Month: February 2019

Local Fave Restaurant: XO Marshmellow

Local Fave Restaurant: XO Marshmellow

 

How do you like your marshmallows?

If you say: I like them when there’s a whole store dedicated to them, then you’re in luck! I may have written about this place years ago, when it first opened up, but I think it’s always good to bring the attention back.

XO Marshmallow is, at best, a ten minute walk north of campus. It has sweet treats and photo-ready decorations for anybody! Although the space is small, it manages to feel a lot bigger with the airy lightness of the colors and the delicious, fun treats they have for sale. A friend recently brought me a marshmallow pop from there and it was so good. A sign of a true friend, bringing me something just because!

Truth be told, I think they are a little magical in there. They invent all sorts of delights, from funfetti marshmallows to marshmallow turtles – and foods for those with dietary restrictions as well, so nobody has to miss out on the happiness. I’m always tempted to go up there and get a coffee or a hot cocoa, especially on days like these!

Check out their website here or pop by yourself when you come visit. Be sure to check their hours first, since it’s a small business they’re not exactly open all hours of the day, but it’s a local Rogers Park business that’s totally worth a visit.

Such a ‘Bler: How I Cried During My First Playwriting Workshop

Such a ‘Bler: How I Cried During My First Playwriting Workshop

And so it was my turn in THTR 204: Playwriting, to present my heart on the pages as a livewire of nervous hormones of an aspiring playwright. I raised my hand to go third, and as nervous as I felt, I was ready. 

I have always struggled with feeling too abstract in my approach to art, yet this was my most abstract piece yet. The assignment called for a five to seven-page scene focusing on character and plot. I wrote a conversation between a seventeen-year-old girl and her imaginary friends about her mental health. I decided to not reveal the aspect of the imaginary friend in before the reading to see if the scene’s clues spoke for themselves. Honestly this was a make or break moment for me, and well here’s how I ended up crying.  

The reactions I received were beyond anything I had ever imagined or frankly, could wish for. This was the second time in my life, presenting my work to such a diverse audience (the first being fall of freshman year during THTR 100: Introduction to Theatre Experience) and I am nothing but grateful for it. To my surprise, they were moved. They listened closely but were still left confused, hungry and disturbed which is everything I was trying to achieve. I feared my work was too abstract, too specific, too minimal – like the critic I’d always often receive. But everything I feared turned out to be everything they loved about the scene. 

 They just wanted more. And as I listened to their curiously tongue-tied feedback, I was inspired all over again. It was the exact hug I needed to trust myself as a playwright. One thing that I think I will always remember is how they touched on this fear I had been expressing since day 1 of the course. The encouragement was heartwarming, and I am now more confident in my difference than ever. 

 As I write this, a classmate just came up to tell me again how much he was moved by the reading, and I am still speechless. I have a lot to say and a lot of things I want to thank the group and our professor, but I honestly have still yet been able to find the right words. I guess I will keep on writing, I guess that is how I’ll thank them for their support. 

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

Such a ‘Bler: Rehearsal rehearsal (space)

Such a ‘Bler: Rehearsal rehearsal (space)

Say hello to Mundelein 125.

For the past five weeks, I have spent at least two hours every Monday and Wednesday in this room. This is the classroom for my THTR 266: Acting Theories and Techniques I course. I am no actress, perhaps a performer but mainly a playwright. However, I feel comfortable in 125 and am learning more and more about space as well as my place and power within in.

I love the simplicity yet complicated possibilities of such a room. There are bits and bobs for us to play with to construct worlds needed for our different theatrical portals. It is realistic for practice but not intimidating of a stage for newbies like I. And I love that it is open for free rehearsal hours. How it is set up in the picture is how my scene partner and I have decided to stage the argument scene between Corie and Paul in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park for our first round of acting projects in the course. It’s supposed to be a living room, with a staircase leading to a bedroom, or a small apartment (did we do it justice?)

Mundelein 125 has also been a kitchen, a school yard and a foster home. And well, it is the playground of my acting career for now, and those of the many talents I am honored to learn from.

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

Such a ‘Bler: Feeling Anxious and the Wellness Center

Such a ‘Bler: Feeling Anxious and the Wellness Center

In all honesty, I haven’t been feeling my best. There isn’t a particular reason or event that triggered this feeling, but sometimes that’s just how life is. I’m trying to do the best I can to not let it affect my academics and student organization activities too much.  

With that being said, I recognize the importance of discussing one’s mental health and self-care. In the fall of my freshman year, I attended the Loyola 360 retreat. As started on Loyola’s website, “it is a weekend opened to students in their first year at Loyola to gain a better understanding of the Jesuit mission and identity as well as a sense of community through the common 360 experience.” Though some parts of the retreat did not directly link to my identity as an Agnostic Atheist, it was an eye-opening experience not only about my identity but my mental health. This is because the questions asked during group activities and small discussion groups really focused on everyone’s individual identities regardless of their origin, belief or current place in life. And I really appreciated that. I received insight about the Jesuit values, but was also able to reflect and enhance my own. 

One of my biggest takeaways from this weekend was a moment of recognition. One of the discussion group leaders noticed that I was feeling anxious and asked if I was okay. This then became a deeper conversation between my discussion group leader and I, and for possibly the first time, I felt comfortable opening up about my mental health. It was then suggested that I made an appointment at the Wellness Center to see a psychiatrist.  

As of this Tuesday, I have been going for almost a semester and a half now. Being able to sit down and talk about how I’m feeling each week and actively work on strategies to counter my negative thoughts has helped me become less anxious and braver in my mental health journey. Most importantly, I do not feel alone. I appreciate that my psychiatrist asks the difficult questions but also allows me to do what is most comfortable for me. I cannot say that I am completely better, but I am far from where I was that night of the retreat.  

I know that I still have a long way to go, but it isn’t about fully getting rid of your demons but learning to face them when they do appear. I still have my days, but I now face them with a tougher and yet friendlier armor.  

 

Here are links to what has helped me, and I hope I was able to give you a hug too: 

Loyola Retreats: https://www.luc.edu/campusministry/retreats/retreatofferings/ 

Loyola University Chicago Wellness Center: https://www.luc.edu/wellness/ 

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

Such a ‘Bler: LU Wolf’s Birthday!

Such a ‘Bler: LU Wolf’s Birthday!

This past weekend, we celebrated a very special Rambler’s birthday: Loyola University Chicago’s very own mascot, LU Wolf!

The campus buzzed with excitement. Not only was it game day in Gentile Arena, but of course a party thrown to celebrate LU. Gathering in the Den of the Damen Student Center were all his friends = from students, faculty to other mascots!! There were games, treats, singing and of course a birthday cake for wishes.

LU Wolf is a member of the Loyola Spirit Team. He is an essential part of the cheer during our athletic games and travels with the Loyola Cheer and Dance team to tournaments. I would say that being LU is honestly an significant honor as he represents the passion, integrity and enthusiasm of Loyola and Loyola Athletes. It’s also takes a lot of responsibility and skill, but if one embodies the spirit of the Loyola student promise, I’m sure the gloves fit 😉

Fun fact: one of the “LU”s actually lived on my freshman year dorm haha.

 

Read more about LU Wolf and the Spirit team here:

https://loyolaramblers.com/sports/2017/5/25/ot-loyc-spirit-html.aspx

https://www.luc.edu/nsp/aboutus/loyolatraditions/luwolf/?

 

Happy Birthday LU! I’m so glad to have you around and it is always so exciting to see you around campus. Here are some memorable shots of the day from the Ramblers Cheer Instagram story!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

 

 

Organization Highlight: GlobeMed

Organization Highlight: GlobeMed

Interested in the healthcare professions? You may want to check out the chapter of GlobeMed at Loyola, an organization dedicated to connecting student leaders interested in health and justice with international grassroots organizations.

Truth be told, I’m not in GlobeMed myself, but I have lots of friends who are in it. I mostly know what they do from two sources: my friends, talking passionately and excitedly about what they’ve discussed or done with the organization, and also the countless sales they have in Damen Student Center of some tasty treats.

Most recently, they had a sale for Sprinkles Cupcakes, one of the best cupcake places in the city. (Their downtown location has an ATM!)

But I also know from firsthand experience that they sell Empanadas and other take-away snacks I can munch on on my way to class.

 Here’s a recent flyer of theirs.

More about GlobeMed itself. The students work with Centro Romero, a Rogers Park-based community organization looking to help out immigrants and refugees and create sustainable solutions. You can check out more here at their website or here on their twitter.  

I really recommend looking more into GlobeMed, who supports other organizations on campus to work together during Hunger Week, and hosts speakers like Bushra Amiwala. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s incredible – she ran for public office at age 19!

GlobeMed, like a lot of other organizations on campus, strive to make a change in our community. And from what I’ve seen, they work hard to make it a success!

PSA Provides for Kiran Foundation in Pakistan

PSA Provides for Kiran Foundation in Pakistan

Kiran Foundation is a Non-Profit organization that is imbedded in the reality of Lyari, an area that has been through immense pain and turmoil, but is resilient and largely misunderstood.

“We provide education rooted in the awareness and understanding of mental health and wellbeing by building safe and happy learning environments where children and their families can not only heal through their traumas but also flourish.”

“We nurture mothers and caregivers along with their children, and build safe and happy spaces where they are free to grow and thrive together. We develop positive habits in children from a young age, with the aim to nurture them into kinder, more mindful individuals.”

“We go beyond the ideas of conventional education, and incorporate elements that help children as well as the adults develop a deeper sense and understanding of themselves and others, enabling them to regulate their thoughts and emotions. The beauty of our education system lies in the fact that we engage parents and caregivers (especially the mothers) in the learning process as equal partners. Without the active involvement of the mother, our job is only half-done.”

Children give what children get. The abused have the tendency to become the abusers. This is the ‘Cycle of Abuse’ that has plagued the world at large, and areas like Lyari in particular. “We believe that the only way to reverse this cycle is to engage people in activities that help them direct their energy towards a purpose that is bigger than their pain.”

Our visit to Kiran Foundation was an eye opening and enriching experience. Our PSA executive board fell in love with their mission since day one, but visiting the Foundation in person was powerful and meaningful. There were bright colors everywhere, children smiling and laughing while learning and playing cricket, girls battling guys in basketball, and so much more. Kids ran up to us and gave us warm hugs, which melted our hearts.
Alhumdullilah, this has been eradicated and the neighborhood is much safer in present day. Residents are able to go about their normal everyday lives.
Kiran Foundation gives the underprivileged children of Lyari a noble opportunity to learn, along with their mothers, so they can be women the children can look up to. These children are able to go from Lyari to the top preliminary schools in Karachi, and dream of attending some of the top universities in the world such as Harvard and MIT all because of this foundation. We are very excited to support Kiran Foundation and work closely with the children to give them the resources they need to reach their dreams. 
We are grateful for the amazing donations of all these books by Asim Ali and our Executive Board. We cherish members like you!
Departments and Support – for You!

Departments and Support – for You!

You may have already heard that Loyola students have advisors during their first and second years, and then a more specialized one in their major or field of study when they get there. I’m not going to contradict that, no way, it’s super great!

But yet another thing I love about Loyola is that the professors here go above and beyond just being like: oh, you’ve got a question? Go ask your advisor.

Specifically I speak with knowledge of the History and Global and International Studies departments, but I’m 10000% certain this applies to other departments because I see flyers for their events too, all the time. (I just don’t go to any other events because, well, those two are my majors.)

Recently I attended an event thrown by the head of the History department – a ‘What do I do after Graduation with a History Major?’ thing where students of all ages, from freshman (wow) to seniors like myself went to just talk about how to apply a history major to, well, the rest of the world. While academia and being eternally up to your eyeballs in history sounds exciting, it’s not really a viable life course for everyone.

I thought it was super neat because we split into two groups – law school, and grad school. There was intended to be a group about finding a job, but since there was so much interest in those two paths the lady who was there about career paths figured she could better help the other two discussions. In this way, I was able to ask the department head questions in a smaller group, and we ten or so talked about a bunch of things. Is a professor going to remember me if I took their class from four years ago? What does a good mentor do? How do you craft a good statement of purpose?

