Column: UM student fondly recalls her experiences at summer camp

Camp Waldemar’s dining hall.

Nestled in the rolling hill country of Texas on the banks of the Guadalupe River is camp Waldemar, an all-girls camp founded in 1926. This camp welcomes around 300 girls each summer and has a long tradition of creating lifetime friendships and memories throughout the summer.

DSC_2938k 2 copyI was lucky enough to attend this summer camp for nine years, and I consider it my second home. Some of the friends I made at this camp are still my best friends today, and every time we see each other, we can’t help but talk about the great memories we made, whether it was pranking our counselor or trying to remember the traditional camp songs.

Campers dress up for the carnival, an event held once during the term.

Waldemar was more than just a place my parents sent me for a month each summer; it is a place where I grew up and was able to prepare for life without even knowing it. I was taught teamwork by learning to work with my cabin mates to create a skit for skit night. I learned responsibility by have to make my bunk bed every morning or sweeping the cabin. I was also allowed to grow up in a way I wanted to, moving out of my comfort zone to experience camp in my own way.

These kind of experiences are only learned at summer camp, a place where parents aren’t in control and technology is not allowed. Campers look up to counselors, sometimes only a few years older than they are, to lead the way. Activities are  completed for fun, not for a grade. Every child should attend summer camp in their life, not only for the fun it provides, but also for the invaluable experiences

Waldemar is situated on the Guadalupe River.

Camp Waldemar is the perfect place for a child to have these experience. Its family-like atmosphere and picturesque grounds make for the ideal location to spend a summer. Waldemar is a camp deep in tradition, and that tradition is evident throughout every minute spent there. Campers are awoken early to the sound of a bugle playing through the speakers. Then they must make their beds, clean the cabin and get ready for the day all before another speaker sounds calling campers to breakfast.

After breakfast, girls participate in activity after activity, only stopping for a mid-morning snack or nourishment as Waldemar likes to call it. Activities pick up again until lunch, followed by rest hour.

The day doesn’t stop after this rest hour, however, as afternoon nourishment is served and more activities are completed. Activities at Waldemar range from athletic to creative and everything in between. Girls get to choose what they want to participate in with over 30 options to pick from.

While typical sports like soccer or basketball are offered, campers have the opportunity to partake in sports they may only be exposed to at camp, such as fencing, rifle, archery or polocrosse. Campers can also participle in non-sporting activities like ceramics, metal and jewelry and drama.

Fencing is one of the unique sports offered at Waldemar.

While campers partake in these activities for fun, there is also something else at stake: points for their tribe. During a camper’s first night at camp, girls draw a piece of paper from a box that has a one of three letters on it: A, C or T. These letters corresponded to a certain tribe the campers will be a part of for the rest of their time at Waldemar.

Girls will either be part of the Aztec, Comanche or Tejas tribe. Being welcomed in a tribe is like having 100 sisters at once where everyone is friendly and working for the same goal: to win the most points by the end of the term to claim the plaque. Points are awarded in many ways, all coming back to Waldemar’s deep tradition.

Girls are awarded points for having good table manners, for having good attitudes in classes, for having clean and tidy cabins, and the most important, for winning field day which is held twice a term.

Officers of the Tejas Tribe, one of three tribes at Waldemar.

Field day is an exciting time for girls as they get to compete in activities to win points for their tribe. Girls can play tennis matches, compete in gymnastics and swim in races to earn points. At the end of field day, everyone comes down to the river, waiting to cheer on tribes in the highly awaited canoe races.

Only the most advanced and skilled campers participate in these races, making it exciting and thrilling for everyone to watch. At the end of the day, a winner is announced, and campers are either elated or disappointed, ready for the next field day to do it all over again.

Attending Waldemar is one of the best experiences in my life, and I am so grateful that I was able to spend nine summers there, and even a few more as a counselor. Waldemar is a place of encouragement, a place where campers can thrive and learn to experience new things. It really is a special, one-of-a-kind place, matched by no other.

Sydney Nutt


UM student dedicated to accounting studies and her horse

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Accounting is known around campus as one of the hardest majors a student can choose. Students must be motivated, dedicated and committed to this area of study. They must have a love for accounting to become successful in this field, and Julie Roher is one of those people.

