Survey Says... :) Part 3!

Hello! Hayley here!

This was taken March 19! I love doing homework outside when the weather is nice out. :)

This was taken March 19! I love doing homework outside when the weather is nice out. :)

The following are two more questions and answers to the freshman survey! Enjoy! :)

8. What is your favorite on-or off-campus place to study?

  • Eckhart lounge, library, my room, Fruit Plain, etc.

  • My dorm or a desk/cubby in the library. I need to be by myself to truly focus and get stuff done!

  • Library

  • My Room!

  • My dorm

  • The library! I am in there quite often. It is a nice place to work in groups, but also the study rooms are nice if you need to get work done.

  • I love to study in my dorm room and the Eckhardt lounge. My room because I am hardly interrupted, Eckhardt because it is a peaceful place to go without having to walk all the way to covenant, and the grille because of the comfortable couches and easily accessible food.

  • My bedroom or the prayer room in west where no one is. I can't do homework with others.

  • I like to study in the basement of my hall or in my room.

  • My house.. lol or the Fruited Plain or Butlers.

  • Eckardt Lounge gets lit.

  • On would be the library and off would be the Fruited Plain

  • On campus, I prefer the lounges in the science building. Off campus I like to go home during the day when it is empty and quiet.

  • My room or the Bousma lounge.

  • the library

  • Any cozy place! haha I love eckert because of the big windows and fireplace. I also really enjoy 55th since it has more of a coffee shop feel.

  • The library because it is usually quiet.

  • Library, Fruited Plain, Bosema lounge

  • My house or hammocking somewhere

  • I enjoy going to the Fruited Plain if I can be there for a long amount of time. I was just there last week and wrote a 4-page paper in 3.5 hours. On campus, I spent a lot of time in the library first semester. The library is usually a great place to go unless you are easily distracted by people and find a lot of friends to talk to.

  • I love to study at Butlers, The Fruited Plain, and The Old Factory in the winter. In the fall and spring, a hammock is the best place to hit the books and take nap!

  • In my room or sitting outside

  • The fruited plain

  • My favorite place off campus to study is the Fruited Plain. I wish it was open on Sundays although I understand why they're not.

  • library

  • I have found my favorite place to study is in my room when no one else is in the dorms. Otherwise a back room in the library is always good, too.

  • The Fruited Plain or the Public Library

  • The library. My friends and I are always in there doing homework.

  • Fruited Plain... definitely the place to go. I also like to study in the classroom building or science building in some random corner where nobody else goes... I'd tell you my favorite spot, but then it might be your favorite spot and then I might not be able to study there anymore! Haha!

  • The fruited plain is a must! It is so close and a nice environment. Habitue in Le Mars is not as close or well know but it is the bomb.com. The library is a fun place to chill and do homework, and the large science building steps are a nice place to do homework in-between classes, especially when you live in covenant. The place I do focus best is sitting up in bed. It's comfy and the distractions are few, just don't be tempted to take a nap.

  • My room

  • In my room

  • My favorite place to study is outside when the weather is nice :). The library is also great for studying when you need to focus and get something done. Otherwise, I usually do the majority of studying in my dorm room.

  • I prefer to study in my room. Has a good sense of privacy and quiet.

  • On campus-I can't tell or it wouldn't be my favorite anymore! I like to study where it is quiet and without a lot of people so I can focus! Off-campus-the library in town is GORGEOUS and a great place to study if you don't mind some noise.

  • Library

  • I like to study in my room because my roomate is not in the room much

  • The library!

  • In Dordt's library in a cubbie that can see everyone who enters the library. No better way to study and see who there is to socialize with in the library :-)

  • I like the library because I can get free coffee and a mix of studying with socializing at times.

  • I like the library, I can get work done while also being able to see people and socialize.

  • i like to study in the eckardt lounge on campus or out by a tree if it's nice

  • I love studying in my room or in a study room in the library. I also love the fruited plain cafe.

  • Fruited Plain

  • Fruited plain or butlers

  • My room. I need a quite place with a couch and a TV

  • Fruited plane

  • My room

  • Usually my room

  • Science building classroom where no one else is.

  • Fruited Plain

7. What is your favorite on-or off-campus way to worship communally?

  • Monday night worship,

  • Monday night praise and worship 💙

  • Monday night worship

  • Thursday night Praise and Worship.

  • Monday night praise and worship

  • Monday night worship is hands down my favorite worship on campus.

  • GIFT or Monday night worship or Chapel

  • My favorite way to worship is through Monday night worship.

  • I like to go to the HOME building for either Thursday night prayer time or Sunday night worship.

  • Monday night worship

  • I really really like chapels every wednesday.

  • I enjoy Monday Night Worship, Chapel, and Church on Sunday.

  • I love Wednesday chapel. Aaron Bart is my man! Also there are so many wonderful churches near by, I can't decide which ones I like most.

  • Monday night worship because it is informal and non-judgmental.

  • I love going to Chapel and Praise and Worship. Both of these times of worship are so good as we get to not only worship honestly and openly, but as a whole body of believers. I feel I have grown so much in my faith through P&W and Chapel.

  • During chapel.

  • Monday night worship

  • My favorite way would have to be Monday night worship or GIFT. Monday night worship is very authentic and raw which is so good to be a part of. It's different than anything I've been a part of before, but I'm glad I get to participate in it. It has taught me about the importance and power of prayer. I also love GIFT because there is awesome worship songs but then there is also a speaker. It's just a great way to end my weekend and head into Monday morning feeling refreshed.

  • My favorite communal worship time is Monday night student led worship.

  • Monday night praise and worship

  • Monday night worships

  • My favorite way to worship is through the student led Monday night worship.

  • monday night worship

  • Monday Night Worship duh ;)

  • I love love love Monday night worship. It's my favorite part of the whole week because it's a place where I can be vulnerable. I grew up in Sioux Center, and for my whole life I've felt like I've needed to hid my failures and the things that I struggle with. No one here has problems, but at Monday night worship, everyone's got something going on. The Church is supposed to have that type of community.

  • Monday Night Worship is stellar. The HOME building is also a fantastic place... The prayer room is awesome too if you need a place to just pray or be still.

  • Gift is underrated, praise and worship is appreciated, chapel is necessary, and Monday night worship is awesome. There are also so many churches to experience, although most are Bible centered churches, there is tons of variety. It's great to go visit different churches and have fellowship with different Dordt students. Every church around Sioux center is bound to have a few Dordt students.

  • Church

  • I go to church on sundays

  • My favorite way to worship communally is actually Wednesday Chapel :).

