Category: Living At Loyola

Come Explore Pakistan at LUC’s Explore Pakistan

Come Explore Pakistan at LUC’s Explore Pakistan

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The Loyola Pakistani Students’ Association strives to recognize and alleviate the struggles endured by those in Pakistan, while raising awareness about its culture and beauty. Setting new goals every semester to raise money for those who are underprivileged in Pakistan, PSA decided to help provide for the Dam Fund in Pakistan.

This year, The Loyola Pakistani Students’ Association decided to dedicate all of its fundraising money toward the Kiran Foundation located in Pakistan.

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

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

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

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

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

Known for one of our biggest events of the semester, on March 22 from 6:30p-10p, PSA will be holding Explore Pakistan: Rangon ka Bazaar, which literally means a ‘store/shop of colors.’ The theme is a traditional Pakistani open market with live stalls that bring the vibes of Pakistan alive filled with colors. There will be Pakistani food for dinner, performances, live food stations and an open dance floor! It is encouraged to dress to impress! Formal attire is required. Traditional clothing is preferred. All attendees must have a ticket to enter.

This is a very proud accomplishment of not just the Pakistani Students’ Association, but for Loyola as well. Loyola University creates learning communities that reflect the rich diversity of our global society and this is what truly makes the learning experience one of a kind.

Easter Break 2019

Easter Break 2019

Believe it or not, Easter Break is right around the corner! Many of us are probably at that point into the semester where classes may seem a bit overwhelming with exams, projects, quizzes, papers, etc. If there should be anything that keeps you going and gives you the extra push, it is to look forward to this mini break. However, not to kill the excitement, but it is important to consider lots of studying time during this break because following this, is finals week. Yes, the lovely finals week. A lot of students tend to put off the studying until the last week of class (a week before finals week) but, of course, that is not ideal. You should really use this time to plan your schedule for this intense upcoming week and take advantage of the studying time. It may not be the most fun thing during a break, but keep this as a push because it is a few weeks before summer break! I always look forward to this break, because although it is stressful knowing how close final exams are, it reminds me how close summer break is as well and that keeps me going. Because break is only Friday-Monday, its not long enough to do something super eventful, but not short enough to do nothing, so I take advantage of this time to catch up on lectures, notes, and prepare for what exams I have coming up. Take a look at what your grades are looking like, and what you need on these last few assignments to get your desired grade. Try to also catch up on a normal sleep schedule; I’m sure many of us have pulled all-nighters or have had an off schedule, so its possible to get a good 8 hours of sleep and be productive throughout the day with a balance of studying and relaxing! Make sure to also eat well, because unfortunately, we need to prepare our bodies for what will come forth during finals week. I know this all sounds like obvious things to do, but many of us ignore important tasks like so, and it becomes risky during finals week.

This year’s Easter Break will take place April 19-April 22, 2019.

**Note: Classes after 4:15 on Thursday are CANCELLED.

Also, not many Universities have an Easter Break, so proudly embrace it and plan accordingly, where you can be productive and give yourself some free time!

A Series of Firsts: My First Spring Break

A Series of Firsts: My First Spring Break

Me and my ABI peers under the St. Louis Arch.
March 2018.

Hello everybody! Sorry for the short hiatus, this semester has been very busy for me! But I’m back from Spring Break, refreshed and ready to finish this semester strong!

After spending a week in sunny Cancún with my family, I keep going back to what my first Spring Break at Loyola was really like. As my first semester at Loyola went by my Peer Advisor, Kristi, had mentioned that if we wanted our experience at Loyola to be fruitful and to feel align with Loyola’s Ignatian values that we should consider going on an Alternative Break Immersion. ABIs at Loyola are a kind of mission trips organized by Campus Ministry in which students fully immerse themselves in a community for a short period of time to learn about the issues that these communities face, ranging from environmental issues to urban poverty and lack of education. What Kristi said resonated with me: I wanted to make the most of my Loyola experience, and I wanted to learn more about the issues that U.S. society has to face. This way, I decided to go on an ABI for my first Spring Break, and I soon learned that I had been placed in the group that would go to East St. Louis, IL, right next to St. Louis, MO.

I did not know what to expect from my ABI, as I had no clue where East St. Louis was located in the first place. However, Campus Ministry organizes ABIs in such a way that students going on the same trip have the opportunity to get to know each other and their Leader at least 2 times before the trip begins. As we met with my peers, we talked about the issues that we would see East St. Louis residents: the persistence of food deserts in the area, a great amount of poverty and homelessness, and the lack of good public education systems. We discussed how we wanted to avoid the “savior complex” to present itself during our trip, that we were going to East St. Louis to offer as much help possible without thinking that we would solve all their problems in 5 days. This is when I realized that my ABI would be a learning experience, especially for my peers and me.

The ABI itself was an experience that opened my mind, my heart, and my soul. As we settled down in the house that would host us for the week (shoutout to the students from Creighton who shared the house with us),  Responsibilities for us volunteers included helping at a soup kitchen and visiting a family at their temporary home. However, I chose to volunteer as a teacher assistant at the Catholic School in the neighborhood we were staying at, helping the First Grade teacher, Mrs. Mattern. I was there to help them with their class work and to do the little tasks that Mrs. Mattern might need help with. However, the kids were eager to play with me and learn about where I came from, and they always wanted me to be “it” while playing tag. They made me feel at home, and it was very hard to say goodbye on the last day.

