McKendree's Bearcat Blog

A Go-To Guide for Newly Admitted Bearcats

Two Female Students on Laptop
If you’re a newly admitted Bearcat, first off, congratulations! We’re so excited to welcome you into the McKendree family and community. Now that you’ve been admitted, you may be wondering, what’s next? Look no further! We’ve created a go-to guide with a compilation of your next steps:

See Your Application Portal

The first step is hopping online to your application portal. When you visit the portal, you will find your admission decision letter ready to access and download. We know it’s a big decision, but we hope you will choose to become a Bearcat.

Visit Campus

At McKendree, the possibilities and opportunities for your future are endless. Come and
visit campus to see your great potential. You can schedule a visit, even after you’ve been admitted, to see first-hand the ins and outs of campus life before making a big leap into your future. 

Set up Your McK Account

To stay up to date and receive important information, be sure to activate your My McK account. Before activation, check your Enrollment Confirmation Form you received with your admission packet to find your Student ID. Once you’ve located your ID, you’ll be on your way to
activating your account and one step closer to officially becoming a Bearcat! 

Complete the Financial & Medical Information Checklist:

Prior to your exciting moving day, there are a few financial and medical tasks to complete. Ensure that you have completed the following within their noted deadlines:

  • Sign and return your enrollment confirmation form.

  • Submit your deposits

  • Apply for available aid: FAFSA, academic scholarships and other scholarship opportunities

  • Complete and turn in your required medical forms to Health Services by August 1st.

  • Send your final high school, dual-credit courses, and other college credit transcripts to the Office of Admission.

Select Housing 

One of the most exciting steps is choosing your future home on campus. We will give you a tip—fill your housing application out as early as possible to get your first-choice pick! You can find the application on February 1
st in your newly activated student portal if you’ve already submitted your deposit. Before submitting your application, view the many housing options to decide what will be the best fit for you. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, Residence Life is there to help! 

Making a Smooth Transition

For a smooth transition to McKendree, sign up for the
First Year Introduction program designed to help you acclimate and to set you up for success during your time here. Afterwards, it’s essential to attend New Student Orientation where you will have the opportunity to meet your fellow peers, professors, and potentially a new best friend.  

With just a few simple steps, you’ll be on your way to your new Bearcat beginning. Congratulations on your admission and welcome to McKendree. We can’t wait to see how you will make your mark!  

For more information, see our final steps.




10 Tips for Turning an Unproductive Day Around

Female Student in Room on Laptop Computer

With midterms right around the corner, you may have started to procrastinate. It can be easy to put your homework and other tasks off until the last minute, but it leaves you feeling unproductive and unsatisfied when the day comes to an end. Don’t lose hope just yet, Bearcats! We’ve got 10 tips to turn those unproductive days around:

Make a To-Do List

One of the best ways to encourage productivity is by making a list of assignments and tasks you have to complete, no matter how big or small they are. It can be helpful to write it out by hand and will give you more satisfaction when you can cross them off one by one. Begin with the easiest tasks to get in your productive groove and you’ll be well on your way to a full, rewarding day!

Get Organized!

Organization is key to productivity, especially within your environment. Make sure that your desired workspace, whether it’s as small as your desk or as big as your entire room, is clean, tidy, and organized so you can work effectively and efficiently on the tasks you need to complete. Having an organized workspace will enable you to return each day and complete your work in an orderly fashion.

Set Goals

We know that you’re familiar with setting goals, but S.M.A.R.T. goals are essential and can turn an unproductive day right around. S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Following these guidelines for goal setting will set you up for success. To get started, click here for a how-to guide and reroute your day down the path of productivity.

Change Up Your Scenery

Sitting in the same place day after day can be boring and steer you away from completing what you need to. That’s why it’s important to change up your scenery now and then to keep your productivity level fresh, active, and revitalized. On campus, there are designated learning spaces designed just for you. Check out the Hub, the ALC, and of course, Holman Library for some peace and quiet with no distractions.


Join a Club or Team

If you find yourself feeling unproductive with no tasks to complete, join a club or one of the many sports teams McKendree offers. No matter your interests, we’ve got you covered from reading with the Literary Interest Society to creating works of art with the Art Club. The opportunities are truly endless and will give you a satisfying feeling of productiveness and a sense of being a part of something greater.


Participate in an Activity


A great way to turn your unproductive day around while connecting with other students is by participating in one of the many activities on and around campus. McKendree’s Campus Activities Board diligently works to provide students and the community with an array of activities to join in on. Joining or attending one of their events may just be exactly what you need to get on a productive streak.

Take a Break

When your day feels unproductive, it can fill you with frustration. Hit the reset button and go for a walk, do a hobby, or even finish some chores. Stepping away from your workspace and getting out of your current environment will allow you to reset mentally and physically. When you return, you’ll have a clear mind and be ready to focus on your tasks.

Grab a Snack

There may be times where it feels like you have so much to do and you try to cram it all into one sitting with no time to waste on breaks, especially snack breaks. Snack breaks are so important to take to refuel your body and mind. Stop by Ames Dining Hall for a quick meal or 1828 Café for fast snacks and a refreshing drink.

Stay Positive

You may hear this a lot but it’s true--a positive attitude can get you a long way. Having a positive outlook and reminding yourself that you can do anything you put your mind to will in itself spin your day right around.

Plan Ahead

With a new, refreshed attitude, you can plan ahead for tomorrow and make it a brighter day, Bearcats! Laying out your week and tasks to do each day will satisfy and meet your needs to feel that productive sensation. Be careful not to pile too much work on. It can get overwhelming. Space out your schedule and tackle one day at a time. Schedules not only keep you on track to stay efficient but can ultimately serve as a guide to have an overall productive week.

No matter how unproductive your day may feel, we hope these tips will help you turn your day around!




How to Network as a McKendree Student

Male Student at a Career Fair
Listen up, Bearcats! With a new semester ahead, there are new opportunities to start making connections and forming your networks. You may be wondering, what is networking? Networking provides a foundation for your future career and life after college by simply making a connection with someone who shares a similar passion or aspirational profession. While you’re at McKendree, there are many ways and resources to use to start building your personal and professional platforms. Here are a few ways and strategies to begin networking as a Bearcat:

Be Ready

First things first, be ready for any opportunity that could arise from interviews, events, and even during class! Get ready by creating an organized system where you can store and easily access any information you gather as well as handing out yours. Keep an updated resume and/or business card on hand to readily share your information whenever an opportunity may present itself. By being prepared and organized, you will make a lasting impression!

Put Yourself Out There

We know it can be scary to put yourself out there and step outside your comfort zone, but having confidence is key! Initiate a conversation with a student or professor and discuss something that captured your interest. One conversation is all it takes to build a firm foundation for a network. Having connections with those you encounter along the way could open many doors and possibilities in your future.

Get Involved at McKendree

One of the best ways to network is to get in on the McKendree action! As a Bearcat, there are many ways to get involved, from joining a club, picking up an extracurricular activity, or participating in one of our many sports. There are many student organizations and involvement opportunities that you can become a part of to make your mark!

Students Talking to Employment Recruiters
Go to Career Services

Career Services, located in Clark Hall, is by far one of the best and most helpful resources to guide you along the way as you begin networking. Career Services provides students with training activities, programs and services, ranging from building a resume to securing internships. Stop by today and plan to succeed!

Attend Events

Throughout the semester, there are many events you can attend that can branch out your networks for your future. One of the most beneficial events to attend are career fairs. In fact, there is one coming up on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at the Hett from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm! Employers will be seeking potential candidates for open and/or future positions at their companies and sharing their information so be sure to come prepared with yours.

Now that you know a few ways and strategies on how you can network as a McKendree student, be ready and brave like Bogey! All it takes is to put yourself out there, get involved on campus and in the surrounding community. We believe in you, Bearcats, and know your future will be bright!




10 Facts You Didn’t Know About McKendree



You probably already know that McKendree is the oldest college in Illinois, but we’ll bet there are a few things you didn’t know about our campus. From our mascot, historic buildings and treasures to our campus history and traditions, there are many facts you probably would have never guessed to be true! Here are the top 10 facts:

1. What Puts the Bear in Bearcat?

It all began in the year 1924 when a real, live bear cub was bought with big dreams of becoming the football team mascot. Just two years later, in 1926, Susie, one of the live bear cub mascots, made her first appearance on campus. It was not just a short visit... Susie was here to stay. She quickly settled near Voigt Science Hall in a huge cage. But sometimes, she was able to go on walks around campus with a collar and chain. She was even able to go inside classrooms! However, Susie wasn’t the only bear cub to live on campus. There were many that once set paw on campus, like Lady Clio.

2. Our Mascot Almost Changed!

Speaking of mascots, McKendree’s almost changed in the 1960s! A college board member questioned the student body, “What is a Bearcat?” He felt that with such outstanding thinkers and athletic teams, McKendree students should be called something more heroic and bold. He came up with “The Circuit Riders.” But after lots of brainstorming, no name could beat the Bearcats.

3. The Prized Bothwell Chapel Bell

Standing high and tall is the steeple of Bothwell Chapel. Every half hour, the ancient 1200-year-old bell echoes throughout campus. This bell is not just one of the oldest bells in Illinois; it’s actually one of the oldest in all of North America, originating from Spain! Now you may be wondering, how did it get here? The story goes that in 1858, it was brought to the Illinois State Fair in Centralia and purchased by women in Lebanon for just 60 dollars! What a deal!

4. McKendree Regiment of 1862

Dating back to 1862, in the heart of the Civil War, many members of McKendree courageously joined the 117th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment to serve our country. In fact, the year prior, in 1861, out of the 200 enrolled McKendree students, 150 joined in the war with an initiative to defend the Union. In addition, the organized regiment was led by General Risdon M. Moore, one of McKendree’s brave members. To honor the McKendree Regiment and their service to our country, several trees were planted in the front lawn in memory of the forever McKendree members lost at war. Every tree holds a special place in McKendree’s history and heart.

5. Ancient Traditions

With a school as old as McKendree, there are many years of traditions and we’ll bet you haven’t heard of this wacky one! Each fall semester, the first-year students would have to wear a beanie to show their newbie status to the college. In doing so, they had to follow the rules established by the upperclassmen. The only way they could take off their beanies for the rest of the school year was if the football team won the homecoming game. But there were high stakes... if they lost, they had to keep wearing them until Thanksgiving! Now that would be a long semester.


6. The Oldest Building on Campus

Can you guess which building is the oldest building on campus? Its name may give it away... It’s Old Main! Old Main was originally known as Recitation Hall and had many offices, rooms for lectures, and two halls for some of McKendree’s renowned literary societies. Although, in 1828, a great fire burned down the original frame of the buildings that once stood. The Old Main we see today was constructed in 1850 to replace what was lost to the fierce flames and was the very first brick building on campus. In 1976, the building gained great recognition and was added to the list as an Illinois Historic Site and to the National Register for Historic Buildings.


7. Pearson Dining Hall

Over the years, Pearson Hall has been a variety of different things central to campus life. It has been a dining hall, meeting hall, performance hall, and even a bookstore! During its days as a dining hall, McKendree students used to serve other students for work study hours and benefits that went toward their tuition. Even though this chance has faded away, today, at 1828 Cafe, there are endless opportunities and chances to socialize and get to know your peers!


8. Housing in Clark & Carnegie Halls

To say the least, housing is much different than it used to be. On campus, there actually used to be separate residence halls for men and women. Can you guess which two halls? Clark and Carnegie! The two halls, as we know them today, are no longer residence halls, but rather filled with offices and classrooms. Next time you enter one of the two buildings, try and picture the setup!


9. Where Our Athletics Began ... in Wildy Hall!

Believe it or not, McKendree’s legacy of athletics all started in Wildy Hall! In 1868, it was known as the “Athleteon” which was home to a single-story gym for any and all athletics on campus. The building was originally built for athletics; however, it was quickly converted to a science hall and later used for administrative purposes, including financial aid, University communications, and even the President’s office!


10. Long-Lost Lake Beautiful

As you walk on campus from the Marion K. Piper Academic Center to Baker Hall, envision a quaint and peaceful lake with a rippling surface. There once was a lake in that exact spot called “Lake Beautiful.” Lake Beautiful was a hotspot where students and staff alike gathered around to socialize or for a little slice of serenity. However, toward the middle of the nineteenth century, the draining process began. Today, no trace of Lake Beautiful can be found on campus, but it will always live on in our yearbooks and our alumni Bearcats’ hearts.

McKendree surely has a lot of history and facts that will keep you guessing. If you can’t get enough of our history, head to Holman Library for exclusive digital archives, access to our very own museum, and a detailed guide to McKendree Historic Buildings & Sites. Now, as you walk around campus, imagine what it was like back in the day!




9 Ways You Can Motivate Yourself after Winter Break

Female Student Smiling in ClassroomEveryone struggles to return to the real world after a nice long winter break. It can be so difficult trying to shake yourself out of the lack of routine and responsibilities you might have enjoyed throughout the holidays, only to find yourself lacking the drive to get ready for the spring semester. If this sounds like you, you’re in luck. We have 10 helpful tips to help you slide into the spring semester!

Ease into Your First Week

Maybe you think you need to dive in headfirst into your semester. Believe us, this could cause more harm than good. Take it easy and gently edge your way back into your college routine. Slowly start going to bed and waking up earlier than you might have on break. Add a few more fruits and veggies to your plate while eating a little less of those indulgent goodies. Read just a little bit more each night. Take it one step at a time, then slowly add more things to your plate when you’re comfortable with your workload.

Reduce the Stress in Your Life

Stress can really wreak havoc in your life. While a little bit is beneficial, too much stress can put your health at risk and cause a slew of problems, including memory and concentration problems, muscle tension and pain, sleep problems, and much more. You can tackle stress and decrease its impact on you by keeping a clean and clutter-free space, getting plenty of sleep, exercising (even a few campus walks will do the trick!), getting some fresh air, doing some deep breathing, eating well, and taking time to do the things you love.

Set Good Study Habits Now

Take it from us – the sooner you set a solid study routine, the better off you’ll be, especially when midterms come around. Sit down now to put together a schedule for the semester. Include your regular class times, set study times, work-study jobs, extracurricular activities, and any team obligations you might have – then stick to it as best as you can. You’ll find that you’ll be much more prepared to tackle those essays and projects that inevitably show up throughout the semester, which equals less stress for you!

Learn to Manage Your Time

Procrastination might be a typical college student’s modus operandi; however, if you want to be successful, you’ll do well to hone your time-management skills. Putting things off until the last minute or pulling continued all-nighters makes it so easy for tasks to fall between the cracks. Start your assignments as soon as you can and give yourself ample time to complete them. Put away your phone (and put it on mute) to help you stay focused while you’re working. Not sure where to start? Consider tackling the biggest tasks first – it’ll be a huge load off your shoulders once they’re done!

Break Down Big Tasks into Smaller Ones

Now about tackling the big tasks first… It often helps to break them down into smaller, more bite-sized tasks to get the job done and make the prospect of finishing them way less intimidating. Do you need to write a huge research paper? Make a list of all the steps that go into it – researching, outlining, writing a thesis statement, writing the body paragraphs, crafting a conclusion, proofing and editing, etc. Then as you go along, check off those tasks on your list. This will help you feel accomplished and amp up your drive to you finish a big project!

Remember to Take Breaks

You might think that taking breaks is counterproductive, but it’s actually one of the best things you can do when it comes to studying. Working nonstop will do nothing but burn you out – and quickly. To keep your brain working at peak performance, shoot to give yourself a 15-minute break every 60-90 minutes. Take a quick walk around the Quad, stop by to chat briefly with your hallmates, watch a funny video or two, or get up and enjoy a quick dance session in your dorm room during your break. This will help you hone your focus so you can get those assignments done!

Take Good Care of Yourself

It’s essential during this time that you handle yourself with compassion, flexibility, and kindness. Forgive yourself when you fail. Nourish your body with whole, nutritious food. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Do the things that make you happy and motivated so you can feel fulfilled and ready to go every day while you’re at McKendree.

Rely on Your Support Network

The people you choose to have around you have a much bigger impact than you might imagine. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with positive, reliable people who will be there for you in good times and bad. Whenever you’re stressed, down, or beginning to feel burned out, turn to your support group of friends and family members to help you through.

Remember the Bigger Picture

Sometimes it can be hard to stay motivated, especially as the semester goes on. When you’re having a tough time getting motivated to study or write that paper, try to keep in mind why you’re here and what your path moving forward looks like. Your time in college will help prepare you for the real world and give you the skills and knowledge you need to find a fulfilling job. Remember that this is only temporary and will serve you for the better – and be confident in your ability to handle it all.

