Summer is finally here! Well, it's actually just finals week but still... summer! Even though my schedule is jam packed with things to do, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that is the only thing that keeps me going. Finals week is usually the most stressful time of the entire year. Everything is due the week before, and then the actual tests are given the next week. Many people end up pulling all-nighters. I’ll admit that I’ve pulled a couple myself during freshman year. That was the worst mistake ever. Even though I got my paper done and completed my study guide, I could not remember anything that I had looked at the night before because I was so tired. I literally fell asleep during my test. I would never suggest pulling an all-nighter. What you need to do is take naps every once in a while. What I usually do is study for two hours, and then I take a 30-minute nap. Obviously you can change it to fit your lifestyle, but that's what works for me.

There are actually ways to not stress out over everything. Time management is the most important skill for a college student to learn. If you learn this, you will not be as stressed as you would have been otherwise. I wish someone would have told me about time management years ago. It took me three years to understand how to do it. There is a difference between knowing that you have to do it and knowing how to do it.

Summer is my absolute favorite time of year—the sun is shining, we get to go on the boat and I can sit by the pool with no worries in the world. However, I am going to miss everyone over the summer. My friends and I spend every day together for eight months, and then we don't see each other at all for three months.

It saddens me to say, but this will be my last blog for the semester. It has been a blast writing and telling everyone what goes on at Young Harris College. Although I mostly wrote about things in my life, they are things that almost every other student on the YHC campus can relate to. The stress, the fun, the good times and the bad—it happens to us all. College is what you make it, so make it your best.

Thank you for reading along,

God bless,

Kali Shimmin


Adventure Time

When I first came to college in 2010, I wondered what I would do when I was not playing softball. At first, I would nap. I took anywhere from five-minute naps all the way to three-hour naps almost every day of my freshman year. However, when I came back sophomore year, I realized that there was so much more to do. I lived in the mountains! I needed to go out and explore.

During the last two years, I have found so many amazing places to go hang out, such as waterfalls, lookouts, cool thrift shops and great fishing areas—but don't ask me where they are because I cannot remember.

When my friends and I are sitting in the living room and start to feel a little bored, one of use usually yells out, “Adventure time!” Right then and there, we all hop into a car and just drive somewhere. After finding a cool place or doing something crazy, the fun thing is trying to remember how to get back to campus.

I will never forget the time we thought we were going to be stranded in the middle of the woods. We had decided to go off-roading a day after it had rained a large amount. Now, if anyone knows anything about off-roading, you know that without a four-wheel drive vehicle with good all-terrain tires, you will not make it very far. I knew this small detail, but yet I still took my Jeep out there. Now you might say: “You have a Jeep, you'll be fine.” Wrong.

Even though my Jeep Liberty is a four-wheel drive, I have the worst tires known to man on it. After, about an hour of roughing around through the mud and rocks, we came to a part of the road that made my stomach drop the second I saw it because there was no way my car was going to make it through or turn around and go out the way we came. The ground was too wet for my car to make it up some of the hills.

Thankfully, my friend had seen a gate not too far back. As we walked towards it and began to actually look, we saw that the gate had a lock on it. But since my friends love to make serious situations a tad bit funny, one decided to pretend like she was the bearded lady and rip open the gate. Well, folks, she ripped it right off the pole it was on. I was blown away—we had been saved! Later on, in order to keep my friend from getting a big head, we came to the conclusion that the gate was already broken and it was just there for looks. Five hours later, we made it back to campus safe and sound.

This story just goes to show that living at Young Harris College gives you so many chances to be outside and go on adventures—no matter how random they may be. I wish I had begun exploring my freshman year and not slept the time away. From the minute you step on campus, remember that your adventure is already beginning.

“Live the life you love.”


Embracing Change

Last week, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Rollins Campus Center. After a whole school year of listening to construction and watching the old Dobbs McEachern Gym and Rollins and an old residence hall get taken down, they are finally starting to construct this new building in the center of campus. I have been told that this new center will be the home of a new library, dining hall, offices and even a Starbucks!

For me, this means a lot of changes. During my freshman year, we had just opened the new Recreation and Fitness Center, and the Village apartments complex had not even started to be built. Now people are used to working out and going to basketball games in this awesome space and living with friends in nice apartments with kitchens and washers and dryers—all of the things an upperclassmen needs.

The College is also building a new residence hall that is just for freshmen, which is also crazy to think about. New students arriving this fall will be making memories in a completely new spot that will be around for years to come. There are so many more housing options for students now than there were just a short time ago.

So many things have changed on this campus since I first arrived, but it is all for the good. With all these changes, Young Harris College feels like a premier place that is constantly growing. My senior year is going to be amazing. I am living with some of my best friends again, and I already cannot wait until next August rolls around.

