As a 5th year Rural Studies major I recognized the importance of freshman convocation. According to our president numbers are continuing to grow and students in 4 year degree programs are at an all time high. I have been an active member of ABAC since I'e been here and have seen the growth and it makes me feel good that the messages that were spoken from people who care and believe in ABAC like I do. I think several things that were said would have made an impression me. One was this was that this was the first day to the rest of my life. Which is so true. College is the beginning of the rest of those freshman's lives. Another thing I enjoyed was the top 20 list that was read by Caroline Black. I think it was also important to hear from two freshman themselves as speakers because I think the freshman could relate most to them
Freshman Convocation Fall 2013. The name is explanatory enough, right? It's a day to welcome new students into the family of ABAC and to celebrate with them as they embark on their new scholastic journey. Yeah, right. As I looked across Gressette Gymnasium I did see bright eyed freshman students, but the glow was radiating from the screen of their new iPhone's they just bougt with that extra graduation money. Don't get me wrong, I'm positive not every single freshman thought snapchatting their friends or tweeting about how hungry they were was more important than the ceremony. But I can't help but look at the messages delivered at Freshman Convocation and believe that the ceremony was not truly for freshman students. In fact, the ceremony seemed to touch the emotions and the heart strings of those who already have a strong and proud connection to the college.
I am a junior at ABAC and I have just recently completed my Associates of Arts in Journalism and Mass Media, and up until the Fall Semester of my Sophomore year I was right on track to transfer to the University of Georgia as soon as my associates degree was completed. This was not something that I was happy with because I had grown a close and personal love for ABAC and was truly involved on campus. I had Sigma Alpha sorority sisters that I couldn't bear to leave, and I still felt like I had not truly found what I was called to do. Since my freshman year I had heard about the new rural studies program, but honestly I was very skeptical about it because it was, well, new. In my efforts to find a way to stay at ABAC I began to do some more research into the program. To make a long story short, I learned that the Rural Studies Writing and Communication degree was the perfect tool I needed for what I want to do in the future - work to help resolve obstacles and issues in rural environments on a communications level.
So, how does this all tie in to the convocation ceremony? Well, as I listened to the various speeches delivered I was reassured that ABAC was truly an amazing place, and I felt a surge of pride to be an ABAC Stallion. The Rural Studies program offers the majority of the bachelor's degree that can be obtained at ABAC and when Dr. Bridges told the audience that the number of students seeking Baccalaureate degrees was up by 40% from last term, I felt a great deal of satisfaction knowing that these new students sitting in front of me were going to be able to experience ABAC and the Rural Studies program for four entire years. Just like me, many of the students that come to ABAC are from rural communities and many want to return to a rural setting after graduation. The convocation ceremony helped to remind me how proud I am that ABAC offers this unique opportunity to give people the skills they need to go back to their rural communities or other rural environments and make them better and help them to thrive.
Rural Studies: Writing and Communication
by Jesse Dodd
I was not expecting to get that much out of the Freshman Convocation. I went “just
because it was required to complete the assignment,” but I actually found it
very interesting and helpful.
Each of the speakers did a great job in encouraging the upcoming students to work
hard to have successful college careers while at ABAC. They were positive, uplifting, and seemed very genuine—which I think is important.
The tips that Dr. Bridges and Caroline Black gave to achieving their college goals were great
advice that I would have loved to have known as a freshman.
It was interesting to hear as a junior, what all I took for granted my first year of college and although I have already started, the tips given are ones that I can apply to my life that will help me finish up my last two
It's the end of welcome week for ABAC's new fall 213 freshmen and the convocation has begun. As the fresh faces of ABAC file in for their seats the buzz of students and faculty ring through the air. The students gazed upon the faculty dressed in their graduation gowns, a reminder of why they were here. As President Bridges spoke about the academic achievements of the new freshmen and that there were 900 registered for the four year degree programs, pride filled the room. ABAC has come a long way since my freshmen convocation four years ago. I am proud of what ABAC has become, a new innovative, academically outstanding school that is now a force to be reckoned with!