Welcome back, Bearcats – and have a fantastic spring semester. You’ve got this!




8 Ways to Get the Most out of Your Winter Break

Snow on Bothwell ChapelThe fall semester has finally come to a close – you know what that means. It’s time for winter break! While you’re away from college, you might be wondering what to do with all of your spare time aside from binge-watching your favorite TV series. While there’s definitely nothing wrong with kicking back and streaming your favorite shows, there are a few other things you could do to make your winter break more fulfilling. Here are our top 8 tips:

Look into Your Next Internship or Job

Jobs and internships might be off your radar for the moment, but you can always benefit from doing a bit of brainstorming or researching to find your future ideal job. Take a little bit of time to research companies, fields, and locations that match up with your career goals. Update your resume (or create one if you haven’t yet) with your most recent achievements. You could even take advantage of some holiday sales and score some professional clothing for your future interviews and jobs.

Resell Your Old Textbooks

Still have some of your old purchased textbooks sitting around? Clear up some space now by selling them! You can sell them back to the McKendree Bookstore, to your fellow students, or even to online retailers. Just make sure the books are in good condition to get the most cash back!

Get Organized

Before the spring semester begins, take some time to go through your supplies and determine what you’ll need to restock, including writing utensils, notebooks, folders, sticky notes, and more. You can also recycle, donate, or throw away things you no longer need. This is an excellent way to close out the fall semester and prepare for the next one!

Learn Something New

Did you know that every time you experience something new that you’re opening new neural pathways? Learning new things or even just getting out of your everyday routine is good for your brain. You can start firing those synapses by getting ahead in next semester’s coursework, hopping on Skillshare or YouTube to learn a new skill, taking music or language lessons, or watching a documentary on something new to you. Dive deeper into something that interests you – space, technology, dance, dead languages, geography, or anything else. Doing so will keep your brain sharp and healthy!

Get a Jump on Next Semester

Hear us out. You’ll be heading into a new semester with all-new courses and, more than likely, a completely different schedule. Before you completely shut off your brain and pay no mind to anything academic, take some time to get to know your new schedule and check out your upcoming courses. If there are any new syllabi available, take a look at those as well to determine how you should prepare once January rolls around. After you gain some insight as to what the next semester will look like, you can kick back and put it out of your mind for the next handful of weeks.

Set New Goals for Yourself

There’s no better time of the year to reflect on all the progress you’ve made this year and brainstorm what you might like to achieve next year! Take some time during winter break to think about your personal and academic goals and how you can go about making them come true. Just make sure that they’re “SMART” goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely!

Go on an Adventure

Remember what we said about how doing new things is good for your brain? Bundle up and head out of the house every now and again during your break. You could take long strolls in different places of your hometown, take a day trip somewhere new, or even travel to a different state or country. Once you’re back from your Yuletide adventure, feel free to warm up with a cozy blanket and a mug of your favorite warm beverage.

Relax and Make Some Memories

A break isn’t a true break if you don’t spend a good amount of time relaxing. Savor your time off by spending time with your loved ones, catching up with your friends, sleeping in, and truly unwinding. Do things that make you happy, whether it’s baking cookies, ice skating, or listening to your favorite podcasts. No matter what you do, just make sure you take the time to enjoy the season with the people who matter most to you!

Not heading home during the break? Consider trying some of these things to make the most out of your time off:


  • Explore your surroundings: Visit fun places in nearby St. Louis, go ice skating, set out for a hike, or find some local events to attend.

  • Hang out virtually with your friends and family! Just because they’re far away doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time having a nice chat over Zoom, FaceTime, or another platform.

  • Enjoy the lights by taking a walk or a drive around Lebanon and the surrounding neighborhoods.

  • Do some puzzles: If puzzles aren’t up your alley, have fun playing video games or board games by yourself or with others.

  • Read something fun, whether it’s the next best-seller, your favorite manga series, or a book you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had time for because of schoolwork.

  • Get your creative juices flowing by drawing, painting, playing some music, knitting, and more!

No matter what you choose to do this winter break, we hope you enjoy every minute of it, and we can’t wait to see you next semester! Have a wonderful break, Bearcats – you’ve earned it!




9 Ways to Show Your Bearcat Spirit at McKendree Games and Events

Students at Leemon Field
It’s one thing to simply attend a handful of games and events during your time at college. It’s quite another to go with the intent on donning purple and white and cheering your heart out for the Bearcats throughout your time at McKendree. Showing your school spirit doesn’t just make your time at college more enjoyable and memorable – it also can help encourage others, infuse a greater sense of collaboration and motivation, and even increase your own happiness. Here are 9 easy ways you can show your Bearcat pride at games and events at McKendree!

Wear Purple and White

What’s the easiest way to show your school spirit? Take it from the McKendree Fight Song: “Honor Purple and the White” and dress up in your best McKendree gear! You can either wear official school gear, which you can find at the bookstore or sometimes snag at campus events, or you can wear plenty of purple and white! Even a McKendree t-shirt or hoodie, a pair of jeans, and either a hat or purple accessories can go a long way to showing off your Bearcat pride!

Paint Your Face

Another inexpensive way to showcase your school spirit is painting your face! Paint a Bearcat pawprint, your favorite player’s number, or even Bogey’s face on your cheek, or be bold and paint your entire face purple and white. Best of all, since Halloween is just around the corner, face paint can be easier to find – just look in the costume aisle in your local convenience store (or try a craft or party store during the rest of the year).

Cheerleaders in MPCC
Make a Game Day Banner or Poster

Like to get creative? Put your artistic skills to use by making a fun poster or banner to take to games! All you need is some poster board, craft supplies, and maybe a few friends or hallmates to put together something to cheer on the Bearcats. Take it up a level by organizing a hall-wide contest to see who can come up with the most creative poster!

Go to as Many Games as You Can

Don’t confine your school spirit to your dorm room. Get out there and head out to as many games as possible! Get your game face on and go cheer on your fellow Bearcats in football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, hockey, and lots more. Expand your horizons and check out a sport you’ve maybe never seen before like swimming, tennis, wrestling, or lacrosse. Check out for a complete, up-to-date schedule on the many games taking place both at McKendree and away!

Student Pride at Basketball Game

It’s not enough to simply attend the events and sit quietly (unless it’s something that requires silence like golf, for example). You need to get up and cheer your heart out for your team! Your enthusiasm and support can help make a difference and can also start a wave of school pride that everyone in the stands can feel. So, the next time the school announcer says, “Okay, Bearcat fans – ON. YOUR. FEET!!!” get up and get loud!

Attend Other School Events, Too

Who says you’re only limited sporting events? Show how much of a Bearcat you really are by checking out all sorts of events on campus! Attend band and choir concerts, enjoy shows from the theatre group, compete in campus-wide competitions, and check out events that Campus Activities Board and other school groups put on throughout the year. It’s a great way to support Bearcats from all walks of life, socialize, and get the most out of your college experience!

Volunteer at the Events

Face paint not really your thing? Demonstrate your Bearcat pride by volunteering at events and games on campus! You can help out at the refreshments stand, volunteer to run your group’s bake sale, make your voice heard in the homecoming committee, or even become a student ambassador. Volunteering isn’t just a great way to become directly involved with your school; it also looks great on job applications!

Deck out Your Car

Take your school spirit on the road whenever you travel to an away game or other school event by adding a decal, bumper sticker, or license plate frame to your car! You can find plenty of these at the bookstore or sometimes at events on campus like the Involvement Fair. Spread the love by giving a few to your friends and hallmates if you have extras!

Interact with Our Social Media

Share your photos of the game or event on Instagram, include some hashtags (like #McKendreeUniversity, #PurpleandWhite, #BearcatsUnleashed, or #Bogey), and tag @mckendreeu. Like and comment on our photos and posts on Facebook. Taking your love for your school to social media shows the campus community and the world how much spirit you have and can encourage others to do their best!

Loud voices, a strong school spirit, and attendees in a sea of purple and white can make any game just that much better at McKendree. Next time there’s a game or fun event happening on campus, try out these easy tips to make your voice heard. Go, Bearcats!




11 Smart Ways to Make Friends in College

Female Students on Campus Quad
As a college student, you have so many unique opportunities ahead of you: the opportunity to learn about countless subjects, to become involved in all sorts of clubs and activities, and, of course, to meet wonderful people from all over the world. These people often wind up becoming your friends and, if you’re lucky, lifelong friends! The prospect of putting yourself out there and taking a chance on others can be daunting or even downright scary, but we promise – if you intentionally set out to turn acquaintances into friends, you’ll be successful!

Not sure where to start? Try out these 11 tips to find your newest besties on campus!

Use the Dorm to Your Advantage

If you live in one of the residence halls on campus, resist the urge to hole up in your room all day every day. Make the most out of living on campus. Get out and meet the other Bearcats on your floor! There are students who are just like you – eager to make new friends but unsure or nervous. Say hi to everyone you see in the hall or even pop your head in for a quick hello if someone has their door open. With that, remember to keep your own door open most times; this shows that you’re inviting people to stop by and say hello! Make it a point to talk to everyone in your residence hall at least once!

UNI 101 Leaders
Join a Club or Organization That Interests You

There’s nothing better than befriending like-minded people who share the same passions as you! Find a group on campus to join this year, whether it’s a club, organization, religious group, academic club, or service organization. Taking part in things that interest you alongside others can provide common ground to help you strike up a conversation and make a new friend!

Take Your Studying to a More Social Space

On the days when you have a lighter workload than normal, take your textbooks out of your dorm room and into a more social setting on campus. Catch up on your reading and enjoy the fall weather on the Quad, or make yourself more seen by solving equations at the 1828 Café. You’re sure to find someone who would be willing to take a break from studying and chat for a bit!

Put Your Phone Away

You might feel compelled to pull out your phone and scroll through social media as you walk through campus to feel a little less awkward. While your smartphone can act as a security blanket, it’ll get in the way of making connections with others. As you go through your day, keep your phone in your backpack (or back in your dorm room) and take in your surroundings. Smile and say “hi” to students, faculty, and staff who pass you by on the sidewalks. Doing this shows the world that you are interested and engaged with what’s going on around you – and ready to make some friends!

Introduce Yourself

Okay, we know – this can be intimidating, especially if you’re shy or have social anxiety. But we promise, it’s not as scary as it seems! In fact, the student next to you might be feeling the same way you do. You don’t have to overthink this one; just say something like, “Hi, my name is …” and maybe add a small detail (“I’m in your psychology class,” or “This is my first time at the anime club meeting.”). This will help break the ice and make you more memorable to whomever you’re speaking with.

Be Ready for Small Talk

No one really likes small talk, but it’s necessary to get a conversation going. And don’t worry – it doesn’t mean you’re forever doomed to talk about the weather. Small talk could include giving someone a compliment, asking a question about an upcoming assignment or campus event, talking about stress and studying, or even sharing an amusing experience you had recently. From there, you can ask intriguing open-ended questions and start to dig into deeper, more meaningful topics.

Find Some Common Ground

What brings people together and establishes great friendships? Mutual interests and hobbies, that’s what. After you get through the semi-awkward small talk, try to find some common ground to see what you and other Bearcats have in common. Maybe you both love sports, gaming, the same TV shows, art, or obscure English progressive rock bands. Once you both find out that you enjoy the same things, you’re on your way to becoming friends!

Students in Dining Hall
Eat Your Meals with Others

Listen, it’s so easy to just grab something from Ames, the 1828 Café, or the Lair and eat in your dorm or apartment. But if you want to make some friends, it’s important to share meals alongside others. Resist the urge to sit alone at a table and stare into your phone. Load up your tray, sit with your fellow students, and enjoy some laughs and good times with your soon-to-be friends!

Attend Campus Events Often

Speaking of getting out of your room, we challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and attend campus events frequently – at least once a week – if you want to make friends. You’ll learn new things together, laugh and enjoy performances from visiting artists together, and build upon shared experiences, which can forge fun friendships!

Always Be Kind

Everyone wants to be friends with someone who is an overall kind and caring person. Remember to smile, ask how the other person is doing, treat them as you’d like to be treated, and learn to open up and be vulnerable. Your kindness and authenticity will draw people to you!

Students in Car
Be Yourself

It’s natural to want to blend in and be or act like others so they’ll like you. Unfortunately, that’s not the way to get true, lifelong friends. While it might seem scary, do your best to let your true personality and passions shine through. The people who want to be your real friends will be drawn to you and want to spend time with you!

Making friends in college doesn’t have to be hard or scary, but it does require a little bit of effort. The result – lifelong friends – will be more than worth it, though. You’ve got this, Bearcats!




How Do I…? Essential Resources for New Students at McKendree

Student Meeting with Career Services Representative
You’ve moved in, attended convocation, made some new friends, and took notes in your first classes as a Bearcat in the past few weeks. You’re probably beginning to feel more and more comfortable in your new home away from home and have already become acclimated to your new routine. But there still might be a few lingering questions that you might have in your new life as a McKendree University student. What should you do if you have a computer problem, feel unwell, or even accidentally get locked out of your dorm room or car? Don’t sweat it – we’ve got all the answers right here for you!

Help! I Have a Computer Problem!

The HelpDesk

Location: Lower level of PAC
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: (618) 537-6445

Are you having trouble with your email, ID, or student account? The HelpDesk is here to assist you! Our experts will support you and provide troubleshooting and expert consulting for any advanced questions you might have. They can also provide some support for your personally-owned computers and laptop when you walk in for a visit in the lower level of Piper Academic Center (PAC). Feel free to give them a call, send them an email, or visit them in person to get your computer problem solved ASAP for no cost!

I Need Guidance for My Future Career!

Career Services

Location: Clark Hall, Room 103
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: (618) 537-6806

Whether you’re struggling to choose your major, need help preparing for graduate school, or want assistance in the job hunt before (and after) graduation, Career Services is the right place to visit on campus. Our professionals are highly skilled in helping students – and even alumni! – with career counseling, resume and cover letter critiques, and even mock interviews! Career Services also provides access to many resources focused on career planning, graduate and professional school application, and job search information. Not sure what you want to do with the degree you’re working on earning? Career Services can help by giving you insightful career planning guides, which may open even more possibilities for your versatile degree!

I Need Help with Class or Want to Become a Better Bearcat!

Student Success & Advising Center

Location: Clark Hall, Lower Level
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: (618) 537-6520

Finding it hard to transition into the college life or manage your time? Struggling in your classes or having a tough time with a paper? The Student Success and Advising Center is here to help undergraduate students grow and succeed! This amazing center offers disability services, writing and tutoring services, and help structuring your class schedule, along with several other services. They can also help you become an even better student by giving you pro-tips on how to study, manage your time, and navigate campus policies and procedures. You don’t need to be failing in order to benefit from their services; even A students can learn some great tips and techniques from the Student Success and Advising Center!

I’m Injured or Not Feeling Well!

Health Services

Location: 521 Stanton St.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Phone: (618) 537-6503

It’s no fun when you’re sick or get injured. If you find that you’re coming down with a case of the sniffles or accidentally rolled your ankle, Health Services is the place you should go to first! The professionals at Health Services can assess and treat common illnesses, injuries, and medical problems. Our nurse practitioner is also here to evaluate, treat, and prescribe for illnesses and help with medication refills. You can even get some immunization shots (including the flu shot), health tests, and allergy injection administration here as well. Save yourself a trip to the store by taking advantage of the supplies they have including allergy medications, cough drops, Emergen-C, and more!

While appointments are preferred, walk-in patients are welcome, so please see Health Services if you’re not feeling 100%!

I Wish I Had Someone to Talk To!

Counseling Services

Location: 513 Stanton St.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Phone: (618) 537-6590

While it’s always helpful to vent to your friends or get out some frustration or anxiety at the gym, sometimes you need more to help you get through challenging times. If you find that you’ve been feeling depressed for more than 2 weeks, have been struggling with concentrating or completing usual tasks, have been missing a lot of class or assignments, or simply just don’t feel like your normal self, please reach out to the licensed professional clinical staff at Counseling Services for free, confidential help. Sessions are 45 minutes long and are by appointment only. Call or email to set up an appointment to help you get back on the path of mental wellness once more.

Oh, No! I Got Locked Out of My Dorm Room or Car!

Department of Public Safety

Location: 535 N. Monroe St. (on the corner of Summerfield St. and Monroe St.)
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 24 hours a day/7 days a week
(618) 537-6911

Picture this: it’s a cold Friday night in January, and after a day full of classes and activities, you’ve found you can’t get into your dorm hall because you’ve misplaced your keys – and you’re stuck shivering outside in a T-shirt and flip-flops. It’s happened before, but luckily, Public Safety is only a quick call away! Whether you’re locked out of your room or car, you need a jumpstart, or need a parking decal, the fine folks at Public Safety are always here to assist you – 24/7. They are also the people to call if you’ve lost something or found something on campus!

