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Job Interview Skills and Tips

My first job was at Brookshire’s Grocery Company. I was a bagger and stocker for about a year and a half while I was in high school. I had to turn in two different applications and call multiple times about an interview because my application(s) hadn’t been reviewed. I did eventually get an interview, and after I sat down in the manager’s office, I had a revelation:

This is an interview.

It seems silly because duh, that’s sort of the reason why I kept filling out applications and calling the office. But, this revelation came to me because I had done absolutely nothing in preparation for the actual interview. I had done all this work to secure an interview, but I didn’t even consider the process I would have to undergo. 

My first piece of advice: don’t do that.

Clearly, I am no interview expert. However, I have had a handful of interviews in my brief experience in the workforce, and I want to share some tips that will, hopefully, provide some insight for any eager employees-to-be. 

Ponder Potential Questions Beforehand

An interview is not just a normal conversation a manager has with potential employees. Employers have very specific qualities they look for when scouting possible workers, and this includes asking the interviewee particular questions that reveal whether or not he/she has the qualities desired. It’s possible for an interviewee to have a perfectly pleasant conversation with the interviewer and not be hired because the hiring process is not rooted in whether the interviewer gets along with the interviewee. Workers are hired because they exhibit certain traits that would be useful for the expansion of the company. As an interviewee, it’s important to be prepared for such questions, so you can make it clear to the interviewer that the job you are applying for is one you care about deeply. Of course, it is unnecessary and disingenuous to prepare a script or count on certain questions to be asked, but think about what types of questions are asked in interview settings. Get an idea of how you would answer these questions so you don’t seem thrown off or unprepared when you’re in the interview (as I probably was).

Maintain Eye Contact

Is it cliché? Sure. Is it uncomfortable? Yeah, a little bit. Is it important? Definitely. Eye contact is a nonverbal way of communicating to the interviewer that you are engaged in the conversation, and you care about what is being said. This is something I personally struggle with because I have a hard time focusing on what I’m saying while simultaneously fixing my gaze on one specific thing. Plus, it can be really awkward locking eyes with someone for long periods of time, especially if you don’t know them very well. However, inconsistent eye contact can communicate to the interviewer that you are unfocused or simply not interested in what’s being said. This can lead a company to believe that you have no real interest in them. Maintaining eye contact during an interview is one of those minuscule details that can drastically increase your hireability.

Give Specific Answers

The two questions asked in interviews that people are most familiar with are probably, “What is your greatest strength?” and “What is your biggest weakness?” As tempting as it is to say your greatest strength is that you’re a hard worker and your biggest weakness is being a perfectionist, go further than that! Everyone has already said that; make your answers stick out by giving specifics and providing brief examples. In what ways are you a hard worker? How are you a perfectionist? It’s not guaranteed that the interviewer will ask you to expand on your answers; he/she may just take your answers as they are, whether they are simple or convoluted. It’s on you to be intentional in providing specific, unique answers that reveal your personality. 

Regulate Your Confidence

We’ve probably all been told that keeping a high level of confidence is important when presenting yourself to new people, especially in an interview. I definitely agree with that sentiment, but I have also heard stories of many uncomfortable interviews where the interviewee is booming with so much confidence that it repulses the interviewer. Keeping a high level of confidence is great, but overconfidence can severely damage one’s hireability. Overconfidence can communicate one of two things to the interviewer: you are overcompensating as a result of a lack of confidence, or you just care a lot about yourself. Neither of those messages are particularly great first impressions, so maintain your confidence at a reasonably high level. 

Be Authentic

Alright, I understand how overused the sentiment “Be yourself!” is in our very self-focused society, and it has far surpassed the meaning of cliché. However, people value authenticity for a reason, especially in the workforce. When employers look for people to hire, they are not looking for a repackaged version of the same worker they have employed for years and years. They are looking for individuals with unique perspectives and distinctive personalities. They want to see who you are, not who you can pretend to be. You can give all the right answers in the interview and go through the motions, but after a while, you will be exhausted trying to preserve the façade you previously put up. People begin to see through that. Don’t waste your time trying to be the interviewee who you think employers will hire. It’s far better to get turned down while being authentic than it is to get hired while being disingenuous. Be who you are, and eventually, you will find a good fit with a great company.

