How to Kick Senioritis
February 18, 2019
Graduating is such an exciting time because you finally get to see the outcome of all the hard work you put in to get to this point. College is not necessarily easy but it is also one of the best times of life because you get to meet new people, try new things, and focus on preparing yourself for the future. Moving on from college and going into another chapter of life can be very exciting as well, but in order to get to that next chapter you have to go through the journey of senior year, and it can be tough.
If you are like me then during your senior year you have experienced what is commonly known as senioritis. Senioritis is used to describe a lack of motivation to push through senior year. While finishing my senior year and talking to other seniors, I have realized that senioritis goes so much deeper than not being motivated.
During this time of looking for a job, or a graduate school, everything is up in the air, which can be very nerve wracking considering the fact that we haven’t really gone through this much change since deciding on a college to attend. Hearing from peers that have jobs lined up after graduation can be very discouraging, but through talking to other seniors I’ve realized that most of us actually have no clue what is going on. This doesn’t make not having anything lined up any better, but it does bring me peace to know that I am not alone in this part of life.
What I have been doing to make myself feel better about graduating is making sure that I am preparing to be a good employee or graduate student. This looks like making sure that my resume communicates what it needs to and also continuing to stay focused on school so that I can show myself worthy of being accepted into a graduate program. If you are a senior trying to figure out what is going to happen with your future, my advice would be to not forget how important it is to live in the present and focus on preparing yourself for the future the best way you can.
Written by: Trae Christian
Trae is studying Strategic Communications: Social Media Management. He always thought that he wasn’t a good writer until he started writing about things that he is passionate about. Writing for the SA blog has really helped him get over his writing insecurities.
SA Previews: Josh Garrels
February 14, 2019
Josh Garrels is a multi-genre, self-produced musical artist who, through only seven albums and a few EPs, has developed a respectable and musically significant career. The Indiana native has scores of fans from all across the country and globe. With close to 850,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and a myriad of songs reaching the seven digit listen total (with “Born Again” from his album Home being his sole song that has reached the mark of eight digits in total listens on Spotify), Garrels’ passionate sound has developed him a faithful music-loving fanbase. The Small Voice Records founder has been seen across many genres as he has dabbled in not only indie music, but hip-hop, rap, folk, and Christian music as well. Appearing in songs by John Mark McMillan, Andy Mineo, Mason Jar Music, Beautiful Eulogy and more, Garrels has been a well-sought after featured voice for years.
Garrels has one of the most distinguishable and recognizable voices in not only the Christian music world, but even in the mainstream music world as well. The only artist that comes to mind as having a similar deep, raspy nature to their voice is George Ezra, but Garrels displays a wider range of vocals, with his soulful falsetto being the main weapon in his repertoire. Pairing his unique voice with his strong but peace-of-mind guitar playing makes listeners feel like their headphones have turned into Heaven’s outer radio frequencies.
Few artists have the ability to make you feel like you have just read a really good book like Garrels does; his music is not only a muse but a journey. In his song “Ulysses”, Garrels takes listeners into Homer’s The Odyssey and Herbert James Draper’s portrait “Ulysses and the Sirens” as he describes fighting pretty temptations that the world offers that will ultimately leave him hurting as he strives to return home to the one he loves. Adding to the variety of his music, Garrels took the lyrics of the 1911 Southern Gospel hit partially written by Reverent W. A. Fletcher “Farther Along” and modernized them, adding a whole new theatrical flair to the tune, which, thanks to the revitalization by Garrels, has become the anthem for many in a generation much different from the one found in the 1910s. “Farther Along” proves all the more that Garrels possesses a timeless sound that is sure to be appreciated for years and generations to come. Josh Garrels offers concert-goers an adventure through love, human struggle, faith and more with a variety of sounds that are pleasing to both the ear and the soul.
Don’t let anything, not Love or War or the Sea in Between or anything else keep you from getting to the School of Music’s Concert Hall on March 22. We’ll see you there!
