I decided I was going to attend The Ohio State University when I was in the third grade. I was nine years old, standing in my kitchen, clutching the USA Synchro magazine in my hand, and told my parents that is where I was going to college. Ohio State’s synchronized swimming team had come in second at collegiate nationals that year, and that was my sole reason for wanting to go to Ohio State. I worked for the rest of my elementary, middle, and high school career and synchro career gearing up to swim at Ohio State. I would dream about swimming in the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, my mom coming down for all my meets, becoming friends with all the girls on the team, and swimming amazing routines with beautiful suits.
In my senior year of high school, I just missed the deadline for recruiting and I sent in my video late, but the coaches said I could try out in the fall. On a Saturday in September, I woke up nervous and excited about my try out. As I swam for the coaches, the entire team watched me, wondering who I was. They clapped after I finished my routine and it made me feel like I was on top of the world. They said they would email me later that week letting me know if I made it. I was anxious that entire week. On Thursday, I opened my email and saw the first few lines of the message that said:
Sorry Libby. You were really close, but you didn’t make the team.
My entire life had been about swimming for Ohio State. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t want to transfer, because I had already made friends and connections to the campus. It would be too sad to leave, so I made the best of my situation. I decided to get involved in other activities.
I kept in touch with the synchro team and for the rest of my freshman year I was the team’s manager. They welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like part of the group. I stayed in Columbus over winter break and helped with winter training and traveled with them. After winter break I went through formal recruitment through Sorority and Fraternity Life and joined my home away from home, Delta Delta Delta. They quickly became my best friends and truly my sisters. I joined University Choir where we performed in two concerts on campus.
In my second year, I went on my first Buck-I-Serv trip to Biloxi, MS, where we helped those who had been affected by Hurricane Katrina. In May Term at the end of my second year, I studied the History, Culture, and Politics of Great Britain in London, England with an amazing group of Ohio State students.
In my third year, I went on my second Buck-I-Serv trip to Costa Rica, where we helped build a road and cleaned up a beach. During both my sophomore and junior years, I participated in BuckeyeThon to help raise money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I have also served as a recruitment guide for formal recruitment and helped 75 first- and second-year students find their homes. I also started working at the RPAC teaching swim lessons, which brought me back to the pool I thought I was going to spend many hours in.
My college career has been nothing like nine-year-old Libby imagined it to be, but I have loved every second of what it has become. I want everyone out there who worries that college is not going to be how they imagine to know that will not be; it’s going to be even better. No matter what experience comes your way, go with it and see where it takes you–it might become the most amazing adventure of your life.