Tag: Michigan Avenue

Being an Out-of-State Student at LUC

Being an Out-of-State Student at LUC

In looking at colleges, you might have considered a public school what with reciprocal or in-state tuition, compared to a private school like Loyola. That was definitely the pull for me away from Loyola, but all the other things brought me back!


I’m from Minnesota. But here at Loyola, I have friends from California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and all the states in-between. We came here not because it was cheapest but because it’s where we belong, and where we’re happy. (Also, going to private school is interesting when you’ve been a public-school kid all your life.)

Of course, I do have friends from the Chicago area, or from nearer states like Wisconsin and Michigan. And though I’m not as far away as, say, New Jersey, the distance does present some obstacles- and some opportunities. If you’re hesitant about a school because of its distance, let me tell you: it will be okay.


First off, your experience is what you make of it. I call my parents once a week (and/or if something really exciting happens), but I have friends that call twice a week, three times a week, or only once in a while when they remember. Some take the train back home for breaks, or don’t go back at all. Me, I take the plane – it might not seem so, but you can definitely find cheap flights at my distance. And the school provides a U-PASS allowing for unrestricted transport on the L, so I don’t have to be shelling out for an uber each time. And there’s plenty of opportunity to go home or have people come here, whatever suits you – from Parent’s Weekend to Easter Break, it’s pretty nice.

Second, they’re well aware of travel costs. If you’re a really far-away student, over the summer you can ask to be assigned to the very last Orientation with the Honors and International students that takes place right before the rest of the school moves-in, so you don’t have to make two trips. You might not know this, but you can also request extended stay (though not infinite) in the dorms over summer break, or stay here over winter break should you please as well.


Third, being from a distance makes Chicago all the more fun to explore! Going into this year, I knew very few things about this fair city. Navy Pier, yeah, and Chinatown, the Mag Mile, and like, there are some cool towers and cool zoos. Not that I didn’t absolutely adore it regardless, but now I feel really accomplished when I can picture where the neighborhoods are on the Red Line or estimate how far away something is, or even be walking downtown and actually know where to go instead of just consulting the skies.


Of course I’ll advise taking everything into account when you’re picking a college, but this is just to say that distance, at Loyola, is not the biggest or most important factor. The deadline to decide is May 1, so think carefully!

When My Grandma Comes to Visit

When My Grandma Comes to Visit

My grandma lived in Chicago for part of her childhood before moving to rural Illinois. The phrase, “You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl,” describes her perfectly. So when she comes to visit me in Chicago you better bet that means we do as many city activities as we can.

Right before Thanksgiving break, my grandma and my cousin Claire hopped on the Amtrak train to squeeze in some Chicago fun before the end of the semester.

I met them a little before 5 o’clock at our hotel downtown. Grandma spoiled us a little bit–we stayed at The Allerton Hotel on Michigan Avenue. After checking in, we wandered down Michigan Ave toward the river in search of a dinner spot. We settled on The Purple Pig, a restaurant I’ve walked past several times, but never had the chance to try. A Mediterranean style restaurant, with a cozy atmosphere and dishes meant to share, I would definitely recommend it. The three of us enjoyed butternut squash, fried asparagus, Italian sausage, a chocolate mousse tart, and gelato with espresso poured over top. Not a bad trade-off from the dining halls.

We then, of course, had time for a little shopping because you basically have to when you stay on the Magnificent Mile. Luckily for Claire and I, Grandma played Santa–we’ll see our purchases again underneath the Christmas tree. After our shopping trip we made our way back to the hotel and called it a night.

Luckily my classes on Tuesday are on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus, so my commute to class was much shorter than usual. So after joining Claire and my grandma for breakfast, I only had to walk a few blocks to my first two classes. On my lunch break I met them at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is just across Michigan Ave from the Water Tower Campus. One of my cousins works there and was able to get us tickets for the David Bowie exhibit. Before going to the museum I knew of David Bowie, but not much else. Now I could tell you quite a bit about him. The short version? He is one interesting guy.

After a quick lunch at the museum, I went to my last class of the day. When class was over Claire and my grandma met me in a cab headed for Union Station, to hop back on the train and head home for Thanksgiving break. In about 24 hours we managed to pack in quite a bit, but that’s just how it goes when my grandma comes to visit.

