Category: Everyday Life

All About Me

All About Me

Hello Blog Readers! My name is Amanda Henderson, and I am going to be a Junior at Loyola University in Chicago!

Total Disney nerd in their natural habitat

I am currently a Psychology-Neuroscience double major on the Pre-medical track with a minor in Leadership Studies. Yes, that is a mouthful, but it encompasses all that I am: a Type- A nerd who has a whole lot of different interests in a ton different fields.

I binge watch (and listen) to everything True Crime (I have seen every single Forensic Files and listen to My Favorite Murder), love learning about High Energy Physics and Antimatter, absolutely despise popcorn and cereal, and advocate for more visibility for LGBTQIA+ youth.

Growing up as a little gay kid in a small republican town way west of Chicago, I wanted to experience a more vibrant and exciting environment (more exciting then Oswego’s threshold of watching highways take 4 years to get redone). I knew I wanted to get my undergrad in Chicago, but because I was a stuck up teenager, I refused to apply anywhere my parents wanted me to apply. After finally receiving a death threat, I completed Loyola’s application in less than 15 minutes, and sulked away to my room.

Then came the fun time of touring after I got accepted. After a screaming match occurred to get me into the car to go visit Loyola, off we went past the corn fields to enter the land of sky scrapers and rat infestations.

But in reality, I was truly unprepared for what I was about to see. After being pushed out of the car and dragged to Sullivan Center for Student Services, I made eye contact with the vast body of water behind the IC.

And from that moment on, I was hooked.

(Took this after pulling an all-nighter in the IC – totally worth it)

I felt a weird emotion inside of me, which I later figured out was happiness (Yes, as an angsty teenager, I didn’t feel too much joy on a daily basis.) I realized that I could finally have a chance to explore who I am, and do what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I loved the idea of having a fresh start, to fall in love with learning again, and find my internal motivation to succeed in life.

Which brings us to the soon start date of my Junior year of college! Halfway done, but yet so much more to do! I hope you are as optimistic as I am as I take this next step into the magical and stressful world of Adulting.

Such a ‘Bler: Teamo

Such a ‘Bler: Teamo

There was this time during my senior year of high school when mum went to Europe for a month-long business trip. I lived off of occasional dinners I’d cook for my dad and brother, but mainly bubble tea (how am I still alive?) So you could tell how ecstatic I was when Loyola announced the brief visit of Te’amo Boba Bar. 

Don’t get it wrong, I love the drink available from campus – everything from the best coffee at Center Stage Café in Mundelein College to healthy smoothies at Rambler Express. I often go to Tbaar if I had a specific craving, which was only a ten-minute walk from campus. This is fine, but less convenient during busy back to back class days. Hearing that bubble tea would now be available at Rambler Express was some exciting news.  

Te’amo is very different from any bubble tea brand I’ve had in Chicago thus far. It currently comes very close to Bingo Tea (my favourite, that’s all the way in Chinatown.) Appearance and variety wise, it is superior. The staff were also very friendly and quick even with the tsunami of excited students. It also gave me more reason to pass by the Damen Student Center – a hot spot I spent much of freshman year in but rarely visited now that I live on the other side of campus. 

I also appreciate that there was an appearance of a more traditionally Asian treat on campus, even if it was only for a little while. I get quite excited to hear thoughts from my non-Asian friends whenever they try a new flavour and being able to tell them all that I know about it. What really surprised me was that this pop up was so well greeted by our campus that the partnership actually ended up getting extend til the end of the academic year! 

I’m not sure if Te’amo will be back Fall 2019, but I do hope so. I heard it may be an added feature of one of our new dorms?? But if your cravings are like mine, here’s where you can find it for now! 

  1. Lao Sze Chuan restaurant bar area, 520 Michigan Avenue 
  1. 1115 E 55th St 

Teamo. 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

Such a ‘Bler: Summer in the City

Such a ‘Bler: Summer in the City

Hi there, it’s my first Chicago summer! 

