SUMMER ISSUE | Volume 3, Issue 31 | Blacksburg, VA
www.theodysseyonline.com | @TheOdyssey_VTECH | Facebook.com/TheOdysseyVTECH
OUR LEGACY: VIRGINIA TECH 7 YEARS LATER page 4
YOU KNOW YOU GO TO VIRGINIA TECH WHEN... page 7 STOP ROMANTICIZING PEOPLE THAT ARE NO GOOD FOR YOU page 11 THE INTERNAL STRUGGLE OF FEASTING ON YOUR SCHOOL MASCOT page 13
Virginia Tech remembering April 16,2007 Photo courtesy of Facebook/Virginia Tech
2 Editor's note
A LETTER TO MY LITTLE BEFORE I GRADUATE Dear Little, I’ve watched you grow from a new member to a sister. I’ve seen how much this sorority has changed you and inspired you. I’ve
CARLY KUCHOVA Chi Omega Editor-in-Chief
Carly is a senior studying multimedia journalism. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
to represent our sorority, always. Be womanly always, Little, but be discouraged never. I demand you to smile. I demand that you ignore any guy that ignores you, because he’s not worth your time. I demand you inform me if someone hurts you because I will be going to the gym during my non-social, real-world life and I will be ripped, or so one can hope. I will come back and tell them not to mess with my
seen how our sorority’s
little and demand an apology from them. I demand you to follow your dreams
values have been instilled in you and became a part of you. I’ve seen you get a
rather than run from your fears. I demand you to reach for the stars and land among
little and expand our family. I’ve watched you grow.
the Milky Way, because you, Little, are too goddamn good for any star out there.
But as you grew in our sorority, so did I — I aged. Each year I got closer and
I hope you look for the bright side in every situation. I hope you seek the light
closer to graduation, which meant I became closer to saying good-bye to you. So
when darkness surrounds you. I hope you pass your future tests and survive your
as I stand here graduating, I realized it’s you that I’m going to miss the most. It’s
hell weeks. But most importantly, Little, I hope you remember me, because I will
you I’m leaving behind.
always be thinking about you.
People say that sororities pay for their friends. I say that’s false, because no
Over these past couple years here, you have become my sister, both in my sorority
amount of money could buy a friendship like ours. No amount of food or free
and in my heart. When you feel like you’re getting old remember, you will always
shopping sprees could replace what we have in our friendship. I remember the first time we met, the first words we said to each other, and I still feel excitement run through me every time I see you. No matter how bad or good my day is, it’s you that makes it even better.
THE ODYSSEY AT V TECH
I apologize for tricking you, or unsuccessfully tricking you, during clue week. I apologize for being older than you, and I apologize for graduating. But this is the way life goes. I apologize for not hanging out with you every day while I was here in college, but those things called classes kind of got in the way. But remember that we, will never truly say good-bye. I leave you my wisdom and my mistakes. My wisdom to learn from my mistakes and my mistakes to make you laugh when your wisdom fails you during your college career.
EXECUTIVE TEAM President Mike Hilss
Phi Gamma Delta
Sales Executives Robert Ware Phi Gamma Delta
Sam Whitehurst Phi gamma Delta
CREATIVE TEAM Editor-in-Chief Carly Kuchova Chi Omega
Interested in being a Sales Executive? Please contact Matthew Tobe at Matthew@olympiamediagroup.com
I leave you my number and my Snapchat name, because no matter how long my work day is, I’ll always be a phone call away. On the other hand, my social life is flushing away after I receive that diploma so I’m expecting you to be my
OLYMPIA MEDIA GROUP
top Snapchat friend until Snapchat isn’t cool anymore. I expect you to live life,
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but first you better send me a selfie. Remember that college is four years. I encourage you to go downtown when you can and to live for sleeping in. I encourage you to love your little like I loved you. I encourage you to participate in as many philanthropy and sisterhood events as you can, because one day, you will have your last of both. I encourage you to bring a sister as your date to date party if your dream date turns you down, and I encourage you to make him fall in love with you if he says yes. I encourage you
Kate Waxler, Managing Editor Celesta Török-Lee, Designer
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A LETTER TO MY LITTLE BEFORE I GRADUATE, CONT’D be that innocent new member to me. When your college career seems to be moving too quickly, remember that only good things come to an end to make room for greater things. When your graduation is approaching, remember I’ll be in the real world waiting for you. As I stand here at graduation, I fear the unknown. I fear having a salary and paying bills. I fear not being able to find a Starbucks within driving distance from my job, and I fear never finding a workout buddy again. I fear losing touch with those I’ve made connections with over these past couple years. But as I stand here fearing the world, one thing keeps me strong. It’s you, Little. Every time I see you, there are those big/little butterflies that erupt inside of me. My talking speeds up to a million miles a minute and my mood instantly changes to happiness. I know this letter sounds like we are dating, but every good friendship I’ve seen has been treated as a relationship, because relationships bring beauty to a part of life you never saw before. And you, Little, glorified my days here in College. What I challenge you to do is to walk down the Lane. I challenge you to redefine
yourself when I’m gone. But I warn you to not go in search of another big. I warn you that you’ll get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave this place. You will feel like you will not only miss the people that surround you and love you here, but you will also miss the person you are now. The person you are at this very time and place, because once you graduate, chances are, you’ll never be this way again. So as I’m leaving and you’re holding the edges of this letter as tight as you can, and are trying to soak up every word I’ve poured out here, I want you to know that I’ll always love you. Sisterhood is the strongest bond. It’s a never-ending, everlasting friendship. Call me, beep me, if you want to reach me, but never forget me. LICO, Your Big P.S. You better say yes when I ask you to be my bridesmaid.
