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We Aren’t Perfect

You don’t have to be the best, you just need to give your best.

The greatest thing that ever happened to me academically was making a B in World Civilizations the Fall of my junior year. It was my first semester as a full time college student. When I got my report card it did not feel like the greatest moment of my academic career. I felt like a failure. My entire life I had strived for academic perfection and in that moment I knew I would never achieve that. My 4.0 was “crushed” and as silly as it may seem I felt like I could never recover from that.

The crazy thing is that ended up being good news. The next semester I signed up for classes knowing that I wouldn’t have all A’s no matter what. I took Physics and a challenging English course and loved them both. Sure, it still felt really good to have good grades but there wasn’t the same pressure of perfection I had the semester before. My grades weren’t my identity anymore. They were just grades.

Perfection takes something away from us. When I am trying to be perfect, I avoid failure at all costs. I don’t put my self on the line. I play it safe. I always feel like I could do better, even if I do my best. I won’t feel satisfied no matter what the outcome is because something will always miss the mark of perfection.

What else is there to strive for? We can’t just allow ourselves to slip into apathy or into underachievement just because perfection is unachievable. Instead of striving for perfection, we should aim for excellence.

Excellence is different from perfection. Perfection is about an image: a perfect reflection in the mirror. Excellence is about achievement: shattering the glass ceiling. Excellence can be achieved by a team and even if things go wrong. Perfection can only be achieved if absolutely nothing goes wrong.

When we strive for excellence we are able to give it everything we’ve got without fear of rejection.  Think of it this way, have you ever been to a perfect event? I am talking about perfect weather, food, venue, hosting, and everything in between. The answer is no. It is impossible to host an event that is completely perfect. An excellent event is not only possible, it is obtainable. You can make any event excellent if you give it 100%.

Choosing to pursue excellence allows you to care without feeling like a failure. It is arguably more effective than a pursuit of perfection. It’s an invitation to stop comparing yourself and pursue what is pleasing to God. People, we aren’t perfect and its about time we stopped trying to be.

Just Do It

Did you also put off all your homework until Sunday afternoon? You need this right now.

Guys. It is almost November. I love college so much but sometimes it is really really really hard to get things done. In the words of John Mulaney, “Percentage wise, it is 100% easier not to do things than to do them, and so much fun not to do them — especially when you were supposed to do them.” When I can’t help but put the pro in procrastinate I draw my inspiration from one source, the Shia LaBeouf “Just Do It” Motivational Video.

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Listen, everyone knows that YouTube is a procrastination blackhole. That doesn’t mean that you can’t log on for like two minutes just to watch this video like maybe twelve times. I mean you should probably watch it until you have it memorized.

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I mean you have so many midterms to study for and papers to write. You need this video. These words of inspiration will follow you through those six hour study sessions in the library. You might think I should give up but then you’ll remember:

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When the going gets tough, the tough JUST DO IT.

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I hope this has inspired you to put pants on, answer your group project Group Me, crack open the text book, and get back to work. I know it has inspired me.

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Dear Frontline Students,

Dear Frontline Students,
If you’re ready to fall in love with Lee we are ready to fall in love with you. Come experience @LeeU.

First and foremost, I would like thank you for taking the time to come visit Lee. Your presence brings joy to all of us here who are still on a meal plan because Deacon Jones Dining Hall really steps up their game when you come to visit us. But all joking aside, I am personally really glad that you are looking into this school that I love so much. I wanted to offer you all some advice as you look at prospective colleges and specifically at Lee. I was in your shoes only a few months ago and there are some things that I wish someone had told me when I was looking at Lee.

Here at Lee, you can go up to almost anyone and they would be more than happy to answer any questions you have. The great thing about talking to current students is they will be honest with you and answer your questions based on their own experiences. I feel that in order to get the true story of what life is like at any college you have to ask a student. When you see a college from a tour group, you don’t get to see what it is like to live there. The things that matter, like how people are adjusting to coursework or what organizations made a student feel like they were a part of something can’t be included in your admissions officer’s tour of the humanities building. However, if you go up to a student in line at Einstein’s and ask them what they love about college you will get a tour of a whole different side of college, the experience.

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Your plan is going to change. Everyone changes their mind their first semester. Whether they head in a whole new direction with their major or they add a minor or they transfer schools all together. Your values, priorities, and motives all shift when you live on your own and start growing at the rate you grow your first semester. If the thing holding you back from Lee is you can’t declare a major or you don’t think they have a program you’d like do not let that stop you. My first tour at Lee I was a mechanical engineering student. Now I am a Public Relations major with hopes of working for politicians. God is bigger than a personality test. He has a real plan and calling for your life. If Lee is the place that you feel comfortable trust that He will place you on the right path.

