...I bought my blue Franciscan hoodie.
Why does that matter? Well, it was the first thing I ever bought myself that had "Franciscan" on it. Maybe it's just a weird hangup of mine, but I don't wear clothing that advertises other colleges. The only exception would be if anybody ever got me an Ohio State hoodie--I'm a Buckeyes fan, you see, because...um, because I'm from Ohio. So when they do that thing with the pointy brown ball (what's that called again?) I get all passionate about Ohio State winning. I have to have somebody explain to me how the points work and who actually won, but once I've got that figured out I like it when Ohio State wins.
But I digress. A year ago today was the day of the Father Michael Scanlan Scholarship Competition. Don't ask me to narrate exactly the events of the day, I don't remember. What I do remember is buying my Franciscan hoodie and wearing it home even though it was about negative five degrees out.
I didn't figure anybody else would know the significance of me buying the hoodie, but I was talking to my dad a few months later and he said that he knew the minute I walked in the door that I had decided.
It's funny the way God had been closing doors during the few weeks before that. By the end of February it had come down to two schools: A state school with one of the best journalism programs in the country at which I could have gotten a full-ride scholarship simply by being a National Merit Finalist, and Franciscan.
If you don't know which one I chose, read the "About Me" on the sidebar.
I'm smart, but I never said I could do math. :) Yeah, I'm paying the equivalent of a couple of nice cars or the down payment on a house to come here, when I could have been at that state school happily hoarding my money. I can't explain why that is except to say that sometimes you just know. I had told myself, going in, that I would know after the sholarship competition. What I meant was that if I won I could go to Franciscan, if I didn't I couldn't.
I didn't win. Here I am just the same. I knew. I knew the moment I went into the bookstore and bought that blue hoodie, so that every day for weeks afterwards (I took the hoodie off pretty much to sleep and go to church) I was advertising in my own quiet way that I had already decided, and nothing else mattered but that God had called me here.
Oddly enough, in the end it was the people who decided me. People like the Cobbler and Rebekah. I could give a dozen other examples but let's stick to those two.
If memory serves (and I make no guarantees about anything that happened during my senior year) I met the Cobbler the night before. To be quite honest, I think my mental monologue went something like this:
"Oh, look, another strange guy in a suit. Okay, Megan, you know the drill. Shake his hand, say hello, make small talk...great, now that's over."
It's not that I'm antisocial or anything, it's just that my poor little brain goes into stack overflow if it has to process more than 4 or 5 new people in a day, and there were about 80 new people there (40 scholars, with an average of 1 parent accompanying).
Fortunately my mental dialogue was wrong, and a year later I'm still in the midst of the sometimes crazy but always interesting adventure that is knowing the Cobbler. The reason I probably remembered him afterwards happened the next day. He and I happened to be in the same small group, and while we were waiting to be interviewed he entertained the rest of us by reciting the "Brutus is an honorable man, yes precious," passage. So he actually has his creative younger brother to blame (or credit?) for the fact that I now consider him one of my friends. (If you've never heard of "Brutus is an honorable man, yes precious," go nag Scott and he can make it his first post post-Lent.)
I also met Rebekah at that competition, and I remember her even less (sorry, Rebekah). The only conversation we had was actually initiated by my mother, who asked how to pronounce Rebekah's last name. From there it quickly became a conversation between me and Rebekah about the stupid things people do to mangle other people's names. Then we got to the end of the line. The end. Or not...Rebekah remembered me more than I remembered her and a few weeks later, after my brain has had a chance to reset itself, sends me a "Hi, remember me?" email.
I'm not sure where this rambling post is going, except perhaps to give you a glimpse of why I came here. As I've said before, it didn't feel like I was in a competition. It felt like I got to meet the people who were going to be my best friends. Now they are (not just Scott and Rebekah, but half a dozen other people too). They're the kind of people I want to stay friends with long after this insane thing called college is over. They're the kind of people I want to be sitting next to in Heaven, saying, "Hey, you remember when God brought us together?" Having people like when I get out of college is way better than being able to buy a house when I get out of college.
A year ago today I bought a blue hoodie. Life hasn't been the same since.