Kurt Delos Trino

1 Week before Spring Break

It is so CLOSE, yet it is so far away. Spring break is the only thing that many people think about. Many people are in the process of planning what their break is going to be like, despite the busyness of their schedules. I am one of those people who is looking forward to taking a break from school. People say, do not let senioritis get to you. However, even with the constant reminders of not getting too focused on breaks or being tired, I feel like I look forward to going home for spring break more than class. What I've done before spring break to help fight through the senioritis and lack of motivation:

  1. Look at my planner of what I need to get done BEFORE spring break: I use my planner to focus on what is happening in the moment. Try not to worry about what I did not get done, but rather focus on what I am getting done at that moment
  2. Be in the present: I know and understand that by the end of May I am graduating. I need to be present with what is happening in front of me, or else I will miss the good parts of what is happening. 
  3. Use the break as a motivation: Yes it is farther than it is suppose to be or I want, but using the upcoming break as motivation is helpful to know that there is a light or an end. 

With some of these, I can say that I am very much excited to go HOME and enjoy what is to come!

Planning Rangeela

It has been about a week and half since Rangeela performance night happened. It was an exciting and bittersweet moment for the two-night performance. It was the last time my co-leaders and I were able to perform in Rangeela's Philippines Act. However, even with these emotions, there was so much excitement to perform for Calvin's community. 

What is Rangeela?

The word rangeela is Hindi for colorful. The idea of colorful truly defines what Rangeela is at Calvin. The different countries that international students are from are being represented in Rangeela. The different acts (or countries) show a part of their culture for the Calvin community to learn from. Rangeela is important for international students because it allows them to show their culture and also because Rangeela becomes a safe haven for them. It is a moment where they feel like people are more accepting and loving of who they are and their culture. This colorful celebration becomes a statement to address the cultural differences at Calvin College. 

Many people do not realize the importance of Rangeela to international students and to Calvin's community. It is a time where students can feel safe and have a moment to express their culture without any judgement. It is an important to show others that their culture is different. Rangeela is also a learning time for the performers who are not from that culture and also for the audience, as it is filled with story telling, dances, music and amazing costumes. In reality it is about showing someone's culture in a bold, exciting and powerful way. 

Leading while being GONE

Grace, me, Roselle 

Grace, me, Roselle 

Rangeela this year has been different in comparison to the past three years of Rangeela. This year, I got the chance to be co-leaders with my friends Grace Jung and Roselle Landoy. It was different for me being a leader while I was in Jamaica over interim. Most of the practices happened during interim. As a leader who was gone for most of interim, it was a little bit hard. I did not have Internet to continually communicate with the other leaders, but I trusted that everything was going to work fine for them. The other two amazing leaders were in charge of the choreography and other logistics involved in Rangeela. The truth: being gone was nice, but unhelpful. It was nice because I did not have to worry about the stress that was happening during practices and also I got small updates from Grace and Roselle. The hard, unhelpful part about being gone was when they tried to communicate to me, I was not always available during the time they need me. The Internet access in Jamaica was very limited. Even though the Internet access was limited, it was still good to hear from the both of them about the progress of the Philippines Act. 

Being back as a Leader

My return to the cold weather of Michigan brought in all the things I needed to get done while I was gone. As a leader, my focus for the Philippines act is costumes. I did not know what I was getting myself into when I signed up on making the costumes. Luckily, even though I was gone, Roselle took the initiative on choosing colors and choosing the fabric. I actually did not know what she was envisioning from the beginning, which made it hard at first. Although that was the case at first, once she talked me through what it should look like I knew what I needed to do. The reality of it, I only made the women's skirts, which is NOTHING in comparison to what Grace and Roselle had done for the Philippines Act. 

During practices, my role was figuring out the women's skirts. Because I was gone the whole interim, I did not have to worry about doing the dances that the members had to memorize. The first day of practice I was in was during interim break, no one was there. It was break so it was understandable. The bad thing about that day was the fact that the Rangeela committee was seeing the progress of the Philippines Act. During the "audition" (the time the Rangeela committee came to watch), the committee only saw lack of progress from the Philippines Act. That was not the case at all, because many of members were gone for break, as they should be. The other days of practices, I measured the girls to help form the costumes. I pretty much worked on the costumes until the week of Rangeela performance. It was probably the most stressful part about being a Rangeela leader. I didn't think I would be stressed about it. The part that matters the most was the fact that I got it done!

I cannot thank enough the co-leaders I had who worked so hard to make the Philippines Act amazing this year. They have been understanding about me being gone, but most importantly filled with so much heart and talent that truly showed a small glimpse of Filipino culture. The show would not be the same without their leadership! I love them with ALL my heart! Thank you Grace and Roselle.

And of course, the act members who made the Philippines Act filled with so much love and laughter truly helped me love Rangeela even more. They are so fun to be with and I enjoy being a big brother to many of the younger members. I LOVE them with all my heart as well! Thank you, Philippines Act! You made Rangeela one of a kind this year! 

Being in the WARMTH for INTERIM

One of my favorite parts about Calvin is interim.

Working on that Chaco tan.

Working on that Chaco tan.

What is Interim?

Calvin is one of the few schools that is set up to have an interim, or J-term. Interim happens in between the semesters. Calvin is set up as a 4-1-4 school, which means that 4 months of fall semester, 1 month for interim, and 4 months for spring semester. As most people would think that having an interim makes school the school year longer, I think it makes interim something to look forward to in the fall. Yes, we do end up with staying in school a little later than others, but interim is worth it. 

