Sunday, November 15, 2009

Community found in churches

River Church and Berry Road Baptist Church in Norman Oklahoma.  River Church uses Berry Road Baptist's facilities on Sunday evening.  Photo from Sept. 27, 2009.


Coming to college is one of the most drastic changes that a person goes through in their life. The goal of pretty much every student is to get into a routine that they consider to be normal and like the life that they used to live.  Something that some students look for is a church.        

For many students, church has been a very important part of their life from day one. They have always gone and been a part of a church family. It’s a comfort thing for a lot of people. 

“I was looking because God is central in my life and to grow in my relationship with Him I needed to be involved in a church and establish relationships with others in the church,” said Melissa Mock, sophomore international area studies and history major at the University of Oklahoma.

Louis Warner, a sophomore physics major at the University of Oklahoma says that church has been a major part of his life and it has help him grow in his faith.

        “Without a church family, my individual ministry is greatly diminished,” Warner said. “I knew that if I did not find a good church family, I would fall away from my daily walk with Christ.”

         Many students take several weeks, if not months to find a church home. There may be many options to choose from or very few. It all depends on the area of the country in which you decide to attend school. 

River Church pastor Dave Edwards talks about his church and their vision.  


            “It took me two weeks to find a church,” Mock said. “River was the second church I visited and I immediately had the feeling that this was the type of church I had been looking for, for a long time.”

            Every student gets something different out of church.  For the most part, people find community in a church.

            “Church has given me a place in the midst of my busy week to go and worship God, learn more about him, and reconnect with others,” Mock said. “Without it I think I would be discouraged and get tired of a lot of things in life, but when I go I am refreshed by God's word and encouraged by my church family.”

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Junior College = Solid Alternative

The front entrance of Oklahoma Community College in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Photo provided by Spencer Smith.

College is expensive. No ifs, ands or buts about it. College is also rigorous academically. No way to disprove that fact either. There are people out there that simply cannot keep up with either of those characteristics that come with a four-year university. For those who cannot afford it or cannot deal with the academic rigors, there is an alternative option: junior college.

OCCC sophomore Spencer Smith talks about the misconceptions about junior colleges.

Junior colleges are schools that offer primarily two-year associates degrees at a lower cost than that of a four-year university. The education however, remains close to the same due to smaller classes and more intentional time with professors. 

Spencer Smith, a sophomore at OCCC, said that finances were the primary reason for him attending a junior college. 

“Due to extenuating circumstances I don’t have any scholarships so that was a very big motivating factor,” Smith said.

Chris Beaudoin, a sophomore at OCCC, said that many people attend community or junior colleges to take care of classes that they would have problems with at a four-year university. Another reason is just to get classes out of the way so that students can move on to more difficult classes within their major. 

OCCC sophomore Chris Beaudoin talks about how attending a junior college benefits him.  

The smaller student to teacher ratio is another big factor that draws students to a junior college. 

“Going to a university, the classes are 10 times bigger so I get more one on one time with my teachers at OCCC if I do not understand something,” Beaudoin said.

“At OCCC they have much smaller class sizes than at OU,” Smith said. “Also, their calculus program is said to be exceptional. That program in and of itself, that’s why I’m going there. If I have questions, I’ll have more opportunities to get one-on-one time with my teachers.”

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How Athletes Search

University of Oklahoma sophomore volleyball player Suzy Boulavsky, #2 in white, and Texas Tech sophomore volleyball player Karlyn Meyers, #3 in black, ready themselves for the next point in their match October 3, 2009.

The worlds of students and student-athletes sometimes seem to be on opposite sides of the galaxy from each other. However, both have the title of student and it is this term that brings these worlds a little closer together. 

A big way in which college athletes and regular students can relate is their search for a college that they want to be at. No matter what the sport, athletes still want to be at a school that they enjoy going to. 

“Whenever I decided to come to OU, it was more of a decision based on the school,” said Suzy Boulavsky, sophomore volleyball player at the University of Oklahoma. “I committed when I was a sophomore so I didn't really have an idea of what necessarily to look for but it was just whenever I came to the campus, I felt like it was where I needed to be.”

The traditional way of looking for schools involves applications, campus visits and information on scholarships. The search for a college athlete includes all this, but with many more visits and lots of regulations on the contact between coaches and recruits.

“The first step was to send in videos and a resume to each school, and then I talked to the coaches and went on visits,” said Karlyn Meyers, sophomore volleyball player at Texas Tech University. “Then I talked with my parents and looked at the pros and cons for each school.”

“There are all these stipulations like they can only call you once and then once you sign you can call them whenever,” Boulavsky said. “A lot of times they send out questionnaires about you to find out more about you.”

The biggest part of the search for an athlete is the visit to the school, just like it normally is for the average student. Athletes have to travel all over to visit the schools that they are being recruited by. Meyers and Boulavsky were recruited by schools across the country including Baylor, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Tennessee (Meyers), Northwestern, Miami, Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma (Boulavsky).

“Basically if you have an interest or they have an interest in you, you call them and they will come and watch you more and then you'll set up a visit,” Boulavsky said. “Sometimes they will point blank offer, sometimes they won't.  I got lucky because I was offered on the spot.”

OU sophomore volleyball player Suzy Boulavsky talks about what was important for her in her college search and how the recruiting process works.

Some college athletes, like Meyers, have grown up with the dream of playing their sport at the collegiate level and beyond. 

“I don’t think it was ever a decision I made; I just knew that was always what I was going to do,” Meyers said. “Since my mom played in college and I always excelled it was an easy decision. I couldn’t imagine NOT playing at this point.”

Others like Boulavsky discovered they had the ability to play at a higher level the more they played competitively. 

I probably decided at the end of my freshman year,” Boulavsky said. “I never really was the type of person that looked far into the future growing up. I guess hearing, ‘Wow Suzy you're pretty good, you have this type of swing, the things a lot of coaches are looking for and you should look into it,’ made me want to pursue it. When people started telling me, ‘Suzy you can really do this,’ I was just like, ‘I'm going to.’"   

In spite of the general similarities between students and student-athletes, Meyers and Boulavsky agree that the majority of people have the misconception that athletes have it easy in college.

“I just wish that people would understand that it's a job,” Boulavsky said. “It's not fun.  What we do isn't fun anymore.  It's what is paying us through college.”

“It is hard being a student-athlete because we have to juggle school, volleyball, and then if you find time, a social life,” Meyers said.