Tag Archive | "seniors"

‘College is what you make of it’

These farewell editorials are supposed to be, I think, a platform for sappiness. Here I am, a senior, graduating in just a few weeks, with several underclassmen to take positions that I used to hold: “Good luck, underclassmen, Ben, Jeremy, blah, blah, blah.”

I am proud of them; I’m excited for them. But this piece is for everyone, the whole student body, if you’re reading.

I hardly remember life – er, college life – before The Sojourn. It’s been a huge part of my college career; it’s helped me shape my plans for the future. It’s taught me how to write professionally, to interact with higher-ups and to be a leader.

I encourage all of you underclassmen to join a student organization or a student-led business like The Sojourn in your remaining years at Indiana Wesleyan University. It was the smartest decision I made.

For me and for many of us upperclassmen on staff, The Sojourn has taught us skills that have landed us internships at magazines, TV stations and publications abroad. We’ve networked with those in authority at IWU or in the Marion area. We’re going to get some killer letters of recommendation.

It’s all about getting involved.

The Sojourn is not the place for everyone, of course. Many of you out there hated us this year. We printed stories you didn’t agree we should write; we exposed rumors some of you wished stayed rumors. Luckily, not all of you will lead the student newspaper for that reason. Luckily, there are organizations for nearly everyone on campus. And if there isn’t one for you – make one.

I’ve always been told that “college is what you make of it.” It couldn’t be truer. So take advantage!

I want to end this piece with a thank-you to my staff this year: to Molly (Mole Sauce), my balancer; to Steven, who challenges me to be a better leader; to Rachel, whose sarcasm brings sanity into Wednesday production nights; to Li’l Jer, my successor; to Nick, let’s-find-a-way-to-stick-a-meme-in-the-newspaper-every-week; to Brent, the nicest IT nerd/theologian I’ve ever met, to Dr. Huckins, our adviser, who’s had to put up with so much this year; and to the rest of the photographers, designers, writers, ad gurus and Web gurus on staff. You’ve been great!

Thanks for an awesome four years,

Lauren Deidra Sawyer

Posted in FeaturesComments (0)

A Redeemed cynic, class of 2012

I think I’m supposed to say something inspiring here, something that causes thought and provokes discussion, in essence, a virtual “pat on the back” for not only the Institution that birthed my educational awakening, but also the students that will follow after me.

This opinion piece will do neither of those things. Just so you’re prepared.

I avoid writing opinion pieces when I can help it, although over the last semester it’s happened more than I would like. The act of concretely laying out my arguments on paper, then publishing them for public critique and mockery, makes a small part of me wish to run and hide. As the editor of the opinion page, this is not usually an option.

While at Indiana Wesleyan University, I have whole heartedly realized that I’m not an expert in anything. While I may have opinions, they are neither educated enough nor well formed enough to merit true pride, let alone publication, save one thing. In a generation of social-media obsessed narcissists, I do have monopoly on being an expert on myself. Some of what I’ve learned in that status while at this university, however, I would prefer not to know.

I’m thankful for the way my time here has changed me, the lessons I’ve learned and the issues I’ve struggled over. The challenges and victories have made me a better thinker, a well-rounded person, and hopefully, an interesting conversationalist and writer. As a side effect of study, however, I picked up a nasty personal habit: cynicism.

My mother tells me I’m too young to be a cynic. She’s always frustratingly optimistic, a characteristic I once shared. I’m not sure where I deviated from a much brighter, “sunny side” way of thinking, but it happened. For the past few years (as I grew aware of my shift in viewpoint) I may have denied it, then simply blamed the shift on my subjects of study. Journalism and political science are not exactly optimistic fields. My conversations have increasingly become focused on what I’m frustrated about in the world, and of late, what frustrates me about this university, my university.

As I pursue life after IWU I have a choice. I can choose, based on the evidence I’ll surely find around me, that life is best handled through realism, exemplified in cynicism. Or, I can choose to take what I discover and continue to look for the positive aspect of any circumstance … because there always is one.

I realize that I’m not the first to suggest that an optimistic, positive viewpoint may be helpful. (I refer to my previous statement highlighting my inadequacies in writing opinion pieces.) It sounds terribly cheesy, after all, to think that “looking on the bright side” will make a difference, even change your life.

That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that I need to stop pretending that cynicism is an inevitable and healthy part of life. For me, it hasn’t been healthy. It’s caused me to rant about things that don’t ultimately matter to the people who tirelessly love me, it’s resulted in my judgment of others (both those in authority in my life as well as my peers), and it’s caused me to view aspects of my university, my faith and my fellow human beings with skepticism, if not disdain.

While that type of cynicism may indeed represent how the world functions, I can’t see that ultimately, it’s going to do me any good.

