A second trip to Milledgeville

Katy is still wrestling with the college decision. Right after school ended in May we took a tour of Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville (summary here). That was the first school where Katy said “I really feel like I belong here”. She submitted her application but we won’t hear anything until around Thanksgiving. In the meantime, they were having their annual FallFest for high school seniors so we went to that.

We left Friday night after Katy got home from the vet clinic so it was a late-night drive. On the drive up, Heath was wondering if we had passed the “peches stand”.

Katy looked it up on the map on her phone and said we passed it about 15 miles back. She said “Oh, they’re going to repaint the sign to say “peaches,” there’s a story about it from April first. Oh. Wait. April first.”. Yes, the story did have a disclaimer at the end saying it was satire. The above picture is from May.

We got to our hotel and the check-in clerk was a senior at the college. She asked what we were in town for (there’s a big festival going on as well, which did all kinds of nasty things the hotel room rate) and when we said for FallFest she talked to us some. She asked what Katy wanted to major in, Katy said biology. The clerk said we should look for the public health club tent. She said she wouldn’t be there but her minions would. Her minions weren’t, they didn’t have a table at the club fair. (Update. We went back a third time for a scholarship competition. We stayed in the same hotel with the same clerk who remembered us and she said her minions were there, we just missed them). I told Katy public health would be a good thing to look into, lots of opportunity for research, which is one of the things she is interested in.

The event was on Saturday. We got there right as registration was opening at 9. There were lots of people there.

Everyone got name tags, student tags had their high school name and parent tags had their city of residence. Lots and lots of metro Atlanta families. However, 60% of the population of Georgia lives in the metro area. We saw lots of “neighbors”. As we were loitering around the continental breakfast we talked with a dad and son from Alpharetta (neighboring suburb). The son asked Katy if she was a junior or sophomore. Well, at least no one is mistaking her for a middle schooler anymore. Later in the morning she ran into a classmate.

The program started in the auditorium, which was small but really elegant. We heard from the usual grown-ups about admissions, financial aid, the provost (whatever that is). And the pep band. They were very peppy, I don’t usually have that kind of energy that early in the morning. And two student ambassadors spoke.

Following the kickoff, they had meetings with academic departments. Each school was in a different location, with arts and sciences in the student center. I thought it was going to be sit-and-listen to a presentation. It wasn’t, each major had a display so you could visit the departments you were interested in. It was very interesting and informative.

This was the biology table. Bad backlighting. The professor answered all of our questions and talked about some of the different classes. Katy picked up a list of biology electives and there are lots of really interesting classes.

I told Katy a while back if she has to pick a minor she should choose either English or speech. I said it doesn’t matter what you do in life, you’re going to have to writing something and you’re going to have to talk to people. She decided she’d really like to minor in English. So, she headed over to the English table. She picked up a brochure with all of the English classes that are available. So many interesting literature classes, especially for international literature. They have the standard Milton and Chaucer but they also have Japanese and African literature. And for US, they have African-American and Native American. Lots of creative writing classes.

While she was checking out English I wandered over to the music table. I told the representative Katy wasn’t planning on majoring or minoring in music but she plays the violin and is interested in getting involved in music. He said the orchestra has students from all majors and there are all kinds of ways to be involved. Katy saw me and came over, asked a few questions and signed up for their email list.

I thought we were finished but as we walked past the geography table Katy noticed a really nice drone and stopped to look. We talked to the professor there who was very interesting and learned about all the different jobs you could do with a geography degree. I had no idea.

Then I stopped at the English table for a few minutes. That professor said he wouldn’t argue with me about the usefulness of an English major or minor. The world languages table was right next door and Heath talked to them a bit. Every student is required to take two semesters of a language. That would be a total deal-breaker for me but Katy would be fine with Spanish 1 and 2.

Next up was lunch in the cafeteria. Their cafeteria is small and really badly laid out. I think it was probably better when it was originally built and just had one or two lines. Since they’ve put in the modern multiple-stations thing they’ve had to cram things in. It really isn’t very big, though. It was cafeteria food. I had a sandwich but a lady at the next table had some grilled shrimp that smelled delicious.

Next up was the club fair. I really thought there would be more clubs for as many as they have but we enjoyed visiting with several of the clubs. We saw the Episcopalians and the Catholics but no Baptists!

We visited with 4H, a club that does blood drives, the literary magazine and I really don’t remember what all. The Office of Parents and Family Programs had a table. The employee running that said that’s a pretty new program. I mentioned that college seems to be much more parent-oriented than it used to be. They coordinate things like family weekend, siblings, day and parent contact resources.

At this point we decided to divide and conquer. Katy went to a presentation on the Holistic Experience to find out mainly about study abroad opportunities. Heath and I went to Honors Program session.

Following the honors program session was a tour of the honors dorm so Katy joined us for that. During the summer we got to see model rooms in a different dorm. Today we saw our tour guide’s room. She said it was okay to take pictures. This is a traditional dorm with shared bathrooms between two rooms. We looked at the little laundry room and the community room on her floor. The whole dorm is honors with a few athletes. All the freshmen are on one floor. The rooms are small but you can loft the beds. Closets are shared, but really big. This building has all square rooms, the other traditional dorms have the long skinny rooms.

