“Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself.” –Unknown
When asked to write about my life at Wittenberg, I had to stop and think of the question that people ask me on a freakishly consistent basis: “Why did you come to Wittenberg ALLLL the way from Hawaii?” Through my short stint here in Springfield, Ohio, my answer has changed from the whole, long-winded explanation of getting recruited to play college golf here, and how I wanted to win a national championship, and that the campus was gorgeous, and the professors were great to…it simply felt like home.
I chose to go so far away from my childhood home because when I stepped on campus, I felt like I had never left. Yes, some aspects of Springfield, Ohio, are different from Hawaii. For example, it gets about 60 degrees cooler in the winter, I can’t play golf when there’s snow on the ground, and I need to wear layers of clothing and boots instead of walking outside in board shorts and slippers. (Yes, “flip-flops” are called “slippers” in Hawaii.)
When I first set foot on campus on Feb. 19, 2015, it was 19 degrees and cloudy. There was snow on the ground, and I was wearing Vans and my mom’s winter coat. I was 4,882 miles away from home, and you figure that I would have felt lonely, but I didn’t. I immediately was accepted by my (soon-to-be) 12 brothers who I didn’t even know, but they seemed to know and understand me, which is something that I have never felt before. They genuinely cared for me, wanted me to be a part of their family, and the only thing they knew about me was that I was crazy enough to come to Springfield, Ohio, from Hawaii!
Growing up, it was just me, my mom, my dad, and our dog, so I never knew what it truly meant to have brothers. I came to find out that I not only found close to 100 of them due to my involvement on the golf team and with Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, but sisters as well through connections to the athletic teams and sororities. Along with my brothers and my sisters, the professors, academic and athletic administrators—who always honored their open-door policy whenever I needed them—rounded out my newfound family. During my tenure as an undergraduate student at Wittenberg, we had a lot of fun together, overcame many disputes, and sometimes did not seen eye-to-eye, but, in the end, we are family.
There’s a famous quote from a classic Disney movie that states, “Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” My Wittenberg family, whoever they may be, never left me behind or forgot about me. They constantly helped me when I felt down about life and when things seemed to get so dark that I could not find a way to see. They were able to light the way for me during some of the darkest days in my life, and I am eternally grateful for my newfound family.
Wittenberg’s motto is “Having Light We Pass It on To Others,” and we are living proof of that every single day. I have been blessed to have the light of Wittenberg passed on to me during my experience as an undergraduate student, and I am now able to continue to pass that light on to others as a graduate assistant golf coach. Every day is a new challenge, and there is usually something that I am unfamiliar with and uncertain about, but with unfamiliarity and uncertainty come growth. The process has been truly amazing.
Right now, I am on a career path to be a collegiate golf coach or athletics administrator. Upon graduation for the fifth time in my life--if you count my preschool and eighth grade graduation ceremonies--I will be in the position to pass onto others the life lessons and academic knowledge that I have gained from Wittenberg University. With these two things, I will be able to continue lighting the way for others wherever I end up. Being a Wittenberg Tiger has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I can’t thank everyone enough for making my time on campus so memorable. Tiger Up!
Colin Laszlo ’19
Hometown: Waipahu, Hawaii
Men's and Women's Golf