Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wednesday Nights

by Maryann C., Panther Blogger

During the school year, I attend a local church -- Ferrum Faith Assembly of God. I have become very involved with the church during the course of my four years here.  One responsibility that I have taken on for about a year now is teaching a class for elementary-aged girls on Wednesday nights. During these Wednesday nights, the girls and I sing songs, do a Bible lesson, play games, and just spend time together.

Some of the more exciting projects and activities I have done with the girls include puppet shows, making themed snacks (like witches' hats for Halloween), and playing games like musical chairs. I am especially excited about the tea party I am planning for the girls when I return from break!

Teaching this class has been a lot of fun, and I have learned a lot from working with these young ladies. I have enjoyed getting to know these girls and spending time with them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's All Coming Down to This

by Laken P., Panther Blogger

After thirteen weeks of hard work, sleepless nights, memories I will never forget, and new faces that I now proudly call my friends, it is time to say that I survived my first semester of college. At the beginning of last week, the only thing that stood in my way of a trip back home to spend my favorite time of year with my friends and family was the ever-dreaded finals week. Final exams only bring on the inevitable:  nights with little to no sleep, hours of time spent in the library, caffeine, junk food and an incomprehensible amount of stress.  The pressure skyrockets as students often realize that everything they have worked for over the past semester rests in the fate of this one week. While I have spent the last few days in the library with limited contact to the outside world and a seemingly endless supply of chips, candy, and Starbucks, I have come to realize that while finals are important, they are not the defining moment of a college career.  There are many other activities and events going on throughout campus that not only help eliminate some of the stress of finals, but they also become the nights that we will never forget.

On December 7th, Ferrum hosted the annual semi-formal Snowball dance at a hotel in Roanoke. This year's theme was "Everything is Better in the Dark," and there were glow sticks and black lights everywhere. The dance was a chance for students to trade in the struggles and stress of college life for a chance to get out and have fun. I enjoyed being able to dress up, go out to eat, take pictures, and dance with my friends. It was almost like getting to relive the high school prom experience, in a little less formal setting. I know planning has already started for next year's dance, and I can't wait to make it one of my FC traditions.

Another big escape on campus is all of the Christmas-themed events. Every aspect of the Christmas spirit can be found somewhere on campus through tacky sweater parties, gift exchanges, coloring Christmas cards to send to children in the hospital, making ornaments, caroling and Christmas-themed dinners in the Caf.  Dorm rooms are decorated with lights, garland, and ribbons while small trees glow through the room windows, showing that just a few more weeks to go until the most wonderful time of the year.

I often say to myself that I wish writing papers for class were near as easy as writing my blog posts. I get so excited to tell everyone all of the great things that make Ferrum so special, and before I know it, the page is nearly filled. Even though I have only been on this campus for a few months, I have already met so many wonderful students, professors, and advisors who are willing to do whatever they can to ensure that I succeed. From eating everything in sight to try to use up all of our dining dollars, dressing up for Snowball, sitting in the library studying and writing papers, driving to the gas station just to make milkshakes in the machine, and attending Christmas parties with various clubs and organizations, I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade any moment of my Ferrum experience.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Interview with Alumna Vanessa Torres, '12

Just before the holidays, we caught up with alumna and former Panther Blogger Vanessa Torres to see how life's been treating her since she graduated in May 2012.  Majoring in Spanish and minoring in English and Journalism while at Ferrum College, Vanessa maintained a busy schedule with academics as well as being a captain of the women's lacrosse team, active member of the Delta Phi Epsilon international sorority, News Editor for the Iron Blade, and a Panther Blogger.  Check out Vanessa's previous blog posts here.  Now thriving as an aspiring career woman, she kindly took some time out of her new schedule to interview with us!  So, without further ado...

FC:  Vanessa, you've been a college graduate for a little over 6 months now...how do you like it?
VanessaSo far, I'm really enjoying my life in the "real world."  It has been good to me since I graduated.

