Welcome to Azusa Pacific University's student blogs! This is the place to see what it is really like to be an APU Cougar. To follow a specific student, enter their hash tag into the search bar. Student Bloggers from left to right (Jordyn A, Curtis I, Evan B, Kendelle A, Lucy F, Craig S, Eric D, Ryan F, Kristen P, Cora J)

 

It’s Birthday Season!!!

Hey friends,

So this past week, I celebrated my 19th birthday! Birthdays are very different in college than when you are living at home and attending high school; both are great in their own ways.

In college, you parents are not there to wake you up singing happy birthday and making your favorite food for breakfast or dinner.  Instead, your friends typically step up and surprise you in the best way that they are capable of with limited resources.  My roommate and suite mates decorate my room, bed, and desk with balloons and wrote kind notes, and gave me sweets!! This was such a surprise to come back to after my classes! 

I also got another very exciting surprise…My dad flew into town to surprise me for my birthday and took me out to celebrate! I got the best of both worlds and was able to celebrate and be celebrated by my friends and my dad (who represented the rest of my family as well).  Although it is different celebrating a fun day away from my family, it is nice to know that my friends care about me and love me as they show it through this act of kindness by making me feel special on my day. I also love getting a sneak peak into other birthday celebrations as we have journeyed through the year celebrating many other people’s birthdays; all incorporating their own special touches in celebrating their friends and their own special day.  

Blessings,

-Kendelle A

This is how I have spend the majority of my time in the last week.
Coffee in hand, laptop out, and brain on. The end of the semester tends to result in much studying and writing, little sleeping and feeling that some days there is little time for much else. Ahh, yes. It is that time of the year. I have a love/hate relationship with this most of the time; I enjoy learning and studying quite a bit, (in fact, the most recent paper I finished was one on a public policy and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, I admit!) but I also can grieve the fact that I cannot be enjoying my friends for hours on end and doing other things I love.
The point being; it is hard to push through. It is hard to find purpose when the piles of work seem inevitably endless. If you are a senior in high school this year and lucked out in the work department with not so much to do, congrats! I know that even in that, finding purpose can be hard when you are so distracted with things to come!
So take time and think about it, what is your purpose? What are your goals? What is your vision, your dreams and goals? I would love to hear! 
Please ask us any questions you may have, concerns, we are here for you :) 
-Cora J

This is how I have spend the majority of my time in the last week.

Coffee in hand, laptop out, and brain on. The end of the semester tends to result in much studying and writing, little sleeping and feeling that some days there is little time for much else. Ahh, yes. It is that time of the year. I have a love/hate relationship with this most of the time; I enjoy learning and studying quite a bit, (in fact, the most recent paper I finished was one on a public policy and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, I admit!) but I also can grieve the fact that I cannot be enjoying my friends for hours on end and doing other things I love.

The point being; it is hard to push through. It is hard to find purpose when the piles of work seem inevitably endless. If you are a senior in high school this year and lucked out in the work department with not so much to do, congrats! I know that even in that, finding purpose can be hard when you are so distracted with things to come!

So take time and think about it, what is your purpose? What are your goals? What is your vision, your dreams and goals? I would love to hear!

Please ask us any questions you may have, concerns, we are here for you :)

-Cora J

Greetings from South Africa!

Amidst the business of finals (because school is still school—even in South Africa) and finishing up our service sites, last weekend, we had the opportunity to explore places we had not yet been to in our time here in Cape Town.

During our full weekend we: went to Robben Island, explored underground Cape Town, and went on a kayaking adventure to see the local South African penguins. Although it was a full weekend of adventuring and site-seeing, I was able to take a step back to reflect on my time here thus far.

I made a list of the ways I have grown and changed since last year, and the wisdom I have acquired from those around me that I hope to take home and incorporate into conversations when I go home.

Wherever you are on your journey, I encourage you to reflect on where you’ve been and where you are going and those key people who have shaped and molded you into the person you are today.

Enjoy your week, friends!

-Kristen P

Shakaland

No shakaland is not just for surfers… it is named after the Zulu warrior, King Shaka! This week for our Zulu class we had the opportunity to travel and spend the night at Shakaland, a mock-traditional Zulu village!