Interim is one of my favorite parts about Calvin. We, as students, get the chance to take a month off the rigorous courses at Calvin. During this time, many students get to take classes that they would not normally take. The classes offered aren't normally offered in the regular semesters, they are much better than most people think. Classes are usually either in the morning or in the afternoon because people who stay on campus are in class for three hours every day. When thinking about the time, three hours seems like a lot for one class, but the these classes are FUN!

One of the coolest parts about interim is that you get the chance to travel abroad. I love that there is a time go over interim. Some majors, like nursing, have a hard time fitting going abroad unless it's over interim. The interim abroad trips are an amazing opportunity to see the world and experience it.

Jamaica

This year I got the chance to go to Jamaica for interim. Jamaica interim with one of my favorite professors is a dream come true! I have been waiting since sophomore year to get the chance to travel to Jamaica and learn about the country. The trip is about Migration, Tourism and Development in Jamaica. 

Jamaica as a country is known for its people, culture and tourism. Tourism, considerably for reasons of economic development. It brings in revenue for the country and for both local and international business. I learned that being a tourist in countries like Jamaica is important, however, there is a better way of doing tourism. I cannot say that I know everything about being a tourist and making a better tourist, but I gained some knowledge about tourism. 

Being a tourist is not just traveling to different parts of Jamaica. It is about experiencing the country with the locals. What I mean is assimilating ourselves into what the locals are doing. Get yourself oriented to the places and its people because you will learn a lot, as I got that chance to do. Use local resources that will benefit the community and its nation. The money that we paid as tourists goes to the business owners (can be Jamaican or owned by someone else) and the economy as well. If there is not enough money circulation of Jamaican dollars, JMD becomes less useful. Lastly, enjoy the the culture and its food. Yes, it might be a little bit scary because you are not use to it. Even though that may be the case, it is something that people should experience and try to understand. Food in itself helps know a little more about the culture of the country. It is a huge part of the people and what they have to offer. 

What did we do in Jamaica

The purpose of going and learning about Jamaica focused A LOT on tourism. We visited places that are popular for the tourist. Visiting the tourist place is fun, but there is a purpose to it. We question the effects it has on the people of Jamaica and the economy of Jamaica. It was cool to see all these places and experience them, but part of me wanted to experience more of the culture and the people of Jamaica. 

We ended up in 4 different cities of Jamaica. In all the places, we went around the city we were staying in to see the famous places. Each town differed from each other. It was kind of like having their own personality as a city. The cities we went to were Kingston, Mandeville, Treasure Beach and Montego Bay. I think my favorite city was Treasure Beach. Treasure Beach was so close to the beach that we could walk there in five minutes or less. One of my favorite parts about Treasure Beach is the amount of local restaurants. The food was delicious that the owners were locals from Treasure Beach. It was a peaceful city and people were very friendly. Other than that, Jamaica was a very fun and chill place to be

Twins at Calvin? YES! Part 1

Don't you wish you had a twin at Calvin? Well I have friends that are twins, which is the closest thing I can get to having a twin! I decided it would be incredible to look at their perspective of being a twin at Calvin. I think it is interesting to know that even though they have similarities, their experiences differ from each other.

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Megumu (Meg) Jansen

Basic information

  • Sophomore, Class of 2019
  • Home: Japan
  • Major: Environmental Science 

It is amazing that Meg is an environmental science major for various reasons. As humans (most importantly, as Christians), we have a responsibility to take care of the planet that we live on and what God has given us. It is ultimately a gift from God. He mentioned a few points regarding why it is important to study environmental science: “I have interest in the issue to help solve issues like oil depletion. The world depends on oil and the use of the nonrenewable sources that impact the future of humanity.” With Meg’s comment, I felt convicted about the way we use our resources. Yes, we have a big dependence on these resources and we do have a responsibility to find a way to take care of the earth.

As of the moment, Meg is taking an introductory class that deals with his major. The class is an introduction to human impact on the environment. The class is about the laws that deal with major pollution and its history.

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Twin

In a school of 4,000 students, Meg has a unique experience. He is a twin at Calvin College. Both him and his twin are currently attending Calvin, which I think adds a layer to his life at Calvin.

Meg grew up as a missionary kid, mostly in Japan. Meg’s family would come back to America every once in a while. As kids, Meg and his twin would do everything together until elementary school.

Meg has an appreciation for having Manato (his twin) at Calvin. From the first year experience of having his twin around, it helped him transition with the change of coming from a different country. Transitions can be hard with adjusting to a new place, a new school and a new country. Even though there is some knowledge regarding the new place, it still differs from being able to experience and live in it.

Even with having his twin around, Meg still found it hard to adjust to the Calvin culture. It took him a while to transition to Calvin. And now, Meg and Manato are sophomores and see each other once in a while, now that both of them have adjusted to their own experiences at Calvin.

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Sophomore year

After all the hardships in the beginning of his time at Calvin, Meg now owns his experience his sophomore year. He's able to have a much better experience. He finally is able to own up to his experience through friendships, social life, a job and, of course, academics. Meg has his own group of friends that he can hang out with and be able to do fun activities with. He saw Ingrid Michaelson in person. He thought that Ingrid was funny and a good entertainer.

As many college students are, Meg is a student worker. He has two jobs that he works. He work for Johnny's and as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA). He loves working for both because it is easy and fun.

Calvin

After being able to see the different perspective of Meg’s life at Calvin, I’ve asked questions about what he thinks of Calvin. Meg grew up around the church, knowing that he somehow would end up in a Christian college. Calvin always seemed familiar for him as his church and school has some connection to Calvin as well. He ended the interview with, “it is the perfect size.”

 

Manato Jansen

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  • Sophomore, Class of 2019
  • Home: Japan
  • Major: Sociology with a minor in International Development Studies

“There was definitely a transition that I had to go through. I'm half American, and I thought I would be ready for life in the States because of my dad, but it turns out he gradually became more culturally Japanese over his 30 years in Japan. My main challenges in transitioning were getting used to the food, American small talk and just the general casual aspect of the culture, as opposed to Japanese culture, which has a lot more distinctions between formal and informal situations. I'd say having my twin brother at Calvin helped me in this transition, because I knew that there was always someone who understood my cultural context and the struggles that come with transitioning to the U.S. from where I grew up.”

 

Twins

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Manato mentioned that being a twin is pretty cool. He stated that one of the coolest parts about having a twin is having the twin telepathy, that for them is mainly about music. Even with the telepathy, it isn’t enough for other to differentiate him and his twin. The funny part about twins is how people confuse the twins from each other. I find this confusing, because I think Manato and Meg do not look like each other at all. Confusion from other people isn’t the only thing they share. Manato believes that Meg is the only one who understands him best.

Being twins at small college does not always mean that they are together all the time. In fact, they do not see each other as much this year. Manato lives in KE apartments while Meg lives in the dorms (BHT). They see each other when Manato decides to cook Japanese food for the both of them. I think it is pretty cool that they are able to do that, because being away from home can be really hard.

 

Mantrav.jpg

Who is Manato?

Twins are not the SAME people. Just like any other siblings, they have similarities—more similarities that others—but Manato differs from Meg in many ways. Manato loves to travel, listen to music and loves geography. He finds maps interesting and looks at maps for hours when he gets the chance. Both of them are musically talented, but Manato plays the trombone and the guitar.

What do you think about Calvin?

Calvin’s been great. I couldn’t be happier to be here. I like the campus, the community, the profs and my friends here. I was considering Hope College since my dad went to Western Seminary and my mom taught Japanese at Hope, but I’m glad I came here!

My favorite part of the dorms was the community and friends I made there. I was on 3vR last year, and hanging out in the lobby was awesome. I also met a lot of cool people there and I really enjoyed having them nearby all the time. The apartments are a lot less social and more independent in that aspect.

I would say come to Calvin for sure! As an international student I felt very welcomed, and International Passport was a great transition process into Calvin. The profs are great, and the campus is beautiful. You’ll love it here!
— Manato
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Dance Guild!

One of my favorite parts about Calvin? The different events held for the students, staff and the public to enjoy. Come to think of it, I thought that going to Christian school would be very boring and awful. BUT, Calvin changed my perspective about Christian school. Calvin, in reality, is not like any other Christian school in a VERY GOOD way! Calvin has events that entertain us through the evening. One of those events is Dance Guild. 

What is Dance Guild?

Dance Guild is one of the most popular events and organizations at Calvin. Dance Guild is arranged by student leaders who organize the performance and assure that the event happens. The Dance Guild leadership chooses different students to be choreographers for performance night. Leadership chooses from students who have ideas of their choreography and Dance Guild levels. I admire all these choreographers who put in their vision. The dances are different genres, from hip hop to lyrical. The different levels are guild (beginner), advanced (intermediate) and audition (experienced). Students who are interested in specific dances and levels have to go to the time of that dance's practice to learn the dance. For advanced and audition levels, you have to audition to get in, because they are higher level dances. Dance Guild helps students to be better dancers, because they have beginner to advanced levels! It doesn't matter if you are a good dancer or not! Just enjoy the dance. 

After the whole semester of practicing, the dancers get to perform to an audience. There are two show nights: Friday and Saturday. It happens for both fall and spring semesters, but they are different dances. This semester's was last weekend!

Choreographer Life

This is Thomas. (Facebook)

This is Thomas. (Facebook)

This semester, I got the chance to be a co-choreographer with one of my friends, Thomas. Thomas is one of the best dancers at Calvin, and creative as well. It was such a privilege to create dance moves and to teach dance moves to the dancers. Our life as choreographers was crazy busy. We had to schedule meeting time to figure out choreography: Wednesday 5–6 p.m. and Thursday 10–11:15 a.m. During those times, we made sure our music and choreography worked out as a whole and, of course, that it looked good. As the semester went on, the stress level increased because performance week was nearing. There were times when Thomas and I just looked up videos to get inspiration. There were other times when we just wanted to QUIT! And, of course, there were times when we yelled at each other. Even so, I still respect and LOVE my friend Thomas. We got through it and performed a great show last weekend. I wouldn't have it any other way! I am glad we agreed to be co-choreographers. 

Thomas and me.

Thomas and me.

Thomas and I got the chance to be choreographers to 8 amazing guys! The dance was advanced guys' hip hop. Thomas did most of the teaching with the choreography, because I am not a very good at teaching. I was better with choreography and vision of the whole dance. Even with the differences, we meshed well! The guys we worked with were some of the best people I've encountered. They were fun and very patient with both Thomas and me. Thomas and I were still adding things till the very night of dress rehearsals (which is unheard of). Anyways, these guys were funny, patient, kind and filled with joy throughout the semester. Getting the chance to know these guys was probably one of my favorite parts of my semester. Dancing became a happy place for me because of my newly formed friendships and my work with a friend. I learned to just enjoy the dance with the guys, because it was all about having fun and looking good. As a choreographer, when your dancers look good and do the dance well, you did a great job. I did not want to be the center of attention because it was about my dancers at the end of the show. That's what matters! Of course it all worked out: the dancers wowed the audience and me! What an unforgettable semester with these guys! 

We've got each others' backs! 

We've got each others' backs! 

Practice Dance

Performance Night

Why I came to Calvin College?

Decisions

As I look back at my senior year of high school (four years ago), the process of the college decision was very hard and important. A decision that ultimately would shape who I am and what I will become. It was a decision that determines what the future will be like. However, this decision wasn't just about me, but rather a part of glorifying and following God. God's plan mattered the most with finding the right college for me. Yes, the decision I made was partially about me, but a big part of it was agreeing to God's plan. With this, any BIG life decisions I make or you make are NOT easy at all. These are the decisions that we think about, pray about, sleep on, ask for advice and even repeat. After all these steps, it may come to a point where the decision to find the right college to go to is harder. However, after a time, the decisions will become easier, because that's where your decision and God's plan line up. So learn to trust in God and your ability to know where you feel like you see yourself and you feel like you belong. 

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.
— Anne Frank
Class of 2013

Class of 2013

Me and my friends.

Me and my friends.

Senior Year

Senior year was probably my favorite year in high school. I was ready to get out of high school, and the school was ready to ship me out to the real world. My classes went smoother than junior year because of how easy it was. Senior year felt like a breeze and everything was going right, but then everything came back and hit me. I realize even with the easy schedule and life as a SENIOR high school student, I was not on the right track of where I could go and where my life would lead to. Many people were thinking about college, but I was not thinking about college at all. My parents had a different plan for me, which I did not necessarily agree with. With this I decided to continue with senior year until I figured out what was next for me. 

Faith  

Youth group friends!

Youth group friends!

Where was my faith during this time of confusion and decision-making? My faith was finally being built, but beforehand my faith was not my own. My faith was my parents' faith, which is not a bad thing at all. It just wasn't me. Luckily, God wants to use us in different ways and pulled me back into the church. Here goes the story:

One my best friends, Caylee, invited me to her church. At first I was very hesitant—it was a different denomination, I hadn't been in church for a long time, and I did not like some of the Christians at my school (they were "pretend" Christians). Caylee kept reminding me about going to church on Saturday. I did not want to go at all, but she was very persistent. She pretty much was going to keep asking until I said yes. So I did...

Caylee's mom, me and Caylee

Caylee's mom, me and Caylee

On Sunday, Caylee and her parents decided to pick me up from my house. We got to the church and it was literally two minutes away from my home! When we arrived at the church, Caylee and I had two choices of either going to the regular service or go to youth group. I said to her, "Let's try the youth service, so we can be with the people in our age group." We arrived at the youth group, and of course it was the most awkward encounter I've had. The other kids were with their cliques and stared at me and my friend for the longest time. We did not have a place to sit at all, because everyone had their spot already. Caylee and I sat in the corner to listen in to the preaching. The preaching was one of the most incredible Godly experience I've had. 

Ashley Cooper (youth pastor) was doing the series "I am _____." The first time Caylee and I joined youth group, her focus was "I am Blessed." During this service, God used her preaching to speak to me. The encounter I had with God seemed like God was speaking directly to me through her. It felt like no one else was in the room but the three of us. With this, God was sending me a message of coming back to his church as his servant. It was that moment that I decided to live my life for Christ, not because of anyone else, but because I experienced his goodness. After that, I decided to continue growing in my faith and to keep going to that church. 

Ashley Cooper (youth pastor)

Ashley Cooper (youth pastor)

Finding Calvin

Because I wanted to live my life for Christ, I decided that going to a public university was not the choice for me. I decided that in order for me to continually serve Christ and grow in my faith, I needed to go to a Christian school. I went on google and looked up Christian Colleges in America. Low and behold, Calvin was the first result in the search. I looked up online to see what Calvin stands for. I applied and I got in. I visited Calvin during an invitation to a scholarship for the Perkins Fellows Leadership program. After a couple weeks, I got a letter that I got the scholarship. After a couple months, I decided that I was going to Calvin. I knew from my visit and from God that I was going to Calvin, which was hard, because I did not know anyone at all. I still had faith God will come through. 

Church internship

Church internship

Coming to Calvin...

On my way!!!!

On my way!!!!

It was two weeks before going to orientation that my parents told me I could not go to Calvin. My parents could not afford Calvin at all. I told them that everything was lined up for me. I had enough scholarships and loans. Everything will be okay. When they told me about this, my heart was so broken. I felt like everything that was going right, was actually going wrong. Even though my parents said I couldn't go, I still felt like God was calling me to be a student at Calvin. I told them I could take in loans and I would go to Calvin. They still said NO! It was hard for me (especially in my culture) to go against what my parents want and follow God's voice/plan. In the Filipino culture, parents and elders are always right, no matter what, because it's a form of showing respect to them. However, God was bigger and God had a plan for me. I decided to talk to my youth pastor about my situation and she told me that prayer is my answer. I prayed and prayed to God. He kept calling me to go to Calvin. The crazy thing about all of these things is that I only had two days until I needed to be at Calvin for orientation. Two days before leaving Colorado, my parents and I had a talked (I prayed to God to reveal himself to my parents) about going to Calvin. God showed up and it was not a fight between my parents, but only a matter of them listening to what I wanted to do and why I was going to Calvin. After a long time of fighting and crying, God had his way with all of us. God won! After two days of packing and preparing, I arrived at Calvin as a first-year student to live in 2nd Huizenga. 

My desk as a first-year student

My desk as a first-year student

Lesson to be learned....

I know and understand that not everyone will have a crazy story like me of why I came to Calvin, but it is my story. My story is different from other people's, and that is totally okay. The important part of this story is listening to God through all these decisions. It is important that we take our time, because God has a plan, and it is a good plan. God might tell you differently of where you can be for college, and that is okay. Calvin is a great place, and it is where I was called to go, but learn to pray and listen to where God is calling you. 

A conversation with Luke Sturgis!

Why talk to Luke?

It was a privilege, getting the chance to get to know Luke. I did not know Luke before I met with him at the Fish House over a cup of tea. (I know, it is supposed to be a cup of coffee, but I don't drink coffee.) Before meeting him, all I knew was that he was from Germany and went to Black Forest Academy. Other than those two facts about him, I knew nothing. Most people would feel weird having a conversation with someone they have never met, however, this gave me a chance to know someone and understand why people come to Calvin. I know my story, but everyone's story differs as to why they choose to come to Calvin. Luke's story of coming to Calvin is an important story that needed to be heard. I wanted to talk to Luke about his story and his first half of the semester experience at Calvin.

Luke's story is one of the many stories at Calvin, but he tells a story that fits small pieces of Calvin students and prospective students. 

This is Luke.

Luke Sturgis, just chillin' on a tree. (Photo: Luke Sturgis)

Luke Sturgis, just chillin' on a tree. (Photo: Luke Sturgis)

Basic information!

Luke is a first-year student at Calvin College majoring in art education with a focus in digital communications. He is involved on his floor (2nd Beets) as a SET (social events team) member and is a member of the chess club.

As a SET member, he is able to use his social skills to meet other people on different floors, connect with other students from different floors and organize events for the floor. One of the main parts about living in the dorms deals with living with a roommate and being under the leadership of an RA (Luke's resident assistant: Caleb Gellat).

Luke is an international student from Germany and at Calvin is a member of ISAC (international student association committee) as well. ISAC is an organization that focuses on engaging international students to allow for a community to thrive at Calvin.

Beets-Veenstra dorm retreat (Photo: Luke Sturgis)

Beets-Veenstra dorm retreat (Photo: Luke Sturgis)

Life on 2nd Beets

  • Roommate situation: Luke mentioned that he couldn't have a better roommate. His roommate is a military kid from Germany and is very laid back, which is fortunate in his case, since Luke is laid back as well. With both of their personalities, Luke and his roommate get along and enjoy life at Calvin. His roommate is also a photographer and just enjoys being around people. With this, Luke is able to enjoy life at Calvin with his roommate without any complications. Calvin has done a good job with Luke's rooming pair. 
  • Life as a SET member and with his RA: As a SET member, he gets the chance to connect people on his floor with other floors to grow in community, which can be really fun! During my conversation with Luke he mentioned a good floor date for him so far: 2nd Beets went to Robinette's with 3rd Heyns. It was a first-time experience for him to go apple picking. Along with the first time experience of apple picking, Luke mentioned that the girls from 3rd Heyns were really fun and easy to talk to. Even with successful events, there are events that are not as good, which can be disappointing. Luke mentioned a floor event that did not go as well during ArtPrize. With ArtPrize it can be really hard, because people tend to stick together rather than getting the chance to connect with each other. Luke did say even though it wasn't great as a floor event, it was still fun to see ArtPrize with friends! Lastly, being a SET member deals with working with his RA. Luke works with Caleb, which can be intimidating at times, however, Luke mentions that Caleb makes it really easy for him to be a SET member! In my opinion, it is always fun to work with easy RAs and it makes you want to do your job better! (Side note: SET is a volunteer leadership position that you take on for the year.)

WHY choose Calvin?

As I have mentioned above, Luke is an international student from Germany and went to an international school. Many people wonder how an international student decided to come to Calvin out of the all colleges in America, and even the world. I mean there is no DOUBT that Calvin is the one of the best schools in America. I mean, Calvin is tied number one with Taylor University as the Best College in the Midwest! Calvin is very BEAUTIFUL!

Seminary Pond (Photo: Luke Sturgis)

Seminary Pond (Photo: Luke Sturgis)

Luke's story of deciding on Calvin is such a God-trusting story. Many people wanted Luke to go to school in the west, which is not a bad idea. However, it was not necessarily what Luke wanted, rather it is people's choice for him.

Even with this, God turned everything around for him. Some current students that were Black Forest Academy alumni mentioned how much they love Calvin, and Luke was convinced to just apply. Luke did not want to go to Calvin in the beginning, but there were so many nudges from God that continually led him to increase interest to consider Calvin as a college for him. God provided the financial means for him to be able to attend Calvin. As for Luke, who never got the chance to visit Calvin and was not going to Calvin, it is evident that God wanted him at Calvin College.

It took A LOT of TRUST for Luke to get to Calvin, and now he believes that he made the right decision. Another good about how Luke ended up to Calvin was the consistency of being personal as the school reached out to him. It made him feel like he had worth and a reason why Calvin was for him. (Thank you TARA, the international admissions counselor, and of course the students who recommended Luke to Calvin).

One last part about Calvin that helped with his decision is the international aspect. He got the chance to go to International Passport to engage with other students who are in the same position as him. 

Advice for prospective students

You don’t really know where you are from. Many people are American, but haven’t lived there in a long time. Calvin knows where to put you, understands living overseas and need of sense of community with other students like ISAC.
— Luke Sturgis
  • Calvin has an AMAZING sports facility.
  • Calvin has a great international student organization or community.

Luke believes that college is your own experience. He wants to express to the students that it is important to choose a college that fits you and is essentially a place where you can benefit. The college ultimately becomes your second home for the next for years, so pick a college that is FOR YOU, not for other people. Pick a college that will make you happy, like Luke did!

Fall at Calvin (Photo: Luke Sturgis)

Fall at Calvin (Photo: Luke Sturgis)

Busy part 2: Just breathe!

Being busy takes over many of our lives, including mine: three jobs, senior nursing student, dance guild and a member of different clubs and organizations. At times when we don't realize how busy we are, we forget to take a moment. We always just go go go! NON-STOP! I am probably one of the people who struggles with this, because I feel like sitting still and not doing anything is a waste of time. The truth is, I am not the only one who is in this boat. I feel like every time I accomplish a part of my task, I end up with 5 more things to add to my list. How is it possible that when I check off something in my list, then 5 things get added to my to-do list? In a sense, being busy is a good thing. It keeps us in tune with what is going on in our surroundings and, of course, our majors. There is a good busy and a bad busy. We just need to learn to get to the good busy. I know for a fact that this year is learning the GOOD busy. 

What can we do when we are just so busy with life? BREATHE! Take a moment, stop and just breathe. One of my favorite songs by Johnny Diaz says:

It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say just
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
— Johnny Diaz, "Breathe"

We forget to breathe. We forget to take a moment and stop because we are so caught up with work work work. We forget that we are limited. I forget myself. I get to a point where I feel like the oxygen around me is slowly going out. I feel the my neck closing up and I just can't breathe. I feel that I am in an ocean getting pulled down to drown ... However, this year I am really focusing on what it means to be busy and take care of my faith, myself and others. One of those ways is being able to breathe. I don't want to be in a place where all I feel like I'm drowning all the time. That is not a good feeling at all. 

As I mention, for this year I am working hard to take a break and breathe. One of the ways I cope with this crazy busy life is getting in my car, listen to worship music and "Breathe" by Johnny Diaz!

So if you feel like busy is a fear of yours about college, don't worry, because everyone is going through it. You just need find one the best coping ways for you, whether that is breathing, listening to worship music or sitting in silence with God. So go ahead, listen to Johnny Diaz!

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say just
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Wanna make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear You say just
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to take it in fill your lungs
The Peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
Let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe
Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Just breathe
— "Breathe" by Johnny Diaz

ArtPrize

What is ARTPRIZE?

ArtPrize is considerably one of my favorite parts about Grand Rapids (GR). I love the atmosphere it gives to the city. I feel so alive during the two weeks it is happening. Everyone gets excited about ArtPrize. ArtPrize is only two weeks once a year, which is probably one of the reasons why I love it! This year it is from September 26–October 9, but it changes all the time (usually about the same time of the year).

ArtPrize is essentially the biggest art competition in the world. Artists from different parts of the world come to show off their art pieces and compete in different categories. The categories are 2D, 3D, installation and time-based. Because this is art, there different ways art is being expressed, which is amazing. It gives people a chance to understand art in many different forms. The prizes for ArtPrize amount to more than $500,000 in total that is chosen both by the public and an expert jury to assure that there are different ways to win. I think it is wonderful that we as the public eye are given the chance to vote. One of the parts of art is for people to see, which is hard a times. Many people will agree or disagree with the pieces, but that is the beauty of being able to healthily debate on an art piece

Every year is different, but one of my favorite pictures of ArtPrize from last year is the one below! Many people enjoyed this specific art piece, as well getting the chance to participate as part of the art!

This year I got the chance to go again to ArtPrize and honestly I wasn't necessarily happy with what I saw. I will say that I did not see the whole of ArtPrize, however, the part I saw was not the most exciting nor the best. I do not know if the part of ArtPrize I saw was just lacking of experienced art, or if the weather just kind of took a turn against seeing art. I mean it was raining and kind of later in the day, which lessened what I was able to see. Even with many factors that result into why ArtPrize felt like it was lacking, my friends and I were able to see some amazing art pieces. In the end I will say that ArtPrize is a huge part of Grand Rapids and a huge part of Calvin College experience. 

I want to reiterate, however, that this was one of the thousand experiences with ArtPrize. My experience differs from my friends' experiences, but in the end it is a wonderful experience and a privilege to see the different art pieces. It really is incredible to see the different talents and visions people are wanting to show to the public. 

Busy... Isn't EVERYONE busy (1)

But aren't we all busy?

