Category Archives: On My Mind

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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SBXII in Gulf Shores

I’m a few weeks behind on this post, but better late than never!

Well, Spring Break is already over, and we’re now in the last month of the semester. This part of the year is my favorite at Baylor between baseball season, Easter and Diadeloso (A.K.A. days off from school). I know Spring Break was originally intended for a week of relaxation, but a vacation never ends up being quite that.

I had the opportunity to roadtrip with two of my best friends to Gulf Shores in Alabama. Kylie, Tierney and I barely made the 11-hour drive, one long day. Tierney’s family generously hosted us at their home in Fairhope, about 25 minutes from the beach. It was nice to be away from the Spring Break chaos on the beach near condos and houses, and this way we got to see more of that area.

Gulf Shores was the first white sand beach I’d seen. Growing up in Texas, I only knew the beaches of Port Aransas and South Padre Island. The beach was beautiful, the water was clear, and there were hardly any seaweed or jellyfish. However, I noticed significantly fewer waves in Alabama than I remember in Texas. Since it’s only March, the water was still cold, but after laying out for an hour the water felt better. Most people resisted getting into the water, but since I was with Tierney, who we joke is part mermaid, we made several swims out into the ocean.

A majority of the people on the beach were college students, from Alabama according to their accents. We also hung out with boys from Kansas and a girl from New Jersey.

I ate seafood for the entire week so I’m sad now to be away from such fresh seafood. A few of the restaurants we ate at were The Hangout, Lulu’s and The Oyster House – fish tacos, a shrimp wrap and a combination plate with my favorite types of seafood!

Our day trip to Pensacola was our favorite day. I had a phone interview in the middle of the day so I spent an hour in the car preparing and talking. When I made my way back to the beach, clouds were rolling in, bringing fog. So for an hour, a thick haze surrounded us about 500 hundred feet in every direction, it was the strangest thing. That day we made friends along the beach in time for dinner at the Crab House, where I obviously jumped at the chance to eat crab cakes. After dinner we headed to the Fish House, yes, another seafood house, to hang out and listen to a live band. Tierney started a dance party with the single-middle aged crowd with our help too, just in time for a college-aged group to roll in. McGuire’s Irish Pub was our next stop with great Irish drinks and desserts. It’s known for the $1.5 million  in dollar bills with customers’ signature hanging on the ceiling and walls!

We spent one night at a local country dancehall in Fairhope called Double Deuce. A majority of the people there ended up being far older than us, but we still had a good time taking line dancing lessons and dancing. The DJ loved us, and kept playing songs he thought we’d like, including songs about Texas and the song about the Heisman! I lost count of how many times he played the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble. For liking country music as much as I do, I have plenty of improving to do on my country dancing. I like to think the red boots make me a better dancer though!

I got my fair share of beach music on our roadtrip playlist, more Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney than most care to hear in one sitting. After four enjoyable days on the beach it was time to head back to school. Our Saturday drive day happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, and apparently the city of Baton Rouge takes it very seriously. As we were driving through on our way to The Chimes restaurant near the LSU campus, we got caught in traffic as the parade ended. I’ve never seen so many people wearing green before! Luckily, the parade going college students were heading to the bars instead of to our lunch destination. The Chimes’ crawfish etoufett made our time lost in traffic worth it. My turn to drive came shortly after, and of course, I got stuck driving through the small towns and slow-speed limit places from Beaumont to Waco. We made it back all in one piece, and we still love each other. Our biggest problems were sunburns, but lucky for me, my olive skin absorbs the sun with pealing or blistering. Looking in the mirror, my new beach tan reminds me of a wonderful trip with my girls! Looking forward to my senior Spring Break now.

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In-training

Just registered for the Baylor Bearathon this week, and no, I don’t mean the 5K! That’s right, in less than a month, I plan to complete my third half-marathon. I was able to run 7 miles this morning, unfortunately, not as smoothly as I would have liked to. Two halfs later, I don’t feel like I’m running distance unless I’m getting double-digit mileage. Crazy, I know.

My first half-marathon was the Bearathon last spring. I finished the race in a bit of pain, but I felt so accomplished. Then I went with blistered feet to work a baseball game as a Diamond Girl in the Texas heat. Before my first half, I never understood the phrase “addicted to the pain” like I heard people say about getting tattoos (don’t worry, not my style) or other things. I crossed the finish line, in just over two hours, and almost instantly thought about running another half.

I happened to come across running in middle school. I was playing basketball at the time when a random coach commented on my natural running form and told me I should consider running competitively (such an ego booster!). So naturally, I couldn’t say no to joining the track team that spring. Reminiscing, I like to gloat about my value to the team in my variety of events – 1600 meter run (1 mile), 4×100 meter relay and triple jump. When I do decide to talk about it, it’s only because it means nothing now, just funny how that combination even worked out. For some reason I was always drawn to long distance running. Like they say, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” Personally, I’m about long-term goals and progress then short-term results. Then in high school, I ran cross country and track – good times.

