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Liberty Insider

Friday, July 31, 2015

Developing the Art of the Thank You Note

by Mark Hager
Internship Coordinator, The Washington Fellowship

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. - William Arthur Ward

Few actions in our current digital age mean more than a good old fashioned hand written thank you. It really surprises me at just how many people neglect this simple act. Obviously, it takes much less effort and thought to simply send an email. The ease of digital platforms have made us impersonal causing a deficiency in genuine personal relationships.

One question that I hear often from students seeking a career change is, “how do I set myself apart and make a positive impression?” Whether it is after an interview or visit, I always ask if they followed up with a hand written note of gratitude. The note must be professional, legible, addressed correctly, and most importantly; genuine!

I have the humbling privilege of spending time in Washington DC, working with Capitol Hill offices, corporations, not-for-profits, federal agencies, and many more. These experiences have given me the chance to witness firsthand, the power of a hand written thank you note. I make it a point to write a personal thank you to everyone I meet while traveling. Some responses I see immediately, while others I may never see. But that’s ok! Expressing genuine thanks does as much for your spiritual and physical life, as it does for the recipient.

Thank you notes yield so much power to set you apart from the masses! A personal note shows:

  • That you invested the time to connect in a tangible way.
  • A financial investment; because a simple digital email would have been faster and more cost effective!
  • Your genuine and sincere care for people, something that is difficult to measure.

Recently, I received an email from my counterpart at a well-known national news agency. I work very closely with this individual, and routinely communicate with her. Over the past several years she has worked with students and members of our team in various capacities. After I personally met this amazing individual, I sent her a personal note. In that note, I spoke to her passion and kindness. I thanked her for all that she does, and reminded her how much she personally matters to myself, and our team. Within the week I received a hand written note from her, expressing her appreciation and enjoyment from our visit! Several weeks later, after many interactions with Liberty University, she sent me a very special email. In it, I noticed a phrased she had used, “what do you put in the water at LibertyJ.”

The message here is; when you are consumed with Christ, hope and joy inevitably create a lifestyle of contentment and thankfulness! So, be sure to build lasting and effective relationships by investing in the lives of people through genuine thankfulness. Through it, you will be changing lives; one note at a time!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  

Posted at 8:01 AM | Permalink

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ten Ways to Stay Motivated to Workout

by Jamie Swyers 

Associate Director, LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center

If you’ve ever started a workout routine only to have forgotten about it a month later, you may be looking for a way to stay motivated. Here are 10 steps to help you achieve your fitness goals- by sticking to it for the long haul. 

  1. Set goals: Decide what you would like to accomplish, and then create specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time bound goals. It helps to make sure your goals not only include outcome goals (i.e. weight loss), but also performance goals (i.e. your ability to do a push-up), or behavioral goals (i.e. go to the gym three days per week). Having a variety of measures will increase your chances of success.
  2. Create a plan of action: A plan is the path that will bring your dreams to reality.  A good place to start is to create three manageable tasks that will bring you closer to your goals.
  3. Find something you enjoy: Make sure whatever type of exercise that you are performing is fun.  You want to find working out enjoyable whether you are going to a group exercise class, playing in a sports league, or hiking.  If you look forward to the activity most of the time you will inevitably be more motivated to make it happen.
  4. Watch your self-talk: Self talk includes the thoughts, either conscious or subconscious, that you have about your own behavior and self-worth. If your thoughts about yourself are not a healthy balance of both positive and constructive criticism, you may be inadvertently sabotaging your belief in your ability to achieve your goal.  
  5. Watch out for all or nothing thinking: Start slow- don’t try to do everything at once.  If you haven’t run since high school, starting off by signing up for a marathon is asking for an injury.  If you miss a day (or a few), don’t throw in the towel because some is definitely better than none.
  6. Create a reminder system: Put your workouts on your calendar or write your goals on Post-It notes and place them where you can see them. Having reminders will help keep you focused during the busy seasons of life.
  7. Make it a habit: Give yourself time to develop new habits. If you can get through the initial discomfort of change in the first few months, it will get easier.
  8. Have a workout partner: Meeting a friend for a workout will increase your accountability and make the exercise more enjoyable. It’s a great way to combine your fitness and social time.
  9. Work with a professional: It is extremely beneficial to enlist the help of a qualified professional when possible. Not only will a fitness professional help you develop a customized workout routine, but they can assist you in the goal setting process and increase your level of accountability.
  10. Pray: Ask God to give you strength to care for his temple, and allow him to use the journey as part of your spiritual growth.  When you realize that we often grow the most through challenges, it becomes clear that God can teach us so much through the struggle to change old habits that may have more control over our lives than we initially thought.  
Postedby Rebecca Eller at 3:28 PM | Permalink

Friday, July 17, 2015 to Swim in the Deep End

by Zachary Woolard, Lead Academic Advisor

Liberty University Online

Considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the world, nothing overcomes the doldrums of summer days like a trip to the public pool. Skipping the mandatory shower and shirking any sunscreen, as a child I always made a bee line to the diving board, anxious to repeat the joyous cycle of summer: running start, double bounce, hold your breath, SPLASH!

Online education is akin to jumping in the deep end—exciting right up until you realize the water is over your head. A tenacious spirit is a common defining trait of our students. Yet many face seemingly insurmountable academic challenges as they press towards completing their degree. Adjusting to life in the deep end, they reach out for someone to throw them a lifeline, to come alongside and support them as they master the skills needed to succeed.

