Tag Archives: student life

RA Feature: Keren Castro 

This week’s RA feature is Keren Castro, a senior photography major from Rehoboth, MA. She is RA for the third floor of Andre Hall and, depending on if she’s working at the front desk, she is the first face you see when you walk into the dorm. With this year being a first-time RA, she’s enjoyed getting out of her bubble and getting to know her residents and other students. 

Tell us about being a RA. What are your responsibilities, and what does a typical shift look like for you? 

Being an RA isn’t really a shift, it’s a full-time job. Just like being known as a student, I’m also known as an RA. And part of being an RA is doing room check every night. You have a hall partner, so you do switch off nights. We also do worships, dorm worships with the rest of our staff and Dean and hall worship with our floors. Being an RA also means coming to school early and getting training and preparation for the student body. Another side job to being an RA is that you’ll also work desk shifts. Greeting people in and out of the dorm, getting tasks done, and being a friendly face.

How many years have you been an RA? Why did you want to become an RA? 

This is my first year being an RA. It’s interesting because I didn’t really look for the position, Dean Philpott reached out to me about it. But when she did bring it up to me, the first thing I thought about was my RA freshman year. Eryn Pongs, the sweetest person I know, made me feel at home. I didn’t know anyone coming to PUC and I moved across the country for PUC. So, coming here was an adjustment, but Eryn made me feel welcomed and cared about. And if I could do that for someone else, that would be the greatest privilege of being an RA.

What values have you learned by being a PUC RA? 

Compassion is probably the greatest value I’ve learned so far being an RA. Checking in on my residents and seeing how they’re doing, hearing about their day/week. When residents feel like you care, they feel special. I’ve also learned a lot about communication and teamwork. This isn’t a job you can do by yourself. And having a team beside me to cheer me on or lift me up is the best thing there is.

How do you balance school and being a RA? 

Something the deans taught us during our training is that we are students first. So that means being on top of my studies. When I’m not working desk or in class or being an RA, I try to get everything else done. I set hours for myself and give myself breaks when needed.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? What do you enjoy the most? 

I would say the most difficult aspect of my job is putting myself out there. I’m very much an introvert and so this job is a learning curve, going out of my comfort zone. Initiating conversation is something I must think about a lot. But something I enjoy the most is getting to know new people that I probably wouldn’t have done on my own. It’s fun to get out of my bubble sometimes. Also, I loved being on retreat with all the other RAs. Creating a community within ourselves and opening up to each other is a bond I’ll forever be thankful for.

How do you incorporate spiritual life with your residents?

This is a big thing for me because I am a pastor’s kid and I’ve loved getting to know what it’s like to have a relationship with God. But I also respect that not everyone who comes to PUC is Adventist or even Christian. On our halls, each RA has their own bulletin board and on mine, I’ve put a Prayer Request envelope. It was my goal from the beginning to start praying for the girls on my hall, the girls in the dorm, the staff we have, and myself as well. I want to be a spiritual mentor for these girls, and I want them to know that someone is praying for them. Sometimes if they can’t make it to put it on my board, they’ll tell me when I do room check. And I pray for them individually before I go to bed. Also, a lot of people from PUC follow me on my Instagram. And I make sure to reflect Christ there as well. When I have time, I’ll post small devotionals on my stories and people have told me it helps them a lot.

How do you build a community in your hall, and with other residents? 

I try to connect with them as much as possible. I ask about their games if they’re athletes, I help those in the same department as me, and most importantly hall worship is a time I like to have discussions with them on larger topics. 

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

My favorite thing about being part of the PUC family is having the same goal in mind: showing others who Christ is and developing friendships and relationships, establishing that community. Without that common ground, we wouldn’t get anywhere.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a RA? 

I kind of relate it to being a camp counselor. Know it’s one of the hardest jobs to have but also the most rewarding. You’re going to be on the front line, and everyone will be looking at you to see how you’re doing your job but knowing you’re making an impact in someone’s life or being an example to others makes it all worth it. If you’re nervous to apply for the position, talk to the Deans or one of the current RAs, and we’ll help you navigate through the process. Interest in becoming an RA is on your heart for a reason and I think it’s worth it to investigate those feelings that you’re having and the leadership growth that comes with it.

What are you looking forward to this year? 

Something I’m looking forward to most this year is planning worships and getting to know the Deans more. When I was a resident myself, I was intimidated by them. I saw them as leaders that I didn’t know how to approach. And now working beside them, I know they’re someone I can talk to whether it be something serious or just wanting to create a friendly connection.