  • I enjoy chapels for the most part. We get to praise God as well as listen to Aaron Baart talk about faith, love, and the Bible.

  • I love Monday night worship. It is so freeing and a great way to relax into Jesus before the week starts.

  • I really like Monday night worship and chapel on Wednesdays.

  • I like Monday night worship because it provides an opportunity to sing and pray and it just seems like a real place, where everyone is equal

  • Thursday Night Worship.

  • Monday Night Praise and Worship or Sunday Mornings at First Reformed Church. Both are an awesome opportunity to meet new people, praise the Lord, and deepen one's relationship with Jesus.

  • Monday night worship! This has impacted me sooo much. I love the smaller group, but also the flexibility of how we can worship and have fellowship. We can sing, pray for each other, read scripture, or even just reflect.

  • I like Monday night worship because it's student lead and you're surronded by people who want to be there.

  • monday night worship

  • MONDAY NIGHT WORSHIP. It is so intimate and it feels like it's just you and God in the room.

  • I love Monday night and Thursday night worship

  • I love Monday night worship and the Praise worship that is held on Thursday nights because I worship best through music!

  • I love Monday night worship. The relationships you build there are great

  • MONDAY NIGHT WORSHIP!!!!!

  • Monday night praise and worship
  • Wednesday chapel

  • Monday night worship :)

  • Monday Night worship

There ya have it, people! You have got to check out all the worship opportunities at Dordt...they are absolutely incredible. I would also have to say Monday night worship is my favorite. :) But really, they are all fantastic. I cannot wait for you to come and experience them for yourselves!! :)

-Hayley

School's Out for Summer, but We're Still Here

Hello! 

I'm Anneke, the new addition to the Dordt Life blog! As far as I know, the other Dordt Life bloggers aren’t actually aware that I’m part of the team now. So hey guys—hope you don’t mind.

My fellow bloggers (and maybe you as well) are probably wondering why I’m writing for this blog now. Well, I am a Dordt student, I am a writer, and I am staying on campus for the summer. So they were like, “Hey, you should write for The Dordt Life this summer.” And I was like, “Aight. Cool.” So here I am. I get to tell you guys about all the cool stuff that’s happening here while everyone has gone home for the summer months! My next few posts are going to be kinda journalistic, so bear with me.

It’s a common misconception that campus is pretty mundane during the summer. On the contrary—there’s actually quite a bit happening on campus. You wouldn’t think it, but the students who stay over the summer are busy doing all kinds of stuff for the college—we’ve got maintenance people killing the game, student researchers doing all kinds of stuff, worship teams travelling around, etc. etc. There’s a lot of cool people doing cool things, and that’s what I’m here for: to tell you all about what they do.

Today, I'm here to talk about two student researchers working for the biology department this summer: Caty Weise and Brendon Watchorn. They're both Pre-Medical students, so they're going to be doctors someday. They're smart. They know what they're doing.

Basically, these student researchers have two main projects to focus on this summer, the first one being to work with a probiotic company to develop a way to run quality control checks on their probiotic products. (For those of you who don’t know what probiotics are, they’re helpful bacteria in your body that help with your digestive system.) So they’re doing real work for a real company, which is pretty neat. They also got to use this ~brand new~ piece of equipment Dordt got, called a qPCR (aka quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction), that lets them replicate certain segments of DNA. Also cool. (Biology majors, are you getting excited yet?)

Caty and Brendon working with DNA samples and the qPCR machine. (Picture creds to the amazing Adri Van Groningen)

Caty and Brendon working with DNA samples and the qPCR machine. (Picture creds to the amazing Adri Van Groningen)

Their second project revolves around a crop called intermediate wheatgrass. What is intermediate wheatgrass, one may question? Caty kindly explained to me, a non-Biology major that hadn’t heard the term “intermediate wheatgrass” until now, that it’s a crop similar to wheat (so we can eat it? Nice), but it’s a perennial, which means it comes back every year instead of growing and then dying. Apparently, people are like, “This would be a great alternative to wheat!” So Caty and Brendon get to investigate the plant’s perennial genes to see how well it could do as a large-scale crop. Real Dordt students making a difference, y’all.

But these projects are not the only thing these two do all week. Every Friday is Prairie Day, which is the day Caty and Brendon get to take care of Dordt’s famed prairie. They get rid of invasive plants and work on anything that needs attention out there. It’s a lot of work, but someone’s gotta do it. How else would Dordt’s prairie look so on point when everyone comes back for the school year?

Fun fact: the Iowa tallgrass prairie is actually one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, and Dordt happens to have one right on campus. No big deal.

Now that you have the rundown of what Caty and Brendon do, you might be asking yourself, “Why would two college students who want to be doctors decide to do stuff with plants? Probiotics make sense, but plants?”

I’m glad you asked.

For those of you considering a career in the medical field, having a diverse research experience is a good thing, and these two understand that quite well. Caty, being the scholar she is, was excited for all the things she would learn through the experience: “My hope is that the practical skills I learn this summer will help me be a better scientist and, ultimately, a better doctor down the road,” she said.

Brendon was thinking ahead when he took the research position. He knew this would help with getting accepted into medical school— they look for more than just classroom performance. “This kind of stuff shows that you've done research and been involved with science outside of just the classroom,” he said. “Doing research at Dordt will make me a more competitive applicant for next year when I try and gain acceptance to research programs at other, larger universities.” 

The takeaway: Plants can make a difference in your path to medical school, guys. Also, get involved in research! It will help expand on your field of study and allow you to apply the skills you’ve learned in classes.

 

Stay tuned for more posts on what's happening at Dordt over the summer!

--Anneke

Survey Says... :) Part 2!

Hello future Dordt freshman and anyone else who may be reading! If you happen to be one of the students who answered these questions, thank you again. :) :) Here's another couple questions and answers! You may have read my first blog from this past year about Dordt's community that I got to experience, and particularly from question #1, you might see that other students experienced it as well. :) Check it out!

1. What is the single best part of Dordt College you have experienced this year?

  • The Christian atmosphere has probably been the best part of Dordt that I have experienced this year because it has challenged and strengthened my faith and caused me to grow in so many ways.

  • The personal growth and college life in general!

  • Meeting new people

  • The friends that I have made

  • Christian community

  • Community. I know the answer is cliche, but it could not be more true. The people I have met this year and friends I have made are some of the most amazing, Christian people I know, and it is a blessing to get to have them as my friends.

  • The best experience has been how many different worship opportunities there are & how they are all student lead. Going along with this, I have loved being surrounded by students who are actively pursuing their relationship with Christ and showing Christ's love in all they do.

