SoCon Champs!!

Two days ago, campus was full of excitement as we went about our daily schedules. It was Championship Day. The Men’s Basketball Team had cemented their spot in the Southern Conference Tournament Finals. The game wasn’t until 9pm, but we were all ready to make our way to Asheville to support our team.

After filling 9 charter buses, a 15 passenger vans, and a multitude of cars, the Wofford fan section was on the way to Asheville.

The game was so intense. It was a nail-biter for sure. The student section was the most intense I had witnessed all year. It was just a great atmosphere. Well, we won the title and it was just so great to see the team’s hard work pay off. They deserve it.

Aerris Smith is the only senior on the team. I remember meeting him during orientation of our freshman year. Truly on the kindest people here and his heart and courage have always been a big part of who he is as a person. Below is a link to the audio of a post game interview following Monday’s game. Aerris details some of his physical struggles just to make it to this point in the season. You can hear for yourself, but Aerris’s heart, courage and tenacity is the epitome of what it means to be a Wofford Terrier.

 

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The Hunt

“So what’s next?”

As a second semester senior, I hear this question so often. Honestly, it’s pretty nerve racking to constantly think about what’s my next step. Since 1996, I’ve always known that I’d be in a formal classroom at the conclusion of the summer. Now it’s kind of in the air. I can say it’s sort of the first time that most of us get to totally choose what comes next in our own lives. It’s scary as ****!

But it’s exciting as well. I originally thought I wanted to attend film school next fall, but that’s changed. I still want to go to film school eventually, but I just want a change from school. I want to try something different that’s totally new to me. The job hunt is like having another class to study and do homework for. Just like school, your final product is determined by the amount of time, work and effort that you put in. That’s the way I’m looking at it.

I plan to be in Atlanta after graduation. For me, it’s a new city with plenty of opportunities and resources. I’ve applied to a few tv and film jobs. I’m also looking at writing and communications positions. It’s stressful at times, but the key is being positive and learning to be active about the search, as well as going with the flow.

In talking to alumni, a lot people didn’t truly know what they’d be doing after graduation. A good bit of people didn’t stay at their first job after graduation. But one thing everyone had in common is that they each put their all into whatever it was they did decide to do after graduation. So I’m worried enough to keep the ball rolling, but I’m keeping my smile and positive outlook on it all. I’m more than confident that my last four years here at Wofford have prepared me for whatever is up next.

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The Little Things

When a team plays with heart, it’s a beautiful thing. Last night a few friends and I went to Asheville to cheer our Men’s Basketball team in the Southern Conference Tournament quarterfinals. We beat the Citadel by double digits. My friends and I enjoyed good pizza and good beer in Asheville before the game. My final semester at Wofford will end pretty soon, so I’m just enjoying all that I can before that time is up.

Today, we moved forward an hour for Day Light Savings Time. Krispy Kreme has the promotion where you get a free doughnut since you lose and hour of sleep. So naturally we took a study break and went for a doughnut. After a busy week of school and a long day of homework, I just appreciate the little things.

I started writing this post yesterday. Since that time, we’ve won another game and have made it into the SoCon Tournament finals for the third time in five years! This is pretty exciting. So we’re playing Western Carolina tonight and a lot of Wofford’s campus/community will be headed to Asheville this afternoon. The winner of this game earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. If I get some good pictures, I’ll share them with you all tomorrow. It’s just really cool to see our guys doing well, seeing them effortlessly play as a team and to witness the kind of fan support they’ve garned in the last couple of months. Huge shoutout to Coach Young and the rest of the team!

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Buzz Came to Town

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to witness Buzz Aldrin share his life’s memories. He spoke on Wednesday night, reliving the events of his time with NASA and his journey to the moon. It was so cool to simply hear such a great man speak. But it was also amazing to see Buzz’s humanity. I, as well as many other students, was lucky enough to be invited to a luncheon with Buzz on that same Wednesday. The luncheon was intended to be a Q & A. However, following the first question, Buzz’s response was nearly 40 minutes long. He spoke of his adolescent years, his time as a fighter pilot, working toward his doctorate at MIT and finally being selected to join NASA.

Buzz’s life hasn’t been flawless, but it’s been perfect. He made plenty of mistake and bad decisions in his time, which he admitted to us. But what I took from his talks was the notion that courage, hard work, integrity and opportunity will take you to anywhere you want to go. To know that someone who literally walked on the moon is just as human as you and I was pretty inspiring. A lot of cool events, such as the Buzz Aldrin lecture, happen at Wofford every now and then. Like I’ve always said, every experience is a learning opportunity.

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Aside from my interim project, I am currently starting work on my capstone project. I’m a Humanities major and we have to complete a research project in order to complete major requirements. I decided that I wanted to do something different than what’s been done for capstone thus far.  I plan on making a documentary exploring the history of Higher Education in the state of South Carolina through stories, testimonials and interviews with African-Americans who are or have been closely connected to colleges/universities in this state. HBO made a documentary called the “Blacklist” some years back. If you’ve seen it, then you know what I’m shooting for. Here’s a link to parts of the HBO documentary: http://www.youtube.com/user/blacklist

If you know people who would be great for this project, please feel free to let me know about them. I can’t wait to share this journey with y’all.

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The Home Stretch

Second semester is well underway. It marks the end of a great Interim and the start of my final semester here at Wofford. One of the coolest things about Wofford is Interim. It’s a one-month break, during January in between the academic semesters. This time is spent traveling to learn about another region of the world, learning a new skill or just exploring a topic that you find interesting. Interim is basically a time to explore topics one wouldn’t normally study during the academic semesters.