How Do I Get or Send Mail?

Campus Mail Room

Location: Eisenmayer Hall (look for the sign and white door on the south side of the building!)
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: (618) 537-6927

If you ever want to send a letter or package to friends and family, the Campus Mail Room can help. They provide letter and package services, including stamps and envelopes, for all resident students. Does your student organization need flyers printed? Guess what? The Campus Mail Room’s got you covered!

No matter what needs you might have, McKendree is here to support you and help you become a successful Bearcat now and even beyond graduation!




13 Ways to Get Involved at McKendree

McK Bearcats Flag on Building
College is one of the best times to try new things. When you participate in activities on campus, you’ll have the opportunity to make friends, gain leadership skills, build your resume, explore your interests, and much more! We’ve included 13 tips on how you can use your gifts and interests to get involved on campus.

Join or Start a Club

If you're looking to join a group of like-minded people, a great way to do that is to join a club. Whether it's a departmental organization or a special interest group, there is something for nearly everyone; however, you may also create a new club. If you're interested in doing so, please take a look at this link.

Sisters of Sigma Sigma Sigma
Join a Sorority or Fraternity

If you're someone who likes the idea of spending time with other students who dedicate themselves and work toward a shared goal, Greek life may be right for you. Joining a sorority or fraternity can allow you to gain new skills or sharpen ones you already had through leadership opportunities, as well as through other members outside your major. As a Greek life member, you'll devote your time and energy to philanthropy and volunteering. You will also create life-long connections with not only fellow members but also alumni who may be willing to give advice or help you toward your career goals. More information regarding McKendree's Greek life can be found here.

Participate in Student Government Association

If you're looking to provide input on McKendree's internal policies, you should join Student Government Association (SGA). As an SGA member, you can make the McKendree campus a better place that promotes academic excellence and life-long learning.

Join Residence Life

If you're a student living on campus, you may want to consider joining the Residence Hall Association (RHA), an organization where student representatives work together to improve campus life and create a sense of community on campus. RHA provides many leadership opportunities for its members and allows them to give input on the various events they put on.

Become a Tutor

If you're an upperclassman who has excelled in classes and would like to help others do the same, you may want to consider being a tutor. McKendree's Tutoring Services, housed within the Student Success and Advising Center in Clark Hall's lower level, hires tutors each semester.

Join McKendree's Media

If you're interested in content writing, podcasting, or editing, you should consider joining any of McKendree's media: The McKendree Review, McK Radio, or Catalyst Literary and Art Magazine. On the McKendree Review, you can write and edit exciting content for the school's newspaper. Through McK Radio, you can make your voice heard by participating in McKendree's podcasts. As an editor of Catalyst, you can edit creative pieces submitted by undergraduate students as well as edit its website.

Join the Speech & Debate Team

If you're a student looking for an academic club that's both challenging and competitive in nature, McKendree's nationally-ranked Speech & Debate Team is something to look into. Whether you're seeking to learn new things such as the art of persuasion, communication skills, critical thinking, and research techniques or looking to hone previous ones, McKendree's Speech & Debate team is definitely worth considering.

Female Students Enjoying a Dinner
Join a Religious and Faith-Based Organization

If you're wanting to surround yourself with people who have similar beliefs or deepen your faith, joining a religious and faith-based organization can connect you to a community that will welcome you with open arms no matter your religious status.

Participate in Research

If you hope to become better prepared for graduate school, conducting research can help you achieve some great experience. Having research under your belt can also allow you to contribute valuable knowledge to the world. You can even do this by publishing in Scholars: The McKendree University Journal of Undergraduate Research.

Get an Internship on Campus

If you’re interested in an internship on campus, McKendree University’s internship program provides students with the opportunity to participate in a program that complements traditional school work with professional experience. Done through Career Services, more information about internships can be found here.

Participate in Intramural Sports

If you're someone interested in playing sports at the non-intercollegiate level, students at McKendree are welcome to form their own teams and participate in intramural sports such as sand volleyball, court volleyball, flag football, or basketball. For more information regarding McKendree's intramural sports, visit this link.

Cheerleader at Football Game
Support the McKendree Bearcats

If you wish to go to home athletic events at McKendree to support your fellow Bearcats, you are encouraged to attend home games for free with your school ID. Another way to support the Bearcat Athletics is to become a member of Team Bogey, the official McKendree Bearcats Fan Club, where you can work with other students to hype up crowds and promote school spirit.

Attend Events at the Hett

If you're interested in seeing captivating performances and inspiring lectures, look no further than the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University. Here, you'll find a plethora of exciting events anyone can enjoy.

College is what you make of it, Bearcats. Choosing to get involved on campus will enrich your college experience and will provide you with many benefits. To find out more information about how to get involved at McKendree, please follow this link.




FRemale Student Moving-In

The Move-In Day Survival Guide Every College Student Needs

The day you’ve been waiting for is finally here. It’s time to move into your college dorm and begin the new school year! Whether you’re moving into a residence hall or into one of our apartments, move-in day is an emotional, action-packed day for everyone involved. To help you have the smoothest, least stressful experience possible, we’ve compiled a list of move-in pro-tips to help you survive the day. Read up on these tips to help you be as prepared as possible for the big day!

Pack with Unpacking in Mind

We know it might be tempting to toss everything you’re bringing with you to college haphazardly in various bins and boxes, but trust us – you’ll want to be organized, especially if you’re a first-year student. You’ll only have so much time to unpack between attending New Student Orientation and convocation, so pack wisely! Organize your items and pack them in bins and boxes by category; for example, you’ll want to dedicate a bin to your school supplies and another to your toiletries. Doing so will help ensure that unpacking goes as effortlessly and quickly as possible!

Label Everything

Maybe you’re packing all of your things in clear bins and you can see exactly what is inside – and that’s great! Still, it’s a smart move to label everything. It makes unpacking that much easier. You don’t need anything fancy either – just some masking tape, scissors, and a trusty Sharpie will work perfectly. Be sure to label what’s inside and include your name, building, and room number, just in case it gets misplaced!

Tape Bins and Drawers Shut

Plan on bringing any storage units or bins with drawers? Remember to tape them shut before you start moving. There’s nothing worse than carrying a heavy item up the stairs only to have unsecured drawers fly out and let loose all the contents within – or cause an injury. Even if you think the drawers are secure, go ahead and tape them up anyway, just to be safe!

Coordinate with Your Roomie Before You Move In

If you can, get in touch with your roommate(s) to find out what they’re bringing so you can avoid bringing duplicates. Think microwaves, mini fridges, TV/DVD player, and gaming systems. Figure out when they plan on showing up so you can arrive before they do, if possible. Dorm rooms can quickly become cramped when two families are trying to move in their students at the same time. See if you can move in at least an hour apart from each other to make things easier and less crowded!

Male Student Moving-In
Wear Comfortable Clothes and Shoes

Move-in day is not the time to break out your best outfit. Instead, dress for the weather (it’ll more than likely be hot!) and wear comfortable clothing and your trusty pair of sneakers to get the job done right. Besides, you can dress up as much as you want for convocation later on! In addition, avoid wearing flip-flops or opened-toe shoes. It might feel more comfortable at first, but it won’t feel so great if you accidentally drop something heavy on your toes!

Create an Action Plan

You’ll only be allowed so much time and a small number of helpers on move-in day, so make the most of your time and resources as possible by coming up with a solid action plan beforehand. Determine who will help you carry things in from the car, who will help build any needed furniture, who will organize or decorate your room, and who will stay with the car until it’s fully unloaded and moved to a parking space. Delegating different tasks to parents, siblings, or anyone else who may be helping you move will help ensure that your dorm room won’t get crowded and that you’ll finish moving in record time!

Student and Parent Checking-In at NSO
Keep Your Personal Information on Hand

When you arrive on campus, you’ll need to check in first to receive your keys, turn in any necessary paperwork, and more. To help things go smoothly and quickly, be sure to have your personal information easily accessible. Keep your ID card, license, insurance card, and any other important information with you in a designated bag, purse, or folder. Doing so will help make check-in a breeze!

Clean and Disinfect Your Room Before Moving In

Before you start unloading all of your things in your dorm room, you’ll want to break out the cleaning supplies and spruce it up a bit! Wipe down all surfaces with a multipurpose cleaner or disinfectant wipes to ensure that everything is spic and span before you bring your belongings in.

Fenmale Student and Parent Making Residence Hall
Make the Bed First

Once you’ve finished cleaning your new home away from home, grab your bedding, sheets, and pillows and make your bed. Not only will it clear up some space in your dorm room for other bins and boxes, but it will also help your room start feeling homey right away! To make this easier on yourself, make sure that your bedding is the last thing you pack in your car so that it’s the first thing you grab when you arrive on campus.

Bring a Door Stop

Small yet mighty, the humble door stop is there to keep the door propped open so you can carry in those heavy bins and totes without any cumbersome obstacles in your way. Remember to bring one with you on the big day so you won’t have to worry about holding the door open for one another! Additionally, plan on bringing some trash bags so you can throw away any used masking tape or recycle any leftover packaging you might have while you unpack.

Consider Bringing a Fan

Moving is hot and sweaty work, no matter the weather. If you can, it might be wise to bring a fan along for the ride on move-in day. Plug it in as soon as you get to your room so it’ll be ready to cool you down whenever you need a break.

Keep Your Hanging Clothes on Hangers

Bringing in clothes that are already on hangers? Don’t waste time packing them in a suitcase only to hang them back up. Instead, keep them on their hangers, put a trash bag around all of the clothes, and tie it at the top. The hanger hooks should be sticking out of the opening. Once you put them in your dorm room’s closet, just rip the bag off and voila! You’re all set!

Female Student Carrying Furniture
Don’t Forget Snacks and Water!

It’s important to stay hydrated and energized during move-in day, which can be a long, exciting, and exhausting day. Pack a small cooler filled with water bottles and a few healthy, nutrient-dense snacks like nuts or trail mix to help you refuel.

Lend a Helping Hand, if You Can

If you happen to move in before your roommate, friends, or many of your hallmates, offer to help them carry their things to their rooms. It won’t just make their lives easier – it’ll also help you make friends and start the year on the right foot! Remember, a little kindness can go a long way.

Don’t Pack Too Many Clothes

You might think you need to bring your whole wardrobe with you to college, but we promise, you don’t! You’re bound to get plenty of free college swag as the semester goes by, especially if you join clubs and organizations or attend campus events. Feel free to bring outfits that you love, but don’t feel that you need to bring everything you own either.

Say Hi to Everyone You Meet

First impressions are important, even on move-in day. Be the person everyone will remember for being friendly, approachable, and helpful. Say hi or wave to the other students moving in, your NSO leaders, and anyone else you see on campus. Being a friendly face will help make you memorable!

Resist the Temptation to Stay in Your Room

Once you’re all moved in, you’d probably love nothing more than to shut the door, lie down on your newly-made bed, and chill out. As nice as this might sound, fight the urge to do so! Keep your door open as you unpack and decorate your room to be more social and approachable to other students moving in that day. After you’ve finished packing, take a walk around your dorm and say hi to your hallmates. It’s a great way to make new friends, no matter what year you are in school!

Parent Taking Photo of Student
Enjoy the Day!

Move-in day is a whole lot of things: exciting, exhausting, overwhelming, nerve-wracking, chaotic, and awesome. As the day goes by, soak in the memories and enjoy your time. Don’t sweat the small stuff and remain as calm and patient as possible should any setbacks happen. This is the beginning of your life as a college student, so savor all you can!

Looking for information about New Student Orientation this year? Visit this link for everything you’ll need to know! We’ve also got a handy move-in guide and a list of all the essentials you should bring with you to college.

Welcome to McKendree, Bearcats – we’re so happy you’re here!




Dorm Room Essentials: Everything You Should Bring with You to College

Female Student Moving-In
Are you ready, Bearcats? The school year is almost ready to begin! Before you know it, convocation will be here and you’ll be moving into your new home away from home here on campus. Figuring out what to bring with you to college can be daunting, especially if this is your first year. Don’t sweat it! We’ve compiled a handy list of essential items for you to pack from twin XL bedsheets to school supplies and everything in between (plus some fun extras to give you a great experience!). To make it easy, we broke everything down into categories. Take a look at the list below to see what you might need!

Residence Hall Bed
Dorm Bedding Items

Getting quality shut-eye every night is essential for your overall health and your success as a college student, so make sure your dorm bed is as comfortable as possible! You’ll want to bring 1-2 sets of sheets, cozy blankets, a comforter, a mattress pad, pillows, and pillow cases. Comfortable bedding will really help your dorm room feel much more like home. Your mattress will be a twin XL (80” x 36”), so remember to bring bedding that fits!

Bedding items to bring:

1-2 sets of sheets (twin XL)

Comforter (twin XL)

Mattress pad (twin XL)




Bath Essentials

Showering in the dorms is different from what you might be used to at home. Since you’ll be using a dorm bathroom, you’ll want to bring a shower caddy to store your items. Don’t forget shower shoes – they’ll help keep your feet healthy and clean! If you have an in-suite bathroom to share, check in with your roommate to determine who will bring the shower curtain and hooks, bathmat, and trashcan.

Bath essentials to bring:

Shower shoes

Shower caddy

Towels, including bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths

Shower curtain and hooks (if you have an in-suite bathroom)

Bathmat (if you have an in-suite bathroom)

Trashcan (if you have an in-suite bathroom)

Toiletries and Personal Items

No matter where you’re staying on campus, you’ll want to bring some basic toiletries with you, including towels, shampoo and conditioner, hair products and tools, soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a brush and comb, and more. While you may not plan on getting sick, it’s always best to be prepared just in case. Bring along some over-the-counter medications, any prescription medication you may need, and more. You can even put together a basic sick kit, which can contain a can or two of soup, medicine, cough drops, tissues, and any other items to help you feel better like your favorite tea bags. Be sure to update your sick kit at least once a year!

Toiletries and personal items to bring:

Shampoo and conditioner

Hairstyling products and tools

Bath and face soap

Travel soap containers

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Dental floss

Brush and/or comb


Razor and shaving cream

Nail clippers

Cotton swabs


First aid kit

Prescription and over-the-counter medication as needed


Antibiotic ointment

Sick kit

List of allergies and medications to keep in bag in case of emergencies

Laundry and Cleaning Supplies

Unless you plan on heading home every week to do laundry, you’ll need to use the campus washers and dryers to clean your clothes. Don’t forget to bring the essentials with you, including detergent, softener, and a laundry bag or basket to transport your clothes. Speaking of keeping things clean, it’s wise to keep those dust bunnies and germs at bay in your room. Having an arsenal of basic cleaning materials such as antibacterial wipes, a multipurpose cleaner, broom, and cleaning cloths or paper towels will help you keep your room feeling clean and fresh throughout the school year!

Laundry and cleaning supplies to bring:

Antibacterial wipes

Multipurpose cleaner

Cleaning cloths

Broom and dustpan

Laundry detergent

Fabric softener

Drying rack

Laundry bag or basket

Stain remover

Lint brush

Paper towels

Male Student Carrying Storage
Storage and Organization

One huge key to success in college is staying organized, and it all starts with your dorm room. Save time and headaches by organizing your items and keeping them in designated areas so you can find them more quickly (and not be late to class!). Remember, even though it might not look like it on move-in day, your dorm room is going to be relatively small, so use the space wisely. Arrange your shoes vertically with a hanging shoe organizer in your closet. Take advantage of that space under your bed by storing school supplies, textbooks, or even sealed snacks in under-the-bed storage boxes.

Storage and organization items to bring:

Small storage containers

Clothing hangers

Under-the-bed storage boxes

Hanging shoe organizer

Bonus: trunk and/or lock box

School Supplies and Electronics

Maybe the first thing that comes to mind supply-wise when going to college is the school supplies you’ll need. What you’ll need will more than likely be very similar to what you took with you when you were in high school. You’ll want to bring the basics, including pens and pencils, notebooks, folders, index cards, sticky notes, and more. It’s smart to keep a designated folder and notebook per class to help you stay organized. You’ll also want to bring any electronics that you tend to use, along with their chargers. While a computer or laptop is not required, it could come in handy. However, McKendree offers several spaces and computer labs to help you type up and print out any papers or assignments you need to do!

