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She’s Human Too

She’s Human Too

She’s Human Too

Langston Beamer

I came from a Jesuit all-boys school in Detroit with nine of my classmates. Though I have a sister and have interacted with women before, it was mostly at social events such as dances and football games. I never really understood how females think. I would quickly come to realize what it is like interacting with them in and outside of the classroom.  At first I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of females at Loyola. I felt that there was no way I would be able to have the “we are a band of brothers” lifestyle that I had at my high school.

I was truly mistaken. Not only was I able to keep close male friends, I realized that women are looking to make friends just like I was. I quickly began to make female friends. In fact, these female friendships have taught me many things as well. Things such as not putting hashtags in your Instagram caption, wearing a tee shirt and joggers every day is not okay, and you better not be the one who breaks the snap streak. I have enjoyed my time here at Loyola so far and have been grateful for the friends I have made and the advice I have received.

Through these everyday interactions, I also learned things about myself that I would have never discovered. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have a job that had to do with posting on social media. While my appreciation for photography and fine art has grown immensely, I haven’t lost any of my old interests. I still love playing football and I still love basketball. I have been here for two years and I look forward to see what else Loyola has in store for me. If there is one thing that every guy should know, it’s that women are human too.

Phi Sigma Sigma’s Stroke Awareness Event

Phi Sigma Sigma’s Stroke Awareness Event

Playing bingo for a good cause? Sign me up!

In 2011, Loyola student Emily Johnson passed away from a sudden stroke. Among her activities she was involved with on campus, she was a sister of Phi Sigma Sigma, a Panhellenic sorority on campus. So every year they raise money to donate to Rush Hospital, where she was taken, and talk about the warning signs of a stroke to students on campus.

The culmination of their efforts is a Brunch and Bingo event, held just this past Sunday and catered by Panera. A $5 entry fee – or $15 if you also wanted a t-shirt – nets you the brunch and two bingo cards. 

The food was so delicious, as is expected of Panera. And the whole of Rambler Room was packed, which made me glad – I’m sure Phi Sigma Sigma raised a lot of money and was able to help out a lot.

All of the sisters were wearing red and white, and the tables were, as you can see in the picture, filled with red bows with FAST written on them – the acronym for stroke warning signs. Facial drooping. Arm weakness. Speech difficulties. and Time. All things to keep in mind when you may be having a stroke or seeing someone else – the imperative is to get them hospitalized if the FAS in FAST is noticed.

When it came to the bingo – I actually won! They hadn’t exactly calculated for two winners, so they only had three prizes left for the three rounds left (I don’t really know what was going on, it was possibly one of the most confusing rounds of bingo I’d ever played) so the other winner and I flipped a coin and she ended up with a bag of coffee beans and I got four free sandwich coupons to Potbelly’s. Seeing as I gave them to the friends I had gone there with and we made plans to go eat using them later, I think I was the real winner. But that’s beside the point.

 

In addition to prizes, they also had a raffle to call winners who could then purchase bigger prizes, like a signed Blackhawks jersey or tickets to a Bulls game.

All in all, it was a lovely morning, and I’m glad my money was well-spent – both on breakfast for me, and for Rush Hospital, doing good in the world.

Take a Walk Down Devon Avenue

Take a Walk Down Devon Avenue

Part of the Loyola Experience is to go and explore the community! Rogers Park is known to be one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago. A particular street you should explore is Devon Avenue. If you take the 155 bus down to Kedzie, you will be in the Devon area, which consists of Indian and Pakistani culture. There are many great Indian/Pakistani cuisines, clothing & jewelry stores, cafes, and events that are there. I will suggest some restaurants/places that are a MUST:

Anmol Restaurant-  2858 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60659

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This place has grilled food that range from seafood, to chicken, to lamb, to steaks. If you like barbecue, definitely try this place out.

Sabri Nihari- 2502 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

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This is a Pakistani restaurant that has some of the best food to offer. It is a bit pricey for college students, but if you want quality food, this is the place. Try the frontier chicken and naan here!

Annapurna- 2608 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

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If you’re vegetarian you should check out this place for more options!

Tahoora- 2345 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

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This is the place to be if you want a quick hangout with a bunch of friends. It is Devon’s most popular fast food places, that has breakfast, sweets, snacks (like Samosa!!), and much more. 

 

 

Of course there are a variety of clothing, jewelry, shoes, and grocery stores that you should also check out, but we all get hungry for a snack here and there, so these places are musts!

Swap for Spirit

Swap for Spirit

I love my Loyola gear. In my freshman year, I must have gotten like ten or so free tshirts just by going to different events, and it’s a great story to tell.

And my collection has only grown from there. I’ll admit, it’s not the largest collection – a lot of the shirts from freshman year are now tired from being my workout clothes, but I try to get a new piece of gear every year. I got a scarf during my sophomore year, and since I was abroad my junior year (although I did get gear from both universities I went to) I made up for it by getting two things this year – a new hat, and a fleece jacket. Yeah, it can get a little chilly here, so I gotta get things that can keep me warm, right?

But how, you might ask, do I get… more? And for cheap?