  • I absolutely love Chapel and having so many different opportunities to grow in my faith.

  • The openness of everyone at Dordt including the students and professors. There is a great feeling of campus-wide community through the campus events and praise and worship activities.

  • The people that I have met and the friendships that I have made.

  • Monday night worship. 10/10 would recommend.

  • The friends, the relationships we have built, the fun things that we do and how I have grown spiritually

  • Having the ability to control your own schedule. Not that one necessarily has more free time than high school, but it is nice having the ability to choose how it goes.

  • It feels like my home away from home :)

  • The single best part of Dordt I have experienced would have to be Monday night worship or inter-murals. These are two very different things but they are great ways in to get involved and meet people and create friendships!

  • Meeting new people and friends; getting involved in clubs and intramurals

  • The community and everyone around it.

  • The single best part of Dordt that I have experienced is the spiritual community. I love being surrounded by so many other people who are passionate about their faith.

  • The Christian community and different worship opportunities. Meeting people has been fun too.

  • The best part of Dordt College I have experienced is the relationships I've formed with the professors. Most of the professors I've had have shown a genuine concern for me and my learning and have been very passionate about their area of study. I have felt cared about and have been encouraged to meet with professors outside of class if I have questions or concerns. I never hesitate to ask for help or get further guidance on assignments or even just life.

  • I love the community on campus and meeting so many people that are on fire for the Lord!

  • Monday night praise and worship

  • The professors at dordt have been amazing. They are super helpful and make it feel like you are getting a really personal experience.

  • Getting to know other students and grow in my faith through their encouragement and testimony.

  • community

  • The community at praise and worship events has been one of the coolest experiences in my life. The fact that they are weekly and never get tiring or old is so awesome! Seeing the body of Dordt College singing their hearts out to Jesus is just really cool.

  • The community, running with the team, and the ability to grow in my faith throughout the year

  • The community :)

  • Community. I have never felt as loved as I have at Dordt. Seriously. It's crazy how a bunch of people you've only just met can so quickly become vital to your life. I can't imagine life without Dordt right now. The worship, campus events, friendly profs, and endless opportunities for involvement have you never experiencing a dull moment. You really have the chance to grow your faith here.

  • The dorm life :)

  • The atmosphere of Dordt has made me grow in different ways than I had ever thought I would. The Lord has worked through friends, the distance from home, opportunity, and love.

  • Softball

  • The single best part of Dordt College this year was hanging out with friends. Whether it was board games, watching a movie, or sitting and chatting, it was all so enjoyable, especially meeting new people who become your friends!

  • The connections with other students and friendships that are created.

  • I have loved getting to know people for who they really are and having people get to know me for who I really am.

  • Growing in my faith and having incredible opportunities to be in fellowship with so many people I love

  • The best part of Dordt College that I love is the community. It's so cool being around people who love Jesus Christ with all of their hearts.

  • The community that pushes me to be my best in my faith walk, in my athletics, in my academics and many other things!

  • This year I have made so many new friends and being at Dordt College it's great because we also share similar values.

  • Definately the community, everyone is so nice and close with each other. You're never not involved in anything.

  • getting to go to classes where everyone has the same intentions: focusing on God and how the course can help us use our gifts and talents to influence the people around us

  • The spiritual atmosphere

  • The community, every Sunday I am invited to somebody house for Sunday lunch!

  • I think meeting all of the people I have and the friendships that have blossomed. Being constantly surrounded by people who encourage you in your faith has also been a huge highlight for me!

  • I love being able to connect with people from all different walks of life. There is a fairly diverse group of people here.

  • new friend ships

  • Meeting new people and making new friends

  • Being able to live independently

  • Getting to know new people and getting to experience new things with my friends

  • Having fun times with friends here.

  • Meeting lots of new friends!

2. What was the most difficult part of transitioning into college?

  • The most difficult part of transitioning into college for me was the crazy schedule. I've been used to going to school from 8-3:30 all my life, so starting class at 11 some days kind of threw me off. I've gotten used to it now though!

  • Time management or adjusting to living away from your parents/starting the next stage of your life

  • Class schedule

  • Managing my time since I am the only one in charge of myself.

  • Not living at home anymore

  • For me, it would be moving away from home. I moved about 11 hours away, and this was the first time I had experienced anything like this. It takes some time to adjust to living in an environment like college.

  • The distance from Dordt to my home in Texas. I don't get to go home often, so when I do, I always want to stay as long as possible.

  • Finding a good group of friends

  • Learning to do things for yourself like laundry and scheduling your time between school, work, and a social life. Learning to live the life you want to because we now have the freedom to do what we want.

  • Finding new friends and leaving old friends.

  • going to college.

  • Being away from family, especially when you are used to being around them all the time. Also getting used to managing your time efficiently so you can get all your homework done.

  • Living away from home and always being around people of your age (good and bad).

  • Leaving my mom.. Let's be real, she is my best friend! Ohh and let's not forget, my puppy! <3

  • Getting used to a higher work load. At first the amount of homework was overwhelming, but now I have adjusted.

  • Learning how to manage time and being away from family

  • The most difficult part is getting used to the homework. I came from a high school that prepared me well but it was definitely still a transition. Also, since you have so much free time, using your time wisely is vital.

  • Leaving a friend group and getting out of my comfort zone

  • The hardest part is finding meaningful relationships in the midst of so many people. You are never actually alone in college. You are constantly surrounded by people whether that be your roommate, friends, classmates, teammates, or even just people in the commons or library. It's hard to learn how to battle your own struggles while being surrounded by "stuff" all the time.

  • The most difficult part of transitioning into college was time management and setting priorities.

  • Learning to live with another person

  • Learning to balance classes, homework, on campus jobs, sports and friends

  • Probably the hardest part for me was not seeing my family anymore. I didn't anticipate being so homesick because I was so eager to get some freedom and get out of the house. I've come to appreciate how special my family is and realized that they are super important to me.

  • not having my mom to talk to after school

  • Learning how to do time management and figuring out things by myself was difficult. College is a whole new lifestyle and I didn't know what it would look like until I entered into it.

  • Meeting new people. Letting God into my life as it was up to me, not my parents, to decide whether or not I was going to go to church or sleep.

  • Finding my classes

  • The difference of a college classroom versus my high school classes. Learning the professors' expectations of the class.

  • The hardest part was going from busy California and the comfortable family and friend groups I had to Iowa.

