Academics

The Days Go Slow, The Weeks Go Fast…

Well here we are again, summer is over, classes have started, and the first week has already come and gone! Last week some of my friends and I had been talking about the saying of how: “the days go slow but the weeks go fast.” Now that we are already into our second week of classes I can attest to how true this feels to me. 

I was a blogger for Bethel last year as well, but for those readers who are new to the Bethel Blog I will introduce myself again. My name is Madelyn Weaver, I am from Hesston, KS, a mere seven miles away from the Bethel campus. I am a Junior majoring in Social Work with a minor in Management. I am involved in many activities on campus including: Tennis, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Student Senate, SAA (Student Alumni Association) , SCAN (Student Community Action Network) and the Student Social Work Organization. 

 Being involved in all of these different activities including the obvious responsibility of classes, you could say I have been keeping pretty busy, thus the feeling of the weeks moving so rapidly. It has not been all work and no play however, because I live in a wonderful mod with some wonderful girls who love taking breaks together from all the reading and homework we have:).

Tennis2

Left: Me; Right: Miranda

 One thing that will be new for me this year is being at Bethel without my sister, Miranda. Miranda is two years older than I, she also attended Bethel College and graduated with a degree in Social Work. It was so special to be able to attend school with her, to be a part of the tennis team together and to sing in the choir together, I was truly blessed to have her as a huge part of my Bethel career the past two years! Although she is no longer a part of my Bethel experience, she and her husband now live in Newton, KS and she will continue to come and support the tennis team and choir by cheering and attending concerts.  

 On a lighter note, the start of this school year has already been so great, I am looking forward to the rest of the year and all the great memories that will be made in every aspect of my Bethel experience!

Well that’s all for now, I welcome all new students, faculty and blog-readers! 

Until next time,

Madelyn Weaver

From Summer to School

Hello! My name is Michelle Unruh. I’m a junior from Goessel, Kansas studying music education. I am pretty involved at Bethel, which keeps me very busy. I’m involved in many musical ensembles on campus. I play bass clarinet in the wind ensemble. I also am an alto in the Concert Choir and Woven, Bethel’s student-led women’s a capella ensemble. I also enjoy taking piano and organ lessons. This year, I am also directing a choir at a church in the area, which I am really looking forward to!

I just finished my second summer in a row at Camp Friedenswald in Cassopolis, Michigan. Last year, I was on rotational staff and worked as a counselor, maintenance, and in the kitchen. I really enjoyed my summer, so I decided to go back for a second summer. This past summer, I spent ten weeks on the leadership staff. I was on the worship team and played guitar for Campfire and Quest, our morning worship time. I also helped to plan skits, devotions that each cabin used daily, and the summer’s theme, Rooted and Growing (Ephesians 3:16-17). In my spare time, I enjoyed leading activities such as Greased Watermelon or Whipped Cream Whiffleball, taking campers on pontoon rides on Lake Shavehead, going on hikes in the Peaceful Woods, or just relaxing on the beach. I had fun getting to know the other staffers as well as the campers that came to Camp Friedenswald. Being at camp was quite exhausting at times, but it was such a rewarding summer job. This was definitely a summer to remember!

I’m so excited for this semester! I have finished my general education courses, and I’m really enjoying all of the music and education classes that I am enrolled in. We’re halfway through our first week of classes, and the homework, assignments, and projects are starting to pile up. I had a really great summer working at Camp Friedenswald, but it is so good to be back at Bethel College with my fellow Threshers. I’m excited to see what this semester has in store for us!

Graduation Weekend

This past weekend was graduation/commencement! Boy, it flew by so quickly. Here’s a recap of the weekend’s events:

Friday- All freshmen, sophomores, and juniors had to be out of the dorms by 6 PM, unless they were in concert choir or helping at commencement. Once they left, campus felt much quieter and empty, as 2/3 of the student body had left.

Saturday- Throughout the day, many class reunions took place at the Goerz House, which is where Bethel’s president, Dr. Perry White and his wife, Dalene live. In the evening was the annaul Alumni Banquet, held in Memorial Hall. The banquet is a formal event where alumni who are passionate about Bethel College come to reminise about the past year and recognize those who have won awards. All graduating seniors were invited to attend. There was a fancy dinner, award ceremony where they recognized Outstanding Alumni of the college, and then a short business meeting. The female a capella group, Woven, sang as well.