Nice and homey!

This dorm is the only one that has a whiteboard for each room. Our tour guide (I never did get her name but Heath said later she graduated from Katy’s high school) said they really enjoy writing messages on them. One thing that’s changed since I was in college is how students contact each other. We all put a whiteboard (or maybe a combination white-and-cork board) on our doors and that was how we left messages. “Missed you in class”, “meet in the lobby at 7 Friday, we’re going for pizza”. It was always fun to get back from class and see if you had any messages. You also had to check your answering machines for messages from people in other dorms. Now everyone has cellphones so they just text each other. I was surprised that they had the whiteboards and how much they enjoy them. That’s just this dorm, though.

Financial aid had a tent set up and Heath wanted to go talk to them so we did that. One of the women had been a student at the school, graduating just a few years ago, so I talked with her a bit about campus life. I leave the money up to Heath! I did mention there were no Baptists at the club fair. She said she thought they were doing something at their building (across the street and down a bit) as she had seen a lot people over that way. The other lady recommended her non-denominational church, saying it had a big college ministry.

So we headed over to the Baptist building. Turns out they were having a reunion that weekend and it was lots of much older alumni. We went in and looked around but the director wasn’t there or any student volunteers. Someone said an intern was around “somewhere”. This is very unusual, Baptists don’t usually pass up a chance to recruit people. We looked around and Katy picked up a couple of church flyers. It looks pretty active. This is Baptist Collegiate Ministry, which is part of the Southern Baptist Convention. When I was in school it was called the Baptist Student Union.

Lots of events happening.

Very nice social/worship area.

We had done about everything academic we wanted to do and decided to learn a little history.

Milledgeville was the antebellum capitol of Georgia (I have no idea when it moved to Atlanta) and the school owns many old buildings. Including the Governor’s Mansion right across the street. It’s open for public tours and students can tour for $2 at any time. FallFest attendees could tour for free so we were sure to do that.

Something like seven or nine governors lived there, I don’t recall. But Joseph Brown lived there the longest at eight years. You were only allowed to serve two two-year terms. However, he served four — two under the United States and two under the Confederacy. Different country, you get to start again.

When we were there in May the lawn was being set up for a wedding. It still gets used for events, our docent said they get very nervous when the original dining table is used to serve a meal. They put down a thick pad and a tablecloth on top. The schools presidents actually lived in it up until 1987 (and it had been a bank and some other things, too) until it was decided to restore it to period. It has many original furnishings. General Sherman spent a night there but there weren’t any armies or anything in Milledgeville, so he just burned down a munitions building in town and moved along.

The top of the rotunda with 23-carat gold leaf.

Looking down from the top.

The first door we picked was the gentlemen’s salon.

One end of the gentlemen’s salon where the governor and his friends played cards, smoked and gossiped. It’s a really big room and it doubled as a ballroom. The carpet is a replica of the original, made by the same company in Leeds, England, that made the original. It’s strips that were laid down and sewn together. There was just one other family on the tour and the husband made some comment about walking on it. The docent said it actually did less damage than laying down tarps would have because it would fade unevenly. It was cushy carpet.

Cards, anyone?

The governor’s wife’s parlor. She entertained her friends here but when women wanted to petition the governor for something they would go through his wife and that business was conducted in here. It was also the family living room where evenings were spent reading or playing the piano.

Another view.

Where all the action happened. The governor’s desk.

The master bedroom. It was pretty unusual for married couples of that class to share a room, but they did. Along with the new baby.

This was the children’s nursery. The house is furnished as it was when Governor Brown lived there. It’s hard to see but there’s a boy doll (I’ve forgotten his name) in the pram and girl doll in the toy rocking chair on the right (back of the photo). The governor’s daughter decided those two dolls should get married. The parents hired a Baptist minister to come from out of town and perform the ceremony. It was announced to the public. Half the town showed up. Well, there isn’t much to do in Milledgeville, there was free tea and cake and a chance to see the governor.

We went down to the basement where all the service areas were. It’s a daylight basement so lots of windows and sunlight. The kitchen was a separate building, that was common so if the kitchen burned down (and this one did three times) it didn’t take the whole house with it. Also, the many fires going didn’t heat up the whole house.

This is really neat. It’s a warming cabinet and the back wall is tin. It faces a fireplace, the tin reflects the heat from the fire and keeps food warm until it’s time to serve it upstairs.

There were food prep areas, storage areas (we went into the big pantry and Katy noticed immediately it was much cooler), laundry areas and whatever else needed to be done behind the scenes.

The tour was very interesting.

And that wrapped it up for us. We turned in our surveys and headed out.

Katy hasn’t really said anything, it’s been a long tiring day, but I think she really does like this school. When we got home she dumped out her bag of handouts and started looking through them. I like the holistic aspect of it, being liberal arts they really do focus on the whole student. She wants to get out of the city but I worry Milledgeville might be a little small. The school has 6,000 students and the city population is 18,000. A lot of the reviews say it’s a “suitcase school,” everyone leaves for the weekend. But everyone I’ve talked to say there’s plenty to do on the weekends. And even though Abilene, where I went to school, had 100,000 people, there wasn’t anything to do there, either. We went to a lot of movies.








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