Thursday, December 15, 2011
I was in this exact same predicament last year on the eve of my last exam before winter break. I don't know what it is keeping me awake. Whatever it is needs to go away, I don't like it one bit. Last year instead of doing this, I went walking around outside in the freezing cold with nothing on but a t-shirt, shorts and sandals, pretending I was crazy and muttering to myself. This group of girls passed me, and one of them was like "What the *insert expletive*!?" I don't know why I thought this would make me sleepy, it certainly did not. I went back to Witherspoon and sat in my friend's room as a bunch of them played Super Smash trying to keep the volume to a dull roar. But when you play Super Smash, there's no dull roar to possibly be had. It's either full out roar, or nothing. Around 3 I finally got tired, went back to my room, slept a few hours, and killed my exam the next morning. Let's cross our fingers, knock on wood and do a bunch of other superstitious things to bring that good fortune back for tomorrow's exam (ESCI 1101). Shouldn't be too hard, but we'll see....
So semester in perspective I suppose? Yeah it was good. It was really busy. I've been way too busy this past year and a half. I'm going to cut back on things next semester and take more time for myself. When you're stretched thin, you can't be effective at anything. Unless you're living off of 5 hour energy (subtle product placement) and sleeping in the library, eating scraps out of the trash cans. My workload is really not that bad, it's just not that good either. So next semester this guy is going to slow things down, and take it easy before he departs for the following year to various locations in and out of the US. Man time really just gets away from you. It honestly feels like last month I was catching up with all my friends, inspecting the new parking deck behind Witherspoon, raising very small, relatively non-existent amounts of Cain at Cookout far too often, saying "oh I got my first test back, blah blah blah I just didn't know what to expect blah". Oh my.... In less than a year I will have spent more time away from Charlotte than I ever have in my life, and astronomically more time outside of the US on my own. It scares the heck out of me to be quite frank with you. I've just started developing all these ties to this school and the area, to people and places and bands and clubs and now I've gotta go. That's it, drop it, and hopefully pick back up where I left off when I come back. I honestly don't think that's going to happen for some of the things right now that I spend the majority of my days working on. But I've always found the old saying true, that when one door closes, another one opens.
Anyhow, I'm going to close this blog up for the night and really, really, really try to get to sleep. I didn't even have any caffeine today! To prospective students; I hope you will consider UNCC and the Levine program seriously. This school is amazing, it has something for everyone, and I'd be at quite a significant disadvantage without the program and our directors. Be honest with yourself for the next year or so, and do things that matter to you, that are fun for you, but are still contributing to something in a positive way. Don't build up a good looking, heartless resume, come into the program and lose your steam in the first semester. Be prepared to work hard for this program even after you've gotten it. The term "free ride" could not be more inaccurate. And know that for every ounce of effort you put in, you'll get out of it 10 times that, likely more. And have a fantastic holiday break.
Wish me luck tomorrow!
I don't need your luck... I was born lucky.
Happy Holidays my beloved nobody on cyberspace.
And yes, still no pictures. WHATEVER.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
My name is Chloe` Rodengen and I’m a freshman in the Levine Scholars Program here at UNCC. This is my first blog entry…so I’m going to go ahead and give this a shot!
To start you off, I’m from South Florida so adjusting to Charlotte has been a big change for me. One of the biggest changes has definitely been the weather! I have never ever seen the leaves change and tend to freak out a bit every time I walk outside because it’s so beautiful (and cold! we’ll for me at least). Not to say that palm trees and beaches aren’t nice too, but there is definitely something special about having four seasons. Yes, I think its safe to say that I’m falling in love with fall. :)
A few weeks ago, my suite mate Bethany invited me and a few other friends to her house near Asheville, NC so I could see the true leaves changing in the mountains for the first time. We hopped in the car and drove about an hour and a half west until we reached her house near the Appalachian mountain range. Since we left at night, I had no idea what to expect in the morning. When I woke up and walked towards the kitchen, I set my eyes on one of the most amazing things I’d ever seen. There was so much color everywhere! Here’s a picture of the mountains from Bethany’s balcony. For a native Floridian, this was definitely one thing I wish I had growing up.
