A Broken World

As a future teacher, many of my courses require me to do observation or tutoring hours. I am required to do a mixture of both for a total of about 15 hours this semester. I have been working with sixth graders the past few weeks, tutoring them in math and language arts.

When I was told I would be working with this group, I thought I would have a difficult time. I honestly thought that these students would not want to work with a tutor and would be difficult to get them to cooperate. However, I have been blessed with students who are excited to work with me. (Although, I think they are just excited to be able to work with a college student.)

This past week we were working on how to cite sources when my heart just broke for these children. While we were working, the students began to ask questions and engage in more off-topic conversations than normal. A few of them had already made comments like, “She knows a lot since she’s in college,” or “She probably does this all the time since she is in college.” I tried to engage them by telling them learning how to cite now is important because they will have to do it all the time when they go to college. One girl told me her brother had already been accepted to colleges, but she did not want him to leave home.

The students were doing quite well at getting off-topic during this tutoring session. However, it was this next portion of conversation that was absolutely heartbreaking. The students then began asking me what college was like, how many roommates I had, if boys were allowed in ourrooms/apartments, and if boys were allowed to live with us. I told them a little about my three roommates and that boys could not live with girls, but they were allowed to visit at certain times, all while trying to get them focused back on citing sources.

Then came the question, “Do you go to a lot of parties, you know like the ones that they have on TV and in movies?”Of course, I said “No, I don’t go to parties like that.” They asked if I ever have parties at my apartment. I explained to them that I can have parties at my apartment, but they are not like the ones you see on TV.

Throughout this entire conversation thoughts were flowing through my head: “why are your parents allowing an 11-year-old to watch these shows?” Then the reality hit me. This is the world that we live in. This is the world that I will be teaching in. However, another reality hit me, a reality that is a little bit more difficult to cope with. As a teacher, I can never share my beliefs with my students. In the situation that I just recently encountered, the most I can do is tell them that I do not party like in the movies,because it’s a bad thing to do. How lame does that sound?The question I constantly ask myself is ‘how can I be a light in a place that is so dark?’


The most I can do is love my students and show them the love of Christ through my actions. The reality is we live in a broken world, full of broken people who just need to be loved. Although this thought is a little frightening, it is also an exciting challenge and a constant reminder that this world needs Christ and the hope that He brings.

Persons of CBU

A while back, I stumbled across a fantastic blog called Humans of New York that I still keep up with to this day. The entire concept centers on a photographer who captures pictures of people as they go about their daily lives. He then posts these photos, with permission, and shares a bit of the conversation he had with the individuals he encountered. This blog focuses solely on individuals, with their talents, regrets and simplest to most profound thoughts. Viewers may come to realize the sacredness and value of each and every person and may find anything from humor to solace in a documentation of a simple encounter.

Inspired by this, I have decided to tackle this in my own way. Call it an exercise in focusing on the value of human interaction and the uniqueness that may be found in the community that binds me with my fellow students. To start this challenge off, I caught a few moments with Cassie Hanlin and would like to share a bit of her perspective that always proves to be edifying.

Ladies and gents, Cassie Hanlin.


Brief intro: This woman is a riot. She has an amiable nature, fluency in humor and sarcasm, and desire to love God and His people. She’s a third-year student hoping to go on to graduate school, and she is also an intern for the Office of Mobilization. We caught a few moments to talk while grabbing coffee from Wanda’s before moving on to our next classes. We got to catch up on how we’re doing with homework, ISP, leadership applications and the like. It was then that I decided to pick her brain about what her life is like as a student, specifically at CBU. She responded with insight that is only fitting to share.

When I asked about one difference from high school to college life, Cassie mentioned the variety of relationships formed. “I’ve been surprised by how you can have more personal relationships with older people, being at a university,” she replied. “It’s not weird to want to get to know your professors – you can actually enjoy seeing them after class.”

I then asked how she feels that she has grown since being here and what it was that sparked that. Her answer was, “I’ve honestly experienced an entire shift in worldview. When I came here I had to come to terms with why I needed God for the first time in my life. Meeting people here and interacting with the MOB Office encouraged me to really understand truth and gain my own knowledge of what that is.”