Meet Student Chaplain, Andres Borrero 

Andres Borrero is one of PUC’s student chaplains this year and is making sure to provide students with the best worship experience thus far. He loves being able to serve others and do so while keeping God a part of everything he’s involved in. Andres wants everyone to be involved in any way they feel comfortable and be able to see how God works through all of us. Don’t hesitate to talk to Andres if you want to participate in worship or be a part of his team! 

Share with us what being a student chaplain means to you. 

Being a student chaplain, for me, means being part of a team. A team in which we work together weekly to help provide opportunities for students to come together to worship and praise God. Not only that but I am responsible for overseeing many music and technology aspects for many of our programs. I do so by helping manage those aspects which are something I love to do, especially with Student-led programs, which is what has drawn me over the years. 

What made you want to be a student chaplain? 

For the last 3 years I have been the music chaplain of the school, and music, specifically praise music, has always been a big part of my life growing up. This year I am passing my torch as this is my last year, but very much still involved. Although I am not a music chaplain anymore, but a student chaplain, I find that now I am able to look into more aspects around school in which I can be a part of and not just music. In other words, now having more time than I used to, I now can use that time to focus on other ministries. 

What are your responsibilities? 

Currently, my responsibilities are managing the AV team for each service or program, which includes slides and presentations, sound, and live streaming. Also as I go through the transition of passing the torch of music chaplain I am currently training the new music chaplain. Lastly and one of my most important jobs especially for the other team members, is I am here for anything, if someone needs to talk just about life, or struggling, or would want bible studies, or simply just needs help with a program, I am here to do so. 

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain? 

Currently, I do not find many challenges quite frankly. One I might find is, as students it can be hard to come together to have meetings, which would be very helpful weekly. But we are all current students which can make it quite hard sometimes. 

What do you hope to accomplish as a student chaplain this year? 

I hope to leave this school better than I got here, from the religious aspect on campus. I believe we are quite on track to do so, and especially with music, I would like to create a concrete system by the end of the year that can be used for the years to come and create less stress for students. 

What about being a student chaplain has prepared you for your career and other aspects of your future? 

Being able to take charge and shape my interpersonal skills has definitely been a by-product of being a chaplain for four years now. I now currently work in a mental health facility and can see every time I go to work how these tools that I have gained from being a chaplain I now use for my work and how I approach the mental health patients. 

What advice do you have for something who is struggling with their spiritual life? 

Get involved! I myself struggle spiritually even now sometimes, and as humans, I believe it is not bad to do so. But get involved whether you might agree completely with God or not. Getting involved can show you Jesus in so many ways! From the teams you work with to seeing how everything is processed and how we involve God in all we do. There is always room for more on our team! 

What do you love about PUC? 

PUC has such a family setting. I would walk out of my dorm and head over to the grind and I always knew everyone I passed, and they knew me! That family aspect where we really know each other is so much fun. Because of that, so many people loved to get involved and support each other when they are not, which is what I love so much about this school. 

What is your favorite weekend activity? 

On-campus: Definity vespers! Being a part of the rush of the whole program and when I am able to sing and lead, being able to create an atmosphere for my fellow students.

Off-campus: Going to baseball games! I absolutely love baseball!

Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse with PUC’s Green Club

The PUC Green Club was established last year (but restarted their club this past fall) and are on a mission to protect and better serve our beautiful planet earth. They have been working with the Napa County Resource Conservation District to help plant acorns and spreading awareness about sustainability and the environment through their Instagram @puc.green. They share tips and information about recycling, composting, and ways to reduce waste and single-use plastic. 

Sarah Franklin is the public relations officer of the Green Club. She coordinates events and connects with other organizations and individuals who can help with their mission. Sarah also runs the club’s Instagram account. She kindly answered some questions for us to learn more about the PUC Green Club.  

How did the Green Club get started?

At the beginning of the fall quarter, I was really interested in finding out if there was an environmental club or opportunities on campus because I wanted to get involved in an activity somehow. I found out that there was a Green Club that started last year but didn’t have much success. So the leaders, Kaylyn and Marriah, wanted to “restart” the club. As the head of Public Relations, I made a new Instagram account, and the three of us revamped our club. 

How did you get started in environmental issues? 

