Jonel Turner

Why did I choose Memphis?

I like to think that Memphis chose me. A few weeks after completing my associate’s degree in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, I decided to add the University of Memphis to my list of transfer-institutions that could complement my background in design. As fate would have it, Memphis was the first University from my list to say, “we accept.”

I had no idea at the time, but in just two years, I would graduate as a Tiger with more honors than I had ever seen in my entire academic career. I would meet my lifelong core friend group in a neighborhood on South Main. I would turn my design hobby into real work through local internships—internships that would pave the way for an art directing job in NYC immediately after graduating. Looking back, Memphis changed my life.

Around the same time that I decided that my time in The Big Apple was coming to an end, Memphis called. Well actually, my internship supervisor in Memphis called to let me know that my former gig as an intern had morphed into a full-time role as the Brand Liaison for Epicenter—Hub of the greater Memphis entrepreneurship movement. The way I see it, Memphis chose me yet again.

To be honest, I don’t know what it is about this city. Maybe it’s the southern hospitality and the hustle mentality. Maybe it’s the rich and soulful culture that bleeds into the city’s food, art, and music scenes. Maybe it’s my own personal belief that Memphis is slowly aligning itself for the rest of the world to see just how truly great it is.

Whatever it is, I’m just happy I’m here for the ride.

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