left of classes—Covid was picking up at that time, and nobody knew what was going on. I just remember being so scared of everything that was happening. And during that time in my life, every day was a battle. So that move—it could not have come at a worse time, to say the least. But I think it was necessary. I was going through a lot of stuff my freshman year, and if that move hadn’t come, I don’t know where I would be. I really do not know. So I think it was a blessing in disguise.
I’ve been back in Atlanta since this past January. I spent around a year in Texas, and it’s coming up on being a year since I came back. Which, honestly, has been another very interesting transition. School this past year has been very different than it was before. It’s like we got a glimpse of what college is supposed to be like, and we’re never going to get it again, ever. I was just talking to my coworkers today about how we miss 2019, and how we just had no idea what was coming. I really debated coming back to Atlanta and coming back to Oglethorpe when I was in Texas, because I knew I wasn’t going to get that college experience anywhere I was going, not for any reason other than because of Covid. Honestly, what made me come back to Oglethorpe was that I think I needed to live by myself. I needed to start a new chapter and live in an apartment—without my parents—and just have another big physical move, and big mental change, by myself, and of my own accord.
I drove here from Texas. That was a 15-hour drive. It was wild—I packed up all my stuff in my car and just drove here. My mom really wanted to drive with me, but I was like ‘naw, mom, I’m going to do this thing by myself.’ I think it was something I needed to do on my own. I split the drive and stayed out in the middle of nowhere, in this random hotel in Mississippi. And honestly, it was fun! It was a little bit scary, I can’t lie. I’m nervous about every new thing that I do, and every sense of change, so it was scary. But it felt so good to get into Atlanta the next morning. Like, whew, survived the night, wasn’t attacked at the Waffle House, nobody tried to break into my room—I did it by myself. It’s something I was scared of, and then was able to do by myself.
Coming back to Oglethorpe was definitely the right choice for me. I really want to go into animal activism with my nonprofit minor. I’ve loved nonprofit work since high school. I love helping others, and I love the nonprofit sector. But now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized animal activism is the path I want to go down. I’ve always said that I really just want to be a voice for things that don’t have one—like the environment, animals, things like that. It’s just such an obvious choice for me—they literally do not have a voice.
I really do just love nonprofit work. I’ve probably been doing it for six or seven years now. I was a chairwoman for a high school nonprofit foundation, and I’ve worked a lot with arts nonprofits. I really see myself going into nonprofit work and ironically/unironically changing the world. Everybody reading this Humans of Oglethorpe article—y’all just wait for my name! Sammy Morrison. Y’all don’t even know!”
Humans of Oglethorpe was created by a Pegasus Creative student intern in University Communications at Oglethorpe. Inspired by Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, this series will share personal stories and perspectives from across campus. Everyone has a story and everyone is human. Would you like to be involved in this series? Email Jamie Aiken.