To Future Torch Bearers

By Patara Williams

To: Torch Bearers

RE: A Treasure

As I look forward to graduation, I glance in my rear view and see four wonderful years completed.

I have gleaned wisdom from wonderful friends, impeccable professors and loving citizens from this very community. Not to mention the fact that I did so at one of the most beautiful institutions on the Earth. These days will never be duplicated. My undergraduate time has come to a close.

Here is my plea to you:

Whatever you do, do not forsake any of it. Don’t miss the little things, like free meals on the Quad. Definitely don’t miss the big things like Homecoming. Most importantly, don’t miss the crucial things, like building life-long relationships.

Yes, academics are important, but at the end of the day…the most valuable thing that you’ll receive from this institution may not come from a diploma tube.

I’m different…totally different from who I was when I walked into the doors of Baylor University four years ago.

I can study. I have mastered my major. I can hold a conversation with a stranger. I can manage my time and money. My faith is stronger. I’m fearless. I’m devout. I know what I believe and why I believe it. I could keep going because the lessons are innumerable.

Simply said, I’m thankful for the opportunity I have had to embrace a legacy and leave one along the way. For those that come after me, please continue the legacy and carry the torch with much grace.

Thank you Baylor University.

Sic ‘Em Bears.

Patara Williams

Learning from Experience

By Aaron Carter

I feel the same way about the end of a semester as I do about birthdays—slightly happy to be more mature and slightly sad to see it all go. I can usually point out the major changes I have experienced over the course of a semester, just as I can think back on my previous birthday and immediately see the difference in my character and maturity.

Reflection is inevitable. Like the New Year, we make resolutions, like “I’ll study harder next semester” or “I’ll make more time for my friends.” Usually we follow through with at least one of these and at least for a little while. Some of these new habits stick. We think about our failures and our successes and decide to capitalize on them and make better use of our goods and lesser use of our evils.

This stage is incredibly useful to us. While we are thinking about finals and going home to enjoy a nice long break from our routine, it does us a lot of good to really reflect and to think about what we liked best about this semester in particular. Did we like our professors? Did we dislike them? Why?

The end of a semester invites deep learning. My required history class this semester taught me more than just world history. I learned about the character of my professor. I learned which learning styles worked for me and which ones didn’t. I learned more about the types of characteristics I admire in fellow students. These are lessons that shape your personality and your fundamental character as a student and future worker.

Take some time and look back. Learn not just from the classes, but from the experience of taking them.

My Favorite Memories of the Fall Semester

By Marisela Martin

Hey y’all!

Well the semester is winding down, and as I sit here writing, I get the opportunity to reflect on this semester. The last day of class is coming up, and it is bittersweet. Feels like just yesterday I was moving into my campus apartment, learning how to cook, and now I’m getting ready to pack my things up and head home for break!

The best memory so far from this semester was attending the first ever traditions rally at the new McLane Stadium!

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I mean just look at this beauty! And our Baylor football team has definitely opened this stadium with a great season!

There have been the ups and downs with classes. From studying to writing long papers, there have been moments where I have been overwhelmed, but hey school is school! You also can’t forget Homecoming, the start of the basketball season, good times with friends and my favorite tradition, Christmas on 5th! Fall semester is definitely a whirlwind of great moments and moments that test you.

However, finals are here, and it’s time to put my head in the game! So wish me luck because I will definitely need it! Until next time, Sic ‘Em and Happy Holidays!

A Different Sort of Investment

By Maria Dillman

finance-classes

In my finance class on Monday, we spent the whole class period (over an hour) discussing a Bible verse.

Can we talk about how strange that sentence is? My finance professor taught a whole lesson based off a parable from the Bible. First of all, most college students in America wouldn’t be able to say that in general. And second of all, I understand if this scenario would have happened in a religion class for example. But finance – isn’t that supposed to deal with numbers or debt or equity or stocks? But it was relevant to business, the economy and the financial world we live in.

I won’t preach the discussion to you because I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. But the conversation dove in and out of fiscal management, being a good steward and obeying the Lord’s will as our number one priority. Our professor didn’t get on his soap box, but rather sat down with us, shared his story and listened to ours. That is an example of true teaching.

As this semester comes to a close, I am reminded yet again how thankful I truly am for the professors and community at Baylor. I couldn’t ask for a better experience in and out of the classroom during my four years in undergrad. Here at Baylor, you can learn all the facts, make the A’s and get a nice little degree, just like any other university. But the true lessons are learned from those around you. That one class period taught me a lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life. And it was arguably the most important thing I have yet to learn at college. All because my professor cared and he took the time to show it.

P.S. If you want to check out the parable for yourself, it was Luke 12:13-24. 

Get Up Baylor, It’s GameDay!

By Laura Teague

First of all, thank y’all so much for voting! I was able to win the VIP tailgate experience for GameDay – and as promised, here is the inside scoop! First of all, let me explain – GameDay is a TV show that chooses the biggest game of the week and visits the campus to film the show live and discuss the games for the week. The fact that they chose Baylor is a huge honor and gave the university tons of publicity!

Most of my friends went to the stadium around 4 or 5 p.m. on Friday to get a good spot to camp out in line for the student area behind the host’s desk. My friends and I went over that night to see the line and everyone’s tents and signs. Since I won the VIP passes, I, and 10 of my friends, didn’t have to get a tent (#blessed) and were able to just show up the morning of the show. I wish I had taken pictures of everyone’s signs – people are so creative! Most of them were poking fun at KSU and TCU, as well as their respective coaches. After a few pictures with the GameDay bus and our beautiful stadium, my group of friends and I got to go home and sleep before a big day!

The Night Before!

The Night Before!

We got to the stadium around 7:30, and it was already packed. Students had stayed there all night and then more poured in to fill the rest of the plaza in front of McLane Stadium.

On the bus heading to the show!

On the bus heading to the show!

 

Arriving at the Stadium!

Arriving at the Stadium!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our tailgate area was directly behind part of the set, and a local BBQ place called Viteks had been preparing food for us all morning, so we had plenty to eat! Before the show started, one of the hosts, David Pollack, came to our area and hung out with us! Here is me attempting to teach him how to do a Sic ‘Em!

Teaching David Pollack how to Sic 'Em!

Teaching David Pollack how to Sic ‘Em!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the actual show, we got to meet Coach Art Briles, and we even ended up on TV!

TV Time!

TV Time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the show was over and we were stuffed with food, we got to go on set and take a picture with the rest of the hosts. Then, it was home for a quick nap and off to win our second Big XII title! Overall, it was one of the most incredible weekends I have ever had and a huge positive image for Baylor.

Picture on the set with the hosts!

Picture on the set with the hosts!

Such a fun morning!

Such a fun morning!

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After the game - One True Champion.

After the game – One True Champion.

Keeping Perspective During Finals

By Jaziah Masters

It has come that frantic time in the semester when classes are ending and finals are coming. Meaning, this is the time, for better or for worse, to reflect upon the semester and see how it turned out. What did I do that worked? What didn’t? Do I have any regrets? What can I take from this semester to help me with the next? These are all questions that come to my mind as the semester comes to a close.

One of the biggest thoughts I have about this semester can be summarized in two words:  Sophomore Slump. I’d heard about this dangerous precedent early on in my semester, but if I avoided the Freshman Fifteen, surely I could avoid the dreaded Sophomore Slump, right. Well…not exactly.

I’ve come to learn that the Sophomore Slump is not exactly what it sounds. The many transitions that college freshmen face is nothing that should be slighted. In fact, it is the undoing of many unprepared fellows. But sophomore year comes equipped with its own unique set of circumstances.

While freshmen year is about taking the first steps into collegiate life, sophomore year is about taking the first steps into your collegiate career and beyond. What I am doing now will impact the opportunities that I have in the future, both in college and after college. I came to this vital realization only midway into my semester. What worked during freshman year will not necessarily work this year, or in the years that follow. There is no magic formula to do well in “college.” One must be adaptive in their approach and realize the varying dynamics that are playing a role.

With a progressive course load, more leadership roles, life off-campus, work-study, volunteering, clubs and organizations, the plate begins to fill up in the ongoing years of college. I believe this is why time management is such an important skill to practice before, during and after college. There is so much to take into consideration as one furthers their college career, and on top of all of this is the all-mighty GPA, a value of not only you as a person, but your capabilities, right? Well…not exactly.

A number does not and will never define you. In fact, all of the aspects that make you a human individual are impossible to quantify. It is essential to remember this, regardless of what societal pressure may say. This is not to say you should let your GPA go by the wayside, but instead, know there are many more components of your college experience that will contribute to the person you become. Look at your own personal growth, which is a key indicator of how far you’ve come. Whenever I’m in doubt, I ask myself a simple question. Did I come to college for a GPA? To which I answer with a resounding, “No!”  I, along with so many others, came to college for the growth, for the like-minded people and for my own personal mission. Those are the things that are essential to invest time in. Again, not to say that GPA is unimportant, but it does not define you.

I say all that not to complain, but to simply reflect on the situation at large. No semester of college is truly easy. Each and every one will present different challenges. But taking time to reflect can provide insight that can be invaluable to succeeding in any endeavor:  School, Work, Life.

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Crunch Time

By Emily Martin

As the semester comes to an end, everyone is frantically studying for finals in an attempt to pull up their grades. I don’t know about you, but that exhausts me and stresses me out to the max. When I stress, I get headaches, and when I get headaches, my brain is pretty much useless. To help myself cope with the stress of finals, I have come up with this fail-proof list of stress relievers. Feel free to use these tips in your own lives!

Tip #1: EXERCISE!

My favorite way to relieve stress during finals is to go to the discounted yoga classes at the Yoga Bar in downtown Waco. During dead week, they usually offer classes for Baylor students at a discounted rate, and your first class is completely free! Don’t have a yoga mat? No worries, they can provide you one! You don’t need to have yoga experience to attend these classes…but be warned, they are usually hot yoga classes, so the room heats up throughout the class. I didn’t think I would like hot yoga, but at the end, they always put a cold towel on your face. It is SO worth it! Another great thing to do is to check out the Bearobics finals schedule or just go for a run from time to time to get rid of some stress.

Tip #2: Don’t overdo your coffee intake!

Last year, I made the mistake of drinking too much coffee and not eating enough food. I got so caught up in my studying and trying to stay awake that I completely forgot to eat. I found out the hard way that too much caffeine and not enough food can lead to major migraines and an upset stomach. Try to limit your caffeine, and remember to drink as much water as possible. You can also try to substitute smoothies for coffee or even switch to decaf (I know…it’s hard to do, but it works!).

Tip #3: Take breaks!

If you can study for an hour or two and then take a short break, it will help you to be more focused! Make sure that you are being productive in your study time and not just passively going over material. When taking breaks, it is always good to exercise or grab food with friends! Another great idea is called the 50-10 Rule. The idea is to study for 50 minutes of every hour, and then take a 10 minute break to clear your mind. Just be sure that you are 100 percent focused during the 50 minutes of studying.

Tip #4: SLEEP!

This is probably the most important tip that I can give you. Getting a good night sleep before any test is always a good thing to try to do. While you are sleeping, information will move from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, making the information easier to remember. It also helps you to feel rested on the day of your test instead of being tired and falling asleep in the middle of it. Pulling an “all-nighter” may sound like a good idea at the time, but the next day you will definitely feel the repercussions of staying up all night.

Tip #5: Study in groups only if it helps you!

I know that sometimes I get roped into studying with a group of people even though I tend to do better studying on my own. If you know that studying with a group of people helps you to do well on tests, by all means go for it! However, if you are like me and you know that studying with other people distracts you, then my advice would be to limit your group studying time. Try to only study in groups when you have missing information in your notes or if you missed a class and need to get that information from someone else.

Tip #6: Make a study guide in advance!

Study guides are SUPER useful – if you make them in advance. Don’t wait until last minute. If you make your study guides a couple of days before your test, you will have more time to look over them and you can review instead of trying to learn all of the material the night before an exam. Doing this ahead of time will also allow you to know what you still don’t understand or what information you are missing. Then, you can ask your professor or class members for help.

Tip #7: Create a calendar!

It may sound silly, but having a detailed calendar of when your exams are can really help you to prioritize your time. You should also try to map out times to study for each exam and also times to take breaks. The idea should be to make sure you are 100 percent focused while studying, so that you can afford to take breaks periodically.

Tip #8: Quiz yourself!

Creating practice tests and quizzes can be a huge benefit to you. While making the test, you are forced to look over your material, and then you will also have a way to test yourself on the material! It also helps to quiz other classmates on the information. When they get one wrong, you can explain the answer to them (which will also help you to know the information).

Tip #9: Start early!

This one is a biggy. Don’t put off studying until the day/night before your exam. Not only will it be harder to learn all of the information in that short period of time, but it will also stress you out more than you would be if you had started studying earlier.

Tip #10: RELAX!

Now that you are prepped and ready to ace your exam, RELAX! Before your exam try to review your material, but then put it away and pop in some headphones. Listen to pump-up music (I usually jam to Taylor Swift…don’t judge me) and tune out your classmates while they frantically try to talk to each other before the test. Usually when people are talking before a test, it freaks me out and makes me think that I didn’t study enough. I have found that I am a lot more confident if I am listening to music before a test instead of talking with the people around me.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Finals Week

By Maggie Malone

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Finals week is almost upon us, ladies and gentlemen. You know what that means. College students around America are shrieking with horror and stampeding to the nearest Starbucks to overload their brains with caffeine.

But allow me to share a secret: There’s no need to panic as long as you’re prepared!

How do you prepare? Come along with me as I give you a rundown of some do’s and don’ts of the most dreaded week of the semester.

Do get a head start. Just because you’re going to be studying for your finals during finals week doesn’t mean you have to start studying for your finals during finals week. Start gathering what you need to study before the week begins so you’re all ready to go.

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Don’t pull all nighters. Your brain isn’t going to want to function the next day if you wear it out. Make sure you get plenty of sleep. All that info you crammed into your brain the night before is more likely to stick if you get a little sleep.

Do make a daily schedule. I, for one, am the worst at this. However, you won’t be caught not knowing what to do at any period of time, which can minimize stress and distraction. Be sure to stick to this schedule and block in eating, sleeping and breaks. Don’t forget to set alarms if needed.

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Don’t stay in one location the whole time. This one can be tricky, as students can find themselves competing with hundreds of their peers for prime spots around the library.  Sometimes the mind tends to wander if it’s been looking at the same four walls for 8 hours straight. If it’s warm enough, go outside! If not, duck into a lounge in of the many buildings around campus or even grab a friend and chill at Common Grounds, which is a short walk from campus.

Do take study breaks. Sometimes when my mind is focused on a task for far too long, it starts shorting out. I start forgetting all the notes I’ve worked so hard to look over. Make sure that info gets time to soak in your brain before you shove more stuff in. Use this time by taking a walk, hanging out with a friend or watching some Netflix (But not too much Netflix. OK. Just one more episode, I promise!). Sometimes Moody Library even brings in therapy dogs! Take the opportunity to go play with cute puppies!

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Don’t give up! You’re probably going to need that therapy after this week, but now’s not the time to think about that. Stay strong, my friends. We’ll survive this week together, one day and one snack break at a time.

Optional Bonus Tip:  Dress for success! While it doesn’t matter what you wear the rest of the time, dress up for your actual test. It sounds crazy, but not only is the time you take cleaning up a good mental prep, but when you step into the room, you may feel a little more confident (and you’ll look it too!).

