Stress – don’t ignore it!

When I was in college I took some psychology courses. One of the things I remember from that experience was the professor stating: “Stress will ALWAYS find a way to express itself.” I’ve found that to be true. It might be loss of sleep, biting your nails, headaches, grinding your teeth at night, being exceptionally cranky, etc. Stress will always find a way to express itself. Our job is to recognize the symptoms of stress and then drill down to find healthy ways to manage that stress.  See the proverb below:

Everybody needs a mentor

Really everybody needs multiple mentors across their entire life.  So get as many as possible. I have had a few that deeply influenced my life.  Some of my mentors taught me important lessons about what to do and how to live.  From others I learned lessons about what not to do and practices to avoid.  I don’t think I was very successful at finding or connecting with as many mentors as I could have.  Check out the short video below:

 

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This is called the Golden Rule and those who practice this in every part of their life are worth their weight in Gold!  Let’s go one step farther; do unto others as you would like others to do unto your mother, daughter, or other loved one.  When we treat others as we would like to be treated not only do they love it, but there is an inner affirmation that we’ve done the right thing.  Check out the short video below:

 

Launch!

I am excited about coming to the Lefleur campus as the Dean. I’ve been involved in adult higher education for over 20 years, helping people just like you realize their dreams of a better life by earning a college degree.  I know what kind of effort and sacrifice it takes to push through to the goal of getting that diploma and I’m honored to be part of the team working with you. I want to do all I can to aid you in that process. In fact, our whole team of staff shares this same passion: your success in achieving your educational goals.

This blog is going to be part of our strategy in achieving that goal.  You will find posts on here that will give you helpful tips and ideas about how to work smarter and keep balance in your life. Some of the ideas you may use immediately, others may have a longer-term benefit. Regardless, I want you to know up front that we, all the staff at Belhaven University, are rooting for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us and we will do our best to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

If you find that the information in this blog isn’t quite what you need or hoped for, let me know and I’ll work to make it more relevant.  You will also have the option, on the notification emails you receive, to unsubscribe to this blog, but I hope you’ll wait to do that until you’ve given me a chance to serve you through this venue.

Blessings,

Dr. Upchurch
Dean Belhaven Jackson/Madison
Associate V.P. Regional Campuses
Belhaven University
rupchurch@belhaven.edu

Change is Cheesy

There is a great book about change and how change can create fear in our lives. It seems appropriate to revisit since change is constant and will always be with us on earth.  Who Moved my Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal With Change in your Work and In Your Life, written by Spencer Johnson, M.D., is an allegory about two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two people named Hem and Haw. The characters in this book deal with a serious problem: the of lack cheese, which is a symbol of livelihood.  In this blog I would like to focus on the character Haw “who learns to adapt in times when he sees changing can lead to something better” (1998, p.11).

One of the truisms discovered by Haw is “when you stop being afraid, you feel good” (1998 p.55). Fear can be paralyzing and counterproductive in our lives. It comes in many forms that are both healthy and not healthy: fear of things which keep us from danger and overcoming fears which can lead to freedom and new beginnings.  President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous saying the only thing we have to fear is fear itself that fear in the face of change only makes things worse.

When Moses revisited the law in Deuteronomy to the people of Israel they were on the precipice of change that would lead them to into their promised city. Fear was very present and he spoke saying. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (31:6).

I want to challenge you that when change happens and actions are needed, assess your fear factors, prioritize, show respect to the fears that could lead to harm, and sacrifice the ones that keep you from moving forward in your quest for CHEESE!

 

Johnson, S. (1998). Who moved my cheese? Abbotsford, British Columbia: The Braille Superstore.

 

Stress will ALWAYS find a way

Stress might show up in weight gain, weight loss, nail biting, teeth grinding, illness, headache, grouchy attitude, etc.  This is true no matter the type of stress (good or bad, short-term or long-term) or the source of stress (work, kids, money, spouse, parents, car, etc.).  It will usually evidence itself the same way in your life.

Check out the short video below:

Where Are You Headed? How Fast Are You Going?

 

Where are you going? Do you have a goal in mind? If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re in school at Belhaven or are considering starting. If so, then you must have an educational goal. What is it? To finish a degree that you started at some point? To start college for the first time as an adult?

After you determine your goal, the next step is to move forward! Take the step! How fast do you want to go? Are you thinking, “I need to do this in the shortest length of time possible. I need an accelerated program!” Or maybe you’re thinking, “I need to pace myself while taking classes. I have so many responsibilities already!” At Belhaven you have both of those options.

If you are a current Belhaven adult student, you may be thinking, “Yes, I’m in an accelerated program, and I feel the speed! My world is spinning with all the things I have to do. School. Work. Family. Church. Maybe I should slow down or take a break.” If that’s you, we understand. Life can become overwhelming at times. If that’s your situation, please talk to your Student Services staff and get their advice. We want to help you reach your goal. We’re here to serve you.

In the middle of it all, don’t forget your goal! Will a degree help your life? Will it help your family, your children? Keep your end goal in front of you. Keep moving forward. One step at a time. Remember the tortoise. Speed isn’t as important as reaching the finish line!!!

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” Phil. 3:13

The Confessions of a Professor

So often adult learners are hesitant to go to their professor for help for fear that they might appear uninformed.  After all, it has been so many years since being in school that the adult learner is unsure that they made the right decision to even return to school.  As a professor working with adult learners, here are a few things I wish students knew.

  1. We really want to help students.  Yes we have classroom standards and we expect you to do the work to get the grades.  But we long to help students who have questions or are struggling with the course material.
  2. The assigned reading in the text books is really important. So many students think they can go through a course without even opening the textbook and some even brag they didn’t bother to get the textbook for the class.  Only so much material can be covered in class.  The textbook is a rich source of information about the subject or focus of the course, we really want you to take the time to read the material.
  3. Please read instructions for the assignments before doing them wrong. So often adult learners fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent and skim through the instructions for assignments, ultimately doing them wrong.  They waste more time having to redo them. If only they had taken time to read the instructions before launching into the assignment and doing it wrong.  If there are questions about the assignment after reading the instructions, then ask questions.
  4. APA is a pain. Yes, even professors have to go back and review APA guidelines because every little detail is so important.  Learning to write scholarly papers is part of the learning process that adult learners need to embrace.
  5. We know you have many outside responsibilities and we do care. When an adult learner commits to their education, professors expect students to make their education a priority.  There is a time commitment to learning and school should not fit in around the edges as time permits.  School needs to be front and center on the priority list.  The course assignments are designed to maximize your learning and all have purpose.  The texts have been selected with care and should enhance your learning.

So, adult learners, please know that professors want to help you and are willing to answer your questions but you also need to make a commitment to your education to maximize your success in school.

Season of Celebration

Although all of our students are worth celebrating, the month of May provides the opportunity for us to celebrate three specific groups of our students – our graduates, our teachers, and our military personnel.

First, congratulations graduates! We are so proud of you! One of the greatest joys I have experienced in the past two months is the incredible ear to ear smile on the face of every one of our May graduates as they came by the site to pick up their regalia. It was wonderful to recap the heart-felt stories. The graduates were humbled and proud that they had stayed the course through good times and challenges to earn their degrees – many with honors. They are proud of their accomplishments. Many never thought it was possible to earn a degree. Although all of our graduates are unique and special, I would like to take this opportunity to share the stories of two of our Orlando Online graduates – John Murphy and Pamela Robinson.

John started his academic journey at Belhaven University pursuing his Associate degree on campus in Orlando. His dream didn’t stop there. John went on to earn his Bachelor in Biblical Studies. John always pushed himself, and held himself to a high standard. Some of his drive and discipline may have come from his military background. While pursuing his degree, John faced a personal tragedy – the death of his daughter. His life changed forever. John weathered the storm, and went on to complete his degree. John continued to push himself in order to care for his family. He took a break from Belhaven to pursue his dream of becoming a Florida State Trooper. He passed the exams and was accepted. Putting his family first, he had to make a tough decision. He had no guarantee of where he would be assigned in the State of Florida with the Highway Patrol. He had to turn down the academy, and pursue a different dream. He decided to come back to Belhaven and pursue his Master in Leadership online. Congratulations John! John was able to travel to our Atlanta Adult campus to walk in the ceremony and celebrate!

Pamela started her academic journey at our Memphis Adult campus. She was pursuing her Bachelor of Social Services degree. Pamela and her family relocated to Orlando, and she did not skip a beat. She transferred to the Orlando campus to continue her studies. With the business refocus in Orlando, Pamela switched to our Online campus to finish her degree. As a single mother, she constantly worked to balance the needs of her family, work, and school. She has a quiet and humble spirit. She appreciated the support she received from Belhaven. Congratulations Pamela!

Our second group of students worth celebrating is our teachers. The first full week in May is Teacher Appreciation Week. The first Tuesday is Teacher Appreciation Day. We celebrate all our students who are currently teaching, and/or pursuing advanced degrees in education.

The third group of students we honor and celebrate in May is our military. May is National Military Appreciation Month. We appreciate and celebrate those in service to protect our freedoms culminating in a celebration on Armed Forces Day – the third Saturday of May. We celebrate Memorial Day to honor our veterans who lost their lives protecting our freedoms.

To all of our May graduates, teachers, service men, women and veterans, enjoy your celebrations. You deserve the special recognition. We are proud of you!