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First-Generation Lens

First-Generation Lens

I am a first-generation student, meaning I am the first person in my immediate family to attend college. Holding this identity is a privilege, which can be stressful at times.

My end goal: to be able to graduate.

Flying from California to Chicago with my mom during Freshman move-in, she expressed worry. She helped me get the essentials by taking me to Target to purchase dorm supplies and to buy school supplies. The next important component was visiting the Sullivan Student Center to meet with the financial aid department.

I remember my mother expressing her concerns with the payment process with the financial aid counselor. She expected that we would be eligible for more grants by being first-generation. Thank you to the FAFSA application, a new source I learned which helps students receive grants, federal work study (so you can have a job on campus) and much more, for being an outlet to fund my college education. My journey of me becoming independent began in that room, with my mother and I, two vulnerable and confused people, who cared so much about my college success.

We visited another office where we were introduced to the Achieving College Excellence (ACE) Director, who coordinates a government funded program for first-generation college students like me. As we left his office, my mom was fixated on the idea of me joining this program. The benefits of what they provide students such as advising and free printing was what she wanted me to take advantage of.

My mother, as loving and supportive a person she is, can only guide me to a certain point in this process. There were a lot of things I was unsure about and I had to motivate myself to reach out and find the answers. So once she flew back to California and first week of classes began, I realized what was ahead of me. Asking for help when I need it was more prominent than ever.

My mother and I during my high school graduation.



Three letters to describe my three years at Loyola. New. Who knew I would endure so much change within three years. But look at me now, growing to be a resilient human.

To give you some background on whose story you are reading about, my name is Sam and I am a third-year student majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Marketing and Political Science. You could say I am dipping my feet in the areas which will set me up for future success. The main reason I chose to study in a different state was to challenge myself, to get out of my comfort zone and to grow in a completely new city I have never explored before. And can I say, it was a lot of adjusting, but also being patient with myself in the process. Being a first-generation student, these three years have been about self-navigating with the help of many campus resources who wish to see me succeed.

In this blog I will tell my story and provide some advice for how I’ve survived college up until this point. And if you can relate to any of my identities, I hope this outlet makes you feel like you are not alone in this new journey.


Loyola Cosplay at C2e2

Loyola Cosplay at C2e2

Cosplay is not just the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, video game, or series. It’s not a mere game of dress-up, it is something much more powerful. Cosplay is a form of strength and confidence many people use to express themselves.

Left: Dylan as Okuyasu Nijimura (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure). Instagram @sogeking00 Right: Parker Harris as Jotaro Kujo (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure). Instagram @busyearnin_

This Spring Break I had the opportunity to dive into cosplaying with a few Loyola students. They showed me the ropes and helped me create two whole cosplays throughout my journey. I’ve always been a fan of cosplayers and how they represent themselves. It is really fascinating to see your favorite characters come to life and how people portray them on the con floor.

Ellie Walters as Shoto Todoroki (My Hero Academia). Instagram: @noraa_cosplay

Beyond dressing up, the feeling of playing your own character really stands out. As I roamed the comic con floor, I felt like every other person. Aimless wondering around trying to find something to purchase or someone to take a picture with. After I put on my costumes, I felt like I was embodying the characters essence to some degree. I cosplayed two well-known anime protagonists Jotaro Kujo (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure) and Shota Aizawa (My Hero Academia). Everywhere people got excited to see their favorite characters, I got to take hundreds of pictures and meet so many wonderful people. Even though it was my first time cosplaying and my cosplays weren’t exactly accurate, people still gave me compliments.

Julianna Scivinsky as Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto Shippuden). Instagram @naukajewel

I’d like to give a quick shoutout to a few local Loyola cosplayers who have heled me out tremendously with costume design and getting into the community. You can check out their respective cosplay accounts linked under their photos.

