It Has Started

It has officially started...

It's the end of the semester and we have begun the dreaded exams that test our knowledge of what we have learned.
And as I walk around campus it's apparent that everyone is trying to remember all of the information that they have accumulated in their notebooks this semester.
From people in the residence hall study lounges to the tables at the Highsmith student union, I was not aware that so many people went to my school.

Yet despite all the stress and pressure... there is somehow a good feeling in the air.
The feeling that by finishing an exam, we cannot only say that we accomplished what we were fearful of, but also that we are closer to earning our winter break.

Our faculty is consciously aware of all these feelings, and are making the best possible efforts to make our lives easier.
For instance, yesterday was the school-wide "reading day," meaning no classes and no commitments, other than a day dedicated to studying, and for most - catching up on sleep before exams.
Sleep is such a crucial aspect, but what most people are not aware of is that it is not only the sleep the night before an exam that is important, but also two nights before.

Regardless of sleep, people are continuously hitting the books hard.
Tonight, as an opportunity to recuperate from the first day of exams, and all of the studying for the remaining exams, there is a free breakfast session tonight in the cafeteria at 8:30pm.
At this breakfast, teachers volunteer their time to serve the students food!
It's a time for the students to unwind with a few laughs.

No matter, how hard students are hitting the books, they always find time to relax a little.
Whether it is working out, grabbing a bite to eat with some friends, or watching a movie - remember to relax a little because stress kills, and you want to make it to winter break!

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A Weekend Of The Arts

It was early Friday night as I filed into Lipinsky auditorium, thinking that I would be taking an auditorium seat with other peers and parents, as we gathered for the female and male a cappella group performances. Yet, as I entered through the doors, I was surprised to see that the show would take place in the lobby, and there were more than enough people attending to fill the lobby. Between the microphones, wires, and people the lobby was packed.
My friends and I scrambled for some seats - but then decided it would be better to sit on the floor in the front row, then on chairs in the back.
We had come to support our friends, and we were going to make sure they saw us.

Although we had come to watch the female group, the male group was just as entertaining.
They both sang tunes that audience members could enjoy, no matter their musical preferences, such as melodies from musicals or new chart-topping pop songs.

It never ceases to amaze me how a cappella groups cannot only manipulate their voices for singing, but also to act as the instrumental backgrounds.

The weekend of singing then ended tonight with the "Winter Chorus Concert."
The concert consisted not only of chorus singers, but also the band and orchestra - each with their own performance slot.

The music was not limited to only holiday tunes, but encompassed anything the performers had worked on, that they wanted to share.
For instance, the band played part of the soundtrack from the video-game "Zelda."

Regardless, the performances did not disappoint.

The concerts this weekend were a good way to spend the weekend before exams.

Speaking of upcoming exams, an event that I cannot wait for this week is a free stress relief session taking part of Tuesday from 12pm-2pm in the grotto.
The event includes free 10 minute massages, giveaways, and much more.
It will be a good way to unwind between study sessions.

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What Does A Liberal Education Mean?

The other day, one of my teachers had us write about what we think a liberal education is and how it has translated to our school academics... 
So to help you understand what a liberal education means, I wanted to share my response with you. 

           When I think of a liberal education… I think of having to take a little bit of everything, even when you don’t want to. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure I’m not thrilled about taking a math or science class, but I know they will only help me build upon my knowledge. Yet they do something better than just adding to my understanding of the topic itself. The classes build on my knowledge in general – they build on the connections I make, how I view things, and the general manner in which I consider my classes to interact with each other. It all comes down to connections.
            Sure at a non-liberal school, you can sign up for the fundamental classes, such as art, science, math, literature, and so on. But you can… meaning – it’s an option. Talking with my friend over the weekend about his school experience at Chapel Hill is completely different than my experiences here. But in a good way. While he has already been focused on courses that add to his major, even as a freshman; I have been building from the ground up with the basics. These basics have allowed me to explore what I want my major to be since I had not the slightest clue when I started school. I have been able to take art and mass communications to test those out… But these classes are not the ones that drew me in. Rather it was the unexpected literature and language classes. Unexpected. That is the key word.
            They say that a good fashion designer knows what the client wants before the client even knows it themselves. That’s how I think of a liberal education… having a sense of what the student wants, and needs, before they even know they want or need it.
            Next semester I am taking my dreaded math and science courses… But throughout the classes I will be trying to make connections. Math and science have obvious links due to the need for equations in physics. But what is less apparent is the relation between physics and art. Yet there is one. That is what drew my attention to a physics class rather than taking yet another biology class. Physics is able to relate to a topic that I love, photography. In physics, the course description explained that we will be relating our knowledge to topics such as light, color, and cameras – all very art relatable ideas.
            This is what a liberal education is. Putting yourself out there and not only hoping, but striving to gain knowledge while making connections. Because I can have all the knowledge in the world, but it won’t mean anything until I implement it somehow. This is what UNC Asheville has pushed me to do – implement ideas from one field to another… making constant connections. 

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Back At School. Back To Reality.

Easy come. 
Easy go. 

This is how breaks feel to me. They sound long... but in reality are short.
Between catching up on sleep, hanging out with family and friends, and homework - there is no time leftover.
Next thing you know you are packing up your bags and are headed back to school.

These were the thoughts running through my head as I packed my stuff yesterday morning before the car ride back to school.

It's tough.
I love breaks - but they are a lot of work with everything involved.
And I love school - but it gets tiring after awhile.

I guess the point I am trying to make here for college students and parents is to appreciate these breaks, if you don't already.

But students need to find time to make personal breaks when they are still physically at school.
With exams looming around the corner as a reality check that we are back at school - it is easy to fall victim to stress.
But with some proper planning - it can be a near stress free exam period.

Here are some pointers...

- If you take a nap, make it 15 minutes so you don't enter your sleep cycle and wake up feeling worse than you did before
(naps can improve memory) - yet I suggest just going to bed early.

- Study for an hour and break for 15 minutes.
15 minutes. That is all. Your brain needs a break, but don't let it get side-tracked.

- Write down all your exams and prioritize the dates so you know which ones you need to study for first and also which ones will take more time to prepare for.

- Exercise. I'm not talking about preparing to run a marathon or anything... Just 30 minutes. There are countless classes to get your adrenaline (and your brain) pumping. (When you work out, more oxygen circulates in your body, making your brain function more clearly.)
After studying for a long period of time, it's good to step back and make sure you are actually absorbing the material.
*UNC Asheville workout classes:

- Move around. You don't have to hit the gym all the time. Take a walk, just get moving. Studies show that sitting down all day is just as detrimental to your health as smoking.

So whatever study habit you hold, keep these pointers in mind besides the basics of eating right, drinking water, and so on.
Exams may be tough, but if you prepare - you will make it out alive and with a good grade.

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Anagama Firing

It's not some weird made up word...
It's a type of kiln the ceramics department at UNC Asheville has.
But it isn't a normal everyday kiln, such as the electric ones, where you just switch it on.
The anagama is a big deal.

It only is used a few times a year because it requires so much work.
Here is a shot of what it looks like from the front.

The anagama sits outside in the yard area next to ceramics due to its massive size of about 14 feet,  in addition to the fact that it does not run off of electricity, but rather a fire produced by burning wood.

But the wood does not just burn for a day...
It burns for about five days.

Because it is outside, large, needs a fire going constantly, and goes on for a few days - people need to help with it.

That's what the art students get to do.
And that is exactly what my friend and I had to do when we signed up for a shift time...
Our options ranged from Wednesday night to Sunday evening, either 12am-4am, 4am-8am, 8am-12pm, and so on - a continuous clock.
Wednesday would be just a limited fire while Sunday would have massive flames in order to encompass the entire anagama to fire the pieces in the back.
This meant that Wednesday until Friday night shifts would get to maintain a small fire... less work.

So my friend and I signed up for Thursday morning... 4am-8am.

To say I got little sleep Wednesday night is an understatement.
I would wake up in intervals - fearing that I would miss my shift.

But I didn't and neither did my friend, as we met outside at 3:45am to trek across campus.

The job was not bad at all.
We sat on the couch outside, surrounded by a tarp, listening to Pandora radio while singing since no one else was awake, and maintaining the fire which resembled a campfire.

It was fun and exciting for a few hours, then as the sun began to peek out of the trees... exhaustion started to hit and we began to count down the time left.

I wish I could say I crashed when I got back to my room... but I was somehow still on an adrenaline rush and went to the rest of my classes like a normal day - but was in bed by 8pm.

The life of an art student.

During the whole experience I was sending my mom (who is an art teacher) picture updates, since I could see my piece inside the kiln.

It was an experience for the books, and I highly suggest anyone who wants something different to try it - you do not need to be an art student to volunteer.
Extra hands are always appreciated in the art department.

