Irish Reflections

We are well into the second semester. Homework and school activities are becoming more demanding. I have become pretty focused on the tasks that are ahead of me this semester. Last week, my attention was shifted when I received an email from a student that had me thinking about my summer.

I received the email from a student who is on Northwestern’s Summer of Service (SOS) team. The Summer of Service program helps students connect with and plan a trip for six to eight weeks to work with long-term missionaries in various locations. Each student can choose his or her own site to work for the summer. There are usually around 15 students on the team. Everyone prepares for SOS together, and when summer arrives, they all go to their own sites. 

The student who contacted me plans to go to the same site I was at last summer. She is hoping to go to the Dublin Christian Mission in Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin Christian Mission focuses mainly on homeless outreach in the city. As she prepares for the trip, she thought it would be a good idea to meet with me and learn a little about what to expect. As I get ready to meet with her, I have been thinking a lot about my time in Ireland and how grateful I am that Northwestern provided me with that opportunity.

Over the summer, I lived in an apartment in the middle of Dublin. The mission runs on volunteers from Ireland, but I was considered more of an intern and did some behind-the-scenes work. Four days a week I had the chance to work in the kitchen. I would help make food, mainly by peeling carrots and potatoes, and then serve it as guests came through. On Saturdays we would also open our closet, and individuals could ask for clothing or hygiene items. However, the mission goes beyond just providing for physical needs. 

I would have a chance to get a meal and sit with those who came through the building. I had multiple conversations with people every day. Some people I knew their name and would see them on almost a daily basis. Actually working in the mission allowed God to become more real to me and to work in me more than I had ever experienced before. There were days I was exhausted and grumpy and didn’t think I could have the love or patience for those that came through the building. On those days, I felt more giving and joyful to be working, and I knew it wasn’t something I had done but something that had been given to me.

Being in Ireland wasn’t all work, though. I made a lot of friends who made the experience feel more like a home than a trip. One close friend was another intern who came from California. I lived with her the entire time. It made exploring easier because I always had a buddy to go with me. 

We made a lot of friends at the church we went to. They were all from different parts of the world: France, Venezuela, England and South Africa. They took me in like I had been a part of the group for years. We would go out to eat, to the park, to the movies, and salsa dancing every Friday night. This group of people loved every person that showed up to their church and made sure they felt included the entire time. 

My time in Ireland through Summer of Service is one of my favorite memories so far. I am so thankful Northwestern has a program like Summer of Service, because without it, I don’t know if I would have ever had an experience like it. I am so excited to be able to share my experience with this student on this year’s team, and I can’t wait for her to go and experience Dublin in her own way.

Community Ties

I've been at Northwestern and lived in Orange City for a little over two years now, and my favorite thing about this town (besides the Dutch feel, of course) are the opportunities to get involved in the community. In my short time here, I've gotten so plugged in to this town and these people that it's definitely going to be hard to leave!

When I first arrived on campus in January of my freshman year, a wing-mate found out I was an elementary education major and immediately brought me to his church because they needed a Sunday school teacher for fifth and sixth graders. Around that same time, I stumbled upon a flyer from American Reformed Church here in Orange City asking for Wednesday night volunteers for their firs-t through fifth-grade youth group. Both of these volunteer opportunities have been incredible, and my Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings were quickly consumed with teaching kids about the gospel. I feel like I am a very important piece of both of these churches in town and have built some great relationships with some of the kids and adults as a result.

A great thing that the Northwestern men’s and women’s soccer teams do is help out with the Orange City Recreation Soccer program. I got involved with this because I love coaching soccer (and there was money involved for a poor college student!). I coached a couple of teams my freshman and sophomore years, and this opportunity provided me with another chance to get to know some of the kids in the community. Getting up early every Saturday is something that a lot of college kids would never choose to do, but for me and a lot of my teammates, it was well worth it because of who we were potentially impacting. It was an added bonus to be able to coach some of the kids that I already knew through youth group and Sunday school!

Being a positive impact on kids is a main reason why I want to become a teacher, and the Northwestern education department gives us many opportunities to do that as well! Every semester future teachers from Northwestern flock to the local schools for countless practicum hours. Not only do these hours prepare me to be a great teacher one day, they help me become acquainted with the local school district and the teachers and students who are in the schools every day. Again, seeing kids that I already know from youth group, Sunday school and soccer is always great during these practicums and reinforces my relationships with them.

Finally, something that came about through a practicum experience from last semester was helping out coaching a traveling seventh-grade basketball team. I got involved with this a little bit before Christmas, and it has been a ton of fun! Getting to interact with the kids at practices and tournaments on the weekends is something I look forward to every week and has really helped me focus on being a good role model as well. It is always fun to see some of the players in the Rowenhorst Student Center during the week shooting hoops and working to improve. Often times I’ll be challenged to a game of one-on-one or a three-point contest, which helps build rapport between me and the players! These kids have challenged me to be a better person and a better role model for them to look up to.

Juggling all of these opportunities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but the way they challenge me to be a good role model makes it well worth my time. In fact, the kids and adults I work with definitely have a greater impact on me than I have on them. I have become extremely attached to the Orange City community. It's a great place to live, work and study, and I am so happy I've been able to be a part of it for the past couple of years!

Life of a Religion Major

I am indeed a religion major here at Northwestern College. When you hear that, I am sure many questions go through you mind, such as; How is it? What is it like? What are the classes like? What do you want to do afterward? What are the professors like? Okay, I am sure none of those questions actually crossed your mind, but I am going to answer most of them anyway.

Last semester I only had religion classes and I have a couple this semester as well, so this year has been a religion-intensive one for sure. This has been challenging because it involves a lot of reading, writing and studying, which is different from some general education classes and business classes that I have taken before.

First off, I will say I am studying religion here with hopes to attend seminary after college and then hopefully become a chaplain in the Air Force. That has been a recent ambition, and I really would like to pursue it as a career.

I really love being a religion major for many different reasons. First of all, it is pretty fun to learn mind-blowing stuff about the Bible. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on some topics, and then I take a class and learn that I know nothing about anything.

Last semester I took a class on the Holy Spirit taught by the legend himself, Dr. Vonder Bruegge. We looked at things and topics about the Holy Spirit that have never occurred to me in the past. I was incredibly challenged by different ideas and wrote some papers on topics that really made me think. That class improved my thinking and writing immensely, and it made me a better student “scholar.”

I am also more than halfway done with a year of Greek, which has been one of the toughest experiences probably of my entire life. However, it is incredibly rewarding to learn a biblical language. It is a pretty cool feeling to pick up a Greek New Testament and somewhat understand what is there.

I owe so much credit to the religion professors here at Northwestern. They are truly the best. I learned a ton about heaven and hell from Dr. Andres last semester, and Dr. Mead continues to throw incredible knowledge at me. They are also great mentors to me. All students have to take at least two religion courses here at Northwestern. They are incredible courses and will wrinkle your brain daily.

So yes, the majority of this was me just bragging about the religion department here (and just to clarify, no religion professor paid me to do this). The cool thing about Northwestern is that I know any student could write something similar bragging about their own department. I have had such an amazing experience learning about the Bible, and I still have a year and a half left.

** The picture was me during probably the busiest week of my college career. This is me hoping that having a lot of books in front of me will just make me smarter without actually reading them.    

Back At It

            Christmas break has passed and second semester is full swing. Crazy to think that I’m already halfway done with my freshman year of college! The first three weeks back on campus have been an awesome adventure already—I’d love to tell you about it!

            The first day back consisted of multiple bro-hugs and cheerful greetings as everyone was pumped to see each other again. It felt like a massive family reunion! As classes were in full swing, some buddies and I were tackling "Syllabus Week" one day at a time. While cranking out the semester’s first assignment, one of my mentors on campus reached out to me and asked if I wanted to go to Minnesota for a mini getaway. My response? “Heck, yeah!” So, naturally, some close friends and I packed up a backpack of clothes and headed north. The weekend consisted of hanging out in a cabin all weekend and diving into the Word together. Wow, what an awesome opportunity it was to grow with my Northwestern brothers and sisters! As the weekend came to an end, we were all pumped to be back on campus together. The following week was full of late-night talks, coffee intertwined with homework, and eating meals together—serving as a college-family away from our home-families!

            As the second weekend approached, we all wanted to do something again together. After a few minutes of brainstorming, we were reminded of the joy of just hopping into a car and traveling together, so that’s what we decided we’d do again. Some buddies and I packed up one of the guys’ maroon-colored, leather-seated van and hit the road. We decided to go north again—Minneapolis it was! On the way, we snagged some tickets online to an NBA game and set aside a few hours to hit up the Mall of America. The spontaneity of the trip made it that much greater! Just a few college dudes hanging out and exploring together. From rap battles to endless laughter, the weekend was full of genuine brotherhood and joy.

            I tell the experiences of these first couple of weeks back on campus for one reason: to share about how awesome college is! Very rarely is there a time in life where you’ll have a test at 11 a.m. on Friday and be on a road trip with friends by 3 p.m. that very day. Hardly do you ever get to just go somewhere and not think twice about it. Better yet, doing it all with some of your closest friends! This is the best part about college. Simply doing life with people and soaking up each moment is so special. Along with the lessons learned within the classroom, experiencing life with people is the most formative part of these four years.

            With all of this said, the start of my second semester of college has been a blast. Good people, much learning, and unique experiences have been at the forefront of the experience thus far. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to indulge in the joy that is college. I'm pumped to see what this second semester has in store and look forward to sharing the journey with all of you!

Dorm Life 101

I've gotta say, I love life in the dorms. On a scale from one to ten, I'd give it a twelve. I love it so much that today I'm dedicating my post directly to Fern Smith Hall, my home. 

Disclaimer: I'm getting married this summer! (Ahhh! All the feels.) That means this is my last semester living on campus. Choosing to get married in college, my fiance and I knew there were a few things we'd have to give up. One of those things was dorm life. Though I am beyond excited to begin life with my soon-to-be-husband, there will be a part of me that will miss living on campus. 

In honor of my last semester in Fern Smith Hall, I'd like to share with you why I have loved living in the dorms so much: 

Your best-buds live right next door. (Give or take a few flights of stairs.) This means that you can walk over any time you want to ask for help with homework, to make plans for lunch, or to simply share about your day. And you don't even have to brave the elements to get there! (This is especially nice in the winter.) 

There's always someone to talk to. With anywhere from 18 to 28 residents living on each wing, there's a pretty good chance that you'll never be the only one in the dorm at any given time. 

Two words: game night. I grew up with one brother, meaning our game selection was often limited. College, however, is a little different. With so many willing participants living around you, the game selections are endless! A recent favorite on my wing is Ticket to Ride. 

Wing dinner. Tuesday night is technically 'wing dinner' on my wing, but realistically, any given night could turn into wing dinner. Around 5 each night, whoever's on the wing at that time will go down to the caf together to eat. Living in the dorm practically guarantees a dinner buddy. 

Naps between class. What happens when you've got an hour between classes? You go to the library to do some homework of course! OR you walk across the street and take a nap because you live so close! (There are days in which this is a huge blessing.) 

Late-night chats. Any given night, any time of the night. 

Tooth-brush brushing parties! Jammin' out with your roomie? Good times. Jammin' out with your roomie while brushing your teeth? Great times. 

D-groups. Also known as discipleship groups--a time of prayer and study of Scripture with whoever on the wing would like to join. Last week my roomie pulled out her guitar and we added a time of worship to our evening. 

If anyone were to ask me, "Should I live in the dorm?" I would respond with an resounding "YES!"

I've met some of my best friends in the dorms. I've shared many moments of both laughter and tears. It was actually my first overnight in the dorm that brought me here. Senior year of high school, after only a night on campus, I knew that I wanted to go to NWC. Flash forward to now, with three semesters on campus, I know with confidence that I made the right choice.

People / End of Semester / College

My buddy Ben and I grabbing coffee at the notorious Old Factory Coffee Shop

My buddy Ben and I grabbing coffee at the notorious Old Factory Coffee Shop

            As with any college student, the business of “doing stuff” tends to sneak into our daily lives. With this first semester of the school year coming to an end, papers and tests seem to pick up. The daunting monster of Finals is the one thing standing in between us and Christmas break. It’s almost as if the fluffy, glistening snow that is eloquently covering our surroundings is overshadowed by the infinite white sheets of notes that we’ve scribbled down. Within the journey of either trying to snag a few “A’s” or to simply survive a seemingly inescapable course, the best part about college steps into it all: the people.

            My first semester in college has served as a time to simply grow closer to people. Their stories, goofy tendencies, ingenious minds, and inspiring aspirations. Their food preferences, movie choices, activity creations, and insane ideas. These are just a few of the things that people have taught me this semester. I absolutely dig it. People are awesome.

            Here at Northwestern, dorm life is a lot like the cool kid at the party: always making people laugh, dance, share their emotions, and even do something crazy. In my biased opinion, I like to claim that I have the coolest hallway out there. The dudes around me are all awesomely different. A stellar football player, a League of Legends champion, and a natural comedian serve as the type of guys that I get to live alongside. They’re a huge blessing. As 10-page papers and intense tests fill our schedules, hangout sessions in coffee shops and late-night talks seem to be the extra lift we all need.

            Recently my hallway participated in a campus event known as “Coly Christmas.” Coly is the all-male dorm that I claim to be my “home away from home.” Each hallway decorates and prepares multiple Christmas-themed skits for the student-body to witness. Taking place on a Monday night, Coly Christmas serves as a holiday-filled study break for people on campus to take advantage of. My hallway had a 6’10” baby Jesus, a shout out to Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe,” a reenactment of “Baby, It’s Coly Outside,” and the plot-twisting victory of Grandma over the Reindeer. Taking a break from the 7-page paper that was due the next day was well worth it, to say the least!

            Last week a buddy of mine, Ben, reached out to me and we set up a little coffee shop get-together. It was extremely uplifting. Sitting underneath a mural with “Coffee. Community. Conversation” artfully painted across the top, Ben taught me more about life than he’ll ever know. In the midst of a final paper that he and I had to knock out for our Youth Ministry class, we took a break from all of the business. We laughed. We lamented. We shared. In his unique, young wisdom, my dude Ben reminded me about the truth behind God’s grace and guidance. All in all, the Cup-of-Joe time that Ben and I shared reminded me that nothing matches our time with people.

            Stemming off of the coffee shop goodness, my resident assistant, Marcus, has been one of the most influential people in my college experience thus far. Marcus is the type of dude who invites you into his room at 3 AM to talk about life. He makes the guys on our floor fresh pour-over coffee out of his homemade barista bar and provides the best chips and salsa we’ve ever had. As a freshman in college who is navigating through deep learning experiences, Marcus has served as a prime example of what it looks like to live a life devoted to God. His willingness to listen to people’s stories and to walk alongside them is a life-changer for me and all around him. He’s taught me and so many people to take heart in the uniqueness that is “college.” There will never be a time in our lives where we have deep talks with a handful of guys until 4 AM and then have a test at 8 AM. It is within these moments of “college” that the people make it so great. Embrace it. Hold onto it. Grow in it. College.

 

The Three S's

As I was reflecting on the multiple audibles that life has caused me to make, I found myself laughing at how easy it is for me to miss the awesome things that God has placed right in front of me. To paint a clearer picture for you, imagine going up for a game-winning jump shot in basketball and you sink it. However, you’re upset because in the midst of everyone celebrating the victory, you’re stuck in the mindset of the elsewhere. You’re wishing that your glamorized jumper wasn’t in the 3 on 3 pickup game that you’re currently balling out in. Rather, you wish it was in game 7 of the NBA finals—elsewhere than the now. Isn’t that a bit ridiculous? No doubt! As crazy as it may seem, this has been an easy trap for me to fall into as a freshman in college. With that, I’ve been reflecting on this reality and I’ve learned three sweet breakthroughs that I felt compelled to share with y’all. Hope it relates to your current situation and maybe even helps clear some things up!

1.     See the Simple Things

Our culture naturally teaches us to want more. To be elsewhere. We live in a constantly-moving society that is focused on what’s next. To pull from Zygmunt Bauman’s Globalization: The Human Consequences, “wherever we happen to be at the moment, we cannot help knowing that we could be elsewhere, so there is less and less reason to stay anywhere in particular.” Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s good and extremely natural to have visions. It’s also an awesome form of obedience to Christ when we follow His call for us to “go”. But, what if that “go” actually means to be present? What if we flip our culture upside down and simply be in the here and now? It’s been my experience that when I let go of the “what if’s” and begin to focus on the “here nows”, I start to see the simple things. God begins to stir my heart for what stirs His—the now. I’m learning that the college life, even in its busyness, is made up of a lot of things simple. From pouring a good cup of coffee and studying with a good buddy to taking all of the furniture out of your RA’s room to simply hearing someone’s life story, it’s the little things that are what make the nows…well now.

2.     Seek Wisdom

Yooo I get it! You’re in college and either 1) you’re too cool for advice or 2) you don’t have time for a pick-me-up. I’ve been there done that. Because of my blind desire to be elsewhere, I often think that I can get “there” based upon what I know about my life. As much as the truth that you know yourself better than anyone reigns true, so does the reality that there are potential mentors out there that know more about life than you. As it says in Job 12:12, “wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in the length of days.” This has been a game changing reminder for me. Just the other day I was getting tossed around by life’s undercuts, so after talking with the Lord, I reached out to an old youth leader of mine. He directed me to seek where Jesus has me now and to embrace the people, opportunities, and even hardships that are currently present today.

 

3.     Surrender to His Truth

This might sound ridiculously churchy and borderline unhelpful but stick with me. As a rookie in this whole college game, I’ve quickly learned that it’s a blast. Few things compare to playing a pickup game with some buddies against your professors and then being in their class an hour later. On the flip side, it’s a rocky road trying to be a “transforming you” in college. You’re trying to adjust to new friends, different food from your Mama’s, and the man/woman of God that you’re becoming. It becomes a trend for you to desire to be someone/something so in turn you low key (had to) lose sight of who you truly are. Reflecting upon the idea of my constant desire to be elsewhere, I realized I need to get back to His Truth about me. It hit me that who I am in Christ is who I am today, not who I will be tomorrow. Coming back to the basics, Paul reminds you, the child of God, that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8). This a profoundly uplifting reality. By surrendering to the truth that Jesus has your back and freely extended you grace on the Cross, you’re encouraged to know that you don’t have to be focused on the elsewhere. Rather, you’re catapulted to simply be in what is the now because He knows what He’s doing and has you where you are for a reason.

Finding the Fun

These last few weeks have been the academic lull of my semester (which doesn’t always happen as a senior or as a nursing student, so it’s been quite the special time).  Midterms were taken, papers were turned in.  But final projects and exams aren’t quite here yet!

This allows me to have some extra time away from the books and away from the library.  I’ve been able to catch up on my list of supper dates and enjoy the warm November weather.  Hammocking in the trees after a day full of classes is one of my favorite ways to relax.

Outdoor activities are at their prime in this fall season.  This last week, my friend and I grabbed our adult coloring books and found a central location on campus to spread our blanket on the green grass among the few dandelions that were confused on their season.  Choosing a commonly treaded area brought many friends walking past who stopped for a quick chat.  Orange City residents walk their dogs through campus and aren’t afraid of a few college kids who need their puppy fix.  Even after three years of being here, the cohesiveness of this community continues to impress me.

