Month: April 2016

Two Years Left!?!

Two Years Left!?!

Do you think high school went fast? You’re in for a ride because college goes by much faster. I remember sitting in a classroom for seven hours a day with one lunch break in high school wondering if the day would go by any faster. Every year after that initial freshman year, the day went by more and more quick. But, here in college everything seems to flash before my eyes.

You ask, why? Why is because in college, aside from a few general education requirements, I got to pick what I wanted to study. Especially this year, I feel like I’ve found my niche here at Loyola. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve joined the Classical studies department and I’ve become incredibly happy. Not only do I have my friends from my freshman year community but I also have friends that I can really relate to and have scholarly conversations with.

Now have I made friends with those bright individuals in my major but I’ve created incredible plans to look forward to. I recently applied and have been accepted to study abroad in Rome with Loyola’s JFRC campus. I will not only be in Europe but I will be in a city that bursts with classical material and hopefully making new friends in the meantime.

If you’re about to enter college and you’re reading this, please don’t be afraid to be yourself. There are 10,000 undergraduates on this campus and some of them are bound to connect with you. Be open minded and try not to judge people. Judging people can be easy but first impressions aren’t always the best and outside factors may be contributing to that impression. Accept people for what they are worth and to do that we must get to know them properly. Kick in your sense of adventure and set the world on fire!

Sincerely,

That soon to be Junior 🙂

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Are You Sure I’m Almost a Senior?

Are You Sure I’m Almost a Senior?

I promise you that just last year I was moving into a college dorm for the first time, trying to decide on a major and making new friends.

Or maybe I was back for round two, just starting to get the hang of things, making some really good friends and even spending a semester abroad at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center.

Okay, Okay then I’ve only just begun year three, finally getting to move off-campus, am excited about my major and am embracing being an upperclassman.

But there’s no way I’m almost a senior.

Then again…

For the past three years I’ve been calling Chicago and Loyola home. These years have felt like some of the fastest of my life. As they say, ‘Time flies when you’re having fun!’ Which I would say has been exactly the case for me. Sure, I’ve faced my fair share of stresses and hardships during my college experience, but honestly I wouldn’t take any of it back.

My junior year has been especially good to me. I’ve finally chosen a major that I’m excited about in Public Relations and am looking forward to another year of classes at the School of Communication. And thanks to some inspiration from a favorite Loyola professor of mine, I’ve also added a Marketing minor. My classes this year have pushed me academically, made me a better writer and helped shape my worldview.

I’ve gotten to live with some incredible girls during my time at LUC and this year has been no exception. I’ve loved having the chance to live in an apartment off-campus where I get to be more connected to the Rogers Park community.  This year I got much better about getting out and exploring the city and hope to continue doing so over the next year. (One of my new favorite foods is Spanish tapas–which are especially good at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba in Lincoln Park!)

This year I’ve experienced the most personal growth yet, academically, spiritually and in my relationships, for which I am truly grateful.

My college experience has been completely different than what my freshman-self would have expected and everything my (almost) senior-self could hope for. I’m not sure what this next year will bring or what will follow, but I think I’ll have a hard time topping my junior year at LUC.

So I guess that after looking back on it all again, it does seem like it’s time for me to be a senior. Even if I’m not quite ready to admit it.

Summer is Coming

Summer is Coming

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As we wrap up the projects and exams and say goodbye to our freshman year, It’s interesting to look back and see just how much we’ve changed over the last nine months. In August I was eighteen and anxious. I started this year without any friends, I started this year with a roommate, I started this year on the dance team, and I started this year with no idea how much I would love Loyola.

Now I’m nineteen, which isn’t really a big difference, but at the same time it kind of is. This time next year I’ll be twenty and I know now that that day is coming much sooner than I ever imagined. I still feel like I moved in a week ago sometimes. I’m a much different person now than I was a week after move in though. I’ve made a lot of good decisions, and a lot of bad decisions, but most of all I’ve made a lot of memories.

Ending freshman year is kind of surreal. I don’t really know if i’m ready to not be the new kid anymore. I mean once you’re a sophomore you know what college is about, you’re still learning, but you’ve been around the block a few times already. That’s going to be weird.

Next year people start going to study abroad. They start specializing and looking for internships. The real world is gonna be coming at us even faster. I’m glad that this year I’ve found what I think I want to do with my life, and next year I want to do even more to make my future a reality.

Freshman year is fun, it’s a lot of learning both in and out of the classroom, and a lot of finding yourself. You find out a lot about yourself freshman year, and you start to understand who the people you went to high school with really are. People change after high school, and some people really don’t.

If you’re an incoming freshman, get excited, and don’t worry, because yeah it will be hard but it will also be totally worth it!

