Competing Your Way Through College

In college, I’ve learned you have to step up and work harder, because there are a lot of other hard working students here that someday may be competing you for the same job. I’ve also learned that in my personal life, it is impossible to avoid competition. I don’t play sports, so that is not where I am heading with this, but I do have other things I compete for in my daily life.

College is one big competition, well in my opinion anyway. If you’re not going to class or doing your work, then you better believe that another student is. The same student may have the same major as you or has the same interests as you, so if the two of you are ever up for the same internship, placement, practicum, etc, and they see that that student put more effort into the courses they took than you did, then that person will likely be chosen before you will.

Life, in general, is one big competition after another. Playing sports might be the biggest thing in your life that involves competition but for someone who doesn’t play sports, let me tell you, there is more than enough competition in the different areas of  life. If you think about it, we compete every day to look our best, do our best, whether that be on the field, in the classroom, or on the stage, and be our best self. So imagine the stress of trying to compete with everyone around you to feel self-confident about yourself. If you haven’t already figured out, it’s not the best feeling in the world. This world revolves around people feeling like they have to be in a constant competition where it never seems to end until there is only one winner.

Tips for handling the rest of this semester

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this semester has really been a tough one. My classes are way harder than they were last year, extracurricular activities/jobs are taking up a significant amount of my time, and stress levels seem to be at an all-time high.

Last week, I spent almost 15 hours studying for one test! My life felt so consumed by Organic Chemistry and I got to the point where I was making horribly cheesy jokes about syn additions and Markovnikov. I’m pretty sure my friends thought I’d gone off the deep end.

I bet lots of you are feeling that way about your various studies and obligations by this point in the semester, too. We’ve got two more full weeks of class left, people! We can do this. I’ve decided to compile a list of a few tips that help me during stressful times.

  1. Do the tough stuff first. I am a huge advocate of making lists. When your day seems like it can’t be conquered because of the endless amount of things you have to do, writing down your obligations somehow makes everything seem a little more doable, and it makes the screaming/panicking voice in your head calm down a bit. Put the hardest things at the top of your to-do list and get them done early. Doing so will take the weight off of your shoulders and make you more motivated to carry on.
  2. Keep your space clean. You’ve heard it said “a cluttered desk = a cluttered mind.” I know you all probably aren’t as neat-freakish as I am, but regardless, I think we can all benefit from having a tidy place to study or relax. If you take a few minutes to pick up the clothes off your floor, organize all the stuff in your bathroom cabinets, or even just clear off your desk, it can really help relieve some stress. Cleaning/organizing my room is probably the first thing I do when I’m stressed. It helps me to feel like I’m getting things done and makes me feel better about the space I live in.
  3. Don’t overeat/under-eat. A lot of people tend to overeat or under-eat when they are stressed. Neither one is good for you and neither one will help you! Personally, I tend to under-eat when I’m stressed, which leads to irritability and lack of energy. The times that I do end up overeating though, I feel bloated and tired, because it’s usually candy or salty food that I binge on. So when you’re in the middle of cramming for your next test, be sure to snack on healthy food that will give your brain the energy to keep going. Check out this list of healthy, affordable snacks that are great for studying, and go stock up!
  4. Get away from the distractions. One of the worst places for me to get a lot of things done is in my room. There, I am tempted to take a nap, socialize and get distracted by so many things. My two favorite spots to study or get work done are Mojo’s and the library. I getting things done in Mojo’s because it’s often filled with other people who are engrossed in their work/studies. There’s something about having a hot cup of tea in that cozy environment that just makes me productive. The library is wonderful for many of the same reasons. It’s also very quiet most of the time, and there’s tons of space to find a place to dive in to your work. Many of those hours I spent last week studying for O. Chem were in the library.
  5. Dress up! I’m not saying you have to go full suit and tie, but putting on an outfit that you feel confident in can really give your brain a boost. Now that it’s getting really chilly outside, there are so many options like scarves, boots and coats to spice up your wardrobe. When I’ve got a big test or something coming up, I plan what I’m going to wear that day. One of my friends last year always wore a button-up shirt with dress pants on Anatomy and Physiology test days. He told me, “Dress well, test well.” And you know what? He got the highest score on every test in that class.

Hopefully some of these insights can help you get through this last bit of the semester. Leaning on friends and family when you’re stressed can also be a huge help, so take advantage of that.

The rest of the semester is going to be tough, but we got this!

Here’s a nice picture of a rainbow on campus to remind you that there’s hope even in the darkest times. :)



Seeking questions

As a student at Bethel, I have matured in a myriad of ways. Some of my developments have been obvious to all and probably met with a great deal of relief that they came about. Other changes have occurred on a much more subtle level that are less likely to be noticed except by myself and perhaps the perceptive friend or teacher.

