7 Traditions All Baylor Freshmen Should Know About

By Maggie Malone

With the recent announcing of awards for Baylor’s annual Sing participants, another great tradition has once again come to a close. In addition to Sing, there are so many great traditions to experience here.

Sing1. All University Sing Teams from Greek organizations compete in Broadway-style performances complete with their own themes, song choices, and costumes. Hours and hours of work are poured into each act. The one exception to mostly-Greek teams is called Sing Alliance, a group made up of any student who wants to participate in Sing. Tickets sell out fast so be sure you buy early!

Christmas2. Christmas on 5th Street Christmas at Baylor! This event happens right before finals week, and it is a good opportunity to chill with friends, sip some hot chocolate and enjoy the lights on campus. Also, there are talented choirs that perform, carriage rides, a live nativity, fantastic petting zoo and the annual tree lighting!

images-7

3. Baylor Line One of the major experiences of being a freshman at Baylor! While wearing your personalized gold jersey, you and the rest of the freshmen run through the stadium before every home football game and line up to welcome the Baylor Bears onto the field. And by this I mean that there is a mad dash of hundreds of freshmen pouring onto the field. Right afterwards, the Line is able to enjoy fantastic seats … right behind the visitors’ bench! Sadly, because I perform with the marching band, I have never gotten to experience this tradition. But how do you join this esteemed Line of glory? You attend …

images-64. Line Camp Yes, we have Line Camp! And while it’s not mandatory for freshmen to attend, I highly, highly recommend it. You get to learn not only about the Line, but also about the rich history of Baylor University. You get to make your first friends at Baylor while having tons of fun. Hint: They have an amazing slip and slide.

Dr.Pepper

5. Dr Pepper Hour Every Tuesday in Barfield Drawing Room, Baylor serves up some delicious Dr Pepper floats! These floats are a nice cold treat, especially in the summertime when it gets really hot outside. Besides it being a great meet-up for friends, sometimes there are tables lined up featuring activities, clubs, study abroad information, and more! Bonus, you may even spot our president, Judge Ken Starr, and our mascot, Bruiser!

 

Mass Meeting

6. Freshman Mass Meeting This late night tradition during homecoming week is an important part of the Baylor experience. Freshmen gather together to listen to the story of the Immortal 10, some of Baylor’s finest students. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a great one. Afterwards, freshmen then go to help prepare what will become one of the greatest bonfires you will ever see. 

Dia

7. Diadeloso Ah, spring. Season of new life, warmer weather (hopefully), and Diadeloso! Meaning “day of the bear” in Spanish, and affectionately called “Dia” by Baylor students, this day off from school is a great chance to take a break from life and just have fun. It’s a university-wide holiday, which gives students the chance to hang out, go on a day trip, or just have a good time on campus. Baylor usually brings in cool shows to entertain as well. Last year we had an exotic petting zoo, a talented magician, and, at the end of the day, NEEDTOBREATHE. Grab your Dia tank and get out into that sunshine!

Dia2

I’ve only listed seven, but, as Baylor is an old university, we have plenty more traditions old and new to enjoy!

Lecture of a Lifetime

By Jaziah Masters

Recently on campus, Baylor welcomed one of the most inspirational leaders I have ever had the privilege of listening to. Bryan Stevenson serves as the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. As part of the Academy for Leader Development lecture series, Bryan Stevenson was well informed on the idea of what it takes to be a leader. His message of social justice was not only for those who aspire to be lawyers, litigators or other legal occupations, it was for students of all majors. Stevenson believes that all people are capable of social change, and this was a consistent message throughout his lecture.

In anticipation for the lecture, we were encouraged to look at the TED Talk that Mr. Stevenson gave. Before I continue, I would encourage everyone to stop reading right now and go take a look at this particular talk.

Untitled

Stevenson brings up some good points, presented in humorous anecdotes. It is obvious that he is passionate about his work, and that passion inspired me to pursue something that I would love just as much, if not more. Stevenson is changing the world. The work is slow, and the work is tiresome, but at the end of the day, Stevenson is in fact making the necessary changes. He claims that we are all called to change the world. We can all play our part. This was the message echoed in the lecture Stevenson gave on Tuesday night.