No matter the role we partook in, everybody in my group was always with the members of the community of East St. Louis. Everybody I met was so kind, and always asked if I found myself alright and if I needed help with anything. Can you believe? Me, a volunteer, being asked if I needed help. It struck me like lighting. We were in a community that was given little by the government and outsiders, and yet, they had everything to give us: their hearts and their homes. Just like in Mrs. Mattern’s, we were surrounded by kindness and love for the neighbor throughout our week in East St. Louis. And as the ABI experience is all about reflection, every night we would come together and reflect on what our mission in East St. Louis was, and what we had learned that day. Through journaling and daily examines, I started getting a sense that my ABI trip was not only a mission trip, but also an experience of self-discovery and refleection on our mission at Loyola and in the world.

Yes, my first Spring Break did not fit the stereotype of what this kind of vacations look like: it definitely wasn’t sunny, and I didn’t have the chance to see my family nor spend time with my friends. However, my ABI trip to East St. Louis was so much more than I could’ve asked for. I was able to get to know my fellow peers, a group of young and value-driven people who supported me throughout our time at St. Louis and. But most importantly, I got to meet some of the people of East St. Louis, who showed me a side of the U.S. that as an international student I had never seen. And despite the conditions that the community found itself in, I could see there was hope for things to get better: I saw it in the parents who dropped off their kids at school, I saw it in the teachers and staff of the school, and I even saw it in the children, who shared with me their hopes for the future.

My ABI was an eye-opening experience, to say the least, and I hope that what I learned in East St. Louis will allow me to help others, now and in the future. I still think about the children at To learn more about ABIs, go to this site.

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!

Such a ‘Bler: A Night of Play-reading in Chicago

Such a ‘Bler: A Night of Play-reading in Chicago

You’d be surprised how many theatres there are in Chicago. My friends from THTR 204: Playwriting and I started out the week with a reading of Emma Stanton’s When the Tsunami Knows Your Name at the Jackalope Theatre on the Thorndale redline stop. It was only ONE STOP away from my dorm! The reading was directed by our playwriting professor Devon De Mayo (so we got in for free haha) and served as part of one of our assignments for the course. We have to see at least two play readings and write a viewing response for them. Frankly, I’m totally cool with that! 

Here’s a little blurb about the play from the event: “When devoted veterinary technician Ruby witnesses one stranger’s tragedy, she finds herself drawn to a new path, making precarious pacts with co-workers, a police officer, and an elegant dancer named Tsunami. Populated by pet-devotees and set in a city by the sea, WHEN THE TSUNAMI KNOWS YOUR NAME explores how unexpected tragedy can expose the beautiful and ugly truths about who we are.” 

Now, I would give you a more personal summary of it but I’m still too emotional – and well the above was beautiful said. But I was blown away. This was not only because the characters were prenominal and wonderfully casted, but because the theme and metaphors were very close to home. 

From my understanding the Tsunami represented a certain sadness that we all feel and how it can be so scary yet comforting. I thought intertwining this metaphor within the tsunami dance scenes of the play made the sensitive topic more approachable for the audience. And the intimate space of the Jackalope Theatre couldn’t have been a better place for this experience. 

I have another play reading left for this course, but my Chicago theatre adventures are definitely not stopping there! 

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

International Law at Loyola

International Law at Loyola

I’ve considered a lot of careers in my life, from my distant dream of being an astronaut to the classic dream of becoming a princess. As one does.

I made a previous post about my history department and the workshop they offered to think about grad school or post-grad life. Today I bring you news from my Global and International Studies department, who teamed up with the Political Science department, to bring in a very prominent professor from Loyola’s law school to speak about international law. I was blown away, to be frank. Professor Gathii was inspirational, not just from his words but from his actions, too. I mean, he went to Harvard and has a million other accolades they listed off as they introduced him.

I couldn’t take a very good picture because I was focused on taking a lot of notes and really absorbing what he said. He spent a lot of time talking about different ways students could get involved and stoke their interest in international law, which was really exciting for me. Plus there was pizza, so even though I had eaten breakfast about an hour ago, I still took advantage of the opportunity. That’s college life for you.

Thanks to this talk, and although it hasn’t been long since I attended it, I think I might just be reconsidering law again. I really stress that there are countless opportunities at Loyola one should take advantage of. There’s a talk coming up soon about the environment in the Middle Ages in Europe that I wish I could attend, but it’s right when I have a class! Keeping busy has never been easier, not when I learn so many new things and get so inspired.

Local Fave Restaurant: XO Marshmellow

Local Fave Restaurant: XO Marshmellow

 

How do you like your marshmallows?

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

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

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

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

Such a ‘Bler: Rehearsal rehearsal (space)

Such a ‘Bler: Rehearsal rehearsal (space)

Say hello to Mundelein 125.

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

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

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

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

Such a ‘Bler: Feeling Anxious and the Wellness Center

Such a ‘Bler: Feeling Anxious and the Wellness Center

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

4 Year Plan –> 4 Year Journey

4 Year Plan –> 4 Year Journey

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

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

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

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