- Class: Senior
- Major: Communications
- Gender: F
- High School: Fairfax
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing is not a thing. It is three things. Firstly, the people. Secondly, the food. And thirdly, the scenery. Because Virginia Tech is such a large school, it can be difficult to make friends immediately. The dorms are a meeting place for many, but for some, involvement in organizations is the best way to meet friends. It can be overwhelming being such a tiny dot on a huge campus, but once you find your niche, the size of the campus becomes an advantage rather than an obstacle. The community is so large and diverse that I truly believe anyone can find friendship. Joining a sorority opens lots of doors, but it's not the only way. Other organizations such as the Student Alumni Association is a great resume builder as well as a way to meet other people trying to get involved. Depending on were your interests lie, academic related organizations are also very social, like the school newspaper or the business fraternities. Moving along, the food is amazing. I believe it's rated among the best in the entire country. Lets face it, food is good. And good food is great. There are so many options, ranging from ABP to a home cooked meal from Westend. And for all the health fanatics, it's very easy to be healthy on campus. It truly is like dining out at a restaurant for every meal. So if you're imagining soggy grilled cheeses and a highschool-ish cafeteria, you're in for something delightful. School pride pervades campus. That's one of the things I love the most about being here. Coming from suburbia in Northern Virginia, there isn't really much pride. Just a bunch of houses. Here, being a Hokie is a way of life. It doesn't stop after graduation either. Hokies are a close knit community despite the large size. It's a very unique dynamic attending a school in such a small town, but with so many students. A small town feel jam packed with diversity. The best of both worlds if you ask me. On to the scenery. There are so many beautiful places. I enjoy taking out the trash from my apartment because as I walk down the stairs I have a beautiful view of mountains. It's breathtaking; definitely better than suburbia. There are also many places to hike in the area, such as my personal favorite, the Cascades. It's a 2 mile hike each way and at the end there's a very large waterfall. When it's warm, you can even get in the water. Speaking of when it's warm- I guess I should mention some downsides of VaTech. It's really not that warm that often. The winter months are tough, lots of gray skies and at least one month of bitter bitter cold. Things are definitely more exciting on campus when the cold subsides. Another downside, though seemingly trivial, is parking. On average, every single student at Virginia Tech gets at least one 30 dollar parking ticket at some point in their college career. Many people get many, many, more. Allow me to introduce exhibit A, my roommate who's gotten 16. Personally I've only gotten one. "Parking services" is ruthless. There's a definite lack of parking on campus, and the guidelines are very vague in many cases- in my view in attempt to give out more tickets. You also have to pay 80 dollars to even be able to park on campus at all during the year. Even having paid your money, you'll spend lots of your time driving in circles trying to get a spot competing against other vultures and slowly driving you mad. My advice is take the bus to class. The Blacksburg Transit can be crowded and annoying, but at least you don't have to fight to the death to park. All in all, freshman year can be tough getting used to the swing of things. But that's true almost anywhere. This school's truly exceeded my expectations for the "college experience".
There are lots of very large classes at Virginia Tech. Many general courses like Intro to Theatre or Psychology have about 500 students. Personally, I enjoy this atmosphere. There is less pressure, and usually the teachers are very good. In fact, looking back on my 4 years of classes, I enjoyed most those huge ones. There's less pressure to impress your teacher, and chances are you know a bunch of people who you get to sit with. The teachers do cool things when they have such large groups. They are under immense pressure having so many students that they really come through with interesting lectures. It's kind of like going to a show sometimes, with movie clips and attention getters very plentiful. Students are competitive. Good colleges, such as this one, weed out unmotivated people before they even get a chance to come here. People do their homework here, and people take studying for tests very seriously. It's so refreshing to be in an environment where so many people care about academics. It's motivating. There is, however, a less close relationship with professors, which can make it difficult when it comes time for recommendations and things of that nature. But if you make the effort, you can form relationships with professors in large classes. They often encourage students to stop by their offices, even if just to say hello. I'm a Communication major and my only complaint with the department is that it's difficult to get the classes you need. Since there are not enough teachers, students are sometimes forced to take classes they don't even need because they're unable to get a spot in the ones they do need. That can be very frustrating. But all in all, I feel looked out for by my department. When it comes time for teacher evaluations, except in maybe 2 or 3 rare occasions, I've rated my teachers near perfect. They're pretty great for the most part.
Racially speaking, VT isn't very diverse. Pretty much, the majority of the people are white. This is something I believe is evolving. The campus is becoming more racially diverse, but I'd be lying if I said it was diverse at this point. There are clubs and groups for different races and religion, probably developed to help people feel less isolated in such a homogeneous environment. I've attended a few Young Democrat meetings and that's really helped me feel more connected to people who share my political beliefs on campus, because it seems to be a fairly conservative campus. There is a strong LBGT community that offers lots of support; members have spoken to several of my classes. I believe people of any sexual orientation can fit in at VT. Different types of students interact. There is very little prejudice here that I've witnessed. There have been some movements protesting the lack of diversity of race among professors, but I don't believe VT is a place that discriminates. People here are smart, and smart people are less likely to discriminate. Even if they are conservative. As far as what students wear to class, that's up to them. Some come to class in sweatpants every single day without fail. Others look like they are about to hit up a club downtown. Live and let live. Wear what you like, most people don't judge.
The Best Things
The Worst Things
The tragedy of the shooting that took place here.