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Boiler Up! Elias!

Next week my youngest son, Elias, is doing his first campus visit as a high school student researching which college to attend. He recently watched his older brother make a prosaic and apathetic college search, only to acquiesce to their mother’s choice of colleges.  Don’t get me wrong, Emmons will have an amazing and fruitful education at Texas A&M. His mother chose well. But, Emmons’s decision to attend A&M, and he will tell you so himself, was purely utilitarian, without any passion or emotion, “It’s just the next step in what I have to do.” I have wanted him to show even an inkling of excitement, but no.  He even gets upset when I emote joy at becoming an “Aggie Dad.” It’s been a little disappointing and anti-climatic for me.  Alas, I think Elias is more inspired as he begins his search for the perfect collegiate experience.

In 5th grade, Elias had a class assignment to design and build a Rube Goldberg machine.  As all good elementary students do nowadays, he Googled “rube goldbureg machine” to research the assignment.  He kept showing me videos he found of the astonishing elaborate machines competing in the annual National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. As a certain university founded this competition in 1949, made it national in 1987, and generally dominates the competition each year, the videos tended to be teams from that certain university.  Consequently, without knowing my alma mater, Elias said, “I want to go to that college,” pointing at a team with an awesome Rube Goldberg machine trimmed in black and gold paint. I smiled, didn’t say anything, and my heart started pounding out the opening stanza beats to “Hail Purdue!”

Elias is my independent thinking offspring; he’s not going to submit to his mother’s or my college choices for him.  He has announced he will make his own choice and research the best fit for him.  So, we are readying for his first campus visit, which happens to be my alma mater.  He has plenty of time for other campus visits; he is just now finishing up his sophomore year.  I’m expecting a flood of nostalgia and reminiscing on my end of his Purdue Campus visit.  I haven’t been back on campus since my first date with their mother back in 1998 (I saw ol’ Drew Brees win that day, and now the dude is retired from the NFL).  Also, I hope I don’t unduly influence Elias’ collegiate choice with my love for my old school.

Should I let him know he would be a triple legacy with his grandmother and aunt receiving a Boilermaker education? Probably not; I think that can wait. 

Campus Visit for him,
Homecoming for Me!

Awe, Purdue! I was Purdue Class of 1991, but that stretched to the Purdue Class of 1992, then again into Purdue Class of 1993, and finally I joined the Purdue Class of 1994.

This Purdue Campus Visit will remind me that I did the Purdue four years on the seven-year plan. There was just too much to do; Boiler football games (the Fred Akers years – Ugh), fraternity parties (ΔΧ), four different majors (Philosophy, Psychology, something I forgot, and Leisure Studies), touring on bikes (rode home to Salem, Indiana one Fall Break – 180 miles mostly using Indiana State Road 135 South), dozens of campus organizations (College {insert a major political party’s name here} Club), more fraternity parties, a mid-degree Gap Year (not by choice), becoming a Lafayette Towny, learning to kite with a quad string stunt kite (full-size sewing patterns drawn on some university CAD/CAM & CNC thingy), backpacking the Smokies during breaks (800 miles total with university gear), coffee shops (anyone remember the Blue Café), hustling chess games for coffee money (Blue Café again), concerts (Sting & Gate Mouth Brown on campus and the Dead & James Taylor at Deer Creek), seeking university co-eds’ attention, taking ANTH 105 — Cultural Anthropology three times, taking five Spanish classes to get my required three courses of a foreign language, getting rejected by those university Co-eds’, bar-tending, completing the Around the World in 80 Beers challenge at the Knickerbocker (the most expensive damn T-shirt ever), street magic and mime (Red Brick Mime Troupe), some fun oddball classes (Etymology 105 – Insect Friend or Foe), some serious courses, a recreation class sitting next to Glenn Robinson, earning semester honors twice, and all kinds of other wild and collegiate things. I finished in the last class of the Leisure Studies -Therapeutic Recreation Concentration and a double major in Psychology. I had a hell of a time, and it lasted about as long as the third sentence in this paragraph (oh, now I remember, I was a creative writing major for a semester).

I hope I don’t bore him with my reminiscing during his Purdue Campus visit; I’ll do my best to contain it.

PS. I think I just wet myself… just a little bit.  Uh… Boiler Up!

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