For those of you who are unaware, I went to college at a little school called Bluefield College. This year, Bluefield has leveled up and changed its name to Bluefield University and is celebrating 100 years in existence. It’s kind of a big deal.
In honor of this incredible milestone and major change in the history of my alma mater, I thought it would be fun to spend some time spotlighting a bunch of individuals who spent time as students at Bluefield College. I put together a questionnaire and sent it out to my fellow Rams. But I can’t expect anyone else to do something I’m not willing to do myself. So here are my answers to the same questions that I’ve sent out to lots of Bluefield College survivors.
- What have you been up to since your time in Bluefield?
What haven’t I been up to? I’ve had a few jobs… I’ve moved a bunch of times… I bought a couple of cars… I wear glasses now.
- Where are you living now? For how long?
Roanoke, VA… I’ve only been back in the old hometown for a couple years but it feels like forever.
- Did you pursue any education after college? If so, what degrees have you obtained?
I’ve given grad school a shot a couple of times. Never seems to stick. I even tried a few semesters in seminary… But I realized I was there for all the wrong reasons.
- Where did you earn your first “grown-up” paycheck?
Right there in Bluefield with First Century Bank… which I’m pretty sure no longer exists.
- Who is your current employer and what is your job title?
I currently work for Mainstream Mental Health Services, Inc. I am a Qualified Mental Health Professional and Mental Health Skill Builder. I think that encompasses the job titles…
- What are your hobbies? What do you end up doing in your spare time?
Well… I love to write and I keep up with this blog every day. Kinda love watching movies. And I enjoy reading when I make the time for it.
- Have you done much traveling? Where have you visited?
You know, there for a good stretch of time it seemed like my only travels were going to amount to those two trips to Brazil that I went on during college. However, I got the opportunity to go to Istanbul back in 2017. That was a pretty good trip.
- Are you married? If so, who is your spouse?
I am not married. We can pretend if you want. And as long as we’re using our imaginations, I’m gonna say I’m married to Sarah Michelle Gellar. I know, she’s been happily married to Freddie Prinze, Jr. for 20 years. But this is my imaginary relationship and I’ll thank to mind your business.
- How did you and your spouse meet?
Now I have to come up with an imaginary meet cute?! No… I draw the line here. We never met and I’m not married.
- Do you have children? What are their names/ages?
I also have no children. They don’t have names. They don’t have ages.
- Tell us a funny story about your kids…
There was this one time when little Grayson was about to lose his first tooth… ugh… I’m not gonna make up a story about my imaginary kids with Buffy the Vampire Slayer…
- What was your favorite class at Bluefield?
I actually found all of my Christian Studies classes fascinating, whether it was an in depth look at Biblical texts or Church History or World Religions. But I had a lot of fun with my psych classes, too.
- Which teachers influenced your life and made a lasting impression? Why?
Ken Lyle and Eddie Stepp taught most of the Christian Studies classes I took and I feel like they both instilled in me the ability to actually study the Bible and make up my own mind about what it says rather than being spoon fed doctrine by someone behind a pulpit on Sunday morning. I also valued the relationship I developed with Chris Sheppard through my involvement with Bluefield Singers and Variations (audition choir).
- What was your major and/or minor?
Double major… BA in Christian Studies… BS in Behavioral Science.
- What did you want to be when your “grew up?”
It changed so many times between my Freshman and Super Senior years… I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to be a youth minister. I wanted to be a therapist. Turns out I’ve never been any of those things.
- What was your funniest moment in college?
Uh… I was hilarious in college. Still am, to be honest. To narrow down all my funny moments to one specific moment is almost criminal. All kidding aside, there really are a lot of funny moments throughout those college years. Moments with roommates… with the choirs… shouting insults at Shannon from across the quad… all classics.
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
Freshman year we had a pretty big snowstorm hit Bluefield. I mean, we had a pretty big snowstorm hit every year. But this was my first big snow experience in Bluefield. If I remember correctly, Brandy Campbell tackled me and basically buried me in several feet of snow.
- What was the dumbest thing you did in college? Was it worth it?
I was just wondering if I ever did anything dumb in college. Of course I did. Everyone does something dumb at some point. Mine just happened to be the cause of a new policy being instituted in the residence halls that I think is still in place to this day. It was my second senior year and it was Thanksgiving break. All students were expected to be off campus until the Monday after Thanksgiving. At the time, I was living down in New Hall, which did not have a security lock that kept the building shut down. But that’s because each room opened up to the outside. And since I had my key, I figured it wasn’t a huge deal for me to head back early. At the time, I had a part-time job at Bellacino’s and decided to get a few extra shifts in over Thanksgiving weekend. Well, this didn’t go over well with our Dean of Students, the late, great Dan Bowman. He was super disappointed in me and he sure let me know it. I felt awful, feeling as though I let him down. I honestly don’t remember the personal consequences that I faced for returning to campus before I was really supposed to be there. But I do know that from then on, whenever students were required to vacate the dorms, we were also required to turn in our room keys until we got back from whatever break we were leaving on. I really think they should have named that policy after me. “The Aaron Peck Room Key Return Policy.”
- What is your most vivid memory from Bluefield College?
I mean that last one was pretty vivid. Again, though, so many incredible memories. But one I’d like to mention is the time we went on choir tour down to Florida. We took a day off to just hang out at DisneyWorld. I thought it was so much fun to stand in line waiting for a ride and we would randomly burst into one of the songs from our repertoire. I don’t want to brag like we were anything incredible… but imagine being in a public space somewhere and you randomly hear a handful of college students suddenly start harmonizing like it’s their job. I’ve always loved singing and I’ve always said that in those years I got to sing with some of the most talented people I’ve ever been in contact with. Variations reunion, anyone?
- Was there ever something you wanted to do during your college days but never did?
Graduate in four years? No… I enjoyed my fifth year. I think if I had it to do over, I’d have stuck with elementary education as a major beyond my first semester instead of changing over to Christian Studies. Then I’d have gone on to be a teacher and I’d be coming up on my 20th year on the job instead of all the bouncing around I’ve done in my career. Not that I regret it… I just sometimes think the stability may have been nice.
- What was your go-to during Late Night in the Shott Hall dining room?
That cheese bread was pretty freakin’ good.
- Did you play any sports?
Ha! It’s adorable that you think I could do anything even remotely athletic.
- How about intramurals?
Ha! It’s adorable that you think I could do anything even remotely athletic. I wasn’t even allowed to be on the “Gerties” flag football team with my friends because I’m a classic dropper. I drop things. Like, all the time…
- Did you pledge with a fraternity or sorority?
No… For as small a campus as Bluefield was, I just didn’t see the point in it myself.
- Were you involved in any other extracurriculars (theater, yearbook, clubs, etc.)?
I did help with the yearbook (The Rambler) for a few years. I sang with Bluefield Singers for one year… with Variations for four years… and with Praise Singers for three years. I was honored to be one of the founding members of Praise Singers, actually. And I’m not sure if it counts, but after I graduated and lived in town for a year, I played the role of Rip Van Winkle in the Bluefield College production of Rip Van Winkle/The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. That was a fun gig.
- What on-campus events did you enjoy participating in or attending?
So many concerts. So many comedy clubs. Bluefield really did have a lot of entertaining events over the years. In fact, I could fill an entire blog post with all the events we brought in to that little school. Karaoke nights might have been the best, though.
- Did you jump into the mud pit on Mud Pig Day?
Uh… of course I did. I mean, were you allowed to get your degree if you didn’t get muddy or go down the slide?
- Did you have a work-study job on campus?
I had a couple. Early on I worked in the library. It was my job to pick up the library’s mail from the bookstore and then register all the new magazines. For a while I was given the task of putting new bar code stickers on the books as they replaced the old card catalog system. My last couple years as a student I worked directly for Carrie Camden. That was a lot of work in student retention.
- Did you have a job off campus?
As I mentioned earlier, I worked part-time at Bellacino’s. Really enjoyed that discount on pizza and grinders.
- Which dorm did you live in? Or did you commute?
I lived in Rish Hall for four years then moved down to New Hall for my fifth year.
- Tell us your craziest roommate story…
It may not be crazy, but I certainly thought it was really cool how we set up our room during my first senior year. Mark and Brandon were roommates and they shared the suite with me and Dereck. The four of us decided to move all the beds into one side of the suite while we brought in a couple of sofas to turn the other side into a living room. I’m sorry to say I only lasted one semester before I decided to move out and get my own room, but there were no hard feelings.
- Which classmate influenced you the most?
This is tough because I met a lot of amazing people during my time at Bluefield College. I met the best friends I’ve ever had. People who are my best friends to this day. There are a lot of times I think about how great it was to live down the hall from people who became my family for a few years. I honestly don’t think there’s any one person who most influenced me. I met a lot of great people and they each made an impression.
- What personal experiences since college would you like to share?
I was in a pretty bad car accident back in 2013. Rolled the car over a couple times. Walked away without a scratch. Seat belts save lives, kids.
- What plans do you have for the next 10 years?
I really don’t like making plans. Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans. I guess I’d like to be doing something I love while making a decent salary doing it. Maybe I’ll be able to discover what that is at some point in the next 10 years.
- Give us a quote to live by…
“Someday your sarcasm is gonna get you punched in the face.” -Mark Hipes