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.


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. 


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,


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.


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

a place to thrive

Sioux Center, IA. Who knew, right? Whether you attended Dordt College, currently attend, or are looking into it as an option, did you ever think that the greatest place where you could grow would be here? I'll be straight up with you; I didn't. It kind of reminds me of the Bible story where Abraham and his nephew, Lot, are looking at the two places they can go. Lot takes the really "cool" land and he goes to the college right next to the beach where he can chillax and sunbathe while studying. And Abraham went to Dordt College. I know, I know, that isn't how the story goes. Please, locals, I mean no disrespect, but cornfields contending with beaches? I'll leave that there. As I look at the actual story, where most people would see a bleak landscape, God saw an opportunity to shape and equip a faithful servant to be the father of many nations. If we read a little more, we also see that things weren't quite as peachy on Lot's end. His wife turned into a pillar of salt for goodness sake! (Must've dated before Tri-state.) As I look retrospectively over the past 3.375 semesters (Yes, I calculated it), I find myself feeling like Abraham. I'm from Boise, Idaho and mountains hold the city captive. Moving from a place filled with outdoor activities besides cow-tipping, Northwest Iowa seemed rather bland. Little did I know that it would be place where God would grow me more than I could have ever imagined.

The opportunity to play football at the College level has had a tremendous effect on my development as a responsible adult and as a man chasing after the heart of Christ. Coaches have made the experience so much more valuable by constantly preaching the importance of a purpose beyond ourselves . Brothers, who are striving for the same goals, create a support system like no other. The chance to glorify the name of Christ through the gifts and talents He has provided is such a blessing. 6 AM workouts are, in a slightly deranged way, exciting. It may seem terrible at the time, but the mental toughness produced is akin to very few others. It also is wonderful knowing that we are being prepared for the daily grind that comes with being an independent adult; having to go to work and being excited about it as it is another opportunity to lift the name of Christ. 

Engineering. It's a monster. But I love it. It's kept me focused. It's kept me busy. Despite the circumstances, it has become a passion. I've learned so much about the amazing creation that surrounds all of us. As I go through my classes here at Dordt, my faith continues to grow. It's so fascinating how God has ordered the universe and we are able to discover how this creation behaves. Besides engineering courses, the core classes have been great for stretching me out of my comfort zone. It was awesome to be challenged theologically in Biblical Foundations class. Another example is a class that I am currently taking: Responding to Literature. I used to hate poems. Despise. Loathe. Yes. Now that I've been going through this class, I actually enjoy reading poems and discussing them (Thanks Dr. Elgersma). The academics here are challenging, but I appreciate the fact that they are growing me intellectually.

I could go on and on about all the ways that I've grown here at Dordt, but my fingers would probably fall off. It may seem a little desolate out here in the middle of cornfields and small bouts with pig stench, but God's got a blessing out here. He's doing a work for His kingdom and it's so evident. I'm just really happy and so blessed to be able to be out here learning and growing. 

Peace yo,




On Empathy

When I first came to college, I expected to learn a lot. That’s the point of college after all, right? You go for schooling. You go to expand your brain, to be educated, to develop the intellectual ability to carry out a career to the best of your ability.

But above all else, Dordt has stretched my empathy, which I couldn’t have anticipated.

I’m a theatre and an English major, so my coursework is specifically geared towards understanding others. Every time I’m cast in a theatrical role, for example, I develop not only the ability to vocalize and physicalize that character, but also the ability to think and emote like that character. And every time I read a novel for an English assignment, I allow myself to enter the narrator’s world and experience his or her experiences. And when we discuss these plays/books as a class, I learn to see things from my classmates’ perspectives, too.

