Living Lent: Hope

“Blessed are they who hope in the Lord!”  As we repeated this between refrains during the responsorial psalm in Mass yesterday, I said it with practiced ease.  I have grown up hearing and believing these words for my entire life.  When I woke up this morning with them still on my mind, however, I realized that lately I haven’t believed them enough.

They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.
[Isaiah 40:31]

If you have lived on this earth for any amount of time, you–like me–have no doubt experienced stress, heartache, worry, grief, exhaustion, or any combination thereof.  If you are an Erskine student, you have perhaps experienced one or some of these in the past week, and likely will in the next week and a half until Spring Break–otherwise known as MIDTERM TIME.

stress... As this particular verse from Isaiah reminds us, placing our hope in the Lord renews our strength! I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty weary from my busy schedule and long “to do” list right about now.  As I started writing this post, I tried to think about the last time I thought about hope.  I certainly hope for many things in my own life: love, acceptance, forgiveness, an A on a test, being accepted to my ideal PhD program, healing, focus…that list could go on all day.  I have so many hopes for my family and friends, and for all of those hurting and suffering in the world.  But do I place my hope in the Lord?  God knows every intention and desire of my heart, yet (as I wrote about yesterday) He appreciates thoughtfulness.  Prayer is thoughtful. Prayer is thought-full.  Prayer is hopeful, hope-filled.  And my faith is the source of all of my hope.  I can’t remember the last time I actually pondered the idea; so today I have decided to reflect on how hope has helped me and sustained me, and why Lent is such a great time to refocus on it.

You changed my mourning into dancing;
you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.
With my whole being I sing endless praise to you.
O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
[Psalm 30:12-13]

I have an internship at Patrick B. Harris Psychiatric Hospital in Anderson, SC, this semester.  Though I want to talk more about this experience at a later date, this experience is worth mentioning in this context as well.  Working at the hospital, I interact with and hear stories every day from patients who have suffered from major depression.  I have heard stories of despair, emptiness, isolation, and suicide attempts.  These stories are a daily reminder of my own struggle with depression and anxiety my sophomore year at Erskine.  As a Christian who desires to work in the mental health field I actually thank God now for that experience, miserable though it was.

Some Christians have this misconception that mental illnesses, particularly depression & anxiety, happen to people when their faith is not strong enough, when they are not praying hard enough, or something along those lines.  I would like to go on the record as saying that that is completely 110% untrue.  The most difficult part of my depression was that I did have strong faith, yet I could no longer feel God’s presence and guidance in my life as I used to.  My faith never left me, though; on the contrary, it was my faith in the Lord that kept me going and gave me hope.  Eventually, as the Psalm above says, God changed my mourning into dancing, my depression into joy.  And now I have an understanding and empathy for the patients and for friends of mine going through a similar dark time.  I thank God for my suffering AND my health.

My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope.
God alone is my rock and my salvation, my secure height; I shall not fall.
My safety and glory are with God, my strong rock and refuge.
[Psalm 62:6-8]

My biggest worry right now, I think, is where I will be going to graduate school next year.  I have been accepted to a Masters program but was rejected from 3 PhD programs and have yet to hear from 2 others.  I am trying to take this not-hearing as a good sign; yet I have been worrying and stressing and waking up at night since December 1st, wondering whether any of the programs will accept me.  Yesterday and today have been a welcome and much-needed reminder to myself to hope and trust in the Lord.  I hope for another offer of admission, but more than that I hope to be where God can use me and shape me best to do His work.  I may be stressed about my school work and busy schedule, but I choose this Lent season to actively place my hope in the Lord.

What is your greatest hope right now?  In what ways has God taught you the value of hope?  How do you remind yourself to have hope when life seems overwhelming?

This post was longer than I intended it to be when I began writing, but thank you for sticking with me and for taking the time to read it.  You are in my prayers and on God’s mind.  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit [Romans 15:13].

God bless you and keep you,
Christine

Living Lent: Ash Wednesday

+:-)     How cool is it that there is a ready-made emoticon for Ash Wednesday? (This twenty-first century student appreciates it at least.)

Today begins Lent, the season of preparation for Holy Week and the Easter season.  Erskine bonus: being surrounded by Christians means that I don’t often need to explain what Lent is, or why I currently have ashes on my forehead.  [Another Erskine bonus: being able to go to church with your professors!]  Many students here choose to give something up or make some sort of extra effort for the next 40 days, and I love hearing how creative they are.  It is a reminder of something my priest said in Mass this morning: God appreciates our thoughtfulness and our efforts, not perfection.  In my personal life, I can say that I seldom think about God from that perspective–I have a guilty conscience and ruminate on the countless ways I mess up and fail.  But God is our Father, our friend, our greatest supporter, and the truest and greatest giver of love.  As much as He does for us every second, He notices and appreciates gestures of kindness and thoughtfulness!

Though I am choosing to make sacrifices and/or changes in my personal life, I am not sharing the majority of those in the blog.  I am, however, undertaking a sort of project on the blog for Lent and I would love for you to follow along and be involved.  The series will be loosely based on Love Life Live Lent, and  I got the idea from a friend in St Andrews who is doing it this year for the second time.

I have discussed the idea with the communications department here (which supports this blog) and they are graciously providing me with support and guidance.  I will post updates daily (or as often as possible) about my projects, discussions, questions, and thoughts.  You will also get to read perspectives and thoughts from other members of the Erskine community, which may be a welcome change from my voice.  One of my intents of my Life Lent project is to encourage thought and discussion in our community, which includes you!  I welcome and ask for feedback, questions, and ideas.  I also want to preface by reiterating that I am Catholic, so many posts will likely include things about my personal faith perspective and traditions.  There will be many others, though.

This post may seem rather vague, but I want there to be some element of surprise regarding what I choose to do each day.  Though I may discuss personal projects I undertake or struggles I have, I have no intention of making this project about me.  I  hope to focus on community, faith, and perspective.  Please comment or contact me with any input, insight, or ideas you may have.

I will close today with a brief explanation of why Catholics (and others) receive ashes on this day each year.

The Christian tradition of the dies cinerum (day of ashes) began in the 800s AD but ashes have been used for repentance and penance for thousands of years in myriad cultures.  The ashes we use are the ashes of the palms we burn on Palm Sunday, sprinkled with holy water and blessed by four traditional prayers.  In the Old Testament, ashes are an outward sign of repentance (example: Daniel 9:3-6).  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a time of repentance, assessment, and a new beginning.  We have all heard something along the lines of, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19), or “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”  Ashes are a sign of physical death; our physical bodies may die, and we intend to die to our worldly desires, but we have the hope and faith of eternal life with God.

I am so grateful for a schedule that allowed me time to make it to Mass today!

I am so grateful for a schedule that allowed me time to make it to Mass today!

“A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me.”
[Psalm 51:10-11]

God bless you and keep you,
Christine

snowpocalypse: Erskine edition

In case you live under a rock, or on the opposite side of the world, or in the tropics, let me be the first to tell you that the southeastern United States got snow dumped on us this past week.   Actually, I think I read somewhere that 49 of the 50 states in the Union have snow on the ground.  How often does that happen??

We had classes cancelled Wednesday, Thursday, AND Friday this week.  Yes, that means I am currently just past halfway through an unexpected 5-day weekend.  Some of us have been grateful for the extra time to work on papers or study for postponed tests.  Some of us have spent our days [and nights] having snowball fights and building igloos (no, really. there’s a picture further on).  Some of us have discovered how difficult it is to walk gracefully–and walk without slipping–on icy snow.  Some of us experienced our first EVER snow day (poor Floridians!).  Some of us discovered the magic of snow cream.  And ALL of us have enjoyed the extra sleep and fun time with our friends!  Below are some photos I took this week.

outside of Moffatt Dining Hall

outside of Moffatt Dining Hall

someone built a snowman under the Towers! (Erskine Building and Philo Hall in the background)

someone built a snowman under the Towers! (Erskine Building and Philo Hall in the background)

looking out of Carnegie over the parking lot and softball field

looking out of Carnegie over the parking lot and softball field

looking out of my ice-covered car window

looking out of my ice-covered car window

obligatory snow selfie, because I adore snow.

obligatory snow selfie, because I adore snow.

frozen fountain!

frozen fountain!

the Engler house on Pedestrian Highway looking even prettier than usual

the Engler house on Pedestrian Highway looking even prettier than usual

Since many of you have probably not been at Erskine when there was snow on the ground (this is only my 2nd experience in my 4 years), and since I have a lot of friends who are talented photographers, I thought I would share Erskine snow days through the eyes of my fellow students.  There is a lot of scrolling, but I promise it’s worth it.  Thank you so much to all of my friends who have agreed to let me peruse their Facebook and Instagram accounts and include their photos in this post. [Click on any photo for a larger version.]

what a stylish snowman! photo from Autumn Horne '17

what a stylish snowman! photo from Autumn Horne ’17

roommates having fun in the snow! Cali Colbert & Jordan Joseph, both c/o '17

roommates having fun in the snow! Cali Colbert & Jordan Joseph, both c/o ’17

looking toward Belk Hall (background) with Bowie Arts Center to the right. photo by Ashley Strickland '17

looking toward Belk Hall (background) with Bowie Arts Center to the right. photo by Ashley Strickland ’17

friends in the snow! Danica Newton & Ross McEwan, both c/o '17

friends in the snow! Danica Newton & Ross McEwan, both c/o ’17

ready to go sledding! Norma Deluna & Clarissa Stiving, both c/o '17

ready to go sledding! Norma Deluna & Clarissa Stiving, both c/o ’17

I've always loved this tree; Belk Hall is to the right. photo by Sami Maree '14

I’ve always loved this tree; Belk Hall is to the right. photo by Sami Maree ’14

during and before the snow; photo by Sami Maree '14

during and before the snow; photo by Sami Maree ’14

Erskine Building, photo by Sarah Baroody '16

Erskine Building, photo by Sarah Baroody ’16

photo by Sarah Baroody '16

photo by Sarah Baroody ’16

Erskine bushes outside of the library, photo from Sarah Baroody '16

Erskine bushes outside of the library, photo from Sarah Baroody ’16

Someone gave the statue some hipster accessories a few weeks ago. photo from Tegan Van Rijn '17

Someone gave the statue some hipster accessories a few weeks ago. photo from Tegan Van Rijn ’17

photo from Tegan Van Rijn '17

photo from Tegan Van Rijn ’17

looking out of the dorm window; photo by Mika Goyette '15

looking out of the dorm window; photo by Mika Goyette ’15

Pete Savarese (’15) braved the snow in crutches (and shorts!) to spend some more time on the soccer field

Sally Caldwell & Clara Formby, both c/o '16

Sally Caldwell & Clara Formby, both c/o ’16

photo from Sally Caldwell,'16

photo from Sally Caldwell,’16

Galloway in the snow; photo by Corey Marks '16

Galloway in the snow; photo by Corey Marks ’16

photo by Corey Marks '16

photo by Corey Marks ’16

a group of "Erskimos" spent hours building an igloo on The Circle! Over 30 people, including the Due West police, helped out. photo from Jeanne Bell

a group of “Erskimos” spent hours building an igloo on The Circle! Over 30 people, including the Due West police, helped out. photo from Jeanne Bell

photo by Miranda Guthrie '16

photo by Miranda Guthrie ’16

the Erskine Building, photo from Tegan Van Rijn '17

the Erskine Building, photo from Tegan Van Rijn ’17

Alumni Gate, photo by Sami Maree '14

Alumni Gate, photo by Sami Maree ’14

Euphie Hall, photo by Sami Maree '14

Euphie Hall, photo by Sami Maree ’14

Anna Raquel  Robison & Danica Newton, both c/o '17

Anna Raquel Robison & Danica Newton, both c/o ’17

looking toward Memorial Hall; photo from Danica Newton '17

looking toward Memorial Hall; photo from Danica Newton ’17

Norma Deluna ('17) catching snowflakes

Norma Deluna (’17) catching snowflakes

looking across the mall toward Watkins Student Center, photo from Sarah Baroody '16

looking across the mall toward Watkins Student Center, photo from Sarah Baroody ’16

