January 18, 2019
One chipper Thursday afternoon I got out of class early and headed back to my East Campus dorm, happy to have an extra bit of time to hang out and catch up on some creative projects. I walked in the door and stopped dead in my tracks- our desk chairs littered the common area, and my roommate’s dresser blocked the doorway to our room. I peeked my head around the corner and there stood my roommate, twisting her desk around under her lofted bed and blaring Gospel music through her phone. Much to my surprise, she had decided to rearrange our room to create more “thinking space,” as she called it. Amused, I set to work shifting the room back to rights, but I wasn’t convinced this “thinking space” thing was worth wrecking the room and reassembling our furniture layout. However, when we arranged our picture frames and flower vases and put our desk chairs back in their respective places, I began to catch her vision; our 3-person room looked significantly larger and brighter.
I’ve never forgotten the feeling of seeing our room so uncluttered and spacious; I found myself excited to go back to the dorm each day and start working on projects because I had room to spread out and create. Now, a whole year later, I try to emulate that vibe every time I set up my areas of “thinking space,” especially around my desk. Here’s my five necessities for a perfect desk area!
1. Printer: I LOVE having a little personal printer. Liberty is the GREATEST and has printers everywhere for students to use, but I find it so helpful to be able to print out my projects late at night or early in the morning without ever leaving my room!
2. Scissors: I know we’re not in preschool anymore (can we suggest scheduled nap times to SGA though?), but keeping a pair of scissors handy is a desk necessity! You never know when you’ll need to cut the tags off a new sweater, prank your roommate by tying string everywhere, or open a carton of ramen for a late-night snack.
3. Organizer: If you’re the kind of person who likes everything in its proper place (or maybe you’re tired of digging through your abyss of a backpack), get a cute desk organizer from Target or TJ Maxx for all of your little desk things!
4. Lamp: dorm lights are super industrial and bright, so most gals like to soften their rooms with lamps or string lights. I have a little lamp that sits on my desk that I use for late-night reading and writing, and it makes my room feel so cozy!
5. Power Strip: You’ll have to check with the Office of Residential Life’s housing rules, but I believe you can use power strips in your dorm if they are surge-protected! I used a power strip for my lamp, my computer, and my cell phone charger; it makes plugging and unplugging my various cords so convenient when I needed to run out the door for class.
January 18, 2019
Have you ever jam-packed your day tighter than your suitcase coming home from vacation? Three summers ago I took a friend to the Maui airport, and as she hoisted her suitcase onto the baggage scale the zipper popped off. To our dismay, socks, souvenirs, and shoes flew EVERYWHERE. We had to send another friend to get a new suitcase, and 45 minutes later we found ourselves cramming her belongings into a massive, brand-new, obnoxiously hot-pink suitcase that was so bright it could glow in the dark. After many tears and rueful laughs I gave her a hug and waved goodbye as she flew home to Maryland.
As a second-semester junior, my day-to-day life sometimes feels a lot like that suitcase explosion. My secret talent is the ability to cram every possible hangout and homework assignment into an evening, and I’ll often forget to factor in driving time when I make plans to meet a friend after work and class. Since it’s a new year and a new semester, I’ve created four ways to simplify your schedule!
1. Set aside a Sabbath.
We all need different amounts of rest to recharge and get ready for a new week, so the length of your day of rest might vary from mine. On Sundays I have church in the morning and Life Group in the evening, so my goal for 2019 is to finish all of my homework and Life Group prep on Saturday so that Sunday afternoons are free for naps, reading for fun, and creative projects.
2. Set apart your activities.
If I could give college students one bit of time-saving advice, it’d be this: don’t overbook yourself! Always bank 10-15 minutes between meetings, classes, and activities to give yourself a moment to get to the new location, change your clothes, brush your teeth, or grab a snack. You’ll be less likely to be late, and you won’t be rushing around when you do arrive!
