Cubicles are not so confidential

I was introduced to cubicle-world a few summers ago during my first internship. I picked up on the main rule pretty quickly – remember that even though you can’t see them, there are people sitting a few feet away from you. This includes chewing quietly, using a headset instead of speakerphone, not blasting music, staying away from overly pungent smelling foods, and – what I find to be most important – limiting your personal phone calls. In my relatively short work experience thus far, I have heard my share of personal information from my cubicle neighbors. I could tell you all about the lakehouse of the man I sat near at my first internship, and every annoying and cute story about the children of the woman I sat near last summer.
But this neighbor takes the cake. Currently I am listening to a her have a serious discussion with her father about how she doesn’t like the way he treats her daughter different than her sons, and that it will scar her for life. In the five months we’ve worked next to each other, I’ve also heard about her entire family ancestry, each of her pregnancies, every detail about her son’s football games, and fights with her children over homework – all without one direct conversation between the two of us.

This has probably become my biggest office pet peeve.  I’d be happy to have a conversation with you and learn about your life, but I’d rather not feel like I’m forced to eavesdrop on every detail when I’m trying to get work done!
So all of this to say – here’s some advice for current students: respect the cubicle environment. A quick call here and there is fine and expected. But if you have to have a lengthy or personal conversation, take it from your car.

And if you find yourself next to a chatty neighbor – take notes. Their drama could make up the plot to a potentially interesting story :)

College graduate, meet the corporate world.

Really, it is a completely different world. Over the past few months I’ve traded my jeans and flip flops in for Banana Republic dresses and heels, attempting to adjust to a whole new set of rules, lingo, and even social guidelines.

Above my post-it  note-covered desk are pictures of my friends and I – walking down Broad Street, sitting outside the Union, teaching children in Ghana, and smiling in our caps and gowns by the breeches. Though my duties as a marketing coordinator may be in the front of my mind, memories of Messiah live on in my heart.

I’m not sure exactly when I became an “adult,” but it seemed to happen very suddenly. Since graduation I was offered a full-time position, bought a car, and got engaged; I am now planning a wedding, going on business trips, and make all sorts of important grown-up decisions. Exciting things – but boy, how I  miss my campus apartment, watching wedding shows with my roommates, dinner dates at the union, and walks by the breeches.

All of this to say, current (and future) students – enjoy every minute! Take advantage of each sunset over cemetary hill, each walk by the breeches, and each night spent in with friends. But at the same time, know that the real world isn’t such a bad trade-off when it’s time for you to leave. I’ll try to keep writing updates on my post-Messiah journey, just so you know that although it will be different, there is indeed life after college.

I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places..

I’ve been sitting here for awhile trying to rack my brain for what to say in my pre-graduation post. Although I would love to leave you with beautiful imagery to serve as closure for the most significant era of my life, I can’t quite come up with words that do these past four years justice. Also, the flood of tears that could potentially come from stirring up the multitude of feelings in my heart may damage the keyboard in front of me, so I’ll try to keep my emotions in check.

Rather than cry over the past, I will instead look forward. In June I will be returning to Time Warner Cable in Virginia to work in their corporate marketing department as an intern on the wireless team with potential to become a full-time employee in the fall. Because the job is located close to home, I will be moving back in with my parents to save money (and because they have just been so lonely these past four years without me!). Along with working 40+ hours a week, my summer plans include a family vacation to Tampa, attending weddings, catching up on reading, and enjoying the sweet Virginia sun.

I’ll close with a poem I found in the college history book that was read at a dedication service for Messiah in 1912:

“As time rolls on, some future day,

good people will relate

of Grantham’s school, and then they’ll say -

there we did graduate

sweet memories.”

-J.R. Zook

Advice to future Falcons

It’s hard to believe that four years ago I was a senior in high school getting ready to begin my journey at Messiah. Although I was happy to be attending the college of my choosing, the fear of the unknown loomed in front of me like a dark tunnel. Looking back, it would have been helpful to hear from the perspective of an older and wiser college senior as I prepared to transition from my comfortable high school and home community to a college environment and all that comes with it.

So, my dear readers, I have compiled a list of ways to get the most out of your four years at Messiah. All of these things are as a result of experience – either things that I did well or in hindsight realized I should have done.