The answer is YES. We are all considerably busy in different ways. As a student, I can't even fathom how busy I am, HOWEVER, this does not mean that other people are far less busy than I am. Everyone is busy one way or the other. As for me, I am a senior nursing student, which by itself is a crazy vigorous schedule. I have Dance Guild, a couple of jobs and recently joined the men's volleyball team! A question that people asked me: "How do you survive?" OR "How are you even alive?" The answer to that question is, I do not know at all! I don't know how I am doing all these things without having to expect MYSELF to NOT fall apart. I am not falling apart, because, to an extent, being busy is my choice. I cannot control what assignments I get and have to get done, because they are given by my professors. Another aspect to the busyness of life are the extracurricular activities that I can do and have chosen to do. I have the choice to lessen my plate, however, I seem to have added more than my plate can handle. I know that since this is my last year, I am at the point where I feel I have to do EVERYTHING! The question is, do I really have to do all these things? 

Busyness has been a struggle for me. There are aspects of being busy that have been understandable. I know that everyone is busy, but at the same time, are we using busy as to not talk to people or meet up with people? Have we taken the idea of being busy to glorify ourselves and our importance? There are moments where I question myself with the busyness of life. I have been challenged this year to understand busyness, but realizing that it should not be glorified or define me being put together or doing well. I am challenged to answer the question of how I am doing by being real, like saying, "I am well, but things have been intense." 

I do not want to undermine that people are as busy as a I am, if not busier. I need to realize that we all have different busyness in life. One good part about knowing that everyone is busy is if you want to meet with people, it is important to really take the time to ask them their availability rather than when they are free. People will always say they do not have any free time, but they will work out in their crazy life when they are available when asked. 

Everyone is busy. Being busy for many people provides a motivation to do well, and it becomes a part of their structures. I have challenged myself this semester that even if I am busy, I need to really be INTENTIONAL with my time, people, classes and of course with God. I need to work on spending time with friends, because it isn't healthy to just do homework all the time. I need to find a room to find a healthy balance between being busy and enjoying life. 

As for now, I want to leave at a point knowing that everyone is busy. I just need to take everything with a grain of salt to accept it and work with it.

I want to continually explore the Christian aspect of being busy. I want to understand what it means to be busy from other Christians and what ways we can be better with being less busy.

Catching some Zzzzzz's.....

Sleep is a part of the human condition. We need to sleep! Many of us, especially college students, think and believe that we don't need any sleep. The reality of our lives is that we as human beings are limited. God is the only one who is limitless! As a college student, some of my biggest questions are "How much sleep should I get?" or "Should I take a nap today?" Taking a nap in the middle of the day can be restful and helpful, but it can also be harmful. Since time is limited every day, napping can take away the time from studying. Napping can bring in more energy once you've woken up. Today, taking a nap was one of my dilemmas, as tomorrow I will be taking my first test for this year! I, of course, ended up taking a 45-minute nap! It was helpful for me because I am able to work right after taking a nap. I've come to realize that it is okay to take nap if it will be helpful afterwards. I just need to make sure that I do not over-nap. So how long should a person nap?

Whether you are a cat person or a dog person, try taking a nap!

Of course, not all of us can look cute while taking a nap, but it is still okay to take a nap!

In the end, knowing the limits and what is beneficial is important to the body and the brain. If it comes down to asking "should I take a nap," just say YES! After taking a nap, be productive and use that boost of energy that you've just gained! Now, go back to studying! It will be a constant struggle to think about napping or not, but JUST DO IT! I did!

Resources at Calvin College

Use the Resources!

Within the past three years at Calvin, I couldn't believe the amount of resources they provide for the students. Anything I needed, there was a place for it. Of course, as a private Christian school, we have academic services and the campus ministries, yet Calvin does not stop there! 

Each student at Calvin have their personal favorite resources, but here are my top go-to resources:

  1. Multicultural Student Develop Office (MSDO)
    1. MSDO strives to welcome the student body of Calvin and teach about understanding cultures and backgrounds to feel a sense of belonging at Calvin's campus. MSDO boldly speaks out about the racial tensions within Calvin and across America's nation to intentionally find racial reconciliation as Christians. 
    2. I enjoy the people that work and the students that hang out in the lounge inside the office. The students have a great time and speaks out truth to each other.
    3. Learn more at calvin.edu/msdo/index.html.
  2. Career Center
    1. The career center helps student understand their right vocations by taking a test that fits their personality best. It is important to know that if a student does not know their major, the career center helps with guiding a possible suitable path for those students. The career center integrates resources for students who know their majors by helping them find internships throughout the year and even the summer. One of my favorite part about the career center is their mock interview that prepares you for a real interview! It is incredible!
    2. Learn more at calvin.edu/offices-services/career-center/.
  3. Professors!
    1. I cannot stress enough how important it is to utilize the professors at Calvin as resources. I believe they are the forefront of the resources to each student. They are the direct line for everything. The professors are the ones who help with grades and future careers as well. The professors essentially become one of your recommenders when it comes to getting a job! They are on our side! They will help with what they can and really want each student to succeed. It is amazing how some professors take the extra mile for students to succeed and to get out into the community as one of the best qualified people for jobs or grad school.

USE the RESOURCES! The ones above aren't the only ones at Calvin. There are many resources that can be utilize to grow as students and future leaders of the real world.

Welcome BACK!

School is BACK!!!!

Welcome back Calvin STUDENTS and FRIENDS! 

