NC + Virginia

Trip kicks off (January 6th)


Alamance Battleground Tour

FullSizeRender copy.jpg

Alamance Battleground is the very first stop of the trip and is fairly close to Elon. This morning was also COLD. Pretty great indicator of what the rest of the trip would look like. The tour starts off with a short film about what happened during the Battle of Alamance and then moves to the grounds where the battle occurred. We had a male and a female tour guide who were knowledgeable, passionate, and intent on pushing the importance of the Battle of Alamance and North Carolina’s rich history. This battle was fought when some Carolina colonists became unhappy with the taxation and means of collecting money in the colony and decided to take a stand against the British. The colonists were known as the “regulators.”

The interesting thing about the Alamance Battleground is that they are claiming that they were the first battle of the American of the revolution when in fact they weren’t even fighting for freedom from Britain! In my opinion, those who run this site are making a bit too big of claims about their importance. While this battle may be important to North Carolinians, it isn’t really the start to the revolution.

While this isn’t the most interesting of sites, it’s a good little start to the trip. As a displaced Texan, it’s interesting to learn a little bit about the history of other states.



1424301_10204606310752621_8179687888206471555_n.jpgDowntown Raleigh


IMG_4991.JPGDr. Carpenter joins us in Raleigh!


1005518_10204606309832598_6956037191979720978_n.jpgLunch time at Cafe Carolina


Our next stop was the state capitol grounds and quick lunch in Raleigh. Quite honestly, the assignment concerning the state capitol grounds is kind of silly. We were asked to go in the museum and look at the statues in order to consider whether or not the monuments are biased towards the Confederacy. Of course, considering that we’re in North Carolina, they are very biased. We were able to pick up a bulletin from inside the museum and write about it without looking around much.

The most interesting part of this day was finding a foreigner’s wallet that contained over $1,000 in cash. Turning it in to the police was a sad moment but it had to be done.

For lunch we stopped in a little cafe called Cafe Carolina which is very similar to Panera! I’d definitely recommend it for a quick stop.


On to VA

12400474_10204607239575841_8182828965564321939_n.jpgRachel, Danielle, and Hannah



VA Day 1 (January 7th)



12484732_10206972861097895_5774956173932578140_oAnna, Daniella, Kristy, and I


12469567_10206972861857914_3665725131702548494_oGroup shot on the “settlement ships”


1655439_10206972860377877_3683065652151935662_oMy roommate for the trip, Kristy!




12469476_10206972858177822_3077191874418897283_oRecreation of the settlement ships
Colonist church


Our Jamestown tour was quite possibly the worst of the trip. I found the majority of the tour to be slightly uncomfortable and disappointing overall. Our guide spent most of the time talking about the different cultures of people that became mixed at Jamestown and how those different types of people lived, while failing to mention the importance of Jamestown as a settlement.

The guide tried too hard too hard to force us to answer questions and engage us, almost as if we were young kids. I think that he was overexcited that we weren’t little kids (his usual touring age group). The tour became boring and it was hard to follow his rambling at times. Additionally, he did not seem to realize that some teenage girls would be made uncomfortable with an older man they did not know touching their shoulders or getting in their personal space during his demonstrations. It is very important to respect boundaries when teaching others. Despite the disappointing guide, I found the discussion of the different cultures to be interesting – especially the outdoor portion of the tour where we got to see how the Powhatan tribe lived.



IMG_5001.JPGLearning soldier skills


12471556_10206972871378152_588426458047452886_oDrill practice



12487307_10206972870138121_2031006017899628082_oSoldier’s tent


Thankfully, Yorktown was a MUCH better experience than Jamestown.

Yorktown is remembered as the last major battle of the American Revolution and the deciding factor in the outcome of the war. Despite Yorktown being at the end of the Revolution, our guide did a wonderful job outlining the whole revolution and explaining how it all started. She began her by showing Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die” cartoon that sought to show the colonies that they could not win the war separately – they must all fight together. Then, she explained the different reasons that the war began. As a result of a costly French and Indian war and British soldiers monitoring of the border of 1763, Britain began to enforce more taxes on the American. Thus, taxation without representation began. Americans begin to get fed up with these taxes because they believed that they were unfair, so they rebelled. The Boston Tea Party was organized by Sam Adams and represents the throwing away of the King’s property. Others follow suit across the colonies. The 1st shot is fired at Lexington and Concord and just like that, the war begins.

