Archives: Abigail Pless

The End

“Abigail! I saw you on the CBU page for Lancer Diaries! I didn’t know you wrote for them!”

Since Lancer Diaries has been on the CBU webpage as one of the banners, I’ve gotten this statement at least once a week. The flush of my cheeks could testify to the humility I feel upon receiving the acknowledgement. Who would’ve known that professors and friends of mine would take interest in a blog I write, some of them reading my blogs weekly! I would never have guessed. When my boyfriend, Chris, told me about the position during the summer before Fall ’12, he and I both thought it would be a great position for me to apply for, considering my love for writing. I had no clue, though, that in being hired, people would actually read something I had written. It has been humbling knowing that prospective students, current students, and professors have been reading my writing, much that has been personal and sometimes quite raw, and actually enjoying it. Talk about exceeding my expectations.

I’m not a journaler. I haven’t kept a diary since I was in 7th grade when I was so in love with Whatshisname. Still, though, I like to say to my friends and family that for me, the thoughts, ideas, dreams, and worries I have in my head every day don’t become concrete until I say them out loud, or even become tangible until I write them. I must admit, though, that writing out what’s on my heart in this humble blog of mine has been most gratifying. I was able to express my thoughts on education and my own life events, sharing pieces of who I am, and also think of helpful hints for fellow students experiencing stress. In doing so, I was able to externally process my heartfelt emotions as well as write a personal prescription for the stresses in my own schedule. Sometimes, my heart was grievous and heavy, and others it was joyful, always rejoicing in God’s sovereignty. In all of it, I have learned a little bit more of who I am – the light with the dark, beautiful with the ugly. Keeping this little blog for CBU exceeded my expectations not only in the humility factor, but also in the area of self-discovery.

Each time an acquaintance, friend, or professor acknowledged this Lancer’s diary, my heart fluttered in flattery and bashfulness, but isn’t that how we Christ-followers should respond to our responsibilities – out of humility and heartfelt joy? That we are dedicating our utmost focus and ability to glorifying our Lord through our work, incorporating bits of who we are as individuals into creating something beautiful in the sight of God? Being made in God’s image, our Creator, we have been given an air of creativity to express into everything we do. What an honor and privilege! This blog has been just that… a responsibility that has enabled me to communicate the creativity the Creator continues to bless me with. I’ve enjoyed it!

Friends, thank you for reading – for the humility it has caused me to feel, for letting me delve into the depths of my heart to share with you, and for allowing me to express God’s hand in my life through creativity.

The Inevitable

We are under the two-week mark, friends. Spring 2013 is almost complete.

I am at the point in my education where a great number of my friends are graduating, beginning their careers, continuing on to higher education and moving away. Many people I have looked up to as an underclassman or befriended during choir tours. In three Saturdays, as they walk across the stage as a symbol of their dedication and completion, other fellow juniors and I will be filling in the spots our dear friends vacated.

In two weeks, I am going to be a senior in college. A senior. I do not understand how. Where have my days of beginners’ bliss gone?

At the beginning of each school term, the individual schools within California Baptist University yearn for the leadership the previous class of students provided. It is up to the remaining classes to the occasion. With over 10 ensembles performing hundreds of concerts per year, the Collinsworth School of Music is known for its hands-on learning. Our professors and dean delegate jobs and tasks to some of the older and younger students to make the duties of each group inclusive, more manageable and to also keep the students accountable for their own responsibilities. That means that during fall 2013 and spring 2014, many of my senior friends and I will take on leadership roles to continue the withstanding standard and tradition of excellence for our school. I can hardly believe that I have made it to the end of my junior year let alone that I am becoming a “responsible” senior with graduation, senior Recitals and a future careers peeking around the corner!

To be honest, I’m anxious – anxious to do my best, that my best might be good enough and to learn what is necessary to begin pursuing my career after graduation. This next coming year is what I have been looking forward to since the day I left home to come to CBU. It is like waiting to finally be allowed to have a puppy, and when you pick one out and name it, you don’t really know what to do with it! Here it is, senior year, sitting in my lap, and I have no idea how to handle it! But this is the endless cycle of the educational world.

Juniors, senior friends are leaving us with their example and now empty positions. It’s our time to refill them and continue our learning.

Batter up!