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Not the End, but Only a Beginning

By Kilani Ju

As the semester comes down to its final weeks, so does my time here at Baylor. This month, I will be officially graduating from Baylor University. To say the word “graduating” still leaves me speechless. I remember as if it were yesterday…I was walking around campus for the first time, envisioning life as a Baylor student. Now, I walk around campus trying to soak in every moment I can. The little things I rarely noticed on a daily basis have my fullest attention now. Whether it’s simply taking a run around campus or eating lunch outside the SUB, I try to enjoy every day as much as I can. Looking back on my Baylor experience, I grew enormously as a person and experienced so many things I hadn’t experienced before, such as living on my own out of state.

Although I’m sad that I will be closing this chapter in my life, I know this is only the beginning. Finishing school is terrifying, but I’m excited and anxious to see where life takes me next. After graduation, I will be moving back to California and working while taking some time to figure out my next plan of action. I know for some it’s not ideally what you hope for after graduation (having a break), but I know there are others who will feel exactly how I feel—burnt out. It’s OK to give yourself a break. You deserve it. As the years go by, you’ll find it more challenging to make time for a break, and I believe it’s important to take time now rather than later. You have your whole future ahead of you to find success and accomplish your dreams. Don’t feel rushed or pressured to jumpstart your career! It’s OK to take a breather.

With that being said, I’ll leave you with some final words: Enjoy each and every moment of your life. No matter how stressed or busy you are, take time to enjoy your surroundings and what you get to do on a daily basis. Remember that each day that goes by is a day you can never get back. Live in the moment and enjoy every possible second at Baylor.

Sic ‘Em Bears Forever! :)

Why Baylor Is Better Than Everywhere Else

By Derek Byrne

It’s hard to believe this is my last full month at Baylor. I knew this was my dream school as soon as I visited campus, and that hasn’t changed. There have certainly been some unexpected challenges in the last four years, but I’ve also had opportunities and found relationships I never could have anticipated. I could list dozens of reasons I’m grateful to call Baylor my home, but here are just a few moments that I couldn’t have experienced anywhere other than on this beautiful campus next to the Brazos.

  • Remarkable faculty and staff. A few months ago, I spoke at an event for prospective students for the department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media. A few days later, I received a handwritten note from our department chair, thanking me for serving the department. Dr. Stone, who manages the entire department on top of being an outstanding professor, took the time to write a note of gratitude to me. The relationships I’ve built with faculty and staff at Baylor are easily one of the most valuable parts of my time here, and this note of thanks was another reminder of the commitment faculty and staff have to investing in students.
  • Baylor Football. I’ve laughed. I’ve danced. I’ve wanted to cry. The Bears have made themselves known as one of the most entertaining shows in college football, and being in the stands for four seasons has given me some unforgettable moments. Running the Line, travel packages to bowl games and a beautiful new student tailgating section show the value Baylor places on its fans, and the university gives us opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.
  • Community partnerships. Being a student doesn’t mean waiting a few more years to do the things you love. Baylor and Waco seek opportunities to serve each other, and chances for students to get hands-on experience in a great community are common here. I’m currently interning in the office of Marketing & Communications at McLennan Community College, refining my skill in the education public relations field at a top-notch institution. Whether it’s marketing, child development, health care or business, there’s a place in town to put your education into action.
  • Unparalleled traditions. Baylor Homecoming might be the best thing in the world, and I’ve seen dozens of impressive Sing performances. There are also less flashy traditions that are unique Baylor experiences. Every Tuesday afternoon, I meet some friends in the SUB for Dr Pepper Hour. A quick afternoon break with good people and good ice cream is the perfect reminder that Baylor is a place for life as well as learning.

I could continue for a while, but these are a few of the university’s defining features that have made my time here so valuable. Academically, socially and personally, I’ve had opportunities and experiences here that I never expected, and I know I wouldn’t be able to find them anywhere but Baylor.600359_10151802542687286_1575443189_n