Shamelessly Addicted to Coffee

By Emily Martin

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Coffee has gotten me through a lot of rough days during my Baylor career, so I guess it’s a good thing that there are about a million coffee shops in Waco. This past weekend my best friend (and her adorable puppy named Dixie) from Texas A&M came to visit me, so obviously we had to try (literally) every coffee house in Waco.

Disclaimer: DON’T DO THIS ALL IN ONE WEEKEND. Seriously. We were so jittery and my heart was beating so fast that I thought I was going to die. Space out your coffee shop visits. Maybe just do one per weekend? Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

First, we went to Common Grounds. CG is my all-time favorite place to study in Waco because they have great drinks and the atmosphere is different from any other coffee shop I have ever been to. Also, the people who work there are extremely inviting and kind. They even know my order, which is a plus for me!

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The second place we went was the Olive Branch (located underneath Spice Village). This is my favorite place to go to for breakfast. They have amazing pancakes and even better coffee. Their 254 roast is to die for! Hannah and I ended up each buying a pound of it so that we could have it at home. So on top of already being hyped up on Common Grounds and Olive Branch coffee, my car even smelled like a coffee shop because we left out bags of coffee in it.

We decided to take a little break from our Coffee Excursion and headed over to Junque in the Trunk, a little antique store on La Salle that is only open Friday to Sunday. Of course when we walked in we were offered free Dr Peppers (who can resist that??), so we gladly took them and poured even more caffeine into our bodies. I had never been to Junque in the Trunk, but it was definitely worth the visit! We also visited Magnolia Market, the shop that Joanna Gaines (from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”) owns. Her shop is worth a visit! I love the show Fixer Upper because the couple met at Baylor and are doing some pretty amazing things to the homes of Waco.

Back on the Coffee Tour, we headed over to Outdoor Waco to test out their coffees. I was surprised at how good it was! I didn’t know how it would be since it was made in a bike shop, but I ended up really enjoying it! Plus, while you’re there you can walk around and check out their shop.

Our coffee day came to an end at Dichotomy, a small coffee shop in downtown Waco. Their coffee was a little pricy, but it was tasty! Hannah and I both got iced mochas, which I would definitely recommend. I would also recommend going upstairs to sit and enjoy your coffee. They have a balcony that is really pretty.

We may have missed a couple of places, but I honestly don’t think that either of us could handle another ounce of caffeine that weekend. On the positive side, however, Hannah now wants to transfer to Baylor because she loves Waco so much…mission accomplished.

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From Woodland Greens to Gold and Green

By Diana Cates

The past three weeks have been a complete whirlwind for me . . . I mean, I literally feel like Taz has gotten a hold of me in his little tornado (fond reference for those Looney Tunes fans). This isn’t to be misunderstood; I have loved every exhilarating moment of this journey! This tornado-like feeling was expected, and I knew drastic change was coming, but it still caught me by surprise.

IMG_1455I’m not the traditional Baylor student, in the sense that for the past seven years I have worked and traveled around the world with the Marine Corps. This makes me a bit older than the average student, which has been one of the dizzying contributors of my whirlwind experience. It has taken considerable adjustment for me to go from that work environment to the vibrant, youthful university campus that I have come to love so much already. Fortunately, an open heart and mind have made this transition easier.

Over the summer, I spent a month in the hills of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, completing what would be one of my last field exercises with my unit. It was rough living on meal rations (MREs – always go for the pasta ones!), but it was rewarding to see the cumulative results of my hard work. One week after returning home, I drove down to Waco to spend five days with hundreds of other new incoming students during Line Camp. What a contrast! I had no idea what to expect, but it proved to be THE perfect beginning to my Baylor experience, and I highly encourage it to every new incoming student.

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Call it a whim or perhaps sheer intuition, but last spring I found myself on the Baylor campus, not having previously considered attending. At the time, I didn’t realize that in doing so, I was already on a life-changing path. There is an endearing glow to the students here at Baylor, and it’s something that captured my heart when I visited in March. Though this quality is intangible, it is evident in so many different aspects. It is present in the smiles you encounter when you’re walking to class. It is experienced when you drop your books, and ten students stop to help you (which, incidentally, happened last Wednesday!). Most of all, it is seen in the faces of your professors and advisors who do everything in their power to see you succeed.

Understandably, the camaraderie of the Marine Corps can never be replaced, but I feel prepared to hang my woodland greens for now. It is with pride that I now bleed gold and green!

SIC ‘EM BEARS!

