What’s a Hokie? Am I?

Growing up I never missed a UVA home game. Seriously, not one for about three years. I had known what I wanted to do as a kid, or so I thought, but I never thought of where I would go to achieve my dreams. Years later I entered high school and was told it was time to take my future seriously. So I started researching different jobs, leaving my childhood love of arguing behind, realizing I could never be a lawyer. I eventually stumbled upon natural resources. It made sense, I had grown up in a place where the land around me was cherished and I had strong opinions on how it should be protected, but I didn’t understand what that fully meant, only that it interested me. I started to bury my head into books and found hydrology. I eventually decided that water resources was something I could see myself being excited about doing long-term. I was finally able to answer the question, “what do you want do when you grow up?”

Little did I realize that there was a follow up question, “Oh, where do you want to go to school?” Uhh. I couldn’t answer, and it was back to the drawing board. I soon learned that Virginia tech was ranked number one in the country for the program I was interested in. The more I researched the school who was once public enemy number one, the more I fell in love. I submitted my early decision application as soon as I could. This school stood for everything that was important to me, namely service. I begged my parents to tour with me, dad was not so thrilled and didn’t go, so that left mom. She went, unwillingly.

The second I  drove onto the campus I knew it was home. We got there the night before everyone was leaving for the big Bristol game and the atmosphere was electric. The next morning when we arrived for the tour, I maybe saw ten people, everyone had left in droves to support the team they loved. I knew it was home that day. I thought I would be intimidated by the sheer size of campus, coming from a town of 13,000 but I had never felt so calm.

When we got home my mind was set more so than ever before. As I lived the next couple of weeks in my own blissful bubble, I seemed to forget about any other school. I did not apply to a single other school. Looking back now I should have at least applied to the schools that wee constantly emailing and sending me things, but for what I already knew. The day I saw CONGRATULATIONS on my screen was the happiest day so far in my life. I set out to find a roommate, who I LOVE by the way. But then another surprise I never considered came up on my screen, financial aid. The amount of zeros popping up as I scrolled down the page was like a punch in the gut. 26,000 a year was an insane thought to me. How could I afford this? There had to be some mistake, my parents are by no means rich, no farming family is. I am now met with the questionto either carry this enormous financial burden, or go to another school that wouldn’t make me happy? Am I still a hokie? Do I need to rethink everything? Is this still home?

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Doesn’t Change A Thing

The election is over, (enter sigh of relief here) but the conflict resulting in it is just beginning. Everyone knows elections bring out the worst in people, which is understandable, the nation is now sitting on the shoulders of someone who has never done it before and frankly its always terrifying. However, this election is different, the worst is coming out now after the votes have been counted and we have a new Mr. President Elected, Donald Trump. I remained silent throughout the majority of this election but have decided it is finally time to join the clashing noise that is this election.

The fact is the United States are anything but united. Although I am still unsure of what side of the political spectrum I land on, I do know one thing, it doesn’t change a thing. It will not change the way I view the beautiful country I live in and most importantly it will not change the way I treat the people around me. No government official can change who we are as a people, only we can do that. I understand people are angry, scared, and conflicted, but in this chaos we seem to have forgotten something. When you think of what matters most, it does not matter who won. Our government will still have corruption, things will be changed for the good, and possibly for the worse but that does not mean it has to represent what our country stands for. Each person makes a decision every morning when they wake up of who they want to be. We must ask ourselves as a country who do we want to be? What does our America stand for? My America stands for love, equality, strength, and courage. So no I may not be on the “trump train” and no I am not #withher, I am instead a person who decides for myself how I will treat others, and no politician will ever be able to change that.