Allegheny College Changed My Life

Traveling across the state line of Pennsylvania, I fell in love with the landscape and I knew that this would be the journey to my future college town.  What pushed me to visit Allegheny College was an impressive brochure that arrived in my mailbox showing the trees in their autumn glory.  The vivid colors convinced me to give Meadville a chance.  My parents were swayed by the interior text containing the necessary demographics and several students’ comments on their choice of college.

As a student, I would love the constant slope of the land.  Never flat for long, movement at Allegheny College was as challenging as the academics.  It was often an uphill struggle to be rewarded later by a brief amble downhill.  I would even love it when it rained and it was muddy.  There was a new challenge every day.  Each day as a student was worth it, pushing me to excel, preparing me for my future full of possibilities.

I walked along paths bordered by old growth trees to reach the academic halls and I trekked through a thick forest to attend tennis practices.  The campus was formed around the existing landscape, not bulldozed into one flat tract of concrete real estate.

I needed inspiration to study English.  I needed to hear the leaves rustling in the breeze when the semester began, gently falling in the autumn, crunching under my feet as I made my way to class, and the wind whistling through the barren trees when the snow started.  I needed to see the full evolution of the Meadville trees; it was my personal metaphor for re-birth.  Allegheny’s mature trees stood tall and gave me shade.

Allegheny’s nature had me hooked.

Allegheny Class of 2001 10-year  Reunion 007

Returning to Allegheny College for my 10-year reunion

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Allegheny’s tennis courts hidden in the forest

I made the choice because of the lack of proximity to my hometown.  Yes, you heard me right.  I wanted to go far away, but not too far away.  I didn’t want my parents popping by my dorm room on a moment’s notice like I knew they would if I attended school in Columbus, Ohio.  Why would I go away to college in the same county I grew up in?  That would have been too familiar and too easy.  I needed a change of scenery.  A four hour drive ensured that I would have not only my privacy, but also my freedom.  College is about our freedom to choose what we study and who we will become as adults.  Allegheny College was the college that changed my life.

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