Category: 2017-18 (Page 1 of 6)

5 Keys to Making It Through the Winter Semester

So the Christmas Holidays have come and gone, and now you’re wondering how you’re going to make it through the winter semester. Reading Week is still over a month away, and your study-motivation meter is waning after grinding out the fall semester. So how are you supposed to stay driven and focused and find success, yet still have some fun in the second semester? Well, here are a few CMU-style tips that might help you get through:

1) Make the Most Out of CMU’s Outdoors

IMG_0025

Yes, Winnipeg winters can be cold. But that makes for opportunities that only come in cold climates, so find something you like to do outside. CMU has ice to skate on, trails for cross country skiing, or even just trails to walk on in the forest. Not to mention there are plenty of fields of snow to play in. So find some out-door activities that you like to do, because being cooped up inside all winter is going to drive you crazy.

2) Go to CMU Events

24273671_1926784154018346_30205847377033012_o

CMU has no shortage of events to attend. That includes everything from potlucks for apartment students, to music recitals, to CMU Blazers games. Or maybe it doesn’t even have to be a formal event, and you end up just hanging out in a Poettcker Hall lounge instead. Whatever it is, find some people to spend time with, because no matter where you go, you’ll find people worth spending time with at CMU.

3) Make Your Classwork Enjoyable…Or at Least Bearable

IMG_2963

Let’s be honest…classes aren’t always a student’s favourite place to be. But there are lots of ways to make classes more enjoyable. Many classes see profs assign papers and projects that are open for you to decide on the topic. Take advantage of these, and turn those assignments into something you’ll at least somewhat enjoy. I realize not all classes have those types of projects, so in that case, get to know some of your classmates if you don’t already, and study together. As noted above, most things are more enjoyable with someone by your side.

4) Take Advantage of the Coziness of Winter

IMG_0041

When else do you get to wear your favourite cozy sweater every day to class and not get razzed for it? Not to mention snuggling up with a book isn’t quite the same in summer, so here’s your chance to snuggle up with lots of books…and hopefully some textbooks. Grab a favourite blanket and your hot beverage of choice and you’re all set. Seriously, it might help you warm up to those readings.

5) Explore the City

IMG_0038

CMU is a great place to spend lots of time, but there is plenty more to explore around the city during a Winnipeg winter. Head down to the Assiniboine Park to skate on the duck pond or to The Forks to skate on the river, or check out the ice castles at The Forks instead. There’s also Festival du Voyageur in February if you want to get a French-Canadian experience. And that’s just a short list. All the stereotypes are true…Winnipeg knows how to have a good time no matter what the weather is like!

More Than We Can Ask or Imagine: A Poetic Reflection

Amelia Pahl - More Than We Can Ask or Imagine: A Poetic Reflection

I see that moment of grace when the sun breaks through a murky sky.
I see the little spark of hope that flairs when someone asks just the right question – and then cares to listen.
I see a new sort of possibility appear amidst the mundanity of daily life. 
I see a dreamer who counts the stars and still only fathoms a drop of water in the ocean of the universe.

“More than we can ask or imagine” evokes a sense of absolute grace, a hope that, whatever our shortcomings,
whatever our mistakes,
whatever our inconsistencies
we’re part of a vast, bold, extravagant universe that is endlessly giving birth to itself.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a wee bit more than I can imagine on a typical day.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was at least seven, and words have come intuitively to me for as long as I can remember. I don’t really write poems, and I hardly ever think them – it’s more like I suddenly find myself bleeding words onto a page and all I have to do is get my self out of the way. For me, poetry is an act of grace, a moment when emotion, intuition, and words come to a head and explode into written form.

Often, in these moments, I feel an enormous sense of relief when I can find just the right words in just the right place on the page to express what normally can’t be expressed in words. It’s a moment of birth after what is usually weeks of growing and churning inside of me; suddenly I am given words for my experience of life – and it’s miraculous.