 

 

Eternal Family

Family (n.):

4. any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins
5. all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor

Family? That is the definition of family? Okay. What if mine is scattered across the country, or divorced into multiple families, or what if I’m completely alone with no family? What then? Who is my family then?

I am part of the “severed and broken family” category. I am no theologian, nor do I study the Word as often as I should, but through what Scripture says about community, I have learned to make family wherever I go, as many other students at CBU have also discovered how to do. CBU is a portion of the body of Christ. We are a community of Believers, Hopers, Prayers, Lovers, Studiers, and Conquerors, united not by a name or family tree, but by the Father’s Son, whose death and resurrection granted us the opportunity for our names to be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – the one, true and eternal family tree.

Man was not created to be alone, as God said amid His creation, developing the idea of community and togetherness through Adam and Eve’s wedded union as the first man and wife. As the earth populated, full and teeming with life as well as sin, the cusp of humanity – the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah – brought to fullness the essentiality of the eternal family. In Matthew 12, as Jesus heals the lame and sick and is speaking, His earthly family request that they speak with Him, but He replies, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” and gesturing to His disciples, He establishes His family: “Here are my mother and brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” In that passage, He re-determines the definition of family to being a spiritual bond rather than a physical bond.

This school, overflowing with faith, wisdom, knowledge, companionship, and servanthood, is one of the most unique places we will be throughout our lives. With more than 6,000 students, most professing Christians, and hundreds of faculty with a 100 percent Bible-believing faith, we have the opportunity to build a family onto the Living Stone, the resurrected Christ, that will be of the eternal kind – the kind that the Father knits closer together than that of our own kinfolk because it seeks to do the work for His Kingdom together as one body. It is our duty to build up the Body, encouraging one another, bearing one another’s burdens, daily dying to our own desires for that of a brother or sister, so that when the world looks into our faces, they may see Christ looking back at them. As many other students can say along with me, I knew this was where I was meant to be. I could feel the Spirit moving through the community, patching together torn and empty hearts with the love and support of other God-fearing followers of Christ, bonding each student to the next to form one singular community.

Physically, I may not share blood with another student here nor bear the same family name, but because of the eternally-claiming blood spilled on Calvary, we spiritually have been named as God’s children – a bond that will transcend any earthly, relational name or family, lasting for all eternity in our Father’s heavenly house.

Exploration

It seems that, from our campus, we can reach some major places like Disneyland, Downtown LA, Newport Beach, or Lake Arrowhead in about 45 minutes. I know, I know – who could possibly want to go outside of this all-inclusive CBU resort? – but on a weekend when feeling adventurous, these places are at our fingertips. It’s okay, escaping to a new land can be extremely exciting and liberating, full of craziness, happiness, and/or absolute confusion. As long as someone has Siri, we are our own tour guides (I’m convinced she is my fairy godmother: “Here’s the traffic for the 405,” “I found 14 Starbucks fairly close to you,” “Rerouting…”).

Fortunately enough for me, my sister and her husband live in a cozy, 1920s, old Hollywood apartment building about five minutes from downtown LA. This past Easter weekend, my best friend Kylie and I made the trek over the 60 and 101 to LA for a relaxing, (maybe, possibly, if we’re not too tired) adventurous, and cultured weekend with my favorite sister, Alison, and brother-in-law, Manny. As they worked Thursday, Friday, and Monday, we knew we would be at our leisure in their lovely apartment. Apart from a scheduled Downton Abbey marathon, a movie Saturday morning, and church Easter Sunday, we were left to our own muses (aka food, drink, and culture).

Naturally, everyone must do a little bit of exploring on a trip to a “foreign” place. Kylie and I became connoisseurs for a couple of days, trying Thai dishes, Korean barbecued meat skewers, Mexican favorites, and Italian paninis, as well as Boba (my first time… I was feeling adventurous!) and a local and well-known donut shop. All are within a 15-minute radius of our “weekend home,” might I add.

Our very own North Colony residence director, Becca Magnuson, recommended a retro, enormous, artsy bookshop called The Last Book Store to quench our thirst for literary entertainment for the weekend, so after Siri directed us (and rerouted us because of my driving challenges) to this place, we walked in utterly overwhelmed. A two-story bookstore, complete with book, loose-leaf page, and book binding wall art, with more than 100,000 books upstairs alone (all books upstairs $1… I kid you not). We were lost in paradise! In the downtown area alone, the blocks are bursting with life and opportunities for our imaginations. With major cities so close to us, as well as places saturated with culture, history, and wonderfully different people, create an interestingly curious area that we students should definitely take advantage of.

Take your Saturday and explore.

Here are the websites to our adventures this weekend:

http://www.itsthainoodle.com/
(Me: Kung Pao chicken; Kylie: Orange Chicken)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/toe-bang-los-angeles
(Both: Chicken and Beef Barbecued Skewers)

http://www.elcoyotecafe.com/
(Me: Tortilla Soup; Kylie: Shredded Beef Burrito)

http://visitkoreatown.org/the-boba-time-6th-street/
(Me: Strawberry Watermelon Slush, Strawberry Peach Smoothie with Boba; Kylie: Strawberry Banana Smoothie with Boba, Strawberry Peach Smoothie with Boba)

http://randys-donuts.com/
(Both: Maple and Chocolate Bars, Glazed and Sprinkled Donuts)

http://lastbookstorela.com/
(Both: More books than we should have)

Life is A-Plenty

This campus is full of life. As I’m sitting in Brisco’s having lunch, conversations are bubbling and overflowing with excitement, baseball games ever-present on TVs, and skateboarders are whizzing past to get to their next destination. The itch for activities is alive.

It seems like everywhere I turn, there is something exciting going on that moment, that afternoon, that evening to quench our thirsts for fun and enjoyment. Yesterday, a Quidditch Tournament (complete with broom [handles], Quaffles, Bludgers, and an agile teammate decked out in gold to be caught as the Snitch) filled the entire front lawn with laughter and intensity as the four Houses battled for the Cup. Crazy? Absolutely. Fun? Without question. On Monday, a Colony-wide Easter Egg-hunting mob scoured the entire living area in search of heavily-laden eggs for a total of $1000+ in gift cards and even an iPad Mini. People made out like bandits. This last weekend, the Marine Science class headed to Catalina Island for a beautiful, one-time lab, resulting in kayaking with sea lions, snorkeling in swarms of fish and sealife, and impromptu whale-watching on the ship ride back.

The opportunities prove to be endless as the CAB office offers a plethora of discounted ticket options for LA stage productions, local movie theaters, lifts at ski and snowboarding facilities, and an incredible amount of equipment for nature activities like snowboarding, mountain climbing, and camping – all at extremely affordable prices. Our beloved RAs, one of whom is my roommate and best friend, devote endless hours of preparation for their monthly events and living area-wide functions to provide an oasis, usually laden with delicious food and drinks. From flower-planting, to bagel breakfasts, to acoustic worship nights, to carnival-themed parties, to late-night pizzas and pazookies, our RAs use their creativeness and gifts to make our student life brighter, full of community and fellowship.

I can’t forget about the incredible, state-of-the-art Recreation Center, basketball and volleyball courts and intramural sports that also provide a myriad of opportunities for competitive sports and exercise, as well as our athletic teams that enjoy our support as much as we enjoy their talent! Where would our school spirit be without our award-winning, nationally renowned athletic department? What a way to represent our Lancer blue and gold!

Personally, my favorite school-sponsored events are the LA-area musical productions (naturally). This next week, a group of 25 lucky students are being transported to the Pacific Symphony in Orange County to hear Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (dun dun dun duuuuun, dun dun dun duuuuun!) as well as a special compilation of Asian-inspired music with authentic Asian instruments. Earlier in the year, the School of Music sponsored a trip to the LA Opera to partake in the unforgettable Madame Butterfly. Today, for my Music History class, we met at Calvary Presbyterian Church on Magnolia Avenue to observe one of our own professors demonstrate the organ in the style we are studying. Just in my field alone, there are numerous opportunities to see live, professional performances, keeping my learning fresh with observations and practices of life applications.

CBU offers an overflowing number of student activities. Find one and sign up for a guaranteed time of enjoyment and refreshment!

Gifts

In a previous blog, Don’t Worry About Tomorrow, I was learning what it meant to trust God for this day rather than fret over the days to come. The snowball effect of school is in full swing now, and sometimes the moments of today are so bloated with responsibilities that tomorrow is nowhere in sight. I ask myself, “How am I going to get from point A to point B to eventually point Q today?

