Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Favorite Courses in the Rec Program

by Caleb T., Panther Blogger

As I mention in my video below, I'd like to tell you a little bit about some of my favorite classes from the Recreation Program. There are some classroom-based classes, but we still spend most of our time outside the classroom.  The Rec Program is really good about providing hands-on experiences!  The classes I tell you about in my video below help you test your leadership skills as well.  This is just a taste of what the Rec Program has to offer.  Please check out my video!  Thanks for watching!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Introduction to New Blogger Stephanie!

by Stephanie D., Panther Blogger

My name is Stephanie and I am a senior at Ferrum College. I have studied at Ferrum for the past three years, and as I head into my fourth year, I plan to graduate with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Criminology and minors in sociology and accounting.  My favorite hobby is reading and my favorite book is Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.  I have been a cheerleader for almost 13 years. I have a brother who is a sophomore at Villanova University.  My family is my support system and without them, I wouldn't be the person and student I am today.

I am involved in many things on campus.  I am a captain on the Ferrum cheerleading squad, an active sister in Theta Gamma Omega, a PAL (peer assisted learning) tutor for accounting 201, and a member of the Criminal Justice Club.  I'm from Chesapeake, Virginia and an alumni of Hickory High School.  After graduating, I plan to attend graduate school and study for a master's degree in either criminology or something related to criminal justice.  I have not decided on the school I would like to attend and I am currently studying for the GRE.

I'm also a resident assistant at Ferrum College and absolutely love my job!  I chose to attend Ferrum College because of the beautiful campus and scenery change!  Going from the beach to the mountains is something I look forward to every year.  Ferrum has changed my life and I am so thankful that I am a student here.  I have benefited very much from the small classroom sizes and the individual attention I can seek when I need it.  There are many resources for students that have helped me immensely, such as the math center and writing center.

This past summer, I studied abroad through an E-Term course and had the time of my life!  I went to Belize for 15 days and it changed my outlook on life.  I can't thank Ferrum enough for all it has prepared me for and all it has instilled in me.  I am looking forward to being able to call myself an alumna of Ferrum College and continuing to do what Ferrum has prepared me for:  going after my dreams and not settling for anything less!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My New Perspective from Zambia, Africa

by Blake Sproles, Alumnus and Panther Blogger

What fun would life be if we never did anything new?  If we were simply to stay in the same location and do the same exact things day upon day and never push ourselves to do something extreme, then life would very quickly become nothing but a tedious chore.  Sometimes, life can seem to become a bit boring due to the repetitive work days, overbearing workloads, and stressful situations that we as individuals experience on a daily basis.  However, it does not have to be this way. By allowing ourselves to experience new things and step out of our comfort zones, we are capable of breaking free from the same old average daily routine and really grasp life by the horns!  I did exactly this when I traveled to Zambia, Africa this past summer as part of the Orphan Medical Network International medical mission team.

I am grateful that I was selected by one of my Ferrum professors to apply for a position on the trip. I was first interviewed by a group of professors, then had an interview with the OMNI president, Karen ReMine, after which Karen selected me to be a part of her medical mission trip.

A view of Zambia from the airplane.
This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that really impacted me as an individual and allowed me to reevaluate the manner in which I live my life.  While in Africa, I saw things that I had never seen before, did things that I had never done before, and had my eyes opened to a completely different world.  The experiences that I had while on this trip changed my life and have encouraged me to explore new opportunities each and every chance that I get.

Enjoying a ride through Zambia on the back of a truck!
Cleaning a patient's wound.
During our time in Africa, we held a total of eight different medical clinics, typically seeing about 500 patients in a day.  These clinics were held in various tribes and villages, in which we were able to observe a very different type of lifestyle than what we know and are used to here in the United States.  There is truly one thing that I can say from my observations of the individuals living in these tribes and villages, and this is that family is the most important thing anyone could have.  In the country of Zambia, people are not rushing to work in vehicles, continuously holding a phone in their hand, or always on the computer participating in social media.  Instead, they are helping out one another by weeding the gardens, caring for the livestock, watching over the children, and doing absolutely everything and anything possible to ensure that they can make it through another day.  In Zambia, it is not a common feeling to have the promise of a tomorrow, and the only way to obtain this is to work extremely hard each and every day, and to keep your family close to you at all times.  The feeling of security is something that we oftentimes take for granted and commonly forget about here in the United States.  However, I now know just how blessed I am to have a wonderful family that loves me and that I can wake up every day knowing that everything is going to be just fine.

Performing tests in the medical clinic
Throughout these clinics, I was allowed to participate in the various clinical departments of triage (questioning patients to obtain information regarding their medical needs), pharmacy, diagnosis, wound care, eyeglasses, and the lab.  By working in these various departments, I was able to see many different individuals and medical needs that I could never have even imagined would exist.  Perhaps the one individual who sticks out in my mind the most is a beautiful seventeen-year old girl who had become paralyzed from the waist down at the age of eight or nine due to a severed spinal cord.  This young girl has been reduced to living in a small wooden cart, about half the size of her body, that is equipped with handle bars that she can rotate with her hands to transport herself from one place to another.  Because she is paralyzed and cannot be easily removed from her cart, she obtains frequent pressure sores on her sides due to lying on the cart's hard wooden surface.  These could be easily treated, however the closest medical clinic is more than thirty miles away from where she lives, and this same medical clinic is limited in the supplies and medical instruments that they have.  Thus, she waits to visit the Orphan Medical Network International clinic every year to receive the supplies and care that she needs.

A student of the OMNI school.
Another amazing aspect of this trip was getting to see the impact that OMNI is having in the lives of so many individuals over in Zambia, Africa.  Since the founding of this organization, OMNI has not only been taking annual medical mission trips over to Zambia to help those with medical needs, but they have also started a teaching facility for children who are orphaned or have troubled homes.  These children do not yet have any mode of transportation, so they will walk miles to go to school.  Throughout the school day, these children are not only taught the typical classes such as English, math, and science, but they also learn life skills that directly apply to their lifestyle in Zambia, such as how to properly grow and take care of a garden and livestock.  Not only do these children come to school because they love learning and singing, but it is also perhaps the only way that they can receive a meal during the day.  After getting to visit the school, meet the children, and see the great services that OMNI has provided for these people who are living in a troubled country, it really encourages me to know that we are making a great impact on the lives of these individuals and that what we are doing really does matter.

All in all, there are so many stories to tell about what all I saw during my trip to Zambia, and there really is no way to sum up everything that I have seen into a few words.  However, I can say that this was, without a doubt, one of the greatest experiences that I will ever have.  The time that I spent in Zambia will be with me forever, and I will always be able to look back and reflect on my experiences.  The experience that I gained during this trip in the medical field was priceless and has encouraged me to explore the medical sciences to a greater depth.  I also made some great friends and many new connections during the short period of time that we were in Zambia.  It is a huge honor and blessing to say that I have been offered the chance to return again for another medical mission trip, and I've got to say that I cannot wait for the next trip that I get to take back to Africa.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Things Change: It's Normal!

by Dannica B., Panther Blogger

Now we all know college is all about education and earning a degree, but we also know social life is a big part of surviving four years of college!  As a first semester freshman, the highlight of my week was watching Love Actually in my dorm room.  Yes, pathetic, right?  I had no social life.  I had friends, but I never really did anything except play Uno with my hall mates.  Every event that took place sounded "lame" and I just wanted the comfort of my bed and the taste of ramen noodles in my mouth.  That was my Friday night.  Yes, I did adventure out of my room sometimes, but nothing extraordinary ever occurred.  I didn't want to do anything and I'm not sure why.  I guess I missed home too much?  Maybe that seemed to be a valid excuse, but in reality, I was scared.  The innocence of my freshman mind couldn't bear the thought of growing up and becoming a responsible adult.

But then it hit me. It was time to grow up, it was time to do that pile of laundry sitting under my bed, and it was time to go to the cafe instead of eating ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It's not easy growing up, but at some point in life, we all have to "cut the umbilical cord" and become an independent person and take responsibility.  The future is going to be different than you imagine, and the friends we have now may no longer be our friends later.  The things we think we like now may turn out to be the things we begin to dislike later and you have to actually leave your dorm room to find who you really are.

My second semester was much better. I got a job, joined a sorority, became a student ambassador and a Panther Blogger, and I got so much more involved with Ferrum College that I felt more at home.  Being more involved with the college you attend makes everything so much easier.  I'm a different person than who I was when I first came to Ferrum. I'm more confident in myself and I put myself out there and became a part of the Ferrum community.  After all, it was the Ferrum community who brought me out of my shell and I couldn't be more thankful!  So remember, things change:  it's normal!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Okay to Be Confused: It's Normal!

by Dannica B., Panther Blogger

As an upcoming freshman, or even as a rising sophomore, junior or senior, things can get pretty stressful.  What classes will I take this semester?  Am I even pursuing the right major for me?  What do I even want to be when I'm older?  Is college even the right thing for me?  Everyone has asked themselves these questions before and many people change their minds numerous times until they are comfortable that they are making the right decision.

As a confused high school graduate, I knew that I was going to graduate from some big university with a business administration degree and a psychology minor, move to Florida, become a wedding planner, and then one day own my own company.  Now as a rising sophomore, I attend my second home, Ferrum College - a beautiful yet quaint and extremely small college with a population of just over 2,000.  I started as a Business major, switched to an Art major, but now I'm a Recreation Leadership major.  So, yes, I guess you could say I have changed my mind a few times and I can promise you it won't be my last time!

You see, times change.  You grow up believing you're going to be one thing then often turn out to be the complete opposite.  It's life and people change their minds even after college. The best advice I can give is do whatever makes you happy, unless it's illegal or morally wrong then I would recommend you think twice!  But if being an art major makes you happy, then do it even if you think you can't make a career out of it because I promise you, if you believe you can, then anything is possible.  If you want to be a star athlete, then go for it. Just remember to keep your GPA intact because after all, education is extremely important.  If being an actress/actor on Broadway is your ultimate dream, then become a theater major despite what anyone thinks.

At the end of the day, you're going to college for four years and if you're taking classes that you hate and pursuing a major that you know deep down inside isn't right for you, then what's the point?  And if you can't make up your mind, don't panic. It's okay to have doubts, and it's okay to change your mind. There are people to help.  Go to your adviser, your parents, your friends, your mentors, or even your pet goldfish named Fred and talk to them (even if your fish doesn't talk back).  Ferrum has a great support system if you get out to seek help!  I got a lot of help from my professors, peers, and especially from my adviser, Mrs. Smith.  There are people here to advise you down the right path, but just remember that at the end of the day, it's you who has to make your own decisions.  I know it seems like it'd be easier if someone made them for you, but unfortunately, that's not how life works.  It's okay to be confused - it's normal!