3. Get homework done.
One of the tricks I’ve heard for doing your best on college assignments is to schedule out your homework and work at set times. For example, every Tuesday and Friday evening you might block off two hours to work on ENGL 101 and COMS 101 assignments. I plan to spend about an hour every Friday working on my ENGL 417 coursework since the class meets on Thursday nights, and I want the content to stay fresh in my mind!
4. Get a job.
I know what you’re thinking- “Abby, how will working MORE give me MORE time??” Don’t panic; I promise this will make sense in just a second! I got my first job during my first semester of freshman year at college, and at first I didn’t like it. I’d get back to the dorm in the evenings and crank out assignments while the girls on my hall would stay up all night, talking and laughing and eating snacks. However, a few weeks passed and I began to realize how much faster I was finishing papers, how much more I was sleeping, and how nice it felt to receive my very own paycheck. Working during college kindly forced me to manage my time so that I could excel in my classes, give 110% at my job, and have enough time for good sleep and fun activities with friends. It’s increased my productivity because I simply couldn’t afford to waste time, and now I absolutely love working while going to school!
December 19, 2018
Friends, this semester has been so special to me. August feels like yesterday, yet somehow four months have flown by. LU’s campus is quiet now; most students journeyed home as soon as their exams ended. Can you believe the Fall 2018 semester is finished?
Finished more semesters of undergrad than I have left (3 more to go!).
Celebrated my one-year work anniversary here on Liberty’s social media team.
Met Joel & Luke Smallbone from the band for King & Country and vlogged with them!
Traveled to Minnesota for Fall Break and to Elevation Church for a leadership conference.
Moved into an off-campus apartment and began practicing my cooking skills.
Published a paper in Liberty’s Honors Journal.
Completed my third semester of Life Group leadership with the greatest small group & friends around!
Recently, I’ve been talking to the Lord about how to finish well because I too often find myself questioning God, asking if He will really finish what He’s begun in my life and in the lives of those around me. It seems like every time I hit finals week I wonder if I’ll able to complete everything on time. So, to wrap up this semester, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been learning with you!
Remember how Jesus promised to move mountains if we have faith the size of mustard seeds? Here’s the kicker- we often find the faith to believe He’ll start, but do we really trust that He’ll finish the work He began? I find myself in that limbo state often, stepping out in faith yet afraid I won’t arrive at the other side of my decision, wondering if I aimed too high or shot too far or dreamed too big. But when I look at Scripture I see a God who moves in HIS time, shifting heaven and earth in response to the prayers of His creation.
What are you praying for today? Do you believe God will complete the promises He proclaimed, or do you fear you’ll be left in limbo?
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” -Revelation 22:13
“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 1:6
God WILL finish what He started, so walk in faith, trusting God to finish the work He began.
See ya in January,
December 19, 2018
Have you ever left an interview feeling down because you couldn’t get your words out clearly? Has your computer ever frozen mid-presentation, leaving you fumbling for words in front of the entire class? Have you ever frustrated your roommates because your music was too loud or because you forgot to take out the trash? How do you pick yourself back up again after a hard exam or an impossible group project? When everything hits the fan, what do you do?
This has been a wonderful semester, but I’ve had my fair share of rough moments with miscommunications, forgotten assignments, too many commitments, and not enough time to do it all. As I reflect on the past four months, I’m beginning to realize that how you handle tough stuff is just as important as avoiding those situations in the first place. Here’s three ways to pick up the bits and pieces of life after a bad day.
1. Call Someone.
When I need to process a bad day, I call one of three people: my mom, my dad, or one of my closest friends ((unless I end up calling all three anyway… can I get an amen from all the verbal processors out there?)). The people that surround you in college are crucial; take time to develop relationships that go below the surface! My mom and dad have been my biggest supporters since I entered this world, and I trust their insight completely. My inner circle of friends will usually grab a meal together, and we’ll help one another talk through and deal with the tough stuff in life. We laugh and cry together, always pointing each other to Truth in God’s Word!
2. Choose Something.
If I have a rough day, I’ll usually find something fun to do to put it out of my mind. Sometimes that means baking cookies or watching a movie, and sometimes that means getting together with a friend or going to bed early. I’ve found that keeping myself busy with other things helps me to shift my perspective on whatever happened. If you’re having a tough time, choose something fun to do!
3. Create Space.
It’s really okay to take a few minutes to breathe, I promise. If you know you have an internship interview from 1-1:30, don’t schedule another commitment until 2 or 2:30. If you have a test Monday morning, try to avoid slamming your afternoon with activities. Too often we stuff away our feelings about a tough situation because we’re so busy with everything else in life. Take time to process through how you felt about your interview or your presentation; everything else will get done in due time!
I hope my experiences can help you handle your tough days! You’ve got this!
December 12, 2018
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at Liberty U (it’s snowing right now!), and that means the temperature is dropping fast! I know you’ll be home for winter break soon enough, but it’ll still be chilly when you get back for the first part of spring semester. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a fashion guru, but after three years here I know what I like to wear in the wintertime. So, whether you’re a new freshman, a transfer student, or a prospective CFAW coming to visit in February, here’s five key wardrobe items you’ll want to pack for the winter months in Lynchburg.
1. A Good Jacket (Seriously).
Whether you’re walking to your dorm, Chick-fil-a, or the bus stop, you’ll have to step outside in the chilly wind at some point. I spent about $60 on this thick gray jacket during my freshman year, and it has kept me warm on sooo many cold class days (and sledding trips!). Watch for a good sale at your favorite store, and plan to invest in a durable jacket. Your future cold college self will thank you, I promise.
2. Waterproof Boots.
I don’t care if you prefer snow boots, rain boots, or duck boots, but please know you’re going to want a pair of sturdy, waterproof shoes for the winter. There’s no worse feeling than trekking across campus in the cold rain and arriving in your classroom with freezing feet in the middle of February. We’ll occasionally get a bit of ice too, so you should bring shoes you trust. Plus, when it snows, you’ll already be prepared to go sledding on the hills around campus with your friends! After all, nothing beats a quality snowball fight on the Academic Lawn.
3. Winter Business Clothes.
Now I know that trendy short-sleeved blouses and business skirts look super cute for dress-up days, but the next time you go shopping for professional clothes for interviews and presentations, look for pieces that are wearable in cooler weather. A good pair of dress slacks and a long-sleeved blouse with a blazer will look nice and keep you warm too! Versatility is key; most college students don’t have the budget to stock up on a full closet of business attire. Buy pieces you love that can be worn year-round (and check your local thrift stores too)!
4. Sweaters, Sweaters, and More Sweaters.
Whether you prefer to hit up your local Goodwill, visit your favorite boutique, or raid your sister’s closet, grab lots of sweaters. Sweaters are perfect for layering in the late fall and early spring, so plan your outfits around the changing temperature. I recommend bringing a good cardigan that you can throw on over several different tops to vary your look each week. Personally, I swear by my tan sweater; it’s super versatile, nicer than a sweatshirt, and warm!
My number one denim staple is my denim jacket. I wear that thing at least once a week (if not 2-3 times, shhhh). However, a quality pair of jeans will go a loooooong way in your winter wardrobe. Dress them down for a study session in the library or dress them up for an adventure downtown on the weekend! Personally, I prefer to keep a few pairs of both light and dark washes, and I have a pair of black jeans that I often wear with a flowy blouse for class presentations when I don’t feel like wearing a dress. Either way, you can’t go wrong with ample denim in your winter closet.
One of the things you’ll discover in college is that everyone has their own style, so discover what you love and rock it! You don’t always have to be on-trend or perfectly coordinated; experiment with different styles and be you. Stay warm this winter!
Hope to see you around campus soon!