Categories
Life

Isn’t the point of a blog to…use it?

You would think so, wouldn’t you?

It’s been a weird year.

The pandemic has made me a victim of burnout, which apparently is a pretty common sentiment these days. For a while I lost the general motivation for some things that I usually really enjoy, like writing on this blog. Turns out, a pandemic can cause your mental health to take a pretty big hit. Who knew?

However, thanks to the COVID vaccine and the world opening up again slowly, things are getting better. I feel exponentially better than I did this time six months ago, three months ago, etc.

So now we’re back! I’m excited about the idea of writing regularly again, and I have some fun ideas for things I can do. I want to write a lot of sports content going forward, because I love the idea of putting my passion into writing! I want to offer my perspective on all things sports — whether that be major league sports, the Olympics, collegiate sports, some lesser known sports, you name it. There’s so much that can be written about!

I’m still figuring out exactly how I want to put that together on this site, because I want to continue writing about other things as well as sharing other creative projects and experiences.

In the meantime, a little bit on what I’ve been up to:

Towards the end of the summer, I started playing golf! It’s been so much fun to pick up a new hobby and take lessons. My dad and I played together a handful of times when I was a kid, but now we get to play all the time and I’m loving it!

In November, I started a new position as Brand Strategist at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte! I support the firm’s marketing efforts as well as marketing assistance for the independent financial advisors we partner with. I’ve loved getting to know my coworkers and learning a LOT about the financial industry.

I’ve barely missed a Carolina Hurricanes game this season! Though watching them on TV isn’t the same as working at the games, it has been such a happy part of my week to keep up with the Canes!

I’m excited to be able to get back to church in person as well — I’m grateful that virtual mass exists but it doesn’t compare to being there in person.

I’m also excited to be able to HUG people again!! I think I really took hugs for granted pre-pandemic, but getting to hug my grandparents after months and months was long overdue. As the world begins to open up again, I can’t wait to reunite with friends and family (and give them a big hug).

That’s a general update of what’s up with me these days — but more to come for sure.

Here’s to getting back on the blog!

Lots of quality time with this one lately!
Categories
Life

History Has Its Eyes on You

Hi! I felt it was absolutely necessary to discuss my excitement for Hamilton’s debut on Disney Plus this weekend, which has me feeling like this:

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For some context, Hamilton is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius telling of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s story and legacy through a hip-hop musical. It’s incredibly clever, hilarious, poignant, chock-full of talented people and even educational!

I was lucky enough to see the Chicago production of Hamilton in 2017 (one of the best nights ever) in addition to religiously listening to the musical’s soundtrack since 2016.

So, this weekend, Disney Plus released the recording of the original Broadway cast’s performance. Interacting with the show in this new way gave me a new level of appreciation for the musical. With each song, I got a new wave of goosebumps (and there are 46 songs total.) It’s very special to witness a group of extremely talented individuals absolutely thriving on stage and telling a story that is woven together through witty lyrics, alluring visuals and countless other brilliant intricacies.

I could probably write an entire series of blog posts about different elements of the musical, but for now, I want to talk about how topically relevant the show is to today.

It’s fitting to me that this was released on Fourth of July weekend. Not only does the story center around the Revolutionary War and American’s independence, but the show also possesses a relevant theme throughout: pushing the boundaries of what is accepted to achieve something better. As the United States turns another year older, it’s important to look back on what we’ve achieved in the last 244 years and celebrate that. But it’s also important to recognize the road ahead, the work that is still to be done and the amazing things we are capable of doing in the future.

As George Washington tasks Alexander Hamilton with leading a field command towards the end of the war, he sings “History Has Its Eyes On You,” warning him of the immense responsibility that comes with power and influence.

We are a country made up of brilliant minds and big hearts. We are a country made up of different races, ethnicities, backgrounds and stories. We are a country made up of talent, innovation, knowledge, creativity and hope. We are a country that has some work to do.

The recent tragic murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have reinforced the long overdue need for equality and have kept the conversation about racism at national attention (where it should be). As a white woman, I recognize my privilege and my responsibility to not remain silent.

We are called to do better and to ensure that we are educated, we are involved and we are changing the way we think and talk about race. As a country, we must do the work to make the unalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” ring true for every single person. History has its eyes on us to ensure that the hate that has been perpetuated for so long ends with us. How will we use our voices to make a difference?

When Alexander Hamilton recognizes the opportunity he has to make a difference and create his legacy, he proudly exclaims:

“I am not throwing away my shot.”

I pray that we vow to do the same.

Click here for a list of resources and ways you can help.

Now, go watch Hamilton and try not to smile, laugh, cry, and fist-pump the air for the sheer cleverness of it all (you will probably do all of these things.) I’m going to go watch it again, and again, and again!

via giphy.com

Cara

Categories
Life

an unprecedented event

I held off writing about this for a while because of the magnitude of it all. I’ve just been processing everything slowly as it all unfolds. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around both the immediate halt that the entire world has come to as well as the unthinkable sacrifices that doctors, nurses and other essential workers are making for us daily.

When I left Chapel Hill for spring break, I was looking forward to coming back for the rest of my final semester at Carolina. I still had my last sorority formal, my last dance show and my last few weeks of being an undergrad at the southern part of Heaven. My friends and I were going to take graduation photos and walk in Kenan Stadium on May 10 as new graduates. I was so excited to finish out the Carolina Hurricanes’ hockey season as an intern and work more games for Carolina Athletics. I am incredibly upset that those things have all been cancelled, there’s no way around it. It’s not fair.