My last two Saturdays have consisted of hunkering down in the well-known Old Factory Coffee Shop two blocks off campus.  My friends and I have grabbed our favorite warm caffeinated beverages – caramel macchiato, please – and snagged a booth.  Simply being with others is something that I have learned to love and value in my last few years in this place.

The only thing to make an afternoon of coffee and conversation better is a good board game.  Some of our favorites are Settler’s of Catan, Anomia, Pandemic, or Scrabble, but the games that bring out everyone’s competitive side are my favorite.  Laughs are shared and frustration is expressed over buying sheep and rolling 7’s, or having no place for the Q without the U.

Fall is probably my favorite season on campus because of the variety of fun activities it brings with it.  I can’t forget to mention the apple orchard and corn maze trips as well as riding the tandem bikes through town or walking on the Puddle Jumper trail.  Finding fun in Northwestern’s community is not so daunting when surrounded by friends up for the same challenge!

My Visit at Western Seminary

This weekend I had the opportunity to travel with a group of students from Northwestern to visit Western Seminary in Holland, Michigan. 

At first I wasn't planning to go. I knew I would miss two days of school (including a test), I had projects to work on, and I was scheduled as one of the on-duty RAs for the weekend. But then the test was moved and a gracious soul said she'd cover the late night on-duty rounds for me. So I made the decision to tag along. And I'm so very glad that I did. 

There were only a few of us that went, so our group was pretty small. We had four students along and one professor. Why were we invited to go? Well, the five of us (yes, my professor included) are part of a slightly larger discern group on campus. What exactly are we trying to discern? The group was established for students like myself who have considered ministry and are trying to navigate what God has called them to. So naturally, we made the trip to Western Theological Seminary. 

We left campus on Saturday morning and returned Tuesday evening. During that time, we met with Western's President, Tim Brown, for pizza. We explored downtown Holland. We attended a favorite church of mine known as Pillar. We ate way too much delicious food. (Ever heard of Five Guys? Burgers and fries? I hadn't, but oh my goodness. Delish.) And we attended the Bast Preaching Festival on Monday. 

What I didn't realize going into the trip was how many people I would know at the preaching conference! Family friends, area pastors, you name it. So many connections from so many different places. At the conference I had the opportunity to listen to several pastors speak, both in main sessions and break-out seminars. It was helpful for me to hear different pastors share their process of writing a sermon, what works best for them and what challenges them. I really wish I had taken more notes, there was so much valuable information to soak in. 

One of my biggest takeaways regards the three marks of effective preaching: deeply engaging scripture, conveying the urgency of the gospel, and exhorting change and transformation. And that's really something to think about. How might a sermon bring about both individual and collective change? How might we seek to align lives with the gospel? 

It was encouraging for me to hear the passion within these pastors, a passion to share the gospel with others. I heard from both men and women. And I will say that it's always encouraging to hear of women who faithfully follow their call to ministry. The gospel is to be shared by all, for all. 

So many good things happened on this trip. Not near enough photos were taken. Not near enough description was given in my overview.

I'm thankful for my time in Holland and I'm very thankful for those who encouraged me to go along. Holland is a beautiful place full of beautiful people, and I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to visit. I certainly wouldn't complain if I were to find myself in Holland one day. We shall see where the Lord leads and what the future holds. 

Finding a Home at Northwestern

Shalom fellow and future Raiders! My name is Nick Heider, and I am a junior elementary education major from Humboldt, Iowa. This is my first blog post, so it’s fitting for me to tell you how excited I am to share with you some of my experiences here at Northwestern. This place has impacted my life in such an amazing way that can’t really be put into words, and I love being able to share with people how much Northwestern means to me. I truly believe that God put me where I am for a reason, and I would love to share with you how I ended up here!

In high school, Northwestern really wasn’t on my radar of colleges to go to, and I chose to attend a different school. After about one month, I realized that the school wasn’t for me and I needed to transfer. It seemed like every time the thought of transferring came to mind, something related to Northwestern did also. Whether it was my mom mentioning it, seeing an ad on the Internet, or finding my Northwestern shirt from basketball camp, I now understand how much of a role God played in this. Eventually I decided to make a visit to Orange City, and the minute I stepped on campus, I absolutely loved everything about it. I became a Raider in January of my freshman year and could not be happier with my decision!

Fast forward three semesters to the beginning of my junior year …

I think I blinked a few times and the calendar went from early August to the beginning of November. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and time is definitely flying right now! It seems like yesterday I was arriving on campus for RA training and soccer camp.

Being an RA and playing on the soccer team are just two of Northwestern’s many great opportunities that come with being a student here. I also play the drums on the Praise & Worship team, which puts on a student-led worship service every Sunday night in the chapel, and I'm a sportswriter for The Beacon, Northwestern’s student newspaper. In addition to these, I was also given the opportunity to lead a Spring Service Project in March to Bluefields, Nicaragua, a place that captured my heart last spring break. I feel incredibly blessed to go to a school that provides me with these opportunities!

To sum this all up, I could not be happier with Northwestern, and if you are a prospective student reading this, it is my prayer that you find yourself at a college that you can say the same about, whether that’s at Northwestern or not. I am very excited to get to share some of my experiences of everything from my home in Colenbrander Hall to the soccer field and in the classroom!

This Is It

As I sat at my desk and looked at a picture of my parents and me during senior night, I began to reflect upon that day. I thought about how my coach, Ben Karnish, said a prayer that brought me to tears. During part of his prayer he mentioned that the seniors have had a tough journey inside as well as outside of soccer. He also encouraged the underclassmen to play for the seniors because they have worked so hard. Some of his words really hit me as I realized that this road hasn't been an easy road these past 4 years.

I began to reflect and see that this is it. I am a senior and my soccer season is coming to a close. I began to think about how I've been playing this game for 15 years, since I was six years old.  I then thought about the moment I prayed during the national anthem and began to cry just thanking God for getting me this far.

As I reflected upon these moments the song "10,000 Reasons" started playing on my computer. I started to cry even more as I remembered that this very song is the same song I sang on the day of my graduation in high school. This was just 4 years ago. To think that I was a senior in high school and now a senior in college amazes me as I look back on this journey.

This journey has been rough, challenging, frustrating, overwhelming, rewarding, touching, but overall beautiful as I think of the moments where I felt like I was alone, but God showed me that I am never alone. As I think of the moments I felt like no one loved me on my birthday and was reminded through people, through Praise and Worship, through friends, through family, that Jesus loves me. It is His love that surpasses every other love in this world. As I began to reflect on the times that I struggled in my mind with internal, mental battles, and realized that God sent people in my life for such a time as this to remind me that I am an overcomer and I need to fight in the spirit.

