Formals and Friendship

All week I could not wait for Friday night to arrive. After a long five days of school, work, and little sleep, the Friday night formal was all I could dream about. Ringlet curls, pretty dresses, and high-heeled shoes bring a smile to both the girly and tomboy side of this girl. A break from books and blue jeans, the formal provides an opportunity to get off campus, get dressed up, and get ready to have fun with friends!

As a member of the Athenian Literary Society, I had even more excitement, as we were hosting this evening event. Arabian Nights was the theme and the decorations filled the Greenwood Art Center. Aside from a night full of dancing, I look forward to this type of event because I am able to spend time with all of my friends at once, which does not happen often. As a junior, I have become extremely involved in my major, which occupies most of my time. Therefore, my friends who are science and English majors are sometimes difficult to catch up with, while I see my education friends each and every day. However, this event was even more special because this would be the last big event before many of my friends graduate in May. (They love to remind me of this fact, too).

After eating dinner and getting dressed, we were off to the party. Of course the ride there is just as important, because your brain must begin preparing how to bust out some moves on the dance floor. Therefore, we rocked out and sang at the top of our lungs while we traveled. Finally, we arrive and its time to break it down! The first few minutes are always the most awkward, because fewer people are there to mask your dorky dance moves. However, when the first line dance comes on, the floor is crowded and everyone feels right at home. With “The Wobble,” “Can’t Wang With It,” and “The Cupid Shuffle,” down, the rest of the night is set for various styles of dancing. Each person can find some way to fit in.

Sadly, as the clock struck midnight, the lights brightened and the floor cleared. Clean-up time had arrived and the last Athenian formal with my senior sisters had ended. After sweeping and mopping floors, fixing chairs, and cutting out the lights, hugs were given and a glimpse into the future appeared. While it was sentimental and sad for a minute, the moment also lent itself to a great deal of happiness, as I was thankful that I have such wonderful friends that I will miss next year. Through the good times and bad, Erskine has provided me not only with important facts, but also important friends.

Don’t Blink…

I start to feel old now as I look back and remember the days of applying to and interviewing at colleges. Back then, college seemed like such a huge step in life, much bigger than anything I had ever done before. However, now, college has become such an integral part of who I am, it is just life. I try to remember this as I think about my future and getting a job, moving out on my own, and taking that next big step. While it may seem scary now, soon enough, it will just be life.

I was reminded of these interesting truths this weekend as I assisted with the Presidential Scholarship Competition. Twenty-four students from various backgrounds arrived to interview and compete for this top scholarship. I could see the fear in their eyes and the apprehension in their shaking hands as they patiently waited to be called. (However, they seemed much less fearful and apprehensive than I did three years ago). As I spoke with several of them, assuring them that they would do wonderfully if they just remembered to be themselves, I could not believe I was now in this position that I once looked up to. Three years ago I thought these people seemed so old, mature, and adult-like. I couldn’t imagine being in that position, and now I am! Where has the time gone?

Three years may not sound like a long time to some people, but in the world of school and young adulthood, three years can seem like a lifetime. It is not so much the time that makes it feel so lengthy, but rather all of the changes that occur within that time. The past three years have marked important changes in my education, maturity, personality, appearance, friends, spirituality, and many more aspects of my life. I know that time will only seem to speed up from here, but I hope to still be able to look back on the time and realize my growth and progress. So…on those days that seem to last forever and you just can’t wait to get to sleep, remember the life that you might be missing. Be careful, don’t blink.

2009

2012

The Misconception of Due West

One of the first things people realize when they enter Due West is the fact that it is small. This is an obvious feature of our town so we might as well address it openly and quickly. Therefore, one of the first things people assume is that there is nothing to do here. WRONG! I find that I actually rarely have a spare minute on campus. Yes, I have done some of this to myself by joining too many clubs and volunteering for too many activities, but nonetheless, Erskine is a busy place. Somehow, one has to find time for academics, physical health, a little fun, and oh yeah…some sleep!

Academics are the most obvious things to make time for because they are mandatory. (Hello, that’s why we came here!) However, unlike many colleges where classes involve lectures in auditoriums filled with hundreds of students, Erskine is much more interactive. Especially once students have begun taking their major classes, they find that class sizes are small and allow for much more hands-on activities. For example, I am an education major and most of my classes range from six to ten people. This past week, in my Social Studies for Teachers class, we were able to make a model of the South Carolina regions, demonstrating activities we could do with our elementary aged students. Through this, we learned the struggles they will encounter as well as techniques and questions to add to our repertoire of teaching methodologies. In addition, our class traveled together this weekend to Columbia to attend a Geography Workshop where we met with other pre-service and in-service teachers to learn exciting new lessons and innovations for the classroom. Even better, I won some free maps!

Tonight, my physical health and fun were able to come together as I participated in my first ever intramural game! Our basketball team attempted to work some magic, but came up a few points shy. After trying to catch my breath for an hour in order to write this, I realized I did have a great deal of fun. However, other fun an exciting events that have occurred lately have involved my first round of tree golf as well as a “masquerade” (a semi-rave with masks) hosted by one of the societies. I will pretty much use any excuse to dress up hideously in too much neon.

Sadly, sleep hasn’t happen too much lately, but I am happier than ever. As a junior with many friends who are seniors, I am beginning to realize that not much of my college time is left. I fear I may have wasted a few semesters, so I am determined to enjoy this one to its fullest, especially since I will be student teaching next year. See, there are things to do in Due West. The challenge is…to try and find a day without something to do!

Where Have I Been?

Where have I been? The answer is…not at Erskine! That’s right, I used Erskine’s unique J-term opportunity to pursue interests outside of the classroom and spent the month at home. Okay, now before you go there, I did do some work. I promise. However, I was able to do work in a setting much different from the college atmoshpere and gain a new perspective entering into the spring semester.

In case you are unsure of what I am talking about, J-term or Winter Term as some may call it, is a one month semester taking place during the month of January. Rather than beginning a full spring term after returning from Christmas, here in Due West students take this month to take only ONE class. These classes are typically unrelated to their majors and range from Music Videos and Cinema to Math Puzzles and so much more. In addition, January offers unique travel destinations to places such as New York and Italy! However, I chose to do none of those this year.

After the Christmas lights were taken down and all of the presents were put away, I began researching areas in my field, Education. While at Erskine, I have had plenty of chances to take classes and spend time in the schools with students, but I wanted to spend January looking into specific areas of interest and sharing them with professionals. Therefore, I spent the month exploring the topics of collaboration, service learning, and technology before presenting them at teachers’ meetings at local schools. While I will admit this was somewhat intimidating, it was also extremely rewarding. I was able to see what a difference I could make in my community while also gently stepping into the world of professionalism. Even better, I got three hours of credit for this! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my month.

Does this sound exciting to you? Or perhaps it is rather boring? Either is okay! Many more opportunities like mine exist and Erskine can help you find them. Through internships, externships, and research opportunties, if you are willing to work, you can find a way. So now, I am back and well into my second week of the spring semester. I am sure I will have some intersting stories so be sure to keep looking…there is more to come.

Fall Break and a Little Bit More

Accepting the Sterling L. Smith Scholarship with President, Dr. Norman

Whew! Fall Break is over, but it was a much needed event in my life. While Erskine is a fun and exciting place to be, it also requires a great deal of hard work which can become exhausting over time. Therefore, I jumped at the chance to embark on vacation from school, dorm rooms, and dinner at five o’clock. However, I also had a wonderful event leading my way into the break.

Last year I was asked to apply for a scholarship that is given to one student from an independent college or university in South Carolina. Of course, I graciously accepted and thought nothing would come of it. Boy was I wrong! This summer I was given notice that the committee had chosen ME, and Erskine student, to be awarded this special honor as well as a little bit of scholarship money. Along with this honor was a wonderful luncheon, which occurred this past Thursday, presenting me as well as another scholarship winner. My parents were invited, and we even got to eat lunch with the President of Erskine at the ceremony. Now, how many people have even met the president of their college?

After giving an impromptu speech behind the other student who had a well-written and academic presentation, I hopped in the car to visit with my parents for the first time in two months! We drove to Indiana to visit my grandparents as well as other family members. I was so thankful that my professors worked this out with me and allowed me to attend both the ceremony as well as this trip with my family one day early. That is just one of those other great things about a small college! (Now don’t think that you don’t have to go to class and such, because you most certainly do. However, professors are human, too, and realize that special honors and family time are important as well).

So, now I am back to the routine of school, tests, and dinner at 5p.m. But, if schooling is what I am meant to be doing, I am sure glad to be doing it at Erskine!