Just the Bear Facts

To help you get your bearing in Grad School.

The Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award

Behind every great student is a great teacher. Such is the reason why Baylor has been implementing a policy that all Teachers of Record must receive training appropriate to their role in the university. Sometimes, however, that teacher just happens to also be a student, a graduate student. Aware of that fact, the Graduate School, in partnership with the office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, offers training sessions each semesters that any graduate student can attend.

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Every semester, the Graduate School and Baylor recognizes the very best of these educators, who were able to balance their own work and responsibilities as students while demonstrating excellence as classroom instructors, with the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. Dean Lyon has finally pulled back the curtain and revealed the Fall 2015 semester’s honorees. They are:

Nathan Cartagena (Department of Philosophy)

Grace Aquino (Department of Environmental Science)

Olivia Carroll (Department of Political Science)

These three individuals were selected by a committee of graduate faculty and graduate students based on five documents: recommendations from their supervising faculty, student evaluations and letters from students in their classes, their teaching philosophy statements, and their records of participation in professional teaching development. They will be given the opportunity to attend teaching conferences, as well as a plaque commemorating their achievement. Join the Graduate School and Baylor in congratulating these special individuals!

You can find a list of past winners here and the benefits for graduate school Teachers of Record here.

By Matthew Doyen

Moving Up!

For the last thirty years the U.S. News has been ranking its best graduate schools and programs in the nation. This year’s rankings have been released and, not surprisingly, Baylor’s programs have continued to rise! The graduate school departments and programs that received the highest rankings and largest advances were in disciplines such as law, business, nursing and health, education, and engineering. Around two thousand programs were surveyed and the full results can be found at www.usnews.com.

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Here is the BU rundown:

Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business: moved into its new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation and up one spot to 57th (out of 379) this past year, with the recent online MBA program sitting at 69th in the country.

Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing: located in Dallas, the Master of Science degree improved fourteen spots to 58th and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program soared 27 places higher to 45th (out of 259), with the Nursing-Midwifery program debuting in the top ten as 10th nationally.

Baylor’s School of Education: progressed five places to 78th (out of 255) in the country.

Baylor School of Engineering and Computer Science: unveiled at 118th (out of 194), with Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering sitting at 109th and 124th respectively.

Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work: the downtown location advanced seven slots to 53rd nationally.

Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences: Speech-Language Pathology program climbed ten spots to 69th in the country.

Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences: Clinical Psychology programs jumped seventeen spots to 62nd nationwide.

U.S. Army-Baylor: Health Care Management program ranked 7th and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree placed 8th respectively.

For information about Baylor’s rankings visit the story by Media Communications, from where this material was gathered.

By Matthew Doyen

 

Midday Crisis: The Best Dozen Places to Grab Lunch on your Campus Visit

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If you’re like me and Kev, then first lunch and second lunch are the most important meals of the day. When I came to visit Waco over the summer, I didn’t know where any of the good lunch spots were (or even if there were any), so I just settled for ultra feast at the familiar Olive Garden. While their bread sticks were delicious and consumed by the handful, I now know that there are so many other tasty choices available for my greasy little fingers. So, as procrastination is hitting a all-time high over Spring Break, we have compiled the best dozen places to grab a bite to eat while visiting Baylor.

1. Jasper’s Bar-B-Que (105 Clifton Street)

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Don’t let the outside fool you! This little gem is the oldest barbecue joint in the city and the food inside is a testament to their longevity. If you’re lucky enough to be around on a Wednesday, their $10.99 AYCE ribs are not to be missed. The Waco Tornado is also a classic that is sure to leave any barbecue lover pleased and stuffed. Hours – Mon-Sat: 10am-2 pm

2. Xcristo’s Cafe (202 South University Parks Drive)

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The only food truck to make the list is also arguably the best (and most confusing to pronounce) in all of McLennan County. Their lamb and beef gyros are seriously “opalicious.” Xcristo’s lunch special includes your choice of gyro, a healthy dose of french fries, and a drink for a tidy $10. Hours – Tues-Sat: 11am-7pm