Loyola’s Multicultural Greek Council

Loyola’s Multicultural Greek Council

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It seems like every American knows about sororities and fraternities, and the not-always-positive image of them that exists because of movies like Neighbors and Legally Blonde. People see them as white, full of, well, the type of people whose appropriate adjectives I can’t type in my position as an employee for my school. Of course, most of it is untrue and illogical. There are always exceptions, but Greek life as a whole has been changing over the past twenty years for the better and better.

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So, you might be aware of those sort of stereotypical sororities and fraternities, but did you know there is also many, many Greek-letter organizations that are not historically white? Alpha Phi Alpha was created in 1906, the first black fraternity in America. From then on, Greek organizations have been created and oriented more multi-culturally. They’re all similar to Panhellenic groups, but with a few differences that span across them all.

Multicultural Greek Organizations have traditions like stepping, strolling, calls, and reveal shows of new members that all contribute to the community of multiculturalism and pride in the organization. The Try Guys of Buzzfeed recently learned Stepping with UC’s Alpha Phi Alpha Chapter, and you can check it out right here. They also don’t have a combined Recruitment Weekend like Panhellenic and IFC organizations do, but rather usually hold free events over a course of two weeks.

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Loyola has it’s own Multicultural Greek Council. None of them are exclusively for members of one race or ethnicity or another, but rather reflect why they were founded and seek to continue those values. And usually, they’re a lot smaller than the 150+ members in other sororities and fraternities.

We have Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc, as well as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. Delta Phi Lambda is the only Asian-interest sorority on campus, while Lambda Theta Alpha is predominantly Latina. Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta are both historically African-American, but that doesn’t mean that if you aren’t, you can’t join!

As for fraternities, we’ve got Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Alpha Psi Lambda National, Inc., which is a co-ed Latinx fraternity. Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi are historically African-American as well.

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I know what you’re thinking – that’s a lot of words and groups that mean nothing to you right now. Loyola has a policy that means you can’t join a sorority or fraternity your first semester freshman year, no matter which, so there’s no need to go comparing everyone on campus right now.

But this is my advice to you: keep your eyes open and your mind even more so. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself ‘multi-cultural,’ you’re not excluded. You might just find a something new – whether it’s a whole new family, a changing experience, or a new favorite food.

(that’s something I love a lot about Loyola. All the groups are selling food 24/7. score for me, the churro-lover.)

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Finals are Approaching!

Finals are Approaching!

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Isn’t it surprising how fast this semester was and how finals was creeping behind your back the whole time, ready to lunge at you unexpectedly? Yes. This is what it feels like.

Finals week will begin next week, starting from Monday, May 2, to Saturday, May 7. Since I am taking 18 credit hours of courses, I will have finals on each day, except for Thursday and Saturday. On Friday, I will be taking three exams, from morning until nighttime (so please pray for me).

With that being said, it is essential to study (way) ahead of time and create study guides, flashcards, be a part of study groups, visit tutors and professors, and dedicate enough of your own time to read the text. One advice I have is if the professor gives you extra credit for you to do something, YOU SHOULD DO IT! Do not miss out on the opportunity because at the end of the semester, that extra credit could mean the difference between getting an A- to an A. Every little bit counts and in all honestly, doing extra credit can only boost your grade, so there is really no harm in doing it!

Finals, depending on what professor you have, he/she will simply treat exams like any other exam and sometimes (if you have an awesome professor) they will make the exam non-cumulative!

Study tips:

  1. Get plenty of rest. Naps are good, but try to get at least the required 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Meet up with professors during office hours, even if you don’t have any questions. You might learn some valuable things about the exam.
  3. Make study guides.
  4. Read the required texts.
  5. Study AHEAD of time.
  6. Eat well and healthy.
  7. Take short breaks.
  8. Prioritize what you need to do, accordingly.
  9. Do most of your studying in the break of dawn. You study more effectively at this time of day.
  10. Be optimistic and hopeful that you will do well on the finals! Have confidence!

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Dance, Eat, Museum, Repeat

Dance, Eat, Museum, Repeat

One of the perks of living with two seniors is getting to share in the joy of end of semester celebrations. As far as senior events go, Damen Ball has got to be one of the most exciting. This dance comes at the end of the spring semester each year as a sort of ‘senior send-off’. Though technically a celebration for those that are graduating, underclassman are welcome to attend if there are any tickets left.

Chicago has countless venues I would have been happy to attend a dance at, and the Museum of Science and Industry wasn’t half bad. For the past few years this museum has served as Damen Ball’s venue of choice and rightfully so. I actually hadn’t visited this museum until Friday night. The building itself is stunning with its long steps and Roman columns, providing a perfectly dramatic entrance to the ball. The extra high ceiling-ed, cross-shaped interior of the museum has a circular center, offering the perfect dance floor. Two of the wings sported long buffet lines of quesadillas, pizza, hot dogs and burgers–which after a quick photo, became our first stop of the night.

