Author: Emily Carreno

FYRE

FYRE

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I am part of a learning community at Loyola. There are a variety of learning communities that incoming freshman can join. Students that are in learning communities will have monthly meetings about their learning community. Also, students will live in the same building with their learning community peers to get to know each other.
 
The learning community I am a part of is First Year Research Experience (FYRE). With this community, students stay for three weeks in May to do their own research after the spring semester is over. FYRE students are placed in a groups that focus on a specific subject. The different subjects are mathematics, statistics, physics, computer science, biology and more. I was placed in the mathematics group so I have to choose a social justice topic and use mathematics to analyze the data collected for my research topic. Currently, my topic is the cost of healthcare and I will researching how has the cost of healthcare changed over the past 10 years and what populations are still struggling to gain access to it. I think this will be a great experience because I get to prepare myself to conduct and analyze research on my own. I am a nursing major and might not need research later in life but it is still a great experience to have. I can also add it to my resume and show people that I tried something new that was out of my comfort zone.
 
After that my three weeks of research, summer begins. To be honest, I do not know what I will do for the three months off, but I will definitely be taking advantage of my break and taking time to care for myself, others and my community.
Multicultural Overnight

Multicultural Overnight

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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.
Studying Aboard at Madrid

Studying Aboard at Madrid

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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.

ABI: Joppa Farm

ABI: Joppa Farm

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

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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!
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Hiking on the Great Smoky Mountains
Joppa Farm Here I Come!

Joppa Farm Here I Come!

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Spring break is only a few days away!!! I am really excited because I will be spending my spring break at Joppa Farm, located in Tennessee. I never have been to Tennessee so this will be a wonderful experience! How did I end up choosing to spend my spring break in Tennessee? Loyola’s Alternative Break Immersion (ABI) program provide opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and be involved in service and cultural immersion within a host community during university breaks. Let me tell you, I did not know about the ABI program or what it was when I first came to Loyola. So, I decided to do more research and asked friends about ABI. I finally found out what an ABI was, it is a program where students would go to a place to learn about a community they are living in and learn about the four different pillars: live simply, build community, deepen faith, and do justice. You can do an ABI during your winter break, spring break and/or summer as well! There are many places you can go such as New York, Oregon, West Virginia, Mexico, El Salvador, Jamaica and many more!
 
The reason I chose Joppa Farm, Tennessee as my ABI experience is because it is open to only first-year students. I really liked that because I can meet other freshman just like me and get to know them better and build relationships. Also, I decided to do this trip because in their community, there are Latino farm workers and their families and I feel like I can relate to them because I come from a Mexican family. I want them to feel comfortable talking to me in Spanish and having someone that may understand what they are going through.
 
Now, I just have to pack and get my things together to leave Saturday morning and get ready for a nice 9-hour trip so I will be getting to know my peers very well! I really can’t wait to see how my spring break will be! Once I come back, I’ll tell you all about my spring break trip at Joppa Farm, Tennessee!
Overnight Visit

Overnight Visit

This picture was taken by my overnight host when I came to visit Loyola.
This picture was taken by my overnight host when I came to visit Loyola last year.

 

I remember during my senior year of high school, I attended one of the overnights and I loved it! It was a great way to get to know the Loyola campus, meet new people and attend a class. I got along with my host and had a great time. When I heard about being an overnight host, I immediately applied! I was so excited to show my guests around the campus and tell them why I chose Loyola. At first, I did not know what to expect because I had never meet this person before so I was nervous and excited at the same time. We had a few conversations over text before she arrived to Loyola and I realized that everything was going to be fine. I was ready to meet her and talk about my Loyola experience and answer any questions she had.
 
