There's more to life at Bethel than classes & seminars

Beyond the green is a place students to share the joys and hardships of being a Thresher.

  • Mudslam, AKA The Dirtiest Volleyball You Have Ever Played

    Mudslam, AKA The Dirtiest Volleyball You Have Ever Played

  • Mod Life: Finding Fun Amidst Stress

    Mod Life: Finding Fun Amidst Stress

The End of a Tennis Season

The End of a Tennis Season

This past weekend were the conference tournaments for the men's and women's tennis teams. Unfortunately, neither team made it to nationals but that does not discount the great and successful seasons they had.
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Pirates Of Penzance

Pirates Of Penzance

Over the past month many of Bethel’s students have been working on the opera, The Pirates of Penzance.
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Bubbert Awards 2014

Bubbert Awards 2014

This year’s Bubberts Awards were on the evening of April 12th. Bubberts was great as always! Everyone looked super spiffy and fancy.
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Concert Choir In Europe

Concert Choir In Europe

The Concert Choir gave a bittersweet farewell to our European choir tour with a final concert on Sunday, this time in front of the friendly faces of Bethel’s campus.
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Snow!!


Well this past week has been pretty crazy and non routine for the Bethel community.

With all the snow that fell upon us there was:

-Cancelled classes

-Snowball fights

-Snowmen/igloo/fort making

-Frisby in the snow

-And lots of gorgeous pictures!

On Thursday, a great number of students were out playing in the snow, bringing out the five year old’s in us again.

Unfortuantely with all of the beautiful snow also came cancellation of some activities. One being the Concert Choir singing at KMEA (Kansas Music Educators Association) on Thursday. The choir had been working very hard for the previous couple of weeks preparing the songs that we were to sing at KMEA. After all the work we put into it I was disappointed that we were not able to travel to Wichita to sing because it was a great privilege to be invited to do so. However, now the choir is looking towards and preparing for the next big activity: the spring break trip!

 

Another activity that was canceled was my tennis practices and a tennis match that was scheduled on Wednesday the day it started snowing. The men’s and women’s tennis teams were supposed to travel to Oklahoma to play Southern Nazarene (women) and Southwestern Christian (men). It was disappointing that we were not able to go because I was ready to play and love tennis trips! However because tennis is an outdoor sport (unless you are fortunate enough to have indoor facilities) our tennis season has been put on hold because of all the snow. We have still been working out and doing cardio but as far as tennis goes we’re at a standstill until we can get all of the snow off the courts! Hopefully we will be able to do this soon so that our season can continue on and we will not have to reshedule any more meets!

Our first possible home tennis meet (depending on the snow) is March 5 against Central Christian at 3:00pm. If that is canceled then the next home meet will be Friday March 8 against John Brown University at 3:00pm.

We would love to have you come watch and support our tennis program!

 

New year, new goals

Hello all! It’s been a while. Well. Interterm is over and we are three weeks into the spring semester. In the interest of not taking too much space telling you about Interterm when everyone else probably has, here it is: One class, one month. Some classes have no or very little homework, some have hours every night. It’s the equivalent of one week in one day, so it can get fairly strenuous. Exciting things that happened over Interterm include lots of basketball games, Martin Luther King, Jr., celebrations, and a feeling like we weren’t actually in school. The lack of convocation and music classes are to blame for that last part.With the new semester starting, the pressure is looming for us juniors. Most majors involve some sort of seminar paper or internship, so everyone is starting to plan research topics or contact potential student teaching placements. These beginnings are exciting because it’s more choices for us, the students. We get to explore a topic of our choice as a seminar in preparation for whatever we choose to do after college. It’s a point where student research at Bethel is an obvious strength. I’m in the process of exploring topics now, and it’s already exciting!

Balancing Studies and Sports

Hey there!

I’m currently in my third year as a student athlete and if there’s something I wish I’d been a little more prepared for in the beginning,  it’s knowing how to balance school work and athletics.

First of all, participating in any collegiate sport is going to take some time managment. When you sign, you make a committment to your team, coaches, and yourself to perform on the field/court and in the classroom. You can’t have one without the other, so it’s important to plan our your schedule so you have time for studies. Practices, workouts, and games will take up a lot of your time, but as long as you stay on top of your classes it’s manageable.

I suggest writing in your planner, so you don’t forget what assignments are due for what class and when (trust me, you need to write it down!). I also make lists on a regular basis, sometimes it’s just a rough outline of the tasks I need to complete and in what order. Prioritizing is a huge key, I always start with what is the most time consuming assignment and then what needs to get done first.

Although you’ll have lots going on besides team commitments and school, you do need to set aside time for a social life and some relaxation. If you prioritize well and get done what is on your list, you’ll notice it gets easier to find some free time.