Liberty University Online is proud to offer just such a lifeline to our students. Through a partnership with, Liberty offers free online tutoring and career assistance to all our online students. Each semester active students receive an allotment of 20 hours of tutoring services—free of charge. Students are able to connect with tutors in an easy-to-use online classroom. Tailored to meet the needs of busy schedules, tutoring services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. offers support in over 40 different subjects within the realms of math, science, English, and social studies. Some of the most common subjects utilized by our students include:

  • Essay Writing, Proofreading, & Literature
  • Accounting, Finance, & Economics
  • Biology & Earth Science
  • U.S. & World History
  • Algebra & Statistics

Students who use frequently share just how beneficial the service has been to them. The comments below are just a few highlights from your fellow Liberty University Online students:

  • “I am 35 year old mom, going to college for the first time and this was my first paper. My tutor made me feel much more confident.”
  • “My tutor was not only helpful but also patient with me. Not only did he help me to solve the statistics problems, but also to figure out where I make most of my major mistakes.”
  • “This service has truly been a godsend to me and has helped alleviate stress. I am thankful for the kindness and encouragement that I've received.”
  • “My tutor is very knowledgeable. He was very patient with me and took the time to break down the formulas in my finance course. I look forward to working with him again.”

As an online student aspiring to teach high school science, I know firsthand how invaluable the resources at can be. Through the constant support and encouragement, I am learning how to swim, without which, I would surely still be floundering in a sea of organic chemistry.

Visit our webpage for information on how to sign in to and request help from a tutor.

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 8:31 AM | Permalink

Friday, July 10, 2015

Letting Others Get Ahead of You

by Keith L. Bell, MAR-Theology/Apologetics

Liberty University Admissions Specialist

I was in traffic, calmly cruising along. I decided to switch lanes to catch a turn, and did the unthinkable—at least to the guy in the other lane—I used my dreaded turn signal!  A turn signal is designed to tell the driver in the lane you want to enter that you’re wanting to come over, so why do some people speed up to not let you in?

I wonder; what if we all had turn signals on our bodies.  As we walked on a crowded street, would we pick up our pace to get past other pedestrians when we saw them preparing to cross into our path ahead?  So why do we do it on the road?

Instead of allowing myself to stew over the pickup truck that decided to speed up and pass me when he saw that I was trying to get over into his lane, I asked myself this question, how does this situation apply to life?  Philippians 2:3 came to mind...

“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.”

That is certainly counter-cultural thinking today, isn’t it?  Everyone is in a mad rush to out-do, out-learn, out-sell, out-dress, out-smart and out-class each other. It is an ongoing saga of survival of the fittest.

So often, when people prepare to take a turn for the better in life, there are those who won't do anything out of the ordinary until they see that person trying to get ahead. Then suddenly, they try to out-do rather than help others get ahead.

Yet Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, did the very opposite. He made Himself the lowest He possibly could in order to lift us up to the heights of who we could ever hope to be. And guess what? He told those who would follow Him that they must be willing to do the same.

So the next time you are on the road, and you see someone up ahead turning on their blinker, try slowly raising your foot off the gas pedal and letting them in. Let them get ahead of you. You'll feel better about yourself; I guarantee it!

Practicing small courtesies like these can actually help build a mindset within you. You will begin to think more about how you can help others get where they are going.

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” ~Napoleon Hill, Author


Keith L. Bell is an Associate Minister, Spiritual Emphasis Leader, Prison Minister, and Blogger and Author.
Postedby Rebecca Eller at 10:22 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Behind the Screen: A Professor's Passion

by Taylor Wrede

Academic Advisor

I am sure you have been in this situation before, maybe numerous times; you are working on an assignment, have a question, email your professor, and anxiously await a reply. Studying online, many students never have the opportunity to meet the professor on the other side of the computer screen.

As I sit and speak with Liberty University Professor Amy Hassenpflug, I watch her face glow as she shares her love for her job, co-workers, and students.  In each email received, she sees a student waiting for her reassuring, helpful response.  Whether the student is a working parent, a single parent of 5, a 20 year-old at home, or a military student, she wants her response to be a catalyst for academic success, confidence, and independence.

Amy Hassenpflug
Our LUO faculty are aware of the unique needs of our online learners. We hope to address their needs quickly, in ways that help build confidence in our students. This is a path to success!

Throughout many years of teaching, Professor Hassenpflug has worked with hundreds of students who have a desire for academic success as they begin their degree at Liberty University. As a result of this found need, Professor Hassenpflug (Department Chair and Online Professor for College of General Studies) and her colleague, Jamaica Conner (College of General Studies Department Chair, Developmental & Conversational Language Courses), created INFT 101 (Instructional Technology for Successful Online Learning) to assist new undergraduate online students in finding academic success.  INFT 101 is designed to equip students with:

  • Time management skills
  • Knowledge of the Jerry Falwell Library and research techniques
  • Effective communication skills with professors
  • Professional and collegiate level writing skills
  • Tools available in the online classroom

While new undergraduate online students are required to take INFT 101, the course is also highly beneficial to current students, regardless of the progress they have made in their program.

When asked about her favorite aspect of teaching, Professor Hassenpflug mentions the “lightbulb moment” she has witnessed many students experience; the moment when students realize the empowerment they possess from learning and academic achievement. The solid foundation provided by INFT 101 and Professor Hassenpflug allows students to excel in their academic journey.  She hopes to, in the end, see each of her students in cap and gown, walking across the stage in celebration.  No matter where your paths cross in the online learning format, she will be there to cheer you on.

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 4:09 PM | Permalink

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