FC: Do you miss college?
VanessaI definitely miss Ferrum, my friends, professors, coaches, teammates, sorority sisters...and my trips to the 77 restaurant!

FC: What parts of being a career woman do you enjoy the most?
VanessaI enjoy being able to wake up and go to work at a place that I absolutely enjoy and with people I love to work with.

My colleague, Doug Hemming, and me at the Harlem Book Fair in NYC. It was my first trip as an intern!

FC: What are the challenges you have faced so far?
VanessaI wouldn't necessarily call them challenges; I would call them opportunities to learn.  When new tasks were presented to me, I would ask all the questions I could. I knew that if I did, I would do the assignment right the first time. I think that many people get scared of asking questions because they think others will think they are incapable of doing the assignment. But to me, it shows that you really want it.

FC: What is your job now?  Can you explain what you do and what you're up to now?
Testing out the live feed for a live Skype interview
with students from Miami University in Ohio
and our host from our show The Washington Journal.
VanessaMy title is Marketing Assistant at C-SPAN. I assist my supervisor with premiums, ads on Facebook, sales, and anything he may need me to do. I've also had the opportunity to travel with the C-SPAN digital bus and spread the mission of C-SPAN.  Currently, I am working on premiums, sales, and ads for the next fiscal year, along with our new original First Ladies Series that begins in February 2013.

FC: How closely does this job compare to what you wanted to do for a career after college?
VanessaMarketing and Communications has always been a field I've wanted to be a part of.  I'm happy I was able to start off on the right foot with C-SPAN.

FC: How soon after graduating did you find your job?  How did you find out about the position?
VanessaWell, my temporary job initially started from an internship. It was actually quite interesting how it all worked out. My mom's friend's daughter's neighbor (sorry, very confusing!), who is a radio producer at C-SPAN, connected me to the human resources specialist who was in charge of the internships. I had applied for the internship in January 2012, had my interview in late February, and found out that I got the internship at the end of April. From there, I worked very hard, met some great people, and was mentored toward the right direction. I started my internship in June, and in late July, a temporary job position opened up. I was asked if I'd be interested in applying. I applied, had an interview, and 4 days later, I heard that I got the position.  I was beyond excited!  As I started my new temporary job during the first week of August, I knew my hard work and enthusiasm had paid off.

Me at the Library of Congress: National Book Festival. The festival took place at the National Mall.

FC: How was the transition from the internship to the full-time temporary job?  Did you position change?
Me and the C-SPAN 'Road to the White House' bus
when it came to visit DC while I was an intern.
VanessaIt was definitely a great transition. I stayed with the same department and got the chance to work with the same people, only this time, I worked with our creative team. My position had definitely changed from intern to employee.

FC: What kind of unique opportunities or special projects have you had at your jobs that have expanded your experience?
VanessaThe Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention was definitely one of the biggest projects I was able to help on. I had to contact many states to find out their delegate count, which events they were attending, hotels where they were staying, and so on. Everything was so fast-paced and fun!  I was able to talk to so many people from different parties and get to see both sides of the conventions and how they worked.

I also got the chance to travel with the C-SPAN "Road to the White House" Digital bus to Ohio for a week. Since Ohio was a big battleground state, we visited different universities to talk to students about C-SPAN resources and how they could use them to learn more about this year's election.

FC: Do you have any "favorite moments" from your new job?
My boyfriend, Jesus Diaz FC Alumnus '11,
and I at this year's C-SPAN holiday party
VanessaSince the Olympics were going on during the summer, our Social Media Specialist made a video called "C-SPAN Olympics," which starred my entire department. This video just shows how much fun the people I work with are!  Please check it out:  

FC: Any "favorite moments" from post-college life?
VanessaDefinitely getting hired, making the greatest friends at C-SPAN, going to some awesome places in D.C., and getting to see the underground subway in the U.S. Capitol!

