Alright, I'm a junior in high school and I am starting to finalize the colleges that I am going to apply to come next year. This week I had the opportunity to go down to Fort Worth, Texas and checkout Texas Christian University. My mom works for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity (it's really a sorority, but because Kappa Alpha Theta was the first sorority, they call it a fraternity) and she had to do some work down at TCU and since I had TCU as one of my top schools, she let me come along and check the campus out. The first day I was in Fort Worth, while my mom was working, I toured campus on my own. I basically just walked around and familiarized myself with the campus for two and a half hours. I started in the brand new Mary Wright Admissions Center. I then went to find the football stadium, naturally, because I love football and the Horned Frogs have a pretty good team. I also knew that Amon G. Carter Stadium was under renovation. There hasn't been much done yet, but the artist renderings of what the stadium will look like is amazing. (Image courtesy of: http://espn.go.com/dallas) Not knowing where I was after that, I just started to wander around. I figured I would eventually come across something I had heard of before. Before I knew it, I found something. I found the Brown-Lupton University Union, or BLUU, for short. The BLUU is one of the social centers of campus. It houses the state-of-the-art campus cafeteria, another place to eat called 1873, a coffee shop, the spirit shop, and I didn't even see the other side or the third floor! The other side, although I did not go in, houses an information center, an auditorium, and administrative offices. After checking out the BLUU for a little while, I ventured to the Commons and walked through there and ended up at Frog Fountain. Frog Fountain is an awesome fountain that represents the flow of knowledge from the senior class to the freshman class through four "lotus petals." It is one of the best statues/public displays of art on campus. After Frog Fountain, I went around Scharbauer Hall and past the Performing Arts buildings. I went and crossed University Drive so that I could go where I was headed all day. The Moudy College of Communications, but more specifically the Bob Schieffer School of Journalism. Sadly, while I was walking by myself, I did not know how to get into the part of Moudy South where the Journalism School was, so I just kept walking. I ended up walking behind the main academic area on campus and kept walking until I eventually ended up crossing University Dr. again and going to the Veterans Plaza. This is a very solemn place where all of the TCU veterans who have died in wars in the 20th and 21st centuries are commemorated for their dedication to their country. From there, I went on to check out the other art works on the residential side of campus: the Horned Frog Statue, Froghenge, and the Teaching to Change the World Statue. The Horned Frog statue is exactly what it says it is. It's a statue of a horned frog. Students rub the nose of the Horned Frog for good luck before tests. Froghenge is a very odd artwork, in that I mean, it is hard to decipher the meaning of it being there. I never found a dedication plaque or anything explaining it while walking around by myself. My tour guide the next day, Sarah Marshall, said it was an artistic expression of dance. That makes sense, because it is in front of the dance building, but I still don't fully get the point of Froghenge. But like Stonehenge in England, may be the point is to not know the point. Just imagine it to be whatever you want it to be. The Teaching to Change the World Statue is a famous statue on campus in front of Bailey Hall. Sorry the image is hard to see. (picture courtesy of: http://bldglist.tcu.edu/bldgdetail.aspx?bldg=LOUSC ) I didn't spend a ton of time there, and then headed on to the TCU bookstore, which just happens to be a Barnes and Noble. I spent about half an hour to 45 minutes looking through the gigantic store and the merchandise section that accompanied it. After checking out the bookstore, I headed down to Greek village. The Greek "houses" are really just old dorms that are partitioned into the different Greek chapters. This area of TCU is known as Worth Hills. There are 10 fraternities and 11 sororities down at Worth Hills. I ventured through there and onto the bridge by the lake behind the Greek buildings. After standing on the bridge for a while, I decided to go and try to find the baseball field, so that I could say that I had seen where the #1 ranked baseball team in the country plays. That was just down the hill from Greek Village, so I headed down there. I went past the intramural fields and the Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium before I reached the baseball field and found out the back of the park facing the street was blocked by trees. I decided to keep walking and see if I could find a spot somewhere without trees so that I could watch. I ended up walking past the track all the way down and through Lot 14. I saw an open park and I thought that would maybe have a secret view. Turned out, that was the tennis park, and it didn't have a view. After I saw that it did not have a view of