How to Find Balance in College

How to Find Balance in College

Perhaps you have seen the charts that look like this:

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When I visited a college for the first time in November of 2012, one of my dorm hosts showed me this chart.  Five years later, I can attest that it is accurate.

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Retrospect

Retrospect

I am 10 days away from graduation, and I have spent the entire day doing three things:

  • Packing my dorm room
  • Completing numerous “exit interviews”
  • Playing Scrabble

Currently, boxes and bags are strewn around me, one of the exit surveys is open in another tab on my computer, and I am trying to make a word out of LESONRV.

I have mastered multitasking.  But I can’t finish the exit survey.  I am stuck at the question that says:

Retrospect

If you could begin college again, would you choose to attend PIU?

I wish that “I don’t know” was an option.  On one hand, I have loved my time here.  I have made great friends, learned how to be a teacher, and grown closer to my Savior.  I don’t regret choosing PIU.

On the other hand, my interests have changed.  If I could start over, I would major in graphic design or photojournalism or video production.  As a result, I wouldn’t attend PIU.

I am weighing my answer because the survey assures me that all of my responses are “valuable input.”  I think about all of the memories that I would have missed if I hadn’t attended PIU–dreaming aloud with my roommate late at night, walking downtown to get smoothies, slowly tubing on the New River, bravely fighting cockroaches with my cousin, sledding the hill at Sparks Field, playing kickball in the pouring rain, throwing spaghetti noodles on the green, teaching 30 fifth-graders for 16 weeks.  These were the best of times, and I would have missed all of it if I had attended a different college.

So I think my answer is “yes.”  Yes, if I could begin college again, I would attend PIU.

Oh…and I just made the word ROSE for 29 points.

Senior Year Dorm Room Tour

Senior Year Dorm Room Tour

I finally finished cleaning, rearranging, and decorating my dorm room just in time for residential students to move in later today.

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I thought I would give y’all a quick tour of my abode for the next nine months…my last nine months of undergrad!

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Every room is furnished to house two students.  Even though I am in a single-occupancy room, I have two dressers, two closets, two desks, and two beds (and therefore, twice the space to hide all of my junk).

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As expected, I have a lot of pictures hanging in my room.  Anyone want to guess how many?

It’s only appropriate that the library was trying to discard this Chris Rice CD.  I have used YouTube (because I am old school) to listen to various songs from it on repeat for the last three years of college.  Now I can quit typing song names in the YouTube search box.

I spent a long time decorating my door, and I am so proud of it!  I would much rather stare at my door than get started on the school work that my syllabi say I have to do, but if I want to graduate in May, I better wrap up this post and get to work!

Peanut Butter and Cream Cheese Mug Oatmeal

Peanut Butter and Cream Cheese Mug Oatmeal

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As I mentioned on day one of NaBloPoMo, there is another celebration lasting this entire month:  National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month!

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Because I myself am a peanut butter lover, I hope to post a peanut butter recipe every Friday of this month, starting with this easy microwave recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbs. peanut butter
  • 1 tbs. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  • put peanut butter and cream cheese in a microwaveable bowl or mug
  • microwave for thirty seconds
  • mix the melted peanut butter and cream cheese with 1 cup of water
  • stir in oats
  • microwave an additional sixty seconds
  • let cool
  • eat and enjoy!

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Happy Peanut Butter Lover’s Month!!

No-Bake Protein Cookies

No-Bake Protein Cookies

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People tell me it’s possible, but I don’t believe them.  They tell me that they never eat breakfast, and lunch is their first meal everyday, but I am convinced that they are either (a) lying, (b) crazy, (c) confused, or (d) all of the above.

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For one thing, breakfast has to be the best meal of the day.  Why would you want to skip it?  I mean, aatmeal is considered a breakfast food.   Enough said.  (And for everyone who isn’t an oatmeal-addict, there’s always bacon, eggs, grits, sausage, hasbrowns, yogurt, etc.)

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Additionally, I wake up hungry almost every single morning.

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All that being said, I guess no one truly skips breakfast since the whole idea of “breakfast” is that you “break a fast.”  Really,  the first thing you eat on any given day is breakfast.

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Even with breakfast, I am hungry again by the end of my first class.  I have found that eating 1-2 of these protein-packed cookies between classes can tie me over until lunch.  Since they require no oven or stove, I can mix up a batch quickly and have enough cookies to last me a week.  And even if you “skip breakfast,” you can still enjoy one of these before lunch 🙂 .