As a sophomore in high school, I took AP Environmental Science, which started my love for planet earth and grew my knowledge about issues our planet faces. In high school, I was a part of our school’s greenhouse, garden; Napa River cleanups; and acorn plantings at Alston Park in Napa. Doing these things to help the environment and our community made me feel so happy and grateful for our earth, and I want to spread those feelings to others through this club.

Have you been able to help the community during this time? 

We have helped educate the PUC community through our Instagram account about sustainability, zero-waste, and plastic-free tips. I have been wanting to plan a trash pickup day at the Napa River and/or the beach, and I have been trying to set up an acorn planting event with the City of Napa as well, but things have been on hold due to Covid. So hopefully, we will start becoming more active soon!

In previous school years, our main goals were to clean up the garden at PUC for the gardening class to use and basically spread awareness about what people can do to reduce their impact on planet Earth, like recycling, composting, reducing plastic waste, and reusing/repurposing food to avoid excess food waste!

What other activities do you have planned or hope to do this year? 

We are currently working with the Napa Valley Conservation District to plan acorn planting events in the valley. We also hope to coordinate some hikes and trash cleanups.  

 What is the most urgent issue, or issues, for the club to spread awareness about? 

Sustainability is a huge issue we care about. We want to encourage people to use what they have instead of buying new things, use sustainable materials instead of plastics or synthetics which harm the environment, and shop locally to reduce our carbon footprint. There are many simple things that you can do in your everyday life that can make a huge difference, and that is what we want to educate people about on our Instagram.

How will the Green Club help these issues? 

We will help these issues by educating people through our social media platforms. We are also working to organize more hands-on events such as trash cleanups, tree plantings, and hikes.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Green Club? 

My favorite thing about being a part of the Green Club is that it allows me to have a platform to reach out to people and students in order to educate them about serious environmental issues and actions that can be done to help solve these issues. 

What are the small steps we can take at home to become eco-friendly? 

Use what you have instead of buying new things; When buying new things, make sure it’s something that you can use for a lifetime, not just a few months (especially prevalent with clothing); SHOP LOCAL (this helps our economy and the environment); try to opt for plastic-free items (reusable bags and water bottles, bring your own utensils, reusable straw, reusable containers for food, use bar soap/shampoo bars instead of in the bottle, etc.)

Convince me to join the Green Club in five sentences. 

If you care about the environment, we would love to have you be a part of this amazing cause. Our goal is to spread awareness about how to practice sustainability and protect the environment. By joining the club, you can help spread that message to as many people as possible in order to make an important change. Even if you just want to know more about simple steps you can take to help our environment, the Green Club is for you. Check us out on Instagram to learn more, and follow us for updates on special club events for Winter Quarter. @puc.green

Follow the Green Club on Instagram to stay up-to-date on their events and to learn about environmental issues. Be a part of this great club and join them in helping make our world better one action at a time.

Freshman Feature: Marguerite McHenry

Coming all the way from Newnan, GA., is freshman film student Marguerite McHenry. Growing up in a little city an hour outside of Atlanta, a friend of hers told her about PUC’s film program and how amazing the screenwriting professor was. With her first year here, Marguerite shared how the film program has exceeded her expectations and is so glad she took her friend’s advice- as are we. We are so happy to have Marguerite a part of our Pioneers family!

What is your dream job?

I want to be a writer/director and run my own film production company.

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

I wanted to be a cowgirl/rockstar/author when I was little. I guess writing is still a thing in my life, even if those other dreams have gone away with age.

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

Everyone on campus is really friendly and nice. I think it’s a great community to be a part of.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Literally any bookstore with a good selection. I could spend hours in Barnes and Noble.

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

Either National Treasure or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Both seem really fun and interesting worlds to play a part in.

What made you decide to attend PUC?

A friend told me that their film program, and specifically, their screenwriting professor was amazing. So far, the program has exceeded my expectations so I’m glad I took their advice.

What is something youre passionate about?

Legally Blonde is one of the most important movies of our age.

Who is someone you admire, and why? 

Someone I admire a lot is the director Taika Waititi. He has written most of his films and is an amazing storyteller who brings pieces of himself to every project while also making his work very relatable and universal. If I can make films in my professional career that are even half as cool as his, I would be very happy.

Q&A With Nursing Professor Jenna Park

PUC’s nursing program is our largest department. Offering a two-step program in A.S. and B.S.N., and a B.S.N. program for registered nurses, students come from all over the country to gain real-life experience, receive hands-on training, and be mentored by caring, dedicated professors. 