We walked around the area, took some fun pictures and just had a really peaceful and relaxing afternoon. Here’s a picture of the four of us with the beautiful leaves in the background!
(Anna, Kailey, Bethany and me!)
We then drove back to North Carolina and ate at this cute little pizzeria/bakery in downtown Saluda. We ordered a mushroom and goat cheese pizza to share and let me tell you, I’ve never had such a delicious pizza in my life. Full and content, we packed up and took the drive back to Charlotte.
This trip was definitely a lot of fun and I had such a great time being immersed into fall for the first time! I’m definitely getting to experience a lot of really cool things here in Charlotte, the change in seasons for sure being one of them. Looks like winters right around the corner though! Uh oh, guess I better get ready for snow, there’s a first time for everything I suppose, haha.
Thanksgiving break is coming up in a few days though, so It’ll be nice to get a little taste of home (and the glorious 75 degree weather) before going into finals in just a couple weeks. I can’t believe how fast this semester has gone by! Hope you all have a wonderful day :) thanks for reading, I’ll be back soon!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
My name is Kevin Caldwell and I am a freshman in the Levine Scholar’s Program here at UNC Charlotte.
College gets a little overwhelming at times...
On that note, I’m actually from Charlotte – I’ve lived here all of my life. I often get asked how I like going to school so close to home; many people find this concept appalling. There seems to be this misconception that, in order to truly “go away to college,” one must travel at least 100 hundred miles away. While I certainly understand this idea – and I’ll admit that I struggled with it in the weeks preceding school – I’ve come to completely reject it.
Going to school so close to home is one of the greatest things that could have happened to me – I love it. I’ve always appreciated Charlotte as a whole, but now that I have the liberties associated with being a college student, it’s one hundred times better. Not only do I get to experience college just like any other freshman, but I also get to have dinner with my family every now and then, which I really enjoy. I have the advantage of knowing where the good restaurants are, along with all of the good events to attend throughout the year. I’ve also grown to appreciate the internal GPS I’ve been developing over the years in the city – that is a priceless skill, my friends, as the roads in Charlotte don’t always make sense. (Correction: they rarely make sense.)
A lot has happened since school has started, though, and I’ll try and encapsulate as much as possible in this post. I’ll start with one of my favorite memories of this year – the beach trip over Fall Break.
Over our Fall Break, the Levine Program rented an oceanfront house for the freshmen and sophomore classes to spend some time together away from all of the daily stresses of college. Twenty-six of the thirty of us went, along with a few faculty members, Dr. Zablotsky and Kelley (the directors of the program) and Dr. Mike Richardson, a member of the Levine Foundation. (Can you say “perfect?”) The trip was simply fantastic.
We had a lot of fun cooking at the beach.
First of all, the beach is awesome. It just is. Second of all, it’s even more awesome when you’re with a group of really groovy, swell people. We got to splash around in the water, play cornhole on the beach, lounge around under the sun and take long walks up and down the shoreline. (These were my favorite…) After these long walks, re-nourishment was of the upmost importance, but that wasn’t at all a problem; after all, Dr. Mike bought over half of the grocery store. In fact, I think I still have some leftover cookies in my dorm room right now from the beach. (I don’t even think they’ve even been opened yet. I’ll attend to that issue later this week.)
Two things in particular stand out to me when I look back on that weekend. One of them occurred spontaneously when Anna S., Elizabeth, Bethany and I were walking along the beach around 10:00 p.m. Saturday night. As we were walking, we began to hear really loud dance music – we walked closer to investigate and stumbled upon an older couple’s 50th anniversary party. Since the party was a pretty lively one, we decided to host our own little dance party (using their music, of course) on the beach right where we stood. We were having a good ol’ time when we noticed a few partygoers begin to maneuver to the edge of their dance floor to watch us. (I guess we did look rather strange…) We didn’t mind the attention and just kept on dancing until we saw a bright flash – the event’s photographer had spotted us and had promptly taken our picture. I suppose he wanted to capture this unexpected occurrence as a unique way of documenting the event – this is the best guess I have. Regardless, it gives me a certain sense of pride to know that, somewhere, this couple might be laughing about the night they watched the goofy group interpretive dance outside on the beach. That gives me immense joy.
