That’s All, Folks

Well…this will probably be my last blog for NACC. I have two finals Thursday morning and then graduation Tuesday night. I can’t believe my time here is up. It really seems like just yesterday I graduated high school and started as a Freshman and Presidential Host at Northeast. I was so anxious and confused those first few days! I never imagined that I could come to love a school as much as I have this one. The students, the teachers, and the faculty have all been so warm and open and committed to success. I feel honored to have been a part of this experience and I hope I’ve contributed some good to this school. If you’re a high school student deciding on schools or an adult looking for a change of career, I can’t tell you how much Northeast Alabama has to offer to you. You won’t be just a number or a face in a classroom here, you’ll be an important part of the school and your individual needs will always be addressed. Seriously, come check out our campus and the programs we have to offer and tell me if you don’t fall in love (tuition here can’t be beat, either!).

If this is my last post, which I assume it will be, I’d like to take the time to talk about some things I’ve learned from NACC and from being a college student in general, and also personally thank some of the incredible staff at this school.

Don’t stress about your major. This is a point I could go on for days and days about, but I’ll try to keep it short. Deciding on a major is important, but you don’t have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life out of high school! Be willing to take some broad classes and try to find some areas you’re strong in and passionate about. That’s the number one goal of school.

Don’t let outside factors decide your major for you. Picking a major is tough enough, but I promise you, listening to other people’s opinions about a certain job field or reading those ridiculous articles about the 20 best and worst college majors will only make the process harder. I’ve definitely learned this the hard way. Money and job security are so important in this economy, but all the money and benefits and paid vacations in the world won’t matter if you aren’t doing something you care about. Recently, I decided to leave Speech Pathology and return more towards what I started with, Public Relations and Spanish. It was a big decision and one I really though about, but in the end I knew I wasn’t doing Speech Pathology for the right reasons and I wouldn’t be studying what I cared about. Is the job market and projected salaries as good for things like PR and Foreign Languages as it is for Speech Pathology? No. But I’m doing what I’m interested in doing and I know if I continue to push myself and work hard I won’t have any trouble once I get out of school. Speech Pathology is a great field to go into, and if you are interested in it, go for it! But I’ve been spending a whole lot of time stressing and trying to convince myself I was in the right major instead of just enjoying my classes. That’s what’s really important. 

Don’t be afraid to talk to new people! This is such a huge one. High school is over and cliques and groups really don’t exist anymore, so don’t be shy about talking to people. I can’t tell you how many interesting people I’ve come to know just by deciding to say hey to someone in a crowded classroom. At the very least, you might find a study partner for the semester.

Get involved. Adjusting to college can be a difficult process anyway, but it’ll be 10 times worse if all you do is go to class and then back home or to your dorm. Find a club or group your interested in and start attending some meetings. You’ll be surprised at how many people are in the same situation as you, and you can make some really great friends and contacts by being involved with people that share a common interest as you. Presidential Host has really been my favorite thing about college so far. Not only have I gotten my first two years of school paid for and about to enter my third year of college with no debt, but I’ve gotten to meet and connect with people, and some of my closest friends now are Presidential Hosts, and even though many of us are going in different directions in the Fall, I know I’ll always have family at NACC. In high school, I could have never imagined that I’d be serving as President of a college’s ambassador group, but that’s exactly what I’ve done and I’ve loved every minute of it.

Learn to change. Changing and growing up and finding out the type of people we want to be is the biggest journey we’ll ever take, and college is the perfect time to do that. What ever you were or weren’t in high school is over and you have to make a place for yourself in the real world. I started college as a nervous 18 year old kid with lots of ideas but no idea how to express them. Through having to juggle classes, work, and Presidential Host, I feel like I’ve grown into a young man who knows how to handle himself academically, socially, and professionally, from time management to keeping notes and studying regularly to greeting guest to setting tables, I’ve gotten an education that far exceeds the classroom. I have Northeast to thank for that. 

