Issues TFC Relationships May Face

I remember one fall day last year. I was in the cafeteria eating my food, when suddenly a student approached me, and with a concerned look asked, “are you okay.” Perplexed I asked, “what do you mean?” I was rather taken aback, and was unsure if something bad had happened to me that I was unaware of. He responded, “I see your girlfriend sitting over there with her friends, and you’re over here with your friends. I just wanted to make sure you two were doing okay.” I responded that we were fine, and that she has her own friends, and as do I, and that we can sit apart or together, that it doesn’t really matter. That began to get me thinking, perhaps there are some ideas floating around that are not the best for relationships. Everyone knows about the divorce rate for TFC graduates, but everyone seems to encourage any behavior or relationship toward marriage. So, I thought I would write over a couple things that I have seen happen to my friends, classmates, and occasionally myself .

The first issue is the “together always” syndrome. During my freshman year, a guy on our hall had recently gotten a girlfriend. After about two days, it was hopeless. He was never on our hall again. Whether it was homework, eating, or chapel, he was never away from her side. His friendships with the guys on his hall died out, as his girlfriend was his only time focus. Perhaps the greatest killer of friendships on the Toccoa Falls campus is your friend getting into a relationship. Yet, is it healthy to spend every possible second with one person? Is it healthy to not place any priority in friendships of the same gender? While I understand that it is fun to hang out with a boyfriend or girlfriend, at what point should it become unwise to spend too much time together? I have seen some couples burn out. They have spent so much time together that they want to be away from that person, but their lives have become accustomed to planning every moment with their significant other. Sometimes people would have relationship problems, but they would not have a close friend to confide in. Most often, breakdowns would start happening in their relationship. Perhaps, it would be wise in a dating relationship to work on maintaining friendships.

Another issue I wonder about as being healthy is thinking that they will be in a constant state of love. Marriage is not about being in love. It is not about feeling like you like the person. Marriage is about building a life and family together. It is not always going to be great. Conflict and fights are bound to happen. Not realizing that these exist, or truly opening one’s eyes to this possibility, I feel that is dangerous. I view it a lot like a friendship. I have a friend who I have been best friends with since junior high. When we first hung out, everything was fun. We would play soccer and talk about our small Lutheran junior high. Now, I do not have the “this is a new person to hang out with” syndrome, but I enjoy hanging out with my friend. We know each other, and know what we like to do together. We’ve had fights, we’ve had times running from the police , and we’ve had times laughing as we’ve tried to talk to girls. I think marriage is like this. It is enjoying building a life together and incorporating someone into your life through the good and the bad. The goal of dating is not to focus on getting to the married point, the goal of dating is to find someone you want to spend the rest of your days with. Some highlight the act of being able to be considered married. The ceremony is what they hold in high esteem, without truly understanding that they are going to grow old with another person.

Some people might ignore big issues in order to stay in a relationship with someone. Settling is perhaps a problem that affects many couples. Perhaps it is fear of being alone, or not wanting to feel like they wasted time, but people settle. I once knew of a couple that was in a relationship. They had dated for a while, and had no outwardly wrong problems. He had confided in a friend that he was not overly happy with her, but he would not end the relationship. After time, he felt he should marry her due to the time he had been with her. The years past, and he began to hate his wife. He felt tied down to a woman whom he never really wanted. He was not a immoral man, but he now found himself cheating on his wife, longing to have a relationship with a different woman. While anyone can work out a marriage with anyone, there are some who it is much easier to do with. If a person feels that they could do better or be happier with someone else, maybe it’s time to break up. Perhaps staying in a relationship is not the right thing to do.

The last and perhaps most dangerous is becoming physical in the relationship. I am not speaking of this as an ignorant youth, but as someone who has seen and talked to many people in many places. If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, how will becoming physical solve this? Yes, being physical is fun for a lot of people. If it wasn’t enjoyable, many people wouldn’t fall into this choice. I am not here to say what the line should or should not be, but rather to say what is wise or unwise. Becoming physical locks you into a relationship. It is a feeling of being obligated to see how things work out, and it also cements the other person to you emotionally. To those who claim to not feel anything from being too physical, perhaps you have never truly loved, or are with someone you have never truly loved. I am not trying to preach on chaste morals, but to say that in a relationship one should seek to make a harder choice and live more wisely. For every broken heart, there is baggage that will be taken along to the next person they will date. If that person truly loves you or is interested in loving you, would they not be willing to wait? Perhaps some of my greatest memories from past girlfriends is sneaking up onto a school roof, watching the hours fly by and we spoke getting to know each other better under the starlight.

