Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last Semester of My College Career

by Keenan L., Panther Blogger

It feels like time has flown by!  I can't believe that we are halfway through the spring semester. Over the past six weeks, I have had a chance to attend many men's and women's basketball games and helped coordinate many fun Resident Assistant programs.

For the month of February, we put on a Valentine's Day program. The program was called "Just Give Me a Kiss."  At the program, residents were able to send an anonymous card with a nice message to a friend with candy attached. The program was such a great success, and we had over 50 residents send cards to friends. It really put everyone on campus in a good mood!

My friend Quinton and me before a
basketball game!
I have had a lot of fun going to the basketball games!  Both teams are amazing to watch and it's great to see all the spirit from the students on campus!

Two weeks ago, I was able to be a panelist on the Student Panel at an Admissions Open House event.  I had an amazing time, and it was a great experience!  I loved talking to many of the perspective students and being able to share my experiences from Ferrum with them!

My best friend Melissa & me
before a Residence Life program

Currently, I am on spring break with my best friends!  We are all spending spring break at Massanutten Ski Resort!  I love spending time with my friends and it will be something that I will miss once I graduate in May.  While on spring break, we went to a frozen yogurt shop and showed our Ferrum love by writing on their white board and taking a picture with it!

The note we left at Sweet Bee in Harrisonburg, VA

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Celebrating the Chinese New Year!

by Chang S., Panther Blogger

February 9th is the Spring Festival - the Chinese New Year. Since both China and Korea have the tradition of lunar New Year, we international students decided to celebrate the Asian New Year together.  To make it more fun, I, as an RA, decided to hold a residence life program using this as a main theme. We invited folks around the campus to come and celebrate this great event. (Apart from the students, we also invited Ms. Sasha Saari, Dr. Basu, and Dr. David Johnson and his wife.)

In order to get a more vivid sense of what the Chinese New Year is like, we specifically demonstrated how to make dumplings -- one of the most traditional types of food served on New Year's Eve. The full process of making dumplings includes several steps. First, we made the noodles needed to cover the dumplings. The noodles were made out of flour and albumen. Secondly, we made the meat stuffing using chopped pork and beef. So as to get better-tasting dumplings, we mixed the meat with ginger and green onion scraps. (The aim of this is to avoid the potential raw smell of the meat.) These first steps were mainly a presentation of us (the Chinese students). For the next step, we "wrapped" the dumplings together, which is the most interesting step because it allowed us to make whatever shapes to design the dumplings. Finally, we cooked the dumplings and served them, enjoying various types of seasonings, such as soy sauce, vinegar and oyster sauce.

I think everyone enjoyed that day. For the Chinese and Korean students, it has been a unique experience to celebrate the New Year overseas. Also, for the rest of the participants, I would say it was a great opportunity to get to know about eastern culture, as well as to share the enjoyable time together.

In Beijing time, February 9th is New Year's Eve. There is always a half-day difference between Beijing time and U.S. eastern time. Apparently, such time differences do not affect people's enthusiasm for the New Year across the globe.

Although the program was a residence area program instead of a campus-wide program, we did actually have people around campus coming. Special thanks to Botao Wu, who proudly served as the chef and brought us such delicious food!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fire, Fire, Fire!

by Caleb T., Panther Blogger

Hey y'all,

I know it's been awhile since I last posted, but I have been doing so much on campus and also throughout the community of Ferrum. As some of you may know, I am the sergeant at Ferrum Rescue and also a member of Henry Fire Department. Well, on top of taking classes at Ferrum, I also try to take classes through Franklin County Public Safety, such as Vehicle Extraction, Firefighter 1, HAZ-MAT Operation, and many more.

This past fall, I had the opportunity to take Firefighter 1, and it was great.  Throughout the class, we had hands-on learning opportunities, but none as fun as our final burn.  Our final burn was the time when we took everything we had learned and applied a real fire!  Talk about trial by fire!  I love my job as a firefighter/EMT, but the first time I got to go into a 1100-degree room, all I can say is WOW!  It was amazing!!  The feeling I got being in that burning room was one like I have never had before -- it was a mixture of fear, courage, and honor all collided into an amazing feeling. In that moment, the textbook might as well fly out the window, and the countless hours of training take over and everything becomes purely instinctive.  When you are face to face with a wall of flames, it is truly an experience like none I've ever had.

I have loved my time here at Ferrum because it has allowed me a chance to branch out and try things that I might not have otherwise tried. I have loved expanding my knowledge within the classroom but also within the community.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ferrum's First Scholarship Day

by Cari A., Panther Blogger

On February 18, myself, faculty/staff and several other students, such as Brett, Paige, and Caleb, were asked to participate in Ferrum's first Scholarship Day.  This event is brand new to Ferrum and is an opportunity for prospective students who have been awarded a scholarship to attend Ferrum to come and kind-of "spend a day at Ferrum."  Our part in this event was to eat with these students and discuss things such as life at Ferrum, Freshman Scholars, and other Ferrum-based topics.

As a discussion leader and table host, each of us would spend about 15 to 20 minutes with each table, which generally consisted of 2 different families with prospective students. Being so "fresh" as one lady called me, it was an experience that definitely took me out of my comfort zone. To those of you who know me, this may be a shock, but I get rather unnerved in crowds of people I don't know in which I am somewhat the center of their attention. The first rotation was a little rough, and to be honest, kind-of awkward on both my part and the families I talked to. Maybe it was simply because the ice hadn't been broken yet.  I received questions like "why did you choose Ferrum?", "What dorm is the best?", and "What is your major?" Even though these questions are seemingly easy to answer, especially because I do in fact know the answers to them, answering them in the setting of the Scholarship Day luncheon was rather different and difficult at times. However, through repetition, the answering of questions and starting topics of conversation at the tables eventually became much easier for both myself and for the families as the luncheon progressed.

Being a part of the event was a treat in many ways, but for example, the food served was absolutely amazing. I would like to thank Dining Services for their continued success in making a good first impression to these (hopefully) future Ferrum families.  One difficult part for me and the other discussion leaders, which could also have been a good thing, was that it was difficult to really enjoy the food due to switching tables periodically. This challenge for me, however, meant that both the students and parents were really taking advantage of the purpose we were trying to accomplish in this new event. I am very thankful that I was asked to participate in Scholarship Day because it not only showed the families what Ferrum is like, but it showed me that challenging myself by stepping out of my comfort zone will only help me in the long run.

If you get an opportunity to participate in an event such as this, or even talk to prospective students between now and next semester, I strongly encourage you to make the best out of it. Not just for them, but for yourself as well. Thanks to all who made this special day occur.


My Internship Experiences

by Maryann C., Panther Blogger

During my last semester here at Ferrum College, I have been doing two internships with the Franklin County Public School System. I have been working with a fifth-grade class at Ferrum Elementary for one of those internships. I have really enjoyed working with these kids. So far, I have administered a spelling test, helped students work on writing essays and helped students make corrections to their essays. I also have been assigned to work with one student on her reading comprehension. I have just started working with her, and we are in the process of figuring out where she is in her understanding of reading and writing. Working with this young student on an individual level is going to be a great experience for both her and me. I have never worked with this age group in an academic setting and it is truly a great experience.

My second internship through the Franklin County School System is at the Gereau Center. I am in the process of working with fellow classmates, faculty here at Ferrum College, and faculty at the Gereau Center. We are working to create lesson plans incorporating data that the CEED building collects. So far this has been a very different and challenging experience. Trying to figure out how to incorporate real data into a lesson plan has proven to be challenging. However, I have just recently finished my first lesson plan and I am very pleased with it. I hope that it will get easier now that I am starting to get the hang of it. Working with my assigned faculty member has been a great experience as well. She is very helpful and resourceful. I am looking forward to see what other types of lesson plans my fellow classmates and I come up with.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lobbyist for a Day

by Laken P., Panther Blogger

The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG) is money awarded to Virginia residents who attend a private college in Virginia. The grant was created with the purpose of keeping students' education in the Commonwealth while offsetting the cost between private and public schools. This year, the governor has created a proposal to raise the VTAG amount, allowing students of Ferrum and other private colleges in Virginia to attend at a cheaper cost. The money is a free grant that students do not have to pay back, making the decision to attend Ferrum a little easier financially.

On January 28, I traveled to the state capital in Richmond with the Ferrum Financial Aid Office. We took a trip to visit with state senators and delegates to deliver thank-you letters for support of the VTAG program. The week before we went, students took a few minutes to write a short note to the representatives of their home district to thank them for working to keep the program in action. The goal behind the notes is to show that students are truly appreciative of the grant, and would like the government officials to keep the program in mind when they are voting on the upcoming budget.

While on the trip, we got to act as true lobbyists for our cause while experiencing the state government on a personal level. We personally visited several of the state's key legislators, which was an experience that I truly enjoyed. I have always been interested in how the government works, so having the chance to not only see it in person but also help current and future Ferrum students was an opportunity that I was very thankful to receive.

