Friday, March 20, 2015

From Ireland to Ferrum - An International Student Experience

by Caoimhe R., Panther Blogger

Hi, or should I say hello or as we say in Ireland, "well, what's the craic?"  This is a saying which I'm accustomed to saying at home when I see my friends, but also one which has won me several odd looks from people who don't understand what it means since I've arrived in the states.  If you ask someone "what the craic is?" at home, you are normally just asking them what they've been doing recently or what's up.  If you say "that was unreal craic" after a night out, then normally, you're just saying it was a great time.  I just thought that it was important to clear that up; if you ever go to Ireland, that will definitely be a useful piece of information to know!

My name is Caoimhe, I'm 22 years old and am an international student at Ferrum College.  My name can also sometimes be a source of confusion, but it's a Gaelic name derived from the Irish language and is pronounced like "Keeva".  It's also number one on "the most mispronounced Irish names in America".  Since I've arrived here, I've been called "Kayomi," "Teeva," and numerous other things!  I know that as a word, the letters and sounds don't always add up, and sure it's all a bit of fun at the end of the day.
Me with some new friends at Ferrum

You're probably wondering how I ended up coming to Ferrum College all the way from Ireland.  Basically, my whole story started over a year ago when I applied for a scholarship offered by the British Council called Study USA, also known as the Study, Work, Create program.  I was one of eight people from my college, St. Mary's University College in Belfast, to apply for this opportunity, but never in a million years would I have envisioned being accepted into the program let alone becoming a student at Ferrum College!  Fortunately, five others from my college and I were placed in the program.  Bearing in mind that there were approximately 400 students who applied around 65 places, I felt as though I accomplished a major goal in being selected from a competitive group of students.  This scholarship meant a great deal of importance to me, and it had been my motivation since the start of my college education to study in the states.

Ferrum Cross Country
My journey to Ferrum College started on the 28th of August 2014.  I remember waking up at three in the morning and getting ready for the day of travel ahead.  I made my way to Dublin airport and said that final goodbye to my family.  It's strange how the reality of a situation, despite how much you prepare for it mentally, never hits you until you are present in the moment.  I remember looking back at my family standing at the airport doors just before I got on the elevator to go through security.  Although a part of me felt incredibly sad to say goodbye, I knew that what was ahead of me would be an experience of a lifetime.  I arrived at Ferrum College on the Thursday before classes started and that is the beginning of my whole story.  I must admit, I had one of those "what am I doing here?" moments when I initially arrived, but I reminded myself that what I felt was completely normal - after all, I was over three thousand miles from home!

Ferrum Women's Cross Country
Homecoming Parade at Ferrum
Since then, I have tried my best to embrace the experience!  I joined the cross country team in my first semester, as well as other clubs and societies on campus which provided me with a great opportunity to meet new people.  Although I've only lived here for about six months, I believe this experience has totally changed my outlook on life!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#MyFerrum Experience in Academics

by Brett W., Panther Blogger

With the onset of the #MyFerrum campaign, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to write some of my upcoming blogs on different facets of #MyFerrum experience!

In my freshman year, fall of 2012, I began my horticultural path by being enrolled in BIO-202, Introduction to Plant Science.  I sat directly up front and remember the first day being the only freshman in the class.  Because I had taken AP Biology in high school, the credits transferred and I was able to take the 200-level class during my first semester at Ferrum.  I also took AGS-110 Issues in Agriculture that first semester, which really broadened my horizons on how much further agriculture reached than just my realm of greenhouses and floristry.

The next semester, spring of 2013, I enrolled in HOR-321 Plant Propagation, which was taught by my advisor, Dr. Pohlad.  I had the amazing luxury of being just one of six in that class, which let me begin to develop a relationship with my advisor and with Ferrum's agricultural program that couldn't be matched anywhere else.  We did projects such as help run the Plant Sale that occurs every spring, and even fill the planters and design the flowers of Dr. Braaten's home.  We went on field trips to Virginia Tech to view their tissue culture lab, and we traveled to Riverbend Nursery to get a tour and first-hand look on how a commercially larger-scale operation is run.  That same semester, I started my green roof practicum and took both half-semester horticulturally-derived topics in science classes:  SCI-124 Edible Wild Plants and SCI-130 Healthy House Plants.  This was also the semester that I traveled abroad to Peru for my E-Term, and the Honor's Program enriched the class by producing a field guide for the orchids of the Inca Trail!

