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Kaitlyn's Blog

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What to Do When You've Procrastinated

“Don’t procrastinate.”


It’s the #1 piece of advice most people give college students. But sometimes…we don’t listen. I have gotten myself in this scenario more than once: you’ve put off writing your paper/studying for your test/working on your project until the night before, and you know have less than twelve hours before said assignment needs to be turned in.

So while you should avoid this situation at all costs, here are some tips for when you’ve procrastinated!

 

1. Prioritize!

If I am really uninterested in writing that paper that’s due in the morning, I often find myself suddenly incredibly interested in doing all sorts of other less-urgent assignments. Don’t do it! Make a list of what you absolutely need to get done that day, and prioritize each thing in the list so that the most important ones get done first. What are the most important ones? That depends on your list. What things are worth the most points? Will take the most effort to do right? Are most important for your degree program? If it’s just not possible to get everything done (again, hopefully you don’t put yourself in this situation!), then you need to prioritize tasks.

 

2. Caffeinate and eat the right food!

You probably will actually need some coffee tonight, so stock up. BUT, don’t give in to the temptation to also stock up on junk food and candy bars. You’ll crash earlier and harder than if you choose some sustainable snacks, like apples and peanut butter or veggies and hummus.

 

3. Find your spot.

If you’re going to have to concentrate the work you should have spread out over a few weeks into one night, find a spot to work that has everything you need. It should be comfy (but not so comfy you could conceivably sleep there), have good lighting, and plenty of space to spread your work out.  

Here’s mine! My desk in my room has multiple light sources, a big enough space to spread out my laptop and books, and is surrounded by things that inspire me and make me happy. You can also see my coffee and To-Do list!

 

4. Persevere!
School is important, and doing your best work glorifies God. But your grades do not define you, and if life has piled up on you unexpectedly and you do some things imperfectly, it’s okay! He wants more for His children than tidy lives and fake perfection – He wants you to be alive in His grace and perfection, not your own. 

Posted at 3:10 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Christmas Break in Pictures

School is officially back in full swing! The blizzard we suffered through in Lynchburg delayed some things, but we’re back in class and taking on week two of the spring semester!

In an effort to avoid facing reality and dealing with the fact that school has started again, here is a look at my wonderful break – in pictures!

 

I had a wonderful Christmas! I love this picture because (1.) I LOVE pretty coffee mugs and (2.) I had just painted my nails with green and red sparkles. So you could say I was pretty festive.

I spent Christmas with my family, at home in Colorado. We woke up early, ate breakfast, and exchanged gifts. Here are some of my favorites:

My little sister Kendra gave me this gorgeous piece of artwork – the elephant is made with nails and string, and she used sequins for the water splashing out of his trunk. She’s so creative, and I love this beautiful creation.

Books! I love getting books as gifts – you can read them, scribble in them, love them to death, and if the right time arises, you can even give them away to someone who needs them! My lifelong dream is to have a big library and casually give away all the books to people that need to read them. This year, I also got a beautiful journaling Bible that I love.

Other highlights of Christmas:

Spending Christmas Eve answering calls for NORAD! NORAD tracks Santa every year, and my family and I got to go to a makeshift call center and tell kids and their families where Santa was and when he would get to their house. It was so fun to hear their little voices and answer questions about Santa’s musical preferences, his reindeer, and his elves!

My mom made a “Hot Cocoa Bar” for a Christmas party that had lots of hot chocolate, whipped cream, sprinkles, and lots of other toppings. It was so fun and made for some pretty cute cups of cocoa!

 

After Christmas, my family and I drove to California to spend some time with more family.

The drive from Colorado to California was long, but beautiful.

We spent a few days with my aunts and uncles and cousins in a beautiful little home we rented.

We spent the evenings in this gorgeous backyard, complete with pool, hot tub, grill, and hammock. So much fun!

I was loving how warm it was!

New Year’s was pretty boring for us – I was leaving for a debate tournament the next day and had a flight to catch! But I did make this little Instagram year in review:

It was a good year – In-n-Out, pancakes, snow, a trip to London, buckets of slime, and lots of laughter!