The talk centered on the issue of injustice in America’s justice system. He addressed some surprising facts that I don’t believe most people normally give much attention to. But by the way Stevenson spoke about his experiences he was able to make the topic not only relatable, but also allowed the audience to practice empathy. It was a powerful message, and not the only topic discussed in the lecture…

UntitledLeadership

Stevenson was able to share with us his wholehearted belief that we could all be change agents. He gave us advice on how to rethink both ourselves and our ways, so that we would be open to opportunities that would allow us to service our community, both near and far. Because of Stevenson, I think defiantly about what it means to be a leader. Stevenson created a much needed dialogue on campus.

The biggest takeaway that I will give from this lecture is a simple phrase, “Hold on to the idea that you can change the world.” Everyone, in his or her own special way, has the capacity to do so, and I am grateful to Stevenson for bringing this message.

Fueled by Distraction

By Aaron Carter

One of the more nostalgic parts of my childhood is in the form of a restaurant that my family frequented when I was about five. It was a cheap, Greek-style place, with torn up carpet floors and dusty, fake plants hanging in every ceiling corner. Back then, you still had to specify that you wanted to sit in the non-smoking section. The glasses were a strange yellow color and all the food seemed like it had been fried. The placemats were thin white paper with an odd tan border design that looked like it had been borrowed from an ancient city somewhere.

I remember when that place got a TV. Everyone was excited. When that happened, instead of specifying whether or not they wanted to sit in the non-smoking section, customers began to specify whether or not they wanted to sit near the TV. They always did. Even some smokers abstained just to be near the screen. It was a major attraction.

Of course, we were all excited, especially my brother and I. It seemed like the future was finally moving in. I remember telling him that some day we’d have TVs that could fit in our pockets and play video games with graphics that were on par with the Nintendo 64. We would never be bored again.

Now, almost every dine-in restaurant has a TV. And if there are none in the dining area, there is nearly always one behind the bar. I used to make fun of my dad for spacing out and becoming absorbed by the screen. We would strategically position ourselves so that he wouldn’t face it and we could talk with him without worrying about him getting distracted. Today, there are screens everywhere, and I find myself getting distracted just like my dad, but not just by TVs. Everything has a screen now.

I’ve learned pretty quickly that I can’t actually study if there’s a screen in front of me. If I put my phone on the table next to my homework, it takes less than a minute for me to pick it back up again and click it back to life. It takes effort to have a conversation that goes further than simply skin-deep. If I go to a restaurant, there is almost nowhere I can sit where there isn’t some flash of light and motion ocurring in the corner of my eye. It takes work to stay focused.

I’m no Luddite, but it gets out of hand at times. I see students doing math problems at the library with a laptop open so they can take momentary breaks to check up on some notifications. I even see some people trying to read a textbook with their phone sitting on the page. It’s not an effective way to work and it’s definitely not an effective way to connect with a book, a writing project, or a person.

Even if you don’t think you are distracted, try eliminating screens from your view, just to see how much of a difference it makes. I know once the TV was set up in that restaurant, my family stopped engaging at the table as well as we used to. I also know that once we all had smart phones, interaction became shallower than a tide pool. Something tells me that it would be easy to get back to really focusing on each other if the screens weren’t such a big part of everything. It’s better to just plain focus than it is to have to continually refocus.

Interested in Intramurals?

By Maria Dillman

While Baylor may be known for its amazing Big 12 athletics in football, baseball, basketball and so on, a little less televised but nonetheless important activity is INTRAMURAL SPORTS. I’m pretty convinced these are one of the best activities to take part in at Baylor. Okay, I say that about everything at Baylor but just hear me out.

There are options to play any sport you could possibly think of. Everything from dress-up dodgeball tournaments, flag football, taekwondo, quidditch (yes, Harry Potter would be proud), to rock climbing and ping-pong. I try to sign up for every sport imaginable. Not just because I think I’m sporty or actually semi-decent at any sport, but also because it is

intramuralsjust a good time! You can make a team with your friends or student organization and then compete against other students. There are more competitive teams down to teams that just want try not to break their ankles or make a fool of themselves while getting a little change of scenery from the library. The seasons for each sport last about three weeks depending on the level and what type of sport it is. (For example, the big sports such as basketball and soccer last longer than say, a bowling tournament).

Being on a team is a great way to build comradery amongst your friends. You are fighting for a common goal and working together to accomplish something. It’s fun to cheer each other on and celebrate the wins and even encourage each other in the losses. Plus, if playing sports was something you were really into in high school, participating in intramurals is a great way to carry the tradition forward and continue in something that you love. Through the blood, sweat, and tears, it’s just one more way to make that much more out of your college experience. So no matter if it’s a win or a loss on the field, playing intramurals is definitely a win-win situation.

soccer

Setback to Comeback

By Maggie Malone

It had to be a Monday, of course.

Last week, I arrived in my dorm after lunch to an email written in red. My eyes glossed over the words, heart pounding faster as I read. The room next to mine had bedbugs, the email said. Because of that, my roommate and I had to pack up everything outside of my closets and drawers, and evacuate for 24 hours, as our room was to be sprayed with heavy pesticides.

My residential director was waiting for me outside. After prepping me on room cleaning, my CL (that’s what we call RAs here) and I went to work. I had to skip a class and work to get everything done, and even worse, I had a test the next afternoon that I hadn’t even started studying for.

Luckily, there were no bedbugs in my room, but unluckily, the test scores weren’t that great. My roommate and I were camping out on the floor because of the chemical residue left by the pesticides. We were exhausted and frazzled. It was a rough week.

But you know what? So much good came out of it. After we cleaned, our room was more organized than it was before, our sheets and carpets were clean, and my desk was cleared from all the junk that previously resided on its surface.

The staff at Baylor was extremely nice and helpful. They supplied all the trash bags and gloves we needed, and made sure we were set for the night. The fact that they addressed the bedbug problem very quickly was also a blessing. As for the neighbors who had the bedbugs? Baylor washed all their clothes and put them up in a local hotel, with no extra cost for them.

Bedbugs are rather uncommon (so don’t worry about them, incoming freshmen!), and even when the chips were down, the awesome community at Baylor had my back, and I was able to overcome the worst week ever.

Our room after two hours of packing

Our room after two hours of packing.

Valentine’s Day with the Flamingos

By Marisela Martin

To be honest, Valentine’s Day in college can definitely leave you feeling lonely if you don’t have that special someone or someones to spend it with. So this year I decided to take a proactive stance! I decided that I wanted to do something for someone else, instead of just focus on how lonely Valentine’s Day can be.

The co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega hosted a service project at the Cameron Park Zoo here in Waco. I had visited the zoo once before as part of an Environmental Class Lab, but nothing would have prepared me for what this service project would have entailed.

When we arrived, the coordinators told us that our options would include “dirty, dirtier or dirtiest,” work. That was definitely true. I volunteered to go with a group that would work with flamingos. Little did I know that I would be volunteering to clean out the flamingo habitat! From sweeping up leaves and mud to standing in muddy water to clean the drain. Leaving with soaked shoes and muddy clothes, my Valentine’s morning was one to remember!

But all the sweat and mess was worth it! The flamingos got to enjoy a clean area and I even was able to pet one – they are very soft birds. Needless to say, there is newfound respect for zoo caretakers; they are real heroes in ensuring that everyone can successfully enjoy the zoo! So next time you find yourself in Waco, definitely visit Cameron Park Zoo!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photos but here’s a link so you can check out more: http://www.cameronparkzoo.com/

Until next time, Sic’ Em!

“This is My Home”

By Frances George

Do you remember when you first set foot on your college campus as a freshman, wondering what the next four years would hold, what memories would be made, would you leave any mark on the campus? Well, if you didn’t think those thoughts, I’m sure your mother did!

I have just returned from a wonderful weekend at Baylor with my daughter. A few weeks ago, Mary Scott called (actually texted…) and asked if I would come to Baylor for Kappa Mom Day, an afternoon set aside for the members of the sorority and their moms to make a memory or two. We painted sunflowers, 300 sunflowers between us!

