Category: Academics At Loyola

Declaring My Double Major!

Declaring My Double Major!

When I applied to Loyola, I was given a drop down list of choices for my future major.

My typical angsty teenage self did not see this as a life altering decision, and since I took AP Psychology in college and did well in it, I decided to go for it. I also chose Pre-med to accompany it, which I am thankfully that I at least made one smart decision that day.

A reminder that I only spent 15 minutes on my applications before applying to Loyola – perhaps my biggest regret to date. Tragic.

My First College Psych class was Abnormal Psychology in Cuneo at 7:00 pm every Tuesday. I remember it being super awesome, I loved learning about the differences of sociopaths versus psychopaths, as well as learning more about autism. My teacher was awesome, and we had to do a research paper to accompany a topic you found interesting. I chose to do the correlation of urban living and schizophrenia.

Then came developmental psychology my second semester of freshman year. Overall, kinda meh, it just felt we zoomed straight from birth to death without making a lot of pit stops. Plus I didn’t like babies at the time, and if you can guess, developmental classes have to include the little guys.

Then came psych stats. As a mathy person, ANOVAs (analysis of variance) were the coolest thing! Plus we had to do a lot with analyzing data on computer programing which was a lot of fun.

Then came Research Methods for Psychology Majors. Any “psychology  momentum” I came running in with went to a screeching halt. I entered a class that was extremely challenging for me to grasp. Not intellectually, but rather motivationally challenging- to learn a subject that I just could not absorb.

It could have been the professor, it could have been the class structure, heck, it could even have been that it was right before lunch and I got hangry.

But regardless, I hit my first ever wall in college, where I could not engage in a subject I thought I was interested in. I felt that the class forced me into a structure that I was not compatible with. And that started a fun existential crisis – Do I even like psychology?

Meanwhile, Crisis Amanda was taking classes such as physics, chemistry, and philosophy to fulfill the pre-med side to me. In Chemistry, I loved to ask my chemistry professor all the questions I had, be it entropy, antimatter, or just trying to understand what buffers were. And through all this discussion, and his encouragement to find the answers I was struggling to find, I finally identified the dilemma I was facing.

In Gestalt Psychology, they teach you that the whole is always greater than the sum of it’s parts. But my question in response is how do we even know the whole, if we don’t even know the parts. Yes, it may be greater, but if inexistent, remains inexistent.

This is what breaks psychology away from STEM classes. While STEM always begins with fundamentals (cells, atoms, gravity, algebraic equations), psychology looks at everything big picture. And while I love the core tenants of psychology, learning how people think and interact with their environments, I am just not a big picture person.

And that is why I decided to declare a double major for Neuroscience.

Such a ‘Bler: My Internship Hunt (Sophomore Year)

Such a ‘Bler: My Internship Hunt (Sophomore Year)

This is a story about a girl who thought she wouldn’t make it. 

I knew I wanted an internship this Summer, and I had been preparing since the last. My website, my resume and my research were all set. I then tackled cover letters, letters of recommendations, writing samples and interview simulations as deadlines approached. I was ready, and I was, but not for rejection. 

I will say that part of my calm was thanks to a recommendation from a theatre professor. Having worked there, she really did put in a good word for me. However, I also had a chip of naivety on my shoulder. Up until this, I had never applied for anything non-academic. I had always either founded the organization and was recruiting or got invited for the position. I was yet prepared for the unpredictable reasons behind a “no.”  

I submitted two applications and both of their interviews, though in person, were at B+ level. I waited and not long after received one blunt wave and an invitation to reapply. Perhaps this postponed welcome hurt most because both they and my professor saw a great fit. And though I was in the top two, it was just not my time. I guess that’s something they don’t always tell you about the application process. No matter how great of a fit, there’s a time for everything. Summer internships are highly competitive. That single spot, belonged to someone else this season, a senior, and maybe at a later date, to me.  

Regardless, I was still happy that I submitted to two of the biggest theatres in Chicago despite it only being my second year in the theatre world. It was a long shot, but I made it pretty far. So was I going to stop there? No. I continued to apply! Chicago is a big theatre city, and my professor encouraged that there are still plenty of companies out there, big and small, that would want me. I continued to research and ask for more input from upperclassman ‘blers. I switched recommendation letters and resume components to adhered more to the specific internship. 

My next interview was over the phone. I improved from all my past fidgeting. I used the two rejections as learning experiences and gave this application my all. And now here I am – the new Artistic Administration/Dramaturgy Intern at Lookingglass Theatre Company. But more on that later. 

