I Was Baptized As A College Freshman

I Was Baptized As A College Freshman

Here's my story.

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I grew up going to church and reading the Bible and going through the motions of what I thought being a Christian being was like. For the longest time, I was a lukewarm Christian, not in disbelief, but not in full belief either. I went to church every Sunday, but it was more of a social aspect than a religious one. I prayed before every meal and every night, but only because that's what I was taught. I didn't live a life for the Lord because I wanted to, but because I just thought that that was the thing to do. And I didn't see a problem with that, not for the longest time.

It was the transition between middle and high school where my eyes were opened to how wrong I had been living. And I was ashamed. And I ran. I ran from Him when I had the perfect chance to run to Him. I ran from my shame and my sin and my sorrows. I ran and I hid. My dear friends stayed patient and time and time again they led me back. But I was still so ashamed. I hated the fact that I had strayed from my faith. I felt unworthy of His love and grace. I felt like I didn't have a place in His arms. For four years I was on and off the fence, constantly torn between living my life for Him and living my life for me. I lived every day on my own time. I lived every day with no care in the world.

This past year at UGA has helped me grow so firm and so solid in my faith and my walk with Him. I've always heard that college will strip you of your faith, but I'm so happy to say the exact opposite happened to me. The first few weeks of college, I felt so incredibly alone. I had a hard time adjusting and making new friends. So I went to a few campus ministries. I tried out a few, but the one that I felt at home and at peace was Wesley. This year was challenging in every aspect of my life. Mentally. Academically. Emotionally. But especially spiritually. But through all that, I've learned that no matter how far or how long I stray, He is always there to welcome me back with open arms, and that's the most comforting thing that I will ever know. It's because of that that I now feel empowered in the kind of growth that my relationship with God has had, and my relationship with Him is the strongest and most true it's ever been.

I went from living the life of a lukewarm Christian to one of an intentional Christian. God has moved mountains for me. God has loved me unconditionally. God has forgiven me time and time again, and it's time that I forgive myself too. I'm not proud of who or where I was at the beginning of this journey, but I'm not sure most people are.

Today is a different story. Today, I am proud to say that I am a daughter of the One True King. I am proud to see how my wavering belief in faith has turned into one of the best relationships and friendships I have. I'm proud to say that today, April 8, 2019, I publicly declared Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and was baptized through the Wesley Foundation at UGA. Bob and Daniel and the rest of Wesley will forever be some of the best things I've ever encountered. And I am so, so thankful for those who have supported me and constantly shown me His love and grace and forgiveness, and even more thankful for those who experienced this life-changing experience with me.

I have been reborn, and I'm so excited to keep growing and learning.

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Hailey Miller's Debut Single Is 'The One'

"The One" is available now across all streaming platforms.

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Being able to blend genres well is a true testament to a great artist, and Hailey Miller has done just that. Breaking onto the pop-country scene with her debut single "The One", the song speaks to the lessons that come out of unfortunate heartbreak, and definitely resonates with people going through one. I got the chance to talk with Hailey about her music, Nashville, and plans for the future:

1. What inspiration did you pull from to write "The One"?

"The One" was inspired by a relationship I was in. It was young love, not the healthiest relationship, and was dragged on for way longer than it should've been. I'd pretty much worked through all the heartbreak by the time it was fully over, and this song felt like the final piece to the puzzle. To acknowledge that some good came from the whole experience, and that lessons were learned. It just kind of poured out of me. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I wrote it and instantly felt peace. Like I could finally let it all go. It's a different kind of breakup anthem, and I hope that people can connect to it in the same way I did.

2. Do you tend to pull from personal experience to write or do you write using a third person perspective?

I definitely prefer to write from personal experience. I've written from a third person perspective, but it always feels more genuine for me to write about things I've been through first hand. It's just easier! It flows better, and feels more honest. Especially if I'm planning on using the song for myself. As an artist, I always want the truths I'm speaking to be genuine. I feel like people connect better that way. If I can't fully connect to the stuff I'm singing, how can I expect the listeners to? Personally, as an artist, the stories behind my songs are just as important to me as the song itself. That being said, if I can connect to someone else's experience deeply, writing third person can be just as fun!

3. What has your experience been like being a woman in the music industry?

You know, I don't have anything negative to say about my experience so far. I've felt respected as an artist from almost everyone I've personally come across in the industry. This being said, I'm very aware of the challenges females tend to face on a larger scale, especially in country. But I try to not let it phase me. In my mind, I'm just an artist…not a "female artist".

4. Growing up in Oregon, what/who inspired you to move to Nashville and write country music?

My earliest inspiration was definitely my aunt. She was singing country music professionally when I was super young, so I grew up seeing that and my family was super good about surrounding me with all sorts of music. My dad had this thing where he would always tell me to "listen to the words" and then at the end of the song I'd have to tell him what I thought it was about. It made me realize at a young age that music isn't just sound, it's stories. I fell in love with country music and its stories. Then came along these powerhouse female singer/songwriters…like Taylor Swift, and that was it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and I knew Nashville was the place to do it. So, I learned the guitar, taught myself how to write, and made the move as soon as I possibly could! It's pretty much a 19 year old dream in the making at this point.

