Purun Yeo

Purun Yeo
Freshman
International Relations
North Africa

Spring Break 2k17 – the Boba Trip

This post is much overdue, as it has been three weeks since spring break has ended. However, this was a meaningful experience for me, and I would like to expound on this subject.

Up until a few weeks before spring break had started, I was wondering what I would be doing during the break. Many friends had already made plans to travel together, and so it seemed like I would be staying in the KE apartments.

I had really wanted to travel, especially outside of Michigan, during spring break. Needless to say, I was somewhat dismayed.

I was in that state, until I talked to my good friend Kurt, another blogger on Calvin Blogs, who participated in the same Rangeela act as me. He told me he was heading back home to Colorado, and asked if I would be interested in going to Colorado with him.

At first, I did not take him seriously, thinking it was just a polite question he was asking. However, soon, I realized that he truly meant it. We asked some other friends in the Rangeela group if they were interested, and soon enough we had a road trip confirmed.

At the beginning of the trip, I did not expect much. I just imagined a good, average road trip with some sightseeing. I experienced something much more than a simple road trip. I experienced authentic friendships, overflowing hospitality and memories to last a lifetime.

We spent a total of nine days traveling, two in Chicago and seven in the state of Colorado. Our trip began in Grand Rapids, where we gathered and made a brief stop at the Café Boba to get drinks.

In Chicago, we explored the city, roaming the windy streets of downtown Chicago. We visited the Millennium Park, among other landmarks, as well as Chinatown, and ate delicious food provided by our hosts. Every day, we went out to drink boba tea, as an established tradition of the trip. In addition, we stopped by Jollibee, a Filipino fast food restaurant, as an extension of Rangeela.

Our trip to Colorado was electrifying and exhausting at the same time. Two friends took turns on the wheel, trying to get rest while the other drove. From Chicago to Castle Rock, Colorado, our trip totaled 1,031 miles in approximately 16 hours overnight.

Our trip there was filled with unexpected turns and unforgettable experiences, from hiking the Castle Rock butte to driving up snow-covered Colorado mountains. Kurt’s family were amazing hosts, giving us great Filipino food every day. We ate adobo, pancet and other appetizing Filipino cuisine.

We stayed active in Colorado. We traveled to downtown Denver and took photos outside in front of the Capitol hill. There was a day we devoted to shopping, and I bought a pair of white Vans, a purchase which made me immensely happy. Kurt’s parents took us out for lunch at a Korean restaurant for an amazing meal. I took long walks during the night with friends. We visited IKEA in Denver. But most importantly, we made sure to get boba drinks every day.

All in all, the trip was packed with lots of emotion, thoughts, and activities. Behind and between these, I found to connect to these friends on a deeper level, and simply to enjoy the experience of an unfamiliar environment and people.

Without a Second Thought

It seems to me that often, especially as a college student, I live without much reflection. There is always an assignment to finish, a friend to meet or sleep that needs to be caught up. In such a busy lifestyle—one that is so common in the contemporary world—it is difficult to find the time to sit down and process all that is happening.

But perhaps that is simply an excuse. When I recognize something as a priority, I make it happen. For example, when I find a book I love, I will devour it. I will pull it out any spare time I have—and here is the important part—I will also sacrifice the time I would eat or sleep to read this book.

pexels-photo-351073.jpeg

Of course, there are differences in reading a book and reflecting on your own thoughts in terms of the environment in which each action is possible. However, the objective of this example is to show that self-reflection, like other pursuits, must be prioritized in order for it to be actually accomplished. And yes, sacrifices are necessary.

Find your own method of reflection. Writing is the way to go for me to untie the jumble of thoughts that lay gathering dust in the attic of my brain. Other ways work too, and testing out different methods and finding one that suits you the best is an essential process.

Life does not stop for it to play the catch-up game with you. Make it your own, take the reins and fully experience, absorb and enjoy everything it offers. I will take my own advice now to assess my current situation.

A Perspective of an International Student on Trump’s Travel Ban

Within the first two weeks of his inauguration, President Donald Trump issued an executive order which, among other things, banned the travel of nationals from seven different countries that were deemed unsafe. Currently, this executive order has been suspended by a federal judge in Washington. Trump has been adamant on his position, and has appealed this action by the judge, but the judge has refused to reinstate the ban.  

As a South Korean citizen, Trump’s travel ban has not affected me directly. The countries which were on the ban list are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. Trump has titled his executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” According to an article in the New York Times, there have been no terrorists from the nations listed on the ban since the 9/11 attacks, which happened in 2001.

The NYT article concludes: “the president’s order appears to address not a rational calculation of risks but the visceral fears that terrorists set out to inflame.” I whole-heartedly agree that a government should do what it must to protect its citizens. However, I personally believe the direction President Trump has taken is clearly not the right approach.

I am not afraid—giving into fear is always the worst choice possible. However, I am on guard, wary of recent developments.

“But, Purun, you’re not from one of the seven countries, why are you being so sensitive?” I have already heard this question after I said that I was cautious. Who would have guessed that America, the country of dreams, the country of immigrants, would one day have so much debate over refugees and immigrants?

Calvin College has taken steps to reassure its international students here. When I went and spoke with the immigration counselor here at Calvin, I was able to get detailed, accurate information of what was happening and how it would or would not affect me. In addition, in an email sent out by President Le Roy to the entirety of Calvin, he wrote that Calvin would stand by its international students.

Although I am a little concerned, I am grateful that I am at an institution that cares deeply about its students. I hope that as time progresses, the extreme polarity between liberals and conservatives no longer exist, and that people can see others as human beings first.

===========================================================================

NOTE: The statements above reflect my own personal opinion. One of the great things about Calvin is that students, faculty and staff hold many different political opinions and enjoy having respectful conversations on relevant issues.  

A Look into the First Semester

It seems like yesterday when I first stepped onto the campus of Calvin College—five months ago. My first semester at Calvin has gone by in the blink of an eye, and it has been a roller coaster ride filled with its own share of ups, downs, twists and loops.

During the first week, I felt uncertain about my decision to come to Calvin. Although the orientation of International Passport had been great initially, when classes started, I found myself in the midst of a vast sea of unfamiliar faces. Looking back, it was only natural to feel out of place and out of sync in such a new environment after leaving the comfort of home, family and a familiar environment.

As days passed and as professors dived into the material, I began to feel the difference between the academic level of high school and college. Attending class and paying attention was something that was expected, in addition to large amounts of reading and writing. Calvin has pushed me academically more than I have ever been in my life.

Academics is not the only aspect of life that has changed for me. Being in a new environment means new people, and I have met a slew of people. Many I have only had short conversations with, some I meet every once in stretch to catch up and a few I spend time with every day. Just to think—had I not come to Calvin, I would have probably never crossed paths with most of the people here. It amazes me how intertwined lives become, and how I am so involved in the lives of people I had not known merely a few months ago.

The first semester of college was not without its fair share of difficulties and challenges. Adjusting to a completely new surrounding and starting again from scratch has hit me hard in some ways. I did not imagine that I would miss the food back home when I left for Calvin. I have a newfound appreciation for my mother and her savory cuisine. There have been challenging relationships to say the least. I have met people so dissimilar to me that it has shocked me and, at times, caused misunderstanding or conflict. Finally, I have found myself inadequately prepared for life in particular areas, and have learned to improvise and become flexible.

There are plenty of small pieces of advice or life tips that I could give to the next incoming batch of students. However, there is not one big important hunk of wisdom that I can impart, except for this: to live, fully. This can mean different things to different people, and it is supposed to be that way. If there is anything I have learned so far in college, it is that people are different. So take it as you will, but make sure that you let yourself truly experience what it means to be a Calvin student, and not only that—to be yourself.

Advice for Next Year's Freshman from a Current Freshman

Academics. I’m not sure why or how, but some people have the wrong notion: that college is a place where academics is not important. While academics may not be the only focus in college (because there are so many opportunities here), coursework remains extremely important. Academics is a main focus at Calvin, and you would do yourself well to not slack off.  I think that possibly the easiest and most practical advice for academics is to attend class. Skip only when necessary. Attendance usually does not automatically get you higher grades (in some classes it is an easy grade), but there is a clear difference between those who attend all or most classes and those who come to class whenever they feel like it.

Getting help. You’re one college student, and you cannot do everything. Calvin has various options for help. Academically, you can ask for a tutor for all 100-level classes, and some 200-levels as well. In addition, the Rhetoric Center on the second floor of the library is an extremely helpful resource. Career-wise, the Career Center is completely free and offers a wide range of services, from helping you build your resume to various tests designed to figure out your career path. The Broene Counseling Center offers counseling, as well as group therapy session for those who need it. Finally, you may request academic coaches at the Office of Academic Services located in the Spolhoef Center.

