1,570 Miles to the Swamp

1,570 Miles to the Swamp

I took a sip of coffee and placed my left hand on my forehead. As I scanned over the paper in front of me, I intently marked the paper with my red pen.

It was my second semester of college, and I wasn’t studying for an exam. I was deciding my top three colleges choices of where I would transfer to. The list of 25 wasn’t well thought out – in fact, it was random and had no strategy.

Two hours prior, I threw on my clothes and left me door room at Dean College in Franklin, Mass., to meet with my guidance counselor. To my surprise, she was elated to see my GPA. She told me something I thought I would never hear – “you can transfer to almost any school in the country.”

As I quickly walked back to my dorm I needed a strategy to collect my thoughts and endless opportunities. So naturally, being a football fanatic, I printed out the Top 25 NCAA Football Teams from the fall and started my college search. 

The next round of criteria was a little more thought out:

  • Round 1: Cross off any state I refused to live in.
  • Round 2 (10 options): Cross off any school that cost over $20,000 per year.
  • Round 3 (5 options): Rank the top journalism schools and boil list down to three.
  • Round 4 (3 options): Take campus visits.

In March 2009, I took my first visit to Baton Rouge. When I returned home, I knew LSU was the school for me. I applied, got accepted (kinda), and turned a page in my life journey.

Three months later I packed my 1996 Saturn (without air conditioning) and was ready for the 25-hour drive. As I trekked into Louisiana I set my GPS for my new address, which was a house with two roommates that I had never met and discovered through Craigslist.

I moved 1,570 miles away from home without knowing a single person all because I wanted an adventure. More importantly, I wanted to set myself up for the best education and degree I could position myself with for the future.

When I made the decision to move to Louisiana, I was provisionally accepted to LSU. If I did not maintain a 3.25 GPA for my first semester, I would have to move back to Massachusetts. In high school, my average GPA was a 2.4. While my GPA was high at Dean College (3.8), a junior college and LSU were on two very different academic levels.

I took a risk on a dream. I took a risk on something most people thought wasn’t for me. I risked everything for the sake of looking like a failure in six shorts months.