Meet the Bloggers!
“God, Guns, Glory”
“They say ‘The bigger the hair, the closer to God.’ God and I must be pretty close.”
“I’m an aspiring musician, businessman, and writer. I should make a career out of aspiring to things.”
“Entrepreneur. Amateur. Raconteur. And all around lover of complex, rhyming words.”
“Put me outside. Hand me a sweet tea.”
"Outwardly introverted. Head over heart. Bigger on the inside."
Thursday, February 27, 2014
by Ryan Masters
The beautiful thing about being a residential student is that you are a student all the time. You wake up on the same medium-hard student mattress every morning. You shave and shower in a dormitory bathroom shared by dozens of other students. You eat breakfast at the student dining hall, play cards for an hour with other procrastinating students, and then, eventually, you get to class. When I completed my undergraduate degree at Liberty, I had one overarching responsibility every single day for two years: graduate.
It was wonderfully simple.
Now I am a father, husband and full-time provider for my family. During the day I work with students to maintain their sanity during stressful times, and at night I comfort my wife, Georgie, to help maintain her sanity after a day-long baby-duty. In the morning I rush over to my nine-month old son Nehemiah, whose diaper odor has replaced coffee as the smell I wake up to every day, so that we can play. I roll around on the floor with him, make faces at him, make a show of chewing the toys he chews (this is one of his favorite games). When my wife wakes up we eat breakfast, have coffee, talk about work and what teeth Nehemiah’s cutting, and whatever else I can fit in before 11:00. Then, I am transformed once again to counsel and guide and reason with students. Sometimes, Georgie emails me pictures during work of my son pushing himself up to crawl, or eating new foods, or discovering a new toy. She knows it is the only other time I will see him through the day.
At times, I feel like I am three incompatible people, like the roles I have tumbled into have competing responsibilities that I cannot manage all at the same time.
If I want to succeed at work, I have to take hours away from my family. If I want to spend more time with Nehemiah, it means less solo-time with Georgie. And let’s be honest here—what about me? I like to read, I like to hang out with “the guys,” I like—non-family-related things! But I feel sometimes like an economy of dwindling resources, near famine though feeding the world, starving for—simplicity. Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said that “purity of the heart is to will one thing.” I feel that. One thing.
Oh, to desire one thing, to be one person!
Then I recollect the downfall of being a young, immature student. I was short-sighted. I had no long-term goals, nor any motivation to make any. I was disorganized, confused, and quite lazy. Sure, life was simple—but so was I. I could only rise as high as the life around me, which was cushy and obvious in its demands.
Today I am constantly challenged and inspired by my responsibilities. I am in love—with two people now. They depend on me, and I am able to help them to live. I have a great job where I undertake meaningful tasks to help students graduate and get to new places in life. I connect well with my co-workers, who are equally overextended and overwhelmed by how demanding life can be when things get serious and real and grown-up.
If it seems like I am too many people at once, it is because my life is broader, more complex, more essential to the world around me. If that means I have to lose sleep to meet the basic requirements of my life, then so be it. Purity of the heart is to will one thing. And all I want to do is to love those who depend on me.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A Tale of 23 Credit Hours, Endless Hills, & Being Left in the Cold
by Zach Woolard
April 13th: the day my world was turned upside down; she said “yes.”
August 31st: the day my world turned right side up again; she said “I do.”
October 21st: the day our world spun backwards; she began online courses.
January 13th: the day our world spun on a different axis; she began residential courses.
We have both been so blessed to work for employers that value the sacrifice we are making for our education. With 23 credit hours between the two of us, we needed to reach out to our employers for accommodations to ensure we were successful in our pursuits. I advise students who are balancing both employment and education to share their unique needs with both their bosses and their professors. Remember, those who fail to ask for help rarely receive it.
I enjoy so much about the great outdoors, but I have yet to find an enthusiasm for winter. Cold weather is man’s only natural enemy. Falling temperatures drive me indoors, and I inevitably find myself signing a gym contract. Rather than let my mind wander as I grind out the treadmill’s endless hills, I use the time to get ahead on reading. As I face the seemingly unsurmountable mountain of textbooks, I identify every pocket of time that I can commit to tackling coursework.
