Listen to psychologist Susan Cunningham speak on two things she wish she'd known when she was nineteen!
Click here: Beat the Rush talk Jan2013
On Tuesday afternoon, girls gathered at the Bonhoeffer House for the annual “Beat the Rush” tea. The day was a dreary and rainy one, and the first year girls were tired from two long days of rush. However, the hot tea and delicious cookies, cheese, and fruit brightened up the day.
After chatting around the table of appetizers, the students gathered in the living room for the talk. Karen introduced the panel of women who had come to offer wisdom and insight to the students. Among them was Susan Cunningham, a well-known counselor in Charlottesville. The four other ladies there were Molly McFarland, Tilly Lazar, Johanna Montague, and Kendall Cox.
After introductions, we first had the privilege of listening to Susan Cunningham. She told us two pieces of advice she would tell her nineteen-year old self. The first piece of advice Susan had to offer was to “never compare yourself.” One quote of Susan’s that particularly stuck out to me was that “comparison is the thief of joy”. By comparing ourselves to those around us, we either feel a sense of superiority or inferiority. In both instances, we experience a loss of joy, pleasure, and satisfaction. We have to actively avoid falling into the temptation of comparing, which we as humans (and especially girls) will always face. Susan reminded us that we are all uniquely and perfectly made, with different passions and personalities.
Secondly, Susan said she would’ve told her younger self that “your baptism defines you.” We must remind ourselves that our identity in Christ is secure and unconditional. We have already been accepted and included in Christ, and there is nothing we could ever do to lose this identity. All of these truths allow us to possess what Susan calls “interior stability.”
After Susan spoke, the other four ladies then related their own experiences with rush and sorority life—both the challenges and the blessings of it. It was a neat opportunity to hear from these ladies; their experiences were still recent enough to be relatable, yet the women were also old enough to have reflected and gained insight on their college experiences. After, the first year girls were then able to ask questions about difficult issues, such as dealing with disappointment and pressure from others.
“Beat the Rush” was a time of refreshment and recovery from the pressures and busyness of rush. The girls were blessed to hear wisdom and truths from older women in order to face the week ahead with a new perspective and mindset. These topics of identity and comparison that were discussed are important issues that all women struggle with, whether rushing or not. ---Caroline Parsley, UVa '14