It’s Fall!!! Oh Wait…

IT’S OFFICIALLY AUTUMN! That means it is time for fallish activities. So I have compiled some things to do while enjoying the crisp fall air.

  1. Cheer on the Titans! Grab your friends and head to one of the many sports events that Wesleyan has to offer. If you’re lucky, you might even see me there!
  2. Eat something with pumpkin in it, whether it is a pumpkin bagel or that pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks. Anything with pumpkin in it is bound to make you love the fall weather that is upon us. And while you’re at it, you might as well carve one too. Have a contest to see who can carve the scariest pumpkin. Now that I’d like to see.
  3. Like Apples? Visit Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch in Campaign. This is the closest apple orchard to Bloomington-Normal, but it is well worth a visit. They have HAYRIDES, CORN MAZE, PETTING ZOO, and of course APPLE PICKING!  http://www.curtisorchard.com/
  4. Go outside. There are only going to be so many nice days left, so get outside and enjoy them while you can. Walk/run/bike on Constitution Trail, eat lunch on the quad, or start a Frisbee game. Enjoy the weather while it lasts.

Fall is my favorite time of year, but this weather is a little tricky. One minute it feels like summer weather and the next it feels like Fall. I may have to have a little chat with Mother Nature, you know us fictional characters, to sort this whole thing out. Until then, embrace the weather as best you can.

Welcome Back to Campus, Titans

Well Titans, we’ve been back at Illinois Wesleyan for about a month now and a lot of things have happened already. We welcomed the Class of 2013, officially opened State Farm Hall, had the RSO fair where many of you signed up to join an organization on campus, had Sorority and Fraternity Recruitment, gone to football games, soccer games, tennis matches, golf tournaments, and volleyball games, and maybe even had your first test in one of your classes. I’m sure you all have busy schedules, but try not to get too stressed out just yet. It is too early for that. Instead, enjoy the beautiful weather we have here in Central Illinois.

It’s Springtime!

Well, I think it’s finally here. The grass is getting greener and the days are getting warmer. Spring has sprung. For some, spring means they can run outside again, instead in Shirk or on a treadmill. For some, it means the start of baseball, softball, soccer, and track seasons (Go Titans!). And for others, it simply means you can finally get outside, enjoy the weather, and escape your dorm room again for some solace on our beautiful quad.

So what all can you do to get active again after that long, harsh winter and enjoy the spring to its fullest? Here are some tips:

  1. Take a walk. Grab a friend, crush, or significant other and put those feet to the pavement. Walks give you the opportunity to de-stress, slow down, and enjoy the evening air, plus it’s an excellent way to get a little exercise or activity before you settle down for the night.
  2. Find an area close, and go camping. Grab a tent, some firewood, and some good friends, and escape campus for a small, relaxing getaway! While you’re out, find some trails, hike, and explore a part of Illinois you might not get to experience all that often.
  3. Check out Miller Park Zoo, and if you’re feeling adventurous, walk or bike there! Miller Park Zoo is a great place to visit on a Saturday or Sunday when you want to do something differently. They even have a 5K (in early March every year) if running is your thing!
  4. Explore the Bloomington Farmer’s Market! Spend your Saturdays walking around historic downtown Bloomington, checking out all the local produce, arts, and crafts that Bloomington has to offer!
  5. And if nothing else, grab your lunch, dinner, or even a good book, and head out to the quad to enjoy the weather. Spring is the best time to get out and enjoy the campus again, so make sure you take advantage of it!

Getting and staying active will help your mood, stress levels, and overall health. So get out there and enjoy the weather. See you around!

-Tommy

What are your Spring Break plans?

Spring Break is almost upon us! And you know what that means: 1/2 way through the semester, graduation will soon be here (shhh…don’t tell the seniors!), and it’s time for some of us to get a taste of what winter would be like if we didn’t live in the Midwest.

So where are you going? Tell me about your plans. Whether you’re going to Florida,  California, on a cruise (how fun would that be?), or just heading home to spend time with your family and friends, I want to hear about it! I’m going to be sticking around campus, because everyday’s a vacation for me, as long as I’m at IWU.

