This past week on a very overcast day, I re-toured Belmont for the first time since my junior year of high school. I remember junior and senior years of high school so distinctly: fun, but constant worry about where I would be attending college. NYU? USC? Belmont? Vandy? Texas? My mind changed every week.
First stop: Nashville.
Belmont was my first look at Nashville. The charming Belmont Mansion, gazebos and prayer chapel had a sweet and homey attraction. Belmont has a very distinct antiquated antebellum image from its origins as the home of Adelicia Hayes Acklen Cheatam (a mouthful of names well known around Nashville). It all seemed so perfect, so genuine, and just how I imagined college.
I thought I would be a student in the Mike Curb College, eventually ending up in entertainment and copyright law. But would I fit in? The meandering students seemed like your typical college body: dyed hair, sweatshirts and skateboards. It was my first college tour and I remember thinking, “This is it. This is the one.”
The next day I toured Vanderbilt’s campus and all thoughts of Belmont as my future quickly disappeared.
Everything about Vanderbilt was extraordinary, unreal. The campus, the students, the academics and SEC football. I was more than wowed after visiting Vanderbilt. (It is quite clear which school won in the end and Vanderbilt isn’t the focus of this post, so I won’t elaborate on my love of Vanderbilt today.)
And Nashville! I toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, listened to a few bands on Broadway, ate at Pancake Pantry and I was sold. Nashville is so strikingly different from my hometown of Dallas, and at the time, some place far away from home and everything I knew was enticing. (Now I yearn for Mexican food, Dallas shopping and two-stepping every other day. What a change.)
The memories of applying for an uncertain future and trusting that all my hard work would pay off seem to be very familiar feelings today. I can only hope for such a clear and defining moment about my future in these coming months as I experienced on my visit to Belmont, Vanderbilt and Nashville some four or so years ago.
Cheers to new adventures and new opportunities.