Month: October 2015

The Top 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait ’til Junior Year to Visit the Art Institute

The Top 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait ’til Junior Year to Visit the Art Institute

Why did I wait until my junior year at Loyola to visit the Art Institute of Chicago? I’ve been wondering the same thing. It’s not that I dislike art, because I absolutely love it. It’s not that I hate museums, because I find them so interesting. It’s not that I live too far away, because I’ve never lived closer.

Since freshman year I’ve been saying how badly I wanted to visit, but for one lame excuse or another I never made the trip downtown to visit one of the best art museums in the entire world. Now that I’ve been, I know exactly why you shouldn’t be like me and wait nearly 2 and 1/2 years to visit this incredible museum:

  1. It’s so easy to get to. Take the 147, the redline, a taxi. Chicago’s got plenty of transit options and the Art Institute is in an easily accessible downtown location, right at the end of Millennium Park.
  2. The 2nd largest collection of impressionist art. Chicago’s Art Institute is 2nd only to the Musee D’Orsay in Paris in terms of impressionist art (which just so happens to be my favorite style). How sweet is it that you don’t have to go to France to see Monet or Seurat?
  3. You’ll need more than one trip. In the few hours I spent at the museum this Saturday I didn’t see nearly half of the vast collection. I have every intention of visiting again in the near future and tackle the exhibits I missed the first time around.
  4. American Gothic, Nighthawks, Sunday Afternoon, Waterlilies. Some of the world’s most well-known pieces of art find their home in the same city as us, might as well visit your famous neighbors right?
  5. Did I forget to mention it’s free for Loyola students? One of Loyola’s best kept secrets is that with a valid LUC ID you can get into this museum for free! For 2 and 1/2 years I’ve been carrying around a free ticket to one of the world’s best art museums and didn’t even know it. Now that you do, don’t let your “ticket” go to waste.

Don’t be like me. Take a trip to the Art Institute as soon as you possibly can, and I promise if you even remotely enjoy museums or art, you won’t be disappointed.

Sophomore Goals

Sophomore Goals


I have learned many things from Freshman year – the do’s and the do not’s. This year, I hope to improve academically and learn more about who I am as an individual.

1. Make Connections. I am at the point where connections (to medical school, hospitals, and clinics) are essential to have. I am halfway through college and I need to plan ahead so I have a secure pathway towards my aspiration to work in the medical field.

2. Get enough sleep. Sometimes I become so consumed in my school work that I forget that getting enough sleep is necessary to “recharge” myself for the next day. Especially when it is close to midnight or past midnight, I realize that the quality of work that I do is not that good. Instead of doing a bad job of studying, I should sleep instead. I need to effectively prioritize.

3. Use my time wisely. If I am in front of a laptop, the chances of me listening to music and on Facebook and other sites are highly likely to happen. This causes a major distraction and I get work done in longer periods of time. I need to use my time wisely. If I have any free time, I should get work done, especially on-campus when I have free time. The more work I get completed, the more leisure time I get to have when I commute home.


4. Eat. Just like sleeping, I always forget how necessary it is to eat. I might be busy with schoolwork or something and simply forget to eat. Consequently, sometimes my stomach will make noises in class. To keep myself healthy and nourished, I should eat snacks (at least) throughout the day.

5. Stop thinking negatively. Somehow, I will get through my classes and eventually graduate. I shouldn’t need to complain over the smallest things and make a fuss about it. It is a waste of time. Instead, I should focus on ways to work around the problem and/or resolve the issue.

Loyolacapella Gets Halloweird

Loyolacapella Gets Halloweird

If you’ve never been in to a cappella music before, Loyola might just change your mind. With four a cappella groups on campus this school is no stranger to crazy talented students singing without any musical instruments whatsoever. I must admit that I’m pretty biased for Loyolacapella, as one of my roommates is a member. But once you get here you’ll want to give each of these groups a listen because they all bring something unique to the aca-table.

This past Friday was Loyolacapella’s first concert of the year, their annual Halloweird show. Definitely an ideal way to get in the mood for the upcoming holiday–candy, costumes, and a little bit of spooky music, but mostly just another great performance.

The night opened with a performance by another Loyola gem, The Folkin’ Jesuits. This group of five campus Jesuits is an insanely fun and talented group that bring a unique and folk-y twist on popular songs. This time around they even added a few rap verses to their jams–crowd-pleasers for sure.

I loved Loyolacapella’s set list for the show, my favorites being: “Superstition”, “Wildest Dreams”, “Elastic Heart”, and their Halloween version of “Uptown Funk”.  Just as good as the singing itself was definitely the costumes. Each member of the group put on their best Halloween attire. There was a few classics, i.e. a werewolf, a cowboy, and a few zombies. While a few others stepped up the creativity to “Harry the potter” (Harry Potter attire, accessorized by a potted plant), Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable, “Lumber Jill”, and an Elaine Benes (Seinfeld character) look-a-like.

This group never fails to impress me, from their costuming to their ability to need nothing besides their vocal chords to sound just as good as the real thing. You could say I’m a fan. And I already can’t wait for their next show.

