All posts by Frances Parrish

Editor-in-Chief of The Johnsonian.

Sophomore mass communication major.

Frances has always had a passion for writing, and when she came to college, she decided to try something new. She'd always wondered what it would be like to write for a newspaper, so she decided she would find out. As a freshman, she was a staff writer, but as a first semester sophomore she became the Science & Tech Editor. As a sophomore she was Editor-in-Chief of The Johnsonian from 2013- April 2014. She is now a senior and works as a copy editor for The Johnsonian. As an incoming freshman, she was an English major, but she soon discovered she had a passion for journalism, and she switched her major to mass communication. Working for The Johnsonian has been a great experience that has lead her to find her passion.

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." Helen Keller
Photo by Jacob Hallex

Transitions paying off for Thorsson

Hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, Magnus Thorsson will finish his Bachelor of Economics in three years. The midfielder will graduate in May and plans to complete his Master of Business Administration at Winthrop, so he can play for a fourth year on the soccer team.

Thorsson said he has had a great experience being on the team and playing with guys from all over the world.

“It’s been a real experience–great team chemistry, and it’s been great playing with them,” he said. “I’ll never forget this experience I’ve had here.”

Thorsson was made captain of the team his sophomore year.

“Being a foreigner and being captain, not able to speak in my native language has been a real challenge for me, but I’ve enjoyed it,” he said.

In Iceland, soccer and handball are the two most popular sports.

He began playing soccer when he was 5 years old at Club Valur.

“There I played with all my friends from school. [We] were on the same team together,” Thorsson said.

He played with the senior team, before he decided to move to the U.S.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to be able to play all year long… and to play on real grass all year round. And that was really exciting for me,” he said with a laugh.

After completing his masters, he thinks he might stay in the U.S., but “in the end, I know I will go back to Iceland.”

The transition from Iceland to the U.S. was challenging but having the soccer team by his side, Thorsson made the transition.

It was difficult for him to leave his family and girlfriend of five years, but his girlfriend also transferred to Winthrop, making the transition easier.

One of the challenges student athletes face is time management between school work, practices and games, but Thorsson said he has not had much trouble meeting that challenge.

“I don’t know what’s like just being a student. It’s different from back home; the schools don’t have athletes. It’s just clubs…” Thorsson said.

Thorsson’s mantra for getting through tough times is to remember that what’s done is done and to focus in doing better in the future.

“You can’t dwell on the past, because it’s already done,” he said.

Thorsson also said it’s important to be open to new experiences, such as coming to the U.S. and taking everything in.

“I’m not going to have this time again, so I’m just taking it in,” he said.

Thorsson has been ranked the 7th best player in the Big South Conference, according to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s top 20 list.

The midfielder has six goals on the year, two assists and 14 points total.

Thorsson and the men’s soccer team will travel to Greensboro, North Carolina Friday to take on top-seeded Radford in the semifinals of the Big South Tournament.

Love, loss and looks

“Reasons to be Pretty” opened in a flurry of suspense. The two actors paced, yelled and one even threw a pillow. The audience just witnessed the first fight in the play of many between Greg and Steph.

The play, directed by junior theatre major Jasmine Gunter, contrasts Steph and Greg’s dysfunctional relationship with Carly and Kent’s seemingly perfect relationship.

“Reasons to be Pretty” is Gunter’s first play she has directed, and she said it was a success.

“It went pretty great. A lot of people were receptive and related to it,” Gunter said.

With strong actors and scenes, especially the fight scene between Greg and Kent, the audience was involved in the play from start to finish. During the fight scene that took place in the baseball stadium, the audience stood in for the fans in the stadium, oohing and covering their faces with excitement and suspense during the fight.

The cast was unusual in that it consisted of mostly freshmen.

Greg, played by freshman Andrew White, was a strong actor with jokes perfectly timed throughout the play.

One of Greg’s most comical scenes was the final scene. He decided that he had enough of his job and sat down at the break room table to read. The final bell rang to start the shift. Never lifting his eyes from the book, Greg put a middle finger up, expressing his feelings for his job.

Steph, played by freshman Phylisha Mace, had strong emotion in her voice, and I felt the tension between the two in her fights with Greg.

Junior Sarah Bruce, Carly in the play, was a strong actress and showed great chemistry with Kent, her boyfriend in the play.

Freshman Cameron Drayton, who played Kent, was also a very strong actor. He kept the audience on its toes in the fight scene with Greg.

By the end of the play, everything was topsy-turvy. Steph had broken up with Greg and was engaged to another man. Carly, after discovering she was pregnant, eventually broke up with Kent, because Kent was cheating on her with a beautiful new co-worker. Kent was with Carly for her looks, because he prized looks over brains.

From the beginning to the end, the actors kept the audience laughing and engaged. Overall, it was a fantastic production, highlighting how beauty impacts society and relationships.

brothers3

Timmons brothers test Winthrop’s rock knowledge

Hailing from Ohio, the Timmons brothers were once again the spotlight entertainment for Winthrop’s Family Day last Saturday.

John and David Timmons began their Rock ‘N’ Roll Trivia Show and Rock ‘N’ Roll lectures in 2006.

“It’s cultural, it’s educational, it’s entertaining and it’s comedy,” John said. John Timmons works for Winthrop as the assistant director of Residence Life.

The Timmons brothers last hosted their trivia show on Family day in 2011.

“We were excited to be the family day entertainment again,” John said.

The trivia show is similar to Jeopardy, but score is not kept.  There are categories of questions with varying degrees of difficulty and song clips, called audio stumpers, spanning from the 1950s through the 1990s.  Original Monkees cards and vintage records are given out as prizes.

“Music evokes so many memories, and even if you don’t know the artist or song title, you see the look on peoples faces like ‘hey I remember that song,’ and that’s what I think makes it fun for people,” John said.

John and David do trivia shows for festivals, conferences, holiday parties, reunions and schools.

“Our favorite time to do [the show] is on parent days or family weekends, because music can connect people,” John said.

David and John are no strangers to rock ‘n’ roll.

David explained that he and his brother had both been in two bands when they were younger, The Greenies and Razor’s Edge.

Both the brothers were lead singers in their bands, and David was also the drummer.

“We’ve got all this musical knowledge… and John said let’s put this together in a trivia show,” he said.

The Timmons brothers also lecture on different eras and genres such as The Beatles, glam rock and other eras of rock.

When they were kids, the Timmons brothers used to read “Creem” and “Circus,” two rock magazines.

“We read every back of every album cover and then we quizzed each other,” John said.

John got the idea for the trivia show and lectures from a Star Wars lecture his brother attended.

David compares writing a show to making a new album. It takes them months to put together one show.

They performed their very first show in their hometown in Ohio.

“The hardest thing is to do [the show] in your hometown,” David said.

Everything in their show that could go wrong did go wrong.  The VCR ate the cassette tape, and the power went out.

“We improvised,” John said.

After their show, a gentleman saw the brothers and put them on his Internet show, and their lectures and trivia show took off.

John likes the connection the music makes with the audience member.  Several students enjoyed the show on Family Day.

Three students enjoyed themselves at the trivia night Friday, dancing and singing along to the music.

Joey Kindig, a freshman music education major, thought the show would be boring but was surprised by what the Timmons brothers had in store for the evening.

“I really liked the audio stumpers,” he said.

Emily Benson, an undeclared freshman, enjoyed the show as well.

“It was so high energy,” Benson said.

Brandy Del Rio, a sophomore mass communication major, said that Winthrop should host this event more often.

“This was really fun. I love trivia,” she said.

Student comes to study from the land down under

Meet Georgina Hyett, a sophomore social work major, studying abroad at Winthrop for the fall semester.

She is from Bendigo, Victoria in Australia, which is two hours away from Melbourne.

“It’s classed as a country town, but it’s quite big as well,” she said.

It’s not tropical but has a milder temperature.

DSC_0227She currently studies social work at Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria.

She said that there are so many different things to do with social work, such as working with different age groups and different populations.

“I have my mind set on mental health, because that area is kinda new, compared to the medical model. I find the psychological [aspect] more appealing,” Hyett said.

She chose Winthrop, because the classes were compatible with the credits for a social work degree at Deakin.

“And I wanted to study in the USA,” she said.

One of the biggest culture shocks was how friendly people are.

“On and off campus, they will just come up to you on the street, not even knowing you’re from Austrailia…but it’s good. I like it,” she said.

The other shock was living on campus. In Victoria, she did not live on campus at the university.

The food in the U.S. was also a big shock for Hyett when she arrived.

“My first five meals were Wendy’s, Taco Bell and other fast food chains,” she said.

In Austrailia, they have more farm fresh produce.

Her favorite home cooked meal is steak on the barbecue and a fresh garden salad at her mom’s house.

Her favorite college food is Maggi noodles or two-minute noodles, similar to Ramen noodles.

“They are cheap, easy and you can get them fat free,” she said with a laugh.

Her favorite part of Winthrop is the gym. Back home in Australia, Hyett has been playing basketball since she was five and finds it easier than netball, a sport similar to basketball.

However, she loves playing netball as well.  In netball, the ball is not dribbled, and the net has no backboard. The court is also divided differently, with certain rules where players can stand.

She is the second youngest of five children with two brothers and two sisters.

Hyett came to America to experience a different culture and a different way of living.

“I wanted to learn about the different healthcare structure and the way government is run, which is different from Australia,” Hyett said.

She said she has adjusted to living in America well.

“I think the best part about it was orientation and meeting other international students,” Hyett said.

Hyett spoke of her favorite stereotypes of being Austrailian that people have said to her since coming to the U.S.

“They think we have got deadly animals lurking in the shadows. I have only seen one in my life,” “People think we can ride kangroos, which is funny. They are kinda just pests,” and “People always say how much they love my accent,” Hyett said.

From Saudi Arabia to the United States

“When I came here, I came here alone. I didn’t have friends here. I didn’t know anyone,” said Majid Alasfoor. 

