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Monday, March 10, 2014

My First Impressions of YHC

I was homeschooled since the seventh grade. This made my college application process interesting to say the least. I went on a tour of a large college near Atlanta, which was nice. A few weeks later, my mom got a call requesting some more paperwork for my application—paperwork I didn’t have because I was homeschooled. Nowhere on their website did they say they needed this particular paperwork. Oh! And they needed all of it within 30 days. With this news, I resolved myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be starting college in the fall and would have to reapply for the next semester.

Then, got a call from YHC saying they had accepted me, so I went to the College for a tour. I expected many other prospective students to be there just like at the other college. That was not the case. It was just me. My parents and I walked into the Admissions Office, and so many staff members came out to greet me by name with smiles on their faces. They all said they had been waiting for me to arrive. I honestly felt as if this was the highlight of their week, and they certainly made it the highlight of mine.

After we had toured the campus, they took us around to meet other staff and faculty. I remember one in particular—Sean. It’s a testament to the College that I don’t remember Sean’s title or even his last name. He wanted everyone to simply call him Sean. When we met with him, he greeted us with a smile and pulled a chair out of his office into the foyer to where my parents were sitting on a bench and where I was nervously walking around.

We didn’t go into his office. He came to us. There was no desk between us. As I recall from my time in the Teacher Preparation Program, a desk can be negative space. It is essentially a barrier between the parents and the teacher, or in this case, staff member. It makes the parents feel belittled because the person they are talking to is protected and, in some ways, elevated by the desk. With Sean, we didn’t have that problem. We were own equal terms. He talked to my parents—I don’t remember about what. However, what I do remember is that through Sean’s tone, body language, and actions, he was there to help us. He wasn’t someone who expected us to give him paperwork in less than 30 days. He talked my parents through the process and alleviated some of their fears. My dad even made the comment that he thought I was more prepared for college than he had been.

I think it was that meeting with Sean—more than perhaps even START Orientation—that made me want to come to YHC. This is now my fourth year at the College, and I’ve found that all of the faculty and staff still embody that same character.

-John


Monday, March 10, 2014

Finding Myself

In high school, I wasn’t very involved, my grades were average and I spent a lot of time at home with my TV. During senior year, I saw myself as no one important—someone with no special talents or unique characteristics. So when I came to college, I assumed it would be the same. I would not stand out, and definitely would not make an impact. I soon discovered I was dead wrong.

My sophomore year at YHC, after I got the hang of college classes and living away from my parents, I decided to join a sorority to find a group of friends I could depend on to support me throughout my time here. What I got out of this experience was inspiring. I found myself. 

After one semester in my sorority, I became vice president and learned how to run meetings and handle the business of an organization. Let me tell you, this is not just a group of girls that throw parties. My time management skills skyrocketed as I made time for sorority activities while also staying on top of classwork. Last semester, I was voted in as president. I was honored that these girls wanted me to lead them and represent them on campus. I had so many ideas to help the sorority grow and this was my pathway to enacting them. Through this role, I gained leadership skills I never knew I was capable of. I made friends with so many other Greeks through collaboration and friendly competition. And now, I sit back and smile because I know exactly who I am and who I want to be.

Social organizations at YHC do not force anyone into a pre-set idea of who they should be. They build confidence in order for members to find themselves. Sigma Beta Sigma has so many different types of people with different goals and values—that’s what makes it work so well. Just like in the real world, people will have different backgrounds and viewpoints, and you have to learn how to collaborate and cooperate. I believe the most important asset after college, in order to succeed in a professional world, is knowing who you are—your values and beliefs—and the ability to consider others’ values and beliefs. Young Harris College is a perfect place to foster that.

-Alex


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The End of My First Semester

The semester is coming to an end, and I’m ready for the month-long winter break that Young Harris gives us. I look forward to spending time with my family and seeing all my friends from high school—both make the two-hour drive back home worth it. 

Don’t get me wrong. I have had an amazing first semester. My classes and professors challenged me in the right ways. I’ve also made a lot of new friends along the way that support me and accept me for who I am. Simply, I’ve fallen in love with YHC. The College provides plenty of opportunities for every student to excel academically and socially.

It’s strange to think about how fast the semester went by. It feels like only yesterday that I was moving into The Towers for the very first time. Looking back, there’s nothing I would change about how I did things. I put myself out there in order to meet new people, and I’d say it worked out well. My on-campus job taught me responsibility while also connecting me with the staff and administrators that work behind the scenes. The courses I took made me feel accomplished, and my professors recognized me for excelling. I even learned how to deal with conflict in a professional and respectful way. 

With everything that Young Harris has offered me thus far, it’s the least I can do to tell prospective students how great this College is. I’ve grown to love waking up to the mountains every morning and pulling out my big jackets in the winter.

I hope I was able to give you a better feel for what life is like here on the YHC campus. I’ve had a great time sharing my experiences and knowledge that I’ve learned after just one semester. To anyone out there thinking about joining the Mountain Lion family, I highly encourage it. Choosing Young Harris College was one of the best decisions I have made.

Thank you for reading what I had to say over the past several months. I really appreciate all the support I’ve had in the comments from my friends and family.  

I hope you have a fabulous Christmas with your families and a happy New Year.

--Abbey

 


 


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

Part Two: Navigating Campus

 

One of the perks of college is being able to live on your own. It’s an amazing feeling to know you are learning the basics of how to provide for yourself. You may get sick, have to do your own laundry and pick up your own mail, but there are people on campus to help you get used to the routine of living on your own.  

The various academic-service offices throughout campus provide assistance to students, including the Academic Success Center which provides tutoring and special seminars, in addition to many other programs. They also have several computers and free printing. There is also the Center for Writing and Speaking, which is part of the College’s Rhetorica program. The folks in the center help with essay writing and will go over speech techniques with you. Another great resource is Duckworth Library, which provides computers and numerous resources for research. The staff also help students find books, and will check citations when writing. It even has 24-hour center that provides a comfortable study for those all-nighters. The Office of Academic Advising meets with students at least twice a year to schedule classes, but they are also available if students have worries about present or future classes. There are even free tutoring options provided by each department here on campus. It's a blessing to have such resources at the deposal of students. They are on campus solely to help us succeed. 

Aside from the academic programs, there are other services available for students. The Health and Wellness Services and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Center are housed in the basement of Appleby Center Residence Hall. If you are feeling ill, these are the offices to visit! 

Another helpful office is the Office of Information Technology. They assist with any issues the campus community may have with computers or the internet.

There are numerous other offices that provide help to students on campus—it’s just a matter of finding them. 

--Abbey

 


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


Friday, November 15, 2013

Navigating Campus

Young Harris College provides beautiful scenery and plenty of sidewalks for students to find their way to class each day. Depending on your major and preference of core classes, there’s a good chance that your classes will be spread out. Luckily, everything is relatively close together and minimizes the amount of walking—or running—you do between places. Finding your way around campus is much easier than you may think. 

Most of YHC’s buildings can be found in the central part of campus, including the residence halls, Grace Rollins Dining Hall, Duckworth Library and several academic buildings. Everything on campus generally revolves around the lawn and the plaza. The lawn also provides shortcuts between areas! Academic buildings such as Goolsby Center, Clegg Fine Arts Building and Maxwell Center sit closer to the front of campus while the residence halls and Recreation and Fitness Center are found closer to the back. One of my favorite things, though, is the fact that most of my classes are only a short walk from the dining hall or The Towers. It allows me to get to places on time or early—sometimes too early—to avoid being that awkward person who walks in after a professor’s lecture has started. This part of campus is also the most crowded area because people are either heading to class or hanging out with their friends. People even ride bikes, scooters and skateboards around the plaza and lawn to quickly get to where they need to go. You’re always bound to run into someone you know.

There are a few outlying buildings on campus. The “Old Brown Store” was recently transformed into mathematics classrooms. It is on the main highway leading to campus, along with the Fine Arts Annex, Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement and the Department of Athletics offices. The Outdoor Leadership Center is closer to the back of campus. I walk over to the Fine Arts Annex and Old Brown Store on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for classes. 

Athletics are a big part of campus life. Many of the athletic fields can be found close to The Village and the Recreation and Fitness Center, including the E.D. Rivers Softball Field, the Zell B. Miller Baseball Field, the Frances W. Wilson Soccer and Lacrosse Field, the Bob and Gail Nichols Tennis Complex and an intramurals field. 

Each YHC student is able to bring a car and park it somewhere on campus. There are multiple parking lots throughout campus, and it’s a great luxury to be able to drive to the nearby towns for food and shopping. 

If you haven’t visited campus for yourself, I recommend scheduling a tour. It’s definitely worth your time—especially now when the leaves are beautiful—to look around and see the things I’ve mentioned. Young Harris’ tight-knit campus has already helped me create close relationships with my friends, co-workers and professors.

--Abbey

 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just a Short Drive

There are many unique restaurants and businesses close to campus that allow you an escape from your daily routine. Whether you want to go shopping or to try some new foods, there’s plenty of options around Young Harris. Before I begin, however, I need to mention that these are all recommendations from my friends who have been at YHC for more than a year. Personally, I haven’t explored much off campus yet, so I will happily mention some options they gave me. 

Within the town of Young Harris, there are multiple businesses within walking distance such as the Dollar General. It’s right down the road and allows for easy access to groceries and practically anything you can think of. If you’re feeling like Italian food or subs, Moschetto’s Continental Café is across the street from campus. Another Italian restaurant closer to the YHC tennis courts is Enrico’s Italian Restaurant. Lastly, if you crave some ice cream, students can find Here’s the Scoop in that very same shopping center. 

A lot of students make the short drive to Blairsville or Hiawassee to shop or eat. Each town has its own personality and draws YHC students in with its delicious menus and great products. 

Blairsville has Galaxy Bowling Alley and Blairsville Cinemas, which provide plenty of entertainment for students on the weekends. Closer to town is FATZ Café, a resturaunt that serves classic American meals for families and students to enjoy. There’s also Treasured Creations Art Store and the Collage Boutique, unique stores that sell interesting art and fashionable clothing. Lastly—and maybe most important—the Walmart in Blairsville is only a short drive away to get the essentials in every student’s life.

When heading towards Hiawassee, I definitely recommend stopping in at Brother’s at Willow Ranch. I have fallen in love with this restaurant because of their southern cooking. Continuing on up the road, you’ll find El Cancun for Mexican food and Café Portofino, which serves low-priced wings on Wednesdays. I’ve also been told to mention the Blue Otter Restaurant and Asiano’s. The Blue Otter serves practically everything, while Asiano’s focuses on Asian cuisine. The Loft in Hiawassee is a favorite among the College’s female students. They sell fashionable clothing and accessories for any women out there looking to stay ahead on trends. 

With so many options to choose from, Young Harris students may have a hard time trying to figure out where to get dinner if they go out. Luckily, YHC positioned its campus in the perfect location to allow its students to appreciate the valley’s beauty while still keeping them within short distances of Blairsville and Hiawassee. 

--Abbey

 


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

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