Category: Living At Loyola

Finding Your Apartment

Finding Your Apartment

Hey, glad you stopped by my post. I’m here to share with you some quick key tools/ideas you should use and consider when getting ready to rent out your own apartment!


1.Looking for Rental Apartments

I’d highly recommend using the following sights to get started when finding an apartment.

Trulia  <—(My personal favorite)



When you go to visit an apartment pay attention to what you see, and be ready with some basic questions. Take nothing you see for granted, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some examples could

-“Do the windows open?”

-“What is the policy on pets?”

-“Is there a second exit in case of a fire?”


2. Find Roommates

Unless you have a lot of money around or are working on top of school, living alone is not an option. Look into getting some roommates. I currently live with 4 people and we split the cost of $2500 per month between all of us. If you don’t have any friends to room with, reach out to clubs, classes, and I cannot recommend this enough, I met some of my current roommates through clubs and classes that have become my friends just because I asked them about their living plans next year. Biggest thing I want to emphasize is don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Ideally try to find someone that responsible, respectful, and most importantly clean. Or don’t! Just make sure when getting roommates you find people that fit in to your atmosphere nicely instead of bringing people in who just want to live for a cheaper cost.


3. Knowing the Neighborhood

Since we’re living in Chicago picking the right neighborhood for you can be difficult. Safety can be an issue so make sure you check out the neighborhood during the day and then again at night. Walk around and see what it’s like. What’s around the neighborhood? Shops, restaurants, markets, coffee shops, or other night life?

When finding my place, I made sure to avoid being in a “food desert” or a place where there are few to no markets, restaurants, or places of shopping. I personally recommend that you find apartments around the Greenville and Morse area since they are very close to Loyola’s Lake-shore Campus on the sideline stop. They are filled with markets, restaurants, shops, and much more!

Another thing to keep in mind about the neighborhood is how long does it take for you to get to classes. Are you someone who rushes at the last minute, or likes to take their time? These could be important factors to whether you want to take public transport from your chosen location or walk!


4. Reading the Lease

Here’s a big one. You need to carefully read the lease and I mean everything! If you ever run into a problem with your landlord you can always use the lease to your advantage if they are breaking any of their own guidelines. Furthermore in some cases leases could be invalidated by having illegal clauses.

The last thing you want to do is get fined or even evicted from your apartment because you failed to following a “no smoking clause”. Know the ground rules.


5. Utilities

Find out which utilities you are responsible for… (heat,electricity,phone,internet,hot water, etc…)

A big mistake some people make when getting into an apartment is that they don’t ask enough questions about the apartment and what utilities it comes with. This actually happened to me this year when picking my current apartment. Another place I was planning on moving into actually offered me and my roommates NO utilities. We immediately reconsidered and found the place we are living in now which offers us all traditional utilities excluding internet and phones though. Still, a very important thing you should definitely look into before committing to your very own place.


As I continue to learn as a proud rentee, I will be updating you with whatever knowledge I gather. I wish you best of luck in your journey and hopefully this helps you out.

Please remember to ASK QUESTIONS when finding your apartment!!!


Such a ‘Bler: Loyola Farmers Market

Such a ‘Bler: Loyola Farmers Market

Well, here we are. I’m hooked! Yep, I’m officially a member of the Farmer’s Market fan club. And lucky for me, Loyola has one right beside the campus during the Summer months!! It’s literally right outside the Loyola Redline CTA stop!!!  

Follow other events that happen there here: 

Now that I’ve moved out of the dorms and am living off campus, the produce that I buy has become a higher priority amongst my purchases. It’s wonderful to be able to go to one right after, or even between classes during weeks where I’m too packed to trek down to Wicker Park these Summer/early Fall months. I think it’s also a good venture for sophomores because second year dorms have kitchens and you can challenge yourself to cook a new dish during weekends! And honestly, everyone should come by because it’s a just lovely time!!!! 

Okay, I’ve ranted enough about how wonderful farmers markets are in my previous post (do give that a read though hehehe) but I will mention that the extra special thing about this market is the featured street performances!!! I’ve only been to this one once, but if I’m not wrong, there are different ones featured each time. You’ll just have to come by and see then – the market opens every Monday from 4-8pm.  

Loyola Farmer’s Market: 

Event Link: 

There is also occasionally a gelato truck parked next to the market. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY YOU NEED TO TRY IT. I had some earlier sophomore year when the weather was warmer, and I haven’t forgotten it since. I’m so glad it’s back!!!! I also just love that it is aggressively pink.  

I remember from my UNIV 101 course during freshman year that some TAs organize weekly visits to this farmer’s market (or at least mine wonderfully did.) If yours does, you should definitely give it a go. I never did as a freshman and I very much regret it. But hey, at least now, I can possibly see you there? We can geek out about fresh fruits and flowers together. Happy Summer Ramblers! 