As our time ran out and we hurried off to class, I asked her what piece of advice she would give to a large group of young people. She laughed and stopped a minute to say, “It’s funny, because we have a lot more responsibility than you would think. Right now I’m realizing exactly how important it is to budget. So stay on top of finances. Also, I’m realizing how important it is to think outside of myself. The world’s needs are bigger than my own, and that’s good to remember.”

I’m always amazed by the value of happenstance conversations and the necessity in swapping thoughts, ideas and emotions. There is always something to be gained from even the briefest of encounters, and I hope those pile up into a world of good as I leave you for now. Readers, I will see you next time.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Semester

Every year I most look forward to one event that residence life puts on: Woofest. Since freshman year it has been my favorite event to attend. I mean, who doesn’t want to get dressed up and get “wooed” by the boys of CBU? Woofest has never disappointed, and this year was no different.

This past Friday, Feb. 7th, was the date for Woofest.  This year was slightly different for me, though. As an RA (resident advisor) employed by Res Life, I helped to plan the event. I was placed on the committee, and we started planning. Everything was delegated, and each living area was in charge of taking care of something specific. The weeks that led up to Woofest were filled with creating flyers, making paper owls for advertisements and getting little things together for the big night.

Friday morning started the big preparations, preparing the gym and business building breezeway for the night. We started in the gym. Pulling out chairs, perfectly placing the center stage, perfectly placing the chairs so that everyone could see each stage well. The main stage was set up, and the entire morning was spent getting the gym perfect for the performances that would take place the rest of the night. Then we moved to the breezeway. The trees were decorated, trash cans were decorated, umbrellas were hung, tables were set. We were finally ready for the night to begin.

Woofest is an exciting time. Everyone puts on their best dress and best suit; they dress to impress. The night started in the breezeway where hot chocolate, popcorn, and s’mores were served. People packed out the breezeway taking pictures and talking to friends as the notes of a live band danced through the air.

Then it was time. Everyone funneled to the gym and got ready for the show. The boys did not disappoint. They sang, they danced, told jokes, and there was even a magic act. One of my favorite acts was when the guys of Res Life danced at the end. I loved seeing these people that have become like family let loose and have fun on that stage. It brought out a side of some of those guys that we had never seen before, and it was great. It’s extremely difficult to choose a favorite act because they were absolutely phenomenal.

Once the show was over, we quickly started taking down the gym, and soon the magic of the night was put away until next year. Like I said before, Woofest has always been my favorite event of the year at CBU, and it did not disappoint this year. Woofest was a blast! Being able to hang out with friends and enjoy the night with my staff was more then I could have ever asked for.

Rival Rematch

When rivals face off, those watching cannot help but feel the thrill. Although they may disagree, Azusa Pacific University is CBU’s main competitor in Division II athletics. Even before the switch from NAIA to NCAA, the Lancers have been facing off with the Cougars for years now, and the same drive for domination persists even to today. Lancer basketball was the arena this time around, and I witnessed the best and worst of outcomes.

Our first battle against APU was at Azusa, and everything was going against us. I caravanned over with some friends, wore my ironed CBU Crazies shirt and felt pumped to see our then undefeated team completely annihilate these guys. There were a good number of CBU students as well with our Crazies leading the cheers like a home game. The APU homeside, however, made it nearly impossible for us to cheer above their own chants. “The Zu,” as they are now called, filled the stands and upper levels and held the most random posters of players and celebrities faces. Upon walking in, a man from the CBU athletic department handed me a whole pizza, which sparked my CBU pride instantly, but I couldn’t keep it up for the whole game. None of our players were playing at their top level, and the Zu kept up the badgering and jeers throughout both halves. APU tainted our winning record. That wouldn’t be the end of it.

With that defeat in mind, the week leading up to the rematch kept me on edge. It would be a home game, and our team had won every game since losing the game to APU. Anticipating a sellout, the school even handed out tickets early in the week for those loyal fans who wanted a guaranteed admittance. There was no way that I was missing another home game, so I grabbed a ticket and guarded it with my life. That ticket did not leave my green folder, which is always in my back pack, which is always on my back, for the five days leading up to Saturday night. Even when a group of my friends tempted me with a trip to the Van Buren Drive-in Theater, I had to stay true to my Lancers.

I walked into the gym by 7 p.m. and found the stands packed with a more punctual fan base than I expected. I wasn’t leaving, though, which resulted in standing on the staircase leading to the upstairs office for a nice aerial view. Compared to Azusa, our home game environment felt much friendlier, even with our home team cheers. I’m not being biased either. We keep it classy but competitive. Our players responded well to that, too, since we were on fire all night. The team jumped ahead early and kept it that way throughout the whole game. My friends and I even found seats in the middle by half time and kept the crowd energy going from the inside. Our Lancers won with about the same difference in score as the last game, except switched. With that victory, our team is now 20-1 and ranked 8th in Division II. It’s a good time to be a Lancer.


One of the things I pat CBU on the back for most is its constant effort to provide students opportunities to be exposed. Now what I mean by this is that, often times, private schools carry the reputation of shielding their students; keeping them inside a bubble, far away from the “real world,” where they’ll be safe and comfortable.

Here’s the thing, though – once those shielded students graduate and leave that bubble, how safe and comfortable can they possibly be, having had no preparation for or exposure to the authentic everyday struggles of our world? The answer is simple: not at all.

I wrote in an earlier blog about how grateful I was to one of my design professors for exposing his students to the “real world” of digital media, and how it is continually finding new ways to degrade women and thereby devalue respectful relationships. Rather than just bragging all semester about how we have chosen the best field, how graphic designers have the most fun (which might be true), and so on… he went into detail about how digital media is in many ways failing our society; and to supplement this, how we emerging Christian designers can survive that impact without contributing to the failure. From this, I became inspired to come to a full understanding of both the positives and negatives of my chosen career path.

But CBU does not only encourage the knowledge of reality within our individual fields of study; rather, CBU encourages a broad understanding of the world’s reality. Each summer, as a part of CBU’s mission to help students “live their purpose,” the school sends off hundreds of them to various states and countries around the world for mission work to spread the Gospel. This program is divided into USP (U.S. Service Projects) and ISP (International Service Projects).

Students in the past have been sent to the east coast, Asia, Europe and so many other places around the globe, each individually equipped to serve in entirely foreign cultures.

Unfortunately, due to a conflict of scheduling, I will not be able to attend an ISP or USP trip this summer. One of my roommates, however, is going through weekly training for her trip in May to Asia, where she will serve on a “coffeehouse” project.

A couple of weeks ago, every ISP and USP participant was required to attend what is known as “Intensive Training Weekend.” During this weekend, CBU plans back-to-back training activities that are meant to expose each student to the culturally shocking realities of the places they will be traveling to.

Although she is not allowed to share details, in order to keep everything secret for next year’s participants, I could not help but notice her absolute, uncontainable thrill when she returned to our apartment afterward. From what little she did say, I am confident that CBU did a fantastic job of both alarming and then exciting her for what is to come. So far as I can tell, she, and every other participant, was very well exposed.

So again I say, CBU deserves a pat on the back for its ability to provide such incredible opportunities. When we Lancers leave this beautiful place, not only will we be molded with a firm understanding of what awaits us in each field, but we will also be culturally and internationally aware of the world around us, and all because we have been exposed.

Making the Cut

I rely on my bike or board for all means of transportation, which can be a just as much a blessing as an annoyance. There have been way too many weekends when I just wanted to get off campus and none of my friends or I could make it happen. Even the necessary items like toilet paper and animal crackers requires a little planning and a lot of peddling. At the same time, doing normally mundane tasks suddenly becomes a little more interesting.

I needed a haircut to look fresh for my RA interview this week, and it was an open Saturday afternoon. As much as I love my brother’s attempts to use a razor kit from Ross, this time around I actually cared about how my head would look afterwards. To my surprise, what was about to be a solo adventure down Magnolia Avenue became a party with my roommate Jon wanting a trim, too. We were both veterans behind the handlebars with many trips down to the mall and around during our freshman year. It’s definitely been a while since our last adventure. This would be a restart.

