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.

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

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.

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.

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

Choose to Live Generously

Photo courtesy of www.purehappylife.com

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?