But that’s life. I know that I am incredibly lucky to be healthy and blessed with people and places in my life that I miss. I know that this virus has been incredibly cruel to people around the world in heartbreaking ways. In the weeks since I’ve been home, I’ve been thinking about those people a lot.

Though it would be really easy to mope about all of this, I’ve been trying really hard to seek out the good news in the world in an effort to remain positive. One of my favorite ways to do that right now is watching John Krasinki’s weekly show, Some Good News (I highly recommend it!) Also, I’ve been trying to come up with fun ways to stay busy at home (after I’ve finished my school work, of course). I finally have time to read books for fun (what a concept), paint and draw, play board games and do puzzles. I’ve been able to spend quality time with my mom, dad, and dog, and catch up with friends and family via FaceTime or Zoom.

There’s no sugarcoating it, this is a weird, devastating time. And as someone who struggles with mental health, namely anxiety, this is really a challenge. But I’m doing my best, I’m trying to use this time to turn to God more than ever. I know everyone is doing their best to make it through this.

And when it’s all over? Just think about the joy! Think about the reunions and smiles. The hugs (I miss them so much) and excitement that will come with doing the things we miss right now. We will never take any of the small things for granted again, and maybe that’s a small silver lining of all of this. May we learn from this to relish in every moment, unsure of what the next day will bring.

In the meantime, let’s all keep staying inside. Maybe I’ll use this time to update my blog a little more frequently! We’ll get through this. ♥

Categories
Life

Why You Should Learn a Second Language

Hola, hoy voy a discutir los beneficios de aprender una idioma segunda y voy a convencerles estar de acuerdo conmigo. Hi, today I’m going to discuss the benefits of learning a second language and I’m going to convince you to agree with me.

I’ve been taking Spanish classes since kindergarten, and I recently completed my Spanish minor at UNC. Not only has it been fun to learn throughout school, but it has also been exciting to keep up with it on my own and use it in other countries. At first, I didn’t realize that learning a second language had so many different benefits for me and my life. Everyone should learn a second language because it provides health benefits, opens you up to new people and cultures and allows you to develop personal/professional skills.

I think it’s safe to assume that everyone wants to be healthy, right? Learning a language is beneficial for many reasons, but if there’s one that stands out among the rest, it’s the countless ways it improves your health. Research compiled by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) shows that learning a second language leads to increased cognitive ability and brain function as well as improved memory skills and attention span. A study from York University in Toronto discovered that of dementia patients, those who were bilingual developed dementia an average of 4.5 years later than their monolingual counterparts. I think it would be hard to argue against developing a healthier mind and body as a byproduct of doing this.

Learning a second language is also a great way to open yourself up to new cultures around the world, because the reality is, the United States is a melting pot of cultures in itself, and there are countless other cultures to explore around the world. The ACTFL reported that language learners develop a more positive attitude toward their target language’s culture and people. It will only benefit your appreciation of cultural diversity and allow you to fully immerse yourself in new cultures if you are learning the language. Additionally, many people in the U.S. have family members that live in other countries, and learning a new language is often incredibly helpful if not crucial to communicating with them.  My dad is from the Netherlands, and some of my family still lives there today. My cousin, Stacey, is my age but grew up with her native language as Dutch. The first time we met, Stacey had only begun to learn English and we couldn’t really say much to each other. However, over the years, her English has rapidly improved, and now we’re able to speak English to each other almost like she’s a native speaker. In return, I’ve started trying to learn Dutch so I can use it the next time we visit. If she hadn’t started learning English in school when she was younger, we would never be able to have conversations. Learning another language is incredibly valuable when it means that you can speak to your family members from different countries.

Being able to gain perspective and learn about other cultures also develops your sense of empathy and understanding for those that are different from you. Between my sophomore and junior year of college, I decided to study abroad through UNC in Sevilla, Spain. I spent six weeks there taking Spanish for business classes and living with a host family, and I quickly learned that Spanish culture is different from American culture. My host mom, Ines, spoke zero English. Without having learned Spanish, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to her at all — but with the limited skills that I did have, I was able to have full conversations with her, and we were able to bond over the TV show, “Friends,” which we watched every day during lunch, dubbed in Spanish. While I was living in Spain, most of the people there knew some English and could help me out if I struggled with my Spanish, but it was extremely helpful to be immersed in the culture and language fully so that I could further develop my skills and force myself to think and speak in Spanish all the time. Studying in Spain for six weeks didn’t make me fluent, but it definitely improved my Spanish and gave me immersion experience I couldn’t get at home.

In addition to health benefits and cultural appreciation, there are several professional and personal skills that can be developed from learning a second language. The ACTFL has cited research suggesting that problem-solving, decision making, observation of detail, multi-tasking and creativity all have grown as a result. The organization has also compiled research to show the positive effects of learning a new language on academic performance, reporting higher SAT and ACT scores. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences reported that bilingual people have access to a wider variety of jobs out of school, as well as improved communication and networking skills. Virtually every job in any industry could benefit from bilingual people, whether that’s in the medical field, engineering, business, media, etc. International travel is also made easier when you can speak at least some of that country’s language. 75% of the world doesn’t speak English, even though it may feel like most countries have qualified English speakers. Learning a second language also improves your adaptability to situations and overall confidence.

The Pew Research Center reported that a median of 92% of European kids learn a second language in school, while only 20% of American kids learn a second language in school and 7.5% of college students are enrolled in a foreign language course. This statistic is crazy! But school isn’t the only way to learn a second language.