Jenna Park is one of PUC’s nursing instructors who teach first-quarter nursing students. As a PUC nursing alum, she enjoyed her college experience so much that she decided to come back and teach the future generation. 

What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department? 

I’m relatively new at PUC as a professor, and I love all the support I get from my department. I also love the class I’m teaching, as I see tremendous growth in the students.

What makes your department unique compared to other departments at PUC?

Each quarter is one cohort together, and as they advance in the program, they advance together. The comradery within the cohorts is pretty neat to see.

What makes your department at PUC unique compared to the same program at other colleges and universities?

There is freedom for me to start my classes with a word of prayer and a verse of the day. I can also share spiritual experiences I’ve had with my patients in my personal clinical stories.

Can you share a few examples of exciting things alumni from your department are doing?

PUC grad nurses, including myself, have been working on the frontlines to fight COVID-19, whether it’s in the ICU, ER, or vaccine clinics. But we honestly can’t wait for all this to end.

What’s something your department is well known for? Why do you think that is?

When I was a student at PUC years ago (not sure if it’s still relevant now) nursing students were known to disappear after getting into the program. We’re always studying and going to clinicals!

What’s something a new student can look forward to about joining your department?

New students can look forward to an intense amount of work and reading! But mostly, students can look forward to putting everything they’ve learned and will learn into practice to provide care for patients not only physically but also spiritually and mentally. 

Advice From Professor Park: 

“I would ask them to seek what motivates them to be a nurse and let that be a true drive-in pushing through with the program. Students are always surprised by how intensive the program is, so being efficient with time management and knowing the best study and learning habits beforehand may be helpful. And lastly, it’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to ask for help, whether you seek help from the TLC, the counseling center, your professors, or your classmates. Nursing is really hard! We’re all here to help our students.”

Visit our website to learn more about the department of nursing. Our admissions team can answer any questions you have. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu to speak with one of our admissions counselors to start learning about what PUC’s nursing department can offer you. 

Faces of PUC: Daphne Saucelo 

Daphne Saucelo is a freshman from Antioch studying to become a nurse. She has always known that she wanted to pursue a job in the medical field and likes that nursing gives a variety of areas to work in. Daphne also represents our women’s volleyball team and considers them her family away from home. We’re thrilled to have Daphne a part of our Pioneers family! 

What is your dream job? 

I aim to work as a nurse for a while, save up my money and take over my family’s business with my sister. 

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

When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be in the medical field. Originally, I wanted to be a dentist because I loved teeth so much, but I felt like it would be a boring job to clean teeth all day. Nursing is so wide-ranged; I would have the choice to pick what area I want to work in. 

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

My favorite part of being part of the Pioneers family is playing on the volleyball team. I love to have a little family here away from home. I love to practice with them, continue team bonding, and making lifelong memories.  

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world would be Lake Tahoe. It has been a family tradition to go there, and I just love the clear waters, the vast forests, and the cabin houses there. I always feel at ease and calm whenever I am there seeing mother nature.

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

If I could be trapped in a movie for a day, it would be High School Musical 2, working at a golf course over the summer with all your high school friends. It sounds so fun spending an entire summer together with friends, singing, and dancing. Even though they were working, the group of friends had each other and made it a summer they would not forget.  

What is something you are passionate about? 

I am extremely passionate about my family. They have helped me shape who I am today. They have taught me important life lessons, ways of life, and much more. Family is the most important thing in life, and I always believe in treating my future family with the same love and respect. 

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

I totally recommend Walnut Creek or Concord. It has malls, shopping centers, boba shops, and a whole variety of restaurants. You will find great eats out there. My favorite places are The Cheesecake Factory and OH Gane Korean BBQ.

Meet Student Chaplain, Ashley Garner 

Ashley Garner is one of PUC’s student chaplains this year. Through her previous roles with our campus ministries team and joining praise and worship, she fell in love with ministry- and wanted to take on more responsibilities by becoming a student chaplain. She’s been able to meet more people- and witness ministry and Jesus change lives.

Share with us what it means being a student chaplain.

Disclaimer: This is just how I would personally define student chaplaincy; others may have differing definitions! A student chaplain has the privilege and great responsibility to assist and guide individual students as well as the student body as a whole in spirituality. Being a student chaplain means to engage in many different types of ministry and serve the various needs of students, staff, and the community. Modeling Jesus, student chaplains should seek to serve the whole person: the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of those around them. I believe that a student chaplain has the responsibility to be a campus prayer leader/prayer warrior, consistently praying for others and for spiritual change on campus.

