Alyx—Taco Bell de Adventist
A few friends and I were on our way to the Ooltewah Taco Bell, and I had a deep craving for a mini quesadilla off their dollar menu.
When we arrived, we were waiting our turn in line to order, and I couldn’t help but notice the warmhearted woman running the cash register. I gazed up at the menu, already knowing exactly what I wanted, but examined just incase something extra would catch my eye. And as I was looking, the cash registrar lady asked me about my day; she sounded genuinely interested in my life!
So I told her, and I ordered my mini quesadilla along with a cheesy potato burrito. However, she gave me a puzzled look when I ordered my items; then she simply said, “It comes with bacon. Did you want bacon on that?” Right then, I reached my verdict: she had to be Adventist! And no, I did not want bacon on that.
Turing to find a table, I became aware of another detail that had prior gone unnoticed; Taco Bell was swarming with Southern Adventist University students! Avoiding unnecessary awkward eye contact, my friends and I managed to find a place to sit over in the corner of the restaurant.
I thought of all the rest of the signs I was living in an Adventist community: post office closes on Sabbath; people at Wal-Mart are not as weird as they normally would be, and there are 36 Adventist churches within a 20 mile radius of Chattanooga. Thirty-six. In my old town we had two churches, and you had to drive 45 minutes to get to one of them.
I concluded Taco Bell would not be the only situation I would encounter fellow Adventists.
Sierra—On Goals, Grades, and…Goats?
I have started to write this blog post so many times it’s ridiculous. I get about two paragraphs into some great topic and then I decide to re-read it and I am like “Wow, this topic just isn’t working”. I kind of wish I was psychic so I could just magically know what was going on in your life, what you needed to hear, and adapt accordingly. But no. It’s just me sitting here at my desk and typing out random shots in the dark.
I think sometimes we make things way too complicated for ourselves. We get mixed up on what is important and what is imperative. We forget that we are here in college to learn. And that learning done correctly is actually fun. We are too results-oriented. We set goals for ourselves that are weird. Sometimes they are strange long-term goals like “I am going to study hard so I can make an A on this test, so I can get an A in this class, so I can graduate with a 4.0, so employers will see my obvious skill at cramming information into my head and then forgetting it, so I will get a good job, so I can support a happy family (that I somehow managed to get between college and grad school), so I can work some more and then retire, enjoy infusing my grandkids with copious amounts of sugar, think back on my life and re-appreciate all the hard work that went into my 4.0, and then die—a happy old scholar who graduated with a 4.0”. Ok, so just so you know I don’t have anything against 4.0’s. But do you see my point maybe?
This week I took a test for my southern connections class that tells you what your learning style is. I got mine back and my primary learning style is Kinesthetic with visual as my next highest. Now, that’s pretty cool, EXCEPT that there is nearly nothing about traditional school that is hands-on and “concrete”. School is made up of a bunch of stuff we can’t really see or touch. So I have kind of come to the realization that a 4.0 probably isn’t all that realistic for me personally. So what do I do about it?
I figured out that I have to revise my goals. Instead of saying “I am going to make an A in this class” I have started to tell myself that “I am going to find ways to help myself learn this stuff because I want to do my absolute best in this class”. Not only does this take away the competition, but I now begin to compete only with myself. This is actually Biblical in case you were wondering. The bible says that people who compare themselves among themselves are not wise. And what are grades anyway but a scale of comparison?
So this week I put my newly adjusted outlook to work. I studied for a Dev. Psych test in a way that worked for me. I got some weird looks as I paced the dorm hallway making hand-motion mental-cues to the rhythm of Lindsey Sterling in my earbuds. But you know what? It was ok. Because when I got to the test I remembered all of the stuff I had studied that way.
You have to do what works for you. And when you look at the material you are learning without the blinders of academics it is actually pretty cool. You can rediscover your natural in-born love of learning.
Back to the goals we make. The flipside is that we make short term goals like “I am just going live this collegiate life to the fullest and forget about school”. Or “I am just going to date this jerk for right now because I just want a boyfriend, but later I will find a guy who actually cares about God”. This is just as dangerous as all those uptight people who care more about their grades than their life. The whole point of YOLO is that you really only do live once—so don’t mess it up by shortchanging yourself and throwing your future to the wind.
In the words of the wise one “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth”.
