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Category: SA Engages

Gray is Golden

September 14, 2020

After touching up my facial hair on a Sunday for the week ahead, I noticed the makings of what looked like a gray hair. Perhaps it was the stress of youth or my proximity to the “young at heart” at the church I attend, but it would appear as though I was in the research and development stage of donning a salt and pepper look. But while I was concerned about the occasional gray hair, I realized just how many people try to hide theirs. Hair dye purchases rise with age. We’re taught never to ask how old a person is (and even when we do, we are supposed to jokingly play it off like they are at least fifteen years younger than they actually are). Age is lectured to society as being something we should hide and deny. It is almost as if old age is something to be despised and not prized.

God speaks to the contrary. “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” (Proverbs 16:31, 20:29). Aside from a senior citizen’s discount at various fast food chains, those who have circled the sun time and time again are blessed with a lifetime of experiences, and from those experiences wisdom can be gleaned. Congregations across the country may have a lot of able-bodied young people but lack wrinkles, and therefore, are missing out on decades of life experiences we can grow and learn from.

In an effort to connect younger generations with the older ones in the Church, I took part in a project where I sat down with one of the older gentlemen who attended the same congregation as I did, and asked him some provided questions. What was supposed to last fifteen minutes ended up lasting over two hours as this over seventy year old faithful member of College Hill Baptist Church (now Gospel Community College Hill) shared his life’s experiences. From childhood to relationships, the many ways College Hill has changed over the years, and his deep friendships with other recently passed long-time church members, I collected more wisdom from a two hour interview than I had received from years of watching videos online.

Aside from giving us a timeframe for various reigns, I think that 2 Chronicles depicts the age that the Kings started to rule, and for how long they reigned was because the amount of “life in their years” needed to be highlighted. Methuselah, who lived longer than any person in recorded history, is admired not only for his record number of birthday candles on his birthday cake, but for the amount of wisdom and experience he must have cultivated over the course of his 969 year life (Genesis 5:27). There’s a reason why Paul instructed Timothy to not rebuke an older man in 1 Timothy 5. Paul recognized the seasoned wisdom commonly found in those who have been around longer.

Paul knew of Timothy’s potential, and so as the old man speaking to his young pupil, he advised him to be an example for believers, the young and old alike, “…in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12). The Apostle Paul would know a thing or two about how to live a life well, and while much of his life was used up in persecuting Christians, now as one he was encouraging the young Timothy to live a life of steadfast integrity, so that throughout his days, whether in old age or youth, he would have the credibility to advise others how to live life for Christ. The yearning of Paul’s heart would be that Timothy would be able to teach from his successes of faithfulness rather than from his failings. He wanted the next generation to do it even better than he did, which is what the older generations should want from the younger generations, in the Church and elsewhere.

Realistically, there are some daunting realities that accompany old age, including increased chance of disease, the loss of friends of the same age, a weakened body, and perhaps a mind that is not as strong as it once was. But the gray hairs on our head should be viewed as indicators that someone is further along in the race, a race they are striving to finish well (2 Timothy 4:7-8). We should cheer on our gray haired friends out of recognition that we will one day be with them by the grace of God. They need the encouragement to continue on in the race as the things they have known for so long begin to fade. Since God holds age and wisdom in such high esteem, we should too.

It would be so blatantly counter-cultural to appreciate the amount of years we have been given in this life. Not all who have lived have seen the amount of days we see. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we vastly appreciated the years God has blessed us with by not shying away from how old we are? I simply do not want to love birthdays up until I reach thirty and then hide my real age from the public eye until milestone birthdays, or until I reach my eighties where my age is suddenly seen as something to be celebrated. That’s a fifty year gap of not being thankful for the longevity my God has graced me with. Gray need not be a color associated with gloominess in our heads; if we shifted our perspective and our appreciation, it can be associated with matured wisdom and grace.


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.

The Social Commentary of Avatar: The Last Airbender

September 7, 2020

With most people being stuck at home for an extended period of time during the first few months of quarantine, streaming services took advantage of that and released a plethora of shows for the bored person at home to binge. Avatar: The Last Airbender led the pack with the series holding a spot in the top 10 of most watched shows on Netflix for sixty days, breaking the previous record by three days. The animated series that originally aired back in 2005, caught major traction and reignited its loyal fanbase. More than 10 years later, this show intended for children is more relevant than ever as the original audience has grown up into more socially aware individuals. I can rave on and on about how good the show is with its world building, complex characters, and incredible soundtrack, but what stands out the most to me in this show is the presentation of social commentary.

 

During my re-watch of the series, I picked up on the dark subject matters that the show tackled, and how brilliantly it presented such topics to a younger audience. The fact that Avatar, an animated show that aired weekly on Nickelodeon, was able to present social issues like authoritarianism, genocide, and sexism in a refined and productive way is so impressive to me.

 

If you’re reading this I’m assuming you have watched the show in its entirety and know the story of how the Fire Nation came to power. The Last Airbender subtly depicts the form of government called authoritarianism and how the Fire Nation empire has taken ahold of all 4 nations – disrupting the balance of the world. This is shown through stories of the oppression of the average citizen, as well as the perspective of Fire Nation children being brainwashed in their schools by the instilling of nationalism. It is easy to see the critiques of concepts like colonialism and imperialism by how the show presents the damage done to society and how power can be the deadliest weapon of all.

 

One of the most overlooked grim aspect of this show is the genocide of the Air Nomads. In Aang’s absence, Fire Lord Sozin completely wiped out every air nomad in an attempt to kill the Avatar before he/she could end his reign. Aang returns to his old home to find out that the place where he spent his entire life was destroyed and his closest friends murdered by the Fire Nation. The show even went so far to expose the audience to the skeleton of Monk Gyatso, Aang’s best friend and mentor. When I was younger, I did not truly realized the gravity of a nation decimating another one just because of paranoia.

 

Lastly, and personally my favorite social issue that was addressed by Avatar, is their critique of sexism and gender equality. This is mainly portrayed through the cast of strong female characters that break the misogynistic mold of women not being able to be capable warriors and leaders. Seeing the character progression of Katara and Toph becoming two of the strongest benders in all 4 nations served as a breath of fresh air from the typical narrative depicted by many forms of media when it comes to women. Also, seeing the growth of Sokka was encouraging. He was first introduced as a young man with misogynistic tendencies and a complex of toxic masculinity, but grew into a man that honors and empowers women. Sokka ends up falling in love with Suki, who epitomizes the leadership capabilities and warrior spirit of women.

 

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a beautiful example of how a TV show can tastefully and effectively implement social commentary into the story they want to tell. I accredit many of the life lessons I’ve learned to this series and it honestly has grown me in ways I didn’t think a cartoon could. If only Avatar could teach me how to waterbend…now that, would make it the greatest show of all time.

 

Sources:

https://www.newsweek.com/avatar-last-airbender-show-netflix-chart-top-10-record-1519004

https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2020/07/avatar-the-last-airbender-5f08ddab8f1d4

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/5943jz/avatar-the-last-airbender-is-still-one-of-the-greatest-shows-of-all-time


Written by: Alex Quan

Alex is a Senior Business Communications Major and enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity to express his thoughts and interests through the medium of a blog! It’s a healthy way to share his opinions with others and hopefully start a dialogue with them.

Leveraging Your Life

August 28, 2020

“Buy Local” billboards bombard downtown areas where small businesses dwell. Local performance venues are rolling out new promotions of local artists that they encourage you to listen as part of supporting your community and loving your neighbor. Your significant other needs to be invested in all while also supporting your friends in their interests. Life seems to be pulling you a million different ways and it seems nearly impossible to support all the people and causes that you want to while also keeping your sanity. For this reason, learning how to leverage your life to support the things you care about is an essential skill to learn. You must utilize having what you invest in support the other things you want to invest in.

            For example, let’s say you are dating someone. A study by a team at the University of Virginia found that “…people who spent quality time with their partner at least once a week were 3.5 times more likely to report being ‘very happy’ in their relationship compared to those who didn’t.” This speaks to the dire necessity of investing in relationships, but with all the other things and people you want to invest in, how can you devote your time to making your romantic relationship thrive? The solution is as simple as investing in them while supporting others. If a friend owns or works at a restaurant, take your significant other out on a date there. Got friends in a band? A lovely concert date. Not only would you then be supporting your friends but you are investing in your relationship, making memories, and contributing to the local economy.

            Musicians need streams and concert gigs to make a living. By listening as you drive around, sharing songs and albums on social media, and going to concerts you are helping them advance in their career. For YouTubers and other internet personnel, subscriptions are needed in order to build a larger audience. It costs you nothing to hit the subscribe button on YouTube or Spotify, which builds their numbers, presence, influence, and support.

            If you work in a mentorship or youth ministry organization but you have friendships you want to stoke or relationships you want to kindle, then your solution is to take your friends or significant other to events and businesses the kids you are pouring into are at. Stopping by an ice cream place one of “your kids” is at after going to a musical one of your other kids is a prime example of how you can leverage hanging out with your closest circle while supporting those in your investment circle.

            For the student who values hanging out with friends, perhaps the best way to leverage your life is to study with your friends. That way you not only invest in your academic life, but you build friendships as well. Friends who struggle or thrive academically alongside each other tend to stay together because nothing unites people quite like a common struggle.

            Lastly, you can support certain missions and organizations just by going about your normal life mindfully. Companies like Kroger have a rewards system in place that gives money back to a non-profit as you buy your groceries. Amazon started Amazon Smile in order to give a portion of purchases to non-profits. Thus far, they have raised over $100 million dollars for charities and non-profits, all because people mindfully went about life as usual.

            There are a million different ways to have the things you love to pour into support the other things you love, you just have to think through how you can leverage the one to support the other. Priorities can feed into the things of secondary importance if you play your cards right and live a leveraged life.

Sources

https://www.psychologies.co.uk/love/life-lab-experiment-love-7.html

https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/29/amazonsmile-has-raised-100-million-for-charity/


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.

 

Is Following Your Passion the Right Thing to Do?

August 11, 2020

At some point in life, someone is bound to tell you to follow your passion. It seems like something that you should do because it just feels right, but what does it really mean to follow your passion? How do you even fully understand what “your passion” is? 

Passion is hard to define simply because people come from many different walks of life and will always differ in what they want to do or be. It can be defined as having an emotional attachment to something that you are willing to follow. One author even writes, “It’s a cause that I care about so much that I am willing to suffer for it,” just to emphasize the importance of the matter. Finding your passion is searching for what you care about the most, and giving the maximum time and energy to see that to fulfillment. 

Now that passion is defined, the real question is if following your passion is the right move.  An article from The Muse explains why following your passion on a personal level is not the right move for two different reasons. 

First, it’s unclear how to follow your passion. It’s great to want to do something you love, but do you understand the logistics that go into it? Will you make money? Do you have to major in a specific field or go to a specific college? Do you have to move to another state or even country? All these questions will pop up during the process of attempting to follow your passion.

I always wanted to be a general manager of a professional sports team. This “passion” of mine was something I wanted up until my freshman year of college, and quickly went away after analyzing the improbability of that happening. Most people would tell me that I gave up on my passion. Instead, it opened up way more opportunities for me in college and my career path as well.

The second reason is that people assume that following your passion is easy when it’s not. It takes a lot of time and dedication for someone to follow their passion, as well as days where you can doubt yourself. Thinking about following your passion is comforting and exciting, but if you reach it there’s always the potential that it can turn out differently than imagined. Life comes at you fast and can quickly turn your passion into something that you may not want to pursue anymore.

The point of this article is not to discourage you from following your passion. The point is to make you think about why you’re following that path. Is it because you truly want to dedicate your life to whatever your passion is, or is it something you think will bring you the most happiness? I want to encourage you to reflect on what you want to accomplish in life before deciding on your path to follow.

 A great quote to abide by is “The path of least resistance is what makes rivers run crooked.” If you go through life with no issues, are you really accomplishing anything? Resistance creates hardships temporarily, but when you reach your passion’s goal, it makes the journey so much sweeter. Reflect and analyze before pursuing your passion. It could save you from wasting time and point you towards the correct path.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/quotes/2580/#:~:text=The%20path%20of%20least%20resistance%20is%20what%20makes%20rivers%20run%20crooked.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-follow-your-passion-is-pretty-bad-advice

https://www.embracepossibility.com/blog/real-meaning-passion/


 

Written by: Mike Tammaro

Mike Tammaro is a Junior double majoring in Finance and Economics and writes for the blog in order to expand my skills as a student. As a business major, the curriculum does not allow for a lot of creative writing, so being able to publish written work is freeing from my normal educational routine.

 

Podcast Review: Office Ladies

August 6, 2020

For fans of The Office, it was definitely exciting news when Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela) announced they would be doing “the ultimate office re-watch podcast”. Not only is the podcast fun, interesting, and heartfelt, it is also extremely informative about everything that goes into producing a show like The Office.

Each week, Jenna and Angela break down one episode of The Office, and let listeners in on everything that happened behind-the-scenes while filming that episode. Up until now, the only behind-the-scenes glimpses we’ve seen from The Office are the bloopers and interviews. Don’t get me wrong, the bloopers are hilarious and I have literally spent hours watching them, but this podcast gives us a deeper look into the lives of the actors, the brilliance of the writers, and the importance of attention to detail when producing a show.

Jenna and Angela break down one of the most infamous episodes of The Office, titled, “Casino Night”, which features the first kiss between the show’s most charismatic characters—Jim and Pam. In this episode, John Krasinski guest stars, and fans get a closer look into the chemistry Jenna and John have in real life. While Jim and Pam have always been one of the most loved and supported couples in TV history, it was incredibly touching to hear the actors speak on their relationship in real life. While they never dated in real life, it is clear from this episode that they became good friends while filming, and have remained close ever since.

In another episode, titled, “Initiation”, featuring B.J. Novak (Ryan) and Rain Wilson (Dwight), the actors reveal the brilliance behind the script, and the lines that were improvised. B.J. worked as a writer for the duration of the show, in addition to playing the character of Ryan Howard. B.J. gives listeners a glimpse into the level of brilliance that goes into writing just a single episode of The Office, while also revealing the lines we didn’t realize weren’t in the script.

Lastly, Jenna and Angela reveal the importance of attention to detail when breaking down the episode, titled, “Diwali”. From the costumes, to the jokes, to the actors playing extras, Jenna and Angela explain it all. Mindy Kaling, who plays the character of Kelly, reveals that every single extra wore their authentic Indian clothing in this episode, rather than having the costume department make knock-off outfits. Mindy also reveals that the actors who played her parents in the episode are actually her real-life mother and father. These little details allow the show to be genuine and touching, which is why everyone loves it.

If you’re a fan of The Office, and you haven’t listened to The Office Ladies, you need to start now. I promise you won’t be disappointed, and you will fall in love with the show all over again. After listening to Jenna and Angela break down each episode, you will have such a deep appreciation for the actors, the writers, the producers, and every other aspect that contributed to giving us this ridiculously amazing show.


Written by: Madelyn Mauck

Madelyn is a Senior studying Business Administration: Project Management. She enjoys writing for the blog, not only because it helps her develop as a creative writer, but because it gives her a chance to share her experiences through a platform she would not have without Student Activities.

Podcast Review: Sleep with Me – The Podcast that Puts You to Sleep

July 30, 2020

Over the years I have built a reputation for being able to sleep at any time in any location. There have even been some flights where I fall asleep before the plane takes off, only to wake up after the plane has already landed. While I often have no trouble falling asleep, I know that there are plenty of people who don’t have sleeping down to a science. Even with my strange aptitude for sleeping, I find that there are times when I can’t convince my mind that it is time to call it a night. Unfortunately, during college it is difficult to find the formula to a perfect sleep. Late nights are inevitable, and 8 hours of consistent sleep are pretty much out of the question.

Not being able to go to sleep, or to stay asleep is incredibly common in adults. Did you know that 68 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 experience symptoms of insomnia at least once a week? If you’re one of the many who struggle sleeping or falling asleep, I may have a solution for you. Oh, you say, “I’ve already tried melatonin”? Well I’ve got something better.

Sleep With Me podcast by Drew Ackerman has become as comforting to me as a light back scratch after being tucked in to bed. The podcast’s description reads, “Insomnia? Mind racing at night? Worries keeping you up? Tune in for a bedtime story that lets you forget your problems and progressively gets more boring until you fall to sleep.”

Not only do Ackerman’s segments resemble stories that of a rambling grandpa, but his clumsy storytelling somehow captures your brain just enough to distract you from tomorrow’s responsibilities while being so nonsensical that they inevitably lull you to sleep. Ackerman’s bumbling sentences are littered with filler words and you soon find that the plot you anticipated dissipates into the retelling of inordinate details.

Before you know it Sleep With Me becomes familiar and comforting like a childhood stuffed animal. Although Ackerman’s storytelling is comparable to that one friend of yours who has the ability to tell the most boring, never-ending stories, it is perfectly effective in putting you right to sleep. If your interest is not piqued yet, let me provide you with a taste of some of the episode’s titles: Bards and Big Bunnies, Goop Chase & Duck Billed Beaver, A Modicum of Sleepy Sense, and Medium Cool Tangential Water Menu.

I wish you the best of luck getting sleepy with this new tool on your nightstand, and hope that you too build a codependent relationship.

Sources

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders/insomnia


 

Written by: Kari Moye

Kari is an Assistant Director of Student Activities. She has a B.S. in Communication Studies: Advertising and PR. Kari oversees the department’s branding and the creation of marketing pieces for all events; including all print and digital advertisements as well as promotional videos. She also manages the promotional calendar for Student Activities which includes leading the graphics and video team.

Ending Fast Fashion

July 28, 2020

As fashion consumers, we are always on the lookout for new trends and items to add to our closets. Sometimes, retailers can take advantage of that opportunity of a quick turn around on fashion. That’s when the work of fast fashion comes into play. This is a term used by fashion retailers to describe clothing that is on trend and cheaply made. Businesses that are always “on top” of trends are usually guilty of producing fast fashion items. They are constantly producing to match what their client demands. You might be asking yourself “why is that so bad?”

Not only does fast fashion effect many humans around the world job wise, it also effects our environment greatly. Because of how fast retailers need to keep up with demands of trendy styles, they cut costs and corners that increases their carbon footprint. It is a key part of the “toxic system” of overproduction, making the fashion industry one of the largest contributors to pollution in the world. Did you know that it takes 2,700 liters of water to make 1 Cotton t-shirt? Fast fashion is no friend to our environment. It highly contributes to the excessive amounts of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions that have been polluting our air for years.

While we are fighting for human rights, fast fashion isn’t helping the demand of equal wages or good working conditions around the globe. In fact, they are doing the complete opposite, forcing workers to work harder and longer to produce a quick turnaround of “trendy” clothes.