  • It's far away from home

  • The most difficult part of transitioning into college was that I was all of a sudden responsible for myself in multiple ways, like eating, sleeping, when I did homework, and what I did with my free time. In high school, my life was very structured, and students were expected to be in certain places at certain times. The transition to having more freedom was hard, but it was good for me to experience.

  • Being away from family and relying on yourself for motivation to do work. Transitioning to dorm life is not easy you must sacrifice your own privacy and learn to share with a roommate. Fulfill your tasks and spend your time wisely.

  • The hardest part was making friends without trying to force yourself into relationships--just realizing that God will bring you the people He wants you to be with in time.

  • Sharing a room with a stranger.

  • Getting used to the homework load

  • Probably getting to used too all the poeple.

  • Finding friends! Being intentional about putting yourself out there is not something I had to practice in high school, everyone knew me and I knew everyone so I could make friends with whoever I wanted to in high school. In college, you have to choose who you want to be friends with which is more difficult than what it sounds to be. But, if you put yourself out there and connect with people who have the same morals and vales as you, God will put people in your path who you should be friends with!

  • Even though my home is fifteen minutes away from Dordt, it was a little bit of a shock because everything I did changed; my room, my friends, activities, schedule. After a month, I knew the campus better and everyone was willing to help if I was confused.

  • The most difficult problem is time management. You think it'll be like high school, but you're for sure more busy.

  • the amount of money you have to spend to make your experience 100%

  • Not having that set group of friends that you had in high school. You were on your own and I personally felt like I had to become friends with everyone the first week of college and get to know everyone, but that just isn't possible. It just overwhelms you. I had all year to get to know people and am still getting to know them!

  • Being on your own and trying to figure out how to manage your schedule

  • I think the stress of all the homework and not having a parent there to constantly remind you of all the stuff you should be doing.

  • Being far away from home which prevented me from seeing my family every day

  • the new schedule and workload.

  • All of the homework

  • Being responsible for your classes and academic work

  • Being away from home, my family, and my friends from high school.

Honestly, it's not always easy. I wanted to show you authentic answers from students that there are difficult parts about the transition to college or classes or being independent. But we are all in this crazy, beautiful time of life together. And guess what? We all made it through. ;) You can, too! And us now sophomores are here to help! I am so thankful for my RA and other sophomores I got to know who answered all the questions I asked throughout the year! And there definitely was not a shortage of them... :)

6. What is your favorite co-curricular you are involved in here and why?

  • I really enjoy the band and campus clubs.

  • Student Symposium because it's fun to be on student government and I like being apart of making Dordt such a great place! :)

  • Softball

  • Soccer - the coach and team are amazing.

  • Band because I've gotten to meet a lot of new people through band. We also went on a tour of the northeast this year and I got to have a ton of amazing experiences through that.

  • My favorite that I am involved in is Hall Council. It was a great way to get to know people in my building and plan events for them. I did not participate in intermurals this year, but I would like to in the next few years.

  • I love being a part of a worship team. Not only does it allow my faith to grow by constantly being surrounded by other students who are taking the time out of their schedules and busy days to use their talents for the purpose of worshiping God and furthering the kingdom of God, it also allows me to hopefully impact other students' faiths by moving their hearts during Worship.

  • ultimate-frisbee (intramural teams) because I love playing sports and being active and this is something I can do that's away from my studies

  • My favorite co-curricular activity is probably band because of the chance I get to further my skills and play in multiple concerts.

  • I am in two sports so I don't really have time for anything else besides that.

  • intramural basketball

  • Dance team-active, great FRIENDS, awesome coach, and whoop whoop you get to learn new moves!

  • Inter-murals because it's a fun way to be active and meet new people!

  • Business Club; I love being on the board of DCBC. I feel like I am able to make a difference and I love working and serving the people of Dordt.

  • Core 130-135. I really enjoyed being active and being able to interact with other students physically.

  • Worship and Intermurals

  • My favorite co-curricular is probably chorale. I love making music and singing and have been blessed by my time in Chorale. It's such a relaxing time to spend 3 hours a week singing!

  • I loved being involved in rugby because it was a great way to exercise and meet fun gals!

  • Love Your Melon because it's for a very good cause and has cute clothes and accessories

  • DCBC

  • My favorite thing I'm involved in here is soccer because I love the sport, but more importantly because I love the people in it. The girls on the team were all super welcoming and supportive even though I joined in the spring semester, and I look forward to getting to know them all better in the next few years.

  • choir and attending students activity events

  • I am on a co-ed intramural basketball team and absolutely love it!!! I got to know many people through it. Intramural are competitive while still being fun and chill.

  • Cross Country and Track because of the team and the atmosphere and I get to do what I love to do and what I came to Dordt College to do

  • I really love intramurals because it gives you a chance to meet new people, try a new sport, have fun with your friends, and stay healthy all at the same time.

  • I really enjoy intrumurals and chorale.

  • Softball

  • My favorite co-curricular is softball. I love the team atmosphere, and I love that it gives me a built-in study break and a way to stay active! Also, my Coach is incredibly kind and understanding, and is very easy to talk to, even about things not related to softball, like how I'm doing with schoolwork and in my faith life.

  • Football, makes a family away from home. Everyone cares about each other, people no longer care if you are cool or not it's simply a brotherhood. In it for each other.

  • Softball

  • I am involved in the sustainability club, and I love getting to know Dordt staff members and to make a visible difference on our campus.

  • Intramurals. It is so much fun and you meet a ton of new people.

  • Football if that is a co- curricular. Otherwise, Monday night worship is pretty incredible

  • All the intramurals and DCB club.

  • Softball! I get to play with an amazing team of girls for incredible coaches who love the game of softball and love glorifying God in our actions, words, and thoughts.

  • I love choir! Growing up singing has always been important to me and at Dordt, others love it just as much as I do! It's not very often you get to sing with a very skilled choir and incorporate your beliefs with all of them.

  • The worship opprotunities. I go to every single one and it helps me grow in my faith and I get to be able to worship our God.

  • i love attending monday night worship and supporting sports teams around campus

  • I love being a basketball manager bc that is how I met my friends! I loved feeling a part of the team and getting to know them more!

  • I am involved in softball and basketball at Dordt

  • Volleyball. It's a great group of individuals who spur me on

  • intramurals or playing Golf for Dordt. I can take my mind off studies and just play and have fun.

  • Soccer because I love the coach and team

  • bible study

  • IM's

Here's a picture of one of the activities I got to be involved in this year-dance team! :)

Here's a picture of one of the activities I got to be involved in this year-dance team! :)

Another perk of Dordt---SO many co-cirrucular opportunities to be part of. This is only a tiny portion of them. :)

Thanks for reading! More to come. :)

-Hayley

Survey Says... :) Part 1!