There are a bunch of excuses you could make for not learning a second language — it’s hard, it’s expensive, I don’t have time for that, I’m out of school, etc. If you don’t want to spend money on Rosetta Stone or have time for in-person classes, you can do it for free on apps like DuoLingo. Even five minutes a day could be helpful, and learning it a little bit at a time will make it much easier. Additionally, there are several languages that share the same roots as English, so a lot of the words sound like their English versions anyway. Who knows what kind of doors a second language could open up for you? Wouldn’t it be cool to impress people with a language that they don’t know? It’s an awesome skill to keep in your back pocket, and a skill that provides you with health benefits, a view into new cultures and an opportunity to gain valuable personal and professional abilities. Deben aprender una idioma nueva porque con muchas idiomas, las posibilidades son interminable. You should learn a new language because, with multiple languages, the possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Life

Four Current Favorites & Four Things I’m Looking Forward To

Music: This isn’t a new find for me, but one of my favorite musicians right now is Ben Rector. He’s a brilliant American singer-songwriter that plays the piano and guitar in additional to his vocals. I would probably describe his genre as “wholesome pop-rock” — it’s feel-good music about love and life that is so dang catchy! I would highly recommend his most recent album, Magic (2018), and if you really like it, there’s a live version too, Magic: The Tour (2019), from his tour that I went to and LOVED. He puts on an amazing show and is pretty funny too. Other good songs include “Brand New” which has gotten pretty popular, “Forever Like That”, “Fear” and “The Men That Drive Me Places”, but really, you can’t go wrong with any of his albums.

Movie: This isn’t in theaters anymore, but I saw Rocketman over the summer and loved it! It tells the story of Elton John’s early life and the beginning of his amazing career. Taron Egerton, who plays him in the movie, is extremely talented and sings all of the songs in the movie himself. The visuals, acting, music and authenticity of the story were very impressive and entertaining to me — it’s definitely a movie I would watch again, especially because of how much I love Elton John’s music!

TV Show: My newest show that I love to binge-watch right now on Hulu is the NBC comedy, Community (2009-2015). I’m a sucker for NBC comedies anyway (Friends, Parks and Rec, The Office, Brooklyn 99, Superstore, The Good Place, etc.) but this one especially has an all-star cast of comedians that I’ve seen all over the place in  movies, TV shows and other entertainment: Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Donald Glover, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong, John Oliver and Chevy Chase! It follows a study group of unlikely friends at a community college where chaos regularly ensues. It’s extremely creative, very funny and clever. I’m entertained by every episode and its oddities always make me laugh!

Podcast: I’m always looking for things to listen to in the car on the way to work, and I’ve been loving Father Mike Schmitz’ podcast with Ascension Presents (he also does them in video form on Facebook.)The episodes range from 4-9 minutes each and offer a priest’s insight about certain topics that relate to Catholicism and everyday life. I love learning things I didn’t know about my faith as well as hearing about things from a different perspective than mine. I definitely recommend this if you want to find a way to change up your prayer routine — praying doesn’t have to be a traditional “Dear God” kind of prayer all the time, it can be countless other things including learning more about your faith!

Things I’m Looking Forward To:

  1. Fall Break spent half at Beech Mountain with friends, and half at home with family!
  2. Carolina Awakening 12, Newman’s annual retreat (Register at uncnewman.org if you haven’t already)
  3. The Holidays — Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching and it’s one of my favorite times of year!
  4. More Hurricanes games — The Canes have started off the season strong, and I can’t wait to work more home games at PNC Arena! I may be biased, but Canes games are a whole new level of fun (which you should come see for yourselves)

 

Happy Fall!

 

Cara 🙂

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Categories
Features Life Sports

The Modern Renaissance Man

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Squadron Training Commander. Gifted student. Future pilot. Student faith group leader. Athlete. If you thought these were all different people, you’d be wrong. UNC rising senior Colin Schilly is all of these things and more.

Schilly is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance man – he does it all. When he was a kid, his dream was to be a major league baseball player. “That was the only thing I ever wanted to do for a while, until I discovered biology,” he says. “And then astronauts, then the military, and here I am.” While he doesn’t see himself in the MLB league anytime soon, he has kept playing the sport his whole life, most recently with the UNC Club Baseball team.

So when his busy schedule makes things hectic, Schilly knows he has baseball to look forward to for blowing off steam. “Baseball is my stress relief – guaranteed I’m going to have an hour and a half each day that I’m just having a good time and hanging out,” he says. “If I didn’t do baseball, I would have an extra eight or so hours a week, but it’s something that I need.”

We’ll get to baseball a little bit later, but first, there are other things to do.

5 a.m. Wednesday

Most people are still sleeping, but Schilly is already beginning what promises to be a busy day. He wakes up at 5 because he has to be on campus for ROTC physical training at 6, which is usually some variety of strenuous or strength-building exercises. Most people wouldn’t be interested in waking up before dawn for PT 2-3 times a week, but it’s right up his alley. After all, among his accomplishments in the program is his perfect score on the fitness test.

When he was 10 years old, Schilly watched a man receive the Medal of Honor on television, and briefly considered joining the military as a future career possibility. The thought didn’t resurface until his freshman year at UNC, when he met people who were part of the University’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, pushing him to think about his future a little bit more and consider the program as an option. He also began to realize his dream of becoming an astronaut, and the military seemed like the perfect way to get to space.

He decided to join the program the second semester of his freshman year, and hasn’t looked back. His superiors quickly recognized his work ethic and skill set, and he eventually received a national scholarship through the Air Force – from which he receives paid college tuition and a stipend each month. Working his way up from his first year in the program, he now serves as a Squadron Training Commander, responsible for training first-year cadets to understand the basics of ROTC.

His counterpart, Maggie Adams, believes joining the program later than most people allowed him to figure himself out first. Since then, she has witnessed his growth and development in ROTC firsthand — and even thinks that the program has benefited him on the baseball field.

“It’s been cool to watch him break out of his shell the past couple of years,” Adams says. “He is quieter in the background when you first meet him, but when you understand him as a person, he is so strategic in how he acts and talks. Whether he’s actually presenting or just talking with you as a friend, there’s a lot going on in his brain, and he’s probably thought a lot about what he’s going to say and how he’s going to portray himself to you in that moment.”

Schilly just landed a spot in the prestigious pilot program, meaning that he will have to pass a flight physical and then go through several rounds of training to fly aircraft for a 10-year Air Force commitment. The challenge of the program doesn’t scare him, though – it motivates him to do well that much more.

“For me, it’s about controlling the things I can control – that’s something baseball has taught me. Whenever I would make a team, I knew that I could play with the guys, but it was a matter of showing that I was good enough,” Schilly says. He believes he can do almost any job, he just has to prove his ability and willingness to work hard – a sentiment he thinks may pass as a little arrogant, but that’s mostly just in his head.

8 a.m.

After PT, when the rest of the world is just now heading to work, Colin cooks himself breakfast and listens to music.  Besides club baseball practice, it might be his favorite time of the day. He loves being around people, but also really values his alone time, considering himself neither an introvert nor an extrovert. Don’t ask him about his Myers-Briggs type either – he couldn’t care less.

What he’s listening to could be anything from Muse or Queen (his favorite bands) to show tunes or Céline Dion. He has countless Spotify playlists that he usually chooses from based on his mood of the day.

Schilly knows himself very well – something that really came to fruition when he got to college. “What you like and what’s important to you says a lot about you, I realized,” he says. “Since I got to UNC, I’ve been starting to come into my personality. Embracing the fact that I love Broadway musicals and meeting my best friends who have the same sense of humor as me, all of that combined has taught me about myself.” He’s pretty much always having a good day and loves making people laugh with his sarcasm. The fact that his interests stretch over such a wide spectrum makes “Renaissance man” one of the first things people associate with him.

Daniel Petrucci, one of Schilly’s housemates, has only known him for a few months, but he already agrees with that classification. “I think he’s very versatile – I thought Colin might be very straight-edged and ROTC-focused, and not have many other interests,” he says. “But I was surprised to see that he loves Hamilton; he was in a musical his senior year of high school. I also grew up playing baseball, so we connect on that. So, he’s a modern Renaissance man, I think.”

“He’s like, ‘if something is challenging, then I want to try it and master it,’” his sister Haley says.  “That kind of feeds into the whole Renaissance man thing – if he does something, then he wants to be good at it, and he is. He competes with himself more than anyone I know. Like when he ran a marathon a few months ago, he sees this version of himself. He’s like, ‘I could know more, I could learn more, I could be better, stronger, faster.’ And he is going to keep working until he gets there.”

10:10 a.m.

Schilly is off to class, which is a mix of biology, Spanish and Air Force courses. Science classes have always come easy to him, but Spanish takes a little more work, which is fine, because he likes the challenge.

After graduating in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology (that comes with a chemistry minor) as well as Hispanic Studies and Aerospace Studies minors, he will begin his career with the military, then hopefully transition into being an astronaut. At some point during his career, he may go to medical school. Nothing is off the table.

Ultimately, Schilly’s final destination career goal is to be a high school biology teacher — something that stems from his love for teaching, longtime interest in animals and plants and a fascination for how things work in nature.

In between classes, he sneaks in a workout at the gym (because PT earlier was clearly not enough) and then heads back to class.

4 p.m.

ROTC meetings take up the first half of Schilly’s afternoon, but then it’s time for his favorite part of the day – baseball. A full hour and a half to do what he loves and practice with his club baseball teammates is exactly what he needs after a long day. Don’t be fooled, though, because Schilly and baseball haven’t always had the rosiest relationship.

“Growing up, baseball was a staple in my life and always my favorite sport. But me and baseball have a love-hate relationship,” he says.

The Schillys are a baseball family – Colin and his brothers all played in recreational leagues growing up and they follow Major League Baseball. He started playing when he was three, constantly practicing in his backyard when he wasn’t playing rec ball. When he tried out for the middle school team, he didn’t make it and was devastated, but decided to keep playing in the rec league.

High school tryouts in ninth grade were another swing and a miss. Schilly ended up playing travel ball instead, frustrated by the popularity contest and favoritism that made up his high school baseball team. He wasn’t giving up yet though, reluctantly trying out again in tenth and eleventh grades after the coach encouraged him to, but still didn’t make it. At that point, he was playing for fun, but wasn’t in an organized league. “I didn’t hate the sport, I hated the system,” he says. “But I kept playing, kept hitting off the tee and throwing from time to time. Grew a few inches, which is nice.”

Haley first witnessed her brother’s love and dedication for baseball at an early age. She’s impressed with how it has grown over time, remembering when he would spend summers practicing in the driveway with a training net and going out to hit and pitch with his older brother, Tyler. She took it personally when the politics of their high school athletic department got in the way of him making the team. “Colin worked so hard and loved it so much, but it didn’t have to do with passion or skill or anything. It was this hierarchy of our high school. He had this fire lit for baseball and then he just wasn’t able to play, and it was the saddest thing ever.” She admired his dedication to keep trying out year after year. “He knew he was good enough the whole time, but I know that shaped him and how he approaches failure and perseverance. And now, I’m so glad he plays on the club team [at UNC] because he just wanted to play baseball, and now he can.”

