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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A Thank You Note to RoomRez

Dear RoomRez,

I bet this isn’t a letter you get that often.

You have a pretty thankless job, but when people use you properly, your office provides a great service to the students of Loyola.

For starters, you take out the anxiety of finding the perfect roomie at Summer Orientation by giving students the option of having a roommate randomly selected for us, based on our living styles. That made my life in the Summer of 2012 a lot less stressful, and it helped to take the pressure off at Summer Orientation.

You also ask really great questions that matter when you’re going to live with another person. Room cleanliness and bedtime are not to be overshadowed by someone’s taste in music or poster choices when it comes to sharing a living space.

My group at Summer Orientation in Summer 2012

My group at Summer Orientation in Summer 2012. Fun tip: Make sure to take your nametag off your shirt before you wash it.

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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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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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Senior Bucket List: Part 1

My fellow seniors, the time has come upon us. We have risen through the ranks of this university, culminating in what will soon be inevitable departure in late spring.

Before that point, though, it is important to embrace what you have while you still can, while we’re still here.

Is it a bit corny and stereotypical senior of me to say this? Probably. But I think it’s important to think about the things you want to complete before donning your cap and gown come May—so that when you have some time on a weeknight or a free Saturday during the semester, you have a plan just waiting to take shape based on the things you want to do before you graduate.

Your list can be as long or as short as you want and can vary in degrees of ambition, but simply having one is a good start. The key is that your list includes things YOU have always wanted to do/see/experience, either as a Loyola student or in Baltimore or a combination.

I’ve been thinking about mine, and I’m going to modify it a little to tailor to the general Loyola crowd. With that, here are some suggestions get you started on yours, Loyola Seniors…

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How an unexpected email led to my encounter with Pope Francis

It was a normal week night. I was preparing for several hours of school work, and I popped open a soda as I made a list of my assignments (with deadlines that were closer than I anticipated).

Before submerging myself into what I was coming to realize would be a late night, I logged into my Loyola email account to check for updates while I sipped a soda.

Among the emails I received that night, one stood out. The sender: Loyola’s office of Campus Ministry. The subject line:“Congratulations!”

What was the exciting news? I was about to find out.

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Settling In

It’s been a flurry of activity since I moved back to Loyola a little over four weeks ago. I was fortunate enough to miss the craziness of upperclassmen move in day, since I’m an Evergreen, but that put me in the middle of a different kind of crazy: Fall Welcome Weekend.

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things. My planner is completely organized and color-coded. My desk is semi-organized. I’m actually getting work done at a reasonable time, even if I’m still not going to bed at a reasonable time. I no longer feel like I’m drowning under pressure and stress; I’ve finally caught up and am looking ahead instead of looking behind.

It’s a great feeling, even if I know that it won’t last that long.

The View from my room

The view from my room

And then there’s this: I’ve started writing for A Hound’s Life.

If you didn’t notice, this is my very first article, so here, I’ll stop babbling and introduce myself…

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Humans of Loyola

Last year, Humans of New York became a well-known blog throughout the world, inspiring other universities across the country to create a “humans” blog of their own.

My friends, Julia D’Agostino, Joey Dwyer, and Tim Attolino, and I decided to start the movement here at Loyola.

Joey and Tim are the writers and interviewers. Julia and I are the photographers. Continue reading

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