If you’ve been following me at all over the past two years, you are very well aware of the fact I have been attempting to follow my dreams and become a fighter pilot. I first tried applying to the United States Naval Academy and then, after a rejection letter from the boys in Annapolis, a scholarship. Five months ago I received it- a national Navy ROTC scholarship that only a small percentage of applicants receive. I was excited. But there was a catch.
I had to transfer to Oregon State University to be able to use it.
For all you non-geography majors out there, Oregon roughly 2,700 miles away from West Virginia. That’s a long way. For some strange reason, I completely looked past that and accepted the scholarship. I was going to do it, baby! I was going to get away from Fairmont, a place full of life sucking hypocrites. I could finally get as far away as possible from all of those assholes from high school. I could finally get away from home.
I went through part of the summer with that idea engrained in my head. I was having doubts, but I assumed they were natural. I was leaving sometime in September, I said to myself. Nothing could change it.
One morning, my mother came to my room and asked me to sign a form accepting my financial aid from Oregon State. I was thoroughly puzzled- why did I need to take out loans if I had gotten a full scholarship? I guess I had missed the fine print. The scholarship only covered my tuition, not my room and board.
I soldiered on, keeping the same attitude.
“Money doesn’t matter, it’s just a number.”
“I’ll have enough, I’m not worried about it.”
I tried to convince myself of these things, but it just didn’t work.
So, two days before classes were set to begin at West Virginia University, I made up my mind. I talked to a few friends about it, then decided it was time to talk to my mom.
“Fuck it, I’m staying here,” I said to myself as I walked downstairs to tell her.
Every person will have a point in their lives where they will have a monumental decision to face, and every person will inevitably have their “fuck it” moment in one way or another.
Mine just came earlier than expected.
After making the decision to stay, I was in for the real challenge. I had not scheduled for classes yet and most were full. I had no place to live in Morgantown (still don’t, actually- kind of sucks.) I was still enrolled to Oregon State and still locked into a lease over there (still am, actually- kind of sucks too.) At a complete loss, I turned to my only key resource at WVU, my advisor and friend Dean Street. He agreed to lunch and unlocked the classes I needed to take and made sure I got them all.
Shout out, Dean Street, the homie.
Monetary and distance challenges were not the only reason I decided to stay here. My grandfathers, on both sides, are my best friends. I don’t know how long I have left with them. My other friends and family also played a part, as well. I am comfortable here at WVU, I am on track to graduate early, and I have a great group of friends. Being in ROTC wouldn’t put me ahead of what I am doing now if I still want to join the Navy after college. Just a lot of things.
All things considered, I feel I made a good decision. I still have time to go out and follow the dream- now just isn’t that time. I was a bit embarrassed about telling everyone I was leaving and then deciding to stay, but really who cares what people think? I really do not. It isn’t their life. I have the rest of my life to do what I want to do. I am sure I will catch flak for not taking the scholarship. I’m fine with that. There will always be a what-if factor in my life, and I have mentally come to terms with that fact. At the end of the day, I decided what was best for me.
What is best for me is my home, my family, my friends.
What is best for me is West Virginia.
What is best for me is home.