The other particularly memorable thing (at least for me) about that weekend comes in the form of a personal epiphany – I secretly want to become a barista. Done. I’m not even kidding: it seems like the perfect career. Making different flavors of coffee, experimenting with different spice combinations and bringing the goodness that is a hot beverage into someone’s hands brings untold levels of happiness into my heart: I love, love, love it. Over the weekend I managed to perfect my signature beverage – hot chocolate. I would whip one up for anyone who would accept one and repeatedly caught myself offering one to anything that moved. (I wasn’t kidding when I said that I loved making them. Simply being in the kitchen excites me.) Now the secret to hot chocolate, you see (drum roll, please) is to add a little bit of vanilla coffee seasoning syrup, purchased from a local coffeeshop. Once this has been added to the mixture, it gives brings the beverage from the realm of “good” to “fantastic.” Add a sprinkle or two of cinnamon and you’re sailing!
Bethany, Jake, Dr. Bayoumi, yours truly and Sam after the lecture.
Before I conclude this blog, I’d like to write about one final thing– the Florida roadtrip. Two weekends ago, Caitlin, Jon, Kelsey and I drove down to Tallahassee Florida! Caitlin’s sister plays in the marching band over at Florida State and she had extra tickets for the FSU/Maryland game – she offered us tickets! We all decided that’d be an interesting way to spend the weekend, so we clambered in the car and set off! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the weekend.
There are very few occasions when a solid six-hour car ride can be described as fun; this was one of them. For the entire 300 or so miles we jammed out to straight-up country music… and it was perfect. (And, yes: I’ll admit that I was guilty of singing loudly and proudly to some good ol’ Taylor Swift. No shame.) On the way down we stopped at a Cracker Barrel, feasted on some Southern goodness and actually rolled into Jacksonville (where we were spending the night) at around 9:00 pm.
The next day was a lot of fun. We got up at the crack of dawn (which wasn’t really the most enjoyable experience) and had breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. Jon bought us all coffee and delicious circles of sugary goodness; afterwards, we drove another three or so hours along I-10 into Tallahassee. When we got to FSU we went to Caitlin’s sister’s band practice, which was spectacular, I must add!
I was completely floored by the marching band – I’d never experienced something like that before. You see, from 6th to 12th grade I attended Northwest School of the Arts – a fantastic school I might add – which, as you may have guessed, didn’t have sports. I loved every second I was there, but I did miss out on some of those “quintessential” high school experiences, namely: football games. As a result, I never was exposed to such things as marching bands at that close of a level. I’d attended college football games before, but I’d never been so close to a marching band. (And there is something to be said about being so close to the band: it was really, really cool.)
The game was pretty fun, too! We had excellent seats and enjoyed the whole game, particularly the arm-waving “ooohhh-ooh-oh-oh-oohh” motion that all Seminole fans prescribe too. (That was a lot of fun, I must admit.) The rest of the day consisted of a delectable dinner at Olive Garden and a long drive back to Jacksonville, followed by some more driving the following morning – six hours straight, if I recall. So that was the weekend! We drove… and drove some more, but it was well worth it and we all had a ton of fun.
So until next time – Kevin’s signing off. Thanks for reading!
Monday, October 24, 2011
So a couple of weeks ago, I decided I was going to go through with recruitment for a sorority. I signed up way back in the summer, because I’ve always wanted to be a part of Greek life. Our rush week starts a lot later than most universities because our Greek life is smaller here, so waiting the first month of school was so nerve-racking! Finally, it was time for recruitment. It was a super busy, mildly stressful trying to get it done with all of my architecture work, but totally worth it week! Throughout the week we had house tours (the houses are GORGEOUS!), a philanthropy night where we learned about each sororities charity of choice, history night, where you learned history of the sorority of course, and finally preference night where you chose your first two choices. THEN FINALLY, it was bid day! This is where all the girls go down to Greek Village and have to wait what seems like an excruciating time to open the letters that give you an invite to a sorority…and turned into one of the best days of my life!
