Petrel Named Georgia National Guard Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year

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State Command Sergeant Major Stringfield, Oglethorpe junior Staff Sgt. Eric Hunt, and State Commanding General Jarrard.

The Army National Guardsmen annually holds a Non-Commissioned Officer competition that is comprised of multiple levels of various grueling tasks, both physical and mental.  This year, Oglethorpe junior and Stone Mountain, Ga. native Staff Sgt. Eric N. Hunt ’16, an infantryman with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, won the competition and was named Georgia National Guard Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. Eric, an international studies major, has spent approximately five years in the Army and three years in the National Guard.

In order to compete for the NCO recipient for the state level, Eric endured several levels of competition. The first level is the Battalion, which is held for one day in January. Competitors who are successful in the first level move on to the Brigade level, which occurs for three days in February. Finally, the state NCO candidates are put through a four-day competition in March.

Competitors are put through multiple types of physical and mental tests. First, is the fitness test, which includes push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run. An exam with general military topics and a graded essay is then administered. Weapons qualification follows, along with an obstacle course, and an interview with the merit board. The final task includes demonstrating general army skills, with no rest in-between.

Eric Hunt 4Eric says he preferred the shooting, weapons maintenance, and land navigation aspects of the competition. However, thanks to his Oglethorpe education, he felt he was best prepared for the essay and interview.

Eric advises other students to make time to work toward your goals. “There is a lot that can get done if you make time for things,” he says. “If there is something you want, go for it.”

“In Love with the World”: Study Abroad in France

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Shea Pitre ’15 at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

Before I began my study abroad at L’Université Catholique de Lille, I had never been out of the country and had rarely ventured out of the southern U.S. I’m an International Studies and French double major, so studying in France was a necessity, but the decision to do it for a year was both insanely easy and incredibly frightening. I was worried about all the usual things students worry about before they begin their study abroad. Would I like it? How was I going to handle being so far away from home for so long? Did I know enough French to actually live in France?

Not long after my arrival in France, all of my worries were put to rest. The first few months were not without their fair share of struggles and homesickness, but I quickly fell in love with my surroundings. Being constantly surrounded by the French language and culture was, and still is, absolutely thrilling. I am constantly learning new things in and out of the classroom, not only about the world around me but also about myself.

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London!

In the classroom, I have been able to attain a higher level of French. I have also been able to gain a different perspective on international relations and what is going on in the world. Most of my classes this year have focused on international political ties and foreign policy from a French and broader European view, and it has truly enriched what I already knew and loved about my International Studies major.

My time abroad so far has been a truly transformative experience. Thanks to Europe’s connectedness, I’ve now been to 24 cities in 13 different countries, and I have learned so much in each place from experiencing it, rather than reading it out of a textbook. Besides finally realizing my childhood dream of going to Paris (which was amazing), one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had during my exchange was visiting the Palace of Nations and the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It was so wonderful to learn its history and be in a place where so many important decisions have been made on the international front.

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Lille, France

Thanks to all of these amazing experiences that I have had and the fact that I have been submersed in a completely different culture for seven months, I am more confident and inspired, and I have fallen in love with the world. However, as amazing as this experience has been, I am ready to return home to see where everything I have learned leads me in life and in the rest of my time at Oglethorpe. I urge every Oglethorpe student to talk to Dr. Collins and take advantage of one of the many amazing study abroad opportunities our school has to offer. You won’t regret it.