It’s no secret that we have been going through a strange time. Everyone has been dealing with this situation differently and for myself, it has been quite difficult. From school and work transitioning online, being home and unable to see many loved ones, and being able to travel, it’s been a rough transition. What I try to remember is there are better days ahead and I just need to keep the faith.
Sometimes it’s hard to have faith and believe there are better days ahead. We are going through a tough time, but it is during these times we must stay close to God and have faith in Him. As we are living through the craziness of the world right now, we must not doubt God has better days prepared for us.
It may seem like a long time before life feels “normal” again, but without God our days won’t be brighter. With Him, all things are possible. Hebrews 12:2 tells us He is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Keep looking to Him for strength and remember to place your faith in Him.
A person can make all types of plans for their perfect college experience, but sometimes things turn out differently than you planned, life’s funny like that. One plan most students enter college with is the idea that you’ll finish your degree in four years. For a lot of people, this is totally doable. However, some students take longer. It’s actually very common to take a fifth year to finish your schooling.
As a fifth-year senior or a super senior as we are often called, I just wanted to take a moment to say, it’s okay to be a super senior!
When I realized I needed to stay a fifth year to finish my degree, I felt a little upset and embarrassed. A lot of people are ashamed of taking a bit longer to finish school. There’s almost a stigma to it, like taking an extra year means you’re not as intelligent or didn’t take school seriously or just didn’t plan well. But I was wrong. My personal experience shows having extra time in college can actually be a positive thing. It gives you more time to prepare for the real world and to figure out plans for after you graduate.
For me personally, this extra year has been a true blessing. It’s allowed me to figure out who I am as a person and what I want to do with my life. It also allowed me an opportunity to work in the marketing office helping with social media and various marketing tasks, which is great since that’s what my degree is in. I’m not sure I would have had this opportunity had I not been an older student, as fifth-year seniors tend to be more mature and given more responsibilities. (My boss told me to say that last part, I swear I’m not bragging!)
There’s a perk too. Student discounts are a fantastic way to save some money and I’m definitely not sad about still getting them!
So whether you’re on track to finish in four or you end up sticking around a little longer, just know, it’s ok! Everyone’s journey looks a little different. It doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you work hard for your goals.
Matthew Guevara, trumpet major, is set to graduate in June with a degree in music performance and having completed the requirements for the pre-veterinary program. He’s finishing up his final quarter from home in Vallejo, California, where he’s sheltering-in-place with his parents, brother, and sister.
Kelley Polite, voice major, completed her coursework for a degree in music performance in March. Her plan this quarter was to spend time with family and friends and do some traveling while she waited for graduation in June. Instead, she’s sheltering-in-place with her parents and brother in Oakley, California, where she’s lived all her life.
We will definitely miss these students with their fantastic sense of humor, easy laughter, cheerful attitudes, and significant contribution to our ensembles and music program as a whole.
Congratulations, Kelley and Matt! Please come back and perform in Paulin Hall again very soon!
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was around four or five years old, my family went to visit some family in Pennsylvania for a couple of weeks. Because it was a long trip, we took our dog, along with her favorite toy. During play one day, her toy was thrown into the street and of course she chased after it, but she was hit by a car in the process. Her back legs were broken and I remember watching my aunt and my mom bandage her up and try to splint her legs, and I knew at that moment I wanted to do that. I was going to be a veterinarian.
When I was a kid I really wanted to be a veterinarian. I had my own little doctor kit I would use on my stuffed animals. But after I found out what you had to do to help animals that were hurt and how hurt they could be, I knew it wasn’t for me and my dream went to being a baker. I even thought about going to culinary school for it.
When did you first realize you loved music?
I don’t know that there was anyone moment when it was revealed to me; it’s just always been part of who I am. Even before I was born my parents were always playing classical music and I was born into music. It’s just always been there.
