Tag Archives: PUC

Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It’s obvious that college is a place for you to break out of your comfort zone, but you’d be surprised how many students hesitate to do so. It can be scary trying new things and meeting new people, but that’s why PUC has established many opportunities for students to partake in. Here are five ways to break out of your comfort zone. 

Join A Club 

With over 30 clubs at school, you will find a club that fits your interests, major, and culture. Clubs organize events throughout the year, which is a great way to meet other people within your department and outside of it. Joining a club is a good way to break you out of your comfort zone. 

Go To School Events 

There are many events throughout the school year for you to attend. Clubs, departments, dorms, and SA host various events for students to enjoy. Cheer on your Pioneers at their games too! Go to school events because you don’t want to miss out on the fun students and faculty plan for you. 

Get A Job or Internship 

If you’re interested in getting a job, whether within your department or outside of it, let your advisor know. They might know what jobs are available and connect you with people that are hiring. Getting a job is a fantastic way to break out of your comfort zone because you’ll be learning new skills and meeting new people. 

If you need an internship for your major, meet with your advisor so they can help you find what opportunities are out there for you. You’ll be getting experience in your field early, which will look good on your resume and also help you gain a better understanding of where you want to work in the future. 

Volunteer 

PUC has many opportunities for students to volunteer. Talk to your advisor to see what volunteer opportunities on and off campus you can be a part of. Volunteering is not just a way to break out of your comfort zone, but to help others and see the world from a different perspective. 

Put Yourself Out There

From joining clubs to volunteering to going on school trips, PUC gives you many ways to put yourself out there. This doesn’t just apply to new students, but returning students as well. Even seniors should put themselves out there! You’ll never know what else you could be missing to make your last year more memorable. Meet new people, try new things, and get the best out of your college experience. 

Breaking out of your comfort zone is the beauty of college. It may be nerve-racking, but you won’t know what’s out there if you don’t allow yourself to get out there. Every student has had to break out of their comfort zone more than once. 

Connect With God Through Nature 

We are blessed to live on a campus that is so beautiful. Surrounded by miles of valleys, hills, and bountiful trees reigning over, we are reminded of God’s love every day. Connecting with God through nature can pull us out of low places and calm the chaos in our lives. Here are a few ways you can connect with God through nature.

Worship Outside

We have outdoor sabbath and vespers for our students and faculty each year. Sometimes students can be found outside on a sunny Sabbath praising and worshiping together. With spring and summer coming up, try to worship outside every once in a while. 

Appreciate the Outdoors 

There are many ways at PUC for students to appreciate the outdoors. The Back 40 is a pleasant atmosphere to worship, have devotional time, and be alone with God. It’s a go-to spot to go for a walk, run, or bike ride. Linda Falls is a local favorite for hiking and relaxing by the waterfall or sitting under the trees for shade. There are also numerous camping sites in our area where students go to embark on the great outdoors. 

Walk and Talk 

Walking and talking with God in nature is a peaceful experience. Being in the midst of a quiet, serene space can put you at ease, give perspective to your situations, and feel God’s presence. 

Read Outside 

When weather permits, take your devotional and Bible reading time outside. PUC’s numerous Bible study groups enjoy having their meetings outside in the fresh air. It’s relaxing being in the stillness of nature, reading his word, and seeing the beauty he’s created all around you. 

PUC promotes a spiritual, active lifestyle- and the environment that we’re in helps do that. The nature around us is refreshing to be in and helps physical, mental, and spiritual health. Connect with God through nature and see all the wonder and goodness that he is. 

Things College Freshmen Need To Know 

The first day of college is filled with many emotions. You’re anxious but at the same time excited, and maybe you know what to expect, but you never know what can happen. You’re starting a new phase in your life and doing things on your own. It’s a lot! You’re going to learn new things every day, and we wanted to share six things you should know and remember throughout your first year of college. 

It’s Okay To Be Homesick 

You have to know that feeling homesick is normal. You’re in a new environment, surrounded by new people and things- it can be overwhelming. Others feel the same way too, so don’t think you have to hide it or feel embarrassed. It’s okay to be homesick! 

Everyone Feels The Same As You 

Whatever you’re feeling, someone feels the same way and has felt the same at one point. Especially within your freshmen class, everyone is in the same boat as you- you’re not alone. 

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone 

From activities, events, to outreaches PUC offers many opportunities for you to step out of your comfort zone. It can be scary putting yourself out there but pace yourself and open yourself up to try new things. You’ll meet people along the way and create great memories. 

The Friends You Make Last A Lifetime 

The friends you make in college will last a lifetime. From the very start of your classes, clubs, activities, and more, you’ll be bonded by this new milestone in each other’s life that will only continue as the years go by. 

Professors, Faculty, & Staff Are Here For You 

Everyone at PUC wants you to succeed. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help about anything because your professors, advisor, dean, RA, and pastor are here for you. They will give you the resources you need to get you on the right path to success. 

You’ve Got This 

College is challenging, but no matter what happens, you’ve got this! Every day you will be learning, growing, and taking steps towards your goals. There will be days where stress takes over you, but keep pushing through! Remind yourself that you’ve got this! 

Important Offices To Know As A PUC Student 

The school year has started, and for those who are new or need reminding, we want you to know some of PUC’s offices that will benefit you and your education.

Student Finance 

Financial planning for college can be overwhelming, which is one your financial counselor is committed to working with you through the process and addressing any concerns, confusion, and complications you may have.

Academic Records 

Academic Records keeps track of all your credits and is the place to add a class or drop one. If you decide to change majors or add a minor, the academic records office is where you’ll get that done. 

Student Wellness Center 

Across the main campus is the Student Wellness Center, which provides personal and career counseling and offers testing services. For counseling, qualified counselors will sit, listen, and help you with anything you’re going through. If you haven’t decided on a major, that’s okay! PUC’s career counselors will talk you through career options to find a major that would be a good fit for you.

Teaching & Learning Center 

Tutors at the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) are here to assist you with those classes that need extra attention. TLC offers small group and one-on-one tutoring sessions, a writing lab; and makes accommodations for those with learning disabilities. If you’re a student veteran, PUC’s key task force members will work with you to make your transition to college life as smooth as possible.

Academic Advisor 

Your academic advisor is a valuable resource to you- whether it involves school, jobs, internships, or even life in general. With work and internships, they’ll connect you with people they know, and from there, you’ll continue to network and get your foot in the door. Your academic advisor wants you to succeed just as much as you do, so let them assist you in any way possible.

These are just five resourceful offices to familiarize yourself with. You might find other offices of use as the school year goes by. You can always check the campus map to know where each building is located. 

Refreshed; Reset; Re-Energized

By Becky St. Clair

Let’s just start with the whole point of this blog post, so if you don’t make it past the first two sentences, you’ll at least leave with the one thing I want to make sure you know: Things feel good here at PUC. 

Now, what prompted this statement (and this blog post) was the pleasant surprise I experienced during last week’s Colloquium. Because here’s the truth: PUC administration pulled off one of the best all-employee meeting sessions I’ve ever experienced.

For those of you who don’t know, Colloquium is a two-day series of meetings before classes start fall quarter, intended to bring all faculty and staff together in one place to engage in professional development and get a sense of what’s happening on campus as we prepare for another academic year.

And this year, these meetings were truly fantastic on multiple levels. The presentations were informative and, in some cases, quite entertaining, and I felt like they built on each other as the two days went on. The order of the presentations seemed very intentional, making sure we all felt comfortable in our groups before asking us to discuss philosophical realities and ideals as a team, and so we would walk away inspired, with action steps to move forward. 