Written by Ryan

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Memorial Day: Why It’s More than a Three-Day Weekend

Memorial Day is often taken as a day for companies to have an enticing sales event or an opportunity for a three-day weekend. However, there is much more significance to this holiday. It originates from an immense loss, with over 620,000 soldiers dying in the Civil War, and sadly, it has become commercialized.

Though all of us may not know a veteran or have a close relationship with someone in the military, we all have been affected by those who have fought and fallen to give us the freedom that we experience today in America.

Memorial Day first began as Decoration Day, established by the head of the Grand Army of the Republic on May 5, 1868, three days after the Civil War. The title, “Decoration Day,” was coined to convey the intention of the holiday, which was to decorate the graves of those who had fallen during the Civil War. After World War I, the holiday broadened its purpose to honor those who had died in all the American wars. In 1971, an act of Congress established Decoration Day as Memorial Day and instituted it as a national holiday to take place on the last Monday in May.

Each family may have a unique way of honoring this holiday, but there are a few customs that have developed over the years. Some communities hold parades that incorporate military personnel and veteran organizations. Others observe the day closer to its original origin, taking the time to visit cemeteries and decorate the graves of their loved ones. One of the customs is to fly the American flag at half staff until noon, then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset. One of the more recognized customs was established by Congress, the National Moment of Remembrance. It is the act of taking a moment of silence at 3pm on Memorial Day to honor past and current soldiers and their sacrifices.

It is believed Major General John A. Logan set Memorial Day to the original date of May 30th because flowers would be blossoming all over the country at this time. This reflects the beauty of the holiday. Memorial Day is meant to be a day of remembrance, a day to reflect on the soldiers who gave their lives in service of our nation. We can look around during this blooming springtime and think about how our lovely American land came at a price. May we use this day to reflect on the security of our country, those who have sacrificed their lives for our safety, and those who are currently bravely serving in the Armed Forces.

Written by Deneen

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Works Cited

Holzel, David. “10 Things to Remember About Memorial Day.” Mental Floss, 20 May 2019, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/27858/10-things-remember-about-memorial-day.

Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. “Memorial Day History.” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 July 2015, https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp.

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The Change

Throughout your life, you will experience numerous changes: moving from one city to another, meeting new people, and transitioning from one job to the next. Whether you are becoming complacent in your current job or entering the workforce for the first time, one of the most important elements for the job search is a résumé. In order to land an interview with your dream company, you must submit a polished résumé, which is a small example of your fine characteristics. Let’s take a look at some of the tedious details of writing a résumé to, hopefully, help you in your journey full of transitions.

First, most recruiters only look at your one-page résumé for approximately 5-20 seconds, so it is crucial to make a quick strong impression. The number one rule for résumés is this: ensure there are no grammatical errors. If a recruiter picks up a résumé and notices multiple misspellings or typos, it does not look good for you. Although this might seem like a shameless promo, I will still say it: you should consider sitting down with one of the consultants at your university’s writing center in order to work through your résumé. If you are no longer a college student, then you should contact some friends or family members who have strong grammatical skills.

Now, what about the layout of the résumé? In a world full of different templates and guides for résumés, the possibilities are endless. In my Business Communications class, my professor, Dr. Justin Gandy, told us that one of his past students went to job interviews with two different résumés. One résumé had a more modern layout and the other was more traditional. Interestingly, the response seemed to vary depending upon the interviewer’s particular preference. Learn about the company and job for which you are applying to enhance and strengthen your résumé. If it is a more modern and hip company, then maybe you could earn an interview with a more modern résumé. One tip in this area: do not place a photo on your résumé in order to avoid discrimination.