 My best friend recommended a book to me because she knows my overwhelmed heart better than myself. Because of this book, I have a list going — a list of 1000 things I consider to be a gift to my life from the most ordinary, everyday things such as waking up to a choir of birds singing outside the window to significant blessings that deserve a myriad of thankful prayers such as a job surrounded by Godly people for the summer.

As I read this book, 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp, understanding the principles she was establishing as God-glorifying a single, continuous strand of blessings began to spool out of my mind. I had never actually sat and numbered by hand the daily gifts God lavishes upon me. As a kinesthetic learner, the handwriting concept ensures to inscribe whatever I am trying to memorize or remember into my brain to recall when the test comes.

The test does come – oh yes. Life as a student is full of tests — we are in college! Every day I am quizzed on composers, baroque vs. classical, vocabulary, musical sight-reading, and literature. My heart as well as my mind is tested, as well. Am I going to be ridiculed for that composition? Piano lessons drain the life out of me. Is this career path successful enough?

The temptation to drink the poison of distress is prominent as we college students fly solo in a fallen world of sin and brokenness; our minds and hearts at times are susceptible to relinquishing our Biblical truths.

However, God provides in every moment, even when discouragement veils our beauty-craving eyes. The secret to experiencing the provision of the Lord (which really is no secret at all) is to open those beauty-craving eyes to behold the majesty and pure beauty of our God.

Fully living life each moment of today is a goal I am striving to obtain, even as many moments are heavy with responsibility as I attempt to pick up and bear my own cross. Ultimately, that is what we are called to do. Finding the joy in thankfulness for each moment as we stand in awe of his sovereignty drops us to our knees in worship.

 The key to living life fully is finding joy in the smallest moments of the days and seasons that are so full of assignments, obligations and deadlines that you can not remember if you put your head on straight this morning.

CBU – get your hands on this book, buy a journal and start to find the moments of your overwhelming schedule full of joy as you observe the endless beauty of our Creator and continually worship the I Am.

Diamonds

I’ve got diamonds on the brain. Large, distinctly recognizable diamonds. And I’m not talking about “ring by spring.”

Living in the Colony, I hear those unmistakable pings almost every day during this time of the year. At night, the corner of our campus is brighter than the moon with the field lights, and the joyous sounds of adrenaline-pumped parents, friends, and bystanders hovers like a cloud over the stadium. When the breeze gently sweeps through campus and the sun sheds its inviting warmth onto the days of this early spring, my thoughts travel back to the many years I dedicated to my favorite pastime. Nostalgia takes over.

The unmistakable crunch under cleats. Turning a double-play.   The ping of the ball off the bat. The dirt caked in socks and on shoes. The piercing whistle of my father. Tender, never-healing wounds on knees. A perfect pocket in a broken-in glove. 23.

I grew up playing softball my entire life. From age 4 to 16 I was on the field nearly every day of Spring and many weekends of Summer, cheeks full of sunflower seeds and imagination chock full of play scenarios. My father taught me from a young age through demonstration, specific baseball games, and books the science and practice of softball. Game to game, I learned what it meant to “turn two,” “cheat up,” conquer a “pickle,” and mingled tears of joy in the winning run with those of disappointment in a dropped fly. I would become completely engrossed in the plays and innings alongside my teammates and we constantly shared encouraging words with each other as we played together. I worked my hardest to become great at my passion, with many hours of catch and drills in my backyard with my parents to continually improve in the off-seasons.

After years of preparing for what I thought was the “big leagues,” my dad encouraged me to consider thinking about playing on the varsity team as a freshman. Knowing the girls and the reputation of the team, I was terrified. Try-outs came, and us young girls played alongside the upper classmen to size up our varying skill levels, with only one spot on the roster open for Varsity that year. After a rigorous and stressful try-out session, the coaches created their line-up, including me – the one-and-only lowly freshman. I gained more knowledge and experience the years I played on the varsity team than all my previous years combined, learning new techniques, positions, strategies, and problem-solving. Through the devastating struggles and glorious triumphs, my heart and passion grew enormously for the game and all that it stood for.

