Friday, April 26, 2013

Summer Plans!

by Blake S., Panther Blogger

I can't believe that it's finally here, but my first year at Ferrum College is coming to an end. After reflecting and looking back at the past two semesters and how fast they have gone, I'm beginning to realize just how precious and valuable time really is. This has encouraged me to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way to ensure that each minute is well-spent, allowing me to enjoy and look back at my life later on and have a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Light art from Ferrum College's Digital Photography course
To begin this process, I have applied to various programs and activities to keep me busy throughout this summer. A few of the activities that I will be participating in are the Science of Crime E-Term course, the Microbiology Research Education for Undergraduates program at nearby Virginia Tech, and Resident Assistant training. These events are not only great for providing a fun and enjoyable summer, but also aid in building a strong and unique resume. However, I would not have been introduced to any of these affairs had it not been for the professors here on the Ferrum College campus. This shows just how dedicated the faculty and staff are to helping their students become successful, providing rare opportunities that will be very beneficial and help them stand out among the crowd.

Exploring a mall in
Roanoke with friends

The Science of Crime E-Term is a three-week class experience in which I, along with a great group of friends, will get to learn about the scientific principles behind forensic criminal investigations. A few of the aspects we will be learning about include fingerprint detection and identification, blood analysis, and ink and handwriting analysis. We will also get to take a trip to the University of Tennessee's body farm -- a unique lab that studies the stages of human decomposition and how decomposition is affected by different environments. This is a definite highlight for the summer.

After the E-Term course, I get to attend the Microbiology Research Education for Undergraduates program at Virginia Tech. This is a rare opportunity in which I will be able to perform microbiological research alongside a professional mentor and professor at the university. Throughout the program, I will learn new laboratory techniques, be introduced to new pathogenic bacteria, and make professional presentations about everything I learn over the course of the program. Along with being given this unbelievable and awesome chance to build my resume and make new connections, we are being provided with free housing, meals, and a $5,000 stipend!  What more could one ask for?

Finally, I will get to undergo resident assistant training to prepare for being a resident assistant this upcoming fall semester. For those of you who are going to be students at Ferrum and living in Bassett Hall, there is a good possibility that I will have the honor of learning who you are and help you with any sort of problems you may have. I'm greatly looking forward to this, mainly because I will get to make new friends and act as a mentor for them, helping them to learn the ins and outs of Ferrum College and learn their full potential.

As you can see, it's going to be a very long and eventful summer, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I look forward to letting everyone know how these programs go and what all I learn from them. I hope everyone has a great and relaxing summer, and we hope to see you in the fall!

- Blake

The Corvette Club passing by Ferrum College

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ending the Semester

by Delana S., Panther Blogger

The semester is coming to an end and I have accomplished a lot over the past couple of weeks. For starters, I was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha -- the National Political Science Honor Society -- and received recognition for best delegation during Model United Nations. I was also recognized as Sophomore of the Year, along with one of my good friends. These three things have shown me that hard work, dedication, and patience pay off in the end. Each of these recognitions and honors surprised me in many ways because it showed me that people really pay attention to the little things that you do on campus, and it is an honor to know that my name was the first one that came to mind.

To add more icing to the cake, I made it into Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and most importantly, I was accepted to attend the Washington Semester Program at American University. I was specifically accepted into the Peace and Conflict Resolution program at the school, and let me just say that I am very excited to be able to participate in a program such as this one. Within the program, I am able to take classes in which the credits will transfer back to Ferrum and I will be able to participate in an internship. At the same time, I will also have the opportunity to travel abroad, and this is all within one semester!  At first this all seems overwhelming, but for me, it feels just right, especially since I have to do so much on my own and figure out a lot of specifics, such as my classes, my meal plan, and where I am going to live.