Apparently the focus of the convocation at ABAC was on the freshman of 2013. Sadly, I am a junior and it was my first convocation i have attended. I knew that convocation was going to be motivational, but i did not know just how motivating it would be. After attending the convocation it made me think how i could of used the encouraging advice given at this meeting as a freshman. They gave advice such as "only be apart of things that will have a positive impact on you" and "finish college in four years". It took me three years to receive my associates degree, because i also worked part time. Looking back i really wish i would of gave up the job so that i could have finished my school a little faster. I also participated in wasteful activities that did not have a positive impact on me, instead they just wasted my time when i could have been studying. I wish someone would of told me about convocation when i was freshman, i could of used the advice. So we need to make sure that all freshman of 2014 goes to convocation. We don't want them missing out on a great message like the one given at convocation 2013.
August 11, 2008, marked the first day of my first semester as a freshman at ABAC. I did not know where I was going, I did not know any of my professors, and I honestly did not know what I wanted out of ABAC besides a two year degree that would move me right on to my next stop. As a freshman I felt much like the way Stanley J. Baran discusses the cultural stereotype of Americans in Introduction to Mass Communications Media Literacy and Culture when he writes “perhaps we are dolphins in a sea full of fish” (p. 11). During my first year of college, I was just a freshman in a school full of college students. Holding convocation for a gym full of college freshmen serves the purpose of bringing together a specific culture – ABAC freshman – and communicating the excitement of being a part of both this culture and this campus.
After graduating with an associate’s degree, I moved on from ABAC to a bigger school. I quickly realized that I missed ABAC every single day, so I began to search the ABAC website to find a way I could get a bachelor’s degree from ABAC. As soon as I read about the Rural Studies program, I knew where I wanted to be. Now that I’m back at ABAC I see the importance and excitement of being a part of ABAC from a senior’s viewpoint. As a freshman I just wanted to get in and get out. As a senior I see the excitement those speakers at convocation had when they discussed ABAC and the freshmen students’ role as part of ABAC.
I am just beginning my first year as a Rural
Studies major and couldn't have been more excited to start the semester. As I
attended my first Mass Communications class I was assigned to attend
convocation. I was slightly irritated that I would have to go to this "freshman
thing", when I could have been doing something I thought to be more productive.
Usually when class is cancelled from eleven o'clock to one, honestly, I don’t
generally attend a school sanctioned event. Well, I attended. I had to go for
class and I knew I really needed to go. I can't tell you how glad I am that I
As I sat and listened to my professors and peers and I realized that I had a completely different
perspective than I did my freshman year. It is comparable to growing up and
moving out of your family home. Everything that everyone has told you about what
you will miss and how hard, yet rewarding it will be, doesn't usually sink in
until you have gone out and experienced it for yourself. A lot of times you can
never take anyone’s word for anything, you have to sometimes learn the hard way.
People have to venture and explore to become grateful for what they have and
appreciate what they've been given. When I listened to these people give such
excellent advice as a freshman I decided I'd actually take it to heart. Thank
goodness something stuck. I became involved, made new friends, and had the best
experiences of my life thus far. I am continuing to have these great
experiences, but I never knew how true the advice they gave me would prove to be
until this year. What if they hadn't told me to have fun but study, become
involved and stay busy, or to network and get to know your professors? I might
not be where I am today.
This is my first year as a Rural Studies student and my third year at ABAC. I could not be happier. I have
finally found a degree that will not only allow me to focus in writing and
communications but will also allow me to obtain a minor in Agriculture. The
advice given at convocation should benefit all students, not just freshmen, or
Rural Studies students. I would suggest, however, that anyone wanting to pursue
a degree in Rural Studies with a focus in writing in communication take the
advice given very seriously. If you are going to be communicating with the
public and writing you should want to be involved in clubs and on campus as much
as possible. Clubs and other on
campus organizations give you the opportunity to enhance networking
opportunities and skills that can be honed by clubs and on-campus
Convocation as a freshman was something that did not peak my interests and to be honest, was a little boring. I hardly paid attention and was just counting down the minutes till I was able to leave. Going to convocation this year though, was entirely different. Similar to my freshman year I was not thrilled about going to the event, but this year I enjoyed the ceremony. There were many great things said to be taken away from convocation all revolving around a similar theme; enjoy your time in college and experience new things. Too many students miss out on new friends and new experiences because they are all too eager to get away form college and get back home where they are comfortable. Without putting yourself out there to experience new things and new people, you are never able to grow as a person. Sitting in convocation as a junior, the message I received was get out there and experience new things. I wish I would have received this same message as a freshman, but was too busy worrying about when I could leave convocation.
