Author: Francesca Marchese Gonzalez

A Series of Firsts: My First Year at Loyola

A Series of Firsts: My First Year at Loyola

Me with a giant LU Wolf on my first day of International Student Orientation. August 2017.

I came to Loyola more than a year ago, not knowing what was in store for me. I had visited campus only once before Orientation, and this would be my first time studying abroad and living on my own. But I was still very excited about meeting new people and starting my academic formation in a place I barely knew. I hoped to learn about places and events that were important in social and historic terms, how to navigate the world, and to get involved on campus as much as possible, while still maintaining a good GPA. I obviously did not know the many obstacles and difficulties that I would encounter, at least not until my mother left to go back to Guatemala and I faced my first day of college on my own.

To be honest, my First Year was not what I expected. I did not think I was academically prepared for the college-level courses, and I felt like my classes were too difficult for me. I was overwhelmed with the pressure to be social and be involved in as many student organizations and programs and possible. I struggled to balance both my academic and my personal life, and was stressed during most of my first semester. To top it all of, homesickness hit me very strongly, especially with events such as Family Weekend and Fall Break, in which I was reminded that I was indeed, far away from home.

But not everything was difficult and gloomy during my first year. After I went back home for Winter Break and came back for my first Spring Semester, my mindset about college had changed. I already knew how to move around the many social/academic spheres at Loyola decently, I knew a fair amount of people on campus, and I had come to be familiar with Chicago as a whole. This allowed me to focus more on my studies and extracurriculars, in order to finally choose my career path and find my purpose in life: to be of service to others and to search for justice. I had finally found my space at a place I can now call my second home, and I am very excited what it has in store for me.

To be honest, despite all its lows, my First Year at Loyola was my best year so far. And it’s amazing to think that it’s been more than a year since I first started my life at Loyola. Time has flown so quickly, but at the same time, it is difficult for me to remember a time in which I wasn’t a Rambler. I have been to so many new places, which have taught me lessons about social injustices and how I might be of help to others throughout the rest of my time at Loyola. I have also met so many people, whether that be fellow students or professors and staff, who have come to play an important part in my everyday life and have grounding me and bringing support and guidance this past year. The amount of things I have learned so far has been more than I had expected, ranging from subjects like Sociology to Women’s & Gender Studies. But most importantly, I have grown so much as a person in these past three semesters.

A Series of Firsts: Who Am I?

A Series of Firsts: Who Am I?

LU Wolf and I in front of the West Quad. October 2017. Go ‘Blers!

Hello, everybody! My name is Francesca Marchese González, and I am an international student from Guatemala. I am one of the new bloggers for Undergraduate Admissions Office, and I am really excited to share a little bit about my Loyola experience with you! Before getting into the logistics of this post, I’ll tell you a little bit about me and how I came to be at Loyola.

Like I said, I am an international student from Guatemala, and I am also Italian. I was born and raised in Guatemala, but my family and I really LOVE traveling, so we have been to different places in Europe, North America, and South America together. My favorite food is pasta, and a fun fact about me is that I know 3 and a half languages.

This is my second year studying at Loyola, and I’m trying to major in Global & International Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies, with a Minor in French Language and Literature. I am planning to study abroad in the future, whether that be at the Rome Center or in a French-speaking country. On-campus, I am part of a couple of organizations, like Womxn in Leadership Loyola and LUCES. I am also part of Global Engagement Programs, as the Chai & Chat facilitator. These are all spaces in which different perspectives are shared, in which learning is promoted and where we can all strive to be the best version of ourselves. And I feel like these organizations and programs have enhanced my experience at Loyola. I am an avid believer in that different perspectives have to be shared in order to get the bigger picture of something, so that if a single perspective is not the most popular, it still plays an important role in understand a community, like that which we have here at Loyola. And that’s what I am going to try to do through my posts: share with you a different perspective of Loyola.