Interfaith Matters: My Experience at #PICSCC
Faith, Issues

Why Interfaith Engagement Matters

I grew up in an interfaith world. My two closest friends in elementary school were Jewish and Catholic; because I was raised Unitarian Universalist, I grew up learning about different traditions and beliefs in not just our city, but within our own congregation. Today, I am rooted in my Christian faith, and my closest friends include members of the Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and atheist communities. In fact, I am close to more people outside of my tradition than in it.

I am so grateful for these friendships, because I know that they have enriched my life and made me a more thoughtful and compassionate person. But it’s important to remember that on a global scale, the experience that my friends and I have had is not only unusual, but very, very new. Above all, it’s something worth fighting for.

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5 Ways to Enrich Your College Life (Featuring Amazon Underground)
College, Sponsored

3 Ways Apps Can Enrich Your College Life (Featuring Amazon Underground)

I’m currently completing my last semester of college. In the five years since I started blogging and the four years since I became a college student, I’ve written dozens of articles on college life, and quite a few on how I use technology to improve my life as a student. Over the summer, though, I bought my first tablet (an Amazon Fire HD), and it’s opened up a whole new world of possibilities and apps that I can use in my day to day life. Today, I’m going to be talking about a few of my favorites from their selection of 3,000+ free apps in the Amazon Underground appstore. A pet peeve of mine is when supposedly free apps include micro-transactions and paid upgrades; but these apps, along with all Amazon Underground apps, are all actually free (all the better for college students)! Below are a few of my favorite recommendations.

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Sara Laughed
Life

No New Projects

In the spring of last year, I collapsed on the sofa in my dorm’s living room and Skyped my boyfriend. “Ken,” I said into the phone, “I feel like I’m not doing enough.”

“I think you’re doing too much,” he replied.

Together, we made a list of all the projects and commitments I was juggling at the time. I realized that Ken was right; the reason I constantly felt like I wasn’t doing enough was because I was demanding too much of myself. Every day, every hour of my life was filled to the brim with things. Some of them, I loved and delighted in, like flying to the Netherlands for spring break to see my boyfriend, or putting together care packages for friends. Others were a lot more draining, like writing my final papers for school or doing my research job. And most of them were in the middle: things I had chosen to do, and enjoyed doing, which could totally drain me. All my blog and writing work fell in that category.

After talking over my many projects with Ken, I decided to implement a new policy: No New Projects. For the next three months, I was not allowed to start or take on anything new. When it was over, on June 1st, I could add new things for summer. And, I assumed, in the fall I would do the same.

It worked pretty well for me – I got a lot done that spring, but didn’t have the constantly-drowning feeling I’d had before. In the summer, I was busy as ever, but still felt on top of my game. So when September rolled around, I didn’t feel the need to have a No New Projects policy.

Big mistake.

We are now currently three weeks into my semester, and currently, my projects include: my academic commitments; the THREE (!) websites that I’ve founded and run by myself; my business, which owns those websites; the multiple organizations in which I have leadership positions on campus; and, you know, sleeping, eating, and maintaining a social life. I’m also writing a book, going to a presidential summit this week, and flying to Chicago next weekend for a conference. And I’m trying to eat more vegetables.

As you can imagine, I’m a little bit tired.

Finally, after weeks of burning the candle at both ends (and in the middle), I had yet another conversation with Ken about my comitments. As I lay in bed, eyes closed, barely having the energy to have a full conversation, I muttered a familiar phrase:

“I feel like I’m not doing enough.”

Ken, bless him, gently talked me into taking a nap, and when I woke up, told me once again that I might be doing just a tad too much. Had I considered a No New Projects policy for this semester? Grumpily, I admitted that he was right. For the rest of the semester, it’s no new projects for me.

Luckily, I finished a few projects this weekend: a major commitment for my role as Vice President of my dorm, a big commitment for my role on a council at my college, and a study that I wrote for my Seasons Illustrated site. But until my schedule resets at the end of the semester this December, I’m taking a step back from taking on new things. For me, it’s not just a practical choice (I need to sleep!), but also a spiritual one: because when we live our lives constantly doing and making, we forget how to just be. Especially for my last semester of college, I want to make sure that I’m spending enough time experiencing and enjoying life, because that’s what life is for: not just to push and pull, or to make and do, but to be and love. And for me, that’s enough.

Life

Routines and Celebrations // Love and Liefs

Dear Shannon,

Happy belated birthday! I’m so glad you had such an amazing day. I love seeing your beautiful photos, and getting to experience touches of your Amsterdam travels with you.

Here at Wellesley, things are starting to settle into a routine. I’m getting used to my class schedule and my commitments, though I have to admit that the transition from a “do-what-you-want summer” to a busy semester is a little rough! I have a bunch of assignments and readings due for next week and am not loving that part of being back at school!

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Life

Not-So New Beginnings // Love and Liefs

Dear Shannon,

Your adventures in Amsterdam sound wonderful, and I can’t wait to hear about what you’re doing to explore the Netherlands (and other parts of Europe!). As for me, I’m currently settling into my dorm room for my last semester at our school, Wellesley College. Because I took last fall off, I’m one semester behind, so although I walked in graduation in May, I’m now here for one last round! I’m calling it my “victory lap!”

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