I followed through with my goal to keep running half-marathons. My roommates plus Margaret and Haley all ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon in San Antonio in November. It was Kylie, Margaret and Haley’s first half, but Abby and I ran the Bearathon together the semester before. Running together seems like the ultimate bonding experience with so much time to talk. In fact, that’s how Haley and I became friends in the first place. On the first day of practice, summer two-a-days I remember well, we were given two options, a shorter or a longer route. I was the slower runner in the fast group. I wanted to go a longer run, but I didn’t want to run alone. That’s when Haley showed up, thinking the same thing, such a God-send. When you run over an hour together everyday, you have plenty of time to get to know another. Needless to say, we’re still best friends today. I had so much fun spending the weekend in my hometown with some of my very best friends! Did I mention I earned my personal best time, 2 hours, 5 minutes? It was a really hard run on my shins and knees especially since it was all on pavement. It was also the ugliest run I’ve ever been on – renovated buildings, incomplete construction and back-roads with virtually no music at the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL race. I’m sorry to put you down, San Antonio, but that race did my hometown ZERO justice. If I do another race besides the Bearathon, I will make a vacation out of a pretty destination and provide my own music, thank you.

After all of that, I’m registered and training for my third half, back where it all began. The Bearathon is my favorite race so far because I love the campus participation and the beautiful route along the Brazos River and Cameron Park. Many Baylor organizations line the route to cheer and provide hydration and carbs. Back at the San Antonio race, a group sponsored a carb-loading station with beer. Beer is the last thing I’d like to drink while running. Of course a beer stand won’t be anywhere near the Baylor-sponsored race. The difficulty of the Bearathon hasn’t entirely escaped my mind though. Cameron Park hills are no friend of mine. Check out this elevation (and by elevation, I mean incline of hills):

They don’t call it the “toughest half in Texas” for no reason! I suppose I’m up for the challenge.

Ultimate goals? Well a sprint-triathlon is next on my list! I’ve got the running down, I’m enrolled in a biking class and I’d like to pick up swimming soon. I have swam nearly a mile along the Frio River a few mornings at camp. A road bike is among next investments on my list. I am also determined to run a full marathon in my lifetime. Obviously my time and ability are ticking! First, I ‘ll need a running companion for motivation. I had a friend who ran her first marathon with the support of dad, running miles 15-20 with her, and her boyfriend, running 20-26.4 beside her. Any takers to help this girl out?

Happy training to my fellow Bears. I’ll see you at start on March 24, and I’ll be sure to bring my a-game – going for personal record under two hours this time!

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February

I love February for a number a reasons. For starters, it begins with my parents’ anniversary, a sweet reminder of their love for each other, making me hopeful that I will one day find a great guy to experience that with. On a less romantic note, the rodeo comes to San Antonio. It’s a good excuse to slide my cowboy boots on (my newest pair are red) and enjoy quality country music with people who appreciate it. My family and I just went last week to see new artist Chris Young. Then of course, Valentine’s Day is on the 14th. Since I’ve yet to have a boyfriend on this sentimental holiday, I look forward to the chocolate-dipped strawberries and a new perfume from my parents. This year, my roommates and I did receive a bright, beautiful bouquet of flowers, sent anonymously. We suspect it was from a thoughtful mutual friend of ours. The 18th marks my half-birthday, but more importantly my grandmother’s birthday. As of tomorrow, I’m only six months away from 21, also the age I’ll be when I graduate from college. I never imagined being this age, crazy! Besides all that, college baseball begins.

I’ve loved baseball for as long as I can remember. I grew up around the exhilarating spring sport. I loved experiencing games with my family, on a freshly manicured field on crisp spring afternoons. Baseball became a bigger part of my life when I joined Baylor Baseball Diamond Girls last spring, and became co-captain for this season. Baylor Baseball kicked off the season tonight with the QTI Classic against Oral Roberts University (yeah, the only reason I know that school is because we play them opening weekend). Friday starting off, and seems to be ending now, with rain. The weather pulled through just long enough for a pretty afternoon for the opening game. The team also came through to show off their hard work at practice when they won the game 3-2. I’d say it was a perfect afternoon. I sold programs and welcomed fans for a half-hour before working the entire game on the Baylor side. Fortunately it only lasted 8.5 innings since we had the lead, because I was hungry and thirsty after jumping into full-game responsibility. I can honestly say that I love the action and view from the field as much as I love greeting loyal Baylor fans at the gates and working with my organization. I’ll get to experience it again tomorrow, again on Sunday, and for the remainder of the season! I love what I do, and I’m so proud to be part of the Baseball program, representing Baylor this way. It’s completely worth those four hours of my day when game days roll around.

Here’s to a promising and enjoyable baseball season and spring season!

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