School supplies and electronics to bring:


Planner or agenda

Pens and pencils



Stapler and staples

Index cards

Sticky notes

Paper clips and binder clips

Rubber bands



Stamps and envelopes

Backpack or messenger bag

USB flash drive and/or memory cards

UL-approved surge protectors


Any personal electronics you use, including MP3 player, stereo, cell phone, camera, etc.

Chargers for any electronics you choose to bring

Bonus: laptop and/or desktop computer

Female Student Putting Clothes in Closet

You might feel compelled to pack practically all the clothing you own when you go off to college. You actually will need less than you expect, especially if you attend campus events, which tend to have plenty of Bearcat swag (or visit the bookstore to find the hoodie you’ll basically live in for the next few years!). Bring a handful of tops and bottoms, pajamas, a few sweaters and hoodies, light and heavy jackets, cold weather gear, a few pairs of walking shoes, and a set of business-casual clothing. Don’t forget the hangers!

Clothing to bring:



A few sweaters and/or hoodies




Light and heavy jackets

Cold weather gear, including gloves, a scarf, and a hat

A pair of boots

1-2 pairs of comfortable walking shoes

1 set of business-casual clothing, including a pair of dress shoes

Masks for classes (not required, but welcomed!)

Female Student Hanging Room Decorations
Dorm Room Decorations

Of course, you could keep your room undecorated and bare, but what fun would that be? Your dorm room will become your own little sanctuary that you can retreat to for quality rest and study time throughout the year, so we encourage you to bring the things from home that give you joy! Think posters, pictures of your friends and family, a fan, and a dry-erase board for your door. Just remember to bring sticky tack to help you hang your decorations; nails, pushpins, 3M strips, and anything else that could damage or leave holes in the walls are not allowed.

Room décor items to bring:

A few favorite posters

Photos of your friends and family, framed or unframed

Sticky tack to hang things up (no nails, pushpins, or 3M strips are allowed)

Desk lamp and/or floor lamp

Fan or clip-on fan

Bulletin board and/or corkboard

Dry-erase wall calendar

Dry-erase board for your door

Art such as canvas art, tapestries, wall decals, etc.

Bonus items: string lights, beanbag chairs, pouf pillows for additional seating options, gaming systems and accessories, and a TV/DVD player – just check with your roommate first!

Miscellaneous Items

Last but not least are a few of the extraneous items that might not seem important at first but will definitely come in handy as the year goes on! We recommend bringing an alarm clock, a small trashcan, an umbrella, a can opener, and other miscellaneous items. You’ll also want to check in with your roommate to see who will be bringing a microwave and mini fridge.

Miscellaneous items to bring:

Alarm clock

Small trashcan

Quarters/money for laundry

Paper towels

Light bulbs

Reusable water bottle

Food storage containers

A bowl, plate, cup, mug, and silverware

Can opener


Microwave and mini fridge, an area rug, and small water filter pitcher – just be sure to check with your roommate first!

Things McKendree Provides

There’s no need to go out and purchase big-ticket items for your dorm room; we’ve got your back! McKendree provides basic furnishings for all residential areas, including a bed with mattress, desk, chair, closet space, and a dresser. Some of our facilities include additional furnishings as well. You’ll also have a designated mailbox and key to pick up any mail or letters you may receive from your friends and family back home!

Leave These Things at Home

Appliances with exposed heating elements like coffee makers or toasters

Candles or incense


Alcohol, drugs, and real or prop weapons

Anything that could leave a hole in the walls or remove paint, including LED light strips and 3M strips

Remember, if you find that you forgot one of the necessities at home on move-in day, you’re sure to find it at the bookstore on campus! Happy packing, Bearcats – we can’t wait to see you on campus in just a few short weeks!




What’s College Life Really Like?

Students Taking SelfieAs a prospective college student, you probably want to know what to expect from the college experience before you set foot on campus. Even if you’ve prepared yourself as much as possible, you might be feeling anxious or maybe even worried about attending college. Will it really be like how it’s portrayed in the movies? Will it be more like what your family or friends experienced? Or will it be something entirely different?

College is a lot of things: fun, memorable, life-changing, nerve-wracking, and even stressful at times. While everyone’s experience will vary, there are some aspects that will ring true for just about everyone. Here are 8 universal truths about what college life is really like:

Female Students on Laptop in Residence Hall
It Becomes a Home Away from Home

It often doesn’t take very long before your new residence on campus starts feeling like a home away from home. You’ll start settling into a new routine, adjusting to your new surroundings, and making new friends as you become more immersed in your life as a college student. Even though you may experience a bit of homesickness from time to time, you’ll discover that you can find support from your new friends, your roommate, or even your RA. Don’t forget to take advantage of all the fun on-campus events throughout the school year! They, too, can help college really feel like home.

It’s Less Structured But Not as Scary as You Might Think

You might be used to your structured high school days and are wondering if college might be the same, but with more papers to write. To be honest, it’s quite the opposite! You get to choose which classes you want to take (and when), how you want to spend your spare time, and when you want to study and hang out with friends. The key to juggling all of your responsibilities successfully boils down to one thing: time management. How you spend your time in college is completely up to you, and the possibilities are virtually endless.

And yes, it’s so much better than high school!

Professor in Classroom
Your Professors Are Here to Help

Look, after watching Legally Blonde for the millionth time, we’d be a little intimidated by our professors, too. But we promise, professors are nothing like how they’re portrayed in the movies. They are understanding, passionate educators who enjoy helping students succeed and understand their subject matter. If you’re struggling with a concept or assignment, they would be more than willing to help you during their office hours, via email, or in class. They are here to help you become the most successful Bearcat you can be!

You’ll Meet All Sorts of Amazing People

One of the absolute best things about college life is all of the amazing people you get to meet. Even better than that – you will definitely find like-minded people who share the same passions as you! While you can pal around with people you have so much in common with, we advise getting out of your comfort zone and meeting people from all walks of life as well. You’ll meet them in your classes, on the Quad, in Ames Dining Hall or the 1828 Café, or in your dorm. Here’s an easy-peasy pro-tip from us when it comes to making friends: leave your door open, both literally and figuratively. Don’t hole up in your room! Introduce yourself, invite your hallmates over to study or hang out, or sit with a different group of people at lunch. Who knows? You could be meeting your future best friends!

Don’t Be Surprised if You Experience the First Semester Blues

Adjusting to college life takes time. You may begin to feel overwhelmed by your new life and feel a little homesick. Don’t be down on yourself if you start to feel this way in the beginning. To help you combat and beat the first semester blues, turn to your friends or even on-campus counseling services. There will always be someone there to help and listen to you, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! In the meantime, you can ease your homesickness by immersing yourself in campus activities, volunteering, sticking to an established routine, bringing pieces of home with you to your dorm, and, of course, staying in touch with your friends and family back home. Remember: this, too, shall pass.

You’ll Discover Passions You Never Even Knew You Had

Who knew you’d ever get into the elegant cosmos of outer space? Or Alfred, Lord Tennyson? Or archery? Or establishing homeostasis in chemical equations? When you attend college, you get the opportunity to take countless intriguing classes in a variety of subjects. Take some that interest you; you might wind up falling in love with a new subject or even discovering an all-new calling in your life!

You Might Not Know Exactly What You Want to Do After College – and That’s Okay!

If you aren’t sure of what you want to do for the rest of your life before you set foot on campus, don’t sweat it. Not many college students have a hard and fast idea of what they want to do! In fact, at least 80% of students wind up changing their major at least once throughout their college career. Being involved in various activities and taking multiple introductory courses can shine a light on where your true passions lie. Your life in college is a journey, and it’s more than okay to find out what you might want to do along the way!

It Truly Is What You Make of It

No two college students’ experiences are completely alike. You can make it as enriching, worthwhile, and unforgettable as possible by taking classes that interest you, joining a variety of clubs and organizations, attending campus events, making new friends, and broadening your horizons at any given opportunity. You’re in charge here – you determine when you sleep, what you’ll eat, when you’ll study, and which degree you’ll earn. In the end, it’s all up to you, so make your time as a college student count!

If you’re searching for an outstanding university that boasts a small student-to-teacher ratio, provides plenty of in-demand degrees to choose from, and has knowledgeable and caring professors who make it their mission to see you succeed, look no further than McKendree University! Learn more about how to apply by visiting our Admission page or by calling 1-800-BEARCAT.




Two Male Students Walking On Campus

10 Smart Things College Students Should Do for a Productive Summer

Summer is here and in full swing, so it’s time to kick back, relax, and unwind while binge-watching your favorite shows. …Or is it? You might be tempted to empty your mind of everything you’ve learned this past academic year and spend the next few months scrolling through social media, but there are better ways you can spend your summer. These 10 tips won’t just help you have a more productive summer – you’ll find that you’ll wind up enjoying it more, too!

Give Your Job or Internship Your All

Looking for experience you can put on your resume? Landing a summer job or internship is the perfect way to do just that while applying what you learned in the classroom this year. No matter how short your job or internship may be, any experience is valuable. Build your work ethic and put forth your best effort to get the most out of the experience and build positive connections with others! If you didn’t wind up landing any summertime gigs this year, consider volunteering in your community or for an organization that speaks to you. It’s a great way to give back to your community and will give you some meaningful, hands-on learning experience that future employers will love to see.

Get Curious

Don’t turn your brain off completely this summer! Live that lifelong-learning life by exploring the world around you. Take the time now to delve into a topic that intrigues you by completing an undergraduate research project or learning something new just for fun. Increase your mental elasticity by studying a new language (there are apps for that!) or expand your skillset beyond your major and natural talents (Are you a gifted writer? Find out how websites operate by trying your hand at coding!). Read up on – or experience first-hand – a different culture or country that you’d love to visit one day. The possibilities are endless!

Male Student Reading
Read for Pleasure

When was the last time you read a book just for fun? Reading not only exercises your brain but also helps improve your mental health, memory, and focus all while reducing your stress levels. Head over to your TBR (to be read) bookshelf and pick out a book or two to dive into this summer.

Up Your Cooking Game

Do you plan on living at McKendree West next year? West apartments come with a full kitchen, so it might not be a bad idea to level up your cooking skills this summer. Learn how to cook some basic meals, try your hand at a few family-favorite recipes, and learn how to meal prep (which can save you so much time as a busy student). You can also sign up for a local cooking class!

Go on an Adventure

Summer is the perfect time for making memories. Book a last-minute trip or head out on a spontaneous adventure to somewhere new with your friends, whether you catch a train, hop on a bus, or take a road trip to wherever the highways lead you. Don’t have time for a mini-vacay? Take advantage of those student discounts and take in some culture by visiting a museum, enjoying a music festival, or checking out a film festival.

Male Student Playing Piano
Enjoy Your Hobbies – or Try a New One

Keep your mind active and engaged by indulging in your hobbies this summer! You can get creative on your own or sign up for a class in your community that revolves around one of your interest areas. Expand your horizons and try something new as well. Play an instrument, learn to sew, create art, put a puzzle or two together, take up dancing – the sky’s the limit here!

Review Your Notes (Yes, Really!)

It’s never too early to prepare for your next round of classes. Review next semester’s course schedule, take a look at this past year’s notes, and prep yourself for more challenging courses. You don’t have to pour hours upon hours into studying; even just a brief glance or two at your old notes can help prime your brain for ample learning.

Figure out Which Clubs and Activities You’ll Participate in Next Semester

Your college experience becomes even more memorable and enriched when you take part in clubs and extracurricular activities on campus. Read up on the clubs, organizations, and honor societies McKendree has to offer and find ones that speak to your interests! Who knows? You might even find your life-long friends at these organizations.

Disconnect and Head Outside

This summer, ditch your phone and take part in some fun local summertime activities! Check out Shakespeare in the Park, head out for a swim with your friends, or grab a title on your TBR shelf and read in your favorite park. Disconnecting from the Internet and ditching the screens frequently is healthy for your brain and will also help you have a more fulfilling summer.

Group of Students Outside
Relax and Enjoy Your Free Time

Your summer break doesn’t have to be all about work. Make time to kick back and relax, too! This is the perfect time to allow yourself to do nothing once in a while and recharge before next semester. Burnout is real, so don’t overcommit yourself.

By filling your summer vacation with productive tasks, enriching activities, and plenty of R&R, you’ll find that you’ll not only get the most out of your break, but you’ll also be ready to take on the challenges that come your way next semester. Have a great summer, Bearcats!



To Our Graduates: 10 Pieces of Advice for Your New Path Forward

You did it, Bearcats! You put in hours and hours of hard work to earn your degree and graduate from McKendree University! This is such a momentous time in your life. While you’re undoubtedly floating on air with great excitement at the moment, you might be feeling a little stressed or scared. You might even be wondering what your next steps should be, or you might already have a plan set in place. No matter where you are, we have a few words of wisdom to help you along your new path forward:

Never Stop Learning

After all of the papers, presentations, and finals you’ve had to complete recently, it’s probably safe to say that you don’t even want to think about learning anything new at the moment. When we’re talking about lifelong learning, we don’t mean textbooks and tests (unless that’s your thing – then go for it!). We mean that you should keep learning, period. There’s so much to experience and discover in this world, and it’s easier now than ever to make it happen! Read some articles or books on a topic that fascinates you. Take a few fun classes. Listen to an intriguing podcast. Learning won’t just help you develop professionally and personally – it also improves your mental health and can lengthen your lifespan.
Student at Networking Event
Build a Reliable Network

You might have heard how important networking really is, but you might not know where or how to begin. It’s as easy as staying in contact with your former professors, friends, and family members and building connections with new people. Knowing the right people can help you find unique opportunities because they can vouch for your strengths. Connect with your friends and other alumni on LinkedIn and consider reaching out to alumni who work in companies you’re interested in. Remember, networking is a two-way street. While your network is there to help you, you should also get into the habit of giving back when others need a hand.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Transitioning from college life to the working world, a new career, or even graduate school can be quite challenging. Don’t expect to get everything perfect! Life isn’t the stylized, glossy photos you often see on social media. You will always run into hiccups and mishaps along the way. Instead, do your best to take things in stride and be kind to yourself. Things might not work out as you plan them to, but they always tend to work out the way they should in the end.

Do Things That Make You Uncomfortable

It’s tempting to stay in your comfort zone, especially if you’re afraid of what could go wrong should you venture outside of it. Unfortunately, you could be preventing yourself from living up to your full potential if you stay in your own bubble. Don’t let the “what ifs” in life paralyze you. Get out there and take some risks! This could mean moving to a new place for a job that aligns with your passions, public speaking, learning a new skillset, traveling somewhere new, or even making a new friend. You won’t know exactly what you’re capable of until you try new things!

Stay Healthy

Life changes after college, and that often includes exercising and eating habits. Staying healthy is vital for your energy, well-being, and your wallet. Remember to eat a variety of veggies and fruits every day, find healthy and tasty recipes (the internet is chockful of them!), and find the time to fit in exercise most days of the week. This will not only help prevent weight gain but will also help you sleep better, feel better, and experience an improved quality of life.

Show Up

This time in your life is no doubt exciting; however, it does come with its own set of challenges. You will have great days and tough days. No matter what situation you find yourself in, make it a point to show up – for others, and, more importantly, for yourself. Strive to be the best version of yourself every day. If you fail – and you will; that’s part of life – don’t berate yourself. Just get back up and try again. Being your best self can lead to amazing opportunities that can make your life even more fulfilling!

Follow Your Heart

Remember when you were told as a kid to follow your dreams? Now it’s our turn to say it. You can absolutely achieve anything you set your mind to! Learn about yourself, discover what truly makes you feel alive, and pursue it. Again, don’t focus on perfection – strive for progress, keep your mind and options open, and don’t be afraid to follow your intuition!

Take Your Time

You might feel like you need to jump right into your career. Guess what? There isn’t a rush. If you’re able (and you want to), take some time to travel and explore the world before you lay down roots. Broaden your horizons, meet new people, and see what the world has to offer. Doing this now is often much easier than it would be when you have bills and a mortgage to worry about.
Student and Faculty Member
Keep Your Friends Close

It’s normal for friends to grow apart after you graduate from college. You might not be as close to all of your former classmates as you were when you’d see them on the quad or in the classroom. This is a natural progression of life; after all, you will also make new friends as time goes by. But don’t let the friendships that truly mean something to you go. Keep in touch with your friends – text, call, message, email, send letters or cards (Snail mail is more meaningful than you might imagine!), or spend time with them in person. Don’t let the “busyness” of life get in the way of your friendships. Put in the time and effort to nurture these friendships now and in the future!