God has showed me through His Holy Spirit that the enemy has been trying to put me down, take my joy, my confidence, my peace, myself, my voice, my mind, and my purpose, but God has continued to push me, fight for me, strengthen me, and speak to me. He has taught me that there are gifts, words, stories in me, that I need to share even though it will be uncomfortable.

It just makes me think that if this 4 years has shaped me significantly to become the woman I am today, then I believe greater is coming. God's not through with me. I know that He will use me in the classroom, in ministry, through my poems, throughout my life. I know that this time is only for a season, but I am so grateful for Northwestern and the lessons this place has taught me. I am forever thankful that God has been here through it all because I don't know what I would've done without Him by my side each of everyday. He is such a good good Father!

 

Building Community over Plastic

Over the past few months, a new hobby/sport has not only caught my eye but has been infiltrating my free time more and more. That is the sport of disc golf. Many know it by frisbee golf, or frolf. I also refer to it as "throwing some plastic."

For those unfamiliar, disc golf is pretty much the same concept as regular golf, except you throw discs at baskets instead. The sport is challenging yet rewarding, because you can see little improvements here and there that just keep you wanting to play more and more.

Since coming to campus, I have tried to go whenever I possibly can. With a few different courses not too far away, going after class started to become a habit. The more I played and talked about it, the more I realized that there were many guys who loved to chuck some plastic as well!

Slowly but surely, I was creating a little network of guys that I would go disc with. Some people only use one disc on the course, while others, like me, carry a bag full of discs. Regardless of the number of discs or skill level, we go and have a blast.

We soon discovered that there is a nice 18-hole course in Le Mars, Iowa, which is only a hop, skip and half jump away! But wait, there’s more. There is also a beloved Taco Bell in the same town. So now we do what I like to call the double trouble TBDG (Taco Bell Disc Golf) adventure.

Some guys and I load up my '99 Corolla and head down to Le Mars. We get 18, sometimes 36, holes of disc in. Then we head down to the ‘ole Taco Bell and feast. Not only is it satisfying to the max, but it builds the relationships like non other. I have always said the best friend moments come from sharing a beefy 5-layer burrito.

It is things like that that make this campus so special. I can ask someone to do something like that with me, and without hesitation people are down. But it isn’t just disc golf. It could be going to Walmart to buy a bunch of fish for my 36-gallon tank in my dorm room, or it could be playing cards or board games.

Needless to say, dull moments do not happen very often in my life in the North Suites. This year I have had the awesome opportunity to be the RA on the second floor. It has been a great opportunity to be the leader for our floor, and it has been an amazing experience so far.

Sadly, disc golf season is coming to an end as the winter is coming. Luckily that means it is the start of ping pong season. Time to round up some guys for a tournament! 

Changin' like the Fall Leaves

Captured this radically colored tree outside of Northwestern’s Christ Chapel

Captured this radically colored tree outside of Northwestern’s Christ Chapel

What’s up, everyone. My name is Justin Hullman, and I’m a freshman from Lincoln, Nebraska (“ROOTS” as my fellow soccer dudes would shout out). My time at Northwestern has been eventful, to say the least. Deep-rooted friendships, challenging classes and endless opportunities have been in full effect thus far. The tests are my favorite part, of course, but I want to share with you guys how much of an adventure it’s been exploring all three of these avenues as a freshman at Northwestern.

Like the changing leaves of fall (check out the picture attached), my transition into college has been quite similar. Graduating from a large public high school, I was aware that Northwestern was going to be a huge adjustment for me. From the familiarity of my day-to-day lifestyle back home, to sharing a community bathroom with 20 other college guys, I’ve definitely had to adjust to this unique season of life. As an autumn leaf-colored tree retains its green leaves until the final transition into the fall, I also have bits of home with me that have catapulted me to embrace the newness of college. I’ve always been a people-kind-of-guy, so I was stoked to come to NWC and do life alongside so many people. With that comes the transition—which can be somewhat tough, no lie.

Oh man, but let me tell you. The people are what make this giant switch from one season of life to the next so awesome. Living in Coly (the oldest all-male dorm on campus) has brought about spontaneous “what are the odds” situations and many late-night talks. Listening to people’s stories and how God is at work in their lives is what I’ve determined to be one of the coolest gifts God gives us. Being a Red Raider in general welcomes you into a vibrant community that’s all about facing the valleys and mountaintops that life brings. I have a family here, and I’m so humbled to be able to say that.

Growing up, I always had a passion for school. Don’t ask me how it happened because, to be honest, I couldn’t even tell you. In the tail-end of high school, God called me to pursue pastoral ministry. Having a vision to serve within an inner-city church post-college, I entered into NWC as a religion major. With hopes that God would rock my world with the stuff I’d learn from my top-notch professors, it’s safe to say that I totally underestimated His answer to those desires.

In the classroom I’ve learned about the effects that mass media has on society, and I’ve been diving deep into the Old Testament. My learning has also been able to travel. Yes, you read that right! A few weeks ago my youth ministry class and I took a trip down to Kansas City and listened to the author of one of our books speak at a conference. We couldn’t just do only that, of course, so we snagged some BBQ and jammed out to live jazz music! Experiences as such with my classmates/professors have been examples of how special studying at NWC truly is.

While looking at colleges, finances were one of my concerns, so I contacted Northwestern and began asking what I could do to make It work. The Lord continued to write His story for my life and presented many open doors to me. I made the choice to attend NWC over a handful of other schools, and it’s proven to be the right call.

The family here has welcomed me with open arms and has already brought about so many opportunities to thrive. One of the activities that I’m plugged into is that I’m on the Red Raiders men’s soccer team. Few things compare to playing the sport you love with a group of brothers you’d do anything for. I’ve learned so much, not only about soccer, but also about how to be a man of God who lives with integrity, character and devotion. Another amazing opportunity I’ve been blessed with is that I’m in a “spiritual multiplication” group with a group of fellow NWC guys. We meet once a week and discuss how we can share the love of Christ to others around us. As iron sharpens iron, we’ve been able to sharpen each other’s faith. As a freshman, I couldn’t ask for a more complete set of opportunities!

If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking around and reading my first ever blog. I’m a rookie in more ways than one, so my hope is that you at least learned one thing from this ramble of mine: God is good all the time, and all the time God is good—even as you transition from one season of life to the next.