I will take a moment here to explain the groups. When we arrived Monday morning we were given name tags with numbers in the corner corresponding with table numbers, meaning we couldn’t sit just anywhere; we had to sit at our randomly assigned tables. So right off the bat, the introverts were freaking out, and the extroverts were bemoaning the fact that they couldn’t all just gather at a table together and talk the whole time. (Don’t argue—you all know I’m right!) 

I’m not gonna lie—I went into the meetings that morning with trepidation. The emails reminding us about these meetings in the weeks leading up to them mentioned things like “team-building” and “bonding” and “activities” and “comfortable shoes,” so I was…hesitant. 

But, after a couple of hours of listening to presenters, laughing at well-placed one-liners from various presenters, and whispering with members of my table comments or questions about what we were hearing, I suddenly realized something: I was enjoying myself. 

I was loving getting to know the people at my table, which included individuals from eight different departments on campus, both staff and faculty, most of whom I’d never spoken to before). I learned that Cesar, who works in facilities, has a great sense of humor, in addition to his fabulous mustache. I learned that Lorenzo, who teaches theology, puzzles deeply over recruitment and retention and looks for ways to contribute to those efforts whenever he can. I learned that three years ago, Abraham, our cross-country coach, couldn’t even run a mile, and now he has the personal experience to empower other runners to improve, too. I learned that Erwin, who works in the career center, has a cheerful, comfortable smile that makes you feel at ease. I learned that Bakil, a biology professor, has a passion for getting prayer groups together and truly believes in (and acts with) the power of prayer. 

And then Monday afternoon came. The hour of reckoning. The moment we’d all been simultaneously intrigued by and terrified of: “The Amazing Race: PUC.” 

In those first few moments you could sense the hesitancy as administrators stood in front of the room and explained the activity. Honestly, it felt a little like high school when the teachers had prepared an icebreaker the students actually thought sounded fun, but until the “cool kids” admitted it sounded fun, no one was willing to jump in. 

And then the Cool Kids (aka: Lindsay Morton, associate academic dean) stood up and asked, “Okay, which team is the most determined to win? Because I’m going to join you!” Cheers rang out from several teams, and Lindsay hurried over to one of them.

The ice was broken. A sea of faculty and staff streamed out of the Fireside Room doors, rushing to their team’s first location. It was truly beyond anything I think any of us had imagined—in the best way possible. And I’ll admit: Seeing the Student Life AVP running up the Clark Hall steps in dress slacks was fantastic. Noticing the associate director of facilities getting a break from being on call 24/7 and having fun made me so happy. Racing to the president’s office next to an executive assistant from across campus as we playfully heckled each other (“You’re goin’ DOWN!”) was a hoot. Also, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a group of eight college employees each shoving Big Franks in their mouths in tandem.

The overall feel of these two days of meetings was incredibly positive. Though yes, there are still challenges PUC is working to overcome, I left after the last session feeling optimistic about the college’s future (and my place in it) for the first time since those rose-colored “new job” glasses came off a few months after I started here. And I’m not the only one who felt that; in chatting with a fellow employee after the meetings, they expressed that they, too, felt positive about the direction of the college for the first time in years. I suspect there are far more than two of us who felt refreshed, reset, and re-energized.

It was a huge feat administration accomplished at Colloquium—building team camaraderie and school spirit, while inspiring us to do our best going into this new school year after the last several difficult years.

So to President Trecartin, Academic Dean Mariano, Associate Academic Dean Morton, and Associate Vice President of Human Resources Stacy Nelson: Thank you. Thank you for inspiring hope, encouraging joy, and building community. Thank you for giving us the chance to learn and grow, for reminding us of the value of play, and for reconnecting us as a community. May you and your fellow administrators have the strength and courage to continue to lead PUC charging full force with optimism and determination into the coming year.

Faces of PUC: Frances Velarde 

Frances Velarde is a nursing major from Arizona. She found her calling to be a nurse and dreams of working in pediatrics. One of her favorite things about PUC is being in a welcoming community that helps her grow spiritually. 

