Hi, I’m Chad Slaven and I’m one. I’m one of Tennessee’s Best!
I am from Harrogate, about an hour north of Knoxville. I attended Cumberland Gap High School where I was valedictorian, and I’m really looking forward to my freshman year at Middle Tennessee State University.
Though I am undeclared right now, I am leaning toward majoring in pre-dental. I am not in a big rush to decide, though. I want to see all that MTSU has to offer before I make any final decisions.
One of the reasons I chose Middle Tennessee was to get away from home. I wanted to go somewhere big enough I could meet a lot of new people but at the same time was small enough that I didn’t feel like a number. I knew that with 23,000 students, I was going to meet someone new!
I actually applied to a few other in-state schools, including ETSU and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Once I was accepted into the honors program at MTSU, I decided that’s where I should go. My aunt lives in Franklin, so I knew I would have family nearby to visit. I chose MTSU without even touring the campus, hoping that I would love it, and it has ended up that I do!
My dad was doing some research about scholarships and discovered the Buchanan Fellowship. He really wanted me to attend Middle Tennessee State. He travels to this area a great deal. He brought me the application and said, “You need to do this.” I applied but didn’t think I was going to get it. It turns out I did. My dad was the one who found it and believed in me enough to convince me to apply.
Dr. Scott Carnicom, the associate dean of the University Honors College, called my house to tell me, but I didn’t pick up the phone. The number kept coming up as restricted so I let the machine get it. I thought I heard my name, but I wasn’t sure. Then my cell phone rang and that number came up as restricted as well, and I figured someone really wanted to get in touch with me, so I picked up the call and got the good news that I was awarded the Buchanan Fellowship. It’s been a phone call that has truly changed my life.
I thought Dr. Carnicom was going to be some really uptight professor, but he’s not at all. He is a really nice guy. I know that with Dr. Carnicom, the Buchanans from last year, and the ones in my class, I am going to have a family on campus to support me through my four years at MTSU. I was really nervous about taking the Honors courses because we had no AP classes at my high school. With the Honors and Buchanan classes, we will be there for each other and it will be an easier transition. We’ll be a close group of people, just like last year’s class is. I have even “met” a few of the inaugural class of Buchanans through Facebook. A couple of them e-mailed me. They were excited that I was on board.
I had always really wanted to go to a private college, but I didn’t want to be in debt when I graduated. I have an older sister who just graduated from college and a younger brother who is just starting high school. My parents have so much financial responsibility that I didn’t want them to have to worry about putting me through school. With the Buchanan Fellowship, I don’t have to worry about paying for college, my parents don’t have to worry about it, and everyone is happy. It takes a lot of pressure off my entire family.
I really liked CUSTOMS. I met some people, and it will be really nice to have some friends on campus before I actually move in. It was really, really informative and gave me a good idea of what it will be like in the fall.
I am most excited about experiencing new things. I am from a really small town and we are all very close knit. I haven’t seen a lot of diversity, so I am looking forward to getting involved in something that is much bigger than I am. Being part of a bigger, broader experience will allow me to grow and expand my horizons.
A lot of the kids in my hometown or in neighboring communities go to the local college, Lincoln Memorial University, or ETSU or the UT-Knoxville. They don’t think about MTSU because it is four hours away. But MTSU is a little community inside a city. You get the small town feel, but you are still just minutes away from the city. You get the best of both worlds.
I’m so glad that I made the choice to attend Middle Tennessee State University. I am one of Tennessee’s Best, and I want you to be one, too!