I’ve always loved music, but I think the moment that I fully recognized it was when I watched The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway when I was 18. It was the first musical I saw live and it’s my mom’s favorite musical so I grew up listening to the music and watching the movie adaptation a lot. I almost cried when I heard the first opening notes from the orchestra and continued to just be so emotional throughout the show. Experiencing the orchestra, singing, and dancing in person changed everything for me. It was like seeing the music come to life and it got me thinking that I’d love to have a job making music and giving the experience I had to someone else.
How did you settle on which instrument you wanted to major in?
As I said, I’ve always loved and been around music, and through the years I’ve tried my hand at several. I can play the piano–which was my first instrument–trumpet, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, tuba, euphonium, and French horn.
The funny thing is that for most of my early childhood, I thought I was going to play drums. The summer before fifth grade we traveled to Nicaragua to see family and I spent the entire trip bragging to my cousins about how I was going to be a drummer. Then, two weeks before school started, my dad showed me a video of someone playing the trumpet, and I suddenly knew that was what I wanted. I was going to play the trumpet. I never looked back.
Voice wasn’t really an option for me until I was 17. My first instrument was the piano and it was only after my brother had started playing did I see how cool it was and when my brother stopped playing my parents really pushed me to continue. While learning piano, I also took up the flute in elementary school and played until high school when I switched to playing mallet percussion. I took piano for eight years before making the decision to quit because I didn’t have enough time and the passion to play wasn’t there anymore. After that I didn’t think of taking lessons again until my parents suggested it.
I had always liked to sing and was in choir all through elementary and high school but always felt too small and shy to commit to lessons. Then when I was 17, my dad found a studio in Walnut Creek and convinced me to take a trial lesson with a couple of instructors. I clicked with one of them–Nancy was her name–and I took lessons there for about a year and a half until it closed.
Describe a music-related experience that changed your life.
When I was in high school, the music department took us to Disneyland where we recorded a film score. I’d never had an experience like that before, and I suddenly realized I could do more with trumpet besides casual church playing. Everything I thought I knew about music shifted.
In my senior year of high school I was in my school’s performance of The Sound of Music. It was the first musical I had ever done and I will always cherish it. I had never acted or auditioned for a show before so it was all new and scary to me. It was a huge learning and growing experience for me but I’ll never forget it. We practiced for almost a year and I put everything I could into rehearsing and the two performances we did.
Tell us about someone whose positive influence has helped you get to where you are today.
Definitely my trumpet teacher in high school, Ian Cochran. My old trumpet was falling apart and not playing well at all, and I desperately needed a new one. One night my dad came home with a Stradivarius trumpet–the gold standard–and he said I could have it if I took actual lessons and got serious about learning the instrument. I agreed.
I remember my first lesson when Cochran asked me what my goals were. I said I didn’t know and he just started playing crazy things I didn’t even know were possible. I was awestruck. He made it look easy and it was remarkable. Even looking back now I realize how amazing he was, and he was only 25. He started showing me how to do some of the crazy things he’d done, and in every lesson I learned something new. He pushed me to where I am today and I wouldn’t be here without him and the time he took to get me here.
I’m lucky to be able to say that I’ve had so many people help me to become who I am today and I feel bad to only choose one. So I’m going to cheat and say, two people.
Singing-wise, Chalena and Chanelle have given me the most push to get me out of myself to sing. I’ve never told them, but ever since I met them I’ve always looked up to them. Their voices have just been my goal. They have the type of voice and presence on stage that when they sing you gotta listen. When I started wanting to sing in the praise band they took every opportunity to shove a mic in my hand and say, “Sing this.” No matter how much I protested they wouldn’t take no for an answer. And I think that’s the kind of push I needed back then because after that I can’t remember saying no. It was a shift in myself that I don’t think I fully recognized until now but their pestering and pushing has gotten me to where I am today.
How did you choose music as a major?
