I am writing to thank you for shaping my creativity and molding me from my time spent with you. You’ve always been apart of my life, walking through the condensed Pawtucketville neighborhoods with my French relatives, only to come across my Irish Grandfather’s Baseball Memorial at Campbell Field. My parents house is ten minutes away, but I feel University of Massachusetts Lowell gave me the most unique opportunity to grow. From gaining a deeper understanding of my family history, developing myself through leadership roles and unfamiliar situations, gaining a network to live new places, and receiving an education that best suited me, UML was the right fit. It was crazy to witness how the original University Avenue’s bridge and brick buildings transformed into seventy-five million dollar structures from 2009-2014. Entering college as a commuter hoping to build a social life, to adventuring around the country, deep down, I felt a transformation too.
Joining the Skulls on Cabot St. is where my personal Lowell journey began, that yellow decaying house on the corner, sitting on the edge of the school’s east campus, and the beginning of Lowell’s “Acre” ghetto. Cabot is there first place where I felt I belonged and I’m thankful for the brotherhood I gained. Cabot taught me the difference between problems and obstacles. Obstacles are a part of life, you learn to overcome them, and usually carry a lesson with you. Problems are an issue you cant’t solve, a death, a debilitating event, where there is a loss that you can’t just move forward from. Cabot gave me that opportunity to break out, to have some of the best and worst times of my entire life, but I was fortunate to always overcome an obstacle to learn a lesson. Sometimes, I wish I could go back to 2010, summers of not sleeping, living room raves and blasting Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness,” winning the Durlin Scholarship, late night road trips, and walking down to the old renovated mills, to sit on the River Walk, and watch the sun rise over the Merrimack. I was truly happy.
My last year of undergrad, I was burn’t out, wanting to quit, pissed most of my friends were gone, but still inspired. There were days I’d get out of work, homework start at 1am, and then be back at UML for my 9am. I’d wake up in the morning with blood shot eyes and an uncertainty if it was all worth it. I’d been mapping my adventures but wasn’t truly sure how much of it would happen. After two months of traveling, standing on a mountain looking down over Aspen, everything I struggled for brought eternal satisfaction. Lowell pushed me in ways I could never imagine, it gave me confidence to become a leader in every organization I joined, the opportunities to study multiple subjects, and showed me with with hard work and suffering you can achieve what you want out of the world.
The perfect ending to college was being influenced by French writers from poor industrial places. The final preparation for the real world was not a degree but getting to study under Andre Dubus my final semester of undergrad. The passion he brought every Monday to encourage our creativity, find our personal tempo for our writing, and encourage us that we defined who we are in life. Andre didn’t just teach creative writing, he taught leadership, and made us unafraid to use our unique talents. I wasn’t a fan of all of Kerouac’s work, but I often thought of him and what he might of been thinking when he wandered Lowell growing up. When I came across landmarks of family moments or history, I thought about him wandering the city questioning everything, and it added that gritty mysterious edge Lowell carries from it’s harder melting pot days. I’m thankful for these mill based French men, Andre’s encouragement is what I needed to move on from school, and Jack inspiring me in Lowell’s gritty mystery drove me to explore.
This Lowell Page dedication was important to me because Lowell has been such a critical part of my life, especially my young adult life. My dream is to adventure the world and grow this media. There may come a day where I don’t spend time in the place I’ve called home. This page is meant to provide clarity about myself but more importantly inspire others to dig deep and find out what inspires them. I would of never created Bobby Coasts without spending time in Lowell, I will always carry this city with me, no city could have a bigger place in my heart.