FC: Do you have any future goals for your career or plans to continue your education?
VanessaI'm hoping that I get hired permanently after my temporary job is finished. Crossing my fingers!  I'll continue to walk up these stairs to success and happiness that I aspire for myself. In a couple of years, I will probably look into graduate school somewhere in D.C. or northern Virginia. 

FC: Were there any courses, professors, or experiences at Ferrum that you think particularly helped you prepare for your job?
VanessaMost every single professor taught me something valuable at Ferrum. Those who worked with me knew how much it meant and know that they have contributed something special to my future; they know who they are, and I thank them!

It's important to be a team player. It's important to see the bigger picture -- what will be important tomorrow and then what you think is important today. There is so much more out there to look forward to, and you have to have the right attitude and motivation.  These insights and experience came from being a part of a great organization, Delta Phi Epsilon, and a great team, Ferrum women's lacrosse.  It takes a strong and determined person to get to your goal, I believe that person is in everyone.

Some of my colleagues in the Marketing Department and boyfriend, from left:
Rachel, myself, Jesus D., Jessica and our VP of Marketing, Marty.

FC: Any other information or stories you'd like to share with us?
VanessaHere's a fun fact:  in 2008, the C-SPAN digital bus visited my high school, and that was the first time I had ever seen it. During my interview for my internship, I mentioned that I wanted to work with the marketing digital bus because I thought it was so cool the way they took the time to interact with young people and teach them about our government.

And a bit of advice to others pursuing a career:  don't be shy!  Talk to people!  Networking is key!

FC:  Thanks for taking the time to interview with us, Vanessa!  We're glad you're enjoying success and thriving in the beginning of your career.  Best wishes on your future endeavors, and hopefully, we can catch up with you again sometime!

VanessaYes, anytime!  I'm so glad you all reached out to me!  Thank you so much, and I'll let you know when I'm in Ferrum again and see if I can stop by.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Time for Finals!

by Cari A., Panther Blogger

As the week of finals approached, the mad dash to learn all the material we probably should have learned began.  With the smell of energy drinks and coffee in the air of the library, the stress of the upcoming week had everyone flustered.  This being my first finals week of my college career, I was not exactly sure what to expect. I have been nervous, and now being in the middle of it, I'm ready for it to be over.  Ferrum became a very busy place last week and continues to grow busier as this week of finals goes on. My only advice for surviving your first Ferrum finals week is:  eat, sleep, study, and most importantly, take time to relax and get away from the schoolwork for a little while. Even if you only step away for a few minutes, you can't imagine how refreshed you will feel when you return to work.

Until January, stay strong and survive finals!!

- Cari

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Returning "Home" to Ferrum

by Cari A., Panther Blogger

While on Thanksgiving break a couple of weeks ago, I had fun with my family and enjoyed being home with other friends I hadn't seen in awhile. Despite being home surrounded by my family and friends, I sincerely missed my home here at Ferrum -- a life that I created for myself, a place that I call home, and a family I am luck to have around me.

I have come to realize just how blessed I am to be in a dorm building surrounded by a great group of girls. Though I only know a select group of them, it's great to know that just outside my little corner room of Bassett, I have someone to hang out with or go grab dinner with. I don't want to brag, but I have the best RAs on campus I could have ever asked for!  For all of those who know how I am and know how much I love to have fun, it may come as a big surprise that I have not been written up yet despite all the bets against me in the beginning of the year.

Even though my home in Salem is my physical address and a place I will always return to in the end, God has graced me for the past 100 days to call this place my home and safe haven. Just to know that people are constantly around campus that I haven't met yet inspires me to continue to branch out and meet more of my Ferrum community.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Honors Conference: Our First Time in Boston!

by Jessa K. and Paige R., guest student bloggers

Before the sun came up on November 15th, we left for the Roanoke airport to begin our journey to Boston, Massachusetts for the National Collegiate Honors Conference. We were there with Dr. Stevens and Dr. Via, and it was the first time any of us had been to Boston. Everything was so new for us!  The view from our hotel room was amazing!  We agree that Boston is absolutely one of the most beautiful cities we had aver seen.

