Car Radio

I ponder of something great
My lungs will fill and then deflate
They fill with fire, exhale desire
I know it’s dire my time today

I have these thoughts, so often I ought
To replace that slot with what I once bought
‘Cause somebody stole my car radio

6e2d3d7327445b614ae1108043dc6605

We are busy. Every hour of every day is scheduled. I personally have filled my calendar so well that I could tell you I’m too busy to sleep, yet alone think.

When I have time to just sit, I don’t. I fill it with writing. I fill it with music. I find someone. Play cards. I’m never alone. I’m never just quiet.

To just sit in silence and think is a waste of precious time. You’re only in college for so long after all. I only have two years to minister, serve, and lead.

Some days the only quiet time I have is when I’m getting ready for bed at 2 AM. I’ll go all day and only think about where I have to be next. I love how busy I am. I get to do everything I love and I feel useful.

But what if I didn’t have an event every Friday? What if my meetings were canceled and my classes were re-scheduled? What if I had to spend an entire day or an entire week in silence?

There would be no busyness to hide behind. I would have to sit still and think about something outside of these busy moments and outside of my plan.

I’d have to think. It would be just me and my thoughts. The why-do-I-do-what-I-do thoughts. The why-am-I-here thoughts. The where-am-I-going thoughts.  

There’s faith and there’s sleep
We need to pick one please because
Faith is to be awake
And to be awake is for us to think
And for us to think is to be alive
And I will try with every rhyme
To come across like I am dying
To let you know you need to try to think

I’d need to think, and those thoughts would turn into prayers. My routine would warm in to a ministry. My studies would remember they’re passions. The silence of the day would wake me up. It’d be raw and awkward but at the end I’d be truly living.

Guys, you need to take a break. You need to slow down and breathe. You need to take the time to think and pray and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.

If we let service turn into busyness we’re missing the point. Don’t get me wrong, God will still use your acts of service, but they won’t shape your heart the way it will when you’re meditating and working hand-in-hand with God.

Listen to Car Radio here.

 

Committing to Comm

Committing to communication was really hard for me. I had to lay down my own plans and trust God’s calling. When I let him have control, he showed me where my talents and gifts could truly be used.

If I haven’t mentioned this before I am a bit of a planner. Like, I started going to college fairs when I was in middle school bit of a planner. My plan was to become an engineer, graduate early, and get on with my life. But when I felt called to go to Lee, a school without an engineering program, I had to scrap my plans and start all over. I didn’t know what I was good at, what I would enjoy, or what I was called to do. But for some reason public relations just felt right.

Little did I know that this was God’s plan all along. My strengths and talents have always aligned with the field of communication.

If you are looking at colleges right now and that big ole choice is right around the corner I feel for you. I remember what it was like. Knowing but not knowing. Having to really trust God in such a huge way. Visiting campus and seeing all of the new faces and buildings and just thinking I love this. 

But the thought that overshadows every step of college planning is I have no idea what I am doing. 

I always wanted something practical but business never felt right. In fact, I knew I kind of hated business. Digital media sounded really fun but I knew I didn’t have the passion or talent to be truly successful. Math was off the table (enough said). I felt like I could do anything but I was never passionate about anything. Reading the description of public relations, I envisioned myself being able to help the community and still keep food on the table. And that was it. I was passionate about community and making a difference and I knew I could support myself. I bit the bullet and declared public relations as my major on my application.

It wasn’t like I knew my whole life. I never wanted to write press releases as a little girl. I decided the summer before my senior year to pursue something I knew almost nothing about. I had to simply trust that God was leading me in that direction. Little did I know what a great fit public relations really is.

Public relations requires strategy, communication, and connectedness. Which are literally my top three strengths according to the Gallup StrengthsFinder test. Let’s just take a second to think about how cool that is. God literally designed me for the field of public relations and I would’ve never known if I hadn’t obeyed him and given Lee a chance.

I would have been successful as an engineer, don’t get me wrong. But the successes and joys I am experiencing as I live out the plans God laid out for me are so much deeper.

