Suppose your hometown included the word “tan” and the locale afforded the opportunity to obtain one year ‘round. Would you move to Iowa for four years?
“It has been the best decision of my life so far,” says Travis DeFrancisco ’16, a psychology major from the Phoenix suburb of San Tan Valley, Ariz.
Multiply that enthusiasm by two because high school friend and Dutch football teammate Joel Lynde ’16 made the same decision. Until late in their senior years, both planned to attend college in their sunny home state and play football—one on offense, one on defense.
“I had never been to Iowa,” says Lynde, a business management major, “but when I came for a football visit, I loved the environment and the people.”
“I chose Central because I wanted to get away from home and grow up a little,” DeFrancisco says. “Football has been great in helping me to meet more people and make Central feel more like a home than just another college.”
The two Arizonians live in the same residence hall and hang out with teammates and friends when time allows. Lynde quickly identifies “being a student-athlete” as challenging because “it’s very time consuming. There is no downtime. That’s probably my biggest challenge.” In the off-season though he finds time for disc golf on campus.
DeFrancisco also identifies “adjusting to college life and being so far from home” as “difficult at first but has gotten a lot easier.” He and Lynde travel together when returning to the southwest for winter and summer breaks. Lynde, too, says that it “helped having someone going through the same situation” when he and Travis first came to campus.
“Football has played a big role in learning how to be an adult and a good person all-around,” Lynde says of his campus experience. “Learning to be respectful, disciplined and having to manage my time were all big changes.”
“The people here are amazing and truly care about each other. Professors will take the time to really help you succeed, and that isn’t how it is at every college,” DeFrancisco says, offering “when I finished my freshman year, I knew I was on track to achieving my goals.”
Lynde, who plans to study in Mexico next year, urges prospective students, especially those outside of Iowa, to “go for the change and go for the challenge” to consider Central “because it’s so worth it.” DeFrancisco agrees, adding “I’m so glad I made the choice to attend Central.”
Even if you can’t get a tan every day of the year.