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to be a pediatric nurse.

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?

I always wanted to help people and educate others when I was younger and become a teacher, but today, I feel like my calling is to be a nurse instead, and I’m very passionate about it.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?

My favorite thing about being part of the Pioneers family is that a lot of the people here in PUC are very wholesome. It’s nice to have a community of people that make you feel included and help you grow spiritually.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Wherever my friends are because I feel happiest when I’m with them.

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose? 

Crazy Rich Asians

What is something you’re passionate about? 

Music 

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend

Daeho, because they have bomb food.

All the Possibilities: Introducing PUC’s New Drum/Percussion Instructor

By Becky St. Clair

(Photo taken by Brian Kyle)

Brian Simpson, PUC’s new drum and percussion instructor, was a fifth-generation Sacramento kid, though today he lives and teaches middle school music in Vacaville. In the 1980s he attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and returned in 1989 to begin the American side of his music career. Today that means serving as principal timpanist for North State Symphony in Chico, California, teaching part time middle school music, and now part time for both PUC and Paulin Center for the Arts, based out of the department of music. 

We caught Simpson between classrooms full of energetic young musicians and asked him to tell us a little bit about himself. Pro tip: Don’t miss the part where he tells us about his fold-up timpani. 

What role did music play in your childhood?

Music was everything. My mother was a semi-professional singer and played piano. My siblings are all doing music. I started hitting pots and pans at the age of 4, and my mom put me in snare lessons two years later. I sat behind my first drum set when I was nine years old, and I’ve never looked back. Music has taken me places I never would have gone and allowed me to meet people I never would have met. My wife is a musician so I wouldn’t have this lovely human in my life if it wasn’t for music. It encircles everything I do and everything I am. 

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I knew at 13 I wanted to be a musician. That was the year a drummer at the shop where I took lessons introduced me to my first professional ensemble concert. I saw my first marimba and xylophone and timpani, and when I heard all the possibilities, not to mention the sparkle and coolness of percussion, that was it. I just knew.

When and how did you realize you wanted to teach others to love it as much as you do?

Honestly, teaching found me more than I found teaching. After college I was having a hard time finding any gigs, so I started subbing for some of the teachers in the city. To my surprise, I found that I liked it. So I went back to school—night classes while also teaching—and got my credentials. I’ve been teaching 33 years now and I still have most of my marbles, so I’d say it’s been a success!

What is the best piece of music you’ve ever performed, and why did you love it so much?

This is an impossible question! But since the last 19 years of my career have revolved around timpani, I’ll say Beethoven’s 7th, which I’ve been privileged to perform three times now. 

When you play Beethoven a lot, you begin to realize his music is a series of trick questions, thinly veiled, with seeming simplicity. This is in no way, shape, or form, accurate. I have to know not just my own part, but everyone else’s part, too. It’s so sporadic—you play at the end of phrases, standing out, accenting, under something else—you have to know it inside and out and I spend weeks in the score with a pencil before I even get near a timpani.

Specifically what I love about Beethoven’s 7th is the second movement—the slow movement. I want this piece of music played at my funeral. He composed this particular piece after his bout with suicide ideation, and as a reuslt it’s just so expressive and sad and mournful, but it’s the most gorgeous, beautiful death. It starts with basses in low tones and builds and builds, and when the timpani come in, they’re all on D, sforzando. The hammer on the nail of the coffin. Just absolutely heart-rending.

What is the weirdest instrument you’ve ever played?

I played the saw once…but that’s not my answer to this question. Last year with the North State Symphony I was a typewriter soloist (no, really) and I turned it into a comedy bit. I used my dad’s typewriter that he used to write a dissertation in 1957 and it was awesome.

What is the most challenging thing about being a percussionist?

Preparation. Knowing what is required before you even walk into rehearsal. If you’re not prepared you have no business being there. That’s true of any instrument. Any field, really, but I take this notion very seriously in my own work.

