What now, America?

The 2016 presidential election was unique, to say the least.

Voters have expressed deep concern with the extreme bipartisanship in Washington, the electoral college deciding the vote as opposed to the popular vote, and the media’s skewed perception of our political realities.

This election was not so much about who voters wanted to be president as it was about who voters didn’t want to be president. In theory, this was a protest election. This silent majority must be given props for supporting their candidate to the extent they did.

This election was unforeseeable for all, including Trump himself, up until the evening of the official results.

As the votes from the electoral college were tallied, Donald Trump emerged as president-elect, in spite of the fact that Secretary Clinton won the popular vote by a landslide. So while many Americans are ecstatic for what the next four years may bring, many others are protesting in cities around the country and trying to dry their tears.

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This Republican victory is such a shock to the Democratic party because of the extreme clash in values that each candidate represents, as well as the contrast in experience.

Many believe that Donald Trump has no business whatsoever in the world in politics, though others make the argument that it is time for “new blood” in the White House. But does “new blood” also mean a lack of rapport?

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A Jesuit student abroad

Hello again from Belgium!

juliana-jesuit-abroad-3Well, this was going to come sooner or later: a blog on the core tenants of Jesuit education.

If you’re a sophomore, junior, or senior at Loyola, you can probably recite them by heart. If you’re a first-year student or a high school student learning more about Jesuit universities and the culture that sets them apart, they might seem a little overwhelming.

Although there are many more Jesuit values, magis and cura personalis are the hallmarks of living a life built upon a Jesuit education.

Magis, which means “more,” is a personal commitment to go beyond, to seek more, and to growth—personal, social, intellectual, spiritual. Magis calls me to push myself and constantly go outside my comfort zone.

Cura Personalis, or “care for the whole person,” is another personal commitment which calls one to take care of all aspect of themselves. To be a whole person, you must dedicate care for all aspects of life: personal, social, physical, mental, and spiritual. When you can listen to all these parts of yourself, then you are able to be a man or woman for and with others.

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Mercy in music

I headed up to the retreat house this past weekend for the annual Chapel Choir retreat.

As always, it was a wonderful weekend of music and love and fellowship.

This year, our theme was “Into the Heart of Mercy.” And let me tell you, I definitely received a lot of mercy this weekend, something all of us so desperately need.

Technically the reason for this retreat is so that we can have more rehearsal time for Lessons & Carols (which is not to be missed, so mark your calendar for Friday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m., and get there early to get a seat!)…

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Spiritually, it’s a chance for the members of Chapel Choir to build a community and talk about our faith journeys and our struggles.

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Home

Home, to me, is more than a geographical coordinate or the physical structure of a house.

Home includes the people who support me every day, make me laugh, and are always cheering me on.

I have considered Naples, Fla., to be my home for the past six years: the familiar faces in my favorite Thai restaurant, the colorful sunsets over the pier, and the holidays that serve as perfect excuses for family barbecues.

I grew up in Long Island, have lived in Naples for years, and am now able to call Baltimore my home as well. I found another home within my community that I once thought only existed 1,000 miles away…  Continue reading

Why I’ll always be happy I joined Loyola’s Honors Program

The Honors Program only encompasses a small percentage of each class, but I believe that it is home to some of the best and brightest students that Loyola has to offer.

I made the decision to apply to the Honors Program pretty early on, because I knew that I need to be challenged in order to reach my full potential. And boy am I glad that I applied.

I have made some of my closest friends through this program and I’ve developed good relationships with professors that I would have never made otherwise.

Honors students quickly learn how to survive in a high-pace classroom environment.

Within the first month of my first Honors class I had already read the Odyssey, the Iliad, Herodotus’ History, and parts of Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War. That’s a lot to take in—and it was definitely overwhelming while I was doing it—looking back, I now know that I could do it again.

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Post-grad stress: What do I do next?

This is a recurring and a tricky question for current seniors finishing their last year of undergraduate studies.

There seem to be so many paths that one can take in post-grad life:
Graduate school?
The workforce?
Field experience?
Vocational training?
Fulbright scholarship or grant opportunities?
A year of service?
Joining the military?
Taking a gap year?

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It’s easy to get caught up in a world of post-graduate options. I find myself contemplating what’s next nearly every day, not just because I’m a senior but because until this point, I had been planning for college to be next.

Now that that’s winding down much faster than I care to admit, it seems I’ll need to start seeking answers. A comforting thought: finding the answer may not be as intimidating as it may seem…

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Real talk: Studying abroad for a year

So, as my last blog revealed, I’m studying for a year in Leuven, Belgium.

From the start of the study abroad search process, I knew I wanted to study for a year. I’ve switched schools and neighborhoods a few times in my life, so the idea of getting away for a year didn’t really freak me out. On top of that, I have been able to travel with my family before, so you could say that I’m an amateur version of Anthony Bourdain (with less grey hair).

Before I left for a year, I thought the idea of a year-long program was not only incredible, but practical. I could spend a year really getting immersed into a country’s culture while still having ample time to travel.

I saw all my friends come back from abroad and only wished they could go back, so I thought I’d avoid those feelings all together.

When I got here, my program and the city of Leuven went above and beyond my expectations.

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Photo by Hühnerauge |Flickr Creative Commons

I live in a house with 67 other students and have actually made some amazing friendships. We share meals, go out together and spend time laughing and enjoying each others’ company. Every day felt like warm and inviting. I was so excited to come home in the afternoon, because there were always people sitting outside.

It was like my first year at Loyola all over again, constantly meeting new people and always saying yes to new things.

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My return to Leuven

After spending an entire academic year abroad in Belgium, returning to Loyola was definitely an adjustment, from reuniting with old friends or swiping for meals again.

But, unlike many other Loyola students who study abroad, I was fortunate enough to be able to return to my host country only four months after departing it last June.

The reason for my travel? To visit my long-distance boyfriend, who I met during my studies in Leuven and who is currently still living in Belgium.

I was only able to stay in the land of waffles and chocolate for about five days—but I was able to rediscover the magic I once knew there, as well as find new treasures in this hidden gem of Europe…

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The Hounds behind A Hound’s Life

Welcome to A Hound’s Life, the student blog of Loyola University Maryland.

Here students write, share, and reflect on the student experience: from classes to clubs, from exploring Baltimore to embarking on internships, from what it’s like to be a first-year student at Loyola to how to survive mid-terms.

A Hound’s Life provides a glimpse of the Loyola experience through the eyes and words of our students.

Meet this year’s bloggers…

Alyson, ’19
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Victoria, ’19

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Vitaliy, ’19

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Kelly, ’18

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Juliana, ’18juliana-intro

Tim, ’17

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Katie, ’17

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#KnowMe

Greetings, all! My name is Vitaliy Nikolaenko. I am sophomore commuter student at Loyola University Maryland. Currently, I am a B.A. candidate in economics and history, a blogger for A Hound’s Life, and a contributing columnist at The Greyhound.

Born and raised in Eastern Ukraine, in the city of Kharkov, I was a boy whose fate was uncertain and whose future established great doubts. 

Years later, I would be sitting before a screen illuminating a dark, dusty study composing a brief introduction about my life’s journey as it occurred (or perhaps, describing the experiences in a more vivid, exaggerated fashion)…  

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