By Elizabeth Carrier | Contributor
Sophomore Autumn Dominique is from a small town where she and the majority of her 200 family members live. This iconic family started with her grandparents, who raised 10 children of their own and went on to adopt another 10, making Autumn a third-generation member of the Dominique clan.
At home, she is frequently recognized by her last name and has trouble going anywhere without running into a cousin or uncle on the way. Living with a reputation that constantly precedes you can be limiting. It is a struggle to become established as an individual if everyone you meet already sees you as part of a unit.
While Dominique loves her family dearly, she is also excited to have space here at Taylor. Trying to grow as an individual with so many older people in her family to please presents difficulties. She plans on spending her time at Taylor growing in independence.
"(College offers) a lot more freedom," Dominique said. "My immediate family, and even my cousins, aunts and uncles, are very protective, and I feel like I can't grow up."
Trying to know that many people on a personal level is virtually impossible. Dominique says she sometimes meets someone and doesn't realize until later they're a cousin or uncle of hers. The sheer size can create awkward situations and divisions within the family.
There are, of course, benefits to having so many family members in your community. It may not be especially appealing to have close relatives involved in all you do, but it does present the benefit of a friend everywhere you turn.
"(The best part about having a big family is) we always have each other's back," Dominique said. "We still fight and stuff but they have your back no matter what. I've never been in a more loving environment."
Dominique, however, does not plan to carry on the tradition of the large family unit. Marriage and kids are not part of Dominique's plan. She says with six nieces and nephews she's had quite enough experiences with kids to span a lifetime.