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If you didn’t already know, these last three months in Virginia have been cold and snowy (deep snow for VA), a pattern slightly out of the ordinary. Personally I’m used to random snow days as far into the year as June, but I suppose that comes with growing up at a mile high. Here, snow is not something that happens on a regular enough basis to demand that the DOT have snowplows. Anyway: Snow. And snow means a lot of water and runoff that supply the lakes, rivers, and stream. But snow also means very cold run off, which in turn means very cold paddling.

 

This year we didn’t make the spring break trip to North Carolina, but the few that decided to put up with cold water practiced on the James  in canoes, kayaks, and on Smith Mountain Lake on a stand up paddleboard (a new team event at nationals this year.).

 

The drive to Dillsboro was uneventful and the van remarkably quiet. It was rainy on Friday and Saturday, so we raced in the rain. Considering I was the only paddler that had been to nationals before, we did quite well. My partner Ashleigh and I managed to garner 3rd place in the Women’s Tandem Canoe.

3rd Place Women's Tandem Canoe

3rd Place Women’s Tandem Canoe

As a team we finished 3rd in the Relay, bringing us all a medal in the Women’s Division:

3rd Place Women's Relay

3rd Place Women’s Relay

And after a sunny and eventful day on the Standup Paddleboards, we came home with some snazzy hardware: 3rd place Women in the Nation!

3rd Place Women's National Team

3rd Place Women’s National Team

All in all it was a fun weekend and a good way to end Spring Break! Congratulations to all the other teams that competed and the winners!

This may have been the best January term of my life. The trip to St. John was one that I will remember forever and I’m already thinking of ways to return. Much like the connection I developed to a new home during the semester I spent in Paris, I’ve developed a similar connection to VIERS on St. John. For a look at the course blog visit it HERE. By the way,  you’re in for a long one. The trip was 10 days and we did SO MUCH. I won’t be offended if you just scroll through for the pictures.

If you read my previous blog post you’ll know that I was delayed in returning to Roanoke from Wyoming because of the winter storms, those same storms which are still hanging around and making it absolutely frigid everywhere. The flights to Roanoke from DC went something like this that Sunday: Delayed-Further Delayed-Cancelled. That happened three or four times before I found my way to a lovely hotel and slept. Monday, the same Monday I was supposed to be in class, I finally got on a flight around dinner time and made my way back to Hollins around 8pm. I was finally back but felt perpetually behind as I had to do laundry and study, while also catching up on what I missed that day. It was a bit rough.

The rest of that week went well, and we all left for St. John on Thursday the 9th. I abandoned all forms of communication from then until the 20th. It was quite nice. The flights were uneventful and we were incredibly lucky to get out of Charlotte as the winter storm proceeded to close down the airport after we took off. And stepping off the plane into the St. Thomas sunshine and heat was a very welcome change from the below freezing states we just left behind. Half of the adventure of Friday was getting everyone together, loading an open-air taxi with all twenty of us, plus our bags, and making across the entirety of St. Thomas to the 6pm Red Hook ferry to St. John. The drive was peppered with local artworks placed on the retaining walls alongside the road and the ferry ride was punctuated by our first island sunset. Once the drivers had gathered rental cars it was time for our first winding drive along mountain roads in the dark of the night to our new home, VIERS.

Sunset from the ferry  - January 10

Sunset from the ferry – January 10

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

As I sat in Dulles Sunday night waiting for my perpetually delayed flight to Roanoke, I decided it was about time that I wrote a new blog. As it is a new year, it is only appropriate that I have a resolution, but the main one that even pertains to this blog is that I’ve set a goal to post far more regularly. Bi-monthy at least, weekly ideally, but I don’t always have great things to talk about so I suppose that I will do my best to have something interesting to say bi-monthly. I even put it on my schedule for the semester and I already have a few ideas.

You may have wondered where I disappeared to after November began, the simple answer is that I was absorbed by homework, which meant a lot of work over Thanksgiving (I stayed on campus) but also the prioritization of sleep as towards the end of any semester an ever-increasing deficit begins to catch up with me, and then finals. Once finals were over I basically decided to disappear for a while and enjoy the short time I had at home. Finals went well. I had three papers and one actual exam, so that wasn’t so bad, but it was a little overwhelming in the moment. I actually managed to bring up my GPA this semester, which I exciting since it was a pretty full semester for me.

