That’s All Folks

The end is finally here! This semester, I can honestly say I have grown as a person, as a writer, and as a student. It has been a trying semester but as the saying goes “pressure makes diamonds”. With that being said, I am just days away from walking across the stage, becoming a Western Illinois University graduate like many of you.

My internship with Alumni Programs was such a blessing. When I applied and had my interview last spring, I remember thinking, “I probably won’t even get it.” Now months later, not only did I get it, but I learned a great deal. One of the biggest lessons learned was punctuality. Being on time when showing up at the Alumni House or for interviews, or even being early, not only shows dedication but seriousness.

The ladies at the Alumni House were great! There was always something to laugh at, or some sort of excitement going on within the house. Whether they know it or not, the staff taught me workplace conduct. This experience was held in a professional setting and I have never really had that. So being in this setting four days a week, I picked up on some of the dos and don’ts of a professional environment rather quickly.

My supervisor Amanda Shoemaker became more of a mentor to me over the course of the semester. We worked closely together, and right away I valued her opinions and constructive feedback. Listening to her wisdom not only helped my writing for this internship, but it also helped my writing with the Western Courier, and for my regular coursework papers.

Over the course of the semester, I had the opportunity to interview so many people across campus. My biggest realization was that the faculty staff and administration whole-heartedly care about WIU students. Every interview I conducted, I was met with such warmth and generosity. Interviewing, something I was a bit intimidated with at first, became easier because the interviewees were always so welcoming.

Now that the semester is over, and my internship has come to a close, I am starting a new chapter of my life. True adulthood and independence are my goals. Like most graduates, I am beginning to search for jobs. I wish to continue in the journalism field and continue to improve my writing skills. Hopefully, within the next few years, you will be reading my writing in the Chicago Sun Times, or in a mainstream magazine or newspaper.

So this is my final goodbye; it has been my pleasure to keep you updated and informed about the campus that you once called home. Now it’s my turn to look forward to reading the blogs written by the next intern in order to keep up-to-date on everything WIU. I definitely bleed purple and gold; I’m a Leatherneck for life!

Men’s Leatherneck Basketball is Standing Tall

Basketball season is my favorite sports season. Although I am a huge NBA fan, I always keep up with and attend Western Men’s Basketball games. Being about a month into the season, there is plenty of time for them to continue to conquer. I had an opportunity to discuss the beginning of the season with Associate Head Coach Wade Hokenson.

“They’re a young, good group of guys working really hard…they’re coming along,” Coach Hokenson said of the team. And working hard they are. Already they have played seven games, with a record of 3-4. The record is not as good as it could be but the men are working toward making that record better. There is plenty of time in the season for improvement.

Many including myself were really looking forward to the game against our rivals, Eastern Illinois University. “At the Eastern Illinois game, a big crowd always helps,” explained Coach Hokenson. This game usually does bring out many WIU and EIU fans due to the rivalry and competition…and it sure did on Wednesday when Western defeated EIU 60-32.

Having five returning players and six new players gives the team a good mix of experience and youth; it’s the best of both worlds. “Their chemistry on and off the court has been really good,” said Coach Hokenson. Chemistry on the court will continue to help the men grow, build, and continue to win games.

As with most coaches and teams, there are goals in place. “Our goal is to get better every day, focus on the process and the end result will take care of itself,” Coach Hokenson said. That is a great way to put things into perspective; that thought process can be applied to more than basketball…it can be applied to life.

Leatherneck basketball appreciates all of the support from WIU alumni, students, staff, friends, etc. If you would like to support them, purchase tickets to games or just find out a score every now and again, you can find this information at goleatherncks.com. There is also a game tomorrow at 7pm in Western Hall against Grace Bible College! Let’s cheer on our Leathernecks!

Finals Already?

Finals week is one of the most dreaded weeks for students. Personally I’d much rather avoid finals, but I also understand the reason behind them….showing what you really took away from the course. Most students cram, lose sleep, and stress way too much over finals. But this dreaded week is almost here and there is no turning back now.

I try not to stress too much over finals, especially because I try to stay on top of my work throughout the semester so my grade on my final exam is not the determining factor of my course grade. But, sometimes it’s inevitable. The exam then becomes the difference between a student succeeding and failing.

Some professors know the anxiety that finals cause on students and provide alternate routes to finish the semester. Some assign a final paper, portfolio or even a final project. Most of the time, I would much rather type a paper than take a test, but essentially, they both require a lot of time and energy.

Finals are often motivation to finish the semester strong. By finals week, the semester is essentially over and all assignments have been turned in. The exam becomes the only thing standing in the way of fully completing the course. Thinking of finals in theses terms always gives me the push I need to get through the hectic week.  

Final exams can either be cumulative and noncumulative. Cumulative finals test students on everything that was taught over the entire semester. I find these to be much harder because it is more information to review and remember at one time.

Senior engineering technology major, Ste’Phan Nolla weighed in and said, “Most of my finals only cover material learned after the last test we took, so they are really just tests taken during finals week. Although I do like having to know only material covered after our last test… I like the finals in my major because they are comprehensive and it gives me a chance to see how I have grasped concepts over time and related them to new things learned.”

Noncumulative finals usually only cover information from midterms through the end of the semester, or a particular topic the class may have been discussing during the last few weeks of class. I like these better because when you have five courses, it gets tough to remember so much at one time. But with organization and focus, remembering and retaining the information is definitely possible.

Overall, finals are a way to reflect and see what you really took away from a course. If the material you were learning over the course of 15 weeks truly stuck with you, there is absolutely no need to panic. We just need relax and let the information come back to us.

 

Thinking and Dressing for Success

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Getting dressed for class for most students is a pretty easy thing to do. The common dress code is comfortable attire like hoodies, jeans, sweatpants, and gym shoes. This relaxed attire may work for the classroom, but does not necessarily work for the real world. We’ll definitely have to dress up more for the work force that we as students are preparing for.

With this in mind, the Council of Academic Advisors came up with an idea last year to help students create a more professional appearance. They are sponsoring the 2nd annual Professional Clothing Drive. As you know, WIU offers services from the Career Development Center, but the clothing drive takes it up a notch.  Kelly Morris, chairperson for the council, gave me a little more insight on the drive.

“Last year was a great success; clothes were donated from students, faculty, and staff,” she said. With clothes coming in from so many avenues, it shows the unity within our campus. One student helping another student or a staff member taking the time to donate a suit or skirt is a small deed, but may ultimately be the suit or skirt that a student gets a job in.

Some students have never really had to wear professional clothing. Being a college student you never really know what you may need or when you’ll need that great interview outfit. Presentations, interviews, internships, apprenticeships, and even special events may all require professional clothing. “Our goal is to provide professional clothing for students who may not have the funds to access the clothing on their own or even with limited shopping in Macomb,” explained Morris. I think the clothing drive is a very beneficial event that all students should utilize.

The collecting of clothes will last through January. All business related items such as shoes, clothes, purses, briefcases, and accessories are welcome. There are collection boxes around campus in Morgan Hall, Horrabin Hall, Stipes Hall, Memorial Hall, and Sherman Hall. The clothing will be dispensed to students on January 28th in the University Union Concourse, just in time for the February 4th Career Fair. If you would like to make a donation, contact Kelly Morris at ka-morris@wiu.edu.

Giving Thanks for a Break

Thanksgiving Break is here. This is my favorite break. Even though it is only a week long, I eat, visit friends and family, and enjoy the Chicago land area. By the end of Thanksgiving break, I am refueled and ready to come back to Macomb to finish the semester strong. The semester is winding down, but it is not time to fully relax. When we return, we have to face finals.

Many students get homesick around this time of the year. The one thing I miss the most is having a home cooked meal. Living on campus in the residence halls is a great experience, but it lacks my mother’s warm delicious dinners! Senior English major, Will Hardiman expressed the same feeling. “The thing I’m looking for to the most about break is the food. I have a love for my mother’s sweet potato pie that has remained uncontested by any dish I have ever tried,” he said.

Being away at school definitely has its advantages. But, somewhere between classes, exams, and hanging out with friends, sometimes you miss the basics of being at home. Junior English major Akyva Laslie is one of many students who is a little homesick. “I am most looking forward to seeing my family and my bed. I get homesick a lot because I really miss my family. Also, I cannot wait to sleep in my big comfortable bed!” she said.  This feeling is universal to students throughout campus.

Senior communication major Jordyn Holiday sums it all up by simply saying, “I’m looking forward to spending quality time with the people I love the most… and dinner, of course.”  I’m sure many agree with Holiday. Thanksgiving break is a time that allows us to reflect on all we have to be grateful for while enjoying the simple things such as family, friends, and food.

Going home for any break always holds a lot of anticipation. But usually by the end of the break, most students are ready to come back to Macomb! This semester has truly flown by; it’s hard to believe the next break students have to look forward to is the close of the semester with Winter Break! Hope all the WIU alumni and friends have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Life with the Lady Leathernecks

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Western’s Women’s Basketball season officially started on Friday November 8th. In less than a month, the ladies have gained some ground and are making great strides forward. Since then, the team has gone 3-2. This good start will hopefully build into a history-making season.

This week, I attended my first game of the season and I must say, I was impressed. The women play with aggression and passion. Head Coach JD Gravina is feeling good about the team and where they’re heading. I even took some cool pictures to share with you!

The team has a lot of returning players this year, which helps with the team’s chemistry. Four of the current starters are returning from last season. “The overall chemistry is really good; they all respect and really get along well on and off the court,” Coach Gravina said. Having good chemistry on the court not only helps the team win, but it shows a sense a uniformity which is very clear when watching the women play.

Since the season is still young, it’s very appropriate to have goals in place. “We want to focus on our process and day to day and gain more wins than losses for the season and make it to any of the post-season tournaments,” Coach Gravina shared. The goals for the team are very attainable and realistic. With their hard work and dedication, they are sure to make it far this season.

“We won our home opener, shot the ball well, shared the ball well, and built on momentum,” Coach Gravina explained. Building on momentum seems to be the key for the team. They are fired up with no signs of slowing down.

Their games have been intense this season. Coach Gravina describes the most memorable win of the season thus far. “It was the end of the UAB (Texas A&M University) game in Texas with 2 minutes left. They (the opposing team) were 7 points up and with two minutes left we hit three threes and won the game…they (Western’s team) were having so much fun,” he said. That sure sounds like a game full of high energy!

All are welcome to attend their games…the more the merrier, I say. To keep up with WIU’s Women’s basketball team and how the season is progressing or to find their schedule and ticket information, visit goleathernecks.com. Stay tuned…I will be speaking with the Men’s Basketball Coach after the Thanksgiving break. Go ‘Necks!  Image

WIU Rugby Makes History

WIU has been on a roll this semester, gaining attention for numerous reasons. One of these attention-grabbing moments came from the WIU Rugby Club Sport; they won a playoff game. You’re probably thinking, “Many teams win playoffs; so what?” But, this win was Western’s first rugby playoff game in 40 years! This has been a big season for the men of Western’s Rugby Sports Club. Ending their season with an overall record of 5-1, I’d say that have much to celebrate. Dr. Algerian Hart, the faculty advisor to the sports club, spoke with much enthusiasm about the team.

 “I’m not an aficionado by any stretch but it is a sport I’ve always been intrigued with it and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Dr. Hart. Dr. Hart, who has worked with the team for two years now, sees the “D1 caliber” and skill in the team members. With so much success this season, the buzz about the team has vastly increased around campus.

“Many people are now saying, they’re (the Rugby team) really good; how come we didn’t know about them…but the support has been really good,” explained Dr. Hart. Now that the team has gotten our attention, they want our support. “They have a neat fan base. My request is that more of the campus and community come out for at least a half of a game; they would really like it,” urged Dr. Hart.

Although this season is over, the team will begin practicing again in February for next season. Attending rugby games is well worth it; they are packed with action and competitiveness. “Jack Lord, the president of the club, is an outstanding individual and should be commended and recognized. Alums’, parents’, and friends’ jaws would drop at his efficiency, stated Dr. Hart.

The men of the rugby team have proven themselves to be hard working, dedicated, and have a true love of the game. Along with being students, they have shown true commitment and investment to the progression of their team. To find out more about the team visit https://www.facebook.com/WIUBarbarianFootballClub, or http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/campus_recreation/sport_clubs/MensRugby.php .  By attending the games, Dr. Hart promises, “You will see something that will make you proud; they’re Leathernecks!”

Nice job on a great season and we’ll see you on the field next year!