What do you think is the most common misconception about percussionists and drummers?

That it’s easy. And everyone thinks they can do it. When you’re playing a wind or string instrument, you’re using one or two hands to play. Organists, pianists, and percussionists often use both hands and both feet. We’re splitting the halves of our brains into quarters. There’s always this adorable moment when a kid gets behind a drum set and realizes they can’t do it as easily as they thought that makes me smile. Because I know we’ll figure it out, it’s just that we first have to experience that painful “aha!” moment of it sounding terrible. 

You play timpani professionally. Most professional musicians have their own instruments they take with them to performances and can practice on between rehearsals; how do you practice timpani between concerts?

I have my own timpani set. 

Seriously?!

Absolutely. I also own a vibraphone, miscellaneous auxiliary percussion instruments, and what I call my “Steinway” which is actually a massive drum set with around 30 pieces. Normal people have a living room, but we have a music room instead.

But going back to your original question, my timpani are not standard concert timpani, they’re called tour timps. Picture what IKEA would likely sell if they did musical instruments. It’s a thin shell the same size as regular timpani, on an X stand with a compression pedal holding all the lugs with the same tension—just like a regular timpani. (Something like this.) I use them all the time, but they fold up and I can tuck them away like I don’t have them, or take them on tour performances—which I have done.

Wow. Okay, so you’ve got everything you need to practice at home; what is your process for approaching learning a new piece?

Listen to it first. See what it sounds like, without looking at music. Just listen. See where it goes. What is it saying? Especially if it’s a 20th century piece. I have to figure out what I’m listening to and what instruments are used and go from there. 

Say you’re on vacation, cruising down a coastal highway in a convertible, no worries nagging at you. What’s blasting through your speakers?

Django Reinhardt. Gyspy jazz. Funny enough there’s no drums in his music, but I love it. My brother introduced me to it when I went to visit him on weekends in Santa Cruz. He had this record and I was at the beach and the jumpy jazz was perfect. 

When you’re not practicing, teaching, or otherwise involved with something musical, what are you doing?

I love cooking. I make a mean Indian meal.

Interested in drum and/or percussion lessons with Brian? Contact the department of music office at 707-965-6201 or music@puc.edu. Not a PUC student? We’ve got you covered! Just contact us.

Learn more about PUC’s music program at puc.edu/music.

Faces of PUC: Beldina Opiyo 

Beldina Opiyo is a pre-nursing student from San Pablo, CA. She originally wanted to be a doctor, but now wants to be a neonatal nurse or a child therapist to help kids flourish. She chose to attend PUC because she wanted to grow intellectually and spiritually, and felt PUC would guide her through her journey. We are very happy Beldina is a part of our Pioneers family!

What is your dream job?  

I want to be a neonatal nurse if not I want to be a child therapist, I love to help the little ones and watch them grow. I want to help them flourish.  

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?  

I wanted to be a doctor when I was young but only for the money. I did not know what being a doctor entailed and what I wanted to specialize in.  

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?  

Everybody genuinely is here to grow and have a fun time and the way I see people support each other every day is very heartwarming.  

Where is your favorite place in the world?  

I have not been to many places yet but I love nature a lot. I think the place that I enjoyed nature the most was Yosemite.  

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose? 

Emma by Autumn de Wilde   

What is something you’re passionate about?  

Dancing  

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend  

Golden Gate Park  

Get Excited About PUC!

With the school year starting on September 26, we could go on and on about why you should be excited about going to PUC, but cut it down to 10 reasons:

Making New Friends 

The friends you make at PUC will last a lifetime. You won’t just make friends in your department, but from other classes, clubs, school events, and through your other friends. You will be surrounded by so many incredible people who will encourage, support, and uplift you throughout your college experience and beyond. 

Creating New Memories 

With new friends comes new memories. You’re having a whole new life at PUC and you will be creating unforgettable memories. Take pictures at events and when you and your friends hangout. It’s always nice looking back at pictures and being reminded of your fondest moments at PUC. 

