Month: August 2013

Ready, Set, Start Classes

Ready, Set, Start Classes

I overheard a student yesterday comment that “there are so many people on campus.” He’s right.

Last Friday, Loyola welcomed its largest freshman class in its 143-year history with more than 2500 freshman students and more than 500 transfer students. The East Quad outside the Information Commons played host to all new students as I had the opportunity to welcome Loyola’s Class of 2017. I was joined by Dr. Rob Kelly, Vice President for Student Development and Pedro Guerrero, President of the Unified Student Government. Moving from the East Quad to Gentile Arena, all new students then attended Convocation and eventually had the chance to participate in a variety of Welcome Week activities that will come to a close this weekend.

Classes are in full swing. Student attention has been diverted to a variety of academic subjects. Over lunch, I talked with a student who shared “classes are piling it on already,” referring to the amount of reading and the projects assigned for the term. So, good luck and keep working hard. You may not believe it now, but the year is going to fly by—enjoy it! We can’t wait to see all you back in Gentile Arena for a different kind of celebration in May of 2017—graduation.

Are you in the right mindset?

Are you in the right mindset?

Summer is coming to a close and the start of classes is just around the corner. This is the part of the year that many people visiting Loyola’s campus don’t have the chance to see.

It’s so quiet.

Loyola's East QuadI enjoy walking onto campus early in the morning and strolling through the East Quad (see photo). There are days when the sky is so perfectly blue, the wind is so calm, and the chapel seems to be framed perfectly next to the Information Commons. It is peaceful and inviting.

It makes you pause, enjoy your coffee a little more, and simply appreciate the day. As you round the corner along the lake, it’s also fun to see the swimmers, who each morning make their way to Loyola Beach one after the next.

This week is our move-in week, so today was one of those last quiet mornings of summer. It’s an exciting time with students and parents descending on campus. Everything looks beautiful with mid-80 degree temps and sail boats gliding across a glass-topped Lake Michigan.

We are all excited about welcoming the Loyola Class of 2017 and we have many events planned for this time of celebration. Ironically, the Beloit Mindset List is once again out to remind us how the average 18-year-old arriving on campus may not have experienced things that many of us are very familiar with. Here are a few that standout to me this year:

  • With GPS, they have never needed directions to get some place, just an address.
  • Having a chat has seldom involved talking.
  • Java has never been just a cup of coffee.
  • Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phone and Skype accounts than with getting a driver’s license and car.

While I enjoy the summer mornings, it makes me all the more appreciative of the chaos of the fall semester. Seeing students’ faces light up and get excited about meeting new people and diving into classes and organizations makes me realize all the hard work of the last admission cycle was worth it; they found their “fit” in their college search. I am glad it is Loyola.

Off and Running…

Off and Running…

My sister in-law took my niece for her senior picture yesterday. It’s so hard to imagine that she is starting her senior year in high school. And yes, I am one of those aunts who is quick to say, “I remember going with her for her first day of kindergarten. I remember her trotting around in the headdress I bought for her when she was about 3. I remember trying to teach her how to play volleyball. I remember that she loved singing Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ at the top of her lungs while in the car.”

Time flies.

This year, she will experience very special moments—from her senior picture to football games to senior trips to fun times with friends. She will also walk into the work of making her college decision. She is a young adult now: mature, smart, and beautiful. What I hope she realizes is just how many choices she will have in finding the right ‘next step.’

There are more than 4000 two- and four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. I keep trying to explain that there are likely many that will meet her criteria and many that she hasn’t even heard about yet.

I recommend that high school seniors keep an open mind and go beyond the initial search of just a few ‘big name’ schools that you know and recognize.

  • Attend a college fair at your high school or in your city and talk with the people behind the tables; they are likely the same people making the admission decision on your application.
  • Ask questions. Does the school have your major? Where is it located? What is its size? What are the popular clubs and organizations on campus? Can I study abroad?
  • Seek out college representatives that visit your high school—they have tons of information to share about the application process, scholarships, financial aid, and student life.
  • Make an appointment with your college counselor to see if he or she has recommendations for you based on your areas of interest.

And for one of you…make sure you talk with your aunt. She has some experience in this area.