Category: academics (Page 2 of 8)

How I found my voice…as a radio cowboy

BRIGHTON

Brighton Thiessen behind the mic at CHVN

Your 18th birthday is supposed to be this great thing. You are celebrating that you are free from the clutches of your parents, and you technically become legal in Canada.

I spent my 18th birthday packing up my things and moving to a first floor dorm room at Poettcker Hall. I felt as though I was still a high school kid who was still too young to understand what goes on at university. That first year, I struggled in class, and I wondered why I even was going to school in the first place.

I considered dropping a couple of times, but there was that little itch in the back of my head saying that I should stay, and that your time at CMU would be worthwhile.

Fast forward to now, and I am graduating this year, and I am currently doing a practicum assignment working as an on-air host at CHVN radio in Winnipeg. I guess it makes sense for me considering I am a Communications & Media major with a Biblical and Theological Studies minor, and CHVN is the only Christian radio station in Winnipeg.

Looking back on my time here, I realized that every course I took at CMU prepared me to be an on-air host, which I didn’t think I could do at first. I guess the moment I realized was in my first-year Media Workshop class. One of our fun end-of-the-year projects was to come up with a cool 30-second audio commercial for the Carnaval BBQ restaurant at the Forks.

For some odd reason, I got picked to speak in a ridiculous cowboy accent.

So I am sitting in the recording booth and it’s not going very well. I decided to take it one step further by just overdoing the accent. Communications & Media Professor David Balzer comes over the loud speaker and says that was too much, but the whole class said, “No that’s perfect.” In that moment, I felt like I truly found my voice.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the CMU community as well. I’ve had the chance to learn from great professors, great staff members that will drop anything that they are doing to talk to you and to see how your day is going, and my fellow classmates who turn what could be a regular old university class into a fun-loving environment that you can immediately feel comfortable in. I don’t know if there is a better community than CMU.

I recently had a conversation with the program director at CHVN. He said, “When I first met you, I wasn’t sure this was going to work because you were  quiet reserved individual who liked to keep to himself. Now, three months later, you are doing lots of on-air stuff for us, and it’s really worked out.” And then he said, “I like you a lot, and I kind of don’t want you to leave.”

Right now, I don’t want to leave CMU, but I know that my journey here is complete, and I have grown from a high school kid who sort of knew what he wanted to do, to being able to see that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

Brighton Thiessen is graduating in April from CMU’s Communications & Media program

Dear High School Student

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Picture this: you’re sitting in English class when suddenly the teacher says something incredibly profound. Jaw dropping. Brilliant. It sparks a thought for you, reminding you of a song you once heard, and you wonder out loud if the song could be alluding to this concept. You and your teacher have a rapid back-and-forth discussion, and then… you realize that you’re the only one getting into it. You shrink back into your seat, embarrassed by the scene you’ve just made and the interest you’ve displayed.

Sound familiar? That was me a year ago, always first to be interested in something, always wondering if people thought less of me for it.

It’s not a good headspace to be in; I seriously do not recommend it. But sometimes high school is just like that. It’s hard to avoid.

Well here’s some good news: since coming to CMU this semester, I’ve found a new way of looking at things, and it’s affecting the way I interact with others and especially the way I learn.

Take for example, my Biblical Literature and Themes class, taught by Dan Epp-Tiessen. This class looks at the Bible as a narrative, putting together the pieces so we can understand each one in light of the other pieces and the whole.

For a few years now, I’ve disliked studying the Bible, and it’s been boring and unfulfilling for me. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, I used to find a lot of joy in it. Well, in Bib Lit, I’m rediscovering that joy. Perhaps it was there all along and I just needed permission to uncover it again.

Dan so clearly loves teaching the Bible, and talking to him after class is always stimulating. As a naturally exuberant person, I can’t be in a class with a professor who loves teaching without loving learning.

I’m so grateful to be able to rediscover this delight in studying Scripture, and along with it a renewed enthusiasm about Jesus. By grabbing onto and owning my own excitement about learning instead of pushing it away, I’m able to become a better version of myself.

I’m learning to view education as a privilege, and I encourage you to as well. You might be surprised by how many lightbulbs turn on. Perhaps you, like me, will be able to give yourself permission to be passionate.

Guest blogger Marnie Klassen is a first year student and a learning enthusiast

The deep dish pizza of degrees: Interdisciplinary Studies

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We live in a complex world. In order to understand interconnected issues, we require diverse ways of thinking.

Imagine the world’s issues as a deep dish pizza with extra toppings. The toppings are so mixed together that they cannot be separated from the sauce and cheese. Mixed together, they create one complex yet delicious blend.

Traditionally, programs in universities have divided disciplines and programs into separate categories which look at issues through a particular perspective. This tends to mean that instead of taking a bite of the entire pizza, we are tasting single ingredients at a time.

Despite what we may learn by tasting each discipline separately, we can miss the complex and delicious taste from the mix of the ingredients which make up the entire pizza.

