Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

How a Floridian chose the Mississippi State to pursue his college education.

People often ask me where I am from, after hearing my response; I always get “why did you choose Mississippi State University?” I’m from Sarasota, Florida; an eleven hour drive from Mississippi State.

I attended Cardinal Mooney High School, a small catholic school, where I played football all four years. I was on varsity and I loved practices and excitement of playing . . . “Friday night lights.”

I am passionate about sports, especially football, and started playing football when I was six years old in Park City Utah, where I was born. I have always loved sports and have always envisioned my future working in the sports field in some capacity or another. Since being a pro football player didn’t work out for me, I decided to focus on the sports industry. Sports Management was my selected course curriculum.

During my junior and senior years at Cardinal Mooney my family and I started looking at universities with good Sports Management programs.

While a Sports Management program was my number 1 priority I also wanted a school that was no more than a day drive from home. Having grown up in a relatively small city, I also wanted a school with a hometown feel. My family and I narrowed it down to my top five schools: University of Louisville, University of Alabama, LSU, University of Tennessee and Mississippi State University. We then focused in on the quality of the program curriculum, proximity to home, cost and where I would feel most comfortable. Having as sense of belonging, being comfortable, being accepted and being safe were all very important.

I researched top college programs, viewed their website, viewed their videos and narrowed down my selection to schools I would visit. As acceptance letters started coming in, excitement started to build, and to be truthful, along with be a bit uneasy. Uneasy of being away from my home, friends, and my family and being accepted. Choosing the right university was perhaps the most important decisions I had made in my life.

When deciding what universities I wanted to look at, I always wanted to go to a big sports school in the SEC or ACC. Mississippi State University stood out to me from the rest, not only because of its academic standing and its sports studies program but because it looked and sounded like the university I had always envisioned attending.

Upon arrival to Starkville, MS I found myself feeling liked I belonged here. My mother, father and I felt our tour was fun and insightful. My tour guide student, a sophomore studying to be a veterinarian, was excited to talk about Mississippi State and was filled with information about a school she obviously loved. My parents and I asked many questions regarding academics, housing, pros and cons of the university and scholarship availability.

We had the pleasure to meet other prospective students, numerous State students and some professors as well. I was very impressed by how highly everyone spoke of their school. Each student and staff were friendly and courteous. After our tour my parents and I continued to walk around campus and went back to buildings we wanted to spend more time in. We continued to meet students and ask them questions. They all responded with such enthusiasm and obvious love for their school.

The facilities at Mississippi State are superior to any of the Universities I had visited. I must admit that seeing Davis Wade Stadium solidified my desire to attend Mississippi State. There is nothing like that feeling of greatness when standing on that field.

I was very interested in Greek life as I thought it would allow me to opportunity to be more involved in the school’s activities and allow me the camaraderie of a brotherhood and hopefully make new life-long friendships. I visited and spoke with different fraternities. This allowed me to gain a better perspective on which fraternities I would like to return to during the beginning of the school year. These visits solidified my thoughts that I would enjoy becoming a part of a fraternal organization. I found a variety of fraternities which met my personal and academic requirements.

I feel that by selecting to attend Mississippi State University I have fulfilled my academic and personal goals. Also my dad always said “Mississippi has the prettiest women in the country,” he’s right! I look forward to my next four years here at state, my home away from home.

Hail State!

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