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Molly's blog


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wrapping It Up

Hi everyone,

It’s getting to be that hectic time of year when it feels like there are simply not enough days left in the semester needed to get everything done. Overwhelmed with due dates, papers and rapidly approaching finals, it occurred to me how lucky I am to be in this position. I am so thankful for the many extraordinary opportunities Young Harris has given me. The small, close-knit community has provided me with friendships that will last a lifetime, and a rich education I don’t feel I would have received anywhere else. It’s comforting to know I am surrounded by students and professors who genuinely care about me and my success. 

Even though it’s a busy time, the end of the semester is always my favorite. The last few weeks are filled with studying, tests and writing but there is always time to enjoy the company of friends before everyone leaves for winter break. Ending a semester of hard work with good friends is always a satisfying feeling. 

Sometimes it’s hard to think of everything you’re thankful for. It seemed to hit me in the whirlwind of studying and frantically writing papers that my YHC education is the best thing that’s happened to me. I wouldn’t be in this place—a senior at YHC—without my loving family, friends and many others who have influenced me and helped me grow. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of classes and being a student but I’m always glad when I can take a moment to realize how fortunate I am to learn and grow in a place where I am more than just another face in the crowd. 

Young Harris truly has so much to offer and I hope I have made that apparent through the stories I have shared on my blog. It’s crazy to think that I am almost halfway done with my final year at YHC. Considering how quickly this semester flew by, I’m sure my last one will go by just as fast. I will greatly miss being in these beautiful mountains every day but I am beyond grateful for the adventures and memories I will always cherish from my time here at YHC. 

Thank you to all who followed along with me on the journey of my fall semester. It has been a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to discover what lies ahead!

Molly


Monday, November 25, 2013

Changes All Around

Hi!

One of the most notable things about being a senior is the fact that I have had the opportunity to be involved in the YHC campus community for a little over three years.

Although most are aware of the construction of the new Rollins Campus Center, other changes may not be so obvious to visitors or newer students. It’s amazing how much the campus has changed and grown in the few years I have lived here. One of my favorite buildings was the Winship Residence Hall, where I met the majority of my friends during my freshman year at YHC. Winship, in fact, is where I met my boyfriend, Daniel. A few of our mutual friends actually lived in the dorm and we happened to be in their room at the same time. I remember Daniel was attempting to play guitar while some of us talked. He kept strumming chords every time someone tried to say something, and I remember thinking what a goof he was! After that, we got to know each other, and eventually started dating. For that reason, Winship will always hold a special place in my heart, even though it was torn down my junior year. Winship was a place for me and my friends to meet up after class, study and just hang out—it truly produced a lot of fond memories!

The old outdoor basketball court also held a lot of memories for me. This was recently replaced by The Towers, the newest residence hall, but was a place where people would gravitate to, and watch a pick-up basketball game or play. I can’t say I actually played a legitimate game here, but my friends and I did at least try to shoot the ball around on cool mountain days. It was a nice way to enjoy the fall weather while socializing with people who would walk by. 
 

I will also have memories of the old spots on campus, but I’m excited to see how much more YHC will grow after I graduate. All of the new additions greatly enhance the value of Young Harris College and I’m thankful I am able to take advantage of all they have to offer while I am a student here. The best part about experiencing so much change is that I can reflect on the memories I have made and truly discover the places that most impact my love of YHC. 

Until next week,

Molly


Friday, November 15, 2013

Take a Back Road

Hi everyone!

One of the advantages of living in the mountains is there is always new terrain to explore. When it was too cold to do anything outside and we needed a change of scenery, me and my boyfriend, Daniel, would hop in his truck on the weekends and travel down forest roads in the area. Surprisingly, there are a lot of dirt roads surrounding the town of Young Harris—you just have to be looking for them. 

One of the roads Daniel and I explored started in Hiawassee and bypassed the mountain road to Helen. Travelling the mountain to Helen from Hiawassee usually takes forty minutes, but by dirt road, it took us almost two hours! Despite it being a longer drive, it was much more entertaining because it was unpredictable and we could take our time and enjoy the trip. 

During another adventure, I had the feeling we weren’t going to make it back onto a paved road. There’s a lack of cell phone service in the middle of the woods. It had recently rained, so we were splashing through large puddles farther into the middle of nowhere. We came to a puddle that covered almost the entire road. We were unsure how deep it was and there was no room to turn around. Daniel hopped out of the truck and grabbed a stick to see if he could measure how deep it actually was. He said we could make it, so we started plowing through despite my skepticism. We finally made it across—much to my disbelief—and back to civilization with mud covering almost every inch of the vehicle. We spent several hours the next day washing it off and preparing for a new adventure.

