The Ultimate Guide to a Successful First Year: Part II

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.

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

(You can find Part I of my Ultimate Guide here.)


Even homes is putting some hours in - but is he doing it right?

Let’s be honest: Every college student dreads studying. I can’t think of one person who doesn’t despise the hours spent in the library, taking notes and staring at pages until our eyes glaze over.

More than being prepared for a test, success in life is defined by knowledge, and you will never be able to hold an intellectual conversation without a base of appropriate information.

The most effective way to keep the information locked within your conscience is to study. Here are my top four ways to engage with information while studying…

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Memorializing the Jesuit Martyrs

If you’ve walked by Loyola’s Quad recently, you’ve probably noticed the crosses lining the path near Maryland Hall and Sellinger.

Every year, Loyola remembers the Jesuit martyrs who surrendered their lives for their faith during the civil war in El Salvador.

On Nov. 16, 1989, at la Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador, uniformed men gunned down six Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her 16-year-old daughter. These men and women lost their lives in this act of violence.

Over the next couple of days, the Loyola community will honor these men and women, along with many others who gave their lives in service to individuals experiencing poverty. Among those honored by Loyola are Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., Segundo Montes, S.J., Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J., Joaquín López y López, S.J., Amando López, S.J., Elba Ramos, Celina Ramos, Barbara Ford, Stan Rother, and Sr. Dorothy Kazel.


In an age where we need to care even more for those around us—and especially for those experiencing poverty—remembering the actions of those who went before us in order to follow their selfless example is more important than ever.

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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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Silent Mind

JFDKSLAJFKDLSJFKLSDJAKFAs a junior at Loyola University Maryland, I have come to understand the Jesuit ideals of service and social justice, and the notion that it is all of our responsibility to create a better world.

St. Ignatius Loyola set out to create a world where men and women would be “contemplatives in action,” where we would observe, notice, and take creative action.

The study abroad experience is many things: exciting, inspiring, fun, challenging, eye-opening. It also brings forth tremendous responsibility.

When traveling from place to place, it is easy to get caught up with the adventure in it all. It is easy to only notice the most well-known landmarks. But each destination has its own complicated problems that need to be addressed by and exposed to the rest of the world.

Walking and exploring the beautiful sights of Paris, I noticed dozens of women and children begging on the streets. Passing each of them, I wanted to know their story, how they got there, and if they could be anywhere else, where would they be?

The image of these children and women has stayed with me and led me to much reflection.

Why was I given this opportunity and not them? What can I do? How can my Loyola education help? How can I make a difference?

I wrote this piece for them, attempting to give them a voice.


The Silent Mind

She sits on a mattress, a child in her arms, burying its face into her breast, sleeping. Her weary back leans against the cold Pont Des Arts Bridge. Her hands shake back and forth as she holds the cup before her. Back and forth, the ringing of the three euros in the cup resonate only in her ears. Around her everyone notices her, a quick glance, a second of pity, but they just keep walking.

A herd of tourist, all wearing red “I love Paris” T-shirts come closer. One lifts a camera, points it towards her, and flashes. Her eyes overwhelmed with whiteness and tears.

She is blinded from the world around her. Her heartbroken brown eyes gaze up at the sky, seeking contact with God. A dirty sheet covers her bruised legs. Love locks surround her and the unknown baby. Irony of Love, from the world to their own world on the mattress.

Her mind begins to wander, envisioning the mattress as a magic carpet, just as Aladdin’s. Now she can escape. She flies on the magic mattress across the Eiffel Tower. Her hand reaches out to touch the top of the shimmering metal tower. She flies onward, over the breathtaking mountains of Interlaken. Switzerland. Then the Great Pyramid of Giza. Then Hagia Sophia. Then the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then the White House.

She keeps flying, running away, observing everything about the world below her. The people resemble ants, she mashes them with her shaking hands. Squishing them on the grounds of the affliction and the pain they have permanently caused her. Now. Away from her fear. Away from her pain. Away from the tourists and their flashing cameras. Away from the hunger. Away from the humiliation. Away.

Another camera flash explodes in front of her brown eyes.

Thanks for reading! Check out my website here for more blog posts and videos.


A Whole New World


One word that has such a mammoth impact on our lives.

It shouldn’t scare you, though. It should excite you. Because while the concept of college can be “pee in your pants” terrifying, once you accept the thought of experiencing a whole new world full of exhilarating opportunities, the notion of college as a place where we go to be homesick will dissipate. And you will be OK.

I know because I just lived through it.

Though leaving home wasn’t the difficult part for me; I was ready to go. I was ready to leave the same friends I’ve known since kindergarten, and the same small town where I’ve spent my life for a while now, because I wanted to experience something different. Something new and invigorating.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t experience a moment of complete and utter panic on my first day of classes…

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Springtime in Baltimore: Top 5 Things for College Students to Do

After what felt like the coldest winter Baltimore has seen in quite some time, spring has finally arrived. And as the weather gets warmer, the opportunities to get outside and get involved in activities around the city increase exponentially.

As someone who is not originally from the area, I will tell you that at first, it was difficult to figure out things to do beyond the Evergreen campus. However, I started following the advice I received from older, wiser students, and I eventually became familiar with the downtown neighborhoods.

The amazing thing is, aside from the things I am about to suggest to you, there is so much more to see and do.

Let’s start with my top five ideas for fun, low-cost ways to spend the remaining weekends of the spring semester in Charm City…

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Loyola’s Underground Secret

Not all those who wander are lost.

It is easy for Loyola students to stay within the boundaries of the Evergreen campus.

We get lost among work, activities, meetings, a social life, and we do not take time to explore the area surrounding Baltimore.

During the last week of school last year, a group of friends and I decided to explore the Evergreen Museum, which is located right next to Loyola’s campus.

We were wandering through the woods when we discovered this underground secret…

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Creating Yourself

College students are on an endless search of finding out who we want to become in this vast universe. Our souls go through an unstoppable evolving path of finding ourselves. We are persistently reflecting on what is to come in our near future. Who are we going to become? Where will be in the next five years? What are we called to do with our lives?

College is the start to rest of our lives. Every inch and centimeter of the universe is open for us to explore. This is our time to make mistakes and learn from the consequences. This is our time to discover something new. This is our time to shape who we are as young adults. We will never have this opportunity ever again. Life is short so we must make the most out of it. We must grasp onto the new experiences and opportunities before us. Our moment to create something for the universe and ourselves is now. Not tomorrow. Not in a year. NOW. Continue reading