Reading, Singing, Class, Discussions, and the Weekend
Time passes strangely in college. For example, only two weeks have passed since my last post, but it feels like so much longer. These two weeks mark my first full two weeks of classes (-ish), and there are a few themes that I’ve noticed: reading, singing, learning, discussing, and weekend-ing. Okay that last one doesn’t work but you catch my meaning.
The biggest thing to understand about the reading is that it is challenging and doable, and the type and amount of it depends on your major. So, as a ministry major in the honors program, I have five books for my vocation and calling class, and seven books for my English class. Hopefully, the assurance that the books are challenging and doable will set at ease both those who dislike reading and those who love reading. That being said, these classes do require work, but it is work which grows you, if you let it. What I mean by this is that the books we are given to read are meant to build our character by testing our skills at analysis, sifting the useful and good traits from our reading, whether it is influenced by Christianity or not. As you’ll come to learn, if/when you come to OBU, “All Truth is God’s Truth,” and this belief is an important point to remember when studying different books. Another note that I feel should be added is that with all of this reading, there is a fair amount of writing involved as well.
Also, a particular book which I’ve enjoyed reading for my English class right now is Confessions by Saint Augustine. The book itself has an interesting style of writing which is not seen very much, and, not only is the style good, but the book has substance, densely packed with wisdom and topics for discussion.
Yes, I know this will not apply to everybody, but music as a whole is important, whether it’s in singing, playing in the marching band or jazz ensemble, or just learning to play an instrument. If performing isn’t your thing, then you’re still in luck because OBU has a group, the UCS (University Concert Series), which hosts open mic nights and gets bands to perform on campus! Beyond that there are many worship opportunities whether it’s at a chapel service, at the student-led Canterbury service on Thursday nights, or even just an impromptu jam session where everybody can be involved.
As for me, I joined the Bison Glee Club, much to my surprise, actually. For those who aren’t real sure of what Glee Club is, it’s kind of like the Chorale, but is an all men’s choir. To get back to how I found myself in Glee Club, I knew that I liked to sing, so I went in to the room where the group meets. Instantly, I was faced with sheet music which I did not understand. However, I’m not sure if it was the feel of singing in a group like that, or the professor, Dr. Matthews, who led us, but instead of getting out as soon as possible — because I was illiterate when it came to sheet music — I stayed and now I’m starting to learn and love singing in a new way. When not singing hymns and other songs like “Over the Rainbow,” I’ve also been busy trying to learn guitar. Now, for your information, OBU has a class for learning guitar. I found this out when my schedule was pretty much decided, so I am not currently in that course, but I plan on taking it. Anyways, I bring up my playing of guitar because my roommate, David, brought his piano from home with him, and we sometimes play together, which is very enjoyable.
So yeah, music is good.
Classes and Discussions
Now, an aspect of the reading which I did not state earlier was that it has led to some pretty great discussion in the classroom. The way I always think of it, to describe it to others, is that it works in a way that my higher level history classes in high school always idealized their classes, to be full of good-natured debate and discussion about whatever we were learning about. Because of the books we read and topics we learn about, there is this kind of conversation in most of my classes, especially my honors English class. The reason why my honors English class is so effective at producing discussion is because it takes place in a relatively small class room (12 versus the regular 30-40 people) with a group of students who are familiar with each other through Welcome Week and the honors community. I would suggest picking classes where this discussion can happen because they tend to be the most beneficial, as well as most enjoyable.
All that being said about discussion, I would like to say that I enjoy all of my classes. Just so you don’t get me wrong, let me assure you that I did not enjoy all of my classes in high school. The thing about the courses I’m taking at OBU though, is that they have a mixture of interesting subjects and fantastic professors. That being said, I have heard some of my sophomore friends talk, sometimes jokingly, about how brutal one of their classes is, so I want you to know that when I say that a class or professor is great, I’m not trying to give you a sales pitch.
Finally, what we’ve all been working for! This segment is not typical of what weekends will always look like, but it’s part of my experience, and if it helps in any way, then good.
My very first weekend at OBU, post-Welcome-Week, was labor day weekend, and EVERYbody went home for it. Fortunately, my good friends Chase and Arielle stayed so we hung out, went to church together, visited some of Arielle’s family (great people and great food), but all three of us got to experience what most of the people didn’t when they left home for the weekend: waking up at 7 AM to a shaking bed. I know from my own point of view on top bunk, that I was concerned to say the least. Because my roommate had left to see his family, I did not know who was shaking my bed. I sort of sat up – you know, like you do when you don’t really want to wake up, but you need to look anyways – and looked around to see that nobody was in the room. At this point I had even convinced myself that I had woken up from some terrible dream and was now spasming in an extreme way, so that my entire bed was shaking. Eventually it stopped, and I went to sleep. Later I learned that I had just experienced my first earthquake, and it was a whopper. With a 5.6 or 5.8 magnitude, Oklahoma had an earthquake centered in Pawnee that reached out to surrounding states, supposedly reaching even the Dallas area in Texas. Then, later that week I got to experience my second earthquake, also on the top bunk of my bed while I was reading Augustine, but actually it wasn’t an earthquake at all, my friend Jeff had stealthily gotten behind my bunk and signed to David to be quiet while he shook my bed. It felt just like the earthquake, so I don’t feel bad about being duped at all.
Then this last weekend I went on an honors retreat, experienced Open Mic Night and hot apple cider, as well as finished my first 3,000 word paper for vocation and calling. The honors retreat was very much necessary to go to because it has to do with the future of the student if they remain in honors and how to graduate with honors. More than that, though, I got to know the people in honors more, having fun while also having food (any college kid will tell you how great home cooked and free food is). Moving on from that, I got to watch Open Mic Night for the first time in my OBU career, and it was time well spent. There were so many performers, and they all played, sang, or spoke very well ( I say spoke because there was a little bit of poetry and humor involved as well as music). There was also hot apple cider. It was delicious. I got to break my record of longest paper this past weekend as well. For those worried about writing in college, don’t be, because you will have to write either way, and it’s better for your stress levels as well as your work for you to enjoy the time you put into the paper. There were definitely parts where I was very ready for it to be over, but in an equal measure there were times that I absolutely relished writing about my topic.
Hopefully this post was helpful to you, and I want to apologize because the importance of taking pictures on my phone slipped my mind. The next post I will be sure to provide pictures, especially for Glee Club, Canterbury, and any of the interesting stuff that is bound to happen in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for reading! be sure to check out other blogs and bloggers, particularly Kalyne Henrichsen’s (She was part of my Welcome Week group … Go Titanium Trainers!).
Isaiah 6:8 (NIV84)
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’
And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus