Why can’t we have 9 lives?!?

So, I have been thinking the past few days about all the things that I want to do before I die, and I have made the unfortunate realization that I just don’t have enough time in my life to fit it all in.  So I’d like to spend the next few minutes dreaming if that’s okay with you.

Who wouldn't want to see this everyday!?

The first, and most unrealistic, thing that I want to do is what every 8-year-old boy dreams of being one day…an astronaut.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have a great dream of being a doctor and I will make that happen no matter what, but just talking hypothetically, if I could have another life to add to this one (similar to that of cats :)), I would definitely try to be an astronaut.  That would be the ultimate travel experience!

But I guess I should come back to earth (haha punny!) and talk about things that are a little more realistic.  If you can’t already tell by my wishing to go to the moon, I thoroughly enjoy traveling; being able to see the different cultures, history, nature, and architecture of countries all around the world I have to say is one of my passions.  That being said, I wish to have spent time on each of the 7 continents (yes, including Antarctica…I like penguins) at some point in my life.  I have only been to 2, so I have a long way to go, but hey, isn’t that why doctors make so much money?! (And before I get called selfish, I promise I’ll give a lot to charity as well)

One of the last things that I want to do, maybe more than the previous two, is hike the Appalachian Trail.  For those who don’t know, the Appalachian Trail span from Springer Mountain, GA to Katahdin, Maine, a trek that stretches almost 2,200 miles.  It is one of my dreams to be able to take a few months and be able to thru-hike the whole thing.  I guess it’s just one of those things we’ll have to wait and see how the cards fall! 

Thanks for letting me do a little big dreaming! Have a good week!

Who needs a Spring “Break”?

WOOT WOOT!!! Comps are over, and I can officially graduate from Millsaps College.   Last Monday, I had my Oral Comprehensive exam in front of four of the professors in my major, and I walked away with a promised diploma and a feeling of relief. 

But because comps were last week, I haven’t gotten to talk to you in a while, so let me tell you about my Spring Break.  There is a church in Tupelo, MS in which I volunteer with the youth.  The youth minister at the church was my youth minister in high school in Brandon, MS, and he left after I came to college.  Fortunately, he still calls me to help lead groups and retreats and be a chaperone for mission and youth trips.  Every year, he takes a destination unknown road trip with the graduating senior class.  He has most of the stops planned out, but the students have no idea where they are going.  He did the same thing when I was a senior in high school, and we went out west with the final destination being the Grand Canyon! It was incredibly beautiful and one of the best trips I have been on, so I was excited when he called me to chaperone!  We spend the day driving, making random stops throughout the day and making it to a church late at night to sleep for a few hours before getting back on the road.  One of the rules on the trip is that we are not allowed to eat at any fast food or chain restaurants…only Mom-and-Pop joints, which is always filled with good food!  This year’s trip was going to be great!

We left on Sunday after church and headed north.  We went through Tennessee and Kentucky before finally settling down at a church in Cincinnati, Ohio.  We had bible study and played a little basketball and then hit the sack after a long day of driving.  The next day we headed for New York.  One of the kids got sick so we had to make a detour towards a hospital, preventing us from going to the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio (sad for me), but we still made it to Buffalo in pretty good time (and the kid is okay).  The next day, we crossed the border and went to Niagara Falls.  It was AWESOME!  We ate at a Planet Hollywood, saw the American falls and the Canadian falls, and strolled the town.  Unfortunately, it was still too frozen to take the Maid of the Mist, but we were able to get behind the falls and get within 10 feet of the rushing water.  Niagara Falls is located in a little town that reminds me of the Gatlinburg of the north filled with tourist attractions galore!  We went indoor skydiving and also went to the Coca Cola and Hershey’s stores..yum! 

The next day, we stayed in Niagara Falls, New York, did a little mission work with a local mission, then drove to Detroit to watch a Detroit Red Wings game…talk about excitement!  The last couple days of the trip were spent heading back home.  We went through the rest of Detroit and stayed in Indianapolis the next night.  The last day, we drove through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and finally back to Mississippi.  I spent most of the bus rides studying for comps, but now that I got back and passed,  the trip was well worth it!

Now back to Millsaps for the home stretch!

Distra…Is that a bird?…ctions

So in my four years at Millsaps, I have definitely found just about anything and everything that can be a huge distraction to a college student.  Fortunately, I have escaped alive and haven’t let them have to terrible of an effect on my studies!  This blog will probably take a couple of hours to write because of a few of those favorite distractions.

