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.
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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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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!

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Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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