Treat Yo’self: Great Valentine’s Tips for One

“If you’re sad about being alone on Valentine’s Day, just remember that nobody loves you on any other day of the year either,” a snarky Facebook meme reads. After a hearty laugh, I sank down into my onesie pajamas considering my Valentine’s Day plans. I immediately thought of me and other celebrators buying flowers, chocolate, overbearing cologne, and doing all of the other materialistic things we would normally do for our Valentines. Between the beep-beep-beep of the cash register in my head and my desire not to indulge in this year’s cliché festivities, I stumbled upon an idea: treat yourself this treat yoself 1Valentine’s Day. Obviously, it is better to give than to receive, and we can all agree that it’s important to show love to others. However, many of us dedicate the entire day to showing everyone but ourselves such affection. It’s time we claim this day as one to cherish those we love, most importantly ourselves.

Tip One: Go to Work

I’ll admit, this option isn’t the most fun, but consider it: many V-day celebrators do their bests to take off work or get off early for the special day as romantic gestures are often prohibited in professional settings. Therefore, you would have at least a couple of hours to peaceably avoid the holiday. Secondly, your job will keep your mind occupied on your task and help you to momentarily forget about the hoopla as you work. Finally, if you find yourself still sore over the matter, at least you’ve earned some cash to do a little retail therapy.

Tip Two: Pamper Yourself

Nothing says “I love me” like a little self-care. Give your skin a sweet treat with a DIY strawberry sugar scrub. Simply mix 1 cup cane sugar, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, ¾sugar scrub cup of coconut oil, and 1 table spoon of vanilla extract. Whip yourself up some delicious treats like these Valentines Brownie Truffles. You can also buy face masks, chocolate, flowers, and anything else that you feel would make the day awesome for you. The point is to make yourself feel good – mind, body, and soul.

Tip Three: Go Out

Just because you don’t have a special someone, it doesn’t mean you must stay in the house on Valentine’s Day. Take yourself out to a restaurant and choose a small table, or a seat at the bar, if dining alone is intimidating. You can also go to a spa, concert, or even anti-Valentine’s Day events.

Tip Four: Celebrate Love in General

Who says you have to be alone on Valentine’s Day? If we celebrate love in a general sense and not just a romantic one, we can be easily reminded of all the ways we could enjoy this special day. Go out with friends for bowling or a movie. Have a stay-cation with your favorite furry feline or precious pooch. Have a family game night or go out to eat together. Do something you enjoy with and for those you love, especially you. Treat yo’self!

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Written by Ashley

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The Training Process

When I walked into the University Writing Center early one morning, I did not realize that I would get the news of a lifetime. My boss approached me about transitioning from the receptionist position to that of a consultant in the UWC. After I heard the word training, my heart started to beat faster, a smile crept across my face, and I started to feel the adrenaline kick in. I have always had a passion for writing, and now I could share my passion with others. In order to officially become a consultant, I had to complete an intense training program to ensure that I could give every student reputable input. For example, each consultant must complete a training manual, read various books, learn about different formats, observe sessions with other consultants, participate in mock sessions, and review specific grammatical rules. By completing each of these steps, I learned many things that allowed me to become a better consultant. I saw how each consultant interacts with the students, picked up on different techniques, and gained a greater perspective of the services the Writing Center offers.

Thanks to the intense training, every consultant in the Writing Center is qualified to help students with various steps of the writing process. For example, consultants are able to help with anything from the brainstorming process to formatting the works cited page correctly. In order to ensure that each consultant knows the correct information pertaining to these topics and everything in between, it takes most consultants a semester to complete the training process. Interestingly, it took me approximately one semester to complete my training. While it is a strenuous process, I would not want it any other way. I absorbed numerous lessons throughout training and discovered that the Writing Center is better than I could have ever expected.

I found that each consultant wants to help students excel and expound their knowledge in writing; however, I realized that it is much more than that. Throughout training, I saw how every employee in the Writing Center genuinely cares about and loves each person who walks into the office. In every encounter, they want to be the light of Christ who shares His heart and Spirit. During times of confusion and stress, I witnessed consultants reassure students and encourage them. Nobody within the Writing Center wants a student to walk away from the office weighed down with stress or anxiety. Instead, they want to see students walk out of the office with their heads held high and a smile on their faces.