The following fall of 2013, I took HOR-410 Greenhouse Management also with Dr. Pohlad, which was my first 400-level class in my field.  This had more of an impact than I expected, which was very fortunate for me.  Back when I toured Ferrum College before I was a student, my admissions counselor brought us through the Academic Resource Center and talked about the Peer Assisted Learning Program, where students can be tutors to help fellow students learn and understand specific classes better.  I remember her explaining that and how I could not wait to eventually one day be a PAL tutor in a horticulture class!  Well, three semesters later, I was asked if I wanted to help out and tutor BIO-202 since I was proficient in my knowledge and already taking my major classes in my sophomore year.  I obviously said "yes"!
My design for the Adam's Lake Riparian garden

Since then, I have taken HOR-418 Plant Pest Management, which let me become legally licensed in pesticide application, and HOR-411 Landscape Design and Management, which presented me the opportunity produce and present a design for our Titmus Agricultural Center entrance and the Adam's Lake Riparian garden.  My proposal was actually chosen and reproduced for the Adam's Lake Riparian garden restoration project!  The semester after those two classes - in the fall of 2014 - I took HOR-415 Plant Disease, AGY-315 Soil Science and Management, and AGS-417 Agricultural Business Management.  While still continuing to tutor the BIO-202 class, I also did another practicum where I was additionally a Lab Assistant for the class.  This gave me valuable experience first-hand on how to work in a lab as a facilitator while also providing me the opportunity to hone my skills in teaching and explanation.

My Riparian garden design being implemented!

Currently, I am enrolled in BIO-419 Plant Physiology and Biotechnology, which I am loving, and I am I beginning to undertake a project studying tissue culture and phytohormone application.  This project, tied in with my junior seminar paper, is helping me and teaching me how to properly go about producing and conducting graduate-level work.  This semester, I also began tutoring HOR-321 Plant Propagation, which I took just year before, so I have a feeling of accomplishment that really helps me get up in the morning.  I have this all thanks to #MyFerrum experience!

With only AGS-314 Animal/Plant Breeding & Genetics left to complete my major's required classes and BIO-306 Nonvascular Plants & Fungi left to take as an elective to complete the requirements to be invited into the National Biology Society, I know that my time left here at Ferrum is coming to a close.  But a year is still a lot of time to continue to make my mark on this campus because:  This is #MyFerrum. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Beginning of a Great Season for Softball!

by Amanda R., Panther Blogger

Ferrum didn't have typical "Spring Break" weather this year.  Before leaving for the week, Ferrum students saw multiple days of snow!  With this being said, spring sports had a difficult time getting outside for practices and games.

During our break, the Ferrum softball team traveled to Florida to play in a non-conference tournament.  Softball in 78-degree weather?  I'll take it!  We played six games over the course of four days.  We returned with five wins and one loss.  One of these wins happened to be over the #6 ranked team in the nation for Division III sports!  It was a major win for us and a great confidence-booster!

We returned back to Ferrum to host four conference games, and we finished these with three wins and one loss.  So overall for our season, we have eight wins and two losses!  This is just the beginning to a great season!!

- Amanda

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Busy Semester In Full Swing!

by Amanda R, Panther Blogger

This semester is going by so quickly!  Taking fifteen credits plus an E-term course this summer is keeping me busy!  My classes this semester include Human Anatomy & Physiology II, PE Experience for Adolescents, Motor Learning, Foundations of Profession Teaching, and Profession Teaching for Content Reading Literacy.  So far, I'm enjoying my classes, but the best part is my 40-hour internship at Franklin County High School!  I am currently working with a 10th grade girl's Physical Education class, and I love it!  I have assignments through my education classes where I am actually teaching the students and working on different skills with them.  It really is a great experience before I actually become a teacher!

Softball is getting into full swing!  With our first game on February 24th at Lynchburg, we have been practicing almost every day.  This season, we will be traveling to Florida for Spring Break and Alabama soon after!  Can't wait to get the season started!