Dr. Stevens, Dr. Via, & us at the Old South
Meeting House

The first night, we were able to do a little exploring before the keynote speaker and the welcome reception. The conference did not really get underway until Friday. On Friday, Paige mentored two sessions. During the sessions, there was anywhere between one to six main speakers who took turns presenting research they had been working on during the year. The topics presented ranged from how to write a good honors program newsletter to analyzing surveys that honors students take about their courses. All of the sessions were extremely informative, and we were able to return to Ferrum with many ideas that we were excited to implement in our own Boone Honors Program.

Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory!
On Saturday, we were able to go sightseeing in historical Boston. We saw all the major sites: Paul Revere's home, the Massachusetts Statehouse, the Commons, the Old Statehouse, Faneuil Hall, and Harvard College. Our favorite part was definitely the visit to Harvard. It was so beautiful and historical.

Visiting Harvard
As we traveled through the historical area, we did a lot of shopping and eating. We both tried oysters for the first time at Dr. Stevens' advice. They were very intriguing, but we're pretty certain that neither of us will be trying oysters again. We had a blast on the subway and found out the hard way that it is essential to hold onto something -- anything -- when the train takes off!

The Honors Conference was a very interesting experience. We are so glad that we had the opportunity to go and represent Ferrum College. It was so much fun to learn about another place, especially a place that holds such important historical value for our country. Next year, the conference will be held in New Orleans. We know that will be another great opportunity for Ferrum students to learn from other honors programs as well as bring research to present to help other programs.

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Education Internship

by Maryann C., Panther Blogger

Every time a student takes an education course here at Ferrum College, he/she is required to complete 40 hours of internship time at a public school here in Franklin County. This semester, I was placed at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in an 8th grade physical science class. I really enjoyed working with my cooperating teacher and the students in each of her classes. I learned a lot and was able to improve some of my personal teaching skills.

I think it is great that the education department makes it a requirement for students to be in the classroom for 40 hours each semester. Many other education departments at colleges and universities do not have this extra time in the classroom incorporated into their programs. These other institutions only have the student teaching aspect.

The benefit of Ferrum College having the internship time for each education class gives students the opportunity to know if they really want to become educators or not.  Once students decide they want to continue with the education program, they are able to practice teaching skills and build relationships with the faculty and staff in the Franklin County Schools. It has certainly benefited me that I have been able to be in the classroom gaining experience before I even began my student teaching!

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Unofficial Second Major: Time Management!

by Cari A., Panther Blogger

Something people always say about college is that it's all a struggle to manage your time effectively. Managing the limited amount of time that we have -- to figure out what to do with it and how to spend it -- is basically a major in itself.  My biggest struggle with being in college here at Ferrum is this very thing. I can't seem to say "no" to things like hanging out with friends, picking up an extra shift for someone, or taking the "classic Wal-Mart expedition."  I have felt the pressure on myself in consequence to this difficult lesson as I try to scramble to finish school work the night before, or oftentimes, just hours before it is due.

Over the past few days, I have really felt the weight on my shoulders. I was putting things I had committed to on the back burner of my life -- things that during my time here have made me happy and that give me an outlet to take my mind off of school. One of those things is writing these blogs; writing them just seems to melt away the stress of a busy week. It is a stress reliever that isn't graded, and I am my own judge and teacher.  I would like to thank those who made it possible for me to have this opportunity.  Thanks!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Value of Friendships at Ferrum

by Brett W., Panther Blogger

Being a first-semester freshman at a considerably smaller school, I hear a lot of talk about how people don't like the school for many different reasons. The classic one I always hear is that people are "bored." To counter that, I always hear that Ferrum's unofficial slogan is "Boredom is an option."  Then there are the people who say the school is too small and everyone knows everything that happens, or that there is just no variety in activities to do, and that they want to leave. For those students, I am sorry your experience at Ferrum did not live up to what you thought it would be, but for me, it has surpassed anything that I had expected.

