Friday, July 25, 2014

Welcome Guests: Jennifer Mitchell

Welcome back to the Carp Dime Guest Writer series. Today's blogger is someone I've connected with through a mutual love for our mutual alma mater. And, to be honest, I felt a little strange typing in her full name into the title. To me, she's JMitch. JMitch works as the Administrative Coordinator for Student and Family Ministry at Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science with a concentration in Sport Management and a minor in Business and Coaching. Her favorite movies are Remember the Titans and Varsity Blues. Her favorite book is Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. Her favorite TV series are Friday Night Lights and Grey's Anatomy. Her favorite college football teams (aside from the Bluefield College Rams, obvi) are the Hokies and Buckeyes. JMitch blogs over at jmitchloves, so go say hi to her!

Changing Plans, Changing Dreams

Some say they made the decision of where they were going to attend college for themselves. My decision was made for me (indirectly) by someone else. I don't think I ever really thanked them for that. It's so funny that all of this took place over 10 years ago, but in sitting down to recount it all, I'm so grateful that it did.

I was best friends with a boy in high school, who meant more to me than a friend at many moments in the course of our friendship. It never amounted to anything more than many, many, late night conversations on the hood of his car, and lots of other random memories that have since left my brain. We spent a lot of time together despite attending different high schools in different counties. He was fun, but not fun enough to spend the next four years of my life with in college. You see, I had the desire to start fresh. To not go to school with a boy, or with friends at all for that matter. I wanted to get out on my own--start the next chapter of my life's story without any ties to anyone else from my past--and I was very adamant about it. I knew this would be best for me, and thank goodness it was.

I had my heart set on Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia. If you asked anyone, it's where I was going to college. I had the t-shirts and the desire for a 6 hour drive to my campus in the mountains. I loved the idea of being far enough away from home that mom and dad couldn't just come and drop in and say hi, but close enough that I could get home if I needed or wanted to. I loved rural Southwest Virginia, and I absolutely loved the campus at E&H. I envisioned myself with a painted face cheering on the Wasps in football and rushing a sorority and adventuring to Bristol for nights out in the big city. It was quite the set up I had in my head. I'd applied and was waiting to see if I'd been accepted. And it all changed with a phone call.

My guy friend called me one afternoon and left me a voicemail saying I had to call him as soon as I could. I called him after I got out of school and remember the excitement emitting from his voice as soon as he picked up the phone.

Hey! Wanna go to Emory together??

Nope. Sure don't. Don't you remember my longing to start fresh? To be in a place where no one else is? To go away and to be me without you. Remember?

He must have forgotten. And I must have forgot my manners because I was so mean to him. It was as if he was taking my dream away from me. He'd received a full ride on a scholarship in his major, and he was going. And it didn't matter what my acceptance letter said--whether I was in or not, I wasn't going.

So, this forced me into re-evaluating my plans for college. I didn't visit anywhere else--I just applied to 3 other schools and got into all of them--even Emory and Henry. But it was not where I ended up.

It didn't take long for my heart to find its way to Bluefield College. I'd been going to Bluefield all of my life, as my dad was born and raised there, and my grandparents still live there. I'd brushed it off several times before, but now it was different. At this point, it seemed more appealing to me, and it turns out it was one of the best decisions I've made in my entire life. The experiences I had on that hill and the people I met there have changed my life. I grew up on that mountain. I learned really hard lessons, made a whole slew of mistakes, I figured out how to be an adult there, and I made friends with people who truly are pinnacles of faith and friendship. It's incredible how some buildings on a piece of land in Southwest Virginia really can change a life--and I'm a testament to that.

The experience of having a dream and then realizing that the dream isn't where you're supposed to be has really helped shape the person I am today in so many ways. I would not have had so many of the same experiences I had at Bluefield had I attended Emory and Henry. I certainly would not have the same friends or the same love for a town that I do now that I'm not living there. Life would be so different for me right now, and I'm so blessed that God knows better than I do, and that all thing work together for good for those that love Him. I am a Bluefield Ram, through and through, and I would not have it any other way.
Links to the guest writers' posts...
1. Brandon Caldwell 
2. Vanessa
3. Landon Metts
4. Jeff Noble
5. Jennifer Mitchell
6. Mark Hipes
7. Nicole Holden

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