The Perks of Being an RA

I have officially been a Resident Assistant in Fern Smith Hall for just around 6 weeks now...and I am loving it! 

Actually though, I get PAID to live life with the women on my wing. We share meals together, watch movies together, laugh together, share stories with one another, and talk out the stresses in our lives together. Yes, I'll admit there are responsibilities to being an RA that aren't always the most exciting endeavors, but the bulk of what I do daily is simply living and interacting with the residents on my wing. These women I get to live with are my Third South family.

It's so crazy thinking back to freshmen move-in day. I knew nothing about the residents on my wing. They knew nothing about me. They didn't know exactly what would await them once our upperclassmen arrived back on the wing. Let me tell you, my wing has got some character. We've got some noise, laughter, and lots and lots of character. Drop by sometime, you'll see (and hear) what I mean. 

As I've thought back on the past few weeks, I've realized how thankful I am for the residents on my wing and the memories we've shared. So in honor of the joy I have experienced thus far, I present to you the perks of being an RA:

1. Movie nights. Lots and lots of movie nights. Movies on Friday nights, movies on Saturday nights. Movies on Movie Mondays. (Maybe we should get out more often.) 

2. Wing dinner. Wing dinner happens every Tuesday night in the caf. The first night we had wing dinner, so many women were available to come that we had to pull a few tables together to fit everyone. What I love about wing dinners is that it's a time set aside in which the residents of Third South can come together and share a meal together. 

3. My glorious microwave. The only microwave on each wing is located in the RA's room. (Oh hey, that's my room!) What I love about the microwave is that it brings people into my room. On the nights when I'm a hermit crab typing up an essay in my room, residents come in to make popcorn, mac 'n cheese, soup...you name it. It's an opportunity for me to connect with a few of the women on my wing, if only for just a few minutes. 

4. Communication. What I greatly appreciate is when the women on my wing take the initiative to come and talk with me. Whether it's something that needs to be addressed, or it's a quick story about their day. I love when that communication is shared. 

5. Support. It has been beautiful for me to witness the support the women of my wing have given to one another, and also to myself. My upperclassmen are supportive in every way possible of my role as an RA, they encourage the wing, and they provide much-appreciated wisdom. No one expects me to have it all together all the time, because let's be real, I'm human. They understand that some days are stressful. They understand that we're all broken, and that together we have the ability to lift one another up.

6. Independence. Amen. These ladies are independent. They know I'm here to support them, but they're also willing to take a whack at their problems and take charge of the situation. For that, I'm extremely grateful. 

7. Respect. Living with 18 other women is not always the easiest thing to do. We have four toilet stalls and three showers to share. But the women on my wing do it without complaining. They respect one another's space and respect the fact that we do, in fact, have to clean up after ourselves.

8. Laughter. I love laughing. A lot, I really do. There has not been a single day that has gone by in which no laughter has been shared on the wing. Even if I'm stressed by schoolwork, or whatever it may be, laughter always seems to dissipate the problem and ease my worries. 

In no way do these eight perks begin to sum up the amazing memories I've experienced with my wing, but hopefully they give you an idea of how awesome my job really is. Here's to the rest of the school year. I can't wait for all that's ahead. 

Hello to Hell Week

From my last 120s on the track at 6am, to my last time bonding during hell week with such an awesome group of girls, I feel so blessed to be a part of the Northwestern women's soccer team. This year has been by far my favorite year as a soccer player. Though it's been a tough journey these past few years, I am grateful for this team.

During hell week we took one day to get off of campus and bond as a group. I heard we were going camping, so I thought in my head, "Lord Jesus, I can't do this." The bugs, tents, and dirt just aren't for me. 

Before the trip, Coach Karnish decided to tell the whole team we had to compete for our cabins. Whoever lost in laser tag had to sleep in the tents. The winners got to sleep in cabins. I just thought to myself, "This is not happening." So we went laser tagging at this huge outdoor facility with our goggles and epic guns.

As the day went by, I thought I was doing pretty good. I stayed away from everybody and tried my best not to die. It wasn't until going up stairs to the indoor glow room that they nailed me (aka the 5 freshman/Karnish). 

Long story short, I unfortunately didn't make the cut. So me and five other girls had to sleep in a tent. I thought to myself, "Maybe this won't be too bad after all." So we did what we knew, with no directions at all, and me and about 8 other girls put up this tent. As I looked at it, I tilted my head and thought, "This tent looks crooked." We did what anybody would've done, we left it alone, realizing the next morning that the whole tent looked like it was falling. 

That night, I remember sleeping on a slant thinking it was going to pour down rain. I was freaking out. Even though I heard so much noise that night, I remember it distinctly because I had one of the best conversations I have ever had with soccer girls. We went from get-to-know-you surface questions to questions that hit people deep. We laughed, some cried, but we had a good time overall. I am thankful for that night as I thought to myself, "Building that tent and bonding with my team far outweighed my thoughts about camping, and for that, I am truly grateful." 

Greecey Summer

              Here I am back in Orange City, trying to get into the swing of things once again. Classes are in session and they are going quite well so far, but I find myself reminiscing a lot about the summer. I had the opportunity to travel to Greece for three weeks in May and June with nine other Northwestern students and Professor Vonder Bruegge.

              Northwestern has a summer study abroad program that allows students to travel to different countries. This trip was associated with the Honors Program, in which we studied and learned about Greece by traveling there. Each student in the class came from different majors. The reason we went to Greece was because it was home to the start of so many different disciplines, and most all of us could find and apply our major to a certain site in Greece.

              We traveled all over the country and saw a lot—and I mean a lot—of old stuff. I don't think I truly realized the concept of old until I visited Greece. We saw pottery that was dated around 3,000 years ago, which is pretty dang old. Professor Vonder Bruegge was telling us about a column that fell, recently, that once stood tall to support the Temple of Zeus. When he said recently, he meant 300 years ago. That blew my mind! However, when we are talking about ancient Greek history, 300 years is a bat of an eye. 

              We each studied a site in preparation for the trip, and when we got there, we were the “tour guide” for the day. When we got to my site, which was in Delphi, I have never nerded out academically more in my entire life than I did in that moment. When you see an ancient site in person that you researched in depth, it is one of the most fulfilling moments ever. It was so incredible showing people around a site that I felt like I knew in detail, even though I had never actually been there before.

              I have been saving a very important detail about my trip until now. Of course, it is the food. When talking about Greek food, the gyro is the go to. I thought I had had some pretty good gyros here in America, but boy, did Greece take it to the next level! For those who are not aware, a gyro is a pita with either pork or chicken, tomato, tzatziki, onions and french fries all wrapped up in all of its goodness. Over the course of three weeks, I no doubt had at least 50 of them. 