I like poetry because it doesn’t have to make sense. It allows us to give up our need to understand – if only for a little while – and instead to sit with life exactly as it is. And I’ve found that, in the sitting, life actually starts to make a little more sense. This is grace. This is more than we can ask or imagine. 

Poetry doesn’t have to make sense, and that’s why it can glimpse an unimaginable God.

Here is a poem.

The poet Adi al-Riga, as quoted by Rumi:

“I was sleeping, and being comforted
by a cool breeze, when suddenly a gray dove
from a thicket sang and sobbed with longing,
and reminded me of my own passion.

I had been away from my own soul so long,
so late-sleeping, but that dove’s crying
woke me and made me cry. Praise
to all early-waking grievers!”

Here ends the poem, but the grieving still runs thick in my veins,
I am up to my eyes in unknowing, swimming in the sluggish questions of my waking life,
Wondering where my awkward dance fits in with the graceful grace-filled folly of my world,
            your world, our worlds colliding and
            never quite knowing what to do about the wondering.
Each day I step out in trust
            – or maybe it’s stupidity, I can’t remember which –
And I hold on for dear life, never really sure
            who knows, who cares, who loves, who dares to question with me
            this spinning, half-sleeping place we call home,
            or life, I can’t remember which.
I am alone and never alone
I am known and unknown
I am strange and I am familiar
I am water I am air I am breathing universe I am ancient sleeping tree
I am the early-waking griever.

I died
Once or twice while writing this,
But death is dawn in Rumi’s books, and I tend to agree, though
            not in so many words.

I don’t know anything; I know that much.

Amelia Pahl is in her second year at CMU. 

Ordinary Angels: A reflection for Advent

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all on whom Gods favor rests.” —Luke 2:13-14

Angels.

My life is far too commonplace, routine, normal, conventional, standard, typical, and well, ordinary, for an angel.

Anna Epp - Ordinary Angels: A reflection for Advent

I grew up being an angel in Christmas pageants at church, dressed in white with tinsel on my sleeves, moving as though I had wings. I never thought of angels any other way. And I knew for certain that one of these extraordinary angels had never appeared to me bringing good news of great joy.

As I grew up, angels became different, hard to think about, and maybe even hard to believe in. It’s not that I didn’t want to believe in them, but they became what was unknowable for me, but not for God.

My expectations of angels have changed since the days of tinsel trimmed sleeves, and running as fast as you can in the hopes that your feet may lift off of the snow-covered ground and fly.

Theologian Rowan Williams reminds us that angels are more than what fits into our annual church Christmas pageants; that “it is worth thinking about angels as a short hand description of everything that is around the corner in our perception, the things that are not a part of our understanding of the universe – including the universal song of praise that surrounds us always”.

Anna Epp - Ordinary Angels: A reflection for Advent

An angel may never appear to me as to the shepherds who watched their flock by night. Instead I wonder if angels are there in between my comings and goings, complemented by the universal song of praise of God’s presence that surrounds me always.

Angels are but ordinary friends who, around each corner of our perception accompany us along the journey, and whom we have the pleasure of never knowing.

“For nothing is impossible with God” the angel said.

May this season of advent heighten our awareness to all that is just around the corner in our perception.

May we be open to the possibilities of angels in our lives, and the way that God works in the ordinary.

May the unexpected nature of God continue to surprise us in this time of waiting.

Amen.

Anna Epp is in her third year of a BTS degree.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
With the students done testing, and everyone resting until the New Year.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Jason Friesen - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There is no other break like the Christmas break for university students. The rest of our breaks are given to us with the assumption that we are going to do other things than actually take a break. In the fall semester we get reading days, and in the winter we get a whole reading week. But the name speaks for itself. These days aren’t meant for rest; they’re meant to let you catch up on your work, and to work on those assignments that are likely due right after the reading break.

Then there are the summer holidays. For university students, they get a whole four months away from the books. It’s a nice change of pace for sure, but that doesn’t mean that the work stops. Instead, students go right from final exams to summer jobs, because as we all know, school, textbooks, and dorms don’t pay for themselves.

