My name is Grace Jong. I’m in my first year at PUC and I’m studying to be a nurse. It’s been a few weeks since we had to leave campus and start remote learning. It’s strange not to see my friends and professors every day but it has been nice to be home in Redlands spending some extra time with my family and I’m finally getting into a rhythm. This is what a (new) typical day looks like for me.
7:30 a.m. – I start my day by making an avocado toast for my mom before she leaves for work.
8:00 a.m. – After my mom leaves, I start cleaning around the house. I’ll wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, and clean the mirrors.
9:30 a.m. – Watch ONWARDS from Disney+. (By the way, I’m a HUGE Disney fan!)
11:00 a.m. – Start reviewing microbiology to refresh the information I studied the night before.
12:00 p.m. – Listen to the human development lecture by Professor Michael Jefferson.
1:00 p.m. – Listen to the microbiology Lecture by Dr. Backil Sung, while cooking for my dad and younger brother
3:00 p.m. – Start my online work for the PUC admissions office
6:00 p.m. – BREAK TIME!
To relax, I play the piano and guitar. I’ll also snack on some goodies like Sour Patch Kids strawberry edition.
7:30 p.m. – Start studying and get back on track! Once Micro is finally out of the way, I’ll start upcoming assignments so that I don’t get too overwhelmed by the due dates.
10:30 p.m. – Finish everything up and go drink some 100% raspberry juice as my reward.☺️
11:15 p.m. – Wash up and watch another movie/show from Disney+. My goal is to watch all the movies and shows from Disney+
I’m sure we’ve all said some version of these at one point in our lives. I get it, we’re busy, we have a lot on our plates, and there really is A LOT going on in the world. It can be difficult to keep up, especially in an election year. But the truth is, staying informed doesn’t have to be that hard. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you out.
Do make the choice to stay informed
It might be easier to just focus on your schoolwork or your job and not worry about anything else. However, it’s actually pretty important to know what’s going on in the world. Even the things you don’t think directly affect you, probably do, or at least someone you care about so it’s essential to know what is taking place in our country and around the world and to understand your rights.
Don’t rely on hearsay
It’s totally ok to seek other’s opinions, especially people who you trust and respect, but don’t just take someone’s word for granted, educate yourself and form your own opinions.
Do read newspapers and watch the news
make sure you are getting your news from a legitimate news source. There is a lot of misinformation out there. If you don’t enjoy watching the news, and you don’t get the newspaper, there are other ways to learn about what’s happening around you. Visit some news sites online every few days or follow accounts like the BBC or your hometown news station on Twitter.
Don’t rely on headlines
Don’t trust yourself to gather information from headlines or simple tweets. As someone who writes a lot of headlines and tweets for work, they’re created with the intention to be catchy or shocking, to grab your attention. So …
Do dig deeper
As I said above, don’t rely on headlines and simple tweets to give you the facts. Dig deeper and learn a bit more. If you don’t understand a topic, do a little research for an informed opinion
Author’s favorite tip
Do check in on yourself
Right now more than ever, the news is full of some overwhelmingly scary information. If you find yourself feeling anxious every time you open your Twitter app, take a break. Limit yourself to 15 min. of news each night and follow it up with some great cat videos on Youtube!
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalms 62:5-8
A few kayaking excursions on the East Coast taught me something important. The days were sunny and pleasant and the scenery was awesome. There was no hint that things would suddenly change to foreboding skies and fierce winds. I fought hard to paddle myself back to shore wondering if I would make it before being engulfed by the waters. I cried out to the heavens for help, remembering the boat story (Luke 8:22-25) when Jesus calmed the storm and even the winds and the water obeyed him. I did make it safely to shore by persevering and by God’s grace. It was a reminder to me that in the midst of the storms and uncertainties of life, we can be at peace, knowing God is in control. Let’s trust God and make him our rock in our everyday lives, allowing him to perform wonders on our behalf.
