December 13, 2011
Baylor Interdisciplinary Core/BIC/Red-Headed Stepchildren of the Honors College
The BIC…B.I.C oh man it felt like a lifetime ago when I first entered the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core. It has a way of doing that, making a day feel like month and a semester feel like a year (although that is just Baylor in general). This memoir…this fifteen-page reflection on why I chose the BIC and what it has done for me will take on a form all on its own. I can’t give you an outline of how this paper will go but I can say it will be completely honest and meander in all different directions.
Before I say why I chose the BIC I should tell you the series of events that made me choose Baylor (because well let’s be honest if I weren’t at Baylor in the first place this topic would be irrelevant). This journey of mine started my freshman year in high school (it could have even been sophomore year). I remember one day in school, I found myself wandering in the halls for whatever reason and I stumbled across a project poster about Baylor. I attended Townview Magnet -High school of Health Professions; the design of the program allows high school students to explore different fields in healthcare, in order to better inform the student of all the opportunities healthcare has to offer. Anyway one of the freshman core curriculum classes provides the student an introduction to all the field job and school in the health profession; one of the teachers there has her students look up different colleges and provide all the information you need to know if you want to consider that school in your college choices. For some reason that day I happen to stop and look at on of the posters (it was about Baylor). The poster was very thorough; telling me the admission process, whether freshman had to live on campus, the cost and other information. I looked at the poster said that is nice and went on my merry way. Later that night…week or even the next week (I honestly can’t remember), my dad got on his high “you can’t date because you can’t take care of yourself horse” and told me that obviously I am not mature enough to date because I am fifteen/sixteen and don’t know what college I want to go to. Honestly thinking about it now I couldn’t have kicked his ass for being an ignorant bastard (pardon my French). I was in the ninth or tenth grade…since he gotten my mom pregnant when he was around that age he should have known that college was the furthest thing from my mind…in fact he did which is why he brought it up to prove a point. His point being that until I knew where I wanted my life to go I wouldn’t be mature enough to date. (If you read my discussion of the last memoir then you know the abuse has been going on for a couple years by now). However even back then I couldn’t let him win saying he was right burn my soul so I told him I knew exactly where I wanted to go…he asked me where and I said Baylor. He then told me that I just said the first thing that popped into my head (which was true but he couldn’t prove it). He was especially upset when I could recite fact that you would need to know about admissions. So two things happen that day I proved him wrong and according to him Baylor became “my dream” which in essence made it “his dream” and we would work together to fulfill our dream. Kind of makes me wonder now what if I told him the same information about a school out of state…I wonder would he have been so eager to make “our dreams” come true then. No I can assure you he wouldn’t have. So that is how Baylor became a prospect school and the story I tell you next will enlightened you from how Baylor went form one of my choices to my only choice.
Summer before senior year of high school rolls around and I am applying to different colleges. My mindset is still med school bound and Rice University is looking like a mighty fine choice especially if I got accepted into the program that guaranteed you a spot in Baylor Medical University if I maintain certain things through my undergraduate year. I am not sure how it happened but some unspoken law was passed that out-of-state schools were out of bound…it didn’t matter I figured out Rice is where I wanted to go. However I applied to Baylor as well because the application didn’t require much: I didn’t have to write an essay and I didn’t have to pay a fee. It is strange I think some people are just intimidated by the name so they just assume Baylor is hard to get into or the application process must be extensive when in all honesty I have filled out job applications that are more inclusive. Anyway I applied there and in the process of applying to Rice. There is like is like a three step process and I believed I just finished the first stepped when I got my acceptance from Baylor. It was right before winter break and I was ecstatic. The winter break we moved from our house in Pleasant Grove to our new house in Red Oak. So we moved from being two hours from Baylor to about one hour maybe an hour and fifteen minutes (coincidence…I think not but the tom foolery was disguise in a really big house in a phenomenal community). Anyway started the second semester of my senior year my dad started to say things like if you pull this crap while you are at Baylor I am going to have to pull you closer…. meaning he would withdraw me from Baylor and put me in a school closer to home. I was an hour away from the house and he was a construction salesman so he made sure he generated business in Waco in order to be here (Waco) on a regular basis. But if I pulled crap like not leaving class to answer his phone call while at Baylor he was going to have to withdraw me? Right then and there I knew that I would never be able to move to Houston to go to Rice. I knew then that if I finished the application and got accepted something would have happen to prove to him that I wasn’t ready to move that far away. So I let him win when I stopped applying to other schools…. Baylor was my “dream” anyway right and I got in. Why waste my energy on something I knew he wouldn’t let me do. So that is how Baylor became my one and only choice. However why I ended up applying to the BIC program is my mom’s doing…she wanted me to be in an honors program so I could live in the dorm.