4 Scene on campus
OUR LEGACY, VIRGINIA TECH
7 YEARS LATER On April 16, 2007 things
changed. Shock fell over the Virginia Tech campus,
LESLIE MCCREA Delta Delta Delta
Blacksburg, the nation and the world as the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S.
Leslie is a sophomore studying communications. You may contact her at email@example.com.
history took place. This incident, which killed 32 people and injured 17 more, made an impact on many issues including gun awareness, mental health, and campus security at universities worldwide. There’s no question that April 16 made an impact on Virginia Tech, but one thing is for sure; Virginia Tech as a whole has learned from it, gained experience from it, and grown from this unthinkable tragedy.
have continued his rampage after the initial shooting.
In the aftermath of such an emotionally, physically, and structurally damaging event such as this, there will always be two sides. In this case, the university can only continue to improve despite controversy, and that is the most important thing to realize. This event not only increased the safety precautions on Virginia Tech’s campus, but also continues to affect campuses nationally in the pursuit of student safety, and that gives me reason enough to feel safe. Aside from the technical matters of safety here at Tech, something that has really stood out in the past seven years is the sentiment that is especially prominent during the month of April. This is something I would have never been able to describe before coming to school here, but it is something I now appreciate. The fact that so many people, both directly affected and unaffected by the shooting, can come together to appreciate how far we’ve come since then is comforting at
When I was applying to colleges and eventually chose Virginia Tech, I constantly
the least. Between the annual vigil, the wreath ceremony on the Drill Field, and
heard comments from people like: “Why would you go there, aren’t you scared?”
the 3.2 for 32 Run, our Remembrance Day is a sign of how strong the sense of
and “Is it safe?” Let’s be realistic. Before the shooting, the town of Blacksburg
community at this school is. Virginia Tech chooses to remember the 32 victims
could be known for being virtually crime-free. Blacksburg police reported one
of the shooting not in sadness, but in encouragement and tribute to what they
murder in the year 2006, and there has only been one reported since then. The
brought to the university during their time here.
crime rate has been steadily decreasing over the years.
Now after hearing that, let’s rewind. When I hear those negative remarks
Virginia Tech as a campus might be one of the safer campuses to this day simply
mentioned earlier, I think back to how I felt my freshman year, the first time I
because of the tragedy. As a student, I receive VT Crime Alerts whenever any type
witnessed April 16th on campus. I have never felt so safe. The massacre was seven
of incident occurs in this area. This is a safety precaution done by the University
years ago and Virginia Tech has moved away from fear and into confidence, and
Police Department. There are also 89 blue light safety phones located all over
that, as well as the legacy left behind, is something that should be respected.
campus and its boundaries, along with routine VT Alert System testing that is done to ensure the community knows what to do in an emergency. There was much criticism and controversy after the shooting occurred about the actions taken by the university, and since then the safety precautions have taken more of a spotlight for improvement. The VTV Family Outreach Foundation, established by families and victims of the shooting, created the 32 National Safety Initiative to promote safety on college campuses. This has been in full swing especially since a November 2013 Virginia Supreme Court Ruling, which stated “there was no duty for the Commonwealth to warn students about the potential for criminal acts.” This case was brought on by a lawsuit from two victims’ families in the wake of the shootings, who claimed that the university could have prevented the deaths. The court decided that there was no way the Virginia Tech officials could have known that the gunman would
Scene on campus
MY APRIL 16TH STORY April 2007 was an interesting month for me.
Chi Omega I was finishing up my first year of living in Blacksburg while attending Blacksburg High School. I had made Leah is a senior studying apparel friends, and was finally feeling housing & resource management. You completely comfortable in the may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. school. Then one day, I found that Blacksburg was not just another place I lived (I had moved seven other places previously). This town was a community, a community that I had a place in. April 16, 2007 was a confusing and horrifying day for all Blacksburg residents, students and faculty of Virginia Tech. This is how my day went… I was in my fifth period English class around 11 a.m. when the principal came over the loud speaker saying something along the lines that every student was to return to their fourth period class immediately. They were not to stop along the way, not to chat, just to go straight there. We were having a lockdown. The reason they did this was because some students had lunch during fifth period and everyone needed to be locked in a classroom. I vividly remember a girl in my class crying because she knew her mentally handicapped sister would be afraid without her. I thought to myself that it probably wasn’t anything serious, maybe even just a drill. I went back to my fourth period history class. We all sat around and no one really seemed to be afraid. We turned the news on one of those black roll away TVs that most classrooms have. The local news was reporting that someone had been shot and killed in a Virginia Tech dorm. Although my dad was a faculty member at Virginia Tech, I wasn’t worried at all. In my mind, whoever shot this person had a motive to hurt only that one person and no one else was in danger. I was very wrong about that. As the news kept reporting about this one murder, I scrambled around my backpack for any sort of food I might have. My biggest concern at that moment was how I was missing lunch. I found a chocolate bar and casually ate it while I talked to my friends. We waited for what seemed like an unnecessary lockdown to end. Suddenly, the death toll at the bottom of the screen began rising. It went from one to ten in what seemed like seconds, and just kept going up. Breaking news suddenly came on that another shooting had occurred in an academic building. Suddenly, the mood in the room was not so relaxed. Almost everyone I attended high school with had at least one parent that worked at Virginia Tech. Many students also had brothers and sisters attending the university. Everyone was on their phones trying to contract their loved ones. Some got through and were told everything was okay, while others did not receive answers immediately. Thankfully, my mom texted me immediately to let me know that my dad had contacted her and he was fine. However other students didn’t get immediate gratification and were panicking. Throughout the day almost everyone got the answers they were hoping for, that their family members were fine. Unfortunately, a few did not get such news. After about an hour and a half, the internal lockdown was lifted, but the outside doors remained locked the rest of the day. We went on with our class schedules for a few more hours, and everyone seemed to be walking around the halls like zombies. Our perception of our perfect little college town had been completely flipped upside down. I remember sitting in choir class with my friend Brittany Rivero who now also attends Virginia Tech, talking about how we couldn’t believe what had happened. Our teacher told us that we should still sing because maybe it would lift our spirits, but no one was really in the mood. When I finally got home I hugged my parents and told them that I loved them. We all watched the news while trying to figure out what had happened. It was crazy to think that something so horrible could happen in such a wonderful place. No one understood why something so bad was happening to us. The next evening on April 17th, the entire town and student body attended a candlelight vigil. It was one of the most powerful things I have ever experienced. The drillfield was completely
covered in people. So many were crying and holding each other as someone read the victims’ names over a microphone. They played the saddest version of “Taps” I had ever heard. At the end of the vigil, it was like no one wanted to leave. Everyone wanted to be together and feel the empowering unity of the Blacksburg community around them. Finally someone started the, “Let’s Go, Hokies!” cheer and I don’t think I have ever heard it louder and with as much passion since. People were screaming at the top of their lungs and at that moment, the Hokie nation knew nothing could ever break them. School was cancelled in Blacksburg for a week or two, I can’t remember exactly. A few students from the middle school lost parents, and a boy from the high school lost a sister. I ended up having chemistry class in 2009 with a boy who lost his father. I was extremely proud to see him walk in late to class that year on April 16th wearing his 3.2 for 32 shirt from the race earlier that morning and appearing to be happy. Everyone really showed how strong they were in the days, months and years that have followed the tragedy. The following couple of weeks, the media swarmed Blacksburg. I remember driving by the huge parking lot for The Inn at Virginia Tech, seeing it was completely filled with media trucks. My family went to the drillfield a few days after the tragedy to see a temporary memorial, and I remember seeing news correspondents and cameramen everywhere tracking down anyone that looked like they might be a student. It was all so intrusive and crazy. Thankfully as each year passes, the Blacksburg community continues to remain a strong unit. We slowly let go of the painful memories, and band together just as fiercely as during the first vigil. I am proud to not only be a member of the Blacksburg community, but also of the Hokie nation. I would never want to be anything else.
6 Scene on campus
WAVING GOODBYE TO VIRGINIA TECH AND MY SISTERS
Dear Virginia Tech and Pi Beta Phi,You have treated me very well over the past four years, even when I didn’t Pi Beta Phi deserve it. You’ve gotten me through difficult exams Jordan is a senior studying communications and French. You may and papers, and long nights contact her at email@example.com. and hangovers. Virginia Tech, you’ve given me the opportunity to grow as a student and a person. You welcomed me into the Hokie community and family, and through Pi Beta Phi, you gave me a home away from home. I may have one biological sister back home, but here, I have almost 200 sisters, and across the world I have many more than that.
