Month: November 2011

Field Trip!

Field Trip!

I have one of the best Digital Media professors. Dr. Kamerer seems to have made it his mission to ensure that every student who passes through his classes will get a job. He works very hard to give us marketable skills and goes above and beyond the call of duty of a normal professor.

So it was pretty awesome to get a chance to go on a field trip with him and my digital media class. It’s a Tuesday night class, from 4:15 – 6:45 p.m. There’s about 8 of us in the class, and it’s all Seniors. This means that he can afford to be a little more loose with the class structure.

Last week (before Thanksgiving break) people were asking if he was going to cancel our Tuesday night class since Thanksgiving break started on Wednesday. He answered a student’s the question by saying, “Yes, we’re having class on Tuesday… [pause, looks around room] … OK, be honest now, how many of you are just not going to be here whether or not we have class?”

A few raised their hands, and so he decided that he’d plan an “alternate” activity to explore the week’s topic, mobile technology.

our "Alternate activity"

The next week we went out to explore some mobile apps and field test them at Macy’s and ShopTop. We checked out ShopKick and SCVNGR. I liked SCVNGR a lot more, but we overall decided that both of the apps took us out of the shopping experience, and until they were buttery smooth, they detracted from customer engagement.

But the cool part was just wandering around Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue and going through stores with our smartphones DURING CLASS TIME. Even cooler was that about an hour and a half into our two and a half hour class Dr. K asked us how we felt about going to a nearby grill for burgers and fries.

So the last half of class was us eating burgers and fries at a place near campus, on his dime, before he left to catch his flight to Kansas for Thanksgiving. The rest of us stuck around and had some good classmate bonding time. It was a heck of a night.

1 day to go!

1 day to go!

It’s that time. It sneaks up on you doesn’t it? If you remember, I reminded you some 20 days ago that this day would come. Now, it’s here. The priority deadline for submitting your application to Loyola is just 1 day away on Thursday, December 1.

Don’t forget! Make sure you APPLY to Loyola.

In case you missed it, here is my previous post to guide you.

Thursday, December 1 is Loyola’s priority deadline for admission. This means that you receive your best opportunity for admission and scholarship consideration when you apply by this date. The application for admission serves as your scholarship application as well—no additional forms or questions!

So, if you started your application already, remember to finalize and click “Submit.” We will then check for the rest of your credentials to complete your file and give you a decision in 4–6 weeks. If you have been putting off filling out the application, it is time to get it done.

The application is easy, FREE, and takes about 10–15 minutes of your time.

Wondering what else we require for admission consideration? In addition to your application, make sure you also have these:

  • Counselor or Teacher Recommendation Letter
  • Official High School Transcript
  • Official ACT or SAT test scores
  • Personal Essay (In 500 words or less, provide us a sample of your writing or share a little more about yourself and your achievements.)

Think about it. You have a head start. The hard part—all the time you put in during high school volunteering, participating, studying, competing, etc.—is already done. Now, it’s time to let your efforts speak for themselves in your application.

We are glad that you are considering becoming a part of Loyola’s Class of 2016!

My Packing Problem

My Packing Problem

My Thanksgiving break was really great.  I slept in every day.  I ate amazing food.  I got to watch TV, ( I rarely have time for TV at school it seems).  But with every visit home, I run into the same problem and I never quite learn my lesson.  I simply over pack.  Every single time. And yet I know I have absolutely have no reason to pack anything at all! I have sweaters and jeans and everything else I need at home, and still, I cannot help but cram my case full with that “one sweater I just bought which I can’t leave behind at my dorm,” or my favorites boots, which lets face it, I love all of them, and I can’t bear the thought of not having access to them for a whole weekend.  I completely get the level of ridiculousness which is my over packing obsession.

And then I make it home.  I revisit my closet, and, gasp!  I think, “Why did I not take this shirt to school? OR these shoes?!”  The probles escalates, and so does the volume of my suitcase.  The night before my train back to Chicago I switch to a larger one.  I hungrily snatch my beloved possessions and fold and stuff until I reason that if I add anything else there is no way this thing will zip properly.  After my bingeing is over, I zip, and to my dismay, I can hardly lift it!  I re-strategize.  I remove the shoes.  I will, after all, be going home in a few more weeks, and I can live without those for the time being (I hope!).  Just to be sure, I also take out a couple of sweaters.  I zip, and voila! I can lift it, and therefore, I know I can get this baby on the train and not face the embarrassment of a conductor struggling to help me up the few steps.  I made it without any problem this time.

So tonight, as I unpack my last few things, I think how silly it is that I will be filling it back up in no time for winter break.  But I also think that it is just grand that Loyola has provided me with such great closet space for it not to matter so much.

Christmas On Campus!

Christmas On Campus!

We’re back from Thanksgiving break and life seems to be more hectic than ever! With final exams in two and a half weeks and many final papers to turn in before then, time management is essential to survive the crazy month of December.

Unfortunately, just because finals are coming up it doesn’t mean that other commitments and responsibilities no longer exist. One such commitment for me is our Christmas On Campus event this coming Saturday!

This year is Loyola’s first annual Christmas On Campus. Founded by Loyola students Nic Herman and Alex Boesch, it is an event dedicated to bringing Christmas cheer to elementary students in Loyola’s neighboring communities. Being a close friend of Nic and Alex’s, they presented me with the opportunity to be on a team of six Loyola students who would individually be in charge of different aspects of the event in order to get everything running smoothly.

I am in charge of getting about 150 Loyola student volunteers. These volunteers will be paired up with a child and they will basically hang out with them for the day. The event will be held in the Norville Center and the newly redone Gentile gym. We have different clubs and organizations from Loyola setting up booths for the children such as gourmet hot chocolate making and ornament decorating. Santa will make an appearance and singing and dancing groups from Loyola will perform.

None of this would be possible, however, without the help of the University. Nic and Alex worked closely with the Jesuits at Loyola and got their support for the event. They then went to higher administration and worked on getting the space and permission we needed.

Although it has involved a good amount of work, it will definitely be worth it to share Christmas cheer with the elementary students on Saturday. After all, isn’t that happiness the best part of the holidays? I think so.

The Official Flyer for Christmas On Campus!
Thanksgiving Festivities

Thanksgiving Festivities

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Obviously, I love feasting on one of my all time favorite foods, mashed potatoes, but I also like being reminded of everything I am thankful for.

This Thanksgiving was a little different for our family.  We usually go to both of my grandparents’ house, but this time, we had Thanksgiving at our house.  We also had a wedding! My cousin Aly and her husband Ethan had a very small wedding with both of their families at our house.  My father is a lawyer and has the authority to marry people, so he led the ceremony.

It was a beautiful wedding, and it was nice they had it on Thanksgiving because that way, everyone could make it.  It was nice to meet her husbands family and have everyone come together for their wedding.

Thankfully, we still had the traditional Thanksgiving day feast. Even better, we not only had pumpkin pie, but wedding cake, too! It was amazingly delicious.

It was a great Thanksgiving, and it only reminded me how thankful I am for my wonderful family.

The Homestretch

The Homestretch

It’s been surprisingly great to be back at school from Thanksgiving break. Only two weeks left of classes and then finals week. I am ready to power through, and am very much looking forward to getting back home for a whole month!

It’s hard to concentrate on my current classes when I feel like I’m already in the mindset of next semester. I’m loving my class schedule for next semester—I finally got into a couple of photography classes! I’m taking Photography I, an art class and the first step into my photography minor, and Photojournalism, which is a communications class and will count as an elective for my Communication Studies major. Along with those two, I’m enrolled in Journalistic Interviewing, Writing for the Web (which will help me for blogging!), and Intro to the Bible.
Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, I make the 0.4 mile trek from Fordham Hall to Sullivan Center for Student Services for my first class of the day. Earlier in the school year, I was able to calculate that it takes me approximately 12 minutes to make that walk, which allows me to leave my dorm at 9:08 am and still make it to my 9:20 am class on time. However, starting in mid October, I noticed that I was consistently arriving at Sullivan sometime between 9:22 am and 9:24 am, thus making me late to class. I soon figured out the cause of my troubles: wind tunnels.

As a girl of small stature, the wind on campus is a formidable enemy for me. I have been blown into walls, bushes, traffic and helpless pedestrians. The best way to explain what I look like when caught up in a wind tunnel is to recommend that you watch this video:

Ducks blown off their feet by wind

In the map below, I have included my route to class and the areas on campus that I consider to be wind tunnels, symbolized by tornadoes.  As you can see, I encounter three such wind tunnels on my way to class.

A map of the wind tunnels I encounter on my journey to class

Realizing this allowed me to conclude that, even as unknowledgeable in physics as I am, I needed to factor wind resistance into the time it takes me to get to class. I now add about a minute for every normal sized wind tunnel and a minute and 30 seconds for every large wind tunnel I encounter, so I get to my classes, meetings, and adventures on time.

And the more I venture out, the more I come to realize that I can brave any weather, no matter how blustery…especially if I have my backpack to weigh me down!

Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights on Michigan Ave.
The Harris Bank Balloon

Of the many parades the great city of Chicago offers, the Fesitval of Lights is my favorite.  As thousands of people gather to watch, Mickey and Minnie Mouse glide down Michigan Avenue, turning on all of the lights bordering the street as they pass by.  Following Mickey’s and Minnie’s float are many other Disney-themed floats that create quite a spectacle on the Magnificent Mile.

There are many reasons I look forward to this parade, the first being that it represents everything magical.  I can vaguely remember my first trip to Disney World when I was 6 years old.  Of the few things I can recall, the first is losing trust in my dad after he told me that Splash Mountain has no drop.  The second is the parade of Disney characters that bid all visitors fair tidings at the end of the night.  Capping off this particular night thirteen years ago was a fireworks show, very similar to the one the city of Chicago provided us Festival of Light go-ers.

Firework Show

In addition to the fond childhood memories that the Festival of Lights brings back, I am also very fond of the fall/winter season, and the Festival, in a way, marks the beginning of the colder seasons here in Chicago.  Sure, by late March I may be a little sick of the heavy winds and single digit temperatures, but I live for the winter coat weather because this means hot chocolate, snowball fights and of course, the holidays.

And yes, the proximity of the Festival of Lights and the Christmas Season  is the final reason I enjoy the Festival.  Despite having to sacrifice a night of studying or relaxing to make this event, I know that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  If I can hold on for just a few more weeks, I will be home free, literally.  These lights are symbolic of the proverbial “lights at the end of the tunnel”, and with the semester coming to a close, what better way to cheer in Christmas break.

Photos taken by Brian Bafaro

Greetings from Galesburg

Greetings from Galesburg

The Great Hall at Union Station

As I said in an earlier post, I live about in a small Illinois town, about 4 hours away from Chicago.  My brother, who is a freshman this year at Loyola, and I have been looking forward to this holiday for some time.  For me, it means getting a break from some work, and for him it means catching up on sleep!  He supposedly stayed up 40 hours straight working on papers and finishing up those last assignments before Thanksgiving break.

Loyola gives us Wednesday off, but since my classes end fairly early on Tuesday, my brother and I were able to catch an early train home.  Amtrak makes a stop in our hometown Galesburg, and because the route is more direct than the highways, gets us home in about 3 hours!  I was also thankful to have him along for the ride, as I automatically get to sit with him and not some random person.

Also, the train departs from Union Station.  The Great Hall at Union Station is super gorgeous, and even if you don’t travel Amtrak or Megabus, it’s definitely worth a visit.  Some notable movie scenes have been filmed there, like The Untouchables or Public Enemies, (with Johnny Depp!).

As I recall, the Damen Ball, a semi-formal dance/ reception for LUC students to celebrate the end of the school year,  was hosted at the Great Hall at Union Station last spring.  I had friends that went and the pictures looked amazing.

Traveling home for the holidays is always a great experience.  If you aren’t able to make it home, there are other options which give you some of the comforts of home.  The residence halls always host a Thanksgiving dinner, or you can always plan some kind of dinner with your friends.

Sometimes a student’s family will visit them.  Loyola offers accommodations for guests called The Flats at Loyola Station. My brother was invited by a friend to a Thanksgiving dinner her mom was going to prepare while in Chicago.

However, I prefer to be home for the holidays.  Nothing is better than taking some time away from school and the city!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. It’s a great holiday.

Great food. Free time. Football…lots of football. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on when you wake up. My dad and I still discuss which float we like best or which Broadway singer’s lip-syncing didn’t seem on target. We also love the marching bands. The holiday shopping season is about to commence, and houses will soon don festive lights and decorations.

Hopefully you take a moment tomorrow to give thanks for what is important to you. Certainly, I am thankful for good health, friends, family, great colleagues, and just the chance to do what I do every day.  I think there is a saying that if you love what you do, it really isn’t work. How true. Here are a few additional things that made my “Give Thanks” list in regards to my work in college admission this year.

I am thankful for technology. Having worked in a college admission office professionally for nearly 20 years, this is perhaps the single most important thing that transformed how admission offices operate and how students go about the college search process. Students have many more resources at their fingertips. The use of documents and outreach via e-mails, Web sites, and social media networks (Facebook, Twitter) makes the admission process easier for colleges and universities to manage.

I am thankful for our counterparts on the high school side, the College Counselors. College Counselors play an important role in opening a student’s mind to all the options and opportunities available to them. Many counselors really know their students very well. I read countless recommendation letters. Counselors spend hours choosing the right words and identifying the best examples to share more in-depth knowledge about student leadership, involvement, and dedication.

I am thankful for Loyola. You may or may not know that we were recently recognized for the second year in a row as one of Chicago’s top 100 workplaces by the Chicago Tribune. We are ranked number 18, in fact. Being a part of a community that is warm, welcoming, and supportive is important to me. Think about how this translates to our student community. There are a number of faculty, staff and administrators who simply love Loyola. I think our students feel like they are in a welcoming and supportive environment, too.

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday and best wishes to you and your family!