I traveled to an early debate tournament during the first week of the year in San Francisco. Before debating, we took the time to check out some sights!

Debate ladies – Leonora, me, and Vida – at a vantage point to look at the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was a foggy day, but it was still beautiful. We even saw a rainbow!

Vida and I walking around the Muir Woods! It was a rainy week, but we still managed to see some awesome places!

After a busy break, I flew back to Lynchburg. This amazing book kept me company: Teach Us to Want, by Jen Pollock Michel. I talked about it in my Christmas Break Reading List post!

 

I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year. Let’s take on 2016!

 

 

Posted at 2:09 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Break Reading List

It’s finally time for break! If you’re anything like me, the temptation is to spend your precious break napping and binge-watching cop dramas on TV. Not only will this get boring after a while, it’s (shockingly) not the best thing for your health or mind. So, my usual alternative is to spend a good amount of my free time during the break reading! Seriously, I love having breaks so that I can rediscover how much I love doing non-assigned reading. It’s a lot harder to remember that you love to read when you have 400 pages of history to finish. So I take some time to read all the things I’d much rather be reading during the break. And boy, do I have a long list of things I’ve been wanting to read. So here’s my reading list for this Christmas break! Hopefully it will inspire you to do some reading yourself and give you some ideas about where to start!

 

1. Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition, and the Life of Faith, Jen Pollock Michel

I’ve been waiting for my hold on this book to come in from the library for weeks! We read Desiring the Kingdom by James K. A. Smith as a debate team this summer, and this book is another take on a similar idea: what we desire shapes what we think, how we act, and who we are. It tackles the lie that desire is innately sinful and instead argues that God has made us desiring beings, but that our desires have been misdirected by sin. I loved James K. A. Smith’s book, so I’m excited for this one!

 

2. Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, Andy Crouch

We read this fantastic book as part of my favorite class this semester, Writing as Cultural Engagement. The class used it to discuss the ways our writing could influence, shape, or create culture. I loved the book, but I was so busy this semester I often rushed through the chapters, so I’m using this break to reread it and appreciate it more fully. Crouch makes an argument for doing more than commenting on culture or mimicking it, but actually getting our hands dirty and creating it – for the glory of God.

 

3. Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good, Steven Garber

I started this one during Thanksgiving Break, and I’m so excited to finish it. Garber argues that one of the hardest things for the Christian (or really anyone) to do is to truly know the world and yet love it. He beautifully explains how difficult it is to face the heartbreaking reality of a fallen world and respond with compassion and action. It’s challenging me in all kinds of ways right now.

 

4. A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life, Jerry Sittser

This book is the only one I haven’t started already. It was written by a man who faced incredible sorrow – the loss of his daughter, wife, and mother in a car accident. He’s written about grief in another book, A Grace Disguised, and this book is supposed to answer the question, “How do we live meaningfully, even fruitfully, in this world and at the same time long for heaven?” I’ve so often thought about the same thing – how do we, as Christians, place our hope in the not yet while truly living out the lives He’s planned for us here on earth? I’m excited to see what Sittser has to say.

 

I hope this list inspired you to make your own Christmas Break reading list! Happy reading!

Posted at 1:13 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Friday, December 11, 2015

Service in the Christmas Season

The end of the semester is so close! The debate team is using these last few weeks to get some service projects in that will benefit our whole community. Here are some of the projects we’ve been doing – hopefully this will give you all some ideas about how to bless people this Christmas!

First, we’ve been raising money for kids in Lynchburg to have happy Christmases! We’ve held bake sales, collected money during Halloween, and collected from our parents and friends all semester.

Alli and Nora working the bake sale in the library!

Some of the delicious goods Liberty students bought to raise money for little kids' Christmas gifts!

We recently got together and wrapped all the presents we had bought at our annual Christmas party. We ate dinner together, wrapped the presents, had a while elephant gift exchange, and took some fun pictures! Here are some of the (frankly fantastic) pictures we took that night!

Here's Abby Joy and Brianna having fun at the party!

And Claire and Hannah!

And finally, my lovely quad - Rachael, me, Claire, and Amanda!