It is a reflection of my time at Virginia Tech and in Pi Beta Phi. I remember sitting at home in Northern Virginia and making a list of universities I would apply for admissions. I’m sorry, but Virginia Tech, you weren’t even on my radar at first. Having a sister who was a UVA student really messed me up in terms of having an open mind when applying to colleges. My parents made me add Virginia Tech to the list of schools we would visit during spring break of my junior year in high school. The weather at Virginia Tech has certainly never changed. It was mid-April when I first visited here and the sky spat out snow flurries during our tour. “It doesn’t always snow in April!” students shouted to our tour as they hustled across the Drillfield from class to class. I now know that is inaccurate, as it just snowed a few weeks ago. I remember being accepted to Virginia Tech in February of 2010 and coming down for a visit as an “admitted student.” I felt something when I stepped on campus for the second time. I knew that Virginia Tech was where I was meant to go to college, even if I let myself think for the longest time that it maybe wasn’t for me. I had to carry my open mind with me the following spring when I wanted to join a sorority. I remember when I went through sorority recruitment, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t find my home in Oak Lane like my mother found her home in her sorority, and as my cousins had in their chapters. As the rounds of recruitment continued on, I was drawn more and more to Pi Phi. It wasn’t the bright pink and green Lilly Pulitzer decorations that graced the walls of the house during philanthropy round, and it wasn’t the philanthropy and sisterhood videos that demonstrated what life could be like if I became a part of this chapter. It was the conversations I had day after day during recruitment and throughout my time in Pi Phi that solidified the fact that Pi Phi is the place for me. I remember stepping through the doors of 65 Oak Lane on preference night and knowing that I would be here on Bid Day. Do you ever just have a feeling and know that something is going to turn out a certain way? It’s an amazing feeling when things actually work out. As I am so close to graduating, I have been taking the time to look back on my time in college. There are some decisions I could have made differently, but I don’t think I would change a thing about my college experience. Virginia Tech and Pi Beta Phi have helped me grow as a person and I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else for college or in Oak Lane. Love always, Jordan
Scene on campus
YOU KNOW YOU GO TO VIRGINIA TECH WHEN... 1) Your lint from the dryer is tinted maroon or orange. 2) Going downtown on a Tuesday is not only acceptable but highly encouraged. 3) You’ve had at least one throw down with Parking Services in your 4 years. 4) It’s sunny and 75 at noon and snowing by 10 p.m. 5) You wandered around Pheasant Phun parties as a freshman. 6) Waiting in line at Qdoba for 25 minutes is worth every second. 7) Hokiespa is FAR FROM an actual spa. 8) TOTS. That is all. 9) The Campus squirrels are your friends. 10) You’ve always contemplated getting hit by a bus to get free tuition. 11) You had not one but TWO snow days this year. 12) Enter Sandman is the anthem of God. 13) You’ll skip you 10:10 to sleep but wake up at 7 a.m. to tailgate.
14) You’ve done at least one Bburg summer staycation in your 4 years. 15) You’ve been to the Cascades. 16) You’ve had to waddle back home after eating D2. 17) At least half of your friends lived in Pritchard their freshman year. 18) Drop/add is the devil. 19) Finding a commuter parking spot at noon on a Tuesday is equivalent to the Hunger Games. 20) Everyone is from NOVA. 21) Or Jersey. 22) You hate UVA with a flying passion. 23) You know never to go to Bruegger’s before 11 a.m. if you’re in a hurry. 24) You will never ever, ever learn to navigate Newman Library no matter how many times you go there. 25) You feel gipped when you have to pay real money at the library coffee shop,
Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Subway. 26) You get more excited about football season than your birthday. 27) You’ve checked the Hokie Bucket List to make sure you’re on the track to do everything on it by the time you graduate. 28) You’ve been to Homeplace.
every single time you drive around the drillfield. 35) You’ve pulled an all-nighter at the Empo. 36) 1 a.m. DX runs. 37) You ALWAYS carry an umbrella to class.
29) And laid in the grass and wallowed in your sorrows afterwards before driving home.
38) You always have your keys ready for game-day.
30) You know exactly which grocery store to go to when someone says to meet them at the Gucci Krog.
40) And no matter what, you’ll always be a Hokie.
31) Same goes for the Gucci El Rods. 32) You’ve acted like you were talking on the phone to avoid the people handing out flyers on the drillfield. 33) You’ve played trivia at Sharkey’s on Tuesday. 34) You almost hit a biker
39) You go to the best school in the country.
ALLI POORE Chi Omega
Alli is a junior studying communications. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8 Scene on campus
VICTORIA GOOD AND LAUREN FURTNER, THE TWO BEHIND VT RELAY’S GREEK COMMUNITY Virginia Tech Relay For Life, the number one collegiate relay team in the world, has
as a community-wide
an amazing goal this year — to raise $600,000 and have at least 6,500 participants at
philanthropy and work
their event on April 25. Everyone’s participation in this overnight fundraising walk
to fight cancer helps create a world without this threatening disease.
fundraising for this great
Victoria Good and Lauren Furtner are the two Greek recruitment chairs for VT
BRIANA TRULEAR Sigma Kappa
Briana is a junior studying communications & public relations. You may contact her at email@example.com.
Relay For Life and help members from the Greek community get involved with this
The VT Relay committee
life-altering cause. Both women relay for their own reasons. Good relays for her
hosts events to help draw in
father, who developed prostate cancer, her grandmother and everyone else who has
more Greeks. The two hit-
a loved one fighting cancer. Furtner has been has been involved with Relay For Life
off events are Dinner And Dancing and the New Member Recruitment Challenge. For
for seven years and has started focusing on children with cancer whom she hopes
Dinner and Dancing, Relay provided a buffet dinner at Top of the Stairs for attendees.
will, one day, have the carefree life they deserve.