Don’t take anything for granted. Such an important lesson. Some things that I hated most and dreaded doing are some of the things I miss most now. As I was writing this post, I stepped outside as the sun was coming up and I realized that I would never have another early, rushed morning of trying to get to class on time at NACC. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more of these mornings to come once I transfer this Fall, but I’ll never get to throw on some clothes, grab a cup of coffee, and run into a lecture at Northeast again and this is definitely bittersweet for me. Also, a lot of the people that I’ve been so close to the last two years are transferring on to different universities in the Fall, and people that have been a daily norm for me will start to become scattered as we take different directions in our lives. This is something that has really sinking in for me, so I encourage you to enjoy whatever situation it is that you’re in right now. It may seem like it’ll last forever, but I promise it won’t.

Everyone hates finals, but don’t let them get the best of you. I’d do good to take my own advice here. Finals are a necessary evil that leave everyone, students and teachers alike, feeling drained, sleep deprived, and over-caffeinated, but just remember you’ve taken tests all year and you’ve done fine. About a week or two before finals start, sit down and make out a schedule of what day and time your finals will be and make a study plan accordingly. Space out your study sessions so you’re not pulling all-nighters the night before a big exam and just keep calm and try not to consume too much Red Bull.

There are so many other things I’ve learned in my first two years of college at NACC, but these are some huge ones that I hope can benefit some incoming freshman. With all of that being said, I want to take some time now to thank and acknowledge some specific staff members and teachers at Northeast.

Mrs. Andrea Okwu: Assistant to the President, High School Recruiter and Presidential Host Sponsor. Mrs. Okwu, there will never be enough thank you’s the Presidential Hosts can give you for all of the time and effort you put out for us. You really are the backbone of what we do, and without you I would have never gotten the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for my school. You are so dedicated to the school and such a hard worker; I know I speak for all of the Presidential Hosts when I say that you push us to work harder than we normally would. Presidential Hosts really takes kids and turns them into young adults, and not only are you providing students with a way to be involved, but you’re helping them get their college paid for. Thank you so much Mrs. Okwu!

Mrs. Susan Barron: Director of High School Relations and Event Planning and Presidential Host Sponsor. Mrs. Barron, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without a smile on your face. You are an expert at taking kids with no knowledge of formal social setting etiquette and turning them into professional, independent young people! I have learned so much from you about how to conduct meetings, dinners, events, and even how to conduct myself in different situations. Whenever I set a table, tie a tie, or measure my sleeves, you can be certain I’ll be thinking about you! You contribute so much to the school and to the Presidential Host program and we are all so thankful for what you do. You are behind the scenes, organizing and working tirelessly at so many huge campus events. We will never be able to give you all the credit you deserve.

Dr. David Campbell: President. Dr, Campbell, you are such a huge advocate for the Presidential Hosts team and are always so quick and willing to help us out whenever we need it. You serve the school so well as President and I am so proud to have attended Northeast during your time as President. I know from what I have seen the past two years that this will go down as a time of huge growth, expansion, and publicity for Northeast Alabama Community College and we will have you to thank for it.

Mrs. Heather Rice: Director of Development. Mrs. Rice, You always offer so much time and help to the Presidential Hosts. You have so much personality and add so much to the ambassadors and to the school. I can’t tell you how much I will miss Friday mornings in your office, chatting about all the going-ons. The Presidential Hosts always look forward to working your events because we know they’ll never be boring! You’re so full of life and excitement and it is contagious whenever we work with you.

Mrs. Sherry Whitten and Mrs. Jessica Blalock. You two ladies have an excellent College and Career Department. You will never know how grateful I am that you always have so much helpful information for me. I am always impressed with how much knowledge you both have about different majors, careers, and schools. I know you both have definitely steered me in the right career direction and I am so appreciative. I know you are like this with all students, because I constantly hear how informative and helpful you are whenever students come to visit. Thank you both for your service to the school and students!

Señora Tresha McClain: Instructor of Spanish. Sra. McClain, Before I started college, I had a passion for culture but you gave me a knowledge of it.  I see the excitement you have for Spanish and that makes me excited about it. I think a great teacher loves her subject and loves her students, and it’s obvious that you love both! Thank you so much for not only allowing me to be a student, but also a student worker for you. I have truly enjoyed getting to work for you and I will never forget all of your exciting stories! Gracias por todo. 