The moment we have been waiting for is finally here. It's school. 

Some of you actually are may be dreading school, but some of you are very excited of what school is going to look like. Whatever position you are, I hope that you will find some enjoyment with going to back to school. Because the reality of it all is that school is BACK! One of the fascinating things about school coming back is that people always have mixed feeling about going back to school.

  1. Excitement about seeing friends and what the year will bring.
  2. Nervousness with regard to what the year will bring.
  3. First-year students: Both feelings because of being in a new environment

I personally was very excited to go back to school. I was ready for what the LAST year of college was going to bring, even though there are some parts of SENIOR YEAR that are nerve-racking. I am going to learn more about nursing and how I can be a better nurse. I am in the position of living with my friends in the campus apartments. Even though I had all these excitements with me and ahead of me, there isn't any doubts of anxiousness. I mean, it is my LAST year of CALVIN. I am going to be graduating this year. I am not ready for the workload that will be coming my way by any means, because the truth of the matter: It will not be easy at all. All I know is that school is definitely back with all the beautiful smiles and people I have seen and interacted with. Calvin College is full blast this year with putting their mission of: 

Calvin College equips students to think deeply,
to act justly,
and to live wholeheartedly

as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. 

(This includes all the workload and fun that is coming this year.)

As the year is back, there is also a new start for many people. The first year students are about to head into their first of many things at Calvin, which is amazing! I want to send a warm welcome to the class of 2020! The place you are in when it comes to learning about yourself, others and God is ahead of you. I hope that the opportunities of what lies ahead aren't wasted, but taken advantage of. The hardships and busyness of life will come, but remember that everyone else around you is going through it. Remember that fun will be there and take advantage of it as well!

Welcome Class of 2020!

The weather is NOT Frightful!

Finally!

When I think of the weather, I think of the change of weather here in Michigan. I pretty much think that the weather changes like I drink water, which is pretty constant! The weather happens to change all the time, but there are moments when it is consistent or at least trying to pray for consistency! Today and yesterday has been an amazing day and moment for the students at Calvin. The weather was actually nice! It was nice to get the chance to enjoy the weather in the midst of busyness and craziness of life! The sun was out, so everyone was out. Everyone hammocks, runs, plays frisbee or sits on the grass of commons lawn to get some vitamin D. It is unbelievable how everyone becomes much more active when the sun is out! The downfall of it is that people would rather be outside than do their homework! People find themselves a much harder time to enjoy the weather because of the amount of homework and projects they have to do. Or, people find it hard to do homework because they would rather enjoy the weather. All I know is that at this time of the year, struggles of motivation are a lot harder! No matter how hard we have to work, all I can say is that finally the good weather is here! 

 

The Realest of Calvin

It is time to talk about REAL struggles or challenges of being a student like me! 

As you have read my adventures throughout this year, I mentioned the many ways Calvin has been a wonderful experience. All of those experience are REAL and TRUE, but let us not forget that even with the most amazing time here, I do have my own struggles. I do have my own challenges that come my way and I think that it is important to see and recognize that. 

From Calvin Nursing Department website.

From Calvin Nursing Department website.

  1. School: I know that my purpose here at Calvin is to learn how I can be a better nurse in the future. Honestly, I do love being able to learn about nursing and learn the ways a Christian nurse can flourish. The reality of it: nursing school is hard in many ways. I am challenged with the amount of information I take in and have to remember. I have to find the time to really focus and understand all the lectures and readings I do. All the information is very important for nursing, but sometimes it can be challenging to understand what all the information mean. Along with the challenge, I enjoy learning about the ways I can be a really good nurse and fully take the steps God is calling me to take. Even with these challenges, I am amazed with the way God uses me with my patients and friends surrounding me through nursing. I know that I am suppose to be a nurse, but nursing school is HARD!
  2. Being a Resident Assistant is HARD: RA is a fun and important job. I do appreciate and love being an RA because of all the ways I can pour into my residents and ways I can walk along side them. It is an important work to do, but it is not an easy job to have. I think the struggles of taking all the pain and burdens from my residents have been one of the ways I am frustrated. I cannot always be there and cannot be the one who takes those sorrows away. God is the only one who can, but I want to be part of that process. It is hard to know that I cannot always be part of that process and I do not necessarily have the capability to do so. Along with this, there are some things I cannot say nor talk about to anyone. It is so hard to process all the information that has happened because I simply cannot say anything to anyone. As these challenges have come my way as an RA, I know that I have learned so much. 
  3. TIME: Time goes and will not stop. I am organized and love making sure I am on schedule with what is happening with my life, but I simply cannot have enough time for everything. I do not have the time to go out and enjoy time with friends. I do not have time for myself. I do not have time to talk to everyone. Time is hard, but it is a matter of finding time to make time. I push myself to make time for friends, for homework, and for myself. I have to make time for those. I have to prioritize. 

All of these are some of the challenges I have as a student, but in reality we all have obstacles that we must go through. The question of it is how are you overcoming these challenges and what have you learned from these experience? I know that many of you are making your decisions about college, and Calvin is in your radar. I am not telling you about my struggles about Calvin to scare you, but rather to help you understand that school will be challenging in a way that you are truly learning. Your RAs are humans too and are students too. Time is hard, but it is a matter of using it well. The challenges I am going through is not because Calvin is not a good school, it is because CALVIN is a GREAT school that challenges me, and I need that to be better in the future.