30 Hour Famine

Love HungryHave you ever caught yourself saying, “I’m starving?”

I definitely have and until a couple of weekends ago I didn’t realize the harsh reality for people who truly are starving, not just in other countries, but in my very own community. So, I decided to challenge myself and help raise money for kids who truly are starving by participating in a 30 Hour Famine with some fellow students.

We started the famine off with an opening session at the local church. We watched a couple of promo videos about some general facts about hunger and also prayed over the weekend. The week has been kind of stressful because of tests and such, but I knew that God has something in store for me that weekend. I asked the Lord to take me out of my comfort zone that weekend and I really don’t think I fully realized what exactly I was getting into, but I asked and boy did I receive.

That weekend I ended up spending my time with some people at my school that I don’t often hang out with. And you know what? That was one of the best weekends I’ve had at Erskine in a while. For a moment in time, my eyes were opened to a group of people who are completely different from me, but very funny and cool. After spending time playing pool and Uno and just chilling with them, I came to an even bigger realization about the people around me – Erskine is filled with people who on the surface seem to have it all together, but who are really struggling with stuff on the inside.

It doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not these people are Christians or not, because we all have struggles. It had more to do with the fact that sometimes as Christians we tend to only hang around those that we’re comfortable around, such as other Christians. And sometimes as Christians, we like to keep our problems under wraps in fear that our witness will be messed up. Why do we even think that?! How silly is it that we believe more people will come to Christ by our “perfect” witness, when in fact, some people are turned off to Christianity because they don’t think they can ever reach the level of perfection that some Christians seem to portray. Authenticity is what we should be displaying.

It’s more of a testament to our faith when we go through struggles and come out of them triumphant simply because we were real with God, real with ourselves, and real with others.

I asked God to take me out of my comfort zone and He used that to teach me an important lesson in loving others. Erskine is small…very small. lol. But it’s small size allows students to truly get to know each other – if they are willing to branch out and meet people. I tend to stick around the same crew and I’m not saying that it’s not important to surround yourself with a good group of Christian friends, but I am saying that there are times when God calls you to reach out to people who don’t think like you, don’t talk like you, and don’t believe the same things you do, and when He calls, I pray that you will listen.

Athenian Formal

I know the whole Disney princess thing is cliche, but I really did feel like Cinderella the weekend of the Athenian formal.

I went from this:

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to this:

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all because of my wonderful fairy godmother for the night: Hannah Collins.

I was locked up in my dorm room, not because of my evil stepmother and stepsisters, but because of homework and the fact that I didn’t like anything in my closet. So to the rescue, comes my wonderful soul sista (we sing together…think Mariah and Whitney. haha), Hannah Collins, to help me pick out an outfit. She searched through my closet and said, “Seriously Schadell, do you not own anything of color?” Sadly, most of my closet is black, white, and gray. ha. She waved her magic wand and this fabulous blue strapless dress appeared…Ok, so more like she kept looking through  my closet until she discovered the dress on my roommate’s side of the closet. lol. She proceeded to fix up my hair and get me all coordinated with accessories and then I was off to the ball in a horse driven carriage…Ok, so more like I was off to a formal at this beautiful old house in a 15 passenger van.

The point is I had a great time getting ready and a great time at the formal as well. Dancing the night away with friends was a great way to stop thinking about school and just focus on having some fun with friends.

Athenian Formal

Athenian Formal

Small Group – An Erskine Tradition

Many students at Erskine participate in some sort of small group, whether bible study or fellowship or both.  These groups are a great way for us to take a break from our studies and hectic schedules, and to relax and refocus.

Besides the typical bible study, there is a tradition of small groups based on four principles, summarized by the acronym PASS: Physical, Academic, Spiritual, Social.  The idea is that these are four of the most important areas of life that we have to keep in balance, especially as college students; small groups use this acronym to structure their weeks of activities.  For example, in my own experience we did a scavenger hunt for a physical activity, played Apples to Apples for an academic activity, had a discussion based on a scripture passage for a spiritual activity, and made a meal together for a social activity.

My freshman year I was in a women’s small group, and it was a great experience.  Having that fellowship with other girls led to some great conversations, from silly to serious, and the way we all supported each other really impacted me.  This year I asked my friend Victoria if she would like to start one with me, and so we have.  We decided to make the group centered on Bible study, though we do try to incorporate PASS – even if it is just by making muffins together to eat during our discussion, as we did for the last meeting.

The theme of our small group is body image.  We decided that because this is a common problem that virtually every woman struggles with, it would be a relevant topic for a woman’s small group.  Through the guidance of two books, we are approaching the struggle through a Christian perspective and with lots of discussion to understand and work through some of it.  There are usually eight to ten of us every meeting, and though we only meet for an hour every other week, it has been a great group so far – diverse, and all great young women.  There is something beautiful about a gathering of sisters in Christ, discussing, praying, and helping each other in our struggles, and I am thankful for all of them.

Experience Erskine

Finishing up Athenian Rush week and heading into Presidential Scholarship weekend, life seemed to be flying by pretty quickly. Racing from one class to the next and completing one assignment after another, I couldn’t wait for some free time over the weekend. However, this time of relaxation came much sooner than I expected as the student I was hosting went with me to Java City for a smoothie early Friday evening.

Upon entering the the student center, we encountered one of my friends as well as another prospective student playing guitar in the sitting area. After ordering, we joined the two and began to sing along jokingly for entertainment. Who knew that this would catch on and we would be joined by several others who enjoyed the guys’ entertainment in the coffee house atmosphere? We ended up spending over two hours listening to them play and singing along.