Cosplaying is a very positive experience overall that I would recommend to anyone interested in trying something new. There are a lot of ways to get involved in cosplay here at Loyola through various clubs such as the Nintendo, Anime/Manga, and eSports clubs. If you don’t want to join a club, I highly encourage you to reach out to people over social media on where to start! What I found most interesting in the cosplay community is that everyone is so accepting. No matter who you are, everyone helps each other out and makes sure they feel welcome to express their opinions and ideas. From an novice artist and cosplayer, this helps support creativity and promotes the most positive attitude. If you’re looking for a place to express yourself artistically or physically look no further and try cosplaying yourself.

The Quinlan Ramble Trip to Boston

The Quinlan Ramble Trip to Boston

< 3 minutes read >

Last Spring Break, I got an amazing opportunity and honor to participate in the Quinlan Ramble trip to Boston ✈️. The Quinlan Ramble is an annual alternative spring break trip that enables Quinlan undergraduate students and Arrupe business students to experience business in another part of the United States. Where I got to network with amazing professionals in different business fields and with our great Loyola Alumni🎓. I also got to make many new friends with whom I know I can count on during my time at Loyola University Chicago🐺 and beyond.

On the first day, I realized that I am here for much more than just visiting companies. Being on this trip has also allowed me to build community within the Quinlan School of Business. The Quinlan Ramble team is so diverse and I’ve been able to learn about a variety of cities, cultures, and languages through the trip.

There are couple lessons I learned from all the company visits. Networking🤝 is one of the most important skill for students to step into the real business world to get an internship and job. We did a lot of penal sessions with current/incoming employees during our site visits. It’s very surprised for each of us to see how many people who do not have a business degree and working at Accounting and Finance firms because of their network with someone in the firm. It sounds very harsh, but it showed us what does the real business world look like. And, it also motives and warns us to build our own network and create professional connections for our careers. I am glad the Quinlan Ramble trip gave us the great opportunity to connect with all the people we met from the trip. Also, thanks to our Loyola Alumni connection, we had a chance to visit the Massachusetts State House and hold an Alumni Reception in the house! The second part I learned is the importance of transferrable skills. Companies are always looking for someone who has transferrable skills, not expecting you know everything about their business. Companies recruit from all different majors today, not just business majors. Communication🗣 and teamwork👥 skills are the key elements they are looking for. Today, employees can easily transfer to different departments within the company. I think it’s also great for our college students to experience different field of business, but keep learning the fundamental skills we need in our lives. 

I have met so many amazing people within Loyola & Quinlan, especially with Dean Stevens. We had great conversations in many events during the trip. I really appreciate all of his advices and stories he told me. It was an honor to speak with all of the individuals; being able to hear the journey and successes of them was a notable experience. I will always reflect on this trip and how it has helped shape my look into the business world. I am very grateful to be attending this trip, and hope to further myself as an individual, business person, student, and member of the Loyola community!

Thank you and hope you enjoyed reading this blog. The Quinlan Ramble trip is heading to Los Angeles this spring break. I can’t wait to hear about their experience soon! For more information, please visit:

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions about our page.

Taking a Public Speaking Class

Taking a Public Speaking Class

< 2 minutes read >

Public speaking skills are valuable in both our personal lives and careers. As a business major student at Loyola, one of the curricula required classes you need to complete is COMM 103: Business & Professional Speaking. After taking COMM 103 for a month and completed my first speech this week, here are some of my experiences I want to share with you all!!

FYI: My class is held at Loyola’s Water Tower campus each Tuesday and Thursday morning (75mins per class session). Also, there is no school year restriction for this class, which means you can take it during your first year at Loyola too!! 

Okay, allow me to assume that a lot of people have some fear of public speaking (me🤚). So, I want to start with a question: “What do you think would make a public speaking class more comfortable or enjoyable to students?” 

My answer would be respecting, supporting and appreciating each other. After 3 weeks of learning, preparing and practicing. Our first speech presentation week is finally here. (A 5-mins informative speech on any topic you want.) In Prof. Borden’s class, there is an important rule everyone has to follow on speech days: clap 👏after every speaker finish their speeches. It may seem like a very little thing, but it shows a lot of your respect and support to the speakers. We all have good and bad (performance) days, even though we did our best. Ice-breaker talks with my classmates helped us get curious and excited about each other’s stories and speeches. 

At a very diverse school, there is a big chance your classmates may come from different countries or culture backgrounds. Which is also part of the reasons why I enjoy this class so much. Students have the option to choose whatever topic they want to talk about. So far, I have heard speeches on Mexican Tacos, Shanghai Yuyuan Garden, and Princess Diana, etc. It’s very interesting to learn something new or something you are familiar with from a different perspective. (The Taco one was so fascinating!! I couldn’t stop thinking about trying some traditional Mexican Tacos🌮!! Btw, there are two Flaco’s Tacos restaurants at both of our campuses.)

Please let me know if you want to hear more about my COMM 103 class experience in the future. I am happy to share more of my experience and stories with you!!

Before I go, 

If you ever feel nervous about public speaking, I have a quick tip for you. As Pro. Borden always says to us: Your peers and audience want you to succeed. Don’t be nervous, you will do great!! 😊

Getting Involved on Campus

Getting Involved on Campus

My name is Dorien Perry-Tillmon, I am a freshman at Loyola and I am from right outside of Boston, MA. At Loyola, I am a Film and Digital Media Productions Major with a Photography Minor, Visual Communications Minor, and Women’s Studies and Gender Studies Minor.

As I began to get settled in my first semester at Loyola, I realized I was ready to get involved on campus, however, I wasn’t quite sure where to begin. As I walked through the Org Fair and talked to various clubs and activity leaders, one that surprisingly stood out to me was Student Government (SGLC). I had not had prior experience with student government, but I couldn’t think of a better way to get involved on campus. I took all the information and planned on running for First-Year Senator. With my extreme procrastination, it wasn’t until two hours before the deadline, that I was reminded by an upperclassman friend already in SGLC that the application was due at midnight. I scrambled to get my 50 student signatures required and finish my application to run. Somehow I was able to get all of my work in and was added to the ballet. 

After campaigning and networking, I was one of seven people elected out of the nineteen that ran. I was both honored and shocked that I was chosen to represent the freshman class. As I became accustomed to my new life as a Senator, I learned a lot of things such as email etiquette, how to shake hands, and where to wear my nametag; mainly things that I never would have thought about. When SGLC meetings began, I was placed on the Justice Committee, where my team’s goal is to make sure our campus is diverse, sustainable, and accessible. The project that I chose to take lead on was making our residence halls more sustainable by organizing the trash rooms, adding recycling bins, and introducing composting to the dorms. Before coming to Loyola, I didn’t even know what ‘sustainability’ meant, and now it has become a major part of my life.  

The Freshman Senators of Student Government

Without Student Government, I wouldn’t have found many of my passions. I realized how important it is for me to be a student’s voice. Although it makes my schedule super busy, I have gotten to meet a ton of amazing administrators, students, and Student Organizations, and have been able to witness firsthand all of the passion that students and administrators have for this school, and I am proud to be involved in such an amazing organization.

Loyola Chicago’s Many Gems

Loyola Chicago’s Many Gems

As we all know Loyola is a BEAUTIFUL campus. It seems that there are endless possibilities to hang out and relax on campus. I have spent three amazing years here and during this time I have devoted countless hours exploring many of Loyola’s hidden gems hiding in plain sight. I have compiled a list of my top 5 places to hang out with friends on campus.

5. Damen Student Center

The Damen Student is a wonderful place to hang out with our friends simply due to the fact that at least one of them will be there. Not only is the Damen food court right nearby, you also are right in the middle of all the action of the Lakeshore Campus.

4. Schreiber Center Great Stairs (Water Tower Campus)

The Great Stairs in the Schreiber Center is a great place to relax. Not only are there multiple outlets on each step, each step is long enough so you can have all your friends on the same one. Just like the Damen Student Center you are in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the Quinlan Business School. I would have ranked this higher if the Great Stairs were at the Lakeshore Campus.

