Here Comes the Thunder

No, we haven’t had any bad weather unless you count the heat wave. Here Comes the Thunder is the fight song for Georgia College & State University, our latest adventure in “where does Katy want to go to college”. The school mascot is a bobcat named Thunder.

All I knew about the school was Katy’s second grade teacher went there and it has kind of a boring name. Last week we went to a garage sale and chatted with the proprietor,  mainly about China patterns but she asked Katy if she knew where she wanted to college. Katy said no but we’ve looking around. She said “I really like that small school in Milledgeville”. I said “Oh, we’re going there next week!!” She went there and graduated on her birthday. Heath had heard about it and thought it was worth investigating and Katy and I talked to a recruiter at a college fair and picked up some information. Naturally he thought it was worth investigating!

It’s about a 2 1/2 drive and the tour was at 10 a.m. Since leaving in the morning meant we’d spend 2 1/2 hours try to fight through Atlanta rush hour before we even hit the open road we decided to leave Thursday night and spend the night. It was an interesting drive. We went through Georgia’s Dairy Land and saw lots of cows and I didn’t get any pictures!

We did see an Amazon semi. I’ve seen their delivery vans around town and I know they have their own planes so I don’t know why something in the middle surprised me.

And some big tires headed somewhere

The one thing I didn’t get a picture of was the seven fire trucks on the other side of the highway. We knew before we left the house there had been a wreck but Google assured us this was still the fastest route. By the time we got there the wreck had been cleared up but there was an impressive collection of fire trucks. We figured there must have been a big gas spill and they were mopping up.

There were a lot of really pretty lakes in the area, the photo really doesn’t do it justice.

Peches anyone?

When we drove by this stand on Thursday it was closed for the day but we noticed the “peches” sign on the other side. So I got this photo on the way back. Remember this, it comes up later.

We also went through Eatonton, home of the Uncle Remus Museum, which I think would be interesting to visit sometime.

So Friday we got up earlier than we planned (it’s hard to sleep in a hotel) and got to the campus a little early. We parked in the right place (they tow you if you don’t) and took the bus to the admission office. Milledgeville was the antebellum capitol of Georgia and the campus is smack in the middle of all these beautiful old houses and other buildings. I noticed many of them had signs for various school offices. I asked the bus driver — Terry Ann — if the school was gradually buying up all the old buildings. She said yes and pointed out one we were driving past and said it was the old courthouse and the school just bought it last year, I think.

We got dropped off near the admissions office and had to walk down and across the street a bit.

This is the admissions building, I didn’t really find out anything about it. We went inside to check in and see where to go and I saw they had a screen with the names of everyone on the tour (there were more, it was several screens).

Well, if that doesn’t make you feel special!

Heath noticed the student working the reception desk was wearing a t-shirt with “Peches” on it and asked him. He said someone just decided to print up a bunch of t-shirts and sell them. Works for the stand owner, everyone is talking about his stand. I told the young man about the Eggbeater Jesus in Huntsville.

Well, we had some time to kill and decided to walk around and look at the old buildings. We looked at a campus map and saw that the Old Governor’s Mansion is part of the school and decided to walk over there.

It belongs to the school but it’s on the National Historic Registry and is a museum. We found out later it’s decorated and furnished “like the governor is coming home next week”. Students get free admission and there are a couple of ball rooms where the students hold semi-formal dances.

There were a couple of men setting up a bunch of folding chairs so we stopped to talk and found out they were getting ready for a 350-guest wedding the next day. He offered to take our picture on the steps.

We learned later that in the early 1900s the home was a dorm and in 1911 some girls scratched some graffiti (something about cute boys) in the window in the top right corner and it’s still there.

Then we headed back to start the tour.

The school has a really interesting history. It started out as a women’s school and went co-ed in 1967.

 

It is the only public liberal arts college in Georgia.

So it was 30 minutes of overview of programs, GPA and test requirements, essays and recommendations. And the dreaded financial information. Of course after Berry, it looks like quite a bargain!

The campus is divided into three parts: East Campus (a lake and a bunch of storage and maintenance buildings so we didn’t go there), West Campus (apartment-type housing and athletic facilities) and the Central Campus (traditional dorms and everything else).

We started our tour with CJ, a rising sophomore, at the West Campus. It’s seven apartment buildings, athletic fields and a very nice fitness center with the usual exercise equipment, indoor pool and track, rock climbing wall and my favorite …

A little lazy river! (If you look at the pool on the right there’s vertical thing sticking up. There are actually two and they are rock climbing walls.

We looked in the apartments. This is kind of a compromise when you want to live off-campus and your parents want you on campus. The apartment we looked at was four bedroom/two bath apartments that and holds either four or eight students. If it’s four, you have your own room and share a bathroom with one other person. If it’s eight, you share a room and a closet with one other person and a bathroom with three other people. And if you all end up in the little living room it’s going to be tight. I think they were designed really for four but with eight it really cuts down on the expense. There’s also 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. It’s a very quiet area of campus but it’s a bus or car ride away from everything else. Including the cafeteria and freshman are required to have a meal plan so you’re a good ways from breakfast. They had one apartment as a show apartment. Our guide explained that the bed, dresser, desk and bookcase come with the room, everything else was from Ikea so if you liked anything you could get it there! All housing is co-ed. You won’t have a roommate of the opposite gender but the people across the hall may be.