Several of the museum’s exhibits were open for students to tour during the ball–the weather exhibit, coal mine and mirror maze. Perfect for those who needed a break from a night of dancing. Though we did find time to scope out the exhibits, my friends and I spent most of our time on the dance floor. The DJ did exceptionally well at keeping people dancing until the ball was over by playing the perfect mix of popular songs and classic throwbacks.

Even if this wasn’t technically a celebration for juniors like myself, Damen Ball was still a perfect way to celebrate the end of the year. I’ll be looking forward to next year when the party will be even more of a celebration for me.

Cheers to the end of the year!

Sophomore Year Reflections

Sophomore Year Reflections

A big part of the Jesuit community involves reflection. We use reflection as a tool to tap into our past life in order to improve our future lives. Reflection is something highly valued in the Loyola Community, so I’ll take this chance to share my reflections with you as a fellow student.

As I’ve mentioned before, I entered Loyola as a Creative Writing major thinking that I wanted to be a literary journalist. As I took a few English classes I began to become bored and unchallenged, which is hardly a feeling anyone wants to feel in their desired field of study. So, I begun to speak with my friend Lucrezia about the empty feelings that swirled in my mind.  She started to talk to me about things I might enjoy and, passively, she mentioned to me that her Classical Rhetoric professor was highly encouraging her to take Latin classes. Latin. How could I not think about it earlier? I had taken four years of Latin previously and I enjoyed the classical studies courses that were offered in high school. I highly missed the premise of taking a language that paired with my field of study. Sure English is a language in itself but through the classics department, I had the key to many other languages as well.

In the middle of my sophomore fall semester, I finalized my decision to switch over to the Classical Civilizations major and the addition of a Latin minor. Upon my spring semester, I had quickly learned the challenges in which I had brought upon myself. I was very behind. Classical studies was more involved in substantial detail and honestly I could go on a rant about the infinity of important names that existed in classical Greece and classical Rome. My classmates had so much detail oriented knowledge whereas I only had foundational knowledge. And initially I did sulk about it a little but I realized that the only way to change my place was to befriend my new classmates and gain as much knowledge as I absolute could.

By befriending these wonderful people, they were surprisingly really excited to help me improve on my studies. In my previous thoughts, I looked at them as competition but now I look to them as partners in crime. By befriending my “competition” I improved not only academically but I improved socially. They introduced me to incredible students and professors that I now couldn’t imagine my academic career without. Instead of directly judging people, I’ve made it my mission to get to know the people who will potentially be in my life. On all levels, we should be in no place to judge someone else immediately because everyone has a story. And our stories are ALWAYS changing. We are the only ones who can change them and make the best out of them.

 

10 Things I Did Not Expect About Loyola

10 Things I Did Not Expect About Loyola

 

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Every school is different, and for the incoming college freshman, they’re all unknown territory. Now you can read any number of student testimonials and pictures, but you’ll never actually know till you’re there. So why should you read my list? Well, because you still want to know what you’re getting yourself into before you actually move on campus next fall. So here’s a list of the aspects of Loyola that I never understood from the website, pictures, and even campus visits!

1). Loyola is NOT a state school – Yes, you’re thinking, I already know that idiot. But I say this just as a reminder not to expect a lot of the same campus trends as your friends who go to state school. You’re in the city, and even though you have a campus – it’s nothing like any school you’ve seen in the movies.

2). People “dress up” on campus – This is one of the differences between state school and city schools that I didn’t really expect. Students – practically everyone – actually get up and get dressed in actual clothes for class. This is different from what I had heard about other schools and everyone living in sweats and pajamas because on campus no one cares – people kind of care here.

3). Greek Life is actually a thing – because Loyola isn’t exactly known for it’s greek life, I never imagined that being part of the greek community would mean anything. I was surprised to find out just how developed and thriving this community is. Check it out, it’s worth it.

4). A lot of students have on campus jobs – I clearly work for the university since you’re reading my blog post right now, but I was slightly surprised to find out just how many kids actually have on campus jobs with Loyola. You can get involved with these different opportunities at job fairs and through the information on the website.

5).Even though we aren’t a party school, people still go out – Yeah, finding weekend activities is a little more challenging here than at any big ten state school, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good times to be had. Once you find your friends or join a group on campus you will find that going out and having a good time becomes much easier.

6). Not everyone is Catholic/Jesuit – You might not be surprised by this, but I kind of was. I didn’t think everyone would be Catholic, Jesuit, or even Christian, but I didn’t really understand just how diverse Loyola would be. There is a place for everyone of every religious or cultural background on Loyola’s campus.

7). Taking the ‘el’ get’s 100% easier after the first time – I was really scared that I would never figure out the public transportation system, or be confident using it. Don’t worry though, after you do it once you’ll be much more calm and you’ll be able to start using it all the time.  (pro tip – save a picture of the CTA train map on your phone for ref).

8). Living In Mertz isn’t all Bad – There’s a lot of hype surrounding the biggest oldest freshman dorm on campus, “Mertz till it Hurts” is everyone’s favorite mantra. But Mertz has the best community feeling of any of the dorms I know. I lived in De Nobili (loved it btw), but kids who lived in Mertz seemed to always know what was going on.

9). You’ll see people around campus constantly! – Because of Loyola’s size you’re going to see people in random places around campus and downtown like all the time. This isn’t a bad thing! It actually makes living in the city a little more homey! I love running into friends downtown, always a fun surprise!

10). College is what you make of it – Going to any school, whether it’s Loyola or a state school, is going to give you exactly what you put into it. What I mean by this is that there are a lot of stigma’s surrounding private schools and city schools that can seem hard to break through, but after a year at Loyola I can honestly say that whatever aspect of college you really want you can probably find at Loyola. If you really want to be in a sorority, you can do that; If you really want to be independent and never see anyone, you can do that; If you want to go out every weekend, you can do that; If you want to bum around your dorm 24/7, you can do that too. Loyola is unique, but it has a wide variety of activities and qualities to offer it’s students that you might not realize till you’re here.

 

 

 

Registering For Classes – What’s that like?

Registering For Classes – What’s that like?

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One of the biggest aspect of colleges is class. Unexpected, right? Not nearly so much as you would think. There are also other essential components to the college experience, but class is pretty high up there on the list, definitely a tie for first with whatever you love. After all, it’s kind of the reason you’re at college – or the reason you get to complete it.

In the movies, there’s barely any representation of classes that you go to, or if there is, they take way less precedence that the drama between characters. Admittedly, a movie about an ordinary college class would not be very exciting. But classes are! Since you have freedom to choose which class you want, you can take anything that you need, love, or want to pursue.

There’s just one catch: you might not get into it on your first try. (It’s not as scary as it seems, I promise you.)

I just want to share with you all about the class registration process, because it can get pretty crazy. I know it always causes me panic, as a very schedule-oriented person, so I fix that by making alternate schedules upon alternate schedules, calculating what to do if I don’t get into this class or that. We have something called the Four-Year Plan, a layout on Excel that provides an easy layout for planning all of your classes, if you’re like me and want to check that out.

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The way our registration works can seem weird, but it makes sense. Depending on your credit hours, you get to have registration priority, or if you are in a program that requires you to take classes in a specific order or amount, such as Honors.

Registration takes place entirely online, unless you need to talk to an advisor about something specifically – they can override things and pretty much have magical schedule powers. Before registration even opens, however, you can put classes into your ‘shopping cart’ after picking out the time, teacher, and class that is offered that best works with you. That way, when you do get to register, you don’t have to waste precious time scanning through the inventory – you can just click ‘enroll’ and you’re set!

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Unless, of course, your class is filled by people with an earlier registration time than you. For freshman classes, that’s very unlikely, but it gets more common the longer you’re here. It’s all dependent on credits – so, credit Seniors get first pick, then Juniors, Sophomores, and so on. It’s pretty neat because many people come into college with transfer credits from AP classes so they could be a credit Sophomore while still being a freshman, allowing for earlier registration. Very cool.

Really, as an incoming freshman, you shouldn’t worry about getting into classes too much. You might hear this piece of advice a lot, but I’ll tell it again: don’t take 8 am classes. Later in your college career the professor becomes more important than the time, but I have seen so many freshmen regret their decision to take an early class. Just trust me.

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Committment

Committment

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On Saturday, April 16, all Loyola sophomores were invited to celebrate their half-way mark to graduation. It was a fun-filled event with chocolate fountains, photo booths, and good company of close friends. This event also coincided with ‘Week of Excellence’ in which Loyola celebrated the achievements of its students in every realm- research, service, etc.

The biggest highlight from this event was receiving our commitment keys, as shown above. This key not only represents our dedication and commitment towards a Jesuit education, but it is a matching key to the one we received a week before becoming official LUC students back in summer of 2014. That key looks identical to the one we just got; the only difference is the writing. Instead of “convocation”, the key now says “commitment.”

This ‘Half-Way to Graduation’ event was very eye-opening. I cannot believe that my I have only two more years left of being an undergraduate student. Much has happened through these last two years, but somehow I was able to overcome them and still stand strong. I understand that these next two years will not be easy, but through the support of my loved ones, I have motivation and commitment to persevere on and have bright, successful future ahead of me.