Ways you can spot a “Fast Fashion” brand:

  • Trendy outfits, thousands of options
    • Forever 21, one of the leading giants in fast fashion, declared their bankruptcy and reveled major flaws in the fashion world.
  • Always on top of trends, quick turn around
  • Oversea manufacturing where labor is the cheap with the use of workers with low wages
  • Low quality and cheap materials (wear it twice then throw it away)
    • Most fast fashion brands use polyester since its cheap and wrinkle free. More than 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year. Polyester isn’t biodegradable which means when you throw it away it ends up in landfills and takes over 200 years to decompose.

Many brands are starting to make it a part of their mission to approach fashion in an ethical way – both for people and our environment. Here are a few brands that are starting to make that change:

Pact: Their entire supply chain comes from the growing and harvesting of organic cotton, while trying to be as clean and responsible as possible throughout the entire time of production.

  • Fair Trade Certified, Organic Cotton, B Corp

Girlfriend Collective: An activewear brand that reuses some if its offcuts to minimize textile waste. They ensure wastewater in its supply chain is treated and discharged properly. Their products are free of all animal material and focuses on the fundamental freedom principles. “Trash looks better on you than it does polluting the planet”.

  • Fair Trade Certified collections, sustainable materials & practices, plus & petite sizes

Patagonia: Was one of the earliest defenders of environmental ethics in the activewear fashion industry, and one of the first adopters of using recycled materials and switching to organic cotton.

  • Fair Trade Certified collections, organic cotton, environmental sustainability

Levi’s: This brand touts eco-friendly and sustainable practices like recyclable denim, ethically sourced cotton, and innovations to reduce water use, in addition to giving back to their workers and community organizations alike.

  • Ethically produced, sustainable practices, give back program

Stores that realized they weren’t doing their part and are slowly starting to make a difference:

  • Allbirds
  • ASOS
  • Converse

If you are curious if what you are wearing is eco-friendly and slow fashioned, check out this link to find out! Let’s wear the change we want to see­­ and allow slow fashion to be in the main frame of the fashion industry.

Sources

https://goodonyou.eco/what-is-fast-fashion/

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-looks/slow-fashion-brands/

https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/what-is-fast-fashion

https://www.minimalismmadesimple.com/home/-fast-fashion-brands


 

Written by: Avery Watts

Avery is a Special Events Coordinator with a BA in Interior Design. She enjoys writing for the blog, because it allows her to grow in developing thoughts and opinions on the pieces of culture she consumes. When not planning events, Avery likes to thrift, cook, and watch reality TV shows.

Movie Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

July 23, 2020

Back in June, Netflix released the latest outrageous comedy to come from Will Ferrell’s mind, Eurovision Song Competition: The Story of Fire Saga. The movie follows the path of Lars Erickssong (played by Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (played wonderfully by Rachel McAdams) on their journey to the Eurovision Song Competition. For those of you who have not yet seen the film, there will be some spoilers below, so stop reading this if you don’t want any of the plot ruined!

Something I was unaware of before watching The Story of Fire Saga, was that the Eurovision Song Competition is a real contest. The competition is wildly popular worldwide with an exception in the United States. The audience size of Eurovision is estimated to be between 100 million and 600 million people and has been running every year since 1956. Each country from the European Broadcasting Union is allowed to send a group to compete which is right where The Story of Fire Saga picks up.

Lars and Sigrit have dreamed of competing at Eurovision since they were children. Now, as full-grown adults, the dream is still very much alive. There is just one problem – their band, Fire Saga, is pretty terrible. No amount of breathtaking Icelandic fjord backdrops can change that fact. It doesn’t help that Lars is constantly pushing the envelope with ridiculous costumes and musical ideas, while Sigrit, who happens to be immensely talented, goes along with all of Lars’ plans because of her love for him.

Through a series of unfortunate and terrible events, the Icelandic Eurovision committee has no choice but to select Fire Saga to represent Iceland in the competition. As the viewer can imagine, Fire Saga’s act only gets more outrageous on the big stage. After a disastrous semifinal performance, Lars doesn’t think the duo has a chance to make the finals, so he books the first flight back to Iceland leaving Sigrit all by herself at the competition. Miraculously, Fire Saga earns enough points to make it through to the finals.

