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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cures for the Lonely Weekend Blues

Here at Young Harris College, there’s quite a lot of commuters who live nearby and travel back and forth for their classes. Many of the on-campus residents live 30 minutes to an hour from campus, allowing them to take a short drive home each weekend to visit their families. I, for one, am extremely jealous of them. Those that choose to stay on campus over the weekends, though, have the opportunity to enjoy the events and relaxation YHC provides. So, I’m here to say don’t dread the weekends if you have nothing scheduled with your friends. There’s always plenty to do on campus. 

With stressful weeks filled with homework and studying, it doesn’t hurt to spend an entire day winding down and having some fun. Luckily, Young Harris provides the perfect environment to do just that. As I mentioned in a previous blog, people get together on the lawn all the time to play Ultimate Frisbee or football. Right up the road behind campus is a beautiful park and creek area for everyone to enjoy. Although there are events that take place everywhere, this blog will focus on easygoing weekends activities that students love.

A lot of students relieve their stress by lounging on the lawn—just don’t forget your blanket, bug spray and sunscreen! It’s an easy way for friends to spend time together while listening to music and doing homework. It allows you to appreciate the mountains around you and how beautiful the campus truly is. Whether you like to take naps in the sun or have a small picnic, it’s a great way to waste a day and get things done.

Another popular activity to take part in on campus is “Eno-ing.” For those who don’t know, an Eno is a hammock that can attach to poles and trees. I’ve found this is an amazing way to relax in a quiet environment while studying on your computer or reading a book. YHC provides multiple locations for students to hook up their Enos with a group. There are poles behind Enotah Hall, a gazebo next to the Susan B. Harris Chapel and many trees available around campus. You can take your pick—all of the locations are great and bring students together in a unique way.

The campus itself provides tons of peaceful entertainment. There are plenty of spots to sit and relax around campus. There are swings near the gazebo I mentioned earlier, and each residence hall provides comfortable sitting areas that include tables and chairs. There are even rocking chairs outside the Myers Student Center and Appleby Center. 

It really is important for students to stay on campus over the weekends. One of the main reasons college exists is so students can live on their own and get used to the freedom and responsibility necessary to succeed in the future. I know most people miss their parents, but you’re missing out on some amazing experiences by leaving this beautiful campus. 



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,


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,




Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bon Appétit

As a full-time student who lives on campus, you have three food options: The Grace Rollins Dining Hall, the Balance Café or microwaveable food in your room. The food in the dining hall is quite tasty, but having snacks and microwavable food in your room is a very smart move just in case you have those late nights of homework that keep you from going to dinner. The Grace Rollins Dining Hall offers plenty of different options that vary each day. Similarly, the Balance Café in the Recreation and Fitness Center offers healthy food choices for those looking to minimize their calories.

That being said, the Grace Rollins Dining Hall is the main location to eat on campus. It provides multiple rooms filled with tables and chairs for both students, locals and professors to dine. It is a multi-stationed, buffet-style cafeteria and you can easily serve yourself. Overall, the dining hall provides tons of options to choose from. There’s a salad bar where you can create your own fresh salad and an international bar where pastas, stews and burritos are served. Similarly, there’s the pizza bar where the general pepperoni and cheese pizza can be found along with specialty pizzas. Next to that is the grill where you can find hamburgers, grilled cheeses, french fries, hotdogs and cheese quesadillas. Lastly, there’s the entrée bar where everything from meatloaf to spaghetti to tacos can be found. Even in the mornings, there’s an amazing buffet filled with pancakes, eggs, bacon and much more. If you want to make your own food in the morning, there’re also toasters, cereals and fruits available. Plus, if you need a sugar burst in the afternoon, there’s an amazing ice cream machine and desert counter provided for everyone. The best part about the Grace Rollins Dining Hall, though, is how it brings the whole campus together in one location. It provides a pleasant, comfortable environment for friends to meet and eat together in between their stressful courses.

Another option I mentioned was the Balance Café. It isn’t open as often as the Dining Hall is, but it definitely is worth the trip if you love subs and coffee. For each swipe of your card, you can get a sandwich or salad, 2 side items, one dessert item, and either a water or a juice. They offer a variety of salads including chicken caesar, Greek, garden and red potato. Plus, they sell fruit and vegetable cups along with yogurts. The Café also sells Starbucks coffee and other foods to those who need a little energy to help survive a long day.

Everything you’ll find on campus is delicious and there is food to meet everyone’s needs—even vegans and vegetarians! The dining hall staff is amazing and is always sweet enough to ask your how your day has been or whether you had a good weekend or not. No matter option you choose, you won’t be disappointed.



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,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Staying in Tip-Top Shape

The dreaded “freshman 15” is on the forefront of some students’ minds even before they head off to college. I’ve found it’s the sweets from the cafeteria and the snacking in your residence hall that can get you.

It’s possible to fight back even if you are the pickiest eater in the world—like me. Whether you’re interested in keeping your figure or building your body up, Young Harris provides multiple options for every student to stay in shape while having a good time.

One of the most obvious places to work out is the Recreation and Fitness Center. The facilities include a basketball court, an elevated track, a rock climbing wall, tons of fitness and weightlifting machines, a dance studio, locker rooms and the Balance Café, a healthy food and juice bar. There’s a wide range of different machines students can use such as treadmills, ellipticals and bicycles. The great thing is, anyone can come and exercise whether you’re the strongest guy on campus or just a small girl wanting to improve your endurance—all it takes to get access to the equipment is a swipe of your student ID at the front desk, and then you’re good to go!

A lot of students take advantage of the awesome area surrounding campus by participating in outdoor activities. The YHC Outdoor Adventures program I mentioned a few weeks ago is one way to have fun outside. A lot of students gather on their own to play ultimate Frisbee and flag football out on the lawn. It’s simple enough—just gather a group of friends, make teams and get moving. Another easy option to stay active is either going on a hike or taking a jog around campus. You can hook up your iPod and go run by yourself on the road or a nearby trail. On the other hand, if you like working with others towards the same goal, join a fitness group in the Recreation and Fitness Center. There are free group fitness classes like yoga, “Ab Attack” and more that aim to help students live healthier lifestyles. 

Even if you’re not interested in working out or playing sports, it is definitely still possible to stay in shape. Students at YHC walk all over the place. You may have a math class in the Brown Building on one side of the campus and then walk to the other side of campus for your computer class in the Office of Information Technology building. A final piece of advice for prospective students: Bring some comfortable walking shoes... I prefer Converse!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Academic Opportunities

There’s much to talk about when it comes to academics at Young Harris College. There are tons of majors and minors to choose from, and each class challenges you to think outside the box. There are endless avenues to explore like pre-class readings, and students get to have a close relationship with their professors. Don’t get me wrong, college can get quite overwhelming, but with good time management and hard work, anyone can keep that perfect 4.0 GPA all year long.

I’m taking five core classes, all worth three hours each except for my First Year Foundations class that counts for two. YHC courses are different than the classes you took in high school, and it’s important to take a course load that’s manageable and not too overwhelming. Professors challenge their students by with fast-paced lectures and assignments that make them think. They expect things to get done because, ultimately, we’re adults now. 

The professors here work to make us more self-sufficient and responsible, so we’ll succeed after graduation. YHC professors will help with anything you need as long as you go to them and ask. If you don’t understand something, they’ll clarify to the best of their ability. Each professor is different in personality and teaching style, but they’re all there to teach their students everything they know. One of my favorite things about Young Harris is how small the classes are, which leads to more one-on-one attention and less distractions in class. 

Attendance is another key to surviving college courses. If you don’t attend frequently, you won’t understand the information that was talked about in class. You’ll feel behind and somewhat lost when you realize the class has simply gone on without you. I recommend a good night’s rest and an alarm in the morning. I’ve found my alarm quite persistent on days I have those early 9 a.m. classes. Young Harris professors actually do keep track of your attendance because they want to see you succeed.

This past weekend, I went on an English department trip to Sylva, N.C. and Asheville, N.C. We visited multiple bookstores and ate at some amazing restaurants. One of my professors, Rosemary Royston, attended the event as well, and I got to know her and her family a little more. I had such a great time with her and the other professors. It just reminded me why I love Young Harris so much. 


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,

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,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Something for Everyone at YHC

One of the most important aspects of enjoying college to the fullest is having an active social life. Whether that’s being involved in clubs or hanging out with newfound friends, there’s plenty to do on campus even when you have no plans at all.

Take me, for example. I’m somewhat shy when it comes to trying new things and putting myself out there. Surprisingly, though, Young Harris has been able to open me up to being more adventurous. That being said, I decided to join some clubs in order to get involved, and one really caught my eye. It was the G.A.M.I.N.G. (Grand Association of Mountain Lions Interested in Nerd Gaming) Club, created this year by my friend Rachel. Like the name implies, we simply play all types of video games on various consoles and have a great time hanging out together. Whether it’s Mario Kart on the Wii or Call of Duty on the Xbox, anyone can come and play. Things get quite competitive in the room, but everyone finds a way to share, even when things get tough. If anyone’s interested, the meetings are Monday nights from 7-9 p.m. in Myers Student Center. Even if you aren’t that great at gaming, come anyway! You’ll meet tons of new people who share a common interest and will gladly help someone who doesn’t know quite how to play.

Likewise, there are multiple groups on campus that plan events every week in order to keep the students involved. One major group that plans activities is the Campus Activities Board (CAB). The work this group has done thus far has blown me away. Out of the events they’ve had, I’ve attended two Coffee House events, a lip sync contest, an ’80s prom and a glow party. Each was extremely fun and gave me time to hang out with my friends. Plus, there’s other events I heard were amazing like the Toga Party, the Foam Party, the root beer float stand and the poster sale. Everyone on campus knows the things CAB hosts are a blast and provide plenty of memories with friends.


Other aspects of the campus community like the YHC Outdoor Adventures program, Greek life, and residence life each have their own and provide the opportunity to get involved and have the time of your life.

YHC Outdoor Adventures mainly focuses on getting students outdoors and enjoying the beauty of the campus and the mountains. I attended a picnic a few weekends ago with my friend and had an awesome time. We played volleyball and had a cookout afterwards. Greek Life offers a social outlet for students on campus, while promoting scholarship and philanthropy. Lastly, the resident assistants in each of the residence halls plan events for students living under their care. It’s a perfect way to meet your neighbors and get along with them better. In The Towers, a few RAs hosted a cool “Create Your Own Dream Catcher” event.

I encourage current and prospective students to get involved on campus because it makes the whole experience more interesting and less stressful. There’s something for everyone at YHC.


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