There was only one thing I look for in a barber shop: reasonably priced cuts. As long as my wallet feels safe and supplied, the shop could literally be a hole in the wall, and I’d be happy. I’m glad I set that standard, because that’s about what we settled on. I googled “barber shop” and found one just three miles up Magnolia Avenue. We biked through a surprisingly vicious wind and found the shop on the corner just before Central Avenue. To our surprise, there were actually three barber shops lined up one after the other, each one sharing a wall with other. We couldn’t decide on any one place, so I employed what I like to call Goldilocks logic. With three porridges to choose from, you just have to try each one.

The first shop had dirty windows and an unclear indication for the front door, which was eventually stumbled upon. The shop itself was tiny, just big enough for a few waiting chairs and the cutting station. There was a TV tuned to college basketball and a nice old man speaking quietly to a regular customer as he aggressively buzzed his head. I like having a little something on top after trims and the $15 starting price wasn’t hitting me right. That was a good start, but I faked a phone call, and we walked out before he could ask who was going first. The second shop was larger and packed to the brim. Even with three barbers at work, the line seemed endless and neither of us felt like waiting for a cut. We didn’t even try walking in. The last place on the corner combined the best of both shops. There were three young guys giving trims in a spacious room with a cop movie and pool table in the waiting area. This one seemed just right, and for $10 I had to say yes. Who knew a children’s story about a little girl who steals oatmeal from woodland creatures would actually help me later in life?

Conveniently, Dairy Queen was just down the street, and Oreo Blizzards were in order. The sun was out, my head felt free, and I was eating ice cream with my roommate. If I had a car, I would have gone by myself earlier in the week and would not be enjoying that moment. We rode back to campus feeling good, even though I still had to swing by CVS. I still had to awkwardly pedal with a large pack of toilet paper, but it was all good.

I’m A Big Girl Now

As a student who is graduating in May, there are a lot of unknowns and steps that need to be taken for the future. In the last few months, I have taken three big steps to moving on toward the future.

First, I turned in my graduation application. A post ago, I mentioned that I had picked up the application and filled it out.  Well, I turned that sucker in. Now all I have to do is wait for the approval, which I think is the worst part, because now all I do is worry that I will have missed a class or somehow not have enough credits to graduate. Yeah, waiting is definitely the worst part. I just want to receive that e-mail of approval!

Second, I filled out a graduate school application. You see, I am going to school to teach. To become a teacher, I have to get my teaching credential, and for that, I must apply for grad school. So, you might be wondering if graduate school is required to teach. The answer to that is no–to teach in California you must have a credential. Here’s the confusing part, to get into the credential program you must apply for grad school first and then be placed into a credential program (not a grad school program). At CBU, there are a few options for getting your credential. You can either get just your credential or you can get your credential and master’s degree at the same time. It is possible to be able to teach without a master’s degree, but it is not possible to teach without a credential, at least in California. Now I have to give out references, finish essays and sign up for interviews with the education department. It’s definitely a process that will take a little time, but starting the process is a big, daunting step that has already been taken.

Third, I signed up for my first subset for the CSET, the California Subject Examination for Teachers. What is the CSET? The CSET is one of the tests that I have to take in order to be a teacher. The CSET can be taken in three subtests. The first subtest is Language Arts and History. The second subtest is Mathematics and Science. The final subtest is Physical Education, Human Development, Visual Arts and Performing Arts. Basically, this test covers everything I have learned in my years of education. Every section has multiple choice and essay questions. I’m pretty sure the essay questions are going to be the worst part. I mean, how are you supposed to write an essay about a math question? I don’t know, but that’s why I’m gearing up for some crazy study questions.

As a graduating senior, the inevitable question is, “So, what are you doing after graduation?” Seriously, if I had a quarter for every time I heard that question, or some version of that question, I would have a lot of quarters. It is probably my least favorite question to hear. Not because I do not know what I’m going to do, but because it reminds me that I will not be at CBU much longer.

Into the Unknown

Last weekend proved to be a big one for many of us. Of course, there was the Super Bowl which, to be perfectly honest, I only ever watch for the food and commercials. This year I had a valid excuse for missing it, as did a slew of others participating in International Service Project this summer. We all continued our training and investment in a strong group dynamic at Intensive Training Weekend.