At Shakaland my fellow classmates and I experienced what life was like for the original Zulu people. It was a wonderful weekend to be submerged in what we have been learning in class about the ways of life, food, traditions, and so much more. Our students got to dance with the people, live in grass huts, throw spears, and even speak a little Zulu to the traditional people who live there!

One of my favorte phrases in Zulu is “Yebo, sawubona” which means “Yes, I acknowledge you”. More than just a greeting, this phrase is a sign of respect, affirmation, and regard. Learning the language of the Zulu people has been challenging nonetheless, but it has played a huge part in my cultural experience here. 

Since we have been working at service sites for two weeks now I have really been able to use my Zulu there. Not only with the workers, but also with the kids, and people of the township. The ministry that I work with goes into the township (slum) and will provide transportation for people who are sick with HIV/Aids, TB, and more. This week I was able to pray for people in Zulu in their homes, and was able to (somewhat) communicate with the local community members. 

It seems like everyday here I am challenged to understand other cultures, comprehend what it means to be a learner, and not be afraid of something just because it is out of my comfort zone. I am looking forward to sharing more of my experience here in South Africa with you!

Until next time,

-Ryan F

Resting in the hands of God
Well, the school year is in limbo yet again. It’s that time where I am registering for next year’s classes, figuring out where I am going to live, and getting excited (and nervous) for what life has in store! 
This last semester especially I have learned to let God lead me in my decisions. So many times it feels like these decisions are going to make or break the next week, month, or year of my life. That is not true. God has been teaching me that He is behind every small thing throughout our day, and I have come to really appreciate that. 
So, my advice to all of you is to rest in the hands of God. Let Him do the work and figure out your life. It’s not always easy to give up the control, but when we give Christ the wheel, everything becomes so much easier. So give Christ your decisions, big and small. College choices, roommates, summer jobs. Whatever it is, it isn’t big enough for the one who holds you in his hand.
Until next time!
-Evan B

Resting in the hands of God

Well, the school year is in limbo yet again. It’s that time where I am registering for next year’s classes, figuring out where I am going to live, and getting excited (and nervous) for what life has in store! 

This last semester especially I have learned to let God lead me in my decisions. So many times it feels like these decisions are going to make or break the next week, month, or year of my life. That is not true. God has been teaching me that He is behind every small thing throughout our day, and I have come to really appreciate that. 

So, my advice to all of you is to rest in the hands of God. Let Him do the work and figure out your life. It’s not always easy to give up the control, but when we give Christ the wheel, everything becomes so much easier. So give Christ your decisions, big and small. College choices, roommates, summer jobs. Whatever it is, it isn’t big enough for the one who holds you in his hand.

Until next time!

-Evan B

Throughout my blog posts this past semester, I have neglected to mention that I am currently enrolled in an Intro to Social Work class. I had a spontaneous identity crisis while registering for classes last semester after hearing a social worker speak in chapel. In a moment of rare boldness, I decided to drop one of my English classes to make room in my schedule for the social work one. My professor, Barbara Johnson, is one of the most competent and authentic teachers I’ve ever had. Through her skills as a teacher and experience as a social worker it is indisputable that social work is an incredibly demanding career choice but one that is invaluable within the realm of social justice. However, I have already discovered that although I could see myself rekindling my passion for social work if I am unsuccessful in the writing field, it’s not for me right now. 

Despite this, my intro class gives me a chance to know more about the humans of this world. This is invaluable to a writer. As you can see in the pictures above, my friend and I took the bus to Pasadena to visit LA county’s Department of Public Social Services in order to learn more about social welfare for a paper that’s due soon. There are lots of hands-on projects like this in the course. 

But this still leaves me in somewhat of an undesirable situation. I have already decided that I’m not going to pursue the social work major, but I’m still in the class and I still have to fulfill all the requirements of the syllabus. For an intro course, it is demanding—as is the field of social work. Despite my situation, I have to finish strong. I would encourage the seniors who are reading this to to do the same. Leave your teachers, who have been investing into you for years, with a lasting impression of your work ethic and your character. Don’t fade out these last two months or so. You’ll be glad you didn’t. 

Have a great week!

-Jordyn A. 

