Berkeley Homeless Ministry: An Opportunity for PUC Students to Get Involved

By Andrew Mahinay

Pacific Union College holds countless opportunities for students to serve others on or off campus, including building homes for individuals who lost their homes during the Valley Fire in nearby Pope Valley, food drives, and feeding the homeless in the cities of Berkeley and Clearlake. The long list of service opportunities continues.

I am currently a senior, majoring in English, and will be graduating in 2017. As a freshman, I made it my goal to get involved with campus ministries. Being a part of service opportunities on campus is not a requirement, but it is a great way to strengthen your network and connect with other students on campus, while at the same time bettering yourself as a person.

It was three years ago–during my freshman year–that I chose to attend my first outreach ministry in the city of Berkeley. The service program requires all students who want to attend this ministry meet at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning. After having a long tedious week of schoolwork, I struggled with waking up at this time. All I wanted to do was catch up on my sleep. However, I am glad I chose to get out of bed because Berkeley Homeless Ministry became a defining aspect of my life that helped shape me into the responsible, social, and patient person I am today.

Berkeley Homeless Ministry is a simple program which has such a profound effect on the lives of the homeless. A group of PUC students drive to People’s Park, located two minutes away from the University of Berkeley. Once there, students begin organizing the food that will be served. As soon as the homeless begin to see students setting up food, they begin to fall in line. A blessing is said over the food, and the students begin to serve the food, and sing and converse with the homeless. The goal of Berkeley Homeless Ministry is to share the love of Christ through fellowship and the distributing of food. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matthew 25:35)

My first time serving the homeless of People’s Park was quite intimidating. I was comfortable with socializing with fellow friends, classmates, and acquaintances, but interacting with homeless people was quite different. We did not have any similar interests in common nor did we have similar experiences to converse about. Nonetheless, as I continued to attend the Berkeley Homeless Ministry, I learned having similar interests and experiences were not a big deal. Throughout my time fellowshipping with the homeless, I learned the most important trait to have is a patient heart and a willingness to listen.

It is the hope of Berkeley Homeless Ministry to continue making a loving impact on the lives of the homeless. A man by the name of John came up to the group of students one Saturday, and said, “Thank you for all you do, you guys are amazing, God bless you.”

Photo courtesy of Andrew Mahinay

Photo courtesy of Andrew Mahinay

15 Scholarships to Apply for This Fall

Don’t let Cash Cat steal your college cash!

Don’t let Cash Cat steal your college cash!

(via Cash Cat)

High school juniors and seniors, if you haven’t already started your college scholarship search, the time is now! Below are 15 unique scholarships with application deadlines within the next three months, based on things such as leadership experience, artistic abilities, volunteer service, athletic performance, and more. Even if you don’t have an amazing GPA, don’t be discouraged–there are plenty of scholarships you may be eligible for!

Also, be sure to check out PUC’s scholarships, many of which are due March 2, 2017!

1. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship
Deadline: November 15, 2016
Award amount: $20,000

This scholarship is given in recognition of students for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. The scholarship is awarded to 150 winners each year.

2. The Youth Noise Scholarship Program
Deadline: November 21, 2016
Award amount: $1,000

For this scholarship, students can create a 2-5 minute video explaining how new ideas can shape the world and why education is the key to helping create a brighter future.

3. Unigo’s Education Matters Scholarship
Deadline: November 30, 2016
Award amount: $5,000

These days, there’s a lot in the news about whether or not college is worth it. Spoiler alert: It is. This scholarship asks students to write a short essay in response to the question of “What would you say to someone who thinks education doesn’t matter, or that college is a waste of time and money?”

4. The Sallie Mae $5,000 Plan for College Sweepstakes 
Deadline: November 30, 2016
Award amount: $5,000

This random drawing selects one winner, chosen December 1, 2016.

5. Niche.com “No Essay” College Scholarship
Deadline: November 30, 2016
Award amount: $2,000

This random drawing selects one scholarship winner per month.

6. The Look Twice, Save a Life Scholarship
Deadline: December 1, 2016
Award amount: $1,000

This is a great scholarship for any student with a motorcycle-driving parent or other relative! Put together a video, essay, or artwork encouraging other students to look twice for motorcycles when behind the wheel.

7. Cards Against Humanity’s Science Ambassador Scholarship
Deadline: December 11, 2016
Award amount: 100% tuition

Funded by Cards Against Humanity, this scholarship is open to women seeking an undergraduate degree in a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). You must submit a three minute video explaining a scientific topic you’re passionate about.

8. The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Scholarship
Deadline: December 16, 2016
Award amount: $25,000

The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes program awards student athletes who have demonstrated excellence not just on their team, but also in school and in their community. Twenty winners are chosen to receive the scholarship; the grand prize is $25,000 while the remaining awards are $20,000.

9. The Apprentice Ecologist Initiative Scholarship
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Award amount: $1,750

The Apprentice Ecologist Initiative Scholarship is open to students interested in the environment and conservation. To apply, you need to conduct an environmental stewardship project, and write an essay about the project that includes photos.

10. DoSomething.org’s Senior Story Swap Scholarship
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Award amount: $5,000

This scholarship encourages students to go out into their community and connect with older adults. Sign up to receive facts on isolation among older Americans and tips on how to have the best one-on-one interaction possible to be entered into the scholarship contest.

11. The Fountain Essay Contest 2016
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Award amount: $1,000

Offered by the Fountain Magazine, this contest asks students to write a 1,500-2,500 word essay on the issues facing today’s immigrants.

12. The MoolahSPOT $1,000 Scholarship
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Award amount: $1,000

Presented by MoolahSPOT.com, this essay contest asks you to respond to one of the following questions, in 400 words or less:

  • Why do you deserve to win this scholarship?
  • What is your academic or career goal?
  • Describe what is most important to you and why
  • Or, you can write an essay on any topic of your choice

13. Unigo’s Top Ten List Scholarship
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Award amount: $1,500

A relatively simple scholarship, this one asks students to write 10 reasons why you should win the scholarship, in 250 words or less.

14. Unigo’s $10k Scholarship
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Award amount: $10,000

Another short essay contest, students must respond to the question of “Is college worth it for you?” in only 250 words or less.

15. The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program
Deadline: January 5, 2017
Award amount: $40,000

This prestigious scholarship is given in honor of our nation’s 40th president to students who demonstrate exemplary leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship at school, at work, and within their local community.

Editor’s note: The information provided on this post is for informational purposes only. Pacific Union College makes no claims regarding the accuracy, currentness, or validity of the information provided here and will not be liable for any errors.

Why You Should Join a Music Group at PUC

By Andrea James

PUC boasts many great music ensembles. We enjoy their performances every quarter, but most of us don’t participate in a music group. After all, why should we sacrifice our precious free time? I asked Kayley Wilson, a junior English major and member of both I Cantori and Chorale, for her answer and a few other questions about music at PUC.

“The payoff is great. There have been times where I’ve been thinking, ‘Man, I could be working on a paper right now.’ But there have been so many times when I’ve walked out going, ‘Wow. I am so less stressed about what was bothering me.’ I feel better … Singing is healthy. It causes you to breathe really deeply … Psychologically, physically it’s good for you. Even though there have been times when I’m like, ‘I could be doing something else,’ I feel it benefits me in so many ways. It’s not something I’m willing to give up, you know? It does limit your time sometimes. If you’re just in Chorale, a couple weekends a year you’re singing. It’s really not that much. I think it’s worth it.”

Why do you have such a high opinion of singing?
“There’s something so powerful about this big group of people all thinking about the same thing and focusing on the same thing when we live in this world where there’s so much division. It’s really a beautiful thing to be able to come together and do that.

Music relaxes me. It allows me to step outside of the daily struggles and focus on something I love. I love that a lot of it’s worship music and I love doing that. It’s an escape; it’s worship. I just think it’s really valuable … I also feel like whatever gift you’ve been given, doing it well is an act of worship … When I was in high school, I came from a Waldorf school and it wasn’t Christian, and now I go to this school where my professor is saying, ‘We’re singing the Bible; we’re singing Scripture.’ Literally, singing Scripture! He said, ‘When I’m conducting, I’m praying. My heart is in it; my soul is in it. I want you to think about singing in a choir as your personal worship time. You’re not performing for other people; you’re giving back to God.’ That really, really stuck with me.”

Why do you think people are hesitant to join music groups?
“Well, for one I think a lot of people are scared of joining music groups because they’re scared they don’t have the ability. The thing is, no one expects you to come in knowing everything. That’s why there’s an instructor.

If you like music, what kind of music are you interested in? Don’t think that ‘Oh, well, this was written in 1500sI’m not going to like that.’ You don’t know unless you’ve tried singing it, unless you’ve sat down and listened to it. It doesn’t have to be choirthat’s my background, but I have friends who are in Symphonic Wind Ensemble and they just have a blast. They’re always doing some really interesting pieces. I think it really builds communityreally, really builds community. It’s typical that you’re going to know more people within your department because you have events to go to and classes with all those people, but when you’re in a music ensemble, you also get to meet people from all over who maybe you wouldn’t have encountered otherwise and you’re all coming together for one common goal. I just think that’s so cool.

ensemble

One thing I think is really neat about being in an ensemble is that if you don’t feel confident, you’ve got a lot of people behind you. There’s something really beautiful about that unity; that we may not all sound amazing by ourselves, but we’re stronger and more powerful together.”