What made you want to be a student chaplain?

I first started getting involved with ministry in high school. I joined the praise team, the Campus Ministries team, and eventually became the Religious-vice my senior year. I started on the PUC Campus Ministries team last year as PR; and also got involved with PUC praise and worship. I fell in love with ministry through these roles and wanted to further my journey in ministry and take on a new role and a bit more responsibility this year as a student chaplain!

What are your responsibilities?

Under Campus Ministries, I am a general student chaplain, the women’s dorm/residence hall chaplain, and I am our PR (this is my second year doing that!). My responsibilities generally include but are not limited to: managing Campus Ministries and being a part of our team; assisting the Chaplain in various ways, serving on a spiritual life committee; being a spiritual resource for dorm staff and residents; and managing Campus Ministries social media and public relations. Moreover, I have a responsibility to my campus, Pacific Union College; my boss, the PUC Chaplain, Pastor Kent Rufo; my team, the Campus Ministries team; and to overall serve God in everything I do.

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain?

The challenges I’ve discovered, specifically this year, are trying to reach the entire student body in a meaningful way that promotes spiritual change. I’d love to personally know every single person on this campus and their needs; however, this is, unfortunately, impossible for one person to do. Also, programming is a big part of our ministry, and it’s an awesome opportunity but I wish I had more opportunities to connect with people on a one-on-one, personal basis. It’s definitely been a transitional year with COVID-19 still impacting our campus and the way we do ministry, which has undoubtedly presented challenges for the past 2+ years.

What is your favorite part about being a student chaplain?

My favorite part about being a student chaplain is the relationships with people. It’s been amazing to get to know more people, work with those who share the same love for God and others, and to be a part of a community. It’s also a very rewarding job: it’s really cool to see someone be impacted by the ministry we do and to see lives change through Jesus.

What do you hope to accomplish as a student chaplain this year?

What I’d love to accomplish this year is to start meaningful spiritual change on our campus. For the past 2 years, life has been largely uncertain and challenging due to the pandemic. As we try to rebuild from that, I want to help create a safe community at PUC, where people can dwell with God and others. I want to help create an atmosphere and culture that people who experience our campus can say, “God is working here and God’s presence is prevalent”.

What advice do you have for someone struggling with their spiritual life? 

This is a tough question but so important. Firstly, I want to encourage those struggling. It’s certainly okay to struggle with your spiritual walk, and everyone— even the most devout religious leaders— struggle with their spiritual life sometimes. It’s okay to admit you are struggling and I think that takes courage and is admirable. Another piece of advice to specifically PUC students: utilize your resources! There are many resources for spiritual care here on campus. Talk to our Chaplain, a professor you trust, the counseling center, or even a student chaplain, Religious-vice president, or any student leader. We are here for you and we would love to assist you in your spiritual life, and we’d love to simply pray for you. Prayer is powerful!

What about being a student chaplain has prepared you for your career and other aspects of your future?

Student chaplaincy has prepared me for my career- in the sense that I’ve gotten to work with many different people from all walks of life, and I’ve gotten to build interpersonal skills. It’s also taught me a lot about fostering community in the workplace. I believe you can minister in any professional field, and being involved in ministry has taught me that and has also equipped me with skills to do so, although I still have a lot to learn. Being a student chaplain frequently pushes me outside my comfort zone, and I’ve developed leadership skills and learned to be more comfortable with public speaking. 

What is your favorite weekend activity?

My favorite weekend activities are trying new coffee shops, thrifting, and yoga. I love coffee, and my favorite coffee shop near PUC is Soul Rebel Organic Coffee and Juice Bar in Calistoga. I also have been getting into yoga recently, and hot yoga is my favorite!

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

Outside of school, I really enjoy hanging out with friends and family, playing sports, working out, and music (usually singing or playing the piano). I’m currently playing basketball intramurals, and my favorite sports are flag football and soccer. I make it a priority to move my body at least once a day, whether it is weight lifting, running, walking, or playing sports with friends.

What do you love about PUC?

