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

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?

Let Your Actions Speak for Peace

I’m always amazed at how quickly the year passes and how it always seems to come to a close with a screeching halt. It’s a time of reflection, but often a time filled with great stress and anxiety as many of you prepare for exams, look forward to the next semester, and think about upcoming holidays or the year or semester ahead.

This year in particular seems to close (for our nation) in similar stress and anxiety. Whether we look to the national news, the larger economic climate, political discourse, or even the stress of our own lives or those of our friends and neighbors, we can see examples of injustice, struggle and confusion.

Photo courtesty of www.flickr.com

As an optimist and someone who has the fortunate opportunity to work with a diverse group of people, I continue to believe in the power of a collective effort. When I look around and wonder how I might have a hand in creating peace in this big, bad world, I’m brought back to the idea that actions speak louder than words.

We can come together. We can stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. We can help our neighbor. We can serve our communities. Like any good superhero, we can use our powers for good.

So, how can you get involved?

There are endless ways in which you can let your actions speak for peace. But, if you’re stumped or need a head start, consider marking your calendar for January 19th, and participating in the 2015 MLK Challenge. There’s room for lots of students, and the collective impact creates a positive change in our own community. Change made about by you and me, and peace created for all we encounter.

Blog Contributor:
Amanda Capobianchi
Associate Dean of Student Life

Join a Positive Community for Women

Photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

TED Video – Why we have too few women leaders: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offers three powerful pieces of advice to women. Sheryl Sandberg, Founder of LeanIn.org, wants all women to have the confidence and know-how to achieve their goals. This starts with an active and supportive community.

At CPCC, the Positive Community for Women (PCW) was introduced in hopes to bring about a community for women that supports positive communications and relations for women, about women and with women. The mission of PCW is to provide a positive and educational environment where women are empowered and encouraged to improve their lives through education and personal growth. PCW seeks to support and uplift women as a source of awareness of resources and events, a source of support for confidential exchange and mentoring, and a source of advocacy for student endeavors and for dedication to current and on-going issues concerning women.

PCW is hoping to receive support from faculty and students to find a true niche here at CPCC and increase retention for our female students. PCW is open to all CPCC students, faculty, and staff. PCW is currently holding meetings every Wednesday from 2pm – 3pm on Central Campus. For more information about PCW, please contact Danielle Dosunmu at (704) 330-6954 or e-mail at danielle.dosunmu@cpcc.edu.

Upcoming Event at Sensoria:

What is Beauty?
Central Campus, Tate Hall
Wednesday, April 9th
2:00 PM

Our perspective of self-image and “beauty” is often clouded by our own distorted reflections of self and by the altered images promoted widely in mass media. Join us as we explore perspectives of beauty through illustration and portraiture, considering internal and external perspectives of REAL beauty.

Greatness is Discovered in Service

If you didn’t get the chance to participate in this year’s MLK Challenge, you still have plenty of opportunities this semester to give back and make a difference in the community. CPCC’s Service-Learning Center initiates and supports curricular and co-curricular activities that enhance student learning, promote civic responsibility, and respond to the critical needs in our community through collaborative campus and community partnerships. Spots are still available for the following Service-in-Action events:

Loaves & Fishes, Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9am-Noon: Loaves and Fishes is a Charlotte-based food pantry that collects and supplies food and groceries to people in crisis. For this service project, we will be sorting and packaging food that will be distributed to these pantries to help those in need. For more information, please visit: http://www.loavesandfishes.org/

Second Harvest Food Bank, Friday, April 4, 2014, 1pm-4pm: This volunteer opportunity will focus on students sorting and boxing food and other materials to be distributed to those in need. Volunteers should dress comfortably, keeping in mind that the warehouse we are working in is not temperature controlled. Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina strives through education, advocacy, and partnerships to eliminate hunger by the solicitation and distribution of food. Want to know more? http://www.secondharvestmetrolina.org/

Crisis Assistance Ministries, Friday, April 11, 2014, 2:30pm-4:30pm: Crisis Assistance Ministry is a Mecklenburg County non-profit that prevents homelessness and preserves dignity for Charlotte’s working poor. For this service project, we will spend the afternoon preparing donated clothing and household items to be given to those in need. For more information, please visit: http://www.crisisassistance.org/

CPCC Skyline Run, Saturday, April 26, 2013, 6:30am-11am: This volunteer opportunity is a wonderful way to get involved in the CPCC community and support the effort to raise money for student scholarships. Student volunteers will be placed in a variety of locations around the race 5K race course to assist in traffic flow, handing out water, and helping with other important areas of the race. Want to learn more? http://cpccfoundation.com/skyline/

For more information or to register: e-mail Jenn Marts at Jenn.Marts@cpcc.edu or call 704.330.6824.