Author: Ellen Gordon

Shalom! My name is Ellen Gordon. I’m currently a sophomore BSN (nursing) major who hails from Palatine, Ilinois. My life is presently a journey in evading sleep, finding time for my semblance of a social life, and keeping up with one of the most rigorous majors here at Loyola.
In Which I Have A Lot of Feelings, Mostly About the Olympics

In Which I Have A Lot of Feelings, Mostly About the Olympics

Winter has always been my favorite season. I love the scarfs and the snow and the boots and the skiing and the twinkling Christmas lights. Unfortunately, having a broken foot has definitely put a bit of a damper on my mood this year.

Luckily, I’ve been able to distract myself with my favorite quadrennial activity…

THE WINTER OLYMPICS.

I’m obsessed with it all. The opening ceremony. Snowboarding. Curling. Biathlon. Hockey. Skiathlon. Ice skating (Evegeni Plushenko <3). And, most recently: ice dancing.

Ice dancing had never really been on my Olympics radar, but that all changed when my friend, Britt (see below!), and I watched “How to Raise an Olympic Athlete” and learned about Meryl Davis, Charlie White, and their moms, Cheryl and Jacqui.

crying
Crying buddies!

We cried. We screamed. We learned all about Merlie‘s seventeen year skating partnership. We fawned over The Moms.

For that moment onward, my Olympic experience changed forever into a full blown extravaganza spanning snapchat, facebook, and our living room couches. Britt and I watched it all, but at the end of the day, it was always ice dancing that we found ourselves completely fixated on.

time zone troubles.
Time zone troubles.

Merlie knocked it out of the park, winning gold (first for the USA!) and setting a new ice dancing record. Despite that, the past week and a half of Olympic viewing hasn’t been all fun and games. The time delay caused some spoiler problems, and some moments have been hard to watch.

However, I’m still going to be extremely sad when the Olympics are over this Sunday. They have taken up such a large part of my life recently, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do without them.

selfiez
Thanks for the hat, Ralph!

Hopefully my air cast will be off soon, so don’t be surprised if you see me on the Lakefront path, dramatically pretending I’m in the middle of the skiathlon. And if it doesn’t come off, well, I guess I’ll just have rely on my official Olympics hat to hold me over until Pyeongchang!

page break

Picture of the beautiful Britt Logan in tears has been used with permission from the aforementioned beautiful Britt Logan.

Senior Citizen

Senior Citizen

Oh, the pun. Such an under appreciated form of word play. But why am I talking about puns, you ask?

Well…

1. It should go without saying that I am a senior in college. The off-off campus housing, not-always-so-consistent blogs (*coughsenioritiscough*), constant nostalgia, and very regular crisis-ing about my future career and ability to maintain my college friendships should almost go without saying at this point.

So yes, I am graduating in 91 days! That’s less than 100! That’s absolutely terrifying!

For my final semester as a nursing major, I have my pediatric and nursing leadership classes until spring break, after which I continue taking my leadership class, in addition to CRT. CRT, or Clinical Role Transition, is when I will be shadowing an RN 1:1 for 120 hours to see what it is REALLY like to be a nurse.

A peak into my accumulated textbooks…

Sounds like all fun and games, right? WRONG.

While I’m not in class that much this semester, I still have clinical twice a week until spring break (think 4 am wake up calls), and, in addition to my regular classwork, I need to study for the NCLEX.

The nerves that come with the “one test to decide your whole future” thing has really caused me to buckle down and get to work studying. Luckily, Loyola is here to support me, by offering NCLEX question e-mails every week and a week long NCLEX review within a few weeks of graduation.

That being said, I have also been using this semester to take advantage of student discounts, keep up with friends, and attempt to embrace Chicago winters.

2. In addition to my academic senior status, I am feeling a bit like a senior citizen.

For years, I’ve been carrying around a backpack that’s a littleeeee too heavy for me. (By a littleeeee, I mean that it’s generally wider than my torso and 1/5th of my body weight.) For years, I’ve been told that it was going to hurt me.

And finally, it has.

#crutchlife #steveholt

Two weeks ago, while lifting the aforementioned backpack, I fractured my left foot.

It’s been a bit of a struggle to get around in this weather on crutches and in a boot. However, the Loyola community at large has been amazing at helping me survive outside. Both the student body and the faculty have been so helpful and accommodating, and I could not be more grateful.

I’m hoping to be off the boot within the next three weeks, but in the meantime I know that I will have no problem getting any kind of support I need while at school!

Thankin’ erryone for their help!