- Amanda

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Introduction to New Blogger, Kathleen!

by Kathleen B., Panther Blogger

Hello!  I'm Kathleen, but most of my friends here at Ferrum call me Kat.  I'm originally from the Lake Anna, Virginia area.  Some of my biggest loves and dreams all have to do with writing. I've been in love with the pen and paper since I was a young girl. It is my dream to take my love and talent of writing and use it to influence those around me to rise above expectations and make the world a better place.

You're probably wondering how I found Ferrum College.  I actually heard about it from a family friend whose daughter graduated from Ferrum.  I journeyed three hours with my parents to tour the school and absolutely fell in love.  I love the mountains, so the scenery was a huge attraction for me.  But more importantly, the faculty was amazing. They worked with me and countless other transfer students to help us get settled in.

Ferrum has become home to me.  It is a smaller college, so everyone on campus is tight-knit and like a family to me.  The atmosphere here is light and happy. Among my favorite things about Ferrum are the professors and teachers.  I've become close with more than one professor on campus. They're all so kind and treat their students like their own children.  They can be hard on us at times but only because they want to see us do our best.  I've made amazing connections because of my professors here at Ferrum.  Because of this, I've been able to get internships for journalism.

Some of the many things that I am involved in are theater, campus ministry, the improv club, recreation club, and Theta Gamma Omega.  I will be acting as Pilar in this year's musical Legally Blonde.  As it is my first time being involved with a theater production, I'm very excited to show off my singing and acting talents.  I am also the Co-Director of our Campus Ministry's Praise Team.  I love working with the vocalists within Campus Ministry!  The Improv Club is all about improvisational acting. We do performances in the Panther's Den and in the theater regularly throughout the semester.  The Recreation Club is an amazing outdoors club!  We do hikes, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, and many other activities as a group.  Theta Gamma Omega (OGO) is one of Ferrum's local sororities, and I am excited to be pledging them this semester!

I have many fond memories of Ferrum.  Perhaps my most vivid and beloved is of the Homecoming concert that Ferrum put on for the students last semester.  My friends and I had been anticipating it all day.  My best friend and I spent the night swing dancing and laughing.  I can still recall her laughter ringing out with mine. We often talk about that night and how amazing it was.

Ferrum College is truly a wonderful place.  I wouldn't be the person I am today without the professors and friends I have had the honor to meet here.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The "G" Word

by Laken P., Panther Blogger

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a you'll not only miss the people you love, but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again."  - Azar Nafisi

Three and a half weeks into my last semester of undergrad, I can feel the unmentionable "G word" start to creep up on me.  Graduation.  It's something that my friends and I have chosen not to think or talk about as each day that passes is one day closer to walking across the stage and saying goodbye to everything we have come to know and love in the past few years.  We are all excited to begin the next chapters of our lives, but at the same time, the feeling hits us that we will never have these moments again.  Each big event becomes our last one, and the reality that our time is growing short gets a little stronger each and every day.  We got up for classes one morning only to realize it was our last first day of school.  I started my last sorority recruitment realizing that I will not be involved with the next class of girls come in.  The list of lasts continues to build, and the bittersweet truth is that in just fourteen weeks, I will be calling myself an alumna of Ferrum College.

This past week, I got my first graduate school acceptance letter!  I was excited to receive my letter since that is what I came to school for in the first place.  I came to Ferrum with the hopes of working hard, earning good grades, and that when it was all over, I would be ready to move on to the next step of my educational journey.  What I got out of Ferrum, however, was so much more than that.  I never imagined that I would grow so attached to people or a place in just three years, but now that graduation is nearly here, I can't imagine not living out the indescribable experience that Ferrum gave me.

I will be leaving this place as a person who has grown so much in the short time that I have been here.  I came to school not knowing a single person, and I am leaving with best friends that I will never know how I was able to make it the first 18 years of my life without.  I am leaving with professor mentors who I know will always be there for me if I need them, even if it is years down the road.  Above all else, I am leaving with stories and memories that will last for the rest of my life.  If anything, I can only hope that the legacy I leave behind at Ferrum is even half the size of the one it has left in me.