Most people are afraid of change because it’s different. Some people like the “traditional way” of doing things, but I think you have to embrace the changes. The world is changing, and even though Young Harris is a small town in the north Georgia mountains, we have to change along with it. I am already looking forward to coming back as an alumna after I graduate to see what has become of this beautiful campus.

“Live to life you love.”



Life Lessons

About a year ago, I was struggling with life in general. I had received my third concussion in March (one of the hazards of being an athlete), and things had been very difficult. I couldn't sleep right, I wasn't eating right and I was losing people close to me because of my emotions going haywire. Once things started to get a little better and back to normal in April, I got a phone call that no one ever wants to get.

I will never forget what I was doing at that exact moment. I was sitting in my dorm room at my desk, Pinteresting. My friend called me out of the blue to inform me that a friend of ours from high school was just in a fatal car accident. At first I didn’t believe her, because he just seemed invincible. The things I had seen him do—there was no way he was killed because of a car accident. But 10 minutes after hanging up on her, another friend of mine called with the same information.

Everyone always says there are five stages to loss. I went through them. The first step is denial. I didn't believe anyone who told me. The second step is the one I am still struggling with—anger. I am mad-livid actually. I was so mad at God for taking him and not the guy who hit him, the guy who chose to run the red light going 75 mph. The third step is bargaining—thinking about the “if onlys.” I was away at school and he was at home working, so I didn’t get to see him as much. To this day, I wish I had called him while I was home for my spring break two weeks before and asked him to hang out. I will forever regret that. The fourth step is depression, which is one I definitely went through. After the funeral, I was so sad all the time. My roommate at the time said she had never seen someone so sad all the time. The fifth and final stage is acceptance. A year has gone by now, and I have learned that death is a part of our lives. It’s not easy and it’s not fair, but it’s how things are.

Our lives are so precious. No one is invincible. Everyone would like to think they are, but the truth is we are nowhere near it. It took me 20 years, losing a friend and a car accident of my own to figure out that anything can and will happen. Most of the time people don’t realize this until someone close to them passes away. In high school I would hear about people in car accidents, but I didn't know any of them so it was different. The moment something happened to one of my good friends was when I realized how short life is and how careful you must be. You have to live your life without any regrets. If you love someone, tell them every chance you get.

Something else I have learned from this experience is that even if you think you’re a good driver, it’s usually someone else who’s not. Be aware of your surroundings and of what other people are doing. If you do this, your life and possibly someone else’s could be saved.

I miss and love you, Kenny. May you rest in peace.
3/16/90 - 4/10/12



Creating Memories

Have you even done something that was a lot of fun with your friends and reflected on it a year later? You either realize how much fun it really was and want to do it again, or you realize how much has changed in that short time—and sometimes, you get a mixture of both. I actually did this not too long ago. Last Easter, I had some friends over to my house for a good home-cooked dinner, bonfire and a couple of movies. We had a blast. We were so relaxed and just having a good time. The sad thing is, I do not get to see some of the girls that were there as much as I would like to now since they are no longer close by, even though we still talk and hang out as much as possible.

My roommate and I were having another one of our meaningful conversations the other night, and we came to the realization that even though we are not as close to some of the people we used to hang out with, we still wouldn’t change a thing. There is a reason why they came into our lives, even if it was just for a short time. I’m going to be honest—I wasn’t fully listening to what my roommate was saying the whole time (but if she asks, tell her I was), because I started to think about how much things have changed and how many memories I have made with some great people. Although it makes me happy thinking about everything, it also makes me sad because it makes me miss some people who are still very important to me.

The other weekend, my boyfriend and I went on an adventure to find a waterfall—not just any waterfall, a 100-foot-tall one. Four hours later, we found it. While I was standing at the base of the waterfall, I looked up and saw the sun trying to poke through the clouds. As the rays came through, they landed right on me and started moving up the side of the waterfall. I felt like God was trying to tell me something, but I couldn't put my finger on it. So, naturally, we climbed up the side of the waterfall as if He told us to. When we got up to the top, nothing happened. Sure, it was beautiful—but I thought for sure that something miraculous was going to happen. After we walked back down and stood there for a minute, I suddenly realized that every journey comes to end. I believe friendships are like “mini journeys.” You learn things, explore emotions and help each other out just like you would on a journey through life.

I have said this a couple times in my blog, but I am going to say it again. College is about learning. If you had asked me anything about friendships in high school, I would have not come close to saying they were “journeys.” But that is exactly what I have realized over time. Throughout my three years at Young Harris College, I have learned how important friendships are—and how much more important those memories you created together are.

Live the life you love.