Erskine’s Renaissance man

[note: this and a previous post are articles written a couple of months ago for the Erskine Communications Office.]

When I was asked  to write about my professors and the impact they have made on me, many names flashed through my mind but the first and strongest was Dr. Elsner, one of my psychology professors.  I have had the honor of knowing him for almost 5 years now since I met him as a junior in high school when visiting my sister at Erskine.  Ijust completed my fourth class with him and I loved every minute (almost–his quizzes are never much fun, but they challenge us!).  I also work with him as the psychology lab manager and through the psychology society.  His classes and the work and research I have done as a result have prepared me for graduate school more than anything else.

Dr. Elsner is the truest living example of a Renaissance man that I have ever had the privilege to meet.  He has over a dozen advanced degrees, is a Cordon Bleu chef and a Scout Master, and is an artist of various mediums.  The walls of the psychology lobby in the Erskine building are dotted with about twenty of his paintings and drawings.  I have had stimulating conversations and discussions with Dr. Elsner about all sorts of topics—theology, literature, dance, cars, neuroscience, and beyond—which always leave me feeling impressed with his wealth of knowledge and woeful of mine.  Rather than making me feel ignorant and lacking, though, he encourages me in my capabilities and potential and truly encourages me to make the most of my talents and abilities.

Everyone associated with Erskine is familiar with our mission statement, and we frequently hear about engaging students and developing as whole persons in our Christ-centered environment.  One of the things that has always struck me most about Dr. Elsner, in addition to his intelligence and talent, is how he earnestly seeks to know his students, colleagues, and friends as whole persons.  Even meeting him as a junior in high school, his words to me showed an honest desire to know who I am past my academic and extracurricular achievements and how he could best help me fulfill God’s calling for my life.  I study and work in the psychology lab or lobby nearly every day, and I see this same quality in every conversation I have heard between him and his students and colleagues.  He will graciously take the time to talk to, and counsel, any soul that knocks on his door–and always with a smile.  He has attended more student sporting events and performances than probably any other student or faculty member at Erskine.  I think that if I succeeded in investing as much time as he does into people, I would never have time to sleep.  He is truly one of the most honest examples of how to live by true Christian standards that I know.

Dr. Elsner is my professor, my advisor, my boss, and my friend.  He has been a literal shoulder to cry on through some of the hardest struggles of my life and one of my biggest cheerleaders at performances.  I know that compliments from him are sincere and that critiques are encouragement to perform to my full potential.  He has helped me find and develop strengths that I didn’t know I have, encouraged me in making difficult moral decisions, and offered a safe haven when I was struggling with depression and anxiety.  Aside from my family, no one has had a greater or more positive impact on my life.  Words are truly insufficient to express my gratitude to him.

Erskine blessings

Merry Christmas everyone!  Today is born our Savior!  I pray that the holiday season finds you and your family healthy, happy, and enjoying the many blessings God has bestowed upon you.  I know that, personally, I am so grateful for surviving the last month of school, including a rather stressful exam week.

In honor of the Christmas season, I wanted to resume my blog posts by writing about some of the greatest blessings that God has given me through Erskine.  I do apologise in advance: I have no photos to do this post justice, so my ramblings will have to suffice.  I will make up for it in future posts.  So…(in no particular order) here we go!

I am grateful that, as a Christian college, Erskine brings us all together through our shared faith in so many ways: college chapel services; prayer before classes, meetings, and performances; various organizations and clubs; small-groups and Bible studies; impromptu gatherings in the residence halls; and so many others.