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Come to Summer Honors. NO seriously. I think it was the best decision I ever made. You will meet so many incredible people and coming in the Fall (whichever fall you come) will be so much easier. Summer honors students are some of the most connected people on campus and that is a precious power. Plus it is just so stinkin’ fun. I went both years and it was the best part of my Junior and Senior years. Please go. It is the best way to experience Lee. You will love it.

You all, Seniors, Juniors, and even Freshmen, all have a lot of big choices coming your way. You are going to receive so much advice in these next few years and that can get overwhelming sometimes. Just remember to rely on God. He is going to get you where you are supposed to be. In the meantime, enjoy the last part of High School. Your life is about to change dramatically but it is also going to become completely and totally amazing. Welcome to college.

Yours,

Halle, Lee University Freshman

Stand For Something

What matters to you? Does it motivate you? Prove it.
Stand For Something explores the importance of core values in the lives of college freshmen and beyond.

What matters to you?

This is the most important question you are going to answer. You are going to answer this question everyday before you choose to get out of bed in the morning. It is how you will choose your major and how you will choose to speak to others. We answer this question because our values are the core of who we are. So, what matters to you?

In communications, we are trying to answer the question “What is the purpose of this organization?” In everything we say and convey our purpose as communication experts is to tell the public who we are. As individuals our purpose is not far from that.

As a Christian, I speak to show the character of Christ. As a Student, I work to show academic strength. As a friend, I listen, laugh and bond with the people around me. Everything I do is an extension of my core being and the person I am trying to be.

But what happens when I don’t know what I stand for? If I don’t know who I am, then how can I decide what I want?

If you don’t know what you stand for or even if you don’t stand for anything you can be misguided. Even if you are missing a system of navigation, you will still end up at a destination. People will always be forming opinions about you. Unintentional actions and communication are still perceived. That is why it is so crucial to identify your values.

Those who stand for nothing fall for anything

Identifying your “brand” or rather what you stand for is the first step. Ask yourself the hard questions. Do some research. Have in depth conversations with other people about their own beliefs. Finding out who you are means that you question whether or not you believe the things you have always held as true. Through this process, your faith will become the strongest it could be. Blind faith may still technically be faith, but it isn’t the kind of faith that allows you to have a true relationship with God. 

From here you grow. Once your core values have been identified, they will start to leak into everything you do. Pretty soon, your social media, your daily interactions, and even your thoughts will reflect the core of who you are. By meditating on truth you will find that it is easier to be honest and make choices you are proud of.

This is so important for us to get as college students and especially as freshmen. Everything from choosing a minor to the people we surround ourselves with has to be intentionally and carefully chosen as we develop so quickly. We are going to be molded in these next few years. Choosing to stand for something now will help guide us into the person we want to become.

Be That Freshman

Freshmen get a bad reputation sometimes. I think it is time that we empower first year students to be comfortable being themselves.

When I rolled on to campus move in day I was feeling pretty confident. I had two years of community college under my belt and two summers spent at Summer Honors, a high school camp here at Lee where you have the opportunity to earn college credit. This wasn’t my first rodeo. I had 48 command strips in my pocket and a free t-shirt on my back.

My confidence quickly turned into self awareness. I realized after a week on campus that I was a cliche. The lanyard around my neck grew heavy as I self consciously ate Sodexo for the 15th time that week. I started to see that all around me were hundreds of freshman just like me.

We were those struggling to find their IDs, already at the door of Conn Center chapel, with the judging eyes of the ushers and upperclassmen burning into our backs as we apologize and search our backpacks. We were those in line for ice cream in Deacon Jones making jokes about “the freshman 15” with uncomfortable uncertainty. We were those standing just outside the bookstore, asking the Lord to guide us, unaware of the joys of online book shopping.

Your first year at a four year university is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Yes it can feel like summer camp. Yes some of the classes are like the ones you took at community college. However, living on campus full time and adjusting to the culture of a university is something you can’t really plan or set expectations for. In this first year we are all growing and changing so much. Whether you are trying to fit in, you’re excited about the college experience you’ve heard so much about, or you just love free food and t-shirts you are going to act like “A Freshman” at some point during your first year at university.

But there is nothing wrong with being a freshman. 

Freshmen are excited. Freshmen are excited to learn. Freshmen get to meet new people everyday. Freshmen are always trying something new. Freshmen live in community and in the moment. Freshmen remind the upperclassmen what is great about college. College is a fresh start and no one appreciates that more than the freshmen do.

