On April 30, 2013, I was confused as I sat in my home in Jackson, Mississippi. I was scared, lost and was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was stranded. It had been a few days since I sat in the parking lot of the church I played at in Starkville, Mississippi, while attending Mississippi State and legitimately tried to commit suicide. I was helpless and in a dark hole.
I didn’t know what was next for me. I didn’t know where my life was going to go. There was a level of trust that I knew was broken with my parents and friends. It was going to take everything to earn that trust back. The girl I had dated for two and a half years had left me and had already replaced me. I gave up so many ambitions to go to MSU with her. I was hurt, upset, alone, and I didn’t know where to start.
A year later I was sitting in a community college questioning everything. I had graduated high school a year early in 2010. I remember seeing people from my class of 2011 at the community college and asking me why I wasn’t in Nashville.
The whole point of me finishing early was to come to Nashville and pursue my passion. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to say what really happened. I felt like I had failed so many people back home. I failed my school, my church, my family and friends, but also myself.
I knew I wanted to get to Nashville. I knew music was my goal. I applied to Belmont, and I auditioned for their songwriting program. I didn’t get in. I was crushed. Once again, there I was feeling like I was letting people down again.
I applied to a few more schools around Nashville in case Belmont let me down again. Lipscomb was one of them. I didn’t know anything about it. The day I got my acceptance letter from Lipscomb, I also got my second rejection letter from Belmont. I remember reading my rejection letter halfway through and saying, “Alright. I’m going to Lipscomb.”
I had no idea the impact that would have on me.
I never visited. I never toured. My first day on campus was the day before class started. August of 2014 I was a Nashville resident.
The feelings from that night at MSU never really left me and was always in the back of my mind. I never got over it. I never felt like I had truly grown from it.
On January 22, 2015, the same feelings came back. I had another encounter with the same girl I mentioned, and I wanted to end my life again. Instead of forcing me out or not paying attention to it, Lipscomb embraced me and helped me. They truly cared for me. For that I am thankful. I will never forget Dr. Jimmy McCollum walking up to me and hugging me and saying that he loves me and that this department is praying for me.
I am thankful for a University that cares about every student even if they haven’t met him or her. I’m thankful for the people that I have come to know.
The Lipscomb Softball team was my first friend group. It gave me three of my closest best friends and sweetest souls I could’ve asked for in my life. Those girls will always mean the world to me and when I am opening for Brad Paisley, they’ll be the first to get VIP passes.
Lipscomb embraced a student who was lost and helped them without judgement. I am thankful for second chances. I am thankful to have gone to a school that tries to follow the Christ-like mentality of multiple second chances.
Lipscomb gave me the opportunity to intern on Music Row with Warner Bros. I will never forget the intern meeting there when we all sat in the big conference room and everyone went around and introduced themselves. In a crowd of 10 carefully selected interns, I was the only one from Lipscomb, and they were stunned someone who didn’t go to Belmont was able to get this. Showed them.
Lipscomb gave me the opportunity to be a football coach this past fall. With my players I followed the same model coaching them that Lipscomb instilled in me. I told them that I love them. I always reminded them that I love them, and coach is always there for them. I wanted them to know that no matter what challenges might be ahead of them that there is someone that truly cares for them. Someone who gave up 40 hours a week and probably an A in a class because he loves them.
Lipscomb also gave me the opportunity to be Sports Director for Lumination Radio, a job I have loved. I have loved everyone I have had the opportunity to work with. Everyone who has dealt with my crazy antics. Who has dealt with me trying out new ideas. Who gave up his free time to broadcast a basketball, baseball or softball game. I am so thankful.
I am thankful for a University that made me who I was meant to be. I am so sad to leave. So heartbroken it’s all over. So upset. So scared to leave my friends who I saw on a daily basis. Friends who deal with me being upset. Friends who love me through everything. Friends who support me. Friends who come see me play an open mic night at the last minute or share my single on social media to help me. Friends who constantly tweet at Brad Paisley for me. Friends who go above and beyond for me. Lord knows I would do anything for them in a heartbeat.
I’m not saying that there aren’t days where it is still hard to get out of bed. Or days where I think everything is going to end up well. There are plenty of days still where it’s hard for me to operate or function or to have confidence. But, through the hard days, Lipscomb has been my rock.
But I know I can always come back. I am thankful Lipscomb might be my first job after school. I am grateful for Lipscomb. It does get better, y’all.
Thank you Lipscomb.
Who has is better than us? Nobody.
“This is the first day of the rest of your life.” – Matt Maher