Stay in Touch with Your Alma Mater

Your story with McKendree is far from over – you’re now an alum, which always makes you a member of the Bearcat family! Stay connected with us – attend one of our many on- and off-campus alumni events, join the Alumni Association, and sign up for the monthly Bearcat Buzz. Don’t forget to submit any exciting news you might have for our magazine! Additionally, feel free to reach out to Career Services for individual career counseling, resume/cover letter critiques, and even mock interviews should you need help. We’re always here for you and want to see you succeed, even after you graduate!

We are so proud of you, Bearcats, and we know you’ll make the world a better place in your own unique way!




McKendree’s Literary and Art Magazine: A Catalyst for Change 

Catalyst Students
McKendree offers several different student publications on campus where students are given the opportunity to express themselves. One of these publications is McKendree’s literary and art magazine that you may know as Montage. With the magazine’s 30
th anniversary this year, the current student editors— Allison Carnell, Felicity Crowell, Alivia Garcia, Amber Gillam, Haley Moody, Kristin Rood, Taylor Roth, Julianne Thornton, and Hannah White— have celebrated by changing its name from Montage to Catalyst, so that the name better reflects the student work it publishes.

The History Behind McKendree’s Literary and Art Magazine

formally known as Montage, has been publishing poetry, prose, and artwork from undergraduate students attending McKendree University’s Lebanon campus since 1991-92.

The student-edited magazine publishes once a year, starting with print editions and now with a website as well, expanding the amount of work that can be accepted by student editors. The first print editions can be found at McKendree’s Archives and Museum in Holman Library.

Why did McKendree’s Literary and Art Magazine Change Its Name?

In the thirty years that McKendree’s literary and art magazine has been publishing student creative work, the world around us has experienced significant change, and the future may seem uncertain for many. “We chose the name, Catalyst, looking to promote more change,” says Taylor Roth, one of the student editors for Catalyst. “Art in all its forms is evocative and special in the way that it sparks ideas, molds human perceptions, and moves the world forward. We as an editing team are looking to capture this type of art and use it as a catalyst of needed change in the world around us.”

What Does “Catalyst” Mean for the Editors of the Magazine?

In chemistry, a “catalyst” ignites a reaction.
“With how much change is happening in America, it just feels right that our institution’s magazine for expression reflects that. The word "catalyst" isn't just chemical and sterile, it's representative of the way people can use the arts to propel positive change, starting with our school,” says Hannah White, another student editor. “Our goal is for the content of Catalyst to get people talking and moving towards a better, more sustainable, and more inclusive world. A catalytic reaction doesn't just happen, it has to be triggered; maybe Catalyst can be the trigger for our students.”

What Does Catalyst Publish?

publishes poems, short fiction, short nonfiction, artwork, and photography by undergraduate students attending McKendree University’s Lebanon campus. The editors of the magazine encourage students to submit work regardless of their major or field of study.  

Why You Should Consider Publishing Content for Catalyst

Student-run literary and art magazines are a great place for students to start publishing material and to gain exposure. Many well-known writers, such as
Langston Hughes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway, published in small magazines like Catalyst and gained early exposure. Publications can be added to résumés, and having work in a literary and art magazine allows you to gather proof that your work is sought after.

How to Submit Your Work to Catalyst

To submit written pieces, you should send two copies— one with your name and contact information and one without— of a Word document that includes your submission to Dr. Jenny Mueller’s email address,, by March 25, 2022. To submit visual art, send a JPEG or PNG file to the same email address. Dr. Jenny Mueller is the faculty advisor for Catalyst and gathers all of the student submissions before giving them to the editors. The submissions that will ultimately be published in the magazine will be chosen by the student editors through a “blind” judging process; this ensures that pieces will be chosen without any biases.

Plans for the Future 

The magazine will be out the same week as the Academic Excellence Celebration. Students can view the magazine online through its website or can pick up a print copy. Print copies will be available on campus and will also be handed out during Catalyst’s poster session at the AEC. Catalyst will also take part in a presentation at the AEC where students with work published in the magazine will read selections of their creative writing.

While the magazine has changed its name, Catalyst will continue to publish the best poetry, prose, and artwork the campus has to offer; students can check out the magazine at Catalyst encourages students all over campus to spark the change you want to see.



10 Ways Busy College Students Can Prioritize Self-Care

Female Student Studying on Bench
Can you believe it? We’re almost halfway done with the semester! There’s little doubt that your coursework has ramped up since a handful of weeks ago, which in turn might have increased your stress levels. According to the American Institute of Stress, 8 out of 10 college students report dealing with stress frequently. While stress can actually be healthy in the short term, it can contribute to some physical and mental conditions that can wind up taking a toll on you in the long term. In times of stress, a little bit of self-care can go a long way. Here are 10 simple ways you can prioritize self-care (while still handling all of your different responsibilities!):

Try Some Time Management

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of your upcoming papers, assignments, and tests, you’re not alone. What you can do right now to feel better is to prioritize your responsibilities and carve out study time to get it all done. Make a list of your tasks and prioritize what needs to be finished today, what can wait, and what you can say no to. This will help you stay on top of your schoolwork before you start feeling too frazzled.

Go Offline

We get it – it’s tough to stay off social media. However, studies are starting to show that social media can increase your feelings of loneliness and isolation, even if you’re connecting with your friends back home. When you start feeling stressed and alone, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to put your smartphone down, close your laptop, and stay offline for a while. Head outside and take a calming stroll around campus with a friend, or take some time for yourself to jump into an intriguing book.

Find Stillness in Your Day

It can be difficult to find a moment of peace when you’re running from class to class. Make it a point to find a few moments to still yourself each day, especially on those incredibly busy days. Take a couple of minutes to do some deep, diaphragmatic breathing, meditate, or pray. Being mindful of the tension you hold in your body and learning how to relax and let it go is imperative to your health now and in the future. You can also get your blood moving a bit with a little gentle yoga!

Sorority Sisters
Surround Yourself with Supportive People

When things get hard and you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, don’t go it alone. Reach out to your friends and family for help! Keeping yourself surrounded by supportive, positive people who can help remind you of your strengths and give you the courage to move forward can be absolutely priceless in difficult or stressful times. In addition to your friends and family, getting involved in campus organizations can help you let go of your worries and recharge (and give you another social circle that can cheer you on when you’re struggling!).

Turn Up the Tunes

Your favorite music can work wonders when it comes to relieving stress. Tuning into your favorite tunes can help lower anxiety and depression, enhance your mood, ease muscle tension, and much more. If you haven’t already, put together a playlist or two of your favorite songs to help you de-stress whenever you start feeling overwhelmed. You can also create a playlist of danceable songs to help you dance the tension away!

Take Care of Your Body

Getting into the habit of eating healthy foods, exercising most days of the week, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of quality sleep is absolutely vital to your health as a college student (and beyond). Say no to junk food – which, let’s face it, make you feel worse anyway – and indulge in plenty of delicious fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy sources of lean protein. Exchange soda for water, maintain good sleep hygiene, and make time to get up and stretch throughout your day. Don’t underestimate the benefits a good workout can have in combatting stress either!

Try Journaling

Writing your thoughts and feelings out can help you decompress from your day. Every night before you go to bed, jot down what went right, what could have been better, and a few things that you’re grateful for – this can help you cultivate a positive attitude, which can come in handy during trying times. You can write your thoughts down on paper or try an online journal – whichever is more helpful to you!

Male Student Playing Guitar
Learn When to Say No

This tip does go hand-in-hand with time management, but it’s important enough to warrant a section of its own. You might feel like you can only say yes to extra tasks and activities, but saying no is okay, too – especially if you’re pressed for time. Saying no doesn’t make you selfish; you are making a mature decision to limit your time to what you need to do and what matters most to you. Remember, sometimes less is more!

Do Something Every Day That Brings You Joy

Even when you’ve got a truckload of papers and assignments to do, it’s important to make time for your hobbies every day. Doing so will help keep your mental health in check while allowing you to express yourself within a creative outlet. Taking time to do what you love is crucial to your mental health. So, break out that sketchbook, strum on your guitar, or knit a beautiful scarf for a friend (or yourself). Your brain will thank you!

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. Even though it can be scary or difficult to admit to yourself that you’re having a hard time or need help, reaching out to a professional could be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. When times get tough, don’t be afraid to visit our qualified counselors on campus for free counseling options. These professional and friendly individuals will help you find balance, clarify your priorities, and make the best choices in college while improving your overall well-being.

Remember, Bearcats, making time for self-care is absolutely essential for your well-being, both now and in your life after college. Follow the tips above to help you successfully navigate through the tough times you encounter. By setting aside time each day just for you, you will be able to grow into the best possible version of yourself!




13 Ways to Rock Your Next Career Fair

Male Student Shaking Hands at Career Fair
As a college student, especially if you’re a soon-to-be graduate, putting your name out there is important when it comes to reaching your career goals and aspirations. Whether you’re interested in finding job openings or learning more about a specific industry, career fairs are a great way to network and meet with company representatives. These events can be overwhelming, but here are 13 things you can do to rock your next career fair and make the most of the experience:

Take Time to Research Employers

You can’t just waltz into a career fair and expect to wing it, but you can go in prepared. Find out which employers will be attending, and take the time to research the ones you are most interested in by looking at their company websites for job openings or other opportunities.

Create a Priority List

Once you’ve figured out which employers you plan to talk to, create a priority list. This will ensure that by the end of the career fair, you will have at least met with those at the top of your list before the event is over. Also, create a route for yourself, so that you can get around in a timely manner. You can do this by getting a map beforehand or by arriving early to take note of who is where.

Prepare an Elevator Pitch

With several other people attending the event, you may only spend a few minutes with each recruiter, so you need to introduce yourself quickly and make every second count. An elevator pitch is a quick, clear, and informative introduction of your background, skills, and experiences. Depending on who you plan to talk to, you may need to tailor your elevator pitch for each recruiter, but you should always include your name, college major, career aspirations, and why you think you’re a good fit for the company. Be sure to practice saying your elevator pitch out loud around friends or family until it sounds natural and you are comfortable saying it.

Prepare Questions

One way to extend conversation and show employers that you’re interested in their company is to ask them questions. Prepare questions about a particular position, the hiring process, and company culture. Also, feel free to ask recruiters about their own personal experience with the company. It’s possible that the recruiter may ask you questions as well, so looking up common interview questions on the internet and preparing answers to them before the event can ensure that you go into the conversation feeling confident.

Prepare a Résumé

One of the key items you should have prepared for a career fair is your résumé. If you don’t have one, don’t worry; there are plenty of resources online that can help you with creating one. Overall, your résumé should include work experience, internships, coursework, volunteer work, and projects you’ve worked on that are relevant to the company you’re handing your résumé to. It should also focus on your accomplishments and how you achieved them. As a college student, it’s likely that you don’t have much work experience, so it’s okay to keep your résumé about a page long, but keep in mind that you may have to tailor it for each company.

Pack Your Items

You won’t need to bring much to a career fair. You should bring a plain folder to carry copies of your résumé and anything you pick up at the event such as business cards, as well as paper and pen in case you need to write something down.

Mascot Holding a Suit and Tie at Bogey's Career Closet
Dress for Success

We know there seems to be a lot to prepare before a career fair, and it can be intimidating, but don’t forget to plan your outfit for the day. When it comes to meeting potential employers and networks, your appearance matters. Plan a professional outfit that you feel comfortable and confident in. Most career fairs have a business casual dress code, but if you are still unsure about what to wear, keep in mind that it’s better to be a little overdressed than underdressed. Think suits, dress pants, slacks, khakis, skirts, dresses, button-up shirts, blouses, and blazers. Don’t have any dress clothes? Bogey’s Career Closet can help!

Introduce Yourself

Your introduction is the first step to making a good impression on potential employers. Use positive body language by making eye contact and greeting recruiters with a smile. Keep your introduction concise, and use the elevator pitch you prepared, because you probably won’t have much time to talk to them when there are countless other students waiting in line.

Students Talking at Career Fair
Write Everything Down

Writing down the names of recruiters you spoke with is crucial to the steps after the career fair. You’ll likely be tired and more prone to forgetfulness after a long day of introductions, so having those names already written down somewhere will come in handy.

Stay Positive

Career fairs can be overwhelming, but try to remain positive during the experience. Even if you’re unable to spend as much time as you would have liked with a recruiter or if a conversation didn’t go the way you expected, try to remember that every experience brings you one step closer to your career aspirations.

Create a Contact Database

By the end of the day, you’ll probably have a lot of names written down as well as a lot of business cards. You should put all of these contacts in a safe place that’s easy to search through so you don’t lose them. Doing so will ensure that you can contact anyone you spoke with in the future.

Follow Up

Plan to send emails to all the recruiters you spoke to within 24 to 48 hours after the career fair. Thank them for their time, and give yourself the opportunity to remind them of who you are. Your message doesn’t need to be long, but it should be personalized to each contact. While this step may not be a requirement, students who choose to reach out will leave a good impression.

Take Action

For companies you are interested in, follow any instructions the recruiters gave you, such as applying for a position or internship online. Try to do this within a few days after the career fair, if possible, so that you’re still fresh in the recruiters’ minds. If there are no positions available at the time, consider asking the recruiter for an informational interview, because spending more time with a company can only benefit you.

Standing out at a career fair is not always easy, Bearcats, but if you have confidence, a positive attitude and the drive to succeed, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Don’t forget to check out the Career Fair this year on Wednesday, February 16 at the Hett! The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., so dress up, give yourself a pep talk, and prepare to knock those recruiters’ socks off!




How to Pick (or Change) a Major in College

Female Student with Backpack on Campus
If you’re currently pursuing a degree or are preparing to attend college soon, you might be wondering what your major should be. Perhaps you’ve known since you were young what you’ve wanted to be, or maybe you’re unsure or can’t decide between a few options. Choosing a major is undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. If you feel unsure of what to major in, you aren’t alone. In fact, about 80% of college students change their major at least once at some point throughout their college career (and many wind up changing their major several times). Here are a few handy tips to help you find the right major for you – or how to change it:

Ask Yourself What You Like

First of all, what do you like? You should definitely enjoy whatever it is you’ll be majoring in. Think about what you like doing in your spare time, which classes you were up your alley, which subject matters intrigue you, and what you excel in. For example, if you love learning languages and tend to do well in helping others understand the material, you might want to consider becoming a language teacher. If you find yourself drawing nonstop out of the classroom and are curious about technology, then graphic design could be your future calling.

Think About Your Future Career Goals

Now that you’ve thought about the things that interest you, it’s time to consider your career goals. What kind of jobs do people in certain majors tend to hold after graduating? Would it be easy or difficult to become employed within a particular industry? If you have a specific goal in mind, such as entering into the healthcare field or becoming an entrepreneur, then you will need to pick your major in advance since many of them have requisite classes.

And don’t worry – if you’re still not sure where you might want to be after you graduate, there’s still plenty of time for you to discover where your path will lead you!

Talk to the Experts

Sometimes it’s best to hear about real-life experiences straight from the source. Find professionals working in the field you’re interested in and talk to them about their journey. This can include your parents or guardians, family members, friends, current students, professors, or anyone with whom you interact professionally. Think up some questions to ask them and try interviewing them. You never know – their answers may surprise you and help you decide the path you wish to take!

You can also schedule a time to talk to your school counselor, who can tell you more about college majors. He or she can give you information about upcoming college fairs or how to get started exploring a possible career.

Consider Your Personality

It’s also important to consider the many aspects of your personality when you begin thinking about what you’d like to major in. Are you creative? Do you prefer to work alone or with others? Are you able to empathize with others and see things from their perspective relatively easily? Are you good at communicating, writing, and listening? Do you enjoy analyzing complex problems? These are critical questions to ask yourself when you consider your major.

Faculty Member in the Field Working with Students
Volunteer or Sign Up for an Internship

Learning hands-on is often a good way to know if you’ll enjoy being in a particular field of study. See if you can find volunteer opportunities or an internship in the field that interests you. Passionate about animals? Spend time volunteering at a local animal shelter or shadowing a veterinarian or wildlife expert. Thinking about putting your English know-how and writing skills to use in the future? Find an internship with the communications department on campus or an internship with a marketing company to gain real-world experience. You might find your passion igniting, or you might realize that you aren’t as interested in your chosen field as you thought you were.

Visit Career Services

You have a golden opportunity to get some amazing help here on campus, thanks to the incredible people at Career Services in Clark Hall! They provide a variety of programs and resources to help you plan for your future. As a Bearcat, you can take career assessments to help you learn more about your likes and personality type, learn more about career or job fairs, or get connected to helpful internships on and off campus. Stop by their office to chat or set up an appointment!

