The Added Benefits of Traveling

By Mikayla E. Sievers

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about traveling. Traveling is something that opens our eyes to new ideas and ways of life. Last summer, I took a trip to Iceland. I saw lots of wonderful sights and met some marvelous people, but one person helped me pursue an academic dream I had: presenting at a university in England. I am so fortunate that I met Dr. Carrie Crisp. Dr. Crisp is a professor of ethics in Texas. She introduced me to the Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies and encouraged me to apply. I submitted my abstract and received the acceptance email the first day of this semester. I was ecstatic and thrilled to share my work with religious scholars from around the world. The Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies occurred during UI’s Dead Week.

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Travel: Belong Among the Wildflowers

By Mikayla E. Sievers

As we approach the end of the semester, we begin to study for final exams, write papers, and complete class projects. Afterwards, some may plan to travel during the winter vacation. Traveling serves as a way to de-stress from school, open the mind to new ways of thinking, cure the soul, and participate in a cultural exchange. Traveling is fun, but It is important to remember to be cautious and safe. Anyone traveling should be aware of their surroundings, keep valuables either locked up or close, and have a plan of action in case something bad or unexpected happens.

Preparation is key to having a successful journey. I found it helpful to consult online resources about traveling as well as talking to people when I first began to travel. Online resources can also provide ideas about activities to participate in, the food, nightlife, and other details to know about the destination. I will share three online resources that I find helpful.

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“They Became Known as Sikhs”

By Mikayla E. Sievers

Many people in the United States do not know about the religion Sikhism. Its followers, Sikhs, have made significant contributions to the US and have been a part of this country for decades. This religion has great perspectives to offer. I want to write about this religion because it is not always well-understood in the US. As I share my experiences with Sikhism, I want to recognize that my examination of this religion comes from my lens of growing up in a Judeo-Christian society. I was not raised Sikh, and my article does not represent all Sikhs and their respective thoughts. That said, I highly admire this religion and have close connections to some Sikhs, including my boyfriend.

Sikhism began over 500 years ago in a region of India called The Punjab. At this time, The Punjab faced the Mughal empire invasion, and a mix of religious principles stemming from the Hindu beliefs and Islam were practiced at that time. Continue reading ““They Became Known as Sikhs””

Think Twice Before a Plant-Based Diet

By Mikayla E. Sievers

Over the past few years, it has become commonplace to hear about people adapting new diets: vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and paleo are the most common ones chosen. It is trendy right now to follow a diet like this for various reasons: some celebrities have these diets, some want to help the environment, and others want to eat more vegetables. Some religious practices abstain from certain foods or follow a set of laws that dictate how food should be eaten. For example, many Hindus do not eat beef, some Jews follow kosher, and some Sikhs are vegetarian.

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Join Us at the Women’s Center…

By Mikayla Sievers

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The author on top of a volcano in Iceland

During my six years at the University of Idaho, I have enjoyed the hospitality offered by the Women’s Center. The complimentary coffee and tea, couches, and library create a welcoming presence for all students, faculty, staff, and other university personnel. We are fortunate to have access to this space on campus. I wrote for the Women’s Center blog as an undergraduate student and am delighted to be editing the blog as a graduate student.

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The Spirit of Giving

During the holiday season, we experience stress and become caught up with papers, projects and tests. Others worry about gift shopping, wrapping presents and hustling and bustling for holiday gatherings. Some struggle to put food on the table and work long hours to provide for their families. Many find the holiday season a burden because they do not have the resources, family or time for holiday activities.

Even though we as students are consumed with our classes, jobs and undertakings, we still need to remember during this holiday season to give to those less fortunate than us. In 2014, 46.7 million people lived in poverty in the United States. Latah County has a poverty rate of 18.1 percent. It feels good to help another person, especially when the impact is close to home.

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What the United States Could Learn From Cuba

Cuba. Only 90 miles south of Florida; so close, yet so far away. The United States and Cuba have experienced odd relations for decades. Last December, President Obama announced the United States would change its relationship with the people of Cuba. When I saw his speech, I had hope for the US and the Cuban people. I am so thankful I was able to attend a study abroad program in Cuba this past summer. It opened my eyes to see how others live and made me question many aspects of life. Continue reading “What the United States Could Learn From Cuba”