Category: On Campus Events

A Series of Firsts: My First Finals Week

A Series of Firsts: My First Finals Week

A glimpse at the spread for Finals Breakfast. December 12, 2017

It’s been a year since my First Finals Week, and I still remember how nervous I was about my exams. It was my first time taking a final exam in the U.S. and I was definitely overwhelmed with homesickness and stress by that point in the semester. I had started studying for Finals a little in advance, and since I did not have any exams until Wednesday, my nervousness was just building up. My friends were well into their finals week and I hadn’t yet taken mine, and I just wanted to be over with everything and head home. Thankfully, I was able to come across a couple of activities that helped relax a little and bring me to a mental space where I felt ready to tackle my finals.

On Tuesday, as the first two days of Finals drew to an end and I kept studying for my first exam the next day, I decided to go with my friends to Loyola’ Finals Breakfast. Every Tuesday of Finals Week, SAGA offers LUC students a late-night breakfast for everybody to take a break and enjoy good food in great company in order to be ready for the final half of Finals. I was amazed at the amount of students that were there, and I was so excited to be eating breakfast for dinner, as Loyola’s Finals French Toasts are delicious! I had such a good time with everybody and my friends and I were happy to have gone to the Breakfast and take a break.

Furthermore, it is widely known that Finals Week can be a very stressful time for us all. That week was definitely stressful for me. Therefore, to help students relax a little, the Wellness Center hosts a Study Day Stress Relief event every Wednesday of Finals Week. The Study Day Stress Relief takes place in the IC and offers several de-stressing activities like Badge Making and coloring sheets, as well as massages for students. When I went, it allowed me to catch a break from studying and afterwards, I was able to concentrate a little more on myself at a time in which studying and stress take up much of my time.

Activities like these allowed me to be able to concentrate on studying and give my best on my exams without forgetting to take care of myself. They also let me get through the week on a happy note, and by the time I was done with my Finals, I not only felt relieved, but I felt like my trip back home and my month-long break was worth it.

Now, as I prepare for this semester to be over, I recall the advice my Sociology professor gave me last year “You’ve taken exams before, and you’ve done well, because you’re here now. This is just another exam. You’ll do well on this one as well.” I wish you all good luck with your Finals, and hope that you all take care of yourselves as well!

Organization Highlight: Alpha Psi Lambda

Organization Highlight: Alpha Psi Lambda

Yes, yes, I know – there’s been an awful lot of posts about the holidays at Loyola. We can’t help it! You know what they say, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

So, I wanted to talk a bit about one of my favorite organizations on campus, Alpha Psi Lambda National, Inc. They’re a co-ed Latinx-interest fraternity and as I write this, I have some sort of feeling like I’ve already made an appreciation post about them… but I went and checked and didn’t see anything, so that’s good.

I see a lot of Alpha Psi Lambda because they’re another multicultural interest group (not exclusive) like my own sorority. Their members are sweet, driven, fantastic, and beautiful (I only think they’re alright, can you tell?) and all of their events are super fun.

In fact, over the weekend, they had two events that I had so much fun at!

The first was making Christmas stockings for children of the Boys and Girls’ Club: they provided the items, from crayons to little toys to bubbles and so on, and personalized stockings (giant stockings!) for the kids, they just needed a few hands to help fill them. And fill them we did! After we finished, there was even gingerbread houses to make and hot chocolate to drink. The Boys and Girls Club is Alpha Psi Lambda’s dedicated philanthropy, and they have several events and fundraisers over the year to help them, as well as volunteering directly. I’m always impressed by what Alpha Psi Lambda does and how many of them show up to support their events, given that everyone has busy and involved schedules!

The second event was the Latinx Wonderland, a night of delicious food, karaoke, board games and laughter! It was planned, organized, and presented by their one associate member – like a member in training – and I went with two of my roommates and had an absolute blast! Most every semester they have an event like this, and it never disappoints. We played musical chairs and balloon-popping games too as a group, with Alpha Psi Lambda members from all around Chicago. Honestly, I was busy having too much fun to take pictures, so these are all from the first event.