Student discounts. Calvin students are eligible for a variety of discounts. You can get a discount card for the Rapid, which is the local bus system in Grand Rapids, at the Student Life Office. In addition, Calvin’s IT department website displays several vendors that give students discounts on hardware and software they offer. Finally, Calvin’s Student Senate has worked to put together a discount card that can be used at a variety of gyms, shoe stores, barber shops, and restaurants. Other than these discounts, you are eligible for general student discounts such as the Amazon Prime offer, as well as half off the normal price of services such as Spotify.

Balance. One thing you learn instantly in college is that you have to balance your life. There will always be some friends that want to hang out, there will always be an assignment due the next day and you will always be somewhat deprived of sleep. Which do you choose? All three are important, and devoting too much time to one area will leave you with not enough time for the other two. Time, like money, is a limited resource, and learning to budget it and using it wisely is an important life skill you’ll learn. 

 

The song for today is a remix of Gallant's "Weight in Gold"

Interview with Dianne Cayetano

The other day, I had the chance to sit down with Dianne and ask her some questions about her experience at Calvin. 

Q: Please give a brief introduction of yourself.

A: My name is Dianne Cayetano, and I’m from the beautiful country of the Philippines. When I was 7, I moved to Beijing, and that’s where I went to school until I came here. I have a mom and a brother and a father.

Q: How has your general experience at Calvin been so far?

A: General experience… Honestly, the first few days were probably the worst days of my life. Even though they say that orientation is the best time of your life, I thought it was the worst because I felt like a minority within the minority group. There was nobody who was from the Philippines. There were a lot of people from different countries, and that was something that they bonded over. But I thought it was kind of hard to find those people who I could identify with a bit more. I couldn’t really find that in the first few days. So that was really hard. Later on, God was really faithful in providing people my way, and as I got to know more people, professors and got to know the place a bit more, it was a lot better. I feel like I’m at a good place now, or a better place than I was before.

Q: What are some faith-themed opportunities here at Calvin?

A: At Calvin, they don’t require you to go to the chapels. But those are really good if you just need time with God in between your classes every day at 10 o’clock. On Sundays there is a worship service called LOFT, and that’s a must-go, because Pastor Mary is amazing. There are also Bible studies, and there are a lot of churches around Grand Rapids, so if you’re in a certain church, you can join its Bible studies as well. Usually there are Calvin people there, so you can join a small group with people you know.

Q: What is something you wish sophomores, juniors and seniors would have told you before coming to Calvin, that you didn’t know about or you felt unprepared?

A: I didn’t know that academics are much more serious in this college compared to other colleges. I wish I knew that, because coming to Calvin, I didn’t think that it was going to be this demanding, but actually it is.

Q: As an international student, what were some things that gave you culture shock?

A: This is not really culture shock, but before coming to Calvin, I had never head the phrase “No, you’re good.” Literally everyone says, “No, you’re good,” and it’s kind of funny. So when I told my roommate that, she tried really hard not to say it, but she couldn’t. Culture shock … Like not calling older people by their last name, like Mr. Something or Ms. Something because I feel like in America they are more comfortable if you call them—adults—by their first name. I had to adjust to that, because I’m not used to calling older people by their first name, and I want to be respectful but also I realize that in their culture it’s more respectful if you call them by their first name instead of saying Mr. or Ms.

Q: What is one thing you love about Calvin, and what is one thing you would change about Calvin?

A: One thing I love about Calvin is that the professors are all Christ-followers, because it really makes a difference when you know that your professor cares about you and the professor cares about how you’re doing. You just want to do better in that class because you don’t want to let your professor down. I remember the first day that my psychology professor called me by my name, and I thought that was so great. I love that the professors want to know about us and care about how we’re doing in class.

What I would really change in Calvin is that the food gets wasted a lot in the dining halls. I work at Commons and I see how much people waste their food, and coming from a country where we didn’t live in abundance of food and stuff like that—there was a lack of food where I came from—so it’s really hard to see this knowing that there are a lot of people in the world who are not eating. I get really sad about that.

Q: How has your dorm experience been so far?

A: I am really really thankful that the girls on my floor are really great. I go to my neighbor’s room a lot at 12 a.m. and just like talk to them and stuff like that. I also live next to a sophomore, and she invites me to a lot of things. She was really intentional about getting to know me and helping me with the transition. As an international student, sometimes you may feel like there’s a separation between you and the Americans here just because of the culture and what they’re used to and stuff. I never felt like the girls on my floor literally because I’m shorter than them, but also because of the color of my skin or the color of my hair. I think they celebrated the fact that we were different, and were excited to know about the culture that I was in.