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Victory Lap

By Avery Jackson

Senior year has finally come! I’m on what some people call a victory lap – this means that it took me five years instead of four to graduate. However, I am no less excited!

I spent my summer as a nomad in Valparaiso, Indiana, working for a non-profit called Kids Alive International. This summer, I wore many hats! I created online newsletters, used my graphic design skills, took photos, wrote and edited stories, made donor presentations and did many hours of research on corporate matching gifts. I did the vast majority of the impact reports on both the countries we serve in as well as our previous site projects and fundraising events. I loved every minute!

In addition to the 40 hours I spent in the office, I also thrived outside of it as well. I made friends and explored Chicago, Wyoming and even Florida. I also had some much-needed family time with my parents and three youngest siblings, rode horses and trains, swam in the great lakes and even managed to squeeze in some concerts.

However, during my three months of summer, I stayed in SEVEN different homes. I basically lived out of my suitcase. That was an adventure in itself!

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I loved getting to spend time with my siblings!

Driving with my dad and my fearless feline, Jezber, back to Waco from Indiana was a relief. Baylor has really become my home. I began to feel excited and energized the closer I got to my art-filled apartment. After my fourth major internship, I now know that I have many of the skills I need to survive in the “real world.”

My Study Abroad Experience – Baylor in Great Britain

By Susannah Mohrmann

When I first began thinking about my college experience, I knew I wanted to study abroad. I knew that my college years would probably be the only time I would have the opportunity to go to another country for several weeks or even months. Baylor really stood out to me because of the opportunities it gave to study abroad in almost any country. Once I came to Baylor I met older students who had studied abroad, and I eagerly asked them every question I could think of. Many of the opportunities available are for entire semesters; but when I discovered how much I loved Baylor, I could not imagine missing a full semester. I knew I would have to study abroad in the summer.

I soon found out about the program Baylor in Great Britain from several people and professors. Here is the gist of the program:

  • Baylor professors travel to London to teach you at Imperial College.
  • You get six hours of Baylor credit.
  • Class is only 8 -10 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
  • The rest of your day and the weekends are yours to travel and adventure through the United Kingdom.

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This past summer in the UK was one of the most incredible experience I have had at Baylor. I met new friends, traveled with old friends and developed relationships with my professors. From day one of the trip, I had a three-page list of places I wanted to see. I checked every place off by the end. I also traveled to Scotland, Wales, all over England and even Barcelona, Spain. By the end of the five-week trip, I felt like a local. I knew how the Tube worked, and I was able to give directions to other tourists.

I am so grateful I was able to have this opportunity to study and learn in another country rich with history. It was seriously the best experience I have had since I have been in college. I made deep friendships, learned a new culture and learned how to be more independent. Baylor does an incredible job with their offerings in study abroad programs. Take advantage of the time you have when you get to college. Do things out of your comfort zone and experience something new!

Speechless

By Patara Williams

I’m never speechless.

Never.

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But as I approached a white-washed pedestrian bridge overlooking a glorious river, I was. Until now, I had never seen the Brazos displayed with such grandeur. Glorious. Thousands of things crossed my mind:

Since when is the Brazos blue?

Is it blue?

Is my mind playing tricks on me?

Will this bridge fit 40,000 people at one time?

Of course not Patara, that’s preposterous.

WHOA. What’s that?!

As if it were rising from the dead, the McLane Stadium rose from the waters majestically, and then there was a flood…of tears.

I began to recall all of my experiences at Floyd Casey Stadium…my Baylor years flashed before my eyes.

More than 45,000 people gathered last Sunday to witness the Bears take down the SMU Ponies, and boy did they do it!

With each sack, with each run, with each interception, my heart raced, and my blood pressure soared…and I loved it. I was making history. There are 300 million people in America, and I can say I was one of 45,000 to experience Baylor’s first game in McLane Stadium. Why does that excite me so much?

Maybe, it’s because the Bears haven’t been ranked so highly in pre-season since 1957!

Maybe, it’s because I can recall when the stands were far from full, and the people in the stands before this Golden Era were equaled to the current number of Baylor freshmen.

Maybe, it’s because I feel so delighted and so spoiled by God to be able to experience Baylor at a time when it’s unparalleled.

But maybe, it’s just because I love football.

