Kwanzaa Celebration

The other day on Tuesday, December 8th I went to a Kwanzaa celebration hosted by Ball State in the cardinal hall at the student center. The event was presented by Ball States Multicultural Center and Friends of Conley. This event was a way for the Multicultural center to explain and show people how and what Kwanzaa is. So first I am going to start by sharing what Kwanzaa is and how it was created.


According to Kwanzaa is “an African American and Pan-American holiday which celebrates family, community and culture.”

Origins of Kwanzaa:

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th through January 1st every year. it was first celebrated in 1966 and was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach (History).

Kwanzaa origins are from the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it gets its name from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili.

At this event we talked about the symbolic lighting of the Kinara which consists of seven candles. The seven candles coincide with the seven guiding principles.

The Seven Guiding Principles:

  1. UMOJA (oo-MO-jah) or Unity
  2. Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-lee-yah) or Self-Determination
  3. UJIMA (oo-GEE-mah) or Collective Work and Responsibility
  4. UJAMMA (00-JAH-mah) or Cooperative Economics
  5. NIA ( NEE-yah) or Purpose
  6. KUUMBA (koo-OOM-bah) or Creativity
  7. IMANI (ee-MAH-nee) or Faith
They also presented on the Seven Symbols which are:
1. MKEKA (M-KAY-CUH) or Mat
2. MAZAO (MAH-ZOW) or Crops
3. KINARA (KEE-NAR-RAH) or Candle holder
4. MISHUMAA ( ME-SHOO-MAH) or Seven Candles
7. ZAWADI ( SAH-WAH-DEE) or Gifts
The event was very simple and relaxed. They had a small band of drums playing some music before and after the ceremony. The students that helped present on Kwanzaa had someone present a poem that they had written as well as the Antioch Baptist Church Youth Ministry. The kids danced to a song during the celebration. It seemed to be a very emotional moment during the ceremony. The environment was very friendly and open, some people even yelled out “amen” or “hallelujah” and everyone would say hello to the speakers when they went up to talk.
At the end of the event they had a pastor come up and give a little prayer before dismissing everyone to get food. As they let people go to get food the band started to play again and they wanted you to be social. They had some papers at the table with some word scrambles, and some easy questions about Kwanza and how it was created/ what it is about. As well as some questions about how the ceremony was for everyone and what they thought about it. I feel like that was a very nice touch on top of the ceremony. But as we can back to our seats they invited us to get to know the people around us and maybe discuss what we had learned today and talk about what we thought about it.
Overall the event was very informative and is a good way for people to learn about a new religion that they may not know much about. Or learn more about their own religion. I would definitely recommend an event like this to other people.
Works Cited
“Kwanzaa.” A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.
“The Official Kwanzaa Web Site – Kwanzaa African American Celebration of Family, Community and Culture by Maulana Karenga.” The Official Kwanzaa Web Site – Kwanzaa African American Celebration of Family, Community and Culture by Maulana Karenga. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

How to succeed in College and how to better study

For many people the hardest part about being in college is getting good grades. For some it is easy but for others or the procrastinators it can be a little bit of a challenge to get good grades. Now not everyone may think that they are a procrastinator when it comes to school, but I am almost certain that every one has procrastinated at some point in their lives. Procrastination is not the only reason that some people do bad in school but it is one of the main reasons. In order for people to do better in school they must set-up some type of program for yourself to get better study habits. There are many ways for you to gain better studying habits and today I am going to show you a few ways that you can develop better studying habits.

  1. Procrastination is bad
As I said before the main reason that people do bad on tests and homework is because they procrastinate. When you procrastinate you tend to have much more stress than people that study or do their homework before the day before it is due or you have to take the test. When you procrastinate that leads to cramming for a test which is not a good way to study. According to a study ” () somewhere between 25 percent and 50 percent, depending on the study” cram for tests. Now obviously this percentage is not a hundred percent correct all the time. But as an average this seems rather accurate for the amount of people who end up cramming for a test. In order for people to not cram so much for test they need to learn not to procrastinate when it comes to school.
2. Choose a location and time to study
One of the hardest things for people to do when trying to study is having a location that they can go to without getting distracted. If you choose a place that is to crowded or a place were all of your friends are you may never get any work done. When it comes to studying people can be very distracting which makes it extremely hard to focus on the task at hand. Once you have a location picked out you need to set a specific time either every day or every couple of days to study. If you do this you will be able to stay on a schedule that will keep you on track to be ready for every test that you have to take.
3. Prioritize your time/ organization
Once you set up a location and a time you will need to prioritize what you work on and what you need to work on every time that you go to your study place so that you don’t waste any of your time. Their are many different ways for people to stay organized but here are a few examples how from an article called “How to Stay Organized in College” by Susan Revermann, Demand Media:
  •   Student Planner
  • Schedule
  • Whiteboard
Their are many other examples but these three are great resources for keeping yourself organized. A student planner and schedule will keep you from forgetting what you need to have done and by when. A whiteboard will work as a reminder of what is due while you are walking around your house.
Works Cited:
How to Stay Organized in College | The Classroom | Synonym (How to Stay Organized in College | The Classroom | Synonym)

