Student offers advice for dealing with school, work and life

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor

College students across the nation are spending their days as full-time students while also being full-time employees. This isn’t an easy task, of course, especially when still trying to maintain a social life among friends and family.

This is a struggle I personally relate to, because I myself am a full-time student who has both a job on and off campus. I spend my days going to class, working in a flower shop, writing stories for the school paper, doing homework and repeat. Managing those things, let alone having a life outside of them, sometimes seems almost impossible.

Although it’s sometimes overwhelming, I would advise working during school over not working. Having a job while also managing life as a college student forces you to learn time management. It also gives you your own source of income for different necessities, so you don’t end up having to ask mom or dad for the money.

A pro and con of working during school is that you must miss things occasionally, whether it be school event or a night out with friends. This obviously is a con, because it isn’t always the greatest to miss out. But it is also a pro, because it helps you to learn how to handle not being a part of everything all the time.

I personally love these aspects of it, as well as the fact that it gives me a sense of independence. Having to balance work, school, and life has taught me how to better take care of myself. I am forced to budget my own money and time.

Time management is the hardest aspect, mainly for the fact that it always seems like there is something more to be done. But, keeping up with every task is do-able it just takes a little effort. This effort includes setting a schedule for yourself and prioritizing your time. When doing both things, it is a lot easier to stay on task.

While keeping yourself scheduled there is also the task of staying patient. When life seems hectic, it is so easy to get frustrated with your situation as well as with the people around you. Just allow yourself to take a breather every once in a while, and then get refocused on what needs to be done.

If you are still trying to cope with the immense number of tasks in front of you, just remember that you are not alone in this. There are students all around you dealing with the same stress and struggles as you are. So, use that; use the stress you are holding as a way to bond with someone else. The easiest way to make a friend is to find something you have in common, and if yours is your crazy schedule, well that’s okay.

Sleep is also a huge issue when trying to stay on top of a school and work schedule. If you aren’t getting enough sleep every night, you are bound to be in a world of hurt. Sleep is necessary for us to stay physically and mentally healthy. So that means if you are wanting to stay awake when trying to do homework or don’t want to get extremely frustrated while at your workplace due to your level of tiredness, should probably go to bed at a decent hour.

But in the midst of keeping up with classes and your work schedule, don’t forget to let yourself have a little fun every once in a while. Let yourself take a much-needed break to relax with friends or to go see a movie. Don’t get so caught up in your business that you deprive yourself of having a good time

“It’s fine. I’m Fine. Everything’s Fine.”

By Jacob Factor, Features Editor   (Photo by Jacob Factor/The Bison)

Sometimes in life there are things with which we struggle, and we think we’re the only ones that struggle with it.

Maybe it’s a hard class, or not getting to talk to mom about everything or even body image.

The truth is, though, a lot of people are probably going through the same exact problems you are, and they need someone to talk to them about it just as much as you do.

College is the perfect place to connect with and become friends with people with similar struggles as you.

Take sophomores Jessica Littleton, a mathematics major, Bekah White, a social entrepreneurship major, and Taylor Conn, an accounting major, for example.

They became friends during their freshman year at OBU, and now they are suitemates.

Together these three walk through their struggles, big or small.

Q&A about struggles

Question: How do you deal with not having mom around all the time?

Littleton: For serious stuff, I go to my mom, but if it’s not super serious, I’ll go to one of them and ask them what they think.

White: I’ll go to them for relationship advice.

Littleton: You have that support system outside of your family.

Conn: When you’re sick you rely on your parents at home, and here your friends have to help you.

Littleton: I told Taylor I was sick this morning and she asked, “Do you need anything?” and it’s like, you don’t have your real mom, but you still have a mom here.

Littleton: In all reality, you’re never fully independent because you always have people around you. It just shifts. You depend on your parents, then you depend on your friends.

Question: Do you worry about hard classes or failing?

White: Yep. That’s me. I fail them all.

Littleton: For some classes, especially Civ, it’s like, “We’re in this together.” If I’m going to fail at least I’ll have someone with me.

Conn: I always know that Jess is going to do way better than me. It’s bound to happen.

Conn: I cried one night about my accounting exam and Jess came in here, and I said, “Comfort me.” It ended up being fine. I got a 75 on it. I was still sad though.

Littleton: I’m here for emotional support when she’s crying.

Conn: I cried with Jess at like 5 a.m. when we were studying for a Civ test.

Littleton: We cried over a couple of those.

Conn: Studying together is helpful.

Question: Is the Freshman 15 a real thing?

Conn: Oh, 30!

Littleton: I’ve for real been weighing the same.

White: I got my 15 and her 15.

Question: How do your friends help you through it?

Littleton: Your friends are there to still tell you you’re pretty.

Conn: They’re there to diet with you, too. Bekah and I really tried to diet, and now we’re all working out together.

White: Jess doesn’t even need to lose weight but she still works out with us.

Conn: That is definitely a real thing. They’re not lying.

White: And we all go through it together.

White: A lot of people want to post cute pictures in cute clothes, but they feel like they can’t.

Littleton: You can still do it.

When the system works: An OBU student’s journey through foster care

By Jacob Factor, Features Editor   (Photo by Jacob Factor/The Bison)

There are plenty of stories of kids getting “lost in the system”: ones who stay in
foster care their whole childhood and age out without any knowledge of life outside it. Some kids, however, have stories that are testaments to the ideals of the foster care system. Pierce Spead, a senior news and information major, has one of those stories.

Pierce’s story starts like most would. He grew up living with his mom Carolyn, dad Terry Sr., older brother Terry Jr. and sister Jasmine in Texas. They moved all around the Dallas suburbs, from Desoto to McKinney, and even to Waco. The normality ends there.

“Our house wasn’t “unstable” growing up, but it was a different experience,” Pierce said.
He said his parents were harsh discipliners who sometimes took that too far. He’d get hit with belts and switches. He’d had a canned good and a pot thrown at him before, and his brother had been hit with a tire iron.

“We’re kids, not adults. We don’t understand.”
When Pierce was almost 13, he and his family moved to Oklahoma. At some point, Pierce said his dad developed paranoid schizophrenia.

When they moved to Oklahoma, Terry Sr. started to think Pierce’s brother was trying to kill him. Pierce said it even got to the point that his dad would have him write down the license plate numbers and colors of cars that passed their house to see if anyone was following them.

Pierce said there was a white Cadillac they began noticing that they’d also seen
in Texas. One day Pierce’s brother and his friends got in the Cadillac.

“My dad was thinking, ‘My son’s trying to kill me,’” Pierce said.
Pierce said when Terry Jr. got home later that day, his dad, who was waiting at the door, punched him in the chest.
“He said to my brother, ‘Why you hanging around those people? They’ve been following us from Texas to Oklahoma.’”

Pierce said his brother told his dad he would stop associating with those people, but the next day he did it again. When Terry Jr. got home that day, instead of punching him in the chest, his dad was waiting in his room with a tire iron.

“My sister and I were in the living room, and we could hear yelling and stuff being thrown around,” Pierce said.

Then it got quiet. When Terry Jr. finally came out, he told Pierce and Jasmine he was thinking about running away. Pierce said his brother was 16 years old, his sister was 14 and he was 13 at this time.
“I was crying so much I guess I convinced him to stay,” Pierce said.

The next day at school, Pierce said Terry Jr. wore a hoodie and covered up all his bruises.
“He had marks all up and down his arms and on his ribs,” Pierce said.

When Terry Jr. took off his hoodie, Pierce said his teacher saw the marks and reported it.
He went into DHS custody immediately, and later that day the police showed up to Pierce and Jasmine’s school. When they went into DHS custody, Pierce said they were taken to the Allen Couch Center in Norman.
“That was probably the worst time of my life,” Pierce said.

Pierce said foster parents are more likely to take older kids because they don’t have to care for them as long, and since Pierce was only 13, he was there longer than his siblings.
Terry Jr. and Jasmine were only there for a month, but Pierce said he was there for six. When he finally got out, Pierce said he went to the home in which Terry Jr. was staying.
“It wasn’t bad there, but it wasn’t stable,” Pierce said.

The couple was in their 60’s and 70’s, and there were eight boys between the ages of 13 and 20 years old at the house.

“We just kind of did whatever. Sometimes I didn’t go to class. Sometimes I didn’t come home,” Pierce said. “It was normal.”

Then, Pierce said, Terry Jr. got into an argument with their foster dad, and he kicked both of them out. For two weeks after that they stayed at Pierce’s friend’s house.

“They never called us to ask where we were at. They never asked if we needed anything. Nothing,” Pierce said. “I didn’t take it personally. I just thought, ‘It is what it is. I made it this far.””

When they finally went back to the foster house, Pierce said they found out they’d been moved to another foster family.

“They didn’t ask where we were, but they moved us,” Pierce said.

Pierce said they’d been moved to the family he lives with now, the Vasses.

“We were only there for a semester the first time because my parents were up for
their rights to get us back,” Pierce said.

When his parents did get their custody rights back, Pierce and Jasmine, who had been staying in a group home in Moore, went back to them. His brother, who was 17 then and was able to choose where he went, decided to stay with the Vasses. Back with his parents in Ardmore, Pierce said he could hear his parents fighting.

“We didn’t see it, but we could hear it and picture it. There’d be blood on the wall,” he said. “I kind of expected it because they’d always done that. That’s just what happened.”

Later that year Pierce said he and his family moved back to the Oklahoma City area.
When Pierce and Jasmine came home from school one day, they found their mom crying and their dad trying to apologize to her. Pierce said they’d gotten into a huge fight, with “fighting, spitting, cussing.”

“I guess that night just put my mom over. After 22 years she’d had enough,” Pierce

That next morning, at about 6:30 a.m., Pierce said he was woken up by the sound of four gunshots.

“I see my mom standing over my dad. She’d shot him four times,” Pierce said. “My sister’s holding my mom who’s shaking. When my mom finally came to she kept apologizing and saying, “please don’t hate me.””

Pierce said after that she did “the adult thing” and turned herself in.

“We’d just got back with my parents. It was only about a year, and then boom, we get taken again,” Pierce said.

After Pierce’s mom was arrested, he said he called the Vasses to tell them what happened. He went back to stay with them. Pierce said the next day the Vasses told him he had to go to school.

“They said I couldn’t just sit around and mope. I was like, ‘Yes I can! That’s what I’m supposed to do’.”

Pierce said the first class he went to, English, he cried the whole hour.
“I didn’t go to the rest of my classes. I just stayed in the office and talked to the counselor,” Pierce said.

The first semester after his dad had been shot, Pierce said he gained 40 pounds and his GPA dropped to a 2.2.

“I was quiet. I didn’t talk. I didn’t have a lot of confidence,” Pierce said.

Luckily, the Vasses were there for him just when he needed them.

“When Terry and Pierce called us [after their dad was shot], we told them they’d always have a place to stay here,” Kim Vass, Pierce’s foster dad, said.

The Vasses, Kim and Ginger, originally got into foster care because they weren’t able to have biological children, and when they got Pierce, Ginger said, they were still learning.

“It was new to us, but with Pierce it was a blessing,” Ginger said.

Pierce said they were a lot different from the past homes he’d been in.

“They interacted with me. If we were going to school they would talk to me on the way,” Pierce said.

Pierce said Kim would challenge him to meet ten new people every day and tell him three different things about them. If Pierce didn’t do it one day, he’d have to do double the next day.

“Get comfortable with uncomfortable,” Kim said. “That’s how you’re going to grow as a person.”

Kim said eventually he started doing the challenge as well; his wife even joined in
later. Then, Kim and Ginger worked with him to make sure his grades were good, and the next semester he achieved a 4.0 GPA for the semester.

“It wasn’t that he couldn’t do it,” Kim said. “He just didn’t have anyone to tell him
he could.”

“They pushed me and I just kept growing, and by senior year it was smooth sailing,”
Pierce said.

Now, four years later, Kim and Ginger still love Pierce.

“He’s our son,” Kim said. Ginger said the same thing, “They weren’t just foster kids to us, they were our kids,” she said.

Pierce is set to graduate from OBU in May.

“It all started off bad, but it ended up good. I’ll be the first person in my family to graduate college.”

Multilingual students share language’s importance

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor   (Photo by Jacob Factor/The Bison)

In society today, it is almost necessary to have a knowledge of more than one language in order to communicate with others in careers as well as in everyday life. Two multilingual students on OBU’s campus use their knowledge of languages to not only build relationships, but to share the gospel as well.

Freshman multilingual communications major Colton Cross and junior Spanish major Kristin Dodd both have a proficiency in four languages. Both students have relationships and experiences that have come from being able to speak different languages.

“I definitely have more opportunities to meet people being able to speak multiple languages,” Cross said. “It helps broaden my friend group. If I only spoke English, I would not have many of the friends I have now.”

Cross speaks English, Spanish, French and German. He said he learned these languages while living in Hous-ton and said being there is what helped him better his ability to communicate with others.

“Living in Houston, I really got to experience the languages. Houston is a huge melting pot, so I had the opportunity to practice French with people from France and German with people from Germany,” he said, “and if I knew some-one spoke Spanish I would always try to speak Spanish to them.”

Knowing these languages has led Cross to want to use them as a part of his profession and as a way to share about God. He said he wants to work in missions behind the scenes as a translator.

“I believe it is a gift from God that I pick up on languages easily,” Cross said. Cross said he’s already been able to use this gift to translate for people in Houston. “I translated for a family at my home church in Houston. They spoke French, and I helped in the nursery translating for their five-year-old son,” Cross said.


Kristen dodd
Courtesy Photo/Kristen Dodd


Dodd can speak English, Spanish, French and Mandarin, and said she’s already had different opportunities to translate for people.

“I work with Mission Center, which is an on-campus organization that meets on Friday evenings and goes to Stockyard City in Oklahoma City. We basically do a backyard Bible club with the kids, and most of them speak Spanish as a first language. I get to interpret for their parents sometimes,” Dodd said.

Dodd said she started learn-ing Spanish at six years of age but didn’t start speaking Mandarin or French until much later.

“As soon as I started speaking English my mom started teaching me Spanish, but I didn’t start learning Mandarin until high school when I got into different classes with Chinese tutors. French just came because I have friends in Quebec and I needed it,” Dodd said.

Dodd said she now works as a staff member at a bilingual English-Spanish camp in Quebec over summer break. She said they also get Chinese students. Along, with working with Mission Center and as a camp staffer, Dodd said she has also worked with ESL class-es. From these classes, she said she has gotten the opportunity to do some translating, while also helping people share their stories.

“A year ago, when I was on winter break, I visited an ESL class that I used to volunteer for, and when I was there, a lady from Cuba was taking classes. It was her second week in class, and she asked me to translate for her and I did,” Dodd said. “I got to explain to everyone why she wanted to learn English, and I got to share her testimony. I felt like I got to be her voice.”

Among the things that can be gained from having the knowledge of different languages, both students explained, is the ability to learn about someone else’s life and background. “I just love language because with every language you study, you learn the culture as well. So, that’s what I love most about it; that I can understand the culture and different people’s back-grounds,” Cross said.

How to keep your heart healthy during and after American heart month

By Jacob Factor, Features Editor    (Courtesy Image)

Even if you‘ve stopped your New Year’s Resolution of being healthier, it’s not too late to pick it back up; with February being American Heart Month, it’s the perfect time to do that.

The American Heart Association’s “Healthy for Good” Movement has four key components to living healthier: Eat smart, add color, move more, be well.

Eat Smart

“Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. Learn how to ditch the junk, give your body the nutrient-dense fuel it needs, and love every minute of it!”


There are many facets to non-dieting eating habits. Portion control is one of them.

The American Heart Association’s website says a portion is “how much food we choose to eat.” The key word there is ‘choose.’ It is completely up to us how much we eat at a time. That might mean not eating that extra piece of pizza or only eating half of that big plate of pasta and saving the rest for later.

The first few days of watching your portions can be hard, but Thomas DeLauer, a fitness instructor at says eating smaller portions over time can shrink your stomach, which means after a while you won’t be as hungry.

If you watch HOW you eat, the AHA says you won’t have to watch WHAT you eat as much. You can still eat the same foods you love, as long as you don’t eat too much of it.

Add Color

“An easy first step to eating healthy is to include fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack. All forms (fresh, frozen, canned and dried) and all colors count, so go ahead and add color to your plate – and your life.”


Even if you don’t necessarily have to remove every “bad” thing you eat from your diet, it doesn’t hurt to add good things like fruits and vegetables to it. In fact, we need them.

The AHA lists five reasons to eat fruits and vegetables.

  1. Full of the good.

Everyone knows how nutritional fruits and vegetables are. The AHA says they provide the body with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, calcium, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all things vital to a healthy life.

  1. Free of the bad.

Fruits and vegetables usually don’t have any trans fat; the are low in saturated fat; and they contain very little sodium, things that most unhealthy foods do have. The natural sugars that fruits and vegetables contain aren’t unhealthy like added sugars.

  1. Won’t weigh you down.

Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fiber and water, so they fill you up fast without having to eat as many calories.

  1. Super flexiblesuperfoods.

No, that doesn’t mean they’re like Elastagirl from “The Incredibles.” That means they are some of the most versatile food groups; there are so many ways you can eat them. You can have raw like baby carrots; cooked like steamed broccoli; whole like a fresh-picked apple; or chopped like a salad. You can eat canned peaches, frozen blueberries, dried pineapples or a 100 percent juice drink. There are countless ways you can eat fruits and vegetables, however, suits your taste and lifestyle.

  1. A whole body health boost

The AHA says eating fruits and vegetables “can help lower your risk of many serious and chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.”

Move More

“A good starting goal is at least 150 minutes a week, but if you don’t want to sweat the numbers, just move more! Find forms of exercise you like and will stick with, and build more opportunities to be active into your routine.”


The last two ways to be healthier were things for you to do on your own, but this one is where OBU can help.

OBU’s wellness coordinator, Lindsay Mitchell said there are many benefits to moving more.

“Cardio is known to strengthen your heart so that it does not have to work as hard to pump blood; it also reduces your chances of having a heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes and increases overall self-esteem.”

So what can you do to move more?

“There are countless ways to be involved in cardio. Other options besides running are walking, cycling, swimming and hiking,” Mitchell said.

And what exactly is OBU doing to help?

“We have so many options to become involved in at the RAWC. We have a wide variety of exercise equipment here in the facility. We have a swimming pool, walking track, treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and weight machines. We have group fitness classes offered all throughout the week. We have anything from Spin, Kickboxing, Water Aerobics and so much more,” Mitchell said.

Almost all of these things can be done with a partner, so you and a friend, or a more-than-friend, can start being healthier together.

Be Well

“Along with eating right and being active, real health includes getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, managing stress, keeping mind and body fit, connecting socially, and more.”


The last component of the AHA’s Healthy for Good movement is “be well,” and this simply means being mindful and taking care of our bodies in every facet of our lives, even if that means just slowing down a little.

For more info about the AHA’s Healthy for Good movement go to their campaign website, and go to OBU’s wellness site to see all that the wellness team has to offer go to .

OBU celebrate’s Galentine’s Day

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor    (Courtesy Photo/

In a season filled with red roses and commercialized romance, there is a new reason for celebration. Women across the U.S., as well as on OBU’s campus, have started taking part in celebrating not Valentine’s Day, but Galentine’s Day.

Galentine’s Day is an unofficial holiday on February 13th that came about in the popular television series “Parks and Recreation, w”hen, in 2010, the character Leslie Knope felt the urge to create a day to celebrate the ladies in her life.

“Leslie, creative and crafty and bursting with kindness for the people she loves, invented a way to do something American culture hadn’t traditionally been too good at doing: celebrating, in an official capacity, the joys of female friendship,” said Megan Garber in her “The Atlantic” article “Galentine’s Day: How a Beloved Fiction Became a Beloved Tradition.”

Different RA’s on OBU’s campus have started to embrace this trend and are planning Galentine’s Day celebrations of their own. As of right now, there will be Galentine’s events in the West U Apartments, WMU, and the Taylor Dormitory on February 14th and 15th.

“We felt this was a good way to have community among our girls,” senior communications major Anna Chandler said. “We want to show that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for significant others, it’s for the people you love.”

Chandler  said  the  events  will have everything from Valentine’s day themed games to a chick flick watch party.

“We just wanted it to be a time for girls to get together, eat fun snacks, and maybe make some Valentine’s cards for each other,” said junior graphic design major Rachel Witt.

Each event will be specifically geared towards the idea that having a good time with a few girlfriends is just as important as it is with a significant other.

“It’s good because I think freshman year especially girls really want to be in relationships, and it sucks when you’re not, but you need to have your girlfriends and just have a   good time together,” Witt said.

Single or not, this is a day that can be celebrated by all women. This holiday is meant for ladies to embrace the love they can give and are given by each other. Some look at this season as a time of sadness, because of the lack of being in a romantic relationship, but that doesn’t have to be the focus. Platonic relationships can be just as meaningful as a relationship between romantic partners.

“There is a lot of negative connotation with Valentine’s Day in general, because it is pretty commercialized and if you are single it seems like the worst time ever,” news and information major Olivianna Calmes said. “So, I think if they have Galentine’s it’s a good way to just focus on their friends and to show them that they care.”

There is no one way to celebrate  this special occasion. Certain ways might include having gift exchanges, surprising a friend with their favorite meal, or writing them a thoughtful letter to show them how much you love and appreciate them.

But, this love doesn’t have to only be shared during the Valentine’s and Galentine’s Day season. Galentine’s proves it is possible for females to be the ones to lift each other up, but this type of compassion can be shared every day of the year.

“It is a holiday about love, and you should do what the bible says and love whoever you want to love on through various things, but I also think you should do that in everyday life,” said freshman family community service major Cameron Denno.