The Hokie Superstars

Hey, guys!

Happy Summer!! Wherever this blog post finds you, I hope you are enjoying your time off and you are finally getting a minute or two to relax before the next school year!

A honest sidenote: If you are guessing that this blog post might be a little cheesy due to the title of it, “The Hokie Superstars”, you would be right.  It might get a little cheesy but I promise that it can relate to many different areas of life regardless of your age, place in life, etc!

Throughout my freshman year at VT I noticed that I always got one question about the school if I was talking to an adult or a high school student considering Virginia Tech.  That question is or is similar to, “Well, because your school has over 20,000 students undergrad, do you ever feel like a number or that you never recognize people or see friends as you walk around campus?”.

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I try to answer the question by explaining that even though Virginia Tech has a HUGE student body it doesn’t feel as large as it sounds because there are always people that you seem to have mutual friends with- there are always the people that stand out from the “crowd” as student leaders that seem to just, well, know everyone.  They serve as a connection piece for our thousands of students living in Blacksburg.  Virginia Tech’s “degrees of separation” are very, very small because of these people that I refer to as “The Hokie Superstars.”

These fabulous folks know the biggest and best organizations to get involved in from the get-go freshman year, they know how to distribute their time in between their classes and their extracurriculars, they are incredibly personable, they seem to run into 15 people they know every time they walk across campus, they represent living out Virginia Tech’s motto “Ut Prosim” so well,  and they make you extremely proud to say that you are a Hokie.

They seem to be the people that a lot of freshman, including myself, look up to and one day want to become.  Throughout my first year I honestly became obsessed (do I sound like a stalker yet?) with applying for the right clubs/organizations, meeting the right people, saying the right things so one day I could be at least half of what I saw in these particular student leaders.

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Last April as I was talking to one of the biggest mentors I have found through Virginia Tech, Justin Graves, I was telling him about how it seems like everyone strives to be one of these superstars- it seems to be a huge goal for people, especially for the people I had met through my dorm. I verbalized to him that I wanted to make a mark before graduating, to truly live out “Ut Prosim”, and it seemed like the only way to really do that was to work very hard to follow in the footsteps of these specific student leaders.

I distinctly remember that he glanced at me and said, “You can make a difference wherever you are, you don’t have to have certain items on your resume to make your mark and make a difference in this community.”

Since then I have been really mulling Justin’s words over.  I think working hard to become a friend to many, an inspiration for all, and leader for your community is hugely important- it is VITAL to have leaders that serve as a positive face for your community.  It is necessary to have leaders that stand out from the crowd and inspire others to do the same.

But- you CAN still make a difference and leave a mark without being in the front and center.  You can humbly serve those around you and be a shoulder for someone regardless of where you are, how leadership positions you have, or how many people you know while walking around campus.

I think Justin’s advice should be the new goal for all of us striving to be the best.  Instead of setting an expectation of being this idealistic version of ourselves by the time we graduate we should try to live out serving others and leading in small areas of our lives that we are in RIGHT NOW.  Apply for the organizations you TRULY care about.  Be friends with people because they push YOU to be better- not just because knowing them provides connections.  Love your fellow Hokies regardless of their status in the school. I believe that everything listed above, and Justin’s advice, is what will make you a leader in your community.

That is what making your mark is all about.  It’s about everyone living out life as a “Hokie Superstar” because if you “do what you can, with what you have, where you are” you are also a hugely vital part of your community. You are also 100% a Hokie Superstar.

I hope everyone enjoys this super hot Tuesday and considers what they can do, where they are!

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

The Free Spray Tan

Hey, there!

WOAH! Summer has started for the college kids out there.  One year flies by! The adjustment back home has been weird at times- especially the whole thing where Dunkin isn’t on a meal plan- that has been a sad, realistic adjustment but everything else has gone well!

So, I knew that I would want to write a “summary” of sorts for one of the best years of my life so far, freshman year of college, but I hadn’t thought of a good story or metaphor to represent it.  This summary/metaphor hit me while sitting in Laurel Anne’s car riding home, feeling incredibly sticky on one of the last few days as a freshman.

For my communication class I wrote a commencement speech about freshman year and thought it would be perfect to share a version of the speech on the blog as well.  So here goes my somewhat odd summary of freshman year of college…

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the Slusher parking lot waiting for a ride when my friend Laurel Anne, who is a sophomore peer mentor in my dorm and my Big in ADPi, walked up to me from her car and looked clearly a few shades tanner.  I asked her why she looked like she had been at the beach for a week and replied, “Sun Tan City is giving out free spray tans until tomorrow and I figured ‘why not’!”  I laughed and made fun of her because she already is naturally tan and I have always been very bitter towards tan people considering my natural pasty state (I wish I could say that the bitterness thing is a joke- but it isn’t).

Of course making fun of her ended up coming back to bite me, like making fun of people always does, because after many insistent texts and convincing I ended up in her car 24 hours later going to get a free spray tan myself.  After getting it I felt a little ridiculous and pretty sticky but also proud of myself for trying something new that I NEVER would have considered coming to college just because I know how much my family and friends at home would make fun of me.

So at this point I know you guys are probably wondering why I am telling this story and how getting a free spray tan could possibly relate to a commemorative speech in any regard.   Well-as I was in Laurel Anne’s passenger seat driving home wondering how I had just gotten peer pressured into a free spray tan on a random Wednesday night right before exams truly does represent a lot of my freshman year experience at Virginia Tech.

I believe that college is a place to get a great education and a wonderful job that you hopefully love and possibly even a spouse if you are into the Mr/Mrs degree thing- but even more so, college serves as a place to change a few shades.

College shouldn’t completely change who you are, you should still be identifiable when you return home but you should be a little more vibrant, a little more passionate, and a better, more colorful, version of yourself.

Now- every so often that free spray tan won’t always turn out so pretty, you might come back looking less bronze and more like a Cheeto, (similar to my hands for days after the spray tan) you will probably feel a little dumb and a lot like a college freshman, but those are the learning moments that we have all had this past year.

But you have to go all in- you actually have to GET the free spray tan in order to have learning experiences, in order to make mistakes, and in order to grow as a person…even if that person is orange for a few days.

So I guess the point I am attempting to make in this odd metaphor is that the biggest thing I have learned from my freshman year is to not be afraid of the free spray tan- don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because eventually those mistakes will even out, and don’t be afraid to come back home a little different, because THAT is the point of you being here.

You are supposed to grow and change, so do it, grow and change, let yourself get a few shades darker and become the better, more bronzed, version of yourself.

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I told you my freshman year metaphor was odd, honestly who knew a free spray tan could result in a revelation?! I am grateful to have gotten the opportunity to start become a better version of myself in college- I am also grateful for people lIke Laurel Anne who pushed me to be better.  At this point I can only hope to continue to grow in my next three years and maybe then I’ll have some sort of tan gene that will finally kick in 😉

Happy Summer everybody! Go get a free spray tan!
Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}