This is the group of girls, my sorority recruitment group, that I was with the whole week doing activities with! Only a few of us are in the same sorority now, but we’re all still friends (:
Whooo ADPi! Right after receiving our bids!
My pledge class, Alphas of fall '11!
That day, I got invited to join the sorority Alpha Delta Pi. I was SO excited, especially because they had been my top choice the whole entire week. I ripped open my letter and ran to the house, running into tons of other excited girls. We all chanted and took pictures and met our pledge class sisters, and our soon to be sisters. Then that day we had a bid day activity, where you had a ‘bid day buddy’, and the whole new member class and older sisters all went to a cute little park. We did paddleboats and a train ride, and there was a fun petting zoo and a merry-go-round! It was a great time to get to know everyone and the tons of names to remember, because ADPi is now 121 members! That’s a lot.
My bid day buddy and me, paddle boating!
YAY Alphie, our lion mascot (:
Ever since bid day, I have absolutely loved Alpha Delta Pi. I now have tons of girls who have my back and are amazing to be around. That weekend, for instance, we went on our chapter retreat and got to play some fun games and learn more about ADPi. We also have our first philanthropy event coming up, to benefit Ronald McDonald House, and have already had mixers and other events. I also got my diamond sister (my ‘big’) and my grandbig! We always go out to eat and do other stuff together. I loved Charlotte before joining this organization, but now I love it even more!
Me with some of my pledge class sisters on our chapter retreat!
My grandbig, big, and me at dinner, eating sushi...a family tradition!
Well that’s all for now, I’ll be back on soon with more updates on my busy life!
Friday, August 26, 2011
This is Grayson minus two members. We did this show in this lounge/bar/bookstore in NoDa at the beginning of summer, it was pretty cool.
This is Grayson plus a female and a few years. This is literally a picture that I took in the future, I know, it's insane how white Baylor's hair is.
The House of Huffman. We took a weekend trip up at the beginning of summer to do some work on the house and go to the LEAF festival.
Team Jacob for Life.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
|This is what the future orphanage looked like on the very first day, although earlier that morning those holes weren't even filled with dirt!|
|Amigas siempre :)|
|On the very last day, we took some of the kids to the beach. For most of them it was their very first time seeing the ocean!|
|Teaching the kids how to play UNO!!!|
|Working in the Education Center, built by SHH. I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to be a teacher!|
|Our finished product on the last day of work!|
Anyway, I can't really believe that this semester is already coming to an end. It seems like it was just a week ago when Charlotte welcomed us back from Winter Break with three snow days! As a native Floridian, I never actually thought I would have a snow day, so you can imagine my excitement as we went sledding down the hills in front of our Student Union. Good times, good times.
That was way back in the middle of January. Now fast forward through some classes, a round or two of midterms, lots of laughs, a FABULOUS Levine Scholarship weekend for the class of 2015, a few loads of laundry, some intramural softball games, and a ton of happiness to Spring Break 2011.
All along I had planned on going back to Florida for break. Afterall, I hadn't been home for almost two months, and for a girl who tends to get a little homesick, I was really missing my family. It was about three weeks before break, though, when my friend, Jordan, told me about this new club on campus called Students Helping Honduras. Basically, it's this amazing organization located on college campuses throughout the country that raises money to build orphanages and schools in Honduras. Naturally, as a future teacher and someone who absolutely LOVES kids, I wanted to go and volunteer there. It just so happened that there was a service trip for college students during the exact dates of break, beginning one day after classes let out and ending one day before those classes resumed.
I normally take a good while to make big decisions, but, given the short time frame, I had to decide pretty quickly. I had never been out of the country so I had to hurry and get all the needed vaccinations, apply for my passport, make sure everything else was in order, and mentally prepare myself for the "adventure."