Times like these is when I am so glad to be going to UNC Asheville, where I can get as much out of my art program as possible.

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It's that time of year... 
2nd semester registration. 

Of course seniors, juniors, and sophomores have registered already.
It's a hierarchy.
Seniors register one week, then juniors another, sophomores next, and then freshmen.

Surprisingly I don't mind this that much as a freshman because before I even double checked the schedule Saturday, I knew my classes were not going to be taken.
I seem to be the only person I know willing enough to drag myself out of bed for 8am classes, just so I can have the rest of the day to myself.

In my opinion, that's the way to go.

Of course, for all you interested, there are way more than just morning or afternoon classes.
You can take evening classes if you want.

Some classes just have the option, such as you can take Health from 6pm-8:30pm.
But others are required at night, such as Astronomy.

It's all about preference and how badly you want to take that class.

So as I sit at my computer, I am trying to get all my homework knocked out, so I can go to bed early, because I will be waking up early tomorrow.
Registration starts at 7am.

Meaning you better be at your computer, logged on, ready to click those buttons at 7am.

Let's hope no one decides to take all the morning classes.

We will see how it all pans out... 

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First Game

It was only 6:45pm... the game didn't start till 7pm and the fans in the stadium were already roaring.
They were starting to get pumped for what was not only the first official game of the basketball season, but also a huge rival game against Western North Carolina University.

As I entered the stadium, I was handed a "Beat Western" button and followed the flood of students to the Bulldog Nation cheering section and took my seat with my group of friends.
Everyone was sporting some sort of Asheville gear or colors.
There were also a handful of students rocking the body paint - everything from faces to stomachs to arms were painted, and some girls even added glitter to their ponytails for an extra touch.

Although the players were only warming up, the tension was already high as the student section - divided into baseball players, tennis players, runners, frat boys, and students - began eyeing the Western   fans to sum up our cheering competition.

We would not be out cheered. 

As the clock signaled the start of the game, our warm-up cheers progressed into full on scream cheers.

The bleachers shook as we stomped defense... Your own thoughts were drowned out when we screamed for every basket... You could hear a pin drop in the student section as our arms went up in the air and we froze for free throws... Then made the simultaneous "whoosh" as the ball went in...

All of theses cheers encompassed the night.
But we needed them to carry us through the game because Western put up a fight.
Their defense was spotless and their 3 point shots seemed like they would never go anywhere but the net.

By the end of the first half, we were barely maintaining our neck-in-neck battle with them.
But as they hit the bench, something must have happened between my friend and I stating that "Asheville needed to get their act together" and the buzzer signifying the end of halftime, because we came back onto the court ready to play.

Although it was still a battle during the second half, we were able to maintain more of a lead.
Regardless, we did not let up on our cheering.

With about five minutes left, we were leading 69 to 61.
But as the clock dwindled down to about one minute, we had two free throw shots.
And it was all over.

As one of the players, Trent, made the last two baskets - Asheville fans instantly starting cheering because we knew it was over.

We not only won our first game of the season... 
But also our first home game...
AND beat Western 71-61! 

Every Asheville fan left the stadium with their head held high and new bragging rights. 

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A Thank You

A thank you to all you UNC Asheville students... 
for your repeated kindness. 

As we come to the end of the first semester, the kind actions of fellow students still does not cease to amaze me. 
Time and time again... 

It's understandable for you to hold the door open for a person directly behind you, it's another when they are at least 6 feet behind! 
But they still hold the door open. 

This week though was a new level of kindness. 
Tuesday and Thursday as I walked back to my room while jumbling my keys, a noodle bowl, spring rolls, and sauce with it... opening doors was an adventure.

But both days when I got to the Founders residence hall, people held both doors open for me. 
Thursday was the best case because another student was leaving the residence hall, but on his way out saw me attempting to hold everything, and he actually walked back and opened the doors for me!

Thank you so much! 

I'm curious to see how the manners of people are on other campuses... 
I like to assume the best in people. 
For instance though, people in my high school would hold the door open for you - but would not go out of their way to. 
I think this is the case in most places and Asheville is just an exception in the sense that there are those people here that will go out of their way to hold the door open for you, no matter how far away you are. 

My point here is that even the smallest actions of kindness can make a person's day. 
I know I may not always be aware of my surroundings, but I try to be - so that I can be that person holding the door open. 

So go out and be aware of who needs a helping hand.
That good karma will come back around one day. 

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Got Meditation?

Root yourself in your life. 
Root yourself in this moment. 
Controlling your breathing is controlling your emotions. 

These yoga mantras from the instructor fill the room during "Deep Stretch" yoga class.
So many people overlook yoga as just something where you sit on a mat and think...
That is not the case.

Yoga not only engages your body, but also your mind - most likely in a way you would not have thought to if it were not for the class.

"Deep Stretch" yoga class on Monday and Wednesday nights is by far the most popular yoga class I have attended.
No less than 20 people show up to be enlightened in the ways of relaxing their mind and body for an hour.

We never realize how much tension we lock away in our bodies and minds, until we are forced to focus on them in yoga.
By addressing the problems, you are able to release them, and therefore feel infinitely better than when you first walked into the classroom.

I am not trying to "sell" yoga or anything like that.
I am simply encouraging you, as a reader, to try it.

Here at UNC Asheville there are countless yoga classes available, all with varying times, and all very different in their formatting.
For instance, you can attend something as calming as "Deep Stretch" or something as sweat-enducing as "Rock Your Asana."
I have tried most of the classes and can say that they are all very good, you just need to find what works best for you.

So there it is... my small challenge to you - go try yoga and appreciate UNC Asheville's love for it.

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It's Starting...

The exhibition game. 
The start of the season. 

You do not even have to like the sport to get pumped for UNC Asheville's basketball season.
You just have to have some school spirit... go to the games with friends, and if you are a student, you need to sit in the bulldog nation section for the full experience - the cheers, face paint... the whole atmosphere is fan crazy.
But all a good, enthusiastic fan crazy.

The emotions that ran through Kimmel Arena last night went off of this fan energy, even though it was only an exhibition game.
But all the cheering and hoping paid off as we beat the Brevard tornadoes 91 to 60.

At first I felt kind of bad as we continued to cheer for the bulldogs as we maintained our lead.
Then I realized this was it.

The moments where we cheered for every basket made, every dribble, every save...
Screaming "WE ARE ASHEVILLE!" or "GO BULLDOGS!" is what makes sitting in the student section that much more of an adrenaline rush.

This was the preparation we needed - especially as flashbacks of last year's Syracuse game ran through my mind...

Did Syracuse have pity?
Probably not...

So it was a good thing that we won the game, in order to build our team even more.
At the end of the game the announcers even played "Who Let The Dogs Out."
I bet Rocky was dancing in his mind...
The person in the Rocky mascot costume certainly was busting some moves.

Bulldog spirit! 

Hopefully all of this enthusiasm carries on... not only to the big game versus Western North Carolina on Friday, but also throughout the season!

Go Bulldogs!

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Get Dirty

8am the music started to play from my iHome. 
I rolled out of bed, showered, ate, and headed off across campus this Sunday morning to Owen Hall, the art building, to ceramics. 

For all of you art aficionados, Owen Hall stays open every single day from 6am-2am. 
Meaning the only time it is closed is that 2am-6am period. 

So as I made my way across campus, I was not shocked by the emptiness of the main quad due to it being a Sunday morning. 
But as I reached the art side of campus, I was pleased to see some active artists in the ceramics room, working away as if the time of day did not mean anything. 
Which it really doesn't... 
That's why I like dedicating an entire day to ceramics... or any art that I love. 

You cannot just start and stop a piece - you need to get into it...
In the case of clay, you need to get dirty. 

And I have gotten my jeans plenty dirty over the past few days. 

The clay's dust... 
Clay itself. 

All of which turns my jeans to brown, but will wash right out. 

In addition, the dust and clay gets all over my hands and arms from me leaning over and working. 

All of this makes the cliché of "getting into your work" that much more funny. 

But the time flew past as my iPod music kept me company in addition to the surrounding people, and a dog. 
Yep, a dog. 

Artists and their dogs - what can I say? 
Turns out, on Sundays, one of the workers/artists loves to bring his dog. 
His dog, Scout, loves everybody. 
He didn't harass anybody's work, he just wandered around - checking up on everybody. 

Regardless, the hours passed as everybody, including me, worked... 
Art is a great program at UNC Asheville. 
Now that the first semester is coming to a close, I can say I finally feel like I know my way around the art building. 

But art is more than just the building, or the tools. 
It is also the people who surround you in your class... and the city around the school itself. 
I think that Asheville has that perfect balance of spunky, yet grounded artists. 

I could not imagine going to school anywhere else. 