Now we’re on to JTerm. It was great break, though a longer once would have been appreciated. However, I’m terribly excited about my class. I’m lucky enough to be going on the research trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, with Professors Godard and Wilson, two fantastic biology professors. We will be there for 10 days, which will be jam packed and exhausting in the best way possible. I cannot wait to see the sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, and to swim with the marine life there. The other bonus is that everyone on this trip gets to skip over some of the lovely January weather that is pounding the whole country. We will be blogging as a class here:

St. John January Term 2014

Be sure to follow along. I plan on doing a follow up post when we get back, and then starting in with regular blogging again. Hopefully I will have a ton of fun pictures to share with all of you.

If you’re traveling: Safe travels! If you’re not: Stay cozy!

Talk to you all soon!

TINKER DAY!

Tinker Day is a magical day! This year the upper classes were rather confident in the fact that the special day would fall on a Wednesday and it just so happened that we were right. Unfortunately Tuesday was a gorgeous day. Wednesday morning, not so much. It was rainy and cloudy, but luckily it wasn’t cold. Instead of hiking the mountain we had a modified Tinker Day that was in many ways just as good as regular Tinker Day.

We rose early to the banging of pots and pans, and ate our fair share of doughnuts (or is it donuts? Hmm. A long debated question.)

I made my stick horse into a Unicorn:

Calliope the Unicorn

Calliope the Unicorn

We dressed up:

Class of 2015 Cabinet

Class of 2015 Cabinet

We walked:

March on!

March on!

We sang at the rock. We had skits.

Class of 2015 Skit

Class of 2015 Skit

And WE ATE delicious things. Like chicken and potato salad and Tinker Cake.

And as all Tinker Day afternoons tend to go, we all took a much needed afternoon nap.

Also to finish up the month of October there was of course Halloween, which saw the return of the Rough and Tumble. They were here last fall also, but I was abroad and didn’t get to see them live, and everyone raved about them. They were downright fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed their music. You should all check them out!

The Rough and Tumble, picture courtesy of #myhollins

They also kindly remind me that Sunday is the end of Daylight Savings Time. And it’s Fall so that means “Fall Back!” WHICH MEANS AN EXTRA HOUR OF SLEEP. I’m a fan. So don’t forget to set your clocks back before you go to bed on Saturday or you’ll be super early for everything on Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

The Fall Colors

The Fall Colors

So you know while you sleep sometimes you wake up a little and dream that you’re doing all the things that you should be doing, like writing blogs or showered and on time for class, but then end up waking up late for classes in real life or never writing that blog you dreamt you wrote? Or sometimes you do that while you’re awake too? I do it when I read a text and then have to do something, but in my head I totally and completely though through my reply, but it never actually gets sent. Yeah, that happens to me more often than I realize sometimes.  So while in my mind I had every recollection of writing a blog post this month, obviously I haven’t. My apologies to you! So if you’re still with me and you’re in it for the long haul, get something cuddly and a snack and I’ll fill you in on October, which was very busy.

I started off the month by having a lot of meetings, but I was very lucky in that I got to volunteer for CityWorks (X)po, which is an incredible three-day conference here in Roanoke. (X)po is focused on “Big Ideas for Small Cities” and it’s kind of like a mini TEDx conference with a multitude of speakers focused on ideas that can be used to improve and grow Roanoke. It’s a great conference to be a part of and I met some really cool people.

The following week C3 happened here on campus. Having been abroad last year during C3 I hadn’t yet experienced the new idea that was C3 and was excited at the prospects. Classes were put on the condensed schedule to allow all the students to attend, and I’m slightly glad it wasn’t an all day conference because there was so much to take in that even just half a day was exhausting. I went to presentations on building resumes and interviewing, and had the chance to meet some very successful alums. That is one thing about Hollins, we have a large alumnae network that is still involved with Hollins and willing to help us as students and future professionals.