Such a ‘Bler: The Art Institute of Chicago (and Rambler perks)

Such a ‘Bler: The Art Institute of Chicago (and Rambler perks)

One famous Chicago touristy spot is of course the Art Institute of Chicago! And as a rambler, you get free passes with your Loyola ID for four years!!! 

My best friend from high school recently visited from Korea and we attended the Manet and Modern Beauty exhibition. The Art Institute holds several special exhibitions like this a year, and luckily, my Loyola ID also made me eligible for a free pass for Manet. Gosh was it beautiful. I always thought I’d have to go to France to see works from the French genius himself. I was most starstruck by his work Jeanne (Spring) and still can’t believe I saw it right here in Chicago. 

The institute’s collection also features areas such as Impressionism, African Diaspora, American Art and Pop Art. I visit roughly 4-5 times a year, just for fun. However, professors often assign projects or homework that require us to visit the Art Institute for artistic research. An inspiration hunt for my Theatre Design I course (THTR 252) during freshman year was actually my first visit. We were starting a set design for the play “No Exit” by Jean-Paul Sartre, so of course we were instructed to explore the special exhibition of old miniature doll houses. Here’s a snap of my favourite. And of course, my findings for the project featured other works from the institute’s vast collection as well. 

I think it’s really neat to have projects like these. Although artistic inspiration can come from anywhere form coffee shop designs to second hand book shops, it’s nice to know that there’s a huge gallery I can always go to if I want to hit many stops at once (even if it usually ends up with me spending a whole day there.) 



Such a ‘Bler: International Museum of Surgical Science

Such a ‘Bler: International Museum of Surgical Science

I will admit, I’m not too big of a science person, despite having graduated high school with Cambridge A Levels Biology. How did I end up at the International Museum of Surgical Science you ask? My theatre internship held a community outreach event in collaboration with the museum (yes, I’m laughing as well.) But hey, I absolutely recommend a visit! 

The above picture is the main reason. It’s a miniature replica of a surgical theatre, in which people would sit and study an instructor operate live time. This is one of the many displays featured at the four-story museum. The first picture is of the statues of the important figures in surgical science history. More information about them can be found on the other floors of the museum, as well as newly rising international contributors of our current century. The fourth floor features the history of what the museum used to be – a house – as well as a special exhibition that is updated every few months.  

Before leaving, the nice lady at the check in desk suggested that we check out the old pharmacy at the back. It was very intricate and was accompanied by a small dentistry outside it. There was even a statue of a pharmacists behind the counter. He’s placed to look like he is preparing one of the many packets and bottles of medicine found in the shop. There was also a special button on the counter, but I’ll let you come by and press it yourself. 

I think it is also crucial that also I mention their unique gift shop which features biological organ plushies (yes you heard that right, come through.) 

I honestly would have never known that Chicago had this hidden gem if it weren’t for my internship’s event and turns out a lot of my friends didn’t either. The museum is located at 1524 N Lake Shore Dr, or just a fifteen-minute walk from the Clark/Division Redline stop. I know that sounds like a lot but there isn’t much to complain about when the weather is this nice. Why not take a stroll? 



Such a ‘Bler: Loyola Park Beach Days

Such a ‘Bler: Loyola Park Beach Days

Believe it or not, I didn’t know that Loyola is located next to Lake Michigan arriving on campus freshman year. I’d like to think that you are all in fact better at location research than I am, but just in case, now you know! Ever since I discovered this outstanding cherry on top, I’ve been taking advantage of it as much as I can (when Chicago isn’t freezing of course.)  

The more I think about it, the gladder I am that I stayed in the States this break. My Chicagoan friends have been raving about how I NEED to experience a proper Chitown summer. I completely get the excitement now! On days where it’s just below 90 degrees, do find yourself a good book and pretty tree at Loyola Park. It’s become perhaps my favourite past time. Also featured in the photo above is the Loyola picnic mat that I grabbed from freshman orientation (note!!!)  

What I specifically love about this activity is the fact that the park is next to the beach!! I spent three years of my childhood in Sydney, Australia and at a primary school located right next to a park beach. So being at a university near the water is so nice for me. It’s also just lovely to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago whenever you need. To sit and just sit, watching the waves dance and even take a dip when the water’s just right. Communal picnics and celebratory beach days are also fantastic! The beach is located in between views of Evanston and Navy Pier. My roommates and I spent Fourth of July here and were able to catch glimpses of fireworks happening at both locations! 

I sometimes just come by and people watch. It helps my creative flow as a writer, and I always end up smiling seeing others curled up with a book or throwing a frisbee around on the sand. Families even bring their barbeque and have weekend roasts! 

