New year, new adventures

2018 is almost over. During break, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about last year while looking forward to the new challenges and adventures that 2019 will hold for me at college. Here are some of the things I’m excited about for this new year at Northwestern!

New classes: I’m taking all new classes this semester, and beginning my Spanish classes! I’m excited for the new things I’ll be learning in the new year, both in the classroom and out of it.

Praising Jesus in community: I’m really excited about the new chapel topics this semester, new speakers in Praise and Worship, new D-group activities, and ways to build Christian community with the people around me.

New theatre productions: The theatre department will be performing a comedy called “Noises Off” in a few months, but we will begin working on it in January, soon after we get back. I’m looking forward to beginning this project.

RUSH: RUSH is the annual student dance concert at NWC! I participated last year as a dancer, and am really excited to see it again this year! It is one of the most anticipated events on campus every year.

Adventures with friends: I’m ready for some late-night Walmart runs, dance parties while brushing teeth, more deep heart-to-heart conversations in the hallway, movie nights, and all cherishing all of the special moments that come from living with a community of great people.

I’m looking forward to the anticipation in the air on Friday afternoons as everyone is getting out of classes and gearing up for the weekends, looking out my window and seeing the falling snow turn our campus into a winter wonderland, Sunday morning omelets in the cafeteria after church, all of the fun activities coming up in the new year, and getting settled into my fourth semester at Northwestern.

Christmas in Raider Nation

The Christmas season is full of traditions, and Christmastime at Northwestern is no exception. We asked our Red Raider bloggers: What's your favorite Christmas tradition on campus?

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Of all the Christmas traditions here at Northwestern, I would say that Campus Christmas is my favorite. Ramaker was completely transformed with a cookie frosting station, ornament decorating, a photo booth, games and puzzles, lots of hot chocolate, and Christmas lights everywhere. It was a fun time to spend with friends before the busy week of finals. Brandon Kjonegaard

One of my favorite Christmas traditions on campus is Steggy Christmas morning. The Saturday morning before finals week, everyone in Steg gathers in the lobby, wearing their pajamas. While we eat breakfast and drink hot cocoa, a special guest comes in and reads aloud to us a children’s story, followed by the Christmas story from Luke 2. Then we play a Christmas trivia game for some prizes. It’s a really special way that we get to celebrate Christmas with the women we live with. Abigail Moody

My favorite Christmas tradition at Northwestern is hearing Christmas music play from Zwemer Hall all day long throughout the season. It makes the campus feel so festive and fun! I often have to fight the urge to breakout into song and dance while walking across campus. I definitely sing along in my head though! Allison Wheeler

My favorite Christmas tradition here at Northwestern would have to be Coly Christmas. We get an entire dorm of over 100 men to put on skits depicting the many different traditions of Christmas. It is a time of fun, camaraderie and endless joy. Jonathan Johnson

My favorite part about Christmas at Northwestern is seeing all of the buildings decorated. It makes the end of the semester so cheery to see decked out trees and lights in almost every building on campus! Anna Perrenoud

My favorite Northwestern Christmas tradition is singing Christmas carols in Ramaker. It is a wonderful time to be together as a student body before the stress of finals week to praise God with our songs. Olivia Vander Ploeg

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is seeing all the wings in Fern covered in Christmas decorations. From top to bottom, the halls are covered in lights, garlands, homemade snowflakes, wreaths, ornaments, trees and much more. A few of my friends always say, “Tis the season for happiness not stressiness!” because of how festive fern is during the month of December. Seeing the decorations always gets me into the Christmas season much more and helps keep my mind off how stressful finals can be! Bree Hodnefield

Perks of finals week

Finals week. The week can be stressful as students calculate the work, paper and tests that need to be finished to conclude the semester. Yet, as my fifth finals week is coming to a close at Northwestern, I’ve been reflecting on how finals week really isn’t that bad and the ways Northwestern works to make it a week of as stress-free as possible. Here’s is a list of three things that make finals week better:

There is so much time. During finals week there are no classes, and other activities on campus are limited, so time is focused on finals. You might have two to four of finals a day, but otherwise the day is open–that leaves 20 to 22 hours a day to sleep, eat and study. Because of this, I rarely feel the stress of the clock.

