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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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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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.


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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You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile

One of the brighter aspects of having a class schedule that is spread throughout the day is seeing different groups of people every time I walk out my door.

As the weeks pass and we fall into the semester’s schedule, I grow more accustomed to the people I see, and I prepare my mental checklist of hellos for whichever walk I’m making.

It is interesting to see how certain times of year affect people and the moods I see them in. The Thursday before Fall Break, for example, people are more upbeat and excited than they would be if they were just coming back from a test they pulled an all-nighter to study for.

Frowns are almost as commonplace as smiles, especially now that we are in the gauntlet of tests, quizzes, and papers. People are tired. I get that. But what I want to tell everyone on my walks, regardless of how your day is going or how much sleep you got (or missed) the night before, it’s to smile.

For most of us, smiling is involuntary. We don’t think about when we do it. On the flipside, we don’t normally make an active choice to withhold a smile. And yet we know exactly what can trigger our face to lift upwards in a grin. The truth is smiling can have a bigger impact on your day-to-day life than you think. Continue reading

A Passion For Photography

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the stars, the small child, the smiling faces. Smell the rain and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams”

First semester of freshman year I decided to take an Introduction to Photography class. Loyola and this class made me open my eyes to my passion for photography. Continue reading