Sunday- A Baccalaureate service was held at Bethel College Mennonite Church. It was absolutely packed full of people. Musical seniors shared their gifts and verses were read in 5 different languages. Hymns were sang triumphly. Reflections were shared by seniors and candles were lit, with prayers and hopes being said. The concert choir sang my three favorite pieces from this year, “O Nata Lux,” “Filled With His Voice” (a song that we commissioned a songwriter to write in honor of Bethel’s 125th year), and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” Although I didn’t sing in Concert Choir this semester because of student teaching, I was allowed to rejoin them for these three songs and that was extremely special for me. I heard from numerous people that the Baccalaureate service was a very powerful, meaningful service for them.

Commencement was supposed to be held at 4 PM in Thresher Stadium. However, due to the high possibility of severe weather, it was announced that it would be held in Memorial Hall, just like it used to be. The graduates gathered in the Fine Arts Center, like the original plan stated. However, we were quickly moved to the basement of Memorial, due to the fact that we were in a tornado warning. We did not get to process around the green as tradition states. They did move the threshing stone up the steps, so that we could still touch it on our way into the ceremony. Douglas Penner, former professor and president of Bethel College, was the speaker. Even though commencement didn’t go exactly as planned, we still had an incredible day and still recieved our diplomas.

After that, came the parties. I had a party with the 6 other girls from my mod who were graduating in the basement of Bethel College Mennonite Church. We worked together to get food and we ended up having a little over 250 people in attendance. There were many parties happening, both on and off campus.

Monday- We had to be moved out of the dorms by noon. The morning went quickly, full of taking countless loads of belongings to the car, cramming everything in and hoping you’ll have enough room, saying goodbyes to all the friends that you made along the way- some that you will see again and some that you will not, turning in your keys, and leaving the place that you’ve called home for the past 4 years.

It was a very bittersweet weekend, full of much excitement and some sadness too. The weekend is over now though, and I can offically say that I am an alumnus of Bethel College and that I have my Bachelor of Arts degree and diploma! Woohoo! :)

Life’s a Great Balancing Act

Well, it has been a while since I’ve posted. My incredibly busy life has often gotten ahead of me this semester! This semester, while student teaching, it’s almost like I’m living two lives, all within the time of one.

I live the teacher lifestyle, who gets to school early in the morning, teaches all day, stays late after school for meetings or to prepare, and then still takes additional school work home. Then there’s the other lifestyle – the college student lifestyle. Ya know, the one where you stay up late with your friends talking in your mod lounge, going to half price apps at Applebees’s, or dining at Druber’s Donuts, which doesn’t open until 11:30 PM. The college student lifestyle where you work a lot to try to help cover student loans and still have spending money.

It’s been crazy this semester trying to balance everything, but I have loved every second of it. I loved spending my days with students in the classroom, who were excited about learning and truly wanted to be there. I loved being able to spend the majority of my days doing something that I love more than anything- working with children. I loved still being able to work on campus to earn money with a job that had flexible evening hours (yay, library!) and being able to live with my friends.  Student teaching is a balancing act and the best of both worlds!

Stress Busters: What To Do When Stress Grabs You

070Now that the school year is done, I like many others I am sure have realized how much work we have yet to do. So, I have decided over these next coming weeks to include stress buster tips in my blogs. Since I am currently going through the stressors of college, some of these tips will be geared more towards students, but there are some and maybe all you could apply in diffferent ways that would be helpful for faculty members or anyone else who is dealing with stress right now (which should account for everyone because unfortuantely there is no such thing as a total stress free life).

Here are some stress busters that have helped me so far:

1.Schedule your day. The few times I have tries this has really helped me. Scheduling your day makes you realize one: how much time you acutally have available to do homework and two: it helps you to manage and use your time so much better.

2.Make a to-do list and prioritize. Doing this helps you visualize what you need to get done and helps you be able to put things in order of importance.

3.Make smaller and more attainable goals. This has really helped me. Making smaller goals within goals helps them seem more attainable to you and also helps because you can cross more things off your list. Being able to cross more things off makes you feel more accomplished!

4.Schedule in small breaks. After you schedule your day and are working on homework, make sure to take some small breaks every once in awhile to rejuvinate your mind! This also gives you something to work towards or look forward to. Whether that be taking a power nap, checking social networking sites, or talking with friends, whatever you would like to do in that 15 minutes of free time before you go back to work. Scheduling the breaks also helps keep you from taking longer breaks than necessary to procrastinate doing homework (I have been guilty of this).

5.Make sure to get enough sleep. Yes you have a lot of things to do, and so yes you may feel like you need to stay up until two or three in the morning to finish them when you also have to get up early for class. However, if you are able to successfully schedule your day to make more time for homework earlier in the day, then you will be able to go to bed earlier, therefore getting more sleep. At least for me, if I do not get enough sleep, I am tired during the day and then definitely do not feel motivated to do homework whereas if I am rested and rejuvenated I will feel more motivated to get things done!

