This time last year, my whole life was flipped upside down in an unimaginable way.
One day, you’re walking about the world, looking at everything a certain way, feeling a certain way, and expressing yourself in a certain way.
Suddenly everything is different. How you think, feel, and see the world can never go back to the way it was before. It’s scary. And it’s so hard. And it’s constantly changing, even today.
On Dec. 26, 2014, one of the best people I have ever had the privilege of knowing left us in a sudden and tragic way.
Colleen was so many wonderful things. A few weeks shy of 21 years old, she was vivacious, she was hilarious, she was kind, she was thoughtful, she was brilliant. She was one of my three best friends at Loyola. I loved her and continue to love her so much. She was one third of my sun at Loyola. And then suddenly she was gone. As a result, my whole world got dimmer.
You find ways to patch together little glimmers of light here and there, but the light you once enjoyed can never be fully restored.
This new world is the one I must live in every day now, and I am trying to live the best life I can without her.
People constantly ask why I spend so much time in the library, or why I care so much about my grades.
The answers to both of these questions are simple…
I want to succeed. And I want to make my parents proud.
There is nothing more important to me than seeing the smile on my parents’ faces after I tell them I am doing well scholastically.
“Your parents may not be perfect, but they are the most precious gift life can give,” is a saying that, since I started college in September, I have truly come to understand. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized how hard my parents work to make Loyola possible for me. They have sacrificed so many things, and I can not even express how eternally grateful I am for this.
That is the reason I strive to succeed. I want my parents to know that all of their hard work isn’t being wasted, that I am seizing every opportunity I can to make them proud, and to prevail in life with all of the tools they gave me.
My parents are a support system, my best friends. Without a doubt, they are the people I am most thankful for.
Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today—nor would I be going where I hope to in the future.
During a trip I took to Ireland earlier this semester, I was able to visit two famous cathedrals, Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
I was so excited to see the historical cathedrals in their ultimate grandeur and, after finding their locations on the map of Dublin that I acquired from the front desk of my hostel, I walked through the city to the magnificent structures.
I entered through the gate and walked the path up to the front door. Immediately after entering, I was stopped by an attendant who sat behind the desk with a list of prices.
This is a question we are faced with quite frequently during our tenure as Greyhounds. Whether it’s coming from employers, family members, or administration, everyone wants to know what it means to be a Loyola student, from the people who experience it every day.
Instead of a canned response—and since this blog is a platform designed to give you an idea the everyday life of the Loyola student—I will try to give you a taste of real life at 4501 N. Charles Street in 20 snippets or less…
Being a Loyola student means being pulled from your caffeine-laden study session at the Loyola/Notre Dame Library by a voice on an intercom, telling you that its 2 a.m. and it’s time to go home now.
Being a Loyola student means having the opportunity to meet your professor at Starbucks to ask them about Thursday’s upcoming exam.
Being a Loyola student means being connected to everyone on campus. We are the most tuned-in generation the world has ever seen. Chances are you know everyone on this campus either directly or through a friend or a friend of a friend… and if that’s not the case, give it another week. You just haven’t met them yet!
Yesterday I attended the Active Minds Panel on Mental Illness. Five courageous students shared their personal experiences about mental illness in the hopes to end stigma and start conversations.
Active Minds at Loyola is one of the newest chapters of the organization to open nation-wide. This group is open to both undergraduate and graduate students as well as all majors, not limited to only psychology students. Their goal is to change the conversation about mental health and to promote mental health awareness at Loyola. (You can learn more about this organization and upcoming events on the Active Minds at Loyola University Maryland Facebook page.)
The panel was a great step forward for Loyola, creating a community in which those who live with mental illness feel validated and comfortable seeking help. With friends and fellow Greyhounds on the panel, I was extremely proud—not simply because I knew them, but because I knew their experiences. I live with mental illness.
Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam, one of the most famous cities in the world, where one may enjoy a variety of things such as the Rijks Museum, the Anne Frank Huis, and the Van Gogh Museum, among other attractions.
On the last day of our trip, we were given a short amount of free time to explore the city independently. During this time, some friends and I stumbled upon the main square of the city in which most of the shops and restaurants reside. There seemed to be a celebration of some sort due to the number of people that gathered in the square.
We soon realized that there was about to be a parade in order to welcome an individual named “Sinterklaas.”
Sinterklaas is a Dutch character whose arrival in Amsterdam in mid-November traditionally marks the start of the city’s festive season each year.
A fundamental truth that I hold dear to my heart is that one cannot place a value on flesh. And yet people do it everyday.
The sex industry makes billions of dollars every year on everything from prostitution to sex slavery to pornography to exotic dancing and everything in between.
I always knew to be true, but it was a much different experience when I saw it with my own eyes during a recent trip to Amsterdam.
The Red Light District is a main tourist attraction in the city of Amsterdam. But having a completely legalized section of the city dedicated to the sex trade is just so out of character for an affluent Western European city. For example, open and legal sex is commonly found in Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, or Thailand. You would never see something like this in Paris or Munich or London, though… so why Amsterdam?
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
You’ve probably heard this quote from Shakespeare’s As You Like It at least a thousand times.
For many students and faculty at Loyola, their world really is a stage.
Housed in the DeChiaro College Center, the heart of the theatre department is McManus Theatre. Students from any major or minor are more than welcome to participate in any show, but the theatre majors and minors really drive the department. They serve as student directors, stage managers, stage crew, work studies, and, of course, as actors. And while faculty and staff have participated in the past, in recent years, the casts have been solely comprised of students.
Cabaret performed by the Evergreen Players in February 2014; directed by Natka Bianchini, Ph.D., associate professor of theatre
Recently, my co-host/roommate/confidant Kat O’Brien and I had opportunity to sit down (virtually first, physically later) with Allen Stone. Allen Stone is a national recording artist from Washington, who is soulful and sweet and everything you’d expect him to be from his picture—and more.
We had a great phone interview with him a few weeks before his show in Baltimore. We dug down deep and asked him some serious questions, including about his hair and his taste in hats. You can listen to the interview here.
Allen has been on an international tour for his new album, Radius, which came out this summer. He was accompanied in Baltimore by Bernhoft, an internationally renowned musician who has been with him for the Southern and Northeast American leg of the tour.
We went to their show on November 11 at the Baltimore Soundstage, a fantastic local venue for anyone looking for known and unknown musical acts throughout the year.