by SARA MARSHALL//Editor-in-Chief
Justin Haines has been musically inclined from a young age.
The commercial music major was born in New London, Conn., but was raised in Lubbock, graduating from Monterey High School. Haines didn’t grow up in a musical family, but he said he found music to be the coolest thing in the world.
“My favorite day, if you want to go back to elementary, was Fridays, because it was music class and she would always bring a different instrument, and I was fascinated by the violin,” Haines said. “I had a neighbor who took notice of how I loved music, and she tried to give me piano lessons. But that lasted a month, just because I wasn’t Bach or Beethoven yet.”
Haines quickly moved up to the viola in junior high and the violin in high school. After graduation, Haines said he knew right away that he was going to become a music major.
“Our school really advertised about South Plains College a lot, and I always kind of viewed SPC as not that big of a deal, since it is a junior college,” Haines said. “But it ended up being the best thing for me. That’s when things started getting interesting.”
Haines started out with a major in Music Education, but switched to Music Therapy during his second semester. By his third semester, Haines switched his major to Commercial Music, which offered a wider range of music genres.
“I was taught throughout the schools how to do classical music, but eventually it was more work,” Haines said. “Whereas guitar and voice came more naturally to me. I honestly found myself doing way better my first semester in Commercial Music, versus my whole year of trying to do classical music.”
Expecting to graduate in May, Haines realized just prior to the start of the Spring 2017 semester he had already graduated in December.
“It’s kind of a weird thing,” Haines said. “I had applied for graduation thinking I was going to graduate in May, and then I signed up for classes. But [SPC] dropped them because apparently they went through a degree audit and they were able to sub classes out that didn’t count previously in my college, but count now.”
Being an extremely extroverted individual, Haines sought ways to stay involved in campus life.
“I think it was orientation when I first heard about Baptist Student Ministry,” Haines said. “They had a booth up, and they were advertising their lunches and stuff. I kind of just blew it off. I really thought just like ‘OK, just another student activity.’”
The students and directors of the BSM soon began inviting Haines to their lunches and other events, such as Bible studies.
“Once I showed up, I just never really left,” Haines said. “Right now, I’m the assistant director, and Jennifer is the director of the BSM. I’m doing that up until May.”
Haines suggests that other students follow his lead and find a community they feel confident in. He said he believes a student’s social health is vital to educational success. So many students cram school and work into their days, leaving no time to be a college kid.
“I think it’s helpful to have community, to have time to breathe, to have time to just be loose,” Haines said. “I feel like if a person is confident in who they are, then they’re going to be confident in what they’re studying. I’m not going to say it’s like easy street from then on, but it will be a lot better than banging your head against the wall trying to cram every night trying to figure out everything all at once. And the BSM is definitely a place where I found some awesome, positive community that’s helped me get through classes.”
Haines plans to continue his education further than SPC, pursuing a bachelor’s degree and even possibly a master’s degree in time.
“I have a heart for student ministry, and I want to eventually, someday, be a college director or minister,” Haines said. “I’m already pretty much there, but like I want that degree to sort of secure it and be in a director’s position eventually.”
Haines still will continue to pursue music as he furthers his education after SPC. He currently serves as the director of a music ministry which caters to several youth groups, churches and youth camps. This summer, Haines and his music ministry have back-to-back youth camps.
“It’s crazy exciting and scary all at the same time, because it’s a lot of work,” Haines said. “But it’s something I love and I believe in it completely. It’s really exciting, what I’m doing with music, and I have a teacher’s heart. That’s for sure.”
On any week day, and sometimes even on the weekends, Haines can usually be found hanging out in the BSM. Haines and the other leaders of the BSM host weekly lunches, made by local churches, every Monday and Thursday for 50 cents.
Another way to be involved in the organization is by participating in on-campus worships every Wednesday in the Sundown Room of the Student Center, featuring a worship band after dinner time. Also, they drive to Texas Tech every Thursday to attend a joint Bible study, where they have a band and speaker.
Spring Break will also be a busy time for Haines and the BSM, as they go on their annual BeachReach, assisting spring break goers in need at South Padre Island. Being the second most popular Spring Break spot in the world, South Padre Island receives visitors from many countries throughout the week.
“What’s sad is you know, people go with the intent to party, but really they self-destruct,” Haines said. “They’re destroying their bodies with drugs, alcohol. Before I went on BeachReach, I had a strong hatred for fraternities and sororities. But it was really humbling for me, because I saw that they were as much people as I am. And we all make mistakes. And here I am on a mission trip trying to share love and grace to people, yet I have stuff in the closet. So it was really humbling for me. Now it’s like I have a heart for them, no matter what. Because you know, there’s always something.”
[Photo by SARA MARSHALL/PLAINSMAN PRESS]