First post as a sophomore...wow. :) This year was full of ups and downs, but overall, it was so great. I wanted to give you a little recap of what some of the highlights of the year included as well as some of the difficult parts, but being only one of about 500 freshmen students, I did not think my opinion alone could give you a good enough idea. So incoming freshmen, this one's for you. :)

I need to start by talking about how awesome my classmates are. During dead weak when everybody is preparing (or maybe not so much) ;) for finals, I sent out a 16 question survey to as many freshman as I could, and they shared it with their friends, and 53 students took it, all for you! :) This way, we can give you varying opinions and tips on how to "do college," and some of the best parts of freshman year!

With that, I would like to introduce you to just a sample of what the survey included, so if it interests you, you're welcome to keep reading! Here are a couple of questions and answers from the survey:

14. What is your favorite part about your dorm room?

    •Christmas Lights... and the icecream in my freezer.

    •My bed

    •Honestly, my roommate!

3. How do you organize or manage your schedule: schoolwork, co-curricular activities, faith, sleep, socializing, and more?

    •Everything goes in my planner! I try to get all my homework done when friends are also working, then I have free time for Praise and Worship and hang out time with friends at night

    •Use your planner!!! Get in a routine and stick with it. Plan out your whole week and try to front load your week so you're not frantically trying to accomplish everything at the end. Prevent procrastination as much as possible. :-)

    •By faith, hahahahaha. Just take it one day at a time and I learn to trust God every day to get the priorities done.

So to not make this post a mile and a half long, I am going to split it up over the course of the summer! This first post is a compilation of just the last question, which is a general overview of the survey! If you would like to read more, check back on the blog a couple times this summer and I will get some more of the questions and answers up. :) Thank you!

16. What one piece of advice would you give to an incoming freshman student

    •Embrace the college experience. You are going to learn so much about yourself and life. Have fun, make wise choices, take advantage of all the opportunities you have here.

    •College seems a lot scarier than it actually is. Don't be afraid to be yourself.

    •Force yourself to meet as many people as you can in the first week or two of school. This is the best time for that. Meet people in all grades and develop upperclassmen mentors. Get to know your professors and ask lots of questions.
    •Don't get behind on your grades. Keep your grades up, your future self will thank you. Get to know as many people as you can, become who God is calling you to be.

    •You picked the right school my friend :) and also take advantage of the chapels, GIFT, p&w ect.

    •Don't be afraid to use student health services if you need counseling.. it can save your life.

    •Be ready to have your life flipped upside down. I guess you can never be ready for that, but get prepared and be open to the idea of change!

    •Don't stress, it's not as scary as you think it will be! Even the seniors are nice :)
    •Find friends who will encourage you in every aspect of your faith. And get yourself a mentor. Find a godly upper classman and ask them to mentor you. Having someone to keep you accountable and someone who you can go to with all your problems is a really awesome thing.

    •You will be that typical freshman who doesn't know what they're doing for the first few weeks. After that, you'll still be the typical freshman, everyone is.

    •Breathe. Relax. The first week is like summer camp and then by the second week, you already have a routine somewhat figured out.

    •Don't be afraid to ask professors for help, and visit them during their office hours! They are super helpful, super nice, and extremely understanding! They are one of the best resources you have, and they can help you out so much!

    •Just be cool, everyone here already is

    •Don't be afraid to really be crazy and wild and make people feel awkward

    •It will be hard and you may feel like you are the only one struggling, but there are SO MANY people on campus who are willing to help you! If you reach out to them, they will help you. Even if you don't feel like you need help, reaching out may make the transition into college a little easier. And you might make a new friend!

    •You might miss home a lot but you will eventually find your group and find what you like!

    •STAY ORGANIZED!!!!

    •Put the time you have at dordt to good use because it will go by very fast

Here's a picture of my roomie and I being "typical freshmen" wearing our lanyards around our necks on the first day of class. :) It's all good; being a "typical freshmen" is cool, I promise. ;)

Here's a picture of my roomie and I being "typical freshmen" wearing our lanyards around our necks on the first day of class. :) It's all good; being a "typical freshmen" is cool, I promise. ;)

    •Dont go boy crazy or girl crazy. God has a plan for you, so just wait and be patient

    •Sleep before you come to college

    •Just be you. Everybody here is weird anyways

    •The transition is hard but it will get better

    •Don't wait till the night before a project or paper is due to start it

As you can tell, my classmates are really great and very wise. :) The goal of these posts are to ease you into college from real perspectives of students who just experienced what you are soon to be immersed in. :) I hope you can indulge me! Thanks for reading. :)

-Hayley

"My" Time is Not My Time

A little reflection on this week:

It was busy. Oh boy was it busy. :) I'm thankful it's socially acceptable to go to bed in college past 1am every night because it definitely happened this week. But I am still thankful for every class, assignment, work shift, morning practice, and opportunity I had this week. If we were playing a "happy, crappy" with this past week, crappy would have been the limited amount of sleep, buuuut happy would have been Bible study Sunday night. It definitely made the "crappy" less crappy. :)

I knew coming into this week it was going to be an adventure with papers, projects, work, etc., but Bible study was literally exactly what I needed to shift my perspective on "my" time. Each week every wing conducts their own Bible study, and Covey 2nd South's happens to be on Sunday nights, a perfect opportunity to get our mindset ready for the week ahead. We are currently going through James, and we were having a discussion about surrendering our whole lives to God and also about deep conversation and how valuable it is. (Side note-since I have been at Dordt, I have been so blessed to have bedtime, coffee shop, and class discussions about who God is, what faith is, and what life as a Christian looks like, more than I ever did in high school, way more than I ever thought I would, and even with people I knew thought I would! And I absolutely adore it. Dordt has opened up conversation opportunities for me with girls and guys, old friends and new ones, professors and chapel speakers, and so many more.) But sometimes life gets ahead of me and I feel like I do not have room for those conversations I desire and are so beneficial. So Sunday night at Bible study we were talking about our schedules this upcoming week. I had commented that there were people I wanted to talk to about struggles we have going on in our lives, but how I did not see how that would be possible this week because of my schedule. My RA, Kylee, responded with something so simple, yet so profound, and I absolutely adore it. It went something like this:

"We may not feel like we will be getting much sleep this week, but when you think about it, who really gives you rest? And we may be thinking about how we are using our time this week and whether it is more worth it to engage in certain activities than others, but is "our" time really "our" time? Or whose time is it?"