Roher, a senior accounting and finance minor, has dedicated countless hours to studying for tests and assignments to make sure she succeeds. She is currently in the last semester of her undergraduate career at Ole Miss and spent the beginning weeks of her semester interning in Dallas, Texas as an audit intern for Deloitte.

To obtain this highly sought-after position in a “Big Four” firm, she had to go through recruitment, where she attended countless meet-and-greets, socials and firm-sponsored events. Essentially, she had to sell herself to the firms, and they would choose who they wanted to invite for interviews and eventually hire.

Roher’s position at Deloitte was an audit intern, and in the audit department, employees usually work in the client’s office space. She worked with other interns in what is called the “audit room.”

“It’s a small space that can fit about six people, four people comfortably,” Roher said. “I would say it’s a little more traditional. Probably, (it’s) what you would expect an accountant’s workspace to look like.”

Roher’s time as an audit intern was challenging. She worked many hours, especially during the busy season, but she was paid time-and-a-half for overtime.

“During the busy season, I was working from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night,” Roher said. “I can’t say it was terrible, but it was not exactly ideal.”

Roher is no stranger to hard work as she has spent countless all-nighters and many hours studying for her accounting classes throughout her time at Ole Miss. One person that can attest to Roher’s dedication to her studies is Kelsey Sanders, Roher’s roommate for the past three years.

“While getting to know Julie over the past few years, I can tell that she is a naturally driven person who gives 110 percent effort in everything she does,” Sanders said. “Her GPA and academic honors prove her dedication to school, which is far above the average college student.”

The work of an audit intern is varied throughout the day and depends on whatever the boss has assigned. Roher’s work included anything from “busy work to testing of very simple balance sheet/income statement accounts.”

There are many reasons Roher wants to be an accountant, but one of the main reasons is because this industry has job stability. There will always be a need for accountants, and few people actually have the necessary training for the job. Auditors also know everything there is about a company by looking at the financial statements.

“For example, if I were to work in an industry, I may only deal with cash or accounts receivable, but as an auditor, I am looking at all of the financial statement accounts,” Roher said. “I will know as much about that company as their CFO does, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

As for the long-term future, Roher is taking things day by day to see where she ends up. She has enjoyed working at Deloitte and can see herself working for them again in the future.

Short-term, Roher is set to attend grad school at Ole Miss in the fall and will work for her master’s of accountancy for the next year. “I enjoyed my internship, so I can see myself pursuing audit or public accounting in general,” she said. “As for the three-to-five-year projection that I typically get asked, that’s just something I’ll worry about when that time comes.”

Now that Roher is back at Ole Miss, when she is not busy studying for the accounting classes she is currently enrolled in, she can be found at Autumn Chase Farm in Memphis, Tennessee riding and training her horse, Sassy.

Roher’s passion for horses is recognized by everyone who knows her. It began at age 4 when her mom bought her a pony, and she has been hooked on horses ever since.

“Growing up, my best friend’s entire family were big horse people, owning six or seven horses, so I’d ride with her on the weekends,” Roher said. “When I was about 7 years old, my mom suggested I start taking lessons of my own, and ever since then, I’ve been riding.”

Roher kept up with her riding throughout childhood and into high school, training and competing in horse shows as often as she could. Her barn was located 50 minutes from her home in Celina, Texas, which required devotion to travel there and back, while also balancing her school work and social life.

“Julie and I have been friends for a long time, and I know that she loves her horse and loves riding,” said Ashton Hose, one of Roher’s childhood friends. “She travels so far to the barn, and that just shows her dedication to the sport.”

While Roher decided to leave her beloved horse at home for the first three years of college to get acclimated to her new environment, her mom suggested that she bring her horse to Memphis for her senior year, and Roher was thrilled at the idea.

“A girl was leasing her from me, which means she was riding my horse and paying all the bills, so we didn’t have to pay anything,” Roher said. “But she stopped leasing my horse sometime around junior year, and we were just trying to figure out what to do with her. So my mom suggested I bring her. I found a barn, and now she’s here.”

