Set Sail and Seize Adventure

This week marks the end of an extraordinary journey for many CPCC students who are eagerly prepping for graduation and looking forward to the next chapter in their lives – whether it’s taking a much needed break, transferring to a four-year university, or beginning their professional careers. While this is an exciting time, it can also be a bitter sweet experience for some. It’s not always easy to say goodbye, to let go of a life you’ve grown accustomed to for the past few years, and to venture off into unknown territory. But, it can’t compare to the thrilling experience of starting something new (especially if it’s been your dream), gaining more self-knowledge, and expanding your circle of friends.

I wanted to share the following story that I wrote after I graduated from college and reflected on my experience, which included not only great accomplishments but also disappointment and heartache. As I sat contemplating my future, I made the conscious choice to set aside my fears (and everyone else’s expectations of me) and chase after the dreams I held onto for so long. I have never looked back.

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Borrow (Nautical): to sail close to the shore

I have been like a ship borrowing – fearful of exploring the open and unpredictable sea. I take comfort in the security of being anchored within a close distance of land. Any movement I make consists of creeping along the shore, ensuring that I do not get lost at sea. The avoidance of risk has provided me with a feeling of discontent as I look at my ship’s log to find no entries worth writing home about.

Occasionally, I examine the structure of my hull. The sides are consumed with barnacles and my anchor is beginning to rust after years of stagnation. Somehow responsibility has crept in, along with unforeseen struggles, which has kept my dreams harbored. I have broken my promise to take back the time that I had borrowed. But as I look to the horizon, I know that there is no better time than now. If I remain in my current position, the powerful waves will force my ship to collide with the headland. I will capsize.

I can feel the trade winds calling me to sea. I have acquired the perfect crew and am ready to set sail, but my compass is unsure of where to lead me. The currents are getting stronger and it is crucial that I leave now; there will never be another opportunity. I know I will encounter storms and unexpected perils; there will be wear and tear on my ship. But, I am willing to take the risk because it is a far better outcome than remaining stationary.

I have pulled up my anchor and am slowly making headway, letting the currents choose my course. I dare not look back to shore for fear that it may entice me back to the familiar. Although I am hesitant to put all my faith in the open sea, I am confident that it will lead me in the direction I am destined to travel. As time has passed on my journey, I no longer feel adrift. I am becoming more seaworthy. The more ports I visit, the more treasures I have worth writing home about.

The message of this story still resonates with me today, especially as I begin a new adventure in Wilmington, NC and prepare to say goodbye to students, colleagues, and dear friends. I don’t know how the next chapter will turn out, but I am grateful for the many blessings that the CPCC community has gifted me over the past five years – in knowledge, skills, friendships, and unconditional love.

For those of you reading this, I want you to know that although you may have some trepidation about the future, it’s important that you continue to chase after your dreams, get out of your comfort zone, seek opportunity and adventure, take (healthy) risks, and never forget that you are worthy of greatness!

CPCC – Thank you for being such an amazing, unforgettable treasure. I will miss you!

Sincerely, Krystal

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SGA Announces the 2015-2016 Executive Committee

As another academic year is coming to a close at CPCC – with students preparing for final exams and making plans for the summer – there is one group of individuals who are ending their year with a strong sense of accomplishment and an eagerness to return in the fall. The following students are the newly elected SGA Executive Committee officers and they look forward to not only serving their campus community, but making a difference on campus.

President: Alvan Makoundi-Tchibinda

I ran for Student Government President because I believe I have been properly equipped to handle the demands of the position, and I have been able to identify and utilize my own strengths in accordance with service and leadership. I am strong-willed, people-oriented, flexible, open to new ideas, and understanding. Furthermore, I must point out, that the Student Government community has been family to me – my comrades have allowed me to grow in so many ways. SGA has the authority to work closely with and serve other student organizations in their efforts and endeavors; because of my positive experiences, advocating for students is something about which I care greatly. I believe the position of President within Student Government is the ideal vehicle for my passions of service and fellowship.

Vice President: Grace Matabishi

There is one thing above all else that I want to make clear, I work for you. I want to serve you, the students from Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). As an experienced person who has volunteered and participated in activities such as Fall Fest, MLK Challenge, and Student Leadership Conference, I believe that I will add a plus in the SGA and the college. I have a desire to improve other students in my college as well as in my community. My goal is to represent the student body in a professional and unbiased way. I plan to listen and give the opinions of the students. Also, I would like to get students involved and see better changes for my college. I want to be that friendly face for new students coming in and a defender for students already here. I want to unite the school and ensure everyone has the most fun that they can.

