Your Degree Is Not For You

Your Degree Is Not For You

A finals week wake-up call.

Here's a wake-up call that you didn't expect in the middle of finals week. That degree that you're pursuing? It isn't for you. This incredible video explains why.

Vimeo user Daniel Robinson released this tear-jerker of a video recorded by Christian spoken-word artist Stefan Vandenkooy during the most stressful time of the semester for college kids: finals week.

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As college students, we seem to be competing to see who puts the most espresso shots in their Starbucks drinks, who stays up the latest taking notes over something that we should have read weeks ago, and even who binge-watches the most Netflix during intermittent fits of procrastination.

Vandenkooy's video begs the question, "When did we become so selfish?" We don't respond to each others' "How-are-you"s with "good," instead we respond with "tired," "stressed" or, usually in my case, "dying," because of the tremendous stress under which we place ourselves during this time of the year. We forgo the things that we enjoy to buckle down so that we can pull out great grades and find ourselves on the Dean's List. Once that happens we seek even further gratification by telling all our Facebook friends about what a tough road it was and how proud we are of ourselves for making those grades.

But we aren't the ones hurting. The ones who are truly hurting and in need are the ones who we will be able to help with our degrees--doctors and nurses will be able to lift up patients tortured by maladies and their families who suffer by their sides, business people and politicians will seek to affect change to help those who cannot help themselves, and teachers will fill the minds of children so that they can become the next generation of college graduates.

We focus on the negatives not because we are truly hurting, but because we want to be listened to, to be paid attention, but it's for all the wrong reasons. As college students pursuing degrees, we are not the ones to whom the attention should be paid. We are not the be-all, end-all. That title belongs to our Heavenly Father through whom and by whom and from whom everything we are and everything we do arises.

This video was such an incredible, convicting wake-up call. For me, it finally gave me an answer as to what I want to do with the rest of my life. No, it didn't paint a picture in my mind of where I'll work, how many degrees's I'll have framed on the walls of my office, and if that office is in a corner with my own bathroom or if it's just a cubicle. Instead, it reminded me that I'm incredibly privileged to receive a college education because I can use it to better serve my God.

We're so restless and sleep-deprived because of our laser-like focus on graduating, finding a job, and making money that we forget to seek rest in God and to insert that inner peace into our studies.

The most riveting part of this video for me was when Stefan said, "Your degree is not for you. It is for those who are hurting."

The degree that we receive is not a piece of paper that we can hang on a wall, use as a conversation topic with strangers or just a line item on a resume. Our college degrees should be treated as the key to a door that we will be able to open in order to comfort those who are hurting and help those who cannot help themselves. As finals week approaches you should find peace in God and in the fact that what you're doing is so incredible. We may be sleepy, overly caffeinated, and anxious as all get-out, but through God, we are spiritually awake and we are at peace.

"Your degree is just the door. Your work ethic is the key. But it is only by the grace and the strength of God that you will walk through that door and help whoever may be on the other side."
Cover Image Credit: oregonstateuniversity / Flickr

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.


"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

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5 things bisexual people are So tired of hearing From Cis-Hets

Too many people can't wrap their head around the concept of bisexuality, and it's getting old.


The Merriam-Webster definition of bisexuality: sexual or romantic attraction to members of both sexes; also: engaging in sexual activity with partners of more than one gender. Yet, this can often be a very confusing concept for certain people to understand. As a result, people who identify openly as bisexual are often subjected to a slew of frustrating questions and statements that have grown tiring. So here is a list of just a handful of them.

1. "So, you're straight now?"

So, as the definition implies, bisexuals typically like both men and women. So, if you are a bisexual woman, and you are dating a man, no, that does not mean that you are straight now. You are still bisexual, you are just in a relationship with a man at the moment. Please, stop asking this.

2. "So, you're gay now?"

Okay, so, this is the flip side of the previous question, yes, but it needs to be said because of the frequency of its utterance. If a bisexual man is in a relationship with a man, he is not "gay now". He is still bisexual, again. He is just in a relationship with a man. Regardless of whether or not a bisexual person is in a same-sex or different-sex relationship, they remain, and will always remain bisexual. So, let's just put this question and the former question to rest.

3. "Do you have sex with everyone and anyone?"

Bisexuality does not equal sexual deviancy. Just because a bisexual person can fall in love with or have a sexual relationship with a person of any gender does not mean that they will have sex with literally any human being who offers. No, they will not have sex with anyone just because they can. That is not how it works.

4. "Will you have a threesome with me and my boyfriend/girlfriend?"

NO. No, no, no. Just because a bisexual person will have sex with someone of either gender does not mean that they want to have sex with you and your significant other at the same time. Please, stop asking your bisexual friends and acquaintances to jump into bed with you and your boyfriend or girlfriend just to spice things up in the bedroom. It's extremely rude and presumptuous. Bisexual people are not your sexual fantasy or your sexual fantasy come true.

5. "Bisexuals are just selfish/looking for attention."

People always say that most bisexuals are just pretending to be bisexual for attention and that they aren't genuinely attracted to more than one gender. This is a fallacy. Stop accusing young bisexuals of playing pretend or going through a phase. Bisexuals are valid. They're sick of hearing these erasure comments. It's also constantly implied that bisexuals are just being selfish/greedy. That is not the case, and this belief system needs to be destroyed and done away with immediately. As stated before, bisexuals are not these inherently sexually crazed lunatics. Being attracted to more than one gender does not automatically equate to sex with everyone. Bisexuals are not greedy nymphomaniacs who just want to have as much sex as they can for themselves.

There are numerous other frustrating comments and questions that bisexuals get bombarded with on the daily. This is just a select few that stand out. So, please, if you are someone who says these things, stop. If you have heard someone say these things, or you hear them say any variation of these things in the future, please, correct them. We all need to make a conscious effort to stop this close-minded conversation to continue.

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