Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

October 10, 2013

From Virginia Tech to snowy Flat Top, a new journey in life begins

— — Growing up in Hampton, Va., on the East Coast, I traded in my flip flops for snow boots quite quickly when a move to West Virginia presented itself.  I moved away from home the summer I graduated high school, as many 18 year olds do to go to college. I was headed to Virginia Tech to major in agriculture. I grew up riding horses and always had a love for animals of all sizes — I thought I would love to study something related to animals and also maybe education because I also always dreamed of being a teacher. Let’s get real though — I had no idea what I wanted to do.

 I was just excited to be getting out of my parents’ house and finally making my own rules. But after all the heavy hauling up and down stairs in my non air-conditioned dorm in the August heat was said and done, I will never forget the tears that filled my eyes as my parents said their good-byes and left me standing in the door way of my room.

It was only a couple of weeks in and I made friends that soon. Virginia Tech became my home away from home. The years flew by and I graduated with a degree in Agriculture Technology in 2010 from Virginia Tech, and while I could hardly wait to be done going to class and writing papers, I found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place when I couldn’t find a job.

 I decided to go back to school. The second time around I attended Radford University and pursued a degree in English, thinking I wanted to be a teacher.

While in school at Virginia Tech,  I met my future husband who, at the time, I had no clue I would marry three years later. We met through mutual friends. We were friends and hung out with the same group of people. I thought to myself, “Ha, I will never marry a guy like that.”

Well here we are three years later, just recently married this past June. Everything happens for a reason right? I graduated from Radford in December 2012 with my English degree in hand, a ring on my finger, and the burden of finding a job on my brain. Not only was I planning my dream wedding and looking for a job, my sweet fiancé hit me with, “Anne ... my job is moving me to Beckley, W.Va.”

So, like any love sick girl does, I packed up my life and we headed for the hills of West Virginia, literally.

We bought a cute house on about 15 acres in Flat Top. I thought to myself, “Oh, how perfect, I have my man, my house, and now with this new acreage I could finally have my horse, who still was living at my parents’ house.”

Still no job, moving day came the day after Christmas. We packed up our college apartment in Blacksburg, and headed up U.S. Route 460 West.

To no surprise, it was snowing in Flat Top (sideways of course) when we arrived at our new humble abode.

 The power was out, it was in the negatives, and the wind was blowing so hard you couldn’t see a thing. With the help of our friends who thought we were crazy and swore never to help us move again unless it was summer time, we got moved in. We bought a generator, and survived our first winter in Flat Top.

I snagged a job at Winterplace Ski Resort only a couple miles from our house, while I frantically searched for a job in which I could use my degree. Interview after interview, I slowly became more disappointed each time I received the dreaded phone call, “I’m sorry we have hired someone else.”

As the snow died off, I began the hunt to find some other type of work. Mid-April I got a job where I didn’t see much of a future but needed the money. I worked the second shift at my job 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. With my new husband working during the day and me working nights, we never saw each other. But I continued to remind myself I was lucky to have a job because many people didn’t.

For eight months, I felt defeated, I couldn’t understand why I had gone to school all these years just to be working a job that didn’t match my degree. This wasn’t in my plan!

I later ran across an ad for a reporter position with the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. I thought what the heck it doesn’t hurt to try, so I sent in my resume. A few days later, Samantha Perry, editor of the Daily Telegraph, called me for an interview. Of course I was excited, but I told myself not to get my hopes up.

I went for my interview on a Wednesday morning, Samantha told me I would probably know something in a few days. Well Friday came and went, the weekend passed and so did Monday, I heard nothing.

I had already prepared myself for the let down. Tuesday I had to work a double, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. shift and as fate would have it at about 5:30 p.m. when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my phone rang.

It was Samantha on the other end and when she told me that they wanted to hire me, it was all I could do to hold back the tears on the phone with her. I was ecstatic, in fact, it didn’t even seem real. The next week I nervously entered the newsroom to start my first day, and about after an hour I felt right at home. I have a completely new outlook on life. I am finally having fun, I have finally found my groove. I can’t find one excuse of why I don’t want to go to work. They always say if you love your job, you never really work a day in your life.

I believe everything happens for a reason and good things come to those who wait. My plan I had might not have all fallen into place in the order I wanted, but it has finally fallen into place. The Lord has a plan for all of us. Sometimes it is hard to keep the faith, but when you do, good things are sure to come.

Anne Elgin is a reporter for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Contact her aelgin@bdtonline.com

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