Hokie Ambassadors. The organization that shows all the prospective students and their families the gloriousness that is Virginia Tech. Before I was even a student here, I knew that I wanted to be a tour guide. I wanted to make a difference in these students’ lives and, hopefully, make their college decision a little easier. In fact, HA was the only organization I wanted to join my freshman year. Applications weren’t until the spring, and I learned that two of my suitemates wanted to apply too.
The Big Event: advertised on campus as a way for students to give back to the town that puts up with us for eight months out of the year. While that’s accurate, this day means so much more.
Early this morning, it didn’t look like the day was going to start off well. It had snowed overnight and it was 28 degrees. Many projects were being called in as cancelled, but ours was still on. Since I’m not a big fan of cold weather, I wasn’t too pleased. But our group, ten of us from the hall, went to Owen’s for breakfast. While it was really because we were all starving, simply eating a meal together gave us a great start to the day.
We skipped the opening ceremony because of the snow and went straight to our project site around 10:30. When we arrived, the couple, J.S. and Debbie, invited us inside. We, college students, complete strangers, were welcomed into their home with no questions asked. They gave us a list of yard work that included mulching, raking leaves, and picking up sticks. Debbie even told us that if we got too cold that we could come inside to warm up a bit.
Well, after about an hour, Kayla and I took her up on that offer. We literally could not feel our toes. While we stood in the kitchen warming up, I started looking at the pictures Debbie and J.S. had on display. I had an oddly deep thought during all this: how often do we forget about the people around us? Living the college life often causes us to forget that there are actual residents here who live actual lives and have actual jobs and do things outside of the university. This couple in particular has a daughter who graduated from Tech, they have two black labs, and J.S. is an engineer and Debbie works for the alumni association. I may never see them again, but temporarily, for a few hours today, we crossed paths. I am so happy that our meeting involved me, and the rest of my group, making their lives a bit easier.
Isn’t that how we should be toward everyone we encounter? We don’t know what kind of impact we’ll have on their lives or if we’ll ever run into them again. We should have a heart of service for each and every person, even if it’s just giving them a smile.
Debbie and J.S. provided sandwich fixings for lunch. Now, things have not been so peachy on the hall lately. This semester has been rocky for everyone personally and it has definitely affected our hall dynamic. I’ve been pretty depressed about this because we got along so well before. I can’t stand when people aren’t happy with other people, especially when I’m friends with everyone involved. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised when the majority of us signed up to participate in The Big Event together. So while we were waiting to wash our hands, I was a little nervous about how this meal would go. This was the first time the majority of us had eaten together since Thanksgiving.
But you know what happened? They started calling me “mom” again, asking me to make their sandwiches. (For the record, I didn’t.) We picked on each other, just like we used to. All ten of us squeezed in around a four person table. We talked for the longest time about summer plans and goals for the future. Then we started talking about what April 16th means to each of us. The ninth anniversary of the tragedy is a week from today, and it was nice to know that yes, we could joke with each other, but we could also discuss serious topics too.
Ut Prosim, Virginia Tech’s official motto, is Latin for “that I may serve.” But what makes the Hokie community so special is that we are given so many opportunities to serve together. And I think that’s exactly what P4FE needed: the kind of community bonding that hard work and a common goal brings.
This was the 15th year of The Big Event at Virginia Tech. With around 10000 volunteers each year, it makes my heart happy to know that maybe this even has shaped impacted a group, a relationship, or even just a single person like it did for us today.
Ut Prosim: That I May Serve.
Virginia Tech: That We May Serve Together
Fun fact about me:
I have a tendency to get all excited about doing things, but then when it comes time to actually do it, I chicken out. Whether it’s an interest meeting for a club, a party, or just meeting friends for dinner, I go through the same pattern. There’s this instant fear that surges through me and convinces me that whatever fun I could have isn’t worth it.
So on Thursday night when Laura asked me if I was going to go to Cru’s $5 prom, I immediately said yes. I got really excited about having plans for the first time in a while, but then Friday night rolled around. Laura texted me a few hours before the event, asking if I was still going. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I stared at my phone for a good ten minutes, debating whether or not to go.
The deciding factor? I figured that even if the dance was lame it would be better than a night of Netflix.
There were two things keeping me anxious all night: the theme and the people.
The whole idea of $5 Prom is that you buy whatever crazy outfit you can at Goodwill for $5 and wear it to the dance. While this theme was so much fun, I was a little afraid of being either too in-theme or not in-theme enough. Luckily, when I went over to PY beforehand, Laura and all of her friends were dressed plenty wacky. Laura even let me wear her clothes so I was as mis-matched as could be.
We hung out and played cards for a while before the dance. When it came time to leave, Anxiety Part Two hit. I remembered that, since I’ve only been going to Cru and their events this year, I wasn’t going to know anyone there. Cru is a great community where everyone at least knows everyone’s name, but I get really nervous about introducing myself to people (another bad quality of mine).
The ride over to the elementary school where the dance was held was fun in and of itself. We squished Drew in the backseat and jammed to Justin Bieber. When we walked into the school, Becky, my Bible study leader, immediately saw us and ran to hug us. Our group of six made our way to the dance floor where we danced as awkwardly as humanly possible. I was having a great time.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I spun around to find Logan and Irene, two of my closest high school friends! Our group grew to include them and two of Logan’s friends I had met previously. Eventually, our group kept growing to take up the majority of the dance floor.
Lately, this blog has been taking on a theme of “live in the moment,” and really taking time to appreciate the little moments I know I’m going to tell my children about. This was one of them:
The lesson here? Go for it. Go to the party. Wear the crazy outfit. Dance with people you know, dance with people you don’t.
When you get the chance, say yes.