Month: March 2016

Multicultural Overnight

Multicultural Overnight


I decided to be an overnight host again for a Multicultural Overnight event. This was a little different from a previous overnight event I did. This Multicultural Overnight event focused on having high school students who identify themselves as people of color come together and meet other Loyola students who are students of color in order to feel comfortable and interact with one other. My overnight guest and I got along great and shared the same interests and had a lot in common. 
Once she arrived on campus, I showed her around the Loyola campus and  took a walk towards the lake to take pictures. Afterwards, we did several activities that the event provided, including performances from our fellow peers such as a sorority perform their salute and a Loyola student reading his poems. Also, we were able to learn dance moves from the Afro Descent team and performed it to the other groups. We even learned how to salsa from the Salsa club. This experience was so much fun because we got to meet other Loyola students we haven’t encounter yet and meet other incoming freshman as well. We even did some crazy poses to capture the moments of happiness and laughter. Some groups did a pyramid and others did funny poses, our group decided to spell out LOYOLA and  it was lots of fun meeting new people. After this was over, we were pretty tired and wanted to go to bed to relax and reflect on the day. 
The following day, I took her to a mock class that showed her how classes are taught and the experience of being a student at Loyola. Next, she really wanted to go the bookstore to get some Loyola gear to show that she had officially made the decision to attend Loyola next fall. I am excited that I will be seeing her next year and we agreed to keep in touch in case she needs any advice or just wants to hang out.
Megabus Adventures

Megabus Adventures

megabus_comWelcome back everyone and I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! I went to visit my parents and black lab in Columbus, Ohio. But since I decided to visit them last minute, plane rides to Columbus ranged from $200-300 round trip. Not wanting to risk a ride with a stranger from Loyola, I opted to take a bus home.

I chose to take a bus service called Megabus. This bus runs daily trips from Chicago to Columbus, and vice versa, at a low rate of $60 round trip. For each bus ride your payment includes gas, one seat, above air vents, reading lights and free wifi.

This all sounds great right? But like any bus, it has its qualms. This bus is a double decker which means…SIT ON THE LOWER LEVEL IF YOU CAN. The top level emulates a boat ride because it sways. Also, you need to have an extreme amount of patience to ride on a bus. Be polite. A stranger might sit next to you but if you’re bothered by this, pop in some headphones. They might sit next to you for the next eight hours. If you behave well, the ride will run smoothly. If you really need space, you can pay $5 extra for more comfortable seats with extra leg room.

Although those eight hours may seemed like a really long time, I would ride this bus again. I got a cheap deal and they transported to me where I needed to go on time in an efficient manner. They do run to most major cities throughout the country and there are some buses in Europe. It’s not just a bus to Columbus! And if you’re worried about how dangerous it is, don’t. Just try not to take this bus when it is snowing because it doesn’t take much for this bus to topple on it’s side or slide into a ditch.

I hope this broadens your horizons on college travel! Taking a plane, train, bus or even riding with a friend are all safe options. Just be smart and choose carefully.

Deposit Paid and Forms Signed: Now What?

Deposit Paid and Forms Signed: Now What?


Well done, you. So you’ve done everything the UAO asked you to do – took the placement tests, promised to keep doing good senior year (right?), turned in your money, signed away your life. Now all there’s left to do is… what?

Chances are, you’re going to go into this whole process without knowing where you’re exactly going to live, without knowing who you’ll be rooming with, without knowing how you’ll handle being away from home for a big chunk of your life for the first time. And you’ve got all summer to worry and get yourself into a frenzy about all the unknowns.

Let me give you the number one pro tip that saved my life.

Join the facebook group. Whatever your class will be, Class of 2020, 2021, 2050, join or make the facebook group. Chances are it’s already been made, but you never know. Go join it. And then, if you’re in any other groups, join or make those too – like Honors, or your LC, or even ‘Loyola Class of 2020 Students from Michigan.’ Anything like that. And then get involved in them.

Now, I’m not saying use it like a blog, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to make introductions and put your opinion out there on some questions, or do some research and help to answer some questions people with less Googling skills than you might have. Be active. Make friends. Make a group chat. Go into campus with people you already know, so that you can start with a solid base of people to branch out and hang out with, if only for that first week before you make other friends.

Now for number two: communicate with your roommate, when you get them.