Driving the dirt trails isn’t the only exciting thing to do. A lot of the roads have designated campsites along the way. It’s nice to escape from everything and enjoy the company and views surrounding you. When my friends who are YHC graduates visit, they often want to go camping because it such a unique things for college students to be able to do so close to the campus. 

The north Georgia mountains are known for cold weather and, unfortunately I fell victim to this a few weeks ago. I decided to go camping with several of my friends, and I, naively, didn’t wear or pack many warm clothes. I spent all weekend in my sleeping bag, huddled close to the fire that doubled as my heat source and s’more maker. Despite the chilly temperatures, being out in nature is one of my favorite aspects of living in the mountains. Whether I am cruising a new trail or staked out at a campsite, it’s always refreshing to get away for a little while to enjoy your surroundings. I love exploring these beautiful mountains I call home.

Now, go find your own adventure!

Until next week,

Molly


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Punkin’ Chunkin’ Traditions

Hi everyone!

This past weekend, I embraced the essence of fall in the mountains and attended the annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ festival in Hayesville, N.C. I went to the festival for the first time last year on a whim. My boyfriend, Daniel, and I saw a sign around town advertising the event and I demanded that we go—mostly because there’s an episode of my favorite show, “Modern Family,” where they chunk pumpkins across a football field. I love the episode, but didn’t believe people actually participated in such a crazy thing, so I had to witness it for myself. 

The festival runs for two days, and several teams line up different types of catapults they have designed and take turns flinging their pumpkins across an open field. Their scores are recorded by how many feet their catapult chunked the pumpkin, and the winner is named on the second and final day.

Last year, I went on a Saturday and, in the midst of the craziness of pumpkins flying everywhere, there was a chili cook-off and an “anything pumpkin” dessert competition. Daniel participated along with other festival attendees and even got to vote on what chili and dessert he liked best. This year, we went on a Sunday so we got to see who was declared the winner. The coolest part about the festival was that they were offering $15 airplane rides. The airplane was a tiny two-seater taking off and landing on a grass runway fairly close to where the pumpkin chunkers were launching their catapults. Daniel and our friend, Parker, both have their pilot’s licenses so they were extremely interested in going up in the plane and looking at the other planes they had parked in the field. Even though we’ve been flying with the boys before, my friend, Cassie, and I were apprehensive about any of us getting in the tiny plane. Although we didn’t go up in the air, it was still really cool to see them take off and land right in front of us. It was definitely a unique aspect of the already unique Punkin’ Chunkin.’

Like any festival, this one had delicious fair foods—funnel cakes, fried pickles, kettle corn, fried Twinkies and Oreos, kabobs, and hot dogs, just to name a few. I absolutely pigged out throughout the day. It was just too irresistible! In addition to the food, vendors sold items such as jewelry, yard ornaments and wooden toys. There was even a section of the gigantic field that had carnival-style rides for kids to go on. Even though I didn’t didn’t buy anything, it was still fun to walk around the festival grounds and look at everything the vendors had to offer. 

The Punkin’ Chunkin’ festival did not disappoint. And, it brought one of my absolute favorite episodes of “Modern Family" to life! I hope that even after I graduate, the tradition of attending the festival with my friends will continue. 

Until next week,

Molly


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Unique Perspectives

Hey there, everyone!

Young Harris College is always adding new, interesting classes for students to explore. My sophomore year, I decided to add a photography class as an elective—this ended up being one of the coolest classes I’ve taken at YHC. I’ve always been interested in photography. My junior year of high school I received a Canon Digital SLR camera for Christmas and loved snapping pictures with it and exploring all of its features. During my junior and senior year of high school, I was a member of the yearbook staff, so I had a lot of opportunities to take photos of sporting events and pictures of students and teachers for feature articles. This opportunity really sparked my interest in taking quality photos and, when I realized I had the opportunity to further pursue this interest at YHC, I jumped at it. 

My professor, Scott Dean, gave us different assignments each week highlighting a specific topic. For one assignment, Mr. Dean informed us of a bike race happening at a local park called “Track Rock Gap.” I went with another student from class and chose to stand on the side of a curve along the dirt trail to capture a unique angle. Tons of bikers came zooming by us and it was thrilling trying to capture action shots of the racers. I had never been to a bike race before so I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it was so much fun. At first, I struggled with taking the photo at the right moment and with the right shutter speed so a lot of my pictures came out blurry. I adjusted both of these things and was able to get some pretty good pictures that embodied the totality of the race.

