The Real World

Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2014 by dysherro under Students, Uncategorized. Tags: ,

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

Between now and the end of the school year, there are a few blogs I’d like to write. For instance, next week I will post about a student who has won a major award, and then I’ll wrap up the semester with some musings about the year, followed by my thoughts on the upcoming summer. But right now, I’m in a strange in-between period. It’s too early to write about the summer or finals, and I’ve already written a blog about coping with end-of-the-semester stress (which I’ve recently re-read in order to deal with my current end-of-the-semester stress). So as I found myself getting lost in the pages of Mrs. Dalloway, I wondered: what do graduate students care about? For those who don’t know, Mrs. Dalloway, is a stream-of-consciousness novel that reveals the thought-processes of roughly twenty characters over the course of a single day. And in a way, I think it changed my life. Ever since I read it (which was just a week ago), I haven’t been able to look at people without wondering what goes on in their minds. So to make a long story short, I’ve been thinking about what makes everyone at UNCG so different—and yet, at the same time, how we’ve all been brought together by the pursuit of graduate school. Therefore, I’ve been considering a question that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully answer: what defines a grad student?

Last week I interviewed a grad student for the upcoming edition of Horizons, and she told me something along the lines of: “I wish I had appreciated my time in undergrad more, because I hardly ever faced any real world challenges.” This particular student is in the process of starting a family and will also be moving to Chapel Hill in the fall. Once she told me this, I understood her dilemma. Even with all of the work we have, there’s a lot more to do than just school. I’ve often thought how nice it would be to always avoid the real world—and at times I’ve even told my colleagues, “At least we don’t have a 9 to 5.”

Real World Comic

But does that mean we’re not in the real world? At first I thought it did. Then I put a list together.

The list contained things that I didn’t have to do in undergrad but I do now. Here are some of the things I wrote: buy groceries, cook dinners, pay rent, commute, wash dishes, and take out the trash. In college, all I had to do was walk half a block up the street and my meals were waiting for me. But the list went on. For instance, I can no longer save a pile of dirty clothes for my trips back home. And I’m responsible for student fees. And today I even had to call a mechanic to arrange an oil change. To me, this sounds like the real world.

I think that’s one of the great things about grad school. I’ve written a lot about how much I enjoy being a student again, but I don’t think I’ve ever touched on this. When I first went to college, my parents told me that I’ll probably learn just as much from living on my own as I do from my actual schoolwork. I think the same can be said about grad school. Earlier this week, I noticed that my refrigerator was empty—and then I remembered that there’s no dining hall up the street. I feel like this is a pretty insightful realization. All this time I’ve been living in the real world and I didn’t even know it.

It’s easy to forget, I think, because we’re attending classes on a university campus. Or at least it’s easy for me to forget. But if I look around, half of my colleagues are married and even a few of them have children. All of us live on our own and some still have their taxes to do. So it’s not just grad school that I enjoy but this whole being a “real person” thing. I’m not sure if everyone reading this will be able to connect to this idea as much as I have. It sounds like a pretty simple thing, to have to take out the trash and do laundry now and then. And maybe it’s because I’ve been reading too many books that analyze every little detail—but to me, this is a fairly big epiphany. Even now, as I look at my sink, I notice that all of my dishes are dirty. So if I’m ever going to live up to this self-proclaimed “real world” status, I guess I should clean them now.


An Environmentally-Conscious and Spring-like Blog

Posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 by dysherro under Awards and Honors, Community Engagement, Events. Tags: , ,

Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

Foust Spring

Bicycles in the Spring abound at UNCG

I’ve noticed a trend in my writing.  As a fiction candidate, my stories often include characters with dark interior lives, and there’s always a bad twist that happens along the way.  Plus, I’ve written a few blogs about the snow and ice and freezing rain, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how it’s still cold this week—but as of this very sentence, I’ve decided to put an end to this trend and write solely about the excitement of spring on a college campus.  And there were plenty of dark things I could have written about: for instance, the fact that I posted a blog about March Madness, and then proceeded to come in 21st place in a pool that involved 24 people, after the first two rounds.  But no, I will not dwell on that because it’s officially spring…and what better time could there possibly be? (Please note: you should ignore that in previous blogs I alluded to fall, Thanksgiving, and winter break as the best times of year).  So I’ll ask it again, what better time is there than the spring?

I was looking at the UNCG website and found an article with a picture of green leaves.  It was a sight for sore eyes, so I clicked on it, and discovered there will be several environmentally-themed lectures and events open to students and the public schedule April 2 – 3.  The events schedule is shown here:  http://biology.uncg.edu/Chautauqua/index.html  According to the article “The Think Tank” Chautauqua will be an environmental awareness/action event focused on undergraduate higher education, with contributions from the arts and humanities and will include music, poetry, and science with several noted speakers.”  Although I cannot pronounce Chautauqua (nor do I have any idea how it’s supposed to sound), I feel like this event officially means it is spring.  And while it is focused on undergraduate education, I know a lot of us in the grad school are hoping to work in a university-setting, so these lectures could greatly benefit those who will be teaching undergraduates.  I love to see environmental awareness being instilled in a young generation, and if you want more information, you can find the article here: http://newsandfeatures.uncg.edu/environmental-awareness-uncg-chautauqua/#sthash.91DhVxHg.dpbs.

Reading about these events brought back memories of Earth Day, which this year, will be on Tuesday, April 22nd.  I was wondering if UNCG would do anything for Earth Day, and after two seconds of Googling, I found out that our university has been certified as a “Tree Campus” for the fifth straight year.  The Tree Campus USA program is a way to honor schools for “promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.”  UNCG will hold an official presentation for this award on Earth Day, and I have suddenly become very proud of our university’s environmental record.  While this may be a bit of a tangent, Gettysburg College didn’t charge its students for paper, so every night in the library, I’d see hundreds of pages by the printer stations that students didn’t feel like claiming.  There was no incentive to print only what you needed and that produced a lot of waste.  So even though we have to pay for printing, I feel like we’re doing our part, giving a couple bucks now and then to keep a few extra trees alive.  So anyway, if you want more information on our Earth Day celebration, here it is: http://ure.uncg.edu/prod/cweekly/2014/02/25/treecampususafifthstraight/

If you haven’t been able to tell from my previous posts, I’m a big fan of weather.com and weather.gov and any website with weather in it, and I am officially proclaiming that our last cold day is behind us.  The days are getting longer, the flowers are in bloom, and I refuse to think that winter will somehow sneak back up on us again.  It is springtime, and I am packing all of my winter clothes into a vault that cannot be opened until November.  So whether you’re ready or not, here comes the best part of the school year starting…..NOW.


March Madness!

Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 by dysherro under athletics, Community Engagement, Economic Development, Events, Uncategorized. Tags: , ,

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

March Madness: Have You Handed in Your Bracket Yet?

This is my first year enrolled at a Division I school, and even though UNCG isn’t in the NCAA tournament, I feel like I have a far greater connection to March Madness than ever before.  My mind has been consumed by basketball lately, so I’d like to take some time to philosophize about a sport that—by its very name—should drive us all “mad” between now and early April.  And in case you haven’t heard, the tournament starts today.

One of the reasons I’ve been consumed by basketball is that my alma mater, Gettysburg College, has been making news in the sports world.  This is pretty rare for Gettysburg—other than Eddie Plank, a Hall of Fame pitcher from 1901 to 1917, the school has hardly produced noteworthy athletes.  But earlier this month, a movie entitled 1000 to 1 was released on DVD, detailing one of the Bullets basketball players who suffered a stroke in his freshman year and was unable to rejoin the team until he was just months from graduating. The student, Cory Weissman, scored one point in his only game with Gettysburg, and from what I’ve heard the movie is a real gut-wrencher.  Cory graduated in 2012, a year after me, and if you’re trying to get into the basketball spirit this month, start by watching this movie.  You can download it on iTunes, and if you want to know how I’ll be spending my Saturday night, that’s how.