Once you have picked a layout, start analyzing the minute details. At the beginning of the résumé, write your name in a bold, large font in order to draw attention. Underneath your name, place your phone number, email address, and LinkedIn account. Some people believe that if you place your phone number first, then you have a higher likelihood of receiving the position. I cannot claim this to be true; however, I still place it first just in case that’s true.

Beneath your contact information, you can create a job summary section. Now, this section is highly debated. Some people believe it is unnecessary while others believe it is. Ultimately, this is your résumé, so it is up to you, but I will briefly describe this section. You have an option of writing complete sentences or you can simply create strong phrases. Within this section, highlight the specific qualifications that make you the perfect person for this position. In fact, some companies put the papers through a digital evaluation, which highlights key words that are crucial to the particular position. Because of this, evaluate the job description and ensure you match your characteristics to the position you want. As you may realize, this section will change depending on the job for which you are applying; however, key concepts will still be included.

Finally, for your work experience, you should start with the most recent position and work your way backward. In this section, it is imperative to create strong bullet points to describe your responsibilities and duties at particular jobs you’ve held. In fact, in Business Communications, the professor told the class to ponder ways in which you exceeded expectations. Rather than simply listing the responsibilities at your previous jobs, think about how you excelled and outshone most employees. It is also important to use strong action verbs for each bullet point and ensure parallelism throughout. For example, if your résumé includes the verbs achieved, calculated, and guided, then you would not want the last verb to be leading because it does not match the other verb tenses. For more information about parallelism and a list of action verbs, follow these links: Parallel Constructions and Action Words.

Once you have completed this section, create a new area dedicated to your education. Within this, place your major, minor, university, and graduation year. Many people like to place their GPA here, but it is not recommended to do so if your GPA is lower than a 4.0. My professor in Business Communications also told us to write a short summary of an impactful experience from a class or college memory that applies to your characteristics. For example, if you mention your ability to work well within a team, then mention in this summary a time in which you worked with a group to complete a project. By doing this, you might just shine brighter than other applicants, especially if it is an internship.

Exhausted yet? No worries because we are at the end of my tips. If you have room within the one-page résumé to place a section for your achievements or volunteer work, then ensure each item corresponds directly to the characteristics mentioned above. Never write more than one page; think about your statements thoroughly to ensure they are completely necessary. Overall, there are different ways to complete résumés; however, these are some of my simple tips to create a successful application. By enacting some of these tips, you may just change your life forever.

Written by Trisha

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For more information on how to write a résumé, check out our General Résumé Development handout on the Quick Reference Flyer page of our website!

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A Joyful Home for Me

Golden are the sunbeams lighting up my way, 

Golden is the meadow inviting me to play, 

Golden runs the winding stream upon its way to sea, 

And Golden is the morning world a joyful home for me. 

Silver is the moonlight shining on my bed 

Silver is the pillow on which I lay my head,

Silver are the rustling trees out in the garden fair,

And silver is the silent world with moonbeams in her hair

Gold and Silver by Mark Hayes 

I sang this song in high school choir without a true understanding or appreciation for what it meant. The ballad is beautiful, graceful, and delicate; I knew to treat it with care during a performance. Thinking of the song Gold and Silver today saddens me, especially when discussions or news reports of climate change, brutal natural disasters, and destructive human interactions arise. Now, I realize that this song paints a picture of God’s creation: animals, humanity, and Earth. It also emphasizes his unceasing involvement with His gorgeous gifts. Humanity is called to see itself and its “joyful home” as a place of great works, peace, and life (Hayes). 

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Poor farming practices, pollution, use of fossil fuels, and other damaging human contributors have severely harmed God’s creation. To ensure humanity abides by God’s command to “subdue [the earth] and have dominion over…every living thing that moves on the earth,” humanity must drastically improve interactions with it (Genesis 1:28 ESV).

Therefore, everyday should be Earth Day. Every new day on Earth is people’s prize, a new opportunity to create and cultivate.   

