To The Class Of 2018, Go Forth And Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

To The Class Of 2018, Go Forth And Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Even in the midst of failure, always look for the victory.
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Last summer, I went on a mission trip to Ecuador. My group helped with Vacation Bible School in a remote village in the jungle. I was surrounded by children who had next to nothing. Many came from abusive homes, and many had never even received a hug. As I stood there looking at the children and the joy on their faces as we helped them with crafts and just spent time with them, I realized the necessity of appreciation.

It’s sad that we don’t realize how blessed we truly are until we find ourselves surrounded by people who find their joy in things like a toothbrush or even fresh water. Don’t ever take your life for granted. You are living a life of royalty compared to the majority of the world. I always keep this thought in the back of my mind: if you only had what you thanked God for today, what would you have?

We have reached for the stars-- although we have captured some, we have also fallen short. Rather than focusing on the disappointment and the failures, we should find the light at the end of the tunnel. We must find victory in the loss, otherwise, we will drown in our discouragement.

You don’t always win, and that’s ok – losses can be blessings in disguise. Everyone believed Jesus lost on the day He was crucified. However, three days later, Jesus came out of that grave and was like “JUST KIDDING, WHO’S THE LOSER NOW, SATAN?” Even in the midst of failure, always look for the victory.

Keep in mind that choices initiate chain reactions. Sometimes, you won’t know what the right choice is. You’ll be confused, and in the midst of that confusion, you’ll make the wrong choice. When you feel confused and don’t know what to do, choose love. A choice for love is never wrong. When you choose to love, love fiercely and fearlessly– love rooted by fear is bound to fail.

Throughout my life, my dad has told me how important my reaction is. Think before you speak or act, and speak life into others, not death.

Be careful with whom you allow to see your vulnerability. Vulnerability is a privilege that should be earned, not broadcasted. Protect yourself before you wreck yourself.

Identity is defined as “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.” As we go our separate ways - some to college, some straight into the workforce-- I ask you to cling to your identity and never lose sight of it. There will be times where your identity is challenged.

The world will attempt to strip you of your identity– society demands that you conform to fit its mold. However, your identity is far too valuable to lose. Your mistakes don’t define you, your failures don’t define you, your feelings don’t define you, society most certainly doesn’t define you - YOU define YOU.

This day marks the end of this chapter of our lives, but it also marks the beginning of the rest of our lives. God has crafted an intricate and unique plan for each one of you. Don’t ever doubt your purpose. God has already paved the way for us.

Sometimes, we will feel alone– but we’re never truly alone. We may be living in the present, but God sees the whole picture. He’s way ahead of us, but He wants to meet us in the middle. If you ever feel alone, remember that God will never leave you-- He just wants to meet you in the middle.

When you step out of your comfort zone, that’s when you begin to move mountains. Don’t ever limit yourself or place boundaries on your abilities. Remember: we aren’t called to be comfortable.

So, class of 2018, I leave you with this quote from Billy Graham: “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.” What will you give? What will your legacy be?

Cover Image Credit: Personal

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8 Things You Should Never Say To An Education Major

"Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"
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Yes, I'm an Education major, and yes, I love it. Your opinion of the field won't change my mind about my future. If you ever happen to come across an Education major, make sure you steer clear of saying these things, or they might hold you in from recess.

1. "Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"

Um, no, it's not. We write countless lesson plans and units, match standards and objectives, organize activities, differentiate for our students, study educational theories and principles, and write an insane amount of papers on top of all of that. Sometimes we do get to color though and I won't complain about that.

2. "Your major is so easy."

See above. Also, does anyone else pay tuition to have a full-time job during their last semester of college?

3. "It's not fair that you get summers off."

Are you jealous? Honestly though, we won't really get summers off. We'll probably have to find a second job during the summer, we'll need to keep planning, prepping our classroom, and organizing to get ready for the new school year.

4. “That's a good starter job."

