Student Blog The blog of William Woods University Undergraduate Students


Florida Fun! (Part 1)

Spring break was last week and I had a blast! I met my family in Orlando, Florida for a week of Universal Studio and Disney adventures. Since we had so much fun and did so many things, for this post I'm going to focus on Universal Studios. Look out for my Disney World adventures next week!

I had a very early flight last Saturday to get down to Orlando. We wanted to get started as soon as possible, and that meant waking up at two in the morning to catch the earliest flight available! Luckily  I caught a cat nap on the plane. My dad and older sister Grace arrived in Orlando the night before, so they were my welcoming committee. We headed straight for the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios.

Hard Rock Hotel guitar fountain

Hard Rock Hotel guitar fountain

The hotel was huge! They had this really cool fountain out front and the water changed heights constantly. The hotel was within walking distance to the parks, and because it was "on property" we had the ability to go into Harry Potter World half an hour early! Universal Studios has two parks, one called Universal Studios and the other called Island of Adventure (which is home to Harry Potter World). We spent the first day at Universal Studios, the second at Island of Adventure, and the third at both parks.

The first thing we did was the Despicable Me adventure. We were trained to be minions and saw what happened after the movies end. When we came out of the ride, there was a photo opportunity with the minion mascot!

Me and my little sister with the minion!

Me and my little sister with the minion!

One of our other favorite rides was the Mummy. It was an indoor roller coaster where we went through the tombs in the movie. We ended up riding that one five times by the end of the three days at Universal.

Mummy roller coaster with my mom and sisters

Mummy roller coaster with my mom and sisters

The family favorite ride at Universal Studios park was the Men In Black ride. We went through a monster simulation where we got to be the M.I.B. agents and we shot targets with laser guns. Those type of rides are always a big hit for my dad, and the rest of us enjoy trying to beat his scores!

We are all very serious agents!

We are all very serious agents!

There were many other rides and attractions at the Universal Studios park that we enjoyed, like the Shreck ride, Monster Make Up show, Fear Factor Live, and the Transformers ride. The Island of Adventure, however, may have been the highlight of our whole break!

The first thing we did was head straight for Harry Potter World. My sisters and I grew up with the story of Harry Potter unfolding, so it is definitely a family favorite. The Hogwarts flying adventure ride is the most popular ride at Universal. The line can get upwards of three hours minutes after the park even opens! We were very lucky to have the extra hour since we stayed on property, so we got there early two days in a row to hop in line. It was still a wait, but nowhere near three hours!

Flying through Hogwarts with my sisters

Flying through Hogwarts with my sisters

Before we even left, people were telling my mom that if we wanted to go on a great roller coaster, we had to ride the Hulk. I haven't been riding roller coasters for very long (I was quite afraid of them until about a year ago), so I was nervous when we first saw it but it turned out to be a blast! We rode it three times!

Riding the Hulk with my mom and sisters

Riding the Hulk with my mom and sisters

One of the coolest parts of Island of Adventure was the Dr. Seuss area they set up. The shops were all cartoon like and they had characters everywhere! It felt like going back in time to when I used to read those books as a kid. We got to take goofy pictures under the Sneetches train tour.

Look! It's the Sneetches!

Look! It's the Sneetches!

Universal Studios is a great place to go, for people of all ages! They have attractions and events for everyone, from kid to adult. Three days was the perfect amount of time to see both parks and enjoy the shows. If you're ever in Orlando, it's worth the stop! Also, if you do go, the fast pass is worth it. Wait times go way down and we were able to do. We did so many fun things in three days, and I'm not even halfway through the week! Look out for Florida Fun (Part 2) next week!



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Keeping Busy!

It is a busy time here at The Woods! In the past week I have done so many different things, it has been great.

Last week we had campus wide Greek Week! All of the fraternities and sororities across campus came together as a community and talked about what it means to be Greek and gave to a great cause. Every house had a Greek God/Goddess to wear a backpack everywhere they went to raise money for the Buddy Back Pack Program. This program was started by a school teacher when one of her students was crying because they had to go home for a break and they knew there was not going to be regular meals like lunch at school. Now the program provides food for kids to take home so they can have regular meals all the time!


Katie Hodges shows off her backpack

Other than raising money, the Greek Gods and Goddesses participated in a Greek trivia, chapter members received Greek Awards, and we had an all Greek BBQ. We also spend time volunteering for SERVE, a local soup kitchen. It was a very fun and eventful week!


Greek God and Goddess Trivia


Greek Superlative Winners


Volunteering at the soup kitchen

Over the weekend the Dressage program held the Completely Relaxed Spring Schooling Show. I did not ride in the show, but I did help work it. It was really neat to watch all the different riders perform their tests. For Dressage, the goal is to get a certain percentage on a certain test in a certain level. Each rider performs their test (or tests) individually, and then is scored by a judge. I got to work in the scoring room so I learned a lot about all the different types of tests. Coming up in April is the USEF/USDF licensed Dressage show. I am very excited to get to watch and help with that too!

