Only the Good Spy Young

What can make a grown man cry and the most level headed of adults become paranoid, selfish, and more valiant than the average college kid? If you guessed a stalker with a squirt gun, then you are correct. Spy Games is an annual game at Toccoa Falls College which is just as much a part of SGA Fall activities as the Christmas banquet or the Fall Festival. Despite the craziness which the game causes each student to come to grips with, we would admittedly not feel like the semester was complete. Spy Games means a lot to a lot of people. That sounds like a very general statement, but allow me some of your time for an explanation. This is not a soapbox, but neither is it a comprehensive history of the game which has changed the TFC relationship dynamic since it first came here.  Life at TFC is a journey, and this game is an important part of the journey which every TFC student goes on for about a month.

Mr. Intense (or Ms.)
He does not need an introduction when he enters the building. You know it by the rapid eyes, windswept hair, half-filled squirt gun (which is most likely not the one SGA delved out), and near run which quickly turns into a nonchalant yet intentional walk once in the safety of the building. When you eat with him, you know you do not have his full attention. When you talk to him, his mind is far from the conversation, unless you are talking about Spy Games. If he dies, the word “conniption” barely covers his reaction. You either hate him or you are rooting for him. Either way, he will not be ignored even though that’s all he’s done to you since the game started.

The Mistake
            Every year there are a handful of these people. The ones who, within the first week, realized that $2 is not worth their mental stability, relationships, nor the extra thought that must be put into the game for the sake of winning. Every individual drops out or allows losing for one reason or another. Some realize grades should be given more focus, and some plain go crazy. Either way, winning is not an option, because playing the game was an unfortunate mistake.

The Spy
Maybe this player exists, because I want him to. Like a girl wishing for a prince to exist, I wish at night for the perfect player who finally understands what it means to be a Christian spy. He does not just toss aside his salvation for a game, yet remembers Micah 6:8 and all it entails, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God?” If you do not fit under the upper two categories, there might be a chance that you are here. There is also a good chance that you are already dead. If you are alive, then may God be with you.

The Bystander
There may not be a payout for you at the end of the game, but you are the smartest group of people on campus. Pat yourself on the back and walk peacefully knowing that you will not be ambushed by a personal stalker assigned by SGA. There is not much separating you from “The Intelligence,” except the fact that you will not humor the other fanatics of this game. You may know stuff, but you honestly do not care about such a trivial matter.

The Intelligence
You are not playing the game, but you are the most important part of it. You are the person who sits in class and remembers who is in it. You know schedules, practice times, and who eats meals at what times. You have what the players want- information. Be proud you are the most important and the most dangerous person on campus (take a second and pat yourself on the back for your natural cunning and wit which may win someone the game). It is up to you on how you use what you know. Some people sell it, some people use it as personal leverage. Either way, the game needs you.

If you do not feel like you fall under any of these categories, you probably do not attend TFC. The game is more of a test of character than anything else I have ever voluntarily experienced. The weight of glory, and the factor of money combine to make the most valiant of Christians into the most crazed of young adults. Once you die, like a spell being broken, life goes back to normal. For me, it felt like taking off my super suit then converting back into my mild mannered alter ego. Life goes on and winner from one year to the next is never guaranteed. Whether you play or not, courage and cunning should not be limited to one month a year. We should always remember that life should never be limited to mere comfort zones.


            Want to keep up with Spy Games or just learn more about the logistics of the game? Spider, the leader of District 14 has an unofficial blog covering the games. The website is as follows: http://tfcspygames.wordpress.com/

In the end, remember that you should never judge a girl by her cover.

“Wreck-it Ralph” Fixes Wary Moviegoers

Walking into “Wreck- it Ralph,” I wondered if a Disney cartoon movie could still be worth my eight dollars. It is not that I am a stickler for money, but I would rather not lose money if it is preventable. I consider myself to be a closet gamer, and when I first heard about this movie, I admittedly was considerably excited. It is not very often that a good cartoon movie comes out.

I was happy with the short movie right before the main one, it was cute and well done much like what I would expect from Disney and Pixar. In the first few minutes of the movie, I became anxious as to if watching this movie was a mistake. At first glance, the movie seemed too much like a “Toy Story” parody. However, I thankfully was proved wrong. The animation is great, and the story line is even better. The characters were developed well, the storyline is clear but not obscenely predictable, and the ending is certainly lovely. At the end of the movie, people in the theater clapped. You read correctly, a diverse crowd of people clapped at a cartoon videogame movie consisting of a standalone plot.
I do not want to spoil the plot, but one theme struck my attention from the very beginning. The driving theme of the movie is this: Can someone be a good guy despite being designed for the exact opposite? At a couple of pivotal points, the bad guy motto is reiterated by Ralph, “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be then me.” This theme is not a mere childish plot point. It is a deep and considerable matter that each maturing person must come to grips with. Ralph must ask himself who he wants to be and if he is willing to live with the consequences of his dreams. He must find his identity for his own sake, and then he must uncover the identity of others for the sake of the whole arcade. While this is an important theme in the movie, there are still numerous twists and turns which will keep even the harshest of critics guessing and relating with the characters which parallel the present and the videogames which remind us of our past.

Do you appreciate a clean, yet witty movie? Do you want to enjoy your next movie decision? Do you like a good arcade game? Would you like to expand your movie-going experience? Go see this movie. With an 85% fresh rate from www.rottentomatoes.com, you will not be disappointed. It is worth your time and money long after the story is over.

 

A New Flock

Every August at Toccoa Falls College, a new group of freshmen move in, make friends, and love Jesus right in our midst. Some stand out as leaders while others just want to turn in their spiritual formation journals in on time. This year, TFC has been graced with the largest freshman class since 2007.  While each freshman has a story to tell and an opinion of his / her first month at school, three freshmen in particular form the basis of this article: Susannah Bloomer, Michelle Stephenson, and Daniel Snow.

All three are true freshmen. Bloomer is an early childhood education major, while Snow and Stephenson are performance majors with specialties in guitar and piano. All three are truly different people, but agree on many parts of TFC culture. When asked what their favorite part of TFC is, Bloomer and Snow both agree the professors have been friendly, helpful, and caring and knowledgeable, and Stephenson has become acclimated to the music culture here. Freshman orientation week is a vital part of integrating freshmen into TFC culture. From tours of the campus, to the multiple daily Wal-Mart runs, the week often feels like camp for all students who take part in it. Every TFC student can remember one part of that week which they will never forget. SGA provided numerous activities for the freshmen during the week. From scavenger hunts, to hiking trips, and even a few games were played for fun. For these three, SGA’s showing of “The Avengers” was a highlight as well as playing ultimate Frisbee with their soon to be classmates. Since freshman orientation week, SGA has provided the student body with events on a weekly basis. While “The Avengers” has still been a memorable event for all who attended, Stephenson considers the luau as her favorite SGA activity. The waterslide provided was not just a spectacle to behold, but an adventure to be experienced by all who attended the event.

After all the orientation procedures are finished and classes have been in session for a month, the freshmen have settled into life as a TFC student. While syllabus shock may still keep people up at night, and the fear of missing classes inspires early rising, life still goes on. Assessments are taken, graded, and then returned to the fresh faced students under the watchful eye of upperclassmen. While the easy part of college is over, each student emphatically spoke of their favorite memory thus far at TFC. For Bloomer, making new friends has framed her experience here. Stephenson emphatically answered that she truly loves everything about college here. Snow spoke of being able to worship God under the stars. In one way or another, these experiences are relatable for each person who has every gone to college. The freedom to live life combined with love for God and his people have shaped the new student’s first month here.

What does all this mean for the rest of campus? One word comes to mind: legacy. We have been given the opportunity to shape the college experience of others who we see on a daily basis. While the seniors of last year who shaped and formed our experiences have left, we are still here. God is still working on campus, and the evidence can be seen in not just the small matters of campus life, but the larger aspects as well. From SGA, to chapel, to faculty, and even friendships, there is a place for every student to learn more about the body of Christ from one another. It is time for a new generation of students to shape the direction of TFC. With new faces and dedicated lives, the class of 2016 is a sight to behold and be proud of.

The Freshman Frenzy

It is the first day of school. You walk into an unfamiliar lunchroom and awkwardly search for a place to sit. For all you know, you just do not want to sit alone. The reality is everyone notices a new kid. In high school, this fact was tested time and time again. When I started college, I decided to test this phenomenon once again. I was not shocked to find the exact same response as usual. This time, the phenomenon was on a much larger scale. The name of this observation is “the Freshman Frenzy.” What is it, and why does it happen? Who does it affect, and why does it matter to matter to me? This occurrence has led to many jokes, stereotypes and even a few videos about campus relationships. All of these questions form the foundation of dating relationships on college campuses. It is not just an interesting observation to log away and forget, but an important part in setting boundaries in relationships.

The Freshman Frenzy is best defined as the insatiable urge to date a person during your first year in a new environment; however, it does not merely apply to your freshman year of high school or college when you are labeled a literal freshman. Sophomore Kao Lee expounded on the phenomena, “I feel like it happens, almost anywhere. Even in churches, because you didn’t grow up with them. You feel like since they’re new, you may have a chance over someone you grew up with and don’t feel like you will develop feeling for them. It’s like, you wanna test it to see if you have a chance with the new person since you haven’t developed feelings for the others who have been in your life thus far. And, because the freshmen do not know people’s backgrounds so you can make yourself someone new.” With so much opinion floating in conversation and daily life, it is important to understand where you stand with the development of deep relationships in an expedient manner.

