Author: Evan Fazio

Hello! I’m Evan Fazio, and I’m double majoring in philosophy and advertising/public relations at Loyola. I’ve played in the band Mapmaker since my freshman year, and I also serve as the Event Manager for the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my great experiences at Loyola and across Chicago.
Ministry at Loyola

Ministry at Loyola

I think a lot of people come with disparate views on how Loyola’s Catholic identity will affect their daily life. As a non-Catholic I have to admit this was a concern when I was looking at schools. But working with someone from Ministry last night reminded me just why I love them so much.

Catholicism at Loyola is like cat content on the internet: it’s there when you want it, but you can go as long as you like without noticing it it too. That’s why I like the Jesuits: they care about service and eduction, not pushing any agenda. Every priest that I have had the pleasure to meet (and I have had the pleasure to meet quite a few through my various work-study jobs) has always had the same attitude.

They are here on a mission of service and education. They are so happy to be there for any student with questions about their faith, and they are always excited, engaging, and gracious whenever I’ve wanted to clear up questions about their faith. But they never judge you for not being Catholic, and if you don’t bring it up then they won’t either. I respect that, a lot.

But if you do happen to work with them, you’ll find that they are some of the nicest people in the world. Not just the priests, but the other people involved in ministry too. I met with Steven Betancourt last night from Sacramental Life, the Director of Liturgical Music. He and I are working together to put on an event in the Madonna Della Strada Chapel. He is always so accommodating and easy to work with. I sometimes worry about how my department’s events will run once I leave with all my specialized knowledge and connections with other departments, but he reassures me that at least concerning the Chapel we will still be OK.

So for you non-Catholics out there thinking about Loyola, don’t worry. I have had a great time here and really enjoy the Catholic presence. But unless you actively search it out, the only reason you’ll know you’re at a Catholic University is that you get extra time off for Easter, they call it Christmas Vacation instead of Winter Break, you have to take 2 religion classes (any religion) and you’ll hear the church bell toll on the hour.

Garanzini And Me

Garanzini And Me

I’ve always liked our president, the Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.

The first time that I saw him was when I was crossing the street on Devon and Glenwood. It was a rare and shocking glimpse to see him so far down Devon by himself. I’ll never know what he was doing there. But as we crossed the street towards each other, I knew I wanted to try to make a quick impression. So rather than nervously addressing him, “Hello Fr. President Sir” or something like that, I approached him with my first firmly extended for a fist bump, nodded my head up and said “sup dude?” He smiled a big huge smile, said “HEY!” and bumped my fist. Awesome.

After that I started running audio at events in Mundelein Auditorium. There were a few whirlwind events back to back in the auditorium, so I had the occasion to run into him more than once in a short amount of time. Each time since then I tried to give him that same “sup dude?” and bump his fist if I could. Even if it only ever worked a couple time it was still great each time. What a down to Earth president, right?

The best part of this story happened a few days after the last event. I was walking alone the lakeshore and saw him walking with another Jesuit priest. I did not want to make him break decorum in front of the other priest so I politely smiled, intending to just let him pass. But to my surprise he stopped for a moment when they got close. “This,” he said to the other priest as he took of his glasses and poked me in the shoulder, “is the guy who keeps everything together.”

Then he was gone. I haven’t gotten to see him as much since. But I have half a mind to give him a fist bump when I walk across the stage in May.

Working out at Halas gym

Working out at Halas gym

Something that is a pretty large part of my daily life, and about which I never write, is Loyola’s gym.

Halas is one of those things that I encounter on a daily basis knowing that in just a few short years (maybe one? I don’t know their plans) it will be much better. But, for now, isn’t hitting it’s full potential.

A lot of people complain about having the weights and the cardio machines all together in the same room. That does not really bother me all that much; I have long since abandoned any notion of not making a fool of myself or failing in front of the opposite gender. Once I realized that everybody is on their own program and has their own goals, I realized that nobody could ever judge me (and I could not judge them) for how much weight they were lifting or how they were using the cardio machines.

No, the problems I have have more to do with the facility and less to do with the layout.

Sometimes they have problems controlling the heat. The ceiling now is pretty low, but this will change soon. As part of the ongoing construction, Loyola is going to expand and add to the existing gym. It should be a much improved space. The space is very usable now, but is only going to be better in the near future.