Here are some quick shots of the ceramics room. 
There are other side rooms that include more kilns, etc. - if you want to see it all, you should come and check it out for yourself.

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More Than Batman

The event did not start until 7.
I may have gotten there unnecessarily early around 6:15, but hey - it was the executive producer of the "Batman" movies, Michael Uslan, and you could never be too sure.
As I stood in the lobby of Lipinsky, I scrolled through my Pinterest boards and looked for some "Batman" pins to get more excited.

Looking at me, you probably would not guess I had an inner geek side.
Most of my friends were surprised I wanted to go to the seminar in the first place.
But they surprised me when they said they would go too.
Turns out we all have that inner comic book nerd waiting to come out.

Long background story made short, my comic nerdiness comes from my dad.
I grew up in a house filled with comic books and their memorabilia.

So as I entered the auditorium to grab a good seat, I was prepared to absorb everything like a sponge to repeat to my dad.
Also, as a surprise to him, I was getting Michael Uslan's signature made out to him.

The lecture was great!
He talked about his life and how he got to where he is today.
As a freshman in college, I found his speech not only motivational and inspiring, but it really got me to think about everything... how he was able to just propel everything in his life by actions that he could have easily never taken.
But then we would not have the modern "Batman" movies.

After the lecture, I got my picture with him, and I got his signature.
I had him make the signature out to my dad, because I am such a great daughter...
It's a surprise that hopefully my dad will love.

The event was a hit in my opinion, and I thank Underdog Productions for putting it all together - they always have great events, from movie nights to guest speakers.

So I encourage everyone to go find that spark of motivation in their lives, whether it is a daily inspirational quote... or a speech made by the executive producer of the "Batman" movies, the bottom line is strive to do what you want in life!

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More Food

Just the other day my grandma came to visit me, and when she arrived she suggested we go grab a bite to eat.
She asked where we should go - and I was dumbstruck.
I had no clue.
I know there are tons of places close by: everything from Asian and Indian to breakfast all day... and that was the problem - so many options.

Therefore I did what any logical, problem-solving teenager would do...
I asked Siri on my iPhone where we should eat for lunch.

She pulled up about 20 options, all less than a few miles away.
I scrolled through the options and "Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company" caught my eye - there was somewhere I had not yet eaten.
Although it was just down the street, next to Bruegger's Bagels, and across the street from The Hop on Merrimon - I had not ventured there yet.

My grandma agreed that it sounded good, and we headed off.

I had only been to the restaurant once, for a school scavenger hunt where we had to ask what was a name of one of the beers they brewed there. (Yep, they brew their own beer.)

When you pull into the parking lot, you cannot help but gaze at the building... a metal silo type architecture feels appropriate for a pizza place in Asheville.
As you step inside, the Asheville laid-back vibe only continues as you see winding art decorations, such as a back-splash covered in album artwork, walls painted to make them look like bookshelves, and the list goes on and on.
Apparently there is also a movie theater in the back that you can see recent Hollywood releases for $3 on certain dates, such as "Ted" or "Bourne Legacy."
All of the movie times are posted online (

My grandma and I ordered the Philly cheesesteak and the Greek pizza.
I loved them both.

I would order the items again in a heartbeat.
But of course I would also love to venture out on the menu - with so many options, it will take awhile to try everything I want.
Tater tots, onion rings, chicken alfredo, too many versions of pizza to count, and more.

The best part though is that UNC Asheville students get a discount on pizzas.

A discount, proximity to campus, cheap movies, and great food make it all worth while.
If you have not yet made it down to try the food there - you need to... there has to be something on the menu that catches your eye.

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As my roommate and I briskly walked across campus to the gym in the Sherrill Center, we could not believe how hard the snow was coming down! 
It was coming down at such a rapid pace that by the time we made it indoors, our eyelashes were dusted with snowflakes, our dark jackets looked white, and our hair was damp from the melted snow. 
But no one was awake to see it... besides us and the few other souls who rose earlier than the sun around 6am. 
We were on a mission to get to spin class and no weather condition was going to stop us. 
As we walked through the parking lot, I snapped a quick shot of one of the cars. 

Snow Coming Down

So much snow and it wasn't even Halloween! 
But I'm getting ahead of myself... 
It was not as if one of the clouds had decided to spontaneously burst into a fit of snowflakes this morning, rather it all started yesterday. 
Yesterday is when the faintest of flurries began - so faint that you might not have believed your eyes due to the time of year. 
But there they were, being carried by the fierce wind - snowflakes. 

