The Ultimate Guide to a Successful First Year: Part I

For most, the college experience is characterized by what you learn (academics and experience) and who you meet, forge relationships with, and go on to call life-long friends (social life). But beyond attending classes, studying and preparing for those classes, and making friends and having a social life, there are many other ways to fulfill a successful university experience. I am discovering more with each passing week here at Loyola: recreational opportunities, clubs, service, lectures, events on campus.

We live in what can seem like a stressful and competitive world. The tendency is to work hard and play harder, or to burn the candle at both ends until you’re exhausted and can’t do either. Sometimes it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to do the things we need to do, let alone the things we want to do.

So I’ve started to pay attention to the following methods and behaviors to help me stay on track—and I’ve found a great improvement in my lifestyle when it comes to balancing my busy schedule, my responsibilities, and my schoolwork…

This post is part one of a two-part series in which I will share what I have found to be methods to help first-year college students like me have a productive and enjoyable experience.

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What’s so great about Evensong?

Three weeks ago I started attending Evensong, a weekly gathering run by Loyola Campus Ministry.

Every week features a different leader who guides the group present through song, reflection, and prayer.

Evensong has become a weekly part of my routine, and I want to share my Evensong experience with fellow Greyhounds who might not know that it’s happening or what they stand to get out of it.

After a long, loud, hectic day of classes, including five meetings and one more to go, I needed quiet. I needed to find myself and my thoughts that are lost throughout the daily traffic. I needed a place to re-center myself.


That’s where Evensong comes in…

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I can honestly say that though I love school, the past two weeks have been extremely painful for me.

Most college students are grappling with the difficulty of midterms or homesickness around this time of year. My past week has filled me with sadness that goes beyond missing my family and friends or struggling to overcome to rigor of my first college. Last week, I lost a good friend to cancer.

It was extremely difficult for me, as well as for at least ten other Loyola students that I know of.

What can you really say about a 17-year-old who passes away six days before his eighteenth birthday?

It’s a tragedy; something no one ever wants to even attempt to fathom.

So many people are concerned with how he died, but me, I want to concentrate on how he lived. This post is meant to celebrate the lessons my good friend Tom taught me.


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Why every Loyola student should go to Hopkins Court Mass at least once

I am not Catholic. I did not come to Loyola because I went to Catholic high school. In fact, I didn’t even know what a Jesuit was before I started looking for colleges to attend…

But I found that the Jesuit core values are my core values, which is a commonality I share with many of my fellow Greyhounds.

The Hopkins Court Mass provides me solace, a time to recharge and refocus before the coming week, and it helps me to exemplify the Jesuit values in my everyday life here at Loyola.

If you’ve never been before or never thought about going, here’s why you should give it a shot.

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Songs for the Soul

I was lucky enough to return to the Loyola Retreat House this past weekend for the 2015 Chapel Choir Retreat.

While the pragmatic reason for this retreat is to practice tirelessly for Lessons and Carols (Dec. 4 at 5 p.m.—mark your calendars!), we also explored our spirituality through song and the spoken word.

I wanted to share the lyrics of the songs we sang this weekend, because they really spoke to me.

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Why am I learning?

I am starting to find it fascinating how different a student’s attitude towards academics can be, depending on his or her environment, which either dictates exposure to the significance of knowledge—or simply deviates from the holy grail of education.

Mostly every college student with exposure to university standards may testify to a grand distinction between what is known as K-12 or “common” education and “university” academics.

While in most contexts, “education” and “academics” may coexist as synonyms, in the setting of the topic, the objective of which is to uncover the hidden polarity of such concepts, the two nouns are light-years apart.

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A Guide to Riding a Bike in a Dress

After having spent almost two months living abroad in Belgium, it has become rather obvious that biking is a main form of transportation here.

But I have to tell you, there is a part of biking culture here that has truly amazed me, and when I saw it for the first time, my jaw dropped.

I’m talking about women biking in skirts and high heels.

HIGH HEELS! I can barely walk in high heels, let alone bike on cobble stone in them. What a feat. And skirts and dresses? How does one maintain balance on a bike while making sure that they are not giving the entire city a show?

I could not seem to wrap my mind around this concept. At the time, I was only a few weeks into my newly-found “European life,” so I decided to bite the bullet and try it…

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My Journey to Ireland

It’s official: I have been to the motherland. I have traveled to Ireland.

Since I am in fact half Irish, this trip was extra exciting. I have always dreamed of traveling to Ireland, seeing the sights, and experiencing the food, the people, the beer, the culture!

Upon stepping off the plane, it almost didn’t seem real.

Years of hearing stories from my Nana and Papa about Ireland and cooking traditional Irish food, memorizing Irish prayers, listening to Irish music on holidays all added to my emotion and anticipation on this trip.

I had dreamed about this trip, this day, for my entire life, and here I was, making my dream a reality…

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October: The Weirdest Month of the Year

October has always been one of my favorite months, yet it can also be one of the most stressful.

And weird. By weird, I don’t mean “spooky” or the obvious strangeness that comes with Halloween. Let me explain.

There are always a ton of projects, papers, and exams for classes, plus student clubs are finally getting into the swing of things. So my extracurricular responsibilities are a bit more constant.

I don’t know what it is, but I’ve felt “off” since October started…

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