Since last summer, my wife and I have been a single-car family. We ride to campus together in the morning, and then debrief about our day on the way home. That is, we did until the snow day, when both students and employees were being dismissed early on account of the snow. Being overly distracted by my work and school concerns, I made it halfway home before I realized I had forgotten to pick up my wife! She is one of the main reasons I returned to school; I want to become the best husband I can possibly be. Yet in the middle of a snowstorm, I lost sight of my goal and she was left in the cold. I implore each of you, despite the mounting burdens of work and school, to remember your personal motivations for why you are working so hard: your loved ones, your spouse, your children, and your passions.
I am learning what it takes to juggle being a full-time husband to a full-time wife, both of us full-time students, with full-time jobs. Amazingly, some students can keep it aloft with children, parents, and pets added to the mix! If you have a winning strategy to keep all your balls in the air, please be an encouragement to fellow students by sharing your success story in the comments below.
Image uploaded from http://www.bazilgrumble.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/juggling.jpgPosted at 11:17 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Friday, January 31, 2014
by Christina Hadley
These days we do everything online. We pay our bills, we watch our favorite television shows, we take courses, and the list could go on and on. Although we may have friends that we see in person, social networks like Twitter and Facebook make it so that a lot of our interaction is done online as well. This can leave a lot of people feeling disconnected from the “real world.”
Time and time again, I have heard students in online courses talk about how they miss the relational part of being in classes that may be found in a residential setting. They talk of how they feel disconnected from Liberty University amidst the large student body population.
If you are reading this, chances are that you consider yourself to be not the average college student. Chances are you are not right out of high school. Chances are you have a job, family, friends and a million other things that require your attention. Guess what? You are not alone!
Take it from someone who has done both the residential student thing and the online student thing. You, as the student, are able to determine what you glean from each of these experiences. In a residential setting it can be just as easy to get lost in the sea of faces as it is to get lost in the wave of discussion boards and replies online.
However, if you make the effort in a residential setting to talk to even one person, you may end up with a friend for life. How many times have you heard someone talk about their best friend they met in college? It is easy to think that they had it made because they were able to see that person every day in class and share notes on days when the other missed, and so on and so forth.
What if I told you that you could have similar experience online? Let me share a recent experience I had to prove my point.
Every class has the discussion board in week one where you introduce yourself, say where you are from, what you do, and what you hope to learn from the course.
This semester was no different.
As always, I read the information each of my classmates posted. I found it difficult to relate to them because many are in their forties with families, established careers, and ministries. I am single and still trying to figure out my career path—typical of a twenty-something.
However, one post stuck out to me.
The student was from an area my family and I prayed for consistently. We were then able to further discuss his area and I watched as the world got even smaller as he was familiar with the exact area in which some of my family had done ministry work. I now have a friend that I am able to share ideas and concerns with and vice versa.
I encourage each of you to do the same. Look closely at your classmates; you may see that you fit in more than you thought you did. You may even find someone with a similar passion or interest. You may find a “study buddy”, who you can continue in courses with. Just because you are online doesn’t mean that this time can’t be the time you meet people who will be a part of your life for years to come!
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
by Jason Bond
The holiday season is always a great time-especially when you get the opportunity to spend moments with family and friends. Along with visiting, this is a time for me to do random things that I don’t usually have time for and just enjoy life.
I am an aviation major and I found it completely necessary for my understanding of aerodynamics to purchase a remote control airplane and, of course, fly it. It seems that every time I go fly this extremely fun toy it is absurdly cold outside and I just wait for the day that it will be in the 70s again.
As I find myself stuck in a place where I hope for spring and know it’s on its way, I also know winter literally is just getting started. I can honestly say I love colder weather; but without snow falling and with the temperatures plummeting to an extremely low 2 degrees, I have come to the conclusion that I have had enough.
One thing I do like about winter is that spring is right around the corner. For me this means camping, hiking, biking, and other awesome outdoor activities. God has created a beautiful world and 90% of the time I would rather be spending time out there than in a house.
Unfortunately, there are always two sides to a coin. Spring also brings classes for the new year, so after a good long two months of eating way too much food for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year
s I find myself thrown back into reality a lot faster than I personally prefer. In my opinion I was just starting to go into hibernation.