Our tour guide’s presentation was interesting, engaging, contained college-appropriate material and was to the point. It was especially fun to see the soldier’s living quarters and pretend that we were soldiers learning drill. The tour was, however, biased towards the American side. Our guide told a story of being shocked that a museum in London only had one small display remembering the American Revolution and the American victory at Yorktown. The Revolution is such a small deal to the British but is a huge deal to Americans including her and the rest of the staff at Yorktown. She stated, “history is told by its victors.” This certainly rings true at Yorktown.



VA Day 2 (January 8th)


IMG_5017.JPGJefferson’s beautiful home


12486034_10206986523519447_816728758461189875_o (1)


12489196_10206991918694323_413867814679839796_oPotomac River


12465892_10206986546280016_6492635289319298674_oUnder Jefferson’s home



12507465_10204606310352611_8690693153169655045_n.jpgDanielle and Megan


Monticello, as a whole, did a more than adequate job of explaining the Jefferson contradiction – a man famous for proclaiming all men free and equal in the Declaration of Independence owned over a hundred slaves. This being said, workers at Monticello clearly admire Jefferson for his various accomplishments and his ingenuity despite the fact that he owned slaves.

Our tour started with a short orientation film about Jefferson’s life that opened with a Jefferson quote claiming, “Equality is man’s natural law” and following with a list of his many accomplishments. The film goes on to discuss his living contradiction. Jefferson had more than 140 African Americans living at Monticello and only freed the children that he fathered with Sally Hemmings at the time of his death. Although the film mentions the contradiction, it ends with further heroification of Jefferson by comparing him to the other great men who have worked towards freedom in their lifetimes: Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Obama and various others.

Monticello seemed very progressive in its discussions of slave life during Jefferson’s era. Our tour guide brought up that it was not always this way though and that they are still learning more about Jefferson each year and working to give the most accurate and informative tours possible. We must also keep in mind that Monticello is a family attraction that should leave visitors feeling good, not scare little children off with the horrors of slave beatings. I appreciated that our guide “kept it real” with us and was able to appreciate and criticize Jefferson without quite granting him hero status. After all, he was a human just like all of us.

Monticello was one of my favorite stops of the trip. Not only are the grounds and buildings beautiful, but the tour does a fantastic job of portraying history accurately and teaching visitors about the time.


On to second hotel

IMG_5020.JPGMegan out



VA Day 3 (January 9th)

American Civil War Museum

Unfortunately, on this tour day I was sick! I spent the day eating Dominoes in bed and drinking sprite. Jim was kind enough to give me a “free pass” on the journal from this day! Luckily, I recovered quickly and was back in commission soon enough 🙂



VA Day 4 (January 10th)

Mount Vernon

12419048_10206991916174260_4421457257096873475_oWashington’s Home





The Mount Vernon tour began much like Monticello with a video. The Washington heroification begins from the moment the video starts. A deep narrating voice tells us that “Washington never told a lie” and that “this estate shows his true personality.” The only time that slavery is brought up during the whole video is when the slave memorial is mentioned. There is more time devoted to sales ploys in the video than time spent talking about slavery. This sends the message that money and white history is more important than slavery. How ridiculous. The video moves on to tell a very romanticized story of how Martha and Washington met and how bravely he was able to rally his men to win the Revolutionary War. Slavery is never mentioned again and Washington is crowned the “patriot of liberty.” The video ends by asking us to “remain true to his memory.”

This version of Washington that the Mount Vernon video describes is the one I spent my childhood learning about. In reality though, Washington was not that perfect and painting him as so is ludicrous. When we heroify we miss out on so much of history and the lessons that can be learned from it. Our tour through the house was interesting (and not in a good way) to say the least. We began by touring the “servants house” in which a flat screen TV was housed and servants were not even mentioned. Is calling them servants supposed to disguise the fact that they were enslaved? Of course, the house itself is beautiful. The extra staff member on guard in each room was a bit unnerving though.

Our guide Nathan Noble seemed uncomfortable with our slavery questions and was clearly a huge Washington admirer. He even called himself our adopted professor (what a goof). Monticello did a much better job of balancing the contradiction of Jefferson overall – they were willing to admit that owning slaves was an issue even though he accomplished great things. Brushing slavery under the rug is not an honest recount of Washington’s life. Guests to Mount Vernon deserve to hear both the good and the bad. After all, that is what makes history interesting and how we learn from it.

On the grounds of Mount Vernon, we explored the area and visited both the Washington family grave and slave gravesite. Washington and Martha’s graves are magnificent and quite the spectacle. After seeing them though, walking over to the slave’s gravesite and seeing a few simple stones serving to commemorate the unmarked graves of over 300 slaves seems very sad in comparison. It does not seem to me that these people were ever paid proper tribute then or now. The memorial that exists now was not even commissioned until the 80’s.