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Three Things High School Doesn’t Tell You About College

By Torie Abbott

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1. Nobody Makes You Attend Class

Unlike high school, students do not have to report absences or present some sort of excuse. Also, the university will not call your parents if you miss a couple classes. Some classes do have stricter attendance policies than others; I had one class that had attendance built into the course’s grading scale. Each specific college at Baylor has its own specific attendance policy, but most of them require that you attend 75 percent of all class sessions. Now, that does not mean that you should skip class or miss the maximum number allotted. You will be told 100 times, and I promise it is true, that there is no substitution for attending class. Even though the temptation may be there, being present and taking your own notes is the best thing you can do to learn and assure yourself that you have all the material. Many instructors also reward those who have a good attendance record at the end of the semester. With Baylor’s new grading system, good attendance could be the difference between an A and an A-. So, there is a definite bonus for those who dedicate themselves to making it to that Monday morning 8 a.m. every day of the semester.

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2. Meal Plans are Actually Pretty Great

When I was a freshman, I remember having an intense love/hate relationship with the dining halls. In high school, eating in the cafeteria was the worst. Off-campus was the way to go. Unless your high school, like mine, did not allow students to leave campus for lunch. In that case, you were stuck bringing your own lunch or eating the dreaded cafeteria food. Let me assure you of one thing, the dining halls blow cafeteria food out of the water. Honestly, though we like to complain, most of the food is pretty great. I guarantee you that it is better than most things you will make on your own. It may seem expensive, but since you can pay for the whole semester up front through your semester bill, it is super worth it. And trust me, as an upperclassman, you will miss the convenience of having a dining hall downstairs.

3. You are Going to Struggle…

…And that is OK! There will be times you are homesick. There will be times you feel alone. There will be times you are overwhelmed with class. I do not tell you all this to discourage you or make you scared. I tell you this to assure you that it happens, and more importantly, it is worth it. There were a couple times my freshman year that I missed my family and the simplicity of high school, but college is great. And student life at Baylor University is truly special. It might seem cliché, but there is a place for everyone in the Baylor Family. Go to Late Night (a super cool resource for freshman to go to and see all the clubs, organizations and employment opportunities at Baylor) on the first Friday of classes and see all that Baylor has to offer. You might just find your place at this great university!

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Palace on the Brazos

By Laura Teague

Last Thursday, I got to do something I had been dreaming about for the past year: walk across the beautiful pedestrian bridge by the Law School and get a glimpse of McLane Stadium, totally finished and more beautiful than I ever would have imagined.

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To say I was excited would be a complete understatement. I was ECSTATIC. If you were to ask anyone, I am a football fanatic. As soon as our schedule was announced, I had a countdown to the first game on my phone, appropriately titled “The Most Wonderful Time of Year.” While some people believe that’s Christmas, I would argue it’s college football season!

Well, this past weekend absolutely lived up to that prediction, starting with the Tradition’s Rally on Thursday. The first big pep rally of the year is always fun, but having it in the new stadium added a whole new level of bustle and excitement. My roommates and I were lucky enough to get wristbands to be on the field for the rally and Phillip Phillips concert after. There may have been tears walking out onto the field. Don’t judge.

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Then all of the sudden, it was Sunday – GAME DAY! The student section was directly in the sun for the entire first quarter (and the two hours we sat there before the game even began), but it was worth every second! After crushing SMU (all in a days work), we all headed home and crashed. It was a busy weekend, but as one of my professors has been constantly reminding me, being a Baylor student during this cool time in our school’s history is something I will never forget. Who else can say they got to run the line in both Floyd Casey and McLane Stadium? Or got to watch Baylor football not just rebuild, but take control of the Big 12 and college football in general? I am so thankful for these past three seasons, and I can’t wait to see what we are able to accomplish this year!

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Apply today for Invitation to Excellence

By Travis Stone, a Baylor Admissions Counselor

Are you a high-achieving student?

Interested in studying one of these academic areas?

Looking for a great scholarship opportunity?

Answering “Yes!” to these questions? Then keep reading to learn more about Invitation to Excellence!

Invitation to Excellence is a special weekend event held for our high-achieving students interested in a few of the many academic programs Baylor offers. Students who are invited and participate receive a $2,000 scholarship and are eligible for a full tuition scholarship.

The weekend starts off with a Dr Pepper cocktail hour followed by a catered dinner where Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr will speak. Throughout the evening, you will interact with a faculty member in your academic interest, and following dinner, you can enjoy a desert reception and talk with current Baylor students in your field. On Saturday, you will be led on a tour of campus, eat in a residential dining hall and attend break-out sessions where you will experience hands on interaction with Baylor professors.

To find out how to apply and if you qualify for Invitation to Excellence, visit baylor.edu/excellence.