These past two years at NACC have been so memorable, and even though I feel sad about leaving this school, I know it’s prepared me well for the next step. Thank you to everyone who is a part of the NACC team, it’s been a great ride. 

Welcoming Our New Presidential Hosts

Hola a todo! How’s everyone’s semester going? Hopefully your’s is going as well as mine is. Classes are tough this semester, but I’ve got some really great instructors to help me out.

Presidential Hosts have been really busy this semester. We’ve had some great events to work, and last week a new batch of Presidential Hosts were awarded the scholarship. These high school seniors should be extremely proud of themselves; they must have had great grades and a really well-written essay to get an interview for the P-Host scholarship. I worked one day at the interviews, and I have to say I was so impressed with how professional and mannerly these high school seniors were and I can honestly say there wasn’t one I met that didn’t deserve the scholarship! NACC should be proud and excited for the new group of ambassadors coming up!

On a personal note, I’m very excited to announce that a few weeks ago I found out I was accepted into Auburn University’s undergraduate communication disorders program, which leads to the graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology. I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to find out if I was in or not, since they only accept 25-30 students each round. I attended my orientation last Friday and got to make my schedule, tour the campus, and meet some new people. I’ll start my classes at AU this May, and I’m very nervous but also very excited to start this new adventure. 

With just a few weeks left at NACC, I have to say I’ll be sad to leave. It’s been a great ride and I’ve loved the people I’ve met, the classes I’ve had, and being able to serve my school as a Presidential Host. High school seniors, if you’re still undecided about where you want to start your college career, I strongly recommend checking out NACC! The school really has so much to offer at such an affordable price. Also, if you’re an adult looking for a career change, we’ve got plenty for you, too! Our campus offers GED’s and tons of certificates, technical programs and Applied Science degrees. 

Thanks for keeping up with me this long, I’m sure there’ll be much more to come in my final weeks at NACC!

2014 Here We Go.

Well, 2014 is here and school starts back in a couple of days. I’m actually really excited for this semester and the classes I’m taking. I’m almost finished with my basic courses and I’m moving on to some degree-specific classes and I’m anxious to really start studying my chosen career.

This semester I’ll be taking inorganic chemistry, statistics, human growth and development, ethics and society, sociology, and the final Spanish course offered at my current college. This is also my final semester at NACC and as a student ambassador. It’s been a great experience and even though I’m excited for the next big move in my life, I’m also a little sad about leaving NACC behind. If you’re a senior in high school and still searching for the perfect two year school for you, I strongly recommend you come check out our campus. You can even request a Presidential Host to give you a tour (that’s our job, after all!). You might even consider applying for our Presidential Host scholarship. I can honestly say it has been one of the greatest opportunities of my life getting to serve as an ambassador for my school, and it doesn’t hurt I got my first two years of school payed for. I can promise you that you’ll make some great friends and make a lot of resume boosters and references for the future. Before it’s over, the Presidential Hosts will become your family at NACC if you’re lucky enough to get involved with our organization.

Since it’s my last semester here, and it’s also the beginning of the new year, there are a few things I’d like to try and accomplish. I hate New Year’s resolutions because I never keep them and I don’t think there are many others that manage to, but I’d like to try to push myself to keep some good habits. First, I want to try and jog or hike everyday. It’s something that I love to do and I’ve gotten in a really good habit of doing it and I don’t want to get so caught up in school that I can’t at least take an hour a day to be outside. Next, I don’t want to let myself get extremely behind in my classes or let myself get stressed out. I’ve gotten better about this every semester since starting college, but I’m still bad to procrastinate at times and let all of my work pile up at once, so this semester I’m going to make a point to stay ahead in my classes. Also, I want to really make sure I take something away from all of my classes this semester. Last semester, I had a biology class that I was pretty indifferent about before starting, but before the end of the semester it was really my favorite class and I looked forward to every lesson and after that class I can honestly say I am more educated about biology than before I started. I’d like to walk away from all of my class this semester feeling like I really understand something from the courses, not just like I’m working towards a grade. 