I am grateful for being able to live in Carnegie Hall for 3 of my 4 years at Erskine.  As a freshman, Ms Ruth and my SLAs were always supportive and helpful no matter the emergency (of both the small and large varieties).  I met so many great girls my first year that I still study, laugh, and cry with.  As an upperclassmen, I’ve had the ability to serve as a Student Life Assistant for 3 years (this is my second in Carnegie).  I have an even greater appreciation for my awesome freshman year now that I understand more fully what goes on behind the scenes, and I love being able to watch out for and get to know my girls.  And, lets’ be honest: Carnegie is probably the prettiest building on Erskine’s campus. Who wouldn’t love living in a beautiful hundred-year-old hall?

I am grateful for Ms Ruth, the RD in Carnegie for the past 20 years.  This woman wears a whole lot of hats, most of which she wears quietly.  She has the best stories, knows absolutely everything about Erskine, and has lived a terribly exciting life.  I have learned so much from her and she truly has the best advice.  As an added bonus, Ms Ruth makes sure that the halls of Carnegie are truly decked with boughs of holly, lights, trees, and bows.

I am grateful for every professor I have had the opportunity to learn from.  They challenge me academically and personally–often intertwining–and have truly helped me become a better, stronger, more well-rounded individual.  I am confident that they have prepared me fully for graduate school and beyond.  I know my professors not just as teachers, but as individuals.  I know their backgrounds, their families, and their hobbies.  I cannot think of another college where you would form this type of relationship with one professor, let alone most or all of them.  Erskine often talks about “thriving,” and my professors are the reason I thrive here.

I am grateful that Erskine gave me the opportunity to study abroad at the University of St Andrews.  All of my scholarships transferred, making it very affordable for me to spend this past spring there.  I was more than ready to get there and heartbroken to return home.  St Andrews was so much fun and a priceless experience that I will never forget.  It is hard to be so far away from all of the friends I made there; but on the plus side, I have friends to visit all over the world now!

I am grateful for the psychology department.  At many colleges and universities, psychology can be the “easy” major.  Not here.  I have definitely worked hard for my As and I am amazed sometimes at both the number of pages I have read over the past 3.5 years and how much I have learned.  I know that learning is the point of college, but we as students (and by “we,” I definitely refer at least to myself) tend to get caught up in grades and GPA.  Dr Elsner, for example, always laughs when we come to his office stressing about grades.  As he and the other professors have gradually gotten us to accept, it’s most important to focus on the work and the learning; the grades are secondary.  As a psychology major, I have gotten to write countless papers, learn statistics software,  conduct and present original research, collaborate with other students, participate in a summer research internship, be accepted to intern at a mental hospital this spring, and become the psychology lab manager.  Graduate school? Bring it on.

I am grateful for the music department.  Despite not majoring or minoring in music, I have a music scholarship and get to take voice lessons and sing with the Choraleers.  I’ve also been a member of the Chamber Choir and Bella Voce and performed in opera workshops and various other performances over the past several years.  It is definitely a blessing to practice and perform with such talented individuals, and the faculty … talented doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Some of my favorite college memories relate to Choraleers retreats and tours.  I have grown as a musician and as a Christian and I know my experiences with the department will serve me well in future ministry and life in general.

Continuing with the arts, I am grateful to be an active member of Erskine’s theatre department.  Actually, we technically aren’t even a department, but that certainly does not stop us from acting up a storm!  As a member of Alpha Psi Omega, I get to help make the magic happen both on the stage and behind the scenes.  I had to take a break from the improv this group this past semester, but I hope to finish out my time at Erskine as an active member again this spring.  My fellow Thespians are, quite frankly, talented. And did I mention funny?  They are definitely both.  In sum, if you have never seen any music or theatre performances at Erskine, you are missing out.  We’d love to see you in the audience!