Executive Assistant for Student Life
International Student Advisor
This past February, six students from the World Missions and Campus Ministries team at PUC flew to Boulder Adventist Church in Colorado for the One Project. The One Project is a two-day program where Adventist colleges and universities gather to fully connect on the belief of Jesus. Everyone came together from multiple places, representing various entities, to arrive at common ground. Although everyone comes from different backgrounds, they were united being children of God, wanting to worship our Father and learning from the examples of Jesus.
Worship was the most important part of the One Project. People were able to hear sermons from various pastors from several states and countries. In between the sermons, they also had praise worship. “You can truly feel the Holy Spirit when the room is filled with an abundance of praise,” says Marci Amurao, one of the students who attended.
For the PUC student’s representing our school, this was an opportunity to worship in another way, while also a chance to meet people from other colleges and universities. Being able to worship together, share a meal together, fostered the community. Connecting with other students who share that common love for Christ not only built new friendships, but it also grew their relationships with Jesus.
“The One Project left with me with a stronger relationship with Jesus. It helped direct my focus to Christ and reassured me that what I believe is Jesus and our community is supposed to be a place of nurture and acceptance. The sermons were remarkable and groundbreaking, but what left an impression on me was the fellowship between the students.” –Marci Amurao
Before joining the PUC faculty over a decade ago, he spent 20 years as music director of the Napa Valley Symphony. Today, as acting chair, he spends most of his time doing what department chairs do: Paperwork, teaching classes, advising students, paperwork, attending meetings, catching up with students and colleagues, and more paperwork. Somewhere in there, he fits in directing the college’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble and playing trombone in the orchestra. As a brilliant composer and a natural performer, Raboy is a joy to talk with and a hoot to watch onstage.
Today (literally), we caught him between virtual classes and a walk with his dog, and he told us some very entertaining (and true!) stories.
What was the first-ever piece you performed on stage, and how old were you?
You forget that I am very, very old and can’t remember that far back. I started studying piano when I was five, so I certainly played in recitals before grade school. I remember playing in a trio with my brothers on the radio when I was in third grade, but I’ll be darned if I have any idea what the piece was. I conducted a summer festival band when I was in sixth grade (again, no idea of the piece). As for paying work, that came a little later. I was the music director and synth player for Godspell at age seventeen; that was probably the first.
Who would you name as one of your favorite composers, and what draws you to them?
I was literally raised on Beethoven. My parents got me the recording and orchestra score to Beethoven’s seventh symphony when I was in third grade. I still love the music of that madman, but I can’t claim to completely understand it, even after all these years.
It was Puccini’s La Bohème that really reached me. I understood music intellectually and as a set of skills to master, but I really didn’t get the power of music, the emotional punch that it contains until I saw a production of that opera and was surprised to find tears in my eyes and my heart full. I have loved Puccini ever since. He taught me the real meaning of music.
Your career has allowed you to “rub elbows,” as they say, with some famous people. Who are some of those you’ve personally met?
I’ve been very lucky in my performing career that I have gotten to work with some very big names. (This is not because I’m great, it’s simply the job. The Napa Valley Symphony hired well-known artists and it was my job to conduct the orchestra.) In the pops world, I worked with Wynona, Glen Campbell, Mel Torme, Pink Martini (all except Pink Martini are way before your time…). In the classical world, I’ve met Yo-Yo Ma, worked with André Watts, Sir James Galway, and so on. Maybe not household names, but in the music world, these guys are at the top.
But my favorite was Branford Marsalis, the saxophone player who used to conduct the Tonight Show band. He played three concertos with us, and then went out to a club to play jazz with a friend of his father’s. He was kind (although he wanted to put forward a rough edge), gifted, fun, spirited; we spent two days together and those are some of my fondest memories.
Let’s talk composing. How did you become interested in that aspect of creating music?
This is a dumb story, but it is 100 percent true. When I was in junior high school, Masterpiece Theater ran a limited series called “The Strauss Family.” Everybody was so excited because it was a story about musicians. I was a contrarian, so I hated the series. I thought it was just a soap opera, and besides, anyone can write waltzes. To prove it, I went to the piano in my living room and wrote one.