3.  Lewis Library (Water Tower Campus)

The Lewis Library located in the Philip H. Corboy Law Center is the only place on the list which is a spot solely dedicated for studying. Not only are you right in the middle of downtown Chicago, the large glass windows which show the vast city skyline are great stress reducers.

2.  Engrained Café

Located in the Institute of Environmental Sustainability Building, this is a student-led restaurant featuring local food is a great spot to meet up with your friends during the evening. While sitting at this location, you will see groups of students having conversations mainly about homework. This place is a great place to get yours done!

1. Ireland’s Pub

I give my top spot to Ireland’s Pub located in the basement of the Damen Student Center. Not only are there giant flat screens, there is a multitude of tables, giant couches, and pool tables. Irelands is a perfect spot to hang with your friends during in time of the day or night.



Hi everyone! Welcome back to another blog on grocery store around Loyola! In this series, you will hear from me about all the grocery shopping locations around our two Loyola campus, includes ADLI, Devon Market, Target, Whole Food market and Trader Joe’s, etc. Each store has their unique strengths in my opinion. Today, I am going to introduce Devon Market, a neighborhood market located on the west side of Loyola Lake Shore campus. 

If you read the first blog on the new/renovated ADLI, you may know ALDI is my go-to grocery shop location. I have never been to Devon Market until ADLI was closed for the past 6 weeks, and I need to find another affordable store to shop.    

Okay, let’s go inside the store! As an international student from Asian, it somehow feels like shopping at home. They sell a lot of international products such as Japanese cookies🍪, European cheese and Kimchi, etc. First, I love kimchi, and I eat a lot of them! From now on, I am so glad I don’t need to travel to an Asian supermarket and shop for kimchi off the Argyle stop or Chinatown every month. Devon Market also offers a large variety of vegetables and fruits more than any other grocery stores around Loyola (as you can see from the picture below). My favorite part is they have Bok Choy! It’s a very popular Chinese vegetable, and the name is actually direct translated from its original Chinese name “bái cài”/白菜. 

From my Retail Marketing class, I learned that many people complain about the big “bundled” bananas they bought always go bad before they even finish them. Just like in Trader Joe’s, you can buy a single banana 🍌 in Devon Market too! If you never heard about the “single banana” story at Trader Joe’s, stay tuned for my incoming blog! Another quick story: I have never seen an avocado as big as my water bottle! If you haven’t heard of Florida Avocado 🥑, please come and check it out at Devon Market! It surprisingly tastes just like the normal avocado!

Important news time! Devon Market offers student discount for all Loyola students! Just bringing your Loyola ID, and you will get 10 percent off at check out! Another benefit Devon Market provide is free Uber/Lyft ride if you spend more than $100 (and distance within 3 miles)! They will help & send both you and your groceries home! 

That’s all about Devon Market! Hope you enjoyed this blog. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions about our page.

Thank you & Stay tuned for the next grocery store blog 🛒!

Jie’s Grocery Store Series 🛒 #1— New/Renovated ADLI

Jie’s Grocery Store Series 🛒 #1— New/Renovated ADLI

About 2 minutes read.

Hi everyone! Welcome to a new blog series on grocery stores around Loyola🛒! In this series, you will hear from me about all the grocery shopping locations around our two Loyola campus, includes ADLI, Devon Market, Target, Whole Food and Trader Joe’s, etc. Each store has their unique strengths in my opinion. Our first store is going to be ALDI, which just reopened from renovations last week! 

As a Junior who is living off-campus this year, grocery shopping becomes an essential part of my life. ALDI has always been my first grocery shop choice for snacks and everyday-products since my freshman year (Target was not built yet). I think the two main reasons people shop at ADLI are because of their location and overall low-price items. The store is just one minute away from my Sophomore-year residence hall Spring Hill Hall last year! It’s super convenient for me to stop by and grub something on my way home. For students who live in the northern part of our campus especially during the winter time, taking the CTA red line from Loyola station one stop to Granville station could be another choice. 

