A College Tour To Remember

Johanna Colapinto, Staff Writer

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A last minute decision to join my friend and her family on a series of college tours left a lingering impact on me; in fact, it was one that I won’t ever forget. Our road trip to South Carolina took place over spring break. With little knowledge about the schools we were visiting, I packed up my belongings and hopped in the car, hoping for some enlightenment along the way. I had no idea where I was going to end up in a year’s time, yet alone what college would be greeting me at the end of my high school career. With a naive mindset I eagerly embarked on this twelve hour ride, with not a clue regarding what I would encounter.

Upon stepping onto Clemson University’s cheerful campus, even the wind seemed to scream “WELCOME!” I was greeted with quite possibly the most school spirit I’ve ever encountered. Orange coated the walls inside the main building, with cartoon tigers plastered on every pamphlet, podium, and poster. Even the workers seemed delighted as they checked off my name on the tour list and guided me to my seat.

As we were led outside, large buildings with complex architecture loomed above us. There seemed to be miles of green grass with kids sprawled out on blankets, playing soccer and chatting. Although the campus was large it seemed to greet each visitor with open arms, displaying it’s marvellous layout and comforting feel through its people and places.

The serene campus, although impressive, was not the center of my attention. Our outgoing tour guide, Evan, was bursting with energy and school pride when he greeted the group of us and introduced himself. I immediately took note that his peppy attitude fit in perfectly with Clemson. He knew every corner of the school like the back of his hand. It seemed as if he had memorized this speech and performed it a million times. I developed a newfound respect for the tour guide, who was so passionate and proud to attend his school. The tour of the campus went by in a green blur.

“The last spot of the tour is a little out of the way, but I think you guys will enjoy it when we get there,” Evan announced. A twenty minute walk revealed a walkway that overlooked a stretch of grass and steps, which led up to a large, glimmering pond. He began his last speech to conclude the day.

“In the beginning of the tour, you heard me tell you all that I am a junior. I am actually a graduating senior, and I lied because I wanted to save my secret for right here, right now, on my favorite view on campus. This is my last tour I’ll ever give at Clemson University. I’ve given over two hundred in my time here,” Evan said, and I observed a sadness in his voice that was being suppressed. “The four years I’ve spent here have been the best of my life. And I just want to tell you all: do what you want to do. You don’t have to do what your parents tell you to do.” Evan continued on his last performance, and I felt nothing but utter respect for him. Throughout the tour I was acquainted with someone who fostered such passion for his school. He was truly happy with his decision, major, and the direction his life would be heading in, as he would become an admissions counselor after graduating. I admired his dedication.

Although Clemson University was a beautiful school, it was not for me. However, I realized something much more valuable that day. When applying for college and ultimately making my decision, I am never going to merely settle: not for a mediocre campus, academics, friends, major, or any big decision regarding my life. Through the process of researching colleges, I am never going to stop until I feel the same passion Evan felt for his own school. That day reminded me that life is so precious, why waste any time doing things that don’t feel invigorating? With this new wisdom, I proceed to find my passion and home for the next four years with high expectations, optimism, and an unsatiated hunger for excellence.

 

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