My freshman year of college was not particularly noteworthy in any way. I went to, what was then, a small college in the lovely green mountains of Vermont. It was five hours from my home in Warwick, RI (unless my brother Kevin was driving and then it was a couple of hours closer). My parents, as I mentioned the other day, dropped me off on a very hot summer’s day in August in 1981. My roommate was a nice girl from Lewiston, Maine, and we’d made friends with most of the girls who lived on our wing of the dorm.
After the first couple of months everyone seemed to be in their groove of who we went to the dining hall with, what we did on the weekends, and whose room we watched Magnum PI in on Thursday nights. I wasn’t really involved in any clubs or groups, I had two work-study jobs; one in the theatre’s costume shop and one as a dorm proctor at night, and wanted to spend time doing my school work, (when I wasn’t calling home asking my mom to come to get me). Some people might even have described me as shy, quiet and introverted. I know, you who know me are laughing out loud right now…me too.
During my second semester some time, the Director of Student Activities sent an upper classman to try to recruit me for a committee in the Student Association. As the story goes, she’d picked me out during new student orientation and knew that if I got involved I could be a student leader in subsequent years. And so, when Penny came and knocked on my door (no, not that Penny, you TBBT fans) to join the Intramurals Committee, I did.
It’s probably one of those defining moments, not of my college career but of my life. You’re thinking Intramurals, life changing?! Well, yes. Intramurals turned into Student Orientation Staff, Resident Assistant, and Senior Class President. Each of these things and any other extracurricular activity on campus, would have a student at this college, in one way or another, interacting with the Director of Student Activities.
Victoria Angis, known to students as VA or Victoria (never Vickie) was this person. She’s worked at the college for more than thirty years. If you were a student lucky enough to have the chance to be mentored by her, you had the chance to learn: an amazing work ethic, how to run a meeting effectively, how important it was to edit before going to print, to practice your speech before giving it to 300 people, what binders really were for, how to balance work with the rest of your life, AND SO MUCH MORE.
I know that this is not the first public thank you to VA and it most certainly won’t be the last. But it is from ME and it’s who I’m thanking today!