What I Did Not Like About #ItIsTimeAU

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The back story is long. If you have no idea of what I’m talking about, you can read the context to this post here, here, here, or here.

If you know a thing or two about what happened, let’s jump right in.

Here are 4 things that I didn’t like about #ItIsTimeAU ( and by #ItIsTimeAU I mean my overall sentiments on both the initial video as well as the formal response ).

1. How it shakes my understanding of communication.

My knee-jerk reaction to the initial video was that it may not have followed due process. Many questions arose: “What is the policy for notifying grievances at AU? Was a mass social media post lacking context the greatest of methods? “Why was there….”  And so on.

Many of them were answered. Some, better than others.

That being said, I believe the video successfully did one thing:  jump-start a previously dormant, yet utterly important, conversation through an intentionally provocative platform. It got people talking. It got people thinking.

I’ve come to realize that what I don’t like about the video is not necessarily the mode nor the motivation of the video as much as how it shakes my perception of effective communication. 

Can I critique the means while conceding its effectiveness? I think so.

2. How it causes me to check my biases.

The moment the video surfaced was the moment my notion of being the ultimate embracer of all was put to the test. I soon had to realize that a cross-cultural mutt does not an inclusive person make.

Dialoguing with individuals with differing viewpoints forced me to check my biases.

I realized that I was prejudiced against different types of people: those who were unwilling to have a civil conversation, those who were dogmatic about their position at the expense of other possible viewpoints, and those who cherished binary thinking when it comes to complex issues.

Silly video. Caused me to check myself.

3, How it challenges my understanding of leadership.

The formal response from Andrews is arguably one of the best live examples of inspiring leadership I’ve seen yet.

Just when I thought that I had a solid understanding of what leadership should look like, Dr. Luxton and the administration of AU gave me something new to consider.

From the beginning of her speech which rivaled Kendrick Lamar’s “We Gon Be Alright” till the end of the video, I saw what Christ-like, humble, classy, leadership should look like.

More to learn about leadership. Surely.

4, How it sensitizes me to the “other.”

Birds of a feather flock together. Because to do otherwise would require work.

It is far more comfortable to be with like-minded individuals than those who differ from you. Both the videos, in a significant way, forced me to look outside my comfort zone of sameness to interact with those who held a different perspective than mine.

The more I interacted with the “other” dissident voice, the more I was frustrated. The more I confronted the reasons for my frustrations, the more I grew.

——

Self-examination is hardly exciting.

The closer you look at yourself, the more you have to confront and endure. Growth and progress, sadly, happens less in ease and more in these moments of discomfort.

Therefore, similar to embracing pain at a gym to improve muscular fitness, almost everything I didn’t like about #ItIsTimeAU has been beneficial and redemptive to my soul.

My hope, for you my brother and sister, is that the celebration of this moment ( or the lack thereof ) does not distract you from the introspection of your heart.

What were your thoughts about #ItIsTimeAU? Leave a comment below!

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20 Ways to Not Waste Your Snow Day.

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I am snowed in.

It’s nice 🙂

And I’m sure the same feeling is shared, for the most part, by my sleep-deprived, frost-bitten friends who attend Andrews University located in Narnia, Michigan.

If your school/workplace declares a snow day, and you have a whole day just for youself, here are some things you could do:

1) Call your parents.
‘cos let’s face it: You never will otherwise. And they are wondering how you’re doing.

2) Call your brother/sister.
Same reason. Minus them entirely caring about how you’re doing.

3) Cook something nice for yourself.
I like to take my sweet time cooking. It can relax you. IF you can cook, that is.

4) Read few chapters from a book that’s not required reading.

5) Watch few episodes of your favorite Tv show.
FEW. like… eight..

6) Catch up on homework.
Props to you if you actually do homework today.

7) Shovel your neighbors driveway.
and don’t tell em. 🙂

8) If you’re not single and both are snowed in, plan a date with your significant other.
🙂

9) If you are single, pray for a significant other. ( OR go hangout out with someone you wanted to hangout but u didn’t because you were too chicken to to do it. )

10) Go snowboarding.
or ‘borrow’ a tray from your local cafeteria and slide down your local tubing hill.

11) Learn something new.

12) Have a jam session with your musical buddies.

13) Jump in the snow.
Totes fun.

14) Go cross country skiing.
Never done it. Let me know how it is if you have.

15) Drive around your town ( if possible ) and see if  anyone needs a ride somewhere.

16) Visit a friend you haven’t chilled with in a while.
(no pun intended)

17) Make something for your neighbor. 
Don’t charge em. Just give.

18) Invest in some projects you’ve put on the shelf for a while. 