I’m not going to lie and say you’ll always have time, because there’s no doubt it’s going to get stressful. I can guarantee that at times it will seem chaotic, but do yourself a favor and manage your time effectively!

Talk with your coaches and teammates, odds are they’ll be willing to help you in any way they can. Study with teammates, ask for a tutor, and let your coach know if you’re struggling.

Remember, managing your time is the key, playing a sport and excelling in the classroom is possible!

 

~Samantha

An Awesome Interterm Class

Hello friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, but I wanted to let you know about my interterm class Multimedia Production. While some of my friends went on trips over interterm, or took GE classes, I decided to give myself a break and take a fun class.

I love photography, so I jumped at the chance to use a camera, however this time it would be for videos. I also wanted to familiarize myself with Final Cut Pro X, the video editing program we used in the course. The most exciting part though, was the actual shooting and creation of the video. Although we did learn important concepts related to lighting, sound, etc. we all were anxious to check out cameras and get rolling.

After having learned the basics, my group and I drafted a proposal for our video project, created a script, and began shooting scenes. With the help of fellow Bethel students, who were rather willing to star in our film, we developed a unique and entertaining film. I was thrilled because I got to use my own DSLR camera for the project, which enhanced my videography skills and because it was fun to make our own movie! It was also neat to watch our classmates videos as well, they were also very entertaining.

This class was a great choice and I had several jealous friends who took hard classes. If you are interested in multimedia or just want to take a fun course, I would recommend this one if the opportunity approaches itself!

 

~Samantha

Interterm and the Liberal Arts Education

This interterm I chose to take a class through Kipcor called: “Practical Skills for Managing Interpersonal Conflict.” It was an intensive class that lasted four days, which started at 8:30am and went until 5:00pm. In this class we were trained in mediation and took a style profile test to learn more about what our “style” is in every day life and during conflict.

This class has been one of the most rewarding classes of my college career. Not only was I able to learn a lot more about myself and how to improve how I handle conflict in my personal and work life but also how to help other people solve conflict. In this course I really felt like I could connect the information that I learned to my life and use it to become the best person I can be.

This is what a liberal arts education is doing for me. Being able to take classes outside of my social work major requirements has helped me develop life skills and challenged me to think in different ways. I would not have been able to take all the classes such as choir, business, literature and the training through Kipcor if it were not for my liberal arts education. I was surprised at how much all the classes can tie in together. Aspects that I have learned in a business class like “Organizational Behavior” about motivation can tie into social work and what motivates people to change. Learning about my specific “style” in “Practical Skills for Managing Interpersonal Conflict” and learning how to be an active listener can connect with how I will relate and listen to people I am working with and what my strengths are in terms of those ideas in my career as a social worker.

When I first came to college I did not fully appreciate the value of a liberal arts education. The ability to participate in many different classes has opened my eyes to the benefits such an education can provide.

“The basic purpose of a liberal arts education is to liberate the human being to exercise his or her potential to the fullest.”

- Barbara M. White

Thoughts about Mexico

On Tuesday night, my Interterm trip to Mexico came to a close and I arrived back at home. Throughout this past week and on the plane ride home, I did a lot of reflecting and thinking about what I would and would not miss about Mexico, and what really irrited me about Mexico.

 

Things that I miss about Mexico:

-The beautiful flowers everwhere

-Seeing very colorful houses everywhere I look…greens, yellows, purples, oranges- you name it!

-The hospitality- everyone that shared with us was super friendly. People in the U.S. just aren’t that way.

-The food- delicious!

-The warmth! There is nothing like wearing sandals, swimming, tanning, and getting a sunburn in January!

-Being able to practice my Spanish all day, everyday.

-The delicious bakery that was right around the corner in Mexico City where we went every morning for breakfast. You just can’t find huge pastries for 60 cents in the U.S.

-Seeing how genuine everyone really was. These people know what really matters in life. They have so little, but are always smiling and work really hard to earn waht they have. They are so thankful for what they have. They are simply determined poeple who are caught in a bad situation.

 

Things that I don’t miss about Mexico:

-Not being able to drive my car- When you’re used to driving everywhere, not being able to drive for three weeks sucks. Then again, the drivers there are insane and there are so many people that I wouldn’t have wanted to risk driving there anyway!

-Putting ALL toilet paper in the trash can. You can’t flush toilet paper there!

-Being stared at 24/7 because of my blonde, curly hair. I got many kisses blown at me and a marriage proposal from men in their 40’s or 50’s because of it.

- Not being able to drink water straight from the tap. Since the water was bad there, we also had to brush our teeth with our water bottle, which was kind of inconvenient.

-The food- I definitely had a couple too many torillas, tortas, and the like. I’m ready for a break from Mexican food.