During my training, I learned more about the writing process as well as the heart and mission of the UWC. I am incredibly grateful for this experience and am blessed to work in such an amazing office. I encourage everybody to stop by the Writing Center to meet some amazing people and receive help on a paper. I cannot wait to consult with you!

Written by Trisha

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The Writing Center is currently hiring high-achieving English students who are interested in helping peers improve their writing. If you are interested in interviewing with us, please stop by our office in the basement of the Collins Learning Center (Room 001) to pick up an application today! 

 

It’s Tricky

Have you ever written a paper that you believed was almost perfect, but there was something about it that did not feel quite right? Well, I have been there before, and it is not enjoyable; however, I know something that might help. In those instances, you should look at the title of your paper. Now, your title can be direct and state the exact topic of the paper or it could be indirect and hint at the subject. When I was in high school, my teacher always asked for creative titles that pertained to our topics. For example, if I wrote a research paper on the consequences of stray dogs in neighborhoods, then my teacher would enjoy a title like The Ruff Life. She loved when students created a clever title that pertained to their topic because it showed they put thought into the paper.

Clever titles are a fun way to grab the reader’s attention, but you must know some of the rules to ensure it is grammatically correct. When writing a title, you must capitalize all words except: prepositions, conjunctions, or articles unless they are the first word of the title. In the previous example I provided, I capitalized the because it was the first word of the title.

When writing a clever title, there are a few errors that can be avoided to make it stronger. For example, you should not put quotation marks around the title unless a quote is actually found within it, nor should you underline the title. Additionally, as illustrated in my example, you should never place a period after the title of your essay.

Now, say that you are writing an essay over the book, Great Expectations. It is better to create a unique title that is not simply the title of the book. Lastly, try to steer away from titles that are not original. If it is a title that has been used in numerous essays or papers, then think outside of the box. I always find it to be a fun challenge.

After coming up with a title, it is important to place it in the right area of your page. For MLA, the title should be dropped in your heading and centered on the first page before your introductory paragraph. In APA format, it is centered on the first line of the title page and on the first line of the paper, while Turabian format requires it to go on the title page underneath the university’s name. Although this might seem confusing, the UWC has resources available within the office and online to clarify any questions you might have. I cannot wait to read some of your clever titles when you stop by the University Writing Center!

Written by Trisha

For more information on writing a title and other writing subjects, check out our Writing a Title handout and the Quick Reference Flyers page of our website!

The Servant Leadership of King

In preparation for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I wanted to learn more about the man we remember, mourn, and celebrate each January. So I headed to the library and rented one of King’s classic works: Why We Can’t Wait.

This book was written in retrospect of the Birmingham Campaign of 1963, a movement organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to shed light on the integration efforts of Birmingham African Americans. Throughout its pages, King eloquently discusses the causes of that momentous summer as well as its many triumphs toward civil rights in both Birmingham and beyond. Additionally, the book highlights King’s fervent conviction that racial equality and reconciliation could no longer wait to be achieved.

As I read, I quickly realized that King’s thoughts, descriptions, and anecdotes would provide a wealth of directions in which to take this blog. However, one theme in particular stood out to me, and that was servant leadership. Those words get thrown around a lot on the DBU campus, sometimes to the point where they begin to mean very little to us. But the fact remains that servant leadership is integral to mirroring the character of Christ, and what better way to learn it than studying servant leaders of the past?

While King demonstrated servant leadership in a variety of situations throughout the campaign, there is one moment that stands out as a beacon to guide those striving toward servant leadership. It came in the late spring of 1963. Just as the Birmingham Campaign was gaining momentum and attention, there came news that threatened the entire movement: the bondsman who had previously been supplying bail for all arrested demonstrators would be unable to continue this service. In the thirtieth room of the Gaston Motel, twenty-five prominent leaders of the campaign sat and questioned whether to proceed as planned and personally participate in demonstrations despite the new lack of bail money. With regard to this moment, King writes:

I sat there, conscious of twenty-four pairs of eyes. I thought about the people in jail. I thought about the Birmingham Negroes already lining the streets of the city, waiting to see me put into practice what I had so passionately preached. How could my failure now to submit to arrest be explained to the local community? What would be the verdict of the country about a man who had encouraged hundreds of people to make a stunning sacrifice and then excused himself? (King 79-80).