That made my mind do a 180. As we had just been discussing surrendering everything to God, here I was holding onto my schedule and "my" time, as if it was something I owned! Silly me...I do that way too often. So Kylee talked about how looking at our planner for the week is a perfect opportunity to surrender our schedules to God very intentionally. This week (and every week to come,) that was (is) the goal. I definitely need daily reminders to do that, and thankfully writing it in my planner provides that! And God did a pretty great job getting me through. :) Needless to say, today is a very happy Saturday. :)

-Hayley

P.S. These are my beautiful, genuine, golden-hearted RA and roommate. :)

Love My Lifeguard Life

The first weekend of spring break, I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in Omaha with a couple friends (one from Dordt and one from Northwestern, actually.) :) Beyond that refreshing weekend of 75 degree weather and lots of outlet and Old Market shopping, I got to go home and work at one of my favorite places, the All Seasons Center!

As you may have seen in previous blogs, the All Seasons Center has both a pool and an ice rink. I have had the privilege of working in the pool for three years now. (Another perk of going to college close too home meant keeping the jobs that I adore!) I don't intend to make this a pitch for the All Seasons Center, but I just want to talk a little bit about how much I love my job. :) Throughout the whole year (hence All Seasons Center) I get to lifeguard and teach lessons at the pool.

There are a million reasons I love my job. To just give you a few, I'll start with how convenient it is to work there as a Dordt student. It is literally a three minute walk out of my dorm to the front door of the pool, so it really cannot get any more convenient. :) It takes me the same amount of time to walk to my on-campus job that it does to walk to this, one of my "off campus" jobs. :) In the summers, it is a six minute bike ride from my house, which is also awesome!

Next, I hands down have the greatest coworkers. A variety of students from Dordt, Northwestern, Sioux Center, George, Western, Boyden-Hull, Rock Valley, and Unity high schools provide a variety of school backgrounds which makes the work atmosphere so fun. Every shift provides opportunities to rotate with different coworkers, so we get to know so many people I otherwise would not. Some of my fellow guards are school-year-only guards, some are summer-only guards, some only work a few months here and there, and some work all year round. It's always a blast to see coworkers we haven't seen in months and work a shift with them again!

A third reason I adore the All Seasons Center is the high standard of professionalism it upholds. Something unique to our pool compared to others in the area (aside from the fact that it is open year-round,) is that lifeguards get to look uniform. Red swimsuits and shorts, matching shirts, and guard fanny packs are super match-y and actually super classy. :) (They do let us express our individuality with our colored whistles, too, which we love.) :)

Not only does the ASC offer me a job, practice in professionalism, and the best coworkers, it gives me experience in my future career. I teach swimming lessons in the summers and throughout the school year, and if you have seen any of my previous posts, you may know that I am an education major! Teaching swimming lessons is literally the perfect opportunity for me to get some of my own teaching experience in on a smaller scale than in a classroom, which will come in the next few years! Literally there are not many jobs that are more perfect for an education major than teaching swimming lessons. :)

To show you some of my lovely coworkers (more like friends or even fam), our top notch facility, and my cute little cousin, I have included a few pictures from over the years. :) Even though it appears we may be breaking some of the rules in these pics, I promise we do a really fine job enforcing them on duty. ;)

Gems Outside Sioux Center (but nearby)

My last blog was about all my favorite spots in Sioux Center (and nearby). My Dordt-experience isn't concentrated in Northwest Iowa, though. Because of various Dordt-related activities and/or friends, I've explored a lot of the Midwest throughout my last three years, including...


Sioux City

Just forty minutes south of Sioux Center lies Sioux City, which is an area my friends and I venture to regularly. If we want to celebrate finishing an especially stressful week (like the first finals week of my freshman year), we might go to Sioux City to get piercings. I recommend Maya Modification, if you're interested. If we're in need of new clothes to vary our closets enough to successfully battle the every changing Iowa weather, we head to the Southern Hills Mall. If we've just finished striking the set of our most recent theatre production, the entire theatre department makes a midnight run to the 24-hour Perkins. And if I happen to be hanging out with my friends that attend Northwestern (our "rival college"), we'll might head to La Juanita for fantastic tacos. Northwestern students do that regularly, and it's fun to join in on their traditions. But my absolute favorite event in Sioux City? Ode Storytelling Night, which is similar to an open-mic event for creative nonfiction pieces. Each night is centered around a specific theme, and anyone who has a story tied to that theme is free to read their story aloud. The idea is that stories make us human, and we become more human by sharing our human experiences with one another. It's beautiful, and I'm always enriched by the stories all these random, Iowa-residing people have to share. Oh! And Sioux City is also home to the nearest Target, which is reason enough to make the drive.

Sioux Falls

An hour west of Sioux Center lies Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This city is a little bigger than Sioux City, and it's home to the gorgeous Falls Park, where many Dordt couples get engaged because of it's proximity and natural beauty. The Denny Sanford Premier Center is also in Sioux Falls, and that's a place worth checking out because so many popular performers grace that stage. Last month, a bunch of friends and I saw Twenty One Pilots and Jon Bellion there, which was spectacular. Skyzone is also in Sioux Falls. Here's some honesty: no one is ever too old to bounce around in a room covered in trampolines. Afterwards, my friends and I account for all the calories we just burned by eating way too much frozen yogurt at Cherry Berry or way too much meat at Carnival Brazilian Grill - or both, because what's limiting us (besides our wallets)? The Swing Dance Club also heads to Sioux Falls monthly for community swing dances at El Riad Shriners, which gives them the perfect chance to show off their moves and their fancy dresses.

Omaha

Two and a half hours south of Sioux Center lies Omaha, Nebraska. If my friends and I go all the way to Omaha, it's usually for a day at the Henry Doorly Zoo, which beat out the San Diego Zoo and claimed the #1 slot in the World's Best Zoo contest. I've been three times now, and I can affirm that it deserves that title. The place is HUGE. There's so much to explore and so many interactive exhibits to keep anyone of any age entertained. I personally enjoy the aquarium best, as you're able to pet sting rays. The butterfly exhibit is a close second though, as you're able to stand in a room full of free-flying butterflies. Old Market in Omaha - full of quirky shops and brick architecture - is also fun to explore. And for reasonably-priced flights to most places in the country, Eppley Airfield is the most convenient airport.