Q: Which do you prefer, Knollcrest or Commons?

A: I work in Commons, so I’d have to say Commons, but I heard Knollcrest food was better. 

 

Today's song, enjoy :) 

Time Management 101

It’s 3 a.m. It’s 3 a.m. and you have a paper due tomorrow at 9 a.m. that you haven’t started andan exam that you feel half-prepared for. Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, this might be a common occurrence in your life.

Time management. The beautiful topic that college students so often talk about yet fail to master completely. People consider it to be an art instead of science, because it is so unfathomable. Perhaps because to many people, surviving is good enough for them. However, is surviving truly acceptable?

So, how can time be managed? There are 24 hours each day in the seven days of a week. This is a constant. The variables, believe it or not, are your actions. It goes without saying, then, that time management is essentially controlling and modifying your actions. The assumption here is that you understand the importance of time management, and you wish to improve your time management skills and take control of how you use time.

The classification and prioritization of your actions are two central points of time management. Classification of actions is necessary to determine what kind of tasks are at hand. According to president Eisenhower’s time management principle, there are two criteria for determining a task: importance and urgency. Many people equate importance with urgency, but a crucial step in making progress with time management is recognizing that urgency does not entail importance, and vice versa. Setting long-term goals for yourself is not urgent, but it is important for your growth in the future. Social phone calls are not as important, but are urgent due to the nature of phone calls. Again, to reiterate what I have already said, do not equate importance with urgency.

After classifying the tasks you are responsible for, then it is important to prioritize these tasks. Without prioritization, you will have an unordered list of a jumble of tasks you need to do. This will not only decrease your effectiveness, but will also increase stress levels unnecessarily. The human mind works well with structure and organization, therefore with a prioritized list of tasks to do, your overall efficiency will increase vastly. According to the Eisenhower principle, the order of prioritization should be as follows: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and, finally, neither urgent nor important. For example, reading the Bible every day is important. However, you might have a paper due the next day. Which do you do first? If you begin with the urgent, there is a high likelihood that you end up not doing the important. However, if you begin with the important, you will do the urgent right afterwards.

Time management is a constant struggle. However, it is important to strive to control time rather than it controlling you. 

 

 

Here is today's song:

Art Prize 2016

This past week, I had the chance to experience ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. Wind blowing in our faces, my roommate and I, along with two other friends, navigated downtown Grand Rapids. There was a light drizzle, but it did not hinder us from exploring the city.

We first visited the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA), which contained stunning artworks by different artists that were created through various media, expressing the artists’ purposes. Dinner was next on our schedule, and we each picked up a sandwich.

While we wandered around the city, we witnessed firsthand the city’s life through an assortment of street performances. Our general direction was headed towards the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), and a quarter of an hour later, we were there. The GRAM was much bigger spatially than the UICA, so it included more artwork. These artworks included not only paintings but videos, sculptures, carpets and more, each with the individual flair of its maker.

Once we were out of the museum, we bought hot French fries to munch on as we watched people swing dance at the Rosa Parks circle. Crossing the colorful blue bridge, we then made one last sweep of the streets, eyeing each artwork. The walk back to the car was a long journey, but it was worth it because of the sights seen.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of ArtPrize, and I was glad I had the opportunity to gawk at so much talent in one day. I will definitely continue to go to ArtPrize in the following years!

Before I forget, here is today’s song

 

And here are some pictures from ArtPrize:

My doppelganger.

My doppelganger.

Street performances are the best!

Street performances are the best!

Downtown Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids

Introduction!

Hello, world!

My name is Purun Yeo, and I am a Calvin student blogger for this year. I will be updating you with snapshots of my life here at Calvin. My parents are from South Korea, but I was born and raised in North Africa. I am thrilled at the various opportunities available at Calvin. I am already involved in various activities, so you will be seeing me around at various places. I am the first-year senator representing Rook-Van Dellen, and I am also the sports section editor for Chimes.

Now that you have some background information, I hope you will enjoy my future posts more. I will have a song for each week, so make sure to listen to those as well.

This week’s song is “What Light Never Dims” by Aiden Knight.

Below are some pictures! 

A picture with my International Passport OA, Mercy!

A picture with my International Passport OA, Mercy!

A day out with friends!

A day out with friends!