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Friday, March 1, 2013

It's Already Midterms!

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

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

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

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

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

Kali

 


Friday, March 1, 2013

The Real Reason We Are Here

Hey everyone! Since it’s midterms week, I'll keep this post a little shorter than normal. I am really busy with my schoolwork right now, so it’s only fitting that I talk about my experience with academics and give some advice to new students. (I promise it won't be as boring as you might think!)

A typical degree at Young Harris College has around 120 total academic credit hours. That equals at least 15 hours each semester to graduate in four years. There are always summer classes if you would like to take a lighter load during some semesters. Classes are typically held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 50 minutes or on Tuesday and Thursday for 90 minutes. There are some exceptions to this, of course, as some classes are only one day a week – especially longer, more intensive science labs or art studio classes. Core courses like English, history and business are generally three academic credit hours, but courses can range between one and four credits depending on the subject.

I enjoy nearly all of my classes and love my professors. Speaking of professors, they pretty much make the academic life at Young Harris College great. Class sizes are small (generally around 17 students), so professors get to know all of us well. They also know if you miss class, so no skipping! Professors are really cool in and outside of the classroom. They maintain a professional relationship but are also fun and lighthearted, too. They absolutely care about the well being of their students. All of them have office hours to give us extra help when we need it, and most professors have an “open door policy” meaning students are welcome to simply stop by.

I am not going to lie. Classes are difficult. Academics are definitely a big step up from high school courses, but they are doable. If you do your homework, show up to class and work closely with your professors to learn the material, you will succeed in college. Don't freak out when you fail a test either, because it will happen sooner or later. Just use it as motivation to ask for help, keep going and do better on the next one.

Until next week, I better get going on some of my coursework instead of just talking about it! I have a chemistry test coming up and a study session with friends tonight. Talk to you next week!

Peace,

Corey Helton


Friday, February 22, 2013

Get ’Em to the Greek!

Hey all! Thanks for reading! This week I am going to talk about Greek life and my involvement with Alpha Omega. Since we are mid-rush period right now, this has been on my mind quite a bit…

When I came to college, I had no interest whatsoever in joining a fraternity. My idea of a fraternity was that of popular culture: alcohol, frat bros and wild parties. What I became involved with was far from that. When I got hired as a College Rep in the Office of Admissions, I got to move in a few days earlier then the rest of the freshman class. With the exception of the few other Reps who were hired with me, I was one of the only freshmen on campus, which was quite intimidating. However, since I’m not shy, I immediately met some upperclassmen. While hanging out with them, the topic of Alpha Omega, YHC’s Christian brotherhood, came up in conversation. I realized that these guys were highly active in religious life as well, which caught me somewhat off-guard in relation to my idea of being “Greek.” The more I heard about Alpha Omega, the more I thought this was something I could be interested in.

As the semester continued, I learned that many of the guys I had met and become friends with through YHC’s “Underground” Bible study and weekly Chapel services were all part of Alpha Omega. By the time spring semester rolled around, I was stoked to get involved. I went to the group’s interest party and received a bid, thus beginning my journey with Alpha Omega.

Let me back up a bit her and explain that the Greek system at Young Harris College is a bit different than that of a larger university. YHC has a mix of both national and local fraternities and sororities, meaning some of them—like Alpha Omega—only exist at YHC. Through my personal experience, I have found that the traditions and family environment the local organizations have is unlike anything I have ever heard of anywhere else. One of my favorite traditions is Greek cheers, where sororities and fraternities each do a special cheer on the College seal in the middle of the YHC Plaza every Wednesday after Chapel.

Freshmen don’t rush their first semester so they can become acclimated to college life before they get too involved and overloaded with stress. When the spring semester rolls around, all organizations hold interest parties during Rush Week early in the semester where each organization explains what they are all about. Since Young Harris is so small, many students already know which group they are interested in. At the end of Rush Week, organizations give out “bids” (or invitations) that prospective students may or may not accept. If they do accept, they begin the six-week education period. During this time, “littles” (those who are pledging) get to know their “bigs” (current members). Each little is assigned to at least one big, who essentially becomes a mentor to that student. This big-to-little idea creates a big family tree of individual lines that can be traced back to the original founding members. After the education period is over, littles become members and are given a name and number to go on a jersey. The meanings of these names and numbers are some of the most sacred and treasured secrets of each organization, and every member of every local organization has one. (Mine is at my signature of today’s post!)

My fraternity, Alpha Omega, throws some of the biggest events on campus including the annual Halloween dance, the “Boo Bash.” Hundreds of students show up in costume and dance the night away. The other large event we do comes after education period and very much involves the new members. We call this event the “Holy Water Luau,” and we roast a whole pig in a huge cooker on the lawn and serve our famous Holy Water punch. (The recipe is a secret, but I can assure you it is a non-alcoholic beverage.) Nearly the entire student body comes out on the lawn to hang out with us, play our version of dodgeball that involves Frisbees, toss a football around or simply socialize. A large number of Alpha Omega alumni come up for this huge annual event, and hearing stories from the fraternity's alumni never gets old. At the end of the day, we do our traditional cheer and cries of “God is good! All the time!” echo across campus.

Overall, my experience with Greek life is something that I will always hold close to my heart. The bonds of friendship that exist between my brothers and myself will never be forgotten or severed. I highly encourage all students to at least look into Greek life at Young Harris. I continually hear that joining a fraternity or sorority changed the life of a student. On that note, I will talk to you all again next week. Until then, take care!