There is literally nothing like walking out shoulder to shoulder with your teammates into the diamond with the hum of adrenaline buzzing through the air, determined and prepared to seize the game together in a victorious win. As the time approached to choose what career path I wanted to pursue, between music or sports, my heart tethered back and forth. Ultimately though, I knew my best option was to pursue music, the other half of my heart. Putting away the glove and cleats meant I was closing a chapter of my life that I would not be able to temporarily close and pick up right where I left off. The approval of my father helped me realize that even though my “glory days” as he called them were over, what an incredible experience of determination, passion, intensely hard work, and learned skill I had earned to add to my knowledge as well as a plethora of lifelong memories to recollect when the breeze carried the scent of grass and sun shone just right.

On occasion, I revive my glove with the familiar pop of the ball into the pocket as I contemplate what it would be like to walk on to CBU’s softball field to try out. But, as my dad used to say, the “glory days” are over, but my heart will forever remember and love the years I dedicated to the diamond of my youth.

 

Unexpected Sisterhood

What you’re about to read may be slightly haphazard, with thoughts flowing into other thoughts without finishing the first, disorganized and not in chronological order, but my brain just can’t make any sense of this. But first, a little history.

Coming to college, I had no idea what to expect. My family doesn’t have a whole long line of college graduates or attendees for that matter, so besides what friends said about it, I really didn’t know what my college career was going to look like. I came to school with my childhood best friend of 15 years, deciding not to live together for obvious reasons (which included still wanting to be friends by the time college was over with fully intact bodies), but ended up in the same building as each other. She had met a nice girl at a “Get to Know CBUers in Your Area” dinner in our hometown and decided that night to sign up to be roommates. On move-in day, Carley’s roommate Kylie and I exchanged the traditional how-do-you-do’s, and went along our business. With freshman orientation coming up and positively not knowing anyone except Carley and Kylie, we stuck together like lint to corduroy pants. In the middle of orientation, Kylie and I had a private conversation about our lives, our backgrounds, and future dreams, and from that point, I literally knew my life would never progress from dawn to dusk without including her.

Is it weird? To you – maybe. To us – absolutely not.

I’ve read books, seen countless movies, even heard stories of best friends, bosom friends, kindred spirits – whatever you want to call them, but Kylie and I can’t compare our friendship to them. The closest thing we can think of to sum up our friendship is sisterhood. I can hardly put into sufficient words the kind of relationship we have. From freshman orientation on, we were inseparable. Every day, without question, we had meals together, random late-night escapades to In-n-Out or McDonald’s, countless thought-provoking conversations, and more laughs than I had ever experienced in my entire life. We knew each other better than ourselves, could read any emotion or mood with one flash of it across the face, practiced how to push the others’ buttons, and imagined the course of the other’s life together. The whole beginning of our friendship was the happiest we had both been in years, experiencing joy beyond words and knowing that what we were building would last a lifetime.

That summer, after shooting hoops at Kylie’s house (more like her shooting hoops, and me rebounding for her since I am completely uncoordinated at basketball), we sat on the pavement and talked until the wee hours of the morning – about God and faith, who we were and were becoming, and just marveling at the coincidence of our friendship (what coincidence; more like providential). Kylie asked me, “Abigail, why is it we are from the same hometown, my family knows your family. We are so incredibly close – why do all these things line up?” As if I already knew the answer, I replied, “Because I feel like something is going to happen and I’m really going to need you there.” We both pondered the idea, and within a matter of minutes, we were on to the next subject as we always did.

Months flew by; full of surprises, boys, jobs, as well as incredible difficulties like any other friendship or relationship, but the bond between us grew stronger even as we began to loosen the chokehold grip we had on each other. Our schedules grew packed with obligations and responsibilities and priorities, and our friendship merged from happy-go-lucky-don’t-leave-without-me friends to I-will-be-here-when-you-get-home sisters. The Christmas after our profound “Why” conversation, my dad became fatally sick with a blood clot that lead to infections, which eventually took his life 7 months later. With no mother or father, you can imagine the role Kylie and her sweet mother more than willingly took on. As Kylie grieved over the sickness and loss of her own adopted father, she consoled me in my oblivion and numbness more than anyone else possibly could. She gave me a tongue when I couldn’t speak, feet when I lacked motivation, and a heart of flesh when mine turned to stone. How? God provided her with the strength I suppose; there is no other explanation for it. Months after Dad’s death, I recalled the almost-forgotten conversation with her and we shared a laugh over the amazing sovereignty of God’s plan. Funnier still (at least to us), I moved into Kylie’s sister’s old bedroom in her home in Modesto this last summer and adopted her mother as a mother figure in my life. We figured that it was more convenient that way; we didn’t have to go any further than step over her old, wizened dog that laid guard outside of our rooms to talk to each other. We also live together here at CBU – separate rooms of course, so we don’t lose nights of sleep to unexpected and in-depth conversations or pull each other’s hair out in frustration. We decided that even with the many events in life we had already shared together, there was nothing more that we wanted than to live life next to our sister in every season.