Being A Good Friend

The other day my roommate and I were talking about people that we were friends with in high school and how we are glad we decided to go to college. We also talked about how we both went through a phase where we thought we could do anything and not get into trouble. The friends we had back in high school who decided not to go to college seem to still be in that phase; however, I don't think it's a phase anymore—it's their lifestyle. That's the path they chose and that's how they want to spend their lives. At the age of 19, they are content with working a minimum-wage job, sometimes on a graveyard shift. I still consider these people my friends, but it is crazy to think how different our paths have become in just a short time.  

One of my friends back home who I have known since middle school started his first semester of college this spring. I am so extremely proud of him. When we graduated high school and everyone was leaving for college, he stayed home and worked every day. One day last summer he woke up and said, “I am not doing this for the rest of my life.” That day, he began his college search. When he called me—I'm not going to lie, I teared up. From the day we met, I knew he was going to do something with his life. I knew he had potential, but he just did not see it. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do—whether it’s on the softball field, coaching swimmers or even just in my friendships—is motivate someone who does not want to be motivated. I am not saying I am the reason he changed his life, but I would like to think I played a small part by encouraging him along the way.

Life is about learning. You learn what to do and what not to do, and it takes some people longer to learn than others. My roommate’s friends are still learning about life, and hopefully they will soon realize the potential they have and act on it. It took my friend seven years to change for the better. If you have friends like this, encourage them. Everyone needs someone to kick them in the butt and help them make decisions. Since I can remember, I have told my friend a quote by Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Every time I told him this, he looked at me like I was crazy because he didn’t understand what I meant. Last year, when he was on his college search, he called me and said, “Kali, I get it. I finally get what you were telling me all those years. If I want the world to change, I have to change first.” Now, I am not a mother, but I tell you what—I sure felt like one when he told me that. I am so incredibly proud of him and cannot wait to see what he does.

“Live the life you love, love the life you live.” The second you do not, you must change something. “Be the change you wish to see in the world."



Choosing Your Path

It would be an understatement for me to say that spring break was amazing. Those 10 days of freedom were so needed after midterms. However, I did not have a “normal” spring break. I spent the time in Orlando, Fla., at a softball tournament. Now, before you say, “Ah, you’re so lucky, it must have been so hot!” I will tell you—it was not. The first couple of days were miserably cold with winds up to 25 miles per hour. Thankfully, it warmed up a little towards the end of the week and we were all able to get a tan—which I definitely needed!

While I had a great time in the sun and on the field with my teammates, I also realized some things. The top thing I recognized is how close I am to being done with school when I overheard a couple of freshmen players talking about how they didn’t know what major they wanted to choose. It got me thinking about my freshman year and the four times I changed majors within those two semesters—how confused I was about what I’m going to do in life. I told them it’s okay to be confused and it’s okay to not know. The reason you take core classes during your freshman and sophomore years is so that you can change your mind or figure out what you want to do. Some people know for years what major is right for them before they even enter college, and more power to them, but there’s no need to panic if you don’t know.

Young Harris College has a great mentoring program, and the advisors are great. They actually take the time to help you figure these kinds of things out. I came to YHC as a freshman wanting to be a high school history teacher but quickly realized I was not cut of for that career. After speaking with my advisors, I realized my strengths and weaknesses and the things I love doing. After many meetings, I finally know what path I am taking.

If you are like my teammates and have no clue what you want to do, do not be worried. You just have to live each day to the fullest and open your eyes to what you truly love doing. Paying attention in class will also help you pick up on the little topics that spark your interest. And most of all, talk to your advisors every once in a while. They do help a lot—and they want to help. Use the resources you are given and have fun with it.

Live the life you love.


It's Already Midterms!

I cannot believe that it is already midterm week. This is a stressful time for any student on a college campus across the country, but I will tell you it’s nowhere near as stressful as finals week. Midterms are supposed to let you and your professors know how you are doing at the halfway mark of the semester. However, you can always change your gears if you are doing bad and step it up by the end—which I have done before. Just because you are doing not so great now doesn’t mean you have to finish not so great.

I feel like we just started this semester yesterday. I guess it's true that time flies when you’re having fun. Even though I am still working hard and busy with softball, I still have fun hanging out with my friends in our spare time. Academically, this semester has not been too hard for me, which is a welcome change from last semester. That’s another thing—each semester is different. Junior year is when things usually become a little bit more difficult, but only because you are mostly taking courses that relate directly to your major. Normally, you have four semesters of core classes and then four of upper-level courses. I happened to do it differently, and started my more intensive courses spring semester of my sophomore year—which means I will be doing some core classes next spring as a senior.