Thanks for keeping up with me this long. I’ll try and keep you updated on NACC and the Presidential Hosts this Spring. Good luck if you’re going back to school in a few days as well, and let’s hope 2014 is as good as 2013 was!

Our Last Event of the Semester

Tonight was definitely a bittersweet night, to say the least.

Tonight was the last Presidential Host event of the fall semester, and it was also our biggest event of the year; the Holiday Gala. The Holiday Gala is an annual Christmas party/dinner we host for the wonderful people that donate to NACC. It was a big, long, and at times hectic event, but it was a fun one and I’m sure everyone had a great time. 

At the end, we had to say goodbye to several of our student ambassadors who are transferring to universities in January. It has been an incredible experience getting to work with every single one of these people and I know they will be missed by all of the remaining Presidential Hosts. Many of us second year ambassadors have only the spring semester left and we’ll be transferring on as well. I am so excited for this new opportunity but I’m also very sad about having to leave NACC and the Presidential Hosts. Nearly two years ago, when I started at this college, I could have never imagined how great of an experience it would be. Even though I wasn’t sure how I would like a small school in the beginning, I know now that I made the right choice and NACC was exactly where I was supposed to end up. There have been some great people and memories along the way and I look forward to the spring to see what else this school has in store for me. 

Good luck to all of our transferring Hosts, and good luck to the rest of us finishing finals! Have a good Christmas and I’ll see you all next semester!

We’ve Survived Another Semester…Almost!

I’m still alive everyone! Barely, but I’m here.

I haven’t blogged in a while now partly because I worked all of my required hours for my scholarship and partly because I just didn’t have time, but with finals coming up I thought I’d catch everyone up on what’s been going on.

Where to start?

Well, I’ve had a lot of great accomplishments this semester. First, I’d like to give a big WAR EAGLE and let everyone know I’ve been accepted into Auburn University for 2014! I’m really excited for this new adventure in my life.

I’ve been elected President of the Presidential Hosts Organization, and I can’t even begin to describe what an honor this is for me. The Presidential Hosts group has been my greatest college experience so far, I’ve made so many memories and friendships through this group, and for the group to elect me President is really humbling. I love all of these guys, and I’m loving getting to represent the group my final year at NACC.

As I mentioned before starting this semester, I’ve changed my major to Speech-Language Pathology and I could not be happier with the decision. Over this semester, I have been able to do in-depth research about the field, speak with my advisor (a certified SLP), and even had the chance to shadow a practicing SLP and I really feel like this is a great career path for me. At the end of this semester I’ll be applying to Auburn’s Communication Disorders School and I ask that you all keep me in your prayers as I take this big step! 

And on a final (more dreary) note, we have finals coming up at NACC. Even though I’m ready for the tests to be over, I have to admit I’ll be sad to see this semester go. Not only have I really enjoyed all of my extra-curricular activities this semester, but my classes have been good as well. I have to take a moment to talk about the great experience I’ve had with the biology class I took this semester. I like science, but it’s never been the class I looked forward to the most; however, this class has really changed my opinion. My instructor was Dr. Miller, and he is an incredible teacher and very knowledgeable about the subject, and seeing a teacher care so much about a subject and care so much about the success of his students has really inspired me to be a better science student. So, thank you, Dr. Miller! Your class will be missed. 

As we get ready to take our finals here at school, I ask that you all remember us and ALL college students, we’ll definitely be needing your good thoughts and prayers. I’d love to get all A’s again, but I really could use an A in my bio and history classes for my Communication Disorders application. 

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Northeast Alabama for another great semester! I’m already sad about starting my last semester here in the spring. And to the Presidential Hosts leaving us at Christmas, good luck with all of your future plans and it’s been a pleasure working with you. Merry Christmas, guys, and good luck with finals!!

¿Enseñadora?

Recently, I was speaking with a friend of mine who is learning Spanish. He’s catching on pretty quickly and we try and speak as much Spanish as possible together and I think it has been a lot of good practice for me having to review the “basics” that you tend to forget after you move into more advanced levels of speaking.

