Looking Back and Moving Forward

This semester has been… limiting. In a good way.

Sophomore year requires a tough balance for happiness.  You emerge from the year of freshmen insecurity and establishing yourself and admiring all of the glamorous upper classmen who we sometimes call “Gordon famous.”  They do everything.  They’re friendly with all the big names on campus.  They seem perfect.  And infinite.

Now you want that.  And it’s not a bad thing.  You want to matter to this community, to make it better, to engage in areas of campus life that you’re passionate about.  So you apply for every leadership opening, register for as many high level classes as you can find, accept every job offer that will bolster your resume.  When that’s not too much, you find more for the second half.  Quickly, every single weekend for the rest of the semester is booked, and it’s only the end of January.  You feel guilty when you take a break.  Your favorite hobbies become distant memories.  And you realize that maybe, just maybe, you took on a little bit too much.

Or maybe that’s just me?

I think it’s taken a crazy semester to shock me into reprioritizing – to search for a better balance between ambition and rest, to keep my eyes on God rather than on my next task.  I can’t wait to rediscover the things that I love like jogging through the woods, spending alone time with my Bible, and visiting the beach.  I hope this verse will frame next semester for me:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29

Boston in the spring

Summer Plans

I’m looking forward to spending another summer (in just a few weeks!) on Gordon’s campus.   But this year, I’ll be gaining new experience and skills working for Auxiliary Services. I’ll welcome guests to utilize our facilities while the student body takes a break – everyone from youth groups, to conferences, to summer camps.  Plus I’ll live in my first apartment – in Tavilla Hall! On the side, I hope to babysit, study for the LSATs, spend time with some good books, and prepare for studying abroad next fall in Oxford. Maybe I’ll even have time to break out my ukulele.  :)

 

I can’t wait for endless days in the sun on the gorgeous New England coast…

Rockport, MA

 

A WonderFULL Day

Every day is pretty packed this semester – but each is full of things that I love to do. Check out some snapshots from an average day for this Gordon sophomore!

Walking to class in the morning, I rejoiced at the sun shining through the trees, melting away the lingering remnants of winter.  But I can’t dawdle for too long – off to class in the Jenks Library!

 

 

 

 

Buon giorno! Beginning Italian is a delightful class, and fulfills the language component of our liberal arts core curriculum. We split into pairs to practice asking and answering questions in the future tense.

This week we celebrated Holy Week together as a community during Wednesday chapel.  Organized by the student worship cabinet, the service included both hymns and praise songs, responsive reading, and a performance from the dance ministry.  The seven candles ascending the stairs below the speaker represent the seven days of the week between Palm Sunday and Easter.  Hosanna! Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 

 

I spend a lot of time in the library preparing for classes tomorrow.  I try not to get too distracted by the new student artwork displayed there. :)

 

Before getting back to the books, I help lead our weekly Advocates for a Sustainable Future council meeting.  My co-director, Nate, outlines our relationships to other groups concerned with sustainability on campus as we plan for the future and share organic or waste-free snacks.

This semester is flying by with busy days and late nights, but each hour is a valuable investment – in my education, my future, my faith, and my community.

 

Whatever is lovely

Settling in to enjoy a week of spring break away from classes, I’m remembering another time when I escaped the normal stress of college life.  Last May after completing my freshman year at Gordon I spent about two weeks without a lot of things – showers, laptops, fast food, and security.

Under a tarp in the woods, sitting on my sleeping bag and wondering how I’m going to survive the next two days of solitude and fasting, God sent me a little challenge.  When I say little, I mean really miniscule, in the form of millions of tiny black bugs.  Imagine ants to an abandoned popsicle stick in the summer, but much smaller and more plentiful.  This swarm of insects congregated on a corner of my sleeping pad, which was supposed to protect me from the cold and wet ground, but clearly not from my real problem.

I realize this sounds a little silly.  But consider my thoughts.  It’s nearing dark, and I’ll have to go to sleep.  I decide to experiment by placing my finger near them, onto which they readily jump.  So there’s a good chance that these little bugs won’t hesitate to swarm on my face when I’m asleep in a few hours.  Oh gracious.

After days of discomfort, exertion, and homesickness, it was too much.  I just wanted to rest and not consider a million tiny black bugs all over me.  So I started to cry, and then to pray, and then turned to Scripture.  In my journal, I found the “Facing Fears” recommendations, and turned to Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

At that moment, all my worries vanished, completely.  How could I think about the hard, negative aspects of my La Vida trip right now, when I had such great ones to reflect upon?  I’d grown close to ten amazing girls, canoed across the breathtaking Adirondacks, and learned everything from hanging a bear bag and starting a fire to sharing my life story and working with others.

I’ve never felt God move so strongly to rescue me from my fears.  And my tiny black friends disappeared with nightfall.

Gordon Globes

Evans 1 East
Photo Credit: sophomore photographer Kellyn Boyden

Hosted by Gordon’s Campus Events Council (CEC), the Gordon Globes is a formal night of viewing student films in the chapel.  From music videos, to comedies, to dramas, aspiring filmmakers (or simply talented friends having fun) submit their work to show the student body.  We voted for the best and celebrated at the after-party!

Church on the Beach

With my youth group at home in Pennsylvania, we used to do something called “Church on the Beach.”  This might have been a little misleading.  We were nowhere close to the beach, and we couldn’t get everyone who made up our church family to the beach.  The exciting words “Church on the Beach” just meant packing up and driving three hours to the beach to share testimonies with each other and share French fries with seagulls, to pray in the sand and play in the sand.

Now that I live on the Northshore, church on the beach has a whole new meaning.  You can see the harbor from the parking lot; just minutes down the road is the most breathtaking strip of coast I’ve ever seen.  But despite my affinity for the ocean, the now literal reality of church on the beach is not what brought me to the Community Church of East Gloucester, and it’s not what’s kept me coming back either.

So how did I end up attending church at East Gloucester?  With countless churches in the area, it can be difficult to choose which ones might be worth visiting.  So as a freshman last year, I relied on the wisdom of friends.  Some more experienced Gordon girls welcomed me to church with them.  This warm spirit exemplified that which I would also find during the service.  The whole congregation is involved with the service, from the large task of guest preaching to the small task of walking forward to give your offering.  The church leadership excellently balance professionalism and compassion, the services are never distracting, but always full of truth and heart.  For these reasons, a single invitation became a weekly routine, and I learn and grow at church on the beach every Sunday.

Conscientious Clothing

This is an awesome outfit. I’m not necessarily talking about aesthetically, but ethically and economically.  I bought everything that I’m wearing from a consignment shop – a great way to recycle your style.  I’m wearing American Eagle, J. Crew, and Charlotte Russe, and I only spent about $35.  Buying new is overrated (and overpriced)!

Preparing for the JAF Debate

Amidst all my studying for 18 credits of classes, organizing upcoming Earth Week events, planning for my small group, working, blogging, and (barely) sleeping, I have a special commitment this semester.  I’ve been simultaneously anticipating and dreading this project since about this time last year – the Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) public debate.  The date’s been set and the topic’s been chosen.  This year my cohort will explore whether or not…

Resolved: The death penalty should be abolished.

 We’ve divided into two teams, and I find myself on the con side, arguing the negative case.  However, our research has involved opinions and data supporting both perspectives on capital punishment, and has been a wonderful opportunity to delve into a topic that the JAF program considers “crucial to the Gordon community.”  I’m excited to develop an informed opinion about this controversial and relevant issue.

Despite my initial horror due to the lengthy texts on our starter bibliography, I’ve completely embraced the process of research.  My plan to skim the book above was dismantled when I opened the first page.  I’ve been captured and fascinated by the many methods of evaluating the death penalty – moral, legal, political, biblical, economical, etc. (I’ll stop there, in case my opponents stumble upon this…).

In addition to my independent research, I’ve been blessed by the time I spend working with my whole team.  We come from a variety of disciplines with complementary strengths and a shared commitment to having fun (and achieving victory).

 Don’t miss it!

JAF 9th Annual Debate: “The Death Penalty”

April 16th, 2013

KOSC Auditorium, 7pm

 Or check it out afterwards on Gordon’s YouTube channel!

photo courtesy of JAF