Those eight days were some of the best of my entire life. It was such an eye-opening experience, and even though I will attempt to describe it a bit, I know I will not do it justice. Over that week, I was able to visit an orphanage that had a total of 3 staff members "caring" for 150 children, all under the age of 13. It's hard to imagine something like that; sometimes thinking back to it, I still can't believe that a place like that existed. What was the most amazing thing of all, though, was the fact that every single one of those children wore the biggest, brightest smiles on their faces the entire time we were there, giving us hugs and pictures they had drawn for us. When we left that day, I realized that the work we would be doing the rest of the week would be even more wonderful than I originally thought.
Our mission for the week was to start work on another orphanage. This new orphanage, which will eventually house 24 children from the state orphanage that we visited, was located in a tiny village called Villa Soleada. Comprised of 44 families, this place is one of the most magical, loving places in the entire world. There are about 250 children in the village who, when our bus drove up, ran to the doors and jumped into our arms immediately. Again, I don't think I've ever seen such happy children.
There were about 40 college students from different campuses across the country, who, for those eight days, worked long hours laying the foundation and building the walls of an orphanage. I was lucky enough to be given the additional opportunity to work in the Education Center in the mornings, helping the school-age children with their vowels and the younger kids with their fine motor skills. What a cool experience!! In the afternoons the entire village would come outside to play soccer in the middle of a huge field.
These few details don't even begin to describe my experience there, but for those of you who have taken the time to read through this long blog, I hope that you now have a little glimpse of an amazing country and the difference that a few college students can make. I bring up this trip in about every conversation that I have, so if you ever talk to me in person, be prepared for countless stories and hundreds of pictures. In the meantime, here are a few that were taken during that time.
Talk to you all soon! Oh, and I'm not sure that I mentioned this before, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE inspirational/motivational/changing-the-world quotes. It's becoming an obsession. So I suppose I should leave you with one to think about until I blog again: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead
|Amigas siempre :)|
|Teaching the kids how to play UNO!!|
|Working in the Education Center, built by SHH, with the little kids. It definitely made me realize that I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to be a teacher!|
|Picture this without the dirt already filled in and you have a pretty good idea of what the orphanage looked like on day one.|
|And this is a view from a nearby tree on the last day of work :)|
|We took some of the kids to the beach on the last day. For most of them it was their first time seeing the ocean!|
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Jackson's Java: When I can't get any work done, I go to Jackson's Java to finish it. It's in the same shopping center as the Harris Teeter right by campus. I never get anything fancy--usually just a vanilla coffee--but the environment is just so cozy and friendly. They also play really cool acoustic versions of popular music. Definitely a favorite study spot.
Boudreaux's: Located in the NoDa district about 15 minutes from campus, Boudreaux's is a delicious Cajun restaurant. I've been told their gumbo is pretty amazing, but I'm a big fan of their crab cake croissant and their cheese grits. One of the walls is just an old garage door...kind of bizarre. Definitely go to Boudreaux's if you want a cheap, authentic Cajun meal.
My Bento: This place is right next door to Jackson's Java. My roommates and I have a borderline obsession with good sushi, and My Bento's sushi is delicious. We've been there a couple times, and had the same waitress both times--she was really friendly and helped us navigate the menu. If you don't want sushi, you can also get a Bento box with noodles, meat, fruit, dessert, and a salad. The amount of food that comes with a Bento box meal is ridiculous (in a good way).
The Crepe Cellar: I've only been here once, but I can't wait to go back. I had the Queen City crepes, which have chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, and some sort of yummy sauce. Mmmmm. Then I shared the "Brownie in a Blanket" dessert crepe with my friend Claire. That was heaven. I think when I go back I'll skip dinner and just get dessert--it's that worth it.
If you're stuck on campus, there are still plenty of good food options--my favorites are Chick-Fil-A, Sushi with Gusto (both in the Cone Center), and Starbucks (in the Student Union). Crown Commons usually has something good to offer, too. We also have occasional "family dinners" in our friends' apartment. Even though their cooking utensils are scarce, it's fun to cook a real meal and sit down together to eat.
Basically, if you're in Charlotte, you're never far from good food!