Summer Break

Well, I can’t believe how close we are to the end of the semester!  It seems like we just finished Spring Break, but, alas, the time is almost here for us to take final exams and leave, once again, for the summer.  My anticipation for the summer has probably come a little sooner than it should have, because I was offered a summer job that required me to start working in the beginning of March.  I am working as a Field Representative for a political campaign, something that I absolutely love doing, albeit a very stressful position.  In taking this job, I was well aware of the stressors that came along with it, as well as the obligations.

As soon as I accepted the job, I began work, making phone calls, finding meeting times and places for various groups, and other various tasks.  However, one of the coolest things that I have gotten to do so far was this past weekend.  I had the task of driving my candidate across the state to various events.  Our first stop was at an event in Columbus, MS called “Grilling on the River”, which was, essentially, an outdoor food-filled festival celebrating Columbus.  Our second stop on the tour was a “meet-and-greet” with a group of Republican women in Columbus.  My candidate was able to present his platform and continued vision for the state (he has the benefit of being an incumbent).  Next, we drive about thirty minutes west, back to Starkville, MS, where we attended a large baseball and football game.  Finally, to end the day, we made the drive to Lauderdale, MS, to a bi-annual traditional event, the Ralph Morgan Rodeo!  This was really a neat experience for me, as it was a real, traditional rodeo, which, if you didn’t know, is VERY different from a rodeo that you would see at larger venues.  We had an extremely enjoyable day, filled with handshakes and pleasantries of some of the nicest people in the country.

This summer is going to be a BIG change for me because I am actually going home for the entire summer.  Last summer, I decided to stay and work at Millsaps — a decision that I definitely do not regret, it was a great experience.  However, when this job offer came around for the campaign, I simply couldn’t pass it up, and am very excited to be able to have some time at home.

Eve of the Seventh Season

Last year, our Dean of Students (Dr. Brit Katz) approached a group of us about putting together a new event that celebrates the end of a Millsaps Student’s junior year, as well as celebrates the start of their very special senior year.  It came about at the request of many juniors who felt that there just was not much, after their freshman year, that was put on just for them, so the “Eve of the Seventh Season” was created.  It was an interesting road last year, as the committee had no idea what to do, we were creating a new tradition from scratch!

I was selected by the Dean as the chair for the event for its second year, a role that I was very nervous about taking on.  After a very successful first year, we set some pretty high goals for ourselves for the next year, to dramatically increase attendance, and to do it under budget.  However, with the help of an amazing committee, we successfully accomplished both goals.  The event, which begins with a tour of campus, highlighting all of the historical landmarks and aspects of the campus (the Major’s tomb, the “M” bench, the cannon, the bell tower, etc) and also provides a history behind each one of them.  At each stop, a speaker, elected by the Junior class, presents the history.  The pathway is illuminated by luminary candles, and each participant carries a  candle in their hands.  The event culminates with a social event, where breakfast is served, at the Weems House, one of the College’s homes that is located across the street from the College.  The juniors seemed to thoroughly enjoy the event, and the socialization that they were able to engage in at the social.  Overall, I do not think that we could have asked for a better event, it went off without a hitch!

This is just one of the many rituals, traditions, and celebrations that Millsaps puts together for its students.  And, as I was the chair of this event, most of the events that are put on are headed up by fellow students, which makes is so much more special.  Some of the other events that we put on are: Fourth Night, Convocation, Baccalaureate, and many more.  Millsaps is really a special place, that knows how to “wow” her students.

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Weekend in the Bluegrass State

Well, after reading last weeks blog again, I realize that I implied that I would, in fact, be in attendance at Major Madness this weekend. Alas, I was not here for this busy and exciting weekend, instead, I made a long and grueling journey north, to Danville, Kentucky.  My cousin, who has lived in Kentucky for the last few years, was marrying a girl from Danville, thus, the odd locale.  Aside from the long drive (10 hours), it was really a fun weekend, and was completely new to me, I had never been to Kentucky before. 