I started out as a biology major, but it quickly felt like something I’d been pressured into doing and I wasn’t enjoying it. It didn’t seem to fit completely. When I realized what did fit, it was music. Music was something I enjoyed wholly and it helped me through some tough times those first few months of college. I realized that if music helped me, it could help others, and I could be the conduit, so I declared a music major. You never know what someone is going through, no matter how happy they seem, which I fully understand. I know music can touch people in ways nothing else can, so every time I give a concert, I have a little prayer in my head: “Let my music show the light at the end of the tunnel to those who need it.”
What surprised you about college?
What surprised me most about college is how different it was from how people said it would be. I had teachers and my brother telling me senior year of high school how hard classes would be and I got it drilled in my head that it would be so serious and hard all the time. Then I got here and realized I hadn’t been told about all the fun I would also have! Don’t get me wrong: the classes were hard and I had to study and practice a lot, but I also had so. much. fun. I’ve met so many people who are really important to me now, done things I wouldn’t have done otherwise and have grown so much. I’m really happy with the time I’ve spent at PUC.
Tell us about a class you weren’t sure you’d like but that ended up teaching you something invaluable.
Orchestration. I expected it to be just “okay” but I had such a blast in that class and I learned so much. I find myself now writing random stuff, orchestrating random pieces. It was a really useful class in the end, and I’m glad I took it.
I hate to say it now (especially since Matt just did) because I actually really liked the class when it was done, but…Orchestration. It’s funny now because there were three of us in the class and none of us said much, but I learned a lot. Initially I didn’t know what to expect but there was a lot more to it than I thought. Learning about each family of instruments and how to write for them individually and collectively gave me so much more appreciation for orchestras and bands. I listen to each now with more comprehension and admiration for what is happening during pieces.
Before we all had to go into social isolation, what were some of your favorite on- and off-campus activities?
I absolutely loved nightly room checks as an RA, when I got to see all my residents. I love those guys–they’re my second family. The friends I’ve made here at PUC are brothers to me. When we went off-campus we’d usually go to the movies, ice skating, or grab some food in Napa.
I liked to check out lots of different places in the area, but the only real regular spot I went to was the Friday farmer’s markets in St. Helena. My roommate and I went almost weekly to get coffee and a pastry, walk the market, and just chill. I did have favorite places to study, though; my usual spots were The Grind, the Napa RoCo, and the third floor of the PUC library.
What is one of your favorite pieces you’ve performed, and why?
Definitely and without hesitation Alexander Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto in A-flat Major. I’m a romantic classical performer–that’s how I can express myself the most and it’s what I like to play. I love all the romantic arts and music, and this particular piece combines everything I love: The technical difficulty, the range, the dynamics. You have to have it “just right” to sound good, otherwise, it’s just a blob of everything and it’s not pretty. Making it pretty is what makes it different, and I love it. It’s the piece I was most excited about for my senior recital, actually, and the piece I’m most sad I can’t perform for a while.
My all-time favorite piece I’ve performed is The Monk and his Cat by Samuel Barber. I remember getting the music from Dr. Wilkes (my voice teacher) and looking it over and being so excited that I got to sing a song about a cat and it is, like, a “serious” piece of music. It was supposed to be a challenge piece for me and something she thought I would like. Me, not being so observant, thought, “Ok, two pages and in English: No problem.” Then Ellen (my accompanist) pointed out that there was no time signature and the piano played something totally different than what I would sing, and I panicked. But learning the piece was so fun and learning to portray the story of the song made me absolutely fall in love with it. If Dr. Wilkes would’ve allowed it I would’ve performed that song everywhere.
Speaking of performing, Kelley, because you finished the quarter before COVID-19 made gatherings impossible, you were able to give your senior recital. How did it go?
Kelley Funnily enough I don’t remember much about it! When I perform I put myself into this mode where I give everything that I can and for some reason it makes me blackout until I’m done, lol! I do remember how relieved, overjoyed, sad, and full of disbelief I was when I was done. I had so many emotions because it’s the moment I had been preparing for since sophomore year when I started with Dr. Wilkes. I couldn’t believe that I had done something so huge before, and sad that it was over.
There were three things that I was really worried about before my recital. I worried about the French set that I was doing because that is the hardest language for me. The second was one of my German pieces. It was the newest piece of music for me and for the life of me I couldn’t get it committed to memory. The other thing I worried about was the thank-you speech I gave. I never like doing speeches, public or otherwise, so it was really tough for me. I went onstage with a written-out speech and when it came time to talk it stayed folded up in my hand the whole time.
The thing I was most proud of was how I held myself on stage and handled doing a whole concert by myself. Second to that was my performance of My Dear Marquis at the end of my recital. I was so anxious to see how people would receive it and see me go all out for that song. I had so much fun with that piece and I loved that the audience didn’t know where I was going with it.
And Matt, you actually didn’t get to do a senior recital–yet! Are you going to come back and show off your skills when we can gather again?
Ha! I sure hope so. I worked really hard on all of my music, and I was really looking forward to performing the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto. Raboy has mentioned to me that they want me to come back next year and give my recital, and I hope that works out.
Let’s talk about how COVID-19 affected your senior year. I know that’s a challenge because it’s pretty much turned everything upside-down for everyone, but what has affected you most, do you think?
Honestly, it’s plagued my life. It took away my degree recital, my last quarter of college…if I’d known last quarter was the end of normal college, I would’ve done some things I now won’t get to do. I don’t know if I’ll see some of my friends again, and I don’t get to perform my senior recital–at least not before the school year ends. I already had Senioritis, and now the whole online education thing has made motivation even more difficult. In some ways there seems to be more pressure, in other ways less…it’s just a whirlwind experience that I can’t say I’m enjoying!
It’s been a really strange period for sure. I had no idea what was really going on with COVID-19 until I heard that other colleges were being shut down and even then I didn’t think it was that serious. I had just performed for my last General Student Recital and was preparing to take part in the NATS [National Association of Teachers of Singing] singing competition and do my drama final (two things that I was really excited for) that weekend, and 3 days later I’m moving out of my dorm room. I had to deal with so much information at once with finals being online and leaving college so suddenly that it honestly didn’t feel real. It felt rushed and incomplete. I was sad about leaving the music building for the last time. It’s been the building I’ve practically lived in since I started in college.
I don’t like saying this but I felt like I was robbed of the things that I was expecting to do during this time. I was planning on doing some traveling during the gap quarter I had. See friends in L.A., a road trip to Seattle and maybe go up to Canada, stay out in the Santa Cruz mountains with my auntie and live life a little slower. But instead I’m confined to my house with my family who works during the day so I can’t really bother them and a weekly shopping trip to look forward to. I’ve missed a lot over this time and some days I’m sadder over it and other things than usual, but I’ve also gained different perspectives during this quarantine so I choose to focus on those and make something positive out of what I am given.
Tribute time! What final words do you want to leave for your teacher?
Sheesh I don’t even really know where to start. Actually that’s a lie. Freshman year was really rough for me because of some things that were happening outside of school. Early on, Dr. Davis could tell something was up and she was there to help pull me out of it, not only as a musician but just as a person. She encouraged me to never lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s something I keep in mind every single day.
I was also a pretty shy guy when it came to performing, and she pushed me out of that shell. She would always tell me that a good trumpet player has to act like you’re the best person on the stage at any moment, even if that’s not how you feel. She made me learn to be confident and command the stage, and that’s something I also keep in my mind.
As for Raboy, oh man… He pushed me in ways I didn’t know I could be pushed hahaha. He was tough but it was always to help me become a better trumpet player, especially the last year of college. Originally my degree recital had an entirely different repertoire that I wasn’t too enthusiastic about, and he was helping me prepare for it. He could tell I wasn’t feeling the rep so he told me to go out and find pieces I want to play, so that’s what I did. I practiced them for a while, got pretty confident in how I was playing, and then we started having weekly coaching sessions. I remember that first session. I went in thinking I would be ready to play the show in a week, but man he broke the pieces down in a way that made me reevaluate that, which of course is a good thing. I was happy with how I was playing, but after even just a few sessions, Raboy had me feeling like Wynton Marsalis on that stage.
Both Davis and Raboy pushed me to become the musician I am today and I promise you I wouldn’t be here without them. They were tough when they needed to be, and a friend when I needed one and for that I will be eternally grateful. I hope that I’ll be able to pass that forward someday.
Aw man, I can’t even begin to express how much thankfulness and love I have for Dr. Wilkes, but I’ll try. I met Dr. Wilkes in a time where I needed someone like her in my life. With her big aura and personality that you could literally feel the moment you stepped into her office. She gave me a safe space where I could work and experiment without fear of anything. She basically took the small, introverted girl, put her in front of a mirror, and slowly but surely showed her what she could do and be. She essentially said, “This is what I see, and I’ll help you see it too.” She gave me the pieces, tools, and education that would get me there.
Dr. Wilkes, if you ever read this, know that you have taught me so much more than how to sing and I’m so so so grateful for everything that you have done for me. I only wish to one day have the same aura you do that people can feel when they enter the same space as me.
So, let’s move away from school for a minute. What are some of your hobbies? (When we’re not sheltering-in-place that is!)
Baseball, basketball, soccer…anything sports-related. Actually, speaking of sports, I have a shoe collection, too, which is probably my biggest hobby. It’s mostly Nike, except for the dress shoes, and I have almost 70 pairs now, still in their original boxes. I wear all but four pairs on a regular basis; those four pairs are limited editions I don’t want to mess up. For dress shoes, I prefer Italian-made. They’re just better quality.
I love to read. I haven’t had the time since I started college, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying books over the years. I also really enjoy watching period films and old movies and musicals. Baking is a big favorite of mine, too.
What plans do you have as soon as life resumes a bit of normalcy?
I’m actually taking next year off and working at the SPCA in San Francisco, then I’m hoping to get into UC Davis’ dual program so I can get a degree in music rehabilitation as well as veterinary medicine. My plan is to combine them in my career, which many people don’t realize you can do–veterinary medicine and music? But a lot of times the animals who come into the clinics are really scared, hyped up, and anxious. I want to be able to use music to help them relax and comfort them, and then ultimately help heal them.
As of right now I have two things that I really want to do when this is all over and things are more normal. I want to have a get-together with family and friends and be able to stand next to them and hug them instead of the current 6-feet rule and no touching. I would also like to just wander around any and all stores that would be open then so that I can just experience shopping with others again.
Work-wise, my dream career is to be an actor. I would love to be on-stage in opera, musical theatre, or both. Also, if I ever got the opportunity to voice a Disney princess I would so do it, no questions asked. But as of right now I don’t know where I’m going. I’m looking for jobs with theatres and other performing opportunities that could get me in the right direction. It’s a little scary right now but I’m finding my way. And I’ll stick to music while I get there.
If you could go back to Freshman You and encourage them, what would you say?
There’s a lot I would say. Something like, “Don’t let the naysayers get in your head. There’s gonna be a lot of challenges, but just push through. Never give up. Don’t take anything for granted–take the chance. Do it. You don’t want regrets later.”
I would tell her that even though it has been a rough year there are better things coming. “What happened this past year was a lot and it’ll take a while to feel normal and happy but it’s coming. Experiences and moments that will build you back up and then make you grow–grow into the you that you’ve been needing to be. It’s coming, I promise, just wait.”
When I was still in high school, I had a history teacher who taught me a very important lesson. We were getting ready to take a midterm exam the whole class had been dreading for weeks, and we were all quite stressed and unhappy. Before administering the exam, the teacher stood in front of the class and said, “don’t worry, in the great ocean that is your life this test is just a small drop of water”. This statement changed my perspective and I’ve been able to rely on it ever since.