In one of my last few blogs, I mentioned that I’d be shipping up to Boston for spring break, and that’s exactly what I did.  So last Friday night I went to a bar with some college friends and the ACC tournament came on TV.  For those of you who don’t know, the ACC tournament was played in the Greensboro Coliseum, and I made a pretty big scene when the word “Greensboro” showed up on the baseline.  I touched the screen, explaining to strangers that I’m enrolled at UNCG, “which isn’t too far from the coliseum,” and unsurprisingly, no one really cared.  But I cared, so I’m happy I did it, and even though this isn’t much of a story, it made me feel good that our town was represented on a little TV in Boston.

Unfortunately for UNCG, the men’s team was knocked out of the Southern Conference Tournament in a close game to The Citadel.  A few days later, Wofford went on to beat Western Carolina in the championship, and now they have the honors of representing our conference in the tournament.  In case you’re interested, they will be playing Michigan (a #2 seed).  Normally I’d root against our rivals, but it’s hard not to cheer for the underdog.  A few sports “experts” are even saying that this game could be a major upset, so whether you’re rooting for Wofford or not, make sure you tune in to see our conference represented.

Even without UNCG in the tournament, I hope you all find a reason to get caught up in the madness.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be watching basketball religiously, so if there are any loved-ones who are reading this blog, don’t be alarmed if I suddenly become incommunicado.  Other than UNCG (and my Gettysburg Bullets), the team I always root for is the Tar Heels, and while they’re only a six-seed, Barack Obama picked them to make it through the Sweet Sixteen.  Needless to say, I feel pretty good about that.  Plus our coach, Wes Miller, played point guard for UNC until 2007.  So basically, what I’m asking is: how could you not root for them?  And if any of you are Duke fans, I apologize.

Wes Miller UNC Player

Wes Miller playing for UNC.

wesmillerUNCG

Coach Miller maintains intensity on the floor for UNCG.

In a perfect world, I would have tied this blog back to our academic pursuits, but I’m not entirely sure how to do it at this point.  Therefore, I’ll leave you with my jumbled thoughts on basketball, and a reminder that if you haven’t turned in your brackets yet, you better do it now.


UNCG Alum Wins the Oldest Annual Literary Prize in the US

Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 by dysherro under Awards and Honors, Careers, Graduate Alumni. Tags: , , ,

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications 

AnselElkins

Earlier this week Ansel Elkins, a recent graduate of UNCG’s MFA Writing Program, received one of the most prestigious literary awards in the United States. The Yale Younger Poets Prize, which has been awarded to some of the greatest contemporary poets, including John Ashbery, Robert Hass, and Adrienne Rich, chose Elkins’s debut collection as the recipient of this year’s award. The collection entitled “Blue Yodel” was selected by judge Carl Phillips, who glowingly wrote of her work: “Razor-edged in their intelligence, southern gothic in their sensibility, these poems enter the strangenesses of others and return us to a world at once charged, changed, brutal, and luminous.” Elkins’s manuscript will be published by Yale University Press in 2015, and she’ll receive royalties based on the number of copies sold.

Since 1919, the Yale Younger Poets Prize has been awarded to American writers under forty years old who have not yet published a book of poetry. Past winners have gone on to become Poet Laureates of the United States and have won the Pulitzer Prize and McArthur Fellowships. Needless to say, Elkins finds herself in good company. Currently, she holds a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which has granted her the time and money to continue experimenting with her craft. Her work has also appeared in some of the most prestigious literary magazines across the world, including the Boston Review, AGNI, and Best.

Elkins is just another example of UNCG’s long list of successful alumni, and I am thrilled to be a part of the same program that helped jumpstart her career. If you are interested in reading some of her poetry, check out her pieces in Guernica and in The Boston Review, linked below. A native of Alabama, Elkins’s poems are inspired by the sights and sounds of southern life, and she strives to balance seemingly opposite themes, such as violence and familial love. I know that all of us at UNCG congratulate Elkins on her achievements, and I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes next!

For her poem, “Blues for the Death of the Sun,” published in Guernica: http://www.guernicamag.com/poetry/elkins_3_15_12/

For “Reverse: A Lynching,” published in The Boston Review: http://www.bostonreview.net/poetry/ansel-elkins-reverse-a-lynching


Spring Break: So What Are Your Plans?

