Thoughts from England

My sister, Nicole, had the opportunity to become a missionary in Preston, England right after she graduated from DBU a little over two years ago. While she was over there, she eventually fell in love with a British lad named Adam, and they got engaged on March 2nd of this year, which also happened to be Nicole’s 24th birthday. So, my family and I were gifted the opportunity to go over to England to celebrate my sister’s marriage, and my parents thought, “Well, if we’re going to Preston, we may as well spend some extra time touring England.” Fortunately, the date of the wedding aligned very nicely with my fall break, so I was able to join my parents on their British excursions around the country and take some notes along the way.

Note: Keep in mind that this is all from the perspective of an American that has never left North America and doesn’t travel that much in general. Everything written here is solely from what I remember from the trip. I don’t want this to just be a history lesson about stuff in England, but rather a detailing of what I experienced while in the country. Also, I’m not a history teacher, so just Google this stuff if you want real detail.

1-2 Oct. 2019

One of the most exhausting days of my life, even though it was technically two days. My dad, my aunt, and I pulled out of our driveway in Denton, Texas at 4:15 pm CST, and we got to the DFW airport around an hour later. From there, my aunt dropped me and my dad off, and we did all the normal, uneventful things that happen at airports. We had Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and I realized I wouldn’t have Chick-Fil-A for another two weeks (a crushing revelation). Our 8 and a half hour flight from Dallas to London left at around 7:40 pm CST, and the plane served us dinner at around 11 pm CST (eating pasta at 560 miles an hour while 39,000 feet in the air was a huge item checked off of my bucket list, thank you American Airlines). Our plane landed in London at 4:15 am CST, by which time my body was thoroughly confused, as it was 10:15 in London with the sun beaming on my stupid, tired face. We got to chill in the airport at Heathrow for about four hours until we boarded our plane to Manchester. The hour flight from London to Manchester was literally the shortest hour of my life, and we left the Manchester airport in a rental car at 4:45 pm LT (10:45 am CST), only to get stuck in ridiculous rush hour traffic for about two hours. We made it to our house in Preston (Hollowforth House in Woodplumpton) close to 7:15 pm LT and almost immediately turned around to have dinner with Adam and many of his friends and family at Guy’s Thatched Lodge and Tavern. I set my mouth on fire with some Lasagne al Forno and had a good time chatting with the boys.

3 Oct. 2019

Wedding Day Eve. I got to see the stunning venue we would be using for the reception, which was the Inn at Whitewell, several miles outside of Preston. The property itself is actually owned by the Queen, so you could basically say I’m related to royalty. We did a good chunk of preparation at the inn, then moved over to Crossgate Church back in Preston where the ceremony would be held and did some setting up there. Then, we celebrated with some dinner at a pub called The Continental. The soup and chicken I had was pretty good, but then came the peanut butter and Belgian white chocolate cheesecake. Here’s the deal: I will die before I have to live another 21 years of life without having this cheesecake again. It weighs about 100 pounds when it’s inside your body because it’s so rich; it could weigh 100 tons for all I care. Just incredible.

4 Oct. 2019

Wedding Day! Honestly, the whole day was a blur, but it was such a sweet celebration. Some of my extended family came in right before the ceremony began, and I got to chat quite a bit with them through the reception, which is always nice. There was some incredible worship incorporated in the ceremony courtesy of the Crossgate Worship Team, and everything went about as smoothly as it could have. I look like a pack of flimsy spaghetti noodles blowing in the wind when I dance, but there was dancing indeed. I am now a proud brother of two married sisters.

5 Oct. 2019

To start the day, we went to an inn called Derby Arms for some lunch with the bride, groom, and some other friends and family. Afterward, my parents and I officially said our goodbyes to everyone, and we ventured east. Our first stop was at the ruins of Priory Church in the Bolton Abbey. This is the location of a large cathedral that was mostly burned down as a result of King Henry VIII’s establishment of the Church of England. A smaller section of the church was somehow preserved, and there are still weekly services held even 850 years after the church’s conception. After some time on the road, we arrived in York for the night. We had dinner at a pub called Hole in the Wall, and I had the Chicken Tikki Masala (don’t know what that means but it was delicious and spicy).

