McKendree's Bearcat Blog


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 theHett.com 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!

AmesGiving
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

REZA
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!