Though my studies are inherently empathy oriented, I’d argue that this focus on empathy is present in every program of study Dordt offers. I’m not exactly qualified to speak into psychology or nursing or theology programs, but I have taken a number of classes outside my major because of Dordt’s Core program, so I have some credibility. For those of you who are curious, Dordt students are required to take a wide range of Core courses alongside students of all grades and all majors, including:

·      Core 100 (Kingdom, Identity, and Calling)

·      Core 110 (Public Speaking)

·      Core 120 (English Writing)

·      Core 130 (Health, Sport, and the Body)

·      Core 135 (choose three of any physical activity courses – I took gymnastics for one of mine, which was the dream)

·      Core 140 (Roots of Western Worldview, Origins-Enlightenment)

·      Core 145 (Roots of Western Worldview, Enlightenment-Present Day)

·      Core 150 (Biblical Foundations)

·      Core 160 (Intro to the Arts)

·      Core 180 (Responding to Literature)

·      Core 200 (Christian Philosophy)

·      Quantitative Reasoning (choose from one of many basic math courses)

·      Lab-Based Science (choose from one of many basic biology/chemistry-type courses)

·      Persons in Community (choose from one of many psychology classes)

·      Justice and Stewardship (choose from one of many political science/business-type courses)

·      Cross-Cultural (choose from one of many, most of which include time abroad)

·      Advanced Reformed Thought (choose from one of many, usually within your program of study)

·      Core 399: Calling, Task, and Culture

Even though I don’t plan to go into agriculture or STEM or business, these Core courses have given me a basic understanding and an appreciation for those systems of thought. I understand their value within society, I’ve learned to respect those who devote their time to prospects that don’t necessarily interest me, and I’m knowledgeable enough to maintain conversations and ask worthwhile questions when discussing others’ pursuits. I see how God is working in all areas, and I’m excited to see how He uses my classmates to further bless others through their God-given passions in their God-given workplaces, both presently and for the rest of their lives.

Though each student here at Dordt maintains pride in his/her major, that pride isn’t demeaning. As an English major, I don’t look down on an HHP major because I’ve deemed the mind more important than the body. And as a theatre major, I don’t look down on an engineering major because I’ve deemed spoken words more important than written numbers. Instead, we befriend one another because we have a lot to offer, as our different experiences lend to lots of learning opportunities.

Sounds a lot like empathy, am I right?

Which sounds a lot like the second greatest commandment, am I right?

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

On an institutional level, Dordt is teaching me how to be more like Christ because, no matter which course I’m taking, the primary goal is to promote empathy. I haven’t even mentioned all the empathy-growing opportunities constantly afforded me outside of class – such as my residence life positions, my experiences church-hopping with friends, my one-on-one conversations with my professors in their offices, my time teaching in local middle school classrooms, my time eating dinner around my host family's table, etc. But those are for a future post, or perhaps they’re inherently woven into past posts because empathy is inherently woven into everything about the way Dordt does college.

Tonight, I’m just grateful for my coursework and how it’s taught me to care for others through empathy. And on this Sunday night, I’m looking forward to the week ahead and all the other chances I’ll have to empathize and be empathized with, seen and valued as an individual as I’m learning to see and value other individuals on this tight-knit campus.

 -- Annie

Thank the Cleaning Ladies, Too

Yesterday morning I picked up a shift at the information desk for a friend who is down with the flu. And when I say I picked up a shift that morning, I mean it. I literally picked up the morning shift. I know, I realize seven to nine really is not that bad, but when I am used to sleeping in every day until 7:30, a 6:20 alarm was not the most exciting thing to wake up to on a Monday morning.

On Tuesday’s and Friday’s, I am used to early mornings meandering my way around my room in the dark before morning practice, trying my best to not awaken my roommate. (I am forever thankful she has always shared a room with her sister, so she usually does a pretty good job of sleeping through it!) But typically after a morning practice, I get to return to my bed for a little nap before class. (I am also thankful for 9:00 and 9:25am’s this semester.) :) Knowing that would not be possible yesterday, I pulled myself down from my bunk and managed to grab my things and head to the bathroom.

As my eyes adjusted to the brightness, I realized only one of my wingmates, Cassie, was in the bathroom at this point. Unusual sight in the mornings for me, since I typically am in the bathroom at 7:45, when the 8:00am girls are on their way out to class, and the 9:00am’s are just getting up. I was thankful for a pleasant hello from Cassie this morning. As I began my morning ritual, she left, and I was alone in the bathroom.

After a few minutes of face washing, putting in my contact, and the usual, the door opened and in came the cleaning ladies. They are amazingly chipper in the mornings, and it is contagious. With big smiles, they offered me their, “Good morning!’s,” and got to work. They began sweeping and going through their supply closet, preparing to take care of all of our dirty paper towels, stray hair left in the showers, and water splashed on the mirrors. Definitely not the most glamorous job. Not even on the list of top 100 most glamorous jobs. But boy am I exceedingly thankful that they so willingly serve in this way. Some schools only get their bathrooms cleaned a few times a week, but not us. Nope, Judy and her rock star cleaning ladies get after our messes in our bathrooms five days a week. How blessed are we?!