Anyways, we were having a conversation in Spanish and he was trying to say the word “teacher”. He thought for a minute, and finally settled on “la enseña”. This isn’t correct but I understood the point fine, the verb for “to teach” is “enseñar” and he was trying to make a noun out of it. I provided some words for teacher, “maestra”, “profesora”, “instructora”, but then I started thinking,

“Why can’t I say enseñadora?”

See, with many action verbs in Spanish, you can drop the infinitive verb ending, “-ar”, “-er”, or “-ir”, and add “-ador” (-adora if it’s feminine) to make it a noun. It’s basically like saying “this is the do-er of the verb”. The thing is, I have never heard enseñador(a) used as teacher before, but to me it makes perfect sense. When I got home I looked it up in my Spanish/English dictionary, and I couldn’t find the word. It still didn’t phase me because I still felt like the word made sense. I decided to try Google Translate (I know, I know, it’s not the greatest language tool to use, but it’s quick and it’s handy). I typed in the word and translated it into English and the English translation was “teacheth”. Okay. Teacheth. There you go.

I’m sure that’s not what it means, but I still feel like it could be a perfectly acceptable word to use. For some reason though, I feel like this word would be used more (if it’s used at all) to describe someone who is teaching something to someone, but whose profession isn’t teaching…if that makes any sense at all? I’ll have to make sure to slip this word in the next time I’m speaking to a native and see the reaction I get.

So my point in all of this? JUST SAY MAESTRA

(Not really, I’d be in a mess if I was expected to use standard Spanish [or English for that matter] all of the time.)

All of this got me thinking about the oddity of language and how we can pretty much do anything we want to with it. There are rules and guidelines that you have to follow, but you can pretty much create any idea you want by combining words, and there is really no one to say that those words are correct or incorrect…they’re just words.

On that same note, it is always interesting to me how there are words and concepts that ONLY exist in one language, or single words that describe something it takes another language a whole sentence to describe.

In French, there’s a saying l’esprit de l’escalier, which describes the feeling of thinking of a good comeback to someone after the argument is already over.

In Mexico, pena ajena is the feeling of being embarrassed by someone else’s embarrassing actions.

Ever looked at someone and thought, “that person’s face really needs punching,”? Well, German has a word for it. Backpfeifengesicht

Language is weird. It is different for every single person and it can never mean the same thing for two different people. One thing to us can be something totally different to another group of people. In German, the word for the country Iceland is “Island” but the word for island is “Insel”. In Spanish, the word for ice is “hielo” (pronounced incredibly similar to yellow) and the word for yellow is “amarillo”. Words are always changing, so maybe “enseñadora” is completely acceptable, or maybe it’s not but it is understood? Who knows?

Just my random thought for the day! Have a great week, guys! Keep your ears open and maybe you’ll hear some news words yourself!

Take A Little Time

How has everyone been doing lately at the beautiful NACC?

Things have been great for me lately. I feel like I’ve started out on a great foot this semester with my grades and I’m really pleased with that. Also, I’m really enjoying the weather we’ve been having lately. I’ll definitely be working up a hiking trip soon!

I’m really enjoying our new Presidential Hosts this year and I’m also really enjoying my new job getting to work with the wonderful Señora McClain. Tonight, I worked a Phost event at the local fair. NACC had a booth set up and I spent the night recruiting and educating people about my school. I also got to use quite a bit of Spanish! I talked to a lot of Latinos about some of the English classes we offer in the area. I also talked to many high school-ers considering NACC as a college option.

You know, it’s funny, if you had told me my senior year that two years from now I’d be getting to work for such an incredible school, recruiting new students, and speaking Spanish with native-speakers, I would have laughed in your face. I think too often we don’t stop and look around and see how blessed we are. My senior year I felt so unsure of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, and here I am now helping other people who are in the same situation I was.

So, as we go into the new week, I hope you doing something that reminds you why you do what you do. I know sometimes our plans don’t work out how we expect them to, but I think they work out exactly how they’re supposed to. Have a great week at school or work or whatever you do, help someone out, and count your blessings…often there are many we don’t take the time to see!