6. Have your roommate or mod mates help you stay on task. And vise versa. Having someone there to check in with you to make sure you are doing homework and staying on task can really help especially when you can both keep each other accountable!

Here are some other stress busters that you could try:

1. Exercise. Exercising helps reduce stress, so if you have been working on homework and feel like you are about to explode then go run up and down the stairwells a few times, or if the spring weather ever decides to show up and to stay then go for a walk or a jog outdoors!

2. Laugter. Don’t forget to laugh! Laughing can help relieve stress and lighten the mood.

3. Extend an extra measure of grace to those around you. Don’t forget, we are all stressed right now so keep that in mind while interacting with others!

That’s all I have for now, I will continue this theme in my next blog using other resources, possibly even other student’s tips with how they deal with stress (if they can take time out of their stressful and busy day to talk to me!)

 

Spring Break And The Race to The Finish!

As I am writing this blog, I am sitting and watching the “madness” of March Madness. This is what my spring break has looked like so far. Filled with basketball, practicing tennis and procrastinating homework. Needless to say, spring break has been very relaxing which was definitely needed after the packed and hectic week of midterms!

At the end of spring break, (today actually) the tennis team was supposed to have two matches, but the crazy weather of Kansas has done it again, and they were cancelled. It has been disappointing because it feels like we have hardly gotten to play any matches. This will not last for long, however. When we get back from spring break, weather permitting; tennis will really start to pick up.

Not only will tennis pick up, but so will classes and other activities. Before we know it, it will be time for finals! Yikes! That is scary to think about because it feels like there is so much that needs to be done before then. All of the tennis matches, big assignments for classes that have seemed so far away until now, choir performances, finishing up schedules for next year, turning in the documents needed to become an official social work major and figuring out the living situations for next year all have to be done! Then, before you know it, it will be finals, graduation for the seniors and summer!

Well, off to watch some more basketball and to start working on homework!

If you want to watch some tennis, our next home matches will be Friday, March 29 against Hesston College and Saturday, March 30 against Doane College!

 

Student Teaching!

This semester has been so wonderful, but so crazy and overwhelming all at once, which is why I have been terrible about posting regularly on here (oops…sorry!) I feel like I’m living two lives at once- the life of a teacher, who gets up at 6 AM, gets to school at 7:15 AM, teaches students all day, stays after school to work until 5:15 PM or go to meetings, and then takes schoolwork home. That being said, I still feel like I’m living the college sutdent life because I’m still living in the dorms with my friends, I try to make time to hang out with them, and I’m working two part-time jobs on the side, just to have some sort of income. Sound like a crazy life? It is…but I love it!

Student teaching has been incredible! I absolutely loved my placement in 2nd grade at Walton Rural Life Center. At the school, we have many animals in our barn (chickens, sheep, lambs, a donkey, calves, and pigs) and a green house where students work with plants. The school takes a project-based learning approach, so the learning is more hands-on. I love it! My cooperating teacher was phenomal! Our personalities were so alike and we worked so well together as a team. She provided me with so many good ideas, suggestions, and many times we just sat down after school and talked like good friends do. She has really been a huge blessing in my life. My students were fantastic too- such hard workers!

Last Thursday, I made the transition from my general education placement to my special education placement, also at the same school. On my last day in 2nd grade, my class threw a huge surprise party for me! They kicked me out of the classroom for 30 minutes and when they brought me back in, I was blindfolded and led to the other side of the room. On the count of three, all the students screamed and threw A LOT of confetti all over me! I was coated! They made a crown for me to wear, decorated my desk, and we had a party. There was punch, chocolate cupcakes, and each student made a special card for me. It was a wonderful last day!

So far, special education has been a fun environment to work it, but it’s been a hard switch, simply because it is SO different from general education. I enjoy both, but I’m hoping to get a job in a general education elementary classroom. I’m on the job hunt now…wish me luck! :)

Something is missing…

This semester, I haven’t been in Concert Choir because of student teaching. Let me just say that during the time that Concert Choir meets each day, my students are just coming in from recess and then we have sharing bag, read-aloud, and reading groups, and there’s not much time to even think about how much I miss singing in the choir and being with those people.

Now it’s spring break, so I don’t have school, and the Concert Choir is on tour, travelling around Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, sharing their beautiful music with everyone who wants to listen. My sister is with them and all of my friends keep posting pictures on facebook. I’m realizing how much I miss choir and just how badly I wish I was riding around the U.S. on that tour bus with them. I’m realizing now how much of an impact that choir and those people had on my college experience. They say that “you never know what you had until it’s gone,” and that quote applies perfectly to this situation.

I got lucky and my family decided to take a little spring break vacation to St. Louis. We found out a week after we planned it that the Concert Choir would be singing in a huge cathedral there and that we could go see them! Their music was extravagant. Being able to listen to a full concert of songs that you know and learned is amazing, because you don’t have to listen to try to understand the words; you can just listen and absorb the music. Multiple times, the choir made me smile, laugh, and cry during that concert. It was simply wonderful to hear them sing in such a beautiful setting.

More Reflections From The Road by Kevin Coash

 

Tuesday Morning:

Getting ready travel to Bluffton, Ohio. Home to Bulffton University, a Mennonite LIberal Arts College with a population of 1,198 students. We get to sing with their College group, the Camerata Singers and then have a concert later tonight.

This quote speaks to the current modus operandi of the choir. We must always think ahead. The next note – the next phrasing – the next text articulation. We can’t move on to the next if we can’t get past the past. In the words of Sheldon Cooper (paraphrased) “Look ahead. You can’t look backwards, because that would just be remembering.”

But then – you sit around a hotel breakfast table with a group of choir members and talk and laugh and joke and tell stories and listen to stories and dream big dreams and you think, maybe it’s okay to think backwards on these times, or remember. Maybe starting the next Chapter doesn’t mean we completely abandon the one we just finished. See, if we carry this book – to – real – life metaphor, books are like old friends, waiting patiently on the bookshelf to be seen and read and experienced again. Books love to be picked up and laughed at and cried into and loved. If book are like people, then I would like to return, at least in my remembrances, to times like this.

Tuesday Evening:

So I’ve been thinking a lot about space. Maybe outer space, (planets) but more down to earth (cells) I’ve been thinking about the rooms and halls we fill and what, if anything, we do there.

Take the city museum.

A full city block made into a metal jungle gym that even the most cynical college kid could get excited about. Imagine hovering 10 stories in the sky praying that those metal bars could make it through. 7 college kids cramming themselves into a steel ball. All this why? Because it was fun and we were together.

Now see St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.

Dare I say, both of these places (City Museum and Cathedral) are wonders of architecture. But vastly different, right? I’m not so sure. The Cathedral with its high arches, marble statues, and wonderful sound – called us to something higher. That something that theologians have tried to define for centuries.

But the Museum called us higher too. It caused us to raise our voice maybe even in song. So perhaps these two places aren’t that different. Maybe that “thing” that’s so hard to name is at both. North-South-East-West.

 

Musings from the Concert Choir Tour by Kevin Coash


So I’m supposed to be writing a daily blog for the Concert Choir tour. It is hard to shut me up, but it’s also hard to write about bus rides and the same 20 songs every day. SO I thought I would dig deeper see if I could understand what this whole tour business is about. This is my first year, ya know. Is it really just bus rides and the same 20 songs, and if so, why do people get so darn emotional about it. If it’s something more, the curious cat inside of me wants to know that that is.

As I was thinking about this I was mindlessly and aimlessly scrolling through my facebook newsfeed, which more often than not is a call to remembrance than I’m a liberal in a conservative State, but I came across this quote of Bob Marley. “Live for yourself and you will live in vain; live or others, and you will live again.” I found this insightful 1) because Bob said it 2) because when you’re crammed on a bus with 50+ other people you truly have to live this.

Reminds me of my days at the Buddhist temple where my teacher kept saying, “Forget about the “I” put down the “I.” We as a choir, sophomore – junior – and senior members are all on this trek together, like it or else. We have goals and we have jobs and we are having fun. But we’re not doing this for ourselves. No music is for yourself, that would be in vain. We are doing this for our fellow choir mates. The emotional seniors who will never get to tour with the group again, we sing for you. Bill who puts in hours of dedicated work and his immense arsenal of talent, we sing for him. Dale and his dedication and support of this choir – who cries at every show, who loves each of us as his own grandchild, we sing for him. The small but vibrant and loving compassionate congregations that welcome us and bother to stay and listen to a bunch of college kids from Kansas sing, we sing for them. We sing for hope in a troubled world. We sing for love across mankind. We cannot accomplish any of these things own our own. It is everyone living for everybody else, at least just for these 9 days, that makes these things happen. Will we always be successful? – I hope not – Because it is only by falling that we can truly judge how far we have come. But we’ll keep marching (or riding, I guess) on, together, singing for others. Bringing music – a powerful thing – to them as a gift expecting nothing in return. And that is not a endeavor spent in vain.