In order to fully grasp the holiday’s meaning, one must first revisit its origin. Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin Governor and U.S Senator, created Earth Day on April 22, 1970 to inform “more than 2,000 colleges and universities, 10,000 public schools, and 20 million citizens…nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population at that time,” about poor environmental standards and practices (NOAA par. 2). According to Earth Day Network, Earth Day protests and civic involvement led to the passage of legislative environmental protections such as “The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts… as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” This initiative inspired many nations around the world to follow America’s lead. In fact, the United Nations enacted the Paris Agreement on climate change on Earth Day in 2016 (Earth Day Network). 

Today, we must continue to pursue the goal of subduing the Earth by controlling our behavior and finding new ways to sustain ourselves while limiting the damage we cause to the planet. More efficient farming and dietary practices, fossil fuel replacement, new energy sources, and legislative action can be taken to limit the damage to the earth’s atmosphere and the planet itself. Most importantly, humanity must understand and appreciate that God, our Gold and Silver, is ever present and involved but we too must appreciate this precious prize, “a joyful home for [you and] me ” (Hayes). 

Written by Ashley

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Works Cited

Earth Day Network. “Earth Day 2020 FAQ.” Earthday.org. https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce. “When was the First Earth Day?” National Ocean Service, 2019. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/earth-day.html.

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Walking Between Mountains: The Importance of Small Actions

From beginning to end, life is full of some pretty amazing moments: taking your first steps, making a new friend, receiving an acceptance letter, landing your first job, marrying the one you love, getting a big promotion, holding your first child or grandchild, settling into retirement, and also – a moment I recently experienced – graduating from college.

But life isn’t always these mountaintop moments, where you’re on top of the world and all possibilities, like the countless stars above, seem within just a fingertip’s reach. No, as my favorite artist, Ben Rector, puts it, “Life is not the mountain tops. It’s the walking in between.”

And what happens during these walking-in-between moments? What happens on all the days leading up that next big accomplishment? Small actions, little habits, basic routines.

These are the things that define us – the things that demonstrate who we really are. Not our finest moments, but the little things we do on the days we spend walking between mountaintops.

It was my commencement speaker Jesse Rincones, executive director of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, who got me thinking about the importance of small actions. Rather than urging the eager crowd of graduates before him to go out and take the world by storm, leave our mark, or change society for the better, Rincones simply asked that we do the little things in life to which many pay no mind.

So what are these small actions, little habits, and basic routines that we’re asked to undertake? I believe they’re different for everyone, and we should seek to discover them sooner rather than later. In the meantime, here is a list of five small actions taken by five amazing people to inspire you on your own journey of discovery.

  1. Exercising – Fred Rogers

Best known as the host of the children’s television series Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, which aired between 1968 to 2001, Fred Rogers was also a musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was a jack of all trades with a passion for creating meaningful, educational television that would personally touch the lives of children across America.

Amid all his production responsibilities, Rogers remained dedicated to one very small daily action: exercise. More specifically, he had a passion for swimming. According to The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King, “swimming was an important part of the strong sense of self-discipline [Rogers] cultivated” (317).

The concept of self-discipline was also a key theme of Roger’s program, the importance of which he sought to impart through each episode. Rogers truly believed that if children could learn the value of self-discipline and execute it daily, they would lead healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives. By practicing what he preached during the days Rogers spent walking between mountaintops, he was better poised to communicate lasting messages that changed a generation of young audience members.

  1. Writing – Anne Frank

Well-known throughout the world for her personal documentation of life during the Holocaust, Anne Frank was simply a young, Dutch-Jewish girl who lived through extraordinarily dark times. Without her dedication to the simple, daily action of writing, Frank’s honest depiction of courage in the face of Nazi persecution might never have been compiled to enlighten millions.

On April 4, 1944, Frank wrote passionately, “I want to go on living after death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving me this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me” (197). Frank did not so much walk in between mountains as she did walk towards mountains in the distance. But being wise beyond her years, she summoned the courage to hope for those mountaintop moments she knew she might never reach and remained dedicated to the simple task of writing along the way.

  1. Reading – Ben Carson

Ben Carson is currently the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, but he is perhaps better known for his pioneering career as a neurosurgeon at John Hopkins. Before entering politics, Carson became well-known across the world for performing the first successful separation of conjoined twins as well as many other groundbreaking neurological procedures.

Having grown up in a poor neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan, without a father figure and surrounded by racial prejudice, Carson became the successful man he is today because his mother, Sonya Carson, insisted he practice one small habit weekly: reading. According to Carson’s autobiography Gifted Hands, Sonya required that Carson read at least two books a week and turn in official reports to her about what he learned.

This weekly habit began as a requirement but soon developed Carson’s ambition to be the top of his class and make something extraordinary of himself. One small action turned Carson’s life around and paved roads to future mountaintop moments that would never have been possible without his passion for reading.

  1. Praying – Corrie ten Boom

Another inspirational figure from the World War II era, Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who saved the lives of nearly eight hundred Jews by hiding them with the help of her family. Ten Boom and her family were eventually caught and held in a Nazi prison and later concentration camps.

In her autobiography The Hiding Place, ten Boom writes about the many trials she and her family endured, both during their freedom as they worked to hide Jews and during their imprisonment. Despite the difficulties that ten Boom lived through, she was dedicated to daily prayer, which gave her the strength to face each day and ultimately saved her life during her internment.

Without the simple, daily action of prayer, ten Boom most likely would have lost her faith in the Lord like so many others who lived through Nazi occupation. But her willingness to go to God in times of confusion, heartache, fear, and pain sustained her through these dark valleys. Ten Boom is now considered an inspirational champion of humanitarianism revered by people around the world.

  1. Learning – Malala Yousafzai

A joint recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and the youngest laureate of this award to date, Malala Yousafzai’s name is well-known across the globe. In her memoir I Am Malala, she writes about her life growing up in Swat, Pakistan, where she advocated publicly for females’ right to education and attended school herself despite social pressures against this.

She also recounts the horrifying tale of an attempt on her life – when a member of the Taliban shot her in the head to try to silence her activism – and her determination to survive and overcome the attack.

Clearly, an unwavering determination to learn is the action that drives Yousafzai as she walks between mountains. She has experienced many mountaintop moments, both exciting and terrifying, each of them brought about by her simple but powerful dedication to the ideal that everyone deserves the right to learn.

What will you do as you walk between your mountaintop moments?

Clearly, the above is not an exhaustive list. There are plenty of small actions, little habits, and basic routines worthy of dedicating ourselves too. All we must do is be willing to find them.

Written by Meredith

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Let’s Get Personal: Writing a Profile Essay

A profile is a great type of essay to write for many reasons. Profiles focus on a particular person, place, or event, and use vivid description techniques to engage the audience. Furthermore, the subject matter usually holds personal importance to the author, so it differs from a descriptive paper in that the personal meaning is discussed and illustrated.

The Mechanics of the Essay

Mechanically, there are a few basic things to remember when writing a profile. For the introduction, you could begin with an anecdote or give background information, which will help the author give context and meaning to the paper. Following this, the writer can introduce the subject.

The body paragraphs of the profile will contain three to five key characteristics of the subject matter. Each characteristic should examine the most important qualities of the topic. There should not be vague or general statements within this paper. Each characteristic is intentional and has great detail and description involved.

The conclusion should summarize the paper and needs to have the specific characteristics restated. There should not be any new information presented in the conclusion, only things that were specifically discussed within the paper.

Practical Steps to Planning the Paper

The best place to start with this type of essay is to pick the specific person, place, or event that you will be focusing on for the paper. Following this, pick three to five important characteristics and include details. Then, go back and expand on each characteristic in order to explain the importance of each. From here, you can write, revise, and edit. Most importantly, remember to not get stressed out and just take the writing process one step at a time.