Second, the team helped out a local food pantry last week. Park View Community Mission is an outreach of Park View United Methodist Church. It provides food for the local community through its pantry and its Wednesday night community meals. Check out their website and contact them to help serve!


We did a special project last week for the food pantry. They have a huge freezer in the back of the church that holds all the donated meat they receive. They needed a large group to come and organize the meat so that they can use all of it in the most effective way. We spent the morning taking most of the meat out of the freezer and organizing it my the date it was received or by the needs it was being allocated for.

Here are the lovely volunteers that spent their Saturday morning cleaning out a giant freezer! 

Amanda and Kris working hard to move the boxes of meat out of the freezer!

I hope this gave you some ideas about ways to serve during the Christmas season! There are plenty of other food pantries and soup kitchens in Lynchburg or you can find one in your local area wherever you are during break! Spread the spirit of Christmas and the love of Jesus by serving the people around you!

Posted at 4:31 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Friday, December 4, 2015

Making it Through Finals with Friends

It’s exam season!
And that means caffeine-fueled library camp-outs and stressed all-nighters. It’s these perilous times that we need our friends around us.

So here are some ideas for supporting your friends during this crazy stressful time!

 

1. Leave them encouraging notes (and maybe some chocolate!)

My Bible study girls and I made these cute little wrappers for Kit Kats and left them on the desks of our fellow debaters. We found a template online to make the covers and then spent the afternoon making them. Just head over to Pinterest and you can find a ton of great ideas similar to this one! (Here’s where I found the template for this particular one.)

2. Force them to take a quick break and relax.

(This coffee happens to have a piece of Peppermint Bark on top! Best coffee ever!)

I know how it goes – you’ve got two finals tomorrow, a project due today, and three papers due next week. But you need to take a break occasionally or you’ll burn out and get nothing done. So find a friend that also needs a break and go hang out over some coffee. You’ll get the caffeine you need to make it through your next study group and you’ll have some sweet time with a friend!

3. Take some Christmas pictures!

It’s something everyone says they want to do before they leave for the semester, but always get too busy and forget about. In the same vein as #2, take a break and take some Christmas pictures with your friends! Get a group together, and pick a location. You can get all dressed up or go for the Ugly Christmas sweater look. Some members of the debate team got together and took some pictures in front of the Christmas trees in the Visitor Center recently, but my roommates and I are doing Ugly Christmas sweater “family pictures” next week!

 

I hope these tips help you encourage your stressed-out friends before finals!

Good luck on your exams!

Posted at 1:53 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Oxford University Debate Tournament!

Sometimes people think debate sounds like a boring, nerdy activity. But it’s not! Well, it is pretty nerdy. But boring it is not! To prove that point, last week my debate partner and I took a trip to Oxford University in Oxford, England to compete in an international competition! We debated schools from around the world, went sight-seeing in London, and got in our fair share of shopping. It was an incredible experience. Here are some of my favorite pictures from this incredible week!

 

Packing for the trip. Here are my essentials for an eight-hour flight: my Bible, headphones, my journal, and my passport! 

Picking up the rental car at the airport provided our first challenge: remembering to drive on the left side of the road!

Let's just say this picture encapsulates most of our journey — yelling at the GPS and repeating over and over: "Drive on the left. Drive on the left. Drive on the left."

Our first real stop upon arrival in Oxford was to eat dinner at this little pub: The Eagle and Child.

This place is a treasure: it was the hangout of "The Inklings," a group of writers that included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis! 

It also had incredible food!

The next day we drove from Oxford into London and spent the day sightseeing and shopping! This is the London Tower Bridge.

This picture of the London Tower Bridge was taken from inside the London Tower. It was a beautiful day — none of the usual rain and beautiful fall leaves!

The London Tower has a lot of historical significance, and the grounds are filled with artifacts and recreations. These metal soldiers dotted the Tower to show how well guarded it once was. 

And of course we had to go to the heart of the city and check out the classics — Big Ben, the ferris wheel, and Westminster Abbey. 

The next day we took a tour of Oxford before starting our debates that afternoon. The university has incredible buildings housing their different schools; and each of them has a long and interesting history. We got to explore a little bit and then did some shopping!

This is another university building. We also got to ride some double decker busses around the city while we were there. 