Secretary: Yelena Ganchenko

I have great team working skills, multitasking skills, and organizational skills. I’m a good listener and I’m open to feed back from those who are around me. Even though I just got introduced to SGA, I’ve already had many opportunities with getting involved. I have participated in the Fall Fest, SGA promotion tables, and I’ve attended the Leadership Conference. At the leadership conference I learned how I could become a better leader and what is asked of me as a leader. I learned the most effective way for me to be a leader to those around me. During this wonderful experience I learned what my strengths and my weaknesses are. These things are important to me because these things helped me become a better leader. The Student Government Association is here to serve to you, the students. I am here to have that bridge between you the students and the faculty. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.

Treasurer: Jacquez Mays

As an employee at Primerica Financial Services, I have learned a great deal of money management skills and financial concepts that have allowed me to be a high performer in the financial industry. I place a high value on integrity and cooperation, both of which have helped me to excel in the classroom and in my community. I believe that the SGA is the next step in my journey to accomplishing my goals, and also helping others to do the same. The true test of leadership is being able to make others see within themselves that they are also leaders, and elevating them to the next level in leadership and personal growth. I am qualified to serve in the SGA because I bring a great amount of energy and empowerment to the team around me. I am a servant leader. Through this position I will make it my mission to serve to the best of my abilities and make sure that those around me are happy and motivated to become change agents.

Public Information Officer: Ali Hamud

I am very organized, hardworking, trustworthy, and diligent person who works very well under pressure. I am a very good listener, and I lead and delegate duties equally without bias. I am looking forward to being inducted to the honors program, Phi Theta Kappa, this spring. I recently attended the Student Leadership Conference organized by Student Life and I learned so many great leadership skills, communication skills and working as a team – which I believe are great qualities for a public information officer. I am honest and trustworthy, and I pride myself in building long lasting relationships with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I will use my position to serve as the mouthpiece between the SGA and the rest of the students at CPCC. I will create the proper and necessary communication channels for our voices to be heard and also to promote the culture by voicing our opinions.

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Tips for Surviving Finals Week

With finals week quickly approaching and student activities beginning to dwindle on campus, the hallways are quieter than usual as students start to retreat to their favorite places on campus to finish their final projects and study for exams. Although this can be one of the most stressful times of the year for students (see “Finals Week as told by Elf”), it doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety. The following tips can help you in managing the stress associated with finals. Start by shifting your mindset – focus on your ultimate goal, visualize your achievement, and use positive affirmations.

Effective Strategies:

  • Prioritize assignments and exams based upon the deadline and percentage of final grade.
  • Say no to extra commitments that you can’t fit into your schedule at the moment.
  • Create to-do lists and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given day.
  • Practice self-care by getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night, exercising, and eating regular, nutritional meals.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – from friends, family, or CPCC Counseling Services.
  • Unplug from social media and avoid other distractions like television and video games.
  • Peruse Pinterest for motivation (or a good laugh).
  • Take time to relax (see healthy tips below).

Healthy Ways to Relax:

  • Go for a walk
  • Visit or call a good friend
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Journal
  • Watch comedies
  • Dance
  • Enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea
  • Play with a pet
  • Get a massage
  • Curl up with a good book

Campus Resources:

The Personal Counseling Assistance Program (PCAP) is a free and confidential service provided to CPCC students who are facing challenging times. The student and the Counselor work together to discover solutions for problems and create strategies for successfully meeting goals. When a student can benefit from the services of other professionals, PCAP Counselors will provide appropriate referrals.

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SGA Elections: April 20-24

Today marks the beginning of elections for the 2015-2016 Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Committee. The SGA is an organization run by CPCC students to represent fellow students, while also supporting the mission of the College and the Office of Student Life. The purpose of the SGA is to:

  • Advocate for the student body by conveying the opinions, ideas, wishes, and needs of the students to the administration, faculty, and staff.
  • Enhance student life on campus through social, cultural, and educational activities.
  • Provide support to student organizations.

Exercise your right to vote!! We encourage all students to learn more about the candidates and to cast their vote for the 2015-2016 Executive Committee.

Please visit the Student Life website to read about what the candidates hope to accomplish in their new roles and to vote online! Elections will end on Friday, April 24th.

Candidates for Office:

  • President: Merit Bajonero and Alvan Makoundi-Tchibinda
  • Vice President: De’Angelo Floyd and Grace Matabishi
  • Public Information Officer: Ali Hamud
  • Treasurer: Jacquez Mays
  • Secretary: Yelena Ganchenko and Shelby Jones
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Choose to Live Generously

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What sort of world could we create through the simple, powerful decision to live generously? How would our lives be different if we gave more love, kindness, time, appreciation, forgiveness, courage, respect, or humor – to ourselves and to those around us? I think we would be happier, healthier individuals who could create a better world for generations to come.

The thing that I love most about generosity is that it creates a ripple effect. It spreads out into the world – into our families, our communities, and our work – and has immeasurable effects. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to witness the impact of our giving and to experience the reward of making someone’s day, week, or year. Other times,  our best and most perfect giving opportunity might be as simple as a smile or a compliment, and we may never know the difference it made in the life of another. It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that not only do we have the power to positively change the lives around us, but we also can impact the lives of strangers we will never come in contact with. It creates a sense of community in a world that sometimes feels disconnected and selfish.

Brad Formsma’s book “I Like Giving” shares inspirational stories of people giving, as well as practical suggestions about creating a lifestyle of generosity. While I have always been a supporter of random acts of kindness, I love the idea of choosing to be generous on a daily basis. Formsma explains that “when generosity becomes your lifestyle, your life will take on a new glow. You will feel appreciated. You will feel worthy. You will feel celebrated, and you will get that deep sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you enrich other people’s lives. When giving moves from an occasional activity to the very essence of your life, you start experiencing the fullness of life at a whole different level.” He also shares the following advice:

  • Look for ways to give that are in line with your heart.
  • Give with no strings attached. Giving to others when there is no obligation reminds people that they are inherently worthy; they didn’t have to earn it.
  • Don’t let the occasional person who abuses the goodwill of others ruin your giving and deter you.
  • Sometimes people don’t need money or skills or advice. They just need someone to hear their stories and witness their lives.
  • Giving is meant to enrich someone else, not to draw attention to that person’s need. When true generosity is your motivation, you’ll find the best way to give while honoring the receiver.
  • Receiving can be harder than giving, because receiving reminds us that we need other people. When someone meets a legitimate need that we are unable to meet on our own, we are humbled.
  • We often look at the great needs in the world and see all the things we can’t do, which keeps us from doing the things we can do.

In honor of National Volunteer Month, I want to encourage you to not only get involved on campus and in your community, but to start cultivating a lifestyle of generosity. You don’t have to make massive life changes to become a gift to other people. You can start with who you are, right where you are, right now. Take a minute to think about your life. How could you incorporate generosity into your daily interactions with people?

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Harper Campus Hosts Local Boy Scout Troop

The Harper Campus Welding department, along with students from the American Welding Society, hosted the 2nd Annual Welding Merit Badge Workshop for the Mecklenburg County Council BSA on Saturday, March 14th. A total of 27 Boy Scouts earned their Welding merit badge. Requirements included safety hazards and first aid, appropriate safety gear, welding terminology, mechanical and thermal cutting methods, selecting a welding process, performing welds with the equipment, and career opportunities. Each Scout went home to their Troop with an eagle sculpture that they personally completed, as well as a completed merit badge blue card.

Instructor Rich Davis teaching the Boy Scouts Oxy-Acetylene Cutting.

Welding is a relatively new STEM related subject added to the century old tradition of merit badges, and since it’s introduction in late 2012 has already become one of the most popular activities, with 11,061 Scouts earning the badge in 2014. David Langdon, the incoming President of the American Welding Society, and a recent visitor and guest speaker at Harper Campus, was one of the authors of the merit badge guide.

Instructor Mike Scott teaching the Boy Scouts GMAW welding and helping them assemble an eagle made from cut metal parts.

