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The Bigger Picture

Updated: May 12, 2021

Six states. Three thousand miles. Three universities. And three rental cars.

Everything seems somewhat normal about the numbers above, except for that last one. Three rental cars? It was an epic road trip. Beginning in Florida, my son and I set forth on a grand journey to tour three different universities that he has recently been accepted into for the Fall 2021 semester. With COVID running rampant, there was little opportunity to tour colleges before the application process, so we made the decision to apply, apply, apply. And then once acceptances came in, we’d find a way to visit each campus responsibly and safely.

University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Florida State University. Those were the schools on our agenda. And renting a brand new 2021 Chevy Tahoe as a comfortable vehicle to spend twelve days on the road seemed like the best decision we could make. Until.

Somewhere in the Louisiana backcountry, two and a half days into our trip, a loud clunking sound began to emerge from beneath the hood of our vehicle that had less than 3,000 miles on it. To make a long story short(er), we limped into the Dallas/Fort Worth airport in a severe thunderstorm with our check engine light on and the transmission slipping, to exchange our vehicle for a functioning one. With no SUVs available, our only choice was to cover the remainder of our day’s miles in a minivan. After a four-hour delay and a stressful situation, we did arrive safely at our final destination in Norman, OK. And we were able to eventually exchange that minivan to get back into an SUV for the remainder of our epic road trip.

It was an uneasy and exhausting day to endure. But as a smaller piece of the big picture, I can look back on it as a hiccup in what turned out to be a most enjoyable, productive, and bonding experience for my son and I.

On the University of Oklahoma campus, we had the opportunity to visit the Great Reading Room pictured above. We’d seen pictures of it online, but it’s one of those things that you simply can’t put into words until you embrace it in real-life. The silence, the expansive aura, the brilliant rays of sunshine blanketing every inch of the space. It was magical and surreal.

It reminded me that we choose to see and remember those things that hold the most significance to us. And while some of those moments might not be exactly how we planned for them to occur, they each contribute to our overall experience in a way that helps us appreciate the big picture more than we might have otherwise.


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