Senior year of high school came and went without a tryout, and then Schilly was a freshman at UNC, where Tyler was the president of the UNC Club Baseball team.

“I almost didn’t try out for the club team, but then I was like, you know, I’m going to try it out. There’s a chance I don’t make it, and then I can go with one of my other interests, like musical theatre,” he says.

He felt a little rusty during the tryout, but he made the team (without his brother’s help, he might add) and began to rapidly improve. Now, he’s at the top of his game – and he loves it more than ever.

UNC Club Baseball is a student-run organization. Some of the players could play NCAA Division II or III college baseball, but they’d rather have fun playing in a more relaxed, yet still competitive setting. The team is part of the National Club Baseball Association, playing in a conference with schools from the east coast with 10-12 series in the spring and a few out of conference games as well. Their biggest rival is the East Carolina University Pirates, who consistently finish at the top of their division – but Schilly and the UNC club team beat them this year at their matchup.

Schilly began his role on the team as a first-baseman, but has recently pitched as well. In addition to that, he runs the team’s social media accounts, which give him an outlet for his clever wit. His teammate, Jackson Cabell, says the team appreciates him for his multifaceted role. He was impressed with Schilly from the start, when he saw him play during tryouts. He had no idea that he didn’t play in high school until Schilly told him.

“In club baseball we do a lot of joking around, but we all want to win too, so Colin gets involved with the shenanigans, but he’s also a great baseball player on the field,” Cabell says. “This is his first year pitching and he’s doing really well as a lefty pitcher, which is exciting to see. He’s always been strong at the plate, but he’s just made a really good transition from playing the outfield to first base. Very supportive of his teammates and friendly with everyone too, and new guys on the team feel more comfortable because of him.”

UNC Club Baseball beat two top ten-ranked teams in the 2019 regular season (Maryland and Florida), which helps their playoff chances for a potential wild-card bid. The jury’s still out on whether or not they’ll make a postseason appearance, but they have high hopes. Even if they aren’t able to keep playing, for them it’s mostly just about having fun. Like Schilly, most of the guys on the team are not just involved in baseball on campus.

“That’s why we don’t take it super seriously, because people prioritize school and are able to stay involved with other things on campus…but when we get onto the field, we want to win, and Colin is definitely one of those people [who can do both],” Cabell says.

His current walk-up song to bat is “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, because “it’s filthy. I do it to feel cool. It gets me hype.” And when he’s pitching, it’s “What’s Up Danger” from “Into the Spider-verse.”

Other than his walk-up music to get him hyped up, Schilly says the guys on the team are really good about supporting each other. “I made a pretty awesome catch about a month ago, and it got super hype and they were all high-fiving me. But we also make fun of each other,” he says. “When it comes down to it, you are by yourself out there, but everything is still as a team, you’re moving for this team. We’ll scrap for each other.”

Schilly is glad he decided to try out and gets to do what he’s passionate about in college. When asked what he brings to the team, he has to think about it for a second, but reluctantly and humbly says, “I think I’m one of the best fielders on the team, if not just a pure set of hands. I don’t know if there’s anyone better than me at catching balls in the outfield and stuff.”

“I love being on that team,” he says. “It’s nice to go to baseball and be with a bunch of people who like the sport too, and who will know what I’m talking about if I make a sports reference. And baseball is just a beautiful game – it requires a very unique skill set. I feel like it just takes a natural hand-eye coordination and ability and that just kind of fascinates me.”

5 p.m.

Time for dinner and some more time to himself.

While he eats he might check up on the latest baseball news, especially with his hometown team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Schilly was born in St. Louis, but moved to Charlotte when he was six, where his family still resides. He is one of five kids – he has two older sisters, Kelci and Haley, an older brother, Tyler and a younger brother, Caleb. He loves the Cardinals so much that he regularly sports special-edition Vans sneakers printed with their logo.

Growing up as Schilly’s older sister (by one year), Haley knows him better than almost anyone – and she thinks his loyalty is his most prominent value. “He has loyalty not only to his family and friends but also to his country…just this dedication. He will not ever let you down, he’s such a good listener and such a loyal brother and friend. He’s super empathetic and good at knowing how people feel – he cares really, really deeply about his friendships, his family and different things – and he always, always wants to do the right thing.”

He’s not always serious, though. In fact, Haley says that “even though he has become more thoughtful and a matured guy, he has always been a goofball and a weirdo.”

6 p.m.

Schilly usually can’t focus on homework in the afternoon, so he waits until the evening to get started. Sometimes he works at home, but today he’s headed to the Newman Catholic Student Center to get some studying done. The activity center at the church serves as a great study spot for students, and it’s a particular favorite of Schilly’s. While he’s there, he might even sneak in some time to pray in the chapel.

His faith is extremely important to him, something that has only grown during college with the help of Newman. Schilly got involved with Newman and campus ministry during his freshman year when he was encouraged by his siblings, Tyler and Haley, to come to one of the social events. Since then, he’s been on the annual retreat every year, serving as a leader for the past two years. He co-hosts a small faith group every week, which focuses on reading and discussing Scripture as well as connecting with other Catholic students. He doesn’t stop there – he also sings in the choir at Sunday mass and occasionally leads the congregation as a cantor.

