Following the team meeting, I went through the standard procedures. Weighing in, marking down my clothing sizes for practice gear, and just an overall physical exam. To my surprise, I weighed in around 10lbs. lighter than I had anticipated simply due to under eating before I left. As I said before, the nerves had really gotten to me the moment I found out about my early departure to Cincy.
After all of the examinations, I was sent to meet with an academic advisor. As far as being a college athlete goes, you're surrounded with the best in the business at manipulating class schedules and making G.P.A's meet the mandatory levels to be eligible to play. Athletes always get first pick of classes, even over upperclassmen and honor students, simply because the school, as well as the team, doesn't tolerate any kind of interference with traveling and practice.
My first impression of this advisor was very pleasant. She was a kind, older woman wearing a pant suit. A very professional individual. During my time there, West Virginia had employed younger advisors who couldn't be more than a few years out of college. The overall feel of both systems were polar opposite. Anyways, as I was saying, this woman was strictly business.
Upon my arrival, I was grilled with the usual advising questions... "What's your major?" "How many credits have you completed?" "Do you consider yourself a strong student?" Although it was rather overwhelming, I had a general idea as to what my answers would be. I felt prepared.
Just as a reminder, the first two years of college were not strong by any means. To be frank, I was a horrendous student. However, during my time at community college I was thrown in an economics class by an absolute fluke, and although it was taught by a foreign professor who I had an incredibly difficult time understanding, I truly enjoyed it. Looking back, it was most likely the first course I had taken in my first two years that I genuinely enjoyed. I didn't know what I would do with the degree, but I wanted to pursue a degree in some from of business.
After spending the first fifteen minutes with my new advisor, I knew things looked grim. My grade point average was incredibly weak, and I didn't have many options when it came to switching majors from biology to a business. The way that the NCAA manages player eligibility not only comes does to their G.P.A., but also how far you are along in completing your degree relative to your grade level. You are expected to be a certain percentage completed toward finishing school for every year that you are at the university.
Looking over my college credits, I was left with two options. Risk failure and continue to struggle through Biology, or pursue a new degree that wasn't through UC's college of business. Neither of the options seemed to be all that ideal to me. Biology was bad enough, but "organizational leadership" sounded like even a worse route for me to chose. That was the ultimatum I was left to think over as I left her office for the hotel room I was staying at far off the college campus. I had until the end of the weekend to make a choice.
As I made my way back to the hotel room, no apartment found, no major selected, and 10lbs. light, I felt as if I was a defeated man. I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up some microwave sweet potatoes, a rotisserie chicken, and some juice boxes to have for dinner alone in my hotel room. I made my way up to my room feeling more alone than ever. There were many occasions in which I questioned my decision to chase my dream of football, but this was this was the first time I found myself asking, "Is this all really worth it." I sat there at small table in my hotel room and I did the only thing I could think of to make me feel better, feast.