I’ve successfully secured an Artistic Administration/Dramaturgy internship at Lookingglass Theatre for the next three months, an apartment for junior year and am beyond ecstatic to continue sharing my Loyola lens with you. It took some time but since orientation, I’ve been told that I NEED to spend at least one summer in the city. Without the chills and snow, Chicago is a completely different scene. Towards the end of sophomore year, I already spotted tulips blooming everywhere! More importantly, despite living right next to it, I’ve only gone to the beach twice in my two years at Loyola. And that is unacceptable. 

There’s a huge line up of summer events as well, including the Chicago Blues Festival, Lollapalooza, Chicago Food Truck Festival, Chapter II of the WNDR Museum, Volta Cirque Du Soleil, Les Miserable’s Chicago showtimes and Pride Fest! (Honestly, you yourself should spend a summer in the Chicago!!!!!) 

I compiled my list from the links below. Make your own list and make this summer the best yet! And if you’re away, you can still get to see plenty of action through my upcoming blogs right here. I can’t promise that I will be attending every single event, but I am on a mission to experience as many as I can. Who knows when my next summer here will be? 

  1. https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/reich/ct-ent-fest-schedule-1030-story.html?fbclid=IwAR2sMYdLI_Rc4D1Jzbp6ljSpEYimrLtJP3YRifKg4m0Udo59iAZv3REypbw 
  1. https://www.facebook.com/events/565127213958979/ 

I also plan to do a lot of throwbacks to sophomore year. I know I disappeared for a while, but a lot of exciting things still greeted me in the last few months and I still want to share them with you. For instance, MY HAIR IS PINK! WHAT?????? 

Speak soon. Happy Summer! 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

Such a ‘Bler: Goodbye Marquette South

Such a ‘Bler: Goodbye Marquette South

It’s odd how much one can feel looking back at a simple little room.  

I remember asking “Am I ready 1806?” leaving Mertz Hall as a freshman. However, I somehow felt heavier leaving my sophomore dorm this May. Perhaps it is because I’ve grown a lot more – experiencing and not experiencing a lot more. Frankly I spent the majority of my second year at Loyola in this space (also frankly because it had majority of what I needed – bed room, study room, kitchen room, bathroom.)  

As a sophomore you also have more say over your time. Being well aware that your schedule is now more hectic, and your mind is more independent, RAs are more flexible with bonding activities. I appreciate the occasional round ups and applaud the life-saving snack carts. My favourite is the announcement boards that seemed to tap right into what I craved each turn (spots to explore in Chicago, internship hunt tips and self-care reminders.) There was a very comfortable and supportive relationship. 

MS 509 was so perfectly placed on campus. Seven minutes away from Mundelein and three from DeNobili Dining Hall. The Granville Station also lived close, along with Aldi and the mail room. I’d also find myself at Summer Noodles or Dak if I didn’t feel like cooking. Though cooking was a lot of what I did.  

I didn’t get out much. I didn’t want or really had to. Perhaps such luxury can be rather dangerous. 

I used to beat myself up for friending such a comfortable spot but thinking back now, I have little regrets. It was a nice hideaway place and I’m no longer shy to admit that I needed one. Sophomore year isn’t easy. You always feel like you should be and/or could be doing more. I really pushed myself this year with 18 credit hours, an on-campus job, a theatre 2-week exploration and an e-board position in Diminuendo Literary and Arts Magazine. Sometimes a hibernation day or a dorm cooked meal alone is needed. 

I am grateful. But farewell 509. I’m ready. 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

My advice to you all before I graduate tomorrow

My advice to you all before I graduate tomorrow

For many of you, I’m sure the past 2 semesters were successfully a breeze, and for others, it may have been a tough adjustment from the all the summer fun. Whatever the case is, it is important that we don’t repeat fall semester and always leave some room for growth. Whether you had a good semester or a bad semester, my perspective on it, is that it can always be better and there will always be room for improvement.

A lot of what I struggled with was time management with my classes as a commuter. I had two difficult science classes and I had a hard time equally studying for both, as well as my other core subject areas. I found myself prioritizing one subject over the other, either because of my interest in one subject more than the other, or the difficulty of the subject. I believe I still did well in all classes; however, it could have been better and because of this, I find myself striving to do better this semester. It is important to have this mindset with anything in life because we naturally become used to a daily routine or what we already are “used to” that we barely leave any room for improvement. It can be either really easy, or it can be quite difficult to manage time, but if you force yourself to make a plan, it will definitely be better than “winging it”.

Regardless of what you’re struggling with or looking to improve, make a plan. What I plan on doing this semester is force myself to study within the first 1-3 hours of the classes rather than pushing it off a couple of hours later. If your classes are back to back or you don’t have time right away, at least review before going to bed. I didn’t believe in this at first, but it made memorizing content so much easier and it felt good knowing I actually retained and learned something. You don’t have to do this for too long, but a couple of minutes to an hour is sufficient to excel in a class.

I also struggled with catching up with readings, and tend to put them off last minute. I made sure I did not do that this semester because your upcoming semesters only get more challenging, and the class content/material is a bit more intense, so try to read as much as you can before your next class or after a class, so that you can focus on paying attention during lecture without feeling lost.

Another key thing you should do is get a planner and write out all the exam, quiz, papers, and final exam dates. This is extremely helpful because I found myself managing my time better and knowing when is a good week to go out or plan accordingly. Just looking at a syllabus is not going to help because you have to consider all of your other classes and make sure you are aware of instances where important tasks may overlap on a day. Finals week schedule is also important, making sure which classes have a final exam and when each are, so that you have enough time to study and not cram all the material.

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Time to HIDE and STUDY

Time to HIDE and STUDY

You casually come back to class after a relaxing weekend and remember you had some exams this week. Particularly…finals. I think its best if you studied… but what is studying without a beautiful view and concentration? Its so important to know that the Information Commons Center is not the ONLY place to study. It will most likely be filled up because of its incredible view of the lake from through the window, but here are some other places to study at Loyola!

Of course, the Information Commons!

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This is usually the first go-to place because its beautiful and has 3 levels to it. The first and second floor are a bit more interactive with computer and resources available. The 3rd floor is meant for silence, so if you really need to isolate yourself, take that elevator up to the 3rd!

 2nd floor of Damen

Damen Spaces

The second floor of Damen has many couches to sit back and be able to get some work done in between or after classes. If you go towards the back, it get’s really quiet so try staying in an area farthest from the dining/food court area!

1st/2nd floor of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES)

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Not many people go here, and I’m not sure why! It is a small area, but it gets the job done! It is very peaceful, not to mention, you’re studying in one of the best buildings Loyola has to offer.

Cudahy Library

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Of course the library is one of the best places to study! Be sure to check out the Donovan Reading room (Echo chamber, Harry Potter Room…)

3rd Floor of the Life Science Building (LSB)

lsb

This spot gets filled up pretty fast as well but it is relatively quiet and a great spot to catch up on some homework! (or review notes before your lab quiz)

Mundelein Center

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The first picture is Mudelein’s Palm Court on the 4th floor which is what you notice when you are outside looking at Mundelein from the western wing of the building. During the week it is filled with tables and chairs for students to study. The second picture is Mundelein’s Green House on the 7th floor where students can enjoy couches, sunlight and perfect silence for studying in this eco-friendly area.

Of course there are other places to study as well, such as The Coffee Shop, a local library, or even a friend’s place. However, if you need to stay on campus to focus, these should definitely help!

Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

If you’ve reached that point where “giving up” has been an option (or feel like it is about to be), STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING FOR A SECOND.

College can be pretty stressful, trust me… I am the queen of stress, I totally get it.

Whether you’re a 4.0 student, a 3.0 student or even below that GPA, you are capable of so much and you do INDEED have that strength to overcome the obstacles coming your way. Think about it. Life wouldn’t be as fun or exciting if everyday were the same, boring thing.

I get it. You want to make everyone happy, including yourself. You want to be that balanced student who works hard and maintains good grades. At the same time you want to have fun, play sports/join events, and explore within your Loyola community.

So then do it! It does seem like a lot; however, I’ve come to the realization where, you just need to put the fun and interest in what you’re doing in order to do it. (Yes, even if you don’t like it) If you just sit back and think about what you have to do rather than just doing it, it drags on.