Why Students Cram for Exams – Faculty Focus (Faculty Focus)

How to Avoid Homesickness

For many people when they think of college they also think of the possibility of homesickness. Now nobody wants to experience homesickness, because it has a way of ruining your day or time at college. Yet “about 35 percent of first-year college students estimated to experience some form of homesickness.”(college bound) With that statistic you would think that someone would have come up with a better way for college students to deal with homesickness. But unfortunately nobody has and it is becoming a bigger problem in freshmen when they go off to college. So in this post I will try to show you what some of the side effects are when it comes to homesickness, how you can deal with it or combat it, and to show you that it gets better after time.

  1. What are the side effects of homesickness.
As I suffered from homesickness my freshmen year I am sure that many other people did and that many freshmen will. But if you don’t know if you have homesickness or want to know how to tell if you do here are some of the side effects.
  • Constantly thinking about home
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased motivation
  • Feeling different from others who seem to be having a good time
  • Irritability
  • Loneliness
  • Missing the people, things, and places associated with home
  • A negative outlook
  • Sadness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Wishing for a connection with someone who will make everything feel better

(Everyday Health)

Many of the symptoms may seem closely related to depression but are different.

2. Reasons for homesickness

Like I said earlier many people if not everyone suffer from homesickness at some point in their college careers. But this most commonly happens during peoples freshmen years. Many of the people who suffer from homesickness suffer for many reasons.

  • A new location

For many people when you come to a new place it can be exciting at first but after a few weeks it can lose the excitement factor. When you move to a new location you may have many new things to try but after a while if you aren’t making friends or going out and doing things after classes you may find yourself feeling homesick.

  • Missing family and friends

For many people when it comes to a new location you are no longer close to your family or friends. This can be hard because if you are like me you grew up and went to school with your friends for twelve years. So it can be hard at first not seeing them all the time like you did in high school. The same thing happens when it comes to your family because you grew up with them and lived with them all of your life so not seeing them can be hard.

  • Not fitting in or being able to make new friends

When you first come to college it can be hard to start fresh in a new place. Coming from a place were you knew everyone to a place that you know no one can be a difficult transition.  For some people it is difficult to find those people that you like and that you want to hang out with.

3. How to deal with homesickness

If you have homesickness it can seem hard to get over it. But there are many ways for people to deal with homesickness.

  • going out and being social

Sometimes that may seem like the hardest thing to do but all you have to do is go out and be yourself. Making new friends is the best way to deal with homesickness because you won’t feel so lost when you have people to spend time with.

  • Keep yourself busy

If you keep yourself busy you wont feel homesick. Keep busy by joining campus groups or clubs. Or even try to go to things with your roommate. If you stay busy you wont have the time to notice that you are homesick.

These are just a few ways for you to try and deal with homesickness, but there are many more options that I did not mention.

4. With time it will get easier

As you get yourself out in the world and start to make friends you will have less feelings of homesickness. With time you may start to feel that school feels more like home to you then were you grew up because home is were you are happy. If you are making memories with friends at school then you will be happy and your “home” may change.

Work Cited

Yoffee, Lynn. “9 Ways to Help Homesickness.” Everyday Health. Everyday Health, 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.

“Collegebound Network.” College Homesickness, Homesick in College. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. <;.

Maintaining your health in College

When people come to college one of the main concerns is not gaining the freshman fifteen. The only problem is that leading up to your freshman year all you hear about is the freshman 15. It is a very popular topic among freshman when you get to college, and Ball States food options aren’t really the best for staying in shape. You hear all these horror stories about people who were once small all the sudden gained 20, 30 or even 50 pounds. I don’t know about any of you but hearing all of these stories really pushed me to try and stay in shape. Now I am not a personal trainer or in amazing shape by any means, but I am going to tell you guys about what got me through my time living on campus without gaining the freshman fifteen. Then I will tell you how it gets easier once you move off campus, and how to try and stay motivated when it comes to working out.