On that note, and in the vein of my brilliant senior/senior pun, I’d like to end with this comment (kindly stolen from my nursing calendar):

What kind of blood does a pessimist have? B Negative! (Hahaha.)

Crutches Photo – Attributed to the lovely and daisy-like Anique Aburaad

Survival of the Fittest

Survival of the Fittest

As previously mentioned in my last blog post, I now have my own apartment. Pretty soon after moving in, I discovered that there were a lot of things I would now have to learn how to do for myself. I would no longer have my mom or my roommates or my roommates’ boyfriends to kill spiders, hang shelving, and wake me up when my alarms are all accidentally set to silence.

Me being confused with what might be a screwdriver.

In order to prevent you from experiencing the same pain and trial and error that I’ve had to go through over the past few months, I decided to compile a list of all the essential skills I think could be helpful for anyone moving out of their home – be it to a dorm, their own apartment, or a place with roommates.

Me being confused with a tape measure

Without further ado, I’d like to present: Ellen’s Top 10 Master List of How to…

1. … unclog a toilet

2. … go grocery shopping

3. … hang up posters and pictures

4. … survive a zombie apocolypse

5. … order out

6. … have a roommate argument

7. … pack at the last minute

8. … cook in the microwave

9. … to set up utilities

10. … budget money

Me being confused with a hammer.

And, just a final note: While I’d like to pretend that my list of essential skills is pretty comprehensive. However, if you ever need more support, be sure to check out the Off-Campus Student Life office for more tips and tricks!

So Say We All

So Say We All

As y’all may have noticed, I disappeared last semester. When they say that your spring semester of junior year is the hardest in the nursing program here, they aren’t kidding. Luckily, I was able to have such a relaxing summer that I feel rejuvenated and ready for my senior year!

So, what did I do this summer? Well…

1. I moved!

That’s right! I moved into my dream apartment in Lincoln Park! There is a little schlep to my classes on the lake shore campus (hello, 4 am Thursday morning wake up calls)…
The view from my rooftop!

… but it’s totally worth it for the neighborhood. I’m right by the Lincoln Park Zoo, the lake shore path, North Avenue Beach, countless restaurants and parks, and I’m only a 10 minute bus ride from work/the downtown shuttle.

I spent all summer exploring my new neighborhood and hanging out on my rooftop, and those two things alone made it a summer well spent.

2. I read!

When I first moved, I didn’t have internet for a week. To entertain myself, I started making progress on the giant stack of books on my nightstand. Once I started, I didn’t stop. To the chagrin of all my friends and my new apartment walls (I mayyyy have thrown a book or two out of anger), I constantly had a novel with me at all times.

The books I read this summer!

The books I read included:

– The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
– Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
– A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
– A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
– This Much I Know is True by Wally Lamb
– The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
– The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
– Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 

Hopefully, I’ll have read enough to hold me over until I have free time to read again!

3. I watched!

Once I did get internet, Netflix essentially became my new roommate. On the recommendation of my friends, I started watching Battlestar Galactica (BSG).

I watched it at the end of May, and it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that it took over my life to the degree that I couldn’t watch any more series until August (at which point I embarrassingly became obsessed with Teen Wolf).

Obsessed.

While it took me a while to get through season 1 of BSG, but I watched season 2 – 4 (60 episodes about 40 minutes in length) in the span of 5 days. I. Became. Consumed.

Right now I’m fresh off of Teen Wolf, and I’m watching Scrubs because “it’s a medical show, so it counts as studying.” Unfortunately, since it IS the school year now, I can’t marathon 10+ episodes in a row, but Netflix will definitely be a part of my life year round.

In addition to watching Netflix, my senior year will be pretty busy with nursing school. I’m done with all of my core classes, so I can focus all my time on clinicals, skills, and theory courses. I accidentally joined the Bioethics Bowl team today, so I’m going to try and keep up with that for an extracurricular experience this year.

Either way, I’m pretty excited to really start getting ready for the “real world”!

Photo 1 attributed to Group Fox

Photo 2 attributed to myself

Photo 3 attributed to SyFy

 

The Three Parts

The Three Parts

When The Prestige first came out on DVD during my sophomore year in high school, I happened to be flying back from a trip to Israel. Because of this coincidence, it playing on its own channel during my 12 hour flight from Jerusalem to New York. The movie is just over two hours, and they played it about 5 times. I watched it every single time.

The reason for this high school throwback at the beginning of my annual “Look what an awesome time I had during my winter break this year!!!11!” post is that throughout my holiday break, I couldn’t stop thinking about the ending of the movie.