I am so thankful for these humble servants, their big smiles, bright shirts, and chipper “Good morning!’s.” Especially on Monday’s when I am not particularly elated to be awake. :)


So You're Canadian, eh?

I’ll start with this. If you’ve never met me before, then I guarantee you that this is how our initial conversation will unfold.

“Hi, I’m Ian! What’s your name?”

“I’m (insert your name here). Where are you from?”

“Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.”

To alleviate any confusion, I usually say  my hometown, province, and country because there is also Ontario, California.

“Oh, so you’re Canadian, EH?”  *overly emphatic emphasis on the “eh” part*

“Mhm, yup, that’s right. I am Canadian…. How about yourself?”  *nods head in agreement*

So yeah, I have been given this wonderfully exciting opportunity to join the Dordt Life team! If you had asked me even three weeks ago if I knew that I’d be doing this, I’d tell you that I had no idea. With that, I’ll share with you a little bit about myself and what I love.

About myself: I am just over halfway through my sophomore year pursuing a degree in Mechatronic Engineering. I know it sounds complex, but if you remember can remember anything about my major, just think of Megatron from Transformers. As I said before, I’m from Sarnia, Ontario, located right below Lake Huron, about thirteen hours away from Dordt. Sarnia is a beautiful place, it really is. Being able to swim in a Great Lake two miles away is such a blessing, but quite frankly, an opportunity I’ve taken for granted. I am the youngest of my family with five older siblings who are all a great blessing to have. I lived on campus during the summer of 2016 to work on campus and as a result of living on campus for the last year and a half Dordt has become my home and Sarnia as my “home away from home”. Also, I chased after a bison, don’t ask me why. I had an adrenaline rush.

Two bisons graze on dry grass-weed, quite probably cousins to the bison I had chased

Music is a passion of mine. In my free time (whenever that is…), I produce my own music. Most of my songs are unfinished. You see, it is quite easy to start a song, but immensely difficult to finish one. I don't focus particularly on one genre, but try experiment with multiple genres ranging from EDM to ambient tracks to orchestral compositions. Secondly, I LOVE synthesizers. I am on a worship team at Dordt and I play the synthesizers. One of the reasons I love it so much is because it gives me the capacity for my creative juices to flow. Thirdly, I love coffee. During my freshman year, I would frequent The Fruited Plain, here in Sioux Center, about once a day to study, drinking on average 5 cups a day! I used to drink it as a Double Double (that’s two cream and two sugar in Canadian-speak) and I realized that that was a lot of cream and sugar. So, I began the trepidatious journey to black coffee. This journey has opened the world of my taste buds, being able to determine good coffee from bad coffee, differences in brewing processes, and whether the coffee tastes woody or fruity. Last, but not least, I love Jesus. I don’t know him too well and I don’t think anyone can, really, but I long to know him more and more each day.

So, as you go about your day and your life, I hope that the strength of Jesus be may be greater than the strength of your coffee, however which way it is brewed.


Bluewater Bridge, spanning the gap between Sarnia, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan

One Month In :)

A month in! I guess that’s what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. :) I just wanted to give a few updates on my new classes because I am adoring them.

Dordt does a fantastic job of dividing up the credit load between major specific courses and core courses. First semester I was taking mostly core courses, plus an introductory education class! These were wonderful because each individual class gave me a taste of various programs of study offered at Dordt from history to theology to HHP and more. I was inspired with the passion each of my professors had for their classes, and it motivated me greatly!

This semester is quite contrasted with last though, for good reason! Aside from one core class and Chorale, I am now in two more education classes plus a psychology class and a science lab, all directed towards my major. And boy is it SO exciting. :) Aside from the fact that I love my classes because I am learing incredibly applicable future-career shaping information, I am learning things such as motivation theories for students and the dire need to understand the differences in students’ backgrounds and how they affect their education.

Throughout the month of January, we did a project for EDUC 145 called “Cultural Cache.” Basically, it was a group project in which we had the opportunity to research a various cultural group in the United States, and what their cultural heritage is. It also provided us with an opportunity to conduct a personal interview with someone of this culture. This project opened my eyes to the stereotypes we tend to make of other cultures, and our discussions in class provided insight into how important it is to recognize students’ cultural backgrounds and appreciate why they are the way the are because of them.

This coming week in EDUC 165, we get to do practicum at a local school! I absolutely loved our practicum for EDUC 101 last semester because it gave me an opportunity to view the specific standards we were learning in class actually in a teacher-student setting. I am very much looking forward to spending more time a classroom this week! Dordt does such a fantastic job of that-getting students into classrooms right away in their first semester of the education program, and I am so thankful for it!!

All in all though, I am loving my classes right now because of the people. Huge shout out to Dordt for having small classes because thanks to my more major-specific classes this semester, I have already gotten to know more people, more personally through them! Education majors are fun people to hang out with, I’m serious. :) Needless to say, I am ecstatic about what the rest of the semester looks like. Bring on the projects and practicums! ;)

Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures from my practicums last semester, so the picture below is the class I got to spend my senior year of high school second semester interning in. :)



Back in Business

Well we’re back! Part of me feels like I’ve been gone for a decade, and part of me feels like I haven’t been gone at all. Since this was my first experience of Christmas break as a college student, I definitely enjoyed it as it was something new. Christmas break in high school meant a week and a half of no classes, but always a good amount of homework to do. Our first semester never ended until we were back in January for about two weeks. College Christmas break, on the other hand, is completely different. And boy is it amazing. Three and a half weeks of no classes, and looking forward to starting a new semester as well! And now here we are… I’m already one eighth of the way done with college. My brain doesn’t want to comprehend that. :)

Christmas break was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family, catch up with high school friends, worship, and work. Even though I live two minutes from Dordt, I admit I don’t get to see my family all that often. Sure, a few minutes here and there, but living on campus two minutes away from home is totally different than living at home.

People ask me all the time how much I go home during school, and to be honest, the answer is not a lot. I love home, don’t get me wrong! But between classes, clubs, dance team, voice lesson practice, friends, (and I can’t forget homework,) I don’t get home too often! Usually just long enough to pick up my laundry… I know, I know, my parents still do my laundry for me. :) Hey, what can I say? Perks of going to college close to home. :)

Living at home for Christmas break was really enjoyable. I can tell I haven’t spent as much time with my family this semester than I have before because I never got sick of them! Sorry, maybe that’s sad. :) But I mean, even with four Christmas parties, I really enjoyed every moment! It was so fun to just relax and play games with all my extended relatives. I played a lot of games and ate a lot of goodies… probably too many goodies. :) Good thing I live close to Dordt because I definitely was at the rec center about every day… much needed after all those Christmas meals and treats. :)

Honestly though, I wasn’t sure how I felt about moving back in today. After waking up to 9:30am alarms consistently over break, I’m wasn’t sure that I was ready for this kind of 7:30am commitment again! (Or even 5:30am if it’s a morning practice day…) :) But my mind changed as soon as I started hauling my (three full trips of) luggage back into my dorm. I had a little sense of the excitement I felt on move in day this past August. I’m so ready to be with my roommate again; she’s such a gem. I am stoked to finally practice with my team again. Below is a picture of us at state this past December. I don't love 6am practices, but they make them bearable. :) Super excited to get right back into it early tomorrow morning with them. And I cannot wait to start all new classes tomorrow, too! Freshman year part two, I think I’m ready for you. :)





It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

I'm a huge fan of all things Christmas...lights, music, cookies, you name it. Since I live on campus and am not home much, I was not sure how much "Christmas spirit" I was going to be able to live in this year. Well...Dordt surely did not disappoint, to say the least. In fact, I think Dordt loves Christmas as much as me!

Wreaths, lights, and trees galore, and even the clock tower was playing Christmas carols on the way to chapel yesterday. How neat is that?!

To spread Christmas cheer and a little joy, I wanted to share with you a mere piece of how festive campus is looking right now. Please enjoy these pictures of various Christmas decorations around campus-from the huge Christmas tree in the campus center, all the way down to pillows in my dorm! Can you find them all on campus? :)