The past few weeks I've been meeting with a handful of friends and family sharing with them about the ministry I'm joining and about my vision to love college students the way I was loved, inspired, and motivated by friends, professors, supervisors, and mentors when I was in college. In each meeting, I've tried to ask who the important people were/are in their lives. The people that helped them grow. The people who mentored them or didn't give up on them when they were sassy or going through their "in need of tough love" phase. Most people I've talked to have at least one person who inspired them to live better and reach higher. A grandparent. A friend. A parent. A co-worker.
I look back at my time at Azusa Pacific and am overwhelmed by the list of people who intentionally invested in my life in just four short years.
Karen was my professor for just ONE class in college-- but she will always make that list ^^^.
I was THE LAZIEST learner in college and hadn't valued my education much until my Senior Year when I accidentally took a bunch of really amazing and challenging courses. I'll admit, I'd purposefully avoided Karen's classes because I'd heard from my friends that she had high expectations and knew how to give homework. Stacie, then, was afraid of high expectations and homework. I wanted easy and bland (which is weird because I really love vibrancy and challenge--- maybe I hadn't figured that out yet). But I had to take this particular class and it was only offered with Karen---- When I look back now at my fears and ridiculous mentality, I laugh about it. But if I could go back and take all of the courses she taught, I would.
Here's why you need to know about Karen:
Karen treated myself and my classmates like high achieving scholars and I think that's what did it for me. I didn't consider myself a learner or a high achiever, but her attitude and expectations forced me (in all the best ways) to take myself and my work seriously. Each class she asked us what we enjoyed from our reading, and expected us to have an answer. She expected us to have completed, contemplated, and even enjoyed the work she'd given us. She expected our work to be top notch and asked really thoughtful questions. I found myself putting in work for her class I'd never given to any of my other classes.
And we can be real and honest in this space--- I still struggle with taking the easy way or choosing procrastination in my day to day life, but taking Karen's class showed me what I'm capable of and inspired me to become a confident thought-through dream chasing woman.
It's hard to shake the spark of something you didn't realize you were capable of.
So when she asked me to design some graphics for her new non-profit, Spark Voice, I had a huge grin on my face most of the day. I had the same feeling I'd had when I accidentally yelled at Ryan Gosling in Hollywood. I felt special. THE Karen Lang wanted me to use my business, gifts, and dream I'm chasing, to help her chase hers. OMG.
So basically, Karen. is. awesome. And Spark Voice is something I can't believe I get to have a small part in:
Here's what she's up to (and pretty much exactly how she impacted me)
"SparkVoice gathers girls and women for workshops and creative events that offer support in building speaking and writing skills, mentoring in girl-related topics and media impacts, and coaching in college and professional pathways. Most importantly, we support girls strengthening their voices and finding their sparks--interests and talents--in order to ignite their bright futures."
Crazy cool, right?
You can read some inspiring blogs from SparkVoice here.
And you can check out the prints I designed for Karen at the beginning of this post and below.
Thanks Karen, this was a real treat for me. :)