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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


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. 

--Abbey

 


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 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.

--Abbey

 


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 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!

--Abbey

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