The bookstore can run pricey, I know. There are two ways a lot of students get their gear – going to sports games where they hand them out for free, and going to Swap for Spirits! Sports games are nice because you usually just have to be one of the first 500 students or so to show up, which isn’t that hard. My roommate must have three or four Loyola hats just from doing that.

Swap for Spirits, on the other hand, is way faster. You can take any piece of clothing – it says other universities, but I had a really good friend who just traded in a plain white shirt, and they’ll replace it with Loyola gear! Just last week, Alumni Relations had one for hats.

Cute, right? Easy as pie. That’s Loyola for you!

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.

Organization Highlight: GlobeMed

Organization Highlight: GlobeMed

Interested in the healthcare professions? You may want to check out the chapter of GlobeMed at Loyola, an organization dedicated to connecting student leaders interested in health and justice with international grassroots organizations.

Truth be told, I’m not in GlobeMed myself, but I have lots of friends who are in it. I mostly know what they do from two sources: my friends, talking passionately and excitedly about what they’ve discussed or done with the organization, and also the countless sales they have in Damen Student Center of some tasty treats.

Most recently, they had a sale for Sprinkles Cupcakes, one of the best cupcake places in the city. (Their downtown location has an ATM!)

But I also know from firsthand experience that they sell Empanadas and other take-away snacks I can munch on on my way to class.

 Here’s a recent flyer of theirs.

More about GlobeMed itself. The students work with Centro Romero, a Rogers Park-based community organization looking to help out immigrants and refugees and create sustainable solutions. You can check out more here at their website or here on their twitter.  

I really recommend looking more into GlobeMed, who supports other organizations on campus to work together during Hunger Week, and hosts speakers like Bushra Amiwala. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s incredible – she ran for public office at age 19!

GlobeMed, like a lot of other organizations on campus, strive to make a change in our community. And from what I’ve seen, they work hard to make it a success!

Such a ‘Bler: I have a show on WLUW!

Such a ‘Bler: I have a show on WLUW!

And so another adventure begins.

During my college search, I came across a video tour of Loyola’s School of Communication’s Convergent Studio, and well I was hooked. I wanted to experiment, to create and to be immersed in a hands-on academic experience and there it was. I could see myself in this beautiful space and I could see myself at this beautiful university. One baby ‘Bler year later, I’m here. I have a new show on WLUW!

As stated on their official website, http://wluw.orgWLUW is the student-run radio station broadcasting from the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago. WLUW is dedicated to broadcasting independent music and informative talk programming and is a source of learning and growth for Loyola students. WLUW broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is streaming worldwide.

My show is called “Hyperlinked” – in reference to my hyperlinked brain – and it’s going to address a myriad of topics surround human interaction and relationships. And no, I don’t just mean the romantic kind. One of the areas that I hope to explore with my Communication Studies major, and well my Theatre and Creative Writing minors as well, is how individuals communicate, depend and not depend on one another. How do we perceive someone else, how do they perceive us? And why is the way we are present or not present in someone’s life so powerful?

February 13th was the first training day for the ‘Second Wave’. We are the second wave because our shows will be broadcasted on WLUW’s website rather than the actual 88.7fm channel itself. That way we are able to have more flexibility with our playing of music and discussion topics. The Second Wave is also for the more talk based or podcast based of WLUW’s shows. There’s everything from the purpose of spotlights in the Film and giving spotlights to queer artists. And I’m ecstatic!!!!

Our shows don’t begin airing until after Spring Break but I will definitely keep you posted. Wish me luck!!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

 

 

UNIV 101 Class

UNIV 101 Class

The first year seminar, UNIV 101, is a graduation requirement for all incoming first year students during their first semester.

The course is designed to provide a comprehensive extended orientation that is holistic in nature and focuses on academic success and students’ transition to college. Through interactive sessions, students will gain an understanding of Loyola University Chicago, the City of Chicago, campus resources, academic planning and meet with other first year students.

Through support by academic advisors, students will manage the transition to college, identify their academic goals and plans, interact with full-time staff and create a sense of community with other first year students.

I benefited a lot from this course, especially with the four year plan we were required to make. It seemed overwhelming at first to layout your 4 years on a spreadsheet, deciding on which courses you will take in the next years of your college career. However, there are peer advisors in these univ 101 classes that are willing to sit down with you and make this plan with you! I look back and thank this class so much, because now that I register for my classes, I know right away which class I need to take to stay on track.

As you may already know, there are so many required tier I and tier II courses required by Loyola, as well as classes for your major, pre professional courses, and foundation course requirements as well. This may seem A LOT to fit within four years, however, making this 4 year plan allows you to see how many of them overlap, are exempted, or fit easily in the span of 4 years.

It is a 1 credit hour course, a GPA booster, is only once a week for 50 minutes, and benefits you a lot in the latter. There are about 3-4 other additional assignments, but they are due within a considerate amount of time and allow you to meet other first year students. It also allows you to self reflect on your first semester and work on some things you may be struggling in!