Des Moines

Still in Iowa, but further away (four hours southeast, to be exact) lies the state capitol: Des Moines. Between expansive murals, the Pappajohn Sculture Park, off-Broadway performances at the Des Moines Civic Center, master classes in all things artistic (both visual and performing) and improv performances at the Des Moines Social Club, Des Moines proves a hot spot for the arts. Des Moines offers a wide range of good food, too. My personal favorite restaurant is Fong's Pizza, where you can order all sorts of different stir-fry options atop a pizza crust. It's innovative and delicious. Arguably the most popular restaurant in Des Moines is Zombie Burger, where all the quirky burger-topping combinations are given gruesome titles such as  "The Walking Ched" or "Undead Elvis." Zombie Burger is located in East Village, which is my favorite part of Des Moines because of the local shops, the free Iowa Museum, and the gold-topped Capitol Building. 

Minneapolis

And lastly, four hours north of Sioux Center lies Minneapolis, Minnesota. I went to Minneapolis my freshman year for a theatre festival, so most of my vivd memories involve touring the Guthrie Theatre and exploring the Mall of America. Did you know that there's an amusement park in there? I was unaware until I showed up and convinced my friends to ride some roller coasters with me, including the Spongebob one. Dordt takes a group of students to Minneapolis once a semester for Core160: Intro to the Arts. On that trip, students explore the sculpture garden and other areas of the Walker Art Center in addition to seeing a performance at the Guthrie and enjoying the big-city experience that contrasts our day-to-day life in Sioux Center.


I've still got two more full semesters of exploring to do, and I'm excited to see where they take me. No matter where, I'm sure it will be an adventure. It has been so far, so why would the future be any less so?

 - Annie

SB2k17 Adventures

For most college students, at least for me, we need a break every once in awhile. Like a break that's ten days long. Like Spring Break. Over spring break most students either stayed on campus, drove/flew home, participated in PLIA, road-tripped, or went on vacation. For me, Chapel Tour was my go-to. 

What is Chapel Tour? It's usually made up of a group of students from campus worship teams that travel with Aaron Baart (Dean of Chapel), Robert Taylor (Dean of Students), and Jon De Groot (Worship Arts Director) to high school across the US and Canada. This time around, we travelled to Chicagoland and Grand Rapids for our tour. Each morning we would get up early (sometimes at 5:30am) to setup and lead worship at the high schools. Playing and leading worship was enjoyable, but so were the times spent living life together. On our off-times, we ventured downtown Chicago, visited friends both new and old, wrote a song (that you can check out here), and ate really good food. Here are some pictures of our adventures!

Totes muh gotes,

-Ian

Hosted by the enemy

Part 1: Dancing with the enemy.

Every school has a “rival” school that drives extra motivation and excitement when it comes to competitions. This is a strange but effective way to unite the student body, but what happens when you stray away from your “home” school and go dancing with the enemy?

Dordt’s enemy is a hop, skip and a jump across a few corn fields to Orange City, where Northwestern College, home of the Raiders, lies waiting ready to attack at a moments notice.

The story I am about to tell you is one of bravery, happiness, and heartbreak—but mainly tom-foolery. 

Once upon a time, a brave Defender turned the tables on the Raiders and secretly invaded Northwestern’s campus in early January. It was a cold, wintery night when he made his advance to the rounded building of the De Witt Theatre Arts Center, where the brave Defender was spotted immediately due to the fact that he was hopelessly lost and confused. 

That brave Defender… was me. (I know; a plot twist for the ages.) The quest I was on was to make it to Northwestern’s RUSH auditions, even though I had no idea where they were. RUSH is a completely student-run dance performance that Northwestern hosts. I was joining on as a choreographer/dancer for this performance, but I was the only Dordt student involved in the entire show.

Luckily, Northwestern students are not as bad as most “enemies” are supposed to be. I asked a random girl (‘sup, Caroline) where they were and she immediately asked, “Are you a Dordt student?” Guilty, I replied that I was. She was very welcoming and told me exactly where to find the auditions.

After running back and forth from a choir concert at Dordt and auditions at Northwestern, I finally got my team together. We practiced twice a week for a couple months and created a dance that my grandma would be proud of (sorry, inside joke with my dancers, I will try to avoid those from now on).

However, the real story lies in part 2: Sleeping with the enemy.

After almost a week of beautiful, unseasonal warm weather, a cold front came sweeping through the midwest with anger and fierceness that Iowa has not seen in a while. Snow came piling in, causing traitorous conditions that even the most brave Defender couldn’t plow through.

Basically, after the first night of shows I tried to get back to Dordt in a snow storm. I didn’t even make it halfway to Dordt before I wasn’t even sure if I was on a road anymore. So I turned around and went back to the land of Raiders. I called a friend who called a friend who called a friend who called me (so grateful to Tetta, Becky, and James). I finally got out of the storm and into a dorm.

Everything was hunky dory with the sleepover with a Northwestern RA until the next morning. The excitement from the night before was just the beginning of an eventful 24 hours. I walked out of Hospers Dorm tired, hungry and ready to fail a test I didn’t really study for, but something was missing. My car. My poor car was MIA. I instantly knew that it was towed because I was standing by a sign that read, “No parking overnight,” that I did not notice the night before.

I proceeded to call Tetta, who called Becky, who called around to find my car. Drew, who is the head of the theatre department at Northwestern, called me eventually and he picked me up to drive around town to find my car. Eventually, we found it at the edge of town at an auto shop where it was towed into a snow drift; we had to dig it out with a shovel. After many attempts and picking up Drew’s brother (also much thanks) we got it out and Drew yelled, “Don’t stop until you get to Dordt!” I listened.

Wet, tired, and defeated, I finally walked back into my apartment ready for bed, but alas: I had to take a test. However, that’s not very interesting so I’ll just skip ahead.

I drove back to Northwestern that night and the next day for a total of 7 shows. Overall, I had a blast, everyone was super nice and welcoming, and my team was outstanding. We had such a good time and I am really glad and honored that I got to be a small part of Northwestern’s RUSH.

Cheers to Northwestern for accepting an outsider/enemy into their fortress and showing a Defender a Raider good time.

- Luke

Gems in Sioux Center (and nearby)

This week is Spring Break: a much anticipated, much needed, extended mid-semester Sabbath. Lots of my classmates piled into 15 passenger vans last Friday and headed out for week-long, in-country, short-term mission trips through Dordt's PLIA (Putting Love Into Action) program. Those students are all over the country – from St. Louis to Atlanta New Orleans to Cincinnati to Denver – connecting with ministries that Dordt partners with annually, creating a long-standing sort of short-term ministry.

I wasn’t called to PLIA this year, though. So me? I’m home for break, and I’m loving every second of it.

