I still remember that Spring afternoon in 2001 when I drove straight from the high-school parking lot to my dad's office after school let out. Despite the uneasiness in my head and the thumping in my chest, I calmly shut the door and managed to somewhat cohesively explain to my dad that I didn't want to go to any of the colleges I had applied to. I didn't want to go to any of the colleges I had visited. (I mean Ball State has side walk signs that actually chirp like cardinals when it's time to walk! Geesh!) I didn't want to go to any of the colleges that had offered me scholarships. I wanted to go to IU. Yes, the same IU that my father had - over and over again - tried to convince me to apply to even if just as a back-up. Yes, the same IU that I insisted I didn't want anything to do with as little as a month earlier. Yes, the same IU that had closed it's admissions a couple weeks before. That IU. That was the one. The college that I was absolutely convinced I was supposed to go to. My dad, being the amazing amazing father that he was and is, talked it out with me. Asked me all the right questions to make sure this was real and not some new crazy idea of mine inspired by 7th period study hall boredom. And finally agreed that, if this is what I wanted, he would support me 100%.
And so I became a Hoosier.
Then there was the day during my Senior year of college when my brother committed to Columbia University. My Columbia University. I was happy for him. I was. And extremely proud. But I was also a little jealous. I couldn't help it. Not 5 years earlier Columbia had been my dream, but I was told that we wouldn't be able to afford it. That it wasn't an option for me. It's hard at age 17 to hear that a dream isn't a option. Heck, it's hard at age 27 for that matter. But some how it worked out for him. So he went and lived in New York City. In my dream. And I only visited.
If something would have gone differently, I could have been a Columbia Lion. And yet I was a Hoosier.
Then there was the past weekend when I visited East Lansing for the Michigan State vs. Notre Dame game. After a jam-packed weekend of tailgating, college festivities and eating awful (but oh so wonderful) college food I wondered what it would have been like if I had gone to Michigan State. It's a really charming campus, the football team is sure more entertaining than IU's and green is a much better color on me than red.
If something would have gone differently, I could have been a Spartan. And yet I was a Hoosier.
I get sort of sentimental when I think back to my years at Indiana. I think back to my freshman year when I had absolutely no clue what to expect. No clue what was in store for me. No clue who I would become over the next 4 years. I think back to sophomore year when I moved into this wonderfully nutty place called Delta Zeta and learned how to live with 130 other girls. I think back to junior year when I was pulling all-nighters in the library with a Polar Pop to keep me going. When I was balancing a million things just hoping to keep my head above water. I think about senior year when we lived on Hunter Ave and fought off the bats in our attic. When we spent Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night hoping in and out of the bars along Kirkwood. And when, just as I seemed to finally really truly appreciate it all, it was time to leave.
It’s so crazy to think of just how far I have come since that Spring afternoon in 2001. If even one little thing would have gone a different way, I could have ended up any of those colleges I received acceptance letters from. I could have ended up in NYC. Or East Lansing. Or anywhere, really.
And yet I was a Hoosier.
And you know what? If I could go back, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Not a thing. Because if I did, I might not be where or who I am today.
But it's always fun to wonder what if.