I’ll be honest and say that I had absolutely no idea what to expect from ITW. We had been given various hints about what to bring and what to expect, but these preparations failed to fully alleviate many apprehensions. The weekend seemed like it would be an edifying and informative experience, and in many ways, it was. We all gathered as a group an hour before to prepare for a full weekend of little to no sleep, limited food and intensive simulations of circumstances one might encounter in a closed country. By the end of the weekend, we all walked away with more than what we entered with.

The main influence that ITW had on me was the reminder of the goodness of our God and our freedom that we have because of Him. This was seen so clearly through the simulations and long stretches of time that we got to spend further getting to know our leaders and team members.

We were given uninterrupted time to just be and adapt to various circumstances, and through this it became abundantly clear that the Creator is constant throughout different cultures and circumstances. Several of the simulations included placing ourselves in the situations of the less fortunate, recognizing that schedules may change quickly, and we will have to do whatever is required to keep each other safe and share the love of Christ through each and every action.

We were also given a huge amount of time that could be used to simply worship, pray and meditate on whatever crossed our minds, and this was beyond refreshing. I became so thankful for the opportunity to forget about my homework and meetings for the whole weekend and just spend time catching up with the One who made me. I had the chance to express my joy freely through music worship and focus on the blessing that it is to be here and study as I spent time prayerwalking with my team members. These became such beautiful expressions of worship that were unhindered by any outside factor, and that was such a wonderful opportunity. Doing these things after going through simulations of circumstances found in a closed country made us more aware of the privilege that it is to practice our faith so freely. Many do not have this honor and knowing this made it all the more exceptional to do so over the entire weekend.

I won’t lie and say that the weekend did not exhaust me – it most certainly did. But this only came from the fullness of time spent. Throughout ITW, I found myself exactly where I wanted to be, doing things with those I have come to care deeply for, and I would not have it any other way. The biggest blessings came through the unexpected turns, the exhaustion, and the stepping out of what we know to practice bringing love and hope where it is not yet found. This, if nothing else, makes me excited to take in each breath and step in line with wherever God wants to take me. I’ll say once again: we are so richly blessed so that we can richly bless others. Let’s honor our Maker in that. Friends, I will find you here next time.

The Glass of My Education

A couple of weeks ago, a family friend asked me how my schooling was going. When I responded with a big smile and enthusiastic “Great!” he asked, “What’s your major again?”

After reminding him that I am a graphic design major, he asked if I was planning to work toward my master’s degree, since that’s becoming so important for getting a job these days. When I said “No, probably not, because I don’t think a master’s degree is really needed for a job in graphic design,” he smirked a little and said “Probably don’t need a degree at all in your field, huh?”

Taken aback, my instinctively polite response was, “I guess not.”

While I know he didn’t mean it this way, I took some offense to the comment. Was he implying that I am wasting time and money on an expensive Christian education that is only a luxury?

For the next few days, I mulled this brief conversation over in my head, again and again, trying to ignore the tiny voice that kept nagging in my ear, “he could be right.”

Even before this conversation, because a private education is very expensive and a huge time commitment, I’ve been working this semester on a 3 ½ year plan, so that I can wrap up my degree a semester early. It won’t be hard to do, given that I’m a single major with plenty of extra units under my belt from high school.

But this last week, as I was glancing over my plans, I realized something important: CBU requires that every undergraduate student have 124 units completed by the time of graduation, and only 48 of those units have anything to do with my graphic design major. That means more than half of my college education will be consumed by general education requirements, such as science, math, Christian studies, English, history, communications, et cetera… as well as a social work certificate that I’m working toward to earn more credibility for the Rose Again Foundation.

In discovering this, I decided that he was right: to get a job as a graphic designer, I probably don’t need a degree of any kind. I could easily hop online, pay a few expensive fees for Adobe products and tutorials and maybe attend a seminar or two… but in the end, I wouldn’t be a well rounded, educated young woman. I would never have learned how to give a proper tribute speech, or how to use APA formatting (in case I ever need to know that, for some bizarre reason). I seriously doubt that I’d ever take the time to learn the details regarding the writings of each New Testament book, which in truth is fascinating; and, given how much I paid attention to history in high school, I would probably still think that Pocahontas fell in love with John Smith.