3. Twisted Root Burger Company (801 South 2nd Street)

Being one of the newest eateries to branch to the city from the northern metropolis known as Dallas, it is hard to miss this colorful building from I-35. And, quite frankly, you shouldn’t because it has perhaps the strangest menu in Waco. Depending on the season, you could order a burger made of camel, beaver, gator, or kangaroo (sorry, Pooh Bear). Hours – Everyday: 11am-10pm

4. Poppa Rollo’s Pizza (703 North Valley Mills Drive)

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Opened by a Bear alum in 1969, Poppa Rollo’s offers some of the best pizza and calzones in the area. Although a little bit further away from campus than some would like, this pizzeria is sure to satisfy even the toughest critics. Hours – Everyday: 11am-11pm

5. Torchy’s Tacos (801 South 5th Street)

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Another newcomer to Waco (from Austin) that has already become a hit. Even in a city littered with great taco trucks and restaurants, Torchy’s “damn good” tacos and green chili queso always seem to be at the top of everyone’s list. Also, try looking up their secret menu before ordering! Hours – Everyday: 8am-10pm

6. Schmaltz’s Sandwich Shoppe (105 South 5th Street)

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Schmaltz’s is truly “Waco born and bread.” Their artisan bread is handmade everyday and is the staple to this downtown lunch spot. You cannot go wrong with a large Schmaltz, which contains multiple kinds of cheeses and meats, but has a smaller price tag at $8. Hours – Mon-Fri: 10-3

7. Dubl-R Old Fashioned Hamburgers (1810 Herring Avenue)

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If you don’t like red meat and sweaty cooks, then Dubl-R may not be for you. But if you like great burgers at an affordable price, then welcome home!  The drive out there will take you through some of Waco’s less traveled neighborhoods, but their Triple-Triple (triple patty, triple cheese) will quickly have you running back for more. Hours Mon-Fri: 10-6, Sat: 10-2

8. Vitek’s BBQ (1600 Speight Avenue)

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Vitek’s, home of the world-famous GutPak. Having opened more than one hundred years ago, this Baylor favorite has long since mastered all of their fixings. In fact, just a few years ago, they were named the country’s number one college eatery. Yes, it’s that good! Hours – Mon: 10:30am-3pm, Tues-Thurs: 10:30am-6pm, Fri-Sat: 10:30am-9pm

9. Clay Pot (920 South Jack Kultgen Expressway)

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It’s hard to imagine that Waco’s only Vietnamese restaurant is also one of Baylor’s favorite places for lunch, but it’s no joke! Warning: you may find yourself addicted to Clay Pot’s traditional cuisine (and seating) after just one meal. It’s still oh so worth it. Hours – Tues-Sun: 11am-10pm

10. Shorty’s Pizza Shack (1712 South 12th Street)

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Shorty’s Pizza Shack is just a few blocks off of campus and therefore has some of the most affordable lunch specials in the area for us poor college students. In addition, they have a different special everyday, as well as a rotating slice board. Make sure to try a pizza pillow and take a sticker on your way out! Hours – Everyday: 11am-11pm

11. Baris’s (904 North Valley Mills Drive)

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Baris’s is really the only authentic Italian restaurant worth talking about in Waco. If I only knew of its great lunch specials and healthy portions before I went to the Olive Garden! You know you’re going to get an excellent meal every time because Mama Baris doesn’t except anything less for her loving patrons. Hours – Tues-Sun: 11am-10pm

12. Lulu Jane’s (406 West Elm Street)

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The only restaurant to make both our top breakfast and lunch lists is West Waco’s Lulu Jane’s. A daily special each day that is made from scratch, in-house, with the best ingredients is one of the many things that makes this place so appealing. Hours – Mon: 9am-3pm, Tues-Sat: 8am-3pm

So, schedule a tour and come see us soon! If only for the food…

By Matthew Doyen

Becoming more Academically Competitive with the Presidential Scholar Program

When Dr. Larry Lyon, Dean of the Graduate School, arrived at Baylor in 1998, he immediately recognized that the school had to become more competitive. He knew that to achieve that goal, he must first create additional incentives that attracted larger numbers of highly-qualified doctoral candidates to Waco. A few years later, the Presidential Scholar program was underway. It has increased from the two awardees of the original class to double digits recipients in the last few years. Despite this increase, becoming a presidential scholar has remained extremely competitive. Program directors of potential candidates contact the graduate school about their students who they believe would benefit from being a member of the distinguished program. Dean Lyon then reviews the applications and chooses the best of these applicants to receive the designation. While making his decision, Dean Lyon looks for high GPAs and GRE scores, research experience and publications, and professional resumes, but, most importantly, excellent letters of recommendation.

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The presidential scholarship, one of the main benefits of the program, is the highest stipend awarded to doctoral students at Baylor. Its purpose is to help make attending graduate school and moving to Waco financially viable for these students and their families. Chris Tweedt, a recent doctoral graduate (and now instructor) in the Philosophy Department and former presidential scholar, spoke about how this extra stipend made his experience at Baylor possible. The father of four wrote, “I wouldn’t have been able to survive as a grad student and support my family without the help of the presidential scholarship.” Ryan West, who is in the last year of his post-doctoral studies and helping to support a family of five, added that “it would have been extremely difficult to make ends meet during graduate school without the stipend and health insurance coverage provided by the program.”

However, the stipend is not the only advantage of the program. It also opens the doors to boundless opportunities. John Duncan, a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in Religion, attested to his time in the program by mentioning that he and his fellow presidential scholars “have increased opportunities to meet, converse, and network with senior officials at Baylor, including President Starr, Lyon, and the Associate and assistant Deans in the Graduate School.” A first year candidate in Philosophy, Christopher Tomaszewski, can already agree. He stated that “by being able to list the Presidential Scholarship on my CV, I’ve gained some opportunities with the help of the prestige of the scholarship in terms of gaining admission to research seminars and summer programs.”

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The Presidential Scholar program has succeeded in making Baylor’s Graduate School more competitive. With many of the recipients graduating and moving on to faculty positions at other universities and with the number of awardees continuing to rise, it seems that Presidential Scholars will continue to make the university stronger for years to come.

By Matthew Doyen

Gradvice: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Gradvice is a series that discusses the difficult decisions that graduate school applicants must make. Hopefully, our thoughts and experiences will help guide you to the right course!

Human beings like to stay with what they know. I only get the tuna sandwich at Subway. My dad only buys Honda vehicles. My sister only watches romantic comedies. We are confident in these decisions because we know that they will be reliable and enjoyable. The same can be said about graduate school. Once you finally decide on a graduate program to pursue, it’s only natural that the first school you research is the one where you received your bachelor’s degree. After all, you have turned that once foreign place into a cozy home for the last four years. As the search continues, however, you may find that a program located halfway across the country seems like it is the perfect fit. But do you really want to leave everything that you have become familiar with at your undergraduate school? Or do you want to take a chance and experience a totally new place and culture?

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My friend, Sarah, earned her bachelor’s degree at Baylor and decided to stay in Waco to pursue her master’s. As we were walking past Fountain Mall, I asked Sarah to share what she thought the advantages and disadvantages of receiving her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the same university were. Personally, as a graduate student who moved to a completely new state to continue my education, I found that her experience was completely opposite to my own and that most of our differences center around one thing: relationships.

Sarah stressed the importance of continuing the relationships that she had started during her four years as an undergrad. During that time, we all had our favorite professors who found us abusing their office hours just to chat about life and to sink into their comfy leather chairs. Since deciding to stay at Baylor, Sarah still has the ability to do that every couple of weeks. She also continues to volunteer at the same places and to further develop current relationships with the same directors that may end up offering her a job in the future because of their strong past. Finally, she can still enjoy hanging out with the friends that she has made who have not yet graduated or who have decided to stay in Waco for grad school.

