I believe I did not deserve to get into Virginia Tech.
It’s true. I didn’t. I looked up the statistics, and I had the lowest GPA of any student that was accepted to Tech out of my high school. I wasn’t involved in any impressive organizations either. I believed going into my freshman year that the only reason I got in was because I was a legacy. Over the next four years, I would have to prove that I belonged.
Freshman year was intimidating. While Virginia Tech was a family school, I still felt out of place. As many other freshmen do, I explored the variety of organizations on campus and ultimately decided to join a fraternity my first semester. But I wanted it to be more than a group of friends — I wanted to be involved. I started off as pledge class treasurer, which ended up being the beginning of a multitude of leadership opportunities that my fraternity would offer me. I was busier than most freshmen, and my older friends assured me I was going along the right path. However, I still felt I didn’t belong.
Self-Understanding & Integrity
Sophomore year, I spent my time focusing on academics. My first year was busier than I anticipated, and my grades suffered accordingly. I devoted myself to a new regiment of studying, and I spent a lot more time alone at the Empo working on accounting homework than I did with friends. It was hard for me at times, but as a natural introvert, I enjoyed the quiet time I had to myself. It also allowed me to reflect a lot on the experiences I had in college up to that point. I feel that I matured a lot that semester, and my hard work paid off. I got straight A’s that year. However, I still felt I didn’t belong.
Junior year was the year I devoted myself to my career. Like most college students, I had no idea what I wanted to do after college. I needed to learn how to transform myself from a college student into a professional. I was in the bubble of Blacksburg and in two years’ time I would be in a far more diverse environment. I spent a lot of time that Fall networking with companies — learning from professionals how people with diverse backgrounds connect and work together in large firms. Fast forward to the Spring, I signed on to intern with EY. I felt a strong sense of pride from such an achievement. However, I still felt I didn’t belong.
Senior year has been different than the others. I signed a full time job offer in August, so there was no longer the immense pressure to succeed in the classroom. Instead, I spent my time looking to my younger residents in my residential advisor role. I devoted myself to their personal growth by sharing my experiences and the lessons I had learned along the way. In the recent months, there have been plenty of bumps, but even with my most troubled residents, I have seen them mature in ways I didn’t think possible. After seeing the positive impact I had on those young Hokies, I finally felt I belonged.
I went three years with that subtle feeling that I didn’t deserve to be at Virginia Tech, but through living out the Aspirations of Student Learning, that eventually changed. Virginia Tech not only made me a part of its community, but it has also inspired me to be more and do more for those around me.