Currently, I’d classify myself as a “redeemed cynic.” It’s something God and I have talked about and he’s turned into a beautiful part of my personality, instead of a black hole of negativity. But note the fact that it’s still part of my identity. In the end, I’m still very critical of the things that go on around me. I still struggle with judgment. And, I have an even harder time curbing my comments, witty or not, when I should probably find other things to occupy my mind.

Somewhere, there’s a happy medium, a balance between obnoxious idealism and hardened cynicism. To all of you who follow after all of us: Find that balance before you leave. The world is cynical enough already.

Posted in FeaturesComments (0)

Masuda got swagger

Kelsey MasudaKelsey Masuda (sr) has come a long way since high school.


She grew up near Tokyo, living in Japan until her freshman year of college at Indiana Wesleyan University, where the libero dominated the Wildcats’ volleyball court like no one else the school has ever seen.

But there’s so much more to her than just being the girl who wore the opposite-color jersey than her teammates. Masuda crochets, says she wants to write a book someday and is a self-proclaimed ninja.

And according to her coaches and teammates, she also has swagger.

“Kelsey embodied that so well because in her personality, she would never ever want to show anything but humility,” Wildcats’ coach Candace Moats said. “But that word gave her an outlet to find her way in that, ‘I am good and I’m going to go out there and I’m going to show that, but I’m going to have fun doing it.’”

“Swagger” is the term the Wildcat volleyball team used for its quiet confidence during the 2011 season, a campaign that saw IWU go 36-6 and make it all the way to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. As one of the team’s leaders and league’s most outstanding players, Masuda was a great example of that ideal.

“She did have that swag,” said Wildcat Becca Brandes (so). “She gained that confidence as we went through the year. She was a leader.”

Masuda didn’t always have those qualities, however. Ask her team about her growth in assertiveness and confidence, even over the last two seasons, and you’ll get the same message: She was good when she got here, but great when she left.

Coach Moats said that shift in mindset greatly improved her on-court performance during her junior and senior years.

“That self-efficacy about herself; believing that she could do it, just seeing that she could take our team somewhere and that she was a big role in that was definitely a part of the self-confident role that came with that,” Moats said. “I don’t think it would have come if she would have never let herself believe that she could achieve these things.”

“Kelsey is a little more quiet, obviously she comes from a different kind of culture, and she’s used to not pitting in her say as much,” Brandes added. “Throughout the year she became better at talking out loud and telling people what she was feeling; she gained so much confidence.”

Having been raised in Japan, a place where she says the culture is to naturally be less vocal in most respects, Masuda started at IWU with a plan to stay in the shadows.

“I never thought that coming in I could step out of being timid,” Masuda said. “I’ve always been confident in things that I do, but as far as having a voice and stepping out of that fear, I never thought I would be able to do that. Volleyball has allowed me to step up as a leader and have a voice.”

Masuda’s extensive journey, both geographically and in her growth, has been a long time coming. She went to a missionary school outside Tokyo, where she said most graduates come to the United States. Early on, Masuda had her sights set on California, “Because, you know, California is California,” she said. But when several of her friends headed for the Golden State, the independent Masuda began looking elsewhere. With a set of grandparents residing in Indianapolis, she began looking at Christian colleges in the area, including Taylor University, Bethel College and IWU.

IWU quickly jumped out from all the rest, thanks in large part to a meaningful conversation Masuda had with coach Moats during their first meeting.

“Coach grabbed me, and she got my heart,” Masuda said. “Everything is so much deeper, especially on my team and with Coach, the relationships are much deeper, the conversations are more transparent. It was really good for me, it changed my outlook on relationships.”

One unique relationship Masuda will take away from her Wildcat experience is with Moats. The two have continued past the end of the volleyball season and even play together on a YMCA co-ed team each week.

“I consider her my friend,” Masuda said. “We just talk all the time about everything stuff that’s going on in our lives, deep things, fun things. It’s not the type of coach-player relationship where it ends after you graduate.”

But things haven’t always been that easy for Masuda. While her mother is American, growing up in Japan and switching cultures as a teenager wasn’t as seamless a transition as she expected.

“I thought I knew what it meant to live in America, but I didn’t; I had to adapt really fast,” Masuda said. “In Japan, you hide a lot. You hide a lot of hurt, you hide a lot of struggle, but here, especially on my team and the girls that I am with, it’s just an open book and it was just really intense for me.”

Even little things like sense of humor changed dramatically.

“Japanese humor is very blunt and very physical humor as opposed to sarcasm. I would say things thinking they were funny, and I would offend people,” Masuda said. “It wasn’t bad offensive, it was just like, ‘Oh, that’s not funny here.’”

Once she figured everything out, however, it was no laughing matter for her opponents on the court.