When you’re in one city for an extended period of time (such as the first 18 years of life), it’s easy to be blinded to all the quirks that make that place special. It’s easy for the luster on that's town's unique gems to fade, and it's easy for what's special to become ordinary. But if you head away for a while (such as 4 years of college) and then return (such as Spring Break), you rediscover everything that makes the first location so special. The gems are "gemmy" again.

This week, all my hometown’s special spots are exciting to me again. And in re-experiencing home, I’m getting excited to return to Dordt and re-experience Sioux Center’s gems again. So here’s a list of my personal favorite spots in Sioux Center (and nearby). Here's a list - in no particular order - of the places off campus that I've been frequenting and will continue to frequent as long as I live in Sioux Center.


HOME Building

When I'm not feeling social, or when I just need somewhere off campus to escape to, I head to the HOME building. HOME stands for "House of Missions and Equipping," and it's a space behind the local Culver's for anyone and everyone to commune with God. They offer free classes, Bible studies, worship outlets, service projects, and private healing prayer services. Most notably, though, the HOME building is always unlocked (well, from 6:00 am to 10:00pm) and a livestream of the International House of Prayer in in Kansas City is always playing in the giant prayer room, so people are free to come and go and use the space as they need. It's beautiful, and I've been so blessed by HOME's resources.

The Fruited Plain

Often affectionately referred to as “The FP,” the Fruited Plain is the most popular coffee shop in town. Just as often as my friends and I go to study, we go for a study break. The FP regularly hosts concerts and poetry readings, as they have the perfect indoor space in their Backroom Bistro and the perfect outdoor space on their patio. Recently, The Ruralists (a band of Dordt professors) and The Aircraft (a band of Dordt students) have been playing a lot of concerts here, which has been so fun for the entire Northwestern Iowa community. If you want to be an original fan, I’d recommend checking them out on iTunes soon before they get too popular for you to claim true “og” status.

Old Factory

When we feel like we’ve been to the Fruited Plain too many times in one week, my friends and I head to the Old Factory in Orange City for a study session/study break. Personally, I prefer the Old Factory to the Fruited Plain because I’m a tea drinker, and Old Fac has a wide variety of loose-leaf teas to choose from, all of which have quirky names like “Grandad’s Pipe” or “Moose Knuckles.” I also really enjoy Old Fac’s atmosphere, as it’s housed in an abandoned Dutch clog factory (hence the name “Old Factory”). They won’t stay in this historic spot for long, though. They’ve grown too popular to adequately serve all their customers in such a small space, so they’ll be moving later this month – which is really exciting and really sad. Despite the new location, Old Fac will still feature the same quality drinks and the same quality management. Old Fac organizes concerts and poetry readings just like the FP does, but they also do Community Conversation nights periodically. People from all over the Northwest Iowa area come to talk about politics, philosophy, religion, pop culture, etc. I love Community Conversations, and I’m grateful that Old Fac creates such a comfortable space for meaningful interactions to happen.

FOOD: Pizza

And if I’m already over in Orange City, it’s worth my time to get dinner at P’s Pizza. The environment makes me feel like I’m in a big city, as the walls are lined with TV’s turned to various sports stations and the seats are all covered in black leather, which contrasts the sterling silver accents nicely. Their menu is really special too, as they pair toppings together in unexpected but tasty ways. One of my favorites is the Pork and Peach, which is exactly what it sounds like: pulled pork and peaches on pizza with white sauce. 10/10, I would recommend that. If I’m not in Orange City, though, the Pizza Ranch in Sioux Center’s mall is fun and affordable, since Dordt gives each student a book of coupons for local stores at the beginning of the year (and a significant portion of those coupons apply to Pizza Ranch – yay).

FOOD: Hispanic

Sioux Center has a relatively high concentration of Hispanic families, which means the food here is authentic and wonderful. Los Tulipanes is the most well established Mexican restaurant in town, and their menu is crazy extensive. There are so many options to choose from, and they’re all delicious. Personally, I prefer the Taco Truck, though. They do all of their authentic, Mexican cooking in a food truck not far behind the Fruited Plain. They have an indoor space so that people can eat in-store during the winter, but I prefer to go on warm days and sit at the outdoor picnic tables. Tip: If you eat at the Taco Truck, do not forget cash, because they don’t accept cards or checks. Another tip: The owners are incredibly generous. One time, they let me take my meal for free because I forgot to bring cash along, and they trusted me to pay double the next time I came in. Perks of living in a small town, am I right? I also really love Olivia’s Bakery, which is an authentic Mexican bakery on Main Street. Picking out treats from their colorful display is one of my favorite study breaks.

All Season’s Center

If we want to do something more active than eating, my friends and I head to the All Season’s Center. With our Dordt IDs, we can do everything for free. Ice skating? That’s popular. Swimming and hot-tubbing? Equally as popular. There are also sand volleyball courts not too far from the All Season’s Center. When it’s nice enough, we start some friendly competitions on those.

Sandy Hollow & Oak Grove

If it’s nice enough to use the sand volleyball courts, it’s also nice enough to venture nature reserves. Sandy Hollow is about ten minutes away from campus, and it’s a perfect spot for hammocking, swimming, camping, etc. Oak Grove is about thirty minutes away from campus, so it’s a bit more secluded. There’s a river for kayaking, trails for hiking, sites for camping, and lots of clean air to breathe. I’m from Colorado, so I can’t say that it compares to the hiking I enjoy at home. Nonetheless, I can say that I genuinely enjoy afternoons spent in Oak Grove. And when spring comes around, all the trees in Oak Grove sprout teeny-tiny white blooms. It's gorgeous.

Local Friends' Homes

I’ve been lucky enough to befriend a lot of local people, which means I’ve been lucky enough to be invited into their homes. One of my friends decorated the hayloft in his family’s barn with beautiful twinkle lights, and he hosts movie nights in there using a projector and a giant sheet – which is just magical! I’m also grateful to these local friends for inviting me over for Sunday dinner, for family game nights, and for relaxing nights away from campus when needed.

Walmart

And if all else fails, we go to 24-Hour Walmart and find as many absurd items as possible (such as adult-sized onesies). And when we've scoured the entire store, we play hide and go seek. And when we want to be extra creative, we use Snapchat to send each other clues as to where we're hidden. This keeps my friends and I entertained for hours…


I'm looking forward to enjoying the "gemminess" of these off-campus gems when I get back to campus next week, but for now, I'm going to continue to enjoy all the gems here at home.

Happy Spring Break, everyone!

 - Annie