When I first arrived at Virginia Tech, I spent much of my time here trying to avoid it.
Unlike many maroon-and-orange-crazed Hokies, Virginia Tech was not my first choice college. A love of Hokie football never ran in my family; I had no desire whatsoever to pursue a degree in STEM. And yet, my senior year of high school, I found myself unexpectedly excited applying to Virginia Tech for a degree in creative writing, and before I knew it, I was on my way to Blacksburg.
I wanted to love it as soon as I stepped on campus; truly, I did. I knew that college would give me new friends, interesting classes and exciting opportunities, and I was determined to make the most of it. This proved challenging in practice, though. Freshman year, I found college far lonelier and more overwhelming than I expected to, and I struggled to find my place on Tech’s massive, imposing campus. Plus, having grown up without any sense of Hokie spirit, I was hard-pressed to find any within myself.
Thankfully, I soon found ways to get involved on campus, and Tech started to feel like home. At the start of my senior year, I realized that something was still missing.
That something was my first love: writing. Outside of my beloved English classes, I had largely neglected the thing out of which I had always wanted to make a career, and I was really itching to write more. And so, at the beginning of the fall semester, I joined the Collegiate Times almost purely on a whim. I approached John Battiston, the lifestyles editor at the time , with the intent of writing a film review or two — and a few days later, there I was, sitting in Squires for a section meeting. And there I’ve been just about every week since.
Joining the Collegiate Times reminded me all over again just why I love to write. Writing is so much more than grammar and AP style rules (though ask any of our editors how important those things are, and they’ll gladly talk your ear off — and rightfully so). Writing, especially for a newspaper, is the chance to not amplify your own voice, but to celebrate the voices of others.
In my short tenure as a lifestyles staff writer, I had the chance to, among other things, gleefully geek out about movies at the local Lyric theater, visit Hokie alumni at POLITICO, revel in the artwork of an exclusive Moss Arts Center exhibit and see a student theater production come together from rehearsals to the stage. In a way, writing these articles sometimes felt kind of selfish. In all of my interviews, I witnessed firsthand the insane levels of talent and dedication on Tech’s campus and beyond, and whether my subjects realized it or not, they were giving me so much more than just their time and a few quotes. I was in awe of their passion and drive, and to share their accomplishments and excitement with Collegiate Times readers was a real privilege.
More than anything, joining the Collegiate Times reminded me just how much Blacksburg has to offer. Even as a senior, I could sometimes still find myself dangerously close to falling into the same trap I did as a freshman: thinking that Blacksburg is all football, STEM and nothing in between. The Collegiate Times pulled me back from that ledge time and time again. Not only was I privileged to report on Blacksburg’s thriving creative community, I was also humbled to be a part of such a hardworking group of writers and editors on the Collegiate Times staff. I am in awe of the work they produce every week, and I am grateful to have played even a small role in it.
I am so glad I spontaneously decided to ask John if I could join the lifestyles section. Sure, senior year may have been a bit late to do so, but then again, I hope this article reminds you that it’s never too late — never too late to get involved in something that sparks your interest, never too late to open your eyes to the countless stories around you and most importantly, never too late to use your voice.