In her four years playing for the Wildcats, Masuda tallied 2,451 digs and helped lead the 2012 senior class to a 107-63 record, including 888 digs during IWU’s historic 2011 run. Her senior season efforts earned her nine MCC Libero of the Week awards, the MCC Libero of the Year title and a spot on the NAIA All-American Third Team.

While it may have taken a while for her to build up that swagger and success, according to Moats, the potential for greatness was obvious in her from her first practice with the team. Masuda was just a recruit going through drills with the team when it came time to run five consecutive suicides, a feared exercise the team had been building up to for weeks. Coach Moats told Masuda she didn’t have to go all-out on the drill, but, as all of IWU would find out over the next four years, Masuda doesn’t do anything halfway.

“I don’t know what a sprint is like, to go easy on a sprint,” Masuda said. “If you’re not sprinting, you’re jogging. You don’t jog suicides.”

With none of the buildup the rest of the players had, Masuda did the five suicides and promptly walked over to the nearest trash can and threw up.

She looks back on the memory with a laugh.

“You want to put it all on the floor, and I literally did,” she said.

Masuda has come a long way. She admits that she still has a long way to go as well. As she prepares to graduate from IWU with degrees in computer graphics and business administration, her short-term goals are to move to Michigan in June, where she will do freelance photography work and nanny part-time. Long term, Masuda hopes to return to Japan to do missions work, with hopes of integrating art.

Moats said no matter what Masuda does, she will be successful at it because of her work ethic and heart for people.

“Wherever she goes, whatever she does, I know this: She’s going to love people, I know she’s going to work super hard at being the best she can be, and I know she’s going to love the Lord,” Moats said.

Masuda also wants to continue playing volleyball in some capacity. Show her a clip of the Wildcats’ MCC Tournament Championship victory over Taylor and her fire for the game ignites. But at the same time, Masuda is looking toward her future and the opportunities it holds.

“I miss it, I miss it a lot,” Masuda said. “The passion is still there; the desire to play volleyball is still there, but it’s shifting. I love the game, I still love the girls, but it’s not ahold of my heart anymore.”

Masuda has forever etched her name in the annals of IWU volleyball history. If her career with the Wildcats is any indication of how the rest of her life will go, she’ll continue to show her swagger no matter where the ball bounces.

Posted in Front Page, Sports, Women's AthleticsComments (1)

Senior exhibits showcase creativity

At the end of each semester, an art show gives voice to student creativity, work and energy by allowing Indiana Wesleyan University students to demonstrate the culmination of their four years in the university’s art program.

Art students opened doors to the 1920 Gallery, a banquet room in the Barnes Student Center and the lobby of the Beard Arts Center Monday, March 26 to display their art for the spring 2012 senior art show.

“Senior Exhibit” is a class senior art majors must take that gives them an opportunity to use their specific area of study to create a body of work that is reflective of their studies and get a taste of what is to come after graduation.

According to graphic design major Kelsi Prieshoff (sr), the art professors step back in a formal manner and give the students freedom to come up with a concept and practical executions methods to put their art into motion.

Computer graphics major Luke Anspach (sr) created a website and 3D piece for “Branding 50 States” and described his show as somewhat contradictory.

“I wanted to show paradox of the United States as a single, uniform entity while being a melting pot in which culture is changing,” said Anspach, who gave each state two visual identities: a color and a vision.

“Branding is the epitome of communication for graphic design,” said Anspach. “Without communication, design has no purpose.”

All the shows exemplify the students’ mind, concepts and personality. No two are the same.

Painting and illustration major Suzanne Augello (sr) made a spring board manual designed to guide those wanting to access a higher level of creativity.

Anna Thiele (sr) illustrated a book, aiming “to create tangible environment that will surround and submerge the reader in the adventure that begins with the book in their hands,” according to her artist statement.

Zach Grantham (sr) designed an ESPN magazine filled with photographs and testimony stories from three athletes on campus.

Ian Galloway (sr), a photography major, created a multimedia show to question Plato’s allegory of the cave. Galloway used photography, videography and light media to incorporate his audience into his artwork.

“I used both digital representation of Plato’s cave and digital camera obscura through photographing people, then placing video of themselves over top through a projection,” said Galloway.

“I wanted to create personalized packaging for friends who created homemade goods, jewelry, baked goods that are looking to sell in local shops or online,” said Prieshoff, a graphic design major. Prieshoff’s new small business venture, “7 Ways to Sunday,” is displayed at her senior art show.

Students are taken through an intense semester of meetings, planning, creating and reworking to finally have a finished product of their specific area of study. Not all shows are accepted into the senior art show.

Because there are so many graduating seniors, there will be a second round of senior art shows that will be on display across IWU, starting 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 10.

Posted in News, On CampusComments (0)

Follow The Sojourn on Twitter