Month: November 2014

Addy the Sergeant

Addy the Sergeant


All the elderly veterans that I have met at my job have been male and this shouldn’t be a surprise.  After five years, I finally got to meet an elderly woman who was once a Sergeant Chief.  I found this extraordinary since back then only males joined the army, navy, and air-force.  Even though, she doesn’t talk anymore all of her pictures in her room do her hard work justice.  She has many photographs of her in her uniform and with many other women, who fought to save our country.

I found this important to share because these recognitions are not ones that you see every day.  She was one of the first women to join the army since it wasn’t until the 1917s that women were given the opportunity to join the army in the first place.  I can only imagine the hardships she went through from being a women, but regardless of it all she stuck through it.  Her daughter remembers her as a strong, confident, but sweet lady.  She said that she was very proud of her achievements and all the recognitions she received.

Today, double standards, between men and women, still exist.  This is why I think it’s important to note how much impact women had in the army, as well.  I cannot believe that my job continues to enlighten me each day.  This is why I would love to continue working in the medical field!  It is very rewarding to be able to take care of a woman who once fought for the country I, we, live in.

Everyday should be Veterans Day.  

Four Hidden Gems on Loyola’s Website

Four Hidden Gems on Loyola’s Website

Blog Post 16 - Photo 3

Schedule Builder

Several weeks ago, during the spring course registration period, a wonderful peer advisor told me about an editable schedule builder that features a built-in table that automatically displays separated blocks for class times. Offered in both Word and PDF format, this document comes in handy when scheduling classes and various activities of a typical week.


Free Movies

Loyola’s Resident Life Cinema generously offers several different applications on which, while connected to the Loyola’s internet, students can stream a number of movies that vary from several years old to several weeks old. Apparently, not many students are familiar with this awesome resource. More students should definitely try to take advantage of it.


GPA calculator

The GPA calculator is one of the best tools to use for calculating—and predicting—your GPA, particularly helpful when your teacher doesn’t keep the Sakai gradebook updated. Just enter the number of credit hours of each course, then the predicted letter grade; Voila! Your GPA. You can also try different grades to see what impact these grades might have on your cumulative GPA. Don’t let the calculator get you down, though. There is almost always another opportunity to pull up your grades.


Academic calendars and schedules

One way to stay on top of events and activities is by knowing when everything will be happening. The fall and spring academic calendars have all the dates you will need throughout the semester. You can even check the academic calendar for your specific college (i.e. College of Arts and Sciences), as well as the final exam schedule.

The Long Road Home

The Long Road Home

This weekend, I was stuck in a car with my best friend for a combined total of 24 hours. 

Stuck might not be the right word, but when you’re driving for 12 hours straight, you start to feel that way. Since many Ramblers are making it home for the holidays (just two weeks away!) and some will be driving, here’s some helpful tips that I’ve learned from my recent road trip escapade that will help you get through yours.

1. Make a playlist.
Ask whomever you’re going to be with what kind of music they like, and make a huge playlist with all your favorite songs. The bigger the playlist, the less songs will get repeated, and the more fun it’ll be. The playlist for my recent travels, adequately named “Road Trip” consisted of 590 songs. Jam sessions got really fun because it would go from The Breakfast Club soundtrack to Kanye’s latest release.

2. Bring a map.
This might sound a little hypocritical coming from someone that cannot really even read a map correctly 86% of the time, but you never know when your GPS could quit on you, whether it’s an actual GPS device or the maps app on your phone. If you’re adamant about not carrying around a map of the US with you, then at least write out the step by step directions incase your device dies and doesn’t turn on for a bit.

3. Plan out your trip.
Does your trip allow you to cut through cities or states you’ve never been to? Take that route! Even if you’re just passing through, it’s nice to see a glimpse of a city you’ve never been to!

4. Bring snacks.
Eating out is expensive, and even the quick stops at McDonald’s add up. Bring your favorite (nonperishable) snacks with you to save yourself some money, which as a college student is always a good idea. Stock up on things like pop and chips so you don’t have to pay the extra at gas station when you stop.