  1. Living on campus
I can personally say that when you live in the dorms it is easy to get a little lazy because you have food for you to eat at anyplace on campus, and it is simple to stay in your dorm all day after classes to hang out with your hall mates. Now I am not going to pretend that all of you are angels and won’t drink alcohol in the dorms or go to parties on the weekend, because I know I did and I have some great memories because of that. But if you don’t want to gain alcohol weight then you need to limit the amount of alcohol that you drink as well as what you eat. Ball State doesn’t really have the best selection of foods for you to eat. They may have a lot of food choices but many of them are not healthy for you. The best way for you to stay healthy is to choose your foods carefully. Maybe instead of getting a cheeseburger and fries at the atrium you could get a salad at Woodworth. With the choices that Ball State offers it can be really hard to choose the right foods, it may be much easier to just choose the cheeseburger. But if you really want to stay in shape sometimes you have to take the harder choices.
     2. Motivation
“Life does happen. Have a heart to heart with yourself. Get in touch with what you want your body to look and feel like.(“How To Get (and Stay) Motivated”) For many people motivation is easy when it comes to eating healthy and working out. The hardest part of getting in shape or motivated is getting started. For many people once they get started they can just keep going and get into better shape. But for others they can do the first day and sometimes even the first week or two but after that they lack the motivation to keep going. I have found that the easiest way to stay on your path is to get a workout partner. A workout partner is the easiest way to stay motivated, because they will keep you going to the gym and hopefully it will work both ways. So that both of you will get into better shape.
     3. Working out
After you get passed the first step of starting to work out you need to figure out a workout schedule. “the majority of the population should weight train 3-4 times per week, and never more than 2 consecutive days in a row.”(“A Workout Routine”)Once you have that in mind all you need to do is figure out what exercises you want to do and on which days.
Taken by: Dr. Abdullah Naser
Taken by: Dr. Abdullah Naser

Work Cited

“A Workout Routine.” A Workout Routine, 4 Sept. 2010. Web. 16 Oct. 2015
“How To Get (and Stay) Motivated.”, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.

The Importance of music

I know a lot of people may not think that music is an important part of peoples lives, but from my experience they are wrong. For many people it may not seem like music offers much, but in reality it does. Music is more than just a silence filler or something that just takes up time so that you have something to listen too. For many people it is the only form of relief from the stress of the day or a way for them to get past something that has happened in your life.

  1. Music is a form of stress relief.
            – Just think of the last time that you were really stressed from work, or you had a bad day at school. Maybe you had a really bad argument with you significant other. How do you get rid of the stress that was caused from any of these examples? Some may use exercise or food, some people even turn to drugs or alcohol. But one of the best ways to get rid of stress is with music. Music can calm a person down, even make them feel like you aren’t so pressed for time.
2. Music goes along with your emotions
           – From an article I found on PsychCentral written by  called “How Music Impacts, Helps Our Emotions” he states that “Music unquestionably affects our emotions. We tend to listen to music that reflects our mood. When we’re happy we may listen to upbeat music; when we’re sad we may listen to slower, moving songs; when we’re angry we may listen to darker music with heavy guitar, drums, and vocals that reflect our level of anger.” From this and from your own personal experiences you can probably agree that when you listen to music it probably fits with your mood. When you go through a breakup you may listen to sad love songs, If you are about to work out you may listen to songs that pump you up. Even if you are about to drink you may listen to songs that make you want to party and keep you awake, or you may listen to very relaxing music if you are trying to fall asleep. But you can agree that music really follows the type of mood that you may be in at that point and time.
3. Music is something that can surpass all prejudices and can really bring people together.
             – Music is one thing that can bring people together, even if you may come from different backgrounds, music is something that connects all kinds of people.  Malini Mohana in her article Music & How It Impacts Your Brain, Emotions she states that music is like a “language of emotion” across cultures. Music is one of the few things that all people can agree upon. We may not all get along when it comes to other matters in the world whether it be politics, race issues, or anything else but when it comes to music other things seem not to matter. From my personal experiences music seems to make things that seem important at the time not matter.
Work Cited
Feiles, Nathan (2015). How Music Impacts, Helps Our Emotions. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 8, 2015, from
Mohana, Malini (2013). Music & How It Impacts Your Brain, Emotions. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 7, 2015, from