Posts Tagged ‘Concordia College’

Happiness: A Three-Part Blog Series

Posted in Mackenzie McCloud on January 14th, 2015 by Mackenzie McCloud – Be the first to comment
"A smile takes just a moment, but the memory of it lasts forever."

“A smile takes just a moment, but the memory of it lasts forever.”

Yesterday in my Wellness lecture, we touched on a lot of different things, but the main focus was psychological health. Probably my favorite part of class was when we got to talking about when we’re happy. For me, it’s easy to get into a deep philosophical discussion about happiness as an extended state of being versus a temporary condition versus a handful of chemicals you can get from a pharmacy (courtesy my inquiry seminar from last semester, Brain Enhancement). BUT that’s not what was discussed. It was way better. It was all of it. It was all the things, big and little, you do or experience throughout your day that might make you happy. You could choose anything that makes you happy to share with your group, however silly or trivial or ridiculous it may have been.

This wasn’t on my list, but it definitely should have been. Part One of Happiness: I am happy when other people make me smile.


That’s too easy, right? Maybe it is. And I’ve talked about it before. But it’s true. Smiles are incredibly powerful. Potent. They’re contagious, infectious. Fast-acting. When people make me smile, I’m automatically happy. I’m actually pretty sure the use of those facial muscles triggers an emotional response (I know there’s a study on that somewhere out there). It could be a corny joke (Cobber humor at its finest), just someone randomly complimenting me on a scarf, or even laughing at the way I talk (I still can’t believe some of y’all think I sound funny).

That’s the most amazing thing, though: When someone goes out of their way, makes a tiny bit of extra effort, to make my day. It’s so easy to do, make someone’s day. That girl holding the door for you? Let her know you think she looks exceptional when you toss her a quick ‘thank you.’ (I kid you not, this might change the course of an entire week.) The guy sitting at the far table in the library? You heard him sing one night in the Maize (or any place you could hear someone sing), and it was amazing! Tell him. Or hey, it’s Wednesday. There is very little emotional significance to a Wednesday, in my opinion. So what better time to drop a sweet note, or some flowers, or a Buffalo Wild Wings gift card, in a loved one’s mailbox/doorway/office/etc.? That’s right. There is no better time than right now. It doesn’t even have to be a material thing. In fact, I am going to text my brothers after I post this, and tell them exactly what they mean to me. Because all we’re guaranteed is right now. This second, this moment. And then it’s gone. So, yes, when someone takes a couple extra steps and a couple extra breaths to tell me he thinks my hair is pretty, I’m happy. When I get a massively (and wonderfully) long text from a friend back home, telling me that she feels just as connected to me, like she can still talk to me as if I’m right there, even though we haven’t seen each other for months, yes, I’m happy. Because he didn’t have to do that. She didn’t have to do that. They had their ‘right now’s, and they chose to spend them on me.

Think about that for a second. Some people know all too well that one second, that one tiny moment, would change everything.

We, as individuals gifted and blessed with multiple means of communication, have an unbelievable power of influence that should not be taken lightly. I think we sometimes take it for granted. And I think we sometimes misuse it. It’s a choice. Choose to smile. Choose to make other people smile.

This post is dedicated to the memory of a young woman who chose. She gave an infinite number of smiles, and left us with infinitely more.

Suzannah Catherine Piercy

December 26, 1995 – Forever. Forever, sweet girl. I promise.



Fly On

Posted in Mackenzie McCloud on January 3rd, 2015 by Mackenzie McCloud – Be the first to comment
Winning the county championship was easily the best way to end my high school athletic career.

Winning the county championship was easily the best way to end my high school athletic career.

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci

We all have high points in life. We have great days, great dates, give great presentations, receive great grades. That’s all well and.. erm.. great, but that’s not all there is. I’m really talking about those moments in life where you look back and say, “Wow. That was incredible.”

When I was younger, it was that World Series trip to Panama City Beach. A week of nonstop softball to be the last team standing had me feeling like I was on top of the world. I thought I had to stop playing; there’s no way I could beat that experience.

Not totally true. Winning the state fastpitch tournament my sophomore year was amazing as well, and comes very close. And believe it or not, winning the county lacrosse championship my senior year almost tops winning state.