Male Students Playing in Band
Explore Your Interests

Still not sure what you want to study? Don’t worry – you don’t have to know right now. In fact, many schools don’t require you to declare your major until the end of your sophomore year. For now, tap into your interests and play the field a bit. Take some classes that interest you. Talk with your professors, advisors, and peers to see where your heart may lie. This will help you find the major – and future career – that best fits you and your passions!

Declaring Your Major

If you’ve settled on a major, you will need to declare it, especially if it’s one that requires a lot of specific classes like nursing or education. Talk to your advisor as soon as possible once you’ve decided. He or she will be able to help you with the steps you’ll need to take next.

What About a Minor?

Minoring in a subject can also be useful, especially if you have multiple interests. It isn’t uncommon to see a business major take on a music minor or an education major hold a minor in a foreign language. Minors are links that connect your academic disciplines and increase your future marketability. They can also allow you to gain skills and expand how you view and think about life and others around you. Take a look at our catalog and see if there are any that pique your interest!

How You Can Change Your Major

Guess what? Just because you choose your major doesn’t mean you’re completely locked into it! You can absolutely change it – more than once if you need to. Many students wind up changing their majors after they take certain subjects and find their true passions. If you find that your chosen major isn’t the right one for you, talk to your advisor for guidance on picking a new major and creating a schedule. Should you change your major later in your college career, you may find that your expected graduation date may be delayed. However, the most important thing is your happiness and your priorities as a future alum.

Whether you’ve got your heart set on a certain major or you’re still unsure, keep your mind open, say yes to intriguing opportunities that come your way, and talk with experts in the field for support and insight. Just remember, the person who gets to decide your major at the end of the day is YOU. The future is yours, Bearcats!



9 Smart Ways to Prepare for a Successful Semester

Students Studying Outside Around the Fountain
Are you ready for your next semester, Bearcats? The next round of courses is set to begin very soon – now is your chance to prepare yourself for your most successful semester yet! All you need to do is plan a little bit, and you’ll be able to make your dreams and goals a reality! Here are 9 ways you can do just that:

Read Your Class Syllabi

Your professors take the time to plan, write, and submit their plans for the courses they teach. Do your due diligence and read your syllabi before classes begin. Take note of any due dates for assignments, papers, and exams that might appear on the syllabi as well. Once you’re done, be sure to save your syllabi by either saving them to a specified folder on your computer or by printing them out and storing them in a designated folder.

Make Your Class Schedule

Now that you have your classes all sorted out and your syllabi read, it’s time to create your schedule for the semester. Include all of your classes and extracurricular activities you’ll be participating in throughout the week such as sports, work, internships, volunteering, etc. This will help you greatly when it comes to managing your time throughout the semester. After you create your schedule, print it out and post it on your wall, or write it all down on a monthly dry-erase calendar. Don’t forget to communicate to your family, friends, or roommates what your semester will look like as well!

Set Up Your Calendar

Remember how we said that your syllabi could contain important dates for assignments, projects, tests, and papers? Find those dates and put them in your calendar ASAP! You can use an old-school planner or try out an app on your phone. One benefit to using your phone: you could set up reminders to alert you of an assignment a few days before it’s due!

Don’t Overload Yourself

Worried you might be taking on too much? See what you can cut back on before the semester begins. If you have more credit hours or an internship this time around, you might not be able to be as involved with some of your clubs. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin!

Female Student Studying Outside with Textbook
Get Your Textbooks Now

There’s nothing worse than starting off a brand-new semester without the textbooks you need to ace your classes. Without the right books, you will find yourself falling behind before you even have the chance to start. Don’t wait until it’s too late – check your handy syllabi for the books you’ll need now and purchase them right away! Find yours at the bookstore or snag second-hand editions from older students well before classes begin.

Replenish Your School Supplies

Take a quick inventory of your supplies. Do you need new notebooks, pencils, or planners? Make a list of everything you’ll need for your upcoming semester and procure those items before classes start. Get everything set and organized so that you’re ready to tackle whatever comes your way in your classes!

Clean Up and Organize Your Workspace

A clean, organized desk or workspace can help you in the concentration department when it comes to writing papers, working on assignments, and studying for exams. Establish your very own workspace – whether it’s the desk in your dorm or your kitchen table at home – and get it ready for the new semester. A good wipe-down and time taken to straighten up your materials will work wonders, trust us!

Use a Time Management System

Time management may be the greatest challenge you’ll face as a college student. It’s imperative that you find a way to manage your time now if you want to have a successful semester (and college career). There are plenty of time management systems you can try out for free, or you can go old school and use an agenda or wall calendar.

Female Student Reading a Book Outside
Remember to Make Time for You

You’re here at McKendree to get a high-quality educational experience and earn your degree. But take it from us – while you need to dedicate plenty of time to your studies, you absolutely should make time for yourself as well. Get enough shut-eye, eat balanced meals, stay hydrated, get in a good sweat session most days of the week, and make time for your friends, hobbies, and relaxation. Learning to balance your time, de-stress, and enjoy life is crucial for success both now and after your college life!

Get hyped, Bearcats – the new semester is nearly here! Keep these handy tips in your back pocket to help you have your best semester yet. With a solid plan, a little preparation, a good attitude, and a little bit of grit, you can achieve anything!



10 New Year’s Resolutions Every College Student Should Make

Students talking at the Entryway Monument
As the new year approaches, now is the perfect time to think about the past year and make new plans for your future. What goals do you want to achieve next year? How do you want to improve your life? It’s never too late to make a fresh start. As you prepare for the upcoming year and your new semester of classes, think about setting some achievable goals for yourself. Not sure where to begin? Here are 10 great New Year’s resolutions every college student should consider making:

Shoot for Perfect Attendance

You’re paying for your classes, so you might as well get as much out of them as possible! Besides, attending your classes will help you understand essential information and concepts, which will prove to be crucial when you need to write papers and take exams. Of course, life has a way of throwing curveballs at us all, so do what you can to prepare for unexpected events. Leave early to avoid traffic or car troubles. Take care of yourself and keep up with good hygiene to stay healthy. Get plenty of shut-eye so you don’t sleep past your alarm (or alarms). Preparedness and cultivating discipline and grit will help you get to all your classes, which will allow you get the most out of your college experience!

Focus More on Learning Than Just Grades

It’s only natural for college students to want straight A’s. As important as high marks are, however, it’s even more critical that you learn the information presented to you in class and are able to apply it to your future career or everyday life. If you get good grades only for the information to fall out of your head a few weeks later, then how much good has the class really done for you? Instead of focusing solely on getting that A, reflect on the purpose of your assignments and how you can use that knowledge later in your life.

Make Time for Fitness

Ahh, yes, the quintessential New Year’s resolution. Everyone should strive to be healthy and strong. Unfortunately, many believe that if they can’t dedicate an hour to exercising it isn’t worth the effort. Did you know that even 15-20 minutes of exercising can make a difference? Pencil in some time to walk a few laps around campus, visit the fitness center, or even try some dorm room exercises with your textbooks. Schedule your sweat sessions like you would any other appointment, grab a friend or two to help keep you accountable, and do something you love like sports, dancing, jogging, or swimming!

Engage in Healthy Habits

Speaking of staying healthy, you should also work on taking care of your body and mind in other ways. Eat plenty of whole, nutritious foods, stay hydrated, get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and do your best to strike a good work-life balance. Doing so will help you improve your focus while decreasing your stress. Being specific with your goals can help you stick with it throughout the year. For instance, you could say that you want to eat at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit each day. Want to get into better shape? You can write out your goal like this: I want to lose [number] pounds by [date], and I will do this by exercising for [number] minutes [number] times every week.

Finish Your Assignments Earlier

Procrastination might be a college student’s way of life, but it’ll only serve to increase your stress (and possibly affect your grades and comprehension negatively). Your assignments will need to be completed eventually – why not just finish them as soon as possible? Write down when all your projects and papers are due and make your due date one day earlier than your professors’. If the assignment seems daunting, break it up into smaller, more manageable steps. Finally, eliminate distractors – stay off social media, turn your phone on silent, and keep it away from your desk until you’ve finished!

Stduent Spirit Section at Bearcat Basketball Game
Cultivate Your Bearcat Spirit

It can be tempting to stay in your dorm room watching Netflix only to emerge for meals at Ames or to attend your classes. While there is a time and place for relaxing and alone time, make it your mission to live boldly and take part in campus activities while you’re away from home. Cheer for the Bearcats in the stands during games next semester. Join a fraternity or sorority, become a part of a club on campus, or volunteer for local causes that you care about. This will help you to not only form long-lasting friendships but also create an impressive resume for future employers.

Look for a Job or Internship on Campus

Guess what else will help improve your resume? Taking a part-time job or internship on campus. You’ll learn new skills (including how to balance your time), cultivate a strong work ethic, and earn some spending money at the same time. Stop by Career Services to learn more about internships and work-study opportunities or dive in on your own!

Outdoor Classroom in the Campus Quad
Get to Know at Least One Professor

Your professors aren’t just here to help you understand the material in your classes – they want to see you succeed in your college life and beyond! Take advantage of their office hours to discuss assignments. This won’t just benefit you in the short-term with your classes – it will also help build a solid connection, which can aid you in your future career!

Choose Gratitude

Want to have a better year? Focus on the good things in your life by practicing gratitude. You can do this by savoring special and ordinary moments, remaining in the present, and reaching out to others through volunteering and good deeds. Even giving someone a compliment counts! As you immerse yourself more in gratitude, you’ll find that you’ll experience less stress, happier moods, and stronger relationships with your friends and family. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Students Playing Around in Campus Quad
Don’t Forget About Your Friends

Remember what Dr. Ann Collins said during Convocation? You might be here to learn all that you can and prepare for your future career, but you’re also here to feed your soul with friendship. Be sure to spend time with your best friends between your classes and study times, even when things are a bit chaotic. Part of the fun about being a college student is forging strong friendships and looking back on all the happy times you had together!

Remember, Bearcats, if you happen to slip up along the way on your resolutions next year, don’t fret. It’s not the end of the world. Just get back up and try again! Happy New Year!



Throwing Strikes: How One Bearcat Bowler Represented Team USA While Pursuing Her Master’s Degree

Lauren Pate
Being a college student is definitely challenging; however, it’s arguably tougher to be a graduate student. After all, graduate students often have more responsibilities they need to tend to on a daily basis – their work, their family life, bills, and more – and this is on top of their demanding coursework. It can be even more challenging when you’re participating on a team sport. Lauren Pate ’19, a current graduate student at McKendree, shows that working toward a graduate degree while juggling a team sport and other responsibilities is more than possible. Read about her story below!

Why Lauren Chose to Make It McKendree

Lauren chose to become a Bearcat not only because she wanted to be on the bowling team but also because of how the campus itself made her feel. “Even if I weren’t on the bowling scholarship, I would’ve come to McKendree because it felt like home the second I set foot on campus,” she recalled. “Once I saw they had counseling as a graduate degree, I knew I needed to apply as soon as possible.”

While Lauren was an undergraduate student, she was a proud member of the bowling team. In fact, she was a part of the team who won two national championships in one week, the team that brought home McKendree’s first-ever NCAA National Championship and trophy in 2017. Lauren went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis in social welfare and social justice in 2019. She is currently earning her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and is expected to graduate in May 2022.

Finding Her Calling in Social Work and Counseling

Lauren has always had a passion for helping others, which is a large reason why she chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in sociology, but she received additional motivation after tragedy struck in her family. “In 2015, I lost my cousin to a mental illness, which motivated me to help those who are suffering from mental illnesses, such as counseling or social work,” she said. “Once I saw that McKendree had the clinical mental health counseling program, I knew I needed to apply and pursue a career within that field.”

Lauren’s ultimate counseling goal once she graduates is to own her own practice or treatment center, or become a clinical director of a treatment center.

Using Helpful Skills to Conquer Obstacles

No one ever said that earning a graduate degree would be easy. Even Lauren has found it to be a difficult road at times. “It has been hard to juggle everything at once,” she said. “When I applied for graduate school, I had envisioned a plan of how things were going to work out, which included me to be bowling a lot. Unfortunately with the additional responsibilities, that is not what occurred. When I realized how much time graduate school consumed of my life, bowling was put on the back burner for some time.”

Bowling, however, couldn’t remain on the sidelines for long in Lauren’s life. “Bowling, to me, is a passion and something that helps me on my darkest days,” she said. “I learned how to manage my time better and make deadlines even sooner, just so I can get that extra time in on the lanes. I know when I have time, I will always be in the bowling center, whether I’m practicing or competing.”

Whenever Lauren has hard days, bowling definitely helps her refocus; however, she also draws inspiration from Shannon O’Keefe, the head coach of McKendree’s women’s bowling team. “She has been my role model since I committed to McKendree,” Lauren noted. “She has seen me on my tough days and made sure I was okay or checked in on me, especially when I was going through the hard time of not being able to bowl and compete as much as I could before. She and I have a bond that not many people have, and for that I am grateful.”

Answering the Call to Represent Team USA

It’s not every day that an athlete gets the opportunity to represent their country while competing for medals. In October, Lauren competed as a member of Team USA at the 2021 PANAM Bowling Elite Championships. Even sweeter is the fact that she competed on her 25th birthday, alongside her former McKendree teammate, Breanna Clemmer ‘21, as loved ones looked on and cheered. “It felt like I was back bowling with her in college!” she said. “We worked well together and I enjoyed every moment of bowling with her. We won the team event by 450 pins, and we were able to bring home the win.” Lauren also brought home a gold medal in doubles and team events, along with a bronze medal in trios.

“It was such a great experience – one that I will never forget,” Lauren added. “Being able to represent my country is an absolute dream come true. I have dreamt of that moment since I was a little girl bowling Saturday morning league.”

Lauren’s Advice for Making the Impossible Possible at McKendree

One piece of advice that Lauren would like to give athletes who are pursuing their careers is to take every opportunity they get when it comes to their sport. “It’s not every day that you will get a phone call to represent your country or travel across the country competing in your sport, and taking that opportunity will open another chapter in your life,” she said. “There are always going to be people who support every decision you’ve made, and I am forever grateful that I was able to take this opportunity while earning my graduate degree.”



13 Tips to Help You Ace Your Final Exams

Female Student Studying in Residence Hall
Where did the semester go? It only seems like yesterday since you’ve returned to campus and set foot in your new classes. You might be feeling a sense of dread when it comes to your upcoming final exams. We won’t lie – final exams can be demanding, but they don’t have to seem insurmountable. All you need to do is prepare for them ahead of time as best as you can. Here are 13 of our favorite tips to help you get those high marks on your final exams (with the least amount of stress as possible):

Start Studying Now

You might feel tempted to put off reviewing your notes or working on your papers until the last minute. Resist the urge! Cram sessions and hastily-written papers are more likely to earn you lower scores at the end of the day. It takes time to craft solid term papers, and it takes time to retain, remember, and recall important information for your many classes. If you haven’t begun studying, now is the time to get started!

Get Plenty of Sleep

Let’s say that you’ve been procrastinating on reviewing your notes or finishing your project. “That’s it,” you might think, “I’ll have to pull an all-nighter or so to get this done.” Not so fast – sleep is absolutely vital to your health! Catching quality z’s helps you focus and allows your brain to consolidate and digest important memories. We’re talking about slow-wave, non-REM sleep, not a scattering of (bear)cat naps! Up your snooze game by taking care of your sleep hygiene: avoid caffeine and sugar in the evenings, put away those smartphones and laptops an hour before bed, and stick to a sleep schedule, if you can help it.

Student Studying in Holman Library
Find (or Create) Your Favorite Study Spot

Your environment also matters when it comes to studying efficiently. It’s often quite hard to review your notes or write a strong draft of a term paper in a chaotic atmosphere. Find a quiet place on campus that’s free of both clutter and distractions. You could get a strong study session in Holman Library, the Hub, or even in your dorm hall’s study lounge. Rather study in your room? Try to create a little nook dedicated to acing your exams!

Keep Others in the Loop

Communication is key when it comes to success, finals or otherwise. If you’re living with roommates or family members, let them know when you plan on studying or if you need quiet time to prepare for your exams. They will appreciate the heads-up, and you will benefit from minimized interruptions!

Curate the Perfect Playlist

Want to really zero in on your studies? Take just a little bit of time to put together a playlist of excellent study music! Research has shown that music, especially classical music, helps increase your focus, improve your memory, and improve your mood. Head over to your favorite music streaming service and put some Beethoven, Mozart, or Debussy on in the background! Not a fan of classical? No sweat – your favorite instrumental pieces, soundtrack tunes, or video game music will also do the trick!