I can understand all of what she said and try to overcome the fact that I’m at a different school and don’t have those advantages as best as I can. For instance, I still remain in contact with my old professors through the occasional email. I still volunteer, but at new places and with new faces, which helps broaden my list of professional connections. I still spend many nights talking to my old friends and planning when they are going to come to central Texas, while leaving time to enjoy the new friendships that I have made at Baylor.  Everyone seems genuinely happy that I made the choice to move on to a different school, as it can give the impression of moving onward and upward rather than staying stagnant.

The decision to stay at the same school for both undergrad and grad school is perfectly understandable and works out fine for a good amount of students, including Sarah. She enjoys the safety net of her old friends while strengthening the relations that she has already started with professors and professionals in her field. While going to a different school does make those relationships harder to continue, it also shows which of them are most important to me and provides an opportunity to increase my list of contacts. These types of decisions are difficult to make when deciding where to go for graduate school. But, if you take the time now to figure them out, then you know your future graduate school won’t clash with what you were expected!

By Matthew Doyen

Talking to Bears: Porter Ellett

Talking with Bears is where we take a few minutes each week to talk to some of the current graduate students at Baylor and discuss their experience at the university and in Waco.

 

Hometown: Loa, Utah

Undergraduate Degree: Economics

Undergraduate University: Brigham Young University

Graduate Degree: M.A. in Sport Management

Expected Year of Graduation: 2017

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What was the biggest factor that persuaded you to attend Baylor for graduate school?

They have the structure necessary to support my program. I came and visited the campus along with Dr. Petersen, and everything exceeded my expectations. I was really leaning towards attending another university, but the visit sealed the deal. The people of Waco were very kind and genuine, so it eased the tension of being halfway across the country from home. I also like the family values that seem to flow through the culture of Waco. That was big for my wife and me.

What is one thing that has surprised you about graduate school at Baylor?

How engaging the learning process is. Almost every single student in my program is working outside of class in a sport management related field. It is a great plus to the program.

If you had to describe your graduate school experience (so far) in three words, what would they be?

Stretch, manage, and understand.

If you were Dean Lyon for a day, what would be two things that you would change?

  1. Allow students to handle aspects of attraction more. I think student led tours and things are great, but adding student led marketing campaigns could boost the profile of the grad school. Youth would aid in being in tune with social media and other modern marketing thoughts and trends.
  2. He is really cool so getting him in front of the student population more could do wonders. If undergrads heard him speak or interacted with him, I am sure some would be swayed to pursue a grad degree.

What activities are you involved with outside of the classroom?

I work for SMG McLane Stadium and am active in the Sport Management Association. A few less official things include exercising at the SLC and attending athletic events.

What does your average Saturday look like?

My wife and I get up around 6:30 or 7:00 head to the gym and we usually spend the day enjoying sporting events either on TV or in person. The evenings we usually try to go somewhere new for dinner then catch a movie.

How has the city of Waco impacted your time during graduate school?

It is fun place to explore with its own unique culture, but I think the people have impacted me more than anything. I have yet to meet an unkind person in my time here. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s the truth. It has made me a kinder person and helped me appreciate the important things in life a little more.

What is your go-to lunch spot in Waco?

We have tried a lot of new stuff, so I haven’t repeated too many meals. Torchy’s Tacos may have recently become my go-to.

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If you could give one piece of advice to prospective graduate students that are interested in Baylor, what would it be?

Join us!

Compiled by Matthew Doyen

SET: Bad Sleep in Good Students

Baylor’s Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL) holds a series of lectures every semester titled “Seminars for Excellence in Teaching.” These seminars help graduate student teachers, tenured professors, and everyone in between to meet the university’s historic expectations for teaching in the classroom. These are my accounts.

 

After a long morning that included a trip to West for some freshly baked kolaches (and resulted in me wearing a beanie all day), I attended an afternoon seminar entitled “Bad Sleep in Good Students: Costs to Learning and Recommendations for Instructors.” This particular session caught my eye not because I have a class of sleepy students, but because I’ve recently found myself yawning along to their same undergrad tune. Dr. Michael Scullin, who came to Baylor two years ago and started a graduate student peer review journal, was my host for the afternoon.

