It’s the Final Countdown!

Ladies and gentlemen, in less than three weeks time I will be a college graduate! To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty terrified about this fact. I’m nervous about a lot of things: getting all of my school work turned in on time, making good grades on my assignments so that I can graduate cum laude, and mostly I’m worried about how sad I’m going to be when I graduate and say goodbye to my friends. In regard to making sure I turn in all of my assignments on time, I have made myself a checklist with all of the assignments I have left to do. I am taking 4 classes this semester and, apart from my finals, all I have left to do is two article reviews (one for Intermediate Accounting Two, and one for Cost Management Two), and a fairly hefty project for Accounting Information Systems. That really does not seem like a lot, but for some reason I am dragging my feet on completing them. I keep telling myself that I need to do them as soon as I can so that I can spend the rest of the time studying for my finals (which are next week), but I think once I finish these assignments it is going to be more real that my undergraduate career is over. That scares me. I have already found the articles that I’m going to review through the LMU Databases and Business Source Complete, my favorite resource through all of my research projects, and while the articles are really interesting, I know that once the reviews are written then it’s the finals time, and then I’m done. I am ready to graduate, but it sped up at me faster than I imagined. Continue reading

Lessons Learned

I often express how LMU has shaped me into the person that I am today, a fact that I am very thankful for. Through this college journey I have learned many lessons that I know I will use far beyond my educational experience and through my adult life.

The Art of Just Being There

The trip to my first fair, I'm glad I went!

The trip to my first fair, I’m glad I went!

Every once in a while you are not necessarily sick, but you just do not want to go to class. I have been there often! Trust me when I say, though, go to that class. Just showing up and being there will help you in the long run. In the School of Business, we have a strict attendance policy, and attendance and participation is a part of our grade in our classes. Take attendance policies seriously and only miss class when you absolutely have to. I know that when I miss classes, I miss valuable information that I cannot just teach myself. In that situation, I make an appointment with my teacher, a classmate, or a tutor to go over the material; by missing that class I might have missed something specific the teacher said that’s pertinent to the next test. Remember that in the real world, you cannot just skip work!

The same idea can be applied in social settings: do not leave yourself out of things. If your friends are going to the movies, the park, or just sitting around playing a board game, join them! This kind of bonding helps make new friendships strong and old friendships stronger. Many times I have gone to see a movie with my friends that I did not want to see because I truly just wanted to spend time with them. My freshman year I decided to just go along to see Resident Evil with some Kappas (whom I had just met the day before) and what I remember is not how scary the movie was, but how much fun I had with these girls and how they were going to be my new friends! Continue reading

Spring Break

With spring break close upon us, I am reminded of how this is the last one I will have, and I am also reminded of my two favorite trips. My first year at LMU I spent my spring break at home with my family, and for the last weekend of it I traveled with my Youth Group to the Abbey Youth Festival in Louisiana. It was during this trip that I was considering converting to Catholicism and made a point to keep my mind open to all the information I was about to receive. We left from our Church in Memphis in the early afternoon, it was a Friday and we had to wait on some of the group to get out of school. The trip to the hotel was long and exhausting; I have long legs and sitting in a cramped space for a long period of time causes me some pain. Once we finally got to the hotel it was almost midnight, and our Youth Leaders were handing us room keys and assignments and telling us to go directly to sleep. The Youth Leaders also put tape on all of the doors to make sure that no one left in the middle of the night or did anything they were not supposed to.

Dancing to music at Abbey Fest

Dancing to music at Abbey Fest

I was the oldest of the group going and I had been trained with the Church to be able to work with the Youth Group; so I had been granted an Assistant Youth Leader title, but in all honesty I was friends with everyone from high school and did not have much authority. As soon as my group got into the room I went to take a shower while everyone else got settled in. As soon as I turned the water off I heard screaming coming from the room. I put my clothes on as fast as I could and ran out of the bathroom to see my roommates standing as far away from the beds as they could get. “What’s wrong?” I asked as I stepped towards the bed, but once I looked at the upturned sheets I knew what they were yelling about. Our beds had different kinds of bugs on them. I called the Youth Leaders and they quickly talked to the front desk and had us moved into another room, where we inspected our new beds extra carefully before finally going to sleep.