I feel like most of us can probably agree on the most prevalent distraction to high school and college students over the past few years. Yep, you guessed it…Facebook.  Somehow, it can be incredibly addicting and for reasons none other than to “facebook stalk” other people just to see what’s going on in their lives.  I admit that I am not completely innocent of this, but lucky for me, I know when to put the computer away and pull out the books.  The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure my parents get on Facebook more now than I do.  To most students, the addition of adults to Facebook was the worst moment of their lives (dramatic much?).  Personally, I was just fine with it.  Now, on to a few other personal distractions.

One of the distractions that begins to occupy too much of my time if I don’t keep it in check is TV on DVD.  I have more seasons of more shows on DVD than anyone else I know.  I rarely watch the actual TV except for sports, but I can fill hours of my day watching shows on DVD.  Just a few of the shows I own include: LOST (all seasons), That 70’s Show, Greek, The OC, The Big Bang Theory, Glee, Supernatural (all seasons), Scrubs, Criminal Minds, and Modern Family.  That doesn’t include the shows my roommate and I watch on Netflix.  Luckily, I relatively know when to keep this distraction in check as well. 

One of the distractions that I have more difficulty controlling is on my phone.  I got an iPhone almost two years ago, and as it does for most of its owners, it became an immediate distraction.  The things that you can do with something so small is just incredible.  With the iPhone came my addiction to all the free games, and you can’t talk about iPhone games without discussing Words With Friends.  For those of you who don’t know, it’s basically Scrabble that you get to play with another friend that has the game.  I can honestly say that I have games going on with 17 different people.  Ridiculous right?!  The good thing is…I have to say that I am not too shabby :)

I guess I should add this blog to the list.  I might have to if I don’t get back to studying.  Hope you all have a good week! By the way, I have my Oral Comps the Monday after Spring Break.  I am the first Biology to go, so the next time you here from me, I’ll hopefully be on the path to graduation!

The Top 4

So last week, I started my list of a few of my favorite things about Millsaps to give you a deeper look into the life of a student here at the college.  Looking back, I realized I used a lot of smiley emoticons, so for both our sakes, I’ll try to tone that down this time around.  This week, I give you my Top 4 favorite things about Millsaps College:

4. Homecoming/Major Madness:  Each semester, we have a big week/weekend dedicated to celebrating past, present, and future students of Millsaps.  In the Fall, Homecoming brings alumni from all over the country back to campus for great food, philanthropy events, and of course, football.  Our Spring event is Major Madness which is used for many prospective students to come and enjoy some time at the college.  SAPS, our student event coordinating board, usually fills the week with all sorts of events for students to enjoy, and the weekend always ends in a concert of a well-known band and a great comedy show. 

3. Faith and Work Initiative: Millsaps College has a program dedicated to discovering and nurturing the passions of students and helping them find a career path that allows them to use those passions for the betterment of the world.  I was fortunate enough to be a part of this program.  It begins with a class called the Meaning of Work in which we examined the history and evolution of work and delved into ideas such as callings, jobs, occupations, and finding happiness in our career path.  We then receive an internship with a professional in a field that interests us.  For me, I was able to be an intern for an Emergency Room doctor at a local hospital in Jackson.  It was one of my favorite experiences since I have been in college and allowed me to find meaning in the work I want to do in the future.  It also gave me great experience (120 hours) that will impress graduate school admissions boards!  You can go deeper into the Faith and Work Initiative and take courses in Work Ethics and obtain more internships (you even get paid in the later ones!)

2. Love for community service: One of the coolest things about Millsaps that brought me to the school and has kept me here since is the student body’s desire to serve the community.  There are SO many organizations dedicated to the service of the local area, state, nation, and even the world.  The Greek system is a great example of this in that every fraternity and sorority sponsors several philanthropy events a semester that is used to raise money for local service organizations as well as world-wide causes.  Just this weekend, we have two huge events: Chi Omega’s Walk for a Wish and Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Chili Bowl. Other organizations include the Campus Ministry Team, 1-Campus-1-Community, and an organization that I helped found, “A Tride Called Millsaps.”

And the long-awaited #1- Faculty: I bet you weren’t expecting that one! But just hear me out.  One of the pride and joys of a liberal arts college and Millsaps specifically is a low student/faculty ratio.  Not only is this true for our college, but the faculty is extremely personable and actually care for the students they are teaching.  No matter what, you can ALWAYS email and/or drop into your professor’s office unannounced to get help with classwork and even non-school-related issues.  One of my favorite examples of this is my Histology professor: Dr. McKeown (Muh-cow-in).  On many occasions, I have been able to go to his office to ask questions about class, details of my degree, and even talk to him about life.  He actually cares.  He even gives us his cell phone number so that we can call him to ask him questions when we are studying at night.  You don’t find that at many places!  We are a blessed college to have a faculty as caring as that. 

So, I hope this has given you a little better idea of what Millsaps is all about.  Of course there are many things that didn’t make the list that I still love about the college, but I guess you’ll just have to come to see more!