As a side note I turned 21! Happy Birthday to me! I was lucky in the fact that though I had been so busy and my birthday was on a Monday and it was the start of mid-terms, fall break was the end of the week of my birthday. So it may have been full stream ahead even on my birthday (I had a presentation on my birthday. How’d it go? It went quite well, thanks for asking!), my parents came out and we drove down to Asheville, NC so they could show me around one of their favorite cities. It was a great trip and I really like Asheville! The fall color was great too, and a nice treat for my parents since it’s been snowing at home for weeks.

My sister sent me an Edible Arrangement!

My sister sent me an Edible Arrangement!

Post fall break mid-terms kept happening and events kept coming. It was also really cold for ages. But this week has been much better. I’ve really just been doing a lot of studying and homework, which I have been. And I take naps when I can. Perhaps October is the hardest month for school? I don’t know, but I survived as I knew I would.

Last night I went to a very thought- provoking talk on cultural appropriation and the difference between that and cultural appreciation since Halloween is fast approaching and costumes are not always kind. It really made me think of the various costumes worn on Halloween, and the various clothing we wear everyday.
If you’re interested in learning more about cultural appropriation, what is means, what it is, and how not to do it, feel free to watch this video and Google cultural appropriation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN2WaZAUY2U

I’ll be posting again soon! And then it’s November. What!?

THE BEST IS YET TO COME: TINKER DAY!!!

I feel as though I talk about how fast time flies quite a lot lately. But the fact that it is seriously the last day of September is a little sad. I’ve finally noticed how early it is beginning to get dark, and my brain keeps thinking it’s about two hours later than it actually is at the time. Perhaps I’m reluctant to let go of long summer days. I don’t mind the chill in the air though since it keeps my room nice and cool.

All of September has gone by in a  blur. Making the daily swim through the giant vat of homework, balancing that with fun, friends, campus events, and other responsibilities is a challenge but it is always worth it. I’m liking all of my classes quite a lot, and they are all challenging in their different ways. The best part is when concepts in all of my classes begin to intertwine, and projects become very interesting because the links between my majors of Environmental and International Studies become quite clear. I’m not sure that I told you all what I am taking this semester: Intro to International Studies, Ecology, Environmental Politics and Policy, and Marxist Theory. I like them all and Marxist Theory is most definitely the hardest of them all, but I think it will be very useful next year when I write my thesis (which is both a terrifying and entertaining thought).

In Ecology we went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway and watched migratory Raptors as they flew down the Appalachian Mountains on their way to Central and South America for the winter. It was a record day for Harvey’s Knob as they saw well over 8000 birds, and seeing as many as we saw was absolutely incredible with the majority being Broad Wing Hawks. I love birds, and the fact that Hollins lies so close to a migratory path gives us an opportunity to learn about birds in the field instead of simply from a book.

Overall, September has been great. But I think October holds many great things, including my birthday which is obviously the highlight of the entire month.  I’ll be writing about HOP in my next post, so check back in a week or so!

What A Week It Has Bin

Pun intended by the way. You’ll understand as we go on.

It’s almost strange to think that we’re a week into school. So many things have happened and the calendar has been jam packed with meetings, homework, and a fair amount of fun.

Last Tuesday was First Step. Last Saturday was Fall Party. But the day that was the pinnacle of the week was probably Friday, the 9th Annual Battle of the Bins. If you don’t know Hollins, Battle of the Bins is a relatively new tradition that occurs at the beginning of each year organized by the Environmental Advisory Board, Student Recycling Coordinators, and members of the science department. Students gather together as groups, teams, clubs, or individuals and come up with creative ways to decorate the numerous recycling bins on campus. Every year there are dozens and dozens of fantastically painted bins showing off the creativity and imagination of the campus.

Along with a few members of HOP Hall, the Down River Racing Team, and Wilderness Adventure Club, we grabbed a bin to paint and emblazoned it with the recognizable skull and cross paddles, the outdoors, and the idea to Leave No Trace.

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I’d say the bin was quite successful as we ended up Third in the Best Message Category, which we was quite a pleasant surprise since the majority of us would never claim to be an artist. Though I was pretty proud of my trees. Bob Ross would have been content with the happy little trees.

I hope you all have a great rest of the week!

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