14 volunteers, including students, staff, and faculty members were here for support – giving up not just a weekend, but part of their spring break for a service-learning project. The volunteers included: American Welding Society club officers Eric Navarette, Chris Salley, Paige Hoose, plus Jason Blanchett, Joe Miller, Roxy Aleman and Simon Brown; Full Time Welding Instructor and AWS club advisor Ray Sosko; Full Time Instructional Lab Facilitator Rich Davis; Full Time Staff members Denise Strange and Randy Hellinger; and Part Time Welding Instructors Michael Scott and Brian Lucas. Priscilla Kay, Lab Facilitator from Graphic Arts & Imaging Technology, also helped with arrangements. Special thanks to dedicated Scouter and welding expert Paul Summers, SCWI from Chicago Bridge & Iron, one of our corporate partners. I cannot thank them all enough for making this possible.

Blog Contributor:
John McPherson, CPCC Welding Instructor
Mecklenburg County Council/Lincoln Electric
Welding Champion and Welding Merit Badge Counselor

The American Welding Society (AWS) is a student organization housed at the Harper Campus and includes students currently enrolled in the Welding certificate and/or degree programs. They often participate in community service work and have competed in local and regional welding competitions. The AWS enhances awareness of the art and science of welding, and how it affects our daily lives. If you are interested in learning more about the student club, please contact Ray Sosko (Club Advisor).

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Free Vision and Hearing Screenings

In 1925, Helen Keller challenged the Lions Club to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” And they accepted. For nearly 100 years, members of the Lions Club have worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In addition, they have developed programs that demonstrate concern and respect for the dignity and independence of people who have hearing or speech disorders, with the goal of improving their quality of life.

One of their programs includes the Mobile Screening Unit (MSU), an important tool in the early detection of vision and hearing problems. The Charlotte SouthPark Lions Club will be visiting CPCC to conduct free vision and hearing screenings for students, faculty, and staff. This is a screening only and should not be confused with a complete exam. Based on the individual’s screening results, a recommendation will be made to that individual as to when they should have a complete exam. Screenings will be conducted on a drop-in basis. The Lions Club will also be collecting eyeglasses for donation.

Thursday, April 2
Harper Campus
9 AM – 2 PM
Parking Lot B, 3rd Floor Entrance by Security
315 West Hebron Street, Charlotte, NC 28273

Thursday, April 23
Levine Campus
9 AM – 2 PM
Pete’s Fountain Out Front Circle
2800 Campus Ridge Road, Matthews, NC 28105

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Join the Ruth G. Shaw Scholars Program

March is Women’s History Month, so there’s no better time to reflect on important women who have made an impact in our world, nation, and even in our local communities. It’s also a great time to recognize the everyday contributions and work of women all around us, including our very own CPCC students!

I’ve had a great opportunity this year to play a role in the inaugural Ruth G. Shaw Women’s Leadership program at CPCC. Dr. Ruth Shaw was CPCC’s second college president, and she was a trailblazer in seeing the need for CPCC to open local campuses that would eventually serve more than 70,000 people in our community. After Dr. Shaw left CPCC, she served as president and CEO of Duke Power Company, now Duke Energy. She remains an active participant in our community and is still a loyal supporter of the College. As a result of her generosity, the CPCC Foundation created the Ruth G. Shaw Women’s Leadership Program at CPCC.

This leadership program aims to connect women to one another and to a supportive network of faculty, staff and community mentors; to inspire women to assume leadership positions and celebrate their own achievements; to nurture female leaders by encouraging them to creatively solve problems; and, most importantly, to foster a deeper awareness of the many roles women play and their contributions to society.

I’m so excited and proud of this year’s scholars who are readying themselves to take on the world. They are mothers, daughters, future machinists, social workers, medical professionals, entrepreneurs and, most of all, leaders. They are like many of our students – juggling multiple responsibilities, looking forward to their future academic and career goals, and balancing all that comes along with being a college student in today’s world. Many of them have shared that without the Ruth G. Shaw Scholars Leadership program, they would have missed out on some important opportunities to grow and connect – both inwardly and with others they met along the way. We look forward to providing the same educational and enriching experience for future scholars.

