Summer 2017: An Open Letter


Summer 2017 was a summer of learning. Overall, it was a phenomenal summer. It was one filled with disappointment, spontaneity, and loads of great memories. Although it certainly did not meet my every expectation, I would not change one thing about this summer.

Lessons Learned

Summer started off slow enough. Work didn’t pan out exactly as I had hoped, but I was able to grow from that setback. I thought I had my summer all planned out and ready to roll, but I came to realize that I shouldn’t be relying on my own plans. I needed to be abiding in God and following His will for my life. It was eye-opening and calming. It seems so basic, but it is one of the hardest things for me to do.

Another lesson I learned was in the area of prioritization. Specifically, in the realm of making sure I take time out of my day to read the Bible and pray. I was willing to stay up till 3AM for a sneaker release and then wake up at 4AM to go on a run, but I couldn’t carve out 15 minutes to meditate on God’s Word. As silly as it may seem, I took a break from both of those things in order to gain perspective. Since I was prioritizing them over God, I was making sneakers and running idols in my life. They may not seem like traditional idols, but anything that is put ahead of God is considered one. It was a definite reality check. I since have been trying to make sure that I read the Word and pray first thing when I wake up before I do anything else.

The People

I definitely had some memorable moments throughout the summer. Whether it was a spontaneous day trip, or attempting to cop Yeezys during a Vietnamese church service (I told you I had a problem), there never seemed to be a dull moment. I’m writing this on my way to Michigan and I can’t help but reflect on some of the great times I had this summer. Here’s a noncomprehensive list of people that helped shape my summer into what it became. PS, if you’re not on here, you probably didn’t eat ½ Price Apps with me enough times for me to remember you. Just kidding. Mostly.

S. Bruce

Shout out to you for being the only person to grab breakfast with me all summer. I loved being able to talk with you about the deeper things in life. You definitely have wisdom beyond your years and I hope that you utilize it. You have a knack for leadership and a lot of those younger than you see you as an example. Also, thanks for driving me back from camping that one time, finally.

G. Fry

I actually did the math, and I swam in your pool 87.23% less than I did last summer. With that off my chest, I just wanted to let you know that it’s been fun to watch you grow and mature. You have a direction that you want to go, and you’re willing to stick to it. Remember this: don’t let other people’s thoughts determine your actions, but don’t be afraid to heed wise counsel.

D. Jones

Thanks for taking me camping. I almost died, but it was fun. I also really appreciated the links to songs that were weeks old. They really turned me into a music connoisseur. In all seriousness, I appreciate your ability to call me out and keep me humble. My hope for you is that you can obtain whatever it is that you’re righteously pursuing.

 R. Jump

You are to Perkin’s as I am to Applebee’s. Thanks for always being down for almost anything, no matter how crazy. I also appreciate how blunt you are and how often you put me in my place. Keep the faith and rely on God. With God at the forefront, there’s no way that you won’t have a wonderful life. Although, please remember to drive sanely so that you can actually enjoy your life and not die.

A. Long

I love your work ethic and your commitment to the grind in order to become the best basketball player the Long family has ever seen. However, your most defining quality is that you are always down to go to Applebee’s. When no one else was willing, you pulled through. Your compassion for others and ability to discern is sure to help you in the upcoming years.

N. Long

It seems just like yesterday that the tides had turned. Now you’re all grown-up and headed off to college. Your calming presence always brought a much-needed counterbalance to my wild ideas and plans. During the times that I could pull you away from League of Legends, I had an absolute blast. I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses you in your future endeavors. Just please don’t lose my luggage like that one kid over spring break.

M. McCarl

I’ll overlook the fact that you attend a fake college and focus only on the good stuff. Our trip to Minneapolis was nothing short of legendary. The story about you teaching me to drive stick is whole other post in itself. I truly do appreciate your hospitality and letting me crash at your place numerous amounts of times throughout the summer. Don’t let your relationship status define you, and you’ll be just fine.

G. Rossi

Out of everyone on this list, you by far consistently get the freshest cuts. This upcoming year for you will be a defining one. It will test you and push you to own your faith and not ride on the coattails of others. I love your servant attitude and willingness to help out wherever needed. Maybe with a little more faith and spirituality, you can go a little higher on the hammock ladder or actually man up and squash the beef.

S. Rossi

Thanks for always returning my sunglasses when I left them at your place. That ticket to 80/35 was a nice surprise. Even though you flaked a few times, I appreciate your willingness to be spontaneous and. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors.

C. Tarbell

Even though we didn’t get to do a lot of the stuff we had planned, I would still call this summer successful. A lot of the times we hung out, it was just simply talking and relaxing. It gave me a good break from my crazy life. I’m also glad to say that every time I have been kicked out of a parking garage, you have been with me. Oh look, a plane!

L. Tully

You weren’t around much this summer, but it was for a worthy cause. Your passion for the gospel and willingness to share is truly inspiring. From me screaming your name in Alaska, to watching you dominate on the volleyball court, you are responsible for some of the most iconic moments in my life. Thanks for always being a friend and I pray that you will keep doing great things for the Lord.

K. Van Auken

The sheer amount of times you asked me about sneakers was enough for me to remember you this summer. That, and the fact that you sold your Xbox for a pair of Yeezys (that you couldn’t cop), was lowkey legendary. Thanks for always making me feel like sneakers weren’t a complete waste of time. Anytime I need some Arnold Palmer, I’ll make sure to slide through Fareway for that sweet 60% discount.


Best Coast, No Coast: Why the Midwest is the Best Place to Live

The Midwest is the best place to live in the United States of America. People always debate West Coast versus East Coast, but they always neglect the region sandwiched between the two. In this noncomprehensive study, I will outline years of research that has led me to conclude that the Midwest is as close to heaven on earth as you can get.

Where is the Midwest?

For the purpose of this article, the Midwest consists of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Why these states you might ask? Well, the only good image of the Midwest I could find on Google was the one you see above. Some people from East Coast claim that the Midwest is simply just the West, but they’d be wrong. If you can see copious amounts of farmland and wide open, flat spaces, there’s a good chance you’re in the Midwest.

Who Lives in the Midwest?

The Midwest consists of some of the most culturally diverse states in the union. Despite over 75% of the population being white, this region is a true melting pot of ethnicities. Take me for example. I’m a Korean that was born is Seoul, who grew up in Iowa, and was raised by Dutch parents. If that doesn’t show ethnic diversity, I don’t know what does. There is also a burgeoning population of Hispanics. All politics aside, the Midwest has been subjected to some of the largest ICE raids in history. Racial diversity is one of the key reasons why the Midwest is so attractive. It’s as if a slice from every part of the world was dropped into the center of the U.S.

Many famous people call the Midwest home. For example, multi-billionaire and real estate mogul Warren Buffett lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Aston Kutcher was born in Iowa and still regularly attends his all alma mater’s football games. Donald Trump’s better half, Mike Pence, became the governor of his home state Indiana before selling his soul to become VP. The list goes on and on.

What is there to do in the Midwest?

More like what isn’t there to do? Depending on where you live, the nearest big city is only hours away. Driving down country roads and looking up to see unpolluted views of the stars cannot be matched anywhere outside of the Midwest. You want shopping? There’s Chicago. You want to shuck some corn and milk a cow? That’s probably down the street and around the corner. The Mall of America, Wrigley Field, the world’s only combination Applebee’s/IHOP, the zoo that Harambe died in, Mt Rushmore,  and Lambeau Field can only be found in the Midwest.

Yes, the Midwest

I can tell by the look of disdain and boredom on your face that this article did nothing to sway your opinion. The promise of no hurricanes doesn’t outweigh the threat of 14 inches of snow in 6 hours. You love your region because you consider the Midwest a place you fly over on your way to LA or NYC.

Let me break it down one last time. The West Coast is a blend of don’t care laziness and over the top love for spray tans. Plus all of those liberals in Silicon Valley that think that women deserve equal pay are killing the economy (This is a joke. Equal pay for equal work; am I right?). The South is racist. Just kidding. It’s not racist, just a little slow, a little too proud of losing a war, and a little too infatuated with Raising Canes Chicken. Florida is lit though. The East Coast is a trash heap of trust fund babies and Bostonians who get to root for the Patriots simply because they were born there. Us Midwesterners endured for a Cubs World Series Title and a Cavs NBA Finals Championship. If you were born post-1980, you have a host of title teams (NY Giants, Patriots, Celtics Penguins, etc). No one likes winners who didn’t work for their success. Speaking of trash New Jersey is actually a literal dump. Trust me, I’ve been there. With all of these downsides, you might be wondering, where is a good place to live? The answer, of course, is the Midwest.