Finally, I have to admit that I’m not much of a top 40’s guy. Some of the music they play is… suspect. To my ears. I do not doubt that most folks enjoy it. But personally, I always appreciate the time I am there when they play no music at all. Everybody has headphones anyway!

At the end of the day though, I do not want to be a complete Debbie Downer. Going to Halas has been one of the better parts of how Loyola has made it easy for me to improve myself this year. I’ve met a lot of personal goals in that gym, and it feels good to be able to work on my health for free on campus.

Tools For Organizing

Tools For Organizing

As is often the case, I found myself around a table of peers discussing our various responsibilities and schedules. When it came my turn to speak, I outlined my 4 jobs, 4 classes and personal improvement goals. One friend remarked to another, “Sometimes I think Evan Fazio days are just longer days,” and they asked me how I found time to do all the things I enjoyed doing or had to do.

Flattered, I explained that it all just comes down to time management and organization. I think the two best inventions for squeezing more time out of the day are (in my opinion, pretty obviously,) checklists and calendars.

I use an app on my iPhone called Outliner Plus. I like it because I can make multi-tiered lists and move things from my “tomorrow” list into my “today” list without having to retype anything. I think the best way to explain how I use it is to actually share the outlines. I have four main checklists. I gave them all “game” names to encourage me to use the checklist, since the biggest problem I find people have with organizing systems is actually using them. My checklists are:

  1. Winning Life Today
  2. Aim High for Tomorrow
  3. Weekly Slayings
  4. Victories

1. In “Winning Life Today” I keep track of all the things I need to do today. It has 3 sub-checklists- these are a list of things I try to do every day:

  1. Daily Feat of Discipline
  2. Macro: everything for 10
  3. Quest to Happy

Daily Feat of Discipline is a list of actions I perform every Morning:

  1. Review Calendar
  2. Email
  3. Review Checklist
  4. Make Lunch

and every Evening:

  1. Emails
  2. Go over class notes and reading markups
  3. Check Calendar
  4. Edit Checklists
  5. Journal

It seems like a lot, but these things all go really quickly and help me keep the entire day organized. Then in “Macro: Everything for 10 minutes” I try to spend a minimum of 10 minutes on every one of my responsibilities. This includes all my classes (even if nothing is due, I work ahead) and all my jobs (I make sure all my projects are on track.)

Then during the course of the day I add things to “Aim High for Tomorrow” that need to be done tomorrow. “Weekly Slayings” are my weekly housecleaning chores and responsibilities that occur less frequently such as paying bills, going grocery shopping, and the like. My “Quest to Happy” is a list of things I do every day to keep myself in a good mood, which are:

  1. Dance
  2. Give a compliment
  3. Express gratitude
  4. Do something that scares you
  5. Smile to yourself
  6. Smile to someone else

And finally, to make myself feel good about my accomplishments, I move everything that I check off into “Victories” at the end of the day.

The Hunger Games from a College Perspective

The Hunger Games from a College Perspective

(from this site.)

This will be a quick post, but I just had to share a thought that occurred to me: pretty much everything you experience during your 4 years at college will be influenced by the fact that you are in college. You are in a unique environment with a very specific subset of people.

Nothing made that more apparent to me than watching “The Hunger Games” with a few friends at a crowded theater last night. There is a theater near Loyola called  the New 400 Theater. In any event, it is a pretty fun place to watch movies because of the largely collegiate atmosphere in the theater.

During the movie there were many moments during which the entire audience cracked up when it was obviously not the filmmaker’s intention for us to do so. It just happened to be the result of a perfect combination of maturity and immaturity in the audience that allowed us to be mature enough to see humor in things that may not have been intended to be so, but immature enough yet to still laugh out loud at them.

Oftentimes 1-2 people would laugh and then the whole theater would follow up by laughing at/with them. At them for being immature enough to laugh at some jokes, with them because, let’s be honest, we still thought they were funny too.

The point I’m making is that seeing everything through a college lens is unavoidable, but nonetheless enjoyable. I know it would have been a very different experience watching the movie in a teen pop crowd than it was with almost entirely college students.

Watch the movie too; you’ll love it.

How Semesters at Loyola Work

How Semesters at Loyola Work

Now that we’re into the 3rd out of what I would say are 4 parts of the semester, I think I’ll give a breakdown of how I’ve noticed all the parts of the semesters generally trend:

1. I think the first part of every semester is, in general, a “get to know you” section where the instructors and students learn each other’s style through small individual assignments and lectures. This goes through the first quarter of the semester, usually.

2. The second quarter is a solid increase in student responsibility that comes to a head at Midterms, which is the first major concentrated effort of the semester. Up until this point the instructors are doing the lion’s share of the work to get kids up to speed in the subject. Midterm projects range from the first big paper due to an actual exam and everything in between. Whatever it is, there is a sudden ramping up of effort expected from and given by students that peaks at the end of the 2nd quarter of the semester.

3. After Midterms there is a sharp fall off of effort on both sides; the instructor and students at this point have settle into a comfortable but brisk cruising speed that is a little under halfway between the start of the semester ease and the peak of midterm. This continues for a about half of the 3rd quarter until the next big project due dates become visible on the horizon (usually they are group projects this time around). However, the peak of group projects isn’t quite as high as that of midterms.

4. After the next big peak from the end of the 3rd quarter is a smaller drop off, but then comes Finals week, which is known pretty much universally as “heck week” by many. Later, when the time comes for that, I will try to post a little piece on how to deal with Final’s week stress and successfully navigate the last week and a half or so of the semester. For now, just know that as soon as you clear the 3rd quartile you’re basically always eyeing the end. And it drops faster than a ham on a bungee cord.

That’s basically it. Four different sections that each ramp up the intensity before a drop-off. First comes passive learning while the teacher gets students up to speed, then active independent work to prepare for and take midterms, then an even level of effort from both parties that comes to another head when group projects (or those of similar weight) come due, then one final breath before the charge into Final’s week.

Presidential Scholarship & Acafriendzy

Presidential Scholarship & Acafriendzy

Friday night was a busy, but fun, night for me.

It was one of those times when my Event Manager job for the Department of Fine and Performing Arts coincided with my job with the Undergraduate Admissions Office and my social life.

I was contacted by one of the Undergraduate Admissions Counselors, Suzannah Magnuson, a while ago asking if I could help with the audio support for their presidential scholar reception. It was a weird role conflict because I work for her department, but the job she was asking me to do was out of the scope of my job description. Instead it landed within the scope of my event work for the DFPA. But we figured out the best way to arrange payment and it was no problem. Sometimes the system works.

Anyway, I was later contacted by a representative of three of Loyola’s a Capella groups. They were putting on a combined concert in the Auditorium and were in need of sound assistance. Once again I agreed to help, and that’s when things got rough: both events were on the same day.

This did have it’s advantages, however. Even though the events were back to back with little time in between for setup, I was able to do a little work before the Undergraduate Admissions Event kicked off. Once again I had problems locating microphones, and it seems as if the wind shields for some of the microphones have disappeared, but I found enough various mics to set up a working solution.

The presidential scholarship reception went off without a hitch (plus I got to enjoy some of the great catering!) and then the Acafriendzy show went exceptionally well, given the circumstances (little set-up time, missing equipment). I even got a cupcake out of the Acafriendzy group too!

A lot of work, but totally worth it. The concert was great and I’m always glad to help out when my skills match the needs of some other group.

Picking Up My Cap and Gown

Picking Up My Cap and Gown

I have tried to write this blog in such a way that makes it accessible to incoming Freshman while showing Loyola in hindsight or from a more seasoned perspective. For the most part, I think I have done an alright job. My last post may have pushed the limit, and this one even more so.

However, this will be relevant one day to you, dear reader, unless you happen to be one of my friends or family who read this blog (Hi mom!). Contrary to popular belief I sometimes think it is beneficial to know how something ends before you start. Like a fine meal! How could you know to enjoy dessert if you ate your fill in the first 4 courses?

Leaving bad analogies behind now.

Like my Senior friends before me, and theirs before them, I picked up my cap and gown yesterday. (In case you are wondering, it came to about $58 with the tassel and everything.) All in all it was a much briefer experience than I expected. Truth be told, I had always imagined picking up graduation apparel as a long and involved process in a big loud room buzzing with every graduating senior. Instead, the whole thing took less than 10 minutes, and I spent some time making small talk. I bet I could have been in and out in 5.

The nice thing is that Loyola makes very sure you do not miss out on anything, so if you find yourself wondering when you will be able to get graduation apparel, don’t worry. Loyola will make it obvious. The emails and messages were very easy to follow. Plus, they have 3 separate days of the “grad fair” that takes place between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m, so there is plenty of time to fit it into your schedule.