So, consider joining one of the music groups on campus and be part of a community, worshipping and singing together. Here’s a list of some of the larger ensembles at PUC:

  • Big Band–Rehearses and performs big band jazz. The group focuses on the development of reading and improvisation skills.
  • ChoralePerforms both sacred and secular music, in diverse styles and from many periods. It’s a large mixed chorus open to all students, faculty, and staff. The group normally performs one piece with the orchestra each year. There are auditions each quarter; however, membership for the whole school year is preferred.
  • Gospel ChoirExtensively surveys religious music from African-American worship experiences.
  • Handbell Choir–Performs every quarter, both on and off campus. There are two levels of handbell choir: The beginning choir is open to any student who can read music; the advanced handbell choir is for ringing level three music and above.
  • I CantoriPerforms both sacred and secular music. It’s a mixed-voice chamber ensemble for voice majors and other serious vocal students. It’s also a major touring ensemble and has a full performance schedule, including off campus tours. The director holds auditions at the beginning of fall quarter and year-long membership is required. Students in I Cantori are also required to register for Chorale.
  • Introductory String EnsemblePerforms music at the level of the group. The ensemble focuses on developing technique, musicianship, and ensemble skills.
  • OrchestraPerforms masterworks in concerts every quarter and at other events, both on and off campus. It’s for advanced string, wind, and brass players. The group often collaborates with soloists and other ensembles.
  • Praise Teams/Bands–There are opportunities to perform at both vespers and the PUC Church service Sabbath morning. Contact the religious vice president in the Student Association or the church office to learn more. You can also read our post “(P)Raise the Roof” for some thoughts on being part of a praise band at PUC.
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble–Performs a diverse selection of music in a wide variety of settings and is for advanced instrumentalists. Tours and workshops occur on alternate years.

praise-band

How to Overcome Homesickness

By Andrea James

Dealing with homesickness is a huge part of being a college student. Most people get hit with it at some point (or even at several points) during their academic career. After a little while, homesickness usually goes away. Despite how it seems in the moment, you will not feel this way forever. Still, homesickness can be rough, so here are a few tips to help you cope when a wave of homesickness bowls you over. First, though, I want to say that it’s okay to feel this way. It’s normal; it’s natural. You are jumping into a whole lot of new things at once, and that can be terrifying and very unsettling. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to miss your life back home, but there are lots of great things college has to offer! College is full of amazing people and experiences that will stick with you for the rest of your life. There will be bad experiences and you will meet not-so-nice people as well, but hopefully the good will outweigh the bad in the end. You don’t want to miss those good experiences or amazing people because you were locked up in your room all the time. Instead:

  1. Try to figure out what’s hitting you the hardest, what you miss the most. If it’s the faces of your friends and family, then maybe you can set up a weekly Skype date. If you really miss your room back at home, then try to add a touch of familiar comfort to your dorm room. For example, you could buy the same detergent you use at home so your sheets smell the same. If you miss your pets, have your family include them in the aforementioned Skype calls, or you can visit the local animal shelter and cover yourself in kittens and puppies for an hour. There are also a lot of animal-related livestreams available online for free. Do what you can to attack the ‘triggers’ (so to speak) and root out the homesickness at the source.
  2. Get out of your room and out of your head. Join a club (Read our post “So Many Clubs, So Little Time!” to see what clubs are at PUC), get a job on campus, participate in a study group, or just go for a walk with a friend. Don’t isolate yourself; it will only make things worse. This doesn’t mean you have to go to every SA event or can never “me time.” Just make sure you spend some time outside enjoying PUC’s beauty or talk with a friend every once in awhile.
  3. Be kind with yourself, and patient. Most of the time homesickness doesn’t disappear in a single day; it takes a little while. Give yourself time to adjust. Don’t pile on eight classes and three clubs your first quarter—get used to the workload first, and then you can commit to way too many things like everyone else.
  4. Talk to someone who’s going through the same thing. It will help you not to feel so alone. You can share family stories and pictures of your cats!

Finally, make sure what you’re feeling is really homesickness and not actual depression. Talk to one of PUC’s counselors (it’s free!). Even if it isn’t depression, they can give you proper professional advice and techniques for dealing with homesickness and whatever else you may be going through.

Editor’s note: You can contact our Career & Counseling Center at counseling@puc.edu or at (707) 965-7080 or learn more on their website.

Use PUC’s Net Price Calculator!

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Worried about affording college? Find out what you may qualify for!