Another week, our assignment was to take pictures of anything that reminded us of Appalachia. I chose to go around the town of Young Harris and highlight a few local places. This project was during autumn, so I tried to get some quality photos of the leaves changing colors, pumpkins and other festive fall decorations. One of the photos I snapped was of the sun setting behind a hay bale in an open field. I turned in this photo along with a couple others that I felt best fulfilled the assignment. A few months later, Mr. Dean sent me an email saying the Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement wanted to use my photo for a series of events they were planning to run in February and my photo would be on exhibit in the Goolsby Center for a week. I was extremely honored by this opportunity and immediately agreed to participate! It was exciting to see my photo displayed in a place that so many people pass by everyday. 

This class rekindled my interest in photography. I loved that a lot of the assignments, even though they had a specific theme each week, were left up to the student’s interpretation and allowed for creative freedom. Each day assignments were due, students were able to show off what they had captured that week and explain our perspective behind the camera. These moments make a liberal arts college like Young Harris so special! 

Until next week,

Molly


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Village Living

Hi everyone!

This week I wanted to fill you in on the part of campus that has been my home for the past three years. My sophomore year, I moved in to The Village and have lived there ever since. The Village is set up as on-campus apartments and is somewhat secluded from other residence halls, so it’s really like our own little piece of campus. There are small lawn areas where students grill out, play corn hole or just relax in the rocking chairs on their front porches. The Village was built in two installments- the first produced eight buildings, each with five apartments that have four private bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and a full kitchen. The second installment was in the fall of 2012 and produced five more buildings. It’s a great resident option for students who want a little bit more independence and to experience living in an apartment setting. Personally, I love having my own room. Not that I did not enjoy having a roommate, but being able to retreat to a space that is entirely your own is very relaxing and a great place to study quietly. I feel like I have become more responsible living in The Village because I’ve been able to be more independent.

Having a kitchen is probably the biggest responsibility I’ve had to tackle. I really do enjoy cooking; however, I’m terrible at it. I’ve had more than one kitchen mishap during my time in The Village, including burning toast and setting off the fire alarm. Yes, you read correctly, I have set off the fire alarm twice this semester alone! You may be asking, “How in the world does that happen?” Let me explain: The first time, three of my friends and I were attempting to fry Oreos. (If you’ve never had a fried Oreo, stop reading, go make some and then finish reading). The recipe is fairly simple—heat up a small pot of cooking oil, dunk the Oreo in Bisquick batter and fry. Well, as soon as we placed our first battered Oreo in the oil, POP! The oil immediately went crazy and the fire alarm began to blare throughout the entire building. We immediately took the pan outside and waited for the fire department to arrive. We had gotten the oil too hot, and that’s what triggered the alarm. Afterwards, and very cautiously, we tried again and successfully fried Oreos that night.

The second time I was trying to make a nice, simple dinner for my boyfriend. I heated up a pan and just poured a small amount of oil into it and it immediately set the alarm off again. This time, there were a bunch of people outside throwing Frisbee on the lawn so they witnessed the entire process of having the fire department come. I was so embarrassed, especially because the first incident happened only a week before. Fortunately, there were no actual flames or smoke involved in either cooking mishap, and I have learned to be cautious when cooking with any kind of oil since it heats up so quickly. Even though neither of these experiences was pleasant, I’m glad I’m in a space where I can explore the amenity of being able to cook for myself and with my friends.

The Village has definitely given me a learning experience as far as “living on my own” goes. It has provided me with a space whereI can grow and feel more mature on a day-to-day basis because it’s a larger space I have to maintain. I’ve definitely been spoiled by everything The Village has to offer, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

Until next week,

Molly

 


 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lifelong Bonds

Hi everyone! 

During the spring semester of my freshman year, I joined the Gamma Psi sorority. I never considered myself a “sorority girl,” but I chose Gamma Psi because I had gotten to know a lot of the current members. They were all so kind, fun to be around and cared just as much about the events they were planning as they did about their schoolwork.  

I also really enjoyed the activities they were involved in on campus and in the local community. I would see members of Gamma Psi all sitting together in the dining hall and participating in and hosting campus events, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of a group of such close-knit student leaders. 

Joining Gamma Psi was one of the best decisions I have made because it has provided me with the opportunity to be involved in numerous activities on campus. Gamma Psi has also given me a group of lifelong friends who are extremely dependable.

