Friday, March 22, 2013

Remembering Bluefield: Brandy Campbell

This week the spotlight falls on Brandy Campbell, who began her time at Bluefield College the same year I did. A mutual friend has told me that my sarcasm will get me punched in the face some day. Well, I'm pretty sure that, back in the day, my sarcasm got me punched in the arm more than a few times by Brandy. Despite taking a beating from time to time, I can honestly say she's one of the best people I've had the honor of knowing.

Brandy Campbell

What year did you graduate?

What degree did you earn?
I double majored in Communication Arts and English, with a minor in Christian Studies (didn't everyone have Christian Studies as part of their major/minor at BC? :) )

What drew you to Bluefield College?
Funny, I just wrote about excerpt from that writing (I was writing about visiting colleges as a senior in high school):
The third school was more than three hours away, west down the interstate, through two tunnels that cut through great hunks of mountain. Bluefield College was nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. It was a tiny campus, and the brick buildings were a little worn. The quad had huge oak trees that dropped red and gold leaves in front of the library. Everything about this campus felt unknown--from the faces I passed to the mountains that rose up from the ground, fog pouring over them like water.
"I think this is the place for me," I said as we drove home.
"It's a long way," Dennis said.
"I know."
What kept you there?
One part stubbornness, two parts community. Bluefield wasn't perfect, but it was the right place for me in that season. I felt supported by the faculty and staff and had some really great friendships.

Is there a class that changed your life? If so, what?
That's a tough question to answer. There were classes that helped me professionally (Mrs. Merritt's journalism class). Classes that expanded my mind (English senior seminar with Merritt, Massey and Steenken).

What teacher had the biggest impact on you? Why?
That honor would have to go to Dr. Ken Lyle. I felt like he cared for me as a person, and he was present during one of the darkest times of my life (when I lost my stepfather, Dennis) and I will never be able to repay him for the support he has extended to me.

Did you live on campus or commute?
On campus all four years.

Who were your roommates?
First year was Becky McCracken (who had more hair than any other person I've ever met. We used to brush hairballs out of our carpet that could have been made into wigs). Then for the last three years, Hollie Harmon and I roomed together.

Share an epic roommate story (if you have one).
Oh, how to narrow it down. One of my favorite ones to tell: Hollie and I were both pretty modest, so we often changed clothes in the closet if the bathroom was occupied by our suitemates. One day I came into the room and thought Hollie was in class. I was facing our bunkbeds, rummaging through my backpack, when I heard a noise behind me. I looked over my shoulder and saw the door opening slowly. It did not even occur to me that it was Hollie. In my mind it was a serial killer. So I began to run. But, you know, I was right next to the bunkbeds. So I promptly ran into the bunkbed and fell backward. Hollie stood over me, shook her head, then went to get an icepack for the giant knot on my forehead.

What's your most cherished Bluefield College memory?
I wanted to post something funny (the great Bebo Norman fiasco, perhaps) but honestly, I cherish the months after Dennis' death. I was shown so much kindness by friends and faculty. I will always cherish the community that surrounded me at that time.

Where are you now?
I've been in Colorado Springs, CO for the past almost 7 years.

What are you doing?
I work as a feature writer at Compassion International, a non-profit ministry that works with children in poverty in developing countries.

Does that mean you're using your degree?
Yup :)

Are you where you pictured yourself being when you were in college?
Hmmmm. Good question. There are things I pictured for myself at this stage--marriage, family, etc. And while I haven't ruled any of that out, I'm thrilled with where I am. I love my job and am incredibly fulfilled by it. I am almost done with my Master's degree, and it has been one of the hardest, most fulfilling two years of my life. When I was finishing my degree at Bluefield 10+ years ago, I didn't really know what the future held. I couldn't have dreamed where I would end up--but I'm so thankful for all of the ways I've been blessed.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Who knows! Would love to have a book published. Maybe that whole marriage and family thing will have happened? I'm just along for the ride :)

What's your greatest post-BC accomplishment?
While my work and grad school accomplishments are exciting, I'm most proud of starting The Merci/Mercy Project about four years ago ( Every year I beg my friends for money, and then send those funds to Togo, a small country in West Africa, to send kiddos to school. We've sent more than 400 kids to school, and it has been one of the most humbling endeavors I've ever taken on.

What's your fondest post-BC memory?
Having moved away so soon after finishing my time at Bluefield has meant little contact with BC folks, which is sad to me. But every time I've seen my alumni friends, there have been sweet times of laughter and catching up. Seeing Hollie and a bunch of other Roanoke folks a few years ago was lovely. Being on campus in 2011 to speak to journalism students, and again for homecoming that year, was also a fun time of remembering, and visiting with old friends like Mark, Shannon, Heather, Kelly and Shannon. And sitting next to Andy at the football game and watching him do a double-take when he realized who I was was also good times :)

If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything?
Nope. The good and bad have made me who I am. Cliche, but true!

Thanks to Brandy for taking the time to participate in Remembering Bluefield. Be sure to check out her blog I'm Just Sayin' and check out The Merci/Mercy Project when you're looking for worthwhile causes. Come back here next week for more from another Bluefield alum!


  1. Well then the least I can do is comment :) I really appreciate you asking me to do this, Aaron. Those were fun memories. And sorry I hit you so much. Well, I'm kind of sorry :)

  2. You probably didn't hit me that much, really. I'm sure my mind has exaggerated it quite a bit.