What College Means to Me by Sabrina Van Zuiden

What College Means to Me

Before this summer, the word college made my stomach churn. It was a word I associated with application deadlines, fees, and the fast approaching end to my youth. I mean, I knew everyone said they were going to be the best years of my life, but how could I really believe them? Why should I believe them?

But of course time doesn’t stop to give you an extra chance to gather your thoughts and feelings, so I went through the process of an overnight stay program, my student orientation, setting my schedule, etc. And the more I get ready for it, the more excited I get. I may not have experienced true college life yet, and I know that there will be difficulties as I make that transition this fall, but I’m starting to see it. I can see it taking shape in front of me- this abstract idea that I had once detested is now turning into a tangible concept and I can see why I should believe all of these people around me claiming the best of college.

To me, college once meant that I was about to jump off the cliff of my comfort zone into the churning, terrifying water of the unknown. Now college means that I’ll have a place to explore the interests that were just budding in high school. College means that I can enjoy education in a way that I never have before; I love my fall schedule so much I do a happy dance in my head every time I think about it. But perhaps the part I’m truly excited about is the opportunity to meet people that I can have stimulating conversation with. In a short conversation at my student orientation I went from talking to someone about the World Cup to debating the institution of sweatshops to discussing the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. I heard opinions in that one conversation that I never would have considered on my own.

Now, that is what I think of when someone mentions college. It is my opportunity to grow and learn and discover. I might still be making a leap off the cliff of my comfort zone, but the water below isn’t looking as bad as it used to.Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.07.12 PM

Sabrina served this summer as in intern with the PLNU Center for Justice & Reconciliation. She recently began her college experience as a freshman at U.C. Berkeley. We are proud to know Sabrina and can’t wait to see how she changes the world.

From Human Trafficking to Human Rights: Reframing Contemporary Slavery

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

Human trafficking and contemporary slavery are important issues that have gotten a whole lot of attention over the past decade. Largely as a result of activism in the United States, countries all over the world have been scrambling to bring their laws into line with US benchmarks. International aid agencies have added this issue to their portfolio. International donors are giving money to support these efforts. And, perhaps most the most exciting thing for a social movement scholar like myself, is to see the issue of contemporary slavery emerge as a full-blown social movement. It’s got all the moving parts—a clear and compelling message, major support, the public’s attention, and changing norms and policies all over the world. [Read more…]

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