Even though current times might be confusing or hard to get used to, it’s important to remember God is on our side and when you put things in perspective, problems start to look a lot smaller. Sometimes, stressing and worrying is only detrimental to your health and well-being, and only leads to more anxiety. This might be a good time to remember and take to heart the words God said to the Israelites when He said, “you need only to be still”.
“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:13-14
We are living in strange times. As we are sheltering at home, some find it difficult not to be able to be outside moving around and others really miss interacting with people. It’s not only important to check on your friends and family, but it’s also important to check on yourself as well. Here are some ways to prioritize your mental health during this time.
Set A Routine
You’ve heard this over and over already but its good advice so I’ll say it again! Making a daily routine for yourself will keep you on top of things and help you stay motivated. It can be as simple as making your bed every morning or setting a time to eat lunch. Making a routine will keep you productive and remind you of what you need to accomplish.
Stay Connected With Friends
It’s important to stay in touch with your friends. through FaceTime, phone calls, and texting. While we may not know what will happen next, we need to be there for one another to help ease the stress we may be going through.
Get Fresh Air
Just because we are being asked to stay home doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Go out and get some fresh air and clear your mind.
Do Activities You Enjoy
It’s important to keep doing the things you enjoy. Whether that be watching your favorite show or exercising, keep doing the activities you enjoy every day.
Even without access to a gym, you can still workout at home. Go for a run, take or walk, or go on a bike ride. If you need some at-home exercise inspiration, ask your friends or look-up workouts on Pinterest or Youtube. It’s important to stay active for your physical and mental health.
Make sure you get enough sleep each night to restore your energy. Getting enough hours of sleep will help you think clearly and feel better during the day.
Look-Up Pictures Of Animals
Who doesn’t like seeing cute photos of animals? Follow a few on Instagram or YouTube some cat videos. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a sea otter cam that allows you to watch the sea otters during the day. You don’t want to miss out on the cuteness!
Focus On Things You Can Control
With the uncertainty we are living in, it’s important to focus on things we can control. Don’t overthink or obsess about the things you don’t have power over, but instead focus on the things you can control.
Read A Devotional
One of the best things we can do for our own mental health is turn to God. Open your Bible or sign up to get a Bible verse of the day. You can also join us here on the blog every Friday for a devotional thought from one of our own Pioneers.
With the challenges and changes we are dealing with, don’t forget to take care of yourself, and know, your PUC family is here for you!
Hey friends! My name is Drew Biswas. I am an exercise science major with a minor in business and I wanted to share my “routine” for life taking online classes!
So I say “routine”, however, I definitely listen to my body a lot more nowadays. These are really crazy times so if my body says we need an extra hour of sleep then I oblige. Regardless, this is generally how it goes.
7:00 a.m. – Wake-up time. I usually don’t eat breakfast as soon as I wake up but I’ll make some tea just so I’m in a habit of putting something in my digestive system. During this time I take a shower, study my bible, pray, and do some chores around the house.
8:00 a.m. – Prepping for classes. If the weather is good I like to take my desk set up outside so I can soak up that good vitamin D while I get prepared for my classes ahead and hang out with my dog Barry (Named after Barry Allen, the DC superhero The Flash, ironically because he looks really goofy when he runs)!
9:00 a.m. – Classes start. From now until about 3 p.m. I have most of my classes. I usually eat lunch at noon, my family is half Indian so we have a ton of good Indian food at home.
3:00 p.m. – So speaking of living in an Indian house, we have to have tea time at three, so everyone in the house stops what we’re doing so we can relax for a quick 15 and enjoy my mom’s chai (who is the nurse the mug refers to)!
3:30 p.m. – I live in the Bay area so there are a lot of great hiking spots to social distance at! Barry loves coming with me so he can run and stretch his legs for a little bit, and there are always great views!
