Small towns possess a community unity that more urban areas seem to lack. This is obviously because of a smaller populations ability to meet and organize, but other traits exist that metropolitan, concreteenforced cities fail to provide. The stereotypical small-town folk are always genuine and open, and the roads are always filled with people waving Hi through the windshield, even if they are strangers. Glen Rose, Texas, is one of these towns, and has been my hometown for the last 13 years of my life. Growing up there seems to thrive around the themes of urban versus rural, 5A school versus 3A school, and the like.
When it came time to pick a college to attend, I had not heard of Southwestern University. I was initially introduced to Southwestern through my ambition to play collegiate baseball. Coming from a small school, I do not have the skills nor the exposure to attend any of the Division I schools. A summer coach mentioned the Pirate baseball team to me, and my interest quickly evolved.
During the fall of my senior year, I was extremely interested in Southwestern University as well as Trinity University in San Antonio. Both liberal arts schools could provide me with the opportunity to play baseball, while at the same time offering the stimulation of rigorous academic programs. However, it was a very different aspect of college that sold me on Southwestern.
In January 2008, I met with Mr. Monty Curtis, the associate vice president for enrollment services at Southwestern, to interview for a scholarship. We met at a hotel lobby in Arlington. We sat down, and he pushed my file away, saying lets just chat, friend. He mentioned how much he enjoyed my essay, and throughout his gentle soft rhetoric, he would frequently start sentences with friend. We continued to talk about literature and philosophy for about an hour, and what I anticipated to be an interrogation of my high school career turned into a friendly discussion of ideas and beliefs. He concluded by mentioning that I was what Southwestern wants, and all I could think was that he was the type of person that I want at the college I attend.
Aside from Mr. Curtis, other interactions have shown me the type of people that Southwestern seems to harvest. In December 2007, baseball coach Jim Shelton invited me to tour the campus with him, and again my expectations were overturned. Coach Shelton personally toured my family around campus, telling us about the social life and the atmosphere, while equally emphasizing the importance of academics, baseball, and my personal ability to adapt in Georgetown. Coach Shelton showed that he is more than a coachhe is a friend and colleague, and he sees his players as much more than athletes.
With the experience of meeting both Coach Shelton and Mr. Curtis, Southwestern University began to stand out as the place for me. I have undergone a very personal relationship with Glen Rose as well as Glen Rose High School, and all of the unique informalities of my hometown seem to be present in Georgetown and Southwestern University. The University is not only valuable because of the low teacher-to-student ratio or widely recognized academic programs, but because the faculty, staff and students recognize each other as people, and not as statistics. With the August sun burning my shoulders, I look forward to taking my place in the enlightening experience that will resonate as one of the best decisions of my life.
Remy Robertson is a first-year student at Southwestern planning to major in philosophy with a minor in Chinese. A writer for the SU Megaphone, Robertson also writes a monthly column for The Williamson County Sun, which is where this essay first appeared.