One of these seemingly minor changes has provided a new mindset for me when approaching all aspects of life. So often I was motivated to seek the correct answer. In many classes, this is the seemingly obvious calling. You know the question, find the answer.

Since I have arrived at Bethel I have noticed that it is not always that simple. In many of my courses that I take and situations I find myself in, I have noticed that the person with the greatest grasp on the topic or situation is doing more than simply answering questions. They are asking the right questions, too.

I am grateful to Bethel has a whole, to the students and professors that have challenged me and impressed me and I am certainly grateful for the natural maturation that is bound to occur on some level between the ages of 18-21. Seeking questions is a simple way to engage an entire class or group of people. It allows for creativity, discussion and discernment to take place. Answers are important, but seeking the questions that can make one stop and think; this is something that I have gained a true appreciation for in my time at Bethel.

Until next time –


Tourin’ Italy and Beyond

On May 19, the class Renaissance Art History embarks on a journey to Italy. Myself included, there will be about 12 of us going.

The class is led by David Long, who has done this before, and is bound to be a great one. We will be visiting Venice, Padova, Florence, Rome and the Vatican, among other destinations in Italy.

After 10 days of fun in Europe the trip will conclude…BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! If you choose to stay in Europe and travel, you may!

I will have the pleasure of going to Munich, Interlaken (Switzerland) and Paris. This trip is sure to be one full of memories and new experiences. I hope to take many pictures like the one below in Florence.

Until next time America,


(I hope everyone caught the Toy Story reference in the title.)


Brooke’s Declassified Finals Survival Guide

Here is THE guide to a successful week of finals….

First off, study the heck out of the material. Seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because that is all you can do.

Second off, put off studying. Go outside and play disc golf with your friends. Choose a movie over looking at your notes. These are the time you’re going to remember, trust me (I’ve been through this for four years now).

Third off, drink TONS of coffee. It helps,  I promise.

Fourth off, counteract the coffee with lots of water. Please be sure to stay hydrated.

Fifth off, go out and binge on fast food, ice cream, soda, and all other absolutely terrible food choices.

Lastly, love the fact that you are studying or taking a study break. These are the moments that are going to be with you for the rest of your life, and they are important. Friends mean everything and you would not be surviving this hellish week without them. Enjoy the stress and bask in the glow of sleep deprivation.

Every minute of this week is glorious.

Live it. Cry a bit during it. Love it.



The Week Before Finals Week

This week is literally death for everyone involved. Why this week is so much worse than actual finals week? No one knows except the professors.

All of us students go through hell the week before finals because for some odd reason every professor decides it’s a good time to pile up the assignments due. For example, I have two papers, two exams, one presentation, and of course the usual homework all due the week before finals.

My load isn’t even that bad. Others have it way worse than I do. I have a friend who has a biochemistry exam on Friday! What is the point in that?! The students don’t get the exam back in time to study it and it just stresses them out more. It isn’t helpful.

Another thing I do not understand is why professors want to grade these things? Why in the world would someone make all of these assignments due? I know for a fact each professor has at least two classes they are teaching. So that means even more work! Professors should conduct study groups all week instead of assigning projects. This way kids actually pass their finals.

The only way to get through this week and make it to the next is by lots of coffee, lots of laughter, a little bit of crying and zero sleep.

Good luck to all of you enduring this week of stress.



Getting the Job

Okay, followers, this post here is a biggie.

Recently in convocation, we had a presenter come speak to us about ways to excel in interviews. It helped. Kind of. Most of the things he mentioned a lot of us knew already and it didn’t quite “fit our fancy” on what we thought we would like to hear about. So with my marvelous interview experience (an experience of less than 10 interviews), here are my 10 tips for you.

1. Make sure you pee beforehand! This is clearly number one, because you do not want to go through your entire interview needing to take a whizz and not being able to concentrate on the task at hand. (If you do need to pee, don’t be embarrassed, just use the bathroom so there are no accidents.)

2. Brush your teeth REALLY well. No one likes stinky breath.

3. LAYER on the deodorant. You will be sweating like a pig.

4. Wear comfortable shoes. Nothing is worse than aching feet all day (but of course make them comfortable “professional” shoes).

5. Brag about yourself. What you are there for is for them to better understand who you are and how successful you are. This is not a time to be modest.

6. Lunch time: Eat everything on your plate. You did not pay for it, so why not? (Also, it shows the money spent on you was well worth it.) Note: Do not eat so much you need to puke.

7. Tell jokes. Be humorous. No one likes a Debbie Downer. Showing you have a personality is key.

8. Be personable. Tell them interesting things about your life that show you HAVE a life outside of the workplace. Allow them to see the real you (as long as the real you isn’t awful).

9. Do not only ask questions about the company. Ask questions about them, too. Where they are from, how many kids do they have, etc. This shows you’re interested in them as a person, not just an interviewer.