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No-Bake Protein Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup oatmeal

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, mix milk and protein powder until a smooth batter forms.
  • Microwave peanut butter for about thirty seconds.  Stir peanut butter into the protein and milk.
  • Mix oatmeal into batter.
  • Form 6-8 cookie-dough balls.  Press them onto a plate.
  • Freeze for at least thirty minutes.
  • Eat and enjoy. (Store uneaten cookies in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

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Are you a breakfast eater?  What is your favorite mid-morning snack?

Called by Name: Heather

Called by Name: Heather

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I am supposed to lead a Bible study with the girls on my hall every Tuesday night.

But last Tuesday was the pits.  It was the kind of day that makes you cry on the phone and throw your shoes against the wall as hard as you can multiple times (and cause some paint to fall on your bed).  Needless to say, I was not in the proper spiritual state to point anyone towards righteous living.

As I prayed about what to do, I decided to let Jesus speak that night.  I sure didn’t have anything beneficial to say, and Jesus never has anything useless to say.  Rather than give my intended lesson, I read the following passage from the Sermon on the Mount to illustrate the meaning of Heather’s name: flower.

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I hope Jesus’ words calm your heart like they calm mine.

So I tell you, don’t worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds. You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.

And why do you worry about clothes? Look at how the flowers in the field grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves.  But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire. So you can be even more sure that God will clothe you. Don’t have so little faith!  Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

–Matthew 6:25-34

There Are Just 3 College Students

There Are Just 3 College Students

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As students have returned to campus and arrived for the first time, I have realized that there are really just three types of college students: the positive planners, aimless aliens, and directed drifters. I have been in each of these categories since starting college two years ago, and I want to encourage all students with what the Lord has taught me.

When I started college in 2013, I was a positive planner.  I had no doubt about my bright future which was neatly scheduled into a five-year plan.  I was determined to get my bachelors degree in elementary education and then earn my masters before teaching fourth grade a local Christian school.  If I met a nice guy along the way, I would get married. I had my perfect life imagined, and I was even a bit condescending to those who had not chosen a major yet. Life was set.

A month later, I became an aimless alien–lost, misplaced, and directionless.  Suddenly, I began questioning my decision to become an elementary teacher, and I started throwing around other options.  I could be a high school English teacher.  Or I could be a librarian.  Or a photojournalist.  A nutritionist.  A…anything.  One night, I sat in the dorm stairwell and finally told God that I was willing to leave my comfort zone and the path I had always thought I would take.

By August of my Sophomore year, I was completely purposeless.  I had survived a hard summer, and I did not want to come back to school.  In fact, I did not want to do anything that was not easy and fun.  Because of my selfish thinking, any ideas I had for the future were unwise, and impractical.  I never would have said this, but I felt like God had failed to direct me. I was empty and lost. This feeling stuck with me for almost nine months.

A few weeks after Sophomore year ended, a man stood on a platform in front of me and 1500 other college students.  He asked the question, “Who are you?”  I honestly did not know how to answer that question.  He then said, “You cannot know what you are supposed to do with your life until you know who you are.”

I had no idea who I was.  I knew that I was a Christian, but that was it.  As a Pine Cove employee over the summer, I accepted the truths that I have always been taught:

  • I am a daughter of the King of Kings (John 1:12) in the painful process of sanctification (I Thes. 4:3a).
  • I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which He has before ordained (Ephesians 2:10).

I am a directed drifter–I do not have a set plan for the future, but I know that the Lord does have a set plan, and I can rest contentedly in that state.

If you are a…

  • Positive planner,
    • Be sure that God is the one directing your paths (John 3:30, Prov. 3:5)
    • If He is, embrace God’s plan for your life (Philippians 1:6)
  • Aimless alien,
    • Realize that you cannot have control of your life (Luke 17:33)
    • Realign your life to fit God’s plan (Rom. 12:1-2)
  • Directed drifter,
    • Enjoy the view as you wander and quit worrying about the destination! (Ecc. 7:14)
    • Continually seek Jesus and He will give wisdom for the next step (Prov. 3:6)
  • For any stage of life—
    • Seek Jesus
    • Look to grow
    • Live pure and unspotted
    • Lean on him

Proverbs 16:9

People may make plans in their minds, but the Lord decides what they will do.

What would you consider yourself?  A planner, alien, or drifter?