Undoubtedly, there were a host of reasons for King and his fellow leaders not to put themselves on the front lines and at risk of arrest. If they did, who would take up the torch to rally and lead the remaining demonstrators? Who would stand at the pulpits on Easter Sunday and preach the good news of Christ’s resurrection, which gave so many African Americans the hope they needed to challenge injustice? And perhaps the most frightening question of all, who would work tirelessly to secure another source of bail, which would be needed to release both leaders and hundreds of wrongly imprisoned demonstrators?

King had no answers to these pressing questions, and as he sat pondering them, avoiding arrest would have clearly seemed the wisest course of action. But this was not the decision he made. Instead, King told his fellow leaders, “‘I don’t know what will happen; I don’t know where the money will come from. But I have to make a faith act’” (King 81). Instead of excusing himself, King made a bold decision of faith in the face of uncertainty, which ultimately led to his imprisonment alongside the Birmingham demonstrators.

King acted as a servant by coming alongside his people as an equal, struggling toward a common goal. He displayed leadership by making a difficult decision and encouraging others to follow his example of faith. While some might argue that King’s decision to participate in the Birmingham demonstrations was unwise, the fruits of King’s imprisonment speak otherwise. Much like Paul, King’s time in jail was used by God in mighty ways. There, King drafted his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, in which he respectfully addressed and rebuked those who did not support the nonviolent direct-action movement.

Countless positive outcomes resulted from the servant leadership of King and many others during the Birmingham Campaign. Some of these include strides toward the desegregation of lunch counters and other public areas, plans to hire African Americans on a non-discriminatory basis, actions to release all persons wrongfully jailed for their participation in the campaign, and avenues for better communication between African Americans and Whites. Truly, without King’s willingness to be a servant leader, the city of Birmingham, and indeed America, would not be what they are today. While it is sometimes hard to believe, never doubt that God can and does call people like you and me to be servant leaders who change communities, cities, states, countries, and with enough faith, the world.

Written by Meredith

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King, Jr. Martin L. Why We Can’t Wait. 1964. Beacon Press, 2010.

To check availability or place a hold on Why We Can’t Wait at the DBU Vance Memorial Library, click here.

To find other works by King, click here.

Calculating Your Way Through Life

Pre-Alegebra, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Pre-College Math, Intermediate Algebra, Math for Liberal Arts, College Algebra, Finite Math, College Calculus, Elementary Probability and Statistics, Introduction to Linear Algebra, Analytic Geometry, Discrete Math, Math Content, Essential Geometry, Abstract Algebra, and the list goes on. Every high school and college is determined to cram as much math down our throats as possible before releasing us into the real world. As an English aficionado, I rebelled against the system as much as I could, by putting off algebra until 9th grade, squeaking out of high school without having to touch real calculus, CLEPing out of College Algebra, and selecting a major that only requires two math classes. I didn’t care how much my mother, teachers, and professors assured me that I was good at math or how many A’s were slapped on my Algebra exams. Three credit hours and a CLEP test later, I was gonna be done with math for the rest of my life… Or so I thought.

I graduated from pre-nursing here at DBU, and I had 8 months of freedom in the real world, until I would begin my two year adventure of nursing school. I decided to plan ahead and be productive, as my professors taught during their mere sixteen weeks with me each of my four semesters at DBU. I had heard from multiple sources that working during nursing school was nearly impossible, so saving up enough money with this eight months gifted to me should probably be a priority during my time of nothingness.

