An Adventure of a Lifetime
I have 302 free college t-shirts.
It was the summer of my freshman year--the peak of possibility--and I was bored to death. There was nothing to do. As one does, I took to the internet to solve my boredom. After hours of surfing the web, I chanced upon a story about a guy who had emailed every college in the United States and asked for a free t-shirt. He received hundreds. I was impressed and knew I had to do the same.
Shirts don't just magically end up in your closet unless your mom does your laundry, so I had to do this the hard way. I was going to have to email them all. One by one, every last one of them.
It was simple. Tyler Burns, the creator of the legendary idea, recounted how it took him almost two minutes to send out every email individually. If it were to take me that long, I don’t think I could do it. There had to be a faster way. Using my incredible intelligence and charming good looks, I devised a system that put him to shame.
I’d google the school, find the website, create a new email, add admissions@SuchAndSuchSchool.edu, add my letter and bam the email was sent off. Google, copy, paste, send. It was so good I was shooting off email at eight times the speed--one every fifteen seconds. Instead of spending my whole summer writing and sending these emails it took the better part of three weeks. Boy were those weeks amazing.
Because I was going so fast there were some mishaps that led to funny conversations. One of the emails I sent out was to a female only institute in Georgia. Now being a guy, I laughed at Brenau University’s reply,
"While our primary undergraduate school is the women's college, we do encourage male students to apply for and attend classes at Brenau. However, the experience may not be the same for you as it would be at a traditional co-ed university."
I bet the experience of attending an female only school as a guy would be different! In the end, Brenau didn't send me a shirt. They did send me a nice pen though
After a few mishaps and funny conversations the first shirt arrived. It was a stunning work of purple art from Ashland University in Ohio. A cotton masterpiece! It being one of the best looking and also holding the place of my first shirt, I’ve worn it over two dozen times. The shirts slowly trickled in over the course of a week. Then, like the a crash of a tsunami, the shirts came flooding in. The mailman showed up at my door carrying twelve shirts addressed to me. It was like Christmas! Places like LSU, Ohio University, and University of Nebraska were pitching in and sending shirts.
I got some crazily unique shirts. I received a shirt from the New York Fashion Institute of Technology, that had spelled across the back, "If loving fashion were a crime then I'd plead guilty!" Another school, I'm not going to name names, sent me a bright yellow v-neck whose V was so deep, it stretched down almost to my belly button. Paul Quinn College, instead of sending me an adult small mailed me an adult XXXL one. Needless to say, I could've fit three of me in there.
With all these shirts, I of course took the opportunity to give some away. Local charity event? I gave them some. Goodwill? Of course. Christmas presents for the family? I wrapped a few up and put them under the tree. In my locker at school I always kept an extra shirt on hand just in case someone forgot theirs for gym class or cross country. When they would try to give it back I’d say to them, “Keep it. I’ve got enough.”
I didn't only receive shirts. Many colleges who didn't have clothes to spare, gave me other items. I got thousands of pens and pencils, a flag from Western Michigan University, and piles of posters. National American University sent me an umbrella of all things! Pace University in New York, way by far the most generous. Contained in their package were three shirts--a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, and a sweatshirt--a Pace University coffee mug, a notebook, a tin of mints, and a handful of pencils and pens. Hats off to them!
Posters plastered my walls. Stetson University sent me a poster of their rowing team in action. University of Alaska--Fairbanks gave me a six-foot panorama of the Alaskan wilderness. My favorite was from The University of Chicago--a beautiful aerial view of their campus. After a few weeks, the walls of my room became so covered that I had to start hanging them on my ceiling. When the flow of posters finally stopped, I had wallpapered every available inch of my room with college material.
During this experience, I discovered many amazing colleges and universities. This is my top three list of schools I had never heard of before:
1) Olin College of Engineering
2) Reed College
3) Pace University
The most incredible thing about my story is that you can do it too. Everyone I know who has tried this has experienced at least some sort of success. By the end of this, you'll be considering completely new schools and so will many of your friends. They’ll see you in a shirt and ask, “who’s that school?” Many of those unknown schools just got a bunch of cheap advertising through the shirts.
In the end I received 302 free shirts, more than 5,000 pieces of mail, and over 20,000 emails. They keep on coming, I just stopped counting back in 2016. I was accepted to over a dozen of the schools that send me free shirts. I ended up at one of them actually Brigham Young University. I’m in my freshman year now majoring in Economics.
I challenge you to try it out.
Brigham Young University
This morning I did a quick Google search of my website and stumbled across this amazing video by Zhaomaster. He went through the process and got a whole ton of shirts. Greatly done and I was impressed. Check it out!
Pieces of Mail