The library has snacks. Who doesn’t love free snacks? During finals week, the library has a table full of free snacks and coffee. Usually there is some form of chocolate on the table, and I believe that chocolate makes you less stressed. After hours of studying, it’s nice to take a break to go get some delicious snacks at the library.

Zoo hour. In the dorms during finals week, there is a rule about being quiet for 23 hours of the day so people can study and be get distracted. The one hour that people do not have to be quiet is called zoo hour. During this hour, you’re encouraged to take a break and relieve stress by doing something fun. Whether it’s playing music, running through the halls, or laughing as people from other dorms walk through singing, zoo hour is sure to reduce some of the stress you’re feeling.

Finals week can be stressful, but there are many things that Northwestern does to reduce the amount of stress and to make the week enjoyable.

Home away from home

It’s crazy to think I have almost completed the first semester of my freshman year as a college student. Time has been flying and I anticipate it’s only going to get faster. I figured with the semester nearing its end, I would give an insight on some of my highlights from Northwestern College so far:

  1. Community is one of the most used words about the campus here. It’s true though, community is a huge part of life at NWC, especially in the dorms. You will form so many new relationships while living here. It didn’t take long to start making connections with new people and the best part: it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your past is like, everyone belongs. Community doesn’t just exist in the dorms, but all over the campus. Whether it be walking to class, eating at the café, or even studying at the Learning Commons, I always seem to find people to chat with.

  2. Praise and Worship has been a great experience for me. Praise and worship, also called P&W, is a devoted time on Sunday nights to go to the chapel for a worship service and a short presentation, usually from a fellow student. P&W is an awesome way to start off the week. It’s a devoted time to put everything aside and worship God for an hour.

  3. If you come and visit Northwestern, you will most likely here a lot about the professors and how they differ from other colleges. In my short time being here I have experienced this myself. The professors I have care so much about their students. They care about my success academically and my growth spiritually. The professors are always willing to take time away from their busy schedules to talk outside of class with their students, whether it be talking about the class or going to them as a mentor to talk about anything that is on your heart. They truly care about each of their students and their well-being.

  4. Finally, I would say the sense of belonging is another big part of my experiences. It’s hard to not feel like you belong here with how well you get immersed into the community. There are always all sorts of ways to get involved. There are always dorm events going on, which are mini events that occur with your fellow colleagues in your dorm. One of my favorite dorm events this year would be North Suites’ “wake me up when September ends” walk. It consisted of the guys in our dorm walking through all the of dorms late on the last day of September in the most ridiculous summer clothes and singing the song “Wake Me up When September Ends.” The campus also does a great job at having new events set up each week to keep people involved. It really is hard to not feel like you belong here, because it’s so easy to form relationships and community.

From the four or so months I have attended Northwestern College, I can truly say that I have made this place feel like home away from home.

Opportunities abound

One of the things I appreciate about Northwestern is the variety of extracurricular activities available to foster students’ passions and talents.

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Junior year I began writing occasionally for our campus newspaper, The Beacon. The Beacon is student-run and allows any student to write an array of stories based on campus news, personal interest stories, sports, opinion or arts and culture. After writing articles for a semester, I was asked to serve as the features editor for my senior year.

Initially I was very nervous I wouldn’t have the time I needed to dedicate to the position, which requires about five hours per week of meetings, editing and designing. Thankfully, our talented group of editors is great at teamwork and we’ve already made it halfway through the year. We also have some great faculty and community contacts who help us with tough questions and give our team great advice that they’ve learned in the real world.

Although I wasn’t sure if I was the right person for the job, it quickly became evident that I had found something I really loved, and finding a passion in the journalism field has helped me narrow down what I’d like in my upcoming career. I still feel like I am learning each week and writing and editing has become such a great outlet for me during my busy weeks of reading and studying.

It always amazes me the vast number of groups that Northwestern has for being a smaller college. There’s a group that gathers to play Spikeball, a new group for women in leadership, a club for actuarial science students; and this isn’t even mentioning the many Bible study, devotional and small groups that take place each week across campus. If there’s not a group or club for something students are interested in, they are encouraged to start one.

Despite its small size, Northwestern’s diverse student body allows for so much fellowship in so many ways!