The next morning I got up and woke up my roommates. We all got back onto the bus and drove to the Abbey where it was being held. As soon as we walked into the open fields with all of the vendors set up, the giant stage with music playing, and seeing all of the other youth groups spread out on tarps on the lawn I was awestruck. We listened to Catholic comedians, musicians, public speakers, and we attended a church service. As I wrote about before, it was here that I realized that this was my faith and where I belonged. The trip back I was all abuzz with everything that had happened and I truly do hope to be able to go back again.

Us at the Missouri state line

Us at the Missouri state line

The spring break that I had last year, I will always remember as one of the best trips I ever took with my friends. My sophomore year a whole group of my friends went to a beach and told me that they did not have enough room for me. I was hurt by this, and spent the break with my family doing other fun things but it just wasn’t the same. Around the beginning of my spring semester of junior year, my friends started planning out their spring break plans. These, again, did not include me. I told my parents that I just wanted a really fun spring break, to which my parents told me that for spring break I was allowed to bring three friends home, and that my parents were going to buy us all season passes to Six Flags St. Louis. I immediately asked Heather, and then Ashley, and then our Kappa sister Hallie.

The trip started by Ashley and me leaving LMU to pick up Hallie in Knoxville (Heather had left early for home because she did not have classes). We then went to Heather’s house in Nashville where we spent the night. The next morning we left for Memphis! We spent two days in Memphis: one day was devoted to shopping and the other we went sight-seeing. We spent the day at the Memphis Zoo, where the animals were all out to see! After the zoo we went to Beale Street and ate at Hard Rock Café, where they let us go on the stage. Our car trip to St. Louis, Missouri, for Six Flags and sight-seeing was cramped with every seat filled by the four of us, plus my sister Kristianne. Luckily, our van has a DVD player and we spent the trip watching Forrest Gump and the Game of Thrones series.

Us on Beale Street

Us on Beale Street

Our first day in St. Louis, we went to the City Museum, which is basically a giant playground. I asked my parents to take us there because it looked so interesting online, and they were onboard. We soon realized that it was a huge attraction, filled to the brim with people, and that the playground contraptions for the most part were rusted and made us nervous. Overall it was an interesting experience, but we were much more eager to go to The Arch. We had to wait an hour or so before we could go up inside it, but the wait was so worth it! It was so amazing to be up so high and be able to see the whole city! Sight-seeing in St. Louis was awesome, but going to Six Flags the next day did not compare to the excitement that erupted from me! We went on all the rides we possibly could and spent the day thoroughly exhausting ourselves. The next day when we left to go back to Memphis, I was completely content with what was without a doubt the best spring break ever! When the trip was all over, it was Easter Sunday and I spent it with Ashley’s family, and it was truly the best end to one of the best weeks of my life.

This year for spring break, I am bringing home most of my stuff that I won’t need for the rest of semester to make my move out a little easier. I’m going to spend a couple days with my best friend Heather and her family in Nashville. While in Memphis I know that I will be filling out and sending off graduation invitations, but I’m going to spend time with my parents and sisters.

What was your best spring break trip? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it!

Love always,

Miss Kim

Beam me up, Scotty, I want to explore!

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Michael Dorn as Worf

I have a guilty pleasure that, while my friends often joke with me about it, I embrace. I love Star Trek; I love everything about it! The only way I can really describe my love of Star Trek, is that I was born into it. My parents have every season of every series, plus all of the movies, as well as Star Trek versions of Settlers of Catan and also Monopoly. My parents have been to conventions, and my mom has met Michael Dorn, who played the character Worf. I grew up watching the shows and movies and I formed my own opinions about it, and I can agree that I share the love parents have for it.

Some may think this is dorky, but the values in this series are admirable. For those who don’t know, the basic premise of Star Trek is a future in which there are no more wars. People have advanced and matured far beyond our current existence in both technology and diplomacy. The Star Trek Federation is not a military, it is more like a training school for scientists, pilots, and explorers. The show’s plot shows the voyages of explorers who want to find new planets and peoples, and they help all peoples wherever they can. The point of the show is to share peace and knowledge with all peoples. For a television show whose inception was in the 1960s, this is a pretty poignant theme.

My love of Star Trek stems from me sharing the same values; I believe in equality for all people, and hope for a future with no wars, but an aim to help all people and explore all aspects of this magnificent life we’ve been given. As a child of the military (my father was a Commander in the US Navy for almost my entire life), war and terrorism are a constant reminder that safety is always the most pressing concern. I often dreamed of living in the Star Trek world, where I did not have to worry about being safe. I would live on a peaceful Earth where education advanced exponentially, and where everything was so unbelievable on Earth that we fueled our resources into exploring the galaxy to help others who needed it, as well as expand our knowledge. The people of Star Trek never stopped learning, and that is what I want.

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Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock

LMU is my home, and I am a part of groups here that let me express my beliefs without judgment. I am not always around those groups, though, and I can admit that sometimes I feel like an alien among the masses because I think differently from most people. I have been a part of intellectual discussions that became hostile and this disappoints me greatly because I believe that LMU is an open vessel; people can come together and bring what makes them so unique to the masses and shape LMU’s future. I know that not everyone is receptive to my beliefs and experiences, but that will not dampen any plans I have for my future! Nothing that people can say will make me not want to live in a future where all people have an equal opportunity to strive, as well as having the luxury of safety.

When I came to LMU, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse because I wanted to help people. I learned very quickly that I do not have to be a nurse to help people, and I shifted my focus to accounting and business, where I excel and enjoy the material. I know that I want to pursue a Masters of Business Administration because I am not done learning, and that getting a graduate degree will help me be more knowledgeable in my field that will, in turn, allow me to be more helpful to others. I’m choosing to work toward a profession that will allow me a steady future. I have always wanted to be independent, but I also want to explore. International accounting has recently intrigued me; I have been looking into International Financial Reporting Standards and comparing them to US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to see the differences and if I could grasp them to work overseas in accounting. I know, when you think of an explorer you do not generally think of an accountant. Well, let me change that for you. I, Kimberly Chaffin, want to be a successful accountant, and I also want to see the world. You better believe that I am going to do both!

What are your future plans? Do you believe in the Star Trek beliefs like I do? Remember to like this post and follow my blog, and please leave me a comment!

Love always,

Miss Kim

Finding and Defining My Beliefs

Recently I have been stressing out about my future pretty hard. I’ve been trying to plan out some adult decisions now, so that I won’t be worrying so much later. For example, my plan right now for my future is to get into the LMU Master of Business Administration program. While thinking about these things, I’ve been thinking back to the first true adult decision I ever made: deciding to convert to Catholicism. I was eighteen and had spent almost my entire life figuring out what I believed in before I decided that I wanted to be Catholic.

Getting confirmed in the Catholic church

Getting confirmed in the Catholic church

My family had taught me Christian beliefs and took me to many different Christian churches, but they left it up to me to decide what I truly believed. The first church I can ever remember is a Methodist church in Jacksonville, Florida that we went to when I was about four. I don’t remember much about it, except that we used to play a lot of games. The next church I remember was a Church of Christ Church in Chorleywood, England. It was at this church, when I was about ten years old, that I knew I believed in Christianity, but I did not really know what I exactly believed. The elementary school I went to in England had a Religious Education class, and I got a survey of many different religious groups. My parents always encouraged me to attend church, and as we moved I attended many different churches and learned more about what I did and did not believe in. I made a point to get to know people of different faiths, and learn about their beliefs. I’m generally just open minded to the differences of religious groups.

It was in Memphis that I went to my first Catholic church, Church of the Nativity, and while it did not feel right automatically, I felt included. I went to church and youth group every week and most everything I learned made sense to me, and the whole time I felt that I belonged there. I was not the only non-Catholic participating in youth group which made me feel more comfortable, and I made friends quickly with the others there. My senior year of high school, the Youth Director asked me to be the co-Vice President of the youth group with another girl, and I gladly accepted. The more time I spent in church and youth group, the more the religion made sense to me.

During my first year at LMU I decided to attend some churches close to school, and while the people who ran them were very nice and welcoming, it did not seem like the right place for me to be. People asked me what church I attended back home, and I happily told them all about Church of the Nativity, and once they realized it was Catholic, I felt like people were treating me differently. People avoided conversation with me, and would not even sit at the same table with me. This reaction was so bizarre to me; no one had ever been negative to me about figuring out my faith before and that whole interaction was so off-putting. I also had some friends at school who thought Catholicism could not possibly be right for me because of my liberal and scientific views. Like the people I had met who shared their religious beliefs with me, I listened intently to these people who opposed my interest in Catholicism and thought for days about how I could define what I exactly I believed.

