Running just to catch myself: Life at Elon

Elon University students are busy people, there’s no doubt about that. If you’re someone who isn’t heavily involved in at least one extra-curricular organization, if not more, then you are in the minority. We like to bite off giant chunks (some of which are bigger than we can chew) and devote ourselves to everything and anything, making time to go to events, speakers, performances and, of course, social gatherings commonly referred to as “parties.”

And then there’s, oh yeah, homework. The reason we’re all in college.

But college isn’t just about those pesky classes, papers and exams. Its about exploring your passions, which may or may not directly fall under your field of study. Maybe you’re a biology student who’s a devout Catholic. Maybe your economics major doesn’t offer many chances for service, but you like to spend your afternoons at the Boys and Girls club. Maybe you study history but you have a secret desire to be a photographer for National Geographic.

In college, and specifically at Elon, it’s about striking the right balance between maintaining an academic standing that pleases you and fulfilling your commitments to your other pursuits and, of course, having a life. For many of us, that last part might be the most difficult one to squeeze in, and for others, it may be the one we should really cut back on. No matter how you do it, make sure you’re doing it on your own terms. Don’t participate in organizations because you feel like you’re supposed to because that will only lead to resentment. Don’t neglect your classes because you’re trying to get your money’s worth here. And, don’t schedule yourself into a black hole.

You never get to live these four years over again. So, too busy or not, make it count.

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Where were you on September 11?

In this post, several Elon students share their experiences in around 100 words. As you read, stop to think: Where was I on Sept. 11? How did I feel? You’ll probably find your story isn’t much different than these….

I remember when my teacher walked back into the classroom after our principal pulled her. She gave all of us the same look my mom did back at my house later that day. I didn’t understand what was going on, even as F-15 planes flew right over our house. I was ignorant to the fact that ground zero was a mere 35 miles away from me. My parents were out of the house often, going to church for funerals and memorials. I didn’t know how to be upset because I didn’t believe this disaster was real. In my 4th grade mind, it was impossible.

-Stephanie Butzer

On September 11, 2001, I was in my English class when I first heard the news about the attack on the World Trade Centers. We later saw the images on TV of the smoking towers. Over the next class period, students were picked up by their parents. My brother and I both went to the same school in D.C. and our mom, a teacher, came to take us to her school, only 15 minutes away. I remember watching TV and seeing more coverage of the Towers in one of the classrooms while the younger students played around me as I sat on a desk. Then I started thinking about the victims and their families and friends who were affected and began to cry.

-Megan Murray

I remember when my mom came to the playground during recess, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time. She asked me how my day was going and if I was okay. “Of course I am!” I said to her, confused. Seeing, I guess, that I was happy, she left. But I remember the solemn look on her face – it was the same face that so many of my teachers wore that day. But I didn’t understand, not yet at least. I didn’t understand even when my math teacher explained what had happened to my class, tears streaming down her cheeks. I thought, “It will be fixed by tomorrow.” It wasn’t until I got home and saw the images on CNN of a plane smashing through a building that I started to understand that America was had been attacked, and that everything had changed.

-Kate Riley

 On my fifth grade field trip to the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service museum (JAARS), I learned more than I wanted to know about airplanes. Before my class field trip I really only knew airplanes as the way I got to Cancun with my family last spring break,  the two men on the popcorn box, or the back of a North Carolina license plate. At the JAARS museum I saw how missionaries used their planes to take Bibles to Papua New Guinea and Brazil. But on the bus ride back, my eleven-year-old self learned that bad men could fly planes full of people into the biggest, most important buildings in New York City, and how that could change my teacher’s face.

-Justine Vadini

I was a sixth grader living in South Carolina at the time and I first heard about it in Miss Dowling’s Pre-Algebra class.  But all they told us then was that there was a plane crash.  No further details.  After lunch, I was in Miss Owens’ Social Studies class when I learned everything.  We watched the news for the entire period.  I still didn’t believe it could be terrorists.  Why would somebody do such a thing like that?  My mom wasn’t happy about my disbelief.  I had to write sentences saying something like “Terrorists are responsible for this terrible tragedy.” It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I finally accepted what had happened.

-Adam Lawson

For lots more on Sept. 11 remembrance at Elon, visit elonpendulum.com.

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Guest Blogger: Another year has come and gone

This was written by Pendulum columnist Rebecca Cummings.

How do we prepare for the end of the year?

Most students would probably agree there is no real time to stop and think about it. Students can be found in the library at least 75 percent of their waking hours, in the back corner writing multiple research papers or preparing for projects and presentations. Some are probably praying the end of the year slows down just so they can have a chance to finish all their work.

It is a busy time for all. For some, the first year of college is over. For others, graduation is coming up. It is time to say goodbye to new friends. In the words of a friend of mine, “It isn’t goodbye. It is ‘later’ because ‘goodbye’ means I will never see you again.”
It is hard to say “goodbye” or “later” to those who will graduate May 21 because we do not know when we will get another chance to see them again. Life is starting for them. This time next year, the graduates will most likely be employed or will be in graduate school. They will be adults in the real world.

This summer, some of the rest of us will be abroad, on vacation, fulfilling internships or working. We will enjoy our summers, full of laughter and maybe some extra cash. We will have new memories and come back to school refreshed to start another academic year. Life flies by. We can’t stop it. Each day closes a page of our lives. Each new day gives us the chance to live out something new.

College ultimately prepares us for real life. We learn about friendship, living with others, responsibility, cramming, just existing as human beings. My first year is almost done. I am not happy about it. I am looking forward to the future, but I am OK with waiting. Life is good. We should enjoy it.

For those who still have a year or more left in college, we need to enjoy every day of it. Soon, we will be like those seniors who will cross the stage May 21. Many seniors will probably say they are ready to be done with school, but they aren’t ready for the real world.

To the seniors, we will miss you. You have left your impression on Elon University. Good luck in the real world, whether it be the Peace Corps, Young Life, graduate school or whatever job you’re taking. Congratulations. You have successfully completed four years of college. Now, the real world is calling. We all must get there eventually.

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Guest Blogger: Popular television shows serve as poor role models in real life

This was written by  Pendulum columnist Nicole Monge.

Like it or not, “Gossip Girl” and “The Real Housewives” series are television programs that have made their way onto our televisions and into our culture.

One of the negative facets of both shows is they tend to teach audiences that manipulating people and stabbing them in the back are practical behaviors for personal gains. These traits and actions can certainly get a person in trouble in corporate America and everyday life. What people don’t realize is that the actions of these people occur in fiction in “Gossip Girl” and over petty, unimportant issues in “The Real Housewives.”

In the real world, when tasks are urgent and problems are important, belittling opponents and trying to one-up them by creating cliques and alliances behind their backs only works for so long. Eventually, establishing that kind of culture and persona will have negative results. People begin to see behind this shady facade that has been created and don’t particularly like what they see.
In “The Real Housewives,” many of the women play both sides of the fence in their social circles by talking badly about one person to a member of the group. They will then form an alliance with another cast member when they talk about the opposite person. In the “The Real Housewives,” when you get caught doing this, there’s drama and at worst, a friend is lost within a gated community. In a real job, a person will get fired.

Both of these shows also teach that creating drama is a means of achieving a goal, when in reality, everyday society will not tolerate this behavior. It’s a cutthroat world, and there is very little time for petty nonsense.  People see right through this drama and demand results rather than excuses.

The real world isn’t a continuation of high school, as these two shows would lead the viewer to believe. In reality, it is the exact opposite. There are jobs and futures at stake. There are real people, not characters blown up to caricature-like proportions by riches and fame.

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Going into a mini-break, focus, Elon, focus!

The next week at Elon will be fairly hectic. Tomorrow, it’s a safe bet that at least the campus will empty out with people heading home or to friends’ for  Easter break. Not that it’s much of a break. It’s one day tacked on to a regular weekend, but then again, Fall Break is only two days tacked on to a weekend, so why not celebrate this, too?

It’s also probably a good bet that a decent number of those that are leaving will not come back until Wednesday, when classes are cancelled once again for SURF Day. On Thursday, we have our Wednesday schedule, though, and then Friday, life resumes as normal except for the fact that it’s, well, Friday, and spring fever is running rampant all over campus.

But it isn’t time to go clicking our heels just yet. Sure, enjoy your chocolate bunnies and attending presentations on SURF Day (or sleeping). Just remember though, this is the home stretch. There’s something easier about hunkering down in the library to prepare for finals when it’s December. Its an entirely different matter when the outdoors is begging you to come spend time with it and all you can think about is packing up your dorm or apartment to move on to summer plans.

It is the end of the semester nonetheless, though. It’s time for final papers, projects and exams. The calendar and weather may be making it easier for us to forget the seriousness of the situation, giving us a few days to flirt with the concept of vacation, but it isn’t time to pack up and move on just yet.

Give it another three weeks. And give it one last good push before its time to move out.

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Arizona approves guns on campuses

A few weeks ago, one of our news editors Kassondra Cloos, wrote a column about a proposal before the Texas legislature to allow guns on college campuses.

Well yesterday, the Arizona House of Representatives voted on a similar bill, allowing guns to be carried on any state university or community college campus. It passed 33-24 and now goes before the governor, having already cleared the Senate. In the Senate, the bill was “watered down” slightly so that guns are not permitted within campus buildings.

Bill supporters say that allowing all students to have guns on campus will allow students to defend themselves against those who wish to do harm with their firearms. I fail to see the logic. Fighting fire with fire just creates a bigger flame.

The Texas bill of a similar nature goes to vote soon, and if it passes, will join Utah as the only two states with broad, guns-allowed-anywhere-on-campus laws. Colorado gives colleges and universities the option to set their own rules.

 

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Elon in the rain

There is something special about Elon all the time. Special good, special bad, call it what you want, but it’s undeniable each day has something unique about it.

Now, there’s no doubt that Elon in the warm glow of an early spring day is something to marvel at. The trees sway with the ruffle of tiny leaves, tulips and daffodils stand straight as soldiers in flowerbeds lining buildings and the ducks and geese on Lake Mary Nell will soon be followed by parades of little balls of fuzz, chirping and cheeping as they learn how to walk, swim and fly.

But rainy days at Elon offer their own uniqueness. People stay inside. Dorm rooms become movie theatres for Star Wars marathons, Acorn becomes a place to sit and enjoy the company of friends instead of grab-and-go spot and all construction sounds come to a halt. There is peace on campus, and stillness, save for the falling of raindrops, aimless rippling of puddles and the occasional student darting from one building to another under a hood or umbrella.

Rainy days are nice. They’re lazy and quiet and make sofas and slippers seem much more amiable companions than sundresses and lectures.

Plus, it’s keeping the yellow cloud of pollen down, which is also very much appreciated.

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