College, though. After only one (slightly bumpy) first semester of college, I’m back on top of the world. It’s the independence to – and the realization that you ­can – figure out what you like and what you dislike, discover who you are and who you want to be, without the weight of who we thought we had to be in high school.

It’s never going to be perfect, but I can promise you, even just after a couple weeks, you’ll know it’s worth it. It’s worth the late nights studying, the less-than-stellar test grades, the awkward introductions. There’s a simple and dangerous beauty to being responsible for yourself. Yes, even making mistakes.

Right now, I’m sitting here going through my clothes and jewelry and other random things that I’m taking back home to Cobberville. I keep looking around my room, and it’s making me a little crazy with déjà vu. I remember going through this same routine when I was packing for school in August. Checking and double-checking that I have everything I need or want, doing last-minute laundry, procrastinating by playing with my dog… I feel the same way, too. Just like last time, I’m a little nervous and a lot excited. Honestly, I hope it never goes away.

It feels like flying.

Seven Simple Smile Sources!

Posted in Mackenzie McCloud on January 1st, 2015 by Mackenzie McCloud – Be the first to comment
This is one of my favorite pictures of my pal, George! How can you not smile at this?? :)

This is one of my favorite pictures of my pal, George! How can you not smile at this kid?? 🙂

In the interest of sticking with my resolution, I hereby begin my list of seven things that make me smile every day.

One thing that made me smile today was my dog. Today was bath day, and my favorite furball was less than excited about it. Nevertheless, he obediently stood in the bath while I soaped and scrubbed away the adventures of the last few weeks. The worst part for him is getting rinsed (he trembles when I get to this part). Once I was done, I stood up to grab a towel to pick him out of the tub, and he made the cutest little whining sound. He looked pathetic, but I mean that in the most affectionate way. All of his normally poofy long hair was slicked back away from his shih tzu snout! I started laughing so hard, and I think he got mad at me, because he decided to shake out his fur when I bent down to pick him up. Brat.

Another thing was the bowl of ice cream I had. We’re out of chocolate syrup, so I took the liberty of popping open a jar of fudge topping. And yes, it was deliciousssss.

Conversations with my friends will be a consistent cause of smiles. There’s something about being able to talk to someone and laugh endlessly at nothing, everything, and anything, that can make your day. It could be a random string of emojis, a picture, a Skype session, a Snapchat video, anything. And we all have those inside jokes with our favorite people – phrases that, to anyone else, make absolutely zero sense.

This next one is a bit off the wall. Candles make me smile. I love the soft glow of a single flame, the colorful arrangements of decorative candles, the different scents. I think they’re so pretty and peaceful. And although we can’t have candles in the dorms, I’m looking into some cheap LED lights that should have pretty close to the same effect!

My neighbor George makes me smile. All the time. He came over today to hang out with my brothers (he thinks they’re so cool – I don’t see it). They had a little bonfire and George got a huge kick out of it. He’s always asking questions and running around and being as curious and adventurous and silly as a little boy should be, and an awesome friend!!

I really like looking at the stars. I smile at the sky all the time when I’m at school, because I swear there are more stars every single night. They make me smile because – actual science aside – they’re just minding their own business, burning, twinkling, shining away. And just because we can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They still are, just chilling, being stars.

The seventh thing that made me smile today was a video my mom showed me. Now, I’m sure it’s made its rounds on social media, but I hadn’t seen it. I’m pretty sure it was from Britain’s Got Talent, and Simon Cowell had just cut off this young boy’s singing. You could tell he was nervous and scared as Simon held up his hand to stop the music and informed the boy he ought to try a different song. So he did. His rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Who’s Loving You” blew everyone away. A wonderful and entertaining reminder that sometimes when everything feels like it’s going wrong, it might about to be going very, very right.

“But God can only smile because only God can know what is coming next.” – Desmond Tutu

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Posted in Mackenzie McCloud on December 20th, 2014 by Mackenzie McCloud – Be the first to comment
As much as we argue, I absolutely love my not-so-little little brother.

As much as we argue, I absolutely love my not-so-little little brother.

Sometimes I’m super forgetful – like, super DUPER forgetful. I forget tons of things all the time. One thing I’ve never forgotten, though, is how much my family and friends mean to me.

I told myself when I was a senior in high school that I was going to leave Georgia. I was going to find somewhere I could grow, somewhere I could be free to fly (or fall on my face) and reap all of the lessons from it. I didn’t realize until now, though, that I was experiencing one of the most confusing parts of ‘Senioritis,’ which is ‘Deposit Submission’ tunnel vision. Some common symptoms include unwavering excitement for college, creating multiple and largely unnecessary Pinterest boards to organize information you’ll need to ensure the best years of your youth, continuous repacking of college-bound belongings, and scouring of the course catalog while you pretend you have your life figured out – or realizing you totes don’t. Although rare, some incoming freshmen may also experience the urge to laugh manically while discussing plans for college.

Okay, I didn’t have that last one, but everything else is pretty much true. When it came to college, to my future, I was full-speed ahead, with dreams of corn cobs dancing in my head. It wasn’t until a few weeks into my first semester that I felt it: the little twist in my stomach. Initially, I thought I’d just eaten too much food in DS, but feeling still didn’t go away. It’s obvious now, of course, what I was feeling. I missed home. I missed the hours upon hours of laughter and insanity that softball road trips brought my mom and me. I missed the complete and utter safeness that can only come from a father’s hug. I missed goofing off – and fighting – with my brothers. I missed the teammates and classmates who’d been there for me for years, coaches who’d taught me just as much as all of my favorite teachers. I missed all of the people – neighbors, tutors, any and all familiar faces – from my southern city that had made my life even a tiny bit better. And I really missed my pets.

It’s understandable. It’s normal. So why does my stomach still have a small pinched feeling?

It’s because I miss home.

I miss talking with my classmates and my professors, sometimes trying to solve the problems of the world in one hour-and-ten-minute class. I miss the giddy feeling that comes with seeing the Cobber softball field and my new teammates. I miss laughing and chatting into the wee hours of the morning with my friends. And I really miss DS.

I’m beyond excited to be back in Sharpsburg, drinking real sweet tea, surrounded by all the people – and animals – I’ve missed so very much. ‘Happy’ doesn’t even come close to describing it.

That said, I’m looking forward to hearing the reliable ringing every Cobber knows so well.

Winsome Work

Posted in Mackenzie McCloud on December 15th, 2014 by Mackenzie McCloud – Be the first to comment
It's always a great day to be a Cobber!

My boss affectionately nailed me in the face with a box of candy on my first day. It was awesome.

They say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

I could talk for days about what I’m lovin’ in Cobberville. I love the fact that “Cobber” is Yiddish for ‘comrade’ and 20th century Australian slang for ‘long time friend or companion,’ and that those definitions perfectly match this college’s atmosphere. I love that my least favorite thing about this school is how much I want/am enticed to be involved in EVERYTHING. I love that people here call me Georgia. I love my softball team, all my fellow athletes, my musically-inclined friends, my classes, my professors, the adventures, the squirrels, the FOOD – all of it.

And I love that it’s my job to talk about all of it.

Working with Admissions as a Student Ambassador has been one of the coolest parts about being here at Concordia. Great doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling I have when I call prospective students, or send them a postcard, or host them here at the school. They’re always asking me how I ‘ended up’ in Moorhead, Minnesota, of all places. My standard response is that I spun a globe and just pointed – “Hmm, guess I’m going to school somewhere in North Dakota. Or is that Minnesota? My finger’s right on the border..” – which is a fun ice breaker for when I go into why I’m actually here: It’s an awesome place to be.

Along with sharing the fabulousness of Concordia, I really enjoy just getting to know people. I have a blast with all of my fellow Ambassadors and talking life with everyone who works the perks of the Welcome Center – one of which, I learned today, is signing a dog’s cast. I actually feel really uncomfortable not talking to someone who’s chilling in the waiting area. I like hearing what potential Niblets and Niblettes (my nicknames for prospies) are interested in. I like sharing stories and a bowl of mixed ‘puppy chow’ with Ashley and my hall-mates, chatting with Conner over the phone about how ridiculous it is when umpires make a bad call because they’re out of position on the field, and even discovering why someone is so excited to be going somewhere other than here.

I love sharing what makes me smile, and Conco definitely makes me smile. And if you spend even a little time here, you’ll find I’m not the only one who feels that it’s always a great day to be a Cobber!