Before I continue, let me just say that Johann Strauss Jr. is a musical genius. Don’t judge me by my adolescence.
Nonetheless, my waltz turned out pretty good. My piano teacher asked for two more pieces so that three of my siblings could play a piece of mine in recital. I wrote for my family, trying to capture their personalities in each piece. It was a fun challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing an opera. It is the story of a woman who has power, prestige, pleasure but gets dissatisfied. She looks for something more. The point of the opera is not her conclusions, but her search. It mirrors my own journeys, and it is time for me to write a piece that is truly personal. It is loosely based on some very old stories, but it has been updated. I’m writing both the libretto and the music.
I doubt it will ever be performed. I’m not convinced that many opera companies will survive our time of shelter in place. it’s an expensive art form and needs large groups to congregate to make it successful. Still, I feel I need to write it, and hopefully, some excerpts will bring people pleasure, solace, or at least thoughtfulness in the future.
If someone were to tell you the next instrument you touched would be the only one you could play for the rest of your life (and that you’d instantly become a master at it), which one would you choose, and why?
It would be my own instrument, the piano. I want to be able to play everything: bass, chords, and melody. I want to be able to work alone or with a group. I want to be able to be expressive and shape a phrase like a singer would. I was born for the piano, and I’ll stay with it. I’m loyal like a dog.
When we say “music department” here at PUC, we think classical, church, tradition. Why is it important to remember there are other genres and styles of music out there?
First, let’s look at the music of Europe and the Americas. What we call “classical music” wasn’t always classical music. Opera was a popular art form the way musicals are today. Mozart was a pop composer (although for a pretty wealthy class of people) and the romantics made their money on ticket sales, just as rock musicians do in our time. The whole concept of “classical music” is a fairly modern creation.
The energy in music has always rested in songs written for people, not for academics. This is true of the church music of the thirteenth century or the string quartets of the eighteenth. In our time, Paul McCartney is as good a songwriter (in my opinion) as Schubert. Movies are the new operas, and John Williams may be as important as Verdi. This “non-classical” music is the expression of our time, and we should value it. There is no room for snobbery.
Then, go to Asia (just as one example). There are long musical traditions in China, India, Japan, and so on. There is no reason to assume that these traditions are any less powerful or enduring than our Western music. Think of India. We don’t have to sit cross-legged listening to ragas to enjoy this music. Bollywood is full of it. And it is wonderful.
How are you taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 crisis?
I am lucky. I have a dog, enough space in my house, food in my fridge, a large family I love, and a reclusive personality. Still, this isolation is a killer. Here’s what I do: I Zoom my family three or four times a week. My wife, daughter, and I cook together even though we are almost 3000 miles apart. I walk the Back 40, the front forty and every other forty with my dog. I exercise, I get up early, and have created a routine. I work, I eat, I listen to music. And I heartily enjoy my conversations with my students and my colleagues. For those of you who are suffering, I am thinking of you. This can be really, really hard.
How has your job/life changed since March 2020?
I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle. I went back East for a family affair. My wife and daughter stayed for a while and I flew home for concerts at PUC and elsewhere. I got the flu (blame it on the airplane. Why not?) and when I got out of bed, my nuclear family was trapped in North Carolina, students had been sent home, and no one was meeting. My hair was already too long, and my hairdresser was closed. My tuxedo was lying dirty on my dresser and my dry cleaner was closed. I gave concerts for a living, now I couldn’t gather to make music, hear music, or go to a movie. My dog needed walking and feeding, and I was his sole caregiver. Wow. But we can get used to anything. At least I have a family who loves me, a safe place to live, and open space. We all have a right to complain, but I am one of the very lucky ones. Yes, it feels like I woke up and I’m still in a dream. But every day I count my blessings. And part of those blessings are all the people who keep us safe, healthy, and supplied. All at personal risk. Thank you all!
Besides music, what are some of your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working or composing or practicing?
I love to cook. I hate to do dishes, so I don’t cook as much as I would like, but I truly love it. I would call golf a hobby, but it is more of an addiction. And I’m really bad at it. (But so is everyone else–don’t believe the stories you hear.) I love chess but find chess puzzles better than chess games (because they are shorter). Still, I’ll play with anyone who wants to! I read and belong to a book club. I hike; in slow motion when my dog is there, a little faster but not by much when I’m alone. And, when there are sports, I follow the San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. No wonder I don’t practice as much as I should.
Okay, we have to ask about the dog, because it seems like he’s an important part of your life. Introduce us!
Bowie, named for David Bowie, is an old guy. My daughter thinks he’s 14, but I’m convinced he’s 12 because I choose to. He is two dogs long, half a dog high, with twisted legs that probably come from a basset hound, although perhaps a dachshund. He’s got a normal dog face like a Labrador, a narrow ruff (that shoots up at the sight of huskies) like a Ridgeback, and a loose neck like a Shar-Pei. To me, he is simply a loving dog, a lap dog, a stubborn dog, and truly a boy’s best friend.
If you could swap places with Bowie, would you?
No, I wouldn’t trade places. He’s very happy and well cared for, and nothing troubles him except when he wants to go to the Back 40 and I am meeting with students.
But here’s the thing. I’ve always loved challenges. I can’t get out of bed if there isn’t a mountain to climb or something to conquer. That’s not a good thing, but it’s how I’m built, and it’s the way I’ve been since I was a little kid. Bowie is happy because there is nothing he has to accomplish. I am happy because there is always something that can be accomplished. We each have the life that fits our personality and scrapes along together very well.
Right now we all have a lot of extra time on our hands and most of us find ourselves spending a good chunk of that time on social media. I’m positive you’ve all heard professors or parents telling you to be intelligent about what you post but another reminder couldn’t hurt! The first thing a lot of us do when we meet or are about to meet someone is, look them up! We all do it. A person’s social media is a representation of them, a brand if you will. It can play a role in getting into a school or getting a job. It’s important to make sure you put your best foot forward. Here are a few things to consider about your social media platforms.
Make a good first impression
The first thing anyone sees when they land on your page is your profile photo! Make sure your photo is appropriate. I’m not suggesting everyone needs a headshot in a suit and tie as their default photo, obviously, you should have fun and express yourself how you want but it’s good to keep a few things in mind like making sure your face is visible and on a platform like LinkedIn it’s definitely a good idea to aim for as professional as possible.
Browse through your profile
Take a look at your viewable photos and videos. Pay close attention to things you might be tagged in. Look through your older posts and comments for things that may not reflect the person you are or want to be.
Adjust your privacy settings
I’m sure you know this already, young people are always on top of technology, but you can change your social media settings to not allow your profile to be tagged in photos or videos without your approval. You can also set it so people cannot comment on your FB timeline without approval. If you’ve found you are often being tagged in something you aren’t happy with, consider adjusting your settings. I changed mine simply because my best friend has a habit of posting the absolute ugliest photos of me.
Update your bio!
Make sure you have current information on your page. As someone who uses social media for work often, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken to Facebook to look for someone’s contact information.
Keep it professional
Or at least use proper grammar! I don’t have anything else to say except I really like proper grammar and you should too! At least download Grammarly to give you a helping hand because no one wants to be the person whose posts get comments correcting which version of “there” they incorrectly used!
What you post online reflects who you are. Be smart about what you post because your future professor or boss might see it. Use social media to help you, not hurt you.
Yesterday, I sat down to read my Bible. Before I opened it, I prayed God would bless my time and give me peace during the craziness happening around me. I opened my Bible and there it was, God’s blessing for the day. It felt like a blessing just for me but I would like to share it with all of you!
My Bible opened to John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled … believe in God.”
That really struck a chord with me. And then verse 27 popped out, “… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Wow, I hadn’t been looking for that message, but God planned it for me, for just this moment. In this time of upset, with so much changing around us, it is so reassuring to be reminded that God does not change. He is always the same. He is, always has, and always will remain constant. He is safe to trust! I find much comfort and confidence in knowing and believing this.