I love many things about PUC. For one, the campus and the Napa Valley are beautiful; I love the trees, the sunshine, the sunsets, and even the fog and rain. I also love that there are so many opportunities here; for example, I’ve gotten to become a Student chaplain, a student-athlete on the women’s soccer team for 2-years, a member of the praise and worship team, a member of the Psychology honor’s society (Psi Chi), I was blessed to get a part-time job at Adventist Health St. Helena and I’m planning on serving as a student missionary next year! Through all of those opportunities, I’ve grown personally, spiritually, academically, socially, and professionally: I’ve met amazing people, traveled, made memories that are so special to me, and grown my relationship with God. PUC is pretty great. I’m honestly just so thankful that it was a part of God’s plan for me to attend here.

Coaches Corner: Abraham Garrido 

Abraham Garrido is the head coach for PUC’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country team. This is his first year coaching at PUC and has previously coached high school basketball at Fresno Adventist Academy. He recently graduated from PUC this past June, and we couldn’t be happier to have Abraham continue his life on our campus. 

What makes PUC athletics different from other colleges and universities?

What makes PUC athletics different from other schools is the never give up attitude that our athletes have. Whether it’s on or off the field, court, or trails, PUC athletes and coaches strive to be the best that they can be. 

How would you describe your coaching style?

Fun but competitive. I say this because I want my athletes to enjoy the sport that they are participating in. In doing so, if my athletes fall in love with the sport, they’ll want to compete even more because they like the sport. 

How do you keep your players motivated during the season? 

I do fun activities such as running to a waterfall and running around lakes. I also remind them and show them the progress they have made over the course of the season. 

Outside of competing, are there activities you try to get your players involved in? 

I try to encourage my athletes to participate in clubs, church, and even school outings. 

What values do you instill in your players? 

To respect others, have patience and to do their best in everything that they do. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life within your team? 

We, as a team, pray in the mornings and pray before each race. 

What do you enjoy most about being a coach?

Seeing my athletes improve in any aspect in life. Whether it’s sports, school or other hobbies that they might have. 

How do you support your players on and off the court? 

We, as a team, have a group chat. So, as a team, we support each other with anything that they might need. 

Why should prospective students choose PUC over another program? 

Location! We have the best location out of any school, and it can’t be put more simply than that. 

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

Having the ability to change/improve what others before me started. 

When you’re not coaching, what do you enjoy doing? 

When I’m not coaching, I love to participate in ultra-marathon races and ride 100 miles on my bike. Overall, you can say that I love to be outdoors. 

PUC’S Jujitsu Club: A Safe Space To Meet People & Better Yourself

PUC’s Jujitsu Club is more than learning martial arts. It’s a community that provides a safe space for everyone to be themselves, better their health, and have fun. Students and faculty meet on campus and travel to Albion once a year to get a change of scenery. Sarah West is president of the club and wants people to know that the Jujitsu Club is not as aggressive as they might think it is. She kindly answered some questions for us to learn more about the Jujitsu Club and why you should join. 

Tell us about the Jujitsu Club. 

Jujitsu club is not what you think it is. Yes, we are learning a martial art, yes, we do grabs, throws, and holds; but it is so much more. It’s a safe space to meet people and to get to better yourself. I feel the most balanced after time on the mat and have learned to respect my body. You also learn how to move in ways that help avoid injuries if one falls, and you have the chance to experience rolling and tumbling.

What made you decide to be a part of this club? What responsibilities does your role as president entail? 

I joined the jujitsu club because of PUC’s club fair. I had already been wanting to get back into martial arts and knew a little bit about jujitsu. My role is mostly to remind people when and where jujitsu is taking place and to help think of things to do as a club. It is a smaller club than most, which makes planning things a lot easier.

What are the goals for the Jujitsu Club this year? 

My main goal this year for the club is to make sure we can still meet safely. It’s hard to social distance when you, or your opponent, is in a chokehold, so making sure all members are being careful and taking precautions is important. 

Can you share any upcoming activities or events you have planned? 

The most exciting thing we have planned for the jujitsu club is the yearly trip to Albion with the biology club. Albion is a great change of scenery to the regular meetings of the jujitsu club, and we usually have a guest sensi join us. Last year we had our Sensi’s Sensi join us, and it was a fun experience for all. 

What is your favorite thing about being in the Jujitsu Club? 

My favorite thing about the jujitsu club is that the members can get to know each other better. Two-hour meetings twice a week is a lot of time to spend together, and with movie nights and Albion thrown in there, you get to know one another. I think this club does a great job at providing a safe space for everyone to be themselves and have fun. 

