Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nation (#HokieNation): 32 Especially Good Things about Virginia Tech

I can't let this day pass without pausing to reflect on how much I love my alma mater, Virginia Tech.

It's difficult for me to find words for this occasion, because none of them quite seem to fit, and yet it just wouldn't feel right to continue blogging as usual on this day of the A to Z challenge. The only thing I know to do is to hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Rom 12:9). In this spirit, I've decided to share some of the things I've found to be especially good about Virginia Tech. Here is a list of 32 such things, in no particular order.

1. The server at Owens Hall who would sing the ingredients of each and every burrito order like it was the performance of his life. (Lesser known fact: He served omelettes at D2 in the summer, and you better believe he sang those orders, too.)
2. The incredible view of the mountains on the horizon as I would drive down I-81 on my way back to school after breaks.
3. The professors who noticed, encouraged, and strengthened my writing.
4. The way the ducks at the pond would flock to my bread bag as if they hadn't eaten sixteen times already that day. Those ducks knew how to make a girl feel special.
5. The fireworks that would go off as the football team took the field for a Thursday night game.
6. The way the leaves would pile up around the drill field and crunch under my feet on the walk to class.
7. The cute neighbor boy from across the pool who turned out to be an amazing husband and father.
8. Everything about West End Market. Everything.
9. The slow pace of life in the South - something I always scoffed at until I experienced it in Blacksburg.
10. The fact that it only took about two weeks for me to honestly believe that maroon and orange look great together.
11. The fact that I still believe maroon and orange look great together, but I'm not sure if it's because they actually do or simply because love is blind.
12. The bitter wind that would blow across the drill field in the winter, if only because it made spring feel that much more amazing.
13. The natural beauty of the campus and the surrounding area. I didn't take it for granted at the time, but I still miss it as if did.
14. The girls who were placed on the 6th floor of Lee Hall my freshman year, and how quickly those strangers became my lifelong friends.
15. The writing workshops that gave me the courage to put my work out there to be critiqued.
16. The way people would flock to the drill field like it was a public beach on the first warm day after a long winter.
17. The summer I spent working as an orientation leader, which is still in the books as one of the greatest summers of my life.
18. The overly excited way the bus service would announce its arrival at "Litton Reeves!" (You had to be there.)
19. The simple pleasure of chatting away with girlfriends while getting dressed to go somewhere.
20. The limestone buildings that always made me feel like I was home.
21. The classes in McBryde 100, because sitting through a lecture with five hundred other students was exactly how I always imagined college would be.
22. The handful of classes with only eleven or twelve other students in them, because sometimes it's nice to have the best of both worlds.
23. The fact that - no matter where I was - people would stop me on the street if I was wearing a VT shirt, just to introduce themselves as a fellow Hokie.
24. The way a big school seemed to shrink a little each day, until eventually it genuinely felt small somehow.
25. The first week in our new apartment, when my roommate and I literally called the maintenance man because we couldn't figure out how to turn on the oven.
26. The many meals we learned to cook and enjoy together once we figured out how to turn on the aforementioned oven.
27. The classes I didn't love, because they taught me that sometimes you just have to toughen up and get through it.
28. The one snow day we had in four years. It was worth the wait.
29.The random student who, when he noticed my dad with a map while we were visiting for a campus tour, approached him out of the blue and offered to show us the way. It seemed so extraordinary at the time, but I soon learned it's just how Hokies are.
30. The way War Memorial glowed at night. Photos don't do it justice.
31. The fact that you could enjoy all four seasons in Blacksburg... sometimes even in one day.
32. The ugly-cry I did in the car on the drive home after graduation, because I knew that no matter how many times I returned for a visit, I could never really go back.

Virginia Tech was a beautiful, amazing place. And it still is. As I reflect on the heaviness of this day, I am comforted by these and so many more memories. I am clinging to the belief that there is still more good in the world than evil, and I am abundantly thankful for the Truth that there is so much more to life than what we can see.

I love you, Hokies!