Friday, December 20, 2013

My E-Term Trip to Peru!

by Brett W., Panther Blogger

In May 2013, I took an Experiential Term (E-Term) course where we traveled to Peru.  This course was for two programs.  For those of us who took the course for Recreation Leadership, it was "Peru Cultural & Heritage Tourism," and for those in the Spanish program, it was "Andean Culture in Peru." 

Here's a short video about my e-term trip to Peru last May.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Study Abroad Trip to China!

by Brett W., Panther Blogger

Better late than never - here's a short video about my study abroad trip to China this past summer 2013.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Important Things

by Laken P., Panther Blogger

As the semester goes on, pages and pages of papers are typed, hours are spent studying for exams, sleep is hard to come by, and stress is evident on the faces of nearly everyone. Through all of the academic struggle we endure during the thirteen weeks that make up a semester, it is easy to forget about having fun.  We try so hard to earn every point, make the highest grades we can, and boost our resume in every way possible that the other college experiences are sometimes pushed aside.  As I am over halfway done with my short time in Ferrum, I can look back and say that perhaps the most important lesson I have learned so far cannot be found in any textbook or lecture - it must be experienced.  The best advice I could give to an incoming student is to learn this lesson quickly and value it the entire time you are here.

College is about getting an education and preparing yourself for the rest of your life, but academics is not the only important thing.  How many people can look back and say that they remember the grade they got on one of their mid-terms during their freshman year of college?  Now ask those same people about attending a formal, staying up all night laughing with your best friends, or going to eat at 3 a.m. because you just had to have a milkshake - their memory will be much clearer.  The friends we make and the memories we share will be what we carry with us for the rest of our lives. Don't get me wrong, the diploma hanging on the wall is key to your future, but what does it mean without some funny stories to share along the way?

Bid Day
The Great Fratsby

The amount of time that we are given in college is entirely too short, and before you know it, graduation will only be a few days away.  While it is easy to wish away all of the 8 a.m. classes after the 4 a.m. bedtimes from doing homework, losing these things also means losing the things that make college so special:  getting to live independently and surrounded by all of the people and events that will stay with you forever.

Friends in the Honors Program

This semester was definitely my hardest one to date, but at the same time, I also had some of the best times.  From attending Cirque Musica with the Honors Program to the Snowball, the Great Fratsby Celebration, holding events with the other Greeks on campus and going to Walmart at 2 a.m. to stock up on half-price Halloween candy, I have definitely learned to take in the experience as a whole. The push to have a 4.0 GPA is ideal, but it is not everything.  If you don't balance academics and fun and if you miss out on all that Ferrum and life have to offer, you will definitely regret it later on in life no matter how good your grades may be.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Serving Others with the Lions Club

by Jessa K., Panther Blogger

Being in a club on campus can be very time-consuming and hard to juggle especially when combined with other things like classes and jobs.  Being the president of a club or holding any office for that matter can be a serious challenge because, like somebody told Spiderman, "with great power comes great responsibility."  He really wasn't joking.  I am currently the president of the Ferrum College Lions Branch Club on campus and it is an all-consuming job, yet it is the most rewarding I have ever had.

Lions International is a health-based community service organization with a focus on vision, hearing, and diabetes.  Our club has tried very hard to stick to these main focus points, and we really try to remain true to the Lions International motto:  "We Serve."  Like Ferrum's motto, it does not get much simpler than that, yet it is so profound.  We do serve. We serve our communities, our country, and our world.  This international organization links millions of people together in the Lions community.

On Tuesday, December 10, thirteen out of fifteen of my branch club members attended an initiation ceremony held for us by the Ferrum College Lions Club.  We were inducted into the parent club as official Lions International members. It was a very rewarding ceremony because it provided us with the physical reward for all of our hard work.  We became a club on campus in the spring semester of 2013.  We are now approaching our first anniversary and just now have finished the long and tedious process of becoming International members.

A few of the events we have participated in during the past year are the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, an eyeglass drive, a diabetes awareness day, a hearing screening, Spring Fling, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, and Trick-or-Treat for canned goods.  It has been a very busy year and even busier fall semester!

All of these activities have been time-consuming, but I really cannot stress enough how worth it every single second was.  Even though I had to wake up very early some mornings and not return from the event until late at night, I will never feel like I wasted my time.  Helping to make a difference in the lives of others is the best way to spend your time, and don't let anyone tell you differently!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Start and End of a Wonderful Adventure

by Delana S., Panther Blogger

When I first started the Washington Semester Program at American University, I did not know what to expect, who I was going to meet, or what I was going to learn.  I was a little nervous, but now that it is all ending, I am a little sad about it all.

My specific program of study was Conflict Resolution in the Middle East and Beyond, which was new to me since I have not really studied the Middle East in many of my previous courses.  My professor, Dr. Mohamed Nimer, is a brilliant man who wanted our little class of eight students to truly enjoy our time in DC and experience new and exciting things.  Dr. Nimer is different from many of the professors that I have had, but he is also the same because he cares and invests so much of his time to make sure that we are truly learning and having an engaging experience in his class.  At the same time, he is very nice and generous. He has done many things to give us a taste of some of the culture and the food in the Middle East, such as providing food for us and taking us to many different restaurants. It was at these moments that I felt like I was back at Ferrum because my class has grown to be a little family and it will be hard to see everyone go.

Lunch at Hill Country with my classmates!  :)

All my classmates come from different walks of life, and each of us have a different story and career paths in mind, but it means a lot when your professor can invite your all out to dinner, look at each of you and talk about how this is the best class that he has had in the program through his years of teaching it.  He was also able to point out something that made each of us stand out in the class. I will never forget that or the past few months when we had to meet to discuss my progress and growth within the class.  I did not know much about the conflicts in the Middle East when I first started the class, but now I feel like a mini-expert. 
Puerto Rico Foreign Policy panel:  Jacob, Philip C. French,
Juan Dalmau Ramirez, Jeffery Farrow, Manuel Rivera, and me
The interns: Jacob, Alexandros, Me, Huesen, and Adrianna at
the Embassy of Brazil Holiday Extravaganza.
This is going to sound really corny and emotional, but I have cried about the fact that everything is ending and that I am leaving my internship.  In case you missed my previous blog post, I have been an intern at the World Affairs Council - Washington, DC, also known as WAC-DC.  It is a small office with a staff of only about five people not including the interns, but even with that small number of staff, we host big events that gather a lot of attention and attendance.
Panel discussion for getting chemical weapons out of Syria - with
Michael Moodie and Dr. Susan Koch.
Interns with the Ambassador of Brazil
Two of our most recent events that we held were A Holiday Affair at the Ambassador of Brazil's residence and a Luncheon with Dr. Henry Kissinger!  We partnered with the American Academy of Diplomacy to host these events.  Both events were amazing and I had the opportunity to meet so many people who want to help me in my future - it makes me a little emotional to think about it because I feel so blessed.

Interns with the Ambassador of Singapore

Me with Dr. Vali R. Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins Paul H.
Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

With Alexandra Huddleston - American photographer,
self-published author, and recipient of a Fulbright grant
I love the fact that the office feels like a family, and honestly, it is a family that cares about each other to the point that they make sure that my fellow interns and I have the opportunity to talk to a variety of individuals who can give us advice and help us with our futures.  Crazy enough, I have found a career path that fits me and have made connections with people who are helping me figure out what I need to do to get to where they are. 

With American author and public opinion pollster, John Zogby
One positive aspect that comes out of leaving my internship is the fact that now I have the experience and they would let me come back to intern with them again.  Next week is my last week to be with them, and the one thing that I have been hearing is that I should keep in touch and come back if I am ever in the area.  To hear those words spoken to me shows me that I am truly valued within the organization and that they will miss me.  I know that I will see them again someday and I plan to be in touch with them, so not everything is as sad as it could be.

The interns with Dr. Vali R. Nasr
I have expressed how much the class has meant to me before and what this opportunity means, but this experience has changed me in many ways and it is for the better.  I have grown to be more confident in myself and who I want to become, which is a big deal.  I was moving toward that path already, but in the few months that I have been here, the process has moved quickly.  My professor asked me if I would have done anything differently in the program, and all I could say is that I had no regrets.  Everything happened for a reason here, and of course I made some mistakes, but I learned from all of that and without it, I would be the person I am now.

At the Embassy of Singapore
My parents have noticed a change in me and so have some of my friends who I've seen when I go home, but my friends are Ferrum are going to be a bit surprised.  I have learned a lot and it is hard to express everything in words, but I now have a lot of experience that I can apply to many different aspects of the Ferrum community and the organizations that I am involved in.  Next semester is going to be interesting at Ferrum, but I am ready for the challenge.

You never know what opportunities are going to present themselves in your life. Some might seem a little scary or too big to handle, but as long as you go for it, things will work out and the end result will be a pivotal change in your life.  The poem that best summarizes everything is The Road Less Taken by Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Life is a funny thing, but we have to make the most of it and I know that mine is just getting started and is full of potential.  I do not know what the future will bring for me, but I am excited for the adventure!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thanksgiving Break in America

by Chris L., Panther Blogger

Hey, Everyone!

It's been awhile since my last blog post!  My first semester at Ferrum is almost over and I can hardly believe it.  It has passed by so quickly!  Two more weeks and I will be back in Northern Ireland.  I must say I am looking forward to going home to my family and having some good Irish food!

Over the past 3 months I have been at Ferrum, my mother has been sending me little parcels with goodies from home to keep my spirits up!

November has been a very busy month with lots of assignments due in and this has kept me occupied. The weather is a lot more enjoyable for me personally mainly because it's not as hot anymore and I am used to the cold temperatures because it is similar to the weather back home!

I wanted to do some traveling while I stayed in America, so for Thanksgiving week, I went to Washington and New York. This was an unbelievable experience and it did not disappoint!  We did get lost a couple of times, but it was all part of the fun!  It's hard to say what my favourite moment was, but what I will never forget is:
  1. Standing in Times Square on Black Friday and realising what a crazy place I was in and that the city literally does not sleep.
  2. Seeing the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. I had heard all about it at home and seen it on TV, but it was brilliant to see it in person.
  3. The view from the Empire State building at day and night.