Virginia Tech Hokies. People know our name, know the mascot (even if they’re confused as to what it is. It’s a turkey, fyi). But unless you’ve been to Blacksburg, unless you’ve actually experienced the Hokie Nation, you don’t know what it means to love this place.

Blacksburg is a town in southwestern Virginia of about 43,000 residents and is home to a campus of 30,000 students. To call it a college town would underestimate its importance to the school. Blacksburg is so much a part of VT culture. Think of it this way – where would the Patriots be without Tom Brady? Or worse, where would Brady be without the Patriots? ::shudders:: It’s love, ya’ll. True love. VT + Blacksburg 4 Lyfe.

I was a sophomore transfer to VT and was hellbent on not drinking the Hokie kool aid. Yeah, that didn’t work out so much. I fell in love – with the school, the town, the people, with everything about it. It became my home away from home and where I found a second family in my friends. Here are just a few of the many, many reasons I miss my alma mater:

1) Downtown Blacksburg. For a “small” town, its got nightlife covered. Sharkey’s, TOTS (aka, “bro” mecca), Champs, Hokie House, Mike’s, Tijuana Toss Thursday’s at PK’s (flip a coin, call it correctly and get free pizza!)… omg I’m already salivating.

2) Torg Bridge. Just look how pretty. The Torgersen bridge is a huge open space overlooking campus that feels like an old-timey library reading room. I didn’t discover it until junior year, but it quickly became my study oasis… quiet, peaceful, and absolutely stunning. I like to think studying there made me smarter.

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3) All the nom noms. I don’t want to brag, except that I do. Virginia Tech has been ranked #1 in campus food for the third time by the Princeton Review. Princeton, guys. They know stuff… smart stuff. From West End to Owen’s, there are just SO.MANY.OPTIONS. It’s a miracle I didn’t gain weight during my 3 years there.

4) The Cascades & tubing at the New River. The Cascade Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state, and it is thisclose to campus! As evidenced below, my dog loved it there, and she has phenomenal taste.


History lesson for you guys – the New River is actually one of the 5 oldest rivers in the country. Of course that’s not why it’s awesome… tubing makes it awesome. Floating down the river, brewski in hand and besties in tow – does it get any better?

5) Cheap margarita’s: Cabo Fish Taco & El Rods. Entire menus devoted to a plethora of margarita options for every budget? Um, yes please. And if you try enough of Cabo’s wide selection of tequila’s, they’ll honor you with a plaque! #lifegoals


6) New River Valley and Blue Ridge mountain sunsets. Being surrounded by mountain scenery certainly has its perks. Can you imagine having these sunsets for 4 years? It’s like Lisa Frank’s imagination vomited on the sky.


Even in this grainy cell phone pic, the colors are like WOAH.

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7) Living in a world where maroon and orange go together. I think it was at some pep rally of sorts when I first transferred that President Steger said by the time we all graduated, we’d truly believe that our colors actually match. Look, if mother nature turns the leaves maroon and orange every fall, those are good enough colors to represent my school.

In fact, my bridesmaids will be wearing these shoes. No, I’m not engaged. I’m not even dating anyone… but I have the shoes picked in case it ever happens. REPRESENT!


8) Wearing VT shirts without being asked if I’m from Vermont…. thanks, New England. In addition to comments about the “weird” colors (blasphemy!), I am often asked why I’m wearing Vermont stuff if I’m from Virginia. There is room for only one VT in my heart, guys, and it’s not the one known for maple syrup.

9) The Duck Pond. Sure, Boston’s got the Frog Pond, but Tech has ducks! Perhaps I’ll start planning my imaginary wedding there. I mean, I’ve already got the shoes picked. Might as well, right?

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10) The Drillfield. This is the “quad” of campus – the central hub. Most of the nation became familiar with it after this picture went viral.


The Drillfield is the heart of Virginia Tech’s gorgeous campus, separating dorm buildings on one side from academic ones on the other. AND it’s lined with trees – one planted each year to honor the graduating class. Guess what colors they turn in the fall? YUP!


11) The seasons… all four in one day! I guess I’m not really missing this seeing as I live in Boston – a city that seems to piss off and subsequently appease Mother Nature on the regular. However, experiencing multiple seasons daily was much more enjoyable at Virginia Tech because Mother Nature wasn’t quite as angry with Blacksburg.


12) The Big Event. Though it began at Texas A&M as a way to thank the surrounding community through service projects, Virginia Tech has joined in and made it the 2nd biggest service event in the country. Told you, Hokies <3 Blacksburg.

13) Hooptie. Blacksburg doesn’t have cabs, so the Hooptie Ride was born out of a need for a sober ride from the bars. With names like “The Purple People Eater” and “The Mystery Mobile”, you were guaranteed a stylish ride home.

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14) The UVA rivalry. Except, is it really a rivalry if we keep winning? Like, all the time. Oh, that was a cheap shot. #sorrynotsorry


Since I’ve moved to Boston, people just don’t understand my hatred for UVA. It runs deep, folks. Let me enlighten you as to why – check out this blog post from The Key Play, appropriately entitled “You Shouldn’t Need a Reason to Hate UVA.”  *For those who think I’m just an angry person, I’m really not. If I ever meet someone nice who went to UVA, I might reconsider my feelings on the matter.*


15) Lane Stadium & football games.  I’m surprising myself  here because I transferred from a much bigger school (Penn State) with a more impressive stadium, but Lane is where I finally got into the Hokie spirit. You can feel the love here.


16) Commencement. Yeah, I know this was a one-day thing, but it was the only opportunity I had to be on the field, soaking in all that Hokie glory. And I looked forward to that experience for the 3 years I was there!

I’m only slightly peeved that Michelle Obama was the commencement speaker the year after I graduated, especially since my ceremony was rained out within minutes. But I <3 what she had to say about my beloved Hokies. I swear, these speeches get me choked up like a Budweiser commercial.

“…You didn’t just choose to be a part of a school. You chose to be a part of a community.”


Fear not, friends… I have saved the best for last:

17) Enter Sandman. This can probably speak for itself, but you’re gonna want to watch these videos to get the full effect. I doubt there will ever be a more adrenaline-inducing event than the start of Virginia Tech football game. Also, Buzzfeed agrees. And who is gonna argue with Buzzfeed?


So there you have it, folks… If you didn’t have some Hokie love in your heart before, you surely should now!


Helia Z. is a native of the DC area and a Virginia Tech alum (Hokieeessss!). Like 98% of transplants 'round here, she relocated to the Boston area for grad school. Shortly thereafter, she began a romantic love affair with the city and just couldn't leave. Helia is a self-proclaimed closet introvert who has become a habitual social butterfly. Having attended over 15 schools from K - grad, there are very few people she can't carry on a conversation with. When not busy at her full time job of looking for a full time job, she's likely stuffing her face with ridiculous and embarrassing amounts of food. Fun facts: she was a member of the Virginia Tech Motorcycle Club, got her license, but never got a bike of her own; she started a pet photography business in Virginia before moving to Boston; she has a degree in puppy-saving... except Tufts likes to call it "animals and public policy"; and she's pretty sure she can't live without donuts. Though she is tweet-challenged, you can follow her on Twitter or more interesting, puppy-filled Instagram: @_HellYeah26 (yes, her name really does sound like "Hell Yeah", and no, this is not news to her)

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