Text them. Call them. Pack your stuff while Skyping with them. Meet up with them, if you can. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but if you start it off with a foundation of friendship, or even mutual respect, it’s gonna be a whole lost easier. Disliking people you live with is something you want to try to avoid all your life – it’s just not good. It helps nobody.

For a lot of things, you won’t know until you get here which of you is more likely to wash dishes or take out the trash, or if they scratch in their sleep, or if they’re the type of person that will go out every. single. night. Most people haven’t gotten the chance to learn who they are in a non-monitored living environment, so they can’t tell you honestly whether or not they’ll go to bed late or if they’ll eat in their bed, just because they can. All those sorts of things are totally unknown until you find the rhythm that works best, so you have to try to start everything off on the right foot.

Number three: when it comes time, make a packing inventory list. Make a packing list for things you’ll need for college, but don’t set it in stone – be willing to add or detract things you find you might or might not need. But write it all down, and make some sort of note when you definitively have packed it. You’ll know what you have left to pack, what you have packed, and what you have overall so that you’re not at the very last moment going crazy on whether or not you’ve packed deodorant or gotten all your school books.

And, if you have forgotten something, don’t worry. I’ll tell you in advance that a time-honored tradition of Welcome Week is a late-night Target run for everything you didn’t know you’d need.

Mertz Move IN Welcome

Number four: enjoy your time right now. Enjoy the last few weeks of your senior year, enjoy your parents cooking and your hometown. Enjoy each and every moment you spend with your friends, cause it’s gonna be a lot harder to get together when the fall rolls around again. Give your pets as much affection as your heart can handle. Lie around and watch tv. Recognize that your job is gonna be useful when you’re in college and all you want to do is go down to Molly’s Cupcakes and get some cupcakes, and you can do that because you have the funds.

Really, don’t dread it – be excited! This is whole new world and an opening to experiences you can’t even begin to imagine right now. It’s going to be great. I’m excited for you!

Simple and Sweet Reflection of College

Simple and Sweet Reflection of College


It is remarkable to look back and reflect on my college journey. I am almost halfway done with my undergraduate studies and there are only two more years until that long, anticipated moment where I walk onstage in graduation attire to receive my B.S. diploma.

Freshman and sophomore year, to be honest, was hectic. I am the first in my immediate family to go to college, so there was not a lot of support and no one to help me along the way. In addition, the transition from my high school to college was a bit rocky. I was not prepared for the workload, expectations, and night classes. Even as a sophomore, I am still learning many things about college life, college academics, and how to be accustomed to long days and long nights.

In these last two years, I have found my identity better. I did not even expect that to happen; it was spontaneous. Through people, experiences, and personal things, I have surrounded myself around things that I enjoy a lot. By being a part of clubs and groups, I am able to find people who share similar characteristics and interests.

Even though my college life is a bit hectic and crazy, I am being productive and doing things that matter to me. I am happy with the outcomes- I am able to serve the community, I am able to make a difference in people’s lives, I enjoy what I do, and my energy & hard work are not wasted.

I cannot imagine what junior and senior year will bring. I assume it will be an interesting journey filled with so many memories and experiences. Who knows…

College opens a whole new chapter for you. I can assure you that you will be a changed person for the better once you attend college and make an effort to do new things, join clubs, and socialize with others.

Decision Time

Decision Time

You’ve made it. You’re nearly finished with your senior year of high school and you can’t wait to take the next steps toward your future in college.

College…that’s the tough part isn’t it? By this point you’re probably dizzy from all the campuses you’ve toured and the pile of acceptance letters at you’ve accumulated. Now that you’ve seen the scholarship options from these schools you’ve probably nailed it down to a top two or three. And by this point you just want to make a decision so that you have a concrete answer to the dreaded “What are your plans for next year?” question.

When it comes down to it here’s a few questions to ask when making your college decision:

1. Does the school offer the major you’re interested in? (And a variety of others in case you change your mind?) Students change their majors much more often than you may think, so even if you can’t predict what you might change your major too, at least look for schools that offer a variety of programs that appeal to you.
2. Are you comfortable with the distance from home? Whether you want to go to school across the country or in your hometown, be sure to think about if you’re comfortable with the distance from home. Consider how often you’ll be able to make the trip home (and how worried your mom will be if you go too far away).
3. Were you offered any grants or scholarships that will make paying for school manageable? College is expensive, which means that schools that don’t offer you large enough scholarships will probably have to be thrown off the list. Don’t forget to look for outside scholarships that can certainly help you pay your way.
4. Do you like the campus? It’s layout, the way it looks, the residence and dining halls? Even if you like everything else, if you don’t like the way a campus looks or feels then you probably won’t end up loving the school. These are the buildings you’ll be taking classes, studying, eating and living in for the next four years—liking them is important.
5. What are the major pros and cons of coming to school here? Go ahead and write it out, when you’re able to see your likes and dislikes in front of you may be able to better understand what is most important to you.
6. Will you be happy calling this school home for the next four years? Loving everything about the college you choose may be impossible, but if this is a place where you can be happy, see yourself grow and ultimately become a better person, then without a doubt, that is the school for you.

Now I must admit that the college decision was much easier for me than it is for most people. In fact, I did exactly what all admissions counselors tell you not to do and only applied to one school. Thankfully, Loyola wanted me and offered me a generous scholarship. For me, LUC checked off all the boxes I needed: plenty of majors, a beautiful campus, academics that would challenge me, Chicago (enough said), opportunities to study abroad and ultimately a place where I could be transformed.

Studying Aboard at Madrid

Studying Aboard at Madrid

Saint Louis University Campus

I am so thrilled to have been accepted to the Saint Louis University in Madrid, Spain! I will be spending my fall semester of 2016 in Madrid! I will learn about a different culture and live with a host family for about 4 months. This is really exiting! My friends will also be joining me, so the more the merrier. Hopefully, we get a chance to visit all over Europe. I feel like this will be such a wonderful and awesome experience, but I will be miss my friends and family. Luckily I will be able to facetime them while I am abroad. Now, that I have officially been accepted into the program I have a few additional steps to complete. I need to submit my fees and a complete my student visa. Madrid here I come! See you on August 30th.

Eating Healthy On a Meal Plan

Eating Healthy On a Meal Plan



One of the worst things that everyone hears about Freshman year of college is the Freshman 15. The supposedly infamous 15 lbs that most freshman will gain in their first year of college. The worst part is that according to WebMD, this old college wives tale, is for real. After some serious googling, I found a statistic that says almost every 1 in 4 freshman gain at least 5% of their body weight, or about 10 lbs. So I guess it’s technically the freshman 10.

So how do you curb the statistics and stay healthy a a freshman in college? Here are a few tips that I have picked up throughout my first year of college at Loyola eating on a full seven day meal plan!

The best thing you can do to avoid gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, is to work out regularly. Take advantage of all the activities and resources that Halas has to offer! You can do everything from rock climbing to yoga in instructor lead classes, or you can do your own thing in the weight room or cardio room. This unfortunately isn’t always easy due to the simple fact that you’re in college and you’re stressed out and have a billion things to do. So what else can you do that doesn’t cut into your intense Netflix schedule.

Stay away from the french fries and pizza as much as possible. These are things that are always going to be in the dining hall, always there staring you down and tempting you to come and indulge – DON’T! Instead of french fries, try the homemade potato chips in every dining hall on campus! Instead of the regular made pizza hit up De Nobili dining and make your own pizza full of fresh spinach, mushrooms, tomato, or any number of yummy fresh veg.

Skip the self server ice cream machine. Don’t worry Loyola makes this one pretty easy because most the machines are perpetually broken, but nonetheless, there are plenty of other sweat after meal snacks to grab instead! My favorite is a banana with peanut butter- super delicious, super good for you.

Go whole grain! All the sandwich bars and bread options for the toaster offer whole grain or whole wheat bread/wraps. They taste practically the same and are just a little healthier which is everything!

Toast instead of waffles. Even though the waffle machines in the dining halls are awesome and really fun especially the first week of school, you can’t eat waffles and pancakes every day. My favorite alternative is whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana on top!

Take the fruit. There’s almost always apples, pears, or banana’s in the dining halls. Take them, steal them, hoard them, but most importantly – eat them. They taste great and are an awesome alternative to chips or junk food.

Stock up on granola bars/ protein bars to eat before exam or early classes. This is key, staying energized and eating all your meals is going to make you feel better and be a better student. If you’re not a morning person, like me, this is great for the days your running late for an 8 am or to catch the shuttle downtown.

If you have the extra cash, mix it up and eat out once in a while. There are amazing restaurants around Chicago and right here in Rodgers Park, treat yo self and go out for sushi or Italian  every so often. It’s a great break from the monotony of your meal plan and will probably be made of high quality ingredients which is, you know, also good.

All in all, gaining a little bit of weight your freshman year, it’s no big deal. It happens to everyone whether you can tell or not. Being on a dining plan and living life as a college student is a lot different then living at home. Don’t let stereotypes and body standards dictate how you live completely, but do be aware that there are little things you can do to stay healthy freshman year.

Loving yourself is 100 times more important than staying a size 4.

8 Free Apps You’ll Need for College

8 Free Apps You’ll Need for College

Ah, modern technology. Isn’t it great? It allows us to connect with each other, it allows us to create, to learn, and to share.

Incidentally, it also allows me to write this to tell you about apps you’ll be needing in college. Some of them are Loyola-specific, but the ones that aren’t will be useful anywhere, I guarantee. Mind, I have an iPhone, so I don’t know if they’re all available for Android products. Also, I’ve been sponsored by 0 of them, tragically.

  1. Mint


This app is a life saver, and I decided to start out with it because it deals with something everyone panics about once in a while: money. But in a good way! Mint links to your bank accounts so you can easily see how much you have and how much you spend, but you can also create budgets for yourself. It can tell, based on your shops, what category you’re spending in, and will yell at your accordingly. Of course it’s not always right, but that’s why you can always go back and edit it. Additionally, it can show your credit score, you can add cash transactions, and it’ll tell you your spendings and earnings over time or just in the past few days. I love it so much, takes away so many worries about moolah.

2. Venmo

I know, I know – another money app! But this one’s less about you and more about that situation you get into with your friends, where maybe you’re out of cash and you owe them or you want to keep the score even and watched-over. Everyone knows those people that try to wriggle out of debts, and when you’re a college student and money is very, very precious, Venmo makes it much easier to ensure your friends send you the money immediately. Plus, if you’re not the type to carry cash or don’t have the change to split and give to someone you owe the money to, you’re covered with Venmo.

3. The Loyola App

Yeah, Loyola has its own app! Through this, you can access your class schedule, a map of campus, Sakai, Locus, your financials, and on and on! It saved my life so many times during the first few weeks of school. No more printing out the class schedule – it’s right there on your phone! Plus, you can see what books you’ll need for your classes, how many people will be in your class, your syllabi – and so much more. It’s really great.

4. Campus Dining

What’s this? Well, our three dining halls have an app! That way, you see what’s being served where, and when, and for how long. So if it’s Wing Wednesday at Simpson but you’re nearer to Damen, but you don’t want to swipe in and regret, you can look up what’s in Damen before you make the decision! It’s really useful and great.

5. GroupMe


If you don’t have this yet, download it immediately! Before I had GroupMe, I had a variety of other chatting apps like LINE and WeChat, but they both take up so much room on my phone that eventually I caved and just deleted them. Then, I made a GroupMe groupchat with other people on the Class of 2019 facebook page (this was the end of senior year of high school) and bam! With easy texting between everyone with different phones and easy adding more people as they joined, we became really tight. It was a load off my shoulders that when I arrived at Loyola, I already felt like I really knew people here because we had talked and even Skyped so much. Nowadays I use GroupMe with all my friends, both here and back home, and since it’s so easy to make groups and organize them, I use it for group projects constantly!

6. YikYak

You might already have this, but trust me when I say YikYak is best on college campuses. I can’t guarantee it’s quality content, but what I can tell you is that it’s the fastest way to learn about things happening on campus that you won’t see flyers for – not in a bad way, but if someone gets hurt on campus or there’s a dorm that’s being evacuated due to a water incident, YikYak’ll be the first to know. That way, you can avoid going to Late Night Dining on nights where the entire population of Campion is going to deNobili because they got kicked out of their dorms while the authorities dealt with the rogue sprinklers. True story, folks.

7. Spotify

College is a place where you’ll find like-minded people, and it’s incredibly easy to find people with the same music taste as you. Spotify can not only hook you up with new music from them as you see what they’re listening to, but it saves money – Spotify Premium is way cheaper than constantly buying new songs on iTunes or trying to download them from filesharing sites (which, I may add, is illegal.) Plus, since there’s wifi everywhere on campus, you won’t ever be without music.

8. Uber


You’re gonna find yourself needing this some time in your college career in Chicago, I guarantee it. It might not be so useful if you’re going to college in the middle of nowhere, but in Chicago it’s invaluable. You never know if the L will be skipping your stop for the day, or if you’ll need a ride back from the airport because otherwise you’ll be late for something, or even if you’d prefer not to take public transportation after an evening downtown. You could also get Lyft, I suppose – either way, you get what you need, it’s fast, it’s worth the price.