During Spring Break of my freshman year, I went to Abbey Youth Festival in Louisiana with the Catholic youth group back home, and while there I talked to a counselor about wanting to convert to Catholicism, but that I was skeptical because I have very liberal views. The counselor I talked to told me that being Catholic does not mean that everyone has to be the same, that God made us all different on purpose. There are going to be liberal and conservative Catholics, and that we should not all be defined in such a cookie-cutter way. With this in mind, I came home and told my parents that I intended to convert to Catholicism, and they completely supported me. That summer I was confirmed into the Catholic church, and I know that this will always be the first most important adult decision I will have ever made. I know that it was the right decision for me.

My first Ash Wednesday!

My first Ash Wednesday!

Unfortunately, it has not always been easy to be identified as Catholic in an area with a low number of members. My first Ash Wednesday, I proudly wore the ashes on my forehead, and spent the day getting looks that ranged from bewildered to disgusted. One girl even came up to me and said “do you know you have a hot mess on your face?” While I’ve been at LMU several religious groups have formed, but I personally have not felt the pull towards them. That being said, I know that LMU Mallory is apart of BCM and has written about it, and these groups accept everyone! I have had friends who encouraged me to start my own Catholic college-aged group, but not only do I not have the time, I do not have the knowledge base to do this. While I have met some of the creators of these groups and know them to be kind and welcoming, one of the fears that I have from my freshman year has been that people will not accept me even though they do not try to get to know me. All of this stems back to me being really thankful to my parents for letting me explore religions until I discovered what I believed for myself. 

Have you had your own religious discovery that you’d like to share? What has been the most challenging part of maintaining faith in college? Remember to subscribe to my blog and if you have any questions or want to answer mine please leave me a comment!

Love always,

Miss Kim

Music in My Soul Makes Me Feel Whole

Over the years I have developed an eclectic taste in music, which largely revolves around the music my mom had me listen to when I was younger, and anything by Amanda Palmer. Anytime we would drive anywhere, my mom always had this mix tape in the car that played all of her favorite songs.

My mom and me

My mom and me

We always went on long car trips –I feel like we went sightseeing every weekend– and my sisters and I were encouraged to sing along with the music to help the trip go by faster. I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Chris de Burgh, The Police, and many other artists from my mother’s childhood.

These songs she would play for us have been permanently implanted into my brain, and every time I hear them I am transported back to the car rides we used to take when we lived in England. Her music comforted me. Even when I get homesick at school, I play Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, and I think of my mom and the homesickness subsides. I recently got an adapter cord to connect my iPod to the radio, and I’ve made sure to add my mom’s music as a playlist. When I make the long car rides from Memphis to LMU, it feels like my mom is right there with me.

When I was in middle school, I learned to play the saxophone in band class, and this new appreciation for orchestra music affected my musical choices. I happened to stumble onto a band called The Dresden Dolls back when YouTube was relatively new, and I’ve been hooked to the vocal styling of Amanda Palmer ever since. The Dresden Dolls genre is ‘punk cabaret’, with Amanda Palmer on piano and vocals, and Brian Viglione on drums. The music is so full and beautiful to me; it’s filled with so much emotion, it blows my mind that there are only two members, and the majority of their songs feature just the piano and drums.

The Dresden Dolls

The Dresden Dolls

Amanda Palmer, since then, has gone on to solo work and other projects, and now has a new band called Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. Her music is so passionate, and the instrumentals are so genuine that sometimes it makes me sad and lonely, but other times it makes me sing with such gusto it’s borderline screaming! No matter how I’m feeling, when Want it Back by Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra comes on, I stop what I’m doing and belt it out!

My music isn’t mainstream; you won’t hear it on the radio. I often find my friends have a hard time adjusting to my style of music because they’ve never been exposed to it. Every time I try to share my music with my friends, they automatically recoil because it’s new. To be honest, I have the same problem they do. I do not easily accept new artists, especially if they sound too similar to someone else. I hate to use the word snob, but sometimes I judge music that way. This does not mean I do not like mainstream music; I love Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus more than I’d like to admit, and Roar by Katy Perry became my volleyball anthem last semester! For some reason, my brain appreciates music that sounds completely new and different from everything else I’ve heard. I’m attracted to artists I cannot mistake for someone else. For example, when I hear David Bowie, I instantly recognize his musical styling. This feeling translates into my own life; I do not want to be exactly like someone else. My identity is solely my own and I love the things that shape me into me! My favorite song is Every You, Every Me by Placebo, and I can honestly say I’ve never heard anything like it.

