Oh The Places I’ll Go (I Hope)!

Possibly one of the most gratifying and terrifying experiences in college is handing in your Declaration of Major paperwork.

See, deciding what you’re going to do for the next two and a half years doesn’t just mean choosing courses. It also means studying abroad, internships, and how to make yourself wanted, no, needed, by employers.

But let’s forget that super scary stuff and focus on the tantalizing idea of leaving the country. I have a map on my wall (you may have seen it, but not in detail) of all the places I’ve been and all the places I want to go.

So many places to see! And yes, I have a lot of buttons.

Focusing on Europe Yellow - States Traveled; Red - Countries Traveled; Blue/Green - Unexplored

Focusing on EuropeAs you can see, there are quite a few places I want to visit. I read about them in history books, hear about them on Rick Steve’s Travels in Europe, and see them in National Geographic Magazine. I don’t just want to visit, or spend a whirlwind 10 days driving across a country. I really want to absorb the culture: meet the locals, find the forgotten nooks and crannies, connect with the landscape, eat new foods, and just experience life in a different place.

There’s just so much you can learn from people with different experiences from your own.
So without further ado, I will share with you my hopes and daydreams of the inexperienced.

(All photos from this point onward are courtesy of National Geographic and their wonderful photographers)

Iceland

SO PRETTY

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano

Because who wouldn’t want to combine insane heat with insane cold? But really, it’s beautiful there.

England – London: Home of Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, and so many more inspirational people.

Norway

Norway Forest

Kongsvinger Forest, bit of a hike from Oslo

This is the perfect combination of the Forbidden Forest and Mirkwood. It looks more friendly though!

France – Paris: The Louvre + Art Student = Happiness

Kazahkstan

Astana

Astana

I picked up an NG magazine in the dentist’s office once and bright colors bombarded my eyes, so of course I had to learn more about it. Apparently this is their new capital, very shiny.

Greece – Thessaloniki: Have I mentioned how much I like lamb and baklava?

Morocco

Casablanca Mosque

Casablanca, Hasan II Mosque

Yes, I love the movie. But the culture is so colorful I’d have to stay a week to absorb it all.

Denmark – Kronborg Castle: I’m a huge history/lit enthusiast. So if I’m given the opportunity to visit the castle where Hamlet was set, you can bet I’ll be psyched.

Finland

Finland Sky

By Muoino

That. I want to see that. Stars and light and space. All open. For everyone.

New Zealand - I think I’d have to go all over the island because 1) It’s gorgeous, and 2) Lord of the Rings was filmed all over.

Egypt

Luxor Temple

Luxor

I’m not a huge hot weather person, but seeing those temples and pyramids would be fantastic. To have something towering over you that is so ancient and strong is spectacular.

Scotland – Edinburgh: There are seven (seven!!!) art fests in the summer and just think of all the fresh wool!

Turkey

Istanbul

Istanbul

So maybe I just want to go so I can sing this song by They Might Be Giants. Just kidding!

Australia – I’d have to see Melbourne, but koalas, kangaroos, penguins, and red rocks are at the top of the must-see list.

Madagascar

Boababs

Avenue of the Boababs

Between The Little Prince and Zaboomafoo memories of my childhood, I’d say seeing this island beats the Bahamas.

Ireland - ALL OVER.

It’s weird how I say the least about the place I want to go to most. If I could only go to one country on this list (and there are more pins on the map than countries listed), it would be Ireland. I’ll save my reasoning for my Study Abroad application, I don’t want to give them any spoilers!

Unconventional Study Spots (Lead to Interesting Acquaintances)

Remember how I wrote about my fun, book filled Sunday afternoon?
Well, I’m happy I enjoyed it while I could.
Because then Monday came and I went from

Yeah, 'cause everyone wakes up like this in the morning :P
to

I know I’ve put a very happy, chill kind of spin on Loyola so far, but everyone has a “crazy day.” Or week. Or month. Or semester. Sometimes it gets hard to handle and I wonder Why On Earth Did I Sign Up To Do So Much Stuff.

Just as I convince myself that there are never enough hours in a day to do everything, some little bit of happiness comes my way and makes the stress more bearable.

This week, it came in the form of an engineering professor.

It’s strange that a faculty member who is on the opposite side of the education spectrum from my major would influence my life, so maybe I should give a little back story about our acquaintance.

Fact #1 About My Study Habits: They aren’t normal.

I hate working at my desk. In fact, I hate working in places that are designated for studious application. I avoid the library like the plague (mainly because it’s on the opposite side of campus) and I have never been to The Study (but I hear it looks like Hogwarts). Instead, I find cozy places on campus to do my work.

In my first semester I discovered the huge armchairs on the second floor of Humanities – perfect for propping up a laptop, sorting articles, and writing papers on the large armrests.

These chairs are PERFECT

The Reading Room became my weekend sanctuary as I ploughed through comp/sci projects, Theology readings, and accidental naps in the poufy reclining chairs.

Couldn't really get a better shot, but trust me, those chairs will make you fall asleep!

My second semester led me to the basement of Donnelly Science Center where I wrote Lit analyses and ate lunch before I walked over to Knott Hall for a math class.

"Would you like a desklamp with that?"

My study spaces always change, but they all have one thing in common: it’s relatively quiet, they’re near my classes, and I can separate my work life from my home life.

Thing is, I didn’t realize how quickly people could consider you a permanent installment in their environment.

After a few weeks of doing homework in Donnelly, I got used to seeing certain professors pass by; they got used to me sitting there. One day, they came up and talked to me, learned I wasn’t an engineering major, still offered the use of the engineering lounge for studying, and ever since have always said hello.

Normally interaction between departments, especially that of the sciences and humanities, is fairly limited at college. But not here.

Definitely not here.

One of these professors saw me on campus during the first week and asked if I would still be studying in Donnelly. I wasn’t sure if my classes would bring me there, but they have, and now I’m back in my “office” as he jokingly put it.

On Monday he said I should feel free to bring a desk lamp.

To him, I’m not some transient student who is one out of two hundred in a lecture hall. I have a name, a face, habits, and am truly recognized as a human being.

Having really busy, crazy days is part of life, but having someone who cares even in a small way makes it worthwhile.