Brendon's Journey With Nick
The notion of “fit” guides the counseling work we do with each and every student we are fortunate enough to work with. Be it secondary school, college, or transfer applications, finding the ideal fit school or college is the foundation of our work. As such, when we assist students in identifying that fit, it brings about a deep sense of accomplishment and joy - not only for our students and their families - but for each of us, as well. But what happens when that fit does not turn out to be as ideal as initially imagined?
Four years ago, I had the opportunity to work with a remarkably grounded, talented, and driven student from Boston. Throughout his educational journey, Nick fought tirelessly to overcome dyslexia - putting the additional time and energy into each lesson and homework assignment necessary to ensure that he mastered whatever concept was assigned. Through Nick’s efforts - combined with his innate curiosity - he thrived in his rigorous independent school. Nick’s diligence and commitment was not confined to the classroom, however. It permeated every aspect of his life, from his time on the lacrosse field and service as captain of his ski team to the thorough research he did on each of the colleges he was considering. Nick was one of the most determined students I’ve ever worked with.
Nick’s campus visits were preceded by thorough and deep investigations of each college’s website, social media channels, YouTube videos and any other information he could get his hands and eyes on. He dissected majors, requirements, research opportunities and academic and social clubs and societies. As an aspiring college athlete, Nick was systematic and diligent in his outreach to coaches, acquiring the necessary game film from both his high school and club lacrosse teams and developing a communications outreach plan for every coach and college on his justifiably ambitious list. This was - and is - Nick. Intrinsically motivated, never one to complain, and always working. Nick’s stamina when it came to the college recruiting and application process was nothing short of remarkable. So as the process unfolded and Nick narrowed down his early decision options, he analyzed the pros and cons of each of his schools with surgical precision - from intellectual opportunities, internship options, school size, location, campus culture, and, finally, the chance to compete on the lacrosse field for a competitive Division III school.
Ultimately, Nick submitted his early decision application to Kenyon College where he was offered admission and a walk-on opportunity with the lacrosse team. Excited to pursue his academic and athletic dreams, Nick headed west to Gambier, Ohio to begin his college career. He had found his fit.
Soon into his freshman fall, Nick realized that the fit he envisioned at Kenyon was not as ideal as he’d hoped. The school felt much smaller than he’d imagined and wanted, and his dreams of playing college lacrosse came to a halt when Nick - and the other walk-ons - were not offered spots on the team. In typical fashion, Nick never once felt sorry for himself. Instead, he made the most of his first year, earning exceptional grades and joining the track and field team after the track coach witnessed his remarkable speed and agility during a lacrosse training session. Simply put, Nick made the most of a less than ideal situation and embraced his time at Kenyon. But his search for the right fit continued.
That winter, Nick contacted me to ask if I’d be willing to assist with his desire to explore transferring. With one semester under his belt, Nick now knew what he wanted - and didn’t want - for his college experience. And just as he had done the first time, Nick undertook a thorough examination of schools. From Vanderbilt University to Boston College, Trinity College to his ultimate landing spot, Colgate University, Nick again went through the detailed research process of finding the right fit. Unsurprisingly, Nick also took great care with his transfer applications - creating a thoughtful narrative about his journey through high school to Kenyon, reflecting on the motivating factors that drove his initial decision and the self-reflection which helped him to realize what was going to be most important to him for the remainder of his undergraduate years. This fall, Nick matriculated to Colgate where he has, indeed, found the fit he had been seeking. He is thriving intellectually, extracurricularly, and socially.
Nick is a true success story in every regard. His journey is also an example that when one discovers the school of their choice isn’t the right fit, it is not a failure but simply a stop on the journey to success. Without Nick’s experience at Kenyon, he wouldn’t have discovered what he needed for his own growth and continued development.