Get Rid of Distractions

Speaking of focusing, it’s awfully difficult to focus when you have your social media accounts open on your laptop or your smartphone next to you. Even if you aren’t actively engaging with your smartphone, studies have shown that its mere presence can hinder your concentration. Do your brain a favor – put your smart devices out of sight and stay off social media while you study. You’ll find that your focus will greatly improve!

Fuel Up with Healthy Food

We know – assuaging your stress with sweets and caffeine sounds like the perfect answer to help you stay focused, but doing so will leave you jittery and feeling worn down. Keep your mind sharp and your body strong during finals week with a healthy, balanced diet rich in whole, organic foods. Switch out the chips for nuts or carrot sticks, get plenty of protein, and stay hydrated to keep your mind and body working at full capacity!

Student in Hammock on Front Lawn
Take Breaks and Move Around

You might feel tempted to pull an all-nighter to write up your papers or cram for your exams, but in the end it’ll do you more harm than good. Give your brain a well-earned rest by taking short breaks as you study. Make sure you get up at least once an hour to stretch, take a short walk around campus, or watch a funny video. Don’t forget to look away from the screen for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes to reduce eye strain as well!

Draft Up Sample Test Questions

Want to think like a professor and ace your upcoming finals? Come up with some questions you might think you’ll find on your exams, answer them, and quiz yourself throughout the upcoming days! Doing this will help you pare down the truly pertinent information and show you the areas in which you thrive or might need to spend extra time reviewing.

Utilize the Whiteboards

Trying to balance some tough chemical equations? Want to practice diagramming sentences? White boards are your friends! Use a white board in your room or venture over to an empty classroom in PAC with a classmate to practice equations or quiz yourselves without referring to your notes. Writing out the information you need to know can test your knowledge and help solidify it in your mind in time for the test. Just be sure to erase the whiteboards when you’re done!

Teach Someone Else

Still using those whiteboards? Step into the role of professor and teach your roommate, classmate, or friend the concepts and information you’ve learned in class this semester. Take turns instructing one another, referring to your notes as little as possible. Short on time or space? Quizzing your Bogey plush in your dorm room can work just as well!

Take Part in Stress Fest During Finals Week

Nothing helps you de-stress like enjoying tasty food and laughing with your friends! Be sure to join the fun on campus during finals week this year to take the edge off your worries. This includes loads of exciting events such as the much-loved annual midnight dodgeball tournament from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday!

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Are you just not understanding some of the material you’ve been taught throughout the semester, no matter how hard you try? Don’t wait – ask for help! You can start with your classmates, of course, but you’d be better served reaching out to your professors. Take advantage of office hours now to ask thoughtful questions and gain the answers you seek. Not only will this help you in the short term for preparing for finals week, but it can also build a solid relationship as you progress in you college career. Don’t feel intimidated – our professors want nothing more than to see our Bearcats succeed!

One last thing: remember that finals week is not the end of the world. This, too, shall pass. Hang in there, Bearcats – you’ve got this!



11 Ways You Can Get in the Zone and Study Like a Pro

You’ve arguably come to McKendree University to study and become an expert in your chosen field, but let’s face it – studying is hard. Even though the thought of reviewing those psychology notes or history facts might have you feeling on edge, don’t worry – studying and retaining information isn’t an insurmountable task. Whether you’re prepping for a presentation or a midterm exam, there are plenty of easy and effective ways you can get focused and hone in on your studies. Check out our top 11 tips below to help you during your next study session!

Holman Library
Find Your Ideal Study Spot

If you want to have a great study session, you need to find the right environment for you. Maybe you like tucking yourself in a quiet corner away from all the noise to focus on writing papers or quizzing yourself on flashcards. If so, Holman Library, the computer labs in Clark Hall and PAC, the study lounge in your dorm hall, or even the Active Learning Center next to New Residence Hall West could be the right place for you. Prefer the hustle and bustle of others while you review your biology notes? Stop by the 1828 Café or the Hub in Pearsons to collaborate with your friends. Don’t be afraid to try different places to see what works best for you!

Get Rid of Distractions

It can be next to impossible to focus on your studies when your phone is blowing up with notifications or you find yourself logging onto your social media pages. Do yourself a favor – mute or turn off your phone and place it in your backpack while you study. If you need to use the Internet, use it for research only. This will help you zero in on your subjects and help you retain critical information for your upcoming tests and beyond!

Keep Organized Notes

When it comes to notetaking, creating a system that works for you can make studying so much easier. Make sure your notes are legible and organized; this will save you hours when you review your notes for tests. Find what works best for you: bullet points, highlighters, tabs, indents – or even a combination of these methods! If a system isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to shake things up and change up your system.

Student Studying
Review Your Notes ASAP

Here’s a trick the pros use: as soon as your class ends, take ten minutes to review your notes. You can either read them or take out a blank piece of paper and write down everything you can recall from class. Got back-to-back classes? Don’t sweat it – even a couple of minutes will work to help cement this new information in your mind. This will make recalling information when you need it much easier! If you enjoy journaling, keeping a study journal and jotting down everything you remember from the day is also a fantastic way to improve your memory (and give yourself a mini-study session at the same time).

Turn on Some Tunes

Did you know that listening to music has been shown to increase focus and help the brain absorb and interpret new information more easily? Not just any music will do, however; classical or instrumental music is ideal. Now’s the time to find classical, world music, or your favorite movie or video game soundtracks and curate a top-notch instrumental playlist for your study times! If you find music too distracting, ambient noise like rain sounds can work perfectly.

Students Studying
Learn So You Can Teach Others

Memorizing facts and cramming information in your head might be okay for the short term, but it won’t serve you well as the semester goes by or after you graduate. For a deeper comprehension, try truly understanding the content so that you can teach a classmate or a sibling. This is a much more effective strategy than just rereading the material over and over.

Say It Out Loud

It might seem a little unconventional, but try reciting your notes or those dates in history out loud next time you study. You might be surprised how much you can remember when you’ve said it out loud! Feeling a little creative? Try coming up with alternative lyrics to popular songs with the material you recently learned in class. It’s a great way to remember foreign language conjugation rules or parts of the Kreb cycle. Just be aware of your surroundings so that you aren’t disturbing others who are trying to study as well!

Active Learning Center
Space Out Your Study Time

You might feel tempted to study nonstop into the wee hours of the morning, catch a few hours of sleep, and then wake up to cram just before your morning class. Unfortunately, this isn’t a realistic or healthy way to study. Create a realistic schedule that includes bite-sized chunks of studying with plenty of breaks in between. And don’t forget to actually take those breaks as well. Go for a walk, watch a funny video on YouTube, or pop into your friend’s room to say a quick hello!

Stay Hydrated

Guess what else will help you study better? Drinking plenty of water! Several studies have shown that drinking water improves brain function, which will help you stay focused, retain more information, and think more efficiently. You’ll also feel more refreshed and will stave off sleepiness during your study sessions. On the other hand, take it easy on the caffeine. Those energy drinks might help at first, but you’ll wind up crashing hard and feeling foggy and worn out soon enough.

Take Care of Yourself

In addition to drinking plenty of water, you’ll want to remember to eat well, exercise regularly, and get plenty of quality shut-eye to help keep your mind sharp. Put away the Flaming Hot Cheetos (they’ll get your notes messy anyway) and snack on something healthy like carrots or walnuts. Take some time to get up at least once every hour to stretch and take a quick walk around the Quad. And if you feel sleepy, go ahead and take a quick nap! Taking care of your body will help you retain new info like a champ.

Students Playing Chess
Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done

All done studying? Treat yourself! Watch an episode of your favorite show, visit your friend down the hall, or go snag a favorite treat of yours to reward yourself for a great study session.

If you keep these study tips in mind and give them a try, you should find that tackling the next assignment, writing the next paper, or studying for the next exam is easier than it was once before. You’ve got this, Bearcats!




Fantastic Fall: 12 Things You Can Enjoy on Campus This Fall

Fall is in full swing at McKendree! Now that midterms are over and Homecoming has passed, you might be wondering what else you can do here on campus. Guess what? There’s plenty of fun activities and events you can enjoy this semester! Take a break from studying and get into the fall spirit by taking advantage of these 12 things on campus:

Group of Students Outside
Celebrate Brat-Toberfest

Kick off Halloween weekend right by celebrating Brat-Toberfest with your friends! Head on over to the Quad on Friday, October 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. for bratwursts and other delicious food. There will also be plenty of music, games to play, and an ice cream truck to give you a sweet fix!

Cheer on the Bearcats

Nothing says fall more than sports! Don your purple and get loud in the stands whenever you attend Bearcat football, soccer, volleyball, or hockey games this fall. Bring your friends, grab a snack, and cheer the Bearcats on to victory this fall! Not sure when the games are? Click here to view all the scheduled games!

Get Involved with Campus Activities

There are plenty of fun fall activities taking place near you! Say no to stress during National Stress Awareness Day on November 3 by visiting the Lair and other locations on campus for some relaxing events and stress tips. Come on out to win some great prizes at Bingo Night in the Lair from 7 to 9 p.m. on November 19 and December 3. Show up to the Turkey Bowl at St. Clair Bowl from 9 p.m. till midnight on November 19 for a fun bowling night and some exciting giveaways (including turkeys!). And keep your eyes peeled for a Christmas light tour at Our Lady of the Snows and loads of Finals Week events to help you take the edge off the stress!

Compete in Fun Tournaments

You don’t have to be on a sports team to take part in any tournaments on campus! Sharpen your skills or just have fun with your hallmates and friends by signing up for a few fun challenges at the intramural gym. The basketball skills challenge will take place from November 8 through 16, with a finale for finalists to compete in at the end. Join in the two-day indoor wiffleball tournament from November 9 through 11, or test your skills at the End of the Year Basketball Tournament from November 19 through 21. And don’t forget the much-loved midnight dodgeball tournament for Finals Week from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on December 6 and 7!

Old Salt Union
Catch Some Amazing Shows at the Hett

There’s always something exciting happening at the Hett, and this year is no exception. Catch a movie, see a show, or listen to an intriguing lecture – all of which are free for Bearcats! You won’t want to miss unforgettable shows like Old Salt Union, The Traveling Salvation Show, the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America, and much more! Check out for all of the details.

Decorate Your Dorm for the Season

Take a look at the walls that surround you – do they capture that fall feeling? Even just a little bit of seasonal décor can help you feel more festive, which in turn can improve your mood, help you focus more, and boost your creativity. You don’t even need to spend very much to decorate your dorm or apartment; even a quick trip to the dollar store can be exactly what you need to get into the spooky spirit!

Watch Spooky Movies with Your Friends

What’s better than watching scary movies? Watching scary movies with your friends, of course! Embrace all the Halloween vibes by grabbing your bestie or inviting your hallmates over for a scary movie marathon. Don’t forget the popcorn and snacks!

Indulge in Something Sweet from the 1828 Café

Looking for a tasty way to get your morning caffeine? Look no further than the fine folks at the 1828 Café, who are serving up some sweet specials this fall! Treat yourself to an apple crisp macchiato or sip and savor a quintessentially-fall pumpkin spice latte. Don’t forget to ask about other autumnal specials while you’re there!

Student Singing Karaoke in the Lair
Get Your Karaoke On

It’s Friday night and you need to let all the stress from your week out. What can you do? Two words: karaoke night. Head over to the Lair from 8 to 11 p.m. on the first Friday of the month for karaoke night! Grab your hallmates and friends to sing your favorites in groups or shine the spotlight on yourself!

Check Out the Fall Play

Come watch your peers as the McKendree University Theatre Department performs “Love/Sick” from November 5-7 at the Hett. The Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s matinee starts at 2:30 p.m. This is a show about love and the challenges that come with relationships. In the nine scenes that make up the show, you’ll see couples at different stages from “love at first sight” to a meetup long after the lovers have separated. Prepare to laugh (and maybe cry a little, too)! Admission is free for McKendree students!

Swipe Out Hunger by Donating a Meal to a Student in Need

Did you know that many students stress more about where their next meal is coming from than their classwork or teams? Take a stand against food inequities this fall and donate a meal to someone in need with the Swipe Out Hunger Initiative! Interested students can donate one of their meal swipes to another Bearcat in need. Reach out to Dr. Rev. Beverly Wilkes-Null to make a difference in a fellow student’s life!

Give Thanks at AmesGiving

Before you head home for Thanksgiving break, be sure to stop by Ames Dining Hall for a delicious “AmesGiving” meal with your classmates, friends, and the faculty and staff at McKendree! Grab your plate and prepare to enjoy a delectable feast, including carved turkey, ham, and all the fixings. This is one McKendree holiday tradition you won’t want to miss!

How will you celebrate fall at McKendree, Bearcats?




8 Ways You Can Get the Most Out of Homecoming Weekend

Homecoming is just around the corner and believe us, you won’t want to miss out! After last year’s virtual homecoming, McKendree is now thrilled to celebrate together in person on our beautiful campus. It’s the perfect time to put on your purple, grab your friends, and show off your Bearcat spirit all weekend long while making amazing memories along the way. This year, Homecoming Weekend is happening from Friday, October 22 to Sunday, October 24. Here’s how you can enjoy Homecoming Weekend to the fullest:

Friday, October 22

Get Lost in the Cutting-Edge Magic of REZA

Kick off Homecoming Weekend right by watching world-class illusionist REZA work his magic at the Hett! Take everything you know about magic and illusions and throw it out the window – REZA takes the art of illusion to the next level by merging concert-level lighting and production with the most incredible cutting-edge magic in existence today. Forget rabbits and doves, REZA makes motorcycles and helicopters materialize out of thin air! He infuses state-of-the-art production elements, masterful comedic timing, and plenty of interactive and inspirational moments to make an unforgettable show. Feel the magic when you see REZA perform at the Hett at 7:30 p.m.!


Saturday, October 23

Get Energized with Sunrise Yoga

Grab your yoga mat and head out to Leemon Field at 7:30 a.m. for an energizing, invigorating Sunrise Yoga session with your fellow Bearcats! Greet the sun and take a few moments for yourself to calm your heart in the morning stillness and enjoy the abundant beauty that autumn brings. This is a wonderful opportunity to stretch and move your body in preparation of the excitement that lies ahead!

Women Tailgating
Tailgate with Your Friends

There’s nothing like a tailgating party at McKendree! Find your friends, take in the sights, and play bags and other games together starting at 10 a.m. If the peals of laughter and sea of purple won’t bring you out, we guarantee the smell of tantalizing food will. Speaking of which, that brings us to our next point…

Grab Some Grub from Local Food Trucks

Fuel up with some fantastic food from local food trucks! Enjoy savory Tex-Mex cuisine from Truckeria Del Valle, try a sandwich or wrap from Clara B’s Kitchen Table, and indulge your sweet tooth with a treat from The Sweet Side. Food trucks not your scene? You can still grab a delicious lunch with your pals at Ames Dining Hall!

Color Guard at Homecoming Parade
Take in the Sights at the Homecoming Parade

Who doesn’t love a parade? Line up along the streets around campus at 11 a.m. to enjoy the much-loved McKendree Homecoming Parade! Look for your friends and classmates from various organizations as they show their love for McKendree on floats. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures of the parade and also of you and your friends having a great time together!

Get in the Bearcat Spirit

If there’s ever a time to tap into your Bearcat pride, it’s this weekend! Wear your favorite McKendree gear from head to toe, no matter where you go. You can even get Bogey or a Bearcat paw painted on your face during the tailgate. Oh, and don’t forget to say a hearty hello to Bogey the Bearcat, who will be out and about with other McKendreans!

Cheerleader at Football Game
Cheer on the Bearcats at the Homecoming Game

Grab a rally towel or a purple foam finger and head over to Leemon Field for the homecoming football game at 1 p.m.! Cheer on your Bearcats as they take on the Missouri S&T Miners this year. Get loud in the bleachers and make sure your team knows just how much McKendree pride you have!


Sunday, October 24

Check Out the Chapel Service

Join McKendree Chaplain Rev. Dr. Beverly Wilkes-Null as she leads students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University in worship at Bothwell Chapel at 10 a.m. This is a great way to start off your Sunday! Afterwards, head on over to Ames to grab a tasty brunch at 11 a.m. All are welcome!

No matter what you decide to do, we hope you truly enjoy Homecoming Weekend this year! Remember to stay in the moment and savor it as much as you can. This is the time of your life that memories are made of. Go, Bearcats!




