The Importance of Unplugging

September 20, 2018

Written By: Trae Christian

If you are like me, you probably accept the fact that you spend way too much time using technology – especially on social media. As a college student, I know how important it is to manage my time wisely, and scrolling through Instagram can very easily cut into time that should be used to complete homework. The temptation to be glued to social media is strong, but when I think about how many hours a day I spend on my phone I do get a bit concerned. When I was in high school my mom would always tell me not to spend so much time on my phone, but it wasn’t until this summer that I realized how important it is to manage my time with technology. Unplugging is not easy, especially since having a phone and laptop has been a part of my life and so many people’s lives for so long now. However, there are so many benefits to stepping away from technology for a little, and those benefits point back to the importance of unplugging. 

Did you know that spending too much time using technology affects mental health? The facts about overly using a device is mind-blowing to me. I honestly don’t want to know how many times a day I check my phone, because I know the numbers will disgust me. Often, I find myself pushing my home screen button for no reason, hoping that I will be greeted by some sort of notification. This behavior is common, according to Psychology Today, which states, “Dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out, and search.” When we do check our phones and see a notification from someone, this dopamine is being released in our brains, making us desire to check it again and again. The dopamine release shows how difficult it is to unplug, and it makes me happy to know that I’m not the only person who really enjoys the activity that happens on my phone. To keep myself from checking my phone a lot, I try to keep it in a separate room or in my backpack while I’m doing homework so I don’t get tempted to waste time on it. 

Whenever I use my phone for an excessive amount of time I can feel myself becoming anxious. While researching for this post, I came across wise words from the Becoming Minimalist blog. The blog says, “In a world where outside noise is coming quicker and louder than ever, the need for solitude becomes more apparent… and easier to overlook. True solitude and meditation will always require the intentional action of shutting off the noise and the screens.” I find solitude by setting moments aside each day to spend time alone and talk to God, and this simple act brings me peace that helps me get through the rest of my day. A great way to practice solitude is to simply take a walk alone to give yourself time to process what is happening around you. Another great practice is to set aside time in your day to pray and read the Bible. This will not only help your spiritual life, but it will also bring you peace and solitude, which is seemingly difficult to come by in our world today.

Another downside of using social media continuously is that it may cause you to struggle with comparison. The United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health surveyed 1,479 people ages 14-24, and one respondent said, “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough, as people add filters and edit their pictures in order to make them look ‘perfect’.” I know this has personally been a struggle for me in a different way, which is that I see my peers moving into sought after internships and jobs after college. While stepping away from social media has helped me in this situation, I have also had to come to the understanding that people mostly post the best parts of their lives on social media, so their lives are rarely what they appear to be online. A practice that has helped me is turning to Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” You may have heard this verse a ton of times like me, but it always helps to be reminded of this truth.

Overall, social media and technology aren’t bad, you just have to know how to manage it properly. It is important to point out the key areas that excessive use of technology could affect in order to effectively make a change. I hope this blog post helps you work towards becoming a healthier and more productive student. Personally, I realize that spending time on technology is not bad, but it can be if it is not done in moderation.



Preview: Q Union

September 17, 2018

Written By: Clay Copper

In 2017, the United States saw a 12% increase in hate crimes, the fourth consecutive year with an increase.* Today, 53 years after the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission put a legal end to workplace discrimination against women, female professionals still earn only $.80 to the $1.00 of their male counterparts.* While the United States occupies just under 5% of the global population, the nation holds a 22% stake in the population of prisoners globally.* These topics should be wildly concerning to followers of Christ, regardless of denomination. In an effort to inform, grow, and learn, Q Ideas was started with a clear intention: Stay Curious. Think Well. Advance Good.* 

Q Ideas has become an incredible tool for leaders of the Christian faith, whether they are leaders in the church, workforce, school, or culture, to thoughtfully engage in solution-seeking conversation with the Kingdom in mind. Q Ideas is a platform for education and conversation, always keeping in mind that “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals.”* Through essays, videos, podcasts, blogs, and conferences, Q hopes to make this calling a reality for this generation. With topics varying from media, arts and entertainment, business, education, government, the social sector, and the church, Q engages in challenging conversations in hopes of redeeming God’s creation here on Earth.

One of the most powerful tools that Q Ideas has developed is their annual Q Union conferences – a gathering place for college students to listen, learn, share perspective, and create context for their beliefs. For the second year, we will be bringing Q Union to the students of Liberty University as they provide lectures on “The Power of We” from three nationally broadcasted speakers: Christian author Bob Goff, church planter and author Jo Saxton, and founder and CEO of charity: water Scott Harrison. Alongside these national speakers, three student speakers will offer insight to relevant issues in their areas of study. This night will be filled with difficult cultural conversations with the intention of engaging with “active leaders hungry to shape the future of culture.”*

Join us for Q Union on Thursday, October 25, in the LaHaye Event Space, beginning at 7pm.