Not only was the trip educational, but I also enjoyed the opportunity to get away from campus for a couple of days. I love being at Ferrum, but sometimes it is nice just to take a break and get away for a few days.  Shopping at Short Pump and eating at the Cheesecake Factory was a well-appreciated break from class and homework. I had a great time on my trip, and I hope that because of our efforts, legislators will fight to not only keep the VTAG in act but also increase the amount to help students in the future.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Virginia: All Four Seasons in One Day!

by Rachel B., Panther Blogger

Winter on campus is an experience!  Between the snow, ice, and torrential downpours, students have to adapt to the situation the best that they can as they walk across campus.  The Ferrum grounds staff does an excellent job of keeping the sidewalks clear of snow, but earth worms are another story. These worms come out in the masses when it rains. This was quite a new experience for me. I am a farm girl, but never in my years have I seen such gargantuan worms!

The weather in Virginia can be temperamental. Being prepared is always the best solution! Umbrellas, rain boots, and the occasional poncho help shield you from the rain. This week, we have seen all four seasons in the course of one day.  It's really important to know that you should be prepared for any kind of weather here!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Work-Study with Ferrum Outdoors!

by Cari A., Panther Blogger

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you may have noticed that I mention the Freshman Scholars Program quite often. This is another one of those times where that program set in motion a lot of things I have now.  One that I am very proud and honored to have is my work-study position with Ferrum Outdoors. I was first introduced to the program when Aaron Conover and Dan Caston brought our Scholars group together to form a family.

During our time with Aaron and Dan, we were challenged to perform tasks that could ONLY be performed with every single member of our team. We as a team worked with balance, communication, problem-solving, and - my personal favorite - trust. We had all just met 11 new and different people, and this exercise not only tested our individual willpower to overcome our own limits, it also forced each of us out of our comfort zones to meet and connect with the 11 other people with whom we would be spending 2 full weeks. This event not only formed several friendships with people I still call friends now, but it showed me that this was something I wanted to do during my four years here at Ferrum.

Since this past summer, I have been hired with Ferrum Outdoors as a recreational leader and have been leading events such as caving, scuba diving rock climbing, kayaking, and most recently, skiing and snowboarding. These trips are all things that appeal to me in different ways. Being a pre-med major, most of my time is spent in a lab studying chemistry or biology, so to get the opportunity to step back from that and go completely out of my major is absolutely keeping me sane!  Through working with Ferrum Outdoors, I have met a whole different part of the campus population here because this activity is so far out of my element. I am very glad that I found Ferrum Outdoors because it has been a major component in keeping me involved at Ferrum and enjoying every minute of being a student here!  Taking the time to relax and take a break from the class work is exactly what every student needs.

- Cari

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Inheritance of Virtue

by Chang S., Panther Blogger

It was near midnight when we saw Zhen off. He graduated and left Ferrum, the place where he devoted four years of time. He said it might be the last time he felt the grasslands at Ferrum, and he said he'll miss those lands.

From my perspective, part of being an international student at Ferrum is seeing off seniors like Zhen or the exchange students, along with welcoming new international students. I have already seen three seniors off in one whole year.  And here, three is not as small a number as you might think. We are a small, but close-knit group. We come from different parts of the world:  China, Ethiopia, Northern Ireland, Kenya, Russia, and South Korea.  It is easy to recognize us from the crowds.

The majority of us speak English with a "unique" accent, and in many circumstances, we have difficulty expressing what we want. You might come across one of us in the food court, stammering and trying to order a meal. But those efforts should be respected because they show that we're trying to be a part of the community. The locals should also be respected as they are friendly and try to accept the awkward attempts of the international students. Among these locals, we especially appreciate our advisor, Sasha, Professor Johnson, and the theatre folks. They have been treating us with the greatest generosity, and they build us a home overseas.

I came across a picture of some of the international students and me. The picture was taken on a hiking trip last year when we reached the tip of the mountain. The clear, blue sky formed a perfect harmony with the Blue Ridge Mountains. One of the memorable parts about this trip was that it was organized by Mr. Rene Reiner, who had been a former international student at a college in Roanoke and who took on the U.S. nationality a couple of years after he graduated.

Rene told us:  "...When you are my age, you may have a nice job...a fortune. Spend some time with the international students, someone like yourselves as you once were."  Folks like Rene showed their kindness and hung out with him when he was new to the country. Rene had a great time with those locals. He was moved, and so in turn, he wanted to share his time with us - the next generation of internationals. Similar to the way people hold doors for the people after them, even tiny actions pay off.  Seniors receive kindness from their friends, either from native people or from other internationals, and they pass the kindness to those who follow them. Generations and generations on.

Inheritance of virtue -- one of the best things about humanity, I suppose.