Written by: Landen Swain
Landen believes the human experience longs to be expressed; through our art, our labor, our songs, our storytelling. As a published playwright, author, and poet, he enjoys expressing his little chapter of the human experience through his writings and is thankful that the SA blog allows him to do that. He is published in numerous magazines, literary journals, and has several plays published by Off the Wall Plays, an online play publishing house.
What My Brother Taught Me About Disability
February 11, 2019
From the ages of two to five, I had the privilege of praying every single day and night for God to give me a brother. Needless to say, my parents were very content with three children, but that is probably the most consistent and intentional I have ever been with my prayer (which baffles me due to my young age). Yet, it seems that with young age and blissful ignorance comes an unbelievable amount of faith. The same kind of childlike faith that Jesus spoke of in the Bible was the exact childlike faith that I lived out during that time. I couldn’t be more joyous or grateful that my prayer was answered.
My brother John was born on March 20, 2004, in Enid, Oklahoma. Beginning from birth, there was a battle for his life. To put it lightly, he struggled from the beginning. The first few years of John’s life were more difficult than anybody else I have ever met. He was sickly and frail from birth, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, he aspirated food and later had to have the food surgically removed, and was later diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and had to go through copious amounts of chemotherapy. After all of that, he had to have two surgeries, including one open heart, to repair a hole in his heart. And if all of this wasn’t enough, his hip socket was injured during one of the surgeries and for the first 12 years of his life, he walked with a severe limp. Now it has digressed to the point where he is not even able to walk anymore because of the amount of pain that it brings him.
One could have the idea that John could be the most withdrawn and spiteful person on the planet. Thankfully, that statement could not be farther from the truth. John is the single most loving human being I have ever met. He loves without bounds and is not afraid to show you tangibly what that looks like. John has one of the most admirable views of people that I have ever seen. My deepest fears, fondest memories, and greatest dreams all revolve around this human being. In the public’s eye, he is “disabled” or impaired, but in God’s eyes, he is made perfect and will be made complete in Heaven, and that is a day that I long to see more than life.
Why is it that when we see how much joy people like John have and we notice that they live a normal life in and of themselves, we still tend to view them as solely “impaired” rather than as a human with unique abilities? Far too often we see somebody’s disability before we see any possible abilities in them. I argue that this way of thinking stems from a skewed societal view of “normalcy.”
We need to challenge and redefine what society views as normal and abnormal. According to the ADA National Network, they define a person with a disability as, “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.” While maybe the first thing that comes in our heads after reading that definition is something like Autism or Down Syndrome or a person who can’t walk, I want to make the point of how something so common as a vision impairment where a person is required to wear glasses is defined as a disability. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” If we are made wonderfully in the image of God, then that goes for every human, not just the ones that society deems as different.
I was 5 years old when John was born and I was too young to know that he was going through complications. As we grew, the thought never crossed my mind of what life would be like with a “normal” brother. When you grow up and spend so much time with someone in his situation, you never get the chance to view them as different because you are just doing life together. We should always strive to view everybody as a person and not just label them by their disability. Blaine Grimes, author of “Finding Ability in Finding Dory” summarizes it the best when he says, “Look for the ability in disability.” I challenge you to try and keep this in mind in the future when you encounter someone who is disabled or impaired. The key element of this is to be intentional with others regardless of who they are or how they differ from you. This simple gesture can mean the world to somebody and can promote others to be intentional with you.
Written by: Josiah Frisbie
Josiah enjoys writing for the blog because he believes in the power of discussing relevant topics. He wants to be challenged in his writing and research style while still growing and striving for knowledge.
SA Previews: Every Square Inch Conference
February 7, 2019
Together with the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, Student Activities is thrilled to host the third annual Every Square Inch Conference. ESI was conceived through the thought of Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper when he said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” This mentality is what shaped a two day event filled with workshops, lectures, and music right here on Liberty’s campus.
Over the two day conference, there will be two workshops led by Vice President of Campus Recreation Christopher Misiano, Chair of the School of Divinity Dr. Mark Allen, and author/public intellectual Trevin Wax. Keynote speaker Trevin Wax is the Director for Bibles and Reference at LifeWay Christian Resources and a visiting professor at Wheaton College. His lecture “The Gospel vs. Expressive Individualism: Why “Being True To Yourself” is a Dead-End on the Road to Happiness” will headline the conference on Thursday, February 28th. The two day event will be led to a close through a concert by The Gray Havens featuring Chris Renzema and Gray.