Are you serious..? I'm not in this temporarily. This is my career choice and I intend to stick with it and make a difference.

5. “That must be a lot of fun."

Yes, it definitely is fun, but it's also a lot of hard work. We don't play games all day.

6. “Those who can't, teach."

Just ugh. Where would you be without your teachers who taught you everything you know?

7. “So, you're basically a babysitter."

I don't just monitor students, I teach them.

8. “You won't make a lot of money."

Ah yes, I'm well aware, thanks for reminding me. Teachers don't teach because of the salary, they teach because they enjoy working with students and making a positive impact in their lives.

Cover Image Credit: BinsAndLabels

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10 Study Habits You Should Never Break

Tips and tricks to surviving finals and midterms.

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It's starting to become that time of year again - wrapping up the semester and preparing for the dreaded week of finals and mid-terms. I couldn't be more excited to be done with high school. But finals stink. I luckily don't have many classes that are going to require taking a test, mine are mostly projects.

All throughout high school, I had really struggled with testing and study habits. I didn't know how to study and therefore continued to do poorly because of my study habits or lack of. It was not until my junior year in high school, I had found my way of studying and it has worked for me for every test since. I color coat everything and write things down a million times. It is time-consuming but it is worth it in the end. You just have to find what works with you and stick with it. Here are some tips and tricks to hopefully help you with your study habits. I wish I had someone to tell me these things when I was struggling at the start of high school.

1. Time management

Don't be silly and study the night before the test and expect to do well. Some people can actually do this but I am a person who has to work their tail off for what kind of grades I receive so studying the night before a test would result in me not doing well. But it is different for everyone. What I typically do is if I know the test date ahead of time, I write it down in my planner and then as we learn something I add it to a notecard so as we go on with a unit I remember what we have learned in the start of the unit. I typically study a week prior to the test.

2. Find a study space

I like when my environment is completely quiet, I find it hard for me to focus when I am surrounded by noise. I usually study in my room or somewhere where no one is at

3. Choose a style of studying you like

I am a freak when it comes to studying. I am a very visual person. I will read the chapters in the book, highlight the important stuff, take notes and color coat them, highlight them. Draw diagrams or pictures if needed. And sometimes write small important things a couple of times. Yes, it's time-consuming but it has gotten me to not fail my test. With more unvisual classes like math, I write a notecard of all the formulas and buttons I will need for that unit. I do all of this as we go through each unit. I also use Quizlet to help me remember vocabulary words.

4. Actually do the study guides or Quizlets, they help

I complete the study guides a couple of times. Sounds crazy but it helps me memorize stuff so much better. There are tons of resources out on the internet, use them. Quizlet, Books online etc can all be valuable resources, just got to know what is available. Sometimes my friends will make a Quizlet and we will have the same class and I will use her Quizlet. Why make what's already made for you?

5. Write things out

I love technology and all but I think some of us have gotten away from writing things actually down on a notebook. Believe it or not, it has been proven that physically writing things out helps you memorize things better. I use a notebook for class and color coat my own notes. I also use flashcards for vocab words and color coat them as well. As you can tell I love color coating.

6. Have a study buddy

Personally I study better alone but when I do study with groups we bounce ideas off each other to get a better understanding of the material. It again depends on how you like to study.

7. Eliminate distractions

I used to have a problem with getting distracted from being on my phone and then I'd realize I just wasted 30 minutes scrolling through Instagram when I could have been studying. So turn your phone off or put it where you can't see it because it really does shorten your time of studying without being on it.

8. Use memory games (pneumonic devices) 

This helps me so much! When I am working on a test I always remember pneumonic devices before anything else.

9. Take your time

Don't rush through the material, you'll get it eventually. If you don't know it, highlight it and come back. Also if you have already mastered and memorized a topic, don't keep studying that study the things you don't know and haven't mastered.

10.  Find what works best for you!

You have to find out what works for you and what doesn't. Your study habits are completely unique to you. If something works for you, continue to do that.

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