 

Such a ‘Bler: Learning Community Reconnections

Such a ‘Bler: Learning Community Reconnections

Freshman year, I was accepted into Loyola’s Leadership for Social Change Learning Community last year (here’s a picture of some of us at the Learning Community 360 Retreat last Fall semester). This year, I returned as an LC alumnus to talk to some new LC Ramblers about my LSCLC experience and my Loyola experience as a whole.

They were as enthusiastic and determined, maybe even more, as I remembered my community being. It was interesting to hear their questions regarding student organizations and opportunities available at Loyola. One even voiced that she was concerned she was behind with her involvement (though she’s in her fall freshman semester and in 3 organizations and is looking for an internship!) I was very impressed and applaud them because I only got my job this year and am still looking for an internship. But I made sure to remind them to take things easy.

During freshmen orientation, we were advised to join 2, and not 5 organizations as a start. I of course joined around 5 which I eventually learnt as of Spring semester was a bad idea. I eventually slowed down and found my rhythm. I told them my story, but then again that’s just me. I know for sure that whatever they choose, they will go onto achieving inspiring great things! I’m excited for these new LC ramblers and the differences they will make for Leadership and Social Change.

 

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Such a ‘Bler: Diminuendo Fall 2018 Release Event

Such a ‘Bler: Diminuendo Fall 2018 Release Event

Last Friday was an extra special day for us creatives of Diminuendo Literary & Arts Magazine because we it was our Fall 2018 Issue release party!

Diminuendo is Loyola’s student-run literary and arts magazine and every semester we publish an issue of original student art! Submissions are received from ramblers and are reviewed anonymously and put together into a beautiful spread by our editorial staff. This year I’ve had the honor of being elected AD/PR chair and it’s been incredible. But I honestly couldn’t have done it without my empowering e-board and dedicated members.

Enthusiasts joined us for a night of great company, great food and celebration of great art. Each artist was recognized and those who wrote a literary piece read theirs out. There was also an open poetry mic at the end.

This issue is said to be our most competitive one yet! Personally, I would frame it on my wall. The team really stepped it up this round around and I can’t wait to see what we have in stored for next semester. You can pick up a copy from our magazine rack in Connections Café in the IC now! We also launched a website this semester: diminuendoluc.com.

I am one proud AD/PR chair!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

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Pre-Christmas at Loyola!

Pre-Christmas at Loyola!

The Damen Student Center had its Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony! This year’s event was held on Thursday, November 29th, at 5 p.m. in the Damen Student Center Atrium. The tree was officially blessed by our partners in Campus Ministry and was officially lit at approximately 5:10 p.m.

Damen Student Center provided a chocolate fountains (and all the trimmings), gingerbread house making, a synthetic ice skating rink (skates provided), and pictures with Santa Claus! There was also plenty of hot chocolate that was served with yummy marshmallows and chocolate!

Here is a link with all the pictures, and if you missed it this year, be sure to stick around for next year! It is open to the community as well!

https://loyolachicago.photoshelter.com/galleries/C0000JzTp1C2sMdA/G0000bU32tDdfm3k/Annual-Damen-Christmas-Tree-Lighting-Ceremony

Finals Breakfast 2018!

Finals Breakfast 2018!

Finals are approaching faster than it may seem, and as nerve wracking that sounds, the bright side is that winter break is almost here! You should be preparing for finals because you’re going to have a lot of reviewing to do, depending on how many exams you have, whether they’re cumulative or not, and the level of easiness or difficulty of the content.

You should also know when your finals are scheduled, and if you don’t, here is the link: http://www.luc.edu/academics/schedules/spring/exam_schedule.shtml

NOTE: Make sure this matches up to your syllabus, and if it does not, bring this up to your professor.

Now enough of the scary stuff, FINALS BREAKFAST IS ALMOST HERE.

Finals breakfast takes place at the end of each semester, the Tuesday of every finals week! The fun part of it is that its at 9PM instead of the morning, so take a break from the stress and get together with friends. Take advantage of the free food, after all, food makes everyone happy.

I wish everyone the best of luck on finals! Do the best you can, make sure you have tons of caffeine, and be optimistic. You won’t have to deal with this again until January 17th!

Remember: Finals Breakfast Fall 2018: Tuesday December 11, 2018 9-10:30PM in Gentile Arena

Such a ‘Bler: Early Festivities

Such a ‘Bler: Early Festivities

Looks like Christmas is already rolling in at Loyola. I was already smiling when on-campus cafes like Center Stage and Nina’s introduced new holiday drinks and the lampposts around campus were decorated like Christmas trees. But I walked into the Theatre Scenic Shop in Mundelein for my scenic construction class today and saw that my professor had put this together!

And soon, the Loyola Christmas Tree will be up in the Damen Student Center! There were a lot of DIY present activities organized last year, as well as a hot chocolate stand and indoor ice rink! I hope there’ll be more this year, I’m getting excited just typing about it!

A snowman also greeted me on the way to my morning class on the small field near Denobili Dining Hall.

I guess I’m not the only one blasting Michael Buble’s Christmas album in November!

 

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A Series of Firsts: My First Camping Trip

A Series of Firsts: My First Camping Trip

My peers and I in our campsite at Loud Thunder, right before heading back to Loyola. October 08, 2018.

I had just gotten back to campus after leading my first 360 retreat (the one on my previous blog post) when I got an email from Ramble Outdoors, a sub-department here at Loyola which is in charge of all-things-outdoors here on campus. The email was a reminder to register for their Fall Break Camp Out, a two-night camping trip to Loud Thunder Preserve, just a 4-hour drive away from Loyola. As the title of this post suggests, I had never gone camping before, and as the plans I previously had for my Fall Break had been cancelled, I saw the opportunity to check “camping” off my Bucket List. However, I wasn’t really sure about how much I wanted to sleep in the woods for two nights and making my own food with no kitchen available, little things that we live with in the city that I didn’t know if they would be available during this trip (and the question of the availability of a restroom haunted me, to be honest). After careful consideration and several conversations with my mom and my roommate, I decided to go camping with Rambler Outdoors, because I wasn’t sure where an opportunity like this would come up again at a time in which I’m not busy.

The days in advance were filled with excitement and some nervousness. As I had no previous camping experience, I didn’t have the appropriate gear to even go for a hike, and was worried that Rambler Outdoors wouldn’t be able to lend me the things I needed. My biggest fear was freezing my soul while sleeping outside: the weather forecast predicted rain and low temperatures would hit Illinois all weekend long. Nevertheless, I arranged my gear rental and packed as many layers as I could in my backpack, and I left campus in a Loyola van, with a bag of trail mix on my lap, and a big smile on my face.

Once at Loud Thunder, my worries left in a quick second. The camping site was pretty nice, with its own bonfire and located right by the Mississippi River (and yes, there was a bathroom). We set up our tents and started cooking dinner before it got dark, and ended our first day with a big bonfire and a bunch of s’mores. Cooking was one of my favorite parts of the trip: the process of setting up everything and just putting all the ingredients together on the little stove made me think of food in a way I didn’t back when I was in my kitchen. The next couple of days were a little more easygoing, as it rained all day long on the second day and we were not able to go hiking. Therefore, we spent the whole day eating snacks and playing board games while trying to stay dry. That night, Loud Thunder lived up to its name: the night sky was lit up by lightning and the sound of the rain falling on our tents was interrupted only by the clash of thunder. I was scared that our tent would give out and that we would all be soaking wet, but by the next morning, we woke up as dry as we had been the night before. And on the third day we packed up and left just the way we got there: making sure not to leave any trace in our campsite and leave it as untouched as possible. This is one of Ramble Outdoors mottos and they perform it throughout their different programs, and it really impact my experience at the campsite. We really tried to avoid leaving trash around, and also made sure that the land where our tents had been wasn’t damaged or anything. The Loyola values of being as friendly to the environment as possible followed us to Loud Thunder.

Even though my experience was not like what I expected, I am so happy that I got to get to know a little better everyone who came to the camping trip: fellow peers, the student facilitators, and the coordinator for Ramble Outdoors herself (shoutout to Rachel for being so awesome.)  And I also liked the fact that we were away from the city, surrounded by a beautiful, autumnal landscape and uninterrupted by urban noises or artificial lights. On our way back to campus, I was reflecting on how peaceful the whole trip had been, how being disconnected from the “real world” had felt. It really was a unique experience, and I would love to go camping once more.

 

Such a ‘Bler: Theatre Town Hall 2018

Such a ‘Bler: Theatre Town Hall 2018

I missed both Theatre Town Halls last year, so I was definitely not intending to miss this semester’s!

Town Halls are held near the end of every semester to keep students of the Theatre Department up to date with the upcoming productions on campus. Updates range from the upcoming semester’s productions to the upcoming academic year’s productions. Main Stage Productions (staff directed shows that are performed in the Newhart Family Theatre) are chosen by the Theatre faculty. Students are given the opportunity to apply for positions such as Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager(s) of these productions.

There was something extra special about this particular Town Hall, which is why I’m so psyched that I was able to attend. Second Stage Productions are under construction – that is, the faculty have decided to make some adjustments to the program as a whole.

Second Stage Shows are student proposed projects that run for either 2 weeks, 5 weeks or 12 weeks and are performed in the basement of Mundelein – a rather smaller but cozier space compared to the Newhart. This does have its benefits and has proven to allow a large extent of creativity and experimentation for the students as it is a black box theatre space. However, after many discussions, the faculty came to the conclusion that the term “Second Stage” self rather “Second”, as if it were less important. It also came to their attention that this program had a lot of undiscovered potential!

And so, the program is being expanded into many different models for students to take charge on! Just to name a few (and ones that I’m particularly excited about):

  • Question Based Model: Student(s) proposing the project pose a question and a methodology for examining that question in a 2-week theatre workshop.
  • Follow-up from Class Model: Students develop a previously crafted class masterpiece.
  • Funded Research Model: Individually or in a small group: apply for an undergraduate research grant for a research trip over Summer or Winter break.

I’m very ecstatic to say the least and am eager to start constructing proposals. I’ll be honest and say that I was quite intimidated and hesitant to propose for a Second Stage Production. But this new development of the program has given me new confidence, and a clearer starting point to narrow for my myriad of scribbles.

The new program still does not have a name yet though, and T-shirts are up for grabs. Perhaps I’ll start on that first….

BY THE WAY, I made a new video about what I’m studying at Loyola. Watch it here:

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

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Such a ‘Bler: International Education Week 2018

Such a ‘Bler: International Education Week 2018

Can you name the countries?

This wasn’t actually my first international nibble of the week! Monday kicked off with a warm bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich). I’m from Hanoi, Vietnam so this was like a warm morning hug. There was even a little stand set up in Sullivan Center just like (well, as close as Chicago can get haha) the streets back home.

I got a pork bánh mì, something I’ve definitely missed. A friend in my theatre class said it looked amazing and asked where I got it when she saw me munching before class. I felt very proud.

With Friday came International Night. There was food, information boards and a dance performance, as international and local students arrived in the Damen Multipurpose Room to celebrate. I noticed that dishes from around the world are actually equally similar and different in so many ways. They were definitely all similarly delicious.

International Night was also a great chance to see old friends – this is Vanya, one of my first friends here from freshman orientation week, a newly Loyola Alum and always a proud Indonesian.

The short trip around the world was refreshing – my taste buds danced the night away! It was a great International Education Week.

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: