I remember the day my mom dropped me off here at Castleton for my freshmen year; she cried, I scowled. She begged me to say goodbye, to say anything to her. I just glared and kept my mouth shut. As she drove away, she kept her face pressed to the car window, hoping that I might have a change of heart and run after her. But I didn’t.
I had dreamed of going somewhere else for college, somewhere out west with lumbering mountains or near the ocean so I could run on the beach everyday. I wanted a college with all new faces and not a piece of camo clothing anywhere.
But I ended up at Castleton, flooded with faces from high school and camo attire in every classroom. I blamed my parents. Now I thank them.
The past years here have been everything to me. I’ve spent a semester in the southwest, hiking through the Grand Canyon and camping in the desert. I got swine flu my first year after the slutty Halloween party at Flubb’s. I met my boyfriend in suite 304 Wheeler.
I’ve also struggled here. Putting myself through college financially put a cap on a lot of things I could have done as a student here; I was always working full time. I wanted to run cross country and be on the tennis team. Instead, I woke up at 3:30 a.m most days to work at a bakery in Middlebury. Parties? Mostly out of the question unless I felt like suffering severely the next day. New laptop or snowboarding equipment? Nope, all that money went to school so that I could graduate with no debt.
But come December, it will be worth it. Or at least I keep telling myself that. I’m graduating a semester later than I should have and it freaked me out at first. Freaked me out to the point that I cried if someone looked at me the wrong way or mentioned a graduation party. But I made it through. And I would not have made it through without the help of my advisor, Dave Blow.
Freshmen year I took a class with Dave, and right away he saw something in me that even I had missed; a passion for writing. Over the years, Dave has sent me many texts and emails, called me into his office, encouraging me when I faltered and verbally kicking my ass when I got lazy or overwhelmed. He is constantly telling me I have what it takes to be a journalist, that hard work, talent and passion are they key ingredients for my dream job. He knew when to be kind and when to give me a shove. Mostly I needed a lot of shoves.
So find what you love and who you love. Work hard. Strive toward your passions. Set goals. Ignore the camo patterned leggings the girl next to you is wearing. And let someone who cares give you a shove.