Gamma Psi is a local sorority that was founded in 1995. A lot of current members still stay in touch with our founders, which just goes to show you how passionate Young Harris students and alumni are about the College and the organizations they are involved in. 

I rushed Gamma Psi with eight other girls. It’s hard to believe that when we began rushing, some of us didn’t even know each other. Now, even with so much going on in our lives, we all still manage to get together and stay in touch at least once a week. We spend as much time together as possible. Even if we aren’t always able to hang out, we know if we need someone, they’ll be there in an instant to help. 

In Gamma Psi, we try to be involved in all of the major events hosted by YHC. Some of these include Homecoming, Fall Fest and the Student Organization and Local Business Fair. Lots of organizations set up booths at Fall Fest with candy, crafts and games for kids in the community who come to campus to trick-or-treat before Halloween. Two years ago, we sold miniature pumpkins for attendees to decorate. It’s a great way for us to interact with our campus and local communities while making our sorority’s name known.

My favorite event Gamma Psi hosts at YHC is the Tacky Christmas Sweater Dance, which takes place at the end of the first semester. Students come dressed in silly Christmas ensembles and dance to holiday favorites. There’s always a big turn out since it’s one of the last events for students to see each other before winter break starts. 

We also do philanthropy work for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. One October, we sold pink hair extensions to students who wanted to show their support for breast cancer awareness month. It was really awesome to see people walking around campus with the extensions in, and we were able to donate more than half of the proceeds to the foundation. 

In addition to Gamma Psi, I was chosen to be a “sweetheart” in a local fraternity, Alpha Xi. I love having both a group of sisters and brothers who I can always count on. These are two truly unique Greek organizations, and I am blessed and honored to be a part of them. If you’re interested in Greek life, it’s important to explore all of your options and find which fraternity or sorority fits you best. Greek life is a great way to be more involved on campus and can give you the opportunity to gain leadership skills. 

Being in Gamma Psi and Alpha Xi is like having family away from home. Both organizations have enhanced my YHC experience—each group has so much to offer. It’s a bond that lasts forever with lifelong friends. 
 


 

Until next week,
Molly 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Falling for Fall

Hi everyone! 

There has been a noticeable change in the air this week. I hate to say it, but summer is officially over and the cool fall weather is setting in. I can’t be too upset by this because Young Harris is, without a doubt, the best place to be during this season. 

Driving around town, I noticed a few leaves were already starting to change colors. Soon the mountains will be painted with hues of red, orange and yellow, and people on campus will slowly be bundling up in coats, scarves and boots. This is a great time to make a visit to YHC and witness the picturesque scenery for yourself! 

There’s a lot happening on campus during the fall. Family Weekend is always held when the leaves are at their peak, so families can enjoy the beautiful north Georgia mountain scenery. This is the perfect time for students to introduce their families to professors and give them an overall feel of life at YHC. I always love it when my mom and brother come to visit because they get to be around my friends and learn about new things going on at the College. 

Another event YHC offers in the fall is Homecoming, which is my favorite weekend of the year because students, alumni and friends of the College are all a part of it. Everyone who loves YHC comes together to celebrate the opening home game of the Mountain Lions basketball teams. The weekend begins with a pep rally and huge bonfire to get everyone pumped up with school spirit. On Saturday, student organizations and local businesses parade floats through campus. For the past two years, I’ve participated in the parade. It’s so much fun to decorate your float according to the theme of Homecoming and then have it displayed for everyone. Last year’s theme was “A Blast from the Past,” and the Student Government Association decorated our float with things that reminded us of our childhood such as Uno cards, cassettes and boy band names.

After the parade, the lawn in the middle of campus is set up with tables and everyone gathers for a delicious catered lunch. It’s a great way for students to mingle with alumni and get to hear stories about past YHC adventures. After the picnic, everyone makes their way to the “Valley of Doom” for the men’s and women’s basketball games. There is so much energy built up for this event, it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement. Everyone is cheering on the beloved Mountain Lions, hoping for a victory to kick off the season! 

Summer may be over, but the change of fall is bringing a lot of excitement to YHC. I can’t wait for the crisp mountain air and vibrant leaves to attract new and old friends to the mountains.
 


 

Until next week,
Molly 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Summer Session in the Mountains

Hi everyone! 

