Just the Bear Facts

To help you get your bearing in Grad School.

Month: January 2016

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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