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Change in Scenery


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Jon Kitchel, my father, grew up just outside of Galveston, Indiana. He was a country boy that hadn’t been exposed to much outside of his small area. That is until he accepted a scholarship to play basketball at Purdue University. This can be a very scary experience going from a place with a population of a little over 1000 to a foreign area with a population of over 45,000. I decided to ask my dad a few questions to get some insight on the way he handled this major life change and some of the experiences that came with it.


I could only imagine how much of a difference there would be in enrollment going from Cass to Purdue University. “I was really excited because playing ball at Purdue was a dream come true. When I got there, it was as if the campus was a city of its own. It felt like I was stepping into a new world. There were over 30,000 students at Purdue, but no matter how different things were there… the basketball court still felt like home.” It would be quite strange going from around 500 classmates to somewhere near 30,000.


After hearing the amount of students that attended this school, I decided to ask how easy/difficult it was to get comfortable and make friends at Purdue. Some may say that it would be easier since there are so many people there, but others may disagree due to the fact that this place is much more impersonal than small towns. In Galveston, everybody knows everything that goes on in the lives of the inhabitants of the town. My dad said, ”It was tough finding my classes the first couple of weeks, so it took a while to get comfortable with the campus.”


The change in scenery was not the only difference at Purdue. There was also a cultural change. As one might know, the Galveston area is predominantly white. My dad had never even met an African American. One of my dad’s teammates named Roosevelt “Rosie” Barnes approached my dad in the library knowing my dad had not met an African American. Rosie immediately befriended my dad, and to this day prides himself on being “Country’s first black friend.” My dad is still close with Rosie and says “I made lifelong friends in college whether they were teammates or classmates.”


My dad went through a massive change in his college years. Going to Purdue showed him that there is so much more to discover beyond the small town of Galveston. My dad finished this interview with a bit of advice for those that are afraid to leave their comfort zone. “You need to explore the world for yourself because you will regret not knowing what amazing things could be waiting for you out there.”

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3 Responses to “Change in Scenery”

  1. Holly Widner on April 16th, 2018 8:55 am

    I really like this article. I feel like we don’t realize how much is beyond our small towns. I like how you incorporated your dad’s experience at Purdue. Great article!


  2. hvest95 on April 16th, 2018 9:31 am

    This is a very well written article! I enjoyed how you described your dad’s new experiences as he explored his new world. Good job!


  3. Brady Johnson on April 23rd, 2018 8:25 am

    Interesting Article! It is nice to hear some advice from someone that has already made that shift in scenery! I like how gave the differences between Galveston and Purdue. Outstanding work!


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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Change in Scenery