We hear Cutter (played by Michael Caine), explaining that, “every magic trick consists of three parts, or acts.” And, if I needed a quote to describe my winter break, that was it. It was grouped into three different segments of time and every one felt just like magic.

Part 1 (aka Livin’ the Dream)

Christmas at a children’s hospital!

During the first week and a half of winter vacation, all my dreams had come true. I was able to limit myself to four activities: 1. watching cheesy CW television shows; 2. sleeping; 3. working Christmas shifts at the hospital; and, 4. sleeping some more.

After my semester filled with at least 48 hours without sleep at least once a week and countless commitments to take care of, it was so nice to go to work in the afternoon, watch television all night, and sleep all day.

I know that it sounds like working over break wouldn’t be very fun, but surprisingly, it was a blast. Since I work at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, we constantly had Santa and his elves dropping off toys for our patients. And we got to wear awesome holiday themed headbands!

Part 2 (aka JewFest 2013)

Last year, I spent Easter Vacation in Miami, Florida with one of my best friends. Since she had visited me at Loyola our freshman year, we wanted to go somewhere different for what we have now decided is our now annual reunion.

Our destination for junior year: New York!

Reunited…and it feels so good!

We ate, saw, and did so much over the 10 days we were there.

We…

…inadvertently ended up spending New Years Eve in the penthouse at the Waldorf Astoria

ate

…went to the American Museum of Natural History

…continued to eat

…saw Peter and the Starcatcher

ate

… and reunited with many of our old counselors from the camp where we first met each other about 10 years ago.

While New York and everything in it is pretty ballin’, seeing all of our old friends was definitely the best part of the trip. We saw staff (including my first counselor, who I hadn’t seen since I was 10!) and other campers who we used to be in awe of, whispering to each other, “OhmyG-dohmyG-dshe’sSOCOOL.” And the best part…they treated us like real grown ups now!

“OhmyG-dohmyG-dshe’sSOCOOL.”

Part 3 (aka Cabin in the Woods)

Finally, with one weekend to spare and after only 2 days back in Chitown, I went up to my mom’s cabin in Minocqua, Wisconsin with my two friends, Maureen and Scott.

We had originally planned on going skiing, but that fell through when the snow did. However, we still had as much fun as three kids alone in a cabin in the middle of nowhere could have. Spoiler alert: it was a lot.

Wilderness Explorers!

We watched an obligatory we-are-three-kids-alone-in-a-cabin-in-the-middle-of-the-woods horror movie, in addition to cooking meals, convincing family friends to give us free meals, going hiking, and even playing some pretty intense Scrabble. It was the perfect.

Even though I’ve cut down on my commitments (maybe i’ll actually get sleep now!) this semester, I still have a long ways to go before summer vacation. I’m really grateful for the chance to rejuvenate before I dive back into school life, and I can’t wait to see what Spring 2013 brings me!

Photo 1 attributed to myself

Photo 2 attributed to myself; used with permission from the ballin’ Rachel Niederhoffer

Photo 3 attributed to, and used with permission from, the lovely Batyah Weiss

Photo 4 attributed to the grown up Koz; used with permission from Maureen “Cool Cat” Burns and Scott “I Haven’t Been Scared Since Alien” McCoy

Big Things

Big Things

Some pretty exciting things have been going on in my life lately, and I’m feeling pretty pumped about everything, so I thought I’d share two of my favorites with you guys before I disappear into my pharmacology textbook for the rest of the weekend.

1. Alpha Sigma Nu Initiation

Posin' with my official certificate, mom, and family friend, Barb

Last spring, I found out that I had been nominated to apply to Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honors society. It’s a huge honor to even be considered for membership, so I was just happy knowing that I had been selected to submit an application.

However, to my surprise, this summer I found out that I had been accepted to become a member!

Earlier in October of this year, we had our official initiation in the beautiful Madona della Strada chapel. Since I am a Jewish student, I had never really went into the chapel before, so let me just tell you now: it’s gorgeous!

The ceremony was also gorgeous, as well, and it felt pretty special to get officially inducted into Loyola’s chapter of the fraternity. (And it’s definitely the extra kick in the pants that I needed to remind myself not to let my grades slip this year!)

2. Nursing Dedication to the Profession Ceremony

My Uncle Bob and I after the ceremony!

The following weekend, I went back to the chapel to take part in the Junior year Nursing Dedication to the Profession Ceremony. This ceremony, in which our hands our blessed to heal as we dedicate ourselves to the profession and our professors welcome us into field of nursing, is the modern day version of the old “capping ceremony.”

It came at just the right time.

Junior year is one of the hardest years in the BSN program at Loyola, so this was the perfect way to remind ourselves why we’re going through all of these sleepless nights and countless hours in the library.

I thought the ceremony is very nice; but then again, I was our class speaker, so I may have been a littleeeee biased. Heeheehee.

Overall, both ceremonies provided just right amount of pumping up at the right time to give me the energy to make it through the last stretch until finals over! I’m officially revitalized and ready to go!

ASN Picture – Attributed to Mark Carlson

Dedication Picture – Attributed to Andrea Gordon

Busy Bee!

Busy Bee!

Hey guys!

Sorry my blogging has been seriously lacking in the past month. Remember when I said that things were going kind of slow?

Since then, my life has been CrAzY! (Yes, it has been so crazy that letters of the word crazy need to be alternated between capital and lowercase to emphasize this.)

Immediately following fall break, I had to complete the following:

– 1 blog (I was supposed to write a few more. Whoops…)

– 3 midterm examinations

– 4 written critiques

– 1 eight page short story

– 3 overnight shifts

– 1 Alpha Sigma Nu induction

– 1 Alpha Phi Omega board meeting/1 chapter meeting

– 2 pharmacology case studies

– 31 pharmacology drug cards

– 1 Chicago Ideas Week speech

YIKES. I still don’t know how I managed to do all that within a week’s time and not lose my job or fail out of school.

I do know that I spent the majority of the week looking like this:

Tard the Grumpy Cat, looking pretty grumpy at the clock!

I also had a minor epiphany in which I realized that I can’t please everyone and agreeing to perform favors that I don’t have to do helps no one.

With that in mind, I just cut back my work hours and am taking a mental health break by spending Halloweekend with my friends at University of Michigan!

So get ready for a bunch happy, less stress filled updates! It’s going to be awesome!

Picture of Tard the Grumpy Cat Attributed to Tabatha Bundesen

The Cupcake Crawl

The Cupcake Crawl

Confession time. I have a problem. Or, more accurately, an addiction. An addiction to only the most delicious dessert and food item in the history of the world: CUPCAKES.

One of my favorite parts about Chicago is the plethora of places where you can pick up some of these delicious treats. In fact, last year, for an APO event, we had a “cupcake crawl,” where we consecutively went to three cupcake bakeries within 2 hours.

It might have been the best day in my entire life.

Inspired by that highlight of my existence as a human being, I thought I’d leave you with a list of some of my favorite cupcake places in the city to explore when you’re here! Enjoy!

1. Molly’s Cupcakes

NBD. Just some birthday cake and chocolate chip cookie cupcakes - SO GOOD!

Molly’s is located in Lincoln Park, and it is one of my absolute favorite places. The decor is funky and fun, and I could probably eat at least 10 of their birthday cake cupcakes in a single day. They taste a little like a combination of real birthday cake and unicorns and miracles.

2. Swirlz Cupcakes

They've got cupcakes down to a science!

Swirlz is also located in Lincoln Park. The shop is small, but they have an awesome selection of both regular sized and mini cupcakes. The minis are just as yummy and perfect for deluding yourself into thinking that 5 minis aren’t as bad as 1 big one. (Heehee…)

3. more

Some serious Facebook taggin'

more is located downtown, by LUC’s Water Tower Campus. more’s cupcakes are not only delicious (like all cupcakes in the history of the world), but they have this awesome deal on Tuesdays, when more posts a picture of one of their cupcakes on Facebook. If one of your friends tags you in time, you get a COMPLETELY FREE NO STRINGS ATTACHED CUPCAKE. Considering the fact that the “poor college student” myth is actually not a myth, but a sad reality, getting tagged in a more cupcake is literally the highlight of many of my friends’ weeks.

4. A Taste of Heaven

The smallness of this picture is made up in deliciousness content.

Sorry this picture is so small! I actually took it on my cellphone last year when my APO Big and I had an exciting evening filled with sushi and cupcakes. A Taste of Heaven is within walking distance of the Lake Shore Campus, and their fancy cupcakes add class and sass to any event.

5. Sprinkles

My friend's mom, Rusty, and the infamous Cupcake ATM!

Sprinkles, located close to the downtown campus, is a close second to my favorite cupcake place ever. During the aforementioned cupcake crawl, I may or may not have bought four cupcakes from Sprinkles, which may or may not have all been consumed within the next four hours. Sprinkles also has a fantastic cupcake ATM; no explanation is needed, since it’s exactly what it sounds like. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.

Anatomy of a Cupcake attributed to the Swirlz website.

more Facebook picture attributed to the more Facebook page.