Due to the sporadic nature of yesterday's weather - I did not expect much of "snow" from yesterday to carry over to today.
Therefore it came as a shock when I stepped outside this morning. 
Then it came as a disappoint when I stepped outside for my 10:50am class and there was nothing dwindling in the air rather than some rain drops. 
The snow had been replaced by not flurries, but substances in closer relation to slushies. 
That was how the ground felt... slushy. 

Despite the rest of the day being that dreary half-snow, half-rain kind of day - I found comfort in the thought that it had snowed at least this morning, and I was awake to see it. 

For those of you who are wondering - my workout spin class was not cancelled. 
My teacher is very determined and said he will always come unless the university itself is closed - which he has only known to happen once. 
My roommate and I were joined by two other students - and that was the total number of participants in our class... our class of true troopers that as my roommate and I claimed "walked through pelting down snow for a mile, battling against the wind... all to come to spin class." (An over-exaggeration of course, but close enough.)

So rest assured fellow exercise junkies - that if you love to wake up before the sun does... the gym is open. 
When you wake up that early, that is when you see a side of campus that most people aren't awake to see... perhaps even snow. 

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Sing It Loud

Quickly scampering across campus through the cold rain, I made my way to Lipinsky Hall for the school's chorus concert.
I had a few friends singing, and would gladly trail through rain, sleet, or if necessary, snow.
Luckily for me, it was simply a nasty mixture of rain and cold wind.

As I entered the lobby, and looked up from unzipping my rain jacket, I was surprised to see just how many people had turned out - not only students, but also parents, grandparents, and others from the community.

Packed into the lobby with programs in hands, my friends and I, along with the mass of people, eagerly awaited the time for the doors to open so we could claim good seats.

The second row was the closest we could sit without being a part of the tech crew, but we filled that second row with enthusiasm and awe as the singers took the stage to serenade their audience.

The songs consisted mainly of show-tunes, such as "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago, but were delivered with such a fervor, the students and volunteer singers from the community - made the songs their own as the stage lights cast them into a glow.

The concert lasted about an hour and a half, but seemed to pass quickly due to the songs' abilities to transfix the audience.

As everyone left the theater, my friends and I scoped out our friends to congratulate them on a show well done and inquired when the next concert was.
The next concert should be around the winter holidays.

I cannot wait to see what they will do with the other numbers in the winter concert, such as a song from "Wicked."
But I know that time will continue to fly past, just as it is now, and the next concert will be here before I know it.

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Short Distance

A 10 minute walk. 
A short bus ride. 
An easy car ride, if you find someone with a car on campus.  

Regardless, getting into town is simple and easy.

Tonight my friends and I ventured off to the nearby CVS, bought some Halloween supplies and then decided to get food during our trip.

We headed into "Urban Burrito", which is located in a little food complex area next to CVS.
The food complex has a bakery, breakfast place, pizza, ice cream, all separated into individual little shops.

Upon entering Urban Burrito, I could not help but smile at the laid-back ambiance it had.
It was a nice break from my usual big city chain Mexican restaurants back home.
The employees greeted my friends and I with smiles, and some were even UNC Asheville Students!
One of them had recognized me from yoga.
The size of UNC Asheville is great because it is small enough that you recognize certain people, but large enough that you do not know everyone after the first day.

After receiving my food, my excitement only went up when I saw how large the portions were for under $10!
Not to mention all the options I had, such as whole wheat tortillas, etc and even Mandarin oranges on a burrito!

Regardless, Urban Burrito is a must stop-by for students looking for an easy and cheap bite that holds that true "at home Asheville" vibe.
Not to mention the great view the restaurant complex has...

After the main dinner course, we headed downstairs to "The Hop" ice cream shop.
Once again, upon entering its doors, you feel as if you have been going there since you were a kid.
Better yet, UNC Asheville students get a discount!
Hello homemade ice cream with a discount.

Immediately when I glanced at the menu I saw "pumpkin" and knew I had to get it.
It is fall of course.
The ice cream did not disappoint.

So with good food in our stomachs, smiles on our faces, and Halloween goodies in hand, we made the walk back to campus.
It was a short walk filled with singing through the neighborhoods and waving at students who live in the student apartments near the edge of campus.

Later tonight is the much anticipated Sigma Nu Halloween party.

Fall is in full swing around campus.

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Late Night Library

I glance up from my homework temporarily to check out the time on the clock.


It surprised me that my roommate had stayed up this late, offering a change of pace from her usual 10pm bedtime.
I knew though that soon enough she would rise from her desk and go to sleep.
Before that could happen, I grabbed my homework and decided to make my nightly trek to the library.

Although there are study rooms on each residence hall floor, the library offers a place for me to do my homework with others present, so that I know I am not the only one awake.

Thankfully, the library is open until 1am on weekdays.

As I brace myself against the cold breeze upon stepping outside, I make my way to the quad and then the library.
My path is lit by emergency button stations and lamp-posts.

As I walk along the sidewalk and hear the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, my eyes wander to the side and begin to stare at my destination.
Like a beacon in the night, the library appeared illuminous against the night sky.

After I finally made my way up the library steps, through the enromous double doors, and into the lobby, I headed to the back area on the left side of the library.
Although there are a plethora of sitting options in the library, such as desks for multiple people, large individual study cubicles, small individual study cubicles, couches, and small lounge chairs; I headed back to one of the group desks rarely used in the back corner.
There were a few people in the back corner besides myself, but the area is off-set from the normal flow of people immediately coming into the library, whether they were perusing books or sitting down to study.

I continued to work diligently on my homework until the annoucement was made that the libary would be closing in 15 minutes.

Then it was time for me to make my trek back across campus, and return to my residence hall.

As I took out my one-card to unlock my residence hall entrance and present my student ID to the resident assistants, I anticipated my much needed sleep.

*(After 8pm, the resident assistants sit at a table in each residence hall and ask you to show your student ID for extra safety measures at night. They remain there until about 5am.)

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Only In Asheville

As the early afternoon fall breeze rushed past me, reddening my cheeks, I continued my walk towards the quad.

I ventured off to sit under one of the trees, and looked around for inspiration for my art project. 
As my mind trailed off I laid back into the leaves covering the ground, and I gazed up into the tree tops. 

My eyes wandered, glancing at the few people out on the quad at this time. 
It was a nice break from the usually busy quad life. 

As my eyes continued to wander, I began to stare at the piles of leaves. 

Leaves seem such a mundane part of life, that they are constantly overlooked, especially once they float down from their tree limbs. 
But if you really take the time to look at a leaf - they are quite detail orientated. 

The way their colors can vary from numerous shades of warm colors. 
Their veins and the paths they choose to take. 
How some parts of the leaf are flat, while others are raised. 
The lines themselves are complex, such as the basic shape of the leaf. 

All of these attributes inspired me to pursue these leaves for my art project. 
So without hesitation, I grabbed my sketchbook, planned a few things out and decided I needed to gather some of the leaves to include them in my piece. 
I called my friends to help me out. 

Only in Asheville does three girls gathering leaves from the quad not look completely insane. 
Which is a wonderful fact because it means that I do not need to worry about suppressing my artistic vision. 
Perhaps if I was somewhere else, I would have been too bashful to gather leaves in the quad. 
But that is why UNC Asheville is so great, you can do what you want to pursue, whether it is the art involved in the leaves or the science. 

Regardless, if you want to gather leaves in the middle of the quad. 
You go for it. 

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Fall Is Now Among Us

As the season of fall whisked onto campus...

Campus Outlook

There was a deeper sense of change beyond the leaves, or the wind.
It was finally the time of year where the pace of students milling around campus seemed to slow down and everyone accepted transitioning into an unofficial new part of school.

This "unofficial new part" was the looming fact of a new semester - meaning figuring out new class schedules, studying for exams, and any other homework task possible.
So despite the change of walking pace, students are continuing to maintain that internal drive.

Waiting In Line For Cookies

As a reward for keeping this internal drive and as a commemorative ceremony for the maple trees, every year a ceremony is held called "The Turning Of The Maples."

Cookie Tray

It is a ceremony that is meant to correlate with the... well, turning of the maples.
The celebration takes place in the quad, where students are able to be surrounded by the picturesque trees while eating ginger snap cookies shaped like leaves, and drinking piping hot apple cider.

Cookies And Cider

This year, it was a great break from my day to see everyone sitting in the quad, treats in hand, with a smile on their faces.

Besides students eating cookies under colorful maple trees between classes...
There have also been frequent campus tours lately.
A few of my younger friends have come to visit during these dates to see my school's campus, and I encourage you to do the same!
Come see what UNC Asheville is all about - especially times like these when the beauty is only augmented.

As the leaves change their colors and transition to a new part of the year, I believe we should too, and absorb the relaxation it presents - especially here in the mountains. 

