Our new intern, Emily McCaul, will be with us for the duration of the upcoming summer. We are very excited to have her! Learn all about Emily, in her own words, from her sophomore year reflections below.
This past year at Virginia Tech was one filled with unthinkable opportunities, spontaneous travels, belly-hollowing fits of laughter, and tragically normal nights of Netflix-watching – because yes, Michael Scott truly is the man. Every day was different, sometimes stressful, yet always there were opportunities provided to smile with friends, drink good coffee, and contribute to a conversation with substance. It was a year of many firsts, some enjoyable, others less-than-bearable, but overall, it was a year of self-discovery.
In addition to my busy schedule as a sophomore at Virginia Tech with a double major in multimedia journalism and creative writing, I had a variety of experiences this year that contributed to my personal growth including:
I moved into my first apartment.
I received my first DSLR camera (it was a Canon, for some saucy specification and standard imagery), then my first tripod, and then my own Tascam recorder. And wow – had I ever truly felt like a journalist before that moment? It was questionable.
I covered a concert for Brad Paisley, Jenny & Tyler, and (my third concert for) Juxtaposition, one of the all-male, award-winning a cappella groups of Virginia Tech – the group is incredibly gifted, and I did shamelessly cry during their rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
I also cried from stress, from heartache and from finals this year; I’m a college girl with a lot on her plate, like many of my other classmates, so I tell myself it’s justified.
I survived finals, aided by my lovely friends from Starbucks, Keurig, Mill Mountain, EspressOasis, Bollo’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. Also, before you ask, yes, I do take coffee with my coffee.
I snapplaused to poetry in a safe place, and yes, I did love it.
I experienced New York City at Christmas, standing on top of Rockefeller Center in the middle of the night, with my sister and best friend.
I screamed over the madness that was a near upset in Met Life Stadium, four days before Christmas, as the undefeated Panthers nabbed three (unbelievable) points in overtime over the New York Giants – still cringing.
I applied for an internship with The New York Times during the first round of finals weeks, and two days later received an interview, then an offer to join the team as Virginia Tech’s Collegiate Representative.
I discovered a budding love for videography, which I fed through the creation of multiple, amateur videos of friends and promotional footage for the Times.
I learned to make time for the friendships that meant something to me, and without anticipating it, met a few new friends in the process.
I wrote an article that went viral over the time span of one weekend. It was about Disney Channel. I was not ashamed.
I got a bad hair cut, on a whim, and cried before reaching the car. I’ve since grown out the bad haircut, and it’s okay now.
I rode on a bus for 14 hours to Panama City where I got to play with steel wool on the beach at night, feet sinking into the sand, laughing into the warmth of the sparks, and tucking away the memory for future story telling.
I interviewed Paula Deen in Roanoke when she visited to promote her new furniture line at Grand Home Furnishings. She was incredibly sweet, and I was given the opportunity to share the story of how she overcame her struggle with agoraphobia.
I interviewed the New York Times’ best selling author, critically-acclaimed poet, Grammy nominee, and Virginia Tech professor, Nikki Giovanni, whose humble words of encouragement will forever imprint a perspective upon me I hope to share with others.
I met a boy in line at a coffee shop one night, impromptu and unexpected, who ended up sitting down and talking with me until the shop closed at midnight. That boy is now my boyfriend, and he is incredible.
I witnessed Elton John live in concert, belting out the high-pitched lyrics to Benny and the Jets with hundreds of other women.
I went kayaking for a few hours during the second round of finals week with my best friends, and it was one of the best few hours of my sophomore year.
I consumed far too many caramel cheesecake milkshakes from Cookout.
I watched my best friend graduate from Virginia Tech this spring, pick up her diploma, and hug me through tears and the daunting, ringing thought of ‘….wow, this is real, isn’t it?’
I received a phone call from a starstruck little sister who was named the valedictorian of her high school, of whom I am incredibly proud and look forward to attending school with next year at Virginia Tech, as a freshman in engineering.
And finally, this year I decided I was going to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer in New York City, who is proud of her work, changing lives for the better, and bringing a voice to the profound and voiceless people of today.
That’s what I did this year. It was a year of many firsts, some enjoyable, others less-than-bearable, but overall, it was a year of adventurous and unexpected self-discovery!
Stay tuned for more articles and memorable adventures from Emily this summer!