the field, I sat in a chair I found in the park and started to read The Daily Skiff, TCU's student-run newspaper. I would have sat there for a while, but the wind kept blowing my paper and I decided to try and find a way out of the deserted park, because it did not feel like I should have been there. I did eventually find my way out, and I met up with my mom at the Kappa Alpha Theta house and took a nap in their living room while my mom worked with the housemother. (My mom calls them facility coordinators or something like that). Even from that two and a half hour tour, I could tell that I liked the feeling at TCU. Little did I know what the next day had in store. The next day was the day I had my guided tour. That started with a Q&A with an admissions advisor in the Mary Wright Admissions Center. That lasted about 40 min and then our student tour guides came and led us on the tour. They took the group everywhere one would expect on a campus tour. They took us to the BLUU, the campus commons, Scharbauer Hall, pretty much every famous statue on campus, the library, the schools of their popular majors, a dorm room, and the rec center. It was a good, informative tour. But the best part of the day had yet to come. For about a week before the trip down to Fort Worth, I had been trying (somewhat hard) to get a meeting with a person in the Bob Schieffer School of Journalism with no luck. Before we went on the tour, my mom and I asked one of the receptionists at the Mary Wright Center if she could help us out. She said she would try to get us a meeting with John Lumpkin, the head of the School of Journalism. When we came back from the tour, we did not have a confirmed meeting, but we had a time period to meet him. We said we'd meet him at 1:30, and it was set. Now that we had a meeting, we had almost two hours to kill. The receptionist said to kill time, we should try Dutch's, a burger place on University. Man, was that a GREAT choice. I loved Dutch's. The burger was HUGE! It was easily the largest burger (I ordered the #2, Lineman with no mayo) I have ever eaten. The onion rings there are awesome and that was probably the best place that I ate at while in Fort Worth. After finishing at Dutch's, we went to FLASH the University store and I bought a shirt to commemorate the trip. We then went across University and took the pictures that I am in in this post, and looked at the Robert Carr Chapel and decided that we might as well head to Moudy South and try to find the Journalism School. It turns out, and I feel really dumb for not being able to figure this out on my own, that it was literally right inside the only doors to Moudy South. (That map I got deceived me) We checked out a classroom that was right inside and then decided to go upstairs, to where John Lumpkin's office is, even though we were a little bit early (20 minutes, give or take). We went up and saw a huge computer lab right when we exited the elevator. I was welcomed in as a prospective student and shown around the computer lab, which they call a convergence center, by Andrew Chavez, the New Media Specialist for the School. Andrew then took us into a conference room where I saw Bob Schieffer's Emmys, Bob Schieffer's press passes and some other artifacts of Mr. Schieffer's career as a journalist. We then talked for a while about why I want to go into journalism, what TCU offers, and why I should pick TCU over anywhere else. Mr. Chavez was a great guy to talk to and gave me a ton of information, but I really started to get impressed with TCU when John Lumpkin came in and started talking to me. Mr. Lumpkin talked about how TCU's journalism program has been completely revamped towards new media, basically away from printed media and towards television and the internet. One of the most impressive things he told me about was how TCU was starting to do in-game chats during Horned Frog football and basketball games. I couldn't believe they were doing this because that is something that is rarely seen from a college; usually it is only seen from places like ESPN, MLB.com, or any other pro sports site. After spending about an hour talking to Andrew Chavez and John Lumpkin, Andrew took us to see some classrooms and TCU's brand new television studio. The classrooms were cool, but the TV studio floored me. I have done some one-day internships around Colorado trying to get a feel for the broadcast journalism industry. One of those internships was to CBS 4 in Denver to work with Reggie Rivers for a day. I saw the CBS 4 studio, and I have to say, TCU's new HD-ready studio is just as good as the one at CBS. CBS's is larger, but you have to expect that from a professional studio versus a college studio. TCU's studio was amazing. (picture courtesy of: http://www.magazine.tcu.edu/OnCampus/Article.aspx?ArticleId=183 ) After talking with Andrew for a little while longer, we departed our separate ways. I have to say, TCU was amazing. I loved the smaller campus feel, while still having Division I sports. It was awesome and I could not have asked for a better trip. I would like to thank John Lumpkin, Andrew Chavez, my two tour guides, the secretary in the Mary Wright Center, and TCU for giving me way, way, way, way more than I expected out of this trip.