Applications to attend are due by 9 a.m. CST on Monday, September 8! Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity that Baylor students have experienced for the past 25 years!

I Love This Place

By Courtney Roberts

Walking around campus these past few weeks, I’ve been stopping more than usual -stopping to take it all in, talk to passing friends and enjoy the warmer weather. I’m becoming quite sappy. When I think about everything that has happened during my Baylor years, I’m caught up in a wave of emotion. I feel happy, blessed, thankful, proud and overjoyed at the friends and memories I’ve made. I always seem to think, “I love this place!”

These past two weeks have been especially wonderful. As school winds down, I’ve gotten to spend more time with friends, wander through Cameron Park and goof off more than usual. I celebrated my 22nd birthday, went to numerous end of the year parties and attended my last class ever. It’s going by much faster than I thought, and I’ve found myself taking quick pictures of things on campus in a bout of nostalgia. If I could take a picture of the Pat Neff bells playing “That Good Old Baylor Line” one last time, I would!

It’s funny to look back at where I was four years ago, experiencing major senioritis as I was about to graduate high school and not giving much thought to what my life would look like at Baylor. To be honest, I almost didn’t go to Baylor. I was torn between the University of Oklahoma and Baylor, and I didn’t make a decision until April 30, a.k.a the day before I had to make a decision. I was definitely throwing caution to the wind.

But, I’m glad I didn’t have many expectations going in. Baylor blew me away. I was amazed at how easy the transition to Baylor was, and I frequently called my mom to tell her about all the things I was doing and how I was never coming home. Before long, I had a big group of friends that I hung out with most of my waking hours. We did all kinds of shenanigans together, from sneakily climbing into Pat Neff’s bell tower in the middle of the day to hanging a 15-foot-long balloon arch between the outside of our friends’ windows at Penland. Eventually, I buckled down and learned how to study, but that is a different story.

To make a long story short, there is no way to succinctly tell you what an impact Baylor has made on my life. I’ve made friends and memories that I’ll cherish for a lifetime, and I know so many of my peers will tell you the same. It’s been a crazy adventure, and I’m confident that this is just the beginning!

Below are a few pictures of my favorite Baylor memories.

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Celebrating my birthday with some friends from church!

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Kappa Alpha Theta’s member class of 2011. These four years have been such a blast with them!

 

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By far one of my favorite Baylor memories was getting to study abroad in Florence, Italy, with the Baylor journalism department. You can read about it here!

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After graduation, I will be working in the Texas Capitol as a legislative aid for a state representative. I’m thrilled to be working in such a fun place. I have no clue what life will look like in this next season, but God has provided so much already. Finding this job and finding a place to live in Austin just seemed to fall into my lap. I consider myself abundantly blessed when I look at all that has happened this year, let alone these last four years. But, I know that I’ll be back for football games in the new McLane Stadium, and I’ll make it a point to stop by campus when I pass through Waco.

I love this place, but “the old has gone, and the new is here!” So goodbye, Waco. Hello, Austin!

Last Tips for Incoming Freshmen!

By Brooks Goodwin

For all the graduating high school seniors who will be coming to Baylor to start of their college careers in the fall, I thought it would be nice to give some tips for how to make the most out of your summer.

First off, be sure to spend plenty of time with your family and friends. Heading off to college is a very exciting time. You will meet plenty of people and develop new friendships, but don’t be so eager to leave home without spending some last moments of quality time with your closest friends and, of course, your family. There is no telling how long it will be before you see them again once you move to Baylor, so make the most of your time with them while you can this summer.

Secondly, GO TO LINE CAMP! Seriously, I think that anyone you meet who finds out you are an incoming freshman will tell you to make this a priority. Line Camp is a really fun experience and definitely gets you excited to be a Baylor Bear. Line Camp will not only allow you to get a feel for living on Baylor’s campus for a week, but it will also allow you to meet many of your fellow classmates before classes even start, which can be beneficial if you don’t know anybody else attending Baylor. You also learn a lot of things about Baylor, such as it’s history and the chants/cheers done at football games, which you absolutely have to know. For more information, check out the Line Camp website.

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My Line Camp Group!

Lastly, get excited! You are about to start the experience of a lifetime and join the wonderful community that is the Baylor family. College is a fun, challenging, life-changing and rewarding time, and I honestly believe that Baylor is one of the best places to make home for the next four years. Enjoy your summer and have fun when August comes around and it is time for move in. I look forward to seeing you all on campus, Class of 2018!