Loyola is Exactly What I Was Looking For

Loyola is Exactly What I Was Looking For


When I started my college search I had one thing on my mind—Chicago. I grew up in a small town about three hours away from the city. Every time my family would come to the city for a visit my heart would start pumping fast and a smile would creep onto my face when I caught the first glimpse of the skyline. (Then again, that still happens to me today.) The problem with these visits to Chicago was just that—they were visits. We always had to leave the skyscrapers to come back to the corn fields.
My desire to do more than visit the city (and earn a degree) was the driving force behind my college search. Since I was looking for a school in the city I was nervous that all I would find were universities that consisted of a few tall buildings on a city block. I did not want to sacrifice the “college campus feel” or a quad for that matter. When Loyola University Chicago came up in my search I was pleasantly surprised.
I toured the university during spring break of my junior year. With my dad and my best friend in tow we started with a tour of the Water Tower Campus. I was blown away when I realized how many times I had been just steps away from the university on my many trips to Ghirardelli. Stepping onto Lake Shore Campus was a huge breath of fresh air. It was a real college campus, with a real quad, within the city limits! After that I was sold—so sold that Loyola was the only school I applied to.
Loyola was the best of both worlds for me, the city and campus all in one. But of course before I completely committed to this University I had to consider more than just location. Coming in without having a major I wanted to make sure the school I chose had plenty of options for me. Loyola’s School of Communications peaked my interest and someday soon I will be happy to choose a major within this school.
Now that I’m here I know I made the right choice. I’ve loved the opportunities I’ve gotten to become involved with campus ministry, do volunteer work in the community, and take classes from some truly inspiring professors. I’m so happy that I get to call Loyola home.

Cousins in Chicago

Cousins in Chicago

Last weekend, my older cousin and her best friend visited me in Chicago!  They were my first visitors of the semester, so I was really excited to show them around the city.  They have only been here for dance competitions and other work related things (they’re dance teachers), so they were in for a big surprise in that they would finally discover everything Chicago has to offer.

They took the overnight Megabus and got to my apartment at 6 in the morning.  We slept for a few hours and then went for a delicious midday meal at Tempo Cafe.  It’s located right next to Water Tower Campus, and it has everything- from breakfast foods to burgers to hot meals.  It’s also open twenty four hours to satisfy any late night cravings.

After we ate, I took them to Millennium Park.  We of course had to take the cliche bean pictures- how could we not? Here’s one of my favorites. 

The rest of the day we went shopping on Michigan Avenue, and got Portillo’s for dinner. (delicious Italian beef) The next day, I had class, so I let them venture out on their own.  They spent most of the day tackling Water Tower Place.  I recommended FoodLife, the amazing food court in Water Tower, for their lunch and they loved it! They came back with piles of clothes, so it was a successful day for them

That night, we went to the restaurant RPM.  Its right downtown, and it’s actually owned by Giuliana and Bill Rancic. (Giuliana is the host of E! News and Bill is the winner of The Apprentice, a Chicago native and a Loyola grad if you didn’t know)  It’s a delicious Italian restaurant that is pretty reasonably priced for broke college students like myself! Also, it’s a hot spot for celebrities when they’re in town, so it’s right up my alley for pop culture junkies like me.

The next day, we conquered State Street.  It was another successful day of shopping.  We got deep dish pizza for dinner to make their Chicago experience complete.

I loved having the both of them visit, as I love acting as a tour guide and showing off the greatest city in the world.  I look forward to having more visitors next year!!

1,794 Miles

1,794 Miles

As I’ve mentioned before, fall means travel season for Admission Counselors! So far I’ve spent a total of 9 days on the road and I’ve driven a total of 1,794 miles throughout Indiana! That’s an average of 199 miles per day, woah. While I love fall travel and the opportunity to meet with so many awesome perspective students, being on the road does make me miss Chicago.

I specifically miss the CTA or Chicago Transit Authority. The CTA is not only my regular form of transportation throughout the year, but also the 2nd largest public transportation system in the country. (Click here for more fun facts about the CTA!)

After living in the city for 5 years now, I definitely prefer taking one of the many CTA buses or trains instead of driving. It’s nice to be able to sit back and read my kindle or the RedEye, listen to music and watch the stops go by as I near my destination. By relying on the CTA, I never have to worry about navigating road construction, gas prices, car insurance, or finding parking in the city.

The CTA is a great option for Loyola students, as all full time students receive a U-Pass, which gives them unlimited use of all CTA transit during the semester. The red line, probably the most popular train route for LUC students, runs between Lake Shore Campus and Water Tower Campus (the Loyola stop & the Chicago stop). The #147 (Outer Drive Express) bus route also runs between the two campuses on Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, also known as the “Magnificent Mile“..

The U-Pass is more than just an option for getting between classes, it’s a passport to the city! It will get you to Soldier Field to watch the Chicago Bears, U.S. Cellular Field to hopefully see the White Sox make it to the postseason, Millennium Park, Museum Campus, Chinatown, the House of Blues for a concert, or maybe just a random stop where you can do some exploring! It was definitely one of my favorite possessions as a Loyola student, and I think most students would agree with me.

If you’re up for a road trip yourself, I’d recommend planning a trip up to Loyola University Chicago on October 20th or November 17th for an Open House. They’re a great way to determine if Loyola is the right fit for you, and you can always hop on the CTA and do some exploring in the wonderful windy city!

Reason I Love Chicago #3: Celebrity Sightings

Reason I Love Chicago #3: Celebrity Sightings

I’ve lived downtown in Loyola’s Baumhart residence hall for almost nine months now. I have loved being on the Water Tower Campus right in the heart of the best city in the world.

There are always glamorous people around and fun things going on downtown. Yesterday, however, I had my first celebrity siting EVER– some friends and I casually bumped into actor Vince Vaughn and his family strolling down Michigan Avenue late Saturday morning.

I am embarrassed to say that I was more than a little starstruck. A friend and I were mid-conversation when I saw him and his wife pushing a stroller. My first thought was “hey, that guy looks an awful lot like Vince Vaughn.” It took me half a second to realize it was actually him, at which point I punched my friend in the arm, pointed and stared.

I did probably the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do when you want to remain cool in front of somebody famous. We made eye contact, he saw me gawking and uttered a casual “Hey, how ya doing,” and continued walking. The poor man probably can’t even walk down the street with his wife and child without being gawked at, and I just made it worse. I felt terrible!

Vince pictured with Reese Witherspoon in the movie Four Christmases. What a stud! (Photo via TRF_Mr_Hyde/Flickr)

Reason I Love Chicago #2: People watching

Reason I Love Chicago #2: People watching

By now my fellow bloggers have already dished about St. Patrick’s Day in the city. One of the greatest things for me about everyone being out and about on the holiday weekend with the gorgeous weather was being able to people watch. The highlight of my St. Patrick’s Day (besides seeing the river dyed NEON green) was grabbing dinner with a friend at Chick-Fil-A downtown and taking it to the plaza surrounding the historic Chicago Water Tower. We camped out for an hour or so and got to watch crazy people all hyped up for the holiday and dressed head to toe in green. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life! Michigan Ave was packed. I’m already looking forward to the next St. Patrick’s Day weekend in the city!

Photos by me!

Dinner and Movie Night Out

Dinner and Movie Night Out

Friday night, I decided to take a much needed break from studying to relax and enjoy a good dinner and movie.  One of my good friends here at Loyola is transferring next semester, so we decided to plan this night for her.  She picked the restaurant and movie and invited all of her good friends.

For dinner, we went to The Cheesecake Factory, right near the downtown campus, underneath the Hancock building.  It’s probably up there in my top five favorite restaurants. So so good! I was unadventurous and ordered a cheeseburger and fries, and was so full afterwards that I decided to be even more unadventurous and not order cheesecake.  As I type this, starving, I’m a little upset with myself that I don’t have some leftover cheesecake in my fridge. But, if you were to go there and order cheesecake I highly suggest the Godiva chocolate cheesecake.  It will be the best thing you have ever tasted, mark my words.

After dinner, we went to the AMC theater on Michigan Avenue and saw “New Years Eve.” The film had an all star cast of probably around twenty A-List actors.  The cast included Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashton Kutcher, Jon Bon Jovi, Zac Efron… to name a few.  It was a great movie and I highly suggest seeing it!

One of the main reasons I love going to school here is because you can easily hop on the bus or ‘L’ to head downtown and have a nice dinner, see a movie all within walking distance of each other.  I had a great time hanging with my friends and it was definitely a much needed study break for this hectic finals week that is approaching!

Concert Hopping

Concert Hopping

Tomorrow is Loyola’s last day of classes before Thanksgiving break, and thank God! Two more class periods left and I’ll be on the road headed home to that great state shaped like a mitten. This break will definitely be well-deserved. Last week was busy busy—all of my professors are loading up the assignments and papers in order to make sure they fit everything in before the end of the semester.

Last Wednesday provided a much needed break from writing and studying—one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Mat Kearney, was in town and did a little meet-and-greet at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store just blocks from my apartment in Baumhart Hall on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus. A few friends and I got there early and waited in line so we could get seats. Mat did a quick interview in front of the crowd, talked a little about his favorite songs and answered questions from audience members.

Afterward, my friends and I got in line to meet him and get a photo. We wanted to break the ice by asking him a silly question—we found out his favorite breakfast food is apple cinnamon oatmeal from Trader Joe’s!

After another long couple of days of classes, we got to see Mat in concert on Friday at the House of Blues. The show was great! Mat is so personable and such a great performer.

One of my favorite parts about living in the heart of the city is being so close to so many opportunities for fun things to do on the weekends—shows to catch, people to meet, fun times to be had with friends. The diversity of experiences available is great. There is no one genre or area of interest more favored than others. Mat played shows at the House of Blues on Thursday and Friday last week, and in the next couple weeks the venue will host shows played by my fellow Detroiter Kid Rock, American Idol David Cook, and the noisy metalcore band As I Lay Dying.

My taste is definitely much more suited to performers like Mat Kearney—if you’re interested (and I highly recommend it), you can check out his music on YouTube.

All photos were taken by me!