Plus, I mean, there was free pizza. I’m sure a lot of schools and universities also do the same thing, so no matter where you go, this is another thing that I totally encourage you to take advantage of. The clock is ticking for me, ticking down to graduation, and although I can sort of ignore it (although I really shouldn’t be) I know I’ve got to keep my focus and keep looking ahead.

I wasn’t really considering grad school too strongly, but who knows? After this event, I feel better equipped to take a look, and if I love the thought, then I’m certainly more knowledgeable than I was.

4 Year Plan –> 4 Year Journey

4 Year Plan –> 4 Year Journey

It feels like it was just yesterday where I was sitting in UNIV 101 stressing out about my 4 year plan. “How is it possible to plan my academia life in 4 years?!?” Well, here I am! Being at Loyola University was the best thing for me, mentally and academically. I look back and imagine my mindset then, and how much I have grown, and it is an incredibly proud feeling. So, you should be proud of your accomplishments too! Often, we get so caught in the moments of stress, and we forget to appreciate and acknowledge our own self work. Freshmen year was all about making friends, fitting in, and figuring out which path to take on this journey.

Freshmen year was so exciting for me because I became friends with such a diverse group of people and I was not used to such flexibility in class schedules, so I was living it! Unfortunately, my GPA wasn’t at its strongest, and I had a lot of external stress and pressure. It was so hard to understand how to study, which professor is the ‘good’ professor, how to have the best schedule, when can I have fun, etc. We’ve all been through this, and its okay! In the moment, it may seem overwhelming and you may even see your grades first semester compared to the straight A’s you were probably getting in high school and are like…. uhhh?? Again, ITS OKAY. This is that early turning point that allows you to fix that right away without being totally screwed for the next four years. Luckily, I was able to recognize this and act on it right away.

Sophomore and Junior year, I was able to let myself grow immensely. There were many downhill moments and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I lost friends, made new friends, joined new organizations, and was able to find the real me. I was able to find a new passion into weight lifting when I was no longer allowed to play soccer, and my mental and physical health were at a much stronger point.

Now here, as a senior, it is definitely bitter sweet. Of course, I kind of just want to graduate and begin my career, but the memories made, the friends, and the struggles, were all part of me and who I am today. Although senioritis is trying to catch up to me, I am definitely trying to stay strong and push through these next few weeks. I cant believe the semester is almost over and I look forward to what is set next for me.

 

Advancing Health Care at Loyola

Advancing Health Care at Loyola

 

Hey Ramblers! The news is in town that Loyola University Chicago will be creating a new School of Health Sciences and Public Health (SHSPH) starting in the 2019-20 school year. SHSPH’s purpose is to educate clinicians and health professionals, address critical needs in the health care industry, and find innovative solutions to closing gaps in health care access and equity.

Being a Jesuit institution, the new School of Health Sciences and Public Health brings all of health care together and advocates for education, research, practice. Loyola aims to assist the poor and marginalize our society. Loyola is committed to provide quality care and have professionals to lead the future of health care delivery with a variety of skills and experience.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care is changing fast now that we are advancing technology and shifting demographics. By the next decade, we are predicted to grow at least 18% – this being the fastest average of growth of all occupations. That being said, there will be 2.3 million new jobs. This expansion in healthcare calls for the demand of health informaticians, clinical data scientists, biostatisticians, and health technology security experts.

SHSPH brings together programs for undergraduate and graduate students and for working professionals seeking a career change or additional education to supplement skills that improve clinical and patient care. Existing Loyola programs, such as those in public health, undergraduate health systems management, exercise science, and dietetics, will be part of SHSPH and will offer more degree or certificate options. Innovative and accessible program formats for adult learners will include online instruction and hybrid learning programs, which will take advantage of existing technology, classroom, and laboratory space on Loyola’s Health Sciences Campus.

SHSPH will provide educational opportunities to current and future health care professionals. Some areas, such as health informatics and data analytics, are unique to the Chicago area and draw on the strength of the University’s relationship and data-sharing partnership with Trinity Health and Loyola Medicine. The school positions Loyola to complement the Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and continue its leadership role in health care education and practice.

This will be a new chapter for Loyola University Chicago in terms of expanding our commitment to educating the health care professionals of the future, improving people’s health, and serving those in need.