These are just a few of my favorite things…

So for you folks that don’t know a lot about the college, I decided I wanted to share a few of my favorite things about my dear home at Millsaps:

8. Friends: Nothing compares to the relationships that I have formed with people; new friends I have made as well as old friendships that have continued throughout college.  Half of them already have plans of getting married!  That’s a scary thought (I’m getting old) but also an exciting one knowing that I get to be a part of their lives. Plus it means I get cake!  (They definitely deserve to be higher on the list, but I didn’t want to be lame) :)

7.  Inclusiveness of the Greek system:  As a person who has spent years both independent and a part of the Greek system, I have never felt excluded due to my being a part of it or not.  For most students at Millsaps, Greek life doesn’t define a person as it might in other colleges.  Instead, it simply gives students another outlet to define themselves.

6.  Reubens: For those of you who only know me as a computer screen and a picture of the top 1/3 of my body, you may not know this, but I’m a big guy: mostly tall with possibly a few extra LBs around the waist as well :)  With that being said, I love to eat some good food, and Reubens has just that.  As an on-campus cafe that serves till the wee hours of the morning, Reubens gives students a chance to take a break from the studies, get a midnight snack (without having to run to Taco Bell), and just hang out with friends.  And with specials most nights of the week and the Free Pancake nights every semester, Reubens has held the key to my heart for the past couple years.

5. Fondren/Belhaven: Millsaps is located in a perfect part of Jackson in a nice little neighborhood just outside the hustle and bustle of downtown and less than a minute away from the Fondren District.  Fondren is a neat little art district with incredible food, including but not limited to: Sal and Mookies, Que Sera Sera, Roosters, and Walker’s Drive-In (which despite the name is VERY swanky!).  It is also home to some great coffee shops which as many of you know can be very handy in college! 

So as not to distract you from your work for too long, you’ll have to tune in next week for the Top 4; I gotta leave you wanting more. :) Have a great week!

Oh and by the way, I received word that I passed my Written Comps that I took a couple of weeks ago…can I get a woot woot?!

“I got a 3-day beard I don’t plan to shave…”

So, it’s been way too long since I lasted posted, and man oh man has my life been hectic.  Last week was the week that I have been dreading the whole semester, and I feel that can be said for every senior.  Millsaps College is one of very few schools that gives what we call Comprehensive Exams, a.k.a. Comps.  They are split up into two portions, a written exam and an oral exam, and they are usually taken during the second semester of a student’s senior year.  They cover all the classes in one’s major and can pull questions pertaining to any information that I could have/should have learned during my time here.  Oh, and did I mention that you have to pass these to graduate?  You can see the reason for my anxiety.  With that being said, I have spent the semester studying for this past Friday in which I took the written portion of my Comps.  Although I won’t know if I passed for another week or so, it is definitely a relief to have them over with and to have a break before Orals.

The completion of comps was the exciting opening to my birthday weekend.  Although I am not a huge person to celebrate my own birthday (I love celebrating others’), I had some amazing friends and family to pick up the slack.  I went on a great hiking trip Saturday, which opened up this week of beautiful weather.  However, that was the last bit of fun for a few days.  Monday, the flu hit me with no mercy and has left me in bed the whole week.   Today, I was finally able to get back to class and start the long haul of makeup work/studying before my next few weeks of tests.  But no matter how stressful it can get, I have learned that I am as blessed as they come to have the opportunities I do; to gain an education from a prestigious college, to have the freedom to live the life I have been given, and most of all, to have the family and friends that support me in all that I do.  It’s a great day to be alive!

P.S.  Unless you are a fan of country music (which I understand most people aren’t), you probably won’t get the title, but I figured somebody is bound to be a Travis Tritt fan!

We’re BALLIN’!

Cameron Varnado slams it home over helpless defender.

Each year, I have a hard time deciding which is my favorite athletic season.  I can’t decide if I like the thrilling overtime victories of college football bowl games as well as the playoffs and Super Bowl of the NFL or if I would rather watch March Madness in college basketball and the NBA finals.   Either way, football is coming to a close this Sunday with Super Bowl XLV as the Packers and the Steelers battle it out in the trenches, and it’s time for basketball to slide into the primetime. 

This weekend marks some “Major” games as the men and women near the end of their basketball seasons.  Both teams meet Trinity on Friday night and Southwestern on Saturday night in the Hangar Dome in some intense conference competitions.   Make sure to show your support!

The 2010-2011 Millsaps Majors men's basketball team

The 2010-2011 Millsaps Majors women's basketball team.

Sophomore Nick Cortese defends the opponent as he brings it up the court.

Sophomore Lovie Love brings the ball up court