Posted on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 by dysherro under athletics, Events, Student success, Student support, Students, Uncategorized. Tags: , ,

Student Perspective post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

 Does anyone else feel like the spring semester just started?  I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but time seems to fly during the school year.  It’s one of those strange phenomena, I guess.  One day our classes start, and the next we’re making plans for spring break.  I’ve noticed that in graduate school, professors tend to list every assignment on the first day, leaving us with a mountain of work that we somehow have to complete over the next four months.  In January, I made a calendar to outline all of the assignments that should be finished by spring break.  I was feeling pretty good about what I accomplished until I noticed that our break is only a week away.  So now that I have to read two novels and write three stories in just eight days, I might need to adjust my goals.

Truth be told, I’m very excited for spring break.  On Saturday March 8th, I’ll be flying from RDU to Boston, where I’ll spend the week with some college friends who I haven’t seen in months. Although there’s a fairly good chance I’ll have to survive yet another winter storm, I’m going to be in total relaxation mode and will even visit the New England beaches (while also wearing a hat and gloves).  My sister, who lives beside Fenway Park, will be in Boston when I’m there and drumroll…she’s turning twenty-one on St. Patrick’s Day.  I’ve noticed that Boston gets a little crazier than most places on this holiday, and even though I’d love to supervise the city-wide shenanigans, our classes start up that morning.  So while I won’t be there on her actual birthday, I’ll at least be able to give the “Please Be Responsible” pep talk just a couple days before.

As I researched UNCG spring break plans, I came across an awesome opportunity that the music department has been sponsoring since 2006.  From March 7th to 16th, undergraduates and graduates who are majoring in music can spend five nights in Vienna and three nights in Prague while touring some of the world’s most famous musical sites.  Dr. Nelson, a professor at UNCG, will lead the group on daily field trips—and the itinerary is extensive, from listening to world-class symphonies to exploring Mozart’s residence.  Graduate students who attend can even receive three credit hours for the trip.  So if you’re in the music program, this is how you should spend at least one of your spring breaks at UNCG.

In order to get a sense of how other grad students are spending their time-off, I took to the streets (aka the Graduate School building and my classes) and asked the increasingly creepy question: “So what are your plans for spring break?”  Prasamsa Sharma, a first year master’s candidate in Public Health, will be flying to Florida, where she’ll kick back on the Miami beaches.  And even though she has a lot of work, she told me, “I could really use a break”—and just like me, she plans on spending her time recharging.

Photo of Sumney sisters during raceShaina and Chelsea Sumney, on the other hand, will remain on campus for cross country practice.  The twins, who are both first years in Speech Pathology, will be competing on March 14th and 15th at the UNCW Seahawk Invitational.  Recently, they both placed second in their respective races at the Dennis Craddock Invitational, and while they won’t be able to relax 24/7 like me, they’re looking forward to working with their team.  Since they also competed for UNCG as undergraduates, this is their final year of collegiate eligibility.  So if you’re in the Wilmington area, make sure to cheer them on!

Just about every student I spoke to wants to spend at least part of their spring break “chillin.”  Brandon Haffner, for instance, will be heading to Austin, Texas for the South By Southwest music festival featuring some of today’s biggest artists.  Brandon, who is a first year candidate in Fiction, will get to set aside the seemingly endless pile of books (which I, too, have to read), at least for a couple of days.  It seems like that’s been the connecting strand in my interviews, the chance to reboot before entering the second half of the semester.  Whether or not you hope to do the same, I’d like to wish you the happiest of vacations.  Make sure to check back next week for another blog—if you don’t remember, my first blog of the semester was about needing to keep a better calendar, so if you’re confused why my spring break blog came more than a week before the actual event, it’s because I haven’t followed up with that plan.


Workshops for Graduate Students

Posted on Monday, February 17th, 2014 by dysherro under Economic Development, Events, Professional development, Research, Student success, Student support, Students. Tags: , , , , , , ,

Student Perspective post by: Matt Barrett
Matt BarrettGraduate Assistant for Communications

While I’m tempted to write another snow day blog, I’d like to take this time to switch gears and mention a few specific events that will be taking place at UNCG throughout February.  Most of you probably received the email about the upcoming Graduate School Workshops—but in case it’s been misplaced (you deleted it) or you’re unsure what to attend, I’m here to give you my thoughts.

