The Family of Rish January 22, 2011 | RSS Leaving for college is a huge stepping stone for young students, leaving everything they know to come to college and start all over. New adventures await them as they learn to live on their own, enter a new school year, and make new friends. At Bluefield College in the Rish Hall dormitory, the young women who live here come together and create a family of their own away from home. “You find a friend or a group of friends you trust and you lean on them for support,” said Marjorie Jones. Yet even with the love and support not everything is as peaceful as one might think. “Like siblings, we all fight and argue because we spend so much time together but at the end of the day we all know that we have each other’s backs,” Jones said. The many different personalities in the dorm create a vibrant and collective group of individuals. Some take on certain roles, such as a motherly role. “We all call one another to make sure the other one is safe like when we are leaving for break or traveling in bad weather. We care about each other,” said Jones. With all the different personalities the young women help each other grow, pushing one another to try new things, or get out of their comfort zone, which only brings them closer together. The young women who live in Rish become their own family. “We leave our biological family and we come here and we are each other’s family…we all take care of one another,” Jones said Most of the girls have their close knit group of friends but also make an effort to spend time with other friends as well. “Girls in their different groups will eat together at meals in the café and rarely is there someone eating alone,” said Jones As freshmen move in each year to Rish Hall, they are accepted with open arms. With upperclassmen and underclassmen living in the same dorm the older students sometimes become a mentor to the younger ones. “I feel like the older girls can really help the younger ones with problems they may have. Being their first year away from home is difficult and since I’ve been in college for a while I’ve been through what they are going through so I’m able to understand their challenges,” said Jones. As a mother would listen to her child, so do the older women of Rish listen to the younger ones. The resident life staff makes a huge effort to create a family-like environment within the dorms. The resident advisors of each floor make sure from the very beginning that each floor is a comfortable and welcoming place. Students still form their own groups on each floor, but within the groups there is a family. The closeness in these relationships can be seen outside the Rish walls. In the winter the snowflakes fall at a rapid pace covering the ground with a blanket of white snow. Behind Rish Hall there is a hill used for sledding by many. Students and even people within the community come to sled down the hill and enjoy the snow. Here is a place where friendships are seen as they hold on to another going down the hill at high speeds. Laughter is heard and helping hands are extended to pull up comrades who have wiped out while making their way down the hill. There is a saying “home is where the heart is,” and the evidence is clear in the halls of Rish. The young women turn to their friends and lean on one another. As years press forward these bonds will only get stronger, and the stronger they become the closer they will get. The writer Richard Bach once said “the bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but respect and joy in each other’s life.” It may not always be perfect all the time, but the women of Rish look to each other for friendship, laughter, comfort, and a shoulder to lean on and so, they become family.