Music is so much more to me than a catchy beat; it’s the emotion and stories of talented artists. Music is my transportation to memories that cannot be accessed any other way. My music is the sound of my soul, and I’d love to share it with you. What kind of music do you relate to? Who is your favorite artist? Please subscribe to my blog, and leave me a comment!

Love always,

Miss Kim

The (Literally) Long Road to Success

At Her Majesty's Theater in London

At Her Majesty’s Theater in London

All of my life I have judged distance by hours, and not necessarily by a measurement in miles. So for me to tell you that I live 8 hours from LMU might seem incredibly clear to me, but to those who do not think the way I do it may not be. I live 356 miles away. Memphis, Tenn., was the last place my father was stationed in the US Navy, and it is also where my older sister Kristianne and I graduated from high school. Before Memphis, I lived in London, England, and my life was incredibly different. The culture shock of living in Memphis hit me harder than I could probably explain. Living in England in a military lifestyle taught me that everyone was different, and that was okay! In Memphis, I was different, and that made me feel detached from most of my peers. Once a friend asked me if I had seen the Coliseum, meaning the football arena, to which I told him yes the one in Italy, which left both of us confused but laughing.

I always knew that I would go to college, but once I entered high school in Memphis I realized that I wanted a college experience where I felt like I did in England. I knew that I should not go to school in Memphis because the bad feelings lingered. Luckily for me, I found LMU, and on my first visit here I realized that this was where I needed to get my education. The mountains and hills that surround the campus reminded me of England, and the cold air felt familiar. I felt that going to LMU would be the best decision I had made up until then, and I could not see any negatives. The only thing that I did not count on, and it hit me pretty hard, was being homesick and not being able to do anything about it. Homesickness tends to hit me the hardest when my friends’ parents come up to school to visit them; it is not easy for my parents to make the trip out here.

The majority of friends I have at LMU live two hours away or less, and they have the luxury of going home pretty much whenever they please. I’ve also noticed that these are the friends who go home practically every weekend, and if they do not go home, they start changing attitudes and become sad and lonely. To be honest, I generally have no sympathies for people who live closer that get homesick; they can easily alleviate that feeling, whereas I cannot. I go home four times a year: thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break, and then for summer. During the school year when I see my family, I like to treat it like a special occasion, because for me that is exactly what it is. My family has visited me at school only twice in my 4 years here: once when I was in the LMU theater production of Rapunzel, Rapunzel Let Down Your Heir, and again when the volleyball team celebrated senior night. When I get homesick, I can always call home or Skype, but it is not the same as hug from my mom or dad. LMU is not just my school, it is my home away from home; it is where I spend the majority of my year. It’s a scary thought for me that in May I will be saying goodbye. But alas, I have over three months left, and there are still so many exciting things to do here, especially on the weekends when everyone goes home.

This is my game of choice on the weekends!

This is my game of choice on the weekends!

To the students whom go home every weekend, I would like to proposition that you stay on campus one weekend and do some of the things I do. For instance, I really enjoy playing games, whether it be board, card, or otherwise. One of my favorite games from my childhood is four-square. On the weekends (when the parking lots are practically empty), my friends and I go get chalk and a rubber ball and play four-square. Another thing we do is build forts in our rooms and watch movies in our forts. These examples sound childish, but re-enacting a time where things were less stressful and serious makes things more fun and the distance seem a little smaller.

I know that many students who go home every weekend think that there is little to do here on the weekends, but I just don’t agree with them. Also, to those whom go home every weekend because the homesickness is too much for you, I want you to know this: while I might not be sensitive to your feelings, it is only because I am jealous.  I do not have the same ability as you to go home whenever I can.

Choosing LMU was the right decision, but it was a tough one make; it meant being so far away from my family. However, I have never doubted my decision to be a Railsplitter, and I never will!

Leave me a comment about where you live, and what it is like to travel to school. Or leave me a comment if you want to hang out with me over the weekends (my answer is yes!)

Love always,

Miss Kim

My amazing mother and me!

My amazing mother and me!