Archives for January 2013

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!



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!



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