I love technology, I could go on and on about different I’d recommend, but these are the top 8 essential apps. WatchOverMe, Outlook, Kite, probably even Plant Nanny I’d recommend as well, but then the list gets really long and eventually I’d just be telling you my favorite apps, which are a little different and off-topic. Anyway, keep these in mind! I hope I help!

ABI: Joppa Farm

ABI: Joppa Farm

One, we are the ramblers…Two, we love Loyola… Three, we wanna scream for more more more more!


I am back to Chicago after an amazing week at Joppa Farm, Tennessee. Let me tell you, it was not easy adjusting at first because we had no concept of time, and that was something I am not used to. We also didn’t have access to our cell phones, so no way of connecting with friends and family and checking our daily emails about mid-term grades. Another interesting experience was that we only had two showers a week! This one was the hardest but I made it through. In addition to our Loyola group at the farm, there were also groups of students from Saint Xavier University and University of Notre Dame.
During our time on the farm, we volunteered at a nursing home, a school, and did construction at people’s homes. We were privileged to meet awesome human beings with great welcoming hearts. We built a porch for one family, painted the porch and the roof and fixed a floor for another, and we used mortar to will help bind the bricks and concrete masonry units together by filling and sealing the irregular gaps between them in another home. All the families were grateful that we were helping them build a better home. Another awesome thing we did was hike the Great Smoky Mountains. It was incredible! It was a quite a trek but at the end the view from the mountain was amazing, we saw mountains, a small waterfall and nature itself.
Throughout my week at Joppa Farm, Tennessee, I learned about the four different pillars of the ABI: live simply, build community, deepen faith, and do justice. I didn’t care about not having my phone because I was living in the movement with everyone else around me instead of trying to see what my friends were doing back at home. Also, by not knowing time, it was easier for us to not think about what we had to do and worry about other things that were not necessary at the moment. And if anyone asked what we were doing later in the day, the mangers would say, “Don’t anticipate, PARTICIPATE!”. Also, the two showers a week were not bad at all, we were saving water which felt good and we were living simply! We were able to build community by interacting with everyone around us and learning more about their life experiences. We deepened our faith by doing reflections every night and thinking about the consolation and desolation of the day. Also, we prayed before we ate any of our meals and before departure to our sites. We did justice by bringing awareness of rural poverty to others.
This experience was amazing! I got close to my Ramblers friends and staff leaders, I want to thank them for allowing me to be a part of this journey!
Hiking on the Great Smoky Mountains
My College Search Experience

My College Search Experience


It was not until the end of junior year that I started to look into different colleges. At that time, I still never went to a college to tour the campus, shadow a student, or even look up info online. I was scared about college and I kept procrastinating my college search. As a first generation, my family did not know how to help me through these times. They encouraged me and supported me, but they did not know what the college application process was like nor did they know what exactly to do on their part.

Through my high school college “coach”, he was able to explain to me what I had to do to successfully find a college I was satisfied in attending. Loyola was the second college I visited and I took a campus tour by myself. From the very beginning, entering the Undergrad Amissions office in Sullivan center, I was blown away by the view of Lake Michigan through the glass windows. As we started the tour, I felt so comfortable- the people were not intimidating as I thought, LUC has state-of-the-art facilities, and the Jesuit, Catholic tradition could be seen everywhere. As a whole, LUC really impressed me; other universities did not have a welcoming ‘vibe’.

LUC was one of my choices to attend college because of a couple of reasons:

(1) I want to be able to commute to school to save money

(2) I want to find a Catholic school

(3) I want a school with a good reputation

Visibly, LUC was my #1 choice. I was happy to be admitted into this school. When I got my acceptance letter in the mail, LUC welcomed me with open arms with a unique card and acceptance packet. (If you just got one of these, you should know what I mean! 🙂 )

If I could give any advice to incoming freshman, it would be:

  • Visit at least 2 in-state colleges and 2 out-of-state colleges. (Religiously affiliated, private, public, etc…)
  • Understand (or experience) what dorming is like.
  • Know people who have been to college already and ask for their do’s and do-not’s of college.
  • Do scholarship applications!
  • If you have a college coach, visit them frequently and keep them up-to-date with what you have done and what you need to do.
  • Have a mentor
  • Be optimistic about going to college!