CMU has found a way to recognize the richness that occurs when two or more programs are integrated. The Interdisciplinary Studies major allows students to develop and propose their own program of study, oriented around particular themes of their choosing.

The student who chooses this major organizes CMU’s curricular offerings in ways which create a comprehensive understanding of important issues that are by nature complex.

Mattea Nickel is a third year student doing an Interdisciplinary degree on Creation Care. Although International Development Studies encapsulated some of the issues she was passionate about, Mattea felt that her interests were limited by the curriculum requirements for that degree.

“I also considered Biblical and Theological Studies as a major but was mainly interested in taking practical theology classes,” she says.

Although her interests did not fit a specific program, Mattea realized that the classes she enjoyed taking had similar undertones: simplicity, alternative economics, ecological preservation, and policy.

“I had a passion for learning how to live an alternative lifestyle as an expression of faith that was supported through academics.”

She found the lives of professors such as Dan Epp-Tiessen, Kenton Lobe, and James Magnus-Johnston influential and enjoyed having the liberty to explore the connections between their disciplines further. Creation Care, a theme which has stemmed from her interest in learning to think and live differently.

Mattea enjoys doing an interdisciplinary degree because it “is an incredible way of learning about a single idea or concept from multiple perspectives by creating a platform to ask questions and dig deep.”

Mattea says that there is a freedom in the Interdisciplinary option because it allows students to commit to ideas and themes which are structured around their interests.

If you have further questions about the Interdisciplinary degree, our advisor Vern Kehler would be happy to chat with you.

Social Sciences

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During my first year at CMU, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I love learning and discovering new things, and everything here seems so interesting – how could I choose? That is one of the reasons why I decided to major in Social Sciences, with a focus on International Development. This degree allows me to explore a variety of topics that pique my interest while expanding on the one topic I want to focus on for my future career.

In my classes, I get to explore topics such as social justice, international development, peace, psychology, and religion. In class, I am able to ask hard and confusing questions and not feel embarrassed or uneducated, because my classmates are also curious and often have similar questions.

I love how the professors at CMU use unconventional teaching methods both inside and outside the classroom (literally – it is one of the many perks to having the Assiniboine Forest in our backyard!) This makes learning fun and sparks invigorating conversation. Professors dive deep into different topics and social issues that interest both them and their students, and teach in ways that make class material easy to understand and relate to.

CMU has gifted me with the opportunity to love what I am learning. The social sciences, while challenging at times, allow me to be part of the conversation and help me to be more aware and involved. Without taking classes such as Cultures of Peace and Violence, Third World Theology, and Intro to International Development, I would not have realized that I would like to pursue a career in the nonprofit world as an international aid worker.

I have discovered that I have a passion for education and a desire to ensure that all people have access to basic education. Through my classes, I have discovered that there are organizations which share the same passions as me and are working to make quality education a reality in all parts of the world. As a social science student, I am able to envision my future and get excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead!

Guest blogger Esther Hardy is a third year student in Social Sciences.

Music Therapy

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I feel tremendously fortunate to be studying Music Therapy at CMU. Throughout my first semester, I kept having these “pinch-me” moments where I couldn’t believe I was studying what I love and working toward my goal of becoming an accredited music therapist.

Amidst lyric rewrites, unconditional positive regard, and a whole lot of goal writing, I can happily report that I have found my place in the Program. It leads to a Bachelor of Music Therapy, followed by an internship and exam for accreditation. Music therapy, done by accredited music therapists, uses music as a tool to promote client healing and wellbeing.

The Music Therapy Program at CMU draws on a wealth of knowledge from both textbooks and the profession itself. We complete practicum placements where we are supervised by a music therapist. Day-to-day we learn from our professors, who are practicing music therapists. I find their insights and experiences to be helpful and eye-opening.

Our cohort is a small, tight-knit group and we are provided opportunities to share our experiences from practicum with each other. In our Improvisation and Skills class, we have the chance to learn about and try out different music therapy interventions, which we can then adapt to use with our clients. We do spend a lot of time in practice rooms, but I value the time we spend together learning and practicing. Having professionals as well as peers share their music therapy experiences contributes to a well-rounded education. 

As music therapists-to-be, we take courses in music, psychology, and anatomy to prepare for the diverse environments where we are likely to be employed: schools, hospitals, private practice, personal care homes, or mental health facilities. One of the best parts about the Music Therapy Program is the opportunity to put learning into action. We have four semesters of practicum experience, each with a different client demographic.

Music therapy is beneficial for people at any stage of life and all ranges of ability. This semester, I’m looking forward to my practicum in the school system. Studying music therapy gives me the opportunity to merge my love of music with my desire to help others. In the future, I hope to use therapy services in a summer camp setting.

Guest blogger Johanna Kroetsch is a first year student in the two-year Music Therapy after degree program.

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