Each day, I feel like Kylie and I grow and change into different people from when we first met, but the tears, words of consolation, shared and discovered dreams, and the everyday presence we feel continues to confirm the fact that our friendship is real – that it’s not something we have imagined ourselves or controlled, nor could we if we had tried. Even with most emotions and thoughts unspoken, time spent apart, and the priority of other friends, there is no other earthly friendship we can think of that compares to the overwhelming bond-beyond-blood we share.

Kylie tells me often that she had prayed fervently for a best friend since she her parents’ divorce when she was 12. I had no idea I needed a best friend until I met her.

Prayer for Eight

Henry, Ronald, Sheila, Andrew, Larry, Doug, Donny, Paige.

Our campus focuses on equipping students to go out to the nations and proclaim the word of God and demonstrate the love the Lord shows to us each day through service.

With a myriad of international options to partake in from CBU’s globally minded mobilization projects, I often lose sight of the desperate need of proclamation in our own country, state and community. As I leave Target or Starbucks just down the street from our campus bubble, undoubtedly I can spot a man or woman with a cardboard sign begging for money and food.

I have been questioning myself recently, “If I have been given my daily bread, what is stopping me from sharing?” Each of us have experienced alienation for some reason or another, with no sight of help on the way, and I thought that if I can give something of mine to someone who desperately needs it, I know the Holy Spirit will guide me to the one wanting.

Monday afternoon, my boyfriend Chris and I decided we would go to Brisco’s Cafe, our favorite on-campus eatery. We swiped our meal cards twice each to gather four, full-sized lunches stocked with sandwiches, water bottles, chips and fruit. From there we went to one of the busiest parts of Riverside to give them to men and women asking for food or money on the streets. We prayed silently as we drove down Magnolia Avenue towards the Tyler Galleria for God to provide us with his Spirit to present the right words to the people who needed them the most. Within 45 minutes we found eight people in a distance of one block. We parked and gently approached each of the people, inquiring if they would like some food. As we realized we only had 4 lunches, we decided to assemble 4 more bags of food from a restaurant down the street to offer to anyone else we saw.

First was Henry, an ex-demolition contractor who suffered extreme loss that admittedly affected his ability to think clearly. He had been left to the streets to fend for himself. Ronald, Sheila and Andrew followed him. The three are from Orange and find solace in each others’ friendships. Then there was Larry, a preacher’s son who did not agree with his father’s teachings and ultimately chose a homeless lifestyle. There was Doug, and then Donny came next. Donny was known for being “the old grouch,” a nickname coined by his Orange County folk. However, he turned out to be quite pleasant and welcoming to Chris one-on-one. Finally there was Paige, a girl in her early twenties whose quiet tears were not missed as she resumed her place in front of Target.

We asked each person if they had religious beliefs of any kind. Five out of the eight claimed Jesus Christ as their savior, and we prayed as a small group with them. Clasping hands together as we bowed our heads brought a stark realization to Chris and I that these men and women truly were children of God.

Eight people in one block. If each one of us from CBU — 6,000 students strong — would venture out to our local neighborhoods with two Brisco’s meals in our hands and a heart of compassion, 12,000 impoverished people would be fed and befriended in our area alone.

Several chapel speakers have recently said the Riverside area should be drastically transformed because of the students attending CBU. Are we contributing to the community around us? Or could 6,000 pairs of hands better extend beyond the four corners of CBU?

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

The choices at CBU seem bottomless. What do you choose?

 

Brisco’s vs. ADC

 Food: one of the great loves of my life. I could practically be majoring in taste tasting considering the quality of the food we have. From Fresh N Fit to home-cooked classics, I love it all.

Brisco’s is probably one of my favorite places on this earth. The “grab and go” style suits the busy student life where we have 10 minutes to spare before our next class and just need a little nibble to keep our energy up. Between the three and sometimes four entrée choices, a wide spectrum is covered –from fresh sandwiches or burgers with specialty bread and soups to favorite Mexican or Asian dishes to fresh salads and wraps. Fresh fruit is always available as well as bagged chips, some sort of sweet like cookies or Jell-o, plus french fries or a specialized vegetable dish. Water bottles line the shelves in the refrigerators and a fountain soda machine sits next to a cappuccino maker, leaving no room for an unquenchable thirst. A cozy indoor eating area has plenty of work space for a late night study session plus comfy chairs and sofas. I frequent Brisco’s almost daily, sometimes swiping my card multiple times to stock up on water, fruit, or– let’s be honest– chips and cookies to keep me going throughout the day.

(My favorite Soup & Sandwich: Rosemary foccacia bread, chipotle mayonnaise, turkey, lettuce, onion, salt & pepper with cream of celery soup. My mouth is watering and I just ate…)

I have seen the inner-piglet work its way to the surface as a newbie walks into the ADC (seniors, faculty and graduate students are not immune, either), looking upon the glory that is the buffet. Every place you turn your gaze, some delicious dish is beckoning with a home-cooked aroma. Italian, Mexican or Asian, Southern style, pizza, and burgers and fries offer diversity almost daily, on top of the fully-stocked salad, fruit, soup, and dessert bars with occasional specialty choices as in Black History Month’s menu of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, lemonade, and jambalaya. You want a specific type of drink? It’s there – teas, soda, coffee, juices, milk, frozen slushies – you name it, we’ve got it. It’s impossible to leave hungry, or without grabbing a handful of cookies on the way. Before I got to CBU, I told myself I would not gain the Freshman 15 and I didn’t – Freshman 20 all the way!

(Must-try: Two cookies of your choice placed in a bowl, heated in the microwave, with your choice of soft-serve ice cream in the middle. Top with whipped cream, sprinkles, nuts, or all of the above, and share with someone, or eat it completely on your own. Sharing is caring, right?)

 

Recreational Center vs. Intramural Sports

 I grew up cheerleading for basketball and football and played softball for 11 years, so I am a thorough supporter of team sports. Recently though, I joined a gym and learned how to work out on my own without a team rallying me on. If I had to choose which I would prefer to do, I wouldn’t be able to. Either way alleviates stress and keeps the body active and healthy. Apart from our competitive sports, we have two easily-accessed means of athleticism.

Watching the Rec Center being assembled wall by wall for the past year and a half, I must say that I was afraid –out of sheer anxiousness and desire—that it would never open. It looked and sounded too good to be true; a floor-to-ceiling glass front wall, three stories, every machine you could ask for, several rooms for classes, and a multiple-courts basketball court. Little did I know that it also included an astro-turf soccer field on top of the roof, a twenty-foot rockclimbing wall, and racquetball courts. “Overwhelming” isn’t a sufficient word; I want to do it all. Classes are offered throughout the day including Cycling, Glutes & Guts, and 20-20-20, led by experienced students interested in physical training or kinesiology. State of the art equipment lines the walls with plenty of physical trainers to give tips and advice to aid your workout.

(Tip: reserve a racquetball court for you and a friend to challenge your agility, concentration, and coordination. The six-surfaced playing field gives a whole new meaning to “footwork.”)

 There’s nothing like playing a team sport. The bonds created and constant companionship contribute to a unified body of teamwork. I have to say, I haven’t ever been a part of an intramural sports league due to the fact my music schedule is pretty demanding, but I have seen plenty of games and had many friends be a part of these very popular activities. Football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer are some of the many rosters that beginners and all-state athletes can sign for.  Each team plays all the others, constantly working to get to the championships at the end of the season. Each team is student-led, sometimes consisting of a core of returners that invite worthy candidates to fill the open spots left on the roster, or most often, a group of friends decide they want to play for funsies or to hold the trophy at the end of the season as champions. The league generates a healthy competitiveness across the campus, uniting underclassmen and upperclassmen together over a sport each athlete enjoys.

(Remember: Football leads to the school-wide Fortuna Bowl, where the winners travel to Biola University for an inter-school championship. AND at Fortuna, the school brings in Chick-Fil-A or In-n-Out!)v

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