We first went to my room to drop off her luggage and I gave her a mini tour of the residence hall. Then, we decided to grab some dinner and learn more about each other. I learned that she was involved in dance, cheerleading, and soccer. Also, I found out that her mother had graduated from Loyola as well. I shared with her my experiences at Loyola, such as orientation, welcome week, and my classes. She was excited to hear about my experiences because she wanted to know more about Loyola. The next morning she told me she was really excited about attending a class. She wanted to see how college life would be like. During breakfast, I answered any questions she had before heading to class. Before class started, she had the opportunity to meet my professor as well! She was really intrigued. After that, she headed back to Damen to meet with her family and we headed our separate ways. Before saying goodbye I told her she can always keep in contact with me and ask questions whenever they come to mind.
I can’t wait for my next overnight guests! This time I will be hosting two students!
Living on Campus

Living on Campus

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Living on campus makes my life way easier than being at home. I love being home and love my family but I cannot be going back and forth from home every week knowing I have a lot of work to do. Living on campus, I able to study and focus on my school work without hearing my mother on the phone or my little sister running around the house. I can have some time alone in peace and take long hot showers without my sister yelling at me to hurry up. I don’t have to worry about staying up late doing homework because I don’t have my dad asking, “What are you doing up at this time?” or my sister yelling, “Turn of the lights already.” Also, I don’t have to worry about taking the train or bus because I can walk to my class in about 5 minutes and I’ll be there. 
 
I feel more independent living on campus. I can be myself and enjoy life. Also, I have friends that take the same course as me so we can study together in the lounge and have late night dinners together. Also, living in the residence halls is a great way to meet new people and engage in different activities. On each floor of the residence halls, there are 2 resident assistants (RA) who we can easily talk about academics, life or whatever we want because they are going through the same thing we are or have learned from their experience. The RAs are there to listen and help us with any problems we are facing. Also, they create events to engage us with other people on our floor and to have some fun. For example, during Halloween time, our RA had an event where we were able to paint pumpkins and decorate the lounge. I was able to interact with other people, it was a good way to take a little break from studying and having fun with my peers. 
 
If I wasn’t living on campus, I wouldn’t be able to study with my friends at the lounge. I would be taking a 20 minute bus ride to get on campus. I would go back home every day and struggle to study because of all the noise. I wouldn’t have an RA who is very caring and helpful. I wouldn’t be independent either. I’m glad I made the decision to live on campus because it really helped me transition to college. I can’t wait for next year to see where I will be living next. 
The Process of Studying Aboard

The Process of Studying Aboard

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Studying aboard is something that didn’t cross my mind when thinking about my college experience. The person who opened my eyes to studying aboard at Loyola was my academic adviser. Being a nursing major, I have a strict outline of my four year plan and the only time I can study aboard is the fall semester of 2016, so I had to look into it. My academic adviser told me to start off by making an appointment with the study aboard office to get more information about the different places I can study aboard. There are many places you can study aboard from Australia to the Middle East to Europe and many more. The location was going to be a hard decision because I could go anywhere. First, I decided to see what universities would accept my Federal and state grants and Loyola scholarships. That narrowed it down to about 9 universities. After that, I decided to see what universities offer courses aboard that will count towards my graduation requirements. That really narrowed it down to two places: The John Felice Rome Center and Saint Louis University at Madrid. Deciding between the two was tough because they both offer great programs and different experiences, but Madrid stood out to me because I would be able to live with a host family. This will really help me experience life in Madrid and get to better know the culture.
 
Now I just needed to talk to my parents. I had to convince them why studying aboard would be a great opportunity so I brought many brochures from the study aboard office to show them. To my surprise, they were actually open to the idea because they didn’t want to stop me from doing something I was really excited about. The next step was applying to study aboard. First, I had to do an application for Loyola and then a second application for Saint Louis University. The application for Loyola was short and simple. It asked more details about where I was going and what semester I would be abroad. However, for Saint Louis University, their application required a bit more. I needed an essay, a resume, and two letters of recommendation to submit along with my application. I recently was able to secure all of those documents and now all I have to is wait to hear back! Hopefully it will be a yes! 
Second Semester Has Started Already With New Adjustments

Second Semester Has Started Already With New Adjustments


Typing my essay!
Typing my essay!

A new semester means a lot of changes such as new peers, new teachers, and new study habits, but the same me adjusting to new changes. College can be a really big adjustment from high school. It is my third week of classes and I am already studying for exams and writing a short essay. I know this week and next, I will have a tight schedule with a lot of assignments to complete, exams to study for, and activities to partake in. That is why learning to balance your time is so important and ensures that you will not be struggling to get everything done at the last minute or feeling overwhelmed.