Good luck. 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

Such a ‘Bler: I’m a Dramaturg!

Such a ‘Bler: I’m a Dramaturg!

Each semester, there is an application sent out within the theatre department for production positions. This includes assistant stage managers, dramaturgs, assistant costume designers etc. The positions range from staff directed shows in the Newhart Family Theatre to student led Second Stage Laboratory Show in the Underground Theatre. I had been eyeing this procedure for a while but never had the courage to submit one myself. After being accepted to be a part of We Are the Hopeful, the 2-week Second Stage Design-Led Exploration about mental Health, I eventaully did. Then I grew speechless once again upon receiving the decision letter. I am the Dramaturg for Fun Home the musical in the Newhart Family Theatre this Spring 2020. And it feels so exciting to announce so. 

It means a lot that I was chosen for this position because I never regarded myself too special within the department. I am only a theatre minor afterall. To that, I have been told countless times by both professors and theatre majors that this isn’t a factor taken into consideration. It’s really about how much passion and commitment you pour into your work. And from what they’ve noticed, I really deserve it.  

I will be working very closely to the professors during this time, and will have one credit hour fulfilled. The director for Fun Home will be Mark Lacoco, the head of the theatre department at Loyola. He and my previous Dramaturgical Structure and Theatrical Process professor, Kelly Howe will be my two mentors for this adventure. I’m extra happy because Kelly was actually one of my biggest inspirations towards applying for this position. Her DSTP course got me completely hooked on dramaturgy. I also find this position a good way for myself a playwright to learn how to create a clearer and more unique world within a play. 

So far my tasks include closely reading both the musical’s script and its original root – the graphic novel written by Alison Bechdel. I will be assisting other departments in collecting clues to create an accurate, yet innovative world portrayed in these texts. I will be sitting in many meetings with the director, assistant director and designers of the show to come. 

It is Summer now and our next meeting is at the end of July, but I am exciting to take you along this journey with me. Big things are coming. Happy reading! 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

Such a ‘Bler: WE ARE THE HOPEFUL

Such a ‘Bler: WE ARE THE HOPEFUL

As mentioned in my previous post, We Are the Hopeful is a 2-week Second Stage Design-Led Exploration about mental health. 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. 

We Are the Hopeful was created by sophomore Molly Cornell, a fellow Sophomore majoring in Theatre and minoring in WSGS and Studio Art. And I feel so so blessed to have been given the opportunity to work alongside her on this incredible project!  

HERE IS SOME MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SHOW: http://artsevents.luc.edu/event/9f3b5c0cfccaf3db5839902bacce5faa 

Within two weeks, nine designs scripted, directed and designed seven performances each touching on a different area of mental health. Lab and rehearsal times took place both after class hours and on the weekends. My partner was sophomore Gianni Carcagno – a very very talented designer – and our piece “playing pretend” focused on Derealization Disorder. Derealization Disorder is the repeated perception or experience that the world around you is not real. It is the feeling of being ‘not there.’ The piece consisted of three experiential spoken word poems written by me and was recited by freshman Faith Hood amongst atmospheric and stimulating sound and lighting design. We crafted a piece of abstraction, in hopes to introduce a less talked about reality.  

Other topics, including anxiety and eating disorders, were explored through movement, personal writings, and even audience participation to create the feeling of claustrophobia. It means a lot that we got this opportunity to not only raise awareness about a topic so often stigmatized but also explore our relationship with it as humans and artists ourselves. 

We had the chance to tinker with a lighting and sound board and their respective design programs. We were visited by our design professors as well as other professionals in the lighting and sound design fields. We got to audition and work with enthusiastic theatre majors and non-theatre major performers. But most of all we all stepped out of our comfort zones. Many of us were freshmen or production newbies who had never come close to cue sheets let alone a tech board. I personally am a playwrighting and directing focused theatre maker. Design wise, I was more experienced in costume and sound design coming into the project. Although I was lucky to work with an experienced tech master like Gianni, we coordinated so that we were both exploring new areas. I took on the challenge of lighting design – a venture I had also found less comfort in during the Design II class I was taking during this same semester. 

This was probably one of the most challenging experiences for me as a writer AND DESIGNER (!!!!) I spent many days simply sitting by the lighting board, turning on and off every single light and relearning techniques. I felt quite overwhelmed at times but with these talents, their patience, silliness and encouragement, it felt also rewardingly comforting. I never saw fear in asking for help. And I felt less absent. 

Dissociation isn’t a new friend of mine, and I am grateful for this exploration because art is what keeps me present when I feel like I am not. I’m still learning about derealization disorder – I hope you are too. 

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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Issa Wrap!

Issa Wrap!

What a semester! Can you believe the 2018-2019 school year is near its end? Its hard for me to imagine that graduation is in a few weeks! For many of you, I’m sure the fall and spring semester 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 the mistakes made and always leave some room for growth. Whether you had a good semester or bad semester(s), 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.

Last but not least, be confident in your abilities! We get so overwhelmed with how much we need to do still or we tend to compare ourselves with others, but that is only a challenge to slow us down in the race. Be confident that you’re going to get an A in that class, don’t settle for a B, because it allows you to push yourself and achieve a lot more than you think you are capable of.

Be happy and always let yourself grow ~

Why Education at Loyola University is at the Top

Why Education at Loyola University is at the Top

Loyola University Chicago is a Catholic and Jesuit University where ethical and spiritual values are central. These values are expressive of human wisdom, informed by the traditions of American higher education, and animated by contemporary ideals of the Society of Jesus.

Although I do not identify myself as a Catholic, Loyola involves students and patients, faculty and staff from so many nations and neighborhoods, religious backgrounds and ethnic traditions.

Loyola University is one of 23 Jesuit universities and colleges in the United States.

Here are five “characteristics” that explain the Jesuit method of education at Loyola Chicago that makes it incredibly inspirational.

The first characteristic of Jesuit universities is a passion for quality. Jesuit universities set demanding standards for both students and faculty. If it is worth doing at all, it is certainly worth our very best. Whether it be a medical or law school, business or liberal arts college – Jesuit education has, in every age, aimed at educational excellence.

A second characteristic of Jesuit universities is the study of the humanities and the sciences, no matter what specializations may be offered. Loyola wants our students to be able to think and speak and write; to know something about history, literature and art; to have their minds and hearts expanded by philosophy and theology; and to have a solid understanding of math and the sciences with a liberal education.

A third characteristic of Jesuit education and so of Loyola University is its preoccupation with questions of ethics and values for both the personal strength and professional witness of its graduates. Family values, personal integrity and business ethics have always been important. In recent years, this characteristic has taken on added dimensions. Spurred by papal encyclicals and the pastoral letters of the American bishops, Jesuit institutions have tried to focus attention on the great questions of justice and fairness that confront our age: economic inequity, racism and unemployment in our own country; the global imbalance of economic resources and opportunities; and poverty and oppression in the Third World, to cite some examples. These are not easy issues, nor do they have any certain and universally accepted solutions. But Jesuit institutions today feel compelled by our tradition to raise these questions for our students, not through sloganeering and political maneuvering, but in a way that is proper for higher education: through learning and research, reflection and creative action.

A fourth characteristic of Jesuit education is the importance it gives to religious experience. Religious experience is vital and must be integrated into the educational process so that a student has the opportunity to grow in both knowledge and faith, in belief and learning. As a Catholic university, we try to open this all-important horizon of faith experience for all our students, whatever their religious tradition may be. Faith in God is not an obstacle to learning; indeed belief can often sharpen and focus one’s intellectual search. Prayer and liturgy are no threat to knowledge; they help form and strengthen an educational community in the fullest sense.

Finally, we come to the fifth characteristic of Jesuit education: it is person – centered. No matter how large or complex the institution, each individual is important and is given as much personal attention as humanly possible, both in and out of the classroom. The reason for this specific care for the individual is that, for so many faculty and staff at Loyola University and in our sister institutions, teaching and patient care are much more than a job – indeed more than a profession. They are a way of life. This is true not only for members of religious orders but for so many lay men and women of different religious backgrounds who look on their work of teaching or administration as sharing in God’s handiwork, as service to others in the ministry of education and health care.

We believe that the real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who our students become, so we engage them with real-world problems and promote social justice through academic and service-learning opportunities.

Loyola lets you do AWESOME things:

Loyola lets you do AWESOME things:

 

As a Sophomore at Loyola, I had the opportunity to take the EXCM 101: Introduction to Exercise Physiology course as did many others. This introductory exercise science class is a service learning course that connects Loyola students with Chicago Public Schools’ physical education and health teachers. It has been a great experience to observe and work with children who go to underfunded schools and don’t have as many resources as do private schools. It was nice to help out these teachers and also gain a learning experience.