My Mentor/Mentee project is moving along quite well! Last week my mentor, Professor Jean Kraus, sent our first website module to one of her classes for a test drive! I can't wait to meet with her later to discuss the feedback.

In the Biology world I have been learning more and more things not only in my classes, but also as a work study. Dr. Nicholas Pullen has been doing some research with live mammalian cell lines (including some cancer), and he has been teaching me how to keep the different cells alive! I am really enjoying the experience. It is really fun to get to have this type of lab experience.

It is crazy how quickly the semester is flying by! I already had my advising appointment so I can sign up for classes next fall. It is crazy to think that once we get back from spring break it will be April!

I am really excited for next week. My family and I are going to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, FL! I will be sure to take pictures and get some quality time with my family!


Soak Up the Sun!

It has been beautiful out for the past few days here at The Woods! Spring is starting to roll in. The sun is shining, it has been warm, and everyone is enjoying time outside!

Yesterday when I was walking back to my room from class, I felt all the happiness that comes with getting outside after winter. The fraternity and sorority houses had their front doors open with music blasting, and a lot of students were outside playing catch. Everyone seems to have a little spring in their step!

At my sorority, the girls like to lay out on the lawn to get some sun. We have a small pool that we fill up when it's warm enough to dip our feet in. Sometimes we get creative, and put a tarp in the bed of a pick up and then fill it with water! Yesterday the girls were outside with their feet in the pool, and a few more were laying in the grass with the music going and a gentle breeze. Everyone welcomed the study break!

Hanging out in the sun!

Hanging out in the sun outside Alpha Phi

Another great thing about the beautiful weather is that there are chances to get LEAD points outside! In the fall people often go to the soccer games. This time of year, baseball is playing. It's a super fun way to earn a LEAD point. You just bring your bottle of water and a few snacks and watch the game with your friends!

Watching the ball game

Watching the ball game


Big Sis and Little Sis fun at the baseball game!


Another fun way to get some LEAD points outside is through frisbee golf! I had never hear of this game before I came to The Woods, but apparently it is pretty popular. You just check out some discs from Weider Fitness Center, and there is a course than runs all over campus. The object is to throw the disc into the metal nets with the fewest tries. I've done it a few times and even though I don't have the best aim, it is a lot of fun to run around our beautiful campus with a group of friends.

Campus Activities Board also hosts some outdoor events where you can get LEAD points! Last fall they hosted an outdoor moving night and we had a concert on the dock. I really enjoy all the different types of LEAD events at The Woods, especially when I can take a break and go outside.

I love spring weather! Everyone seems a little brighter and it is great to get outdoors. We are getting ready for Spring Break here at The Woods, it is just over a week away! I'm excited to go to Disney World with my family. Then we will come back and I'm sure the rest of the semester will just fly by! Enjoy the sunshine :)



A Day at The Barn

The William Woods Equestrian Department attracts a lot of people from all over. There are so many opportunities that come from being a part of this program like showing at A-level shows, clinics with well-known equestrian people, and soaking up all the knowledge you can from our very well qualified instructors. But what is it like on a day to day basis?

Even though I am not an equestrian major, I spend a lot of time at the barn. With my riding class, equine anatomy class, stable management class, and Mentor-Mentee project I've had a lot of great experiences with the faculty and students in the program.

This semester I am riding in an intermediate Dressage class with Karen Pautz. It meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4PM. Regardless of your seat, riding classes meet twice a week. Then Friday-Sunday there are opportunities to free ride horses that you have successfully ridden in class. Each riding class also has a few teaching techs (usually 2) who are learning how to teach people to ride. I enjoy taking tech lessons on the weekends and free riding.

Because this program is geared toward preparing students for all aspects of the equine industry, riders are responsible for making sure their horse is comfortable and cared for on the days they ride. On a typical class day, I get to the barn around 2:45. Since my class is later in the day, I like to get there early to clean out my horses's stall and give him some love. It is also nice to have some extra time to chat with the other people in my riding class. We always like to guess what we will be working on in class that day.

After the stall is done, I spend extra time grooming. It is one of my favorite things to do! I get to know the personality of the horse and the repetitive brush strokes is calming. I also use the time to go over some anatomical structures I've learned about in my anatomy class (what can I say, I'm a little nerdy!).  Once the class is all tacked up and ready to go, we head over to the arena together.

We ride for an hour, and there are six of us in the class. The number of people does depend on your instructor, but it is never more than eight and there is always plenty of room! The way our class is structured there is usually a topic or a skill for the day. Karen tells us about it after we've warmed up and then she either explains an exercise for us or gives us the opportunity to master the skill on our own.

After we get off, we head back to the barn. Then it is time to un-tack and do a little more grooming. I usually spend about twenty to thirty minutes (depending on how sweaty the horse gets!) putting my stuff away and getting my horse settled in for the evening. Then it is off to Tucker Dining Hall for some dinner!

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