Legally (and Environmentally) Blonde

Hannah P., a sophomore at Millikin University, wakes up to her phone alarm at 7:30 A.M. She pulls on some leggings, a graphic t-shirt, some converse, and grabs her keys on the way out the door. She works, every morning, as an office assistant in the honors office. Her mornings are pretty laid back, she spends them intermittently filing documents and working on her schoolwork.

At 11:00, she clocks out of work and heads to her first class of the day. It is Philosophy of Law and fulfills a requirement for one of her majors, Pre-Law. This class explores the different philosophical approaches when considering court cases. Hannah chose to major in law because it is a concrete way in which she can change the world for the better. Her other major, Environmental Studies, is how she wants to focus her legal efforts. When I asked her what she hopes to achieve with her liberal education, she stated, “I plan on moving onto environmental law and working with different environmental organizations to decrease the impact that human functions have on the environment.”

After her philosophy class, Hannah goes to Logic and Critical thinking, which counts towards her Environmental Studies major.

When both her classes are finished, Hannah heads back to her apartment to work on some schoolwork. She gets a little bit of homework done and spends some time eating and relaxing. She is also taking an asynchronous class this semester, Written Business Communication, which is demanding because it requires her to schedule out when she will be completing her assignments. Hannah tries to get a start on her asynchronous schoolwork on Monday so that she is on track for the week.

Once recharged, Hannah heads out again for Moot Court with Dr. Robert Money. It is a curricular organization where students explore hypothetical court cases and their different approaches. Currently, the class is preparing for a competition where students argue both sides of the same case. Hannah particularly enjoys this class, because it gives her hands-on experience with legal cases. The Moot Court setting is an opportunity for her to critically look at legal procedures.

After Moot Court, Hannah heads back to her apartment to cook herself some dinner. This is her time to herself for the day, and she spends it unwinding. She listens to music, works on some homework, and heads to bed. Her day is busy, but she feels satisfaction in all that she has accomplished.

When I asked Hannah why she believed it was important that she was studying what she is, she said that “understanding how the way you’re living […] is crucial to healing the environment and solving the climate change crisis.” Mine and Hannah’s mutual advisor, Professor Roslyn O’Conner, also reiterated how students such as Hannah are key to solving the environmental tragedies our planet faces. “Our environment is suffering severely […] things are only getting better because we have students that want to step up and fix things.”

Studying how we can make the planet a better, more environmentally sound place is how we ensure a brighter future. A balanced planet where natural resources are available to those who need them and where wildlife can live without constant threat is where a truly peaceful society is born. However, the first step to reaching it is educating ourselves. When speaking about the larger implications of her work, Professor O’Conner said, “imparting the knowledge on how we can save the world and seeing that others are as passionate as myself about saving the world, it really gives me hope for the future.”

Maria Holloway-Racine – Student at Millikin University majoring in Acting and Environmental Studies. By studying two very different disciplines, I practice both my academic and artistic skills. When I am not rehearsing a scene, I am either creating captions for video lectures or sewing in the university costume shop. I am an eager person that hopes to explore all of my interests, creative or otherwise, at some point in my life. Nothing brings me greater joy than being outside.

Time Management 101 for Data Science Dummies

You look at your schedule and think to yourself, “Hmm, that programming assignment looks easy. I’ll do it the day before it’s due.” 

Don’t do that. That’s how it gets you. Programs put on a face of innocence only to take a toll of several tedious hours of coding.

Brian Freeman, a fellow data science (DS) major, agrees. When I interviewed him this week, he said, “It doesn’t matter how proficient you are in programming or working through proofs. You will get stuck with no idea why,” and I know that feeling all too well. For DS majors, the concept of time gets thrown out the window. You’ll start a problem at 9 pm, and before you know it, the sun’s peeking through the window. Time management is ridiculously important.

Brian Freeman – sophomore data science major

Brian is my go-to DS student and when I asked, he provided an outlook of his daily schedule. I realized that his structure would benefit not only me, but all of us in this major alike. It’s easy to picture and goes something like this:

  1. Between 9:00-10:30 in the morning, he does easy homework to get into a productive mindset
  2. For an hour after that, he exercises
  3. Around noonish, it’s lunchtime
  4. After eating, it’s straight to the robotics club room
  5. He takes his Zoom classes in the room to stay involved in robotics discussions
  6. Promptly at 5:30, he’ll get dinner
  7. In between classes and eating, he practices driving the robot and works on customizing its code
  8. Usually, after 6:30 or so, he’ll head home to do the rest of his homework

Brian’s schedule is a good model because classes and homework are evenly distributed throughout the day. He admits that doing one task for a long time can be mentally draining, so setting up times to wake up, eat, and sleep provides a rigid framework. The gaps in that framework get filled with extracurricular activities and personal time.

This correlates to another one of Brian’s genius tidbits. “The day before, I usually come up with a rough outline of what I want to do during the day.” This will help put your work and available time into perspective, which we all need to efficiently and effectively complete tasks and stay ahead. The next day will feel less daunting, preparing you mentally to be productive.

Dr. James Rauff, one of our professors, suggested similar practices when I asked him for advice earlier this week. “Start as soon as an assignment is given and take lots of breaks,” he says, “Spread it out. Have a ‘coding’ period in your calendar specifically for that.” 

Dr. James Rauff – professor of mathematics and computer science

In essence, planning and organization are what will keep us on track without lagging. I struggle with this a lot, and so hearing the same thing from my peer and my professor helped me figure out what I had to do.

Take it from me – don’t procrastinate that program, or it’ll haunt you. I hope Brian and Dr. Rauff’s valuable insight motivate you as much as it did me. Let’s get our lives back together, one bit at a time.

– Bushra Ibrahim

Bushra is a sophomore data science and computer science double major at Millikin University. With creative hobbies such as drawing, painting, and writing and more technical interests in mathematics, computer languages, and technology, she chose to follow an academic path that could entertain both. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are areas in which she hopes to build a career.

Parks & Rec – A Day in the Life of a Sport and Recreation Management Major

When most college students hear about the Sport and Recreation Management major, they immediately think of jocks who want an easy ride through college and are out to own a professional sports team someday. However, that could not be further from the truth. At Millikin University, the sport and recreation management major is anything but easy, and the students who take it are prepared to work in plenty of settings besides the pros.

Now, the first misconception regarding the sport and recreation major is that the students want an easy ride through college. However, the workload of a sport and rec major can be just as challenging to balance as any other major on campus. One reason for this is the number of extra-curricular activities that sport and rec majors are involved in. For example, over 90% of Class of 2022 sport and rec majors are on an athletic team at Millikin, and 100% have played at some point during their Millikin career. Coupling athletics, with sport and rec work, and other extracurriculars can be extremely challenging. I can tell you that from personal experience.

But enough about myself. I sat down with Millikin Junior Dawson Jones to get his takes on balancing the workload. Jones said that a lot of the struggle was time management. “It can be tough to find the time to sit down and write 2 multi-page papers a week when you have practices and games every day to go with classes and other extracurriculars”. However, Jones, along with other student-athletes at Millikin, find a way to balance out the time and give school their all. The time spent by sport and rec majors completing work and studying is usually around 2 hours per night. For most of us, nighttime is the only time we have available to complete our work and study up. Our mornings and early parts of the day are often spent in class, and our afternoons and evening are often spent in practices, games, and co/extra-curricular activities.

However, all the grinding to make the time is worth it in the end. The sport and rec major was recently overhauled to include a broader range of recreation-based curriculum. I asked Assistant Professor Joel Blanco about the reasoning behind the changes. “We wanted to broaden the major to prepare our graduates for more fields. Sure, there are jobs in pro sports, but there are only so many pro sports teams, whereas the vast majority of municipalities have parks and rec department”. Blanco’s words are not empty. The opportunities that this program prepares you for are limitless. If you asked a current sport and rec major what they wanted to do after college, you would get plenty of answers besides, “Have my own sports team”.

If you are looking into sport and recreation management as your major, I would recommend this. Come into this program with an open mind, and a good work ethic. You have no idea how many doors may open for you here at Millikin.

Dawson Jones, Junior
Sport & Rec Management
Joel Blanco, Assistant Professor
Millikin University
Nick Nemeth, Junior
Sport & Rec Management Major

Nick Nemeth is a Junior currently studying Sport and Recreation Management with a minor in communication at Millikin University. He is a student-athlete working in intercollegiate athletics as well as residence life.

Important Tips to Avoid Stress for Accounting Students

Earning a degree in accounting is a great investment in yourself and your future. If you’re reading this, you probably already know this degree comes with an array of career opportunities and is an awesome foundation for growth in both your career and personal life.

As accounting students, we must endure hard work to reap all that reward.

When asking accounting student and Delta Mu Delta member Brandon Lockhart how he spends his time as a full time student he says, “I aim to be as efficient as possible in my time allocation.” He then provided a breakdown of how he allocates his time spent on the curriculum efficiently:

  •  He spends about five hours a week per class outside of the classroom
    • Two hours of reading and outlining the chapter
    • One to two hours of homework
    • One to two hours of a study retention schedule
      • This involves reworking homework problems and reviewing class notes

His study retention schedule is key to both learning the material and avoiding the cram right before an exam. It involves reviewing the homework and notes the day after completion, then again in two days and in ten days. This schedule was highlighted in Larry Lagerstrom’s book How to Ace College: Eight Research-Based Action Principles and the Cognitive Power Zone System as the best way to retain the information you are taught.

My accounting professor, Carol, gave me great advice that has made a huge difference in how I approach my study materials. She suggested, “As you read through the textbook and browse your notes, think about how you can explain the material to other students. This will really help with comprehension of the material.” It reminds me of a quote by Yogi Bhajan, “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” Looking at your class material in this way will really help solidify an understanding instead of memorizing.

Sounding like a lot to handle?

Support yourself!

Now that I have covered how to efficiently handle your time spent on the curriculum, I should discuss how to spend your time wisely outside of the curriculum to support your well being and your studies.  In my experience, this time is just as important as the material covered. A major focus of mine is keeping my mind, body and spirit in a healthy state in order to bring my best effort to the many tasks required of me. To do this I focus on healthy eating, exercising and mental health:

  • Healthy eating
    • I spend around three hours each Saturday morning to batch cook my meals for the week. This allows me to eat healthy food throughout the week without much time or effort.
    • Healthy meals includes ample fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and hydration
    • Eating high-quality foods that contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants has been shown to nourish the brain and protect it from oxidative stress.
  • Exercise
    • I spend around 60-90 minutes daily on exercise.
    • This consists of any type of movement from taking a walk with my dogs to running or weight training.
    • “Exercising regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration, motivation, memory, and mood. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention.”, according to helpguide.org.
  • Mental health
    • Both eating healthy and exercise nurture my spirit by reducing stress and increasing positive hormones like those listed above.
    • I try to take time away from studies and duties to spend time with friends and family.
      • Breaks allow you to replenish your energy and creative stores in order to be more productive when you are working.
    • I keep my space and my home organized and tidy.
      • Staying organized allows me to focus on the task at hand without feeling overwhelmed by distraction.

An accounting degree if no easy feat, but with hard work, good habits, and proper time management you are capable of achieving it and so much more. I hope you have enjoyed reading my post, and that you are able to take away a few pointers that will make your life easier and more meaningful.

Carol, Accounting Professor
Brandon Lockhart

by Megan Lockhart

Studying the world of accounting at Millikin University. Bookkeeper. Administration assistant. Personal assistant to two mini-dachshunds, Walter & Henry. #meganlockhartportfolio