My Challenge to ODU Students

Growing up in a small town in southwest Virginia, I really believed that moving to the city would be a bigger deal. The small town vibe was boring and I couldn’t stand it any longer. When I started applying for colleges I only had three requirements - a good music scene, in state tuition and to be as far away from Salem, VA as possible.

The funny thing about growing up in a small town is you really start to build this sense of community. You know everyone and nothing bad ever happens there. It’s just as cliche as the movies make it out to be. We lived for Friday night football games. There were bonfires and kickbacks and everything that should be part of a small town.

But my stubborn ass wanted out! There weren’t enough opportunities for me in Salem. When I got accepted to Old Dominion, I knew it was where I wanted to be.

It really was everything I wanted. I loved the big city lights and being right down the road from The NorVa. I liked having a mall with more than ten stores and being a short drive from the beach. I loved meeting new people and learning about other cultures.

It was with a sudden realization that with everything going on in Norfolk, with all of the art and culture swarming around me, ODU itself is a very apathetic community. It was a sad realization, because where I grew up everyone was so involved. We were at every football game, every basketball game, cheering on our school.

At almost 25,000 students, one would think that our community would be more active, or want to be more involved. We have students starting our clothing lines, students who have their own businesses. It’s frustrating knowing that where I grew up, this stuff never happened. People never went out and did things. I wanted to be someone who would do things. I never wanted to be that person who said that I never left Salem.

I love living here. It’s better than I could have hoped. The people I have met, the art I have seen, and just the overall experience has made it all worthwhile. I think that as big of a school as we are, people would want to do more. So, this is my challenge to you: go get involved. There are over 300 student organizations on this campus. If you feel like one isn’t the right fit for you - go start a new one! There are countless opportunities here, and I think that it’s time we started taking advantage of them.

(via Giphy