-Having people talk really quickly to me in Spanish. I usually ended up giving them a blank look and then apologizing to them, because while I speak some Spanish, these people talked so fast that I couldn’t understand anything!

 

Things that irritate me about Mexico:

-How corrupt their government is. Their last election was very, very rigged. The police are corrupt too. It’s ridiculous.

-How so many children do not get to go to school, because their parents (who didn’t go to school either) can’t afford it. So these children might end up like their parents when they grow up, selling their products on the streets.

-How the top 10% of the population controls EVERYTHING and 70% of the people in Mexico are in the “poor” category. These people in the bottom 70% are known as the informal economy. They do not have a steady job and often their wages are only 65 pesos (minimum wage). That is equivalent to around $6.00 in the U.S. That is for a whole day, not an hour.

-How people in indigenous mountain villages are victims of residual poverty. They literally make about $1.00 (U.S.) a day and that is literally only enough for food. 80% of the women in Tlamacazapa have never left their village, so they don’t know what exists beyond where they are at. They had no clue where America was or which way was North, South, East, or West. They spend their entire days weaving very sturdy baskets out of palm leaves, but then sell them really chep to the middle men, who in turn out out and sell them for lots of money in the big towns. They get ripped off, but they have no money knowledge. They can’t afford to send their children to school, so instead they start learning how to weave baskets at a very young age. Chance are, they will never be able to leave their community either.

-1/3 of the Mexican population has diabetes, due to all of the sugar they consume and all of the Coca-Cola they drink. However, they do this because their water is not safe to drink. The government won’t do anything about it. One of the villages we went to had no running water and people had to hike to wells each day to collect water. The water wasn’t even good water, because it was laced with arsenic.

 

There is so much more about this trip that I could share, but I will stop here. Overall, the trip was wonderful. I had an incredible time meeting people, hearing their stories, and exploring new cities.

Interterm in Mexico

Mexico Interterm Group

Our time in Mexico thus far has been wonderful! There are 10 students and two professors (Ada Schmidt-Thieszen and Hamilton Williams) on the Social Work/Social Justice trip. We are currently in Cuernavaca, where we will be until January 17.

We started our trip with an overview of the QUEST program. We are staying in the guest house here. We have spent two days at La Estacion, which is a Squatter Settlement that is home to 6,000 people. It is one of the poorest areas of Cuernavaca. The first day we were there, we visited in homes with residents there about their lifestyles. Today, we went back again to volunteer our time by helping with their breakfast program and the Women’s/Community Center, painting, and helping in the Kindergarten across the street.

We have also taken a QUEST around downtown Cuernavaca where we spent a day living like the bottom 70% of the population do. We were given an amount of money that are equivalent to their wages and had to visit markets to collect necessary food items. We also visited many local downtown landmarks, like the Cathedrals and the People’s Market. On January 6, we went to Xochicalo, which are ancient ruins. We spent the day climbing on and exploring large structures that were built thousands of years ago.

We had the opportunity to try a Temaxcal (Sweat Lodge) that is located on the QUEST grounds. It is a way of cleansing the body in a natural way by being in touch with the Earth and nature.

Gerardo, the QUEST Mexico director, also arranges for us to hear many speakers as they tell their stories about immigration, working as a domestic worker, and much more. Yesterday, we drove to a small village to meet with a traditional healer who creates and prescribes natural (plant) medicines to those who come for her services. In the afternoon, we went to Casa Hogar, which is an orphanage. We learned about how they operate and then spent the afternoon singing, playing soccer, talking, and laughing with the children there. These kids range from ages 3-18. In Mexico, adoption is not really allowed, so these kids will be in there until they turn 18, which was difficult for us to hear.

We are having a great time and are learning a lot. We are definitely not ready to come back to the cooler temperatures!

-Kristin Unruh and Jennifer Scott

The Heart of the People

Today marks two weeks since my arrival in the United States after my study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain. I am back in North Newton and have been welcomed by family and friends with inquiries about the time I spent away. Their faces, filled with anticipation about the stories I will share and the wisdom I have brought, illuminate at the very mention of Barcelona and I have come to realize how much I am glad to see these people. Because of them, I know now that my value as a person is a reflection of the love and care I have received from others along the way. I am, in a sense, what people have made of me and am more than willing to embrace Bethel as my place and its community as my people. As many of you know my hometown is in Mexico in a city called Xalapa in the state of Veracruz. It is a city of 500, 000 people, known as “the city of flowers,” and it is full of the colors, smells and tastes typical of a green city an hour away from the coast. When I first arrived at Bethel I had doubts about my decision to move to the United States and feared that others would misinterpret my Mexican culture. I grew up with Mexican and American traditions, you see: a hybrid that would always make me feel like I was caught between two worlds, lost between two spaces. I felt pressured to claim a single identity in order to belong, and sadly at times, pretended to be someone I was not. My world was turning and I feared that at Bethel I would never find a place in the heart of its people. Studying abroad in Barcelona brought back similar feelings of displacement.