I am a pre health student who commutes, works out, has an on-campus job, and is a member of many organizations at Loyola. I wouldn’t be able to count the number of times I wanted to just give up and take the easy way out… Yet I realized, it wouldn’t be the same if I did that. I wouldn’t encounter all the fun, exciting adventures everyday on my way to and from Loyola. I wouldn’t have made the friends I made, or have the determination to become the one thing I’ve always wanted to become, a doctor.

Now, I’m not trying to make you sit here to tell you about my everyday struggles, but to remind you that if you feel like you’re overwhelmed with everything, just sleep it off and wake up with determination. Put some fun into what you’re doing and just be chill about it. It may be easier said than done, but this is the beginning and you’re capable of much more than an obstacle coming your way.

Relax and enjoy the moments you have now (at least we have summer to look forward to!!)

The struggle is real for all of us, but don’t let the struggle blind you. Your success is out there waiting for you to achieve it.

Remember, fall seven times and stand up eight —

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Whether the Weather…

Whether the Weather…

If you’re not from the Midwest or, well, anywhere more Northern than Chicago, you might be worried about the weather here!

Take for example one of my friends from San Diego. She wanted to go to Loyola, she really did, but having never been more north than San Francisco, it took her quite some time to truly commit because of all of the things she’d heard about the climate.

As I’m from Minnesota, a year without seasons is odd for me, but we’re all from somewhere.

(This is a pic from when I walked out on the frozen lake… way cool.)

But I’ll be honest with you. The weather – or at least, cold weather – shouldn’t impact your decision too much. If you’re from somewhere cold and want to go somewhere warm, that’s a whole different story! In freshman year, I was with several of my friends who had never seen snow before when it snowed for the first time. The looks on their faces! It was so fun for me, and for them too!

Sure, we had the Polar Vortex here this year that shut down the school for two days. But that was really, really rare. Right now Minnesota is swamped with multiple feet of snow, and Chicago? It’s raining here, there’s not a trace of snow anywhere. People like to talk about how Chicago is cold and depressing, but I disagree. Sure, it can get windy – especially on the walk from Fordham Hall to the mailroom – and sure, it does snow and it is cold! But if you’re dressed smart – and I mean a coat and gloves, with hat and scarf for the coldest of days – the weather isn’t really a problem. You won’t be clomping around in the snow if you don’t want to, thanks to our groundskeepers, and (a friend from Florida timed himself) one can get from the Mundelein building to Bellarmine Residence Hall, a fifteen minute walk if you’re slow like him, and only be outside for three minutes of that by popping in and out of buildings.

And I gotta say, although winter gets us physically, there’s lots to do in Chicago in the winter. I wrote a piece about it before, and other student bloggers have talked about it too. Plus when it’s nice – it’s real nice! I know I always appreciate the lovely sunny weather between April-October more because of the November-March days. To sit outside on the Quad or outside of the Crown Center and look at the lake, or admire the clouds, and see Loyola moving around you…. it’s a good experience, a good thing to do every day when you can. Loyola IS one of the most beautiful campuses in the US – and if you don’t believe me, come visit (even in the winter) and see for yourself!

What Makes a Good Resume: 101

What Makes a Good Resume: 101

 

A cartoon hand shakes and quivers while holding a resume.

Many of us may need to start working on our resumes whether it is for a job, an internship, applying to a school, etc. Now what is the function of a resume you may ask? It is a concise summary of your education, work/volunteer/internship experiences and other qualifications relevant to your audience’s needs. Employers use resumes as a first impression and will use it to compare you to other candidates. NOTE: a good resume does not guarantee you a job, it just allows you to be considered. A resume demonstrates the skills and capabilities that the reader would value and it is essential for you to demonstrate your abilities and is showcases a sense of direction in your career.

How to layout and format a good resume:

There are a few basic resume types but lets focus on some things that are particularly helpful –

  • It is recommended to format chronologically so that the reader is able to see organization qualities as well as being able to follow your experience.
  • Aim to fit your resume on 1 page – unless you have more experiences that are relevant to the job, you should limit it to one page because it is a general overview of your skills and capabilities.
  • AVOID using templates as a basis for your resume because sometimes they can be difficult to alter and limits you from standing out if your resume looks just like everyone else’s. (Remember, the person reading your resume is most likely reading soooooo many others.)
  • Use CAPS, bolding, underlining, bullets, and indentation to direct the reader’s attention and separate different sections of the resume.
  • Do NOT use graphics or unusual fonts and colors to “dress up” your resume. It doesn’t look professional and you need to limit your space as well because you only have 1 page remember.
  • Use margins between 0.5″ – 1.0″ which leaves enough blank space on the page so that the document is comfortable to read and enough margin to allow for different viewing software and printers.
  • It would be better to save your file as a pdf before submitting electronically so that it preserves the format.