Prior to this most recent Interim term, I had spent previous interims exploring the culture and history of Hawaii, exploring the outdoors of the Carolinas, and studying Buddhism and meditation. I want to do something different this year. So I proposed my own interim and it was approved. I took my love for both film and music and decided to make a documentary about the lives of local hip-hop artists. I learned so much about music and film over the past month.

The process was long and strenuous, but so fulfilling, at the same time. I interviewed and followed artists from Charleston, Atlanta and Pacolet (near Spartanburg). Each artist was different from the next, but they all shared commonalities. I traveled to each of their respective homes and filmed them, their families, and the music scenes that they call home. Of course the project changed as the month progressed and I am very happy about it all. I’ll include the link once I’ve finished editing.

Again, everything is a learning opportunity. With this project, I was reintroduced to the idea of Indie v. Local, and I realized that I was actually making a documentary about Indie rappers. Indie means to be independent of a record label, everything you do is on your own. I made a lot of contacts and befriended so many people. In terms of film, I learned how to edit better, to go with the flow, and to make the best of any situation. It was just a cool process.

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Know the World

As a senior in college, people ask me all the time what I’m going to be doing upon graduation. Of course I have plenty of goals, plans and aspirations that automatically spew out of my mouth. But if I were to be honest, I would always respond, “I want to travel.”

I don’t want to travel just for the sake of it or to say I’ve done it. I want to learn and discover. I want to be able to tell others about what I saw, what I learned and what I did. I’ve traveled to plenty of places afar while Wofford. But of course that’s not doable all the time. This semester I’ve taken shorter trips to a lot of cool places.

One of my favorites was Nashville. Sadly, we were there for a memorial service, but I’m really glad I went. Getting to meet Martha’s family is something that I am very thankful for. I also spent a lot of time with good friends. Although I only spent about 20 hours in Nashville, I fell in love with the city. It just had a great vibe. It even inspired one of my art pieces.

I travel to Atlanta a lot. My girlfriend attends school there and that’s why I initially started coming to the capital of the South. But now that I’ve explored the city and have gotten to know it, I realize that there are so many reasons worth going there. I’ve met really cool and inspiring people, both celebrities and non-celebrities alike. I could see myself living there.

Traveling for concerts and shows is so awesome. Concerts are kind of like church in a way. I think the common factor is the notion that people like to commune around a shared experience. It’s really cool. Tonight I’m seeing Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar in concert. Last month I saw Drake in concert. Drake and Kanye are two of my favorite artists and influence a lot of my work.

I can’t wait to share my future travel experiences with y’all. Exploring the world is something everyone should do even if it’s just a few hours away from home. It’s not about going some place new just to say you did it. It’s about going some place with a purpose. It’s about learning something new. It’s about gaining an understanding about something greater than yourself. That’s what makes you a traveler.

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Friendsgiving is a Fun Word

Your family members are your first friends by default. Your friends are often the family you get to choose. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. Yet, if you had told be four years ago that I’d be so close to the friends I have now, I’m not sure I would have believed you. They really are like a second family.

Thanksgiving has just passed and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my family back home. But I remember most the few texts I received wishing me Happy Thanksgiving. Of course, over the years, mass holiday texts have gone out of style, but I make sure those who I cherish always know how important they are to me.

Over the past three and a half years I’ve grown close to a handful of people who I consider to be family. We’re always there for each other and it’d take an act of God to tear us apart.

“Some things don’t turn out the way you wanted, they turn out better.” I think I heard the quote on a commercial earlier today. But it is very true in this situation. I didn’t plan to have the friends that I have now, the girlfriend who I’m with, or be working for the boss that I have. But I am so grateful for the way things turned out.

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Take the Risk

“If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It Isn’t Big Enough”. This is the title of a book written by Kristine K. Stevens. Although this story explores Steven’s journey to sell her home and travel the world, her title holds true for the dreams of others and myself, as well.

I’ve done a lot at Wofford since I first walked through the front gates in August of 2010 and made a home on the third floor of Greene Hall. But my goal has been to push the enevelope even further than those who came before me. A part of this goal has been creating and complete my own Interim project. Well I’ve done the first part of it. The second part is the scariest.

My project is to make a documentary film exploring the locality of Hip-Hop culture in select areas. This involves making a film which is daunting in itself. Then the subject matter of Hip-Hop culture is so big. There’s also the travel factor and being on my own. It’s a scary thought but it’s also very exciting.

I honestly can’t wait take on this challenge, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit afraid. Mostly, I’m thankful for the opportunity to do some I really care about and something that hasn’t been done yet.

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Ideas, Inspiration and Awareness

Working on a project or paper or anything can be frustrating. There’s coming up with the initial idea. There’s cultivating and focusing that idea. There’s initiating the idea and creating something that reflects the message of the idea you originally came up with. Then there’s making it perfect.

I have a lot of projects happening both currently and in the near future. I’m always thinking about these projects and trying to figure out how to perfect them to the best of my ability. The frustration comes at any given time when I know the end result that I want but i can’t figure out how to get there. This goes for my art projects, film, essays, poetry, and many other things.

However, sometimes, things just click.  In previous posts, I’ve talked about being a mentee and always learning. I want to add the advice to always be inspired. The reason things click is a combination of me always contemplating and being around people with great ideas. Often I run my ideas by my friends and accept whatever reaction and advice they have to offer, whether it’s good or bad. Being aware helps as well. I can remember plenty of times being inspire by some random act I witnessed or just being outside on a nice day. Sometimes it clicks.

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