Like in high school, trying to find a balance between school work and riding is tough, but Roher manages to make it work. Her horse needs a certain amount of training, so Roher must make sure she goes to the barn a few times a week.

“I just do whatever it takes to make it work,” Roher said. “Sometimes, I’ll stay up extra late one night if it means I get to go to the barn in the afternoon. Or if I’m too busy one day, I may skip the barn that day so I can get some schoolwork done. It’s about finding a good balance between the two.”

Like in her school work, Sanders can account for Julie’s dedication to her horse riding. It takes about an hour and a half for Roher to travel to her barn in Memphis, so taking the time in her day to travel that far shows how important horses are in her life.

“To Julie, riding horses is part of her identity,” Sanders said. “The activity gives her a genuine joy and allows her to forget about the stress of everything else going on in her life.”

Now that her internship with Deloitte is over, and she is back in Oxford, Roher is looking forward to graduation and knowing that she will have another year with her horse in Memphis, as she is attending grad school at Ole Miss in the fall. She will work to earn her master’s of accountancy and then move back to Texas, with her horse in tow.

Sydney Nutt

The Fame Game: Sanford plays UM tennis

Some University of Mississippi athletes are heralded nationwide for their gifts, while others who give just as much to the game often fail to receive recognition. In this series, we take a look at some of the lesser known UM athletes who are driven to achieve excellence in their respective sports.

allie1Tennis is a game of perseverance, hard work and determination. To be successful at this sport, you must practice at all times. Not only does a player need to have incredible athletic ability, but they also need to be mentally strong, as tennis is both mentally and physically demanding.

To play this sport for fun is one thing, but to play on a collegiate level is impressive. Practices are longer and matches are tougher. Players on the collegiate level are always tested to their limits, and one player on the University of Mississippi women’s tennis team is constantly overcoming those limits. Allie Sanford is one of 10 players on the team, bringing great experience to the impressive group.

Sanford, a freshman, started playing tennis at the age of 10 and fell in love with the game. She has always known she wanted to compete at a high level, and getting the opportunity to play for Ole Miss helped her accomplish those goals.

“I wanted to play college tennis, because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Sanford said. “I always knew I wanted to compete at a high level and against the best players in the country. I’m so grateful that college tennis and Ole Miss gave me the opportunity to do so.”

allie2Deciding to play tennis for Ole Miss was an easy decision for Sanford. Her first visit sold her on the thought of playing tennis for the university. Stanford is a Phoenix, Arizona native, and while Oxford is a long way from her hometown, she knew she would feel at home because her sister, Brie, is currently a senior. “After my first visit, I knew that Ole Miss had something special,” Sanford said. “After meeting the team, campus, and coaches, I knew Ole Miss was the perfect fit for me.”

Not only is Ole Miss the perfect fit for Sanford, but the teammates she has made during her time on the team have become some of her closest friends. She is one of 10 members of the team, one of four freshmen, and one of four Americans. The other six players are from countries all over the world, including Egypt, Sweden and even Kazakhstan.

“I enjoy playing on a small team, because it gives me the chance to get to know all of my teammates really well,” Sanford said. “We are like a family, and I know the friends I have made on this team will be in my life for a long time.”

2015-2016 Women's TennisPhoto by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics.
2015-2016 Women’s Tennis Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics.

At times, tennis is all fun and games, but balancing the life of a student-athlete can be hard. On top of practices and tournaments, Sanford must balance her school work and study for tests and projects. As an integrated marketing communications major, she works just as hard on her school work as she does on the court.

allie5“I would definitely say the most challenging part of being a student-athlete is time management,” Sanford said. “Between practices, workouts, and traveling, I have learned to use my time wisely.”

While balancing her time is the toughest part of her tennis career, Sanford loves the competition and seeing her hard work off pay off when she wins matches. She is a true competitor and gives everything she has to make sure she can be at her best at all times. “I would have to say my favorite part of tennis is competing,” Sanford said. “I love the battle and enjoy having something to work towards everyday.”

As for the future, Sanford is not sure yet what she wants to do with her IMC major, but she knows tennis will always be part of whatever she does, even after her time as a college athlete is over.