Although I had been removed from my environment before, I had never been completely detached from family and friends and I soon found myself lost in a sea of unfamiliar faces. As happens in nearly all major cities, people in Barcelona relate to one another through a series of family, work and proximity relationships, which sometimes takes years to consolidate. Lacking the latter, I struggled as an outsider to form bonds with the Barcelonans and suffered at the beginning from the withdrawal of the warmth of human contact. Coming from a Latin American culture and having lived in a small town like North Newton made it hard for me to adjust to the city ways of a metropolis like Barcelona where people forget to smile to one another and avoid the helpless stranger. Once, during my first week in Spain, I was at the subway on my way to school when a toddler unexpectedly got a hold of my index finger. I stared down at the smiling toddler and until tears started rolling down my eyes did I admit to myself that I had been desperate for human recognition.

The human mind works in unexpected ways and my newly found desire to win myself a place in the heart of the Barcelonan people freed me from the fear of failing to do so. I looked back at my time at Bethel and realized that I had never before questioned the value of offering my friendship to those around me, that I had never before considered myself unworthy of receiving love and attention. What had changed since my departure from Bethel? Why had I let myself believe that a city of millions was not interested in my value as an individual? I have been asked to evaluate my study abroad experience by several residents of North Newton. I have been asked to pinpoint every emotion, share every impression and write down every adventure from my semester abroad: I cannot. A city cannot be described in a few words because words can only begin to emulate the essence of the human condition.

I could never communicate how grateful I am to have reached a broader understanding about myself and my surroundings and how appreciative I am towards the Bethel community who loved me first and got to know me second. I could never stress how meaningful it was to have lived through the humbling feeling of not speaking the Catalan language, of finding myself lost in translation and not sharing a culture. Life in Barcelona taught me I can connect with those with no apparent relationship to my person and whose lifestyle I can only begin to comprehend. I carried a successful life outside of the familiar and my sense of accomplishment is a feeling not even the loudest of voices can undermine or suffocate. I am proud to have exposed myself to the unknown because along with the people I met and the stories I brought, the company I kept and the wisdom I sought, I managed to achieve what not even time can make fade: I captured the heart of Barcelona by capturing the hearts of its people.

Done For The Year!

As of Friday I am completely done with the fall semester of my sophomore year! The week of finals was pretty crazy and I sought out peace and quiet in the comfort of my home. I knew that I wouldn’t be as productive at school because I would be too tempted to talk to my friends. I also think that being at home and eating my mom’s homemade food beats studying in the library:).

Luckily all of my finals happened to fall on separate days. On Monday I had my Spanish 20 minute oral exam so all of the weekend before finals I studied and prepared for that. I had no finals on Tuesday so I was able to use that day to study for the written Spanish final on Wednesday. On Thursday I had my Organizational Behavior final and on Friday my final paper for Literature, Culture and Communities was due. I felt pretty good about all of my finals but will have to wait and see what the grades are to know for sure!

As much as I love Bethel and being on campus I was definitely ready to take a much needed break from all the classes and to be home with my family. It has been so nice to be at home with my family and do activities with them without stressing out about homework that I have to get done or having to get to bed early because of classes or tests the next day.

Although I am now relaxing at home, the anxiousness still isn’t quite over for me yet. I have been checking several times daily to see if my professors have entered my grades. Once all of them finally do I will be able to truly and completely relax and enjoy my Christmas break!

As school winds down for everyone and we approach the holidays, I hope everyone has a safe and merry holiday and a happy new year!

Christmas Gala

Last night was the annual Christmas Gala. It felt a little weird having it in November, but that’s how the schedule fell this year. Gala is a night where most of the student body gets dressed up and eats a fancy dinner in Memorial Hall, which is turned into a winter wonderland for the evening. There were icicle lights hanging from the ceiling (which is an impressive feat considering the height of the ceiling), trees everywhere, and a nice little picturesque setting on the stage ready for photographs of everyone in their fancy clothes. I went with a group of friends and we all ate dinner together before going to the jazz concert. Jazz I and II give a fancy concert on Gala every year, and they are phenomenal. It’s also great because a lot of people come to the Gala concert who don’t usually come to jazz concerts, so it gets a different part of the student body excited about music. After the jazz concert there was a reception at the president’s house. There were cookies and hot chocolate and Santa Claus was ready for pictures. I didn’t take advantage of the Santa pictures, but the hot chocolate really hits the spot at that point. There were also horse-drawn carriage rides outside of the president’s house, but I’ve never gone on one because the line is always really long. Gala is a really fun way to celebrate the end of classes. Now we just have to get through finals week! Merry early Christmas!