I recently discovered that events are regularly held here. On one of my afternoon sun-sits, I had a couple of people ask me whether “the show has started?” I of course was super confused but this snap of a chaired-crowd besides a tent kind of explains it. I believe it was a small travelling circus. I was admittedly too wrapped in my book to investigate but it sounded like fun. 

Next time, I’ll be sure to have a closer look! 



Such a ‘Bler: My First Fourth of July

Such a ‘Bler: My First Fourth of July

*Credits to my roommate, Amanda Henderson, for this spectacular photo of the fireworks. She’ll also start posting on the Undergraduate Admissions Blog as well, so stay tuned!!!!! 

THIS SUMMER WAS MY VERY FIRST ONE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and I felt that it was finally appropriate to finally play Fireworks by Katy Perry on repeat. It was a very very very hot day. My morning was spent brunching at Anne Sather’s with some friends from school. Anne Sather’s is a little café near Loyola that has the best cinnamon rolls. Please, just go try them.  

I swear it was unplanned, but we all showed up in some variation of red, white and blue. We also had matching auras of heat the entire time, despite being in an AC proofed café, because it was THAT hot of a day. But it was nice to be out for a bit and under all the festive decorations! I soon retreated back to my apartment though. My roommates were grilling up some sausages for a dinner of hotdogs. I eventually learnt that it was a usual activity on the Fourth of July. I also heard that there was a parade going on downtown!!! 

As the afternoon cooled down, my roommates and I decided to trek to the beach near Loyola. It’s days like these that I feel super lucky to live and go to a university near the water.  

We played frisbee and enjoyed the breezy air for a bit before the big fireworks began. Honestly, it felt like a whole day of fireworks because families would hold little fireworks display of their own! Sparklers and smiles were also found all over. The beach is located between Evanston and downtown, so we were able to catch both the Evanston and Navy Pier fireworks displays. The night before, I had already gone to see fireworks at Navy Pier with my friend, but it was really nice to just have a lie on the sand and admire a freckled sky. 

And it was one of those days where I felt extra lucky, to be here in the United States of America as an international student. 



A Countdown Back to College – Looking Back at My Freshman Dorm

A Countdown Back to College – Looking Back at My Freshman Dorm

My freshman year experience all started with my dorm.

This is where I would be spending majority of my time sleeping, studying and socializing. Of course, I did not realize that at the time! Most people will tell you how awful and cramped the dorm rooms are, how you will need to get used to walking far distances, and how communal living is a hot mess.

But through my experience, all of that was a big fat lie. Let’s focus on debunking these dorm room assumptions.

Lets begin with location!

Room 1820, on the first Co-ed Floor of Mertz, my first college dorm. Mertz is not only a super social dorm, but also located very conveniently close to campus! I made a bad call when doing laundry right before to class, and I made it from the 18th floor to Mundelein in an impressive 6 minutes.

Good things come in small packages?

In terms of sizing, as a chronic claustrophobic, I felt my dorm was actually very spacious. In my dorm, we could comfortably throw in an extra person and set of furniture, and still have breathing room. My roommate was way more low maintenance then I was, so I was super happy taking in the extra space.

Neighbor or traitor, how does communal living work out?

And finally, communal living was not the horrible nightmare I expected it to be. Rather then a never ending sleepover with strangers, it felt more like vague cousins that lived with you . While we did have our moments (we had some very prominent personalities that could not get along), we all were close pretty close knit. Since I am a huge nerd, I fell into place with the Night Owls who stayed up until 2 am every night doing homework in our shared space.

Ultimately, dorms are not as overrated as people tend to think! I think its very important to have it capture your personality, and be a space designed for you and your needs in college.

Older Amanda still loves going on Pinterest looking at apartment décor nowadays, but nothing compares to the excitement of Baby Amanda planning her freshman year dorm! You are given several options to pick from regarding your room: Single, Double, Triple, or Quad; Bunk Beds, Junior loft, or Senior loft; the possibilities are endless!

I got lucky! I had a double with a high loft bed in Mertz on the 18th floor. I had the gorgeous sunset view, but I did spend a lot of time staring at the east view of the lake.

This is how I chose to design my dorm!

Totally did not get cluttered during the school year.

Not only did I love how color coordinated my room is (again type – A planner who relishes in perfect details), but I also loved how much of a conversation starter it was. During Welcome Week, I meet most of my friends from just running around, exploring everyone’s dorms.

Also important in your dorm is a plan for snacks!

Yes, that is a Walmart shoe self, full of snack suitable for bingeing on during Midterms.

And finally, a quick brag of how beautiful my view was:

I really do miss views like this.
Such a ‘Bler: Moving Out

Such a ‘Bler: Moving Out

Yes, I have officially moved out of the campus dorms. Why you ask? I simply wanted to. 