So I want to empower freshmen. Do not be afraid to make the mistakes every freshmen makes. Over pack. Eat Chick-Fil-A until you never want it again. Use all your flex in the first month. Wear your freshmen t-shirts with pride. All your mistakes and experiences this year help prepare you for everything that is to come. Don’t let other people bring you down. Love your school and be enthusiastic even if it isn’t cool.

Being a freshman is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You worked hard to get here and you’re going to have to work really hard to stay here. Might as well have fun and not take yourself too seriously. Just make sure you’re not that Freshman who fails all of their classes. Study hard and wear your ID card with pride. Freshman

Find Your Voice

Ready to start blogging? Learn how to find your voice as a writer.

One of the biggest road blocks I faced as I entered the world of communications was trying to find my voice as a writer. Blogging is essential as a communication student to be able to practice writing and find your voice as a writer. Blogging was a whole new world of writing for me. I had written formal essays, casual stories, and angsty poetry, but I had never written for anything like a blog. Brandi King shared her wisdom with us this week about three key things that have helped her be comfortable and successful as a professional.  Knowing your audience, connecting to humanity, and not taking yourself to seriously are also the first three steps you need to take in order to find your voice as a blogger.

Your blog should have an ideal audience, but most importantly, you should blog for yourself. Being able to reflect on my other blog, dollhousepursuit.wordress.com, has been critical in seeing my growth as a person and as a writer. One of the great things about keeping a blog is that you are able to write about what you are passionate about. Looking through old blog posts, I can see how God has been working in my life. The readers of my blog can share my experiences and passions by reading my posts. Blogging is a way to create a community of people with common interests through sharing your experiences.

Don’t be afraid to share on your blog. If there is something you are struggling with, you are passionate about, or you want to share, go for it. Your blog should be a place where you can be real with your audience. When your blog connects with the humanity around you, you are given the power to make a difference with your writing. Vulnerability in your writing can really set you apart as a blogger.

Finally, your blog should be a place where you can have a little fun. Tell your corny jokes and be yourself. A blog isn’t an academic journal, it’s a casual way to write and share your ideas. It will be much more enjoyable for you and your audience if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Your content matters, but so does the delivery. Making your blog enjoyable to read will help the content stick with the reader.

Blogging should be something that you enjoy doing! You have the opportunity to write and communicate to the world. Take the opportunity to gain experience and grow as a writer and a person. Once you know your audience, connect with humanity, and have a little fun, it will be easier to get started and turn that blank document into a blog post.

Earn Your Dream

“If you aim for nothing, you’re going to hit it.” College students are at a critical point in their lives where the things they are doing are starting to really make an impact in their futures. Earn Your Dream contains a few practical tips about how to make your content matter as a college student.

The things you do in college actually matter. This is the time of resume building and networking. No matter how many times you hear this before move in day it doesn’t become real until you are sitting in your Foundations of PR class and reading a power point that will literally be the foundation of your future career. It is totally different from when you sat in History 1010 and learned about ancient Babylon. This information matters and it is useful and you will apply it every day for the next 50 years of your life. So what does it mean when your professor asks you to write a paper explaining why you are choosing PR or you tweet about your class? If this is your foundation for your dream, how are you building towards that?

Eric Wilbanks spoke to my DIGM-365 class today and inspired us to treat the work we are doing at Lee University like the work we are going to do after graduation. “Earn your dream,” he told us, “whether or not you achieve your dream all relies on the quality of your content.” When you are working on a paper for your class it needs to reflect your brand. What kind of worker are you going to be when you get into the field? Present the quality of work today that you believe is appropriate or even standard for the future career you are striving towards.

Written work is important, and the work you turn in now should absolutely be something you would be proud of five years from now, but there is something even more important than that we need to focus on as students. Be excellent students in the classroom. We expect our professors to be engaging, interested, and excited to be there, so why don’t we hold ourselves to that same standard? I know it can be hard to be your best self in your 9 AM class, but do what it takes to be your brand in the classroom. Drink the coffee, get enough sleep, and know the material because the connections with your professors and the impressions that you are making in the classroom matter.

Being a student is a huge step in following God’s calling on your life. Just like any other aspect of your life, you are called to give 100% as a student and to do it all for the glory of God. Earning your professional degree is the same thing as earning your dream. It is exciting to know that we are making our dreams happen right now. As students, we can take that energy and bring it to everything we do inside the classroom and out.

A Brief Introduction

Canon and communications? Allow me to quickly explain. Canon is the greek term for an acceptable form of measurement. I want this blog to be a form of measurement of my growth as a communication student. As I grow in my faith and field I want to be able to share my lessons learned. Whether it is in technique, advice, or experience, I want to be able to share my life with you as I navigate my way through college. I can’t wait to grow with you all. Welcome to Canon and Comm.