U!Shine’s final event of the school year, U Blew It, is encouraging students to embrace their failures as successes stories through a night of storytelling, music, poetry and various other creative outlets.
Senior Elijah Weaver said his primary involvement with the U Blew It event is sharing his story through spoken word.
“I’ve done spoken word, or slam poetry, for about six years now,” Weaver said. “I will be sharing a personal story that involves talking through my struggles that I’ve experienced and the hope I think comes with those struggles or that I’ve experienced along with those struggles.”
According to Weaver, the U Blew It event is continuing U!Shine’s initiative to bring awareness to mental illness, which can often be swept under the rug. He said this event provides an outlet for those to share about mental illness, or even just a struggle, share about failure in a way that is inclusive, affirming and open.
“Bringing a community of people together, we are able to share hope,” Weaver said. “Hopefully to some degree, also share success in the light of failure and encourage one another through it.”
Weaver said he thinks an event like U Blew It is an opportunity for those who may not be as aware of all that is going on with the people around them to show up and have their eyes opened to something they are not personally experiencing.
“It’s always important to be proactive in being aware,” Weaver said. “Whether it’s mental illness, failures or struggles of the people around us when there is an actually event that is helping us to bring that into the light, to bring that out into the open. I wouldn’t see a reason not to go.”
Junior Kyle Chaffin said he will share his personal story of going through depression and wants to offer hope to other individuals no matter their struggles or failures by his testimony at U Blew It.
Chaffin said he believes talking about your failures means accepting that failure happens, also the willingness to go on and move forward from them. He said he believes it is okay to fail, it is not the end of the world when you do fail.
“It’s not hard to fail, especially in college,” Chaffin said. “So I hope to help encourage other people and let them know they are not alone in what they are doing. You don’t have to struggle by yourself there are others who have been when you are.”
Risa Forrester, who serves as Oklahoma Christian’s vice president for admissions and marketing, is the emcee for the event. She said she looks forward to being able to introduce those who are telling their stories of failure and resilience as a community.
“The students choosing to share their stories are courageous to stand up and admit their failures,” Forrester said. “If you tell me your story, it gives me permission to share mine and this is where healing really begins. Community is built through transparently sharing our stories of struggle.”
Forrester said she is grateful to U!Shine for bringing a different approach and resources, for students, in addition to the positive things already happening on campus through student life and the counseling center, which helps students who are walking through difficulty.
“When we give opportunity to share those dark places or difficult times that we don’t talk about, it brings them into the light where we cannot celebrate the failure but celebrate the resilience it takes to come back from the failure,” Forrester said.
The U Blew It event is April 13 from 7-9 p.m. at Okay Yeah Co in Oklahoma City.