6 Oct. 2019

York! I had beans with my breakfast (beanfast), and we met up with a tour guide in the Museum Gardens right in the middle of town. He gave a really engaging overview of the history of York before showing us the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, the Roman wall, and other smaller landmarks in the town. St. Mary’s Abbey was similar to Priory Church in both its size and circumstance; however, much less of St. Mary’s Abbey remained in comparison to Priory, as there are just a few walls and frames to observe.

The Roman wall doesn’t seem like much until you understand the context of the city. The Romans established the city of York in 71 AD and built a massive wall around 300 AD that surrounds what is now the very center of the city. The top third of the wall was added later in the 1300s during the Medieval period, but there is still a wall in the city that has been standing for around 1,700 years. How do you even begin to wrap your mind around that? The short answer is you don’t (at least I don’t). That one idiot that loves goofing with his boys at Whataburger and local DFW parks (me) walked along the same wall that Roman soldiers walked along in the 4th century, not even 300 years after Christ himself walked the Earth. So yeah, good luck trying to process that one.

After our guide finished his tour, we took a tour of our own into the York Minster, an absolute unit of a cathedral. There’s so much that could be said about the minster, but I’ll just say this: I’m blown away at how a building can be so overwhelming in its history and size while simultaneously maintaining such a peaceful aura. You would think that the colossal structure would lend itself to a more chaotic atmosphere, but somehow there’s an incredibly soothing presence throughout the cathedral.

7 Oct. 2019

We began the day climbing the hills of the Peak District near Castleton, and we were welcomed with quite the view. The wind was blowing at about 40 mph, but overlooking the hills of England was worth the endurance. After grabbing lunch at Three Roofs Cafe in Castleton, we made a short trip over to the church in Tideswell. While the site is not as imposing as the York Minster, it’s still crazy to think that people have been actively worshipping in the church since the 14th century. It’s also funny to me how aspects of the modern church merge together with more ancient sites like Tideswell. “We’ve been an active congregation for over 600 years; anyway, follow us on Twitter to keep up with our announcements.” After Tideswell, we made a lengthy trek down to Warwick, and I tried a popular English dish called Fish and Chips for the first time in England. I’m not a huge fan, but I also regularly consume and enjoy Taco Bell, so take that opinion with a grain of salt.

8 Oct. 2019

Warwick Castle! This castle began as a wooden fort in 1068 and was established by William the Conqueror. Fun fact: I am a very distant relative to William the Conqueror. I have no idea how, but my family has done some research, and our lineage is indeed connected to his. I guess what I’m saying is I should own and run Warwick Castle. Originally, the castle was owned by the Earls of Warwick, serving as a symbol of power and for good reason. The castle was rebuilt with stone in the 12th century, and other towers were formed to add to its intimidating presence. While there’s a very tough and domineering exterior, you can find an incredibly glamorous and polished interior when you enter the castle. There’s a very distinct medieval aesthetic in its dining room, living space, chapel, and other rooms throughout the castle. I always wonder if the families living in the castle 300 years ago thought about who would be walking through their castle in the future. I feel like they would be pretty disappointed to see a bunch of goofy Americans ogling at all their shiny stuff. Anyway, we then saw some gorgeous flowers in a garden outside the castle, got rained on super hard, and ventured south from there.

9 Oct. 2019

We took a trip to Blenheim Palace, about 20 minutes from Oxford. If that name doesn’t mean anything to you, it was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. If that name doesn’t mean anything to you, go read about World War II or something. In 1704, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, played a key role in a decisive military victory for England against the French in the Battle of Blenheim. As a gift, the Queen awarded Churchill with the land, as well as £240,000, which would eventually become the behemoth that is Blenheim Palace. Presently, the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough reside in the Palace. We looked through all the major rooms inside the palace, which included a neat exhibition specifically dedicated to Churchill. What I found more impressive was the land surrounding it. There were some beautifully crafted gardens right outside the palace, and there was so much more to explore beyond that. The square footage of this place is insane. We stopped in the rose garden, walked alongside the river, and took a gander at an actual waterfall on the property. Imagine just having a waterfall outside your house (and also your house is literally a palace). From there, we scurried down to London, and good Lord, driving in London is bonker billies.

10 Oct. 2019

London Tour! We had a guide walk us around some pretty monumental landmarks in downtown London, such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square, and Trafalgar Square. A bonus aspect of the tour was the Extinction Rebellion, which was a climate change protest that had been going on in London for about a week. This mainly took place in Trafalgar Square in the heart of the city, but protesters were walking and camping out all over the city. Buckingham Palace is where the Queen of England resides, so obviously, we couldn’t get too close, but it was quite a site to behold. They have a flag on the roof of the palace that indicates whether the Queen is in the palace or not, and she happened to be there while we were, which was neat. God save the Queen, you know what I mean? Parliament Square is in a cool part of town with significant structures surrounding all of its borders. There is the Treasury to the north, Westminster Abbey to the South, Elizabeth Tower (commonly mistaken as Big Ben when Big Ben really refers to the bell inside the tower) to the east, and the Supreme Court building to the west. There are also statues of individuals deemed significant to British history here, such as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, and even Abraham Lincoln. Trafalgar Square would have seemed much bigger if it wasn’t packed to the brim with protesters, but it was still really neat. There is a crazy tall monument of King Charles right in the middle of the square that is apparently equidistant from Oxford and Cambridge (don’t know if that’s true but it’s a neat architectural detail).

We saw and did so much more in the city that I don’t have time to write about here, but I will say that London is such a fascinating place. One thing our tour guide noted about the city that I think is true is that London has such a strange mixture of traditional and progressive characteristics that make it really unique. The history is so incredibly rich in just about every part of town, but there are so many modern features that can be seen in just about every other contemporary city in the world. It sometimes feels like I could be walking in downtown Dallas, which is 45 minutes from where I grew up, but then I’m reminded of the history that spans over hundreds of years. There’s a feeling of familiarity merged with antiquity, and I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.

11 Oct. 2019

Our last full day in England was a full day indeed. We started off the day at St. Paul’s cathedral, and this may have been my favorite part of the entire trip (besides my sister getting married, duh). The grandness that I experienced in the York Minster was also present in St. Paul’s, but the amount of detail in every single aspect of the cathedral is just astounding. Not a single square inch of space is wasted here. The original site of the church was in 604 AD, but the cathedral has burned down a couple times since then. The current structure was completed in the 17th century and miraculously survived German bombings in World War II. Fittingly, there are many references to the Second World War inside the cathedral, including a chapel dedicated specifically to British and American soldiers who died in the war. Additionally, there are some breathtaking views from the cathedral that overlook the city of London that you can see if you’re insane enough to walk up over 500 stairs. I am indeed insane enough, and the view was stunning. It had just rained for a bit, so the clouds looked absolutely incredible. Yep, I think St. Paul’s Cathedral was my favorite thing in England and is pretty much at the top of my list of recommendations if you ever happen to visit England.

There was so much more that we saw and did in England that I couldn’t include here. I wasn’t too interested in making this journal 20 pages long, but these were certainly the highlights. I will conclude with this: go visit places that you haven’t been to before. It doesn’t have to be England. It doesn’t even have to be outside your own state. There are just so many cool things in this world that we don’t know about, and it’s so interesting to experience them for yourself instead of listening to a dumb American like me tell you about them.

Written by Ryan

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Duly Noted

notes memePulling out a cellphone and taking pictures of the board is not notetaking, yet several students rely on it daily. It is safe to say that you’re probably not going to look back at pictures of 99+ slides from your anatomy class; it just means that you have less space for pictures of actual faces.

Notes are extremely important for success in any course because they determine the way you study, and the way you study determines how well you do on examinations. Taking notes doesn’t have to be a painful process. One might even dare to say that it can be fun! The only thing you must do is figure out which notetaking method works best for you and helps you retain information for a longer period of time.

Addressing the Paper vs. Laptop Issue

The tools students use to take notes have significant effects on the quality of their notes and, therefore, understanding. The preference to use laptops for notetaking is rising because laptops tend to be more convenient and comfortable. Taking notes on laptops requires no extra materials or effort. Typing is faster and correcting mistakes is much easier compared to writing. However, laptops can also hinder comprehension.

Studies conducted at Princeton University and the University of California asked a group of students to take notes by hand, while they asked another group to take notes on their laptops. The results showed that those who took notes on their laptops didn’t understand the lecture material. These students also had the tendency to type notes verbatim, which means that they weren’t processing the information at all. There are countless additional studies done on laptop use in the classroom that illustrate how detrimental it is to the learning environment. This, however, does not mean there is no efficient way to take notes on your laptop, it just means you must be extra cautious, disciplined, and attentive.

Bullet Points

Taking notes in bullet points is essentially outlining. In this method of notetaking, the student is narrowing down a broad idea into small and concise main points. This is one of the best ways to digest large amounts of information due to the level of engagement required. However, it is hard to be detailed or in-depth when using the bullet point method. In this case, students can incorporate other notetaking methods along with bullet points to aid their level of understanding.

Diagrams 

This notetaking method can be extremely useful for every type of learner but especially visual learners. Diagrams create a roadmap for the brain through which it can process various kinds of information. Because of this, the brain doesn’t have to work extremely hard to recall or retain information. Neural pathways established by the mapping process allow for long-term data storage. The diagram method is especially helpful due to its ability to highlight relationships between ideas and concepts.

Color Coding

Color coding puts ideas into different categories—a thought process that already comes naturally to the brain. It is much easier to digest information that is organized into categories because it’s clear to see how they relate and differ from one another. Color coding also gives students the freedom to continue to build upon their categories or create new ones as they see fit. This not only encourages structural and critical thinking but a deeper understanding of the subject as well.

In conclusion, notetaking is obviously not limited to the categories listed above, there are a variety of other ways to take notes. However, the most important thing is that you understand which style suits you best and improves your unique combination of learning styles. If your notetaking method fails to give you a greater understanding of how you learn, it is time to re-evaluate the way you take notes.

Ong, Thuy. “Evidence Mounts That Laptops Are Terrible for Students at Lectures.” The Verge, The Verge, 27 Nov. 2017, http://www.theverge.com/2017/11/27/16703904/laptop-learning-lecture.

Written by Kenean

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Notes are extremely important for success in any course because they determine the way you study, and the way you study determines how well you do on examinations. Taking notes doesn’t have to be a painful process. One might even dare to say that it can be fun! The only thing you must do is figure out which notetaking method works best for you and helps you retain information for a longer period of time.

Addressing the Paper vs. Laptop Issue

The tools students use to take notes have significant effects on the quality of their notes and, therefore, understanding. Preference of laptops for notetaking is rising because they tend to be more convenient and comfortable. Taking notes on laptops requires no extra materials or effort. Typing is faster and correcting mistakes is much easier compared to writing. However, laptops can also hinder comprehension.

Studies done at Princeton University and the University of California asked a group of students to take notes by hand, while they asked another group to take notes on their laptops. The result showed that those who took notes on their laptops didn’t understand the lecture material. They also had the tendency to type notes verbatim, which means that they weren’t processing the information at all (. There are countless additional studies done on laptop use in the classroom that illustrate how detrimental it is to the learning environment. This, however, does not mean there is no efficient way to take notes on your laptop, it just means you must be extra cautious, disciplined, and attentive.

Bullet Points

Taking notes in bullet points is essentially outlining. In this method of notetaking, the student is narrowing down a broad idea into small and concise main points. This is one of the best ways to digest large amounts of information due to the level of engagement required. However, it is hard to be detailed or in-depth when using the bullet point method. In this case, students can incorporate other notetaking methods along with bullet points to aid their level of understanding.

Diagrams 

This notetaking method can be extremely useful for every type of learner, especially visual learners. Diagrams create a roadmap for the brain through which it can process various kinds of information. Because of this, the brain doesn’t have to work extremely hard to recall or retain information. Neural pathways established by the mapping process allows for long-term data storage. The diagram method is especially helpful due to its ability to highlight relationships between ideas and concepts.