 
The first thing you can do to set you up for a semester of success is decide what the best way for you to take notes in class is. Whether it be typing them, handwriting them, or printing out the slides, it is important to find a method that words for you and keeps you organized. Keep in mind though that every class is different, so what works for one may not work for the other, for example typing your notes when doing math might be a bit difficult. Deciding on your study methods is also helpful!  Flashcards, quizlet, or looking over your notes are all great ways to remember information. What works for me is looking over my notes, re-doing my homework assignments, and testing myself with flashcards.
 
It is also important to remember that you are not alone! There are many resources Loyola offers such as tutoring, the writing center, and librarians who can help you. Tutoring can be done in group sessions and/or tutor-led study halls for any subject needed. The writing lab is an amazing resource to use when writing papers. They will give you feedback andhelp you improve your paper. You can sign up for an appointment, or send them a draft through email, or even Skype with staff at the writing center. Also, the librarians are always there to help you through the research process. You can either set an appointment, chat with a research librarian, text them, or even email them any questions you have. While college assignments are very different from college, there is no need to panic! Learning to adjust and adapt are a part of the process and over time you will figure out what works for you.
The News That Brought Hope

The News That Brought Hope

The joy of being part of the Loyola community.
The joy of being part of the Loyola community.

Who knew paying for college could be so expensive! One thing I knew I had to do in order to pay for college was apply to scholarships, but I wasn’t sure where to start my search. The first thing I did was talked with my counselor. She told me that Loyola was offering 5 students from our high school to apply for the “Senn High School Scholars” scholarship. Right in that moment I realized I can do this, I can pay for college. But the process wouldn’t be that easy! The application consisted of answering two essay questions, each within 500 words. After I was done with my first draft, I went to my favorite teacher, Ms. Damlich, to get some feedback. After I proofread my two short essays like a million of times, I knew it was time to hit the submit button. I was scared that the essays wouldn’t be good enough for Loyola, but Ms.Damlich said they were excellent so I just went for it and waited to see what would happen. I also kept applying to other scholarships in case the Senn one didn’t work out.

Out of all of the applications, Loyola only selected 10 to be interviewed and I was thrilled when I found out I was one of them. I was also terrified because I had NEVER EVER done an interview before. To prepare, I started searching for common interview questions and how to dress professionally. I also had Ms.Damlich do a mock interview with me to help me be prepared. I also did this with different staff members because I wanted to do great. One of my teachers even made me do a mock interview in front of the whole class!!! When I arrived to the interview I thought I was going to be interviewed by only one person but no, I was wrong. I walked into the room and panicked when I saw three people sitting down ready to take notes and interview me. I told myself just be yourself, you can do this. After the interview was done, I realized it wasn’t so bad, but now I had to wait again, and in the mean time I completed more scholarship applications.

A month later, I was at the library and received a call from an unknown number. I answered and heard the voice of one of Loyola’s admission counselors. I started to feel nervous, I knew this was when I would find out if I had gotten the Senn scholarship. Guess what?! I got it! I was so proud of myself and my family was so full of joy! My mom called my family from Mexico right away to give them the news. All the hard work I put in throughout high school and throughout my application had paid off!

Whether you’re applying for a Loyola scholarship or an outside one, the following tips I learned throughout my process can be helpful!

* When doing an interview, dress professionally. Also, practice with friends, family, staff, or whomever to get you prepared. Don’t forget, the most important thing is to be yourself and be truthful.

* Never doubt yourself! I believe everyone has an opportunity to receive a scholarship as long as they put forth effort.

* Find scholarships that meet your requirements. The earlier the better! It doesn’t matter if the scholarship is just worth $500 because that money can add up and make a big difference.

* Apply to more than one scholarship. It will not hurt to give it a try.

* Keep a timeline of when the scholarships are due, so you don’t miss any deadlines.

* Ask others (such as teachers, counselors or even the librarian) to look over your application and essays.

* Some useful websites to get you started on searching for scholarships are: o http://www.fastweb.com/ o https://colleges.niche.com/scholarships/ o http://www.luc.edu/finaid/scholarships/external/ o https://www.gmsp.org/

* Also, there is an app called “Scholly” that matches you to scholarships. It’s about $3, but give it a try! They also have essay examples that you can look at.