11 Ways You Can Get in the Zone and Study Like a Pro

You’ve arguably come to McKendree University to study and become an expert in your chosen field, but let’s face it – studying is hard. Even though the thought of reviewing those psychology notes or history facts might have you feeling on edge, don’t worry – studying and retaining information isn’t an insurmountable task. Whether you’re prepping for a presentation or a midterm exam, there are plenty of easy and effective ways you can get focused and hone in on your studies. Check out our top 11 tips below to help you during your next study session!

Study Room in Holman Library

Find Your Ideal Study Spot

If you want to have a great study session, you need to find the right environment for you. Maybe you like tucking yourself in a quiet corner away from all the noise to focus on writing papers or quizzing yourself on flashcards. If so, Holman Library, the computer labs in Clark Hall and PAC, the study lounge in your dorm hall, or even the Active Learning Center next to New Residence Hall West could be the right place for you. Prefer the hustle and bustle of others while you review your biology notes? Stop by the 1828 Café or the Hub in Pearsons to collaborate with your friends. Don’t be afraid to try different places to see what works best for you!

Get Rid of Distractions

It can be next to impossible to focus on your studies when your phone is blowing up with notifications or you find yourself logging onto your social media pages. Do yourself a favor – mute or turn off your phone and place it in your backpack while you study. If you need to use the Internet, use it for research only. This will help you zero in on your subjects and help you retain critical information for your upcoming tests and beyond!

Make Student Writing Notes
Keep Organized Notes

When it comes to notetaking, creating a system that works for you can make studying so much easier. Make sure your notes are legible and organized; this will save you hours when you review your notes for tests. Find what works best for you: bullet points, highlighters, tabs, indents – or even a combination of these methods! If a system isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to shake things up and change up your system.

Review Your Notes ASAP

Here’s a trick the pros use: as soon as your class ends, take ten minutes to review your notes. You can either read them or take out a blank piece of paper and write down everything you can recall from class. Got back-to-back classes? Don’t sweat it – even a couple of minutes will work to help cement this new information in your mind. This will make recalling information when you need it much easier! If you enjoy journaling, keeping a study journal and jotting down everything you remember from the day is also a fantastic way to improve your memory (and give yourself a mini-study session at the same time).

Turn on Some Tunes

Did you know that listening to music has been shown to increase focus and help the brain absorb and interpret new information more easily? Not just any music will do, however; classical or instrumental music is ideal. Now’s the time to find classical, world music, or your favorite movie or video game soundtracks and curate a top-notch instrumental playlist for your study times! If you find music too distracting, ambient noise like rain sounds can work perfectly.

Two male Students Studying
Learn So You Can Teach Others

Memorizing facts and cramming information in your head might be okay for the short term, but it won’t serve you well as the semester goes by or after you graduate. For a deeper comprehension, try truly understanding the content so that you can teach a classmate or a sibling. This is a much more effective strategy than just rereading the material over and over.

Say It Out Loud

It might seem a little unconventional, but try reciting your notes or those dates in history out loud next time you study. You might be surprised how much you can remember when you’ve said it out loud! Feeling a little creative? Try coming up with alternative lyrics to popular songs with the material you recently learned in class. It’s a great way to remember foreign language conjugation rules or parts of the Kreb cycle. Just be aware of your surroundings so that you aren’t disturbing others who are trying to study as well!

Active Learning Center
Space Out Your Study Time

You might feel tempted to study nonstop into the wee hours of the morning, catch a few hours of sleep, and then wake up to cram just before your morning class. Unfortunately, this isn’t a realistic or healthy way to study. Create a realistic schedule that includes bite-sized chunks of studying with plenty of breaks in between. And don’t forget to actually take those breaks as well. Go for a walk, watch a funny video on YouTube, or pop into your friend’s room to say a quick hello!

Stay Hydrated

Guess what else will help you study better? Drinking plenty of water! Several studies have shown that drinking water improves brain function, which will help you stay focused, retain more information, and think more efficiently. You’ll also feel more refreshed and will stave off sleepiness during your study sessions. On the other hand, take it easy on the caffeine. Those energy drinks might help at first, but you’ll wind up crashing hard and feeling foggy and worn out soon enough.

Take Care of Yourself

In addition to drinking plenty of water, you’ll want to remember to eat well, exercise regularly, and get plenty of quality shut-eye to help keep your mind sharp. Put away the Flaming Hot Cheetos (they’ll get your notes messy anyway) and snack on something healthy like carrots or walnuts. Take some time to get up at least once every hour to stretch and take a quick walk around the Quad. And if you feel sleepy, go ahead and take a quick nap! Taking care of your body will help you retain new info like a champ.

Students Playing Chess
Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done

All done studying? Treat yourself! Watch an episode of your favorite show, visit your friend down the hall, or go snag a favorite treat of yours to reward yourself for a great study session.

If you keep these study tips in mind and give them a try, you should find that tackling the next assignment, writing the next paper, or studying for the next exam is easier than it was once before. You’ve got this, Bearcats!




Say Hello to the New Bogey the Bearcat!

The New Bogey
You might have seen a cartoon version of our beloved Bogey here and there at McKendree University this summer. If you take a close look, you can see a happy, athletic purple Bearcat on some of the banners adorning the streets around campus as well. Did you ever imagine that your favorite Bearcat would come to life? Take a quick moment to meet the latest and greatest Bogey the Bearcat!

A New and Improved Friendly Face

Throughout the years, Bogey has always been the smiling face we love to see at McKendree. Now you’ll be able to easily pick out Bogey in a crowd – just look for a large purple head, big happy eyes, golden ears, and a joyful smile full of beautiful pearly whites. Fit and strong, Bogey now sports McKendree garb just like you (along with a handy pair of shorts)! This Bearcat is much more than just claws, teeth, and a swishing purple tail – Bogey is the fierce and friendly cheerleader we all need at good ol’ McK!

See Bogey Around Campus!

Whether it’s game day at Leemon Field or Homecoming Weekend, our beloved Bogey can be found at so many fun events on campus. If you see this happy Bearcat on one of these special days, don’t be shy – say hello, ask for a high-five, or take a memorable picture together with Bogey and your friends! There’s nothing that this Bearcat loves more than making students, parents, alumni, and other McKendree friends smile!

Stop by the All-New Bogey’s Career Closet!

Bogey’s got another surprise for all currently enrolled McKendree students. If you’re looking to make a good first impression but don’t have a thing to wear, make an appointment to stop by Bogey’s Career Closet in Clark Hall! You’ll be able to choose new or gently used, clean, and up-to-date business attire to use for networking events, career fairs, interviews, and other professional events. These items are generously donated by our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and members of the community so you may make a memorable impression and feel your best! Bogey’s Career Closet will officially open its doors on Friday, October 1 and will be open Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment, just email Career Services and bring your student ID with you at your allotted time – easy!




15 Tips to Help You Thrive in Your First Semester at McKendree

Students in classroomBeginning your life as a first-year student can be daunting, especially if you move far away from home. You might feel nervous and wonder what your classes will be like, if you’ll get along with your roommate, or if you’ll be able to juggle your academics with your social life. Even though this time might seem a bit stressful, don’t worry – there are a few simple things you can do to enjoy your college experience to the fullest while being successful. Here are our 15 favorite tips to help you not just survive but thrive during your first year at McKendree!

Get Curious

As Dr. Alewine, professor of mathematics, says, “Ask lots of questions, about everything.” We feel like this is a great motto to live by! Don’t know the answer to something? Ask! Make sure you know exactly when your assignments are due and what your courses require of you. If you don’t understand something from class or you’re struggling with an assignment or paper, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors! Professor Kniepkamp can attest to this. “Reach out to your instructors via email. Ask questions and make sure you understand what’s required of you,” she said. “Make sure you specify what you don’t understand so we can better assist you.” Finally, take advantage of your professors’ scheduled office hours – they are there for you to stop by and ask any questions you might have about your assignments. The faculty at McKendree care about you and are here to help you succeed!

Go to Class

Pretty obvious, right? It needs to be said, however, because sometimes slamming that snooze alarm can be way too tempting when you have an 8 a.m. class. Remember that you’re here for a purpose – to get an excellent education, which will pave the way for your future success. Attend your classes to receive all of the information you need from your professors. Pay attention, take notes, ask questions, and work hard to earn grades that you’re proud of.

Group of Students

Get to Know Your Roommates and People Living in Your Residence Hall

It can be so easy to close your door and shut yourself off from the rest of the world. If you want to squeeze the most out of your college experience, take it from us – leave your door open (literally). It’s one of the easiest ways you can meet new friends. Besides, other first-year students are going through the same thing as you. Sharing your experiences and emotions can help you form an incredible bond with people who may wind up becoming your best friend or even your future spouse!

Stay on Campus as Much as Possible

We know it can be tough living far away from home, even if it’s only half an hour away. Do your best to stay on campus as much as you can, though. Why? Not only will you get to know your hallmates and classmates, but you’ll also get to attend several entertaining activities and events. There’s always something fun to do at McKendree – even on the weekend! This same advice applies to first-year commuters, too. Staying on campus can cultivate a sense of belonging and will make McKendree feel like your home away from home!

Student Studying in Cafe1828
Find Your Perfect Study Spot

Whether it’s at your desk in your dorm room, in your residence hall’s cozy study lounge, or nestled in a quiet corner in Holman Library, it’s so important that you have an ideal study spot that you can rely on. Find the place that helps you zero in on your studies and avoid distractions as much as possible.

Get Organized

When you were in high school, your teachers probably helped lead you through your homework and due dates. College life is quite different. Your professors will post assignments and expect you to be prepared. Take the time now to organize yourself for the semester. Buy an organizer, use a giant wall calendar, or stay on top of your workload with an app. Do whichever method you like best to ensure that your assignments are finished and turned in on time.

Student Highlighting Notes
Don’t Procrastinate

You might want to wait until the last minute to finish your assignment or paper, but trust us – it’s better to start working on it as soon as you can. Deadlines might seem far away at first, but they tend to sneak up pretty quickly, especially if you have a busy social life or are taking a lot of classes. If you want good grades, take it from us – set reasonable deadlines for yourself and stick to them.

Put in the Effort

Cutting corners on your assignments, papers, or tests might seem like a good idea at the time, but at the end of the day, you’re cheating yourself out of a learning experience. Put in the effort to finish your assignments. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile and put great thought, care, and detail into whatever you turn in. Your professors will notice your efforts!

Students Working Out
Stay Healthy

Now that you’re away from home, you might feel more like staying up late, binging your favorite shows, and indulging yourself with an extra helping of fries, pizza, or sweets from Ames Dining Hall or the 1828 Café. To stay healthy and avoid putting on extra weight, do what’s best for your body and mind. Stick to a regular exercise regimen. Eat a whole, nutritious, well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein. Get to bed at a reasonable hour. This will help you stay on track for success! While you’re at it, don’t forget to listen to current CDC protocols and mask up in indoor locations to avoid COVID-19 as well.

Get Involved on Campus

If you want to beat homesickness, love your time at college, and forge friendships that last for a lifetime, become more involved on campus by joining a few groups, including student organizations, clubs, sororities or fraternities, or sports teams. These groups give you the unique opportunity to make new friends who love the same things that you do, learn new skills, and help you feel even more connected to McKendree!

Make Time for You

Amidst classes and time dedicated toward your studies, sports, and extracurricular activities, it’s imperative that you find some time for yourself – just you – every single day. Relax, de-stress, and give your mind a much-needed break by reading, taking a walk in the park, writing in your journal, or watching a show that makes you laugh. Even carving out 15 minutes can make a world of difference!

Student Studying Outside
Manage Your Time

A skill that you’ll learn and develop as a college student is time management. You probably had to do some time management in high school, but college is a whole new level. Don’t worry – you can do it. Stick to your deadlines, study hard, and find ways to sprinkle in a healthy amount of social activities as well. Striking a balance is the secret for a successful and rewarding college experience!

Be Brave – Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Moving away from home or even commuting to your college classes each day can be a big, overwhelming leap outside of your comfort zone. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll soon relax into your new surroundings and you’ll find that becoming a Bearcat was one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. Look for new opportunities that come your way to try new things and attend all sorts of events on campus. Pushing yourself past your comfort zone can give you a huge confidence boost, allow you to learn more deeply, and help you grow more than you ever could have imagined!

Learn When to Say “No” or “I Need Help”

We know that we just told you to step outside your comfort zone, but you never have to say “yes” to everything. Be honest with what you can handle. You might not be able to go out with friends on Friday night if you need to write up a paper or finish assignments for Monday. And don’t forget, the faculty and staff at McKendree want to do everything to help you succeed, which is why we provide you with a student success center, career services, tutoring, spiritual activities, counseling services, and more. If you feel like you’re falling behind in your classes, you only need to ask for help – the earlier, the better to get yourself back on track. You never have to go it alone!

Professor Working with Students
Don’t Feel Pressured to Rush Into a Major

It might feel as if all of your friends already know what they’re majoring in. Maybe you don’t – and that’s okay! Sometimes students won’t know for a while or will wind up changing their majors once, twice, or more until they find their passions. If you are unsure about your major, take your time and explore your options. Discover who you are, what you really love, and what you’re good at. You can also talk to the amazing staff at Career Services or your academic advisors as well!

You did the hard work of becoming accepted into McKendree University. Now is your time to shine as a first-year Bearcat! Work hard, reach out to your professors when you need help, connect with new friends, and be yourself. We guarantee you will get the most out of your college experience by doing the above things!



Starting Your First Year at McKendree? Here’s What to Expect

The big day is just around the corner. You’ve graduated high school, enjoyed the summer the best you could, and are preparing to start your very first semester as a college student. You might be feeling all sorts of emotions: excitement, anticipation, nervousness. Trust us, though – this new chapter is going to be a fresh beginning that will shape your life for the better. Of course, it never hurts to get a sneak peek into what lies ahead, right? Here are just a few things you can expect as you begin your college journey at McKendree University:

Student on Baker Hall

Moving Into the Dorms

Say hello to your new home away from home! Barnett Hall, Baker Hall, Walton Hall, the Suites, and Residence Halls East and West are all options for first-year students. You’ll move in before classes start and get acclimated with your new surroundings, including the study lounges, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. While you’re settling into your new room, you’ll meet your hallmates and will begin building meaningful relationships with your peers. Decorate your new digs, hang up a dry erase sign on your door, and leave the door open so you can have fun impromptu chats with new and current Bearcats!

New Student Orientation Team
Taking Part in New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation, affectionately known as NSO, is designed to help you and your family in making a smooth transition from high school to life at McKendree. After Convocation, you’ll participate in fun team-building exercises with your peers and will get to know the University even more. The goal is help you succeed as a Bearcat! During this time, you’ll meet current students, faculty and staff members, other new students like you, and possibly your future best friend.

Students Eating in 1828 Cafe
Getting a Feel for the Campus

As you get settled in, you’ll probably become even more curious about your new home. If you haven’t already, take some time to stroll around campus and explore Bearcat Country! Pop in and say “hello” to the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Holman Library (they will be instrumental whenever you want to do any future research for your classes!). Take a peek at Piper Academic Center (PAC), Clark Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Old Main, which house our classrooms. And of course, don’t forget to stop by 1828 Café and Ames Dining Hall to grab a bite or enjoy a meal with your new friends on campus!

Male Student Smiling
Becoming More Involved on Campus

Your studies and athletic activities are important, of course, but McKendree is proud to offer much more to make your college life unique and memorable. Dip your toes into the water, let your curiosity take the reins, and get more involved as a Bearcat! Start by checking out Campus Activities Board (CAB), which plans tons of fun social, recreational, multicultural, and educational events on campus. McKendree is also home to several Greek fraternities and sororities, both social and academic, that can help you increase your career potential while giving you friends for life. You can also join plenty of groups that are geared specifically to special interests, including Black Student Organization (BSO), Team Bogey, McK Radio, and many more!

Dr. Eggleston and Students in the Classroom
Meeting the Faculty and Staff on Campus

McKendree is an incredible place to study as a college student. Not only do we provide an array of fantastic courses to put you on the career path of your dreams, but we also have some of the most passionate and enthusiastic faculty and staff members you’ll ever meet. Don’t be shy to say “hello” to your professors, the staff in Financial Aid, our Public Safety officers, our staff in the Student Success & Advising Center, and more! We are thrilled to get to know you and learn how we can help you on your journey as a student. Our goal is to help you succeed as a Bearcat, both now and in the future!

Welcome to the Bearcat Family!

Your first few days and weeks at McKendree are bound to be special. As you move into your dorm or drive up for your first few classes, be sure to live in the moment and soak it all in. Take plenty of photos. Write it all down in a journal. Take a step or two out of your comfort zone and be yourself. This is the beginning of your newest and greatest adventure – something that you will cherish all your life – and we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it!