Color Coding

Color coding puts ideas into different categories—a thought process that already comes naturally to the brain. It is much easier to digest information that is organized into categories because it’s clear to see how they relate and differ from one another. Color coding also gives students the freedom to continue to build upon their categories or create new ones as they see fit. This not only encourages structural and critical thinking, but a deeper understanding of the subject as well.

Conclusion

Notetaking is obviously not limited to the categories listed above, there are a variety of other ways to take notes. However, the most important thing is that you understand which style suits you best and improves your unique combination of learning styles. If your notetaking method fails to give you a greater understanding of how you learn, it is time to re-evaluate the way you take notes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Ong, Thuy. “Evidence Mounts That Laptops Are Terrible for Students at Lectures.” The Verge, The Verge, 27 Nov. 2017, http://www.theverge.com/2017/11/27/16703904/laptop-learning-lecture.

The Importance of Preliminary Outlining

I am a college student, and as a college student, I’m given the responsibility of writing dozens of papers per semester before being given a pretty piece of paper after four years that says, “You did it; good luck now lol.” Seeing as some of these papers have been assigned at fairly inconvenient times, many nights I have found myself hopelessly hurling words at a Google Doc in an attempt to piece together something resembling an essay, praying that a coherent idea might stick to the page. Of course, any time someone suggests that I do some outlining before writing my full paper, I exclaim, “I don’t have time for that!” as I continue drop-kicking my laptop in frustration. Perhaps you can relate.

Yes, writing an outline can sometimes feel like doing an extra, unnecessary assignment when you are already stressed out. But forming a preliminary outline before jumping into the essay can keep your thoughts structured and save an incredible amount of time, especially if you often find yourself desperately staring at a blank document thinking, “Maybe if I believe hard enough, the paper will write itself.”

So, what is a preliminary outline? A preliminary outline is a rough set of ideas that will eventually turn into a thesis statement and the branching concepts surrounding the thesis. After narrowing down a topic and finding reliable sources, preliminary outlining is a crucial step in organizing all the information you’ve found and determining what is relevant to your paper and what is not. This will be particularly useful when it comes time to analyze and organize your sources alongside your main arguments and commentary.

So how should you organize and structure your outline? Well, since the outline is preliminary (meaning in preparation for something larger), there isn’t a tried and true way to form it. However, I would recommend trying to stick with the same structure as most papers: an overarching idea at the top and minor ideas below it. Keep in mind what your thesis might be and what branching elements can come from it. Also, reference your sources, and start thinking about how and where in the paper you might want to utilize them. There will be a lot of moving pieces in this stage, so be flexible and understand that your ideas may change as you gather more information from your sources.

Okay, before you start hyperventilating about making the perfectly constructed outline, breathe. All of these steps are for your benefit, and they are meant to help you. If your outline helps keep your information organized and your ideas together, then you have made a good outline. So the next time you find yourself with a blank Word document at two in the morning and your stress makes you want to take a chainsaw to your laptop, consider starting with an outline before tackling the big assignment.

Written by Ryan

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Work Like a Dog Day

According to the website, National Today, Work like a Dog Day is “inspired by the strong work ethic of canines, especially service dogs, [but] is meant to honor people who put in that extra bit of hard work.” It is essentially a cooler version of Labor Day inspired by our canine companions! There are a few ways to celebrate this glorious holiday listed below:

Work Like a Dog

One of the best ways to honor Work Like a Dog Day is, well, by working like a dog. Every day, our dogs are happy and eager to serve us; try emulating that. Arrive early to work and stay late. Take initiative on projects and assignments. Ask your boss if you can offer extra help around the office and have a positive attitude.