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There have obviously been a multitude of studies researching sleep and its effects on the human brain, a good number of them done by Dr. Scullin and his Baylor associates at the campus’s Sleep Lab. Because of these studies, we now know more about this vital organ than ever before and continue to uncover its amazing abilities. Despite contrary belief, the brain does not shut down when we are sleeping. During our dreams, the brain is restoring and preparing for the next day. Memories that are made during the day are replaying subconsciously as the brain tries to remember their important details.

The talk was actually less about what the brain does while we are sleeping, but more about what it fails to do without a good night’s rest. Sleep loss, which is when someone doesn’t make it to the recommended sleep duration of 7-9 hours/night, primarily affects the prefrontal cortex. If you forget your high school anatomy class like me, I’ll remind just as Dr. Scullin did that the prefrontal cortex is directly behind your left temple. More importantly, its main functions are reasoning, concentrating, problem-solving, and encoding memory – essentially, everything that makes a good pupil. Without a proper night’s shuteye, the prefrontal cortex will be just as tired and as unable to perform as us.

Dr. Scullin went on to discuss different problems that college students face when trying to go to sleep (some their own doing and some evolution’s doing). Most of us, not just college students, get into bed, turn off the light, and grab our smartphones or tablets. This is a big no-no. The bright light from these devices, including TV screens, tells the brain that the sun is about to come up and that we should, as well. In scientific terms, the light decreases melatonin production, which then in turn unsynchronizes our circadian cycles, which then in turn forces us to stay up all night finishing season 5 of Game of Thrones for the sixth time.

It has been proven that young adults are on a different biological clock than their professors. This makes complete sense when I think about how I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning during my undergraduate years watching the antics of Craig Ferguson on late night TV, but now can barely make it to the evening news. Dr. Scullin suggested eliminating 8:00 am classes, which an approximate 40% of BU students are enrolled in, because of this very reason that is no one’s fault but our evolutionary process.

Dr. Scullin then provided tips for professors to give to their students and signs to look for in a tired pupil. He reminded us that students may not be doing well not because they are unintelligent, but because their poor sleep habits are finally catching up to them. He concluded by saying that it is nearly impossible for someone to catch up on sleep on the weekend, that we should stay far away from coffee after lunch, and that when you wear a beanie everyone knows it’s because you didn’t shower.

Even with a lifetime of sleeping experience, it seems that I still have some learning to do!

Check out the full schedule of ATL’s Seminars in Excellence for Teaching.

By Matthew Doyen

Bears v Longhorns

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On Monday night, I tuned into ESPN (because a Monday night tip-off is not ideal for graduate students to attend) to watch the much anticipated Baylor-Texas men’s basketball game. As I listened to Brent Musburger skillfully narrate the intense action and to a full house fervently cheer on our boys in green and gold, I became curious as to why these two schools form one of the biggest rivalries in the country.

My first thought was location. BU and UT are located less than 100 miles from one another and it seems that every school that falls within that radius is a rival to Baylor (TCU and Texas A&M). The close proximity means that fans can easily travel on I-35 to any and all away games. The cities that the two schools call home are also vastly different. UT is located in the state capital of Austin. The city is known for being very hip (and “weird”) and has a great selection of parks, shops, and music venues. Waco, on the other hand, is the little brother of sorts. It is about half the size of its larger counterpart to the south and is just now coming into its own by being “wacko.” A lot of what Waco strives for, even down to its slogan, can trace its roots to Austin, which can account for some of the spite.

My second thought was academics. These two schools are the largest in central Texas and are ranked 52nd (UT) and 71st (BU) in U.S. World News Report’s most recent rankings. UT has been labeled as one of the “public ivies,” which implies that one can get an Ivy League education there for the price of a public school. Baylor, meanwhile, is strictly private and doesn’t have to create such titles. Over 50,000 students are enrolled at UT, while we have a little over 15,000, which creates a cozy atmosphere. Despite the disparity in the student population, both schools are known for their current research with Texas accruing a large research endowment and Baylor opening its BRIC operation just a couple of years ago; both also have general endowments over one billion dollars. The academic rigor that is paralleled at both institutions can only add fuel to the rivalry fire.