Not to mention, I would never have met all of my fantastic professors, some of whom now act as mentors, guiding me through my design education with the understanding that any discipline, including graphic design, can be used for God’s glory… and not only that, but encouraging me, every day, that designers can change the face of this world, for good.

With all that to say, I know I’m not wasting my time here. When I leave CBU, I will be handed a piece of paper that declares my degree in graphic design. Chances are, no client will ever ask to see it. What they’ll be interested in are my portfolio that shows various skills, my passion, and probably my reliable character – all aspects of my abilities that would be seriously underdeveloped were it not for my time spent here, filling the glass of my education to the very brim.

So at the end of it all, I’ve decided he’s right, but I’m certain I wouldn’t rather have it any other way!

Two for Three

I planned on attending three important events this week: residential assistant (RA) Group Process Night, International Center Lunar Festival and Intramural Doubles Ping Pong Tournament. My week’s work schedule, homework load and social obligations synced perfectly with each of these. I couldn’t believe how well it all lined up.  As a person who rarely has time to do anything, the idea of attending three separate events in a week is unheard of. I had no doubt in my mind that this week would be great. As if I couldn’t have made this any more obvious, my week took an alternate route.

By the time Tuesday night rolled around, I was psyched to start the next part of the RA application process. After turning in the student leadership application, the next phase would be the group meeting followed by a one-on-one interview next week. The event was set for 6 p.m., so I was pumped and ready to go an hour before. That’s when I started feeling pressure in my stomach.

My first thoughts went straight to last weekend. My roommate caught what we thought was food poisoning over the weekend and crashed on our couch all of Saturday and Sunday. If he ended up having the flu instead, my good health was in danger.  I drank tea, chewed on Tums and relaxed all up until the last minute before leaving. From there I planned to just take it easy and wow the residential directors with my calm but leadership-worthy word choice. No craziness tonight. If only I made it that far. I was literally walking out of the Colony when I stopped, felt it coming, turned around and threw up  right there in one the planters. I’ll save you from any graphic descriptions, but know that it was not a pretty sight. Witnesses, for there were many, can inform you if you so desire. I couldn’t believe that I would get sick on the one night that I needed to be healthy and alive. I ended up showering, recomposing myself and showing up late, but I couldn’t last more than 30 minutes before regretting that decision. I spent the rest of the night with Gatorade, soda crackers and movies on cable. Wild times.

Needless to say, that was a bit of a downer, and embarrassing, but from there my week improved. I recovered over the next two days and could even joke about my insides still plastered in the parking lot. It was Thursday night and I wouldn’t let my weak, soda cracker-filled body miss out on any more events.  The main lure of the Lunar Festival was the free boba milk teas, and I do enjoy the boba. Freshman year my friends and I would brave the two-mile journey on our boards down Magnolia just to buy a tai tea boba. If they were just going to give it away on campus, then I would have to be there. I couldn’t stay for the dragon dance or sparklers, but I still had intramural ping pong to look forward to.

I am no ping pong master, or pupil, or anything relating to good table tennis technique. I just like to play games with people. When you throw doubles into the mix, then you can bring a friend along. This time around it was Derek Kouns, and I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else. I’ve been playing ping pong with Derek since we lived in Smith Hall, and he still destroys me in each game. I finally had the opportunity to play on his side, which instantly doubled my chances for glory. Rec Sports held the tournament in the Rec Center with three ping pong tables set up on the basketball court. They brought water bottles and donuts for the competitors, so of course we were at the top of our game. Our first round we lost terribly, which brought us into the loser’s bracket, where we then lost again but at a much closer margin. Neither of us really cared since we had fun competing, as well as shouting across the gym to our other friends playing seriously.

I enjoyed that Thursday night, and it wasn’t until I bit into that Bavarian crème donut that I remembered I was even sick. I couldn’t change the fact that my Tuesday plans were ruined, but I kept my week on the positive and made it through just fine. Just have to enjoy what you get.

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