So, Responsible Michelle got a job; well, she got another job, technically, because she already had her marvelous job at the DBU Writing Center. She got a job as a medical scribe. But because she had two occupations, she started living like she had disposable income. She ate out with her friends several times a week, bought Starbucks whenever she wanted, frequented Sonic for her favorite Mini Reese’s Sonic Blast with M&Ms, bought Ed Sheeran tickets for her sister’s birthday, and otherwise lived like a queen, even taking her parents out to eat a couple of times. Then, one day, she decided to check on how her savings were going for nursing school, only to find they really had not grown at all. In fact, they were smaller than they had been when she graduated from DBU. Responsible Michelle learned that she was not responsible at all. Responsible Michelle then realized all of those math and finance classes she took in high school and college were not lying when they tried to teach her that if she spends more than she makes, she will not be able to save any money. Emphasis on tried.

Even as “Responsible Michelle,” she still needed a game plan. She didn’t work 40+ hours a week to enter nursing school in the same financial situation that she had when she had graduated from DBU. I needed (drum roll please)… a budget. (Insert face palm and crying emoji here.)

There were two ways I could do this. Thankfully, I had actually been paying attention in math class when budgeting was explained. I knew I could write down on paper all the needs, wants, and expenses I expected each month and assign appropriate percentages of predicted paychecks to each item on the list. However, I had a goal. I couldn’t just will-nilly buy every Starbucks, Sonic, and Ed Sheeran wanted. I had to save enough money to survive a whole semester just in these few months, no matter how much that Grande White Mocha with Peppermint was calling my name.

Seven hundred and fifty dollars per month is what I needed to save! With four of the eight months left I had to try to be responsible, the savings would total an additional $3000 dollars that could be added to the bank account. Problem: this would only leave, give or take, $250 dollars a month. (I see those raised eyebrows. I chose these jobs for the experience, not the money. If you can find a medical job that pays more than $8 an hour but does not require any certifications or medical training, let me know.) I had recently acquired a car, thanks to my parents’ moving overseas, but that now meant that I needed money for gas, oil, repairs, and insurance (none of which are cheap, when you often drive 45 minutes to get to work, believe me), in addition to all the other expenses I already had each month.

I grimaced as I opened the calculator on my phone. Why, oh why, had it come down to this? Enough complaining; I needed to get it done. So I got down to business. I added up the hours I would work in each paycheck, which differed every day because I rarely worked the same hours each week. I then remembered it was not as simple as taking that number and multiplying it by the number of dollars I made for each of those hours. Oh, no, the government had to take its chunk out of that hard-earned money first. Since I was paid hourly, I used an online website to do that part of the calculation for me. I did this for both paychecks for the month. Too much math to recount later, I had the amount of money I would earn that month.

Somewhere along this journey, I found the Dave Ramsey app EveryDollar (which I highly recommend, btw). I inputted my income information for September into this app, and I then started the process of subtracting out the things I knew would be charged to my account that month (sigh). There was a bunch of math required surrounding my car, from having to calculate the mileage of my car to calculating the number of miles I drove to and from work every day. Then I had to add in the periodic oil changes, insurance payments, and unexpected maintenance. The monthly payments for my child sponsorship and Spotify membership, and the yearly payments for Amazon Prime were also subtracted from this amount. I had so much math to do, but I did it all!

I finally breathed a sigh of relief. I had spent hours doing all of these initial calculations, but it was done. That first month, I could not go out to eat, buy another Starbucks, or really do anything that I wanted to do. But the next month, I was able to do a little more, and, the next, even more. I started catching up. Budgeting seemed horrible to me at first, like a grumpy parent that wouldn’t let me do anything. But I no longer second guessed my buying choices, and my heart didn’t sink when I had an unexpected expense. A plan was in place, and I put what I wanted and needed into that plan. My life was a little less stressful, as I knew I would now have plenty of extra money for nursing school, while still having enough for gas and groceries. I knew at the very beginning of the month how much money I needed to make when arranging babysitting jobs or extra shifts. My life had the structure it needed to make it easier now and more rewarding by achieving future goals.

Goodbye, oh beautiful Pumpkin Spice Latte with those crunchy orange sprinkles and frothy whipped cream. Goodbye, my sweet, savory PeiWei Original with Chicken and noodles, my love. My dear Ed, while I adore your perfect skill and sessions of thinking out loud together, there is a higher calling for those numbers in my savings account. I am on to better things, to higher things, things that, sadly, outweigh my love for all of you. My bank account requires more of me, a better me, and a version of me that understands what is really a priority in this life. I need to again become and further aspire to be Responsible Michelle.

Written by Michelle

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Finishing Touches

Finally finished. Relaxing your fingers on the keyboard, you lean back and let out a contented sigh. After hours of planning, seemingly endless typing, and extremely sore quad muscles from several trips down to the University Writing Center, you have finally completed that important paper… or have you?proof reading

Before you print out a final draft and head for that celebratory Mocha Frappuccino, be sure to proofread and revise your paper! I know, I know, the final touches seem excruciatingly unnecessary when compared to Starbucks’ chocolate version of heaven, but trust me… revising and editing your paper is ALWAYS WORTH IT!

Ideally, I would suggest waiting a day after completing your paper to begin proofreading and revising. However, the odds are likely that you’re a typical college student and MAY have waited until the last minute to start your major paper. No judgment; we’ve all been there. So, if that’s you, start by reading your paper backwards. Yes, sdrawkcab! Reading your paper from the last paragraph to the first will often help you to catch unnecessary word repetition, misspellings, and contractions.

Next, head over to the University Writing Center again to grab a copy of our nifty Proofreading and Revising Checklist. (OR, you can access it online here). Everybody needs a little extra guidance sometimes, and this handout provides just that. It gives some great ideas and suggestions to make sure your paper looks picture perfect by the time class starts.

Lastly, I would suggest asking a friend to look over your paper with you. Since you’ve already spent hours perfecting that stellar paper, it may be a good idea to get a peer’s feedback and perspective. If you feel a little uncomfortable reading to a roommate, you can always make an appointment at the University Writing Center (214-333-5474). The UWC helps students throughout all stages of the writing process (including the finishing touches), and we would absolutely love to read over your paper with you.

Once you’ve proofread, edited, revised, and feel confident about your paper, print it out and….

GO ENJOY THAT FRAPPUCCINO! You earned it!

Written by Leah

For more information on proof reading, revising, and other writing subjects, check out our Proof Reading and Revising Checklist handout and the Quick Reference Flyers page of our website!

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The Best New Year Checklist

Hold on! Before you use all of your Twitter characters to jot down your half-plans to “be your best self,” take a moment and go through this checklist to really start the year off right.

Create a list of best-three

This list should contain at least three of your favorite things of the year. These elements can include experiences, developing habits, people, and/or items that you are grateful for. You may even add more than three items to the list as you remember all of the awesome aspects of the year. Add as many things to your list as you can, and reminisce about the best parts of this year. My list of three includes starting a blog, starting a business, and moving into my first apartment.

Create a list of worst-three

This list should be the opposite of the previous list. This time, note your top three fails, obstacles, bad-habits, and other unsatisfactory components of the past year. This time, only jot down those top three. The goal here isn’t to make you feel bad about what went wrong but to accept it and begin making changes. Choose the top three areas from this year you would like to improve for next year.

Now, here’s the fun part…

Create a Vision Board for the New Year

A vision board is simply a compilation of photos, quotes, goals, and other items that foster motivation. Vision boards can be both physical and virtual and are meant to be displayed in a location that can be seen daily. Use your list of top-three’s to find images and quotes that inspire you. Use the list of worst-three to find images and quotes that counteract those items. Then, include your dreams, desires, beliefs and anything else you want to achieve in this next year. Finally, add your favorite image of yourself in the center, enjoying the lifestyle you created. If you get tired of your board make a new one and stay inspired all year long!

Purge, Organize, and Shop

Nothing says “new me” like a clean home, a decluttered closet, and some novelty items to bring in the New Year. Many who purge their junk feel ‘lighter’ and more confident in what the New Year has to offer. Take a couple weeks to go through your home section by section, and remove the things you have not used in the last year. By riding yourself the things you don’t need, you free your mind and your space to collect things that serve a greater purpose in your life now.

Celebrate

Whether at a countdown party, hanging out with friends and loved ones, or at home enjoying your favorite mode of relaxation, celebrate the success of surviving this year and celebrate the promise of the next one.

Written by Ashley

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