Baylor Line Camp Is So Much More Than A Normal Orientation

If You Think Baylor Line Camp Is A Typical College Orientation, You're Not Ready To Be A Bear

I may have lost my voice, but I feel like I found a community worth belonging to.

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"I'm sure y'all's Line Camp session set some kind of Guinness World Record for the most "sic 'em's" ever recorded in a day." — Every adult present at the "Green" session

I struggled to tell my father about every single detail and event on the ride home from Line Camp. It was mainly because I was still recovering from losing my voice over all the chants and excitement packed into the four days I was at Baylor.

Line Camp: An extremely fun-filled type of extended orientation for incoming freshmen learning about the past of Baylor, your future bear-mates, and how amazing you can smell through all the vigorous activities that require movement!

"Anything is as fun as you make it, you get out what you put in."

If you truly put the effort in to interact with those around you and be all in for the activities, then you have an amazing experience in return. Everyone at Line Camp is there to become more familiarized with a college environment and make new friends in their new community, expecting to have fun without putting in any effort is definitely not how it rolls.

Our cell phones were all strongly encouraged to be stored away on day one. You'd think you'd be so disconnected with the rest of the world without your phone for a whole week, but in reality, you become more connected with the people around you. Instead of watching people's Snapchat and Instagram stories, you're listening to the stories of other people's lives that help you paint a better picture of what shaped their character. Believe it or not, you learn more about a person through genuine interaction than through some pictures posted from a month ago. Behind every screen is a person with a story to tell, and through those four days, we learned about those people behind the screens.

Every day, we had a "family time" session where we gather in our predetermined small groups with a camp leader. When our camp leader, Leslie, said at 11 p.m. that we would have story time, I definitely thought she was going to read us a children's book since we were at a "camp" and it was so late at night (and that would have been cute). Instead, she built up the courage to tell her life story to a group of strangers that had only known one another for a few hours.

After she shared, there was a period of silence that was eventually filled with all of our stories that would only be kept between one another and those walls. From there, a deeper understanding of one another created this unique connection that was bridged between all of us. From reflecting over what we've learned through small lectures to playing fun games and giving one another new names, we really did become some kind of small family, in the end, growing closer to one another through each moment. We learned a lot about one another, not just if someone liked putting an "excess" amount of salt on our food or if we peeled fruits in "odd" ways, but more as individuals.

From fountain hopping to creating an extremely fun, coordinated and professional dance routine, and from late night milk and cookies chants after "speed friending" sessions to having one amazing (first) college party experience (filled with sweaty bodies everywhere, coffee, and iced tea), each moment I spent with the people around me became more fun and meaningful by the moment. I realized through all of this that college is a lot more about trying to fit in. Despite our differences, we all shared a similar fear in not being able to find our groups, not being able to make connections, or being involved in the wrong groups, but there's something about being together and sharing our uncertainties, goals with our faith, and hardships that helps us understand one another better and know that we're not alone.

Everyone entering the Baylor community was so accepting and had so much to offer.

Fountain HoppingSydnee Mitchell


Through our small lecture and reflection periods, we spoke about the power of perspective. We talked about how most people may view an argument with another person as a war to attack one another to win, rather than as a journey where both people can work together towards their final destination. We spoke about the power of our leadership, not just in terms of getting noticed or having all the wealth and status, but having friends to share our lives with and doing things based off of having our central inspiration. Once we make our purpose and inspiration known to others, we're more effectively able to create and more unified community and a larger amount of followers. We spoke not only of our majors but about what we wanted our Baylor story to be.



PyramidSydnee Mitchell



One of the days, we visited Independence, an area two hours away from campus to learn about the history of the old Baylor and its creation. We had fun sweating a whole lot, listening to alumni's talk about their stories, walking through a nice garden, and running into a snake and tarantula! But the most significant part of this journey was receiving our Line Jerseys. We pretty much all expected it to be handed to us to put on, but instead, we had a reflection period on the bus ride about how we wanted our Baylor stories to be.


Once we arrived at our destination, we were given song lyrics and a moment for our camp leaders to pray over us before our ceremony. Everyone lined up and we all stood there to worship and we sang our hearts out. It was so evident how it touched so many people's hearts. I realized at that point that even though many people may be at different stages on their path down Christianity, no one ever judged someone else for not being in the same position as them.


Before Line Jersey’sLeslie Short



"Welcome Home."


Bruiser BunchBaylor Photographer


On the last day (we were so sleep deprived of pulling an all-nighter, roaming around campus playing sardines and other fun games, and sharing random delusional moments), Leslie gave us a cut up bandana that she wore on the first day when she met us. She told us to write one word to describe our experience within the past week. Without a single doubt or hesitation, the first word that came to mind was "Belonging." We may have different paths with our majors, but everyone shares the same type of goal of giving back to the world and truly discovering their purpose. Line Camp was not about boring PowerPoints and tour of campus. It was about familiarizing one another with the people you're going to school with and really reflecting on what our purpose would be.

So yeah, I may have literally lost my voice, but it was worth finding a community I truly belonged in.


Bruiser BunchLeslie Short


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12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.

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College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

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Social Media Can Bridge The Gap Of Communication Between The Two Genders

We have small devices hidden in the back pockets of our jeans that give us access to billions of users across the Internet, and all it takes is one post to spark a revolution.

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You spend time at least once a week going through your social feed. You even spend time once a day going through your social feed.

There is a power in the words you speak and post online, and these very words can impact others' lives, negatively or positively. As an example, according to the Huffington Post, women are met with being "…ignored, trivialized, or criticized by men…" online mainly because the rift between the two genders prevents proper communication.

Gender equality can be achieved by online engagement, or posting. In some cases, though, the opposite can be true. I personally love Instagram and will occasionally find myself scrolling through posts recommended by the platform itself simply so I can waste time and complain about that later. A few weeks ago, I happened to be relapsing into my Instagram addiction and found myself particularly drawn to a certain post by Rowan Blanchard, which had a caption reading that "Cis men are violent and dangerous and until numbers prove [her] wrong [she] won't be able to not make statements that can't be read as vague."

Now, MSNBC identifies activism today as "…easier than ever…" thanks to social media, with "…[facilitated] public dialogues and… a platform for awareness…," but the caption of Blanchard's post shown is not activism at its finest. In a brief synopsis, activist Rowan Blanchard, who you may know from the show "Girl Meets World," addresses her distaste for men, going so far as to generalizing them as dangerous. In my opinion, this is one step backward in the fight for equality rather than a step forward.

Men and women alike have our differences that we consistently brush over in angry online comments but never truly sit down and discuss. The presence of a civil conversation between members of opposing sides of the gender argument is astonishing, and I myself have never seen one online. These conversations act like haunting illusions of a future we can only dream of, as if such a situation is purely unattainable otherwise.

We fawn over the thought, calling ourselves servants at the hands of a society where men and women can join each other and claim that there is no reason to feel unequal. The idea is breathtaking, and the friendships between men and women would be endless. Unfortunately, modern-day social media displays misogyny, misandry, animosity and all forms of verbal destruction against both genders that I feel sorry to merely acknowledge.

Before I took a break from being active on social media, I used Instagram to showcase my thoughts on these issues. I found it compelling to have an audience of my close friends and acquaintances listening as I explained and rationalized about online sexism repeatedly.

Occasionally, the topic sparked up friendly conversation about disagreements, and being honest, I felt threatened by how unthreatening the discussion was. It was as if I was asking for a reason to feel angry, to feel offended, but I instead was met with the harsh reality that social media can allow engagement in normal conversation.

The culture that revolves around online discussion is brash and led by emotion rather than by statistics, and while Blanchard may claim that she wants precise statistics before she alters her position against men, many online still fail to recognize the validity of such numbers. Her use of a hasty generalization clearly shows the lack of structure within her argument; I may be solely pointing her out, but her rationale stands as an example of the obstacles we face in the path to gender equality.

MSNBC used Twitter demographics to explain the impact of current events revolving around gender debates on the amount of discussion about sexism, and the results show that social media holds power. It holds hope and determination and serves as a pathway to a society where we may be able to hold hands and know we have no fear of being inferior to one another. Our generation is accustomed to seeing this magnitude of a response online, but when imagining every person who tweeted about this, there is potential change that we can visualize.

We have small devices hidden in the back pockets of our jeans that give us access to billions of users across the Internet, and all it takes is one post online to go viral. Within minutes, we can reach out to hundreds or thousands of people, updating them about our lives. With the ability to contact an enormous number of people, the only question you are left to ask yourself is, "How will you bring about a positive change to social equality?"

Your response to this question is being awaited every moment of your life.

Disclaimer: Please note that this has been a speech previously submitted as an assignment in a class.

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