Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Why I want to go to Alabama

Pacer Notes

ROGERSAs with most things, my decision to attend the University of Alabama has drawn a host of reactions that I never would have expected.

People generally have one of two reactions. They either look a bit excited and proclaim the quintessential “Roll Tide!” — or they look at me for a moment and, with clear confusion on their face, ask, “Alabama?”

I nod and say, “Yes.” I explain patiently that I have never lived in the South. I have no family there except for an uncle and aunt three hours away in Atlanta, and while I am extremely close to them, they never tried to sell me on Alabama. I explain that I don’t even watch a ton of football.

Inevitably, people look even more confused.

I am going to Alabama, I tell them, because I knew that I didn’t want to stay here in the Pacific Northwest. College tends to be one of those times that offer greater freedom than any other stage in one’s life, and I knew I wanted to use my four years to have an adventure.

I was determined right off the bat to go outside of Oregon, and I was interested in going to school in the South. But it wasn’t until I was walking back to our car in Tuscaloosa one evening after touring the school that I realized Alabama was the school for me. Everyone was so friendly, and the academic opportunities were tremendous. Combine that with an excellent merit scholarship package, and joining the Crimson Tide was an easy decision for me.

As the Class of 2016 scatters across the country (and some brave souls head to a Canadian institution), I’m also watching my friends and I scatter — to both coasts, to the South and even some to the Midwest. I could just as easily ask why they picked their schools, and they would probably give me a similar story to my own: of wanting to stay or wanting to go, and then finally visiting and deciding that this could be the one.

I have an older sister who graduated from Lewis & Clark College while I was in fourth grade. At the time, she said Lewis & Clark felt small, but she now reflects back with fondness on those years. My mom and dad have similar stories. Most adults I talk to love their alma maters.

Wherever we go, the potential for happiness and a great four years is out there.

That’s why I’m going out of the Lake Oswego bubble and into the Deep South. It’s why others picked our state schools, and why many others didn’t. Talking to my classmates these last few months — and looking through The Review to see where Lake Oswego’s Top Scholars are going — has only reminded me of this fact.

For those of us heading to a four-year institution, we have the potential to make the experience a great one. We’re going everywhere, and we’re going to do amazing things. And for those who aren’t, or who might transfer in later, the principle still holds. We have the chance to do some truly amazing things with these next four years, regardless of what we’re doing.

We’ve graduated high school, which is a major milestone. We should be proud of that, and excited for what lies beyond. And that’s why I can’t wait to go to Alabama.

Lakeridge High School graduate Christena Rogers is one of two Pacer Notes columnists for The Review. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Rogers also is one of the Top Scholars she mentioned in her column.