Did you know 100 percent of PUC’s traditional undergraduate students receive financial aid? Last year, over $40 million was awarded to our 1,600 students based not only on merit, but leadership, Christian service, and much more. See a full list of PUC scholarships at puc.edu/scholarships.

PUC is committed to making a high-quality Christ-centered education possible. To find out how much aid you may qualify for, use our net price calculator to receive a preliminary estimate of your aid eligibility, including grants, loans, and PUC scholarships.

It takes less than 10 minutes—start now!

The Five Financial Things You Can Do Now

The fall is always a busy time of year for high school students (and their parents!) as they finish their college applications and start to work on determining how much financial aid they’re eligible for. This year in particular can be stressful, with new changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), more information about which can be found at puc.edu/financeresources. The following is a short list to help keep you on track now that FAFSA has opened—it’s time to get ready for next year!

Apply to college

  • If you haven’t already, apply to PUC at puc.edu/apply
  • Be sure to list your Social Security Number so PUC can access your FAFSA
  • Send in your transcripts and one letter of reference

Submit the FAFSA
(Starting October 1)

  • Get your FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov, which will serve as your legal signature when you submit the FAFSA; your parents should get one too
  • Start your FAFSA at fafsa.gov—have income information from the previous tax year available to refer back to
  • Be sure to include PUC’s school code (001258) to have your data sent to PUC
  • List at least one in-state college, otherwise you may be ineligible to apply for Cal Grant (CA residents only)
  • Sign your FAFSA with both your FSA ID and your parent’s ID; keep proof of completion

Submit a GPA verification form to the California Student Aid Commission
(
March 2 deadline)

  • Both this form (available at csac.ca.gov) and your FAFSA are required by March 2 to apply for Cal Grant (CA residents only)
  • Be sure to get proof of mailing from the Post Office

Talk with a PUC financial counselor

Search for scholarships

  • See what PUC offers at puc.edu/scholarships (March 2 deadline)
  • A helpful list of external scholarship websites is available at puc.edu/outsidescholarships
  • Don’t limit your search to just online; check local organizations like Kiwanis, Rotary, and your chamber of commerce to see what they offer
  • Ask your PUC financial counselor for ideas of where else to look

Alumni Profile: Katie Aguilar

Katie Aguilar, who graduated in 2013 with a BFA in graphic design, currently works as a graphic designer on the creative services team at Netflix in Los Angeles, Calif. Below, Katie discusses her job at Netflix, her time at PUC, and advice she has for students wanting to follow in her footsteps.

katie-aguilar

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at PUC?

What stands out the most is learning to listen. Whether it was in a class, a meeting, or somewhere in the stillness of the Back 40, if I just listened, I learned something. There’s always someone with a different perspective or approach I would miss if I didn’t just quiet down and listen. I need reminding of that now and again.

Who was your favorite professor while you were at PUC and why?

That’s hard because I grew very close to my professors in the department of visual arts. Most of my PUC experience was spent in Fisher Hall, where my professors were really easy to talk to and always willing to help me through a project and oftentimes, life. So there isn’t just one, there are four. Shout-out to Milbert Mariano, Cliff Rusch, Haley Wesley, and Brian Kyle!

How did your time at PUC prepare you for your career?

It’s the little efficiencies I picked up along the way from my teachers or peers. Keyboard shortcuts, organization, timeliness, the importance of prioritization. It was really surprising when I got out into the “real world” how much those small things played such a big role in my day-to-day and made things run smoother.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job? The most challenging?

The most enjoyable part of my job is knowing I bring value to my team. We use these buzz phrases like “freedom and responsibility,” and it’s true, I have the freedom to work in a way that makes sense to me, the freedom to grow, to learn, to test new ideas and ask questions. My responsibilities to my team are for me to perform at my very best and I really enjoy being in an environment where I can thrive. That’s also the challenging part, I have the freedom to take my career where I want to, so it’s up to me to use my time wisely and make the most out of every opportunity.

What advice would you give for other young aspiring designers?

Some advice I’d give any aspiring designer:

  1. Talk to your professors! Get to know them! They’re such a valuable resource and can help you get through the creative fog you’ll inevitably have during projects.
  2. Be aware of what’s out there. Find out what other designers are doing, what new software is coming out that could improve or change the way you think about design.
  3. Don’t be afraid to try crazy ideas.
  4. Don’t limit yourself to one area of design. Lately all the job postings I’ve seen are looking for a jack of all trades. You don’t need to be an expert in every Adobe product but knowing some fundamentals can come in really handy later on.

Go for it! The only real limit to how far you can go is often set by you. Don’t be afraid of messing up or not getting the exact result you wanted. Just keep going for it. You’ll surprise yourself how far you really go.