After dinner, Salsa Tech came to TOTs and gave everyone a free Salsa lesson. This
As the Greek recruitment chairs for Relay For Life, Good and Furtner ’s goals for this year are to increase the participation of the Greek community from 25 percent to 75 percent. Greeks make up a large portion of the VT Relay community and they would love to keep the numbers growing. While each individual chapter has their own philanthropy, Good and Furtner are hoping that chapters adopt Relay For Life
was a creative way to get everyone together in a fun environment with also all the proceeds going to Relay For Life. Since new members just got into sororities. VT Relay also had a challenge to see which sorority could have the most new members sign up to relay. There were three incentives to help encourage members to sign up: first pick of where they would like to be on the Drillfield for the walk, team captains of the sorority get a free shirt and all the new members who signed up within the week would have a catered food party. With 45 new members signed up and ready to go, Delta Gamma was the winner of this challenge! On a weekly basis, the committee works on developing new fundraising ideas and events to target Tech’s huge Greek community to encourage participation in Relay For Life. Weekly meetings don’t sound too enthusing for most, so the committee fosters a fun environment which gets members excited about attending meetings. This environment helps keep ideas flowing and meetings end up being more productive. In the future, Good and Furtner plan to reach out to the Greek community in a smaller way by targeting three or four chapters at a time – specifically, one of the larger sororities and two or three of the larger fraternities to help people feel more accountable. The fundraisers and events will be smaller and more personal, to show members, on a deeper level, the impact of relaying. As their excitement for the start of the actual walk grows, Good and Furtner already know what they’re looking forward to the most. For Good, it’s all the Greek booths out on the field, the different fundraisers everyone came up with and seeing letters everywhere. Furtner is anticipating the survivor lap and seeing how many more men, women and children in their purple shirts take the first lap and inspire Hokie Nation. Relay For Life is one of the most influential fundraisers I have ever witnessed. While this event brings in people from all over the community, Greeks are a driving force behind the scenes and the work that Good and Furtner do is extraordinary. To have something so large be a part of the Virginia Tech Greek community is unique. As a member of this community, I’m looking forward with excitement to see hundreds of more survivors taking that first lap, reinforcing everything we Hokies fight for.
500 words on life
MRS DEGREES: A THING OF THE PAST I’m not in college to find
my husband. I’m here to get an education. All too often,
MORGAN COYNER Kappa Kappa Gamma
women are put into a box. They are defined by their relationships to men. The concept of an MRS degree
Morgan is a senior studying religion and culture. You may contact her at morgan. firstname.lastname@example.org.
is one example of this. As a liberal arts major, I am used to getting questions like, “why did you come to Tech to study that?” or “what are you going to do with that after graduation?” Yet, there is one question that bothers me beyond all others. Without fail, there is always someone, and it’s almost always a guy, who asks “Oh, so you’re getting your MRS?” First, let me just say, no. No. No. No. I am not getting my MRS degree. Brittany Rivero, a senior psychology major, has also gotten this question many times. Her response is, “This is not the 1950s, and the concept of an MRS degree is archaic.” This archaic view has been made worse by websites like TFM and TSM. For example, one TSM post reads, “It doesn’t matter how you do on your finals, as long as your future husband is acing his.” Do we really care that little about the outcome of our education? It’s a sad reality that many marriages end in divorce. What happens when those who cared so little about their education are left with nothing? Do they have anything left to create a life for themselves? Rivero also mentioned that she is not, “working hard for a degree so [she] can spend [her] life vacuuming in pearls and high heels.” This idea of the perfect trophy wife has been taken too far. Ladies, stand up and realize that your talents deserve to be given to the world! You deserve a career and a life that you are proud of, whatever that means for you. I love to bake, but I also love my research. I can knit a sweater, but I can also write a twelve-page research paper in one night. The two are not mutually exclusive. They can actually co-exist quite peacefully. Let me make a quick clarification. There is nothing wrong with being a stay-athome mom or wanting to have children and get married. In fact, I plan on having a family, some day, and I will probably stay home with my children when they are young. If being a wife and a mother is the life that will make you proud, then defend it and do it. You want to homeschool your kids, too? Do it. A stay-at-home mom with a college degree is still a woman with a college degree.
It doesn’t make her hard work and effort in her college years any different than a man who studied engineering and ends up working for a prestigious engineering firm. Women work just as hard as men do for their degrees, so why should it matter what they end up doing with them? My dad majored in agricultural engineering and spent 30 years selling insurance. Would you say that his effort toward a degree he never used was worthless? I bet not, because he’s a man. However, if I never touch my religion degree, I’ll probably hear comments about it. What about the woman who majored in architecture, one of Tech’s hardest programs, and ends up being a stay-at-home mom? Is she more valuable than me because her major is deemed “difficult” by society? No. I honestly don’t believe that. All of our collegiate experiences are equal and valuable because they are different. You simply cannot compare writing a research paper that critically analyzes Greek words in the New Testament to doing a senior design project for engineering. They are two different entities, both challenging in their own, unique ways. All I’m trying to say is that it’s offensive for someone to assume what a woman wants in her future based on her gender or her major. So, next time you want to ask someone what they intend to do with their major after graduation, I hope you’ll choose to do it in a less blatantly sexist way. Start a conversation without assumptions and see where it goes. You may be surprised.
10 500 words on life
EXCUSING EXCUSES ADAM BECERRA Delta Tau Delta
Adam is a junior studying biochemistry and psychology. You may contact him at email@example.com. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and you’re inside finishing that assignment at the last minute even though you’ve had more than enough time to do before now. But you didn’t do it, and you don’t know why. And it’s not just assignments, it’s opportunities to learn and grow in general. It’s learning a new language, it’s studying abroad, it’s talking to that guy or gal who makes you blush when they walk through the door. It’s not doing all you’ve ever wanted until it’s too late and you don’t know why. Are you scared of failure? Worried about impossibility? Why do we consistently do the opposite of what we know we want to
do in our lives? Maybe we are afraid of success.
Recently I had a talk with my parents about my future that opened my eyes to a new idea. We have had similar conversations about possible careers and responsibilities, but we never really saw eye to eye. My ammo in the argument was they wanted me to be something I’m not. I wanted space to “find myself” and “pursue my passions” in life, but I had no way to back up my methods for doing so, and hence was shot down by their rebuttal on a need for “financial stability” and criticism on my lack of a “plan” and the battle continued. Crazy right? Then I had an epiphany of sorts…that in reality we both want the same thing: for me to be happy. We just see two different sides of the same coin. But how did I realize that? What’s the big secret that finally diminished the adolescent friction my parents never dreamed they’d have to deal with? My perspective changed, and in that moment I let myself believe I could succeed. You see, we put up walls when we think something is impossible. My walls supported the belief that I couldn’t pursue what I love because my parents disapproved of my dreams. First of all, my parents didn’t believe that at all when we really
talked about it, and second, who cares? In the long run I’m the one who has to come to terms with my own decisions. What walls have you built up? Which opportunities haven’t you given the chance? I learned that I have put up my walls myself, and maybe other people have helped, but I must never attribute the walls to them in spite of that. Our walls block us from what we want to accomplish in different ways, but they all can crumble down one way or another if we stop making excuses and believe in ourselves. So that’s my secret, I stopped making excuses. I believe in myself, my walls now rubble beneath my feet. You can do whatever you want to do in life. You can be whatever you want to be and love whoever you want to love. Tear down the walls that hold you back because if anyone can…it’s you. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” —Marianne Williamson
500 words on life
STOP ROMANICIZING PEOPLE WHO ARE NO GOOD FOR YOU I get it. It’s easy to be distracted by the charismatic guy in a bowtie who seems to have been taught how to dance by the same man who choreographed Magic Mike. It’s hard to ignore the guy that slipped you that perfectly crafted line (that he used on at least four of your sisters last weekend) right when you needed to hear it.
Kappa Kappa Gamma Jennifer is a junior studying public relations. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It can be difficult to know who is worth taking a chance on and who isn’t worth another glance. I’m here to shake you awake and help you realize that you need to stop chasing after people who are no good for you. If it isn’t helping you grow or making you feel good, why are you doing it? This goes for friendships and relationships alike. People don’t realize how big of a toll relationships take on them until they’re lying on the cold hard ground, lifeless and hurt at the end of a fight. We’re all capable of focusing on things that are important to us, but if you ask around, not many people will say that their heart is at the top of that list. Why not? We take care of our bodies, our studies, our friends, our hair, our nails, our homes, etc., but why does it take us so long to realize that the most sacred thing we have to offer needs a little TLC, too? I want to remind you to not give your heart so freely. I’m the worst at taking my own advice, but I can assure you that it takes a toll on you when you’re spreading yourself so thin. You know the line, “wait for a man who will call you beautiful instead of hot…”? Well, I want you to wait for a man who will respect you, a man who will encourage and adore you. A man who will do all of these things described below, because when you accept anything less, I can promise you that you’re cheating yourself. A man worthy of your time will value more than your appearance. He will respect you through and through and he will never be out to make you look stupid. He will value your character and adore your personality, and he’ll probably love a few the things that you hate about yourself. He will think it’s sexy that you’re intelligent and he will never put you down for being studious. He will view your kindness and humility as a sense of strength rather than a sign of weakness. He will know you for who you really are, inside and out, and he will never try to change your character. The things he will fall in love with you for will be things that are within your realm of control, rather than what you didn’t get to pluck from the gene pool. He will commend you for the traits, skills, and attributes that you have worked hard to develop, and he will honor the values you hold dear. The man worthy of your time will not be intimidated by your goals and ambitions. A strong man can handle a strong woman, but a weak man will be threatened by one. He will have goals of his own and he will want you to succeed just as badly as he wants it for himself. He will want to be with someone who has her own hopes and dreams and is willing to work to achieve them, because he knows that ambition is attractive. He will have a desire to stand tall alongside you in all that you do, and he will support your decisions rather than reprimand you for them. He will strive to keep your partnership healthy, rather than continuously look for reasons why it should fail. It will be a partnership, not a dictatorship. He will always answer your questions, no matter how silly they may be. He will not make you feel stupid for trying to learn, but rather he’ll help you find the answers. He will not
cower away from issues or make things uncomfortable, he instead will approach issues with a respect and kindness. He will be direct and prompt about things that need to be talked about and he will not make excuses for his behavior. Mind games and manipulation have no place in a relationship. He will trust you and have confidence in you both. A true gentleman will do what it takes to make you happy, and you will do the same for him. A healthy relationship is a balancing act, with each person’s happiness bringing a sense of pleasure to the relationship. Lastly, the man worth your time will want you to be the best “you” you can be. Cliché, but think about how much truth there is to that statement. Would you want someone who encouraged you to skip class so you two could spend more time together, or someone who discouraged you taking your dream internship because it’s far away from him? No. He will want what is best for YOU. He will not want to change you, but help you strive for greatness by pushing, empowering, coaching, challenging, and encouraging you, daily. If someone is bringing you down, let them go. If someone is disrespecting you, let them go. If someone is lying to you, playing you, or making you feel like you’re merely a last resort, for the love of God, please let them go. Do not stand for people who make you feel like you’re worth less than you really are… as Sharleen from The Bachelor once said, wait for the man who sees you as a panda in a room full of brown bears. You’ll thank yourself later
12 500 words on entertainment
HOW TO IMPRESS A GUY IN 1O MOVIES
Being a poor college student, the idea of spending money or having money spent on dates is a nightmare. There’s got to be a way to have some special time with the ones we’re crushing on, without spending the big bucks.