My final thought, and probably the one that should have come first, was athletics. BU-UT teams have competed in heated rivalry for decades (check out the 1963 football program at the bottom of the page courtesy of The Texas Collection), despite the fact that the Longhorns have had an enormously historic advantage. In recent years, however, they have been caught and the Bears are now consistently competing on the football field and basketball court and baseball diamond and on and on and on. The intensity brought by this transition of power has made the rivalry ever more intense, which can only enhance to the competitiveness.

While the basketball game continued to unfold in the background of my “research,” I kept hearing Mr. Musburger say two words that perfectly sum up the relationship of BU and UT: passion and respect. Perhaps the reason that this tandem has become so fierce is because we see a lot of the same qualities in each other. We are both located in Central Texas and proud of it. We are both continually improving our level of academics and research. We are both desperately passionate for our team. Because of those facts, a mutual respect has grown and, even though it may seem that we despise each other’s existence most of the time, we are only making each other better.

ooWhile these programs have become a bit less offensive, some things, like the intensity of the Baylor-Texas rivalry, will never change.

By Matthew Doyen

How to Rally from the Realization of a New Semester

The first couple weeks of a new semester are like the first weeks of a new relationship. The feelings that everything is perfect and that nothing can ever go awry gleefully disillusion our minds. We keep saying things to ourselves like “this thing is easier than I thought,” and prematurely planning joyful journeys for the future. Every day is sunny and beautiful. But then, all at once, it hits us: the realization that this thing is actually a lot harder than we thought. The clouds hide the sky and the cool breeze is finally noticed as we recognize that every class isn’t going to get out thirty minutes early and that all assignments can’t be accomplished a few minutes before the beginning of entering the room. We discover that they hate our favorite movie and that they make a really annoying noise when eating spaghetti. The honeymoon is over. Luckily, we’ve compiled a few steps from experience for how to rally from this moment and make the best out of the semester.

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Step 1: Complain

Some call it venting, some call it flaring up, many call it annoying, but it must be done. Get out the frustration and direct it towards someone who understands your situation. Usually, this is a fellow classmate or an old friend that won’t send you to the crazy house. Complain about the absurd amount of readings that are assigned, about the professor who is always one class behind because of his pointless sidebars, about the lack of time given to complete the recently assigned paper. Don’t hold back!

Step 2: Exercise

Once you have successfully gotten off your negativity horse, take a walk, or a run, or a bike ride. Enjoy the fresh air going into and coming out of your body. Listen to your favorite band. Look around and appreciate the scenery of where you are going to be spending your next semester. Realize how truly blessed you are to be in this position and in this place. Take these precious moments to relax and let your course workload escape to the farthest depths of your mind.

Step 3: Get an Ice Cream Cone

Because we all love ice cream and, let’s be honest, you deserve it.

Step 4: Get to Work

Difficult tasks often seem impossible until we start. Break down the readings into smaller sections that are manageable to do in a session at the library. It might take the whole night, and you might have to miss that movie or game that was enjoyed in the first couple weeks, but you’ll be that much closer to finishing. Achieving a daunting challenge is actually quite a satisfying moment and should provide for a good night’s sleep. Remember what the marathon runner John Bingham once stated, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

So complain, then exercise, then eat, then work and you will be on your way before you know it! As for that new relationship, try TV shows and ravioli.

By Matthew Doyen

Nine Things We’re Looking Forward to This Semester!

Basketball Games – January 2-March 3

There has been a recent resurgence of Baylor athletics, and the basketball teams have been at the forefront. Since 2010, the Lady Bears have been to two Final Fours, including winning it all in 2012! They have been ranked in the top 10 for most of the year and end their season at the Ferrell Center against in-state foe (and currently undefeated) Texas. In the past six years, the men’s team has had equal success by reaching both the Elite Eight and NIT Finals twice in that span. The Bears end their season with a quartet of huge matchups against nationally ranked Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and West Virginia. It’s safe to say that come Spring Break, Baylor will be electric with March Madness fever and we will be cheering the whole way.

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BRIC Lecture – January 21-22

Baylor’s BRIC (Baylor’s Research and Innovation Collaborative) Lecture series is bringing one of the world’s most distinguished and influential scientists to Waco. Dr. Henry “Fritz” Schafer will be giving two lectures while on campus with the public lecture titled “A Day in the Life of a Scientist: An Autobiographical Sketch.” Since Dr. Schafer was recently cited by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the seven chemists most deserving of the Nobel Prize who has yet to be so recognized, this will be one lecture we will make sure not to miss.

All-University Sing – February 18-27

The history of Baylor’s All-University Sing goes all the way back to 1953. During this wildly popular tradition, student organizations perform seven-minute broadway style productions. These organizations pull out all of the stops because the top eight acts will advance to the Pigskin Revue (another tradition that is held during Homecoming Weekend). Come late February, we’ll find our seats in Waco Hall and ready ourselves to enjoy this year’s eighteen amazing acts.

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Bearathon – March 19

Tokened “the Toughest Half in Texas,” the Bearathon is one of BU’s Student Foundation’s largest fundraising events. Last year over two thousand runners weaved their ways from the streets of downtown to the hills of Cameron Park and everywhere in between on the 13.1 mile course! This year’s race, which includes a 5K option, will begin and end at the “Palace on the Brazos,” McLane Stadium. For better or worse, we will be strapping on our bibs and going on a nice (and long) morning run before we head home for Easter Break.

Texas Food Truck Showdown – April 2

If there is one thing that Wacoans love, it is good food. The Greater Waco Chamber capitalized on this passion by hosting the first Texas Food Truck Showdown last year to raving reviews and, to the pleasure of many rumbling bellies, is bringing it back this spring for a second go-around. The 2016 version will feature an expanded venue with more than forty food trucks, live entertainment, and a free outdoor movie courtesy of Sunset Cinema. Aspiring food aficionados can even vote on their best mobile food stand! It’s safe to say that after sleeping off a day filled with pranks and hijinks, we will put on our fat pants and indulge at the Showdown.

STEM and Humanities Symposium – April 7

For the last couple of years, Baylor has placed an extra emphasis on its STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and Humanities programs. The University is continuing its quest by hosting its second annual STEM and Humanities Symposium at the Mayborn Museum. This year’s theme is “The Anthropocene,” which is a proposed name for the current geological period, when humans have replaced nature as the most significant environmental force on Earth. We’re marking our calendars and taking our chances crossing University Parks for this event.

Steppin’ Out – April 9

Community engagement and service is something that has always been important to Baylor and its students. One of the most popular and rewarding experiences that students and faculty can partake in is the Steppin’ Out program. Steppin’ Out at Baylor, which just celebrated its thirty year anniversary, occurs once a semester and gives the university a chance to give back to the beautiful city that it calls home. During the second Saturday in April, you’ll find us rolling up our sleeves ready to garden, clean, paint, and wash our community.

Diadeloso – April 12

Sometimes after a long semester, we just need to get together with all of our friends and have a huge campus-wide party. Baylor, bless its heart, has been making that happen for its students since before WII. Diadeloso, a self-proclaimed university holiday, is a day full of athletic tournaments, live entertainment, and so much more. We’re not ashamed to admit that our countdown to Diadeloso, the Day of the Bear, has begun (90 days and counting!).

Common Grounds Concert – April 13

Common Grounds is not only one of the best coffee shops in town, but also one of the best music venues. They have big names headline their calendar all semester (Gungor, Jukebox the Ghost, Mutemath), but the show we’re looking forward to the most is the April 13th appearance of the americana-folk band Judah and the Lion. As we’re finishing up our theses and projects, we’ll be sure to squeeze in some time to walk across the street from campus and see an amazing concert.

By Matthew Doyen

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