  • During your first semester at Messiah, DO NOT go home every weekend. Or every other weekend. In fact, try to make it to fall break without taking a trip home. I know living in dorms is weird at first and that you will probably miss your bed, dog, and mom’s cooking, but trust me on this one. The only way to build relationships with the people around you is if you are physically present!
  • I realize that Grantham is not the most exciting location, especially if you grew up in a city area. But give it a chance – don’t write off Grantham immediately like I did just because it does not have a Cheesecake Factory a Banana Republic in its immediate vicinity. There are so many things to do in the area if you do a little research! My roommate Mallory always comes up with a fun new activity to do, such as taking a day trip to the Lake Tobias Animal Safari Park. If trying new restaurants are more your idea of an exotic adventure, try Pakha’s Thai House in Dillsburg; or for a more upscale dining experience, grab a date or a group of friends for a evening at Cafe Fresco in Harrisburg.
  • So even though I am converted into a believer that quality life does exist in Grantham, I also stand firm in the thought that you should not spend all four years here at this campus. I knew coming into college that I would like to spend some of my time in another location, but was uneasy about thought of being across the ocean for an entire semester. The Philadelphia campus let me experience day-to-day life in an urban environment as well as the feeling of being a student at a large public university, all the while living in a socially and spiritually supportive community with other Messiah students. Plus, I was only a train ride away from my family and was able to make several visits back to the main campus during the semester. Another great option I found are the j-term cross cultural trips. As I have written both in this blog and on The Bridge Online, traveling to Ghana this past January impacted my life in immeasurable ways. I know that my great experience was not just unique to me and my trip, but that many others have had equally as life-changing journeys to places such as Zambia, The French West Indies, and New Zealand.
  • Love every moment – you will be amazed by how fast your four years fly by. Being a Messiah student is an incredible gift. I know it doesn’t always feel like that in the midst of papers, exams, and presentations, but I guarantee that when you are sitting where I am looking back at your nearly half a decade-long adventure, your heart will be filled with as much thankfulness for every fond memory as mine is right now. I get teary-eyed almost every time I think about walking across the stage to accept my diploma, because I know that for it I am trading the unpredictable, sometimes crazy, yet in the end wonderful life of a Messiah College student.

You still amaze me.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting here typing up a blog entry about not knowing what to do with my life, feeling frustrated and uncertain about my future. I was in the process of applying for a job here at Messiah that would involve representing the school to the southern states, which in theory sounded great. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that although traveling around would be fun at first, I would grow tired of living out of a suitcase after a few weeks. What I thought was a perfect opportunity and the end of my searching started to sound not quite right.

So while I was attempting to write my blog post, all kinds of doubts began to creep into my mind. I had my fingers on the keyboard, ready to type out whatever coherent thought came to mind, staring at the file cabinet above me covered with magnetic words, and in my heart I began to lift my concerns to God. “Lord, I don’t know what to do with my life. I’m graduating in two months and feel that I have absolutely no direction. What do you want for me? What am I supposed to be doing in this world? Please, I just need some sort of push in the right direction – a sign, anything!”

It was about at that point that I realized it was time to leave for the day, and I walked home feeling confused, but a little voice in my heart urged me to be patient and wait. I thought about the Bible verse that I had taught the preschool class I volunteer in at church this past Sunday – “He cares for you.” (the full verse is, “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7) God had provided so many opportunities for me in the past, so who was I to doubt him this time?

I got back to my apartment and not even 15 minutes later, I got a phone call from the internship coordinator of the company where I interned last summer. It turns out that the department I worked in was requesting me to return to work on what sounds like a really exciting marketing research project, with the potential to turn into a full-time position. As I hung up the phone, it was as if God was there with me saying “I am listening. My timing is perfect. Trust me.”

Now all of this is not to say that I will definitely be accepting the position. I still need to make a few pro and con lists, as well as figure out some logistics with the company before I commit. But I wanted to share this story because it is yet another example of God’s faithfulness and presence even in my most impatient moments. This morning in elective chapels, Brian Smith preached on Ecclesiastes 3 (the “there is a time for everything” chapter). I sat there in awe of God’s perfect timing and the way he knows my heart and my struggles so completely. The service closed with the singing of the classic Byrds song Turn, Turn, Turn, which could not be more adequately describe my feelings today:

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

there us a reason (turn, turn, turn)

and a time for every purpose, under heaven.

College graduate, meet the corporate world.

Really, it is a completely different world. Over the past few months I've traded my jeans and flip flops in for Banana Republic dresses and heels, attempting to adjust to a whole new set of rules, lingo, and even social guidelines. Above my post-it  note-covered desk are pictures of my friends and I - ...


I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places..

I've been sitting here for awhile trying to rack my brain for what to say in my pre-graduation post. Although I would love to leave you with beautiful imagery to serve as closure for the most significant era of my life, I can't quite come up with words that do ...


Advice to future Falcons

It's hard to believe that four years ago I was a senior in high school getting ready to begin my journey at Messiah. Although I was happy to be attending the college of my choosing, the fear of the unknown loomed in front of me like a dark tunnel. Looking ...


You still amaze me.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting here typing up a blog entry about not knowing what to do with my life, feeling frustrated and uncertain about my future. I was in the process of applying for a job here at Messiah that would involve representing the school to the southern states, ...


Embracing the “I” in me

Today I got to thinking about my “I” and my “me.” “I” wanted to sing out loud as I made my way across campus to Old Main, but my “me” stepped in and let me know people would think I was a crazy person if that happened. So in the ...