Jaime Herman, administrative assistant for student life
Welcome to my mundane life! I say mundane because I, like you, have been self-isolating for the past few weeks and it’s all starting to feel like one VERY LONG DAY. 🙃 I’ve been asked to give an account of what it looks like for some of us PUC staff members who are working remotely, so here you go! I can feel your excitement through the computer.
My name is Dana Negro. I was a PR/Journalism major at PUC … a while ago. Now I work in the marketing and communication office as the communications specialist. I spend most of my days in headphones listening to music while I write so that part of life hasn’t changed but the lack of people nearby and the addition of copious amounts of conference calls has definitely started to get a little old. My job duties are filled with very exciting things like writing, editing, and scheduling blog posts. I deal with a lot of the college’s general marketing. I also manage all PUC’s main social media accounts so at any given time throughout the day (especially when I have writer’s block or I’m bored) I reply to DMs, leave comments, and try to figure out how Instagram Stories work.
Even though I’m working from home I still get up fairly early, or at least my alarm goes off fairly early every day. I have a 7 a.m. “wake-up” and then I do what every millennial does: I lay there and scroll through social media until the very last possible moment. Every article about working from home suggests getting dressed for work, as usual, saying it helps you get into “work-mode” and while I do shower, there’s no way you’re getting me in anything but loungewear. And since this isn’t a vlog, you don’t need to know if I’m wearing makeup or not.
On a typical day, I arrive at the office around 8 a.m. after at least one very large cup of coffee and multiple moments of distraction by my dog Stellaluna. This is what I’m used to coming to work and seeing lots of natural light, lots of open workspace, and many photos and knickknacks strategically placed to provide optimal lack of unmotivated moments.
My view is a little different these days, management is really breathing down my neck.
So as not to bore you, I’ll just give you a brief breakdown of my new normal working day in outline form. Aren’t you glad you chose to read this?
8 a.m. — Sign into Slack (which my office is using to stay connected), check emails, check all PUC social media account notifications.
9 a.m. — Slack staff meeting.
BREAK!— It’s time for a Twitter break. Usually, I take a quick morning break to check in with the latest baseball news but right now … show me those dog pics!
10 a.m. — Zoom conference call with Napa County Public Health for updates on how the county is handling the pandemic. This is where I have definitely learned the importance of conference call etiquette. Mute your mics and silence your phones people!
11 a.m. — This is around the time when I can expect a text from my student intern Ally Romanes, who has decided her cure for boredom and anxiety is to be an even more phenomenal employee (yes, she’s definitely reading this, and yes, it’s still true). She’ll update me on her progress on various projects and we discuss what things I might need from her over the next few days. Then I’ll probably send her multiple photos of my dog and links to at least three items I want to purchase and she’ll tell me not to buy yet another jacket but to get the really frivolous shoes.
BREAK! — Time to check in with my two best friends. One who works at a grade school and is figuring out how to best educate a group of K-4th graders remotely and the other who is a nurse at the hospital in St. Helena and assures me he’s being safe!
1 p.m. — Slack ViewPoint meeting. For those of you who don’t know what ViewPoint is, it’s PUC’s magazine sent out twice a year to a large group of people, mainly consisting of alumni. I’m the managing editor so it’s my job to make sure everything is organized, deadlines are made, everything is edited, etc. The closer to a print date we get, the more often the team meets. This issue is SO close!
2-4 p.m. — Dramatic afternoon meltdown. Time no longer exists. Who even knows how long I’ve been editing blog posts … Also, I will likely realize I never stopped for lunch and probably eat an entire pack of Ritz Crackers.
BREAK!— Every 15 minutes my dog will come into the room to observe me but towards the end of the workday she’ll have had enough work and will coerce me into taking a break in the backyard.
After work, I usually take my dog out into the Back 40 or around the neighborhood. Now she has to settle for unattended backyard time where she inevitably picks a fight with a squirrel and has to be brought inside. 🙄 I usually spend the rest of the evening alternating between reading (I’m on my sixth book of the shelter-in-place order) and binge-watching something; right now it’s Brooklyn 99. Tonight though, I’ve decided to be hip and Netflix Party the first six episodes of Schitt’s Creek with my college roommate.
OK, that’s it. That’s a typical day in the life of a PUC staff member working remotely. I’m off to bed so I can do this all over again tomorrow!
My name is Lindsey Gullett, née Orellana. I’m a PUC alum from the class of 2015, and I am so excited you’re reading this! One thing I think we can all use a refresher course in, especially during these times of uncertainty, is loving others, no matter what comes our way!
It’s crazy to think Jesus summed it up in one phrase, “love God and love people” (My paraphrase). In other words, the greatest commandment according to Jesus is all about love (John 14:15). If we love God first and foremost, then out of that love we should love others. Even when all the toilet paper is gone at the store! It sounds simple enough until we start attempting to put it into play. When we begin to look at the reality of how we should love God and people versus how it plays out day-to-day, we’ll probably feel a little guilty of all the times we fall short, I know I do!
Thankfully, Jesus knows we’re not capable of overcoming our natural selfishness on our own, so He sent us a guide; The Holy Spirit. When we come to know God through Jesus, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Think of the way a friend, counselor, or even a nurse supports, encourages, and walks with you through a tough season. The Holy Spirit does the same thing by helping us follow God’s word.
What does the Holy Spirit do, exactly? The Holy Spirit begins to transform us from the inside out, helping us reflect the spirit and character of Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit that transforms our perspective from “ought to” to “want to” when it comes to listening to God’s Word–and that makes all the difference in how we live out God’s love.
As we navigate this time of global crisis, ask God for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit to help you love others well. This might mean showing extra patience towards your spouse or kids who are stuck at home, offering to pick up groceries for your elderly neighbors, or perhaps it’s praying for global leaders making decisions and medical workers who are on the front lines caring for the sick.
Hoping these few words have given you a little break from all the craziness out there and that it serves as a gentle reminder as to how we can be a positive light to others through love and kindness!
When we asked Miranda Halversen to answer a few questions for us we had no idea she was literally about to finish her degree in marketing communications! Since then, Miranda has finished up at PUC and will be joining the Larkin Company team in the near future. We are so excited for her new adventure!
What is your dream job?
Ah! I have so many. I would love to work for a publishing house, work as a social media manager for a company, public relations manager, event planner.. all of it at some point in my life! And of course, I’ll retire with my own business of a coffee shop/bookstore hybrid to last me through my later years.
How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian (as I think a lot of young kids do). But as I got to junior high and high school, I really wanted to be an event or wedding planner! However, I had a bad job-shadowing experience and decided against it. So I was going to go into school for a business degree but ended up falling in love with communication classes. And here I am!
What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?
I will always love dorm life. I got to be a desk worker, resident assistant, and student dean over my time here. Those jobs and the overall culture of the dorm really just helped drive my love for my degree and wanting to always be with people. Our dorms provide a lot of worship opportunities and events which created so many lasting friendships.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
This is a hard question because I have so much more traveling to do before I can decide! But I guess, for now, it’s honestly the Napa Valley. I’ve lived here (at PUC) for nearly 14 years, so it’s home.
What show are you bingeing these days?
Oh, too many. I’m always rewatching all the Friends seasons. But lately, I’ve been watching Bones with my boyfriend, and I’m obsessed!
What is something you’re passionate about?
I’m passionate about people. I have a strong desire to always want to do things to make others laugh, smile or feel happy and comfortable. I thrive when I’m with others. No matter what I end up doing, I want to be doing something where I’m making life better and happier for others.
Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend
I would definitely say to visit Yountville. It’s only about 20 minutes from the hill, and it’s such a cute little town! Especially during Christmas time, they have lights all over Main Street. And a visit to Bouchon Bakery is always a plus over there!
Congratulations on finishing your last finals, Miranda! We wish you the best as you start your new journey!