April 3, 2019
To the high school senior shopping for her prom dress while filling out scholarship applications in the car, and to the junior who is so ready for senior year he can’t wait for July to fade to August, I’m here to tell you to breathe. Deeply. Slowly.
College IS coming, so please don’t rush through your last two years of high school to get to where I’m standing. Don’t miss your present for your future.
When you’re visiting my campus this weekend, DO these five things. I hope you’ll love it here on the mountain just as much as I do, but don’t wish away your last few months of high school. Live life to the fullest NOW; the future will take care of itself!
1. DO attend scheduled events.
Our CFAW team works so ridiculously hard to prepare the greatest sessions and meet-and-greets for your weekend experience. You’ll have opportunities to meet with professors, admissions counselors, and the financial department while you’re here, and they all want to assist you in completing the application process with ease. If you have questions, write them down and ASK!
2. DO meet other CFAW students!
The greatest piece of advice I can share is to put away your cellphone and talk to the people around you. Your friends back home can survive without seeing your face on Snapchat; you’re only here for a few days! Look around for other students with the CFAW lanyard and introduce yourself. Liberty has SO MANY incredible people that’ll rock your world, but you’ll miss every bit of it if you’re viewing CFAW through your InstaStory filters.
3. DO introduce yourself to the professors.
When you attend classes on Friday, say hello to the professor afterwards! Professors love to hear what you want to study and why you’re looking forward to attending Liberty. One time I introduced myself to a professor, followed her to her office for a longer conversation, and walked away with a new book! I signed up for her class a year later, and she remembered my name AND our conversation that day.
4. DO be courteous to students in your dorm.
As a CFAW, you’re a special guest on our campus, and we are thrilled you’re here. However, all of us students just finished midterms and are working hard to keep up with big projects before finals week arrives. We can’t wait to meet you and spend time with you, but please be considerate of your hosts when you’re in your dorm. They need time to shower and sleep too!
5. DO fan the Flames with us!
I’ll never forget the moment I was officially accepted into LU. There’s something about getting your acceptance letter and t-shirt in the mail that feels like you’re living a dream. Maybe you’re the first person in your family to attend college, or maybe your family is full of Liberty alumni. Either way, I can’t wait to see you around campus soon! Go Flames!
Make sure to check out my other CFAW recommendations here: CFAW Must-DOs and CFAW Must-Haves!
March 19, 2019
It was my first time tubing, and my fingers clasped the plastic handles of that 3-person float with a death grip. After buckling my life jacket and securely stowing my glasses in my friend’s beach bag, I flashed a thumbs up as the boat began picking up speed. We coasted slowly, bouncing a bit here and there as we scooted across the lake. The wind rushed through my hair, and I laughed. So far, so good. Suddenly, though, the boat occupants apparently decided I had been properly introduced to tubing and was ready to experience the next level: the extreme edition. Cranking the throttle, they sliced through wakes and turned sharply as we jostled along behind like a puppet on a string. The next thing I knew I was getting more air time than water time, and every moment our float went airborne and slammed down on the waves I thought for sure I’d be catapulted into the cool blue waters. Thankfully I survived, and I would do it again. There’s something about the thrill of ride that gets my adrenaline pumping.
I’d say that spring semester of college is a lot like tubing. You start off gradual, and you hold on wayyy tighter than you need to. Then, as soon as you start to relax your grip and find your rhythm, the semester rockets off the launchpad and you find yourself hanging on for dear life while careening across the waves faster than you can blink (or submit your assignments on BlackBoard). After three years of college, I’ve discovered that the secret to enjoying the spring semester experience is to practice productivity, and I’ve created three key steps you can take to enjoy your ride!
1. Plan like your life depends on it (because it does).
I can’t stress this enough, but you MUST figure out a system to keep track of your responsibilities and commitments. Whether that’s sticking Post-Its on your mirror, tattooing meetings on your forehead, typing reminders on your phone, or swearing by a pen and paper planner, discover what works for you and develop a habit of keeping track of everything going on in your life. This semester alone I’ve already double-booked three events for one-time slot, forgot an assignment until an hour before class, and had to rearrange my work shifts to attend an important meeting for my degree.
