Camp Blessing

-Hailey Elder, Contributing Writer

People were created to need other people. This might seem like a simple statement, but college is a place that at times both magnifies and meets this need. As graduation and summer lurk in the shadows, the idea of missing one’s community for the months ahead can threaten the pressing anticipation and freedom of finishing finals. Goodbyes are hard and separation anxiety is real, but the opportunities, experiences, lessons, and memories that come from the summer are worth it.

MC students have a reputation of spending their summers in a camp, volunteer, or mission setting, but there is a stigma at times that to qualify as a mission trip it must be an outside-of-your-comfort-zone or be a cross-cultural experience with a language barrier and unreached people groups. Camp Blessing is a camp in Texas that serves children and adults with special needs and their families. This summer, they will have eight terms of camp and need young volunteers to help make it happen.

Camp Blessing requires getting outside of your comfort zone because it requires putting someone else’s needs above your own for six days. It is uncomfortable because being selfless is hard. It is cross-cultural because the special needs community includes people of all backgrounds (and it is in a state whose residents like to claim their history of being their own country). Language barriers exist because communication can occur without spoken words. “We have some campers who say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by blinking once or twice or raising one hand or the other,” said staff member Kaitlin Smith. “It’s easy to assume they don’t understand, but we have to remember that we all have the desire to be known and heard, even if we aren’t capable of making comprehendible sounds.”

It can be labeled as an unreached people group because it really is. “The vast majority of families affected by disability do not attend church because they are either blatantly not welcome, because the church doesn’t know what to do with their child, or because it is simply too exhausting mentally, physically, and emotionally,” said Laura Elder, the Camp Blessing director’s wife and mother to two children with special needs.

Camp Blessing is unique in that each camper has his or her very own counselor, who understands the value of community and strives to meet each camper’s individual needs. Counselors basically get to be their buddy, their new and long-lasting best friend for the week.

Many may think they have no experience and are completely unqualified to do something like this, but being “qualified” is not a requirement. Each week is a new term, which means a new group of volunteer counselors. “Each new group is trained for 24 hours prior to the arrival of campers on topics such as communication, disabilities, team building, and caretaking. But the goal of all this training is not to create experts on Down syndrome or autism or cerebral palsy. We don’t want our counselors to know everything about their camper’s disability- we want them to know everything about their camper. It’s about the relationship,” said a Camp Blessing counselor.

“People are people are people. Just like we need and want to be known and valued, so do they,” said Smith.

“The Lord knew what He was doing when I got the opportunity to work at Camp Blessing for a summer. I saw God move in mightier ways that summer I worked at camp. The volunteers, the campers, and the other staff made up this heaven on earth place- a place of so much joy and love!,” said MC junior and 2013 summer staffer, Danielle Clinton.

This summer will be Camp Blessing’s 10th summer since opening in 2006, and they are in need of over 500 volunteers (especially guys). So consider going for six days with your family, church, a group of friends or a group from your tribe, club, or other campus organization. They promise it will be the cheapest and most rewarding mission trip you ever go on.

Lexi Frautschi, MC sophomore whose smiling face is easily recognized on campus will be serving on staff this summer. “If I am being completely honest, the first draw to Camp Blessing for me was the simple fact that my friend would be there,” she said. “It was not until after I applied when I realized the impact that this place would leave on me. I have not even been to camp yet, but I am already changed because of it. I know that when I step foot on the Camp grounds that my soul will learn a level of compassion and caretaking that it has never known. This place is called Camp Blessing for a reason, and I think that it is going to change my life more than I will change it. However, I am beyond ready to get to be a part of a place that is such a clear picture of love, community, and the kingdom of God.”

For more information please visit their website at or contact Hailey Elder at


What’s Your Study Soundtrack?

–Megan Cole, Reporter 

Nearly everyone listens to music. Some people prefer certain genres, while others are open to anything and everything. But what kind of music is the best to study to? Finals are approaching and students everywhere are preparing. This typically includes stocking up on plenty of snacks, taking well-deserved Netflix breaks, and of course, listening to lots and lots of music.

