As part of Oklahoma Christian University’s U!Shine organization, a smaller branch known as U!Learn offers discussions on various topics, ranging from mental health to planning for the future. Summer Lashley led the Oct. 9 lecture, titled How Not to Live in Your Parents’ Basement for the Rest of Your Life.”
Junior Taylor Dotson said U!Learn is about approving one’s life.
“One thing she really touched on was on how to maintain good relationships,” Dotson said. “She gave personal stories, insight and experiences. It’s not the typical Kudo event. It’s actual, real-life situations and advice you’re getting that can be used everyday. I love that the people we’re surrounded by, like Summer Lashley, are coming forward with their personal struggles and sharing them with us.”
Dotson said she regularly attends U!Learn seminars and is thankful the organization brings awareness of mental health to Oklahoma Christian University’s campus.
“I go because I am really passionate on spreading awareness of mental health,” Dotson said. “I have suffered from mental health issues my entire life, and I am really glad we have that organization on campus bringing awareness. Sometimes the lessons aren’t applicable to me, but I always end up feeling better after it. These people have been in our shoes and they’re taking those experiences and bringing them to us so that we can learn before we make the mistakes.”
Junior Samantha Redig, who works for U!Shine as an administrative assistant, said she enjoys going to the seminars and sees them as a “valuable tool in keeping students aware and educated.”
“I am passionate about U!Shine and the U!Learn seminars, because it provides students with a free and easily accessible way to gain knowledge about mental and emotional health.,” Redig said. “I find it refreshing to have such an open conversation going on about the topics we cover, and it is especially important to have these conversations led by people with the background and educational expertise to be giving the information.”
According to Redig, the U!Learn seminars can be applied to any student, no matter the topic of the seminar.
“If you’re not dealing with an issue personally, then you probably know someone who is,” Redig said. “There’s lots of information on the internet and it’s easy to get lost in the scope of all the information that could be correct or not. The seminars are a place to learn, get questions answered, find support and most importantly, increase awareness and break down the stigmas surrounding mental illness.”
Sophomore Bailee Sandoval became a regular attendee to U!Learn seminars last year, when she said heard every college students favorite words: Free t-shirt. She quickly became involved and said she continues to learn and grow with every event.
“I showed up to the one where they spoke about nutrition,” Sandoval said. “I went and met Jen, the woman who started U!Shine, and we became fast friends. I wasn’t planning on going to the first week, but I knew Summer was speaking and I need to learn how to adult. It’s always fun, because I never know who’s going to be there. I hate going places where I don’t know people, but it was my way of branching out and meeting new people.”
So far, two U!Learn seminars have taken place this semester, the most recent being Lashley’s “adulting” discussion. According to Sandoval, Lashley gave students different tools and tips on becoming successful adults. Sandoval said she would encourage every student at Oklahoma Christian to at least try out a U!Learn seminar.
“Just go,” Sandoval said. “It’s 45 minutes of your time, and you’re only going to benefit from it. No matter where you’re coming from, you’re going to walk away learning something new, and it’s going to be helpful information. I know, whenever I show up, I’m going to learn information that I didn’t even know I needed to know.”