Each student in the introductory class is assigned to a local CPS school and have different tasks depending on what their interest is. These activities and lessons are focused on fitness and health. I volunteered in a health class from grades K-5, but others have volunteered with after school sports programs, recess, or helped during physical education class.

It was nice to see a wide range of ages. The lessons I observed and assisted with was based on sex education, so younger students learned about good touching vs. bad touching, whereas the older they got, they learned about puberty, how the body works, male and female body parts, etc. Of course the reactions were priceless, but it is so important that these children are exposed to this information because they become aware of these important aspects at an early age and know what to do depending on what situation they can potentially be placed in.

Loyola students are helping CPS with the LearnWELL Initiative which promotes physical activity and healthy eating choices in school. Doing so allows Loyola students to fulfill their service learning hours which is a requirement by the University. it is easily done and also helps the school meet their students’ needs.

“It does vary,” said Karen Berg, director of clinical placements and experiential learning at the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. “At some schools, we are supporting after school sports because that’s really the best fit for Loyola students to be volunteering. In others, we’re in the classroom supporting the health education teachers. We’re supporting PE instructors, and we’re also supporting recess. It really is identified by the school themselves—they’re identifying what is best for them.”

Stephanie Wilson, director of the Exercise Science Program says “They truly find it rewarding. These children really count on the Loyola students to show up. They almost look for these students on the day and the time that they’re supposed to come. I think our students recognize that and are confident and proud in the end that they have given something back to the community.”

These are the little things that go so far in our community. Loyola has done a great job in connecting with the community and offering a helping hand. It allows students’ to step out of their comfort zone sometimes and be able to have a hands on experience. This exercise science course has allowed Loyola students to have the chance to give something back and also gain insight for future plannings.

One thing I Will Miss at Loyola…

One thing I Will Miss at Loyola…

Now the typical, cliche thing to miss is the lake. But for me, it will definitely be the exercise science classes. I made my switch into the field of Physical Therapy my Sophomore year, and it was the best thing in my life. Did you know Loyola has an Exercise Science lab? Not many people do, but it has been a great addition to Loyola’s BVM 11th floor! The facility features an instructional classroom for Exercise Science students and an advanced lab for measuring performance in fitness. Loyola athletes will exercise on ordinary gym equipment — just as if they were in Halas — but will be hooked up to machines for the purpose of researching the body’s reaction to athletic activity.

“It allows students to take what they learned in the classroom and use it in a hands-on approach,” said Stephanie Wilson, director of Loyola’s exercise science program. “We used to perform our labs at Norville, and we had to work around the athletes’ schedules. This gives our students their own space to go forward.”

The facility’s equipment includes a metabolic cart that evaluates an individual’s response to various forms of exercise. The cart is specially made to measure athletes’ oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production and energy expenditure during both exercise and resting periods. The cart helps researchers evaluate a subject’s performance as well as testing stress levels.

Exercise bikes and treadmills can also be found in the lab. This equipment, like the metabolic cart, has the ability to further analyze the human body’s reaction to strenuous activity.

Students in classes that take place in the lab will observe data recorded on the metabolic cart as athletes exercise, according to Wilson.

“We have over 100 students [in the program], so it was definitely time for us to have our own lab for exercise science,” Wilson said.

Loyola pre-med or nursing students, may seek permission to use the lab, or take courses that give them access. Many find the opportunities presented by the lab fascinating. The exercise lab is open five days a week and is accessible to all Loyola students who have declared Exercise Science as their major or minor or are taking classes in exercise science.

LUC PSA Wrapping Up the Semester With Service Work in Pakistan

LUC PSA Wrapping Up the Semester With Service Work 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.”

Our visit to Kiran Foundation was an eye opening and enriching experience. Our PSA executive board fell in love with their mission since day one, but visiting the Foundation in person was powerful and meaningful. There were bright colors everywhere, children smiling and laughing while learning and playing cricket, girls battling guys in basketball, and so much more. Kids ran up to us and gave us warm hugs, which melted our hearts.
Alhumdullilah, this has been eradicated and the neighborhood is much safer in present day. Residents are able to go about their normal everyday lives.
Kiran Foundation gives the underprivileged children of Lyari a noble opportunity to learn, along with their mothers, so they can be women the children can look up to. These children are able to go from Lyari to the top preliminary schools in Karachi, and dream of attending some of the top universities in the world such as Harvard and MIT all because of this foundation. We are very excited to support Kiran Foundation and work closely with the children to give them the resources they need to reach their dreams. 
We are grateful for the amazing donations of all these books by Asim Ali and our Executive Board. We cherish members like you!