I am not trying not knock on anyone’s relationship, but wish and hope for the best for everyone as they seek to find someone they want to be with forever. Every person can always strive to have a healthier relationship, and perhaps some have gleaned some useful information from this. In all things, do it for the glory of God. People look at the relationships of Christians, are we representing ourselves well? Are we living different than the world, or adopting and practicing the same standards? None are perfect, but it is that we are fighting. We are fighting to become more like Christ in a world that opposes him. We are fighting to have the type of relationships that Christ desires for us.

Operation Servanthood Gives Town Shiny New Look

Storming downtown Toccoa on Saturday, March 31, 2012, around sixty students came together to participate in a community ministry project known as Operation Servanthood between 1 and 4pm.  Splitting the town into thirds and acquiring three teams of students, each team had a leader and went to their noted destination.

From Sosbees to the Hallmark store to Cups and Cones, a total of 31 store fronts had their windows washed and dried, giving the store a whole new outlook — or maybe a new “in-look.”  Multiple stores not only had the outside of their windows cleaned, but also the inside, aiding in the creation of a brighter atmosphere.  Not only did these students have the opportunity to be of service and interact with workers, but to be a light in Toccoa, branching out from campus and reaching in to the community.  Each store received a box of cookies and a card as an extra token of TFC’s appreciation for the opportunity to serve through this activity.  The workers were very appreciative, and many of them said their days were made when students showed up with buckets and rags outside of their stores with chipper faces, ready to get down to business.

Alongside the three teams in town washing windows, a fourth smaller team was build and accompanied by Mrs. Debbie Moore to the Boys and Girls Club and Shirley’s Soul-Food.  The Boys and Girls Club had their basement cleaned and leftover items from there were donated to the local clothes closet for those others in need.  They also received a live art chalkboard wall.  Black chalkboard paint was layered on the wall, and upon drying, it was decorated and the kids now have the ability to draw and erase any chalk picture they would like.  Shirley’s Soul-Food also received window cleaning, along with a few practical items and a time of ministry to the homeless through this wiling group of students.

All the teams met at Cups and Cones afterward to enjoy ice cream, and since they are a non-profit fundraiser for Open Arms, Open Arms received a donation through the teams’ purchases, and also received practical items from their wish list, allowing their clinic to be run more effectively.  To bring it all to a close, the soup kitchen received cleaning aid and as a result of both community projects and those who purchased Operation Servanthood t-shirts, which sold out much quicker than expected, a donation of $500.  This was a blessing to participants, our campus, and the community.  A thank you is extended to all those who participated.

StuDev Discusses Crime, Safety, and Right to Know

By: Erin Mellor & Kyle Atkins

Each year, as relegated by the Clery Act, the campus community receives a “Right to Know” pamphlet via inter campus mail. This brochure covers various types of crime and numerically states how many of each type of crime has taken place on campus. It covers rape, arson, theft, assault, et cetera. This semester, many students have been buzzing about the recent crimes on campus, which have reached an unprecedented number in my three years here.

On a campus with 600 students, word can travel shockingly fast, and we all know that some of the information has been mutated through the various channels, much like the telephone game we played when we were younger. A squabble between roommates can turn into an all out brawl, and talking to the boy who sits next to you in class can turn into a full fledged TFC Relationship. Recently, many rumors have traveled through the grapevine regarding the thefts that have taken place on campus. In an effort to dissolve some of the misconceptions surrounding these events, myself and Kyle Atkins met with Lee Yowell, who serves the college as Vice President for Student Development, and recently made an announcement in chapel regarding the priority of safety, both of person and property, on campus. Yowell stated “we have had a number of incidences that have caused us to be concerned.”

One comment on the Shadow blog (which has been taken down since my interview with him) that I found particularly grim was from a student who wished to thank the hacker, because now everyone could essentially do whatever they wanted on campus, and not face the consequences of their actions. In my (Erin) interview with Shadow, he said “I ceased hacking because I found out that it was bothering/offending/hurting/scaring people. Jokes aren’t supposed to hurt people. Christians aren’t supposed to hurt people. I was also told that what I was doing was potentially illegal, and that influenced my decision too, although I had not confirmed whether or not that was true when I made my apology.”