My trip began on Wednesday afternoon, as I made the drive to Meridian, MS, to meet my grandparents and to begin the trek.  My parents decided that they would fly, and leave me to drive the grandparents all the way, needless to say, it was a VERY interesting drive, filled with inquiries into my life, no stone was left unturned.  On Wednesday we drove to a little less than halfway, which put us in Athens, Alabama, about 20 miles from the Tennessee line.  The next day, we made the remainder of the drive into Danville, this leg of the journey led us through some of the most rural areas that I have ever seen (and I live in Mississippi!).  With that, however, it was a very beautiful drive, with views of homes that are reminiscent of those that are in magazines. 

On Friday, my uncle took my grandfather, my other uncle, and I on a tour of Danville, where we saw lots of picturesque homes, and also met alot of really great people.  After our tour, and lunch at an awesome Danville restaurant, we drove to Laredo, Kentucky to take a tour of the Makers Mark Whiskey Distillery.  This was, honestly, one of the coolest tours I have ever taken.  To see the amount of work that goes into a single batch of whiskey is unbelievable, and also hearing the history of such an old establishment was really cool.

The wedding and all of the festivities that it contained were, of course, beautiful, and well planned.  I had the privilege of serving as an usher, and got to walk my grandmother down the aisle.  Overall, it was a really fun weekend, and while I hate that I missed such an exciting weekend at Millsaps, I was glad to have that time with my family that I rarely get to see.

Spring at Millsaps!

Well, it seems that Spring has finally sprung here at Millsaps, as we are in full swing, and actually beginning the downhill slope to the end of the semester.  The Spring is such an awesome time here, and brings so many cool experiences–it is definitely my favorite time of the year at Millsaps.  Last week we had our Spring holidays, or Spring Break, this week is our “Major Madness” week, and every weekend following is swamped with either a Fraternity or Sorority social event, Spring Parties, philanthropic events, and finally we’re at the end of the semester, which is packed with finals, move-out, “dead week”, and graduation festivities.  So, as you can see it is a VERY busy time here, but very exciting at the same time!

Like I said, last week was Spring Break, which could not have come at a better time, and was so much fun!  A group of my friends and I went down to Destin, Florida, where we just relaxed, sat by the beach and the pool, and just enjoyed having some time away from school and with each other.  There were tons of other Millsaps people down in Destin, and we even joked by saying “Millsaps goes to Destin!”.  At night, we enjoyed getting to go to other friends’ condo’s and have dinner with them, or just hang out for the night.  It was really a fun trip.  For the second half of the break, I went home to Biloxi, where I worked on catching up on homework, and just relaxed with my family.  Needless to say, after so much relaxation, it was definitely a shock jumping straight back into the Millsaps grind!

This week and this weekend are definitely a special time here at Millsaps, it is “Major Madness” week, which is essentially homecoming in the Spring, without the alumni events.  Basically, it is a time for us to just enjoy being on campus, and let the college treat us to some fun events.  For example, tomorrow night is SAPS Movie Night, where we can go to the theater and see any movie we want to for free.  Friday night is a HUGE concert that will be on campus, followed by an all campus after-party, and Saturday there is an all campus crawfish boil, with another awesome band.  The Friday and Saturday events are held in conjunction with our final Admissions visit day of the semester, Open Doors Day!  Unfortunately, I will have to miss the weekend events, as I am going up to Kentucky for one of my cousins’ wedding.  It will be a fun trip, I just hate to miss the excitement of Major Madness.

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Not such an “Easy A”

When I registered for classes this semester, I was set to have a pretty full schedule of some pretty intense classes.  So, to give myself somewhat of a break, I decided to sign into, what I initially thought to be, an “easier” class–American Sign Language.  Needless to say, it has NOT been such an easy class, especially this week, as my classmates and I are studying for our Midterm exam for the class.  The midterm is composed of two separate tests, the first test is a written exam about Deaf individuals and their inherent culture, and the second is a practical exam where the professor will sign things to us and we have to dictate what they mean.  This part will be the “doozie”, as there is so much that has to be memorized, and not only that, we have to interpret it at a very fast speed.  A couple of my friends, who are also in the class, and I studied last night in one of the dorm lobbies last night, and I can only imagine how we looked doing all of these signs and not speaking to each other.  We were laughing thinking about if we had known how to finger spell in elementary school and all of the messages we could have passed without speaking…if only we’d been that smart!