5. How has Nashville shaped your artistry and/or songwriting since moving there?

Nashville has already shaped my artistry and songwriting immensely. I think the biggest thing is being around so many talented artists and writers. It's super inspiring! Every time I go to a show or writer's round in town, I go home wanting to work even harder. That's the magic about Nashville. In a place where the industry could feel very competitive, the community is so amazing that instead of feeling intimidated, I feel inspired. I think that's so cool. Being able to learn your craft in an environment like that, where everybody is willing to collaborate and learn from each other. There's no room to sit still and not work hard. I think that alone has made me a better artist and writer. I've discovered my own unique writing style and sound, and can't wait to develop it even more.

6. What has your experience been like releasing your first single independently?

It's been amazing! I've had the best time with it. The process was so fun, and such a learning experience. Since it was my first release, I tried to go into it with little to no expectations and I've been blown away! The support I've received is beyond what I ever expected, and people are listening!! That's all I could've ever asked for. I think putting out music for any artist, independent or not, is always a little scary because there's this fear that people won't connect to such a personal part of you. There's so much work behind the scenes that goes into it. But it is so rewarding to read people's messages about how they connect or relate to the song. It's the best feeling in the world!

7. What are your future goals and aspirations within the music industry?

I ultimately just want to keep writing and putting out music that I love, and that other people love. Whether that's on a small scale level, or a larger scale. As long as I'm continuing to make music, I'm happy! That being said, I'd love to do some touring soon, and work towards my first EP/full length album.

8. Do you have plans to release new music soon?

Plans are in the works. I don't have a definitive date for you guys quite yet, but new music is on its way! I've been writing tons and I have some stuff that I'm dying to get out. I'd keep an eye out in the upcoming months for sure.

Listen to "The One" across all streaming platforms now and keep an eye out for future music from Hailey!


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6 Ways I Was Able To Achieve Straight A's At The University Of Georgia This Semester

It honestly took me entirely too long to figure out how to do well in my classes.

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It is super common for students to come to the University of Georgia and have a horrible first year academically, because of the rigor and new stresses. High school doesn't prepare you for it, and it can often times make you feel really crappy about yourself. It is common for straight A students to come to UGA and start making C's. The reasons vary from studying habits to a new environment, but either way, it is the worst feeling in the world to be top of your class, and get to college and start falling behind. I haven't really made bad grades in college, but I came to UGA with a 4.2 GPA and I can assure you that was NOT the case after my first semester.

1. I stopped relying solely on my memory and used my resources.

I have always been the type of person to have a planner, but it even takes a lot to remember to look at the planner. Therefore, it was time to take things to the next level. I reminded myself of deadlines, events, and assignments in various ways to make sure I didn't slip up. This included google calendar, putting up a whiteboard in my room, notecards with important dates, etc. I have major anxiety about forgetting things, so to solve that, I just literally wrote them everywhere I possibly could.

2. I figured out why I was in college and what my purpose was.

It's hard to do something every day that you aren't even sure about. When I started to make lower grades, it was easy for me to think I was at the wrong place or doing the wrong thing. I had to really make confirm that college was for me and what I really wanted for myself. I did this by studying abroad and getting to know some of my professors. I learned that I really loved to learn and wanted to continue living in a scholarly world. All and all, I figured out that I really belonged here and I could do it.

3. I changed my major.

It was super hard for me to do this because I am the type of person that creates a plan and sticks to it. Changing my major meant that the plan was changing too, and that was one of the hardest decisions I've made. But once I changed my major to something that better fit me and what I wanted to do in the future (changed it from Risk Management and Insurance to Consumer Journalism), I was more confident and eager to make better grades.

4. I realized that everyone is in the same boat.

UGA admissions state that in 2018, the high school core GPA Overall Average of All Admitted First-Year Students was a 4.07. That means just about everyone coming in pretty much got all A's, dual enrolled, and/or took AP classes. But I can assure you, there aren't many people who continue to get those kinds of grades. And that's okay. College is much harder and it takes time to adjust. I had to realize I wasn't the only one.

5. I put school before EVERYTHING.

I missed events for my clubs, time with my friends, and I honestly probably watched Netflix a total of 10 times maximum. I decided if I was going to be in college, then it would be my first and only priority. It's easy to say that, but it's hard to miss fun things when this is supposed to be the "best four years of your life." But you kind of just have to come to terms with the fact that there will always be more chances to do those things, but if you make a bad grade it isn't necessarily going to go away.

6. When I could, I started saying YES.

It was easy for me to constantly feel like I had no time to do any more clubs or activities, but it was possible with balance and strategic planning. The more things I was involved in like UGA HEROs, Young Democrats, or even Odyssey Online, the more excited I was about what I was doing with my life. I even became a notetaker for two of my classes so I was forced to take good notes and go to class. I also studied abroad when I felt like I had absolutely no time and it turned out to be an experience that I will never forget. I said yes to things I was genuinely passionate about and things that would help me further develop skills for my future career(s).

Ultimately, to make the grades I wanted, I had to reevaluate everything I was doing and put the work in. It is all about your mindset and how far you are willing to push yourself. It's about things like being willing to do the extra credit, going to the office hours, staying in when everyone else is going out, giving yourself adequate time to study, and being surrounded by people who have similar goals. I also REALLY wanted my Zell Miller Scholarship back and I made it a goal to get there. Set goals and make them happen. If you are wanting to get better grades, my advice would be to emirs yourself completely into school. It doesn't sound super fun or cool, but it is only a few years and the return will be totally worth it. If you are studying something that you are passionate about, it shouldn't be hard to direct that energy into your schoolwork.

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