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Hello Bulldogs, and Bulldog Lovers

Hey UNC Asheville blog readers!
I just wanted to introduce myself because I will be blogging for you guys for awhile, keeping you posted on anything and everything UNC Asheville; things that you want to hear if you are a student, a prospective student or a curious parent.

My name is Madison Olle and I am a freshman here at UNC Asheville.
Due to my age - the college visit, application, and acceptance process still feels fresh in my brain.
I remember when my mom and I were looking at schools, we would always look at their websites, and check out their social sites, such as a blog.
You can tell a lot about a school that way.

Therefore, I will make sure you have the information that will help you get a feel for UNC Asheville, and the city Asheville, without having to make a physical trip.
Of course, if you love what you see and read, come visit!
If there is anything you want to know about, feel free to leave comments or email us.

What do you want to hear? 

It could be anything from what is the class rigor like, to what food was served in the cafeteria on Tuesday. 

You decide. 

Regardless, I will keep you informed.
In addition, I love to take photographs, and will implement them as much as possible into my posts.
So if there is ever a day where you do not feel like completely reading a post, you can still capture UNC Asheville's essence through photographs.

For instance, here is a photograph taken during a study session of mine.
As I completed my homework on a balcony in one of the buildings, I could not help but take in the view.

Studying With Scenery 

Here's to a great school year filled with blogging! 

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Looking for Student Bloggers

The UNC Ashevulle Office of Admissions is currently looking for UNC Asheville students to write posts for the Admissions Blog.  We should have some new content for you soon.  

If you are a UNC Asheville student, and would like more information, please contact the Admissions Office at

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For the past year, my roommate has been volunteering at I Have a Dream of Asheville, an organization that offers tutoring and mentoring to children from low-income households.  Thanks to her efforts, on Saturday the "Dreamers" and the Bulldogs came together in an epic dodgeball tournament.  I stopped by to take some pictures and enjoy the lively atmosphere.  Campus clubs and organizations joined the tournament to build camaraderie, and sports teams joined forces to get their adrenaline pumping.  Every team had one or more students from I Have a Dream, and participants were encouraged to donate books to the kids.  Having never before been to a dodgeball tournament (the last time I experienced this sport was in elementary school), I wasn't sure what to expect. To be honest, I had prepared myself for chaos, with so many people running around and chucking balls at one another.  Instead, I found that the event was extremely well-organized, and the atmosphere full of excitement and energy.  Although I did not sign up to play on a team, I had a great time watching the players in action and getting to know some of the Dreamers.  I had a pretty tough time taking action shots with my camera, but I was sure to take as many pictures as I could so I would have some to share with you.  I had an awesome time.  If I were going to be here next year, I would definitely organize a team and get in on the action!!

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NM 11th Annual Juried Student Exhibition

Last Friday (April 6), I stopped by Highsmith Gallery to enjoy the reception for the opening of the New Media department's 10th Annual Juried Student Exhibition.   I went there last year and had such a great time that I could hardly wait to go back this year.  Last year, the show was hosted by the Multimedia Arts and Sciences department, which has since changed its name to the New Media department and upgraded its website.  Just like last year, this year there were a lot of really interesting and interactive pieces.  I enjoyed playing around with this piece, called "intra," which allows users to connect to each other as part of a sort of electric circuit.  When we stood barefoot on the metal plates, we powered various electronics around the gallery.

Artists: David Allen, Kevin Boggs, Drew Glover, and Hannah Trussler.  "While most digital  media connects people across distances, intra creates an immersive environment that promotes direct interaction.  Each person stands barefoot on a metal plate and adjusts the environment by touching adjacent smaller pads.  When all stations are occupied, the users become part of the same circuit with a single current connecting them all."

I also really enjoyed this piece, which reacted to the movements my fingers made across a piece of paper, and displayed them on a computer screen.  I have no idea how this piece worked, but I had a lot of fun with it!

Last year, my friend designed the poster for the show and had three pieces featured. This year, he had more work on display. His piece, called "Soundstage" allows one to experience simultaneously any number of sound clips submitted from other users from anywhere in the world.  He told me that we hear many things, but only choose to focus on a few sounds (two or three), and the rest become some kind of white noise. "Soundstage" mimics this phenomenon.  Cool, right?  He also had an interactive game called "Snowflakes" but I didn't get a picture.

Here are more pictures from the rest of the show.  The exhibit closes today.  I hope you had a chance to experience the creativity of our students in the New Media department over the past week!

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