Maintaining the declaration put forth by Kuyper, this conference is a place to engage in intentional, thought provoking conversation. It will be a time to learn and grow in developing a unified vision as the Body of Christ and fostering a community for intentional learning.
Come join in on the conversation of culture and faith on February 28 and 29. Make sure to register for the workshops and purchase your tickets for the show, and for more information about Every Square Inch, visit the event website at Student Activities – ESI.
Written by: Clay Copper
Clay is a grad student that is still trying to figure out what he is doing with his life. Sometimes he writes about relevant topics here, but mostly he writes about what he cares about and hopes you enjoy it.
Fearless Femininity: A Conversation About the Modern Day Career
February 4, 2019
Naomi: I feel like it is an unwritten rule that the seat we sit in our first day of classes becomes our assigned seat for the rest of the semester. As I walked into my first Business: Project Management class of this semester, I made it a point to find my seat in the front of the room. I settled into the chair that I would soon call home for the rest of my time in this class. Glancing around the room, I searched for familiar faces soon realizing I was one of seven girls in a classroom of 40 people.
Kate: I grew up with a single mother who was the sole breadwinner for my family, and that was my normal. As I got older I heard stories from her years in business. Throughout her career in technology sales my mom has had to fight for her place at the table and for her voice to be heard in a career generally dominated by men. Eventually I had the opportunity to go to college and discovered I wanted to follow in her footsteps. The foreign concepts of a glass ceiling and barriers for women in the workplace became something I wanted to familiarize myself with as business would be my world post-graduation.
In recent years with the rise of the third wave feminist movement, the conversation about women’s roles in the workplace has been a hot button issue. We have found there are traditionally two schools of thought. Some believe that women are oppressed by society at large or even men specifically, while others feel as if women don’t have the resources to get to where they want to go within the workplace.
Why is it that companies with women in leadership are more profitable, yet studies have shown that only 4.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women? In a study conducted by the MSCI World Index, companies with strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1 percent per year while companies without women in leadership generated an equity of 7.4 percent. And if countless more studies emphasize this idea, why aren’t companies making any changes?
Kate: The truth is, they are. This is not to say that every company is striving to reform their organizational strategy or has done so already. Rather, this demonstrates that there are a multitude of external factors that have limited these changes and caused growth of women in upper leadership to be stagnant despite growing awareness for this issue.
For example, throughout time women have struggled to balance the responsibilities that come with performing the role of CEO and mom. A study performed by Girls Who Code, a non-profit seeking to increase the number of women in computer science, found that 74 percent of women showed an interest in STEM. Yet, when it comes to fields such as computer science, only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees are earned by women and even fewer eventually find themselves in the C-Suite.
Many attribute this disconnect to the inability for work life balance not only in STEM fields, but more specifically in upper leadership in these fields. For me, having a working mom meant that she was often not present for junior high volleyball games, and school lunch was favored over a packed lunch. There were many sacrifices my mom had to make in order to provide for our family, and as the years have passed I have grown to admire her for doing so. The way she was able to balance these two worlds has driven me to follow in her footsteps. It is obvious to me, though, why many women would be deterred from this life if given the option to stay home with the ever challenging and rewarding career of motherhood as their full-time job.
Naomi: This is one of the many realities that discourages women from moving forward in the industry as a work and life balance is seemingly impossible to attain. Forbes Magazine released a report that stated when interviewing for a job or promotion, men will confidently press forward with only 60 percent of the experience needed. On the contrary, women will typically only go for a job if they have 100 percent of the necessary qualifications. I resonated with this, equating it to how I have felt in the classroom but on a much larger scale.
Egon Zehnder, a professional services firm, recognized that this barrier may be because only 54 percent of women have access to senior leaders who act as mentor in their career. Time and time again professors will encourage their students to seek mentorship; however, this can be extremely intimidating when you encounter what many people refer to as “the boys’ club”. I have found it is especially hard to navigate forming a connection with potential mentors as there are less women available for mentorship in my field of study. With this in mind, I have found it particularly challenging to then navigate an appropriate connection with the men that act as leaders in my academic and professional life.
In reference to the #MeToo movement brought to the forefront in late 2017, The New York Times stated, “In one unintended consequence, executives and analysts say, companies seeking to minimize the risk of sexual harassment or misconduct appear to be simply minimizing contact between female employees and senior male executives, effectively depriving the women of valuable mentorship and exposure.” Even as I am still in college navigating business in the classroom, I often find it a challenge trying to network and contribute my own insights when I am one of few women. This statement by the New York Times is unfortunate, as there is undoubtedly a benefit in learning and working with male superiors (my dad is easily the biggest inspiration and supporter of my career).
At the surface, these statistics are daunting and may cause women to doubt their opportunity. At Student Activities, we feel privileged to work for women who have set forth an example of what it looks like to operate as a leader in a culture where this is sometimes unusual. This atmosphere has inspired us in our own careers, teaching us invaluable lessons that we will carry for a lifetime. Our hope is that in reading this, people will further appreciate the women in their lives and empower them to take on challenges that have not been endeavored upon before.
Written by: Kate Dolan & Naomi Bower
Kate is a senior studying Business Administration: Communications. She has worked for Student Activities since her Junior year and it is honestly the best thing that’s happened to her since coming to Liberty. After graduation, she hopes to move back to her hometown in the suburbs of Chicago and get a big girl job downtown.
Naomi is an avid coffee drinker and google calendar enthusiast from Arizona who spends most of her time outside, exploring new places. Naomi enjoys writing for the blog because it forces her to remain educated on current events happening in our culture today. I am especially passionate about bringing awareness to issues such as women’s rights and diet culture.
SA Previews: Oceanic & Rhineland
February 1, 2019
We’re so excited for our first Student Concert of the spring semester! We interviewed the openers Oceanic and Rhineland to learn more about them. Each band has a distinct indie sound ranging from dreamy to alternative. Below, we asked each band some questions to help you get to know them better.
When did your band start out making music?
Oceanic: Our band started when Jacob and I first met on our dorm in 2016. We recorded horrible demos and wrote songs together for quite a while! Our first show was a Liberty SA Open Mic.
Rhineland: We started making music at the beginning of 2018 when we all came together to play at a fundraiser show.
What does your band name signify?
Oceanic: “Oceanic” is a word we love, and we love the metaphoric significance of the ocean in general. We love our music to be expansive, deep, and full of surprises.
What has been the most exciting project for you?
Oceanic: The most exciting project we’ve completed is our song called Party Song. It was our first single, so spirits were high when we were in the studio recording it. The most exciting project we have NOT yet completed is our full length debut album that comes out later this year.
Rhineland: The most exciting project has been traveling to Nashville in October with the band to record our first single “We Go Down” with producer Kyle Cummings. We learned so much about the recording process and had the opportunity to get creative in the studio to make the song really special.
What are you looking forward to in the future when it comes to the direction of your band?
Oceanic: I’m most looking forward to improving as a band. We work hard at making better and better music, and performing more and more passionately at shows. It’s exciting to think about how that’ll play out in the future.
Rhineland: Right now, our goal is to go on tour as a supporting act for a bigger band and to release an EP in the near future. It’s hard to say for sure where Rhineland will go but we all dream of doing this full time someday.
When you’re not performing or writing, what are you doing?
Oceanic: For me personally, my pastime is songwriting. I’m constantly creating something new, or refining our existing projects. I love that so much more than Netflix so that’s my main muse. If I’m not writing, though, I’m spending time with people. I love people.
Rhineland: We like to hang out with our friends and grab food, as much as we can afford to!
What is the best show experience you’ve ever had?
Oceanic: The best show experience we’ve had is a toss up between a house show last year (that we actually played with Rhineland and ANX), and Lynchstock Music Festival 2018. Both were incredible shows for different reasons.
Rhineland: Our best show experience was definitely opening for The WLDLFE at Speakertree a few months ago. So many people came out to the show and it was really high-energy. We were also fans of The WLDLFE before the show so it was a cool opportunity to meet the band and play with them.
If your band could open for any artist/band, who would it be?
Oceanic: I would open for Coldplay, The 1975, or WALK THE MOON. I would die if I met them.
Rhineland: We all would like to open for a band like Hippocampus or COIN someday, but if we’re talking big dreams, then a band like The 1975 or Coldplay would be insane.
We can’t wait for you to experience the energy of Oceanic and Rhineland on February 5th at 8pm in the LaHaye Event Space with ANX! This is a free show – see you there!
Written by: Kay Torres
Kay believes the Student Activities blog is an awesome way to engage the student body beyond events. She feels lucky to get to be a part of a team that cares about engaging different perspectives and the world we live in!
SA Previews: Bethel Music
January 31, 2019
From Bethel Church in Redding, California, Bethel Music is an American worship group, record label, and publishing company that has been producing music since 2001. They are composed of a core 16 artist collective that feature popular Christian artists such as Brian Johnson, Jenn Johnson, Cory Asbury, and many more. With such a diversity of artists, Bethel Music has been able to reach millions of lives by spreading the Gospel and uniting people in worship.
We are excited to welcome Brian and Jenn Johnson, co-founders of Bethel Music, to Liberty for a night of worship. They have been an integral part to building not only Bethel Music but also a culture of worship that has globally united people in faith in Jesus Christ. Brian and Jenn have been creating solo music since 2006. Their latest album “After All These Years,” which released in January 2017, features a powerful symphony orchestra alongside Brian and Jenn. Brian has cultivated a worship atmosphere with songs like “Have It All” and “One Thing Remains.” Jenn’s powerful voice can be heard in songs she has written, such as “In Over My Head” and “God I Look To You.” Together, Brian and Jenn’s faith and remarkable talent have created beautiful songs of worship that glorify God.
Brian and Jenn’s genuine spirit, vulnerability, and passion for Christ are evident when they lead worship, whether in their home, community, or around the globe. On February 23, you will have the chance to experience the worship Brian and Jenn cultivate as vessels for others to see the glory of God.
Written by: Andrew Reynolds
Andrew is a Junior studying Project Management. He enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity it gives him to grow as a writer, and to challenge himself to see current topics and discussions from a view point he may not have otherwise thought about.
Cooking with Clay: Reuben Sandwiches for the Soul
January 29, 2019
When it comes to cooking, what was once a tradition and artistic expression for older generations has seemingly become more of a burden and inconvenience to Millennials. Having the ability to not only choose what will be on your plate, but also having a hand in making it is a great privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted. That’s why I’m writing about cooking and the important stress-reliever, creative outlet and recharger it can be after a long day.
In an age where unrest is constantly in the headlines and at the forefront of our minds, it is no wonder that Generation Z’ers and Millennials (16-21 and 22-39 years old, respectively) are on average more stressed than previous generations. While there are pages of factors that play into this, there are also pages of stress-relieving tips that studies suggest will help alleviate the stress of the world we encounter every day. As many studies propose, diet plays a key role in reducing levels of stress and anxiety. Not only can maintaining a healthy diet help cut stress from your life, but the act of preparing and cooking your meals can help reduce stress as well.
Speaking as someone who desires creativity and an artistic outlet at his core (hello all you Enneagram 4s), I found that cooking is my strongest tool for combating the buildup of stress and anxiety that the world throws my way. I grew up cooking with my mom and dad. Food has always been at the center of any family gathering; whether it was a big meal or not, food was present. One of my favorite Christmas traditions with my family is making Christmas day Reuben sandwiches. As someone who generally struggles with patience, especially when I’m hungry, this process is merciless. The beef is cured in a brine for a week before being cooked and placed between homemade rye bread – compliments of my brother in law – and then topped with sauerkraut and Russian sauce. This sandwich is without hesitation my favorite and I have weekly dreams of devouring one.
Cooking never seemed forced or inconvenient, at least until I got to college. In the midst of classes, work, intramural games, and other social events, cooking dinner suddenly became just another task I completed, or even worse, something I avoided.