After finally connecting with his previously disappointed father, he finds out that Fire Saga made it through to the semifinals and rushes back to the competition. With the aid of an elf and a group of traveling American college students, Lars manages to get back just in time to perform in the final. For this final performance, Lars changes things up. He has Sigrit sing a song that she wrote – finally realizing that she should be the focal point of the band. Fire Saga ends up being disqualified for changing their song, but the performance is still shockingly moving despite Lars’ vocal riffs throughout the song.

What makes this moment special is Sigrit finally being able to show the world how talented she is after years of going along with all of Lars’ ridiculous ideas that made Fire Saga the laughing stock of their town. Additionally, Lars realizing that he no longer needs to seek validation from his incredibly grumpy father (played by the brilliant Pierce Brosnan) by being the center of attention makes the moment touching as well.

Eurovision Song Competition: The Story of Fire Saga delivers throughout the entire film with plenty of moments where you’ll be gasping for breath between fits of laughter. There are also moments where you emotionally connect to the story – moments that don’t always hit in your typical comedy. The Story of Fire Saga has just enough nuance to Ferrell’s comedic algorithm to keep viewers entertained while providing a movie as fresh as the Icelandic winds.


 

Written by Drew Snavely

Drew is an Assistant Director at Student Activities. He has a B.A. in Business Administration: Financial Planning. Drew is responsible for maintaining analytics for event surveys, social media and website, and staff development. He deals with various event logistics for all events such as filing out work orders and securing event rentals. He also helps manage monthly budgets, event finances and receipts.

Solitude

July 21, 2020

In the last couple of months, we have all found ourselves spending a lot more time alone and secluded than we may be normally. As a person who thrives being around others, it has been a challenge to shift from being out and about, to figuring out how to avoid having to go out and about. During this shift, I have had the chance to learn a lot about various different things, revive my hobby of reading books, and also learn to really understand how God is also a God of solitude.

I recently took on the challenge of spending a year doing an in-depth study of the four Gospels to really try and understand the person of Jesus. The idea is to go through the Gospels in one month. Then, you repeat it two more times, so you spend three months on a single book. The idea seemed like an amazing idea. If we are to live like Jesus, we need to be constantly learning more and more how to be like Him. Through this, I have learned a lot about Jesus that I just didn’t realize or even know before.

The most surprising discovery to me was when I was reading about the solidarity of Jesus. Yes, Jesus was out and about (obviously) performing miracles, teaching thousands, and ministering to those who were lost, but He wasn’t doing that 24/7. In Matthew 14:13-21, we read about Jesus feeding the 5,000 – one of His many miracles. Before Jesus even went to teach and feed the crowds, it says in verse 13 that He “withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by Himself.” Immediately after He feeds and teaches the 5,000, Jesus dismisses the crowds and disciples. Then, in verse 23, we read “He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.” Looking at the timeline in these verses, Jesus had two different times within a day where He withdrew to be alone.

We also read of other times where Jesus goes away to be alone with God. Now, I’m no theological expert or anything, but I’m willing to bet that if the Son of God is needing some time alone, we could use some too. In fact, solitude can be one of the greatest tools we have, and it’s free! I’ll give you some quick and easy steps to spend some time in solitude with God. Trust me, you will not find these tips anywhere else, so pay close attention! Okay, are you ready? You sure? Alright, here it is.

Step 1: Find an empty room.

Step 2: Close the door to said room.

I know, I know. You’re very thankful for me gracing you with my incredible wisdom. But all jokes aside, a time of solitude is not hard to find. For example, I’m currently at the beach, and each morning I make a cup of coffee and go sit outside to watch people play hole #2 at the course of the PGA Heritage Classic. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s quiet, and I get to see all the beauty in the nature around me. I get to watch some guys crush 300-yard drives perfectly down the middle of the fairway, and I get to watch other guys hit whopping 2-yard drives. I occasionally talk to the caddy who ventures over about how his day is going. I spend time just talking to God and enjoying the scenery He has given me. It’s some of the most enjoyable 1-2 hours of the day. It gives me the chance to focus myself and prepare for the day ahead.