              On the spiritual side, we visited an evangelical church, and what an experience that was. It was, of course, in Greek, but there were headphones that translated it into English. This experience was life changing because I was always told that there is a global church, which I knew was absolutely true, but once I traveled thousands of miles and experienced it firsthand, it made it so much more meaningful.

              This trip was a trip of a lifetime and has so much more meat in it that I simply can’t unpack in one blog. To put it simply, it was one that challenged me in many ways and made me step outside my comfort zone and try new things. 

It's Okay To Be A Little Stressed Out

Fall semester of the 2016-17 academic year has officially begun! Students are on campus, classes have started, and due dates have been given.

For many, the beginning of each school year is an exciting time. Friends move back onto campus, reunions take place, and great conversations occur. New friendships are made, new opportunities arise, and many new experiences are had. 

But the beginning of a new year can also be stressful. I'm discovering it can very well be both exciting and stressful at the same time.

So to everyone who is stressed or overwhelmed, I want you to know it's okay. You're not alone.

It seems that all at once, everything begins. Classes get going, extracurricular practices are held, on-campus work-study starts, events are scheduled, and all these previous commitments you made start to rise back to the surface. 

Some students jump from hectic and busy summers right into the school year, and that can be stressful. Some students come to campus from relaxing summers and find the transition back to college to be a little overwhelming. Some students are living away from home for the first time; though they've said their goodbyes to family and friends back home, that doesn't make it any easier. Some students are dealing with really tough issues, and the thought of adding homework to that already large load seems to accentuate the present stress.

Wherever you land on the spectrum from at peace to stressed out, it's okay. I can guarantee you there are several others on campus with the same kind of feelings as you.

Me? I'm stressed out. But I've done this thing before. I know it will all work out.

Today marks the beginning of my sophomore year. I'm excited for so much this year, but I've got to admit that right now I'm a little stressed out. 

Looking at the grand scheme of the whole semester's work and all of my commitments can be overwhelming. The trick is to take it all one day at a time. Take each assignment, each commitment, and each practice one at a time. Take care of yourself, sleep, and know that you'll get the hang of things soon enough.

It might take time, but eventually you'll realize that yeah, you've got this.

You've got this, and you've got the whole campus community walking right beside you.

What to Expect Freshman Year

So it’s your first year of college, huh? You’ve come to the right place.

This time last year I was in the same boat as you. I knew what dorm I’d be living in, what my class schedule looked like, and who my roommate would be. (Hadn’t met her yet, but we’d talked quite a bit over Facebook.) We were both excited, but also a little nervous. We had hopes for the year, hopes for friendships and new experiences, but there were also a few things we were unsure of.

I knew quite a few people going into college; my roommate only knew me.  I don’t think either of us had any idea of the amazing relationships God had in store.

I wondered what classes would be like, who I would meet, and what community ACTUALLY looked like at Northwestern. Growing up in Orange City, I had formed for myself an idea of what life at NWC was like. But let me tell you, there’s a big difference between observing something and actually experiencing it.

If this fall will be your first semester on campus, get excited!

College very well may be one of the best experiences of your life. Remember that college is what you make of it. Choose to make the best of the opportunities you find. Invest in those around you. Spend time in God’s Word. And remember─it’s okay to be a little nervous. College is a big transition.

If you’re wondering what to expect at Northwestern, I’m here to help you out. I can’t say your experience will be the same as mine, or that we’ll see eye to eye on everything, but I can give you a little glimpse into my perspective.

Here are a few questions you might have, and the answers I’ve found this past year:

What’s it like to have a roommate?

Honestly─it depends on the roommate. Your room is no longer just your room─it’s also their room. You’re sharing a living space with this person, so put in the effort to make it work. Don’t ignore them. Take the time to get to know them. Understand that you might not share the same interests. Your roommate may come to be your best friend, or they might not─either is fine. When it comes to having a roommate, consider the characteristics you want in a roommate and emulate those yourself. Show respect and remember that in any relationship, communication is key. Talk early about expectations and what’s okay. Set boundaries and respect those boundaries.

Having a roommate can be one of the best experiences of your life. Don’t make assumptions early on, and keep an open mind to what the year might hold.

Check out my personal blog for more tips on Getting To Know Your College Roommate.

How much homework will I have?

Again, it all depends. It depends on your class load and your chosen major. It’s a safe bet to say that most nights will be filled with homework. Some days will be filled with homework. Even some weekends will be filled with homework. But know that not every week is the same. You might have two tests one week and work non-stop, or you might have a week where you’ve got a smaller-than-normal load. Don’t stress too much the first few weeks of school. I promise, sooner or later you’ll get into the swing of things and realize that everything’s going to be okay.

If you’re anything like me, your first day of classes will be very OVERWHELMING. In college, most professors hand out the semester’s syllabus on the first day of class. This means you’ll know when tests will be given and when homework will be due for the whole semester. Opposed to high school, you’ll have access to everything, and seeing it all laid out before you might be pretty intimidating. Take a deep breath and take things as they come. Look ahead so you know what’s coming, but don’t let the bulk of it all stress you out.

Can I study AND have a job?

Yes! Last year I worked at the library circulation desk, called for admissions, wrote for the Beacon, and was a student assistant. If you’re able to manage your time, you can very easily study and find time to work. Side note: You’re going to want the money.

What does a typical day of school look like?

Most classes are every other day. If you have a class on Monday, you’ll also have it on Wednesday and Friday. These classes are typically an hour long. If you have a class on Tuesday, you’ll also meet on Thursday. These classes are typically an hour and a half long.

In high school classes ran from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. In college, however, you might not have class until 11:50 a.m., or your whole day of classes might be done by 11:50. A typical day might have around two or three classes. If you’re doing the math, you’ll realize that you’re left with a lot of extra time. Chances are there’ll be semesters where you have hours between classes to go and do what you like. (Hate to break it to ya, but it’s probably going to be homework related.) You might go to the library to study, your dorm room to sleep, or the caf to eat. Or you might just go and hang out with friends. That’s the cool thing about living on campus─you’re living with friends 24/7.

You might go the the RSC (fitness center) to work out or play ping pong with friends, you might just hang out in your dorm room, or you might play volleyball outside on the campus green.

Chapel is required?

Chapel is held consistently on Tuesdays for one hour and on Fridays for 30 minutes. This past year the college went through some changes regarding the number of chapel credits required and the number of times it would be held throughout the week.