Okay, let’s go inside this newly renovated ALDI. Comparing with their old store, the new store offers slightly more items than before. Their frozen food section definitely has gotten larger, with a bigger refrigerator and more frozen meal/food options. One of my favorite items to shop for at ADLI is their frozen chopped broccoli 🥦! It’s only 95¢ per bag, and only takes you 4 minutes to cook in microwave! I usually buy 10 bags in bulk…and people always ask me about the price and if it taste good at the line. It definitely tastes good, and worth the price! I am so happy to see they updated their refrigerators to make people easier to grub the food in the back. Quick tip: They sell two types of frozen broccoli, 95¢ and $1.65, just double checking before you put it into your shopping basket! I think the cheaper one even tastes better! Other than normal grocery items, they also offer vegan, Gluten-free and soy-free items in most categories.

For most fresh vegetables, ADLI is unquestionably low-price, but not the cheapest store around our campus. Devon Market, which located in the west side of our campus offers cheaper and more kinds of fresh vegetables like bok choy, bean sprout, and mint, etc. I will introduce with more details on Devon Market in my next blog! 

That’s all about ADLI! Thank you and hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions about our page.

And, do you know ADLI owns Trader Joe’s? Stay tuned for my future blog on Trader Joe’s, and a special connection with my experience at Loyola! 

Amanda’s Approach🌈 – Analyzing My Study Habits in College

Amanda’s Approach🌈 – Analyzing My Study Habits in College

” If you are nervous, it’s good because it means you care. If you are anxious, it’s good because it means you are concerned for the quality of your content. If you are scared and stressed, it means you are unprepared.” – Man at MSU

When I was a Freshman, I was quickly submerged in the “harsh” reality of college test taking. This isn’t high school, where I could quickly do the homework during passing periods before class or get good at guessing at Multiple Choice Exams. In college, it is a whole different experience. You get to learn not only how to learn, but how you learn best and what you are interested in learning. Read ahead to hear about my take aways from learning how to study at Loyola!

Why Cramming is the absolute worst:

Yes, like other Loyola Students, we are all guilty of those late nights in the IC, trying to cram 8 weeks of lecture the night before the final. Bad. Bad. Bad. In reality, cramming does very little for you in the long run. Especially if your major is one that counts on applying previously acquired knowledge! While you may do “okay” on the exam, you will most likely forget everything you crammed the day after the exam. And when you have that scary cumulative final, you will have to reteach yourself everything that your forgot due to cramming. Do damage control and save yourself!

How memorizing gets you nowhere:

It is amazing how some of us are like sponges – soaking up every single word that is on a PowerPoint slide (talking to all you fellow Pre-Meds!). But how useful is regurgitating knowledge when you are unable to present and apply it? I find that making things more interactive – watching Youtube videos, asking questions, and researching topics not only enhance my understanding but also enhances memory simultaneously.

Wait, the Instructor isn’t the only one who teaches you?

In my opinion, we learn best by teaching ourselves and others. I view my professors as presenting information critical to my understanding of the class, and it is my job to translate it. For example, in my Abnormal Psychology class freshman year, I quickly discovered this harsh reality when I got a C on an exam I did not study for. Baby Amanda realized that I would need to get my brain into if I didn’t want to keep up this trend. And through trial and error, I found what works for me.

And finally, it is all about your headspace!

Learning doesn’t have to be a chore! As a total self-proclaimed nerd, I try to make it enjoyable and less of a hassle. This for me is:

– Making my notes colorful and accessible
– Using fun apps like Tiny Cards to make memorizing more effective,
– Listening to the best study music! For me it is piano, but for my roommate, it is heavy metal. Whatever works!
– Making study groups with my friends to not socialize but to help each other better understand the content
– Racing myself with a stopwatch to try to get practice problems done as quickly and correctly as possible.

Of course, these may not work for you when you go to college. But ultimately, it all comes down to understanding yourself – arguably the main take away of college. So just sit back, relax, and remember that it will all click for you eventually!