He came to the United States in 2008 to attend an English-speaking school in Charlotte.

Through his school in Charlotte, Alasfoor found Winthrop.

“I like small campuses. You get to know people and professors,” he said.

When he first arrived in the United States, he received a culture shock.

“Everything is different,” Alasfoor said.

picIn his hometown, everyone is very friendly with each other, whereas here, he said that everyone keeps more to themselves.

“I barely knew my neighbors when I first moved here,” he said.

Alasfoor’s culture forces him to get to know people. He said that when he walks into a store, he is obligated to say “peace be upon you” which opens a gateway to conversation.

“It’s a nice way to break the ice, because they have to respond back,” he said.

In Saudi Arabia, there are neighbor rights.

“You have to help them when they are in need,” he said.

Ramadan, the month of fasting, is a tradition in Saudi culture, bringing people together.

“Right before breakfast, my mom would send me with a couple plates of food and say go give these to the neighbors,” Alasfoor said.

He also said weddings are open invitation unlike the private weddings in the United States. A wedding on Tarut would likely see the entire city attending.

“The structure of the town is totally different from here,” he said.

Each block of housing in his hometown is equipped with different small stores such as a fruit market, or small grocery store and bakeries, so more people are walking around the city versus a typical southern city in which people generally have to drive to run daily errands.

In Saudi Arabia, most children will live at home until their marriage, unlike Americans who will leave their parents’ house soon after high school or college and become independent. Even after marriage, they live close to the family.

“We are really family-oriented,” he said.

When he is unable to visit his family, they will come to see him about once a year, typically during the summer.

One of Alasfoor’s younger sisters lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two children.  He has a brother and sister  who are still in school in Saudi Arabia.

He misses the food and his family the most. He said it was difficult to adjust to Charlotte living.

His favorite Middle Eastern dish is bashamel, a macaroni based meal with a special sauce, ground beef and vegetables, baked in the oven.

In Tarut, an island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, he lived near the coast and would fish every other day.

“Arabs are laid back. We talk a lot. . .We laugh all the time,” Alasfoor said.

He received his bachelor’s degree in human resources and is now enrolled in graduate school to obtain his MBA in finance.

He created the MBA Association and is currently president. He said he wanted to be able to apply his skills learned in class.

Eventually, Alasfoor wants to run his own business.

“I want to do something that creates jobs and helps the society and environment,” he said.

He is thinking about studying abroad in Spain next semester. He’s even considering continuing his education for a Ph.D. or going back home to Saudi Arabia.

In his free time, Alasfoor has played soccer in Rock Hill on the co-rec adult league for the last four years.

He says you can find him playing pool in Digs every week.

He also loves to read and as a hobby, he dabbles in drawing and photography.

“Ultimately, I love art. I draw. I take pictures,” he said.

Through the years, he has adapted to living in the United States.

“Some of my closest friends now are Americans,” he said.

However, Alasfoor notices the gap between American students and international students. He has participated in the program, Global Friends, which pairs American students and international students together to help benefit language learning. Through this program, he has gained American friends.

The Global Friends reception is Friday in Richardson Ballroom from 3-5 p.m.

DSC_0055

The swing of things

It started with a dare from Morgan Armstrong’s friends in high school to go swing dancing.

 “I had never been dancing before in my life,” Armstrong said.

After that night, Armstrong, a current sophomore chemistry major,  was hooked on swing dancing.

Emily Gill, a sophomore mass communication major, also fell in love with swing dancing.

For the rest of their senior years, Gill and Armstrong took swing dancing lessons at the same place in Greenville, but they finally met at Convocation their freshman year.

Realizing their connection, they decided to start a swing dancing club on Winthrop’s campus.

Swing dancing in Charlotte was inconvenient for Gill and Armstrong, “so we thought why not start a club at Winthrop,” Gill said.

They began the process just two weeks after school started last year and by October, they were an official club. Now Gill is president and Armstrong is vice president.

One of Gill’s favorite dances is Mary’s Wedding. It is a line dance where partners dance in a double lined circle around the room.

Her favorite swing dancing move is an aerial.

“Aerials are the best!” Gill said.

She enjoys doing the can opener. She explained one move as the princess dip, a simple aerial where the girl swings on the guy’s right hip.

But not all aerials go according to plan.

“I’ve fallen a lot,” Gill said.

Gill said that height matters a lot in aerials, and it’s important for the partners to be proportionate with each other.

“A lot of people are scared to do aerials, because they are scared to be dropped, but I love it,” Gill said.

Gill and Armstrong teach the basic moves to students and hope to teach more intermediate level to the regularly returning students.

They teach a lesson covering basics and then after the lesson, students can practice those moves on the dance floor.

“It just became my release for me,” Gill said.

A year later, they continue to hold events and swing dancing classes for students.

Armstrong hopes to keep attendance up at the meetings throughout the semester.

The club will be hosting a Halloween party and a masquerade ball during the year.

The next meeting dance session will be Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. in the West Center 206.