First, I literally do not understand how you can be bored and go to this school!  There are so many clubs, intramurals, sports, and just overall campus-wide activities that I have a huge white-board calendar in my room so I can keep track of when everything is happening.  Almost all the time, I have to choose between multiple items because a lot of the activities overlap. When school started getting into full-swing, I even had to cut out some of the clubs and activities I was in so I could make room for school work.

Secondly, I know this does not fit everyone's personality types, but the fact that this is a smaller school lets me know more of the student population, and lets me be known by others; for me, that is amazing. I love walking to class and having people yell "Hey!" at me or just waving frantically across campus at someone I met once.  I love the idea that by senior year, once all of these freshman naysayers leave, the size of our graduating class will allow me to know every single person. To me, that turns us from a class into a family that has struggled through all four years together, through the thick and thin of everything.  Before coming to Ferrum, I thought about going to Virginia Tech, but now that I have been here and have been back to Tech to visit friends, the idea of my class being over 10,000 people and it taking half an hour to walk across campus turns me off completely.

Finally, I cannot possibly fathom the idea of being bored when you have friends here at Ferrum. Immediately after being accepted to Ferrum, I was placed into the Facebook group for the graduating class of 2016.  Long before I even graduated high school, I began to chat with other people who had been accepted and were also coming to Ferrum.  I met a couple of people through that group who I talked to and even Skyped with over the summer.

I became really good friends with one girl, and we hung out a couple of times over the summer and made some amazing stories ("Alright, enough sharing!  I'm the princess!").  I talked with another girl and we ended up doing the Freshman Scholars Program together over the summer at Ferrum, and we are still amazing friends now ("What are you gonna throw at me? STUPID?!").  Over the summer, I talked with one of my great friends now, and we have made some crazy days here on campus that I would never change for anything ("I just knocked over an eggplant! ...That's not an eggplant!").  My roommate, of course, has been awesome considering he listens to all my rambling and laughs at my ridiculous jokes ("The drawer has been open this whole time! ...No, it hasn't!").  And, finally, while being on campus, I have made the best friends in the world as well. You know who you are -- just read the quotes.  ("Go big orangeee!" "I like falling backwards." "Do you even have legs?" "Well, speaking of Amish.")

These friends are my life, and when I'm not super-busy with school work or club activities, I am always with them.  I have learned that even if it has only been a couple months of knowing them, I can count on and trust them with anything I could possibly ever need. So, to incoming freshman or anyone who is thinking about leaving, all I can say is you just need to make awesome friends and your time at Ferrum will be the time of your life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Save Money at College

by Victoria B., Panther Blogger

Spending money is something you will have to do at college, but there are many ways for you to limit the amount of money that you spend.  For example, fast food is very expensive, so instead of going out to McDonald's or Wendy's with friends, eat more meals in the dining hall. You also have $325 to spend at Papa Johns, Subway, and Starbucks throughout the semester. So, if you are hungry, you can get food from these places with just a swipe of your student ID.  If you're absolutely determined to go out to eat with friends somewhere off-campus, I suggest going to Bowling’s Hotdogs. They have some of thebest hotdogs I have ever eaten and they only cost 1.25. You can get a whole meal at Bowling’s for less than you spend on a sandwich at a fast food restaurant.

Another way to save money is to find other things to do that do not cost money. If you really want to watch a movie, rent a movie out of the library that you haven’t seen and watch it with a group of friends instead of going to the movie theater. Ferrum also offers free bowling nights and free movie nights periodically throughout the year. No matter what, you can always find something fun to do at Ferrum that will not be too expensive. There are free concerts, illusionists, comedians, and all sorts of other acts that come to the campus every year. So, don’t concern yourself with going out and buying tickets to things and spending money that you can save for later. Take advantage of the events on campus and you will save a lot of money and have fun while doing it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Semester at Ferrum!

by Grant W., Panther Blogger

A semester here at Ferrum is a four-month roller coaster that many ride. The semester starts with a great deal of anticipated excitement as friends get back together and tell stories of their summer adventures, along with preparing for the first of the firsts. The first Monday/Wednesday/Friday class, the first Tuesday/Thursday class, the first tests, the first quizzes, the first papers, and of course, the first meetings of extracurricular activities. After the firsts are over, we all have our routines pretty much set, and we begin the long haul to the bittersweet end.

Each semester poses its challenges and excitements, and this semester was no exception. From juggling 18 credit hours of courses including calculus and organic chemistry, independent research, the presidency of Mu Sigma Chi, and a social life, I've had my hands full like many other students. Through the gauntlet of hosted events and the never-ending task of achieving the grades you desire to move on to the next step, we all still find time to have fun no matter how buys we get. Here on campus, we have an unspoken policy that fun doesn't find you; instead, you have to get out of your room and find fun.

From attending concerts to hiking and hanging out with friends on the weekends, Ferrum College students find a way to etch out some pretty amazing memories through their four years in this "out in the middle of nowhere" land. I think the so-called "lack of things to do" here actually pushes people's imaginations to create things to do here on campus; it's from this pressure that most of my memories have been made.

The best part about the fall semesters here is the changing of the leaves, cooler weather to have Friday and Saturday night campfires, football, and some great holidays. Many students have early Thanksgiving dinners together and, of course, Secret Santa gift exchanges.

Along with the semester, all of this hard work, stress, and fun comes to an end though -- as all good things must. Many times this end is very bittersweet. Great friends graduate, final grades come in, and we all get to go home and try to relax. Ferrum College is forever changing and evolving as students come and go -- each one of them leaving their mark on this campus for all who follow. Semesters get challenging no matter where you go to school, but Ferrum has a way of offering a sense of comfort and a break from the rigors of this precious time of life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

End of a Soccer Season

by Maryann C., Panther Blogger 

The women’s soccer season here at Ferrum College came to a close last week. I had such a great experience that I want to share it. So many wonderful things happened during the season; goals were scored, friendships were made and fun was had. Overall, it was one of the greatest soccer seasons with one of the greatest teams I have ever been a part of.

I did not play soccer for two of my four years here at Ferrum. Coming back to play has been a major blessing to me and I really enjoyed it. I feel like I had a great season as an individual player. Having an assist at our senior game and scoring two goals against Mary Baldwin College are my biggest season accomplishments. I missed playing the game, and I appreciate the team for welcoming me back for one last go at the game.

Working with this group of girls has been an experience that I won’t ever forget. I have grown closer with many of the girls I already knew and I met new players who I plan to stay close to. Working with Coach Narrow was fabulous. She is easy to work with and has an obvious love for the game. The girls on the team are a bunch of goofballs! Long bus rides were never dull, and trips to public places were always interesting. I love each of these girls so much, and I will miss them once I graduate!

 As a team, we had so much fun. Team trips to Applebee’s and Wal-mart, movie nights, and team bonding activities were just some of the ways we spent our time together. For our senior game, the younger classmen had even more fun decorating the seniors’ cars and the locker room. Practices were a lot of hard work but once in a while, we would get some fun in during practices by scrimmaging, playing games and kicking balls at each other before practice.

We accomplished so much this season! At the beginning of the season, we set team goals and reached most of them by the end of the season. We finished in 5th place at the end of the season when we had been expected to finish 9th. We accomplished what no one else thought we could, and for that, I am proud of this hard-working group of girls. I anticipate many more great things to come from the returners, and I wish the seniors the best of luck in their future. This was an experience I won’t forget!