Living In The Napa Valley 

Living in the Napa Valley gives you the ability to explore different cities and venture out into the trails of the back 40, breathtaking mountains and pretty beaches. From cute towns like St. Helena to venturing out into San Francisco, there are endless places to enjoy. It is truly one of the best things about attending PUC.

Joining Clubs 

PUC has over 30 clubs– from different cultures, interests to majors, there is something for everyone. If you want to start your own club, you can do that too! There is a club for everyone to dive into their interests and hobbies and share them with others. 

Participating in Intramurals 

Intramurals give you the opportunity to step away from your studies and join your friends in playing different sports. Throughout the year, you can choose to participate in football, basketball, volleyball, futsal, baseball, and other sports. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll be able to hangout with your friends you don’t see much and make new ones as well. Check Rec Radio for intramural updates. 

Worshiping & Serving with Campus Ministries 

PUC offers a variety of worship services and outreaches. Our faculty and staff make it a priority to support your spiritual life and; provide you with opportunities to share your faith and learn more about Christianity. There are weekly dorm worships, Bible studies, and student-led vespers, church services, and outreaches on and off-campus. PUC also offers short to long-term mission trips to other countries. However you like to worship, you will be able to do so at PUC. 

Going to Games 

PUC has a lot of school spirit, and the energy during games is electrifying. Students make signs, wear their PUC gear, and are able to meet other students. Even if you aren’t big on sports, going with your friends and cheering our Pioneers is a fun experience to be a part of. 

Learning More About Yourself 

With the changes college brings, there is so much room for growth and learning more about yourself. You’ll find new interests, goals and; start making your way into the life you want to create while learning how to be the best version of yourself.

Embracing Your Independence 

Going to college is the first time for some students to be independent. If this will be your first time on your own, it can feel overwhelming, but the community you will have at PUC keeps you grounded and will be there for you each step of the way. 

Being A Part of the Pioneers Family

No other university will give you the care, support, and warmth like the Pioneers family does. From your professors, deans, RA’s, friends, and other faculty and staff, we will make sure you are comfortable and are on the right path to success. We welcome everyone and are happy to make our campus your home away from home. 

We hope you are just as excited as we are to have you at PUC! This is going to be one of the best times in your life! 

Five Ways To Make The Most Of Your Dorm Life 

Moving into a dorm can be a big adjustment for students. With some having it be their first time away from home and being in a new environment, moving into a dorm can be nerve-racking. Have no fear- because, at PUC, we make sure you settle in nicely and feel comfortable in your home away from home. 

Build A Relationship With Your Roommate 

It is so important that you build a good relationship with your roommate. It’s okay if you’re not best friends, as long as you have mutual respect. If something bothers you, try not to be scared or shy to talk about it. Your roommate might not even know there’s a problem, so bring it up with them. 

Get to Know Your RA and Dean 

Your RA is a source of help, comfort, and friendship. Some of their duties are to make sure you settle in well, do daily check-ins, and help resolve conflict. Just like your RA, your dean will always be there for you. They want you to feel at home, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them about anything.

Go To Dorm Events 

The RA’s and deans work so hard to make dorm life the best it can be for their residents. They host events, such as movie nights, holiday parties, and have weekly dorm worship. They also invite other dorms to certain events, so this is a chance for you to meet more people and make more friends. 

Know Your Neighbors 

Whether you have suitemates or not, it’s still good to know who your neighbors are. You never know what things you might have in common or could even be in the same class. What’s nice about dorming is that you get to live with your friends. You can easily meet to study together, get help on something, borrow each other’s clothes, or just hangout. 

Make Your Room Comfy

It’s essential to make your dorm room fit your comfort needs. Bring some of your personal items from home to make your room feel homey. Make your bed as cozy as you can and add decor to bring your room to life. With having new living spaces, make it the space that makes you feel more comfortable being away from home.