“I do not know where tennis will take me, but I know no matter what, tennis will always play a part in my life,” Sanford said. “I have always had such a strong passion for the game, and do not plan on that going away after college.”

Tennis has taught Sanford about discipline and perseverance. She said it has helped her grow and become a better person. “Tennis continually teaches me to always give 100 percent in everything I do,” she said. “It has also taught me to never give up. I am so grateful to be able to do something I love everyday.”

Right now, Sanford is taking things day by day, excelling in tennis and in the classroom. She loves playing for Ole Miss and is thankful for everything the sport, her teammates and the university have given her. “I just plan on continuing to work hard in all aspects of my life, and see where that takes me,” Sanford said. “Playing for a team and school I love has been a dream come true.”

Sydney Nutt

Part 1: Study Abroad: UM student studies abroad in Austria

View of the houses facing the Inn River in Innsbruck, Austria. Photo courtesy of Molly Brosier.

An increasing number of college students are choosing to study abroad. The Association of International Educators reports that the number of U.S. students studying abroad for credit during the the 2013-2014 academic year grew 5.2 percent from 289,408 students to 304,467 students.

Other statistics indicate that students who study abroad find employment easier than other college graduates and have higher salaries. In a three-part series, we take a look at three University of Mississippi students who went on study abroad adventures.

Sydney Nutt

Innsbruck is a city known for its towering mountains, winding river and its historic Old Town, but it’s not known by many people. Nestled in the Austrian Alps, Innsbruck is located halfway between Munich, Germany and Verona, Italy in western Austria. Its charming buildings and numerous activities attract many people, and it is an extraordinary place for a study abroad adventure.

Not many people have the opportunity to visit historic Innsbruck, let alone live there, but one University of Mississippi student had the opportunity of a lifetime to live and study in Innsbruck for six weeks. Senior Molly Brosier spent the summer before her junior year there studying and traveling across Europe. The integrated marketing communications major earned two class credits abroad, made new friends, and made memories she will never forget.

“I never really had Austria on my radar or thought about going to Austria, but I am so glad that I did,” Brosier said. “It was incredible and amazing, and I absolutely loved it.”

Brosier ventured to Innsbruck with the University of New Orleans. Every summer, UNO partners with the University of Georgia to put on a six-week program offered to any student whose university grants them credit. Professors are from UNO, UGA and there are a few Austrian professors.

Brosier paragliding in the Swiss Alps. Photo courtesy of Molly Brosier.

“The town our school was in, Innsbruck, was the perfect size,” Brosier said. “It kind of had all of the charm and appeal that a European city would have without being a huge, big or scary city.

Austria was never really on Brosier’s mind, but once she heard about the program and looked at it in depth, she became interested. “After doing more research on the program, it was everything I wanted,” she said. “It was six weeks in Austria, which is central Europe, so it was perfect for traveling on the weekends.”

The course was designed for students to attend class in the morning and have free afternoons and evenings. Students are also given every Friday off, as well, letting them take advantage of Innsbruck’s central location. Over the course of six weeks, Brosier visited numerous cities and countries. Her favorite places were Amsterdam, Florence, Paris and Switzerland.

“Each place we traveled to kind of had its own story, its own experience, but my favorite place I visited was definitely Amsterdam,” Brosier said. “We had the entire weekend just to be in Amsterdam, so it was cool to have time to explore that city, to see what it was about and to just be there.”

Molly Brosier posing with the iamsterdam sign in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo courtesy of Molly Brosier.

While traveling to new places on the weekends was a highlight of Brosier’s experience, a study abroad trip wouldn’t be complete without the studying aspect. Over six weeks, she took two classes that she used to complete a few of her IMC requirements.

Brosier also decided that, since she was in Austria, she wanted to learn all she could about it and immerse herself in its culture. She did this by enrolling in an alpine geology course, focusing on the surrounding mountainous area and also in a sociology class focusing on genocides, specifically the Holocaust. By taking these courses, Brosier felt like she would know more about the area she was in and would be able to connect to it on a deeper level.

“Innsbruck is a very outdoorsy town, so with my geology class, we were learning about the basics of geology right in the Austrian Alps,” Brosier said. “We went on field trips every week, and even got to go to a glacier, and that was really cool to see about the sediments and the rock and everything like that.”

Molly Brosier on a glacier in the Austrian Alps. Photo courtesy of Molly Brosier.

Brosier said her time abroad is one of the best adventures she’s had in life thus far. She grew up in a way she never thought she would by experiencing a new culture on her own.

“Studying abroad makes you grow up in a way that is different from going to college or going to camp because you don’t have that constant communication with your parents,” she said. “You have to figure out what you’re doing by yourself. Living in a new place matures you and makes you grow.”

Now that Brosier has experienced much of what Innsbruck has to offer, she encourages everyone who is considering going abroad to pick Austria, specifically Innsbruck, the little city no one has ever heard of.

“Go to Austria for sure,” she said. “Visit little Innsbruck. It is definitely somewhere worth seeing,” Brosier said.

The Golden Roof in Innsbruck, Austria. Photo courtesy of Molly Brosier.

Oxford’s Neon Pig serves the ‘Best Burger in America’

Winning the title of “Best Burger in America” by Thrillist is no easy feat, but one local restaurant can add that title to their menu. The Neon Pig, located in both Tupelo and Oxford, earned the best burger title in 2015 for their famous Smash Burger. Thrillist picked 33 burgers across America, and Neon Pig’s burger was delicious enough to make the cut.

This Smash Burger is made with a juicy patty made of several different meats. The patty is a combination of filet, sirloin, rib eye and bacon ground together to create the ideal mix. The patty is topped with melted cheddar cheese, crunchy pickles and onions. To finish it off are two sauces: hoisin, an Asian style barbeque sauce, and comeback, a mayo remoulade. The Smash Burger is placed between a ciabatta bun.

Since the Neon Pig is new to Oxford, first opening in Tupelo, many people in Oxford can’t get enough of this unique restaurant.IMG_3130

“I’ve been to the Neon Pig so many times since it has opened that I can’t even keep track,” said Shelby Shelton, a University of Mississippi senior. “The burger is definitely my favorite thing on the menu, and I could eat it every time. I like that the burger is never dry and is complimented by the two sauces, which are the best part.”

The pickles and onions provide the ideal amount of crunch to go with the tender patty and sauces. No burger is complete without a side, and while the Neon Pig doesn’t serve fries, they offer Zapp’s Potato Chips, which are flavorful chips made in Louisiana. With Zapp’s many flavors, there is something for everyone. A few of the flavors are unique to the company’s Creole roots, such as the Spicy Cajun Crawtator, Hotter ‘N Hot Jalapeno and Voodoo.

Although the Smash Burger is one of the most popular items on the menu, Neon Pig has many other dishes. They have a lean version of their famous burger known as the Bash Burger, which they call lean and clean. It is made of aged brisket. It is also served on a ciabatta bun with arugula, tomato, quick pickles, onions and their homemade harissa and hoisin sauces.

IMG_3136If a burger isn’t what you’re in the mood for, they have sandwiches and buns. Like the burger, the buns are something unique to the Neon Pig. They are reminiscent of tacos with all the fillings, but instead of a tortilla, it is served with an Asian-style bun or even a lettuce wrap.

There are three varieties of buns, all with different meats and sauces. Neon Pig offers a pork belly bun with hoisin, pickles and siracha giving this bun a spicy kick. The second option is filled with grilled shrimp, onion, arugula and hoisin sauce. The last bun features chicken, white gold sauce – an Alabama-style barbeque sauce, bacon, quick pickles and harissa.

Emily Marshall loves coming to the Neon Pig with friends and loves the variety of food they offer.

“I love to eat their burger, but I like that they offer lettuce wraps so that I can still eat healthy while being with friends,” Marshall said. “My favorite is definitely the shrimp because it is full of flavor, but since the shrimp is grilled, it is healthy too.”

IMG_3139Neon Pig is also a full market with a fish and meat counter and local produce and products. They also have a full cooler of craft beer, with many local and regional brews. Everything in their market is fresh and from local or regional growers and manufactures.

Fresh and local foods is a main theme in Neon Pig’s market and cafe. According to their website they “strive to bring old-fashioned goodness back into the food industry by specializing in house-cured meats. We are homemade and handmade, and we love our local farms.”

IMG_3133They thrive on bringing local and fresh foods and produce to the community, which in turn, supports the farmers and businesses. “When our customers buy our products, they are giving back to the community. Not only does this help our community economically, it creates a sense of pride amongst everyone. We want our community to prosper, and if in some small way we contribute, we are happy to do so,” Neon Pig owners commented on their website.

Sydney Nutt

Volunteer Oxford continues to grow

Volunteer Oxford is housed in a small office, but what they do for the city of Oxford is just the opposite. They are a matchmaker for volunteers and nonprofit organizations in the Lafayette-Oxford-University community.

They encourage volunteerism within the community, and they are the city’s premiere spot for anyone looking to volunteer or for a nonprofit organization.

Volunteer Oxford is located at 606 South 16th Street in Oxford. They share office space with other businesses such as RSVP and The Dwight L. Young Group CPA office. They are part of the Oxford Park Commission and funded by Volunteer Mississippi through the Volunteer Generation fund.

“Our main goal is to support, promote and develop volunteer opportunities in the community that we serve,” Sarah Ball, Volunteer Oxford director, said. “Volunteer Oxford serves Lafayette, Pontotoc and Yalobusha counties.”

Volunteer Oxford has a big impact on the LOU community by shedding light on the importance of volunteering. They filter volunteers to nonprofits in need of extra help. They also help nonprofits recruit volunteers, working on both sides of the volunteering spectrum.

“You can look at it from both ways – from the volunteer’s perspective and then also the organization’s perspective,” Ball said. “So for example, if an organization needs help, we can recruit volunteers for them, or if someone wants to volunteer, and they’re not sure where they want to volunteer, we can help provide some suggestions.”

Shelby Bryant, a senior at the University of Mississippi is very impressed by Volunteer Oxford and its services. “The website is easy to navigate and makes finding different volunteer opportunities easy,” she said. “I especially love the Volunteer Spotlight as it inspires me to get out in the community and volunteer”

Volunteer Oxford has one full-time employee. Ball became the director in July of 2013. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Mississippi and previously worked for the North Mississippi Regional Center in the Recreation Therapy Department.

“My role as the director is to help keep everything moving forward with our grant,” she said. “That means meeting all of our objectives, promoting all of our organization’s volunteer opportunities, and making sure that we are current with what is going on with the community.”

Volunteer Oxford Director Sarah Ball checks the Facebook page to keep track of volunteer interactions.

Spreading the word about Volunteer Oxford is very important for Ball so everyone in the community will be aware of the business. “That is a big piece of what I do,” she said. “I go talk to maybe some small group or individuals and inform them about how they can sign up to be on our computer software Give Gab,” Ball said.

Give Gab is Volunteer Oxford’s primary resource in linking volunteers. Anyone can access this software through Volunteer Oxford’s website, and once you are registered as either a volunteer or an organization, you can browse through all the surrounding organizations and events that need volunteers. There are search functions that can be adapted to certain types of organizations or can even be regulated by location.

UM senior Kelsey Sanders is always looking for ways to get involved in the LOU community and thinks Volunteer Oxford’s Give Gab site is the most efficient way to do so.

“I like to volunteer in the community, but before I knew about Volunteer Oxford, I wasn’t sure how to do it. I went to a meeting on campus where Volunteer Oxford had a presentation about their organization. I signed up for the site, and from there, it was so easy to find volunteer opportunities that I was interested in.”

Volunteer Oxford also puts on major events throughout the year, such as the 9/11 Day of Service, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Volunteer Week. “Those are all designed to inspire people to volunteer,” Ball said.

Volunteer Oxford has quickly grown in the past four years since it was established. The first year was all about setting a foundation for the volunteer center and learning how to recruit volunteers and nonprofit partners. Since that first year, Volunteer Oxford grew to include Pontotoc and Yalobusha counties in their services and continues to grow their impact in the LOU community.

