Jason Lyman had lost his apartment lease and was preparing to attend community college and perhaps a career taking care of someone's grass.
A snap decision to fill out a drawing at the Iowa State Fair paid off in a $96,000 scholar-ship to Upper Iowa University.
"I couldn't believe it," said Lyman, a 19-year-old grad of Shenandoah High School.
Lyman will start classes Monday. He had a year to sign up, but wasted no time.
Lyman entered the drawing Aug. 17 and learned he'd won three days later. "I didn't think much of it. I've never won anything [in a drawing] before."
He spent two days on the Upper Iowa campus, going through orientation, meeting his roommate, and bought a mini-fridge for his dorm room.
It's quite a change from a couple of weeks ago, when Lyman's career aspirations were to work for a golf course or sports field handling turf.
His landlord had recently terminated his apartment lease and given it to someone else.
He knew nothing of Upper Iowa, he couldn't afford to consider private schools.
The scholarship covers tuition for four years for any degree program. Now he's looking to careers with an open mind - "leaning toward education."
He said he is still adjusting.
"It's been overwhelming," he said. "I'm still living it up, but once I start school, it will be a relief - there's no stopping now."