This past summer, I participated in YHC’s Summer Session for the second time. The program usually runs from mid-June to mid-July, and it’s a great way for returning students to stay ahead on credit hours and improve their GPA. It can also be beneficial to freshmen who want to experience the college lifestyle a little early, get acclimated with the campus and dive in to classes.

I chose to enroll in summer classes so I could lighten my load a little during the normal academic year. YHC is known for their small class sizes and professors who truly care about their students, and this is exemplified even more during Summer Session. 

During my first Summer Session in 2012, I enrolled in “Elementary Spanish II” and “Introduction to the Solar System.” My Spanish class had only two other people in it. I was able to ask all of the questions I needed to in order to understand the material, and our professor was extremely accommodating to our needs since there were so few of us in the class. It was truly the ideal learning environment because we got so much extra attention.

In my astronomy class, we had several outdoor labs at the YHC Observatory located at Brasstown Valley Resort. Since it was summertime, we were able to view an entirely different set of constellations than the students who took the course in the fall or spring—another unique experience for Summer Session students.

I recently took “Intermediate Spanish I” and “Introduction to Human Communication.” Both classes had fairly small class sizes, and my professors were willing to go above and beyond to ensure we understood the course information. 

Since Summer Session at YHC is only a month long, it can be fairly fast paced. I wouldn’t recommend taking more than six credit hours since it’s such a short amount of time, but the experience as a whole is definitely worth it. In addition to classes, the program offers students a rare opportunity to explore campus and the local community during the quiet of summer.

On the first day of Summer Session, every student gets a T-shirt and a list of activities the College has planned for students while they are on campus. This year’s activities included a free wing night at a local restaurant, a ticket to the Taste of Southern Highlands (a local tasting event to raise money for charity), several free movie nights and even a trip to see the Atlanta Braves play! 

During this time, the campus generally has a more relaxed feel. The campus is less crowded, so it’s a great time to get to know other students and make new friends. One of my absolute favorite things to do after class was go out on Lake Chatuge on my boyfriend’s boat. It was a nice way to unwind in between going to class and studying. I even learned how to wakeboard this summer!


 

YHC Summer Session was one of my favorites times at the College, and I highly recommend it to new and returning students. It’s a great way to get ahead on credit hours and, trust me, it certainly can improve your GPA. You never know what rare and exciting opportunities Summer Session has to offer because each year is different.

Until next week,
Molly 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Feeling Nostalgic

Hello everyone! I’m glad you’ve found your way to my very first blog post! Starting my fourth and final year at YHC has made me very nostalgic lately, and I would like to share a defining moment from my freshman year that initiated my everlasting love for Young Harris.
 
YHC wasn’t really on my radar when I began my college search. As a high school senior, I scheduled a visitation with little knowledge of the College besides the fact that my aunt attended YHC in the ’70s’s and it was a place that fostered many fond memories for my mom, her sister, and the rest of their family. Upon arriving for my tour, I was immediately taken aback by how beautiful the campus was. Tulips were in bloom everywhere I went—if you have been at YHC in the springtime, you know how colorful they make campus!) While on my tour, people I had never seen before were smiling at me and waving to me. Right away, the small, intimate feel of Young Harris wrapped me in, and I knew that this was where I needed to be. 
 
When I arrived in the fall for classes during my freshman year, I knew one person—my best friend and roommate, Erica. The first week was a whirlwind of events. The Campus Activities Board always plans Welcome Week for new and returning students. One night, they had a huge inflatable screen blown up on the lawn and invited everyone to watch a movie under the stars. In addition, things were set up on the plaza in the middle of campus, and everyone came out to mingle. Although it was scary at first having to meet new people, I made friends who to this day still play a part in some of my favorite YHC memories.
 
After my first week of classes, we went up to Bell Mountain. It’s certainly a treacherous place to get to if you’re not careful because the road to the top has been worn down from many years of travel and rainwater. But, believe me, the hike is absolutely worth it. When we got to the top, I was amazed that I was still in the small area that surrounds the College. The view was breathtaking. Off in the distance, I could see YHC nestled into its protective valley and I knew that I could call this place my home.
 
I often think about my first week of school at Young Harris. It’s very bittersweet and hard to imagine this is my last year here. I’m determined to make it the best year yet and embark on adventures that will allow me try totally new things while I still can. This year, I’ll have a busy workload with organization meetings, classes and study sessions, but I know every bit of it will be worth it once Commencement comes in May.
 
It’s easy to get caught up in the wonders of Young Harris College. It’s such an amazing environment to be in with so much to offer, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you! 
 
Best wishes until next week,
Molly 

 
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