“Religion gives me my purpose in life,” he says. “Newman is great because it allows me to connect with people on that level and have people to talk to about faith.”

Sophomore Alex Pinder, a member of his small faith group, says that Schilly was integral in making his transition to college a smooth one. Pinder immediately connected with him over their similar Catholic school backgrounds.

“Colin sticks out to me at Newman because he takes his faith into his own hands,” he says. “He shows not only me, but the people around us, that it’s okay to practice your faith in your own way.”

“He does a lot of different things but they all fit together into one person…he’s a jack of all trades,” he says. “He’s a very unique guy – active in the Newman community, skilled on the baseball field and a man of many talents. There is probably nothing he can’t do.”

9 p.m.

Home again, and time to relax. By now, all of his housemates are most likely home and all hanging out together. Depending on the night, he’ll watch “Brooklyn 99” with his housemate and best friend Jeffrey Davidson, catch up on hockey (the St. Louis Blues are his favorite) or scroll through Twitter to get his daily dose of baseball news and other happenings.

“He takes his schoolwork seriously, as well as his commitments to things, like religion, baseball and ROTC,” Davidson says. “But he’s a funny guy too, has a very sophisticated sense of humor similar to mine – which is why we get along so well.”

Davidson shares a room with Schilly, whom he considers to be very low-maintenance and easy to live with. They talk about anything and everything, including Schilly’s baseball games and Major League Baseball current events to random, hypothetical comedy bits they like to make up. He’s the first person that Davidson wants to talk about his life with.

He hasn’t been to a club baseball game yet, but he jokes that he’s heard Schilly has “quite an arm” on the the pitching mound. “In all seriousness, his passion for baseball is unparalleled,” he says. “I know he really loves baseball, and it’s cool that it makes him happy.”

“My friends that I live with are home base – I never get tired of hanging out with them and I’m able to be the most myself with all of them,” Schilly says.

Because of his jam-packed schedule, Schilly is early to sleep, early to rise. He has to be well-rested to keep up with everything on his to-do list.

As for how he balances everything he’s involved in, Schilly says it’s all about prioritizing. “It’s committing to actually doing stuff when you say you’re going to do it,” he says.

So what’s the next activity for the Renaissance man to take on? He could learn another language like he did with French two summers ago. Maybe he’ll pick up a musical instrument – though he has already dabbled in bass guitar. “If Colin told me tomorrow that he was learning to play the tuba, I would not be at all surprised,” says Pinder. If he had the time to try out a new hobby, he says, he would probably try dancing or explore musical theatre more. He’s been drawn to that ever since his theatrical debut as Papa Bear in “Shrek: The Musical” senior year of high school. Maybe he can squeeze it in his schedule somewhere, but if not, he’ll continue listening to Broadway soundtracks and busting a move with his friends. There aren’t many hobbies he wouldn’t be interested in trying, except for golf – he’s not a huge fan of the sport and not naturally inclined in it, according to his own assessment.

He’s heard the Renaissance man term before, and he knows that he’s good at a lot of things – but he keeps those thoughts to himself.

“I’ve been blessed with a combination of abilities and I want to make the most of them,” he says. “I’m confident, but I never go anywhere with that arrogance.”

Schilly may not know exactly how the next few years will pan out, but if it ever stresses him out, he knows he has baseball to turn to.

“There’s nothing more relaxing to me than just watching a baseball game or going to throw,” he says. “No better feeling in the world than hitting a baseball.”

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Categories
Life

Highlights of the Week — Oct. 28-Nov. 3

Hi again! I’m back on this lovely Sunday to share some of my favorite moments from this past week, because it was a busy one! I’m writing this, by the way, after watching the Panthers celebrate another victory against the Buccaneers, making them 6-2.  A happy Sunday indeed! Anyways, here it is:

SUNDAY I had the privilege of going to the Ben Rector concert in Raleigh with my friend Chloe and let me tell you people, that was a gift! He is spectacular live and very fun to see in concert. We enjoyed singing and dancing along to his new and old songs. Go give him a listen if you haven’t already here!

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WEDNESDAY was the spookiest day of the year and we celebrated accordingly! I dressed up as a Toy Story alien with my friends and we actually received some approval from people on Franklin Street (which is a big deal, because everyone at UNC comes out with their costumes). It was so much fun, as always, to see what costumes people were dressed up in this year. We also caught the end of a B.O.B. concert, who is a rapper that I surprisingly am familiar with (I’m not very hip when it comes to rap music) that was playing near some of the fraternities!

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THURSDAY I met with my lovely small faith group through my church at school, which is always such a refreshing time of the week. I also noticed that the leaves are finally changing on campus, and the colors are so rich and beautiful!

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FRIDAY the Media and Journalism school hosted an information session with two alumnae from UNC that now work for the NBA! Listening them talk about their experience so far working in the sports industry was really cool and inspiring for my (possible) future career in this field. Also I hosted a fun Mamma Mia movie night where some of my friends and I watched both movies together and sang along. There wasn’t much to it, but nights like those enjoying time with my friends are so important to me.

SATURDAY I made the trek down to Kenan Memorial Stadium to watch the Tar Heels play against Georgia Tech in our Homecoming game. It was somewhat disappointing because of the end result and our season thus far but I’ll always jump at an opportunity to support the Heels 🙂 I also went to the Fall Clef Hangers concert with my friend Jared which was great as always! They have so much talent and I love getting the opportunity to see them in concert.