The Midwest is a utopia of friendly folks, great food, and endless opportunities. It’s the place to be. It’s where you wish you would’ve grown up. It’s where you want to raise your children. The Midwest is truly the backbone of America. A final parting word from a wise man: “The Midwest, where the corn is tall and the women are beautiful.”

Year One: An Open Letter


College. Even if one thinks he or she is fully prepared, there will always be twists and turns that one cannot account for. Myself? I came into college with very little expectations or preconceived ideas of what the experience would be like. I took a leap when I decided to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virgina. That institution is over 1000 miles away from the humble plains of Des Moines, Iowa. I can’t lie, I did have my doubts. I spent the first weeks thinking about what could’ve been. However, I do believe that I made the correct decision. Hereafter is a brief synopsis of what I have learned, what I have experienced, and how I’ve grown this past academic year.


The classes carefully tread the line between challenging and overbearing. The rules, well let’s just say I’ve grown to accept them. They can grind my gears sometimes, but they’re put in place for a reason.

Attending a school on the East Coast (yes, Virginia is on the East Coast and is NOT in the South) has afforded me opportunities that I would not have if I went to college in the Midwest. Northwestern, although in the great city of Chicago, simply does not have the prime location that Liberty does.

I am able to hike whenever I want and the views of mountains trump views of corn and soybean fields. There’s nothing quite like getting up at 2:30 AM for a sunrise hike. The outdoor activities are a great asset to the school and they definitely keep me more active than I otherwise would be.

Hands down, my favorite extracurricular activity is being able to travel. Being able to hop in the car at a moments notice and be in a different state is exhilarating. The places I’ve been able to visit this year as a direct result of the people I’ve met are Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington DC. For a small snippet of my adventures, both at Liberty and as I’m galavanting around, check out @NoahsVlogs on Twitter and @NoahsViews on Instagram.

Lessons Learned

To put it mildly, for the entire first semester, I was a cocky, annoying son of a gun. It’s good to know I’ve grown since then. I wish I could take the credit and say I simply applied myself and saw results. However, it is only by the grace of God that I am where I am today.

I have definitely learned to rely on God and trust Him with even the smallest of problems. This is due in part to me being able to get plugged into a local church. After a quite a bit of searching, I was able to find one that challenges me to become more and more like Him. After Spring Break, I tried to read the Bible more intentionally and become more prayerfully minded. I haven’t been perfect, but I have made progress.

It may be cliché, but I’ve really taken ahold of Jeremiah 29:11 in the latter half of the spring semester. Often times I get caught up in what’s happening next that I forget that God has a plan for my life. Sometimes I simply need to slow down to fully appreciate what God is doing in my life.

The People

I would not have made it through this year so smoothly nor would I have had so much fun if it were not for the amazing people I have met. Friendships have formed, and while some have developed more than others, I cherish all of them equally. I could not be more thankful for the amazing people that God blessed me with this year.

I want to take the time to acknowledge some notable persons that have impacted my life this year.

J. Bear

You’re absolutely wild. I love being able to talk sports and debate politics with you. Sometimes you can be too crazy and outlandish for your own good. I have to give you full credit for piquing my interest in hip-hop and rap music. Some may even say that I’m an unhinged “Bounce Back” fan because of you. Keep grinding and I have no doubt you’ll achieve whatever goals that your thick headed skull can dream up.

F. Fabien

Where do I even begin? Words don’t even begin to describe the perpetual tornado of enthusiasm and memes that comprise your personality. I knew of you first semester, but nothing brings people together like a Dr. Jones HIUS 221 exam. We are probably the most dynamic duo to ever make it through that class. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you better and help you elude the ‘Red Zone’.

K. Gee

Remember when I was trying to get you fired? Well, I’m still actively trying so you better be watching yourself. I admire how you led the hall with wisdom and humility. While you could’ve worked on being a bit more forgiving and compassionate, you didn’t do a completely horrendous job. It has become my goal in life to find someone that loves me as much as you love Kendrick Lamar.

D. Henderson

I can’t really bad mouth you too much considering I’m rooming with you next semester. I love your “can do” attitude and ability to handle even the most perilous situations with a clear and sound mind. You don’t make rash decisions and help balance out all of my spontaneity. Also, I think everyone enjoyed using you as a verbal punching bag. In complete seriousness, you are one of the most loyal people I’ve met. You will grow exponentially in your faith as you take on the role of Prayer Leader next semester. I can’t wait till our dorm room is filled with 8 varieties of succulents. We homies right?

A. Hinney

I can’t lie; we had beef all throughout the first semester. I take that back. You had beef with me. I had no problem with you. In the end, our mutual love for Dunkin Donuts broke down all of the barriers. Your volleyball skills put me in a position in which I had no choice but to tolerate you. After all, I need the MVP on my team. Your quick sense of wit keeps my ego in check and has helped me become a more tolerable person. I can safely say that you exude good vibes only.

T. Jerrell

The first semester you were just a frat boy with a Lacoste wardrobe that even I was envious of. However, in getting to know you this second semester, I’ve come to realize that you are super genuine and kind. With how grounded you’ve become in your faith and how overwhelmingly you resemble Chris Evans, I believe you are the most eligible bachelor on our hall. I loved our sunrise hikes and I hope we can tackle some more together next semester.

J. Lorig

I’m not kidding when I say that God put you in my life for a reason. Whether you realize it or not, out of everyone at Liberty University, you have had the biggest impact on my walk with Christ. You know how to be blunt and to the point when I’m being a complete idiot about something. Although I don’t think that we’d be friends if you weren’t my Prayer Leader, I’m glad you choose to hang out with me outside of Community Groups. I love how you’re always available to listen whenever I need to talk. I have no doubt that God is going to do big things with you. Group chats may come and go, but at least we still have each other.

J. Schloeder

Even though your driving is as bad as my eyesight, I’m thankful that our friendship has made it this far. I’m going to try to refrain from roasting you since I really don’t want to get slapped upside the head. You have taught me to be more compassionate and caring. Your empathy for others is contagious. Your passion for the Lord and love for others has rubbed off and helped me be less of a thorn in people’s sides this semester. Hopefully, you invite me out to Twelve Five Russell Springs Drive a few times next semester. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be bringing any ‘fresh’ produce.

C. Stavropoulos

I can’t believe I live in a world in which you have never written me up. It’s been close a few times, but I’ve managed to sneak by. I haven’t quite figured you out completely, but I’m pretty sure you love Jesus. The jury is still out on that one, but I think it’s safe to say you find your identity in Christ. I’m more than thankful that we were able to work past the rough patch at the beginning of the year and now arrive at the point in which I can talk to you about anything. Have you checked out “Ultralight Beam”? I think you might enjoy it.

G. Thigpen

I want to preface this whole thing by simply saying that I think we could’ve worked out just fine as roommates. Despite you kicking me to the curb and letting me fend for myself, I’m glad we were able to overcome that and become friends. Contrary to popular belief, I did not just use you for access to your beach house. To be real, you are easily one of the most caring and chill people on campus. Outside of FIFA, nothing really gets you riled up. It’s been a pleasure to watch you grow in your faith and I’m thankful you let me tag along to church. I can always count on you to shoot straight and be real. If nothing else, our friendship has allowed you to cop a couple Yeezys. That’s gotta be worth something. Right?

G. Walsh

I honestly don’t even know why we hang out. Let me rephrase that: I have no idea how we are even friends. That still sounds bad. I think our affection for Mexican food brought us together. Not to be offensive, but it amazes me how you’re getting married. God has truly blessed you and I know that you know that. I enjoy all of the little nuggets of wisdom you have imparted on me over the year. Before you move on to the next stage in your life, we should try to hit up La Carretta one last time.

 G. Waters

I believe that you were one of the first friends I made at Liberty. Your hospitality became evident when you let me lounge around your house all week long over Thanksgiving break. Although we haven’t been able to hang out as much during the second semester, every time we do get the opportunity, it’s an absolute blast. I want you to remember that I was the first to point out that something was cooking when we were in New Jersey. In fact, I have the vlog to prove it. I hope we can pull off some more crazy stuff this next semester.

A. Westerfield

Even though you were only here for the first semester, you left a lasting impression on my life. It has become one of my life goals to be as joyful and filled with the Holy Spirit as you are. I am so glad that you are able to come back to Liberty next semester. Just being in your presence can turn the most depressing of days into something wonderful. Your house is about to be the most hospitable little abode in the Greater Lynchburg area. Maybe someday you can make me one of those pineapple shaped Mr. Potato Head paintings for me to hang up in my dorm.