After visiting the graves we spent some time exploring the museum and education center, both of which were very impressive. As expected, most of the museum was dedicated to Washington’s life and the Revolutionary War. There was one section in the education center with a plaque “Behind the Shadows of Slavery” that explained how Washington inherited the slaves and the tasks those slaves played both at Mount Vernon and in the Revolutionary War. While this plaque was good, I would’ve liked to see more things like it incorporated throughout Mount Vernon.


On to Philly

IMG_5049.JPGPit stop in Maryland

What a great start to our trip! Follow my journey as we take on Philadelphia next!

With love,




Class Projects ENG 319 Final History Study Tour Teaching Fellows Trips United States

History Study Tour

As a Teaching Fellow, you have the incredible opportunity to travel for FREE over winter term freshman year up and down the East coast AND earn credit for a history course. I’m here to give you the inside scoop on what the trip is really like and give you tips to make the most out of your travels! This will be a series of blog posts detailing things to know before you take off and what to do in each city!

I hope that reading about what I have learned will inspire you to keep track of your own travels and start your own travel blog! Having a sort of “online scrapbook” to look back on is such a wonderful thing. Happy blogging and more importantly, happy traveling from my cohort to yours!


12486034_10206986523519447_816728758461189875_o (1).jpg 2019 Teaching Fellows Cohort 



Christmas Break


Quite possibly the most annoying part of this class is that it requires work over Christmas Break. Do not be mollified by the director’s insistence that this isn’t actually that much work – it is a solid amount for a short break and he is a fairly hard grader. The book itself, 1776, is enjoyable but long. I recommend starting it right away on the plane or car ride home. Once you have it out of the way, writing the essay itself isn’t too bad. However, you’ll want to have read the essay prompt before reading the book so that you can look out for quotes and things to use in your essay! I recommend putting sticky notes on pages with quotes or summaries that you want to use. This will make the writing process so much easier. There are also going to be some articles and book chapters up on Moodle that you have to read. You’ll need to read these for discussions and in-class writing assignments that will take place in the couple days before your trip takes off. Once this is out of the way, the real fun can begin!



What to pack

suitcase-wallpaper-1280x800 (1).jpg

WARM CLOTHES. That is pretty much the gist of everything you need to know about this one. As a Texan, I was completely unprepared for how gosh darn cold it would be. With the wind coming off the ocean, it can be absolutely brutal. Prepare for it to be 0 degrees or even colder with the wind chill. Most of my Christmas presents before the trip were warm clothing items to bring. In addition to your normal packing list, I would recommend:

  • MULTIPLE pairs of gloves
  • Wool socks
  • Snow boots or other warm walking boots
  • Ear warmers
  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Thick sweaters
  • Snacks for the bus and hotel
  • Medicine (people will get sick!
  • Layers, layers, layers
    • This includes pants and shirts!
  • Cute shoes that are also comfortable for walking
  • A cross body bag
  • Cash (you will need it!) 



What to expect:


In general

boston_panorama-wallpaper-1280x800.jpgThis trip is a blast and a half. Expect to have so much fun! If I could do it all again, I would! While you should expect to work hard and learn, this is the perfect opportunity to explore and have great times in amazing cities with friends that will last a lifetime. This trip really encourages you to get to know your cohort and by the end, you’ll be so much closer. My roommate Kristy and I had daily dance party breaks during our journaling time each day.

However, to be quite honest with you, I was not expecting this class to be as much work as it is. They tell you that the afternoon will be yours to spend freely, but working on the journal takes up a decent portion of that time. In addition, the trip is physically exhausting. You will be doing A LOT of walking. I recommend planning some time in each day to spend resting and journaling at the hotel. Kristy and I usually planned this time to be right after our morning group outings. That way, you regain some energy and get some work done at the same time. We’d spend the rest of the afternoon and early evening doing our own thing in smaller groups and exploring the city.


Bus rides


Riding on the bus was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be. Most travel days you’ll get on the bus around 8:30 and spend a good portion of the morning and afternoon on it, but you’ll be tired enough that the rest will be appreciated. You stop every two hours or so at gas stations that usually have multiple restaurants in them. Be prepared – there will be a lot of fast food and Wendy’s. I recommend eating lighter things like sandwiches or salads while on the road. I don’t eat out a ton and found that food was not settling so well by the end of the trip. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat great food in the cities, so don’t be afraid to take it light on the road!


Jim Bissett



The reason that this so special because of this man right here. The History Study Tour is not your typical history class. Instead of having you blindly accept the status quo and believe everything that books and museums tell you, Jim encourages you to question everything and consider their bias. This makes learning about history so much more fun! Instead of being asked to memorize facts that you’ll never remember anyway, you are asked to challenge authority. This was definitely the best history class I’ve ever taken. While Jim takes the class seriously and is not an “easy” grader, he makes the trip fun and is an overall great guy to be around.


Pro tips:


  • Keep up with your journal each day
  • Go to bed as early as possible so that you can make the most of each day
  • Edit your journal entries on the bus
  • Combine rest time with journaling time
  • Break into smaller groups when possible to get things done more quickly
  • Request separate checks BEFORE you order at the restaurant
  • Be social BUT plan some down time for yourself
  • Budget your money and save some for shopping and souvenirs (you have plenty!)
  • Take tons of cute pictures!
  • And of course, keep a personal journal or take notes each day so that you can blog about your trip

Happy traveling,


Class Projects ENG 319 Final History Study Tour Teaching Fellows Trips

6 Ways to Promote Your Blog

Now I already know what you’re thinking, who the hell is going to care what some college kid has to say?

I’m here to assure you that there’s a lot more people who want to read about your adventures than your mom and best friend, you just have to figure out how to reach them.


#1) Embrace the aesthetic


We all know that things with pretty pictures are much more tempting to click on. Whether it be that hot new celebrity, a puppy picture, or some yummy tacos, we can’t help but click the link. Use this tactic to promote your stuff! Either take good pictures yourself or find a way to incorporate good pictures into your posts. Draw the people in!


#2) Titles matter


Like we discussed in the last post, a great title is vital to getting those clicks. Choose something short and sweet that’ll catch your audience’s attention. Find big, key phrases from your text that explain what you’re talking about in a short and exciting way. This combined with an amazing picture and you’re golden.


#3) Use the right platforms


This tip is a bit more tricky and requires that you know your audience. Subtip: each blog deserves its own Facebook and social media pages.

Branding your blog and getting people to “like” a page that will let them know when you’ve posted something new is much better than simply sharing your posts on your own page. This looks much more professional than a simple “check out my blog!” posted on your own page that your mom might click on. Key word: might.  Besides Facebook, decide what other medias you want to focus on. Instagram is great for the pictures you’ve taken and Twitter allows you to share a picture and link with your tagline. Sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are discovery engines that recommend web content to users. Use sites like these to find new readers!


#4) Know when to shareclock_2-wallpaper-1280x800.jpg

Though this tip might seem silly to most millennials, this really is the key to social media success. Firstly, you need to know when your audience is online and most engaged! You should create a posting schedule to remind you to post at each times. Silly “one post a day” rules do not exist in this type of world, so post away!


#5) Money talksth-1.jpg

Though this tip is obviously optional depending on your blogging goals, money does talk. Using things like “Paid Social” can help you promote your content into news feeds where you are guaranteed visibility. If you’re craving a bigger audience, maybe marketing tactics are the way to go.

6) Have fun!


Most importantly, remember to have fun! Trying to remember to update and network consistently can become overwhelming, so always make sure that you’re enjoying it. Blogging should feel like an enjoyable hobby, not a boring job. Take time throughout your travels to unplug and relax. Then, use social media and your blog to reconnect with the world and share what you learned.


With love,



Wright, Liz Borod. “10 Social Media Tips for Bloggers.” Mashable. 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 20              Apr. 2016.

Blogging Advice Class Projects ENG 319 Final

5 Tips to Help You Nail Your First Blog Post


Bad blog posts are definitely not far and few between. We’ve all opened up an Odyssey post or two and noticed that the writer didn’t even take a spare minute to review their work.

Luckily, I’m here to give you the end all be all of tips: write an outline.

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been asked to write an outline, nor the last. I have to admit that they can be a little bit annoying and a lotta bit tedious, but you’ve just got to put your head down and do it. That little bit of time up front will definitely pay off in the long run.


#1) Find a place and time to outline32dbcd8f-9706-44ce-8be4-ec1681f0722a.jpg

Pictured above is my absolute favorite coffee shop from back home in Texas called Redefined. Finding a great place to work is a key step that is so often overlooked! Everyone is different. While some writers find that staying up late and sitting in their bed works for them, others couldn’t spend a single second working this way. In this case, perhaps spending the morning at a coffee shop would be better. Figure out what works for you, then do it.



#2) Come up with a great title


Before you do anything, you need to decide what you’re writing about. You can always revisit the title later, but it is vital to have a clear idea of what your piece is going to be about.

