It was April of 2016. I had a month to make my college decision and I had no idea where I was going to go. It was between three schools, and none of them really stood out from the rest. One weekend my parents decided to take me to each school to get a feel for them. After a short trip to the first school, we made our way to Blacksburg. About five hours away, Virginia Tech was the furthest school I got in to. For that reason, my mother kept on trying to persuade me to make my choice elsewhere, but as soon as I arrived on campus, the choice became clear. I needed a school that had good academics, but was big enough to be relevant in sports, and Virginia Tech met both of those. Driving around campus, I was amazed by the beauty of the school, and right away, I knew that this was the place for me.
After paying my deposit to Tech, I could not be more excited. I still had three more months of high school, but none of it seemed important anymore. All I could think about was finally getting out of the house and going to college. I could not wait for the freedom and not being controlled by my parents at all times, but among all things I was just ready to get out of my town. I lived in the same small town my entire life, and I could not wait to get out and experience something new. It was all I ever knew, and I hated it.
Graduation finally came in mid-June, and I began to realize how fast life was going. I still felt so young and that I was not ready to graduate. It made me realize I needed to stop thinking about college so much, and enjoy the time I had left with my friends and family. I did my best to make the most of it, but it was the fastest summer of my life. It was nearing the end of August and I knew in just a short time I would be at Virginia Tech. That is when the nerves set in. All of high school, I felt so excited to go to college, but as soon as it came I felt that I was not ready for it. I was going somewhere that I barely knew anyone and it would be the first time I was away from my parents for more than a week. The whole ride up to Blacksburg, I sat worrying whether this would we be the right fit for me and if I could handle being so far away.
All it took to change my mind was a few hours. I had visited my roommate once before, but about five months had passed since I had seen him last. As soon as we spent a short amount of time together in our room, things got so much easier and I was glad I made the choice to live with him. I met all of his friends and saw a few of my own from high school and I began to feel that I was in the right place. There has always been something to do and to keep me busy and I have yet to feel any sense of homesickness since I have been here. I think it has been harder for my parents than for myself. Having two sisters that are eleven and nine years older than me, my parents have had kids in the house for the past thirty years. For the first time, it is just the two of them alone. My sister told me my dad had to shut the door to my room because he could not stand to look inside my room. I feel bad for them because I am doing so well and they are taking it hard. They have plans to come visit for football games every few weeks and I have done my best to at least spend a little time with them while they are here. Mostly, I just miss my puppy. I keep asking my parents to bring her here to visit so I can see her. My mom even had to ask me if I loved her as much as the dog. It was sad when I actually had to think about it for a minute.
There have been so many amazing things here at Tech. My mother will admit to being a terrible cook, and coming here and eating some of the most amazing food I have ever had, I don’t know how I am supposed to go back to eating her cooking during breaks and in the summer. The other great part of the food is the meal plan. When I was home, I was always hesitant to buy food because I had to use my own money. Now I can go out and get food whenever I want, especially with the biggest meal plan.
By far my favorite part of school is the football games. Waking up the morning of the first game was like Christmas morning for me. Arriving to Lane Stadium and seeing 60,000 people in the stands was incredible. I got chills when “Enter Sandman” came on and everyone started jumping. Throughout the game I realized why the football team has some of the best fans in the country; everyone is so loud and into it. When we played Ohio State, I finally understood what it was like to be a part of such a historic program. I watched it in my room with a few friends and I have never gotten into a game as much as I did that night. Everyone grows up a fan of a team and roots for them when they play, but few people actually get to experience the feeling of being apart of such a big win. We upset a top ten team in the nation in their own stadium with over 100,000 people in the stands watching.
After the game showed how important that win was to this school. Thousands of people joined downtown in a celebration for the team. People were up all night, going crazy. Everyone waited up until around 3:00 A.M. to greet the team when they got back to campus. I felt that nothing could show our appreciation more than that. Even when we lost last weekend to East Carolina, the love for the team was shown throughout the stadium. I have never felt more stressed out, excited, and heartbroken all in a period of four hours. This school loves its football team win or lose, and that is what makes it special. I have always wanted to go to a school that I could come back to once I graduated and tailgate before the games and I believe I have found that. I love Virginia Tech football and I will always be proud that I could attend this school and I hope that one day my kids can go here and experience the best times of their lives just like I did.
Along with football, I have been so fascinated with all of the people here. When you go to a school with around 35,000 students, there is a good chance you will meet people with unbelievable stories. Even all of my professors are interesting. They come from all over the world and have their own stories of how they got here and how they became Hokies, just like myself and everyone else here. It is no longer all of the kids that I grew up with and have gone to school with my entire life. It is new people that come from different places and have different experiences than me. I thought college would be harder with the added responsibility. There are no parents to tell you to clean your room or do your laundry. I have felt that I have grown up more in the past four weeks than I have for the rest of my life before college. I am the only person worrying about myself, and I never knew how much I would enjoy it. For the first time in my life, I do not have to worry about anyone but myself. These next four years are all about what I can do to ensure I have the best future possible. This is when school counts the most, because it dictates how the rest of your life will go. I plan to do everything I can to be the most successful person that I am capable of.
I feel that I have grown a lot in the past month of college. I have already learned so much about myself and I hope to learn a lot more along the way. I have already made some great friends and I hope to make many more. I have left behind all the negative emotions and people that I dealt with in high school, and now it is my time to do the things I enjoy. There has been so much work from all my classes, but I have already had some of the best times of my life. I hope this is just the start, and it just keeps getting better for me.