10. Send a thank-you note in the mail. This shows that you actually care. An e-mail is impersonal, and shows zero effort.

I hope this helped. Good luck to all of you seniors (and others) trying to make it in the real world.




Seminar. A seven-letter word that brings desperation and dismay to seniors’ lives. Here are some things not to ask these struggling souls:

  • “Are you done with your seminar?”
  • “Have you finished your paper?”
  • “Have you set a date to present?”
  • “You do know that URICA is in two weeks, right?”
  • “Why didn’t you do this in the fall?”
  • “Well, why aren’t you working on it now?”

If you do ask these questions be sure to brace yourself for ugly, rude, smart-aleck comments to be shot back such as:

  • “Are you done talking?”
  • “Of course I am! That’s why I’m slamming my head into this desk — for nothing.”
  • “Set a date? Ha!”
  • “Yes, I do know, but did you know that you’re annoying?”
  • “I clearly had more important things to do like eating and sleeping.”
  • “Obviously I like to induce stress upon myself and live a miserable life.”

For all of you who now know not to pester these dangerous creatures, do not take it personally. We do not mean to be rude. We just have too much stress for us to handle. (Which is why we clearly should have listened to the seniors before us when they told us to finish it in the fall.)

For all you underclassmen — get prepared and GET YOUR SEMINAR DONE IN THE FALL.

For all you seniors out there stress eating, having random mental breakdowns and of course binge watching Netflix, I understand the pain. However, we can power through. One word will help — GRADUATION.

– A Senior Who Wishes She Got Her Seminar Done a Long Time Ago

Stress Busters: Part 2

As promised, here are some more ways to reduce stress! This time, however, I asked my own mod mates what they do to reduce stress.

I compiled some of their answers below:

Writing/Journaling – Writing and reflecting helps to relax and to put things in a new perspective or help them see things that they hadn’t thought before.

Playing Piano – This can also translate into doing something that you enjoy. Whether it is playing an instrument, playing a sport, reading a book, or anything else that is enjoyable to you that can help you relax!

Cuddle – Sometimes all you need to de-stress are some hugs!

Go running – As mentioned in my previous blog, one of the girls said that they run to help get rid of stress. Again, running has been shown to reduce stress by the endorphins that it releases.

Confide in friends/support systems – This is a tip that one of my mod mates mentioned but also one that is an important way that I de-stress as well. Being able to talk to friends or family about what is stressing me out can help me sometimes in ways that writing or journaling does. Sometimes when I am talking it through I can either see things from a new perspective, or think about something I hadn’t before.

Listening to Music – I also mentioned this in my other stress buster blog but it just reinforces that it is a good way to relieve stress! Listening to music/positive music was mentioned by a couple of my mod mates.

Brain breaks– This tip from one of the girls is also another important way that I relieve stress. Taking a break to go have some social time and visit with friends, or catch up on an episode of a favorite show are all ways to get the mind off of studying for a little while so that we can come back and refocus and be productive!

Good luck to everyone on the rest of their school years! Whether it be taking finals, giving finals and grades, or anyone else in stressful situations, I hope these “stress busters” can help get you through!



Late Night Against Procrastination

IMG_0890This past Wednesday we got to experience a new event on campus which was very successful!

Paige Townley, along with many other faculty helped put on the event “Late Night Against Procrastination”. A college in Germany apparently started this idea.

This event was hosted in the library from 9:00pm – 1:00am. It was designed so that students could come into the library with their unfinished assignments to work on them. Not only this, but there were faculty, tutors, and professors there to help answer questions, edit papers, help with researching, provide moral support and fun brain breaks including Minute to Win it and yoga! Not to mention they provided lots of delicious food and drinks along with free printing all night!

I, along with several of my mod mates went to participate in this event and I was surprised with how many people showed up! I would guess there were about 50 students who came to partake in this event. It was definitely the most amount of people I had ever seen in the library at one time!

When we got there we signed in and wrote down on a sticky note what our goal for the night was. After writing the sticky note, we placed it on a dart board and our goal was to move our sticky note to the “bulls eye” which means we finished our goal. Awaiting us were healthy snacks like carrots, cheese, sugar snap peas, and apples, along with Mojos cookies, coffee, and tea!

There were professors roaming around to see if people needed assistance, ranging from the business, social work, english, and music departments to name a few. Librarians were also there along with Paige Townley and other faculty willing to come out and help.

At 10:00pm they brought in pizza and pop, at 11:00pm we had a yoga break led by Barb Thiesen, at 12:00am people who wanted to played Minute to Win it, and at 1:00am students who were still there got t-shirts for either staying the whole time or completing a goal!

I thought it was a great idea and a fun way to help students get projects done and have assistance there for them if they need it. Since there was so much of a turn out, I (along with everyone I have talked to) hope that this event continues to be a tradition, (maybe even twice a semester?)