Profile Example

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“Yay, they’re here!” shouted the refugee kids in Salt, Spain. Kids of all ages gathered around as my mission’s team pulled out soccer balls, jump ropes, glitter tattoos, and other fun activities. I paused and took a second to soak in the moment. Kids from all backgrounds with different stories were happily playing on the concrete of the plaza, delighted by the games we brought. Serving in Salt and Girona, Spain, was one of the most profound trips I have gone on, and I am grateful for what I experienced: the diversity, culture, and opportunity to spread the Gospel.

The people who live in Spain come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, yet it is a place where anyone can fit in. The people are kind, friendly, and willing to help the tourists, and want them to experience their culture. I was very nervous about going to another country, especially because it was my first time out of America, but I found everyone whom I encountered personable and eager to help me figure out directions and how to pay with Euros. Furthermore, many Spaniards are eager to interact with tourists. It was such a blessing to share Bible stories in Spanish and Catalan, the official languages of Girona, Spain. Many of the Muslims and other refugees took children’s Bibles with them and brought them back to their houses.

In addition, I loved the pace of life in Spain. Every shop closes for lunch each day for an hour, and dinner is an experience in and of itself. Dinner typically begins around eight or nine and lasts until eleven or midnight. Dinnertime is one aspect of how they value family and community while eating, and it was something I came to treasure while I was visiting. Everyone reminisces about his/her day, laughs, and enjoys the community of others. I find that this is something we lack in America where everything in this country is about having fast and convenient meals, which can sometimes take away from the aspect of intentional community.

Spain is an awesome mission field because the faith is dying out there. Beautiful cathedrals are not much more than museums nowadays, and only two percent of Spaniards are Christians. It was very humbling and impactful to serve alongside the missionary family and their partners. We heard from one of the missionary kids that she was the only Christian in her entire school. She described how difficult and lonely her journey has been growing up in Spain. Yet, she was thankful for the opportunity the Lord gave her to share her faith with so many around her.

Spain will always hold a special place in my heart. From the people, the lifestyle, and the opportunity to share the hope and love of Christ, it is a neat place. I hope that I will be able to return there one day in order to serve the people of Spain more and continue the ministry that we started.

Written by Amanda

For more information on how to write a profile essay, check out our Profile Essay handout and the Quick Reference Flyer page of our website!

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The Last Speech

The name Martin Luther King Junior evokes feelings of strength, courage, and truth. It carries the legacy of a man who dedicated his life to upholding justice, equality, and liberty for all. His famous works such as the “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” and the “I Have a Dream” speech are known for their powerful and convicting personalities. However, King’s last speech is one that is rarely discussed, yet perhaps the most important one.

King was on the balcony of the motel where he was staying, about to head to dinner, but was shot and killed moments after this picture was taken. Many believe that his last speech prophesied this tragic event. Even though most Americans are only familiar with the last 60 seconds of this speech where he triumphantly declares, “I’ve been to the mountain top,” it’s the entirety of his speech that holds the real message he wanted to leave us with. It is a contemplative and reflective look upon his own life; a beautiful demonstration of the power of the Gospel complimented by fervent commandments to carry on the fight for justice.

King begins his speech by examining the perspectives through which he was able to experience life. He reveals his desire to understand the past through a hypothetical journey he takes over the course of human history. Perhaps he understood the importance of learning from the past in order the solve the problems the world faces today.

“Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, ‘If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy.'”

King speaks as though he might not be able to see the second half of the twentieth century for himself. This attitude sets the mood for the rest of his speech and leads him to pour out all kinds of wisdom, admonition, and even practical steps that could pave the way to freedom for his people. For instance, instead of riots and violent protests, he urges his listeners to use economic pressure by boycotting businesses. This, he believes, is a nonviolent way to be heard and bring about true change.

King also highlights that everything that is evil, namely racism, is a heart issue. It is due to a “sickness” that cannot be remedied by force but by perseverance, kindness, and justice. He stresses that the promise of eternal life in Christ is not an excuse to idly stand by as injustice runs rampant. He candidly states, “It’s all right to talk about ‘streets flowing with milk and honey,’ but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day.” King cared about what God cared and still cares about and recognized that true change is not possible without meeting the needs of the poor and forgotten, so that they, too, can fight for what is right.

“And you know what’s beautiful to me, is to see all of these ministers of the Gospel.”

What we can learn from all that King has said in his last speech would be too long to list, but perhaps the most important lesson is that “the issue is injustice.” His passion and unabashed forthrightness should not only inspire us but move us to fight the injustices we see in our world today. We ought to honor his words by speaking up for the voiceless and shining the light of the Gospel in this dark world. Developing “a kind of dangerous unselfishness” is essential to accomplishing this task and commencing a movement that creates a ripple effect throughout history—a movement that secures a brighter future. May we live our lives to make sure we did our part for the good of this world.

This is what King said about his life when he knew it was nearing its end, will we dare say something similar?

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Written by Kenean

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New Year: New Beat

For many Americans, the theme of the New Year is about personal development and self-care. Writers at Vitagene blog report that most American resolutions center around physical health, self-care, and finance. Whether you are meal prepping, jamming out during a ride-share, pumping iron, or getting rest and relaxation at home, this playlist will help set the right mood. Here is a compilation of songs to motivate you to be healthy, happy, and in harmony. 

Mindful Melodies

Practice mindfulness by listening to songs that inspire you to be true to yourself, believe in yourself, and be the best you can be.

Gym Grooves 

Sometimes, we just need an extra boost of energy to kick-start a great workout. Check out these tunes that get you in the groove.

Money, Money, Money, Money

As the great American R&B group, the O’jays say, “Some people got to have it, yeah, some people really need it,” but singer Jessie J argues, “It’s not about the money, money, money. We don’t need your money, money, money. We just wanna make the world dance. Forget about the price tag.” Whatever your relationship to money, enjoy the benefits it provides and give what you can to those in need. Dance, sing, and get that cha-ching, cha-ching!

Rhyme, Rhythm, Rest, and Relaxation 

Rest, rumba, read, and refresh with a few rhythmic selections. Jam to these tunes to kick off the year with sweet serendipity.

There is too much music out there to list all of my funky favorites. Browse the recommended songs and albums on your favorite music streaming service to find other tracks that suit your style. The new year can inspire you to set goals and improve your life. Use music to stay encouraged, energized, and eager to be the best version of yourself. Capture nostalgia by adding some of your favorite oldies to the playlist and sprinkle in current hits to keep things fresh. Support the motto “New Year, new me,” with a new year and a new beat.

Written by Ashley

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How You Doin’?

How are you? Wait… let me just walk past before you even have a chance to reply. How are you? Oh… now someone walks by before I GET TO REPLY. Has either of the above scenarios ever happened to you? I assume yes, unless of course, you live in complete isolation, and, in that case, this blog will not be relatable. However, for those of you still tuned in… welcome to the world of hurry! And that last comment was as genuine as you will take it! (As in, it can be haha sarcasm…or that’s funny I relate thanks.) It is not a surprise or shock that we live in an ever-changing and always-moving society. In the hustle and bustle of life, genuineness and intentionality in relationships with others, tend to suffer. It is my hope that after reading the following tips you will be well on your way to building intentional relationships with those around you.

5 Tips on Being Intentional:

  1. Schedule a meeting

No, like literally pull out your planner or calendar app and add the appointment. Make sure to actually hash out the when and where as early as possible. You and the person should both put whatever you decide upon in your agendas so that the level of priority is established. Furthermore, this allows you not only to remember, but to have peace, that you have the time set aside to really catch up. If you really want to have fun with scheduling, you could have a color-coded system to indicate who exactly you are meeting.

  1. Put the electronic device away

Technology is the killer of intentionality. Let me clarify: if you are so distracted by every beep and buzz, how much attention are you really paying to the person you set aside time to meet with? Believe it or not, the world will not collapse into oblivion if you go deviceless for an extended period. Also, by putting away a device you will be nonverbally communicating that the person you are meeting has value to you. Besides, even if the person says they don’t mind your constant checking of your phone, they will notice.

  1. Don’t overcommit

When you set up a time to meet, do not try to rush to something immediately after. The goal is to be fully intentional, not just check in a box that you met.  If you plan to show up antsy to make your next commitment, then chances are you should not have set the meeting in the first place. Only you know your schedule, so respect yourself and the other person enough to be mindful of prior commitments.

Intentional relationships are ones to treasure and should not be defeated by the busyness of the world.

  1. Find a shared passion

People typically prioritize the things they have a passion for, so why not find a shared passion in order to increase priority? It would also provide an enjoyable activity to look forward to when hanging out and increasing the likelihood of future hangouts. 

  1. Continue to check-up

After taking the time to be intentional once, don’t stop. Stay intentional and check-up on the person. Now, how often you need to catch-up is entirely up to you, but once you make the effort, keep on going.

Written by Jordan L.

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Lessons from the Writing Center

As I approach graduation and my two-year anniversary of working in the Dallas Baptist University Writing Center (UWC), I have begun to reflect on the lessons this wonderful office has taught me. When I submitted my application, I thought I knew everything there was to know about writing – academic or otherwise. Little did I know that, while I had many foundational writing skills, the UWC had much more to teach me. If you have ever wondered what being in a community of writers like this could do for you, the following lessons are worth perusing.

There is always more to learn

One of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t visit the UWC before I applied to be a consultant. As I said, I thought I already knew it all. Well, it didn’t take long after applying for me to figure out that nothing could be further from the truth. No matter how great a writer we think we are, there is always more to learn.

Any good writing center staff knows this and is trained and eager to help students at any skill level. In the collaborative model, such as my office uses, consultants help students become stronger writers rather than editing their papers for them. Students are encouraged to continually return with their papers, read them out loud to a consultant, make edits as they go, and apply the concepts discussed throughout the rest of the paper.

Believe it or not, this model is most beneficial to students who are already strong writers or, at the very least, are dedicated to developing their writing skills. This knowledge and passion for writing enables them to better engage with consultants during sessions. I didn’t understand this before applying.

For those of you who love words, this means that visiting your campus’ writing center might take some humility. But if you ever visit, I promise, your session will be so effective. For those of you who aren’t writers, there’s still good news: the perfect writer doesn’t exist. It might feel like you have an endless amount to learn, but even the most experienced writer is right there with you.

Writing is a group effort

Before I joined the UWC, I thought that writing a stellar essay, or anything for that matter, required staying cooped up in my room and grinding out page after page until my eyes crossed and my fingers ached. Research, outline, draft, edit, rewrite, repeat. Research, outline, draft, edit, rewrite, repeat. That was my model because I selfishly thought, “Without completing this tedious process on my own, how can I consider the masterpiece created truly mine?”

Then I came to the UWC and learned that masterpieces are not often created by hermits. Unlike some might have us think, the greatest writers are not brooding geniuses who lock themselves up in the mountains or on an island, searching for inspiration and the ability to say, “Look at what I created, and all by myself!” No, the most successful writers understand what I had to learn in the UWC, that we must all swallow our pride and accept that truly good writing – whether an essay, a poem, a short story, or anything – is more often the result of wonderful collaborations.

For those of you out there who love words and wish to weave them on your own, this is potentially bad news. The way I see it, you’ve got your work cut out for you. However, for those of you who hate words and wish nothing to do with them, this might come as a breath of fresh air. You don’t have to figure writing out on your own! If your school, or your job, or your own ambition requires you to understand writing – and you can bet one of them will sooner or later – then find a community of people to surround yourself with who can help you figure out writing, one page at a time. I will forever be grateful for my friends in the UWC who helped me figure out my essays, my blogs, my emails, my cover letters, one page at a time.

These are just two of the many lessons the UWC has taught me. In short, I cannot recommend highly enough that you learn the joy of writing. If you are a college student, take a leap of faith and visit your university’s writing center. If you are in any other chapter of life, find a group of people who can encourage you as you write, just like all my friends in the UWC have done for me.

Written by Meredith