And of course we had to get a cheesy tourist picture with a red phone booth! This is me and my debate partner, Leonora, during the tour of Oxford. We lost the group for just a minute to get this picture!

 

We had an incredible trip. We got to experience so much: the history of London and Oxford, a new style of debating with people from across the world, and the history of Oxford University and political debate in England. 

Posted at 2:27 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Surrender

Sometimes, He just shows up out of nowhere. Sometimes, you’re lost in a dark cloud of your own insecurity and doubt; and He intervenes in the middle of your path and reminds you who He is (and consequently, who you are).

That happened to me the other day.

I was walking back to my dorm, totally absorbed in my own hectic day and consumed with my long to-do list. As I turned a corner, this little rain-soaked index card was laying right in the middle of my path.

 

I stopped in my tracks.

I was so caught up in my worries and stresses that I was forgetting to give them all to Him. I was forgetting to surrender.

Surrender isn’t just a Christian-y buzzword we emblazon on everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs. It’s a way of living your life. I can choose to hold on to everything from my successes to my failures. I can clutch tightly to my control over my life and pretend that I can create my own circumstances and engineer my own perfect life. Or I can admit that I am totally incapable and insufficient, and I can surrender everything I have and everything I am to Him.

There are days when making that choice is harder than others.

Lately, it’s been a daily struggle.
A struggle to remind myself that He is in control.

A struggle to give up my best for His best.

A struggle to surrender.

But I’m learning a little more every day, and sometimes it takes Him intervening in my path (literally) to remind me to surrender.

Thankfully, I serve a God gracious enough to remind me what I have forgotten and persistent enough to continue teaching me what I’ve been too stubborn to learn. 

Posted at 2:11 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Application Tips

As I near the end of my last year at Liberty, it seems that my academic career has come full circle: I’m applying to schools again!

Like many students, I’m applying to grad schools, and it’s kind of weird going through this whole process all over again! Since I’m on my second round of forms, recommendation letters, and anxiously awaiting a response, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks for surviving the application process.

1. Start early!

Start the process as early as you can. Most schools have limits on how early you can apply, but there are so many other things you have to do before you actually submit an application!

2. Do some research!

Before you start filling out application forms, do your research! Make a list of what you’re looking for in a school, and prioritize those things by how necessary or important they are to you. When I was applying to colleges in high school, my family and I made a chart for each school that listed a set of characteristics important to me. We then scored each school for each of the categories. We scored based on the information we got from the school’s websites, the information they sent us in the mail, and the questions we asked the admissions offices. Most schools have a ton of information available on their websites, but entering your contact information on the website and getting information mailed to you can also be helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The admissions office at most schools is there to help you make an informed decision, and they can answer any questions you can’t easily find the answer to.

3. Visit!

Once I had narrowed down my list to a handful of schools, we visited them and used those charts to re-score the schools and figure out which one was the right one for me. While some of the schools basically kept their same scores, others had big differences. There was one school I was sure I was going to end up choosing that fit most of my criteria and was a really excellent school, but once I got on campus, I knew it wasn’t for me. There was a general atmosphere that just didn’t fit me, and I never would have known that if I hadn’t visited. On the other hand, I was not sold on Liberty before I came to visit. My parents pushed me to give it a chance, and once I came on campus, I knew it was where I was supposed to go to school.

4. Make a calendar!

There’s a lot of information to keep track of! Between application deadlines, financial aid cutoffs, and registration, there’s a lot to remember – especially if you’re applying to a lot of schools! Keep a calendar that is just for your applications, and use different colors to differentiate between categories. I used a different color for each school, but you could use a different color for different types of deadlines or information.

4. Get good recommendation letters!

This is more of an art than a science. Asking people to write recommendation letters for you requires evaluating a range of factors – how well you know the person, what type of relationship you have, and how much you trust them to write a letter that reflects you well and actually gets sent. One of my recent applications asked for a professional or professorial recommendation. I could have asked any of my history professors, but none of them knew me very well or were very much related to the type of schools I’m applying to. So instead, I had my debate coach write a letter for that requirement – she knows me well, knows my work ethic, and has seen my spiritual growth over my time at Liberty. Think about who you want an admissions committee to hear from and what they might say about you!