Talk about killing two birds with one stone right. In one fell swoop not only was it decided I would be an honor student…. I would be living in the HRC. Looking back on it now I am glad they were both overbearing parents that controlled my life and made my choices for me. I bet you both my dad and my mom regret pushing so hard for me to live in the honors dorms (and it is kind of evil of me to have a pleasantly evil grin when I say this but) they both reap what they sowed in the end. Anyway back to the topic I now had to choose an honor program.
So there I am having to decide which honors program I wanted to apply for; I looked at all the application processes for all four programs that allow you to live in the HRC and, in all honesty, I believe I chose the BIC because I didn’t have to write an essay. I sucked at writing essays and paper…. still do. Though it has been a long time, five years now, since I looked at the BIC summary something about the statement below appealed to me. It is probably not even the same one; I remember they played up on the fast-paced, independent study, having to be able to motivate yourself, and do your studies without a lot of pampering from the professors. I guess since I was being smothered by my parents the idea of being independent appealed to me more than anything. Anyway here is the BIC’s mission statement:
“The Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) is one of the programs in the Honors College at Baylor University. It provides an alternative way for students to explore Baylor's core curriculum. Instead of taking the University's traditional general education requirements (separate classes in English, history, religion, philosophy, and political science, for example) BIC students learn about these subjects by taking a challenging and integrated curriculum. The BIC curriculum explores the interrelation of humanities, social sciences, and the physical sciences and thereby provides students with a broad context in which they can better understand the contemporary world. BIC students gain exposure to literature and thought from around the world to receive a global education.”
The idea of independence, alternative ways of thinking and learning, not having to write an essay, and not having to take English classes were all factor that lead me to choosing the BIC. If I knew then I would change my career choice to Art Therapy…. I would have chosen University Scholars. Even as I say that I think about the characteristics of the students that were U-Schol, Great Text, or Honors and I know I wouldn’t have fit in and I probably would have wanted to drop out but couldn’t because I had to live in the honors dorms. Thinking back on it now choosing BIC just like choosing Baylor was the best thing that could have happen to me on this journey. Not because of some profound reason; it is just if the second semester of my freshman year was going to play out the same no matter what school I went to or no matter what honor program I chose, Baylor and the BIC sheltered me from the worst of it.
Now is as good as time as any to say why I chose to stay in the BIC. First let me get my “scared of what parents going to do” freshman reasons out of the way. BIC was the only honors program I applied to…. therefore if I dropped the program I would have to move out of the honors dorms. I do believe that me living in the honors dorm is the only reason I was able to come back my spring semester freshman year…. apparently kids in honors dorms don’t do corrupting things. Which is mostly true of the people I hung out, I use that word very loosely, with. The other reason I chose to stay with the BIC was I never had a problem with the program. By the end of my first semester I knew I did not like biology and I asked myself how would I suffer through three and a half more years of this. Never, not once did I say, “Oh my god I can’t handle the BIC anymore”. I met too many interesting people, experience to many things, even that first semester. I got to go t a freaking Hindu temple! I didn’t even have a firm grasped on what Hinduism was at the time…yet alone that there were temples in Texas. Being able to meet Dr. Tom Hanks was enough to convince me BIC was awesome, that man still makes me smile he is so adorably cute. I met some friends who got me through the next year. I realized that the Judaism is the same as Christianity right up until you get to the Christ is your savior part. Other people had a problem with the amount of reading we had to do and the amount of information we had to learn, but let’s be honest Spark Notes and any other type of note became a lot of people’s friend that first semester. Plus I never completely read anything assigned to us, which now I kind of regret but not really. The point of me saying all this is to say, the reason I chose to stay with the BIC is because that first year I never had a major problem with it and let’s be honest again if you are going to drop out of BIC the first semester is the best time but if you wait until after your third…. you just doomed yourself to starting over from scratch even if you stayed at Baylor. The main reason I stayed in the BIC as a freshman was the honor dorms situation and I am so thankful that had “no choice” but to stay because the things I learned, saw, and experienced about people was well worth all the bs that comes with it.
The BIC gifted me with a lot…the ability to communicate effectively through writing not being one of them. The greatest gift BIC gave me was the ability to bs my way through anything as long as I have enough information to go on…no I joke that is the second greatest gift BIC gave me. The first was the ability to understand people are fundamentally different. Everyone does not have the same Texan/US outlook on thing. It made me realized that hell people born and raised in the same city would have completely different outlooks on life depending on who and what raised them and what they as adult choose to accept. BIC challenged by religious belief and made me realized that Christianity is not the only way to salvation. Forcing me and a lot of other students out of their comfort zone, BIC opened my eye to multiple different cultures in a way they have not been before I came here. For instance, I know believe that I am more Hindu than Christian but saying that I know that I could be Hindu and Christian at the same time based on Hinduism belief system. I also know based on that most Christians would not accept that statement. I know now that Islam is a lifestyle. The Quran is the way you live your life. If you are a Muslim you live and you die by the words of that book…. none of this there are multiple ways of interpreting, I go to it when I need guidance, or refer to it from time to time like most Christians treat the Bible. I also understand more of the Islam culture and religion…. therefore I understand them more. I also understand that I could never become Muslim and that I would probably never marry one. It wouldn't be because his belief would go against my religious belief because they wouldn’t…he chose his salvation and I chose mine. I wouldn’t be able to marry him because his lifestyle would conflict with mines so much we would fight. Especially when/if we had children…couldn’t do it. My first semester in the BIC started to form my view on religion, my view…not my parents…. not my church…. mines and the capstone with you cements my view. I believe there is a God no matter what name you call him: God, Allah, Yahweh, Braham, Krishna, Vishnu, and Almighty Father. I believe there is a God, one supreme being to rule us all, but I also believe there are multiples ways to get to him and I have come to accept that even if there was only one way it wouldn’t be Christianity. There I said it I know I am going to hell now. The reason I say it wouldn’t be Christianity is for the same reason I say there are multiple way. I believe that if God is merciful and loving as we think he is…why in his name would he make trillions upon trillions of people all believe in this one thing. Why would he in his infinite wisdom make it so me and someone in Brazil or London disagree on many other aspects of our live because we grew up in different region but on this one very touchy topic we are absolute agree. It makes no since especially since once upon of time ago when people did get along and agree on the vast majority of things, they decided to build a tower that almost reached the heaven. Which caused God to make it so not many spoke the same language and scattered us to different parts of the regions. If you believe in the tower of Babel then you should know that God does not want everybody inexistence to come together and agree on one thing. Which is actually really smart I could see the human race trying to take over heaven. Another thing BIC made me accept about my religion and further explain why Christianity wouldn’t be the only way to God. We can't agree amongst ourselves how to believe and live. There are so many branches of Christianity based off of so many ways to interpret and therefore live your life according to the Bible that I would questions God infinite wisdom and the ability not to make mistakes if He made Christianity the only way to Him.
Aside from the more open understanding look on religion and different cultures, BIC introduce me to place that even though I live in Texas my whole life I never been to. I am talking about the field trips from Freshman/Sophomore year…. those were amazing and I feel like they should extend beyond those year. The Japanese Gardens in Forth Worth is nothing short of amazing and going with BIC was my first time going. Visiting the Hindu temple and the Synagogue were the same. I am so sad that I couldn’t go on the trip to the Mosque and watch Professor Tatum participate in a belly dance but I am sure that would have been fun as well. Along with the different cultures you get to experience the different food or drinks. For instance, I remember at the end of the service at the synagogue you could have water, juice, or wine and I was so shocked that they were offering up wine in a church, but then again it wasn’t a church. Oh the extended leanings my second semester freshman year where enjoyable. I remember two specifically one was a musical performance by a Chinese artist that play something called Qinqin I believe but the experience was priceless the instrument could sound like a horse, or wood logs, or any other type of soothing noise. I remember feeling enlightened and peaceful leaving that performance; I also remember her dresses were breathtaking. The other extended learning I remember is the Honors professors’ performance of a Contemporary dressed Much Ado About Nothing; it was hilarious. BIC not only introduced me to different cultures and place in Texas but also around campus. I was forced to go to the theater, Armstrong Browning library, Roxy Grove, and I even think the Recital Hall II. Though I say BIC forced me to go to these different places on campus I returned on my own plenty of time. I am suppose to write about what improvements can be made to the BIC. One improvement would be replacing the extending learning in Cultures a class trip to a museum of the Professors choice. For instance I chose Dr. Wang for Cultures V and getting his three extended learnings done were a bit difficult because I had to travel to different museums while on break at home. However if he just took us to one of the places we would have to go and we write a reflection on that…. life would have been easy. Also Examine Life I is not a terrible class you should keep it but take out some of the busy work and I can’t believe I am saying this but give them a real book to read. Hell you could do memoirs. Examine Life I is the only class in the BIC whose purpose I was never sure of except the easy ‘A’ aspect. The BIC weekend should stay…the library scavenger hunt should stay, and the movie should stay but everything else is debatable. Like I said it has been five years since I was in Examine Life I and I know that very next year a lot of things in the BIC were changed. Oh I really wish that some how an assignment could be visit the Baylor’s Counseling center and the career counseling center your sophomore year here. Also since I am a studio art major now I realize how much as BICers we don’t visit out own museum in the Lewis Art building. Also there should be an emphasis on how much BIC is like a major with the amount of required class you have to take your freshman and sophomore year…. especially if you are a BA student. I looked on the website last night and I realized that for some of the more demanding majors like BFA- studio Art or Fashion/Interior design…. you can not do both BIC and those with out taking summer school at least twice. So just emphasize and let the student know before they apply or before they accept that this program in very course demanding. It would also be nice if BICers could register when the rest of the Honors, Great Text, and U-schol did before they reach their junior year. That is one of the reason BIC feels like the one-legged, redheaded stepchild of the honors program. I am sure back when everything was fresh on my mind there were more improvements but like I said when I change my major I didn’t have to worry about BIC as much that was until I had to change it from BFA to BA in studio art.
BIC did not have a major role in choosing my major when I was Bio. It didn’t have much say so when I changed it from Bio to BFA-studio Art. It didn’t play a major role when I switched from BFA-Studio Art to BA-Studio Art. The only role it played was that I was able to say switching to BA helps me graduate sooner. I don’t believe many can say that. Every once in a while I have epiphany and I remember saying earlier that BIC made the coming changes easier. Well it did. My decision to change from Bio to Studio felt like one of the biggest cop-outs in my life. Being a science major I believed like everyone else that being an art major would be fun and well maybe not easy but it couldn’t be that hard. It was a culture shock my first semester and I realized that my beliefs about art were screwed and wrong but I loved it…. loved it so much. I don’t know how difficult it is to change from BS to BFA at the end of your sophomore year without BIC but with it…the process is as simple as petitioning Natural World and working like hell to get caught up in Studio Art classes. Thought I often wished I would have switched sooner in my academic career I realized that if I did…I may have ended up staying a year longer rather than an extra semester or graduated on time depending but most importantly I would have missed this Capstone (I kid you not I am tearing up at the thought of not taking this class this semester).
Let me just say don’t change a thing about this class…not the reading material (unless of course I grow older and write a memoir if you are still teaching…. you should put it on the list). No but seriously don’t change the reading material and don’t change the order we read it in. While now I wish I had the prompts, I know not all would be as appreciative of Iyengar yoga as this class seemed to be…so they probably won’t continue practicing. I truly believe that the reason we enjoy it so much is because we understand and know that these position are not just about the poses. That this practice would mean nothing if we didn’t understand why we practice in the first place, so do not require your students to buy prop unless you provide the books for the class (like in secondary school). The point is without the literature I don’t think I would want to the props because even though I enjoy my class with Zane Sholin so much…. once the class was over I felt no need to buy a mat and continue practicing. After this class I am saving up my money so I can go to other classes at least twice a month to practice and will continue to do so at home. The philosophy behind it matters. I mentioned earlier that this capstone cemented my belief about religion, but it also ended my BIC experience on a good note. I can’t give you a profound answer of how this course tried together all the other BIC courses because they were taking with so far apart I can’t quite remember them all. I can say the first course in BIC started to change the way I viewed and handled people, situation, and myself. This class helped me realized how far my outlook on life has come since that freshman…how much I have changed and also how much more I have to work on. This course gave me one more stepping-stone I will use to reach my goal of helping others. It assisted art in helping me find out who I am and who I want to be. It gave me another therapeutic outlet for my frustrations; it gave me another tool to attempt to give to others. Above all else it helps me accept that everything that has happen these past 4.5 years (9 semesters) was suppose to happen. They were supposed to happen when they happened. I mean of course I could and should have done things differently as far as classwork is concerned but the major decisions…the fact that I could never catch a break with summer school…. therefore I couldn’t graduate with a BFA in the five years I allotted myself was meant to happen. All of it was suppose to happen; I know now without a shadow of a doubt that I am going to be an Art Therapist and I will kick serious butt at it. I know that eventually I want to incorporate Iyengar yoga more in my healing and in other healing as well. Not all my patients but those who accept it. This class helps me realize that I am not the only one who thinks the way I think. There is a reason we are the few proud BICers that will graduate with cords. This course has help shape the way I see my future. So yeah how does this course draw together other BIC experiences and college experience…I don’t know 9 semesters and I can’t give you a really soul searching, earth shattering response but know that this course along with BIC and Baylor has laid the foundation for what will be one of the coolest, most down to earth, philosophical but highly silly, wise but innocent, sharped-tongue but light hearted coolest Art Therapist you will ever meet this side of the Mississippi river. Coming to Baylor, staying in the BIC, and switching to finally BA-Studio Art, all these events were not a fluke or a series of coincidences. They were a series of event that proves God/Allah/Yahweh/Braham/Krishna/Vishnu was working in mysterious way to guide an abused little girl in the right direction to make her into a healthy healing woman.