Listening to: Just a Ride — Jem
Little known fact: I walked away from a full scholarship at the University of North Carolina to pay my way through UT.
Because I have been dealing with financial aid all week, this has been on my mind. Some days, I really have to wonder what I was thinking. Instead of graduating debt free, I’m compounding loan on top of loan. And the people who know me well keep asking me, “Why Texas?”
Why am I in Texas? It’s a funny story, really. I ended up in the state because of a computer game I bought when I was eleven and a baby shower. Seriously. You think that trivial decisions can’t change the course of your life? Think again.
The short version goes something like this. At eleven, I bought a game — The Sims — out of a school software order form, just because it looked like fun. I became completely hooked on the game and started spending time on the forums that EA games set up for it. Two years later, on that forum, I met Kelly, a lovely woman who had recently moved to Texas. Three years after that, when my family traveled through Texas, we stopped to see her. And ten months later, I insisted we go back so that I could be there for her baby shower. (This was made easier by the fact that my parents and I were full time RVers at the time.)
We made it to Austin for the baby shower. And we just never left.
We never intended to stay longer than a few months. But three years later, we’re still here. My parents bought land in Lockhart. I LOVE Austin. Kelly’s son, my mono, is three now. He has a six-month-old sister. I was here for that baby shower too — as far as we’re concerned, those kids are my nephew and niece.
When it came time to think about going to college, I realized that going back to North Carolina wasn’t the easy decision I thought it would be. I had ALWAYS wanted to be a Tar Heel. I grew up smack dab in the middle of Carolina country, obsessed with basketball and bleeding Carolina Blue. But UNC was a long way from Texas, and Texas was where I had built my life.
When the OCD required me to start therapy, I was exposed to a clinical social worker for the first time. Gradually, my career goals changed. I had planned to study journalism. Now I was looking at studying social work. And to do THAT, it made sense to go to UT — one of the top schools in the country for social work. The more I explored UT, the more I felt that it was the right place for me.
I never expected to be living in Texas. I never expected to want to be a Longhorn. And to be perfectly honest, when I watch UNC basketball, I still feel a pang of belonging for the school I almost attended. I look at my bank account and wonder if I made the right choice financially. But I love this school. Every time I walk into the social work building, I feel at home.
So… No regrets. Why Texas? Because, despite being born a Tar Heel, I grew into a Longhorn.
Until Next Time,