I’m probably not the best person to listen to when it comes to these workshops.  My goal at UNCG is to become a good story-teller, not to learn the best practices of structuring a thesis.  But as I was looking through the list, I couldn’t help but think how the workshops are applicable to all of us, regardless of our discipline.  For instance, on February 19th from 2 to 4 pm, the Graduate School is holding an event called “How to Develop a Business Plan.”  And while I normally wouldn’t consider attending this type of workshop, I have developed a different perspective since enrolling at UNCG.  Last semester, I took a course called Publishing and Entrepreneurship, and the final project was to come up with an idea that would help the publishing/bookstore industry.  I had to create a business plan for my idea—and to say the least, I had a difficult time.  So if you’re starting to think, “I’d like to write a business plan but don’t know what my business would be,” you can take the idea I came up with last semester.  I now present you with a revolutionary idea that will benefit the publishing/bookstore industry:  I’ve noticed that a lot of independent bookstores have a big open space for author readings/ book signings.  So I asked myself, how could that space be best utilized to keep these stores in business?  And I realized that just a few months ago, I attended a wine and painting course, where I went to Cary with a bottle of Merlot and learned how to paint a landscape using oils and a canvas.  The class was packed and it was priced around $30 a person for a couple of hours—so I thought, why isn’t there a wine and writing class?  An independent bookstore could hire a high school English teacher or Creative Writing professor to teach a class each week, from 7 to 9 pm, where people bring their own bottle of booze and get pointers on how to write a story.  Anyway, I think this idea should be put into use, and since I’ll never do anything with it, I present this potential business to you, my faithful blog readers.  And now that you have a reason to attend the Business Plan Writing workshop, I hope to see you there.

Another date you should mark on your calendars is February 26th.  In 500 Forest, a “Communicating Beyond Your Discipline” workshop will be held from 3 to 4 pm.  How does this apply to you?  Well, since you’re currently enrolled in graduate school (and if you’re not, then that probably means you’re my parents), you are pursuing an advanced degree in a specific field.  So now that you have gathered this incredible wealth of knowledge, how are you going to discuss your studies with those who come from different backgrounds?  Perhaps this is a shameless plug, but the upcoming issue of Horizons will feature two current graduate students who have successfully communicated “beyond their discipline,” and won huge monetary awards for doing so.  For instance, the Graduate School adopted the Three Minute Thesis Competition this year (which you will learn more about in Horizons), where students have to discuss their entire two years of master’s research in three minutes.  The winner is awarded $1,000 and the main judging criteria is the ability to present your thesis in a way that everyone can understand.  So if you’re interested in competing for $1,000 next year, you might want to attend this seminar.

These are just a couple of the upcoming workshops, but the whole list can be found here: http://workshops.uncg.edu/.  Links for registering are also provided below.  And in case you’re wondering, the business idea I presented earlier would be called BYO-Fiction or BYO-Poetry, depending on which type of writing class is being taught.  Good luck.  Now, go get rich!

How to Develop a Business Plan Webinar/Workshop

Wednesday, February 19, 2-4pm, Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering Auditorium – 2907 E. Lee Street

Mr. Joe Erba, lecturer/professor of practice at UNCG’s Bryan School of Business & Economics, has served as a corporate entrepreneur for much of his business career, starting and leading new venture firms. He will lead an overview of coming up with an idea and how to design a business plan.

Ms. Kathy F. Elliott is the Vice President for Entrepreneurship at Greensboro Partnership, where she focuses on supporting entrepreneurs to secure mentoring and coaching as well as investment capital. She has been in the field of entrepreneurship and small business development for over 25 years and will discuss networking and connections to resources.

To register to attend either in person or online via webinar, complete the registration form.

Communicating Beyond Your Discipline

Wednesday, February 26, 3:00-4:00 pm, 500 Forest

For those who have registered for the Graduate Research & Creativity Expo. Discussion and hands-on practice in engaging audiences outside your field in understanding your work.

Register here:  http://workshops.uncg.edu/workshops-by-category.jsp?cat_id=77000580

Graduate Student Association Research Talk: Qualitative Research

Thursday, February 27, 4:30-5:30 pm, EUC Kirkland Room

The GSA has brought together a cross-disciplinary panel of faculty to discuss qualitative research.

Register here:  http://workshops.uncg.edu/workshops-by-category.jsp?cat_id=77000580

The Slippery Slope Series: Questionable Research Practices

Friday, February 28, 12 noon – 1:15 pm (light refreshments available); MHRA 2711

Dr. Kelly Wester, associate professor in Counseling and Educational Development, and Dr. Laurie Wideman, associate professor in Kinesiology, will lead the discussion. Register to attend at http://workshops.uncg.edu. For more info, contact Melissa Beck at mdbeck@uncg.edu.


Reflections on a Snow Day

Posted on Friday, January 31st, 2014 by dysherro under Students, Uncategorized. Tags: ,

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

Photography by Denise Sherron
Graduate School Staff

Library snow 021

Jackson Library on a snowy day.

I have to admit, I’m beginning to feel like a psychic.  At the start of my last blog, I mentioned how I’ve been told to never discuss the weather—but I brought it up anyway, and voila, a southern snow storm sweeps across the region and shuts down our school for nearly forty-eight hours.  I can’t say that I am totally to thank (or to blame) for the snow, but I have to admit, it was a pretty nice coincidence.  On Wednesday, I drove through downtown Chapel Hill and felt like I was in New England.  Since I doubt we will have too many more snow days during the next year-and-a-half that I am here, I thought it would be nice to reflect on some of the most memorable snowstorms in my twenty-four years of existence.

If you don’t already know, I’m pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing here at UNCG.  While I can’t pinpoint an exact time I decided to pursue a writing career, I often think of an essay that I wrote in elementary school.  The essay was about a snowstorm in Bar Harbor, Maine, and it described one of the most exciting experiences of my life at the time.  I was nine, and my family and I drove up to Bar Harbor like we always did, the day after Christmas.  And as we were sitting in our motel room, it started to snow.  There were a couple inches on the ground by the time we wanted dinner—so we decided to walk, and on the way, my dad ran out into the middle of an empty street and made snow angels.  My sister and I screamed, like it was the funniest thing we’d ever seen.  And after dinner, with about six inches on the ground, we made snow balls and forts, and, in the middle of Bar Harbor (a town which hosts 3 million tourists during the summer months), my family and I had a snowball fight.  When I reflected on this night in my essay, I described it as “magical.”  And after getting a positive response from my teacher, I wanted to write about all of the magical moments in my life.  A majority of my fiction ever since has included some kind of snowy landscape.

In high school, there were two years in a row when snowstorms forced CB West (my alma mater) to close on December 5th.  Normally Pennsylvania doesn’t get snow that early, but both years, the storms accumulated over a foot.  There was a dam across the street from my house, and whenever a gust of wind blew through, the snow shifted to one side of the hill, making certain parts feel several feet deep.  After sledding for hours, my neighborhood friends and I built tunnels in the dam and watched the snow continue to fall.  I can still picture it perfectly—the frozen reservoir and my friends all bundled up in their winter gear and, of course, the thoughts of hot chocolate that awaited us at home.  I never went skiing as a kid, but sledding at the reservoir was the next best thing.  From November through March, I checked weather.com every week for potential snowstorms, dreaming of the days when we could pull our sleds across the street.

Campus snow 089

Minerva on a wintry day.

I forgot how much I loved snow days until this week.  As a commuter student, I appreciate that UNCG took precautions during the storms—the roads were slick and there was no need to risk driving.  On our day off, I played disc golf in the woods of Chapel Hill while children pulled their sleds to the nearest hill.  I was reminded of my own childhood, and I had to pinch myself, just to know I was still in North Carolina.  I didn’t expect this kind of week, but I’m happy it happened—not only for a day away from school, but for the chance to feel like a kid again.

 


Planning Your Weekend: Winterfest ’14

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014 by dysherro under Events, Student support, Students, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , ,

Student Perspective post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for communications

For as long as I can remember, people have told me not to discuss the weather. And by people, I mean everyone, from my parents and teachers to the corny Saturday night rom-coms that I somehow still get sucked into. We all know the typical Nicholas Sparks-inspired movie scene: two young, incredibly attractive people go out on their first date, and one of them (usually the guy) says something like, “So, it’s been awfully cold lately,” and they both smile awkwardly before falling back into silence. Even Elmore Leonard, one of my favorite authors of all time, wrote: “Never open a book with weather.” And that’s not just any rule—that’s his first rule. So as much as I’ve been trying not to say, “Hey, how about this weather,” I can no longer fight the urge. It’s cold. And by cold, I mean colddd! with three d’s and an exclamation point at the end! I don’t even think there’s another way to begin a blog this week. Currently, it’s fourteen degrees and, according to the Weather Channel, we’ll have survived four straight days before breaking the freezing mark. So I apologize, Elmore, but I had to do it.

Luckily, UNCG has created one giant event to help get us through the winter. And if you’re wondering what this one giant event is called, I’ll tell you: it’s called Winterfest, and it all starts tonight! And if you’re wondering what Winterfest is, it’s a series of activities that will undoubtedly raise your spirits.

winerfest2014-poster

So after looking through the Winterfest line-up, I have assembled some recommendations for what you should do this weekend and the week that follows. Obviously, since tonight is the official kick-off of Winterfest, UNCG is hosting a great opening act that you all should attend, called UNCG’s Got Talent in the Elliott Center Auditorium at 7:00 pm. If you like America’s Got Talent but don’t like Howard Stern, then you’re in luck, because he will not be one of the judges at UNCG. As far as I’m concerned, it sounds like a great time: talented people doing talented things—what could be better than that? Also, it will be 21 degrees when the show begins, so that’s another reason to find a nice warm place like the Elliott Center Auditorium.

On Sunday, head back to the auditorium at the same time, 7:00 pm. While I haven’t seen it yet, the movie Gravity will be playing for everyone’s enjoyment. If you like movies where two people float around in space for a little over two hours, then this is the perfect film for you. Actually, since I’ve never seen it, I have no idea what happens, and everyone’s told me it’s excellent, so that’s why I’ll recommend it.

And if you find it difficult to wake up on a Monday morning, then you’re in luck, at least on the 27th. Starting at 11 am, the Dining Hall will be holding an event called “DJ in the Caf,” which will be sure to get your week started off right. If you like music and you also like food, then where else do you want to be? Nowhere. It’s music and food combined into one. Can you afford to miss it? I don’t think you can.

As I look through the Winterfest line-up, I realize that this blog could go on forever—but that’s a testament to UNCG. Every time I write about upcoming events, I realize how many choices our school wants us to have. For instance, next Friday, January 31st, you can head to the Cone Ballroom dressed in your Winter Formal attire, and two days later, on February 2nd, go back to the same place wearing football jerseys for the Super Bowl party. I guess my biggest recommendation for Winterfest, is that you check out the complete list of events, so you don’t miss a thing: http://cap.uncg.edu/winter-welcome-2014/. From talent shows to a lunchtime DJ, UNCG has found the perfect recipe to spice up this winter. And since that was an incredibly corny thing to say, I will leave you here.


…And We’re Back!

Posted on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 by dysherro under Community Engagement, Economic Development, Events, Faculty, Graduate Alumni, Students, Uncategorized. Tags: , , ,

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

Normally when someone asks me, “How was your break?” I answer: “Too short.”  It’s been my go-to response for as long as I can remember—even after Thanksgiving a couple months ago, I used the line three or four times.  But for whatever reason, I can honestly say that this winter break was long.  And I don’t mean long as in too long or boring.  In fact, this winter break was the perfect amount of time.  And here’s why: on December 6th, I turned in my final English paper, officially concluding my first semester of graduate school.  Immediately after, I saw some of my colleagues, who mentioned that they were excited to have an entire month off.  So without thinking too much about it, my brain registered their statement word-for-word, meaning that January 6th would the first day of the spring semester.  For more than four weeks, I didn’t bother to question my logic or check the UNCG calendar—I just pictured the date, January 6th, and didn’t ask any professors or classmates if this was true.  Therefore, you can imagine my surprise on January 5th when I looked at the UNCG website and discovered that I suddenly had an extra week of free time.  Long story short, I learned two things in the process: one, I should always check the UNCG calendar; and two, that when someone says “a month,” they may not mean thirty-one days from that second.