Once I arrived it was just a matter of asking where the apparel table was (I skipped all the gimmicky class ring stuff) and telling them my degree so that they could find the right color tassel. Then I got in line to pay (correction: there was NO line- the event runs so long that people just come and go as they please) and chatted with the teller while she rang up my things.

Then I left.

Now my graduation gear is sitting on a shelf in my closet, unopened. It will probably only get put on once. I’ve played in the band for the commencement ceremonies and already sat through 3 years’ worth of ceremonies for all 9 of Loyola’s schools. I do not plan to attend any more than I have to this year (I could go through 3, but I’m only doing the School of Communications.)

Then I’ll have a nice dinner with the family, and “go light the world on fire” 🙂

The View from My Office

The View from My Office

I wanted to share the view from my office with you today. Take a look:

The view from the 11th floor of Mundelein Center. Click to enlarge.

This view actually means a lot to me.

First, it is a sign of the parallel between how far I have come and how far Loyola has come since I arrived here. It has actually been pretty fun to watch this school grow alongside me. Despite the annoyance that construction brings, it is pretty exciting to watch and it feels good to know that something better is always on its way.

When I was a Freshman, that green lawn (which is our East Quad between the Information Commons and Dumbach Hall) was a hole in the ground. The year before I got here the IC had just opened for the first year and the year I arrived they were re-doing the roads, sidewalks, and lawn around it. In the picture you can see a construction crane. They’re working on finishing up Cuneo Hall, which is standing on the stump of old Damen Hall. Loyola has grown a lot.

I remember looking out onto this view from my old boss’ old office. I was a Freshman and he was the Operations Manager of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. During the year I set up chairs and stands for ensembles and helped my boss with events. I finished my first year of college with a 4.0, a lot better than the GPA I had in high school. Now I have a new boss (Scott Heston, who rocks), a new office, a new set of jobs (Event Manager, Jr. Marketing Specialist, Blogger, and Media Analyst) and I’ll be graduating this May. I’ve grown a lot, too.

I like looking out on the lawn during a sunny day and seeing everybody looking so small in our beautiful campus in the city. Being so far above things and seeing this view is a great de-stresser. It helps keep things in perspective. I can see so many little people bustling about their daily lives. From eye level it feels as if you are in your own little world down there. But from up here I can see them next to the lake and with Chicago all around. It helps put things into context. The world is a lot bigger than your problems, and you’ve got plenty of places to go- plenty of things to do- that you haven’t yet.

When I leave work I’ll be back down there among them and on my way to class. I’m no different, but at least I am lucky enough to enjoy view from my office for a little while.

Events on Campus

Events on Campus

As a Senior, I acknowledge that the perspective may not be the most relevant to the readers of this blog. After all, the Undergraduate Admissions Office’s primary audience is prospective Freshman. But I think that my perspective after an “average lifespan” of a Loyola student can be helpful. They say hindsight it 20/20, and I am in a unique position to see my time at Loyola more clearly than others.

Which brings me to the subject of this blog’s post: on campus events. If there is one thing I regret it is not going to as many on campus events as I could have. My advice to incoming Freshman and underclassmen is to make a habit of going to events that may not interest you.

As somebody who hosts events on a professional level I can tell you that there’s no such thing as an uninteresting event. The amount of work, time and planning that goes into hosting an event on campus is great enough that you are guaranteed to have an enlightening experience.

I believe I can say with confidence that I have enjoyed every event I attended on campus and that I never left an event saying, “Well, I got nothing out of that.”

A lot of events offer free food, t-shirts or other prizes just for showing up. So that is reason enough to go. But the content is what will make you stay. At Loyola you will be at the center of a multicultural, multidisciplinary contingent of ideas and activities. That experience is unlikely to be duplicated any time soon.

So don’t make excuses such as, “I do not have time today,” or “I will start going to more events later.” Because I can tell you, you will always feel like you’re too busy, and you will always put it off, if you don’t make it a habit not to do so early.

I’ve listened to famous philosophers speak, heard great music from Loyola’s a cappella groups, tasted amazing middle eastern food, learned about the fascinating culture surrounding political cartoons, learned how educators are trying to improve my college experience and more. Each time I go to an event I leave knowing more about a part of the world that until then I had no idea even existed.

College events will open you up and pleasantly surprise you, if you let them. So just give them the chance, you won’t get it again.