Month: February 2012

Mundelein Auditorium Construction

Mundelein Auditorium Construction

Typically I do not have much to complain about, but the writing of this blog was timed just after a phone call from the head of Housekeeping at Loyola.

He needs legs to support some platforms that he is setting up in the Information Commons. He called me to ask if I knew where they were, since he and I both do a lot of work with those platforms and legs.

Here is a look into how this phone call came to be:

Until recently all the extra equipment for events has been stored in the backstage area of Mundelein Auditorium, where I work and where the Department of Fine and Performing Arts holds its large ensemble rehearsals. This all changed when the construction crews that are doing the “ReImagine” campaign needed to use the backstage area to work on ceiling above the auditorium for some Mundelein renovations.

Everything has been moved to various locations- locations about which I have not been informed. Now I have to send out requests every time I need to have another platform or some legs or railings or anything else I may need that used to be easily accessible for classes backstage. In addition, there is a fake wall up where the curtain to the backstage area used to be, and the side entrances remain locked except for hardhat access.

From what I understand- which admittedly is not much- the Facilities department seems to be in charge of relocating and storing this equipment. But problems arise because departments are not used to having to collaborate so much just go get simple tasks done.

Facilities knows where things are, but when I make requests they dispatch the Grounds crew to move them. Grounds crew’s job isn’t to keep track of everything, so they often do not know where things are- and I do not have the contact information for anybody on Grounds crew.

Housekeeping does a lot of the physical setups for events around campus, but they do not get informed when Facilities directs Grounds to move equipment.

So this resulted in me having to talk to Housekeeping in the middle of my mid-afternoon nap(!) explaining that I do not know where the legs are, and I do not know who he can turn to for answers. I feel bad, but I guess problems like this are what happen when you have such massive construction plans.

Supposedly this will all be over in 1 semester. When I graduate.

I know, my life is hard.

Still, I am tempered by the fact that I enjoy frequent use of the Information Commons that was constructed through the inconvenience of those who came before me. I guess we all have sacrifices to make. I hope he gets his legs.

Spring Break!

Spring Break!

Only two days until spring break! In the midst of midterms and many papers, it is the light at the end of my tunnel. This year I am going on a mission trip to Nicaragua from March 3 to March 10 and I could not be more excited!

The trip has been organized by one of my close friends, Alex. He went on a mission trip in high school through the same organization that we are going through, Amigos For Christ. Amigos has a site in Chinandega, Nicaragua, and has been able to bring a community fresh water. While down there, we will be continuing this work by digging for water lines.

We will be doing more than just physical labor though. Our itinerary shows that on Sunday, our first day, we are going to climb an active volcano! Monday and Tuesday we will be working in the community but on Wednesday we are going to an orphanage. We will be playing with the children and entertaining them. After the orphanage we have the opportunity to go into town and get souvenirs and such. Thursday and Friday are back to working in the community and we leave on Saturday.

The fact it is just two days away though means I need to go into crazy fast packing mode Thursday night after my midterms are over. Luckily, I do not need to bring much, just shorts, t-shirts and one nice outfit for church.

I am getting too excited though and am neglecting my midterm studying! I need to get my priorities in order and focus for just two more days. Ah, so much easier said than done though.

Alex, who is organizing the trip, while at the orphanage on his trip during high school.
Moving On to a New Book

Moving On to a New Book

Just finished my book– “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It was so great! I got through the last couple of pages on the shuttle from Lakeshore Campus to Water Tower Campus late  last night. The novel presented a really unique perspective on the events of September 11, 2001, given from a nine-year-old boy whose father died in the World Trade Center that day. I highly recommend it!

I used to read all the time and have missed it greatly; I’ve made a sort of late New Year’s resolution to start reading again. It makes the time pass so quickly when traveling between campuses on the shuttle or the CTA! Next on my list: “Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (the author of the great novel “The Time Traveler’s Wife). Can’t wait to get started!

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Photo credit: Frames-of-Mind,

If You Like to Read, Read This

If You Like to Read, Read This

I’m preparing for this week to be a bit of stress-fest for me. Surprisingly, besides a pathophysiology exam this morning, I don’t actually have any upcoming exams to take.

However, I need to recover from my five straight weeks of testing, practicals and competencies. Soon I need to, prep for my upcoming work (starting the week following Spring Break, I have at least one form of assessment every week until finals), organize all my requirements for clinicals next semester and start orientation for this pretty awesome job I just got (more information coming up after my introduction to the position next week!).

Last semester, during one of my more mental breakdown inducing all nighters, I came across an article on Thought Catalog. After I read it, I reread it. And then I reread it again. And then I did some more work and read it one last time.

My philosophy is always to pull all nighters when you DON’T have a big exam/assignment due the next day, because you can be a zombie in class. So, tonight I am planning on staying up all night. Before making that decision, I thought back on my previous all nighters this semester and, ultimately, on that article.

And thinking about it made me realize that I want to share it with you. So, whether you’re male or female, an avid reader or someone who hasn’t picked up a book in years…

…read You Should Date An Illiterate Girl by Charles Warnke!

Home For The Weekend

Home For The Weekend

This past weekend I was able to take a trip home for a few relaxing days. I am not going home for spring break so this was a great opportunity to see my family and catch up with old friends. After only a 2.5 hour Amtrak train ride I was home!

We got a couple inches of fresh snow on Friday and Saturday and with the help of a sunny Sunday it was perfect snowman building conditions. Check out our incredibly tall snowman we built!

Our tall snowman!

Unfortunately, it only took about 30 minutes for the strong wind to knock him over 🙁 I guess I will need to give him more support next time!

Facebook Page: Loyola University Chicago Class of 2016

Facebook Page: Loyola University Chicago Class of 2016

I want to use this post to give a shootout to the official Loyola University Chicago Class of 2016 Facebook page.

There are a few thoughts I have about this page that I think may be helpful for prospective students.First of all, use this page.

When I was an admitted Freshman I made what I could call “medium” use of Facebook pages about Loyola. By that I mean I didn’t use them heavily, but more than just once or twice.

The whole reason I am making this post is because I am currently sharing my table in the IC with 2 people that I met through Facebook before school started. I am not saying that everybody you meet on the page will be your best friend, but although I have met many great friends in many different ways I still have kept up a few of the friendships that started there. It is a good place to start relationships. Then you can go from there and see which stick. A lot didn’t, but a few cool ones did.

Second, I have mixed feelings about using the page to recruit roommates. I have nothing against it, but I personally do not see any reason compelling enough to do so. My Freshman year I had a randomly assigned roommate. He turned out to be AWESOME. And I don’t mean in the “we are best friends today” sense of awesome.

I mean that he and I honestly had very little in common. Different family backgrounds, different fiscal backgrounds, different geological backgrounds, different tastes in music, different tastes in friends, different majors, you name it and we did not have it in common. Yet, he was the coolest roommate ever.

We would spend the entire day hanging out with other people. We had very few friends in common and even fewer activities in common. But when it was just the two of us hanging out in the room we got along famously. We found all sorts of interesting things to talk about and would stay up late talking all the time.

My point is that anybody you might meet on the Facebook page is just as likely to be a stranger and have less in common with you than you may think based on a few FB comments and conversations. At the same time, having a random roommate is just as unpredictable, but can end up being a great experience.

All I am trying to say is that you can go ahead and find a roommate on the page, and it may work out great! But if you don’t, the odds are just as good that you’ll have a similar experience with a random roommate. Because let’s face it, Facebook is still pretty random until you starting meeting people first and then friending them.

Other than that, I would just encourage anybody reading this to hop on over to the page and put up their major, residence hall, interests and any questions they have on the wall. I enjoy finding other Ad/PR, Communications, or Philosophy students on there and answering questions. So go ahead and ask!

Oscar Sunday While Abroad

Oscar Sunday While Abroad

If you couldn’t tell by now, I am a complete pop culture junkie.  Being abroad has been a challenge to my fanatic love of pop culture, as I do not have direct access to American television shows/movies/gossip.  So, on Oscar Sunday I was a sad I didn’t have access to the red carpet or the award show. Thankfully, Loyola pulled through for me!

I went downstairs to the basement and game room, and to my luck, the Oscars were streaming on the giant projection screen! I was so happy, I woke right up and watched most of the Oscars (yes, it was starting at 2 am.. I’m dedicated).  I thought I’d share my thoughts on a few of the winners.

Best Actress: Meryl Streep- “The Iron Lady.” I love Meryl and she is, in my opinion, the best actress of this generation. But I wish the award would’ve gone to Viola Davis for her role in “The Help.” ” The Help” was an empowering movie and Viola made it what it is.

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin- “The Artist.” I was hoping George Clooney would win, as I thought he was great in “The Descendants,” but I can’t judge this one because I didn’t see “The Artist.”  I’ve heard it’s great, though.

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer- “The Help.”  I was 100% happy with this winner.  Octavia was amazing as Minnie Jackson in “The Help.” However, I wouldn’t have minded seeing Jessica Chastain (same film) or Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”) take home the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer- “The Beginners.” (Oldest winner ever- 82 years old!)  To be honest, I have never seen any of the movies in this category.  I love Kenneth Branagh, so he would probably have been my pick.

Best Picture: “The Artist.”  Again, I haven’t seen The Artist, but clearly, “The Help” would’ve been my choice.

I loved being able to watch The Oscars from the other side of the world. And I cant wait to see the great movies to come that will be honored at next years Oscars.

Cupcake Crazy

Cupcake Crazy

I’m surprised I haven’t thought to bring this up yet, but picking up a cupcake from More, reminded me of the cupcake craze that has hit in recent years.  More has a particularly exciting way to score free cupcakes and has become a pretty popular thing to do, especially if you live on the Water Tower Campus.

It’s simple and slightly addictive.  Once you “like” the More Facebook page, you are able to tag yourself in photos of cupcakes.  The owner will pick a type of cupcake for the week, and every Tuesday she will post pictures of that cupcake periodically throughout the day.  The limit of taggers in a picture is 50, and it is quite surprising how quickly a picture will fill up– usually within a few seconds.  When you go to the store, you simply present your ID and they check you off a  list.

I’ve seen some seasoned taggers work their magic, tagging not only themselves but several friends in a single cupcake. Fortunately, having friends as tagging vets, usually means a guaranteed free cupcake. I’ve become fairly skilled myself.

If you find that tagging isn’t your style, Sprinkles has a system similar to More that requires tweeting to get a free cupcake.

And if all else fails, even the poorest of college students can manage a few dollars for a delicious cupcake treat!

Endorphins Make you Happy!

Endorphins Make you Happy!

As Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”

I just realized that this movie came out 10 years ago. I feel so old!

I am the first to admit that until a few weeks ago, I loathed the gym. I thought it was weird smelling and kinda pretentious and I didn’t really see the point in ever leaving my bed. Even when the thought crossed my mind that I probably should work out, I would come up with a million excuses for not going – I had homework to do, jobs to apply to or Munchies to eat.

But that all changed when, on a whim, I asked my friend Emily to go to Halas Sports Center, the student gym, with me and I discovered that…

I might be a LITTLE excited about how much I love Halas... Haha.

And, not only am I in love with Halas, but I am also in love with the elliptical trainer. It’s a low impact exercise machine, which is great for someone as small and easily breakable as myself, and I’m obsessed with the happy feeling I get during and after my use of it.

However, I’m not the only one who has recently gotten the urge to sweat out their stress. My friends and I all joined Fitocracy, a website that allows you to compete with others by tracking all of your workouts.

Yes, my username is catscatscats18. Embrace it.

It’s great because we’re all super competitive, so we’re constantly encouraging each other to go to gym and take classes together. (In fact, I went to Pilates this morning with Emily and another friend, Delaney. I liked it so much that I’m going again tomorrow!) And, we plan on keeping this up after school; in fact, a couple of us are doing The Color Run together this summer. I’m so pumped!

So, I’d like to amend Elle’s quote from the beginning of this blog. If I had been speaking, I would have said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people are more productive when they work, feel better about themselves and have a lot more fun with friends. They just do!”

Picture of Halas – Attributed to Loyola University Chicago Digital Special Collections

Enjoy the Lake. No seriously, Do It.

Enjoy the Lake. No seriously, Do It.

As per my last post, let me tell you a bit more about the awesomeness of Lake Michigan.

I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the months of warmer weather and go out and enjoy Lake Michigan as much as you can. With the semester almost halfway over, most Loyola students likely have avoided going anywhere near the lakefront during the past few winter months. This is understandable, because let’s be honest: the harsh winds and freezing temperatures can make the lake the last place in the world you want to be.

But nevertheless, Lake Michigan is a defining feature of Chicago. Not only does it give us all drinking and running water, but it gives us some of the most breathtaking and unparalleled views you could imagine in a city like this.

What’s cool is that Loyola is the only university in the city located directly along the lakefront. In fact, Loyola’s campus is one of the few properties located on the lakefront at all! This is because there has been a longstanding planned layout of Chicago that preserves a majority of the lakefront space as public beaches and parks. Loyola is one of the few holdouts left. So, this means time spent at Loyola will likely be the only time in your life you get to live so close to lake and experience its advantages.

Although it still isn’t beach weather yet, it was still great to walk along the lakefront with my mom today. For best results I’d make sure you put on a warm coat and bring a hot cup of coffee and walk along the beach while taking in the sights and sounds. I’ve seen a lot of people run along the lake here, so it must be a good spot for running or jogging if you are more of the athletic type. I’ve done it myself a few times, and running along the lake gives the perfect backdrop to make you feel like you are in a scene from a Rocky movie or some other epic running montage.

Note: I would not suggest actually going into the lake: it’s freezing most of the year. But there are some nice periods in the dog days of summer where the cool water is quite refreshing.

On hot days you can take your friends out to the beach and play some ultimate Frisbee or volleyball, bring some food and lemonade too. On clear days you can walk along the lakefront and enjoy the breeze and the view, and on cold windy days you can sit in the comfy chairs on the IC and watch the waves crash onto the rocks. And, if you are lucky enough to live in a dorm like Santa Clara or Mertz, or apartment with a view of the lake, or if you spent an all nighter at the IC, you can wake up early enough to see the sun rise over the lake. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

The only thing you may regret is leaving Loyola without taking in all it had to offer. Especially the lake.