I was at an inflection point. One bad semester of college and a year of youthful impulsivity into my post-high school life, I was aimless. My path was headed straight to nowhere.
Like a brick dropped on my toe, it was obvious my best-case future was average, and likely worse, if I stayed on that trajectory. So I decided to change my trajectory.
It was October. I applied for a transfer to the University of San Diego in La Jolla, California. The plan was to get back to school in January, onto the football team, and go dominate with a renewed spirit. It was the ideal setup. Storybook perfect.
Early December I got the letter back. I walked to the back steps of our house to read it privately. There wasn’t much in the letter. There didn’t need to be. I saw the only thing that mattered: TRANSFER DENIED.
I cried before I finished reading the words. The first tears weren’t of disappointment. They were tears of regret. It wasn’t a surprise I was denied. Awful first semester grades. A sloppy application. I think I even sent it in after the deadline.
I walked down to the beach with the denial letter in my hand, sat in the sand, stared into the Pacific Ocean, and cried my eyes out. These were tears of despair. I’ve never had vertigo but I imagine it felt like those moments on the beach.