Bobby Kyle and Gabe playing in Java City

Bobby Kyle and Gabe playing in Java City

Soon after, we made the classic college trip to IHOP for midnight pancakes and fellowship. After one of our friends leaned against the emergency door and set the alarms in the restaurant off, I realized it was officially the end of a crazy week. I greatly enjoyed meeting with these new prospective students and discussing with them the highlights of Erskine that aren’t often shown in a pamphlet. College life and the uniqueness of this college are unlike anything you have ever experienced before and, it takes more than facts and statistics to understand it. Erskine cannot be explained, it must be experienced.

This weekend Erskine will be holding that event fondly known as the Spring Presidential Scholarship Competition…which, as I recall, caused great fear and trembling in my household when I was preparing to attend the competition two years ago. Although the weekend is inevitably a rather stressful one for prospective students who are trying to determine where they’ll make their home for the next four years, the two-day event is a lot of fun…for both prospective students and for Erskine students.

Ever since first semester freshman year, I’ve looked forward to scholarship weekends as a fun-filled and wonderful opportunity to get to know some of the visitors who will become my classmates at Erskine in the coming semester. And although such weekends often fall amidst the busyness of exams and other commitments, I’ve never regretted time spent talking late into the night with prospective students. Even when students don’t end up choosing Erskine, I get to have some awesome conversations; and when visiting students do choose Erskine, they often end up becoming amazing, dear friends the next year. Definitely a fun and worthwhile way to spend a Friday and Saturday evening!

Another thing I love about scholarship weekends is the way in which putting on an event causes the Erskine community to come together. Certainly, community isn’t something that simply “happens” on occasion…but as everyone grows busy with individual studies, activities, and events,Lovely ladies with Schadell after last year's pageantthe atmosphere of close-knit community that makes Erskine so unique sometimes fades into the background. The opportunity to welcome visitors, though, brings us together in a very tangible way which extends far beyond those of us who are actively helping run the event. Most everyone goes out of their way to be friendly and welcoming…and that, I remember, was something that struck me about Erskine when I first visited almost three years ago.

What other exciting events are taking place this weekend? Well, the campus-wide talent show dubbed “Erskine’s Got Talent” will be held Friday night, and the Miss Erskine Pageant (held by the Athenians to raise funds for Relay for Life) will be on Saturday. And after seeing a preview of some of the awesome talents that are going to be on display, I have no doubt that these will be fun events for the whole campus!

Let’s Get FIT!!

fruitSustainability, eco-friendly environment, and healthier food choices have been added to the Erskine community attributes over the past year. One more healthy addition to campus is Fit4Spring!! The 8 week program is geared towards improving the health of the Erskine community. Structured by team motivation of 2-5 people per team to keep each other accountable and to give support for maximum health results!! Not only are we looking to increase in physical activity, but healthy eating. We posted “Fit4Spring Approved” tags to enhance the healthy living experience. After the first week of the program, the weight rooms and gyms have been packed with people eager to extend those New Year’s Resolutions that have may have fizzled out, m
aintain their exercise habits or start the journey to healthy lifestyle. Everyone is on a “runner’s high”; I hope it doesn’t crash!
Team work starts now!!

Team work starts now!!

What is my part in this healthy lifestyle promoting program?? I am the director! I never thought I could manage an operation like Fit4Spring. But, thanks to teamwork (Fit4Spring committee and sponsors, I’m talking about you!!) and hard work with the goal of giving the Erskine community the resources to succeed for their health’s sake! It has been a learning experience. I have gained skills that will help me in my future, whether it is the work force or graduate school. I also learned the hard way that I need 6-8 hours of sleep every night; I need my brain to function! Another beneficial experience is the team work aspect. I have been part of a team for over half of my life. However, I learned even more about teamwork and distribution of tasks to people’s strengths though the preparation for Fit4Spring. I can’t do it all; I need my peers!

I get to compete too. I am part of “Team Richard Simmons” crew 🙂 We are all excited! We are going to ‘Party off the Pounds!!’ Richard Simmons ‘Party off the Pounds!’

Now that I am the public eye of Fit4Spring, I have to dot my i’s and cross my t’s. So, that means no more sweets and must work out at least once a day. But most importantly, being an example of living an overall healthy lifestyle that is tangible for others to reach is key. This is actually really good for me. I thoroughly enjoy my chocolate, sweet breads and ice cream, but everyone is keeping me accountable. People might be sneaking a peek at my plate in the cafeteria, checking to see if I have sweat beads running down my face in the weight room and not being out and about too late at night. Not only is this program good for the rest of Erskine, but me as well!

Changes

It’s amazing how much our personalities change in college. In high school, I wasn’t that girl who had a ton of girl friends and had sleepovers all the time. Rather, I was that girl whose friends mostly revolved around her sports teams during the week, and her books during the weekend. However, coming to college changed that for me, as I learned how to exist in a community with people other than myself.

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The idea of moving into a dorm with sixty other girls pretty much freaked me out. Having only had one sister to fight over things with, I couldn’t imagine getting along with all of these people. However,  now, I spend time wondering what I am going to do when I am living alone and don’t have someone to check my outfit, help me zip up my dress, or just to come by and drag me away from the computer for a while. I attribute much of this personality change to college itself, but also a portion of it to my beautiful Athenian sisters.

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This is one of those points in the semester when my literary society spends a great deal of time together. Planning rush, hosting a formal, and preparing for the pageant allows us a chance to grow in our sisterhood and our faith. Although this past week was filled with two papers, tests, and a thousand meetings, I wouldn’t trade those days or nights spent with those beautiful women for anything. I say all of this to encourage you reading, whether you are 14 or 42, to go out and spend time with your friends. As much as you may feel you have to do or as inconvenient as it may seem sometimes, it is those moments spent with each other that teaches us the most!

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