Committing to communication was really hard for me. I had to lay down my own plans and trust God’s calling. When I let him have control, he showed me where my talents and gifts could truly be used. Even though I didn’t have all the answers, God still lead me with his comfort and assurance.

So if you’re standing on a college campus this spring thinking I have no idea what I am doing, you’re not alone. God’s timing and his plans are perfect. When you trust in him he will reveal a future that is even more glorious than you could’ve ever planned yourself.

Why SLC?

At a time in my life when I have every reason to be totally selfish, SLC challenges me to do something different.

Picture this. You are a prospective student on campus for the first time. You are swarmed with information about classes, programs, majors, and residential halls. You walk through the center of campus and through what seems like hundreds of students representing different clubs. A little afraid and a little excited you look at all the options in front of you.

Someone comes up to you and starts to just talk. They ask you where you are from and how you are doing. They want to help you and answer any questions you have. They talk to you and help you feel a little less overwhelmed. The friendly face and patience in the madness helps you feel at home on the chaotic campus.

This was what my first SLC experience was like. They asked me my interests and suggested I keep them in mind for when I got to campus in 2015. The people I encountered during my first few trips to Lee where often students from SLC and they were the people who made Lee feel like home from the very start.

Being at college, it can be really really hard to not be selfish, like, all the time. You spend everyday learning and asking questions about yourself. Everyone wants to know what you want to do with your life. You spend all this time growing and focusing on you. You don’t have your family with you. Your whole life revolves around you.

For me, SLC pulls me out of the orbit of my own selfishness.

I care about the people in our organization and in this community. It taught me to be less judgmental of others and to put them before myself. I have learned that whether someone is in a greek club or homeless they deserve to be loved and to be shown mercy. I am learning humility and servant leadership. I am learning that literally taking the trash out and speaking at a conference should be done by the same people. Being a leader doesn’t make you too good for the little things, in fact, it makes you responsible for them.

It’s the people as much as the work. I could go on and on about how blessed I am to have the incredible wonderful friends I have made in SLC. I could go on and on about events that I have been to and helped organize. The thing that I love most of all though is the thing I cared about the least when I first joined.

Tonight was Tap Night for all of the greek clubs on campus. SLC helped set up a little mixer for all of the greek clubs so that they could tap their new brothers and sisters and eat together. It was a pretty low key event for us. Other than passing out sandwiches and picking up trash we were just supposed to mingle around and talk to members of the greek clubs. Through out the night we got to watch as they excitedly welcomed new members. The whole thing was both terrifying and energetic.

Eventually everyone left and we all started to clean up. I grabbed a vacuum and started cleaning the floor, something I never pictured myself doing on a Thursday night at college. As I vacuumed I realized that I hadn’t thought about myself all night. After days of obsessing over my own plans and schedules I had finally gone a few hours just admiring the joy and encouragement in the community around me. I admired the sacrifices people were making. All of my energy was directed towards the people I was serving and serving with. And even though all I did was vacuum and talk to people, I realized that it was changing my heart.

So that is why I do SLC. Because at a time in my life where I have permission from culture to make everything about me, SLC reminds me that I am a part of something bigger. That God wants something better for me. That time and time again, joy comes from the grit and hard work that comes from true community.

Because SLC is a family and it is shaping me to become the leader that God has called me to be.

Center of the Scene

God first.

Then Family.

Then School.

Then Friends.

That was the order my life was supposed to follow. I have always been told that your time should be poured out in that order. The problem is that this is really, really hard to practically do as a student. Nothing in my life follows a recipe or a schedule anymore. I am making a thanksgiving dinner in drive thru timing. Some days I spend 3 hours playing Risk and somedays I spend 8 hours in the library. Balancing time and commitments is harder than I could have ever imagined. I imagine that as I get older and add my kids, job, and spouse into the mix it isn’t going to get any easier.

How can I keep God at the top of that list when most of the time I just need his strength to get to my 9 AM? How can I keep family above friends when I live with my best friends and my family lives an hour away? How can I keep school below God when I spend hours working for good grades and forget to read my bible so much it is embarrassing? If the rest of my life takes 12 hours a day how can I possibly match that with the effort I put into my relationship with Christ?

This morning my whole perspective was changed when our lead pastor at The Net Church, Ryan May, explained the way we should focus our lives. He showed us a picture of the nativity scene. In the center was baby Jesus in the manger. Jesus was next to his parents, wisemen on one side, shepherds on the other, and of course the animals were scattered around the scene. He said this scene is how we should model our lives. God was there in the center of our lives with everything looking at Him.

The thing that is in the center of our lives should be what is most important to us and where we take our cues from. The center of our life will be what tells us whether things are going to be ok in the future, whether we should be happy or anxious, and how we should behave. We look to that center to make the decisions that effect the rest of our lives. Having Christ in the center of our lives, as we know, means that we will not be anxious, that we will have joy, and that we will love others.

We have to be careful to not replace Christ with any of the other things in our lives, even the good things like family or friends. When we put family in the center, we let our families dictate how we feel or what we do. We put our parents or spouses’ will for our lives above what God’s will is. When we let our friends be the center we seek their approval above God’s approval and unconditional love. Things that fail can’t be at the center of our lives, it just doesn’t work that way.

My life doesn’t work as a list. Family, friendships, school, and service are all equally important to me and without them I wouldn’t be who I am. Above all of those things, at the center of who I am, is Christ. He is there to tell me who I need to be and what I am supposed to do. He tells me how to be a part of my family and reminds me of their importance. He rejoices when my friendships strengthen my faith and help me grow as a person. He teaches me about the plans he has for my future in my studies. He shows me his love for the world when I serve.

Bible study is important, but I learn so much more from God when I don’t limit him to what he can teach me through daily devotion. I live my life for Christ when I put him in the center of it all and take my cues from him. I have the Holy Spirit in me and it serves as a constant reminder that God is with me at all times.

I don’t have to exclude the good things in my life to make time for God. They are all there. A part of the scene of my life. They have a place. It just isn’t the center.

 

Don’t Quit Your Night Job

Don’t give up on your passion just because it isn’t your 9-5.

Here is some practical advice for you: there is a difference between a career and a hobby. It’s not just something your Dad says. It is all too true for those of us entering the workforce. For example, I love to sing. I usually forget the words to the song I am singing. I am amateur and best with harmonies. All around, singing is something that I can do but by no means should I head over to career and calling to change my major to music.

I am great at a lot of things. Many of those things would make great careers. Many of my interests could earn me money. Even my major is a great field to go into. However, no matter how talented I am, how hard I work, and how many times I apply, I can never expect my day job to line up with my perfect, ideal interests and skills.

More than likely, when I graduate from college, I am not going to be living up to my full potential as the Campaign Manager for Beyonce. That doesn’t mean that when I get hired as the brochure maker for a frozen yogurt company that it won’t be part of God’s plan for my life or an essential part of my career.

The jobs we take before our dream job help to make us the best at what we do. The experience you gain from an entry level position is valuable. Just like in relationships and other facets of your life, you have to build in order to be strong enough to handle the next step. God provides opportunities for us to be strengthened. Taking on this perspective allows us to have a positive attitude, even if we aren’t doing what we love.

So how do we get to do what we love? By turning it into our night job. After all, if you do what you love it isn’t really work. Pursue your dreams with patience and practice. Take opportunities to grow and practice your skills. Understand that it takes a lot of time and hard work to turn a profit or to be discovered. Don’t sell out on the thing you love. Keep it special and do it right so that you can have total ownership of your talents.

Starting out is harder than we ever realized. It is essential to have stability in order to keep the lights on and pay off our debt. However, don’t let stability hold you back from using your free time to get where you really want to be. By staying positive and creating opportunities to pursue what you love, you can follow your dreams independently.

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.

2

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.

Untitled design-2

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

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.