5:00 p.m. – Family dinner is a must for the Biswas house. My mom, grandma, dad, and I all sit and chat about work and school with each other while eating my mom and dad’s amazing cooking (thanks parents!)
6:00 p.m. – This is usually the time for finishing any additional homework, studying for tests and quizzes, or reminding Barry that he’s handsome! (he has some self-confidence issues).
9:00 p.m. – Since it’s starting to get pretty warm here I usually try to do my runs in the late evening. After this, it’s time to hit the showers and hit the hay!
And that’s my day! Routine is totally important but my tip is, don’t push yourself too hard to achieve the impossible! I’d like to encourage all of you to go at your own pace. Life is super crazy right now, but every day makes me more and more excited to see you all again very soon PUC family!
Each of the Library staff is available by appointment (or even spontaneously sometimes) for joining any online class to answer questions, assist with assignments, or to lead out in the best use of the library resources. They consider themselves fairly interchangeable but here are their specialties:
Patrick Benner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
– Aviation, Chemistry, Data Science, EMS, Math, Nursing, Health Sciences, Physics
Allison Fox (email@example.com)
– Biology, Education, English & Literature, Kinesiology
Jason St Clair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
– Business, Music Psychology & Social Work
Katy Van Arsdale (email@example.com)
– Communication, History, Honors, Theology, Visual Arts, World Languages
What’s up, everyone! I’d like to share a couple of verses with you that I came across this week while doing some of my devotions. In Philippians 4:11, Paul says, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Growing up I was always looking forward to the future and college where life would be perceivably better. When I got to college, I looked at my life in the future again. I couldn’t wait to be independent and work after I graduated. It seemed so nice in my imaginary future and I couldn’t wait to get there.
There was a common theme that surrounded my outlook in both of those periods of my life; that was the discontentment that I was feeling about my present state. I was missing a purpose. I looked to the future where I thought I would find it, but all it did was make me even more unsatisfied with my current state. I wasn’t taking my situation and working it for God’s glory. I was stuck on myself and my insecurities. I was thinking, “I don’t like where I am so I’ll just make a plan to leave.” I would think about how much I disliked where I was and I refused to change my perspective on life.
That’s not how the Bible conveys the life of somebody who has Christ in their hearts. In Philippians 4:12, Paul says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to have an abundance. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need.” That sounds like a man who lives as if there is no tomorrow. He takes every moment and every situation, whether he likes it or not, and is not phased by what is happening around him. It doesn’t matter what’s happening around you. What matters is what is happening inside you. Paul latched on to that secret and he kept it inside him.
That secret is in Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Paul had a relationship with Jesus so strong that no matter what happened he would not move from the rock that he planted himself on. He tells us about this faith and assurance he has in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, (39)neither height nor depth, nor anything else inallcreation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I don’t know about you, but I would sure like to have that type of relationship. God is with us no matter where we are and right now things are hard. We are stuck at home. We can’t go and experience things the way we used to, but we can still be content. As I was comparing our situations to Paul’s, I realized hedid most of his ministry while he was in prison or on house arrest. Under quarantine, if you will. This made me realize even though we are all spread apart we still have three things: a community that we are a part of (PUC Students, Faculty and Staff), Jesus by our side every step that we take in the new challenge we are facing, and the plan that God has for us even if we can’t see it. We just have to have the mindset that lets God lead us and provides that contentment that is available to everyone.
As we continue, I want to challenge all of us to let God take us where we need to be, not just where we want to be. Along that journey, hold on to the promise that you can do all things with Christ who gives you strength. As you go don’t worry because “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
It can be a struggle juggling school, work, and all the extra things we have going on in our lives. As the school year gets heavier with assignments, exams, etc., sometimes it feels you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done. The busier your schedule gets, the more crazy life can get. Keeping your schedule and space organized can help you feel more on top of things. Here are tips for staying organized during the school year.
Make A To-Do List
Take the week day-by-day and make a to-do list the night before. When you wake up, you’ll already know what you need to tackle that day.
Also, schedule your goals beside each task. Write the time or day of the week you need to accomplish your goal and highlight the most important things to take care of. This will help you stay on track during the day and allow you to prioritize your time. It also feels very rewarding when you cross things off your list that you completed.
Color Code Your Calendar
Whether you are using an actual calendar or an app, color-code everything from due dates to meetings. You’ll be able to distinguish tasks right away from their color. Assigning a color for each category on your calendar will help you stay organized on everything that is going on in your life. Color coding your calendar will also make your calendar more fun to look at.
Break your goals down into steps so you don’t overwhelm yourself. For example, if you are trying to reach a certain grade on a test, your goal would be to spend more time studying, join a study group, or schedule a tutoring session. You could even ask the professor if he or she could give you practice tests to use while studying. Organize your notes and past assignments beforehand to save you time when you study.
Place reminders where you will be able to see them, whether they are on your laptop, phone, or fridge. Making a habit of writing down reminders will help you stay organized long-term. Writing down important dates, like exam dates or when an assignment is due from the syllabus will help motivate you to study and complete your next assignment.
Get A Planner
There are various styles of planners that can meet your needs to stay organized. Keeping track of your homework, tests and other notes from your classes will help you remember what you need to do and when things are due. I
Use An App
If you prefer to not write your to-do list on paper, some apps could be useful for you. Apps like Productive – Habit Tracker, PocketLife Calendar, and Wunderlist are free apps that can easily help you stay organized and on track of your homework and personal life.
Organize Your Space
Keeping your room organized helps you feel more put together and you also worry less about cleaning. Having a clean and organized environment can help you stay focused on school work. If you study in your room, find a spot in your room that makes you more motivated to get things done. Doing homework or studying in bed can be distracting by making you too comfortable, so find a place in your room like your desk or futon that places you in a space of motivation.
Don’t burn yourself out. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, you need to make time to relax. Self-care is important, and taking the time to unwind from a busy schedule will let your mind take the rest it needs. You don’t have to relax for a long time, just take a couple of minutes to stretch if you’ve been sitting for a long time or take a snack break. However, you choose to spend your downtime, make sure you take the break your hardworking self deserves.
Hopefully, these tips can help you and get you through the rest of the school year as stress-free as possible.
PUC is committed to helping and encouraging students to become closer to Christ and build their relationship with him. A great thing about PUC is there are many ways students can worship, allowing them the opportunity to grow in an environment they feel safe in.
Every Friday night after vespers, students head to the Campus Center to relax at Afterglow. Afterglow is simply an opportunity to continue the blessing provided at vespers in a more casual setting.
Afterglow acts as a place where people can relax, let go, and let God. Students are encouraged to gather and talk, worship, and support each other without the stressors of school and work, or anything else weighing heavy on their minds.
Dylan Gray, a sophomore marketing communication and emergency management major, is in charge of Afterglow. He appreciates how much planning and work is put into providing an experience for the students and really enjoys seeing students have such a passion for worshiping God in their hearts. Being able to worship with friends is what inspires him to continue working hard week after week.
Dylan is dedicated to furthering Afterglow’s goal of creating a place of worship where students can go knowing they’ll find love and support in their time of need. He knows how important it is for every student to understand while they may be struggling, someone else is also and while their struggles might be different, they can still support each other.
If you haven’t been to Afterglow yet, come! If you’re interested in getting involved, the door is always open. “I came from a public school and didn’t have a space to worship or support each other,” says Dylan. “I appreciate that there is space for that and am thankful for it. I appreciate worshiping with my friends and peers. It is not just a knock off vespers, it’s an organic place of worship and friendship. I just want to worship with people. ”
Editor’s Note: This blog was written prior to the Covid crisis and PUC switching to temporary online education. If you’re interested in learning more about Afterglow, other PUC ministries, or ways to stay connected while we’re apart, reach out to our Campus Ministries team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @campusministries.puc.