Here are some of my annual rules and suggestions to have an awesome Spring Break:

  1. Stay safe! SafeSpringBreak.org has a ton of good advice on both the trip to your vacation spot as well as how to stay safe once you get there!
  2. Send me pictures! I love seeing where all of our titans go. I might even feature you on my Facebook and Twitter profiles if you send me a good enough picture! Just tag me in them on Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Relax! We all work really hard during the semesters here, so you’ve earned the right to relax a little bit.  Here are some tips!
  4. Consider Alternative Spring Break next year! ASB is a great way to escape the stresses of school while also helping out a family/community in need. Read what the ASB-ers did last year during their break!
  5. Enjoy yourself! Not everyone is hopping on a plane or gearing up for a sick road trip, so regardless of your plans, just make sure you enjoy your time off, whether you’re on a vacation or a stay-cation!

Have a great break, everyone!

T.A.G. Day at IWU

This week I sat down with Van Miller and interviewed him about an upcoming event on campus called Thank a Giver Day, or T.A.G. Day. Have you heard of it? Here’s some details:

Tommy: What is Thank a Giver Day?

Van: Thank A Giver Day (T.A.G. Day) is an opportunity for our campus community to show our appreciation to the alumni and friends who support Illinois Wesleyan University. Tuition dollars cover 70% of IWU’s costs and the remaining 30% is covered by sources like donations from alumni and friends.

T: Why February 18th?

V: On February 18th, IWU is 70% of the way through the school year. Starting February 18th, IWU is in the final 30% of the school year, so it’s fitting to hold Thank A Giver Day on this date since we are symbolically relying on outside funding from this day until the end of spring semester. Universities around the country have their own T.A.G. Days, or similar programming, and we’re excited to bring this day to IWU and show our appreciation for IWU supporters.

T: How can the campus get involved?

V: On February 18th, we’re setting up tables in the CNS atrium (9:45-3:00), the Dugout (11-2 & 5-7), and Tommy’s (5-7). These tables will have postcards with a short message already printed on them, thanking donors for their support. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to include a short “thank you” note on the card before it’s mailed to an IWU supporter. We’ll have sugar cookies and beverages for anyone who thanks a giver.

T: Who is organizing T.A.G. Day?

V: Anna Klemperer and Kelly Brady are the students who are putting this program together this year. They’re both seniors, so we’ll need some new faces to help put this program on again next year. If anyone is interested, they can reach out to me.

T: Any last comments for IWU?

V: I’m hoping that T.A.G. Day will provide our students with an opportunity to show their appreciation for outside support. By doing so, our alumni will see how much their support is appreciated.

T.A.G. Day sounds like an awesome program. Our alumni provide a ton of resources for students monetarily and in many other ways as well, such as educational resources, employment guidance, and professional networking. Make sure you get out there and express your thanks to them on February 18th!

 

The New Semester

So here we are, starting a new semester. It’s a fun time: coming back to campus after a nice, long break, seeing which of your friends are in your new classes, and making another semester’s worth of memories.

New semester’s can come with some stress, however. How hard will my classes be? Will my schedule be better or worse than last semester? Will my new leadership position affect my study routine? It’s important to hit the ground running and stay on top of your workload. So here are eight tips to having a successful semester:

  1. Develop SMART goals:
    1. Specific
    2. Measurable
    3. Attainable
    4. Relevant
    5. Time-bound
    6. Keep these goals in a highly visible place and read them every day to renew your dedication to them.
  2. Stop cramming for your exams.
    1. Break your studying into smaller blocks and spread those blocks out the week before your exam. This will ease stress and will also be much more effective for retention.
  3. Do something fun every day.
    1. I know, I know. You’re really busy. Wesleyan students like to stay active. But don’t let your activities and homework totally consume your life. Make sure you get out there and do things you enjoy. Take breaks, call some friends, and get out. You won’t regret it.
  4. Connect with your professors.
    1. IWU’s campus is small and our student-to-professor ratio is great. Take advantage of that and get to know your profs. You’ll learn a lot from our great faculty and it will also help you network for your future.
  5. Visit the Hart Career Center.
    1. The career center on campus is working hard this Spring to ensure you are fully prepared for the upcoming career fairs, internship fairs, and summer job searches. Get ahead of the curve and go visit them, get your resume reviewed, and get a head start on finding that awesome summer job or even career!
  6. Make your health a priority.
    1. Make it your mission to eat healthier this semester. You’ll feel better, perform better, and even have more energy! You can even track what you eat with the popular smartphone apps. It’s a lot harder to record 4 pieces of pizza than it is a salad with some grilled chicken.
  7. Schedule some “me” time.
    1. Put away your technology. Your email can wait. Read a book for fun or even play a game that you enjoy. Spending time with others is important, but spending time with yourself is even more important.
  8. Try using an “If this.. then that” list.
    1. To-do lists can be daunting, especially if they fill up your planner. Try contingency lists. For example, instead of a list of ten things “to-do,” try making a list that says, “If I get my history reading done, I’ll work on my paper for sociology.” This makes things look logically connected and also acts as a schedule at the same time. Give it a try!

