May 29, 2019
You’ll always know it’s the end of spring semester here at Liberty University when droves of students appear on the academic lawn. After all, it’s finally Reading Day, and it’s also the LU Community Yard Sale! Hosted by Student Activities, the Community Yard Sale offers a chance for LU students and community vendors to sell clothes, furniture, dorm décor, and more.
In the morning I met up with my friend Cameron to check out the steals and the deals at the yard sale. We wandered through over thirty booths, picking up unique finds, cute clothes, and good books. After paying each vendor, we stuffed our purchases into our free Student Activities tote bags (pro tip: those bags are super handy to keep in the dorm!). We also followed Student Activities on social media and received free tumblers!
Local food trucks such as Nomad Coffee and Dawn & Dusk Donuts also visited, so I bought my all-time favorite iced latte, the Blue Ridge (espresso with white chocolate, coconut, and mint!). No better way to spend Reading Day than drinking coffee and thrifting with friends, am I right?
To cap off my Reading Day activities, I invited the gals from my small group to come over to my apartment. We ate dinner together, made homemade frozen coffee, and piled on my sofa. After lots of giggling, we took time to intentionally speak encouragement over one another to end this semester.
Life at Liberty is special because the people here are so special. Every year I meet new guys and gals that are just absolutely incredible, and this semester was no different. There are simply so many life-changing people here on this campus, and I can’t imagine living life without the friends I’ve made while attending Liberty.
You’ll just have to come experience it for yourself!
Hope to see you around campus soon,
May 29, 2019
Here at Liberty University we know how to conquer on the courts AND in the classrooms.
Research Week is a five-day celebration of academic projects, posters, and presentations completed by undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students. The library transformed into a scholarly carnival on a Monday morning as over sixty massive posters appeared around the first and second floors. Scholars in business professional attire milled around, reviewing their notes and preparing for the judges.
After tasty hors d'oeuvres and a keynote address on imagination and creativity in research, the poster session began. As judges and students visited each poster, presenters summarized their research and answered questions. My team and I were visited by a judge, friends who came to support us, and random students who were interested in learning more about our research. Even though the session finished on the first day, the posters are displayed all whole week long.
On Thursday afternoon two students presented their artistic pieces in the Concert Hall, and at 2:30pm the 3 Minute Thesis Competition began! Awards were given to top projects, and for many students, this week signifies the end of the academic year.
I’ve always admired Research Week, and I was honored to be part of it this year! My friends and I had completed a group project last fall, and our professor encouraged us to expand the assignment and submit it to Research Week. With a little extra work and a whole lot of Chick-fil-A, we created our poster and got it accepted! Presenting at Research Week was the cherry on top of a great spring semester, and it was such a blessing to be honored for our diligence in the classroom! If you ever get the chance to participate in Research Week, take it. I’m already looking forward to next year!
May 29, 2019
My childhood dream finally came true: I got paid to travel somewhere.
After eight months of revisions, deadlines, paperwork, and prayer, I boarded a plane destined for Rhode Island with my professor and one of my classmates. We were traveling to the Eastern Communication Association’s annual conference, a four-day event filled with panels, sessions, networking luncheons, and sightseeing wherever we could squeeze it in.
As Liberty continues to build its research programs, more and more students are getting involved in conducting research and presenting their findings at various conferences around the country. For my department though, this was the first time we sent students to present somewhere, and everyone was THRILLED. I had a research paper accepted to a panel symposium, and I was also part of a group project that was accepted to a poster session. In fact, our group project was accepted to two conferences; half of us went to ECA and the other two members of our team attended the 2019 NCUR conference in Georgia. It was a huge deal, and I honestly can’t believe we got to represent our school through our academic achievements AND get to travel.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have the money lying around to buy plane tickets, hotel rooms, and food for a six-day trip to New England. However, Liberty University is so supportive of student research that they developed the Center for Research and Scholarship, a team of faculty dedicated to helping students conduct research and have opportunities to present their findings. After completing a rigorous application, my team was awarded a generous grant to cover our travel costs. Truly, we wouldn’t have been able to go if it wasn’t for the support from our university!
Providence, Rhode Island was an absolute whirlwind experience; I learned SO MUCH at the conference and had a BLAST exploring the city. My favorite part of the whole trip was a conversation I had partway through the week with a fellow researcher, and I loved meeting so many students from other universities! My classes at Liberty prepared me so well to participate confidently in this conference, and I firmly believe any of my peers could go share research too. If you enjoy research and are willing to put in a little extra work, talk to your professors about conference opportunities!
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!