So we looked around there and then headed over to the Central Campus. We visited the arts and science building and saw two classrooms. One was a lecture-style room that holds about 60 students with the teacher at the front. Being a liberal arts school there are core classes everyone has to take and they are bigger. The whole student population is about 7,000 students. The next classroom was designed for upper-level classes which are much smaller. It was a small room with a long table in the middle, kind of a board room set-up as the upper level classes are primarily discussion and debate and not so much lecture.

We went to the library and I never did see any books. College libraries have changed so much. The first floor was kind of a cafe set-up in the front where you could sit in a booth, have a cup of coffee and do your homework. There was also a very nice computer lab and a computer service center — sort of a mini Best Buy with products for sale and free tech support.

Upstairs was more study areas, rooms for tutoring and lots of moveable tables and chairs for collaborative learning. We actually saw a student there!

It’s hard to see but that sign hanging from the ceiling says 3D printing. They have 3D printers you can use for anything. Our guide said one of his friends made a 3D Christmas ornament of his head for his mom. That was sweet in a creepy kind of way. Mostly it’s used for modeling for things like anatomy and physiology classes. He assured us there were books on the third floor along with more traditional quiet study areas.

One of the learning centers in the library.

We walked over the student activities center. It’s actually a big building and had several conference rooms and a ballroom. But the big attraction is The Den. It’s your usual set-up: snack bar (free sodas!), game room (ping pong, board games and all the latest video game systems) and a big TV room for Bachelor and Bachelorette watch parties. But the building is interesting.

I couldn’t get a real good picture because I was standing right in front of it.

It used to be First United Methodist Church of Milledgeville. The congregation outgrew the building, built a new one and put this one up for sale in 2004. The school really wanted it but they were out of money for buying any buildings that year. Well, the students apparently really wanted it because they raised the money to buy it. So this building actually belongs to the students.

Georgia College requires all freshman to live on campus and then most upperclassmen do, too. There are the apartments over on the west campus but there are several dorms in the Central Campus. They are your more typical dorms rooms: two bedroom double-occupancy suites with a bathroom in the middle. We went into one dorm and they had before-and-after-rooms to look at. The bathrooms were nice. They were twice the size of the one in my suite in college and had two sinks, which is nice when you have four people.

Before decorating

All of the beds are 4 1/2 feet off the ground so you have storage space beneath.

And after decorating:

Lofting really give you some room to work. You can’t see it real well but there’s a futon under that bed.

They were pretty nice-sized rooms.

The West apartment buildings, as I said, are more like off-campus living. The dorms in the Central Campus are right in the middle of the academic buildings, near the library, cafeteria and student center. And the dorms are where all the social activities take place. That’s your best bet for really getting to know people and feeling like you’re part of the school. There are Greeks, I did see one house, and there’s an honors dorm.

We wrapped up our tour with a trip through the cafeteria. It was 12:30 and I’d been hungry for an hour so the yummy smells about did me in. The home-cooking line featured chicken, rice pilaf, squash and carrots and a very nice employee who was happy to talk about the food.

The campus is really nice. Lots of green space, which is really important to Katy. She assured me the straps on her Eno were long enough for the space between the trees and later our tour guide said there was “lots of Enoing” during warm weather.

On the way back to the car, we noticed this.

One thing I’ve figured out visiting a few schools and looking at lots of others online. They all have the same “stuff”. They all have a cafeteria with a variety of food stations and a few fastfood outlets; they all have libraries with cafes and various learning areas; they all have computer labs with late hours and great tech support; they all have fitness facilities to rival the YMCA. It’s just a matter of what type of environment you want. Small school where everyone knows you, big school where you can sit in the back of the lecture hall and blend in; big bustling city, rural area or something in between; close enough to come home on the weekends or far enough away to forget you have a family. Katy knows she wants a smaller town, a smaller school and a little space between her and home. She also wants a campus with room to breath and hang up her Eno. Milledgeville was pretty nice. It’s about 20,000 people. There’s a bowling alley, skating rink and movie theater and nearby Lake Sinclair is very popular with students.  If you want to get out of town,  it’s about 2 1/2 hours to Atlanta and about 30 minutes to Macon, which is nice-sized. About 3 1/2 hours will get you to Savannah and the beach.

So far this is the first school Katy has been really excited about. She’s spent most of the evening looking up more information, scholarships, which AP classes will transfer and making a list of questions to email the admissions counselor.

In two weeks we are going to visit Georgia Southern University in Statesboro (I know nothing about it) and Savannah, which Katy is also really interested in.

 

One thought on “Here Comes the Thunder

  1. Thanks so much for sharing. I actually graduated from GC under the big trees on Front (Central) Campus on my birthday in August of 1976. I lived in Bell dorm my first quarter and my last year. GC is special to me. I highly recommend it!

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