Reflections from the Other Side of my Junior Year

Man… What a year! Generic way to describe it, I know, but there aren’t enough words to describe it.

Let’s start with Baylor Athletics! Baylor Football goes undefeated at home and has a 10-3 season. Students rushed the field twice this year, such a treat! We ended the season at the Valero Alamo Bowl, conveniently in San Antonio, ranked 12. Let’s not forget Robert Griffin winning the Heisman, RGIII is the man! It looks like I’ll have a few new teams to cheer for this coming fall – RGIII with the Washington Redskins (even if I am a Dallas Cowboy fan by default), Kendall Wright with the Tennessee Titans and Tarrance Ganaway with the New York Jets. Baylor also announced plans and funding to build a football stadium on campus. I’ll be looking forward to Homecoming games as an alumna! Then there are Baylor Basketball and Baylor Lady Bears Basketball. Men went for a 30-8 record, making it to the Elite 8 when they lost to tournament champs, Kentucky. The Lady Bears went for their second national championship title this season, going undefeated (40-0) this season – FINISHED BUSINESS. Brittney Griner went on to win the Wade Trophy and more. New reports yesterday reported that she broke her shooting wrist longboarding. Better make a full recovery before November, Brittney! And my personal favorite, Baylor Baseball. I’m co-captain of Baylor Baseball Diamond Girls, their promotional group and bat girls. Just last week, Baylor Baseball was named the Big 12 Champs, even in the middle of the season, because we went on an 18-game winning streak in conference. Currently we are 18-3, in conference. UT is to come this Thursday-Saturday, so hopefully we will remain undefeated in conference. Omaha? I’m crossing my fingers!

In November, I ran my second half-marathon, Rock and Roll Marathon Series in San Antonio. It was a poorly routed run through my pretty hometown, and I got to run it with two of my roommates, my high school running buddy and a camp co-counselor. We carb-loaded at my house the night before with my family’s homemade Italian feast then celebrate the following night with chicken-fried steaks, my post-race treat! I’m happy to report I improved my time by over 10 minutes, finishing in just two hours and five minutes. I am even happier to report that I completed my third half-marathon, setting a personal record for two hours flat, at the annual Bearathon through the beautiful Baylor campus and Cameron Park in Waco. I couldn’t have done it without Shelly who set the fast pace for me! I have my roommates and family to thank also for their companionship and support.

As you can see, I’m really into sports, which made my fall internship all the more enjoyable. I had the opportunity to intern with ESPN-Central Texas, and its sister stations Mix 92.9 and 104.9 The Beat. In the spring, Mix changed formats and added a Texas country station. My job as the fall intern was to help with office tasks, write press releases and pitch letter and to help with promotions and contests, among other things for the three stations. My favorite thing about interning there was combining my love for sports and music with my journalism major. Do what you love, it and working comes more naturally.

My classes both semesters were demanding, but I have progress and improvement to show from it. I created a public relations portfolio through my Advance Public Relations course and the internship. From Public Relations campaign, I have this blog, an online portfolio, a 20-page image repair paper for politician Newt Gingrich, and promotional group project for Waco Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness. For my marketing minor, I completed and presented an innovation (family meal packages for online purchase) for H-E-B with my group members, winning best concept in class, and another group project researching and improving Baylor business for Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home. I created an online photo portfolio for my photography class. Through all these projects, I got a taste for a career in public relations, far more in depth than just writing a press release or sending a tweet. It’s demanding work, but I enjoyed it – proof that I chose the right major.

I had the opportunity to travel to new places – New Orleans and Gulf Shores, Alabama. I was invited by the Baylor chapter of Society of Professional Journalists to attend the SPJ National Conference. Dr. Stone, Caitlin and I traveled together to attend the conference with all types of journalists from around the country. During the day we heard speakers like Soledad O’Brien and Linda Ellerbee, among others. At night, we had time to explore New Orleans – French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Café Du Monde, the waterfront and great seafood! Then, over Spring Break, a Kylie, Tierney and I went to the beaches of Gulf Shores and Pensacola. We enjoyed a week in the sun and meeting Spring Breakers on the beach.

I took on larger responsibilities in each campus organization I’m involved in. I was voted to be a Baylor Baseball Diamond Girl co-captain alongside Caitlyn. Together we recruited 20 new members, organized Burgers on the Berm fundraiser, our spot in the Baylor Homecoming Parade, a Christmas dinner with Diamond Girls and the baseball team, and attended every home game and traveled to close away games. In addition to our game day responsibilities, I updated our social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. I served as Vice President of Media Relations for the Baylor chapter of Society of Professional Journalists. I helped organize meetings and call attention to upcoming events through our Facebook page. My leadership roles emphasized the importance of efficient communication and team effort. I’m glad to say that I will be a Diamond Girl co-captain again with Elizabeth and Meagan, and I will share SPJ presidency with Mallory in the fall and Caitlin in the spring.

I’ve continued to build and maintain lasting friendships. Ashley moved into our apartment for the year while Emily and Abby studied abroad opposite semesters. Abby, Emily, Kylie and I are looking forward to living together again for senior year, but we enjoyed having Ashley this year! Having roommates reminds me how many different ways there are to do the same thing, a reminder to keep my mind open to new things. If anything, we have become better friends since living together.

My younger brother, Landon, started college this past year. I enjoyed hearing about his college experience at UTSA. Though we chose different paths for our college years, we have both found happiness and belonging we are.

One of my favorite things is returning home after I’ve been away. I like seeing how people grow, but at their core they are true to their roots. I’ve been able to look back since college, and I’m looking forward to doing the same after I graduate and see their lives after graduation.

It’s hard to believe that we’re getting old enough for independence, real jobs and marriage. I have a number of friends who have gotten engaged this year. I’ve helped several friends celebrate their twenty-first birthdays, responsibly of course! I’m looking forward to celebrating my own in August in Las Vegas with my family before beginning my senior year and celebrating back in Texas with friends.

When I was younger, I could hardly fathom what adulthood would be like, and now I have a partial taste. I am amazed at opportunities people around me have earned, and I hope I have the chance for something incredible too, out of the ordinary that requires me to step out of my comfort zone. My junior year was full of blessings, but I’m looking forward to seeing what my senior year offers me. Stay posted!


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