I am grateful for my friends.  Late night studying, paper writing, rehearsing, procrastinating, finding amusement in Due West, 2AM excursions to IHOP, cooking together, and so much laughter …  I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

I could probably easily spend another thousand words  writing about how great Erskine is and how God has blessed me in my time there, but my mom is about to take the baked ziti out of the oven and I am too excited to eat a big chunk of it.  I hope your stomach is as happy as mine is about to be.

I pray that your heart may be content and that this season will bring you happiness and peace.  Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Erskine professors are the best.

Part of what makes Erskine so special–part of that unique feeling on campus that no one can quite explain–is the faculty.  Every professor at Erskine could most likely make more money and gain more prestige working elsewhere but they choose to be here.  I know many instances of professors leaving higher-paying jobs (or turning down enticing offers) elsewhere to be here.  This is so striking because it shows just how much these individuals truly care about us, their students.

While at Erskine, I have had the most contact with the psychology, foreign language, and music departments.  Professors in almost every department, though, have deeply impacted me in both similar and varying ways.  I have never seen a teacher as truly excited about math as Dr. Gorka and I have also had the benefit of his excellent advising regarding study abroad.  I have learned–and retained–more world history in the past few years than I have the rest of my life combined.  Dr. Granados’ classes have both frustrated me and massively improved my ability to communicate in Spanish, as well as fostered a genuine interest in Spanish literature.  I talk to her as a professor and as a friend.  Our current acting president, Dr. Christie, has also been my acting director and my English teacher.  I know of no one else who could make the book Moby Dick as interesting as he did in his American Romanticism course.

I have spent hundreds of hours in the music building singing as part of a choral ensemble, in voice lessons, in practice rooms, and as a performer in many concerts and musical productions; and  I have attended many other musical performances by amateurs and professionals.  Thanks to Erskine’s music department, I have had a music scholarship for four years even though I am not a major or minor.  Singing with the Choraleers for four years, as well as Chamber Singers and Bella Voce, has afforded me the opportunity to sing and worship at dozens of churches around the southeastern United States.  Some of my favorite memories of college were made during Choraleers retreats or trips.  Singing sacred music with a choir and conductor who actually believe the words we are singing is a far more powerful experience than singing the same music with a secular ensemble.  And Dr. Nabholz’s daily witty comments and retorts never fail to make us laugh.

The professors in the psychology department have been my encouragement, my biggest supporters, and sometimes my biggest frustrations.  Drs. Elsner, Showalter, Sniteman, and now Dr. Van Scoy are truly some of my favorite people on campus.  They have celebrated my achievements with me, given me countless words of motivation and advice, and helped me find my footing when I stumble.  I have read thousands of pages and spent countless hours studying for this department, but it is [almost] never boring.  These professors see potential in me that I never would have found or believed on my own, and they are part of the reason that I consider the psychology lobby/lab my second home on campus.  If I get accepted into a graduate program, and survive, it will be due to the thorough preparation they have given me.

I know of few universities where professor can connect your name to your face, let alone know your family, hometown, major, and campus involvement.  I not only learn from these extremely intelligent individuals, I eat meals with them, know their families, and have called them at home or on their cell phone.  They remember to ask about my health when I’ve been ill or hurt or how a major assignment or exam turned out when I’ve been stressed.  More than a couple of professors kept up with me and my travels and experiences abroad via Facebook and I don’t find that weird at all.  Erskine may have more than its fair share of stellar professors, but I would not change that for anything.

homecoming 2013

Erskine’s Homecoming, the last of my undergraduate career, was 26 October.  I do not think that finality sank in until just now, as I write this.   Does anyone know where the homecoming tradition came from?  I was on Skype with Aaron, my best friend from St Andrews, the morning of homecoming and in the process of telling him about the day’s events, he asked me what homecoming is. 

How do you describe such an American tradition to one who has never experienced it?  Apparently I did a sufficient job, but he still laughed at our odd ways here on the other side of the Pond.  That was an interesting cultural realisation for me: something which I have always sort of innately understood is an alien concept to most of the world.  But I digress.

This year, Erskine combined Homecoming with our Fall Fest–organised and sponsored by the Erskine Entertainment Board–and parent’s day.  Between the families, friends, students, faculty, and alumni present, it was the busiest I have ever seen the campus.  Breaking character for a day, this quiet little academic village was buzzing from dawn well past dusk.  Also a big deal this year: 2014 marks the 175th anniversary of Erskine College, in case you didn’t know.  On the 24th, we were lucky enough to get to hear about life as a member of the centennial class from Mrs. Dot Simpson Wise, Erskine class of 1939, in a special convocation ceremony.  After the interview, Erskine gave us free 175th anniversary t-shirts, which you will see in a few of the photos below.  Anyone who has been to college understands the excitement of a free t-shirt.  I think I could go a month wearing only Erskine shirts.  This is not a complaint.

classic car, classic shoes, classic Erskine. and the free t-shirt. I love my college. (and my mum-she let me borrow her old saddle shoes!)

this year’s homecoming theme was 1950s; classic car, classic shoes, classic Erskine. and a free t-shirt. I love my college. (and my mum–she let me borrow her old saddle shoes!)  [photo by Evan Gursky]

Traditionally, Erskine holds an event called Fleet-o-Rama the night before.  This involves music, food (often including fire for roasting marshmallows! s’mores, anyone?), float decorating, and other activities.  Despite the chilly weather, it was a fantastic time.

The day itself featured the homecoming parade, an auction, performances by the Choraleers and Gospel Choir, an athletic banquet, exhibition games by various athletic teams, the soccer games and homecoming court, and the concert that evening.  If you are anything like me, you get tired just reading that sentence.  I think we all slept well that night!  The concert featured a band called Air Dubai, preceded by Shane Sniteman, the talented son of one of our professors.

I love seeing the school spirit and pride that everyone shows on days like this.  As stressed out as we may get sometimes, and despite the frustrations that inevitably arise sometimes being in such a small community, I really do love this place and the people here.  I cannot think of another college that supports every student the way Erskine does.  Few outside of Due West know what in the world a “Flying Fleet” is, yet we are fiercely proud of it.

I took very few photos over the weekend, but my talented fellow student, Katie Putnam, took many for the school.  I share some of them below.  There are many more on the Erskine Flickr page.  Enjoy!

The Choraleers singing, directed by the wonderful Dr. Nabholz. It's never easy to sing outside but we were wonderful. Not that I am biased or anything. (I am the one on the front row who isn't wearing jeans like everyone else.)

The Choraleers singing, directed by the wonderful Dr. Nabholz. It’s never easy to sing outside but we were wonderful. Not that I am biased or anything. (I am the one on the front row who isn’t wearing jeans like everyone else.)

At the banquet, six Erskine alumni were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame

At the banquet, six Erskine alumni were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame

The freshmen court: Kristen Craft, Amanda Strickland, and Anna Raquel Robinson.

The freshmen court: Kristen Craft, Amanda Strickland, and Anna Raquel Robinson.

The sophomore court: Hayley Rogers, Miranda Guthrie, and Elinor Griffin.

The sophomore court: Hayley Rogers, Miranda Guthrie, and Elinor Griffin.

The junior court: Rachel Talbot, Mika Goyette, and Chelsea Ball.

The junior court: Rachel Talbot, Mika Goyette, and Chelsea Ball.

The senior court: Cate Cardinale, Corin Hallman, Leslie McGill, and April Horne.

The senior court: Cate Cardinale, Corin Hallman, Leslie McGill, and April Horne.

Cate Cardinale was crowned the 2013 homecoming queen. To her left and right are student body VP Hannah Collins and student body President Daniel Prohaska.

Cate Cardinale was crowned the 2013 homecoming queen. To her left and right are student body VP Hannah Collins and student body President Daniel Prohaska.

Shane Sniteman opening for Air Dubai

Shane Sniteman opening for Air Dubai

The lead singer of Air Dubai singing his heart out

The lead singer of Air Dubai singing his heart out