Texas is bigger than I expected.
Last week was fall break, but on the weekend before fall break, I went to my first RAP- also known as a Regional Admissions Presentation- in Dallas, followed by my second one in Houston. They’re different than the accepted student receptions in the fall (I attended five: three in March and two in April), but they’re still engaging and fun!
To get the weekend started, I headed down to the Orlando airport (MCO) around 1:30 with one of our admissions employees. If I fly out of Daytona, or DAB, I’m usually responsible for getting a ride to and from the airport (it’s literally walking distance from campus) but Orlando is much farther away. I can definitely say that Orlando’s airport is much more chaotic than Daytona’s, considering that it has many more airlines and gates. We flew Southwest Airlines on a direct flight to Dallas Love Field, which is the smaller airport in the area. On the way, we did stop over at the New Orleans airport (MSY), which was my first airline stopover in all my years of travel.
Orlando’s security lines are no joke. I was glad that we got there with plenty of time to spare since the line took me nearly an hour to get through. After that, I took the train to our terminal and arrived at the gate. I was still an hour and a half early, so I mostly watched aircraft taxi around the ramp. We boarded the aircraft and it was a short flight to New Orleans, where most of the passengers got off. Since everyone who was stopping over could stay on the plane, we were also free to switch seats, so I picked a window seat in the exit row for extra legroom.
It was a pretty view. I got to watch the sun set over New Orleans and watch aircraft come and go at the gate next to us. I took the picture of this 737 MAX as we were pushing back from the gate. The flight from New Orleans to Dallas was also pretty short, but I still managed to do some homework. While I get to travel, I don’t get extensions on my homework, so I have to be proactive when I know I have a trip coming up.
We arrived in Dallas at a decent hour, heading from the airport to the rental car place and then to the hotel. Once we dropped our things off at the hotel, we ended up going out to Burger King for dinner, since we hadn’t had anything to eat since leaving Daytona. We took it back to our hotel room, and I finished up some homework before heading to bed.
The next morning I got to sleep in. The presentation was around 1, which meant we left at 11:15 since the guest hotel was right down the street. I also got to meet our Prescott counterparts- there were two Prescott admissions representatives and a student from Prescott. She also happened to be from Kentucky, which was pretty cool!
Since I hadn’t been to a regional presentation before, I looked through the slides and was told where I would be speaking. Since I had internship experience, I could speak to that, and I also talked about my experience on campus. It was definitely a different format since information about both residential campuses as well as the Worldwide campus were presented. The application process was also discussed since it’s still early in application season and people may not have applied yet.
After that, we stuck around to answer questions and I ended up talking to a lot of people. Talking to people is my favorite part. I love meeting new people and sharing my experiences. There were about a hundred or so people in total, and a good handful stuck around to talk to all of us.
Once the reception was over, we packed up our things and it was on to Houston! I honestly didn’t realize how big Texas was. I thought Dallas and Houston were maybe two hours apart, but they were FOUR hours apart. And of course, we stopped at a Buc-ees on the way out.
We actually ended up stopping at a second Buc-ees to get gas, and then we drove the final stretch to Houston. After arriving in Houston, we checked into our hotel and set our stuff down before going to dinner as a group. We picked a place with a lot of options. It had lots of different international food options, and I chose ramen noodles for dinner. They were amazing!
After that, we headed back to the hotel to get another night’s rest, since there was another admissions presentation the next day. I did a little more homework in the evening, got a good night’s rest, and then did more homework in the morning. I had a few assignments due that day and that week since it was right before fall break, so it was a pretty stressful time.
The presentation in Houston was hosted in a larger room, which I thought was a lot fancier. The presentation was the same as the one in Dallas, and I got the same opportunities to speak to the group and then individually to families. Once the Dallas presentation was over and everyone had left, it was time to head back to the airport.
We were flying Southwest back, and flew out of the smaller airport, Houston Hobby. I liked it a lot- it was open, used natural light, and the security lines were quick. There was an abundance of flights going in and out, so I had plenty to look at while I waited. There was also a nice food court, so I grabbed dinner before the two-hour (ish) flight to Orlando. I also spotted the Freedom One aircraft, which is painted like the US flag.
We landed in Orlando around 11 PM, and I had school (and the counselor had work) the next day on Monday so we were in a hurry to leave. After grabbing our luggage, we headed to the car and made the hour-long drive back to Daytona. I was glad to be back home, but traveling is super fun. I don’t have any more regional admissions presentations to attend, but Open House is coming up. Hopefully, I’ll see you there, and if not, in the next post!