In fact, music keeps us focused, motivated, and awake. According to Stanford School of Medicine’s recent research, music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions, and updating the event in memory. Music has also been found to lower cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) and anxiety more effectively than most drugs do. Apparently music not only makes us feel good, but provides many physiological benefits.

This explains why music is of great importance during the most stressful week of the semester: finals week. As students settle in to the stress that comes with the end of the semester, we asked students what kind of music they recommend for studying.


Many students find instrumental, lyric-free songs the most helpful when focusing.

“[Music with] no words [is] important,” said senior instrumental music education major Jonathon Cason. “Because then I’ll sing, and not study.”

Classical music and other relaxing movie-soundtracks were recommended several times by many MC Students who preferred study music with no lyrics. Among these recommendations were The Piano Guys, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Mozart, and other classical composers. The most popular composer named was Hans Zimmer, a German film composer and music producer. Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films, including various film scores such as The Lion King, Interstellar, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. This means many students are probably more familiar with Zimmer’s work than they realize.

In addition to the well-loved movie scores and classical movements, students’ study playlists represent a variety of genres. There are many popular platforms to listen to music as well, which include Pandora Radio, Youtube Playlists, iTunes, and Spotify. Here are some of the most popular MC student recommendations and some tips as you prepare for finals.

“Hardcore rock ‘n’ roll and metal rap.” – Chris Fisher, sophomore chemical physics major.

“Post-Rock. It’s instrumental, no words. Long. Beautiful. It’s good for sleeping and for staying up, as it provides enough stimulation to keep one aware. My favorite choice is ‘Godspeed You!’ by Black Emperor.” – Joshua O’Neal, senior English literature major.

“Pretty much just whatever comes up on my Christian station on Pandora, but I especially like the Afters and Sidewalk Prophets.” – Joy Rittenhouse, freshman biology medical sciences major.

“I don’t study to music, but I’d imagine ‘Living On a Prayer’ would be good.” – Alex Dougherty, senior chemistry medical sciences

“I listen to classical, relaxing music during the studying. No words. Every ten minutes I take a break and listen to a pop song. When the song is over, I go back to homework.” – Jessyca Bryan, senior English education major.

“Elvis Presley, all day every day.” – Kristi Ralston, junior elementary education major.

“Christian rap.” – Jonathan Poe, sophomore Christian studies major.

“Instrumentals, ABBA, and indie!” – Casey Clark, senior art major.


A New Era of College Football

-Andy O’Brien, Assistant Editor

It was a warm September night in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Over 100,000 people squeezed into Death Valley, eager to raucously support the LSU Tigers in their quest to shatter the aspirations of the unbeaten, but untested, Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Tigers were favored by Las Vegas to win by a touchdown. The Bulldogs were favored by Starkvegas.

Dak Prescott and the Dogs jumped out to a 17-0 lead before cruising to victory.

Two hundred miles away at Provost Umphrey Stadium in Beaumont, Texas, another Mississippi football squad was making a statement.

A year earlier, Mississippi College was a 4-6 Division III team, outscored by opponents 386-288. That September night in 2014, the Choctaws took on the Division I Lamar University.

In September 2013, the NCAA approved the 5,000 student Baptist college to return to Division II. Much had changed since then.

On December 26, John Bland was announced as the next head football coach. Bland had just led the University of the Cumberlands to a 13-1 campaign that culminated in a NAIA national championship appearance. In eight seasons at his previous school, Bland’s teams went 70-21.

At Mississippi College, Bland hopes to find similar success. His first objective for the Choctaws is to develop an identity, “an identity of a good football team, a tough team.”

Unfortunately, the timetable of Bland’s hiring meant that he and his staff would not have much time to secure recruits. And unlike their GSC peers, the Choctaws weren’t allowed to hold spring practices, an especially crippling blow due to the unique nature of Bland’s spread-option offense that takes time to learn.

The season began with a 32-14 loss to Belhaven. The following week, North Alabama welcomed MC to the Gulf South Conference (the “SEC of Division II”) with a crushing 58-0 defeat.

But on September 20, the Choctaws showed a glimpse of what the John Bland era will bring. C.J. O’Quinn began the first Choctaw possession with a 39-yard kickoff return. Freshman quarterback Kyle Smith added on, marching down the field in his first start for MC. The Choctaw drive stalled in the red zone, and Coach Bland found himself at fourth down, two yards shy of the first and nine yards from scoring.

He went for it.

Chris Ingram gained four yards, securing a fresh set of attempts. On first down, MC lost seven yards, taking them back to the 12.

On second, Smith found an edge and scurried a dozen yards to the end zone, tying the game 7-7.

The score may not sound impressive. But the Choctaws were predominantly made up of DIII recruits going up against the DI, Texas-bred Lamar team.

This offseason, the Bland regime had time to make connections and recruit. Since returning to Division II, the program is able to give athletic scholarships. The increased prestige of DII and the Gulf South Conference also is credited with helping recruit. “I think Mississippi College sells itself,” Bland observed.

The biggest signing was former Ole Miss “quarterback of the future” Raymond Cotton. Despite only having a single year of eligibility remaining, Cotton brings big-time experience to the team.

“He’s very talented. Big, fast, strong, he can throw the ball really hard and he has confidence,” said Bland. “We’re expecting big things from Raymond.”

The recruiting class, as a whole, is bigger, faster, stronger and more talented than MC has had in years.

“I think they’ll not only be the foundation,” said Bland, again casting his vision of the winning program that he intends to build, “but I think we’ll see success with them.”

Not to say Bland is blind to his team’s shortcomings.

“We need to block better, run the ball better, catch better, run better routes, everybody needs to improve.” Fortunately, at this point in the transition to DII, the Choctaws are allowed to hold spring practices.

Next year, MC has another challenging schedule, including a week two trip to North Alabama. Choctaw fans will get the chance to see the team respond to Jackson’s Belhaven at home on September 19. The most-anticipated game of the season, and the continued return to Division II, will come on November 14, when MC will play host to long-time, short-drive rival Delta State in the season finale.

The GSC lineup features four playoff teams from a year ago. In the words of Bland, “this ain’t a bunch of buttercups.”

That September night in 2014, two Mississippi football teams defied expectations and made a statement. A new era of tenacity has begun that doesn’t accept defeat as an option, even if it is expected.

The Choctaws went on to lose that night, but for a moment, Bland’s vision showed through. “Each team has a different way, but what matters is if they can all buy in to that one way,” said Bland. “We gotta find a way pull them all together and do it our way. That’s what we’re going through this spring.”

Armed with talented recruits who have been unified, taught and sharpened in spring practice, Bland is more confident entering 2015. “We’re hoping to win every Saturday, we know we’ll be able to compete every Saturday and have a chance to win.”

Soon after his hiring, Bland said “We are excited to begin this new era in Mississippi College football.”

So are we.

Miss Collegian – Going home for summer

Dear Miss Collegian,

Right now, I’m kind of freaking out about going back home for the summer. Home life isn’t the greatest and I’ve gotten so used to being away from home this year. Right now, I love being independent and I’m afraid that when I go back home that my parents will bother me about my plans after graduation or that they’ll try to dictate what I can and cannot do. Since I’ve been at college, I haven’t had to tell my parents when/where I’m going all the time, and I’m not sure I can get used to that again this summer. How can I be expected to act the same as I did at home when I’ve changed as a person and become more of an adult since I’ve been away at MC?

-Don’t Want to Leave MC

Dear Don’t Want to Leave MC,

I don’t think you should be expected to act the same when you go home. Going to college changes you and gives you a lot more freedom than you had back at home. I think your parents will understand and will give you the freedom you have gained since being away, and if not, I would suggest sitting down with them and discussing what worries you and explaining to them the ways you have changed and what you expect when you are home. I’m sure they know exactly what you are going through and how they felt their first summer back at home after college, so don’t be too hard on them!

Have a great summer,

Miss Collegian

River Journeys

-Abbie Walker, Editor

This past weekend my church college group went on an outdoor retreat. Between the hours of splashing in canoes, singing songs around a campfire, and laughing to our hearts’ content, we also talked a lot about our journeys—where we have been and where we are now. We discussed how our lives are like rivers that start out one way, twist around, fork, etc. Each of us ended up drawing a picture of what our river journey would look like, and surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), a lot of our rivers had commonalities in that there were periods of rapids, rocks, or other treacheries that depicted difficult or devastating times in our lives. Some rivers went off the straight path but circled round again; some dropped off in waterfalls but continued past fields of flowers later on.

As my time at MC comes to a close, I think about how college has shaped my own river journey. I guess I could describe it as a period of small rapids. It’s been a fun, crazy, exciting time, but it’s also been really challenging. A lot of old wounds have been reopened and a lot of tears shed. Some things have spun me around and left me disoriented. But I’ve learned a lot about life and the Lord through the experience. So I’ve decided to impart some last minute advice that I wish I’d had a better understanding of earlier.

  1. We are all on the river journey of life. All of us have hard times that we go through, and we should embrace that. It’s OK to not be OK. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with the right people and share your struggles. Chances are those people have been or are going through a rough patch as well. Your story about a time when the Lord got you through a dark tunnel could be the hope that someone needs to push forward. There were times I was hesitant about sharing personal things with others, but I’ve also witnessed the Lord work in people’s lives because I did. Sometimes we see the effects, sometimes we don’t; but it’s definitely worth it. Let’s encourage each other because we all need to hear that we are not alone.
  1. Even when the craziness of uncertainty makes you dizzy and you can’t seem to find solid ground, the Lord is there. He’s got your back. I can’t tell you all the plans I had before and during college that have either been altered or completely changed. Sometimes it’s painful to see a desire taken away, but God really does have your best interest at heart. However, that truth can sometimes be hard to swallow. I’ve learned that it’s all right to complain to God. Sometimes we are afraid of angering Him, but nothing can change His love for us. Those times where I was practically wrestling with the Lord about decisions or plans that changed were the times where I learned the most from Him. Seek after Him, TALK to Him, argue with Him if you have to (He can take it), and He will direct your steps. We can spend our entire lives planning things, but the only thing that remains true and prevails is the Lord. He is our solid rock to grab onto when the crazy current threatens to pull us under.
  1. Joy is your life vest. The truth is, life is going to suck at times. Parents will get divorced; loved ones will be lost; heartache is inevitable. The only way we can really get through this life and be able to do what we are called to do is by having Joy. While happiness is something that is dependent upon one’s circumstances, Joy is an underlying peace that remains constant, and true Joy ONLY comes from the Lord. And that Joy spurs us onward to do amazing things and handle whatever gets thrown our way. If you feel like your situations are drowning you, latch on to Jesus and the supernatural, unexplainable Joy that He gives. Nothing else will be able to fill the hole in our hearts.

While the river journey analogy may be slightly cheesy, I think it speaks a lot about life. Sometimes it’s smooth; sometimes it’s a Class 4 rapid. Sometimes the river forks and we end up down a path we didn’t expect to take. Sometimes we hit rocks or capsize. But if I leave you with nothing else, know that the Lord is good. His love is unchanging and lifesaving.

Life is an adventure. Learn from where you are. Meet challenges head on. Trust in the Lord to direct your path. Only He knows what’s waiting around the river bend, but I’m glad I don’t have to face the next rapid alone.

Review of the book “Motivation Manifesto.”

-James Osborne, News Editor

“There comes a time in the lives of those destined for greatness when we must stand before the mirror of meaning and ask: Why, having been endowed with the courageous heart of a lion, do we live as mice? We must look squarely into our own tired eyes and examine why we waste so much time sniffing at every distraction, why we cower at the thought of revealing our true selves to the world, why we scurry so quickly from conflict, and why we consent to play small. We must ask why we participate so humbly in society’s frantic race, allowing ourselves into mazes of mediocrity and settling for scraps of reward when nature has offered unlimited freedom, power, and abundance to the bold, the determined, the creative, the independent – each of us.”

This is taken from the first page of the book “Motivation Manifesto” by New York Times bestselling author Brendon Burchard, who also wrote the books “The Charge,” and “Life’s Golden Ticket.”

You may be a graduating senior looking for extra encouragement and motivation to chase a dream job, or someone chasing a dream or personal goal. If you are seeking to believe in yourself, to improve in your classes next semester, to overcome fears and obstacles, or just looking for a good book to read, then the “Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard is for you.

The book is powerfully written and at times poetic. It has simple yet profound statements. Parts of the book are as if the reader has travelled back in time and has the opportunity to hear from the great orators like the founding fathers during America’s revolutionary war or even as far back as the Greek scholars and academics like Plato. Unlike some books on motivation like Daniel H. Pink’s “Drive” or the famous “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, there is no technical jargon or pages that read like an academic journal. Instead, the “Motivation Manifesto” contains powerful and easy to read prose that gets straight to the point of what is needed in life to push ourselves to greatness.

Burchard writes about simple yet powerful subjects that we often overlook in society like being intentional, being present in daily life, being determined and focused on our goals, and seeking joy and thankfulness. The book has an introduction which is written like the Declaration of Independence, and two sections. Section One deals with human nature on freedom, fear, and motivation. Section Two is called the Nine Declarations which all start with “We Shall” and are titled: We Shall Meet Life with Full Presence and Power, Reclaim Our Agenda, Defeat Our Demons, Advance with Abandon, Practice Joy and Gratitude, We Shall Not Break Integrity, Amplify Love, Inspire Greatness, and We Shall Slow Time.

The theme of the book is seeking “personal freedom.” Being intentional, staying present in our lives, seeking joy and gratitude, moving past our fears, being motivated, and seeking to be the best we can possibly be are lessons we all need to learn.

Brendon Burchard also has a popular YouTube channel and blog. Burchard is giving away the “Motivation Manifesto” book for free after the $7.00 shipping and handling fee along with a 12 week online course when ordered at

“Let us awaken now and realize there is greater vibrancy, joy, and freedom available to each of us. There is more feeling. There is more power. There is more love and abundance. But gaining access rests on our shoulders, for only two things can change our lives: either something new comes into our lives, or something new comes from within. Let us not hope for mere chance to change our story; let us summon the courage to change it ourselves.”

7 Gifts to Make Mom Happy this Mother’s Day

-Alexa Jenkins, Copy Editor

Everyone knows the old saying: “If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” No matter how true this is for your family, there’s no denying that any mother (or grandmother or mother-figure) loves being appreciated any day of the year. Thankfully for college students, someone marked a day on the calendar so we have no excuse not to give Mom some attention. This year Mother’s Day is on May 10, right after finals are over, so you need to plan ahead. If you’re stumped, here are some ideas.

  1. A Gift Basket. This one is awesome, because gift baskets are inexpensive, easy to make, and the possibilities are endless. There are lots of cool ideas on Pinterest (which is not just for girls), such as a Spa Day basket with lotion and candles, a Movie Night basket with a DVD and popcorn—so many ideas.
  2. Sharpie Mugs. If you’re a little on the artistic side, decorating custom mugs for your mom is another fun, affordable way to make her day.
  3. This Downton Abbey scented candle. Because moms love candles, and moms love Downton Abbey. There is no way to go wrong if you buy this for her. (Found in your local Books-a-Million or wherever fictional-tea-scented candles are sold.)
  4. Manicure/Pedicure/Massage. This was my mom’s pick when I asked her for ideas. She also said highlights…then said that one highlight might be all a college student could afford. So there’s that.
  5. Anything made out of a mason jar. Seriously, we are talking candles, flower vases, or even a genius combination of a gift basket inside a mason jar.
  6. A good book. Everyone can use a good read. Bonus points if you’ve read the book and can discuss it with your mom. Double bonus points if you write her a heartfelt note inside. Triple bonus points if you go big and buy her a Kindle.
  7. Your undying love. Yes. You should most certainly buy and make gifts for your mom, and you should appreciate her on Mother’s Day in particular. But more than that, you should make sure that she knows you love her – everyday.


Kyle Cotton: Entertaining Artist

-Seth Reeks, contributing writer

The Mississippi College Art Department’s senior exhibit is currently open at MC’s Gore Galleries. Entitled “Persona,” the exhibit showcases the individual styles, talents, characteristics, and diversity of each of the 12 seniors in the art department. One of those artists is Kyle Cotton, a graphic design major from Orlando, Florida.

Cotton is a seasoned artist, having worked at Walt Disneyworld Resorts and Nickelodeon Hotel as a caricaturist for the past four years. He started working to create unique pieces of art to entertain guests of the parks as a senior in high school.

Cotton has also worked as an intern for ITec, one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world. They work with theme parks like Universal Studios and Disney to design rides and shows. Cotton was a part of their concept design team, and worked on parks in Dubai, Indonesia, and China.


Cotton has also illustrated a digital book called The Living King, and interned on the set of the recently-released film “Battle Creek,” alongside his friend and fellow MC student Cole Angel. The film was directed by Alison Eastwood, daughter of famed actor and director Clint Eastwood. Cotton says that he and the other interns decorated sets in downtown Jackson, worked with props, helped with the wardrobe department and were acted as extras for a few scenes. The movie premiered at the Malco Grandview Theater in Madison.

Cotton entered four pieces in the Senior art exhibit, a diptych (a compilation of two pieces of art that are placed side by side to become one), a charcoal drawing which featured a surf theme, a graphic design poster entitled Hail Kale (which he says “promotes the importance of eating kale”) and a still life digital illustration poster.

During his time at MC, Cotton was a Charter Member of Kokoa Men’s Service Club, putting his artistic talents to good use as the club’s T-Shirt chair.

Although he still has one semester remaining at MC before he leaves to start his career, Cotton has already been offered a full time job with ITec and will intern again with the company over the coming summer. While he says he is looking forward to setting out on his own and excited to see where graphic design will take him, he will be sad to leave MC.

“I will always be a Choctaw at heart.”

The Struggle of Being a Student with ADHD

-Sebastian Murdoch, Contributing Writer

College courses demand a lot of attention, but some students are finding that hard to give. Today more and more students are coming onto campus with a poorly-dealt hand thanks to genetics. ADHD is one of the most common and well-known learning disabilities in the United States. But it is also one of the more misunderstood disorders in that most people assume that ADHD eventually disappears when a person reaches a certain age. This idea that people can just “grow out” of a lifelong disability is one that can wield a hugely negative impact on students, especially college students.

Some of the symptoms of ADHD that most severely disrupt a student’s ability to perform well in college courses are:

  • A shorter attention span and distractible nature
  • Frequent forgetfulness due to an impaired short-term memory
  • Poor impulse control resulting in actions taken without acknowledging consequences
  • Procrastination due to a bigger need for the stimulus that comes with a deadline

For some students, medication like Adderall is necessary to aid in dealing with the more severe symptoms. But obtaining medication is often a challenge for college students, as the requirements to fill a prescription can be difficult to fulfill, such as receiving a diagnosis and prescription from a psychiatrist. Legislation that often acts as a gatekeeper concerning who is and is not deserving of the medication can make life more difficult for many students who struggle financially or in some other way that keeps them from being privileged enough to find an affordable doctor who will help them manage their symptoms.

However, other students have found ways to cope with the disorder without the use of medication, either because of personal choice or simply circumstances that preclude them from getting the prescriptions. For some it’s a matter of creating their own deadlines to help stimulate the part of their brain that needs the adrenaline of being close to a deadline and not having finished the project yet. Kevin McCully, a student of Mississippi College who deals with ADHD, copes with his tendency to zone out in class by taking detailed notes. “It helps when I’m actively writing,” he says, going on to explain that it helps him “engage more” with what the teacher is saying.

In other cases, it means talking to the school counseling center about receiving appropriate accommodations. The process takes several steps and includes providing an official diagnosis, which as has been stated is more difficult for some than for others. But the accommodations, like extended time on tests, the school can and often does provide when the student asks are sometimes key to making college life more bearable for the student.

The Writing Center, located in the back of library and described as a place where students can come for personal tutoring and help with writing assignments, is also known for its work is ESL (English as a Second Language) students. But as more students make their specific needs known, as in the case of students with ADHD, the center is working towards accommodating those needs. Dr. Steven Price, one of the leaders of the WC, says that the center currently does not do anything special regarding learning disabilities, but he hopes that their attempts “to get to know the writer” make the center a more supportive place where students can feel free to disclose specific needs.

As more students enter the campus, it has become necessary for students and faculty to better understand what ADHD is and how it affects students specifically, if it is to be a place where students can feel comfortable and supported.

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