Spring semester classes began this week at Lander University, and students expressed excitement at being back.
Christian Hill, a sophomore early childhood education major from New York, was stoked at getting his favorite professor. “Her name is Dr. Caryn Caruso. I also got two other professors that I’ve heard amazing things about,” he said.
“I feel as though I’m finally taking the classes that I’m interested in, and I can’t wait to learn more,” said Ebony Nance, a senior human services major from Greenwood.
Abbeville resident Amber Ballenger, a senior English major with a professional writing emphasis, was also eager to start work. She expects the classes she is taking this semester to “inspire me and give me insight into the skills I need when I graduate.” Ballenger’s short story, “All The Texan Poppies,” was selected as the best work of fiction in the latest edition of Lander’s “New Voices” magazine, published by the Department of English and Foreign Languages. “I’m looking forward to finishing this semester as the English Club president, and as an intern for “New Voices” magazine,” she said.
Parker Lambert, a sophomore from Riegelsville, Pa., said he was also “excited to be back, and looking forward to representing Lander this semester on the fishing team.”
Carrie Irick, a senior early childhood education major from Florence, is doing her student teaching this semester. She said that working in a second-grade classroom from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. each day “has been a huge adjustment for me, and I’ve definitely struggled with this new schedule, but I’m getting to experience what life as a teacher will be like — which is such a privilege. I’ve had a blast in my classroom and I love all of the students I’ve gotten to meet.”
An Honors College student, Irick is taking an online capstone class which will require her to give a presentation at an academic symposium later in the semester. “The idea of that is super scary to me, but I’m also excited to get to showcase some research I’ve already done and will continue doing this semester,” she said.
“The best part about being back on campus,” she said, “is getting to see my best friends again and spend one last semester with them before we all graduate and move on to whatever is going to come next for us.”
The beginning of a new semester always brings new challenges, but for Brandon Blankenship, a senior mass media and communications major from West Columbia, that was particularly the case. On Monday, Jan. 10, the first day of classes, he learned that his grandfather had died. He said he had been trying to stay positive, and being in classes related to his area of interest helped. “I feel like I can make great strides in building my future this semester,” he said.
Trials and tribulations are nothing new to Kirstyn Kirkland Garron, a nursing student from Hodges. Although she was already working as a nurse, with Agape Care of South Carolina, she decided to return to school to get her B.S.N. and start work on her nurse practitioner degree. She said that “trying to juggle work full-time, school full-time and my family has been a challenge, but the support of my family, teachers and staff has helped to make this as easy as possible.”