 

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A Series of Firsts: My First Time Back in Chicago

A Series of Firsts: My First Time Back in Chicago

View of the Lake & the IC. Taken by me, Dec. 10 2018.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I came back to start my second semester of Sophomore year, and before coming, I was excited about coming back. Getting to see my friends after a month, living with the best roommate I could have asked for (shoutout to Devashree for putting up with me), being in the Second City again. Yes, I had missed all of this and was excited to see my past professors and going to my new classes, learning something new every day. However, after I landed in Chicago the day before the semester started, I felt out of the loop: I didn’t know what to do next, I wasn’t able to say “Thank you, next!” In reality, I had forgotten how it takes time for me to get used to a new routine.

It was just like this a year ago, when I was still a First Year. At the end of my first semester, I had every single day planned out, and I knew what I had to do at what time of the day in order to stay on track with my To-Do List, and my back-up To-Do List as well. I had gotten used to wearing layers so that I wouldn’t be cold when I went out, but so that I wouldn’t be warm inside. I had figured out my work-out schedule, and I was making enough time for my extracurriculars and spending time with friends. And then, Finals Week hit me like a truck, and Winter Break was upon me. Right when I started feeling like I had gotten the hang of living in Chicago, I was on a plane back to my home, Guatemala. And I was so glad I was, as I got the chance to spend the Holiday Season with my loved ones, and with beautiful weather (cue “White Christmas” but change “White” to “Warm”). I was back home, up high in the mountains, and I didn’t want to come back down. But I did, and once again, as I started getting used to my old life, living with my parents and sister, walking around Antigua with nothing but a light jacket, and seeing my friends, I had to head back to Chi-Town.

Once back in Chicago, I realized how I had to adapt my routine to the New Year (you know what they say: New Year, New Me). And I took that very seriously. You see, that’s the thing I’ve learned about college: your life as you know it is temporary. However, it is the fact that things are fleeting that makes life exciting. I had no idea what that semester would bring to me: I attended my first Women’s March the weekend; I celebrated Chinese New Year in China Town; I went on my first ABI to East St. Louis and got to meet some of the nicest people there; I witnessed the Chicago River turn green for St. Patrick’s day; I saw Loyola’s basketball team beat the odds and get to the NCAA’s Final Four; I enjoyed the first days of Summer in Chicago; and most importantly, I made some of the closest friendships I have to this day. I had none of these things planned, and many of them definitely did not fit my detailed-to-the-hour schedule. But it was during this semester that I got to enjoy the little surprises that setbacks might bring.

Every semester is going to look very different from the rest, whether that be classes, extracurriculars, service work, or what I do in my leisure time. However, I’ve come to see the good side of this: every semester, I get the chance to start anew, to make the changes that I need to make myself feel more comfortable in Chicago and to give my time here a direction, and to enjoy the little things that come along.  I’ve come to realize that it’s important that I focus on my semester only, and not compare it to anyone else’s. This experience is mine, and I have to learn to enjoy it like I want it, not like I think others want me to.

Now, with the Polar Vortex having hit Chicago, with classes being cancelled, I feel once again a little out of place, without a routine to follow. As I write this, I have set myself the goal to take these couple of days to reflect on what I want for this semester: what I want to learn, the people I want to spend time with, the places I want to visit, and the goals I want to accomplish. Every break we get as college students, whether that be due to holiday or to inclement weather, is a chance to look back at what you’ve achieved so far, and what you’re looking to do once the storm passes.

What do you want to achieve this semester?

Winter Festivities at Loyola

Winter Festivities at Loyola

Loyola loves a good celebration. And we also love winter!

So that’s why, every year, we set up a big ol’ holiday tree in the middle of our Damen student center. Yes, we are a religious school in name, so it’s called a Christmas tree and it gets blessed, but it’s mostly there for the pictures students trip over themselves to take pictures in front of.

Along with the holiday tree comes a great celebration when the lighting goes on and the string lights across it go on (you know, for the pictures.) That’s today! It’s a fun, free, public event that always clogs up walking traffic a little, on account of the crowd it gets.

I mean, Loyola rolls out a chocolate fountain for it. Who wouldn’t stop by, just for a bit? Santa Claus also makes an appearance and sits on a chair in front of it (you know, for the pics) but he’s not there all the time, just at the Tree-Lighting Event. After it’s over, you know students will be all over posing in that thing!

This Tree-Lighting also marks the start of when the Damen Student Center can start playing holiday music for all hours of the day. Just kidding, it doesn’t play music all the time, just… most of the time. If you walk through there at eleven o’clock in the evening after a theater performance or an organization potluck, there will probably be students there, concentrating really hard but not hearing anything. Later than that, and it would be just spooky to hear, I think!

What has got to be my most favorite aspect of the holidays at Loyola (besides the cute garland decorations everywhere, even in the gym) is the fact that we remove approximately half of our tables and put in… an indoor skate rink! I got a picture of it empty, before people start flooding onto it, so you can see how big it is. It’s free skating, as opposed to the cute (but probably colder) skating you can do downtown right next to the Bean.

 

If you’re visiting Loyola during this wintry season, don’t worry – this charm is year-long! It’s just that without the lovely decorations of the natural world, Loyola adds the holiday touch, and it sure does make students smile. Trust me, I’m one of them!