Dear Old Friend,
Graduating college gives everyone mixed feelings. You’re excited for the next adventure but now you have to leave the place you loved dearly and hated at the same time. I reminisce about college a lot. I really wanted to write it down, so here’s how it was for me:
Freshman year: I had an absurd amount fun almost every single day. I’m being completely honest. I have never laughed until my stomach hurt nearly every single day, ever…until the 2012-2013 school year. I explored so many new places in Virginia that I had never seen before. I tried clubs, activities, and foods that I didn’t think I would even like. I finally could run a mile in under eight minutes, and more than that, I could run two miles without stopping! I had more friends than I ever had in my entire life and I truly loved them all. I ended my first long-term relationship and got taken out on some real “dinner and a movie” dates. I lost my voice cheering on my school at various sports games and I felt what “Hokie Pride” really means. I woke up every day and enjoyed my life as best as I could. And I failed two classes, but who cares! That’s what Withdrawals are for!
Sophomore year: I lived in an expensive townhouse on the edge of town. I started to experiment with cooking and was successful. I found myself in a relationship with a guy who pushed me to be a better person and who actually loved doing all of the outdoor activities I like. He took me on my first off-roading run and first real jeep ride! I worked so many different jobs, I swear I know everything about every department in Virginia Tech. This includes walking up to a laboratory that does REAL research with chemicals and animals and convincing the manager that I, a business major, who had never taken a chemistry course, lab class, or physics class in college could do it! Guess what? I excelled at that job. I was offered an opportunity to do research with important professors in foreign countries. I worked at a cemetery and re-did their records and learned so many interesting stories. I took my California-boy to the Outer Banks and watched him fall in love with the East coast. I ate steak grilled over an open fire on the beach and avoided sunburn. This year was tougher on me, but I found myself in a giant igloo with tens of friends eating a spaghetti dinner enjoying the first four snow days Virginia Tech has ever had.
Junior year: I lived in a tiny basement apartment with four of my best friends and got to hang out with football players every day. My older brother visited me for Halloween and we had a blast. I made Dean’s List two semesters in a row. I adopted my kitten, Venus. The day I brought her home she walked around and then came up to me and winked as if to say, “You’ll do. It’s just you and me for the rest of forever now. My only rule: feed me. All. The. Time.” She then became Venus the Traveling Cat and we drove all over the state visiting people. I jumped out of a plane! (Everyone should try skydiving, it really is the best thirty seconds of your life.) The year ended with an epic trip to California where my boyfriend took his Virginia-girl from San Diego all the way up to San Francisco. I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, actual cliffs where the world just seems to end, a real surfer dude, a shaman who blessed our relationship on the side of a cliff, the place where my father grew up, and Half-Moon Bay. What a beautiful place. I went to Hollywood and Pasadena. I saw San Louis Obispo, and four California colleges. I saw magnificent Redwood trees and a tree house far up in the clouds. To top it all off, I threw up on the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s a story for another day. It was adventure from sunrise until we turned into pumpkins. We did it all by plane, train, and in a Mercedes-Benz. It was that laughter, excitement, and fun of Freshman year packed into two weeks.
Senior semester: I lived in a huge, renovated apartment with my boyfriend and my cat. I didn’t have a microwave or a dishwasher. I got really good at cooking. I ran my first 5k. I traveled almost every week once a week for the first half of the semester. I did a lot of self-reflection and planning of my future. I tried a few new clubs and built my very first website. I passed my classes without barely lifting a finger. I worked harder than I ever had preparing for interviews and researching companies. I failed two classes my Freshman year. I did not have above a 3.5 GPA, like the rest of my classmates. However, I got not one, but FIVE job offers from top 100, top 50 companies! I was so humbled! I was so proud! Employers hired me because of my drive, because of my commitment to success, and my acknowledgement of my failures. One company even created a position especially for me just so they could get me on their team. My bosses from all my past jobs emailed me out of the blue and wished me luck in my future. What an excellent way to end a journey.
All of these exciting events were also balanced well with just as many annoying or stressful ones. A few times I thought about transferring or taking a break, I got denied from many companies and internships because of my grades, and I had to say no to a lot of parties and events to make sure I didn’t fail my classes. When I graduated though, thanks to help and almost always being employed by multiple jobs year round, I didn’t have any student debt. I had $20.89 in my checking and less than $5.00 in my savings. It was a great relief.
Virginia Tech was my home for these years. I hope I never forget everything that happened to me. I hope I continue to be creative in my cooking. I hope the next adventure in North Carolina is just as sweet.
Your favorite graduate