I’m sorry.  I can’t believe I left all of you hanging like that.  So much has happened since I wrote Part I of this odyssey.  In our office we have been reading applications, we’ve had Valentine’s Day, we’ve had our Women’s Overnight Program, we’ve been reading applications, The Oscars were handed out, and we’ve been reading applications.  Oh, also, we’ve been reading applications.  So, in the spirit of the Oscars, and my lack of writing this blog, I did a little research to see what some of the longest gaps between a movie and its sequel have been and Tron was on the list.  Terrible sequel, but it has a song on the soundtrack that works with the level of pure adrenaline we need for this blog.

OK, so when we left off, we were at the end of day one and a grand total of $228.80 toward the $300 challenge.

5:30 AM – WAKE UP!  Hey, you know what starts early?  High school.  However, I get to ride the Metro to the school today and am irrationally excited about that.  When I can sit backwards on a train AND don’t have to drive on my normal commute, I’m a happy person.  Plus, a rental car wasn’t in my budget.

6:45 AM – Buying a round trip Metro ticket for $10 and hoping that the peak/off peak times work in my favor.  RUNNING TOTAL – $238.80

7:15 AM – Get to my stop, a quick walk to the school and I am here.  I also need you all to know that it is still ridiculously cold and snowing sideways at this point.  My decision to not bring a jacket will never stop haunting me.  Remember the Boy Scouts’ motto of “Be Prepared?”  I was never a Boy Scout, but I did camp out in my back yard once when I was like eight.

7:35 AM – I set up shop to take a final look at my presentations for the college day.  I would be presenting two different topics:  “Athletics and College Admission,” and “The College Visit.”  Also, my friend checks her voice mail and guess what?  SOMEONE FOUND HER WALLET ON THE METRO AND EVERYTHING WAS INTACT!  Problem solved and now everyone is happy!

8:00 AM – Before we start the college day, two things that were great about this program:  1. They supplied breakfast, so I could save on my budget, and 2. The dress code was what I will call “College Spirit Casual;” which meant jeans and your school’s sweatshirt, so I wore this stylish track jacket available at our bookstore.

Looking good, right?

Looking good, right?

9:00 AM – The first of two sessions on “Athletics in College Admission.”  I love when high schools have college programs like this because it gives students the opportunity to sign up for the session they have a real interest in, get some exposure to a number of different schools , and helps those of us in admission get an updated sense of what students are thinking about.  In terms of athletics in the college process, that’s a separate blog on its own, but here are a couple of great resources for thinking about your curriculum and making sure you are eligible:  The NCAA Eligibility Center and a helpful page on academic requirements for the three NCAA divisions.

What was also great about this session was that we had two young women who, as juniors, had verbally committed to big time Division I programs for different sports.  Having their perspective and giving them the chance to talk about their experience was great for their classmates.

10:15 AM – Time for the third presentation and this one is about the importance of the college visit.  Listen, I have to give credit where credit is due…If you want to learn about college visits for your current or upcoming college search, go no further than Hannah Moriggi’s blog; she covers every type of campus visit possible in a three part series.  I will just say this, the campus visit is one of the most important things you can do as part of your search.  You need to make sure that the school is an academic and social fit for you as well as a “home away from home” for four years.

10:45 AM – College Fair time!  For those of you who are starting to think about college, the spring can be a great time to start developing a list of schools and introduce yourself to new ones.  My advice is that if your school or town is hosting a college fair, take advantage of it and get some information.  I realize that it can sometimes be intimidating to walk up to someone you don’t know and ask about their school, but let me make this clear: we love the opportunity to talk to you!  Ultimately, I just want you to learn a bit more about Babson and if it seems like the right fit, great, you can keep looking at us, but you don’t have to make any type of commitment.  I will never try to sell you on Babson; I want to make sure you find the school that is the best fit for you.  So, ask away about academics, admission, social life, anything!

12:00 PM – College Day at The Academy of the Holy Cross wraps up and as a shout out to the students and staff there…you guys were awesome.  The students were excited about the process and asked great questions, helping me quite a bit.  And just so all you students know, your college counselors are fantastic (I was not bribed to say this in any way)!

12:30 PM – Now, remember that I only have $61.20 left for the rest of the day and to get back to Boston.  As a thank you for coming to the college day program, and I think feeling like she was on top of the world for having her wallet returned, I was treated to lunch, which was a major score as I didn’t have to dip into my budget.  We went to Old Ebbitt Grill in DC, which gave the feeling that a ton of big time deals got done over lunch there; I felt very important, like I was in the TV show, West Wing.  RUNNING TOTAL – STILL $238.80

Now, it’s funny that I mention “West Wing,” as it is the favorite TV show of one of our counselors, Ellen.  Remember in my last blog when I mentioned that Tommaso had to wear a unicorn t-shirt for coming in last place in our fantasy football league last year?  Well, Ellen came in last place this year and since she has a phobia of mascots, we arranged a lovely surprise Valentine’s Day date with Biz, the Babson College mascot.  He even made her a Valentine:

Clearly having the time of her life.

Clearly having the time of her life.

5:00 PM – After taking in some DC sites, it’s time for me to hit the road and head back to the airport.  I get to the Metro, add $3 to my card and I am on my way to Union Station to catch the train back to the airport.

RUNNING TOTAL – $241.80

5:20 PM – I get to Union Station and buy my ticket for the train back to the airport, but I am just a couple minutes late for the express, so I am hoping that I don’t cut this too close and I don’t have the room in my budget to get a meal at the airport if I have to wait for the next flight.  RUNNING TOTAL – $247.80

6:04 PM – Arrive at the airport stop and get to the (FREE!) shuttle to my terminal and I am feeling pretty good about this $300 challenge.  Now, I was hungry at this point, but my last fiscal hurdle was going to be airport parking.  Parking at Logan Airport isn’t cheap and since I was going to have my car there for just over 24 hours, what would they charge me?  So, playing it safe, I am going to break out the granola bars the school gave us at the College Day.

7:30 PM – Take off, and then snacks – BLUE TERRA CHIPS!

8:45 PM – I get off the plane and I am coming to my final road block – parking.  Logan has the self-service pay stations that you put your ticket into before getting to your car.  As I walk towards one, I can feel my heart rate increase, my breaths become shorter, and I insert the ticket…

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They charged me for two full days!  $54.00.  RUNNING TOTAL – $301.80.  BUSTED.  We’re talking about “The Price is Right Rules” here; if I am one penny over, I’m done.  FAIL.

So close, but now I have to pay up with my pride.  So, I am sure that Courtney, Tommaso, and Ellen would gladly collect your suggestions on how I finish up this bet.  But, ultimately, that was my 24+ hours on the road; not my most conventional trip, but a great one none-the-less.  Honestly, the best part is being able to meet with students and parents not to just share information about Babson, but be able to hopefully help with the college search process so students are happy wherever they end up going.