Greg McClinton is a senior here at Roanoke College from Virginia Beach. He’s majoring in environmental science and minoring in creative writing. He will be just one of many seniors graduating in December.
“When I first got here freshman year, RC was a lot wilder than I had imagined, and the academics were a lot harder too. I was definitely not prepared for the academics, and there were also just a lot more distractions than I imagined there would be!
On move-in day, I remember dressing differently than everybody else, and everybody was staring at me. I had better clothes on, everything was matching, I was a little swagged out, and I guess people weren’t used to seeing that on campus, so that is one thing that I do remember, walking from the Colket Center to Crawford, and everyone looking at me like, ‘dang, what is he wearing?’
Freshman year, I had a lot of friends, I was going to join the basketball team, and then I hurt my knees, but I was a tall minority, so everybody sort of just flocked to me and it was pretty easy to make friends.
I wanted to stay because of the drive to finish, and seeing friends that dropped out and not accomplishing anything, I didn’t want to become one of them, and I know that sounds kind of harsh but I just wanted something more from my life than quitting.
Graduating early is scary because you just think about leaving and and then starting over, and you’re going to be starting a career before everybody else’s, and it’s a little intimidating but exciting, too. I have pushed myself to bond with friends a little more this year because I know that once you’re out of school, those bonds might break, so I’m just trying to keep them alive for as long as possible.
The relationships that I’ve formed here are some of the strongest relationships that I’ve ever made with people, and that’s including faculty and some of the staff that are around. One of my biggest influences here has been Melanie Almeder. Me and Andrew Miller before he graduated, we had a class with her and we actually dropped our first INQ and went to her class, and she just completely changed my mindset about how I looked at teachers in general, and showed just how much they actually do care about you. She’s the one that convinced me to do Creative Writing as a minor.
Right now after I graduate, I plan to be a park ranger for a couple years in DC, and then move down to LA and work with Andrew Miller in production companies.
This school is definitely focusing more on academics now than when I started; the wilder crowd has seemed to die out. Before, I felt like this school was a lot more lenient with some things, and now they aren’t anymore. As far as changes in myself, I’ve gotten a little bit more mature, but of course maturity happens. My outlook on life is more realistic but also I have higher goals for myself.
My advice for current and future [students] is to never give up. There’s always a brighter side. Keep pushing, and that’s really my mindset. Things will always get dark and things will always seem like it can’t get any worse than this, but if you have a negative mindset it’ll get worse, but if you have a bright and positive mindset it will definitely get better. You just have to give it time.
You just have to go with the flow and don’t be too stressed. Right when you start stressing about things, that’s when everything else in your life starts to crumble. Make a lot of friends; don’t stay inside of your room all day, friends can be your support through some of the toughest times, and you’ll go through some tough times in school, but as long as you have close friends, you can get through anything.”