Chapter 10: Learning to Fly

 (Click here to listen to Chapter 10 Soundtrack as you read):

Grand Rock UniversityBecoming a student at Grand Rock University was like living in a dream. Ari couldn’t believe that he was finally here, far from his crime-ridden neighborhood, far from the bad memories of childhood abuse and broken hearts. Ari Arrives at UniversitySuddenly, as he looked around him at the majestic old buildings and manicured lawns, he realized that he could completely change his life. He didn’t have to be poor, pathetic Ari from the Flats. He could become a superstar football player. He could become a doctor, an astronaut, a CEO. He could become whatever he wanted to be.

Ari at College (9) Ari at University (5)

Ari at College (7)

Ari plays footie with a new friend between classes.

Ari moved into Sutter Hall, where he was assigned to a dorm room with a girl roommate. After he got over his initial shock, Ari learned that his roommate, Diana, was pretty nice, although she had a habit of talking too much. The others who lived in his dorm were pretty cool, too, for the most part, though the majority of them were more interested in keg parties than academic achievement. Ari's new dorm roommate

Ari soon felt torn between college social life and his studies. He desperately wanted to be a great student, as he had always been, but it seemed like every time he wanted to find a quiet place to study, one of his dorm mates would come along to drag him off to some social event. “Come on, Ari – you can’t miss this bonfire party at the frat house!” “A pool party, Ari! Everyone’s going to be there. Let’s go!” Screenshot-4236 Screenshot-4209It’s not that it wasn’t fun to party. The parties were great. Well, at least the ones he could remember. One night, Ari drank so much that he blacked out. He awoke the next morning on someone’s front lawn with a tattoo of a llama on his back and some girl’s lacy pink panties in his pocket.

Ari's new Llama tattoo

Ari’s new Llama tattoo

Often, Ari was so exhausted the next day that he could barely keep his eyes open in class. His grades began to suffer, as did his performance on the football field. Ari at University (10) Ari at University (11)

“What’s gotten into you, Ari?” his coach yelled at him after Ari missed five passes in a row during an important game. “You’re playing like a zombie out there!” He benched Ari until his athletic performance improved. Ari, panicked that he may lose his athletic scholarship, began to condition like crazy.

Ari begins to condition overtime, often waking early to run 10 miles before class.

Ari begins to condition overtime, often waking early to run 10 miles before class.

Things had to change, and fast, Ari knew. He hated to miss out on all the fun social events that college had to offer, but he simply couldn’t afford to allow his grades to slip any further, or his performance out on the football field to suffer. Somehow, he had to find a way to balance his college life.

Ari struggles to keep his grades up

Ari struggles to keep his grades up


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