While some of the talk of hacking has died down in the past few weeks, the campus has not soon forgotten the “Shadow.” The  Information and Technology department on campus has been conducting their own investigation into the way that several Facebook accounts were hacked. With both Shadow and the latest thefts, the TFC namesake has been hijacked. Both the hacker and person(s) who have carried out the thefts have claimed to be doing the campus a service, calling themselves “TFC Shadow,” and “TFC Crime Stoppers.” The supposed crime stoppers left a note with a group of laptops discovered by a student in Williams Chapel stating that it was an April Fool’s joke, and students should learn to lock their doors. Obviously, these incidences are considered crimes, and are in no way advocated by the administration. “We don’t find it funny, we don’t take it as a joke,” Yowell stated.

Yowell assures students that the administration takes these crimes very seriously, having a very good standing relationship with the sheriff’s office in town. He cannot, however, give any details of an investigation, in respect toward both the victims, and the perpetrator(s) of the thefts. He simply said “when we find them, they will be dealt with.” Interim Director of Security Matthew Miller stated “There is an official investigation still ongoing and I am working with the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and other school administrators to resolve this issue.” Victims of the thefts declined to comment, however; we do know that laptops have been stolen from both Forrest and LeTourneau. We can confirm that those that were recovered with the note from the “TFC Crime Stoppers” were the ones from the women’s dorm.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone on campus talk about how much they dislike the Toccoa Falls College “bubble,” I would be able to pay off all my college loans. Our school is known for its trusting students, who can be naive to the world outside of the campus. Some see this as a gift, while others view it as a curse. In years past, I have seen the relative absence of hardship as a gift, but as a third year student, my perspective is beginning to shift. Many students have had their bubble burst in the past weeks, as they have been the victims of thefts. We have become acutely aware of the fallen state of the students who committed these crimes, as what we thought were issues faced only in the outside world have permeated into our campus.

While the persons who are committing the crimes should not be hung as many would like to do, this is a matter that we as students should take seriously. This goes beyond the crimes themselves, but to the impact these incidences have had upon our student community. When I (Kyle) walk through the dorms, I want to know that my fellow dorm-mates will be watching my back and I will be watching theirs as well. This doesn’t mean taking matters into our own hands and becoming vigilantes, but rather encouraging a lifestyle that is focus on holy living. Yes, we have to know that not everyone will follow this encouragement, but we should keep each other accountable, call others to account (according to Matthew 18) when we believe wrongdoing to be happening. Our community has been impacted by the events recently and instead of spreading rumors, we need to not only take steps to protect ourselves but understand how any decisions that we make affect our community. Secrets kill the heart, and they kill the community we have worked to build on campus. Let us work together to foster community based on holy living, not fearful apprehension. As Yowell put it, “we are a community, so the actions of a few affect the rest of us.”

There are ways that we as students can prevent these crimes from continuing. In terms of internet usage, make sure that you have an updated browser that uses “htpps,” which maintains security. As for thefts, much of what comes into play here is common sense. Keeping doors locked, not having large sums of money on your person or in an unlocked vehicle. Making sure that coded doors are kept shut, rather than propped open for easier access. If you’re going out at night, especially ladies, take a friend with you. One female student tweeted “every girl should know the extension for TFC security.” (Its #5444, in case you didn’t know.) Also, reporting any suspicious activity is imperative in the effort to keep these crimes in check. If you see something, do not hesitate to notify your resident assistant or director. You may also contact security or student development. Together, we can ensure that the crime on our campus is minimal and addressed in the most effective ways possible.

More information to come, for sure.

 

[Edit: Since the publication of this story, more laptops were stolen from the Teacher Education building.]

The Boys of the Game

Most boys growing up can’t wait for springtime to arrive as they look to another baseball season. It’s a magical time that few words can describe. Here at TFC we have team of young men who have the chance to continue to play the game of boys for a few more years; to experience the innocence of youth every time they step on that field. These young men play ball for a variety of reasons; for exercise, to learn life disciplines, to learn how to perform in pressure situations, and of course to win a national championship. These are not the only reasons they continue to play this wonderful game though. As the TFC baseball team was back in action Monday the team’s energy was like that of young boys playing for nothing more than an unbridled love of the game. With every ball they threw and every at bat their passion and love for the game and each other stood out.

The Eagles took on the Clearwater Cougars in their double header and won both games convincingly to jump start their week. The Eagles took the first game 6-1 and the second 11-3. Junior right fielder, Andrew Thorne got the scoring started in the second game with a hard hit double and the Eagles never looked back. After a rough stretch of games against a tougher schedule, the Eagles needed theses wins to bring their record up to 17-14-1 and 5-2 in conference play. They are now in first place within the conference and these wins helped them get back on track in their quest for another national title. According to Thorne the team has “a really good shot to repeat as National Champions.” In fact he says, “Anything less would be a disappointment.” Coach Justin Pollock has similar feelings about the teams prospects as he commented that the team is “more talented than in years past and has potential to win it all again.” However, Pollock adds that, “the team has to become mentally tougher and bring their A game” every time they take the field. “If the team will play the rest of the season with the effort and enthusiasm that they did on Monday the wins should take care of themselves.” Hopefully Monday afternoon was just a small taste of what is yet to come and these young men will get to play this game of boys all the way to another championship victory.

Since the writing of this article the Eagles have won 6 in a row taking the W in all six games of three double headers. The team won both games of a double header on Saturday, April, 7 against Florida Christian College taking the first game 5-3 and the second 4-3. With these two wins the Eagles clinched the number one seed for the end of the season regional tournament to be held here at TFC April, 26-28. The team also defeated Piedmont College twice on April, 12 wining 8-7 and 6-1. Finally the Eagles defeated Berry College twice this past Saturday, April 14 7-3 and 7-6. With theses six wins the team’s record has improved to 23-14-1. The Eagles will be back in action this Tuesday, April 24 against Truett McConnell College at 3 PM.

The Freshman Fifteen: Fact and Fiction

As this semester comes to a close, the next school year will bring new freshmen. For each freshman, there are many fears about future grades and relationships, but the biggest fear for most freshmen is called the freshman fifteen. What is the freshman fifteen? It is the fifteen pounds of weight that average freshmen gain over the first twelve weeks of college. However, this weight change has become more like the college boogeyman than an actual commonplace occurrence.

Most freshmen come to college and must adapt to their new lives and schedules. They must eat when it is possible and whatever is edible. Despite this change in diet, most freshmen do not gain fifteen pounds. This saying actually comes from an average that is applied to the whole of the freshman class. Most freshmen actually either lose weight or gain more than fifteen pounds. According to TeensHealth.org, weight gain can happen to college freshmen for numerous reasons. Eating foods high in carbohydrates and low in nutrition, lack of regulated sleeping, and bad habits such as drinking and smoking are major factors in this problem. Once a student leaves home, it is up to the individual to create healthy habits for living. With eating, portion control is important. Food rich and “good” in taste usually equates high in calories and carbohydrates.  When excess calories are being consumed, that is when our bodies begin to create fat. The school cafeteria has guides to portions and caloric intake for easy understanding of what is being consumed. Scheduled sleeping truly makes a difference in weight regulation. According to freshman Gabriella Estaba, ramen and snacks eaten after dinner have negatively affected her weight since coming to college. Weight loss also may happen depending on lifestyle choices that differ from ones made while at home. According to sophomore Lauren Howell, “Playing soccer helped me lose fifteen pounds freshman year, but I gain weight while at home so it is even now.” In the end, weight gain is no longer an issue by senior year. According to a WebMD article on the topic, the weight gained becomes inconsequential if dealt with correctly. By graduation, women usually cycle back to their weight before gaining the freshman fifteen, but men become more muscular because of maturation which can lead to a change in weight as well.

Despite all the information that researchers have about the freshmen fifteen, the average weight gain seems to be less at TFC than most colleges. After interviewing multiple students varying in age and major, students generally do not fluctuate in weight. Many lost weight after attending TFC, and the students who gained weight have gained significantly less than average. Reasons for this would be rules against drinking and smoking. The campus also encourages more overall physical activity because of the natural terrain. The freshmen fifteen does not have to become a reality in a student’s life if there is an intentional effort to avoid gaining weight. With simple lifestyle decisions and embracing healthy choices, this college cliché can be easily avoided.