Now, do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with making new friends, hanging out with great people, and getting to know others on a more personal level. Problems do arise when perspective is lost, and amongst all the great hours of social life, boundaries are distorted. As this article comes to a close, here are some friendly suggestions agreed upon by residence life staff:

1) Keep perspective.

The campus only consists of about 800 students. According to the National Center for Educational statistics, that’s about the average size of an American high school. For however dramatic relationships were in high school, imagine living with everyone you go to school with. You do not leave any relationships that you create at school or church. You now live there.

If you break up, you’ll still see that person all the time, and your friends will laugh.

2) Develop a friend group first.

Moriah Johnson, a sophomore RA, states, “You’re starting to invent yourself in this new environment and that is hard to do when you are attached to someone who is trying to invent themselves also.” If you become friends with people first, dating will be healthier in general. You can’t judge a person until you’ve know them awhile. To start dating someone within the first year, you are dating someone you really don’t know.

If you do decide to start a relationship during your first few months in a new environment, here are some guidelines which will help in making your relationship more overall stable.

3) Start slow, real real real slow (like, snail slow).

Remember back to the fact that you probably do not know the person who you would like to date. There is no shame in waiting to know a person until you feel ready to make it “official.”

4) Don’t spend all your time together.

Good boundaries are the name of the game when it comes to starting a healthy relationship. There was once a girl who dated her boyfriend from her freshman year of college to her senior year. At the beginning of her senior year, the couple broke up and she realized she did not know how to live life without her boyfriend. I’ve heard the same story from a man’s point of view as well. Either way, there is a need to understand you individual worth without the constant presence of a significant other. Figure out who you are and let them figure out who they are.

Every student is at college for one reason or another. This phase of life is chocked full of potential for which you can use however you want. Relationships are not the problem. However, seeking deep relationships too fast can lead to inevitable trouble. So, touch the bells, watch the YouTube videos, have fun, but keep perspective in your relationships. You may just have them for the rest of your life.

7th Time’s the Charm

The president search is finally over! In these past few weeks, both students and the supporters of the college have been able to meet our new president, Dr. Robert Myers. The search has lasted much of the school year, and taken hours of collaboration then even longer to pray for direction from God.

Numerous people were used as part of the decision making process.  Among these people were teacher representatives Dr. Kieran Clements, and Mrs. Gina Bailey. Both were part of the core group in the search committee. Each had challenges and expectations in the search. Dr. Clements found that the hardest part for him was to consider all the qualifications and information of the applicants. Mrs. Bailey admitted that the hardest part for her was to keep the process a secret, especially to her husband. Even more challenges came with the search, and the responsibility was enormous on each member of the team. Lane Arnold, the student body representative, felt the pressure as well. According to Lane, “It was as though the vote of nearly 800 students was on my shoulders.” Despite all of the representative having different challenges and opinions of what they found important in a president, God led the final vote for Dr. Myers to be a unanimous agreement. After the long months of searching, praying, and waiting, the representatives agree that they would certainly help with the search again. However, they emphatically stated that another search should not be necessary for at least a decade!

Last Friday, April 27th, Dr. Myers spoke in a special introductory chapel. In it, the student body realized, we have a “ninja cop” for the new president. We were impressed by his resume and inspired by his words. He challenged the attenders to change Toccoa Falls College from being “the best kept secret in Christian colleges” to being at the forefront of Christian education. He also informed the attenders of his current hopes to develop the college educationally. He wishes to incorporate a nursing program and post graduate education. He admitted that there are not set plans to incorporate his dreams for the college, but he clearly indicated that glorifying God will be the primary focus in implementing all of these aspirations for the college.

There is so much more to learn about Dr. Myers than anyone would expect. If you would like to know more about the new president of our wonderful campus, you are in luck. The TFC website has a general article about him (http://www.tfc.edu/archives/8223).Tech-savvy may be a good way to describe him, but his passion for life must be experienced by more than second-hand information. If you would like to learn more about him from a firsthand perspective and missed the chapel that he spoke in, the following links are great for just that purpose. Dr. Myers has a blog (http://robertmmyers.wordpress.com/) a twitter (@robertmmyers), and a Facebook.

It has been a long process with a huge reward. Nearly every person that I asked regarding having him as our new president agreed that we have full confidence in his abilities and leadership thus far. He will start work officially on August 1, but until then, the general feeling can best be summed up from Lane Arnold, “We got our man.”

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