I arrived to James Madison University in August of 2014 eager to start making the most of the four years I had ahead of me. I quickly made my way to my dorm room where my dad helped me unpack, soon it was time for him to leave and I was left with my roommate who I had just met for the first time not even an hour prior. She was similar to me as we both were from New Jersey, both played sports in high school, and we both committed to making the big move to Virginia. We talked about what we were planning to study, other girls that we saw moving into the hall, what our high schools were like, and what we liked to do on the weekends. We joked about how much farmland we saw on our drives down to Virginia. Right as all of this was unfolding a girl with bleach blonde hair walks into our room and says, “Hey y’all, I’m Alyssa, what’re your names?” After introducing ourselves and talking for a bit she told us our New Jersey accents reminded her of the cast of Jersey Shore, and we started realizing we were going to get a lot of that.
Coming from a small town in Bergen County, New Jersey I was used to people who were like me both in mannerisms, and hobbies, and I expected this to translate to the people at JMU. However, I learned quickly that my sarcasm was sometimes confusing to people and my “Jersey accent” and fast speed of talking was hard to follow. Not only was living in a new town showing me more and more differences everyday, getting to know everyone in my hall, in my classes, and then in my sorority, it really opened my eyes to the different backgrounds that everyone comes from and has caused me to broaden my outlook on the world.
3 years later:
It’s hard to believe that I am going to a senior at JMU and now looking back at my freshman year when that blonde haired girl, who is now one of my best friends, said “hey y’all” I can recognize that this was a pivotal moment in my time there. I can say confidently that I have made the most out of my time at JMU so far and have changed the way I perceive the world and the people in it.
With the open-mindedness that I have developed, it has helped me create what every JMU student calls the experience of a “true duke”. In expanding my horizons, I have made life-long friendships, I do a lot more things spur of the moment and I take any opportunity that is thrown at me while always trying to keep an open mind to any obstacle or possibility.
With one year left at JMU, I am eager to see what senior year has in store for me and am excited to experience so much more. However, one of the most exciting parts about my final year is knowing that post-grad is right around the corner, it’s a whole new world, the “real world” as some put it, and that it will allow me to meet new people, learn more about myself, and allow me to grow and develop more as a person.