I had my doubts about attending convocation. In my mind, the only reason for going was because my professor required the class to attend for an assignment. To be honest, I skipped my freshmen convocation because of two things: It wasn't required to attend and I felt like it was a complete waste of time. After sitting in on this year's convocation, I may have judged it unfairly. For starters, Melissa Escobar, Student Government President and friend of mine, talked about her personal experience at ABAC and how involved she was on campus. She told them to "Don't be afraid to challenge yourself." and hearing all this made me reflect on my freshmen year. Now being a four year rural studies major, convocation opened my eyes to all that I accomplished throughout my career at ABAC and all the things I missed out on. For those of you who are considering rural studies and being a part of ABAC longer than two years, I leave you with this piece of advice. Though maintaining your grades in class is important, don't just sit in your dorm and study all the time. There are many clubs and intramural sports going on each semester and there always looking for new people to join. Don't be afraid to branch out and meet new people and who knows, they may even turn out to be the people you stay in touch with even after you graduate.
Rural Studies?... Rural life?... Internship?…. We may have heard these words since we enrolled in the Rural Studies Program at ABAC, but we may are not clear about their meaning or at least, I did not. Fortunately, every class that I have taken in the RS program has taught me the real meaning of rural studies/rural life and my professors to love my “rural life,” appreciate its assets, detect its needs and problems, and find solutions. But in order to do this, students are exposed to different experiences while are in this program, such as an internship.
My internship was with Southwest Georgia 5 (SWGA5), a group made up of individuals from each of five neighboring counties --Calhoun, Clay, Quitman, Randolph, and Stewart--dedicated to promoting economic development. My project was to create a website to promote economic development, tourism and other assets of its area.
When I started this project, I thought that I was lucky to be able to do a lot of work on the project at home. However, this project is one of the hardest assignments I have done in my life. Everything went well the first three weeks, but after that, everything got complicated.
I had to learn many things about technology, but especially about how communicate appropriately with the
committee of SWGA 5. Because most of the work was done online at home, I had to be in contact with my supervisors by email or phone. There are at least 90 emails I sent and or replied to. I tried to write professional/formal emails to my supervisors, the five counties representatives, and the counties’ authorities and businesses.
After review the information I had, I decided to visit all the five counties and see their assets and take
pictures of the recreational areas. I believe this was a good idea because it helped me get a better image of how this area looks. SWGA 5 is a rural area with limited services and resources, but it has many assets that they need to showcase to people who may want to live, visit or invest in this area.
Even though their resources and services are limited, I was amazed with the views and recreational areas, such as the Providence Canyon State Park, Florence Marina State Park, and Historic Westville in Stewart County. These are beautiful places to spend with family at affordable price. Also there are many areas in all the counties for hunting and fishing, which is one of the main reasons retirees move to this area.
My visit to SWGA 5 not only helped me on my project, but also motivated me to bring my family to see these places. We spent the following weekend at Historic Westville and Providence Canyon State Park, and had a fun time.
Besides the beauty of this area, my visit was a challenge. I had to visit the all five counties and many places, but without a GPS it was kind of hard to do it. For no reason, my cellphone did not work that week so my only communication was by the internet, and then only at home. I had to figure how to get to every place I needed to go.
My days started from 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. but I still had to work at home loading pictures, checking email, and looking at the map for the next visit the next day. I ended that week exhausted, but it was worth it because I had a lot of material to work with in the coming weeks.
This project means a lot to me because I learned many things. The creation of the website has helped me not
only to expand my technology knowledge, but to improve my communication skills. I had to be prepared for presentations, send a lot of professional emails and make phone calls. Even though my current job requires me to do this and to attend to professional conferences throughout the year, I have never experienced something like this.
Having the feeling that everyone is observing me and expecting something big from me is very stressful;
however this has helped me to have a different perspective of professional jobs. Also, I learned from Dr.
Grant, my supervisor on this project, how to manage my stress, make priorities, make important decisions, and get organized. Students thank ABAC for having professors like him who dedicate their time to prepare their student to succeed.
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