“We have generated partnerships with over 115 nonprofits, and the transition over to Give Gab has built more of an online presence,” Ball said. “So we have over 2,000 volunteers made up of Ole Miss students and residents from Pontotoc, Lafayette and Yalobusha counties.”

Volunteer Oxford is preparing for the future and hopes to increase their impact in the LOU community.

“I see us continually growing, getting more volunteers and getting our name out there,” she said. “The end goal is to get more people to volunteer, to spark that interest and inspire people to volunteer.”

Sydney Nutt

UM student creates pottery while preparing for med school

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Pottery is a class many students want to take in college, but not many have the time or skill. University of Mississippi senior Anna O’Connor is currently enrolled in Art 340, also known as beginning ceramics. Many students take this class because it is deemed an “easy 300 level credit,” but for O’Connor, that wasn’t the reason.

O’Connor has been interested in art since her mother enrolled her in art classes as a child. She has tried her hand at different mediums, this year concentrating on pottery.

“My mom put me in art lessons since the age of 3, and we’ve done everything from pottery to painting, so I started pretty young,” she said.

What makes O’Connor different from the typical art student is that she is a pre-med biology major and chemistry minor. She usually spends her semesters in science classes preparing for the MCAT she took over the summer and for her future in medical school, but this semester, she decided to hone her art skills.

“I like art for many different reasons, but I used it as a stress reliever, and I like that I can use my mind in different way,” said O’Connor, who enjoys using acrylic paints to create paintings for friends, family and herself.

Molly Brosier, O’Connor’s previous roommate, is used to her friend painting in their shared room. “Anna’s paintings are so incredible. I wish I was as talented as she is. She gave me one of her paintings for my birthday, and it’s one of my favorite things,” Brosier said.

On the first day of class, O’Connor’s pottery instructor asked the class who was planning on working in the medical field, and O’Connor curiously raised her hand. The professor said that both potters and doctors are dependent on the use of their hands, so this class was a good predictor of how that will play into their medical career.

When asked why O’Connor decided to take pottery, she said it is one of the only art classes without a prerequisite besides Art 101. Students are required to come to class three hours a week, like any other class, but they must also come in on their own time to work on projects. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting. Music is playing and students are chatting. Everyone is working toward the same goal – creating the perfect piece of pottery.

O’Connor is currently working on a vase, which she said “is harder than it looks to make this.” She starts with a lump of clay that she places on the pottery wheel and uses her hand to shape it into a vase. She takes nothing and makes it into something beautiful.

“I think art will always have a place in my future, because I can use it as a change of pace,” O’Connor said.

If O’Connor isn’t in the pottery studio in Meek Hall, she’s usually doing research in the lab for her honors college thesis or studying for one of her many science tests. O’Connor has spent more than three years at Ole Miss preparing for medical school. She had to take all the required classes, study and ace the MCAT and complete her applications.

According to O’Connor, medical school applications are “a compilation of your entire life. It took me two months to finish mine. You pretty much spend the whole summer working on it.” O’Connor was even able to incorporate her love for art into her applications. “I used art as one of my major points in my personal statement,” she said.

O’Connor now has comfort in knowing that she was accepted into University of Mississippi Medical School in Jackson. As an Ocean Springs native, she will be staying in the South at least four more years.

Getting into medical school is easier said than done, and O’Connor has been preparing for a long time, perfecting her profile. One major key of her impressive resume is her involvement in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. As a senior, O’Connor is conducting research for her thesis and must complete the paper by the end of senior year.

“I’ve known Anna for a while, and she has always been very dedicated . . . studying for her honors classes. But she is also very talented, and I love having her create artwork for me,” said Brosier.

Some people may question if art and medicine have any connection. Initially, artists and doctors seem different, but they have  similar qualities. They have to be imaginative in their professions and see things in a way other people wouldn’t.

“Art and medicine are both very creative,” O’Connor said. “You use your hands in both fields. You have mediums, but they are just different types.”

For O’Connor, the reason she wants to go to medical school is simple: “I’m good at it,” she said.

O’Connor thinks dermatology may be in her future, but for now, she is concentrating on creating impressive pottery pieces.

Sydney Nutt
The Oxford EAGLE