If you are interested in participating in this unique leadership opportunity, please visit the Student Life website for the 2015-2016 application. Applications are due back in Student Life by April 27, 2015. If you are interested in learning more about the program and speaking with a recent graduate of the program, we invite you to attend our upcoming event:

Film Screening of Girl Rising
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Central Campus, Overcash Building – Tate Hall
Screenings at 9 AM and 12 PM
Reception between screenings at 11 AM

Girl Rising is a moving documentary tells the stories of nine girls from different parts of the world who face arranged marriages, child slavery, and other heartbreaking injustices. Despite these obstacles, the brave girls offer hope and inspiration. By getting an education, they’re able to break barriers and create change. Girl Rising unites girls, women, boys and men who believe every girl has the right to go to school and the right to reach her full potential. The Ruth G. Shaw Scholars will show excerpts from the film and lead a short discussion about the girls featured in the film and the impact of education in their lives.

Blog Contributor:

Amanda Capobianchi
Associate Dean of Student Life/Co-Facilitator of the Ruth Shaw Scholars Program

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The Power of Encouragement

“People go farther than they thought they could when
someone else thinks they can.” – John Maxwell

To be an effective leader, you must take the time to recognize others and encourage them to dream more, learn more, and do more. People never stop needing to be encouraged, just as hot air balloons need continuous air. Dr. Tim Elmore expands more on this analogy in the following excerpt from his book, Habitudes.

Hot air balloons rise as the burner is released but, eventually, they begin to fall and need to be refilled. They must continue to be filled in order to go up. People are like this. We fill other people’s balloons by affirming them, meeting their emotional needs, and giving them hope. The word “encourage” literally means “to inspire courage.” It goes much deeper than just creating warm fuzzy feelings. It’s about helping others overcome obstacles, see a new perspective, and reach for their highest potential.

Encouragement rarely happens by accident. Like any skill, it takes time and effort to develop. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your compliments:

  • Make them sincere.
  • Make them specific.
  • Make them public.
  • Make them personal. 

Timing plays a big role in the effectiveness of our encouragement as well. Good leaders know how to encourage others, but also understand when. There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to know the best times to encourage others, but here’s a starter:

  • After they fail – so they won’t give up hope.
  • After they succeed – so they’ll want to win again.
  • When they least expect it – so they’ll know it’s not an act.
  • When they first meet you – so they won’t forget your connection.

Dig Deeper:

Think about the network of people around you – your friends, teachers, student club members, or coworkers who most need a word of encouragement right now. Grab a cup of coffee and take some time to write these individuals a letter or a few encouraging words on a Post-it note. Express your gratitude for having them in your life and compliment them on some positive traits you’ve noticed.

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Voices and Choices

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How do you define success?

If you pooled a room of people, I’m sure that you would get a variety of answers, depending on life experiences and individual goals. Maybe your version of success includes any of the following: graduating college, having a family, surviving cancer, buying a new car, going on a mission trip, finding happiness, or turning your passion into a career.

Regardless of how you may define success, I believe that it’s important to create and cultivate positive voices and choices in your life. Doing so, will help you accomplish your goals sooner and lead you to the success you desire.

Jim Rohn once said that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If you haven’t taken the time to assess the relationships in your life, then you should start now. The people you surround yourself with on a regular basis can influence your beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. Therefore, it’s important that you choose your influencers wisely. If you strive to be happy, athletic, or creative, then surround yourself with happy, athletic, and creative people. Surround yourself with people that not only bring out the best in you, but also encourage you to be a better person. Effective leaders and top entrepreneurs spend more time putting together the right team than they spend on any other component of their job. You should do the same for your personal life. Seek out individuals who will increase your average.

Although people can influence how we think and act, we are ultimately responsible for the choices we make. Great leaders understand how to make wise decisions that positively impact themselves and others. Your quality of life and your contribution to the world depend on the career you choose, the lifestyle you embrace, and the decisions you make on a daily basis. Each day you have the opportunity to choose to look at life in a positive or negative way and, depending on what you choose, you can either create a fulfilling, balanced life or a life that you wish was different. Thankfully, it’s never too late to change your life and the quality of your work. It all begins by choosing, today, to make a positive change in at least one area of your life. Choose to take a risk. Choose to open your heart. Choose to apologize. Choose to defy. Choose to smile. Choose to be adventurous. Choose the people and opportunities that make you happy and bring you closer to realizing your dreams. In doing so, you have the unique opportunity to positively impact those around you – inspiring them to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.

What life do you want to live and how can you be a better leader – both at home and at work? Do you like the voices and choices in your life? If not, what can you do today to make a change and create the life you desire?


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