In other, but similar, news, I made a huge decision in my academic career last week–I changed my major!  No longer am I a Public Management major, instead, however, I am an Accounting major in Millsaps’ Else School of Management.  There were many things that factored into my decision to change majors, such as further thought of what I might want to do after College, Graduate school options (Millsaps has a graduate program in Accounting), as well as just a change of heart as far as my interests.  It was an exciting, yet scary decision for me to make, but it wasn’t made lightly, there was a lot of thought put into it, and, in the end, I feel like it was the right decision for me. That’s the great thing about Millsaps, you can do what’s best for you without facing undue pressure!

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A “Major” Announcement

Well, I’m sitting in the SBA office waiting for one of my committee chairs to show up for a meeting to discuss the goals for her committee (Senator Brittany Ford, Chair of the Business Collaboration Committee).   I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I am involved in our student government on campus, which is really a very cool way to get involved, and to know what’s going on on campus.  Our student government is called the Student Body Association, or SBA for short.  Whenever I describe the SBA to people who are unfamiliar with Student Government or even more so, are only familiar with their high school student councils, I describe it as your high school student council, but actually having power.  The SBA at Millsaps is responsible for about a quarter of a million dollars a year, and is able to dictate how that money is spent, whether it be on programming for students, funding student run organizations, or making campus improvements.

The SBA is separated into three legislative bodies, somewhat similar to that of the United States.  The first body is the “Executive” body, or the SBA Executive Board.  This group is composed of the 6 executive officers, the President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and the Executive Director of Programming.  The second is the “Legislative” body, or the Student Senate, which is composed of elected representatives from across the campus.  And finally, the “Judicial” Branch, which is the honor and judicial councils for the school.

Well, at our last senate meeting, this past Monday, we had an exciting announcement.  Our Executive Director of Programming, Alex Lawson, who oversees the student programming board (SAPS), announced the long-awaited lineup for Major Madness, a fun-filled week that is held every year.  This year, the Friday night concert will include Matt Nathanson, who’s hit “Come on Get Higher” can be heard here, as well as The Benjy Davis Project.  And on Saturday, we will have our annual crawfish boil, and band in the plaza.  The best news, for you, is that this all corresponds with our Open Doors Day visit program, which is going to be an overnight visit this year, and will probably be one of the best yet!

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An interesting new point of view…

Well, I believe I mentioned it in my last post, but last Thursday I underwent a “partial menisectomy”, a procedure that is performed when one tears his or her meniscus.  I’m not going to go into much detail about the procedure, but, I’ll just say, it was not as bad as I expected.  Other than the ability to walk normally again, and how to carry a drink while using crutches, I think what I have gained most from this experience is more of a lesson in humility and the kindness of people.

Although I would never attempt to compare the severity of what I have had done to anything that most people have had (it seems minute), it was a huge deal to me, as I have never had to have surgery, used crutches, or really had to rely on others for much before.  With this, however, I have had to learn that is is OK to sometimes ask for help, or to let someone do something nice for you–people are WILLING.  It has been mind-boggling to me how people have gone out of their way to assist me with getting food, moving my things to my room when I returned, or just slowing down to walk with me while I’m on my crutches.  It is so easy for one to notice the bad things in people, or when people do not do what you want them to do, however, it takes time and effort to slow down and notice how good people inherently are, especially at Millsaps it seems.

Enough with the sappy, melodramatic sob story; this week will definitely bring challenges like I have never faced before.  But, like I mentioned earlier, I am extremely lucky to only have to deal with this for one week.  I am doing one intense week of physical therapy, before transitioning into a 3 times a week for 4 week regimen.  My ultimate goal is to be able to walk, unassisted by Friday, so that I can help with the setup and execution of my fraternity’s annual Chili Bowl philanthropy event.  I may have to walk with a slight limp, but I will be walking without these blasted crutches!  An update on how this all goes next week!