Sweet Home Oklahoma
On the ten hour trip from Purcell, Oklahoma to Thibodaux, Louisiana, Cari Spain’s mind was congested with questions. Was she ready to be away from her family for the first time ever? Would she like her teammates? Was Nicholls the right place for her? All of her questions and doubts were erased the second she crossed the Louisiana state line. Nicholls State University, as it turned out, was the perfect place for her and the place she’d call home for the next four years. It did come with some growing pains, however. Her lack of cooking experience was exposed her freshman year and gave her a reputation that looked as though she might never change it. It wasn’t until her achievements in the classroom started gaining some recognition that her previous reputation was forgotten.
Cari distracted herself of the feeling of missing her family by diving completely and wholeheartedly into her studies and as a result made a 4.0 her freshmen year. That’s no easy feat to a normal student, the fact that she accomplished this while being a student athlete is even more admirable. According to Cari, “being a student athlete is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ll ever have. When I look back at my time at Nicholls I won’t remember all the horrible all-nighters I pulled to achieve my degree, but instead the memories I made with my best friends on the field.” When asked about Cari, head softball coach, Angel Santiago, said, “Cari is Purcell, Oklahoma’s finest kid, she is a smart woman that has made great contributions to this softball program all due to her strong work ethic and solid leadership skills.”
Cari attributed her ability to cope with her family being 10 hours away with the culture and small-town feel that Thibodaux has to offer. She believes that had she gone to Florida State, where she initially planned on attending, her college experience wouldn’t have been nearly the same. One person that is especially grateful that Cari decided to attend Nicholls is her roommate of three years, Hannah Haydel. Hannah, a Louisiana native, remembers being shocked that she’d have so much in common with a girl from Oklahoma. Hannah stated, “I know in Cari I have a friend for life and I’m grateful for this institution for bringing us together.” Cari will graduate in May 2016 and plans to attend law school.