 

Sections within your resume:

 

Contact information

  • Include your name and email address as well as the phone number and street address you would prefer to be contacted at

Introductory Statement 

  • “Objective” statements are often considered awkward, obsolete, or unnecessary.
  • If you use a summary statement, make sure that your experiences live up to that statement.

Education

  • List degrees in reverse chronological order
  • List the official names of the school you have attended
  • You may list your GPA if it is strong
  • Course Work descriptions: which can include honors and awards (scholarships/fellowships)
  • Study abroad – list school(s), location, dates

Work Experiences 

  • List experiences in reverse-chronological order.
  • Show the name of the organization, your title, and dates of involvement.
  • Be consistent in your formatting of each experience
  • Use bulleted phrases to describe each experience which should demonstrate skills and capabilities – consider how your experiences demonstrate core work skills (communication/interpersonal skills, organization/time management/leadership, analytical/problem solving skills.
  • Use a professional and active voice

Internship, Co-curricular and Volunteer Experience 

  • List experiences that involve leadership or organizational responsibilities
  • Format the same way and be sure to demonstrate core work skills

Skills

  • This section is optional but this includes additional language skills you possess or certifications/licenses
  • This can also include technology or soft ware skills that are relevant to your career.

 

Hopefully this helps many of you! If you need additional guidance, refer to Loyola’s Career Development Center – they have many available resources, including sample resumes/cover letters!

 

Girls and Weight Training?

Girls and Weight Training?

A lot of times, there is a stigma placed on women who lift weights– associating them with ‘manly’ characteristics. This misconception that women should not lift weights and put on muscle mass is still largely existent today and is completely wrong. There are a lot of long term benefits to doing so, and solely doing cardio to lose weight can have deteriorating effects. As a Freshman at Loyola, my goal was to lose weight, but I depended a lot on cardio for that. I used to go for runs every day, and solely go to Halas for the cardio machines. However, I noticed that I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. In addition to the goal of losing weight, I wanted to reduce my anxiety. As I faced a challenging Sophomore year, I began to take on a different academic route, and developed an interest for Exercise Physiology at Loyola. Developing my knowledge in this field, I began to experiment and try weight training, and it has significantly changed my life (literally). Here are 7 things that have benefited me, and can benefit you as well!

1. Lose Body Fat

Weight training builds muscle, as lean muscle increases so does metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn more calories all day long. Studies found that the the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories per day. That can really add up over the long term; for example, 4 extra pounds of muscle can burn up to 10 extra pounders per year!

2. Gain Strength Without Bulking

One of the most common reasons I used to avoid weight training as well as women in general avoid weight training is because they are afraid of “bulking.” This is a misconception as it physically can not happen. Women simply don’t have the testosterone to build muscle like men. Women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men and have a much harder time gaining size from strength training.

3. Decrease Risk of Osteoporosis

Weight training not only strengthens muscles, it strengthens your bones. Weight training increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. Research has also shown weight training can increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine. (Nowadays you see a lot of elders at Physical Therapy clinics, because they are attempting to increase their bone density!)

4. Reduce Risk of Injury

Weight training also increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to prevent injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will make injury from daily tasks and routine exercise less likely, and can even improve sports performance.

5. Burn More Calories

Weight training has been proven to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout the more calories are burned. After an intense workout there is more Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, meaning there is an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body.

6. Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain

Weight-training will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, helping to correct bad posture so that you can stand taller, with shoulders back and spine straight. A stronger back and core will also prevent lower back pain

7. Enhance Mood and Reduce Stress

Exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increased in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy. Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you combat a bad one.

 

I encourage you all to step away from this negative connotation of lifting weights, and consider it in your everyday lives. It helps short term and long term, and will make your workouts worth it, trust me.