Peace,

Corey Helton

Treasurer, Alpha Omega
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#6-2.6


Friday, February 22, 2013

Springtime is the Best Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kali


Monday, February 18, 2013

It's a College Life for Me!

Hi all! First off, thanks for reading my first post! I work in the YHC Office of Admissions as a Student Representative, which means I answer phones, give tours and regularly interact with prospective students. Now I am actually writing to them as well through this blog, which is an interesting and nice change of atmosphere. Anyway, I have been pondering what I should cover in this first post and figured why not just start at the beginning...

I am the eighth generation in Suches, a tiny town with a population of less than 2,000 people. I went to Woody Gap School, the smallest public school in the state with a graduating class consisting of a whopping 12 people. I played basketball and tennis, and was very involved in student council and a number of other clubs. I have three sisters: Amanda, 16, Rebecca, 15, and Kaitlyn, 10. I am the oldest and the only guy. My dad still calls me from time to time to tell me how he can really tell that I don't live at home anymore. I play bluegrass fiddle, mandolin and guitar, and I absolutely love the magnificent beauty of the mountains. While I've lived in (and loved) the mountains my entire life, I really cannot see myself living here 10 years from now. I have a traveler’s soul, and I will go wherever my career takes me. But that’s another conversation for another day.

When I began to look at colleges midway through high school, I had the same conversations many prospective students have in relation to the local options. “There is no way I am going to YHC. It's too close! My parents will never leave me alone! I won't feel like I'm away at college! It just won't be fun.” Man, was I wrong.

My school came to Young Harris for a tour during my senior year. My parents had talked me into giving it a chance, and I was very surprised when I arrived on campus. The students here were so friendly, class sizes were familiar to me, professors all seemed genuine. I had a change of heart and applied. Even then, I wasn't 100 percent convinced until I came to START Orientation over the summer. During START, all new students stay on campus for a weekend, meet part of their freshmen class and get a taste of college life. I made so many friends during that weekend, and it absolutely changed my mind about Young Harris College. I ended up hanging out with new friends in the rocking chairs in front of Appleby Center until 3 a.m. and then went on the first of what would become many, many trips to Waffle House at 4 in the morning.

That weekend essentially changed my life. I fell in love with Young Harris College, and now I never want to leave. As a tour guide, it’s easy to talk about how much I love this place. Anyway, I better get on with it before I start to reminisce and cry about how I graduate in two years.

Back to the present! I am a sophomore biology major with a concentration in pre-med, as well as both a chemistry and business minor. That may seem like a little much, but I have crazy dreams, so why not have a crazy academic workload? Biology is probably one of the most difficult academic majors at Young Harris. I aspire to become an ophthalmologist, so I am preparing for med school and all that comes along with that. I will probably write a post or two about pre-med, med school, ophthalmology, etc., in this blog, so keep a lookout if you’re interested in that. I am very involved on campus, so I’m definitely looking forward to writing about Greek life, student clubs, religious life, living on campus and all the other awesome stuff we do here.

I better stop writing before I tell you my life story – I need to save something for my next post! Thanks for reading and feel free to look me up on Facebook or shoot me an email. Already looking forward to next week. Take care!

Peace,

Corey Helton


Monday, February 18, 2013

The Time of My Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kali


Monday, November 26, 2012

That’s All, Folks

I can’t believe the semester is over. I have seven finals to get through and then Christmas break begins. I’ve talked to numerous students and a handful of faculty members, and we all seem to agree this is the fastest a semester has ever gone by.

It’s been a rollercoaster for sure! Balancing three jobs, school and some kind of social life proved to be quite the burden, but I’m proud of myself for getting through it. I know it’s only because I attend Young Harris College, where I truly matter to all of my teachers, that I was able to succeed despite my full plate.

November is a time of thanksgiving, and I really am thankful that I walk on this campus every day. I hear so many stories from friends of mine that attend different colleges about how miserable they are at their school and how unimportant they feel, and I’m so grateful to not be able to relate.

I can remember looking at colleges and hearing that at YHC, you aren’t a number—you’re a name. Of course, this was in reference to the small classes, the private setting, the importance students feel and the respect they are given. Obviously all colleges want to say whatever they can to sound good, but at YHC, it’s a complete fact.

Every professor knows my name, long after I have taken their class. I love attending a college where professors can pass me on their way to lunch and stop long enough to ask me how I am and how my classes are going. Recently I had a professor ask me how my internship was going, and I had never even told her about it! It was really nice to see that a faculty member wanted to support me.

Personally, I think the closeness students feel in their classes is responsible for the intense friendships that blossom among us. This place, the Enchanted Valley, provides so many unique opportunities to make long-lasting friendships.

College is rumored to be the best four years of your life, and I know that, thanks to YHC, that’s been absolutely true for me. It’s so strange that a year from now I’ll be graduating, but I guess I have to accept that I can’t slow down time. It’s bittersweet to know that next December I’ll be walking around the plaza as a student for the last time, but I know I’ll be back. I don’t think anyone ever truly leaves this place.

Thanks to everyone who followed my adventures this semester, and I hope the holiday proves to be a blessed time for all of you. I plan to do a lot of catching up…on my sleep!

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