What Does “Commuting” Actually Mean?

What Does “Commuting” Actually Mean?

Commuter Proud Keychain - UPDATED

The first words that pop in my mind when hearing the word “commuting” are: independence, public, tiring, and home sweet home.

For the commuting students, things can get a little more exhausting compared to the life of a student who dorms.

Distance: Depending on where you live, you may have get up early and organize your time wisely so that you get on campus on time for your classes. For me, it takes an average of about 45 minutes on the train (with rush hour times, up to 1 hour).

Belongings: Commuters must bring everything they need for the day- books, laptops, binders, notebooks, lunch, etc. Students with pre-health/science courses know what I mean. Lockers are available for semester renting, but sometimes you do not have enough time to get to the lockers, so you result to carrying everything with you wherever you go. It all depends on how you arrange your schedule.

School Finances:  Price for commuting= $0.00. Although it is quite self-explanatory, you are doing your parents a huge favor, financially. Dorming can be expensive, depending on which building you choose to dorm in and who to dorm with. Personally, although dorming may be seen as the “college life”, going home to your own bedroom and family is way better.

Food: People that do not dorm are not obligated to get a meal plan for the dining halls. Most of the commuters (that I know of) bring lunch from home. It may not be as exquisite and delicious as the food they have in the dining halls, but it can fill your stomachs enough to get by through the day until you go home.

Prioritizing Time: Commuters have a home to return to, family obligations to do, etc. Sometimes attending events or hanging out with friends around the evening and nighttime hours can be difficult. During the daytime, when I have free time, I make sure I take advantage of the things I can do here that I can’t do at home such as go to tutoring and visit a professor during office hours.

CTA: Many things happen on the CTA because a ton of people use the train to go to work downtown- no explanation needed here. My advice would be to download the CTA app so you can track down when the buses and trains arrive. Freshman year, I found myself sprinting to the train stations to catch the train in order to avoid waiting another 10 minutes for another one to come.

Being a commuter is a lot to handle. But here at Loyola, we have a fantastic Off-Campus Commuter Life office, run by the amazing Tina Garcia. Every Tuesday, commuters get free tea/coffee, and once a month, we have commuter appreciation days. Every so often, they have events such as cupcake and cookie decorating.

There’s a lot more to commuting. But this is my general concept of what commuting really means, from a true commuter perspective. Hopefully this gives you a better idea of the life of a commuter.

CAD Fall 2015


You Don’t Need to Have it All Figured Out

You Don’t Need to Have it All Figured Out

For every phase of life there seems to be a list of questions people love to ask you. Senior year you mastered the, “Will you graduate in the top of your class?”, “What are your plans for next year?”, “What university will it be?” and so on. Now, you’ve made it to your freshman year and you’re finally comfortable on a college campus so naturally people start bombarding you with a whole new set of questions. “Where are you from?”, “What residence hall do you live in?”, and everyone’s favorite, “What’s your major?“.

My first two years at Loyola my answer for the latter was “Undecided”. I was totally fine with that. For me, I was free to just jump into school, start taking my CORE classes and not worry (yet) about what exactly I’d end up with a major in. That didn’t stop people from asking me if I had thought about this or that, what I’d ruled out, and what I was interested in. But I could field those questions just fine.

I think one of the biggest mistakes college freshman make is choosing a major just for the sake of choosing one. Even though switching majors isn’t a difficult process at Loyola (it really just involves a meeting with your academic adviser and altering your 4-year plan) I think that it’s very easy for students to feel trapped by their major, and then they get scared to leave. I would bet that if I had started my Loyola career as a History major it would’ve have taken me even longer to figure out that Public Relations was the best fit for me.

Loyola has nearly 80 majors to choose from, how could you ever know right from the start that Marketing is your calling? Give yourself some time to feel things out and ask around. Talk to upperclassman that have gone through this before (I would bet a lot of them have changed their majors once or twice), definitely talk with your academic advisers (its their job to know exactly what a major in International Studies entails), and do a little research for yourself to make sure what you find is the best fit for you.

There are definitely a lucky few who know from the get-go exactly what they want to study. When they start taking their classes they fall in love with the material and become passionate for their field. From day one freshman year until graduation day four years later, they may never even think about another major. Those people are lucky. I would love if I had been able to do that, and if you could too. But trust me, that doesn’t happen for everyone and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The most important thing is for you to love what you’re studying.

When people ask you, “What’s your major?”, I hope you’re excited to tell them you major in something that you absolutely love.

40 Years of Tribulation & Grace

40 Years of Tribulation & Grace


Marian Days can be considered the largest Roman Catholic gathering event in the North American continent, honoring the virgin Mary. This annual event welcomes Vietnamese Roman Catholics from around the world to the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix, located in Carthage, Missouri. This year, more than 100,000 participants attended the 4-day event.



2015 is a special year. Not only does it mark the 38th annual Marian Days, but it also marks the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. Many people (such as my parents) left Vietnam as refugees and settled elsewhere such as the United States, Australia, and countries in Europe to escape from the war. Now, after 40 years, the new generations of families have flourished.