What we're listening to

September 14, 2018

For the first "What we're listening to" of the school year, our staff members Kate, Natalie, Luis, Swain, Naomi and Jeremy picked out some of their current favorite songs. Whether they are studying, doing laundry or hanging with friends, they can't stop listening to these hits. Check it out!

Our Host, Michael Jr.

September 14, 2018

Written By: Natalie Bassie

There may be two Jimmy’s in the world of comedy, but there is only one Michael Jr. Michael Jr.’s love for an audience’s laughter was sparked while at a movie theater. When the movie malfunctioned, Michael Jr. stood in front of the screen, cracking jokes. Everything changed once again for comedian Michael Jr. the moment he performed a stand-up routine at a comedy club in California for a live audience. Not too long after, Michael Jr. then appeared via satellite on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Michael Jr. has made appearances on Oprah, The Tonight Show, The Late, Late Show, and has performed at The Laugh Factory, The Improv, and The Comedy Store. Not only has he appeared on a comedy stage, but also as an actor in the 2015 faith-based film, War Room.

Michael Jr.’s humor is one that is known for being clean since the beginning of his career. His routines (watch one here!) can be performed in front of any audience. Stand-up comedy can be sticky and sometimes too far when it comes to morality issues, but Michael Jr. has always stayed clear of the more risqué side of the job. He attributes this to his family, wanting to perform jokes that can be repeated even at the dinner table.

For someone who loves comedy and witty one-liners, it will be refreshing to experience a stand-up comedy routine where I do not have to worry about the appropriacy of what may be said next. Michael Jr. will perform October 26 in the Grand Concert Hall at 7:30pm, and he will surely leave us anticipating when we get to see him perform again!



Green is the New Black

September 13, 2018

Written By: Kate Dolan

Let’s talk about plants, baby.

If you have been anywhere on social media lately, whether that be on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, you have probably seen the current trend that everyone seems to be gravitating towards – indoor plant care. Regardless of if the reasoning behind the trend is solely for appearances or if it is truly a genuine love for all things foliage, no one can deny the draw to become the proud owner of a small cactus or aloe plant. I recently purchased eight plants at once on a whim, and I am quickly learning it is not all fun and games when it comes to plant care and maintenance.

Though owning and keeping something alive can be hard if you have never had much experience prior, the benefits are numerous and widespread. Dr. Jonathan S. Kaplan with Psychology Today states, “Having plants, going for a walk in the park, or even looking at a landscape poster could produce psychological benefits, reduce stress, and improve concentration.”* If you are anything like me, increased concentration and reduced stress do not seem like bad ideas in the midst of the hectic and demanding life of the average American college student. If you are not completely ready for the responsibility of a plant life resting on your shoulders, even pictures of plants in your living areas will suffice to change your outlook on school and life in general. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the power of plants.

There are numerous additional benefits to having plants in your general vicinity, according to Dr. Kaplan, that include but are not limited to:

  • Increased attentiveness
  • Improved attendance
  • Raised productivity (by up to 15% according to Sophie Lee with NBC News*)
  • Improved sense of well-being
  • More restful sleep
  • Lower levels of anxiety 
  • Raised job satisfaction

I don’t know about you, but after looking at these benefits I’m left wondering why this indoor plant trend is just now becoming popular among young people. In a society where dissatisfaction, anxiety and lack of motivation run rampant, giving plants a try doesn’t seem all that crazy. And when it comes to sleeping, plants also play a positive role. More specifically, succulents, orchids and snake plants emit oxygen while you sleep, leading to more restful and better sleep in general (according to Sophie Lee).

As an active college student, you may be thinking, “Kate, I can barely remember the assignments I have due every day, let alone keep track of watering and caring for something!” Well, I am here to tell you not to worry and that you are in luck. There is a vast amount of beautiful plants that take little to no maintenance yet still yield all the benefits. Being a generally forgetful person myself, my plants mostly consist of mini cacti and succulents, which I leave on my windowsill and forget about most of the time.

I do have a few plants that require a bit more TLC, and learning that has been a fun but also humbling experience. If you want to spice up a room visually, Ferns, The String of Pearls, The Golden Pathos, and the Split-leaf Philodendron are among the best plants that are worth a bit more of your efforts.

I don’t pretend to be under the impression that plants are miracle workers that will help you win the lottery or get a date with that guy or gal you’ve been crushing on since freshman year, but they have proven to better the time spent indoors exponentially. Not to mention, plants also teach the responsibility that can only be learned from having to keep something alive, or in my case, from keeping eight things alive.

We all know the benefits of time in nature, but for those days when the only option is to stay inside and hit the books, why not try your hand at plant care and bring the great outdoors inside?