My break was spent up north, in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.  During the month (and that week) I was off, I survived three-and-a-half snow storms and went sledding for the first time since high school.  I made a snow angel in my street.  I watched the Celtics play in the TD Garden.  I sprinted up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (like Rocky) and saw paintings by Van Gogh.  Even as I write this, I feel like I could go on and on forever—but just as I’m switching back into a grad-school-intellectual-mindset, I think it’s time to transition this blog from winter break to the spring semester.  So here it goes: we’re back.

That’s the end of the transition.  Normally, that’s how fast it seems.  All of a sudden, the break’s over.  And we’re seated in a classroom, as the professors hand out syllabi.  Of course, I contradicted myself at the beginning, when I mentioned my bonus week—but I think the sentiment is still true.  So now that the first week is behind us, I hope you’re all ready for a great semester.  And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve made the UNCG calendar one of my home pages, so there will be no more time-related issues for this guy.

Also, I wanted to mention that a new bookstore opened in downtown Greensboro while we were away.  It’s called Scuppernong Books, and while its doors are currently open, its grand opening celebration will be held on February 1st from 6 to 10 pm.  Check out the website and event, and help support a local business: http://www.scuppernongbooks.com/.  Oh, and did I mention it’s also a wine bar?

Keep tuning in for my student perspective posts throughout the semester!


Apply for Spring 2014 VISIONS courses through January 10!

Posted on Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 by dysherro under Community Engagement, Professional development, Students. Tags: , ,

Telelearning between students in Thailand and at UNCG

Post and photograph by Denise Sherron, The Graduate School, Enrolled Student Services

For those considering a return to the classroom, the VISIONS program at UNCG is unique, giving easy access to an incredible variety of graduate courses.  Here, you can boost your career, get ready for grad school, or just learn and explore.  UNCG’s VISIONS program is designed to provide qualified individuals with the opportunity to enroll in graduate-level courses without having to apply and be admitted to a specific degree program.  As a non-degree seeking or visiting student, you can explore a program or two, build personal confidence and academic skills, and refine your personal or professional interests, or renewal of teacher licensure. Credits earned at UNCG through VISIONS are recorded in the University Registrar’s Office on an official transcript.

Peruse our graduate programs here: http://grs.uncg.edu/programs/  UNCG also offers many online courses that can lead to a Master’s degree or a Graduate Certificate, you can explore those here: http://online.uncg.edu/programs_GRADUATE.php For detailed information on the VISIONS program and the enrollment process, visit The Graduate School online at http://grs.uncg.edu/visions/ or email:  inquiries@uncg.edu or call us at 336-334-5596.

The time to start is now! The Spring 2014 VISIONS application deadline is Janaury 10, 2014.  The application fee is only $25, and no GRE is required.

Visions Eligibility:  To be eligible to enroll, you must:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited College or University.
  • Not be currently enrolled as a degree student at UNCG.
  • Do not have an application for admission to The Graduate School under review for the same semester.
  • Check with the department of interest (e.g., Art, Business Administration) and meet special requirements that may exist for that department.

Advising:  Students considering later enrollment in a degree program are strongly encouraged to contact their department to determine which Visions class will count toward your degree.

  • No courses below the 500-level will count toward a graduate degree.
  • A maximum of 9 hours in courses numbered 749 and below may be taken through Visions and applied to a graduate degree or 3 hours for a certificate. 
  • There are restrictions on which classes are available to Visions students. Contact the department of interest for more information.

- See more at: http://gradschoolblog.uncg.edu/apply-for-fall-2013-visions-courses-through-august-16/#sthash.hmXy0Sgh.dpuf