5. Have fun!
The more that you make the drive, the more fun it’ll be. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take naps or tone down the random dancing to your playlist from time to time, but if you go into it grumbling about the length of the drive then it’s not going to be as fun as it could be! Find someone going to the same city or even a few cities over as you, buddy up, and have some adventures! It’s a lot more fun when you’re not alone, the trip can get tedious even for someone who LOVES to drive.

I hope everyone has safe travels back to Loyola this weekend, and that they aren’t as tedious and awful as they could be. Happy road tripping!

Fast Delivery Food for Finals

Fast Delivery Food for Finals

Who else gets super hungry when studying?  The worst type of hungry is the 2-am-studying-for-finals hungry.  Damen and Simpson are closed and so are the cafes around campus.  Star Grill is a walk, and it’s probably not a good idea to be walking outside at that time anyway.  Your only choice is to order food, but what can you order at two in the morning?  You can Google places, but it will just take time, you’re starving, and if you’re like me, you’re probably in the worst mood ever because you’re SO hungry.

Grubhub, an online database for food (not really, but something like it), is a website in which you can search for any delivery restaurants that are open any time of the day.  It is very convenient when you’re studying for finals because there are many restaurants that are open later than you think.  All you have to do is search for open restaurants and the list pops out for you.  I’m serious, one time my roommate and I ordered tacos at 3 in the morning just because.

Even though, this only works around the Chicago area, it is a life-changer!  I, ALWAYS, use Grubhub because I like how convenient it is.  Plus, it gives you an estimate on how long it will it take and after you’ve ordered from them a couple of times they may give you a free drink or meal!  However, I do have to say that the only thing that I dislike about Grubhub is that when you put the tip in, it doesn’t always show up on the receipt, which means that the delivery man is not getting paid.  So, I prefer to tip cash.  This way, I am sure that the delivery person is getting paid…especially, since it’s so late at night!  It’s only fair.

Anyway, I have to say that I LOVE Grubhub.  It is so convenient and it gives me a great variety on food choices.  Even though, I always order the same thing: pizza; I’m a total pizzaholic.  Anyway, if you didn’t know…NOW you know!  This is one of my great tips to you, especially because finals are QUICKLY approaching.

Grateful for this City, Grateful for this School

Grateful for this City, Grateful for this School

Thanksgiving is quite obviously a time to give thanks. I could go on and on about all the things I am grateful for, but I wanted to give a little extra thanks to the city and school I’ve come to know and love over the past year.

CHICAGO, Thank you for:

  1. The skyline. It always brings a smile to my face and usually a jaw drop. Whether I catch a glimpse from the Lake Shore path during the day or when it’s all lit up at night, I’m certainly grateful for the view.
  2. Free things to do. Zoos, concerts, parades, or tours, Chicago knows how to keep college kids happy, and we are all thankful to be able to enjoy the city without having to spend money.
  3. Lake Michigan. Whoever decided to build a city on the shores of Lake Michigan has all my gratitude. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of running on Lake Shore Path or driving on Lake Shore Drive.
  4. The food. This is one city that knows how to eat—deep dish, popcorn, hotdogs, plus cuisine from nearly every nation—I won’t get bored of all the options Chicago offers.
  5. The parks. I love getting to spend time wandering through Chicago’s parks, especially along the lake or downtown. They don’t qualify as full blown state parks, but a little controlled nature still works for me.

LOYOLA, Thank you for:

  1. My professors. Even in classes as large as 200 students I have felt cared for by my professors. All of them have their quirks, but always teach me more than the required material.
  2. U-Passes. Including CTA all access U-Passes in our tuition is something all of us are definitely grateful for. Our campuses put us in the perfect position to explore the city and not having to buy tickets every time we use public transit is a huge blessing.
  3. Lake Michigan. Well, I had to put this one on the thankful list twice because I could not be happier that our Lake Shore Campus bumps right into the lake shore. Our location makes for the most beautiful sunrises and calming study spots on the north-side of the city.
  4. The students. At first I was a little intimidated by a student body of 10,000 undergrad, but I have come to really love it. I’m glad to go to school with a diverse range of students who all come from different places and are interested in different things. But amidst all these people, I have found people I really click with. I know some of these are friendships I will cherish for a long time.
  5. Two campuses. I love having both a city campus and a “typical college campus”. Coming to the city I didn’t want my school to just be skyscrapers on a city block. Loyola provides more than what I was looking for–a spread out campus on the lake and some pretty cool skyscrapers downtown, and I couldn’t be happier.