Reflecting on my week has shown me how grateful I am for the wonderful people in my life as well as the opportunities that are available to me as a student at the best university in the world (unbiased opinion, for the record). If you haven’t noticed already, I love sharing the things I’m passionate about on my blog, and my friends and university are two of those things. There will surely be more to come about what I’m grateful for this month as Thanksgiving approaches. Happy November, friends!

 

Cara

Categories
Life Travel

My Spanish Adventure

Just like that, I’m back in Charlotte after six amazing (and quick) weeks in Europe, and all I can say is Wow! We definitely tried to make the most out of our last week in Sevilla, and then I had a wonderful few days in Holland and the U.K.! Here are some highlights:

  • Monday I got to meet up with one of my friends in my sorority who was studying in Salamanca, Spain this summer. She was visiting Sevilla with her family and it was so cool to see her and compare study abroad stories.
  • Tuesday was the first day of the week where the temperature hit above 100 degrees (and would stay that way for the rest of the week). The temperatures during the week varied from 105-110 degrees at some points for the last few days that we were there, which meant a lot of staying inside and the occasional gelato to cool down!
  • Wednesday was the last day of class! It went by so fast, but both of my classes this summer were very interesting to me and helpful with practicing my Spanish! The exams went very well also and overall, my classes were successful and enjoyable.
  • Thursday we had our first exam, but after that a group of us went to this incredible cereal restaurant called Crunch Cereal Cafe. It’s an awesome cafe that has a ton of specialty and regular cereals, over 30 kinds of milk and other sweet treats. I got Cinnabon cereal with blue milk and it was delicious! I wish we would have found it earlier in the summer, because I would have definitely been a regular visitor!
  • Thursday I also visited a super cool mural that had the phrase “Sevilla Tu Casa” painted on it, which means “Sevilla is your home” which was really appropriate for how much I’ve grown to love Sevilla these past few weeks as a second home! Pictures were taken, of course. My roommate and I also went out to dinner with our host family to celebrate our last few days together and we had yummy tapas!
  • Friday was our second and final exam and our group goodbye dinner! They took us to a restaurant called Bar Pelayo and the food was amazing! It was nice to have dinner as a group one more time and be able to say goodbye to everyone. We all somehow kept forgetting that we go to the same school, so we’ll all be able to hang out in the fall! After dinner some of us went to a rooftop bar that had an awesome view of La Giralda and the Sevilla cathedral. We also had to say goodbye to our host family, which was really hard.
  • Saturday I got up at 5:30 AM and took a train to Madrid, and flew out of there into Amsterdam where my family was waiting for me! My cousins picked me up from the airport and I got to spend the rest of the weekend with them! We had a delicious barbecue Saturday night and a nice walk around West-Graftdijk where they live. Sunday we went into Alkmaar for a boat ride on the canals around the town, a nice lunch and a climb up to the top of St. Laurence Cathedral. The view was so beautiful, we could see the entire town and surrounding towns as well! We also got to see a mural inside the cathedral that depicted the Final Judgment scene from the Bible. The visit was short but very sweet, and I feel so lucky that I got to see them for a weekend because it’s rare!
  • Monday I flew to London and met up with my friend Dan! Dan studied at UNC this past year as part of an exchange program and quickly became one of my close friends. He was my official tour guide for this trip and he definitely didn’t disappoint. The first day we only had a few hours left in the day, but we visited Kings Cross (the Harry Potter geek in me was very happy), Tower of London, London Bridge and the Shard. We also walked along the Thames River and saw a lot of the city by doing that.
  • Tuesday was the day for our official “See All of London in a Day” which wasn’t an understatement! We got an early start and ended up visiting Borough Market, Shakespeare’s Globe, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown, M&M World London, Oxford Circus, Hyde Park and Kensington Palace! (I got tired from just writing that all out.) I also had fish and chips for lunch (authentic British cuisine) and tried Nando’s, a delicious chicken restaurant that is super popular in the U.K. We finished off the day with gelato and then I checked my step count for the day: I had walked over 32,000 steps and 14.9 miles! The best part was that the day flew by and we didn’t even notice we were walking that much because we got to see so many cool places. Touring a city in one day is definitely an interesting thing to say I’ve done, and it was so worth it! Dan was a wonderful tour guide and it was so good to see him for a few days.
  • Wednesday I made the long journey home! I will miss Europe so much but it felt so great to hug my parents, see my dog and sleep in my own bed. Now I only have one week left of summer vacation before I go back to school for my junior year! (Crazy)

Here are some photo highlights from the last little bit of my time in Europe (fun fact: I took over 2,000 pictures during my trip!):

I can’t believe my time abroad is over already. It went by so fast but was truly one of the best experiences of my life! I tried new foods, became more independent, explored new places, made new friends, learned a lot and existed outside of my comfort zone. Studying abroad is something I would recommend to everyone and I cannot thank my parents enough for making this possible for me!

Also, a special thanks to everyone who has kept up with me these past few weeks by checking in with me, liking my posts or reading my blog! I really appreciate it 🙂 More blog posts to come about upcoming events and thoughts in my life, but for now:

Hasta luego!

Cara

Categories
Life Travel

Spain Week Four!!

Hello hello! Somehow this week is my last week in Spain 😦 It has continued to be a wonderful experience and this past week was no different, including some fun travels!

  • Monday we checked out the major department store in Spain called El Corte Inglés and let me tell you, this store was incredible! It’s basically a store that could fulfill your every need. There are 6 floors, which include clothing, accessories, cosmetics, home furnishings and decor, electronics, a bookstore, school and art supplies and a full scale grocery store. There’s nothing like it in the States and I was so impressed (it’s the little things)
  • Tuesday we went to a festival by the river in a district called Triana. It lasts a few days and devotes each day to a different female saint. We walked around the food booths and tried rebujitos, which is wine and Sprite mixed together (not too shabby!) They had pretty lights set up around the festival and music playing which made for some nice ambiance! They also had a hilarious wooden pole hanging off a boat that they greased up with oil and people would try to run out to the end of it and grab a flag without slipping off. It was great free comedy!
  • Wednesday our group visited a local startup business called Glamping Hub, which is an extremely successful booking website for glamorous camping excursions around the world. It definitely made me want to book a vacation in a treehouse somewhere. Check them out at http://www.glampinghub.com!
  • Friday we took a bus to Lagos, Portugal! Another country to check off of my list 🙂 Lagos is a gorgeous beach town in the south of Portugal. We stayed in a hostel and were able to experience the nightlife right along with the Portuguese people (and lots of other travelers).
  • Saturday we got to do a kayak tour in the ocean and it was INCREDIBLE! We kayaked 2.5 miles along the beautiful coast and got to paddle between and under rocks and into caves. I’m sore from kayaking for 2 hours, but it was so fun and so worth it! We also got to take a break for awhile and snorkel. We got to see some fish but couldn’t stay in for long because the ocean was incredibly cold! (I think I still have goosebumps)
  • Sunday we had delicious fruit and waffles for breakfast (right up my alley) and then spent the rest of our day at the beach. The weather was great and we enjoyed just having some time to relax. Spending time in Lagos with my awesome friends I’ve made through this program was incredible and definitely one of the highlights of my whole experience!

Some cool pictures, as always:

 

Thank you for reading! This week we will be taking final exams (prayers please) and I will be trying to soak up every little bit of Spain possible until I have to leave. Until next week!

Hasta luego,

Cara

Categories
Life Travel

Spain Week Three!!

Another week in Spain has come and gone so fast! I feel like I wrote my week two post yesterday, but the time is flying by and I only have two full weeks left here. This week was incredibly busy as always, with new and exciting adventures 🙂

  • I started off the week taking two midterm exams which I’m happy to say went very well! I am still quite busy with assignments but enjoying learning about business in the Spanish-speaking world.
  • Tuesday we toured the Catedral de Sevilla and it was beautiful. I’m loving all of the cathedrals I’m getting to see while I’m here, because they are decorated with such a lovely combination of religion and architecture. We also got to climb up 34 flights in the Giralda tower which offered an amazing bird’s eye view of Sevilla. My favorite kind of view!
  • Wednesday we visited Las Setas (Spanish for The Mushrooms) which is a super cool structure that you can climb to the top of and see an entire view of Sevilla. We went with our host family at sunset and the views were amazing!! Once it got dark, every single church in Sevilla was lit up.
  • Thursday we toured a winery called Bodegas Góngora as one of our business visits. They’ve been in business since 1682 and specialize in several types of sherry wines. We learned the ins and outs of the wine business and got to try a few wines as well! I enjoyed tasting them, as well as the snacks they put out to go with the wine (LOL).
  • Friday a small group of us took the train to Madrid! I found a cool hostel that was located in the theater district area which honestly resembled New York City a lot, especially the Times Square/Broadway area. We walked around and explored, and ended up at an Italian restaurant for dinner (I know what you’re thinking — we’re in Spain! But this place was delicious). I had a yummy pizza and we all split chocolate mousse that was to die for. We ended the night by checking out a rooftop bar and hanging out on the rooftop terrace of our hostel, where we met some nice people from Mexico and Australia!
  • Saturday was a FULL day of exploring Madrid! We had a delicious breakfast at a cafe and headed out immediately to check off several touristy spots. We went to a few cool plazas, including one called Puerta de Sol which had a statue of a bear and a strawberry tree (Madrid’s official symbol) called El Ozo y el Madrono. We got to see the beautiful royal palace, the Reina Sofia museum that has Dalí and Picasso works in it and the cathedral. The cathedral was probably my favorite part — it was absolutely gorgeous inside with colorful ceilings and stained glass that I couldn’t stop staring at. We also went to a market where I tried a chocolate truffle and a Spanish treat called tejas, which literally means “roof tiles” but is actually an almond biscuit treat — yum!
  • For dinner, we ended up at the same Italian place because of how much we loved it the night before (surprise surprise) and I had pesto pasta that was wonderful. I also ended up logging 22,000 steps that day — safe to say I got plenty of exercise!
  • Sunday we had another delicious breakfast at a Spanish cafe and bakery where I had a cheese omelet and a palmera de chocolate, a chocolate pastry that’s sort of like a croissant with chocolate on top (again — surprise, surprise) and rode the train home. My roommate Audrey and I went to mass at a Catholic church and struggled to understand it, but it was incredibly interesting and we’re happy we went!
  • My Spanish is a continued work in progress, and I’m learning useful slang phrases from my host family like “How cool!” is “Que guay!”
  • As far as trying new foods goes, my host mom told me that “I eat basically everything” which if you know me is a HUGE improvement to my picky taste in the U.S.! I have been adventurous with trying food and it has benefitted me well. Some of the best things she has made for us have included zucchini and pumpkin soups, eggplant casserole, broccoli and potato casserole, paella, the list goes on! I’m excited to see what else I will try before I come home 🙂

So, to sum up: more delicious food (and copious amounts of chocolate, of course), beautiful sights and some awesome people to spend it with! I am happy and still learning so much. Thank you for continuing to read about my adventures!

‘Til next week!

Adios,

Cara