But Christmas is a different story. The relief of finishing your last exam of the fall semester gives you a feeling that no other break does. It’s not like high school where you are “free” for a couple of weeks, but have upcoming January exams looming over your head the whole break. And for some, there’s added joy in the fact that they get to return home for the holidays, and see family that they haven’t seen since Thanksgiving.

Jason Friesen - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

With such excitement for a break, the Christmas holidays mimic the advent season for university students. Just as we wait for the coming birth of Jesus, university students long for a break from the many hours of classes and studying. Though it may sound silly to compare a university break to the birth of Jesus, I think there is something to it. God celebrates rest, and puts an emphasis on it with the Sabbath. Through Jesus, God gives us not only salvation, but also a reason to pause, and for this we should be thankful. God realizes that we all need to rest at some point, and Christmas has become one of those times.

The Christmas break, just like the coming of Jesus, represents new birth for students, as well. The Christmas break brings a new year, which brings new beginnings in itself. But it also marks the start of a new semester where we get to tackle new subjects, which is also refreshing.

So, whatever the Christmas break brings your way, make sure to pause and enjoy it. Enjoy the time spent with family and friends, the many tasty treats, and the traditions. But don’t just pause to enjoy the break from school; enjoy the fact that Christ was born to save us, and that he can give us rest.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Studying the In Between: CMU’s Communications and Media Program

When I entered university, I had my plan all set. I was going to spend a couple of years at CMU taking science courses, and then get a degree in Kinesiology elsewhere. That plan didn’t last long. It took me only one year to realize that a degree in the sciences was not for me. It was not that I did poorly in the sciences, but it just wasn’t something I wanted to make a career out of. Having always enjoyed writing, I decided to try some communications and media classes in my second year. That change in direction turned into my major.

Jason Friesen - Studying the In Between: CMU’s Communications and Media Program

Studying communications is not like studying anything else. Whereas most majors in the sciences and arts look at the final product of information, communications studies stops before making it to the final product, to study how that information gets relayed and passed along.

With courses on radio, live streaming, sound production, video making, journalism, and graphic design, CMU gives a broad sweep of different technical skills that are valuable to anybody who wants a job in communications.

There are many ways to relay messages in today’s age, and CMU does a fantastic job of introducing students to many of those forms. With courses on radio, live streaming, sound production, video making, journalism, and graphic design, CMU gives a broad sweep of different technical skills that are valuable to anybody who wants a job in communications. In talking to various communications professionals, it’s obvious that multimedia is important in today’s world, so learning a variety of skills is important.

CMU enables communications grads to not only produce content, but to actually think critically about what they and others are producing, and what the effects are on society.

CMU doesn’t merely teach you the “hard” skills of communications, though. They  focus on the “soft” side as well. You get to analyze why you use these skills, and how to use them in an ethical and life-giving way. Through learning about things like new media, Christianity in the mass media, and politics in the mass media through theory courses, CMU enables communications grads to not only produce content, but to actually think critically about what they and others are producing, and what the effects are on society.  

Jason Friesen - Studying the In Between: CMU’s Communications and Media Program

On top of all this, a communications degree at CMU is not just a two-year program that teaches you only about communications. You need to take electives and courses outside of your major to fulfil the degree. This forces you to study other topics, and see how other disciplines look at the world. And as communications professor David Balzer said to me, “You’ll never communicate about communicating in the real world. You’ll communicate about business, biology, mathematics, psychology, and so on.” Good communication doesn’t just require knowledge of how to relay a message; it requires knowledge about what you’re talking about.

Combining all that you learn in the class with a practicum placement really rounds out the program. I have spent time at practicums first at Manitoba Public Insurance and now at True North Sports + Entertainment this year, and both experiences have allowed me to learn lessons I never would in the classroom.

The communications program helped me to realize the direction I want to go for a career in communications, and I’ve seen myself grow as a communicator to the point where I feel confident I’ll find work after graduation.

Jason Friesen is our lead blogger, and he’s in his final year of a Communications and Media degree at CMU.

Page 1 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén