Seasons Greetings everyone!
Christmas is just around the corner and if you’re a broke college student like me, you might appreciate some gift advice. We all want to get that perfect gift for our loved ones, but sometimes we just don’t have the necessary funds. With so many people to find gifts for, you may need other options rather than purchasing one for each.
There is a solution though, instead of buying expensive gifts for each person on your list, consider making a homemade one yourself. Most people are not going to want you to break the bank for them, but they will appreciate the time you took to make a personalized gift.
If you feel you’re just not that crafty, don’t worry there are many websites that have easy step-by-step instructions for making gifts. Pinterest is a great place to start, there are thousands of DIY ideas that you could use. Don’t rule out baked goods either, a nice food basket with cookies, candies, and other knick knacks is an inexpensive way to show someone you care.
Be sure to think about the personalities of each person, this has a large impact on the things you can include. Pay close attention to their hobbies and interests to get an idea of what items they might like.
Truly meaningful gifts don’t have to be expensive, they just need to show that you’ve taken the time to think about the person. Happy Holidays and good luck with your gift giving!
Last week was Thanksgiving break, which really means the last veil of sanity between us and finals has now past. Thanksgiving, while a welcome break, just gave us a little taste of what’s to come over Christmas break.
The dorms were closed over the break, so all students except those on the basketball team had to leave campus. Some, like me, were lucky enough to get to go home and spend some time with family. Others stayed in the area with friends or other students.
Break wasn’t all relaxation, though, since we came back to only one week of classes. This is the time for final projects and preparation for final exams. Students are writing papers, studying like mad and trying to keep a little sane.
This time of year is full of holiday gatherings, and since we only had one week of class after Thanksgiving everything has been crammed into this week. There’s movie nights, bingo nights, the tacky sweater party, gala, departmental Christmas parties, and of course, more studying. There’s plenty to celebrate.
I know Thanksgiving was a week ago, but my fellow American students and I just had time to celebrate the holiday in the last couple of days. Although Thanksgiving is not a holiday that Greece celebrates (seeing as it’s an American holiday), they seem to understand the sentiment–being thankful for not only what has happened in the past but also the present, too.
To celebrate, me and the 8 other students in the Greece study abroad program went over to our resident director’s apartment for dinner. To make us feel at home, our RD pulled out all the stops, cooking the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, gravy, and bread. She even managed to find cranberry sauce which is no small feat here! (It took us almost a month just to find super expensive maple syrup when we first got here. We only splurged once.) All of it was delicious and we were all reminded of our family Thanksgivings back home.
For some of us, it was our first Thanksgiving away from home while for others being away from family wasn’t anything new. I’d been away from my family for Thanksgiving before, but being away from any kind of family, whether a friend’s or otherwise, still felt a little strange. Despite any homesickness that may have arose, we all made the best of the meal. There were happy dinner conversations, loud moments of laughter, and even a well-phrased, heartfelt prayer to start off the meal. After we were all stuffed, we just sat around talking and enjoying each others’ company. It almost felt like we were home.
Although Greece doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving (which I knew going in because that would be just silly if I thought otherwise) and we did get our fill of Thanksgiving cheer and tradition, I couldn’t help but notice a number of similarities between Greece and the U.S. at this time of year.
Around this time of year in the states, Christmas decorations start appearing, lights go up, it gets chillier and people start to look cozier and cozier as they bundle up. Well the same thing happens here too! The weekend leading up to Thanksgiving, there was an explosion of Christmas in the shopping areas here. Stores were working on their window displays, icicle lights hang from all the shop entrances, strands of evergreen branches laced with holly line the windows. The Christmas season arrived without us even realizing it. (It really did happen over night almost. One day, nothing. The next, Christmas was everywhere.)
I am absolutely loving my time here (though it’s a little more stressful now that I have a number of papers to write), but with only a little over two weeks left, it’s hard not to imagine going home. You get so used to what it’s like wherever you are, that when it’s time for it to change, you have to force yourself to remember how things were. I’m thankful that I am studying abroad this semester because I get to go home during Christmas. I get to connect how it’s celebrated in Greece with how it’s done back home. I get to transition home during one of the happiest times of the year, though summer is a pretty good rival time period. I’m also hoping Bethel will get some snow before interterm in January because the campus is enchanting when it’s blanketed in snow. What better way to come back to my second home in the U.S.?
Having my Greek Thanksgiving has made me realize just how thankful I am for this experience and that even though I must say goodbye soon, there is so much my two beautiful countries share in common and that if I miss one and feel it fading away, I need only look for the similarities.
Today was the last Convocation of the semester, which in the fall is always the Messiah sing. The tradition of gathering in Bethel College Mennonite Church for an hour of singing Handel’s Messiah with the community as the chorus goes back a quarter century.
The music department supplies most of the work for this venture. The chamber orchestra and Karen Schlabaugh on the harpsichord supply the accompaniment, student conductors lead most of the pieces, and students perform the solos. It’s always fun to hear different people singing the solos, some of whom don’t frequently do solos in for events like this.
I’ve had the privilege to play in the orchestra for this tradition the past two years and it has turned into one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. It’s a fantastic piece of music to play because we don’t play any of the really difficult parts and since everyone in the room is either conducting, singing or playing it’s very low pressure. In the midst of preparations for finals week, it’s a great way to let go for a little while and enjoy the holiday spirit.
Career Night is an event that is put on by the Student Alumni Association and Alumni Director Dave Linscheid. Members of SAA contact various Bethel alum, who agree to come and meet with students for a night and share about their jobs and where their path took them after Bethel. This year I think there were approximately 50 alum who agreed to come back. The event is set up in Memorial Hall. There are tables all around and alums each have a designated spot. Students sign in and get a map of all of alumni that are present and what their careers are. Students may pick and choose to talk to as many alumni as they desire; however, most people choose to only talk to people that are in the same career field as the one they are studying. There are alumni present from many different career areas such as forensic nurses, doctors, marketing specialists, news casters, teachers, dentists, lawyers, engineers, and many more.
As an incentive for coming, each student who has three signatures from alumni that they talked with gets their name put into a drawing for prizes such as Bethel merchandise and any sort of freebies that the alumni bring from their jobs. Often there are many shirts, umbrellas, mugs, and this year I even won an insulated tote/cooler. Pretty cool! There is always pizza and pop afterward too!
I love this night! It’s a lot of fun connecting with alumni who are in the same field as me. Since I will be graduating soon with an education degree, it was fun to get tips for my first year of teaching and things like that. I found Career Night to be well worth my time.
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