Collegiate Times Gobblerfest Stand

The Collegiate Times booth at Gobblerfest on Sept. 13. Photo courtesy of Olivia Ferrare.

Now that school is back in session, the whole Virginia Tech community is finally getting a taste of what college is really like in Blacksburg. The small nuances and traditions that come with living and working on such a large campus are shared throughout, and there is always something going on. Our staff decided to sit down and share what they’re most looking forward to during this new school year and all its many opportunities. 

Olivia Ferrare, lifestyles section editor

Trying to make small talk over Zoom was one of the worst experiences I encountered during online classes. My heart always dropped when my professors announced, “Alright, time for breakout rooms!” Then, of course, the professor would ask what each group discussed, like they didn’t know that not one single person turned on their mic or their camera. Now, those same people that never talked are forced to make conversations and physically raise their hands during class. I thrive in these small moments right before the professor starts lecturing or making faces at my neighbors when I don’t understand what the slides are saying. The best study groups and friendships are formed sitting on the floor outside the classroom when the door is locked or when the first slide in the PowerPoint asks the class to introduce themselves to their neighbor. I am so excited to meet people organically for help with homework versus trying to message someone I think I know over the chat. It’s a small phenomenon that is not always fun for introverts, but as a self-proclaimed extrovert, this is going to be a great year for those spontaneous conversations and connections with other Hokies.

Lexi Solomon, managing editor

I’m really excited to be back in the newsroom with the rest of the Collegiate Times staff. Our newsroom is the heart of our organization and where everything comes together to make our print paper each week; it’s been great to finally meet everyone in person and start to get to know each other. We have an amazing staff and I’m looking forward to many Sunday afternoons filled with laughter, questions about AP style, brainstorming and making lots of memories!

Celina Ng, design editor

As a senior, I’ve missed interacting with my classmates in person and being in physical classrooms. Although I came back to Blacksburg for my junior year, I was tired of having constant Zoom meetings. Even though the traffic on campus can be frustrating at times, I’ve enjoyed running into people I haven’t seen in a while. I love being in Blacksburg, and I’m glad that we’re gradually returning to normalcy. I’m happy that everyone, especially the underclassmen and transfer students, can finally have the “traditional college experience” by attending in-person classes, living with roommates, participating in clubs, jumping to “Enter Sandman” in Lane Stadium and exploring local restaurants with friends. 

In terms of the Collegiate Times, I’m excited to be in the newsroom again. I’ve missed coming to production on Sunday afternoons and collaborating with the editors. It has been wonderful to meet the new editors in person, and I’m excited to make more memories with them this year!

Abby Durrer, opinions editor

I’m super excited to be in the newsroom this semester! I had heard a lot about it during my time as a writer and first semester as an editor, so to be able to be in the newsroom this semester is super exciting! I really love the energy that everyone brings and all the fun conversations we have during production. 

Devin Shepard, sports editor

The Collegiate Times has meant so much to me over the past couple of years in building my repertoire as a sports writer. One of the best parts of this job is being able to go and cover games in person and then tell the story to all readers afterwards. After a year in which we couldn’t enjoy those experiences, I’m overjoyed to be able to get back into Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum and feel the rush that one can only experience while jumping along with “Enter Sandman”.

Abbigale Evans, managing editor

The Collegiate Times has become a huge support system for me since joining my sophomore year. I’ve always felt at home in the newsroom, and this year is no different. I’m so glad to see all the bedraggled office chairs occupied by our editors and designers again, and can’t wait to see what we accomplish this year. I also am excited to put out some more satire pieces; I love making my coworkers and friends smile — especially when the semester gets busy!

Julianne Joyce, opinions editor

I chose to take all my classes in person this semester — although I’m quickly regretting my decision due to the hectic state of campus these first couple weeks — because I missed walking to and from classes in a hurry, and I missed being in a classroom even more. Nothing beats making friends in class and forming real relationships with professors because these bonds are what make classes worth going to. Also, joining the Collegiate Times during the pandemic in 2020 was one of the best decisions I made because it turned a year of isolation into a year of learning a new skill. I now feel more excited than ever about furthering my passion for journalism because we’re back in the newsroom together, and it is exactly the fun and exciting environment I had envisioned when I first joined the organization. 

Amber Williams, sports editor

I became a sports editor in the middle of a pandemic and have not been able to cover a Virginia Tech football game for the College Times in person. Finally being able to do so is honestly a dream come true. I think what makes sports special is the ability they have to bring communities together, and it is finally time for Blacksburg and all of Hokie Nation to come back together. I’m excited to see everyone tailgating outside my dorm, experience “Enter Sandman” again, watch the players get back to playing a game they love and everything else that comes with Virginia Tech gameday. To see all of the fans finally having something to smile about after over a year of craziness will be heartwarming and something that only Hokie football can spark.

Tori Walker, editor-in-chief

I can’t wait to be spending every Sunday in Squires 365 again – our Collegiate Times newsroom. This room was my first “home away from home” freshman year before Virginia Tech as a whole became that place. While we successfully produced a print and digital paper every week throughout our COVID-19 virtual learning period, the process was not the same as pre-pandemic team production. While CTers love to practice student journalism and work hard while doing it, the in-person collaboration, comradery, commentary, communication and chaos were what made being on our staff so enjoyable. I already feel that this “slightly more normal” semester has provided our staff members, new and old, with a feeling of family again within the Virginia Tech community. Other than expanding our organization and increasing our recognition on campus and beyond, this feeling of family is what I’m excited about.