My parents are very proud of me because this is a wonderful opportunity to start focusing on what I really want to do for the future and the direction that my life is going. Honestly, my uncle seems like he is more excited for me to attend the program because he lives close to DC and knows exactly where the school is located. He has already told me that as soon as I start getting settled in at the school, he is going to take me out around the city and show me some of the cool places to go up there. I love being at Ferrum with all of my heart, but when an opportunity such as this one presents itself, you have to take it because you don't want to live your life with "what if's...".  The good thing though is that I will be back for spring semester with a lot more knowledge, as well as a few stories.

Ferrum opens a lot of doors for students, and it is up to us to figure out which ones we want to open and which ones we want to leave closed, but you always have to remember that it is always good to pick the one that will benefit you in the future.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Transferring Transformation

by Blake S., Panther Blogger

Perhaps one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences that I have had thus far in my life was the transition from being a community college student to becoming a Ferrum College student. The main reason this was so challenging for me was because of the new environment I was being placed into. I was going from a community where I felt very comfortable to somewhere that I knew very little about. I was transferring into a college where I didn't know anyone, was going to live on my own, and take classes that I had never even heard of before. I was very nervous but excited at the same time to embrace this new stage of my life. I thought that attending Ferrum College would be just like the community college except even better now that I was able to be more independent.  However, after a few weeks of my first semester at Ferrum, I learned that there were very few similarities between this private four-year college and the community college.

At the community college, I was able to both be a full-time student and have a full-time job, working anywhere from thirty to forty hours a week without becoming overwhelmed. The classes I took were not very demanding, and many of the professors were very lenient on the assigned coursework. I also had tons of free time throughout the week and in between classes to go grab a bit to eat, hang out with friends, and just relax. Life was easily lived and not challenging at all.

Playing volleyball with friends back home

Unfortunately, I had the mindset that Ferrum College would be the same way. I actually expected that attending Ferrum would be a little easier than community college since I did not plan to work a full-time job while taking classes at the same time. However, I soon learned that being a student at Ferrum College was a full-time job in itself.

Since I transferred into Ferrum as a junior, most of my classes are advanced upper level courses. These are much more challenging than the introductory and basic level courses that I had taken throughout my two semesters at the community college. In the fall, I was also exposed to professors I had never worked with before and teaching styles that were very different from what I was used to. I learned very quickly that if I wanted to be successful in my college career here at Ferrum, I would need to develop time management and organizational skills. These were not easy things to do, especially since I never had to worry much about them beforehand, but once I learned how to execute them effectively, my life became much easier and the semester became more enjoyable.

Presenting independent research at the Blue Ridge
Undergraduate Research conference
It was also a new experience for me to live on a college campus. One of the main reasons I decided to attend Ferrum College was because it was away from home. I was ready to see what it was like to have to support oneself. I thought that it would be a great eye-opener to have the responsibility of being a full-time student and making good grades while at the same time carrying on with life without my family there to provide for me. This is perhaps the challenge I have enjoyed the most. I learned that living on my own is actually much more enjoyable than living at home, and the responsibility has encouraged me to mature and become more determined to succeed.
An afternoon of hiking with friends at Ferrum College
My first semester at Ferrum College was not an easy one. However, after developing time management and organizational skills, making new friends, and building professional relationships with the faculty on campus, I was able to overcome my struggles and be successful. Being introduced to the new and more educationally-developed environment at Ferrum College has allowed me to grow in knowledge and become prepared for life in the real world. I feel that my experience of transferring from a community college into Ferrum College has transformed me into a new and better person.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Waid Park and Fairy Stone State Park

by Maryann C., Panther Blogger

The weather is finally starting to warm up! This is one of my favorite times of year!  I love being outside, and one of the great things about going to Ferrum College is that there are plenty of places to go spend time outside.

First, the Ferrum College campus has plenty of open grass space for playing games or just relaxing. Now that the weather is warming up, there are students already taking advantage of the space playing frisbee, football, and cornhole. Another great part about attending Ferrum College is that there are many parks within a close drive that are great places to spend time outdoors.

