My journey that led me to the University of Dayton
My name is Madeline Elise Calhoun. I am from Xenia, Ohio, about 20 minutes away from where I currently call home in Dayton, Ohio. I am the daughter of Scott and Garilyn Calhoun, and the big sister to Lillian, Emily, Vivian, and Rose.
I attended Xenia High School and was an average Midwestern student. I ran varsity cross country all four years, participated in show choir, theater productions, vocal ensemble, went to all the football games, volunteered, maintained great grades, and always did what was expected of me. I am a typical first child.
I began my college search in my junior year of high school because that's when all the other kids were doing it. I had always expected to move out of Ohio for college, maybe Michigan, or even California. I wanted a fresh start far away from the small-town experience I grew up with. So ironically, I chose the University of Dayton as my first official college visit.
I fell in love immediately. I loved the architecture, the landscaping, the old brick buildings, the way the tour guide talked about his love for the campus. I loved the academic programs, the gym, the student union, the students walking around with backpacks, everything. However, I had a lot of time to decide on a school as well as navigate the college process.
There was some controversy with choosing a school because my dad teaches at another university in Ohio. I experienced some pressure from my community, teachers, church friends, and even a few relatives to attend that school. However, I couldn't see myself attending there. I dreaded the idea of moving into and studying there, so I continued pursuing UD.
I toured other universities and explored other options. But with every college visit, I compared those schools to UD and couldn't erase the gut feeling I had about my original school of choice. I was biased, and in May of my senior year at XHS, I officially committed to the University of Dayton.
Now, I understand that everyone has a different story on how they chose their college and where they would spend the next chapter of their life. As for me, I knew the minute I walked on campus, and after completing one full year at UD, I'm certain I made the right choice.
For many high schoolers, choosing whether or not to go to college and then where to attend is a big deal. Pressure from friends and family, figuring out a major, or even deciding to move out from home can all lead to a stressful senior year.
As soon as the official decision was made, it felt as if a weight was lifted off my chest. I found peace and was filled with excitement about choosing a roommate, starting new classes, meeting new friends, and even buying room décor.
My first year at UD was eventful, full of new friends, a new job, new experiences, and a happier me. I even became a tour guide for the university and every day I show off the school that has brought me everything I could have ever wanted.
At the end of my tours, I explain to prospective students that no matter the pressures they experience, they deserve a school they fall in love with. I encourage high schoolers to choose what is best for them and where they feel at home. If they find peace at UD the way I did, that's awesome! If another school is a better fit, I wish them luck on their high school and college journey.
I've loved the past two years of exploring and entering college life. I'm so grateful for the small-town community that loved and led me to pursue my dreams and passions. I hope all students to love where they are at. All students should be excited to wake up and wander their campus to class or meet dozens of new faces and personalities to enrich their lives.
As I enter my second year of college, I can only look forward to the adventures and memories I will have, all thanks to that first UD campus visit and choosing a college.