Coming up with what to write about can be quite the struggle. You need to come up with a topic that you care about that will also appeal to the target audience you have in mind. Brainstorming with a friend can be a great way to start this process. When brainstorming, come up with broad topics like “How to Make Money on Social Media,” then think about the goal of the post, then think about what would look great on social media! Change it to something like “5 Tips for Solopreneurs to Make Money on Pinterest.” You got this!



#3) Write down takeaways


The next step is to start writing. Get down all your jumbled thoughts and ideas onto paper. These should be all of things that you want your reader to know by the end of your post. This does not have to be organized! Just get your ideas down on the paper – don’t worry about them being all over the place right now. This should just be a working document – try making a bullet point list!

If you wanted to write a blog post about tips for making money on Pinterest, you could say:

  • What social media should they have
  • What kind of camera should they use
  • How long should the articles be
  • Can you use Pinterest on a computer and phone
  • How often should you post
  • Do you connect social media
  • What results should they expect
  • How many pictures should be in a post

It is okay if they are all over the place!



#4) Start to fill in holes


Your next step is to think about your list and place each idea into sections. Ginny Soskey compares this to sorting laundry. You should come up with a few big themes and place the bullets under each overarching theme. When sorting, you might realize that you have some gaps under each theme. This will remind you that you need to start developing each idea that you have. You can also add reminders at this stage so you don’t forget anything!

At this point, all you have is a messy list. Start thinking about what you missed and add reminders about things you don’t want to forget.

  1. Intro
    1.  How to create a Pinterest account and start getting attention
  2. Crafting the perfect posts
    1. What camera to use
    2. How many pictures to use
    3. How long should the article be
  3. Measuring your Success
    1. What results should they expect
    2. How to find them in analytics
    3. How to adjust to get better results

Basically, just organize further and go a bit more detailed.



#5) Edit + Final Details


Now it comes down to the nitty gritty – the editing process. Consider having someone look over your work and analyze how it will look with the rest of your content before you publish it.

Remember final details like links you want to include, pictures you took on your trip, or puns that you’ve thought of!

You’re finally ready to get going! Now, the process should be a breeze.


With love,



Soskey, Ginny. “How to Write a Blog Post Outline: A Simple Formula to Follow.” How to            Write a Blog Post Outline: A Simple Formula to Follow. 5 May 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.

Blogging Advice Class Projects ENG 319 Final

5 Reasons YOU Should Start a Blog

Yes, this means YOU!

Ever since I stumbled across my first blog back in the days of MySpace, I’ve been completely enamored with idea that you can write something up, press share, and have people read it around the world. Now, I’m finally taking the plunge and starting my own blog – you can too!


Here’s why:

#1) Keep track of your adventures


Ever eaten at an amazing restaurant and completely forgotten the name of it a week later? Me too. As an Elon Teaching Fellow, your time at Elon is sure to be spent on lots of adventures. From the History Study Tour that takes you up and down the east coast to studying abroad your sophomore year, you’ll be all over the place! Starting a blog is the perfect way to keep track of your amazing memories. Being able to talk about your travels and what you learned from them could be what sets you apart in a job interview someday! Start a blog and have the perfect online scrapbook that will last a lifetime.


#2) Make a difference


Living here in the United States, it’s quite easy to forget that not everyone has access to things like computers or even running water. Traveling is a great reminder of just how lucky we are and an incredible way to learn and appreciate other cultures. By starting a blog, you can share what you learn with the world.


#3) Keep learning


Here at Elon, we’re all about being life long learners. Surely, you’re going to spend a lot of time writing throughout your four years here. Luckily, trips usually involve “travel days.” These days are perfect for sitting down, relaxing, and reflecting on what you’ve learned so far. Blogging is a spectacular way to gather your thoughts and put them down on paper in a creative way.


#4) Make new friends


I would assert that the only difference between keeping a diary and blogging is the people! Sure, you can keep a little notebook with your own thoughts, but why not share what you have to say with the world? Perhaps you’ll even meet other bloggers who you can meet up with someday. Who doesn’t love a free place to stay?


#5) Make money


While you probably won’t suddenly become Leonardo, there are people out there who make money off of their blogs. Even a little extra support on your adventures wouldn’t be a bad thing. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up rolling in the big bucks one day.


With love,



Be, Stephanie. “How to Blog Like an Expert: 10 Tips From Top Travel Blogs (Pt. 2).”How      to Blog Like an Expert.”, 5 May 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.


Blogging Advice Class Projects ENG 319 Final