19) Spend some quality, unrushed time with your Maker.
Let this be more than the 10 minutes in the morning as you’re rushing out of your room. It’s worth it.

20) SLEEP. 
Nuff said.

What about you? Anything you would add on this list?? Leave a comment below!

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College.

I graduated from college last week.

Still hasn’t hit me yet.

But as I go through memory lane, I can’t help but think about  missed opportunities, a few regrets, and some setbacks which stemmed because I lacked this one thing:

Information.

Looking back, these are a few things I wish someone told me before I started college.

1) College is not a bigger high school.

I don’t know about you but I thought that college was just a glorified high school.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My perception of Andrews University was largely shaped by my high school experience. I always used to compare college as “harder”, “bigger” and “better” than high school. While all those are certainly true, I wish someone would have told me that university life and high school life are two entirely different things.

In high school, you had to go to classes. In college, you didn’t.

In high school, you had to keep your room habitable. In college, nobody cared as long as you don’t die of some fungal disease.

In high school, you are used to taking orders from teachers. In college, you have the wherewithal to start a revolution if you wanted to.

The freedom is palpable in college. You could do whatever you want. Which leads to the next thing I wish someone would have told me before starting college.

2) You are not an island.

I wish someone would have told me that while I had the freedom to do whatever I wished, I couldn’t do whatever I wished.

Let me rephrase that.

Just because I COULD do what I want to do, didn’t mean I SHOULD do what I want to do.

Why? Because even if I wanted to, I could not be an island all by myself; I am inevitably going to be a part of a community. And being a part of  a community means enjoying privileges but also having responsibilities.

Andrews felt like one humongous family. With just 3500 students, it’s very likely that you’d bump into the same person more than once in the same day!  Because of  such a small community, I felt more responsible for those I communed with. This sense of responsibility only deepened as I served as an officer in our student association. I wish someone would have told me that while I had the freedom and independence to do what I wanted to do at school, I should be mindful of the community I was going to be a part of.  Knowing this earlier would have alleviated some stress.

3) 
Be yourself.  

I was bullied in high school.

I wanted to fit in. Bad. So I tried to be someone I wasn’t to win the approval of others.

Unfortunately, I packed this ideology in my luggage and carried it with me to my dorm room.

I wish someone would have told me that I didn’t need to pretend in college. I didn’t need to be someone I was not.

I wish someone would have told me that it was perfectly fine to be me.

During my freshman and sophomore years, it was a harrowing experience trying to emulate what mr.popular, or mr.hipster was doing. But I began to take pride in my fresh-off-the-boat self when someone mentioned that I had a “cool” accent and a not-so-shabby fashion sense. That was the beginning of a journey that I’m still on. I realized that the more I valued myself, the more authentic I was. And the more authentic I allowed myself to be, the more effective I was as a leader.

Authenticity is currency. I wish someone would have told me that early on.

4) Get involved.

Nothing is detrimental to the joy of college life than passivity.

I wish someone would have told me that before I came to Andrews as a freshman.

Most of my cherished college memories are centered around the co-curricular activities that I had been a part of. I wouldn’t have had the joy of working with different teams, meeting new people, and pushing boundaries if I didn’t take an initiative to get involved and serve. However, one of my few regrets in college was that I didn’t get involved sooner.

I wonder how much richer my college experience would have been if I’d made Carpe Diem my daily goal the first day of class.  

Get involved. Early.

finally, I wish someone would have told me that…

5)   Education is not the most important thing about college.

You heard me.

Can I be honest with you?

I can distill EVERYTHING I’ve retained academically over the past 4 years into a 2 page paper ( Times New Roman, Double-spaced, Headings the size of Africa. 12pt font. periods sized 13).
I have forgotten most of what I have learnt in my classes. I have forgotten the contents of most of the papers I’ve written. I have forgotten most of the sermons I’ve listened to at church.

But what I am not able to forget, will take with me for the rest of my life, are the relationships I’ve made with the wonderful people I’ve met over the years.

The $46,000 I owe to the government is worth it for the close friendships I’ve made in college. Hands down.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m utterly grateful for the education I’ve received. It’s been nothing short of a miracle and a blessing from God. But I’m convinced that it’s not the most important thing in the college experience. If anything, the education I’ve received has made me a well-rounded individual to better relate to others in the global village.

I wish someone would have told me earlier that the “A” in Theology I was only worth it if it helped me engage empathetically with others who think and believe differently.

Education is important. Relationships are more important.

These are just 5 of the many things I’ve learnt from my college experience.  But enough about me. What about you?? What have you learnt from your college experience so far??