Spring break is next week, and I am so excited. The softball team is traveling to Clermont, Fla., which is just outside of Orlando, for the entire week. I cannot wait to be in the warm sunny weather. A big plus when playing in Florida is that most of my family lives there, so I get to spend time with them. The other awesome thing about spring break is that it means the weather is going to start warming up and the flowers are going to start blooming, which is my favorite thing on campus. All of my friends that don't play a sport keep talking about where they will be going and what they will be doing. Some are also going to Florida, some are going skiing up north and some are going home just to relax and spend time with their families.

Although I wish I could do some of those things, I get to go play the sport I love with some of the best teammates in the world. When you have a support group of 20 others that are going through the same things you are, it’s just a totally unique experience. When you spend every moment with your teammates, they become like sisters (or brothers). We fight and argue like siblings, but at the end of the day we still love each other. My favorite thing, especially during midterms and finals, is that the older team members are able to help out the younger ones with studying or just life in general. I came into college with two little sisters, but I now have 22—and we can get through anything together.

“Live the life you love, love the life you live.”



Springtime is the Best Time

I’m not going to lie—winter in the north Georgia mountains can get very cold. Especially if you are coming to Young Harris from somewhere in South Georgia or from a southern state with a warmer climate. The last couple of weeks have been so rainy and chilly that I cannot wait until springtime. While I love participating in activities that go on around campus in the fall like painting up for soccer games or attending activities that the Campus Activities Board (CAB) puts on like Fall Fest, spring is definitely my favorite time of year—especially here in Young Harris.

When the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, the atmosphere on campus is extremely blissful. Students are always out on the lawn playing games like football, ultimate Frisbee or catch. During my freshman year, if I couldn’t find my friends in their rooms, they were usually out on the lawn studying or trying to catch a tan. The lawn is located right in the middle of campus surrounded by most of the residence halls, so it’s easy to spot your friends when you are strolling around or even just by looking out your window.

Spring semester is different than fall. When everyone is coming back from a summer away in August, returning students know what to do, where to go and who they will be around, while the new students are trying to figure all those things out. However, when all of us come back for the spring semester, everyone knows what’s going on. The new students have adjusted to life at YHC, and there is a captivating carefree attitude all over campus.

Spring semester can also be very busy, though, especially if you are a student-athlete who plays softball, baseball or lacrosse. I am a member of the softball team, and we play 56 games, plus a couple tournaments, between February and April. We are on the go nonstop between practices, games and class. People sometimes ask me how I do it, and I always respond, “I just take it one day at a time.” As a student-athlete, I feel that’s all you can do to keep from getting too overwhelmed.

During the past three years, I have learned that in order to get things done—and done right—I have to make a schedule that accounts for every minute of my day with practice times, class times and assignments that are due. College is about learning; learning what works for you as a person and what is going to help you succeed in life. As student-athletes, we are expected to overcome more because we have some much more on our plates. The second we put on a Young Harris College uniform, we are representing the College, both on and off the field. For me, this helps me succeed. Having every minute of my day planned out does not allow for little distracting shenanigans, and helps me stay focused on what’s important.

My college experience will be different from yours, and yours will be different from the next person. College is what you make it, and you have the power to make it the best experience possible.

“Live the life you love, love the life you live.”


The Time of My Life

In the spring of 2010, I thought I was having the time of my life. I was a senior in high school, softball was going great, I had wonderful people in my life and I felt like I was on top of the world. However, when I arrived at Young Harris College that fall, I realized my life was just about to begin.

When I was deciding where to attend college, I had a good friend who was looking to play baseball somewhere and YHC was on his list of schools to check out. He mentioned to me that I would really like the atmosphere on campus and that I should look into it. I decided to take his advice and checked out the College’s website. I liked what I saw, so I contacted the softball coach. My choice to attend YHC was instantly made the second I stepped onto campus. 

My friend from high school was the only person I knew at YHC when I arrived, so I was a little nervous. Once softball practice and classes began, I quickly gained friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. Those friends have also become my family, and although I love going home for summer vacation, I cannot wait to return to YHC in August every year. Who ever thought that this little college in the north Georgia mountains would become my second home?

Through this blog, it’s my goal to explain not only what it is like to be a student at Young Harris College, but also a student-athlete in particular. I think it’s safe to say our lives as student-athletes are different than most students. Between the 6 a.m. workouts, field practices or traveling to away games (plus everyday schoolwork), we have busy schedules. When I began my freshman year, I had no concept of time management and it took me the next three semesters to get the hang of it – which I did through the help of my coaches, teammates and professors.

My freshman year feels like yesterday (cliché but it is true) and I have gone through a lot but I would not change one thing. Although I am excited to say I will soon be a senior, it also pains me to think I only have two more semesters left. I have loved every moment of being at Young Harris and will miss it with all my heart when I graduate next spring. I encourage everyone to come here and make it their second home as well. College is what you make it, so make it an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.

“Live the life you love, love the life you live.”


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