So there you have it. Try some of these tips and see how your semester goes! Welcome back to campus! I can’t wait to see what this semester has in store!

OH NO, Finals week!

The time has finally come. We’re nearing that ever-dreaded week at the end of each and every semester: Finals Week.

It’s the time when the Ames Library fills up along with all of the other popular study spots on campus, students stay up late cramming for their next-day final or presentation, and the coffee shop just doesn’t seem to be open late (or early) enough. It always seems like the most stressful time of the year.

But it doesn’t have to be does it? Here are three tips that I can offer. I focused on these three things in Mascot School and always did really well on my finals. If you do the same, I bet you’ll do just as well and will even be less stressed along the way.

1. Manage your time wisely. There are only 24 hours in a day, so make sure you’re using those to their fullest (while still getting enough sleep)!

  • If procrastination is your downfall, check this link from the University of Pennsylvania for some tips.
  • Can’t get organized enough to manage your time? Stanford has some tips on that front. Click here to check it out.
  • Are to-do lists just not your thing? Check out what Cornell has to say about about Time Management for Right-Brained People.

2. Start now! Starting earlier rather than later will always result in less stress and anxiety in the end.

  • Need some help finding a good place to study? Rank your top three study spots and see if they help or hurt you here.
  • Stanford has a short list of 11 study skills. Check it out here.
  • Study with a group to capitalize on everyone’s expertise. Duke has great tips and strategies for group studying here.

3. Sleep. It’s more important that you know! Robert Stickgold, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School studied that our memory of newly-learned material improves only after 6 hours of sleep at a minimum. So sleep is essential!

  • Did you get enough sleep, but still feel like you could use an extra jolt of energy? Check out these 7 ways to get some quick energy.
  • Check out Huffington Post’s Sleep Tips for College Students if you just can’t seem to get to sleep at night.
  • Think you’d be better off pulling an all nighter rather than getting some precious sleep? Think again. Check out US News’ article on the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation here. USA Today also has an article on the matter here.

So get some rest, start studying now, and manage your time. Three things that, when done correctly, can seal the deal on your successful semester. Good luck during these next two weeks.

Do you have any study tips that I didn’t mention? Comment them below! I’d love to hear and share them.

Happy Holidays,

Tommy

PS: Most of these resources came straight from our Academic Advising Center’s website. Check it out for some more solid references.

Things I’m Thankful for…

This time of year, it’s always important to take a step back and reflect upon the things that you are most thankful for. There are a lot of things happening at IWU for which I am thankful this year, and I thought I’d make a list to share with everybody.

Students

  • IWU has a solid student body. Every time I watch an awesome game, concert, or SOTA show, sit in on Student Senate or a class, or just walk across the quad on a sunny day, I am reminded of the impeccable students that go here and make a difference in the world after leaving here. They’re definitely something to be thankful for!

The New Classroom Building

  • The new building is going to be spectacular! I can hardly believe it will be done by Fall 2013 because it seems like construction just began yesterday. The new building is going to have state-of-the-art classrooms, study spaces, and research areas, and let’s not forget the beautiful Commencement Plaza for our graduating seniors! It’s sure to be a beautiful addition to our campus and something we should all be thankful for this season. Expressing thanks for the new building can’t be done without the same being done for the alumni who made it possible. I’m also extremely thankful for them and all of their gracious support.

The Gates

  • Also opening in the Fall next year, The Gates are bringing more apartment-style living to IWU. After looking at the specs, I have to say, I am really looking forward to them! With each unit offering 1,400 square feet of living space, a flat screen HDTV, a couch and chairs, kitchen appliances, and full size beds, among other things, they are definitely something I am thankful for this season!

The Faculty, Staff, and Administration

  • Finally, if I’m talking about the great things at IWU, I have to mention the amazing faculty, staff, and administration who make this University so great. Whether it’s on the front lines in the classroom or in the background in Holmes Hall and around campus, Illinois Wesleyan has phenomenal faculty, staff, and administration who work very hard to ensure the success of all IWU students. I am thankful for them and all that they do every single day!

So that’s my list. What are you thankful for this season?

 

Reasons You Should Be Me for Halloween

It’s Halloween, the time of year when  students run around IWU dressed up in their favorite costumes, impersonating a favorite movie character, music artist, animal, or even IWU administrator (I’m looking at you Student Senate).

I saw a lot of awesome costumes around campus this weekend and again today as students dressed up for classes, but I didn’t see one in particular that I was hoping to see: a Tommy Titan costume. I understand that it’d be hard to fit all of my brawn and strength into a costume, but I thought I’d at least see one person attempting it.

I thought about it today and came up with some reasons why you should or should have dress up as me for this Halloween or next:

  1. You’d get better grades! If you dressed up as me this Halloween, you’d get all of the candy around. All of that candy could get you through all of your future tests and finals weeks on the best and happiest sugar high you’ve ever experienced, and we all know that a little sugar never hurt anyone’s studying habits, right?
  2. You’d make friends! Everyone loves Tommy the Titan and if you went as me for Halloween, you’d be the hit of the night.
  3. You’d develop your creative skills. The Tommy costume wouldn’t be easy to make, but once made, you would be a master of all things crafty.
  4. You’d be really smart. Not only would you be adorned in green and white, the best colors ever, you would be representing the Titans from Greek mythology, showing everyone you know more than just how to make an awesome costume.
  5. Finally, you’d be a visual representation of an IWU Titan, and what could be better than being a student at Illinois Wesleyan University? I can’t think of anything.

So if those don’t convince you, I don’t know what will. Regardless of your costumes, however, have a fun and safe Halloween. And if you get any M&Ms, save some green ones for me (they’re my favorite)!

Happy Halloween!

#IWUHC12

What a week! There were so many events this weekend (41 in three days!) that I barely had time to sleep. It was great getting to see all of our wonderful alumni though. With so much going on, I wanted to post about some of my favorite parts (in case you missed an event or two).

Student Events:

I have to say my favorite event was the Pizza Taste of Bloomington. I walked into the Hansen Student Center and there was a line of pizza boxes, open for business, from one side of Center Court to the other! Talk about paradise, am I right? It was great to see so many fellow Titans at the event too! I got to sit and chat with a few (to see what everyone’s favorite pizza was), and it made me remember how great IWU students are.

Second to Pizza Taste, though, Lip Sync is always a blast. SALSA rocked it with one of my favorite songs, Danza Kuduro, and I loved seeing all of our Fraternities and Sororities paired up and competing like a true community! It was a full house! Even though no one performed Gangnam Style, it was still a really fun time! I posted some pictures on my Facebook, so you should check them out!

Weekend Events:

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of eating at the Alumni Luncheon with a young gentleman from the Class of 1962. His name was Dean Hey. Dean has taught music, worked in defense contracting, and has a passion for marine biology, especially sea turtles. A true Titan. Sitting next to me in his sea turtle tie, he had two pieces of advice for current IWU students. First, Dean said that as long as you’re flexible in your life and career, and you can work with what comes your way, you’ll always find success and happiness.  Second, Dean said that the ability to “tinker” is more important that you can imagine. He said if you’re able to solve a problem by by looking at the issue and knowing where to search for a solution, you’ll be very valuable to a company someday.

It was great meeting not only Dean, but all of our great Alumni at the luncheon. Not to mention watching a 45-7 Titan victory afterwards! While it was a little cold, the rain luckily stopped for the majority of the game. You’ve gotta love being 6-0, and you’ve gotta love being a Titan!

Overall, the entire week was amazing. I love it when the entire campus comes out and participates in the numerous, fun events that are planned for Homecoming. I can’t wait for #IWUHC13!

What was your favorite part of this year’s Homecoming celebration?