Give a Dog a Bone

Whether a child, companion, coworker, or canine, we all know someone who works harder than most; reward them for all that they do. Dogs are encouraged to behave and complete tasks through praise, treats, and love. Similarly, we humans need validation and appreciation to motivate our work behavior. For instance, treat your boss to a free lunch, do a chore for a sibling, offer to take a shift a coworker doesn’t want. Even a simple thank-you card and a heartfelt message from you would suffice.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie 

In celebration of Work Like a Dog Day, you could take the day off! After a long day of work, dogs need plenty of rest so they can continue serving their owners. In the same way, humans must rest and reset, so we can function properly and efficiently. Take the day to snooze on the couch with a furry friend nearby, or stop by an animal shelter and play with puppies. Do things that will free your mind of work worries for the entire evening. Let sleeping dogs lie and laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy an image of my dog Sweeti, a ten-month-old Swedish-Danish Farmdog!sweeti

Written by Ashley

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Better or Worse?

Imagine this: you arrive home and drag yourself through the door after a long day at work during the hot summer. After eating and doing some chores around the house, you realize it is almost 7 pm. How is that possible? You just got home! Oh, well. You mosey on over to the couch, and you pull out your phone to check social media. All you see are photos and videos of your friends living their best lives at the beach, on vacations in other countries, or exercising. After being on social media for a few minutes, you start feeling unhappy about your life and glance away from the screen. You look around and see a plain apartment with only a few decorations on the wall. You were content a few minutes ago, so what changed? Here is the answer: comparison, the thief of all joy.

Personally, I have been struggling with comparing myself to other people without even realizing that I was doing it. After evaluating my feelings and talking with some of my loved ones, I saw the truth. I am absolutely blessed, but I was bogging myself down with all of the comparisons. What if I was taller, skinnier, richer, faster, prettier, etc.? Would any of these things make me happier? Well, the simple answer is no. This is my discovery after experiencing years of comparison and envy.

1. Realize where your source of joy lies. I guess the better way to say this is: realize who your source of joy is.

You always hear about joy spreading throughout the world, but where does this joy come from? Peter answers this question by stating in 1 Peter 1:8-9, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (New International Version). In this short passage, Peter points out that we are filled with joy because of our faith. We do not find joy in our circumstances. Instead, our joy is anchored in Christ alone. Although we might experience hard times, our joy would never waver, unless we are placing our joy in the hands of something or someone apart from Christ. If we place our happiness in the material world, then we might be upset if we do not have the nicest things. However, if we place our joy in Christ’s hands, then we will be joyful and content with life no matter our circumstances.

2. Remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

When I was younger, one of my teachers talked with me about this saying: the grass is always greener on the other side. She pointed out that this is never the case. If we have this mentality, then we will always be comparing our lives to others and living in envy. She told me something that I will never forget: the grass is always greener where you water it. Rather than comparing your life to those around you, simply take time to enjoy the blessings you have. Invest in the different aspects of your life that you typically take for granted. Instead of complaining about how you work too much, invest your time and make a difference in your work-place. Perhaps changing your perception will change your reality. If you walk into work with a more upbeat attitude, you will most likely be more productive and have a better day altogether.

3. Realize most Snapchats, Instagram posts, and Facebook posts are only the most interesting part of peoples’ days.

Each post you see on social media is probably a glimpse of that person’s day. They don’t take photos or videos of the hard parts of the day, whether it is visiting an ailing parent in the hospital or working overtime to provide for their family. I am sure they sit at home oftentimes and think the same things you think about them. Everybody only posts the most exciting moments of their lives, so never let them get you bogged down. You may have experienced exhilarating moments throughout the week, but if you keep comparing yourself to others, then you may never notice them.

4. Lastly, take time to make a list of all your blessings.

In middle school, I was in a class focused around being grateful and thankful for all of the things each of the students had in his or her life, big and small. At the beginning of each class, my teacher had us write down things we appreciated for about ten minutes. Some mornings I would be in a sour mood, so it would take me a bit longer to start the assignment. After a few minutes, however, my attitude would start to change. I would realize how grateful I should be for all of the blessings in my life. Whether it was my grandmother getting out of the hospital or a simple sunrise, my day was radically transformed. I think it is interesting that we are called to rejoice in the bad times as well as the good times. Philippians 4:6 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (NIV). Personally, I think the word thanksgiving is a key aspect of this scripture. We are not to pray and grumble about our anxieties and hardships. Instead, we are to thank God in the midst of all of these problems. I definitely believe there is a connection between gratefulness and attitude.

After trying a few of these tips, I hope you will start to see all of the amazing things in this world that most people take for granted. Stop feeling down about the things that you do not have. Rejoice in the blessings He gives you daily instead. Be present, be active, and never stop being grateful.

Written by Trisha

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Recognizing the Work 24-Hour Period Holiday: Labor Day

It is that time of year again: the first Monday in the month of September. “What do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Sound familiar? Every year, for the past fifteen or so years, this has been the conversation that has plagued my family. Despite prolonged deliberations, we arrive at the same solution. The van is quickly loaded and off to Ellen’s Amusement we go! Alright, let me backup just a smidge. This chosen day of fun falls on Labor Day! Honestly, I have never known or cared why most people get this day off from school/work until I did a bit of digging. (Googling like crazy!) Putting my family tradition aside, here are a few things I discovered about Labor Day.

What does Labor Day even celebrate? Great question, but don’t overthink it. Honestly, it is as simple as it sounds. Labor Day is the celebration and recognition of Americans in the workforce.

The first Monday of September is designated as Labor Day. Yes, this is another one of those holidays that switches dates from year to year. Ironically, Labor Day was first celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York. However, the holiday was not nationally recognized until President Grover Cleveland signed off on it in 1894. For you math people, that was nearly twelve years later.

Peter McGuire of the American Federation of Labor and Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union are no doubt tied closely to the holiday’s formation. However, there is still an open debate about which, if either, was the first to propose this holiday. Essentially, the origins of the holiday are chalked up to the contributions of group efforts made by the CLU and the AFL.

Hopefully, after reading this blog through entirely, you have learned a thing or five about Labor Day. As a final parting thought, remember to not wear white after Labor Day, a phrase everyone has probably already heard and may never know why. (I still do not understand why!)

Written by Jodan

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Do Not Break Down!

It is the start of another school year, which means it is also the time where students across the nation collectively share their frustrations through memes, GIFs, and tweets. It is time to replace relaxing vacations with piles upon piles of assignments; it can easily become depressing. We dive into panic mode and begin to ask why summer goes by so fast, will I survive another year, and is school even worth it?

Those of us who choose to pursue higher education must ultimately realize that its purpose is to propel us toward the future we desire to live out. However, it is also so easy to get discouraged and to despair at the very sight of back-to-school commercials. Do not panic! Do not break down! Here are some tips that will help you stay encouraged throughout the school year.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

If you studied longer than you usually do, did well on an exam, or finished that paper that has been taking you forever to write, take time to celebrate it! Go somewhere nice with your friends or stay-in to enjoy your favorite shows and movies. Making a habit of celebrating the little things can be a great source of motivation and encouragement throughout the school year.

Spend Some Time Shadowing or Interning

Spending time learning from people who are currently leading careers that you are interested in gives you a clear idea of what your life might be like once you have completed your education. It can help you get into the right mindset and realize how important your education is to your future, one assignment at a time. It can also encourage you to work harder and not give up on yourself, no matter how hard it gets, because the end result is so worth it!

Find a Study Buddy or Join a Study Group

Studying by yourself can easily become cumbersome, tiring, and sometimes even boring. Surrounding yourself with people that are motivated and willing to grow, however, can help you achieve your academic goals as well as boost your confidence. It gives you an opportunity to learn from different people and different perspectives.

Stay in Touch with Spiritual Role Models in Your Life

Aside from the stress that comes with school, personal and family matters can sometimes negatively affect students’ academic performance. It is extremely important that you have someone to talk to and to glean wisdom from in difficult times. Whether it is a campus counselor, a family member, or a pastor, find someone who has been faithful in their Christian walk and confide in them in times of need.

School can be extremely stressful, but it can also be delightful. In the middle of all the stress and anxiety, remember to appreciate the new friendships, memories, and learning experience each school year brings; it all contributes to the person you are becoming. Embrace the stress but indulge in self-care too!  Welcome back Pats! Let’s have a great year!

Written by Kenean

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