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM picture attributed to the wonderful Elizabeth Mohs.

Hey Jude

Hey Jude

If this blog seems a little out of place, I apologize.

There’s someone who something that I wanted to blog about in July, but I got so busy with my birthday, work and getting ready for school that I didn’t have time to do so. Luckily, I’ve found that time now. So excuse me as I rewind to this previous summer aka two months ago.

This summer, I finally got a chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do: cat sit! And not only did I get to cat sit, I got to kitty sit, which is infinitely better and cuter. My friend Delaney was actually the one who agreed to a cat sit for her friend, Julia, but once I heard that she had the kitty in question, I stole the kitty insisted in helping her out.

And that’s how I got to take care of the most precious kitty in the history of the world, Jude. (And yes, before you ask, he is named after the Beatles song.)

Excuse me as I resort to junior high grammar, but he was the CUTEST wittle baby I had ever seen, and it was awesome kittysitting him. I felt like the cool aunt who gets to spoil her nieces and nephews before depositing them on their parents’ doorstep at the end of the day.

And at the end of the day, I was really glad to drop this little rascal off at Delaney’s when I was done playing with him.

Jude was a little trouble maker. Within minutes of getting to my apartment, he got himself stuck in our dishwasher:

Where am I?
Help! I'm stuck in the dishwasher!

However, he always balanced out those moments by doing something that was “Awwwww.” worthy. For example, after rescuing him, I had to go work an overnight shift. It was a very long and tiring shift, but luckily for me, I woke up to this after my post-work nap:

Good morning!

It was adorable and it reminded me just how awesome it was to live off campus in my own apartment during summer. While there are plenty of opportunities to play with animals (volunteer with PAWS if you can!) while living on campus, you can’t have one in your room unless it can breathe underwater.

And underwater breathing animals aren’t always that cute or sweet. They can’t cuddle up and hug your Giraffe Pillow Pet:

Snugglin'

But cat sitting for Jude wasn’t all fun and games. One time after I ran errands, while I was putting my groceries in the refrigerator, I realized that I hadn’t seen Jude for awhile. I started calmly searching for Jude by ripping the whole apartment apart. I convinced myself that I let him out and was clearly the worst kitty sitter in the history of kitty sitting and would never pass school or be a good nurse or good pet sitter or be a good human being.

Luckily, before I called Delaney in a panic, I took one final look around the apartment. It was then that I found Jude hiding on my bed:

Spot the kitty! Herp derp!

Even after all the fun we had with him, my roommates and I were more than happy to return Jude to Delaney and have an apartment that wasn’t covered with kitty litter. But, taking care of  Jude was definitely a highlight of my summer. I knew I needed to blog about him…even if I’m two months late in doing so!

Sweater Weather

Sweater Weather

I have to be honest with you. Sometimes, Chicago weather can make me grumpy. It can be windy, cold, a little bit dreary and often results in me being blown into light poles and unsuspecting pedestrians. And I think that’s what most people think of when they think about the Windy City (the cold and wind, not blowing into innocent people). But, people who just file Chicago weather under freezing and miserable are forgetting one important season: Chicago Fall.

The time between the sweltering summers and frozen winters includes the best weather I have ever experienced in my life. Fall is beautiful.

It’s usually warm, but with enough breeze that it’s comfortable to wear a nice combination of clothes – t-shirts and pants, dresses with tights or my favorite, shorts with sweaters. In general, it’s just nice not to be a melting puddle of sweat or a freezing iceicle.

Last week, it seemed like Chicago finally began it’s fall transition, giving up the sweltering days of 90 degrees in favor for 70 degree weather with intermittent breezes. Seeing everyone hanging out along the lake and sprawled out on the quad reminded me of just how gorgeous the Lake Shore Campus at Loyola can be.

Lake view numero uno

It’s easy to get distracted by all of the work, committments and other things I have going on, forgetting just how completely beautiful my campus can be.

Luckily, because my workload hasn’t been too heavy so far this semester, I’ve had a chance to remember and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I’m glad that I’m not too busy…I don’t think I would have been able to study from my 7.3 pound pharmacology book if I wanted to. The idea of making millions of notecards along the lakefront seems a little out of place in my mind.

That’s not to say that people haven’t been doing their homework outside – reading and laying around the grass and lake paths seem to be the activities of choice for students during the past week or so. I just have a habit of getting too distracted by the mesmerizing waves or breeze.

Lake view numero dos

But for me, I think that’s okay. While part of college consists of the academic experience, I think another big part of it consists of those lazy days where you can just lay out under the sun and listen to the waves before heading to your next class.