During Marian Days, elaborate pontifical masses are held (one in the morning and one at night) with a full orchestra and hundreds of con-celebrating priests. During the daytime, there are a variety of things to do on-site- attend lectures/talks, sample exotic and dynamic Vietnamese food, see cultural performances, and visit the monuments of the Stations of the Cross in a beautiful botanic garden. All of these places are within walking distance which is very convenient.



How do you cram 100,000 Vietnamese into the adorable 15,000 person-populated city? Magic. Expect road blockage, miles of tents and parked cars, and Asian love.


I have been to every Marian Days since 2010. This year marks my 6th year. I keep going back to this event because I want to learn more about my Vietnamese culture (through food, language, and music), I want to be closer to God, and I love the sense of community and togetherness. I never get tired of going to Marian Days because each year is different. You get to meet new people and go on adventures.


40 years have passed and it is remarkable to see the first and second generation Vietnamese families blossom. They have found success, happiness, and grace. These people experience a time like no other, where new beginnings meet the modern era of unprecedented forms of technology and advancements. More people pursue a higher education, representing the Vietnamese population well in prestigous fields such as medicine, law, arts, and science.

Marian Days is an unforgettable event where Vietnamese Catholics come together to eat, praise, and love. People’s faith are strengthened and Vietnamese culture takes over the little city of Carthage, Missouri for 4 days.





I’m back from a semester abroad, I’ve moved off campus, and I’m an upperclassman. Fall 2015 has been a period of adjusting to say the least.

Last spring I had probably the best semester of my college career studying at the John Felice Rome Center. So being back in Chicago has been a little more challenging than I anticipated. I absolutely love going to school in Chicago, but not being able to explore a new country every weekend is a bit of a bummer. I’m also back to taking classes for my major rather than taking courses about Italian language, literature, and culture. But I’m adjusting.

This year I signed my first apartment lease and get to live off-campus with two of my best friends. We decorated our apartment perfectly and it makes Chicago feel that much more like home. But off-campus living isn’t all bliss, now I have to begin the adjustment to adulthood as we pay bills, deal with our landlord, and leave on-campus living luxuries behind (i.e. wi-fi and dining halls).  But I’m adjusting.

I’ve finally made it to upperclassman status, which has been absolutely surreal. It feels like I was a junior in high school about two minutes ago, so how on earth did I make it to my junior year of college? Now that I’ve finally adjusted to being in college, I’m nearly finished. Which really freaks me out. I’ve finally made it through most of my CORE classes (LUC’s fancy way to structure “gen eds”) and nearly all my classes pertain to my major (and I’m still adjusting to even having a major). I’m at a point in my life where I thought I’d have things pretty well figured out. As it turns out I’m not quite there yet. But I’m adjusting.

We’re already halfway through the semester, but I’m still working on adjusting to doing college in the US again, living in a real Chicago apartment, and being half way through my college career.

I’ll let you know if I ever actually adjust.

It’s Good to be Back

It’s Good to be Back

Loyola Convocation

Hello All!

It’s so wonderful to be back in school and blog for all you readers again. It is an honor to be one of the first people you meet (indirectly) as you begin your college search. My blog, Rambler’s Pie: A Fresh Slice of Loyola, describes the life of me as a Loyola undergrad and commuting student. College life is never dull; there are so many events and activities that happen on-campus that I love to write about and share with you. Since I am a commuter student (living in Albany Park- 45 minute commute), I will sometimes write about things that happen in my personal life, my hobbies, and events I attend. This way, you can get a sense of what a commuter student is like. Noting that most of my fellow bloggers are living on-campus, you can visually see the differences in the daily life of a student living on-campus vs. the daily life of a student living off-campus.


I am beginning my sophomore year here at this beautiful (and windy) campus. It had been a fun yet challenging start to the semester as  I am taking 3 intensive courses- Organic Chemistry, Cellular Biology, and Calculus II. Organic Chemistry, as many of you may know or have heard, is considerably time-consuming and content-heavy. BUT, it is doable; it is not as ‘scary’ as I thought it would be, so for all of you guys who are doing science majors/minors and/or pre-med track, you can do it!


As a sophomore, there are some things I have learned from freshman year. As a commuter student, it is critical to make the best use of your free time on-campus – take advantage of tutoring, visit professors’ office hours, get homework done. When you go home after a long commute, the workload will be less and you can get more time to sleep. Secondly, there’s no need to buy some textbooks or carry them to school. Some textbooks at the Cudahy Library are put on reserve for students to read, but not borrow outside the library. If you can, you can go to the library and get assignments done there. Last but not least, remember to have an optimistic attitude and have faith in yourself. With enough dedication and commitment, you can do what you set out to do. As my BIOL 101 professor says every time we have an exam, Hard Work Pays Off. Therefore, make good use of your education, here at Loyola, and take advantage of the many opportunities and facilities Loyola has. Get your money’s worth.


Until the next blog, I hope you will visit my blog regularly to see my life story unfold. You won’t be bored of it, I can reassure you that!

I will end this blog with a Dr. Suess quote (because who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?!)