You Know You Go To VMI When...

You Know You Go To VMI When...

Virginia Military Institute: A place filled with integrity, uniformity and these 7 things you just don’t get at a normal college.

To all of the Virginia Military Institute cadets both present and past — these are the things we all know to be true. You can try to explain VMI to outsiders, but at the end of the day, they just won't understand what our college life is like. And how it is so different from the typical college student. If you go to VMI, you know these seven things to be true.

1.) You Dread The Return

Whether it’s coming back from summer furlough, an enjoyable Thanksgiving break or a quick trip to JMU for the weekend, VMI has a unique way of making our stomach’s churn as we approach the castle like barracks. Yes, there always seems to be a pit deep in our stomach that lasts from the first view of house mountain all the way until we make it back to our room and then, poof, it dissipates as if we had never left. It doesn’t matter whether you are a rat or a first; each and every one of us has felt the shear anxiety of returning to The Mother I.

2.) You Are Rudely Awoken From Your Naps

While most college students take naps, at VMI it is both a rarity and a commonality to take a nap. You see, it’s very common to see people sleeping throughout the day in various, and rather unique places. However, the naps you see are rarely more than twenty minutes. We almost are at the point where we are drooling and then our door swings open and our inspector walks in the door. We are sitting at our desk taking detailed notes and then our notes on plant biodiversity turn into scribbles all down the page. Our minds begin playing a dream and suddenly we hear loud counting echoing into our rooms- “1, 2,3… one for F-Troop.”

3.) You See A Piece Of Paper On Your Desk And Get Instant Anxiety

There’s nothing worse than coming back from your class, walking in your door and spotting that white piece of paper just lying on your desk. “See me,” is written on it just to make your heart beat a little bit harder. Now instead of taking that useless nap, you have to throw on your Gray Blouse and make the walk to Com Staff’s Office, each step making you realize that instead of taking that trip to Tech, you will be making several trips in circles holding a rifle.

4.) A Weekend Is Actually Only 24 Hours, Or Less

Most college students finish their classes at 12 p.m. Friday afternoon, but not VMI cadets. We finish our classes, play dress up and walk across the parade deck, eagerly wait two hours for Tongs to deliver our food and then endure a painful 4-hour football game on Saturday afternoon before we are able to enjoy what’s left of our weekend. To most, it wouldn’t seem like it would be worth it to leave just for that short amount of time, but to us it is the only thing motivating us to make it through that week. Sure it may be 24 hours or less, but we can certainly say that we make the most of that time.

5.) The Only Partying You Do Involves A Lot Of Sweat And A Lot Of Yelling

Sweat parties, a long time tradition at VMI. Yes, these fifteen-minute workouts are both dreadful and exciting. While every other college student is gaining 15 pounds in alcohol, we are losing fifteen pounds of water weight. Whether they are thrown in Cocke Hall or in the Courtyard, at 5 a.m or 11:15 p.m., VMI by far throws the most unique parties.

6.) The Best Week Of The Semester Is Exam Week

For most, it’s the most stressful time of the year, but not on the hill. With a weeklong haydown, form-up, fall-out formations, no inspections, cheap pizza, unlimited study hours and Krispy Kreme deliveries, exam week is by far a fan favorite. Of course there is a little bit of panic about passing your exams, but at the end of the day, everyone can take it easy and focus solely on academics for once in that semester. Besides, exam week means that you are less than a week away from being away from school for a long while, so that in itself is motivation. Oh and did I mention Krispy Kreme deliveries?

7.) You Love Your Brother Rats More Than Anything

Sure, it’s hard going back to school; sure, it’s impossible to take a rejuvenating nap; sure, two-day weekends are basically unheard of, but no matter what, we have the absolute best group of people surrounding us all the time. The bond we make together is a bond that can never be broken and our BR's are our family. Each one of us has found at least one person here who has changed our lives for the better. And at the end of the day, no matter how tired we are or how hard our day was we all can look around and agree that we wouldn’t change it for anything.

Cover Image Credit: dpayne

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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4 Insightful Quotes From 'The Alchemist' That Will Resonate With People Who Want To Follow Their Dreams

Paulo Coelho's famed coming-of-age novel continues to inspire readers today with following their dreams.


In "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho, a young boy named Santiago embarks on a life-changing journey to find a hidden treasure in the pyramids of Egypt and learns the importance of following one's destiny along the way. Since its release in the 1990s, "The Alchemist" has captivated people all over the world, including TV personality Oprah Winfrey and actor Will Smith.

With its powerful messages of love and gratitude, here are some of the most insightful quotes from the novel that will resonate with those who want to find and pursue their purpose in life.

1. “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

Dawn, seaside and sea HD

On his journey, Santiago learns that love exists as a universal language in the world. When people follow their dreams and passions, they are driven by the power of love. With this power, one can guide themselves on the path to finding their own treasure and accomplishing their goals. Actively shaping your destiny through love can also positively improve how you perceive everything around you.

2. “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

Sunset Sunrise Sun

Too often people live their days accustomed to routine and consistency. When you begin treating each day as a new day full of opportunities and find time to appreciate the good things, you start seeing the beauty of life. This importance of practicing gratitude serves as a reminder to the world that life is fleeting, and we must strive to always make the best and see the best of our situations.

3. “And, when you can't go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”

Lake By The Mountains

Throughout their lives, people will make mistakes and have regrets, and we will often spend days wondering what we could've done differently. We forget that we can't change the past and that the only thing that matters is how we move forward in the present day. So let go of past mistakes and regrets, and focus on how you can improve the present.

4. “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”

Mountains Dirt Road Hill

In the novel, Santiago hears a story of a man who wanted to learn the secret of happiness from a wise king. The king told the man to walk around his palace holding a spoon full of oil and making sure not to spill it. After successfully doing so, he returns to the king and he asks if the man had seen all the beauty of his castle, which he ignored in his quest to keep the oil on the spoon. When following our dreams, we must not lose sight of appreciating all the wonders of life along the way; after all, it's not about the destination, but the journey.

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