5. Don’t stress!

This is a difficult process. You have to keep up with all your normal responsibilities while balancing a whole set of new ones. Not to mention, you have to deal with the stress of waiting to hear what feels like a judgment on your whole life! Relax. Not only is all of this so much easier than you’ve probably been told, but God has got it. You’re going to end up at the school He wants you at, and nothing can change that. If you get rejected, it’s already a part of His plan. His plans are always better.  

Posted at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Coffee Shop Series: The White Hart

If there’s anything college students love (and love talking about how much they love it), its coffee.

Luckily enough for Liberty students, there are plenty of spots on campus to get your daily dose of caffeine. But for those interested in finding another option – for studying, quick refills, or a relaxing atmosphere – I’m doing a thorough investigation into the best coffee shops in Lynchburg. I’m going to check out a new coffee shop each week and grade it for a series of important characteristics – atmosphere, location, and deliciousness. (These are all entirely subjective, but between my roommate and I, we’re pretty good judges of coffee shop character!)


This week, I’m starting it off with a Liberty favorite: The White Hart.

The White Hart is located at 1208 Main Street, about 10 minutes from campus. (Drive over there NOW and the ride will be half the fun – downtown Lynchburg is beautiful all the time, but right now, the leaves are making it even more gorgeous!) You can check out their hours and other information on their website .

Here’s how The White Hart scored in the (totally subjective) categories, out of 10 possible points:

Atmosphere: 10

      

This place is lovely. The music is excellently chosen and plays at just the right volume to allow conversation and work, while still cultivating a pleasant ambiance. The White Hart hosts poetry readings and live music, but it’s also a great place to study, catch up with a friend, or read a book. Personally, I think it’s a great spot for people-watching and writing.

Location: 9

The White Hart’s not too far from campus, and is situated in a great spot in Lynchburg. It’s across the street from the Lynchburg Community Market, and surrounded by other local shops and businesses.

Deliciousness: 10

I got the White Hart Snow (because it was recommended by the barista and because it’s named after the café itself) and a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin. My roommate Claire got a White Chocolate latte and a snickerdoodle. I loved my drink so much I took another friend back to the White Hart a few days later to get it again. It was sweet, and had layered flavors that complemented each other. The bakery goods all looked great, and there’s a variety of coffee and other drinks that fit any taste.

      

Extra Awesomeness Points: 5

The White Hart is a local business that supports other local businesses and non-profits. It fosters little communities, while impacting the larger one.

Total Score: 34/30

Wow. We’re starting out strong with this score. Overall, we knew we loved the White Hart, but when you put numbers to it, you can really tell how great it is!

 

Check back for reviews of other coffee spots in Lynchburg! 

Posted at 2:42 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Early Halloween

This week, I started my Halloween celebration early!

I have a debate tournament this weekend, so the team held our annual Halloween party early this year. Every year, there’s one tradition that stands.

The costume contest!

Every year, we hold a contest for the best costume, and the winner receives one of three topic-themed prizes. Basically, we pick silly representations of whatever the debate topic is for the year. This year, the topic is foreign military presence in the Persian Gulf, Northeast Asia, and the Greater Horn of Africa. So third place received Japanese candy, second place got some little plastic African animals, and first place got a set of army men and helicopters.

Here were some of our contestants:

Abby as an adorable gumball machine!

Rachael and Amanda as the dysfunctional siblings they already are!

Brianna showing solidarity as Katniss!

Odessa as a cute Waldo! 

Caleb as...a patriotic redneck. 

Here we have Katniss, a ninja, a minion, and Rosie the Riveter. 

And the judges of the contest: Taylor Swift circa 2009 and Taylor Swift circa 2015. (Also known as my debate partner Nora and I.)

This year, we also did some CSER at the party. During the party, we held a canned food drive. Afterwards, we wrote encouraging notes and handed them out with some candy at the library.

Ryan handing out candy and notes at the library.

 

We got to celebrate Halloween while encouraging a bunch of busy, stressed out students! 

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! 

 

Posted at 3:23 PM | Comments (0) | Permalink


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