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College. A word that causes mixed emotions in most people. Here I was, just another nervous high school student trying to figure out where I wanted to attend college. I had a couple of options in the back of my mind, but I was so lost and really didn’t know which school to choose. I wanted to make the right decision, because I was always told, “college will be the best four years of your life.” I knew I was going to feel at home at the UA the summer of my junior year of high school; and you might be wondering how I would actually know this before attending the UA. Well, it was an experience I had one Saturday afternoon in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. I was picking up some groceries for my mom and happened to be wearing my Wildcat t-shirt I had bought while on my UA campus tour the previous year. I was minding my own business as a man wearing a UA hat approached me. The University of Arizona was one of my top choices, but until this experience I had at this grocery store, I didn’t know that it would be my first choice.
This man took me by surprise, as he was ecstatic to see some Wildcat gear in a place that was about 1,600 miles away from Tucson. He asked me if I was a student or an alumnus. As I began to tell him about how I was deciding between the UA and a local Nashville school, his face lit up. He began to tell me stories about his experience, and told me about the fantastic time he had while attending the UA. I remember him specifically saying, “I know all alumni will talk up their school; but believe me on this, Arizona changed my life.” As I began to ask him questions I started to get goose bumps on my arms. I don’t know if it was the pride that this young alumnus had, or the many stories that he recounted to me. Call me crazy, but at that moment, I had made up my mind. I was going to be a Wildcat!
Before talking to this young alumnus, I was looking forward to the academic possibilities, the sports programs, and the change of scenery. Not only were these things in the back of my mind after talking to him, but also he had provided me with new knowledge and had inspired me with all of the pride he had for his school, which is now our school. After my first week here at the UA, I was able to feel the exact pride he had expressed. Arizona is a family. A family that is proud to be called Wildcats!