Blog: Three steps to help keep your sanity
Oct30

Blog: Three steps to help keep your sanity

Amid the myriad of voices in the student publications lab, it can be hard to gather thoughts in an orderly way. Students are drowning in the noise − from cell phones ringing, the neighbor’s television and seemingly constant conversations. There are worries about graduating on time with the course plan that is so easily misread. Anxiety caused by the process of getting three internships (needed as a mass communication/journalism major) aligned for the summer and getting hired for them in the first place. With all the activities held on campus, it’s easy to stretch yourself too thin. This problem of “over-commitment” strikes with force. To end this problem and the stress it causes, I have a few techniques for finding relief. Number one: learn to say “No.” Too many students find themselves over involved in activities that all the while may be good, but are just too much for the 24 hours in a day. Just like Thanksgiving dinner offers many wonderfully tasting options, but if too much is eaten it results in a stomach ache, rather than a “happy cat” nap. No one can do everything. Accept the best and let the good keep passing by. It’s better to be deeply and fully committed to a few things, rather than overwhelm yourself doing nothing well by trying to undertake too much. Between full-time student status, a work study job, intramural sports and church commitments I find myself running out of breath more than once a semester. Sometimes I think it’s time to leave campus and sit in Texas Java to sip a nice coffee with a friend. Number two: plan a time to get away. For me, this meant missing out on a couple of religious meetings that I enjoy, but knew was too much for my schedule. I found myself attending three meetings in addition to Sunday morning services, yet feeling guilty for not attending the new Sunday night Bible study led by college students. I had no reason to feel remorse for not being able to attend every thing that crossed my path. Even the desire to go didn’t mean I needed to take on yet another weekly time commitment. Especially during the middle of the semester, when academics become particularly burdensome, it’s important to leave enough time to study and rest. Getting away to a local park for a walk or finding a secluded place to read a book for leisure are a couple of ways to let the mind rest. Leaving the daily routine will also provide the chance for spiritual renewal. Leave the phone in the car. Leave the laptop along with its...

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Professor’s art inspires, raises money for organization
Oct21

Professor’s art inspires, raises money for organization

No one would have guessed the boy playing in the mud during recess would go to grad school, become an art professor and sell some of his ceramic creations for upwards of $65 each. “Mud and boys go together,” Professor of art Dr. Philip Dunham, said. “(I) immediately fell in love with mud.” Dunham has been at the university for the past 22 years. He teaches ceramics I and II, 3D design and sculpture. “There is a parallel perception in my teaching to address a number of problems that focus on formal and psychological issues while stimulating the students to consider and clarify tactics of learning on their own.” During the past 10 years, Dunham has been working to perfect a method for creating unique ceramic crosses. Each cross has intricate swirls or flowers. Once the clay has been formed and becomes “bone dry,” it undergoes the firing process that turns the clay into stone. Dunham said, “When you fire, if you don’t use your technique properly, things can go wrong.” Five pieces Dunham donated were auctioned during family weekend. The $245 raised went to the Crusader Parent Organization, which purchases items such as the big screen TVs in the Mabee Student Center for the use of students. Administrative assistant of Student Affairs Joy Childress said, “To me, (the crosses) make me think of how God is with us. We’re all cracked clay in His hands, and He can take something that is cracked and make something unique and beautiful out of it.” The most common problems in the process are when air bubbles are captured within the clay, or when the clay is too thick or too wet when it is fired. “It will explode … and you will lose your pieces,” Dunham said. When he began making ceramic crosses, he was trying to better his own skills. Because the firing process is particularly risky, he had to learn to take chances. “The technique I had to study on several different types of approaches … in order to see what my percentage of danger would be in firing.” Students in Dunham’s ceramics class agree that the technique takes time to develop. Senior psychology major Meghan Bray said, “So far, my favorite piece to do is the cross. It’s so hard, but it still looks kind of cool … when it’s not sitting next to Dr. Dunham’s.” Sometimes molding the clay takes patience. “It’s very frustrating when you have an image in your head, and you can’t make your clay look like that image,” Bray said. “I imagine that it’s very frustrating when your sculptures blow up in the...

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Making America Home
Sep24

Making America Home

With the echo of gunshots arousing fear into the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, sophomore soccer player Imani Innocent and his cousin run with a crowd of fellow villagers. They don’t know where they are running, but they know they have to keep running. Both are just 8 years old. Goma is located on the border with Rwanda, the area ravaged by genocide between the Hutu and Tutsi that led to the violent deaths of countless people. It was a day in 1996 just like any other. “We were just eating lunch,” he said. “(Then) we heard gun shots. People were shooting. Me and my cousin just took off and left my family behind,” Innocent said. “We just followed the crowd. Everybody was running with babies on their backs and mattresses on their heads.” Innocent and his cousin spent the night next to strangers, not knowing whether their parents were dead or alive. Looking for a Familiar Face “So in the morning, we started looking in everybody’s face … to see if there was anybody that we know, like part of the family, and there was no one,” Innocent said, “So we almost gave up hope.” Soon after, one of their relatives spotted them, and they were reunited with the rest of the family. They made plans to travel the three-day journey to safety in his mother’s village, Masisi. Innocent said, “If you were in a car, they would take you out and kill you and take the car. Genocide from Rwanda was affecting the lives of people in the surrounding countries, such as the Congo. In Masisi, where his grandfather was the pastor of the local church, his family tried to get back to life as normal. “There we started all over again. We had a house,” Innocent said. He started attending school, where students were taught French and Swahili, the language spoken in central and eastern Africa. Unfortunately, peace of this small village near the border of Rwanda was short-lived. Facing Danger Again “We had everything going,” Innocent said, “but it wasn’t long before war broke out again.” This time Innocent says he was “smart enough” to stay with the family. “We all waited at the same place … we went to a bush that was nearby to hide ourselves,” he said. Within moments their ability to remain unseen behind the leaves became a matter of life and death. “My mom said, ‘I don’t trust this place. Let’s move into the bush a little bit. I don’t trust that this can keep them from seeing us.’” The family quietly made their way farther into...

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