When My Grandma Comes to Visit

When My Grandma Comes to Visit

My grandma lived in Chicago for part of her childhood before moving to rural Illinois. The phrase, “You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl,” describes her perfectly. So when she comes to visit me in Chicago you better bet that means we do as many city activities as we can.

Right before Thanksgiving break, my grandma and my cousin Claire hopped on the Amtrak train to squeeze in some Chicago fun before the end of the semester.

I met them a little before 5 o’clock at our hotel downtown. Grandma spoiled us a little bit–we stayed at The Allerton Hotel on Michigan Avenue. After checking in, we wandered down Michigan Ave toward the river in search of a dinner spot. We settled on The Purple Pig, a restaurant I’ve walked past several times, but never had the chance to try. A Mediterranean style restaurant, with a cozy atmosphere and dishes meant to share, I would definitely recommend it. The three of us enjoyed butternut squash, fried asparagus, Italian sausage, a chocolate mousse tart, and gelato with espresso poured over top. Not a bad trade-off from the dining halls.

We then, of course, had time for a little shopping because you basically have to when you stay on the Magnificent Mile. Luckily for Claire and I, Grandma played Santa–we’ll see our purchases again underneath the Christmas tree. After our shopping trip we made our way back to the hotel and called it a night.

Luckily my classes on Tuesday are on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus, so my commute to class was much shorter than usual. So after joining Claire and my grandma for breakfast, I only had to walk a few blocks to my first two classes. On my lunch break I met them at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is just across Michigan Ave from the Water Tower Campus. One of my cousins works there and was able to get us tickets for the David Bowie exhibit. Before going to the museum I knew of David Bowie, but not much else. Now I could tell you quite a bit about him. The short version? He is one interesting guy.

After a quick lunch at the museum, I went to my last class of the day. When class was over Claire and my grandma met me in a cab headed for Union Station, to hop back on the train and head home for Thanksgiving break. In about 24 hours we managed to pack in quite a bit, but that’s just how it goes when my grandma comes to visit.

Seeing some more birds!

Seeing some more birds!

Hello everyone! So I know it has been a while since I have written, but finals are just around the corner and there are so many group projects, papers, and studying to do. It is overwhelming sometimes, but it nice just to sit back and take a break and write a few words to you guys!

So for today, I wanted to talk about a field trip that I took for my Ornithology class this past weekend. Yes, this post will be another one all about birds, BUT, surprise! The field trip is slightly different than last time.

Out field trip took place in Caldwell Woods. It is located right down Devon Street in Cook County and runs along the Chicago River. We got up at the crack of dawn (well, 7am, but 7am on a Sunday morning when you are a college student might as well be the crack of dawn) and headed out in rain and cold to see some birds!

In our previous field trip, we saw plenty of shorebirds like gulls, terns, and ducks. Since this field trip was in the woods, we were expecting to see plenty of different species and we did. We saw a TON of woodpeckers including the Red-bellied Woodpecker, the Downy Woodpecker, and the Hairy woodpecker. They are quite beautiful to look at because of their bright red, black, and white coloring. We also saw some beautifully blue Blue Jays and red Northern Cardinals. Another bird we found was the Brown Creeper. It is this small bird with a brown back and white belly who also has a curved beak. It rarely flies, but instead just creeps up the bark of the tree. It kind of looks like a miniature squirrel if that makes any sense at all!

The best birds by far were the cute little Black-capped Chicakadees. They have a wonderful song and are so small that they could fit snugly in the palm of your hand. The best part of the day however, had nothing to do with birds. We saw 25 deer in the forest preserve, 25! Living in Chicago and being surrounded by skyscrapers all day means that seeing 25 deer is like seeing enough nature for a year. It was truly incredible to be super close to deer and some were even baby deer.

The whole trip was a lot of fun, and even though I was starving by the end of it, it was not such a bad way to spend my Sunday morning. Yeah for school field trips!

P.S. I apologize for having no pictures, but in the rain and cold, bringing my hands out of their pockets did not seem like something ideal!

No Turkeys were Harmed in the Creation of this Post

No Turkeys were Harmed in the Creation of this Post

Happy thanksgiving y’all!

I’m writing this from somewhere in Georgia, full on a thanksgiving feast and homemade cheesecake for dessert.

Since Ramblers have only had two days of schools this week in honor of Thanksgiving break, I’ll dedicate this post to the holiday BEFORE the most wonderful time of the year.

My best friend and I drove over 700 miles from Chicago, IL to Suwanne, GA to visit a friend and come together to celebrate. We spent the day cooking, cleaning, and making Thanksgiving dinner, which actually didn’t include any kind of turkey. We all came together and connected about what we were thankful for, and one speeding ticket, three steaks, and a couple jam sessions later, we had a real Thanksgiving. For me Thanksgiving is not about listing off and reciting what you’re thankful about, but about coming together with people that you love and simply enjoying the time that you have together. We’re in college and money is tight, so any chance and/or excuse that we have to come together and actually spend time together is taken.

Since you’ve read all the way through the walk through of my Thanksgiving day, here are some fun facts about Turkey day!

1. Turkeys have heart attacks. When the Air Force was conducting test runs and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead. 

2. Thomas Jefferson didn’t think Thanksgiving was a good idea, allegedly.

3. Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey.

4. 20% of cranberries are eaten on Thanksgiving.

5. The first Thanksgiving lasted for three days.

6. Wild and domesticated turkeys have different tastes!

7. In the US, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

8. Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef.

9.  A 16-week-old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster.

10. Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Blog Post 15 - Photo 1

As Millennium Park opens its ice skating rink and Loyola begins decorating the campus with garland, big red bows, and Christmas trees, I begin to feel the holiday excitement. In addition, the annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, “the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration,” began its 2014 season last Saturday, November 22.

Since this was my first winter and holiday season in Chicago, the festival was a must-see. Although I wasn’t able to be there during the day, I have read that the Light Festival Lane on Michigan Avenue offers a multitude of interactive activities for families and friends from near and far. The Tree Lighting Parade at night was what I was most eager to see. Streets on either side of Michigan Avenue were cordoned off to make way for the parade. As starting time approached, the sidewalks filled up with crowds of families and children hoping to catch a glimpse of all the Disney characters, featured on the colorful floats, in the parade. The scene reminded me of a slightly tamer version of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I had a fabulous time, watching the parade with multiple marching bands, and  my favorite Disney characters, Goofy and ‘Chip & Dale,’  sipping on my sea-salted caramel hot chocolate from the nearby Ghirardelli’s, awe-inspired by surrounded by Christmas-trees that lined the streets.

I am already looking forward to attending again next year and maybe I’ll see you there too!

A great way to give back…

A great way to give back…

In T-minus 3 hours, Thanksgiving Day will be here.  This beautiful holiday is a great reminder for all of us.  However, this shouldn’t be the only day that you should be thankful for everything you’ve done, accomplished, and/or seen.  Every day should be Thanksgiving Day, but sometimes we get so caught in our “busy lives” that we forget to be thankful.

This is why I found it appropriate to talk to you guys about a soup kitchen that I’ve been attending to, on and off, for the past four years.  The Church, St. Thomas of Canterbury Church, holds these soup kitchens every Tuesday and Friday.  Volunteers, like myself, usually get there in between 4:30-5pm to set up the tables and chairs, prepare the meals, and pass out the food.  Once the doors open at 5:30pm, other volunteers start passing the drinks (like juice, milk, water, or soda) to those that are already eating.

This is such a rewarding experience because you’re opening the doors to the homeless so they can eat a full dinner, even if it’s only twice a week.  There are as many as 170 people who come every Tuesday and Friday!  You can already imagine how many volunteers are needed for these soup kitchens to happen.  It’s amazing that we are able to serve so many people; Thanks to all of those who donate because without the food donations these soup kitchens wouldn’t be possible!

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I want you to think about a recent experience in which you have felt live you’ve given back.  If you can’t think of one, it is okay because maybe it’s time that you do; this volunteer opportunity can change that!

For more information: click the link.