2. Enjoy the ride (because it ends).
There is something to be said for challenging yourself and leaping out beyond your comfort zone, but it’s also important to do what you love. I wouldn’t have known the fun of tubing if I had stayed in the boat, but I prepared before jumping overboard. I buckled my jacket, secured my glasses, grabbed a friend, and THEN clambered in the float. In the same way, it’s totally okay to drop a class, join a new club, or change your major, but take time to think before you start calling Registrar. Find something you love and do it well, but never get so comfortable that you find yourself unwilling to explore new opportunities. If I had stayed within my degree and never explored elective options, I would have never discovered Dr. Prior’s ENGL 417 course, “Writing for Cultural Engagement.” That class is one of my favorites this spring, but if I had stayed where I’m comfy I would’ve missed out on an incredible course. College will end one day, so live this time to the fullest while you can. Enjoy it.
3. Link arms with your pals (because you weren’t meant to do life alone).
It’s easy to stress out over exams and labs and discussion board replies, but you can only hide out in the fourth floor of the library for so long before needing a break. Diligence in your studies is crucial, so definitely set aside prime work time to plow through research papers and study for tests! However, one of the key characteristics of a good leader is the ability to balance completing tasks with building relationships. The best leaders do both; they accomplish the to-do list while also honoring the people around them. If you work best alone, don’t be afraid to leave the game early or skip the hall dinner, but don’t allow your studies to isolate you from your peers. It’s okay to take a few hours to explore downtown, drive up to Snowflex, or grab dinner with a friend. You weren’t created to do life alone, so put friendships on your priority list!
February 18, 2019
The headphones slipped over my head like a glove; I palmed the iPhone in my hand and followed the chalk arrows to the entrance of the exhibit labeled “Jey.” I waited, standing next to a volunteer starting her shift by walking through the story too. When given my cue, I stepped through the makeshift door, immediately transported to the slums of Kenya contained within a semi-truck trailer. A child’s voice echoed through my headphones, telling Jey’s story of his rough upbringing, his mom’s moonshine business, and his stint in prison. I walked through five rooms, each with a different audio narrative continuing his story. Halfway through I found myself gazing around a classroom with brightly colored walls. Crayon-scrawled pictures littered the desks and workbooks lay open to pie charts and Bible verses. I could literally feel hope ricocheting off the walls. Jey’s Compassion school.
At the end of the trailer tour I stepped into a second tent. Child sponsorship folders hung by clothespins and twine created a prayer wall, beckoning students to pray and consider providing for one of the children in the same way that Jey’s sponsor provided for him. I left the Compassion Experience deeply touched, and I found myself back at the front door again, asking to walk through the second story. Donning a new pair of headphones and palming yet another device, I approached a second door marked “Yannely.” Five new rooms and a different story, but the same message shone crystal-clear. These impoverished kids crave hope. They have incredible potential; they just need a chance. I – yes me, a college student with a part-time job – could give a child that chance. What holds me back? What holds you back?
Global Focus Week is one of my favorite events every semester. The Parade of Nations gives me chill bumps, and I love hearing from all of the mission organizations visiting campus. It’s easy to spend the semester with my nose in my textbooks and my eyes on the upcoming weekend with friends, but there’s so much more to life than a presentation and a Saturday road trip. Every semester I finish Global Focus Week refreshed and challenged to view the world around me (both here in Lynchburg and the globe) through Jesus’ eyes. What would He have me do with my time here on earth? What would He have you do?
See ya around campus soon,
February 18, 2019
Every college student wonders what he or she will do during the summer. Some travel and some sleep, but most students get that infamous summer job you hear about as a kid (Don't worry, I promise there are fun summer jobs out there!). If you don't know where you want to work, take my quiz to discover your perfect summer job!
February 8, 2019
Have you ever had one of those nights where words just can’t seem to paint a vivid enough picture of just how amazing the night was? Last night was one of those moments for me.
1000 college students flooded the sanctuary of my church to raise awareness for the End It Movement, a social good campaign designed to combat modern-day slavery. Around the world, commoners and celebrities alike drew a red X on their hands yesterday, signifying that human trafficking must end. Ascent, TRBC’s college ministry, hosted a prayer and praise service last night and invited students to gather together to worship God and beg Him to end the evil of slavery in our world.
The band and prayer team squeezed in a back room to pray before the service began, and the Holy Spirit started moving before we even made it to the stage. Everything that happened during the service was an overflow from our private prayer time, and I couldn’t help but marvel at the overwhelming joy we all felt. Yes, slavery is awful, and yes, it often feels like darkness threatens to overtake our world. HOWEVER, because Christ has already conquered death, we know that darkness will NEVER overcome the Light. Not now. Not ever. That’s good news, friends.
Since my words can’t do this night justice, I’ve attached my favorite photos from the service. If you’re interested in serving with local human trafficking organizations in Lynchburg, please visit the websites of Freedom 4/24 and the Remade Campaign, or check out the Instagram of the LU Freedom 4/24 club!