By Lauren Lyngstad
The first round of exams in each of my classes is over, and I am proud to say that I successfully survived! Over the past seven days, I had three tests and three quizzes, in addition to balancing my SMU Ambassador duties and my obligations to the numerous other clubs on campus. While in high school I was that stereotypical overly involved, full-course load student, my first year at college really taught me how to balance my time properly.
Although in high school students normally spend about 40 hours in class per week, an average college course load is around 15 hours per week. Though this may seem like you would have copious amounts of extra time to enjoy daily naps and long, relaxing hours at the SMU tanning pool, it is extremely important to utilize your free hours to complete your assigned reading and homework assignments. Though most of my teachers do not collect the homework they assign, completion of this work is absolutely critical in ensuring success in your exams. For example, in the Accounting course I am currently enrolled in, we only have two mid-term exams and one final exam that account for our grade. While it may seem tempting to wait to cram all of the knowledge into your head the night before the exam in exchange for a Gossip Girl marathon, consistent working, re-working, and reading your course material helps warrant long-term retention of knowledge that will help you succeed on final exams!
Therefore, I thought I would share a couple of my personal study tips to help ease your mind:
-Utilize your daytime hours! Though you may have a two hour break between your classes, don’t use this time to browse Facebook! By taking the time during the day to do your assigned work, you can avoid staying up until 2 AM wondering if you are ever going to get to sleep.
-Use a planner. My planner is attached to me at the hip, filled with post-it notes of to-dos, campus events, and each of my assignments. By writing down all of my obligations, I can not only delegate the order of their importance, but also ensure that I tackle each item that I need to get accomplished for the next day.
-Remember that your teachers are your friends! My SMU professors have been extremely accessible to me throughout my time here. Each has office hours that they encourage students to attend, which are extremely helpful to not only get your questions answered, but also to get to know your professor on a more personal level. Some of my professors have offered their office hours at Starbucks or even over Skype!
The most important tip I can give you in succeeding in the classroom is being confident in your personal abilities. Learn your material, contribute in class discussions, and know that you have done all that you can to prepare yourself to the best of your abilities to rock your exams!
By Liz Dubret and Will Slack
How would you like to spend an entire semester studying advertising and art in India? Or live in Oxford, England and study politics at one of the oldest universities on earth during the summer? At SMU, study abroad programs like these are not only feasible but highly encouraged. One of my favorite aspects about SMU is their commitment to develop the whole student. Simply stated, SMU’s culture is designed create diverse, well-rounded students who are (and will continue to be) leaders across the globe. SMU’s study abroad programs are just one of the many ways you can become more well-rounded and improve your college experience. If you ever get the chance, check out https://abroad.smu.edu/ and see which of the more than 100 programs peaks your interest. This website can help you find a program, determine its cost, and help you plan an unforgettable experience. The SMU Abroad Office also offers abroad internships in places like England and Australia.
I spent my summer in Oxford, England at SMU-in-Oxford. When I showed up at University College, I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty and resemblance to Harry Potter. The program was amazing! I took one class from an SMU Professor and one from an Oxford Professor. The SMU class was completely different than anything I had ever taken. I took class from Bonnie Wheeler who embodied the method of teaching and learning outside of the box. She engaged us for every second of the class, even though it was divided by a much needed tea break! Taking a class from an Oxford Professor was eye opening and intimidating because he taught in a completely different style. I took class Monday through Thursday, and the program traveled on Fridays. They took us all over England to help enhance our cultural experience. My favorite places they took us were the palaces and castles! I got to pretend for a little while that I lived there and that it was my home :). They also took us to London for three days on class - my favorite mini trip was to a London Reform Club. It was fancy and high society and we got to learn more about Medieval England from the members. With the weekends free I traveled all over the British Isles! My favorite weekend trip was to Edinburgh. I went with my best friend and we spent the weekend soaking up the culture, beautiful weather, and making sure that we hit the café where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. My Oxford experience was the best time I have had so far at SMU!
By Brie Strickland
I am by no means a morning person, so waking up before dawn three days a week is a daunting challenge. On mornings where my bed is extra snuggly I question why I signed up to take three back-to-back Communications clases so early in the day. As I climb up the stairs of the Umphrey Lee Center each morning, I remember why I choose to be a Communications major instead of getting an extra hour of sleep. Outide the Umphrey Lee Center, the powerful words that constitute our First Amendment are carefully carved into limestone.
Just as former presidential candidate Romney tapped his hand against his “Clear Eyes. Full Heart. Can’t Lose” sign above his door, I too graze my hand against the cold stone each time I enter the building. The building reminds me of the freedoms of this great nation. I am a Communications major because my voice means something in America. I realize that at SMU my world class professors are preparing me to use this voice to move our country forward. My inspiration comes from the First Amendment. It is a constant reminder of the freedoms I enjoy each day and my privledge to be able to speek on behalf of those who fail to have a voice. The SMU Communications department has made me a powerful voice and advocate, and I am so grateful to be able to freely excercise such rights.
By Liz Dubret and Billy Hightower
As we were on our way to work today, we noticed the Christmas lights were being put up for the Annual SMU Celebration of Lights! One of our most popular and well attended SMU traditions occurs at the beginning of December to kick off exams. At this function, everyone comes to the Dallas Hall Lawn with their friends and enjoys hot chocolate while singing Christmas Carols and listening to President Turner read us a Christmas story. This program, sponsored by Student Foundation, is not only an event focused on the students, but also on the community. Anyone can sponsor a child from Caesar Chavez and do activities like cookie decorating and holiday crafts and give them a gift from their wish list. The night ends with everyone lighting a candle and then all of the lights are turned on. The entire boulevard and the Dallas hall columns are covered in lights, and the campus becomes absolutely breathtaking!
By Liz Dubret and Phillip Kilgore
Hey y’all the Mustang Basketball team has their season opener this Sunday at 6pm! This game will be the introduction of Larry Brown and his amazing coaching staff! From the faculty, to the staff, to the students, everyone is chompin’ at the bit to finally see the Mustangs in action! There will be tons of programming hosted by the on campus organizations to help everyone get fired up prior to the game. SMU is debuting some new freshmen talent with Blaise Mbargorba, Brian Bernardi, Jordan Dickerson, Uche Ofoegbu, and Garrett Wilson. We look forward to entering into the Big East with this new freshmen class and can’t wait for our Hall of Fame Coach to get us to the Championship!
EDITOR UPDATE: The Mustangs defeated Loyola Marymount 73-58 on Sunday, starting their season strong. If you get a chance, we would love for you to come out and support the team! Go Mustangs!
By Mehdi Hami
Over the summer, I decided to take several summer school classes. Not only did I get to spend more time on this beautiful campus, but I was about to work on campus and boost my GPA. As a biology major, I was tired of all the science courses that I had to take throughout the year, so I was set on completing some of my perspectives over the summer.
I decided to take a Film class, The History of the 1980s. It was the perfect course for me. Since I wasn’t born here, I never understood any of the references to the culture of the 1980s. I really enjoyed the class because it wasn’t just a class on films, but it mixed politics with the overall culture of the country and how it was affected by and affected the film industry during that era.
I was able to see some movies that I knew were classics but never had the chance to watch, and now I could…because it was required for school! I saw movies from “Back to the Future” to “Dirty Dancing,” and even “Rambo.” I chose to write my essay at the end of the class on “Rambo” and how the series was affected by the attitude of the 1980s and how it even affected the post-Vietnam War United States. It was a blast researching for my essay and I was even able to elaborate on my essay for the class to be counted for Honors credit!
Sure, it was great taking a class that was different from anything I’d ever taken before at SMU and being able to receive Honors credit for it, but the most important part of the class for me was being able to understand from here on out every reference regarding Marty McFly from “Back to the Future” and the characters from “The Breakfast Club.”
By John Angle
This past week was one of the most fun but tiresome of my SMU career because I was in charge of planning and executing SMU Homecoming! I had an amazing team that I worked with, and the event overall went pretty flawlessly. We began working to plan Homecoming in March and went all the way through the week it began. For the 22 candidates submitting their resumes two weeks ago, and then each of them went through an in-depth interview with SMU faculty and staff. Next up all the participating organizations – with a record eighteen participating in some form of Homecoming – received their holiday – this year’s theme. Much of the week was hard for me because I was aware of who was winning/losing and I was desperate to share the inside info!
The week kicked off for most participants with a field day on the Dallas Hall lawn. Teams competed in wheelbarrow races, sponge race, tug of war, and football toss. Then, on Sunday, everyone painted a window, a 3’x5’ banner, and wooden horse in their holiday. Next up was a big pep rally/competition called “Rock the Vote” on Monday evening where everyone was introduced to all of the Homecoming Court. Voting started on Tuesday and everyone was able to vote for their favorite king and queen candidate. Wednesday and Thursday groups competed to have the highest percentage of their organization donate blood at the bloodmobile. Finally and most importantly from Monday afternoon through Friday afternoon groups worked on elaborate floats for their candidates to ride in – and everyone else to walk behind – in the Homecoming parade. The building culminated in late-night float building till 2 am Friday morning, and was a big party with music and food.
Saturday morning we all got up for the parade and could not have had more perfect, beautiful weather. The parade went off without a hitch, and first place went to the group that designed a Texas Independence Day float. I calculated the winners of spirit points and the king/queen and only had a little time on the boulevard before hurrying off to the game where President Bush did the coin toss. Then at halftime I got to go on the field with SMU President R. Gerald Turner, SMU alum and TOM’S Shoes founder Blake Mycowski and all the great candidates to crown the winners. It was absolutely a blast and something I will never forget!
By Melody Davis
SMU students are passionate about our school! One of my favorite ways to show Mustang Pride and give back to all that SMU gives me is by giving campus tours. How could you not want to wear the SMU polo and teach visitors to Pony Up? SMU Ambassadors love to represent red and blue while walking groups along the boulevard and showing off our spectacular campus while teaching prospective students about all the other wonderful aspects of Southern Methodist University.
By Katelyn Hall
Hello everyone! Whether Republican or Democrat, SMU students are excited for Election Day! All of my friends have either cast their absentee ballots or are headed to the polling stations today to participate in electing our next President!
I’m actually in a political science class on presidential elections right now. In that class, we analyze different polling techniques, campaigns, the structure of the Electoral College, etc. It’s especially interesting to learn about these things during the election season.
Today was my first time voting for president, and I have to say, it was really exciting! Tonight the excitement will continue on campus as we watch the votes roll in at election night watch parties. I live on campus in Virginia Snider Hall, and we’re having a watch party with lots of food and friends.
I can’t wait to watch the results come in tonight and talk about them in my presidential elections class tomorrow!