Put God first. Embrace how you were created and make the best of it. Don’t let grades define you. Stay focused and give God your best in life and in academics. Remember that there is a difference between what is important and what is imperative. Have fun. And if you happen to be a kinesthetic learner WITH a 4.0, PLEASE teach me your ways! J
Well if you made it all the way through this blog post and realized I didn’t once talk about goats you would be correct. I just got a little excited with the alliteration in my title. GOTCHA! Ok to be nice…here’s a goat with good grades for you. :p
Throughout my entire week I worried about what I would blog about. Nothing interesting was happening. Even though I know I can write about anything, I still want it to be something semi-special.
Then came Friday.
Thank goodness I was invited to do something potentially good to write about. When 3:00 rolled around I was on a dock staring down at an oversized surfboard and a one-sided oar that was bigger than me. They call this sport “paddle-boarding.” Completely un-imaginative. Regardless, I was now too far into this endeavor to back out without looking like a complete wimp. The fact that I was with a group of juniors and seniors didn’t help the pressure. So, I watched to try to learn as much as I could - from the procedure of getting ready to get on the board to actually paddling on it. An L2 instructor helped me get a board close to the dock. My next step would be on a wobbly, floating surface.
“Kneel when you first get on.”
By watching the others I found out that the appropriate amount of time between kneeling and standing up on the board is approximately 10 seconds. I gained the courage around the five minute mark. It was so dang wobbly. Somewhere in between trying to find out how in the world to balance on the thing and trying to paddle while doing it, I managed to fall into the water – right in front of arguably the most attractive person I’ve ever seen. It was not awesome.
Now that my dignity had floated downstream, I resigned to the fact that I would fall again and just decided to go for it. Who would have guessed that the best way to find balance is to stop trying to keep it? I never fell for the rest of our time on the water and felt like a pro by the end of our journey.
I think that I learned a valuable lesson there. Balance is so important in our college lives too. We want to be active and spend time with our friends but are often either doing that too much or spending more time with our schoolwork than we should. We wobble on life’s paddle board to the right and to the left. But balance is in the middle. Perhaps if we stop trying so hard, we will naturally find a balance on both sides.
Find your balance.
[paddle-boarding at L2 Outside in downtown Chattanooga is only $10 on Fridays and potentially less in groups]
Jaymes—The Vibes of Southern
Natalia—Priorities and Balance
College is a really narrow balance beam. It’s hard to stay balanced all the way through, but sometimes someone will walk over and you’ll lean on them for a while and it’s enough of a boost to make it to the end of the beam without falling over.
Sometimes when you’re walking on the college beam, taking careful steps, trying not to fall, you become unfocused. There are friends, there’s food, maybe a job, and of course, there’s Netflix. Oh and I forgot sleep. It’s sometimes difficult to have an active social life and have beautiful grades all at the same time. While trying to figure out how to balance both of those, we forget God. We prioritize our studies and our friendships and forget the most important relationship.
I was sitting in my Life Group this last Friday, totally emotionally and mentally drained from the week and desperately searching for something that would break my numbness. My Life Group leader began to talk about how she felt her life was a mess, and when she was asked if she wanted to be a Life Group leader this past summer she had nicely rejected the opportunity. But here she was. She is currently balancing a job, a relationship, her grades, and told us God still made a place in her life to deliver this message to us. It doesn’t matter that you’re about to fall off the balance beam, all you have to do is shout out to God, lean on him, and you’ll make it to the end without falling. Ultimately, He is the key to getting to the end of the balance beam. He is our rock. And our purpose here on earth isn’t about us or the time we don’t have, it’s about other people.
So make a lot of friends, talk to everyone you want, definitely join a Life Group, join something you love, get some sleep, and always, always, keep God as the center of your life. It’s not supposed to be simple, but getting across a really narrow balance beam never is.
Josh—The Greatest Thing
Southern is full of awesome things. It has been around 4 weeks into school and by now I have experienced a lot of things happening on campus.
The film department is a very good thing on Southern’s campus. If it weren’t for this department, I wouldn’t be here. I am having a wonderful time learning about film production. This week I auditioned around 6 potential actors for my film. Some of those were so funny it totally made my week. I also went location scouting for a decent location for my film. I have finally found my actors and my location. Now, I get to deal with contracts and all those good stuff!