Solitude doesn’t have to be a difficult task for anyone. There’s no magic trick to get started. It just requires some patience and self-control. For me, the best time for solitude is in the morning. It’s perfect because I am able to avoid the distractions of my day, and I am awake and fresh unlike after a day of work. At the end of the day, you have to find what works best for you and what fits your schedule. The important thing to remember throughout is consistency. Choose a week to have a daily time of solitude, and I promise you will notice some significant changes. So, enjoy your time alone, embrace it. It could be one of the biggest hidden blessings that you never realized you were looking for!


 

Written by: Andrew Reynolds 

Andrew Reynolds is a Senior Project Management Major, and 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.

TV Review: Community

July 16, 2020

Have you ever watched a show that left you laughing hysterically but also utterly confused at the same time? If not, then Community is for you. Featuring an all-star cast including the ultimate renaissance man Donald Glover, Alison Brie, and comedian Joel Mchale, Community is a show that will attach you to the characters almost immediately, as well as engulf you in the storyline along the way. The premise of the show is that seven random community college students meet to create a study group for their Spanish 101 class. Through that connection the seven members go on to become friends, then family, and sometimes even foes depending on the situation. Emily Vanderwerff of Vox writes in an article that the show “helped her codify many of the ways she thought about TV.” I tend to agree with statement not only because of the character development, but also because the storyline is so creative and sporadic, but also stays on the main plotline at the same time.

Probably the strongest aspect of the show is the character development. Not just the main characters, but all characters develop over time. This creates a drastically different feel within the show from season one to season six. The group could not be more diverse in terms of backgrounds. Jeff, the self-appointed leader of the group, is a failed lawyer who lied about his degree. Pierce is a 70-year-old millionaire who has been at the school for over seven years and has no plans to graduate. Abed is a freshman who only knows how to communicate to people in terms of TV shows or movies he has seen. These are just a few examples of the characters and their weird quirks but somehow producer Dan Harmon was able to bring these whacky personalities and create a show that in my opinion should be in the discussion with the likes of The Office and Parks and Recreation.

A show can have as many quirky characters in it and still be bad because of plot issues. That is not a problem in this show. The Atlantic writes “Community isn’t actually a sitcom – not any more than The Onion is an actual news-gathering organization. Community, instead, is a weekly satire of the sitcom genre, a spoof of pop culture in general, and an occasionally profound critique of how living in mass media society can mess up human relationships in the real world. It’s also funny too.” If that doesn’t make you want to watch the show solely based off the plot, I don’t know what will.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical when people told me it could rival The Office and shows alike. Those shows are hailed as some of the greatest TV hits of all time, so how could a show that isn’t as recognized be as good? There were moments where the plot was so complicated that I was genuinely confused, but then the next episode it was extremely simple. I think that’s exactly what makes this show so well-made and worth the watch. Still not convinced? Joe and Anthony Russo, you know the Avengers: Endgame producers, direct a couple of the episodes as well as the entire sixth season of the show.

With the characters being as diverse as they are, the plot being intricately made, and the producer’s all-star group being the creative minds behind the entirety of the show, Community should be at the top of your “watch” playlist.

Sources

https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/9/20/20873299/community-comedy-netflix-hulu-nbc-yahoo-jeff-winger-annie-troy-abed-britta-shirley-pierce

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/05/the-meta-innovative-genius-of-community/238740/

https://screencrush.com/community-season-6-premiere-yahoo-joe-anthony-russo-brothers-directing/


Written by Mike Tammaro

Mike Tammaro
is a Junior double majoring in Finance and Economics and writes for the blog in order to expand my skills as a student. As a business major, the curriculum does not allow for a lot of creative writing, so being able to publish written work is freeing from my normal educational routine.