Yes, you’re required to get 28 Christian formation credits per semester, but that’s out of 62 possible credits from chapel alone. Throughout the semester you’ll find other opportunities and events that count towards those credits. So no, you don’t have to go to chapel every time it’s held. There will be times you might just want to study for a test instead. But when you are in chapel─listen to the speaker, don’t sleep. Sing the songs, don’t text your friends. Chapel is a place to come together as a campus community to lift our praises to the Lord. Please don’t disrespect it for those who want to worship.

This year we’ll also have a new Director of Christian Formation and a new Director of Worship. From what I hear of these guys, this is gonna be a pretty great year.

Where do I even start making friends?

Chances are, you’ve had many of the same friends since elementary school. And chances are, they’re not following you to college. Some of you will come to campus knowing absolutely no one. I’m here to tell you that Northwestern is full of some pretty great people, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that you'll find someone to connect with.

Be open to conversation. Be willing to put yourself out there and say hi to someone. The first thing I told one of my best friends was that I liked her hair. By the time orientation weekend was over, I knew I had made a lifelong friend. Go to different events and meet different people. Invest in the lives of those on your wing. Be present and be yourself. You don’t have to put up a front in college.

Okay, the big question. What is community at NWC really like?

Northwestern is one big, encouraging community─and that’s really cool, but beyond that there are smaller communities within NWC that together make up the heart and soul of the campus. I found community on my wing and in my group of friends. These are the people I spend the most time with. These are the ones who pray with me and for me, who eat meals with me. These are the ones who simply walk life with me. Others might find community on their sports team or in their academic department. Some might find community in their RUSH group or in the band. What’s special is that because each community is interconnected, you will feel at home in any of them. And you can be a part of any of them. Together they make up the campus community of Northwestern.

So there you have it, my friends! A little taste of what’s ahead this coming year. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get back onto campus. As cliche as it sounds, it’s the community─and the people within that community. I can’t wait for you to experience it yourself.

 

Boker Tov

This year I have had the opportunity to take Hebrew here at Northwestern. The one and only Dr. Mead was the one to lead my classmates and me through this journey. The year has been full of learning experiences, such as learning Hebrew vocab words, grammar and translations.

The course is focused on Biblical Hebrew, so if you come up and ask me how to say something like “Happy Birthday”,  I won’t know. However, if you come up to me and ask me about Hebrew I can almost guarantee I will throw a boker tov at you, which means good morning.

Hebrew has its ups and downs for sure. One minute you're feeling super great and understanding everything and then the verbal system comes flying at you and you immediately retract to the fetal position. Overall, learning the ways of the Hebrew language has not been an easy experience, but it has been a fun one.

One of the assignments Dr. Mead had us do this second semester was to contact a local pastor in Orange City and help them on a sermon. We were to ask them to give us a passage they were going to preach on from the Old Testament. Our job was to dissect the passage and tell them everything there is to know about the original language of the section of scripture.

I reached out to Pastor Tim down at First Reformed Church. He gave me the passage from Genesis 32 about Jacob wrestling with God. So over the course of the semester I spent a lot of time diving into the passage. I went straight to the original Hebrew text and started translating. After looking in depth at the Hebrew words, seeing how they fit together and deciphering their different meanings, I went straight for the commentaries. There I found what other people have said about the Hebrew translation and compiled them together.

A couple weeks ago I received an email from Pastor Tim telling me he is preaching on the passage soon. I asked him if we could meet so I could tell him what I found to aid him in the preparation of his sermon. He then asked me if I would be willing to join him on the stage during the service to help him educate the congregation. I was rather scared at first not knowing what to think.

Even though I am a religion major and have hopes to one day be a pastor, I have never been on a stage during a service or done anything like this before. Nonetheless it was a phenomenal opportunity and I absolutely wanted to give it a try.

Early Sunday morning we had a chat and talked about how the service was going to go down. The service came and he preached for a while then called me up on stage. It ended up going well and it was such a great experience for someone wanting to go into ministry. The opportunity that Pastor Tim offered me affirmed my vocation in ministry. I am super grateful for the experience and the opportunity to be up on stage with him. 

Future RA: Day 1

I know the school year’s coming to the close, but I’ve gotta tell ya─I’m pretty pumped for next year. After spring break I found out that next year I’ll be an RA in Fern, and just this past week I finally found out what wing I’ll be living on.

Rumors had been spreading for quite some time that Thursday was “the day”, so the big reveal wasn’t a complete shock to me. We (being the future RAs) were also told to wear tennis shoes to our meeting that night for a “fun activity” [wink wink]. Emphasis on the [wink wink].

So around 9:00pm that night, all eight of the new 2016-2017 Fern RAs met up in our RD Lindsay’s apartment. We started off with a confidentiality agreement that we were told to read WORD for WORD and then sign.

I haven’t read very many confidentiality agreements in my life, so please take my critique with a grain of salt, but I had a pretty hard time following what that agreement was saying.

“This agreement signifies that the ‘employer’ who employs the ‘employee’ will provide employment to the ‘employee’should they choose to accept employment with the ‘employer’ who employs the ‘employee’”.

Something like that. I may or may not have skimmed over a few sentences. Which would explain to the other girls who were carefully reading the paper word for word why I jumped up and started running around the apartment.

At the bottom of the confidentiality agreement was the first clue to discovering our future wing. Hidden somewhere in the apartment was a piece of paper with my name on it. And I was determined to find it.

Did I find it? Sadly, no.

After a while Lindsay hinted at her coat pocket hanging on the door, and what would you know my note was in there!

The first clue led me to the circulation desk at the library where I work. [To the girl who stopped me to ask about a paper we’ve been assigned to write, I’m sorry I didn't stay around to answer all of your questions. I hope you understand.]

The second clue led me to a windmill off campus. [Off. Campus. Glad I had the tennis shoes for running.]

The third clue led me to my favorite professor’s office. My mom!

The fourth clue led me to my mailbox in the RSC.

The fifth clue led me back to my dorm room in search of my lovely roommate, who told me the next clue was hidden somewhere in our room. After finding the note in a random tennis shoe near my bed, I was sent back to my RD’s apartment─with the tennis shoe in hand.

Thus began my internal search as to which current RA the tennis shoe belonged to. 

After all of the future Fern RAs got back to the apartment, each with a shoe in hand, this year’s current RAs came in with the matching shoes. Then there were many, many [probably too many from me] screams of excitement as we realized whose wing we would be taking over.

Moment of truth here─what wing did I get? Fern 3rd South, in case you were wondering. Then we celebrated with cheesecake. Doesn’t get better than that kids. Doesn’t get better than that.