One of the parks my friends and I love to visit is Fairy Stone State Park. There is a large lake, a sandy beach area, as well as wooded trails and grassy, flat spots. What's great about this park is that it's only about a 15-minute drive from Ferrum, it is a beautiful area, and there is plenty to do there.

Another park my friends and I enjoy visiting is Waid Park. This park is a little over 10 minutes away from campus. It has lots of open field space for soccer and lacrosse games, goals included!  There is a huge playground area where we enjoy swinging on swings. There are lots of trails at this park as well, and I love walking and running them. There is also a creek that runs through the park, so when it gets really warm outside, we wade in the creek and skip rocks.

There are also other great outdoor sites that are a bit farther away but always enjoyable to visit. Smith Mountain Lake is about 40 minutes from the college and is a great place for swimming and relaxing when it gets really hot. Roanoke, which is about 45 minutes away, also has some great outdoor trails and parks. My point is that now that the weather is warming up, there are plenty of places to go to spend a great day outside!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Next Step After Ferrum?

by Brittany G., Panther Blogger

As the end of junior year approaches, each student has their own idea as to what they want to do after they graduate from Ferrum. Whether it is going to graduate school, finding a job, starting a family, or taking a nice and long vacation, there is always another goal that we want to accomplish after graduating. As for me, the next step is to continue my education at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with Admissions at the school to take a tour of the facilities, to gather information about what it takes to get into graduate school, as well as to talk to many of the students. We began by sitting in the lecture hall for a few hours going over what basic knowledge we would need to have before acceptance. There was a long list from general chemistry and anatomy to biochemistry and microbiology, which are just some of the many classes we should already have experience with. Before graduating college, you have to take the MCAT, which is a general knowledge test of physics, math, sciences, and writing, and you have to score at least in the high 20's to low 30's. In addition to that examination, students are required to come into the school with enough experience in job shadowing or internship with a doctor of osteopathic medicine to get a letter of recommendation.

Photo courtesy of Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (included
in my information packet)

Seems like a lot thus far, but nothing beats actually getting the chance to sit down and talk with current students. Those students are the people who have given me the best advice anyone has ever told me to prepare for medical school:

"If there is one thing that any student who plans on going to medical school should do before attending, it's to have fun spending every minute you can with family and friends the summer before attending. Medical school will be a full-time job once you're accepted at this particular school. Lectures consume about 5-6 hours a day with an hour lunch and at least 3 hours of laboratory work. It requires studying for several hours every night since examinations are placed about every other day to ensure students understand and comprehend what they are being taught instead of waiting for a huge test later on. No matter how hard we think undergraduate school is, there is always something more stressful and deserves more attention and better time management."

Photo courtesy of Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
(included in my information packet)
Although my day visiting the school entailed a lot of information and question-asking that produced side effects of being stressed, overwhelmed and nervous, I know everything can be accomplished when we set ourselves up for success.

We must do the best we can in undergraduate school and accomplish everything we can, as well as have fun when the time is right. Even if there is no support from family or friends, it is always beneficial to have close ties with professors and other faculty at any college who would be willing to do almost anything to help you accomplish your goals. If there is one thing I could tell students thus far in the process, it is to be strong and confident in what you do at Ferrum because those who grow close to you will always be there to help you. 

Studying the easier stuff now and learning time management and patience will help you accomplish anything that will be in your way later in life. There is no room to say "can't" because every person "can" whether you're considering a job, graduate school, or any other possibility after graduating. The future ahead of you is what you make it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Corey Smith at Ferrum College!

by Victoria B., Panther Blogger

Ferrum always has something going on to entertain students. It also holds a big concert every spring in which the students vote on who they want to come to Ferrum.

This year, the winner was Corey Smith. I attended this concert and it was by far one of the best concerts I have ever attended. I felt like he was a good choice because he just fits in with the atmosphere that Ferrum has. He was very interactive with the audience and put on a great show!

Before the concert started, Corey even tweeted me back, which is something that not many celebrities will do. Ferrum offers its students many opportunities to make once-in-a-lifetime memories throughout their college years and this is just an example of one.