Over the past year I have been attempting to break that mold. Today, given my slimmer budget and kitchen resources, I find myself making slightly simpler meals as opposed to my family’s Reuben sandwich – from scratch like soups, Korean BBQ inspired chili (my roommate and I won a chili cookout with this… not to toot my own horn), or even lemon and rosemary chicken and risotto if I feel like stirring rice for 40 minutes. By being intentional with my meals, I have turned grocery shopping and cooking into a calming ritual that I now look forward to. For a couple hours after work every day, the only thing I worry about is what and how I am going to make dinner. It has become something similar to meditation. For a brief period of time, I am able to intentionally focus on just one thing. Rather than getting caught up in the cycles of everyday life, I am able to recharge.
In my never-ending quest for more culinary knowledge and inspiration, I have found these tools to be useful:
Cooks Illustrated Online Subscription – I actually subscribe to the magazine and get physical copies as well, but the online subscription costs $1.47 a month and gives you access to thousands upon thousands of incredible recipes. Why should you care? These guys run “America’s Test Kitchen”, where they discover what recipes work and why and run tests on kitchen equipment to find the best out there. Regardless, for under $1.50 you get access to a ton of knowledge.
Gastropod – This podcast dives deep into the science of food and cooking. This is always interesting and almost always useful.
Family – If you have any family members that are good at cooking, learn from them. Learn to perfect those family recipes and carry on tradition. My family is what got me interested in cooking and I hope to never stop learning from them.
So whether cooking seems like rocket science to you or it is something familiar, try branching out and leaning on your own cooking abilities. Don’t worry about being perfect or making difficult meals, just get in the kitchen and be consistent. Really dig into it and you just might be surprised by what you are capable of. The reward is relaxation, creativity, and a warm (or cold) meal.
Written by: Clay Copper
Clay is a grad student that is still trying to figure out what he is doing with his life. Sometimes he writes about relevant topics here, but mostly he writes about what he cares about and hopes you enjoy it.
Americana Meets Worship: Preview of Drew and Ellie Holcomb
January 23, 2019
Based out of East Nashville, duo Drew and Ellie Holcomb are two artists known for their solo music (Drew being the Americana half and Ellie focusing more on worship), but many people may not know how beautiful their music is together. The married couple creates roots-inspired music that will make you want to kick off your shoes and dance to the rhythmic sounds. Both Drew and Ellie have performed at Liberty University, but for the first time, we get to experience them together.
The duo released their You + Me album in 2018 and just released their Electricity album on January 11th. Drew and Ellie were inspired to create new music after touring together last year, and you won’t be disappointed listening to their soulful new tunes. The album has three songs written about love, pain and living on the road. Each song was created with an intentional story that reflects an aspect of their lives. Love Anyway, the first song on the Electricity album, shares experiences about one of their friends that works in the war zones of Iraq and Syria. Next on the album is Electricity, a smooth love song that describes the love Drew and Ellie share with each other. My personal favorite is Drew and Ellie’s rendition of On the Road Again by Willie Nelson.1 This album will give you a glimpse into their life as two traveling musicians in love.
Drew and Ellie’s music will make you want to dance to their folk-inspired sound while also feeling like you are sitting in their living room. On February 8th, you will have the chance to experience the duo in one of the most intimate music venues on campus. Also, make sure you check out Drew’s vinyl subscription called Magnolia Record Club where you get a hand-picked vinyl every month.
Written By: Marissa Kusayanagi
Marissa is a Southern California girl that loves spending time in the sun and talking about the injustices in the world. Her passions include: fighting for women’s rights, serving people in underdeveloped countries and travelling the world. She hopes that the blogs she writes will teach you something new or open your mind to a world that you have never experienced.
What we’re listening to
December 14, 2018
…and exhale. You finally made it through the end of the semester! All those sleepless nights and seemingly endless amounts of homework might be a little more worth it now that you are free to spend the next month with family and friends. To help you get in the mood for the most wonderful time of the year, the Student Activities team picked out some of our favorite holiday songs to share with you! From our SA family to yours, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas.