Artistic creativity not easy for perfectionists

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

I’m a perfectionist. …No, really.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “Everybody says that because it sounds good and responsible and all that.” But I’m totally serious.

Way too serious, in fact.

I’m the 12-year-old kid who had to be dragged away from the piano because otherwise, I would keep practicing the same exact song for twenty minutes longer than I was supposed to because “I just need to get that one measure right.”

It happened so often that my siblings would actually beg me to stop.

I spent hours at the local park’s terribly run-down soccer field while my sibling drilled me on goalkeeping skills, practicing three or four nights a week, for two whole summers.

Never mind that the team I played for was a recreational team that formally practiced a total of once a week. It didn’t matter to me how I compared to the team’s standards; it mattered how I compared to myself. In my own eyes, if I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t good enough.

When it came to starting college, things weren’t much different.

I listened on the first day of freshman year as my professors told their students over and over again the importance of trying your best, giving it your all. “You’re paying for this education, so make it count,” they said.

So, I did. I gave it my all.

I still have 13 separate word documents saved on my computer from the first college research paper I wrote; all of them are different versions or portions of only one assignment.

Anytime I had the chance I took the paper I was working on and talked it over with someone else, just like they had us do in my Honors Critical Skills class.

(I still do that now. This column was read by three other people before it was submitted.)

I proofread my first Civ daily reading response sheets. Twice.

I carefully labored over every single word of every reading assignment during that Civ semester, because “SparkNotes just can’t equal the educational value of reading it yourself.”

When I asked about an advising meeting to prepare for Spring 2019, my advisor burst into laughter, then promptly apologized. Maybe the fact that I was asking about advising in September had something to do with why?

So… yeah. All that to say: I’m a perfectionist.

But then things changed in college.

I’m a theatre major and that has gradually started to shift the way I look at things. I’ve loosened up (a little).

This is not to slag theatre students, or say that I don’t care about the quality of the stuff I do. Of course, I do and I should.

But that’s beside the point.

Theatre is a creative field, and that means coming up with creative solutions which means – deep breath – being able and willing to frequently mess up big time, in order to succeed once.

Publicly messing up does not come naturally to everyone, definitely not to me.

Throwing away six drafts of a paper? Yes, I’m used to that. Yet the only one who sees those drafts are me and maybe a peer reviewer. Make a less than stellar move in rehearsal or performance and everyone in the room knows. That’s nerve-wracking.

But as I’ve advanced in my classes, I’ve figured out that the only way to get it right is to repeatedly risk getting it wrong.

Having a bunch of great people around you supporting you through the risk is key. Yet, so is being willing to look silly in order to communicate something that matters and do something you love.

So, through my classes, I’ve learned some things. Or, rather, three things.

1). Perfection is impossible (at least without some major deus ex machina type God-intervention, anyway).

2). You will drive yourself crazy if you try to force perfection.

3). Sometimes broken, messed up messes are the most beautiful moments of your life.

Not everything is serious. Not everything has to be perfect. The little things that seem to matter so much right now and look so ugly are really so very, very small in the scheme of life.

I’m going to fail an exam, and so are you. That’s part of being human. But the story doesn’t end there. We learn by making mistakes. It’s part of life and, even better, we worship a God who can do incredible things with total screw-ups.

So instead of fighting it, enjoy the process. Make that huge ridiculous choice in rehearsal. That choice you’re so nervous to make – it could end up being the best choice you can imagine. So cut yourself some slack.

Don’t just take care of making yourself perfect; take care of yourself for your own sake. Take a nap. Give yourself the time for a heart to heart with a friend.

Your grades matter; your responsibilities matter; but so do you. You matter to the God who made you and He does not make mistakes. Rather, He plants seeds and lets them grow.

Although I have to admit, sometimes I just wish those seeds would hurry up, skip the growing pains and turn into a flower.

RAWC hosts first lunch ‘n’ learn of the semester

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor

As the number of deadlines increase and the pressures of school rise, it’s easy for students to become overwhelmed by the stressors of college life.

Monday, September 17, the RAWC will be hosting the first Lunch ‘N’ Learn of the semester at 12:00 p.m. in the RAWC event room. Oklahoma Baptist University’s Marriage and Family Therapy department will be presenting “How College influences Mental Health.”

“There’s such an increase in mental awareness and mental health,” wellness coordinator,
Lindsay Mitchell said. “There’s been more attempted suicides in the news and so it’s a
super sensitive subject, but it needs to be talked about.”

When choosing the topic for the Lunch ‘N’ Learns, Mitchell views the potential topics to be covered from a college students’ perspective.

“I try to be creative and cover different aspects of wellness,” Mitchell said. “Whether
it’s mental wellness or physical wellness. Just because we’re a gym doesn’t mean it’s just
going to be about physical because we need to focus on our mental health too.”

Mitchell said she chose to cover mental health for the first Lunch ‘N’ Learn of the semester because she understands how transitioning back into school can be stressful.

“We thought starting off when school gets overwhelming with homework,” Mitchell said. “It makes sense to have this kind of topic. I’m just trying to help you guys out.”

Lunch will be grilled chicken sandwiches provided by Boomerang. Spaces are limited so contact to RSVP or request more information. The next Lunch ‘N’ Learn will be Monday, November 5 at 12:00 p.m. with the Career and Development Center presenting over professionalism.

SGA hosts third Let’s Talk event

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor    (Photo by Jonathan Soder/The Bison)

Anxiety for an upcoming test, an awkward eating schedule, or depression over a relationship are common issues many college students face.

However, these issues also impact a student’s overall mental health.

OBU students gathered Tuesday, March 13, at 3:30 to discuss the topic of mental health. Throughout the night, students were able to ask questions to a board of panelists who spoke from their areas of expertise.

Panelists included Dr. Paul Donnelly, assistant professor of criminal justice, Dr. Tara Signs, director of Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical, Dr. Christopher McMillion, assistant professor of political science, Dr. Robin Brothers, assistant professor of nursing, and Mr. Mason Phillips, an adjunct professor and OBU alumni.

“Let’s Talk at OBU should serve as a model for our country in how to have these conversations,” president of SGA Hunter Doucette said. “I find one of the hardest things to do, is to make others care about something that doesn’t directly touch them. Let’s Talk opens the eyes of students in many regards, to issues that they may never have been familiar with. Let’s Talk has the potential to create advocates.”

Mental health covers the emotional, psychological and social aspects of life. How one feels, thinks, acts and responds to stress, all relate to mental health. A variety of factors can contribute to the state of someone’s mental health, whether it’s brain chemistry, life experiences or family history.

“I think if we can begin to talk and understand it, people can make informed decisions about things they do in their life and how they respond to the stressors of life, I think everyone’s better served,” Donnelly said.

“As Christians, I don’t think we recognize, and are sensitive enough, to what goes on on campus. There are kids who are really struggling to a variety of issues. If we can talk about it and not make it a taboo subject, in that it’s okay to admit that you have a problem, that you have an issue and know where you can get help.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 50 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their life.

Mental health has always been looked down upon throughout American history and has had a negative stigma attached to it.

“I’ve seen over the years how mental health has been increasingly criminalized,” Donnelly said. “For example, the largest mental health facility in the state of Texas is the Harris County Jail. In other words, there are more people receiving mental health treatment in jail than in any place else in the entire state,” he said.

“My direct experience is seeing the criminalization of mental health. My concern, however, has grown because of experiences with family and friends who’ve wrestled with some serious mental health issues and how that impacts on families and their life [structure].”

OBU’s Student Government Association started the Let’s Talk sessions last semester and hopes to have another one before the spring semester is over. The hope is to not only discuss more issues in the future, but revisit some covered in the past.

“It is important for student government to sponsor these events because we represent a diverse population and the issues we discuss affect particular groups differently,” Doucette said. “Therefore, it is vital firstly, for the sake of community at OBU, to understand how these sensitive subjects are viewed through various lenses,” he said.

“Secondly, it provides students with the necessary knowledge to engage in public discourse and effectively communicate with those outside of OBU. Christians need to be on the frontlines seeking justice. These events better equip students to do just that.”

Donnelly said he enjoys the Let’s Talk sessions because he sees the power behind students who are becoming not only educated on these sensitive issues, but also are motivated to take action.

“The greatest impact I’ve seen as a result of Let’s Talk is OBU students being able to have civil discourse on issues that usually divide our nation,” Doucette said.

“Students are more prone to listen to one another and by doing that, are able to see that there is much more in common than what separates. These conversations do not end once students walk out the door. Issues are being discussed in the dorms, in the GC, in the caf, in the classroom.”

OBU offers free therapy sessions to all OBU students, staff and faculty. The OBU Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic is located on the first floor of Shawnee Hall. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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