Intramurals was also one great thing that happened to Southern. Our softball team is starting to get better and better. I’m starting to get better and better. Last week we lost with the mercy rule twice. This week, we won with the mercy rule. I couldn’t believe it! It was so awesome! I cannot wait until all-night softball.
All these things are great things.
But, the greatest thing that ever happened to Southern is the SOAP program. Not limited to SOAP, but simply the fact that there are so many outdoor opportunities here. I am almost convinced to be an outdoor leadership minor. I went backpacking with SOAP this weekend on the Cumberland Plateau. It was so much fun, oh, I cannot describe. I met awesome people that I have never seen at Southern before, but now we are all friends. I was laying in my hammock on Sabbath morning and reading, contemplating on what an awesome God we have that designed this universe and planet. I truly felt rejuvenated after the trip. It refreshed me and gave me a boost for the week to come!
SOAP trips are definitely worth it! Not only are they fun, but they also bring you closer to God.
Alyx—Drop by the Square
SAU’s location in the small college town of Collegedale, Tennessee is no more then 5 minutes outside of Ooltewah; a popular place of interest to many SAU students, including myself. In Ooltewah, you will find many eateries and hang out spots! A new place that sparks my interest happens to be Cambridge Square. This hip new hangout is still developing, with over 200,000 square feet left of available space, but I have high hopes for it’s future! They offer the central square as a venue for activation and outreach; designed to arouse concerts, films, and public service ventures. And what can I say; they just opened up a coffee shop, a frozen yogurt shop, juice bar, yoga center, and medical center within the last several months! Bravo! And you won’t have to walk far to chow down on some great food; in the same stretch of buildings, you’ll find Lupi’s Pizza Pies and Southern Burger Co.
I gobbled down a delicious calzone at Lupi’s just last night, and let me just say I was pleased with the artsy ambiance, and delish homemade food. Check out there website for a menu to start planning your rendezvous at http://www.lupi.com/home .
Another favorite spot of mine in Cambridge Square is the coffee shop, Wired. Studying there has become a weekly (if not daily) tradition of mine; because who doesn’t want to lounge on comfy couches while studying A&P? I know I do! Wired is the place to do it, and grab some of their famous lavender tea while you’re at it.
Located on 9453 Bradmore Lane. Suite 201, Ooltewah, TN 37363, Cambridge Square is a place that may be just the hangout spot your looking for in your busy college life.
Sy—What Southern Is
Let’s be real.
If you’re taking the time to read this blog then you must be interested in what goes on at Southern on a day to day basis. This realization got me curious too. I then stepped back, looked at our glorious school and what I generally see people doing, and am compiling a list from it.
Q: What is a day at Southern?
A: It’s friends. It’s making them, being with them, getting food with them, working out with them, and procrastinating with them. Without them, this can be a very, very unexciting place.
It’s studying. (“Studying”?) It could be at Wired, the library, or the Talge lobby, but there are always people studying (or “studying”) together.
It’s getting free stuff. Maybe it was a party, a small coffee at McDonald’s (Sep. 16-29 only!!!), Pirate Day at Krispy Kreme, or someone offering Little Caesar’s daily discarded pizzas, but Southern students always know where the free stuff is.
It’s sports. Softball, futsal, volleyball, pick-up basketball…there is a constant flow of students in the evenings either to softball fields or Hulsey. And we can’t forget our nights of watching sports in the dorm. And watching our favorite team lose on Thursday Night Football 56-14.
It’s longboarding. All of us that can’t do it look on in envy as the other 90% of the SAU population gets around quicker than we do.
It’s food. There are SAU students at the café, KR’s, the Kayak, the VM, their dorm rooms, and EVERY other place within 10 miles of the school. I’ve ran into Southern people consistently everywhere outside of campus including Panera Bread, Panda Express, and even Ankar’s Hoagies. Restaurants that have a student discount seem to see us (SAU students) from a mile away and just give it to us without even asking anymore. Most other restaurants have their vegetarian options ready to list.
It’s sleeping. Either people are using it as a terrible excuse not to hang out with each other, or they really are sleeping all the time. Considering my own level of sleepiness during the day, it’s probably the latter. I’ve seen people passed out in class, on benches, and even in the gym. Of course the majority is just back in their dorm room. But true art is the art of power napping.
“DOUBLE CONVOCATION CREDIT!? WHERE?” or “WORSHIP CREDIT WITH FREE PIZZA!? I’M SO IN!”