The dorms were more than I could have asked for, both freshman and sophomore year. But I think it is time that I venture out on my own. I want to separate my time on and off campus more, really allowing myself to be completely away from school when I need to be, as well as motivate myself to see different parts of the city instead of gravitating to those closest to my dorm. Apartment hunting itself was certainly already a journey. It seems that staying close to the Redline is the best bet. Despite the above, I still wanted a space near enough to our main campus but not too far from the downtown campus because of my Communication Studies major. 

My new roommates were big help. We all actually met at Mertz Hall freshman year. I lived with one and stayed close with the other during sophomore year. Signing our lease for junior fall and spring, I felt even more grateful for the two years I did spend in the dorms because it made housing plans when I landed on the decision to move out for junior and senior year less daunting. 

Am I nervous? Somewhat. Mainly because I’ve heard a lot from upperclassmen about how the commute time can be tough. I’ll also miss the convenience of the dining halls now that I’ll have to make my own breakfast, pack lunch and plan dinner. These are definitely two clear advantages of living on campus, especially for an individual who is often late like myself. Perhaps this decision is a new way for me to explore time management. Besides, from what I’ve seen, Loyola really knows how to organize great commuter celebratory events! 

I hope this short insight helps any inquiries you have about moving out. Get ready for a lot of new commuter content! Here comes Junior year, and here’s to a new chapter. 



Such a ‘Bler: Teamo

Such a ‘Bler: Teamo

There was this time during my senior year of high school when mum went to Europe for a month-long business trip. I lived off of occasional dinners I’d cook for my dad and brother, but mainly bubble tea (how am I still alive?) So you could tell how ecstatic I was when Loyola announced the brief visit of Te’amo Boba Bar. 

Don’t get it wrong, I love the drink available from campus – everything from the best coffee at Center Stage Café in Mundelein College to healthy smoothies at Rambler Express. I often go to Tbaar if I had a specific craving, which was only a ten-minute walk from campus. This is fine, but less convenient during busy back to back class days. Hearing that bubble tea would now be available at Rambler Express was some exciting news.  

Te’amo is very different from any bubble tea brand I’ve had in Chicago thus far. It currently comes very close to Bingo Tea (my favourite, that’s all the way in Chinatown.) Appearance and variety wise, it is superior. The staff were also very friendly and quick even with the tsunami of excited students. It also gave me more reason to pass by the Damen Student Center – a hot spot I spent much of freshman year in but rarely visited now that I live on the other side of campus. 

I also appreciate that there was an appearance of a more traditionally Asian treat on campus, even if it was only for a little while. I get quite excited to hear thoughts from my non-Asian friends whenever they try a new flavour and being able to tell them all that I know about it. What really surprised me was that this pop up was so well greeted by our campus that the partnership actually ended up getting extend til the end of the academic year! 

I’m not sure if Te’amo will be back Fall 2019, but I do hope so. I heard it may be an added feature of one of our new dorms?? But if your cravings are like mine, here’s where you can find it for now! 

  1. Lao Sze Chuan restaurant bar area, 520 Michigan Avenue 
  1. 1115 E 55th St 




Such a ‘Bler: Goodbye Marquette South

Such a ‘Bler: Goodbye Marquette South

It’s odd how much one can feel looking back at a simple little room.  

I remember asking “Am I ready 1806?” leaving Mertz Hall as a freshman. However, I somehow felt heavier leaving my sophomore dorm this May. Perhaps it is because I’ve grown a lot more – experiencing and not experiencing a lot more. Frankly I spent the majority of my second year at Loyola in this space (also frankly because it had majority of what I needed – bed room, study room, kitchen room, bathroom.)  

As a sophomore you also have more say over your time. Being well aware that your schedule is now more hectic, and your mind is more independent, RAs are more flexible with bonding activities. I appreciate the occasional round ups and applaud the life-saving snack carts. My favourite is the announcement boards that seemed to tap right into what I craved each turn (spots to explore in Chicago, internship hunt tips and self-care reminders.) There was a very comfortable and supportive relationship. 

MS 509 was so perfectly placed on campus. Seven minutes away from Mundelein and three from DeNobili Dining Hall. The Granville Station also lived close, along with Aldi and the mail room. I’d also find myself at Summer Noodles or Dak if I didn’t feel like cooking. Though cooking was a lot of what I did.  

I didn’t get out much. I didn’t want or really had to. Perhaps such luxury can be rather dangerous. 

I used to beat myself up for friending such a comfortable spot but thinking back now, I have little regrets. It was a nice hideaway place and I’m no longer shy to admit that I needed one. Sophomore year isn’t easy. You always feel like you should be and/or could be doing more. I really pushed myself this year with 18 credit hours, an on-campus job, a theatre 2-week exploration and an e-board position in Diminuendo Literary and Arts Magazine. Sometimes a hibernation day or a dorm cooked meal alone is needed. 

I am grateful. But farewell 509. I’m ready.