IMG_1061

They were beautiful in every way, the sunflowers and our daughters. Lots of laughter and Michael Buble music in the background – oops, the playlist had a few stray Christmas songs in it which made for even more laughter! The day before, 91 new initiates to Kappa Kappa Gamma had celebrated their newly acquired sisterhood status with a luncheon at the stunning Baylor Club in McLane Stadium for new sisters and their families. As I sat with Mary Scott, who had served as recruitment co- chair for these new sisters and now as social co-chair, in charge of planning the luncheon, I looked around and thought, how lovely this event is. And as the new sisters were named and lined the wall of the great room, I wondered what their future at Baylor would hold, what mark will they leave.

IMG_1067

Saturday night, I took Mary Scott and her dearest friends out to dinner where I shared with them the Top Ten Bible verses on love. It was Valentine’s Day after all! I read the verses and applied a life principle for college, friendship and (one day) married life. I encouraged them to wait for God’s best, to not settle regarding a husband and to live life to the fullest here at Baylor, being a true friend on every level, as the verses said. I think the girls appreciated “Mrs. George’s Program.” (I always have a program!)

Sunday was full of early morning brunch with Mary Scott’s friends and their moms, followed by the painting extravaganza. We had a few minutes between events and headed to Common Grounds, the local coffee shop, and I felt like I was on the set of Cheers…as we walked in and there were friends galore all calling out “Mary Scott! Hey! And here’s your mom! Welcome!” After a much needed cup of caffeine, I returned Mary Scott to the Kappa room and then I headed to the local grocery store, the HEB (pronounced HEEB) to shop for Mary Scott while she attended a Kappa Counsel meeting, a friend’s birthday party, dinner squeezed in with a few special friends, and Sing practice until 11:00 PM (to say this was a full day, is an understatement!). One of Mary Scott’s friends had earlier announced to me, “Mrs. George, Mary Scott never sleeps! She’s always doing something for someone or for some event. We surely do love her.” By about 7:00 PM that night with three events still to tackle before bedtime, I realized the truth in the statement!

Before heading to the hotel late Sunday night, I returned to Common Grounds alone. One of Mary Scott’s best friends works there and I wanted to thank him for being such a supportive, kind and thoughtful friend. He said, “That’s easy. She’s great.”

Why do I write these things? It is not to tell you how special my daughter is. You see, Baylor has a campus full of Mary Scotts! Their names are Ashley, Hannah, Mason, Emma, Timmy, Cole, Michael…the list goes on and on. No, the reason I write this is to let you know that Baylor is a most special place that develops the most special people for life. It welcomes young adults and four years later graduates mature adults, able to plan events for 230, followed by events the next day for 300, to counsel friends in need, to find a life’s calling in counseling just by spending time, filling days doing life.

While having dinner with Mary Scott on Friday night at Diamondbacks, the only evening we had alone, Mary Scott said something that made my heart smile and reminded me that all the things I had wondered that first day on campus Freshman year, were truly coming to pass. One little statement was the hallmark of the weekend for me. And I watched the truth of the statement unfold before my very eyes over the weekend as I watched in amazement all Mary Scott and her cadre of friends had accomplished through such beautifully planned events. Mary Scott said, “Mom, as I was walking on campus last week, I had a thought as I looked across campus. I guess it’s kind of corny but it is true. This is my home.”

A truer statement has never been uttered.

As I flew out of Waco on Monday morning, I reflected on the zillions of things I had observed in my daughter’s life over the course of the weekend. And I was reminded of her Friday night comment and smiled as the plane climbed and I looked down on the now familiar campus: Baylor is her home. And what a lovely home it has become. I hope it will be your student’s home as well. You will not be disappointed. Welcome to Baylor. Welcome home.

There’s Plenty to Do

By Aaron Harder

One of the many reasons I love attending Baylor is all the opportunities the university offers students. Certainly Baylor sets up its students well in post-graduate life with connections, a great education, and life-long friendships, but there also great opportunities to participate in as an undergrad.

Yes, Baylor is full of student organizations spanning almost every possible subject. However, Baylor also offers a lot of activities for students to do regardless of what club, organization, or Greek life group you join.

Baylor has a great theater program that produces at least two plays or musicals per semester. There is also an improv comedy group that usually performs three times a semester. In the fall there is Pigskin, which is the performance of the top eight acts from All-University Sing, during Homecoming Week. After Dark during Parents Weekend is a showcase of the artistic and musical talent Baylor has to offer and is a really cool show. In the spring there is All-University Sing, as well as Diadeloso, which is a campus-wide holiday in the middle of a week in April where students get the day off of classes and Baylor brings a ton of festivities to campus as well as a live band (last year it was Needtobreath).

While the Baylor football team and games are really exciting and (finally) competitive on a national scale, our athletic department is not just a football team. Baylor has nationally ranked women’s and men’s basketball teams, nationally competitive tennis teams, competitive baseball and softball teams, and a historically famous track and field team that currently boasts a few reigning national champions. Baylor also has a national championship winning equestrian team and usually top five nationally ranked acrobatics and tumbling team. Now one does not have to go to all of these, and obviously not every is interested in ALL of these sports, but the fact remains that there’s an abundance of great teams to watch and cheer for.

So bottom line, Baylor is great place to take advantage of watching some great sports, talented theatrics and live performances. Best part? Most of these events are free to students.

75° in February?!

By Marisela Martin

I haven’t done much recently due to a busy school schedule, and not to seem cliché or anything, but this Waco weather has everyone stunned. Now many of my friends think I’m crazy because I absolutely LOVE the winter season. However, being in Texas it’s very hard to depend on the weather. Recently in Waco we have had surge of very sporadic weather. Just last week it was in the high 60s and then Thursday it went down to the low 30s!! How crazy is that?! But this weekend was one of the prettiest weekends I have ever experienced on campus! On Saturday I was able to enjoy it with my mom who came into town. And yesterday, I decided I wanted to go outside and do some homework and it was amazing. In searching for cool study spots I got to explore a little more of campus. Even two years later I still don’t know it very well! Anyway, I really enjoyed lying out in the sun and doing homework! One of the many perks of being a college student! Here is a picture I took while studying outside:

Baylor campus

Until next time, sic ‘em!

Bears Abroad

By Jaziah Masters

Recently, I have begun exploring some opportunities that I’m sure you all have heard about. Studying abroad can be one of the most impactful and defining moments of any college experience. Keeping this in mind: I’ve begun looking into some of the programs and it turns out there are a lot!

I should issue a disclaimer: I am by no means an expert when it comes to studying abroad. In fact, this is the first time that I’ve seriously looked into it as an option. That being said, here are some of my initial reactions.

  1. Studying abroad programs are as diverse as the places you’ll go!

There are many ways for Bears to get abroad for any amount of time. Programs accommodate your schedule. Meaning, if you have a summer internship (like I do) you may consider pursuing one of the May programs. These start just weeks after finals in May and end just about the first week of June. One that definitely appeals to me is a trip going to Turkey and Greece. I was able to speak to the faculty advisor today and he stressed the fact that learning is great in the classroom, but is potentially life-changing in the actual field. I love the idea of learning while visiting the actual place where learning about.

study abroad 1

  1. Studying abroad is not something just done in the summer.

Almost the same as No. 1 is the fact studying abroad is not just done in the summer. I have found many programs where you actually study abroad during the fall or spring semester. Again, there are international options for this, but one of the best programs I found is actually not that far away. Baylor has a Washington Semester program where students can actually take classes on a university campus in DC. In addition, the program allows students to obtain an internship where you can put into practice what you have learned. I think it goes without saying that DC is home to countless opportunities, so the opportunity to participate for a full semester in the area can also be very impactful.

study abroad 2

  1. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

When I talked to the faculty leader of the Turkey and Greece trip, one thing he stressed to me is the fact that there are many options for students to offset cost of these trips. The reality is studying abroad is expensive. However, I have found that Baylor does a great job of helping with the cost. The Center for International Education on campus is dedicated to this very task. Also, many academic departments have scholarships to help defray costs.

Overall I see that studying abroad is not as impartible as it may seem. The benefits are huge, and who doesn’t want to go see some of the world?