Promoting Future Leaders
I am proud to say that I attend a University that is serious about training leaders for society and the kingdom of heaven. At APU there are many different leadership opportunities on campus. Opportunities that engage a purpose where our greatest burden and talents collide. Such a collision of our diversity, strengths, perspective, and overall development encourages its student leaders to be an example as shepherds on this campus. Twice a month all of these student leaders gather together for a leadership chapel that allows them to recenter and refocus on our primary mission: to love God and love others. At this particular leadership chapel President Jon Wallace spoke about not only leading in places we are so familiar with but to challenge ourselves by leading in places of most difficulty and ignorance. We do not grow ourselves and we cannot leader others to grow in places in which we know we will always succeed, and the real world, everywhere out of our personal comfort zone, simultaneously presents failure and permanent growth.
As a student leader for the last four years at APU I am leaving with number of difference experience and so much growth that I could have never imagine. These opportunities are able in many different capacities to serve in every area throughout the University. Student leaders are the very backbone of student life on campus and these leaders continue to grow and surprise the people they are serving on a daily basis. Therefore, as a prospective student be aware of these opportunities to get involved during orientation weekend and know that what you put into your college experience is what you are going to get out of it. For me I have been so blessed with memories, stories, and opportunities that I will never forget which overall is the make up of who I am. APU is not just a university that I go to, but it is a university that we go from as leaders, making a difference all over the world.
-Curtis I

Promoting Future Leaders

I am proud to say that I attend a University that is serious about training leaders for society and the kingdom of heaven. At APU there are many different leadership opportunities on campus. Opportunities that engage a purpose where our greatest burden and talents collide. Such a collision of our diversity, strengths, perspective, and overall development encourages its student leaders to be an example as shepherds on this campus. Twice a month all of these student leaders gather together for a leadership chapel that allows them to recenter and refocus on our primary mission: to love God and love others. At this particular leadership chapel President Jon Wallace spoke about not only leading in places we are so familiar with but to challenge ourselves by leading in places of most difficulty and ignorance. We do not grow ourselves and we cannot leader others to grow in places in which we know we will always succeed, and the real world, everywhere out of our personal comfort zone, simultaneously presents failure and permanent growth.

As a student leader for the last four years at APU I am leaving with number of difference experience and so much growth that I could have never imagine. These opportunities are able in many different capacities to serve in every area throughout the University. Student leaders are the very backbone of student life on campus and these leaders continue to grow and surprise the people they are serving on a daily basis. Therefore, as a prospective student be aware of these opportunities to get involved during orientation weekend and know that what you put into your college experience is what you are going to get out of it. For me I have been so blessed with memories, stories, and opportunities that I will never forget which overall is the make up of who I am. APU is not just a university that I go to, but it is a university that we go from as leaders, making a difference all over the world.

-Curtis I

South Africa: Service Sites

Hallo! This week, my cohort finished our 10-week internship working at various service sites. The service site component has undoubtedly been a highlight of my entire time here in South Africa as we have been able to tangibly engage with the community in a way where we are exposed first hand to the people and their surplus of stories. Each week, I have been working at three different service sites including: an after-school club, a school for children with disabilities and a site called Toy Library where we do learning games with the children after school.

Each of these sites has stretched and grown me in ways I could have never anticipated and I feel tremendously blessed to have built relationships with the beautiful people I have regularly interacted with and now find it so hard to say goodbye. 

I have learned that despite communication barriers, love is a universal language that is well understood and hugs are accepted regardless of who we are or where we have come from. Additionally, I have learned the importance of entering service sites with a sincerity of heart rather than merely going through the motions of the day.

I hope and pray that wherever you are, that you are continually stretched and molded into who you are becoming and that you develop a spirit of adaptability even when circumstances do not always go as planned. 

Blessings on your week,

-Kristen P

skinny-seattle asked
I'm a little nervous about making friends at APU since I'm not from the area. Is there any way I can meet other incoming freshman to APU before the school year starts?

Hi there! 

Absolutely, yes! There are plenty of options for meeting other incoming freshman before the school year starts! One way is through New Student Registration and New Student Orientation Trips! Check out the hyper-links for more information! You can also check out the admitted students Facebook pages and connect with others that way!

I am from Colorado, so I can understand your concern! While I knew only one or two people at APU when I came, freshman orientation (the first nearly week before school starts) was an incredible experience in which you have the opportunity to meet and participate in fun activities with new people! The dorm you will be placed in will also do many activities, as well as you will be placed in what is called an Alpha group which is a small group of other incoming students who you meet with for the first half of the semester. APU does an incredible job at creating community, so I can assure you that you will make friends :)

Hope that helps! Let us know if there is anything else you want to know! 

-Cora J

A team that prays together stays together

Hey everybody,

I hope you have had a wonderful week and that you have been able to truly enjoy every moment!

This semester I have the opportunity to film the football practices 2-3 times a week inside of a lift. The picture on the bottom shows you just about how high up we are compared to a palm tree. I truly have a bird’s eye view of the football team as they practice.

Through this experience, I have been able to witness some amazing moments that are rarely noticed during the season by those that come to watch and support. The APU football team prays together before practices and then as the football team warms up, the coaches pray together. As the team begins to warm up the coach shouts: “Thank you Lord”, the team replies “Thank you Lord!”, coach “All in?”, team “One blood”.  This is such a cool thing to witness because you have all these big guys out on the practice field shouting praises to the Lord together. During their practice, they also play like a team.  Watching their every move from a whole new perspective, I see everybody playing together as a team should, not for themselves, and the glory is always given to God.

I had no idea what to expect when applying for this position; now that I have the job, I am so thankful for a new perspective and am encouraged in the Lord, led by the unknowing football team to be thankful always for every moment.

Blessings friends,

-Kendelle A

I wasn’t supposed to come to APU. Seriously. This time last year, I was slated to go to a California State school in the fall of 2013. It’s actually kind of crazy how I managed to get to APU.

If you’ve been reading the blogs for a while, you may have seen my post about my visit to APU when I sincerely felt God telling me that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Well, when I received my financial aid statements and learned that I would not be receiving any Cal Grants, my mom kind of pushed me into going to a state school (she was just trying to do what was best for me, I still love you mom). It was a really difficult time for me trying to deal with the fact that the only thing separating me from my dream school was money.

Fast forward to May 2013: I found out a mistake had been made on my FAFSA application. Turns out I was eligible for a Cal Grant, making APU more affordable for me, but I had already declared myself to a state school. I had made a lot of peace with the decision by this time.

Fast forward to June 2013: I had already graduated from high school and had been having a hard time communicating with my state school when APU emailed me. The email was just a little note asking me to keep them in mind if I ever wanted to transfer or come in at a later date. I could not get my mind off of this email and how much of a possibility this school could be for me now. One of my dear friends urged me to just call my admissions counselor and tell them my situation. My mom was on board, so I called. By the end of the week, I was enrolled as an incoming freshman at APU for fall 2013.

Believe me when I say to trust in God’s will. I knew I was supposed to attend APU, and even though it was quite the journey to get here, God paved a way for me. Every day I am in Azusa, I am constantly reminded how blessed I am to be here and I am able to see how He is transforming me with my experiences here. God is seriously so amazing.

If you have any questions regarding financial aid or how to choose the right school, the APU student bloggers are here for you! Feel free to ask away!

Well, thanks for reading about my extraordinary journey to APU. See you real soon!

-Lucy F

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I did enroll at APU well after the decision date. I am extremely blessed that there was still enough room for me to enroll, but I DO NOT recommend waiting until after the decision date to “say yes.” There is a great possibility you will not be able to enroll, as I was a pretty rare case, but admissions counselors are more than willing to work with you to make APU a possibility for you.

A break from the norm-

This week we began service sites and started working within the surrounding communities. The 50 of us are split into four teams and are all serving at various locations in townships (slums) with different ministries. 

The video this week is not about what we have been doing at service sites because we all decided to not bring our phones or cameras the first two weeks we will be at our site. We decided to do this so we can be fully and accurately present with the children, people, and workers at our sites. I will tell you more about the ministry I am working with a little bit later and the things we will be doing as the weeks roll along!

This weekend we went paintballing as fun activity away from campus! It was fun to get some enegry out, work together in teams, and get a little crazy! There is always fun things to do around here, and every week I am falling more and more in love with the people, culture, and beauty of South Africa! I can’t wait to share more about the Lord is doing in my life soon.

Until next time,

-Ryan F

Leadership Opportunities

…APU is full of them! This school aims to equip scholars, followers, leaders, and everything in between to go into the world and be successful in any given field, loving and serving the Lord. As a freshman, through the university there is the Ambassador program which hosts the All Access Weekends. In your living area, there is LAC (Living Area Counsel, which aims to build community in your hall). As Sophomores, you could apply to be an Alpha Leader (new student orientation leader), Resident Advisor (RA), Admissions Intern, Center for Student Action coordinator or worker, and many, many more; the list goes on HERE!

APU is all about honing in your strengths and finding a place in the university (and even out) that uses them to their fullest potential. For me, Men’s Chorale Secretary and Events Planner was for this year, and for next year, Resident Advisor. 

I encourage everyone who is at a university to get plugged in somewhere. If you are interested in doing something, see if there is a leadership opportunity… then apply for it! Why not give it a shot? Read the list for opportunities here! I bet there is something there that interests you ;)

-Eric D

The pictures are of my first training day for RA with the staff I’ll be apart of next year!

Why APU?

…Is a common question asked here on campus. Everyone has a story. A different story at that; we are all a piece of the beautiful mosaic our lives make up, reflecting a creative and loving God.

So, how did I choose APU? You may be surprised to know that APU was not my first choice; it was my last. I applied because someone from my church told me they could see me out here (I had never heard of APU before) and I wanted to apply to one out of state school (I’m from Colorado). Keep in perspective that I had told myself for years that I would never go to a Christian school and would never move to California. 

I got accepted into every school I applied to (4 in total). I made sticky note lists of pro’s and con’s for each school and posted them on my walls. I visited campuses in Colorado. I prayed. I listened. After financial aid came out, I had my choices narrowed down to a state school in CO and APU. I came and visited APU with my mom; and fell in love. It may sound cliche, but I knew after walking on campus that this is where I wanted to be. Being public schooled my entire life, I suddenly saw the beauty of an education, more than that, an experience, learning to love and follow Jesus through community, service, academics and every day life. 

I received enough financial aid it was cheaper for me to come to APU than stay in Colorado! After graduating, I took a year off, working for a ministry in London, England. APU held all my scholarships and I came as a freshman fall of 2012. I am now studying social work, a major I didn’t know existed prior to my freshman year and would have never chosen for myself before my time in London. APU also has a well-distinguished and growing social work department, God knew what He was doing clearly!

In short, do not be shocked where God may lead you—it may seem out of “your plan”. I can assure you the life I’m living now was never in my plan and yet I would not change any piece of it. I pray that the Lord will give you the boldness to follow where He leads!

-Cora J

Cheers, friends. 

Alas, I’ve come to my last blog of the Oxford semester. Honestly, I didn’t think this day would actually arrive, not this quickly at least. I feel like I’ve been to a whole new galaxy and back; pushed, challenged, and grown more than I ever would have thought possible…Which naturally brings me to the topic of my last post: why YOU should do the Oxford semester.

            There is so much to be said for studying abroad. It’s impossible to leave APU main campus for a few months, experience something completely different than what you’re used to, and not be changed. High Sierra did that for me sophomore year, and now Oxford has done that ten-fold.

I think it’s the independence that sets Oxford apart from any other study abroad. You are literally thrown into a new city – a new culture – with no one to hold your hand and no one to keep you from making any number of “mistakes” (although I would argue that it’s these mistakes that make the experience the most enriching of all). My flatmates were from American universities I’d never even heard of, my house was a quarter mile from any other APU student, my tutors were English professors with little understanding of American school-systems, and I was all on my own.

Scary? At times. The best thing ever? Without fail.

I deeply wish that I could articulate the experience and sum it up in a nice, little, digestible 300 words, but that simply wouldn’t do it justice, and in fact would more likely tarnish the comprehensive, inexplicable, and unbelievably beautiful past few months I’ve just had. Instead, I want to encourage YOU to do something hard; do something different; do something that makes you uncomfortable. Leave; go far away; do something for reasons your can’t explain. And then watch. Watch God work; watch your perspective change; watch as you are changed forever.  

- Emily B