What do you want people to know about the Jujitsu Club?

The main thing I want people to know about the jujitsu club is that it’s not as aggressive as you might think. When I tell friends that I am in a jujitsu club, they make comments about not wanting to mess with me, for fear of my martial arts training. But jujitsu is not aggressive, it’s about learning to take what’s coming at you, and avoiding it/changing its course. 

Convince me to join the Jujitsu Club in five sentences. 

If you want to join the club so that you can defeat all your enemies, this is not the club for you. If you want to learn about balance, have a chance to increase your heart rate and decrease stress, and get to know fellow students and faculty here on the holy hill, this is for you. Jujitsu also gives you some skills on how to stay safe out in the real world. 

RA Feature: Misael Bernard 

Coming from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, is history, political science, ethics, and pre-law major, Misael Bernard. With it being his first year as an RA for Newton Hall, he loves everything about the work he does. If you know Misael, you know how kind, warm, and funny he is; and how his character is the perfect fit for being an RA. 

To learn more about what being an RA is like, Misael generously answered some questions for us to share his RA experience. 

Tell us about being a RA. What are your responsibilities, and what does a typical shift look like for you?

Being an RA is an interesting job and it’s something that you really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into when you first get into the position. As an RA, you’re basically responsible for a wide array of things from the well-keeping of the residence hall to the safety and well-being of the residents in the dorm itself. In many ways, you’re the student with the most experience on campus and in the dorm itself. A typical shift is usually the whole day from when you wake up until you go to sleep. You see something in the dorm that’s broken, you try your best to see if you can fix it or call someone who can fix it, to fix it. Someone on your floor is locked out of their room because they forgot their keys when going to the bathroom (it’s happened many times), you have to go and get them into their room or find another RA who’s in the dorm to help that student out. An RA is there to assist the residents in the dorm but not necessarily babysit them.

What values have you learned by being a PUC RA?

Responsibility is definitely the biggest value I learned as an RA here at PUC. As an RA, you’re not only responsible for the dorm itself but the people in it. Their safety, their well-being, etc. is what you signed up for when you applied to be an RA. Now, you’re not the resident’s personal therapist or babysitter, but you’re the one they can go to in order to get the help that they need. You’re there to direct them to the TLC for when they need to get tutoring for a class they’re not doing so well in, or even show them where health services are so they can get over-the-counter medication or mental health treatment. 

How do you balance school and being a RA?

Being an RA comes second. I am first a student on campus and I make sure that my school and life come first. Being an RA sort of fits into my schedule because it’s something that I do in the evening when I don’t have classes. 

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? What do you enjoy the most?

The most difficult aspect of being an RA is reaching out to residents that don’t want to be reached out to. It’s always difficult seeing a resident that you want to reach out to in order to make sure they’re in tip-top shape mentally and spiritually. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life with your residents?

In Newton, we incorporate spiritual life by having a new weekly event called power-up and that’s where residents join on our Instagram live and join us for a weekly power-up and an encouraging devotional. Every Tuesday we have floor worship and that’s where we have a little devotional and worship time with the residents on our floors. Every Thursday we have dorm worship and that’s where the whole dorm comes together to have worship in the lobby.

How do you build a community in your hall, and with other residents?

Community starts with room checks every night from the very first day of school up until the last day of school for the quarter and the year. It starts with the interactions that we have with our residents and it grows to the residents having something in common, their RA. From there, they go on to having interactions with one another. Sometimes community is from the residents themselves where they have connections to one another from outside PUC and they grow their connections here at PUC. 

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

Favorite thing about being a part of the PUC family is the fellowship and the uniqueness of that fellowship that you gain here on campus. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a college or university campus that’s had the type of fellowship like how they do here at PUC. Of course, it’s unique because we’re on a mountain but it’s a fellowship that is unique to PUC. There’s no other campus that I know of that has this fellowship and because of that fellowship, there is a sense of belonging here at PUC. 

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a RA?

In simple terms, be ready for anything and everything. You’ll get calls in the middle of the night to go and unlock a room because a student locked themselves out and their roommate is sound asleep. You’ll get calls to help fix someone’s sink in the middle of the day because the faucet broke. Just be ready for anything and everything. 

What are you looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to impacting all of my residents in a positive way and making them feel appreciated and welcomed in Newton. When I was a freshman and I first moved in, my RA made me feel welcomed and like I belonged. It made the kickoff of my college experience something that was amazing and great.