PAYTON OWEN Sigma Kappa
Payton is a sophomore studying communications. You may contact her at email@example.com.
A quick fix to have some alone time without dropping big bills is the classic movie night. Ordering a RedBox and having a mad cuddle session on the couch is both romantic and cheap! However, picking the best movie is a huge battle. Typically, men don’t want to watch a Rom-Com. It would be too awkward if the guy is not enjoying the movie and the girl is completely obsessed with it. From one date, the couple will have realized that perhaps they are not so similar, creating doubt in the relationship. Also you have to pick a movie that doesn’t have any uncomfortable moments of break ups, exes, a lot of sex, or any other crazy relationship geared scenes will make the whole experience pleasurable. It is important to pick a movie that is short enough, just in case the sparks aren’t flying. Pick a great movie and the guy will be so impressed he will have to ask you out again!
10. The Dark Night: No Need to be Serious here. “I like them with a little fight in them” The action storyline and adventure is perfect for boys, while no girl can resist Christian Bale. 9. Fight Club: Two words: BRAD PITT. “There are no rules here.” Another great action/crime thriller perfect for guys, but with enough shirtless men fighting each other to be irresistible for girls. 8. 21 Jump Street, 2012: Who knew Channing Tatum is hot AND funny? “Get ready for a lifetime of being bada$$ motherf**kas.” A comedy can lessen awkward tension and break the ice. This hilarious cast of characters is too perfect and guarantees some laughs. The 1 hr 49 mins is short, yet long enough to keep the laughs going. 7. Kill Bill: Only if his name isn’t Bill, that’d be creepy. “Watch your eye.” Nothing can beat a Quentin Tarantino film. Any Tarantino film will work because every single one is a great experience. This one is perfect for both genders, especially since it has a hot blonde kickin major a** for 1 hr and 51 mins. 6. Slumdog Millionaire: Bring on the action, drama, and romance! “Get your Jai Ho on.” A boy going through crazy lengths for the girl he loves?! Hint, hint. 5. Gravity: By the end he’ll be saying, “Don’t Let Go” “Stay with me Geoge Clooney.” This movie is powerful and tension-filled. The two of you will be stuck together like glue when you watch it. 4. Shaun of the Dead: A typical romance film, with Zombies? “Hold me, I’m afraid of Zombies.” This British movie is perfect for some laughs, he’ll appreciate the violence combined with some humor. 3. Jerry Maguire: Romance elements in a sports setting. “Show me more than the money.”You’ll love the romantic lines like, “You complete me,” from a young and sexy Tom Cruise. He’ll love the sports business transactions, and just might get a few tips. 2. The Hangover: We’ve all ben there. “Oh, boy’s and their bachelor parties.” A tiger in the bathroom, an Asian man in the trunk, and a baby in the closet... this film keeps us all guessing what’s next. 1. Die Hard: He might just kiss you for the suggestion. “Yipee ki-yea... you know the rest.” The action, explosions, and crazy tension is a classic “dude” movie that is able to thrill! Take your pick and enjoy your special night in!
THE INTERNAL STRUGGLE OF FEASTING ON YOUR SCHOOL MASCOT At every football game my mother has come to, she can’t help but call everyone a ro u n d
LINDSAY DAY Chi Omega
him around in a cart at the football games. Even though the president at the time strongly discouraged it, believing it was cruel to the turkey, Meade continued to flaunt his mascot and even trained it to gobble on command.
enjoying their turkey legs
He took it a whole step farther in 1913 when he began having a large turkey pull
Lindsay is a senior studying horticulture. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From then on the fans and sports writers adopted the term Gobblers, and it just kind of stuck. In the late 1970s, the football coach at the time did not like the connotation
Of course, that’s not the
of Gobblers and began to encourage the term “Hokie” as the mascot title. By then,
end of it. My sister, who
they were already using a large turkey costume, and the Gobbler turned into the
graduated from that other school down the road in Charlottesville, claims she gets
HokieBird we know today.
a little bit of revenge from football season when she bites into her turkey dinner on Thanksgiving evening. Being a descendant of a very successful turkey farmer, I find that it is a bittersweet season as the Butterball turkeys roll into every Kroger and Food Lion. But are we really cannibals? Is there really any need to feel this conflict? We all know our lovely mascot looks an awful lot like a turkey, but he is very clearly a HokieBird. What exactly is a Hokie anyway? I know each and every one of us is a Hokie, but where did this craziness all start? Truth is, the word “Hokie” started as just a made up word in a chant. Contrary to popular belief, the word has nothing to do with turkeys at all. It all started a long time ago in the 19th century when there was a contest for the students to come up with a new spirit yell for the college. A young man by the name of O.M. Stull (class of 1896) submitted the chant, winning a $5 grand prize. Everyone was taught it at our orientation. It is fairly under-utilized but as traditional as they come. The Old Hokie cheer goes (sing it loud and proud): Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy. Techs, Techs, V.P.I. Sola-Rex, Sola-Rah. Polytechs - Vir-gin-ia. Rae, Ri, V.P.I. Team! Team! Team! The phrase “Team! Team! Team!” was not part of the original chant and was added later, along with the “e” on the Hokie. Our notorious Chicago maroon and burnt orange colors were shortly added to encourage student spirit even more. We are still forgetting another very important part of the story; where did this turkey bird come from? Before we were the Hokies, we were known in the area as the Gobblers. There is dispute as to where that title originally stemmed from, but all they know is it was already here when local Blacksburg-ian Fred Meade was chosen to be the mascot.
We all know he has seen several make-overs in the past couple decades, but we love him through and through, and can’t resist a smile when we see him shaking his tail feathers in Lane Stadium or doing the Hokie Pokie with the Marching Virginians. You may still feel conflicted that we serve up the original inspiration behind our beloved HokieBird each year, but I assure you, they are two separate entities. You can enjoy your turkey legs and Thanksgiving dinners in peace, all the while sharing the story behind our mascot. Happy Thanksgiving!
14 Humor lol
UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE OF WOMEN:
WHAT WE SAY VS. WHAT WE MEAN MEGHAN CAPPS Chi Omega
Meghan is a junior studying agricultural economics & political science. You may contact her at email@example.com. This is for all of the guys out there. Have you ever felt like girls were saying one thing but meant something totally different? Chances are that you are probably right for once. In order to help you out since I know I’m just as guilty of this as the next girl, here is some insight on what we really mean. “It’s fine, I’m fine, we’re fine,” or any variation: Fine is not a good word for women. We don’t want anything to be fine. We always want to have our cake and eat it too (without gaining an ounce of course). If a girl tells you she is fine it probably means that she is just tired of arguing about it because you are obviously too dense to realize you are in the wrong. You will realize soon
enough how “fine” she really was when it either continues to come up until you admit defeat, or she starts withholding bedroom privileges. In summary, fine means the opposite.
a party without her. If you actually take her up on this, then you alone deserve the consequences. No man in his right mind should ever actually do whatever he wants after this statement.
“It’s up to you.”: There is no way that this ever means it is actually up to you. It means you better make the decision I want and not make me feel bad about it. No girl wants everyone to know she wears the pants. She wants to do what she wants to do, but make it look like it was all your idea. This line is also a last resort at the end of an argument. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you actually think it is up to you…
“Wow.”: Guys, wow is never a compliment. Wow is a reflection of your stupidity. The more o’s in the word, the more baffled we are. Wow is a term used when girls cannot believe you are stupid enough to do, say or buy something. It’s reserved for the first time she sees you trading in your rugged full beard for a mustache, that time you thought it would be a good idea to have the waiters at Outback sing to her on her 22nd birthday, or the moment when she takes your shirt off and realizes that you have shaved your fraternity letters out of your back hair. Wow…
“Nothing.”: Something. Nothing always means there is something. Lucky for you, it’s usually a double edged sword. Not only is she mad about something, but she’s also mad that you don’t know what it is. Best case scenario: you can figure out what is wrong and fix it. Worst case scenario: just keep trying to figure it out. Nothing will make her more mad then you actually believing that “nothing” means nothing. “Do whatever you want.”: Do not, I repeat, do NOT do whatever you want. This is like a child being double-dog-dared. It’s not an actual invitation for you to go to the strip club or to
“I’m not looking for a relationship, just fun.”: No girl is just looking for fun. Ever. Her idea of fun is to start by hooking up, then turn it into a committed relationship. After two years or so, it will lead to a ring by Spring. Doesn’t that sound like fun guys? So now that you know how to speak the language of women, I recommend chocolate when she says things are fine, flowers when she says nothing, and wine for anything and everything above. You are welcome.