For most of us, classes have started and there are probably lists of things that need to be done before we feel like we are ready, and now we have to catch up! I just found out the other day that my books were delayed because of the extremely cold weather sweeping across our country.
On the positive side, I get to live in my false sense of reality; without my books staring at me every day I “don’t technically have classes starting.” Doesn’t it work that way? Unfortunately, this is my downfall. So to remedy this procrastination and non-preparedness I have decided to make a goal or a New Year's resolution for myself.
Instead of waiting Wednesday or Thursday to do my first assignments, I am going to start doing them early. I am personally on my last leg of my journey through my Bachelor's degree and this semester I am going to go out with a bang.
So, the moral of my rambling is that even though we have beautiful weather, vacation, summer, and other things we look forward to, let’s try and also focus on the here and now, making a conscious decision to really learn something great from our classes. Personally, I am not the best with time management when it comes to schoolwork, so I am going to be trying to make the most of my last semester as an undergrad. Don’t be afraid to strive for success, in the end Christ asks for our best in everything.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
by Tim Lawless
“This is the year we start living.”
Those were some of the first words I heard this year. They were uttered by my brother, and so far, that’s one of two very memorable things he’s left with me.
The other was an earth-shattering slap to the face.
We had a bet to see who could go the longest without shaving. Loser gets slapped. I lost.
Don’t worry about it.
For me, the start of a New Year has always meant the start of a new chapter in life; it’s the chance to start again. It’s the opportunity to grow, to make more of ourselves, to strive for better things. That’s why we have New Year’s resolutions; everyone wants to quit smoking, lose weight, cut down to just one dozen donuts a day (everyone does that, right?), or find some other way to improve our lives.
This year, I’m planning on saving more money, doing enough weight training to be able to squat more than my body weight, and finishing my master’s degree (I swear I’m kidding about the donuts).
Here’s the problem, though: I’ve had some of these same resolutions every year for my entire adult life. I’ve never managed to complete them.
Around February, everyone who has resolved to go to the gym more realizes that everyone else who resolved to go to the gym more is already gone.
It’s the time of year that people who resolve to read through the Bible hit that tiny little snag known as Leviticus.
People who have resolved to save money have realized that Best Buy has great sales this time of year and new IPads seem to come out every week.
And, of course, February is usually the midpoint of the semester’s first set of classes. Suddenly, that resolution to do all your work ahead of time seems less and less realistic. Fifteen page paper? Due in week 8? If we’re completely honest with ourselves, it’s hard to get started earlier than, say, week 7.
There’s just so much to distract us from doing what we know is good for us, and from doing what we’ve resolved to do.
New Years’ is a time of great possibility. It’s a new beginning, a time when life seems full of untapped potential.
Why, though, does it seem so easy to squander that potential? What is it that takes the wind out of our sails?
Maybe the answer lies in my brother’s words to me. “This is the year we start living.” To him, that means he’s taking control. He’s newly married and is starting a family. To him, this is the year to stop making resolutions that other people want him to make.
Maybe that’s just it: at New Years, everyone wants to go to the gym more, everyone wants to save money, everyone wants to get better grades, and everyone wants everyone to see them achieving those goals. So when you hit the gym and realize that the crowds have thinned out, you have to make a decision: am I doing this for the people who I think will be watching me, or am I doing this for myself? Am I going for this master’s degree because I want it, or because I want to impress my family/coworkers/friends?
I would submit to you, reader, that if your goals this year are centered on meeting the others’ expectations, you’re not living. You’re putting on a show. And when the audience disappears, it’s suddenly a lot less fun.
Trust me on this one. My band once put on a show in front of a massive crowd of ten people.
I didn’t have fun doing it, because I went into it with the goal of impressing the people there, rather than the goal of enjoying playing music.
There’s no bigger waste of potential than potential wasted on impressing others.
Whatever you do this year, do it for yourself and for the glory of your Creator, rather than putting on a show for others. I promise it’s infinitely more satisfying than just doing what other people expect of you.
Have a great year and start living!
P.S. I promise, no exercise metaphors in my next post!