Celebrating Graduation Weekend

In the next two days, more than 1300 people will go from being Georgia College students to being Georgia College Alumni. To celebrate the occasion, I put together a collage of graduations from my past.

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Top Left:

Receiving my Associate of Science in General Studies from Georgia Military College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Faculty Dr. John Anderson in 2006.

Top Right:

With Ms. Claire Nichols (now Sanders), Instructor of Political Science, following my Undergraduate Commencement for Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2008.

Bottom Left:

Being hooded as part of the Graduate Commencement where I received my Master of Public Administration in 2010.

Middle Right:

With other members of my graduate cohort, Mike Taylor, Justin Mays, and Haly Hicks.

Bottom Right:

My first graduation as faculty (and only one I’ve participated in as faculty). With my good friend Joshua Rogers, who received Outstanding Graduate from Georgia Military College in 2011.

Being Prepared without being a Prepper

I do not know what it is, but prepper culture is huge right now. I don’t know if it is the success of television shows like The Walking Dead, or fact that we now have a culture who has lived through Y2K, 9/11, the end of the Mayan Calendar, and as of last Saturday, the end of the Viking Calendar. Since I have been accused of being a prepper several times in the last few weeks, I wanted to give this some discussion.

There is a HUGE difference in being prepared for natural and man-made disasters, and stockpiling everything, getting ready to live off the grid for years at a time, and looking forward, some with eager anticipation, to “the end of the world as we know it.” One is being prudent, one is being a fear monger.

In the last few weeks we have had two ice storms, a tornado, and an earthquake in and near Milledgeville. Going back further, we can add a bomb threat leading to a campus evacuation and automobile accidents leading to power outages to the list. While these are not events that would lead to the end of the world, they are events that could make a big difference is your life, at least for the short term.

Everyone is different, and so being prepared means something different to each person. We have a lot of storms in our area, but not many earthquakes. So, it is more important to be ready for a storm. Ice storms, while they have happened twice in the past month, are generally a every 2-3 year occurrence.

So, what should you have to be prepared, without going to the level of being a prepper? Here are some of my thoughts. There are two things you need to think about. What do you need, and where do you need it. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs comes into play here. While self-actualization is good, it is not what you’re going to be thinking about when you do not have food and shelter.

As for where, think about where you spend most of your time and what would happen while you were there. Most of us are normally either at home, at work/school, or in our car. If you get iced in at your home and the lights and water go out, what would you do? What about at work? What about in your car? It does you no good to prepared at one place, but have nothing at the others. What you need at each location varies. Your goal for each location would also vary. For example, if you were at work or in your car, your goal would most likely to be to get home. Where, if you were at home, you’d want to be able to hunker down and make it through whatever the problem was.

Every individual’s level of preparation is going to be different. It could be as simple as having a blanket and flashlight in your car, although I strongly encourage you to at least add jumper cables, walking shoes, some snacks, and bottled water to that list. Keep some peanut butter, crackers, and water in your dorm room or office in case there’s an extended lockdown. Flashlights would also come in handy there. Think through how you would contact your family if the telephone and cell phone networks are down or overloaded (Hint: getting a text message out is easier than a voice call).

Both the federal government and the State of Georgia have extensive resources and lists of things to think about. Or, you can even go on some prepper sites. Just keep in mind that you are more likely to need the kit for 72-96 hours due to a storm than for the end of the world as we know it.

What to do in Milledgeville – Results

A couple of months ago, I did a post inviting others to contribute ideas of things for the Class of 2017 to during their time in Milledgeville. Today, their  time in Milledgeville begins. They have spent this rainy morning moving into the residence halls of Georgia College.

So, from the locals, staff, faculty, and alumni (and sometimes a mixture of all the above), here is a list of the suggestions as well as messages from some of the participants.

Academic

  • Go to your professor’s office hours
  • Build a relationship with your academic advisor
  • Use the Learning Center and supplemental instructors
  • Visit the Old Governor’s Mansion*
  • Visit the Old Capital Museum at GMC
  • Go on a Study Abroad!

Community

  • Enjoy the outdoors at the Oconee River Greenway*
  • Meet and form a relationship with a Milledgeville family.
  • Visit Lockerly Arboretum
  • Walk around Memory Hill Cemetery
  • Go on the Haunted Trolley Tour

Cultural

  • Go see the Rocky Horror Picture Show on campus
  • Go see a Jazz Band Performance
  • Tour Andalusia
  • Attend as many Musical concerts, theatre performances, dance performances, and literary readings as you can.

Dining

  • Eat a Smiley Face cookie from Ryals’ Bakery*
  • Attempt the XXX Hot Wings Challenge at The Brick
  • Get a Spicy Chicken Biscuit from Golden Pantry*
  • Try the Chicken Salad from Goodie Gallery
  • Eat Stuffed Sticks and Hefty Nachos from The Brick
  • Get a “Meat and three” meal from Country Buffet. “If you miss home, go here for comfort food.”
  • Get some Sweet and Sour Chicken from Lieu’s Peking
  • Velvet Elvis has great lunch specials
  • Get some frozen yogurt at Yumo Yogo
  • Try every restaurant downtown

Social

  • Play trivia at Buffington’s, Pickle Barrel, and Mellow Mushroom.
  • Get involved on campus (SGA, Judicial Board, political and academic organizations)
  • Cheer on the Georgia College athletic teams
  • Make use of the Wellness Center

* Multiple individuals suggested this activity

Messages

Enjoy your time as a GCSU student to the fullest! It’ll fly by and you’ll have a great education and some wonderful memories and friends (maybe even a spouse!) to take with you into the real world after you graduate!
~ Beth H., Class of 2010 and 2011

GET INVOLVED with your Student Government Association!!! Run for office, make new friends, and apply for the Student Judicial Board. There is no quicker or better way to have a say in the day to day issues that relate to all facets of GC life!
~ Justin T. Reeves, Former Attorney General, Class of 2010 (BA History) and 2012 (MPA)

Dear Class of 2017,

You are about to enter the best times of your life. From here on out, the choices you make today will indeed affect your tomorrow. College is the time people refer back to- the time they long for after the get into the “real world” and the place that will always hold a special place in your heart. Study Abroad at least 1 time- get involved in at least 1 campus RSO- and remember now is the time you get to completely reinvent yourself. You have the decision to choose to be something great- or spend your college time saying “man last night was so awesome- I don’t remember any of it”. Choose to make memories- not regrets. College is an opportunity to grow and change- but it will only happen if you let it. Never let someone else make decisions for you- about anything. This is your time to stand out- take it. If you ever find yourself in need of help- do the wise thing and simply ask someone. The only stupid questions are the ones you think about- but never ask. Learn from others mistakes and welcome to Georgia College!
~ Rachel Sullivan Pope, Class of 2006 and 2009

Welcome to Georgia College
~ Member of the Class of 2013

And with that, I will add my welcome. I look forward to working with you over the course of the upcoming semester as well as the next four years. If there is any I can do for you, please let me know. Welcome to the Bobcat Nation.
~ Daniel R. Simpson, Class of 2008 and 2010

Farewell to Another Mentor

In September of 2004, I walked into a classroom of a man who quite frankly scared me to death. I hated math, but was still faced with a college algebra course my first term in college. To say I was terrified does not begin to describe my emotion. I would like to say that Dr. John S. Robertson was quick to alleviate my fears, but this is not the case. The more he lectured, the more terrified I became. This was a man whose brilliance was as intimidating as his bold red suspenders were distracting.

I still hate math. But, over the course of the next two years, and with the benefit of retrospect, I learned so much more from him than I ever imagined. He demonstrated to me how to manage a classroom. He showed me how to reward students who make an effort. He strove to reassure me that it was possible to be both a man of science and logic while being a man of faith. He introduced me to the world of Biblical apologetics. While we did not share the same denomination, we did share the same faith and he taught me the importance of being able to defend and describe what I believe.

He was also the faculty advisor for the GMC Amateur Radio Club, of which I was the only member. On the occasions where we would have meetings, we would sit together long after formal adjournment and discuss things related to radio, to science, to faith, and to life. Without realizing it was happening, I was being given a model of the liberal arts experience.

Dr. Robertson and I fell out of touch after his retirement, which is something I hate. But, I can still see his influences each time I stand before a classroom, each time I engage in a theological discussion, and each time I am trying to make sense of a math problem. He had a tremendous impact on my life, as I am sure he has on countless others during his years of teaching at the United States Military Academy, Georgia College, and Georgia Military College. He passed away last week; I didn’t find out until the funeral was in progress. Since I was not able to pay my respects in person, on behalf of all of his former students, I say thank you. You will be missed.

Obituary

I don’t have a picture of us together, but this is pretty close. If I remember correctly, he took this picture while we were operating a Special Event Station at the GMC Business Office.