Be honest. We love these situations. Thus, people are always running to their next credit. But I think people actually enjoy it anyways. Many people sing praise songs in the evenings on their own accord. A friend of mine even has a group that prays by the flagpole every morning. It’s great being in a place where the terms “sundown” and “haystack” are just an understood part of the lingo.
It’s the little things. It’s pushing the button for the crosswalk, skipping the cracks in the sidewalks, avoiding the geese and what they leave behind, and witnessing people try to make it from anywhere on campus to Brock Hall before their next class.
I’m not sure there is really any huge thing that makes Southern great. But when you get all these things combined…it’s just fun to be a student here
Natalia—That’s the Sound of Purpose
It’s been a tough week. I have to remind myself when I get dispirited that just because it’s been a frustrating past several days, it does not mean I have bad life. Most of the time we are quick to diagnose ourselves as depressed, but we’re only discouraged. And that’s okay. Something I’ve taught myself to do over the past few years when I’ve felt a little low is to count my blessings and learn to catch the ones that come along in disguise. And not just simply acknowledge them but to write them down and put them some place where I can see them and remember that it’s a beautiful life and it’s worth the fight.
I think it’s incredible that the Lord sits down every night and paints a sunset for us. At least, that’s how I imagine it. He has the sky as His canvas and His hands form His paint strokes and He decorates and splatters the sky for us every single night just so we have something beautiful to look at. Most aren’t quick to think of God when they think about romance even though He is the originator of it. Sometimes when I’m walking to class a leaf will float down to my face or the wind will spontaneously freshen up my mood and I’ve always imagined that’s God’s way of telling me “Hi, I’m thinking of you,” “I’m here for you,” “Take a breather. Relax.”
We grow up being told that God made this world for us and have excessively studied the beginnings of the world and creation in our bible classes at school or in church. It’s become so cliché and overplayed that we don’t go into depth on it. But really, this world and everything in it was made for all of us who live here. Everything God created reflects who He is. Selfless. Everything was made to give. The sun was made to give us light; the flowers were made to beautify our world and oceans collect from streams only so they could provide us with water. And when I’m feeling low and dark and hopeless I remember that there is a God who orchestrated this entire world to keep me alive and my own body systems team up to keep me healthy and existent and breathing and my heart beats every day all the time just to remind me to keep pushing through. Every heart beat is the sound of purpose. Have you ever thought about how breathing comes so naturally to us? We don’t have to try – I mean – unless you’re having an asthma attack or you’re out of breath and even then your body is still working to help you regulate it. But when you go to sleep, you aren’t putting in effort to breathe, you just automatically do it. Just like God breathed air into Adam’s lungs to give him life, He breathes into us to give us life. We don’t have to put effort into it because God does it for us.
So when I feel worthless and dispensable and my burdens are crashing down on me and tearing into my heart I remember that the Father breathes through my lungs and my body has team meetings when I get sick to design their next plans of action on how to regenerate my health and all of this….is to keep me alive. They are fighting just to keep me alive. Their job is solely to provide me with Life. That’s the sound of purpose.
That is the biggest of blessings and remember that when you feel broken and defeated and dark, you have teams fighting for your life. God’s angels, your body, everything God created to give YOU… wants to keep you living for a reason far beyond your level of understanding. That is enough to keep me going. I know that this house is not our home and that our ultimate goal is Heaven and this life here on Earth is temporary and yet God still chose us for this life and gave us the proper tools to live it because He never bestows anything upon us that He knows we cannot bare. That’s the sound of purpose.
I was praying this past Friday night for an insight from God on why I was placed here on Earth. Right after I finished praying, a gentleman walked up to me and asked if we could converse. He just simply wanted to talk about life and wanted someone to speak to. He said he had wandered by my seating spot many times, and I was just sitting there alone and he wasn’t sure if I was waiting for someone but for some reason he felt budged to come and speak to me. So he did. And he sat with me and we spoke about life. And I was reminded that I can do this, I can listen to people and they can trust me with their woes. There is so many of us who aren’t listened to, who hold so much inside and have no one to lay their burdens on for just a little while and God’s reminding me that I’m here to help fix that. I’m here to listen to people. And the people who need to be listened to give me purpose. That’s the thing, once you realize that your purpose isn’t about you but for others, God will work through you in mighty ways.
“Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art. ” ― Felix Gonzalez-Torres