The Semester Goes Fast When Busy!

Good evening, faithful readers! Hope you all have had a lovely week and that all is well! This past week it finally really happened… I got sick. Now this semester I have been trying oh so hard to be as healthy as possible because I am taking too many classes and involved in too many things to be ill. Eating healthy, daily exercise, sleep (or as much as a college student can get), and even vitamins! The whole nine yards! But yet with all of these efforts, it did no good because I spent Monday through Friday evening with a cold.

Even though I did get a cold this week, on Monday I was able to attend RPM Kathy’s malalaevent to go and see He Named Me Malala (the Malala movie). It was a fantastic movie and anyone who is looking for a movie to see, this would be the one!! The group of SXU students who attended were happy to attend and we all had a great time! The movie was really interesting and I will be buying it when it goes on DVD. Truly a fantastic film.

chi phaOn Thursday I went to my first Chi-Alpha Bible study. It started with praise and worship which was followed by a guest speaker talking with us students who were there. It was completely different than all other Bible studies that I have ever attended before, but it was really fun! And as a perk there was free pizza (yay free food!). So if any student is interested in learning and deepening their own faith, attend Chi-Alpha Bible Study at 5:30in L341!

This upcoming week on Wednesday I am going to be going to Feed my Starving Children with student organization BSU (Black Student Union) which I am super excited about because I love Feed my Starving Children and I am also excited to be getting involved with BSU because it’s a great student organization at SXU! I believe Norris is still taking signups so email him at “campbell.n02@mymail.sxu.edu” if interested! Attached is a movie clip from Feed my Starving Children which I believe explains it all! http://www.fmsc.org/about

On Thursday, I’m invited to attend dinner at “La Taberna a Topas” in Halsted for the SXU Latino Alumni Networking Reception.  I have no idea really what it is all about so stay tuned for details next week!

Lastly, this upcoming Friday will be the last Broadview trip for this semester! broadviewIt is completely full! Which is good even though it means that you can’t sign up for it—but it’s not too early to put Friday trips to Broadview on your New Year’s Resolutions for 2016!!! All you need to do is shoot me an email about the next sign ups! “garciafisher.g01@mymail.sxu.edu” (Hopefully it wont be as cold as it was in the picture though!)

The good news is that signups for Spring Break Service Trips are STILL happening! The deadline is November 20th (THIS FRIDAY) and signups are done so through OrgSync on mysxu! So sign up fast because spots are filling up!service

I hope you all have a lovely week and Thanksgiving is just around the corner! (Yayyyyyyyyy!) Have a great week!

Senior Stress

Welcome back readers,

Here we are again, another week of first semester complete. I fear that my blogs for the last few weeks of the semester will not be that exciting, simply due to the amount of work I must complete before the semester ends. A complete (about 17 pages) draft of my research paper is due tomorrow so that is what I have been doing for most of last week and this weekend. I also have to give a presentation tomorrow night and finish another project for Wednesday. To say I am overwhelmed would be a serious understatement.

I have had busy times like this at other points throughout my college career, but for some reason this is different. If I had to speculate as to why I feel so much more stress and pressure, I would guess it is because as a senior, the stakes seem so much higher. This research project that I will continue to work on for the remainder of my time at SXU will determine whether or not I graduate in May. And every grade I earn this semester will either tip me towards or away from graduating with honor as I have planned for many years now. All of this is underscored by the pressure to prove that I have learned everything I need to know and that I will be a competent professional in my field. I have to prove this to my professors, any employers I chose to send my resume to, and most importantly, myself (which may actually be the hardest part). I know that I have to believe that I know what I am doing before anyone else will.

My roommates and I are all feeling the pressure at this point so we decided to put up our Christmas tree in our apartment this week to bring in a little joy. I know it’s WAY too early, but we needed this.

Too soon? Probably.

Too soon? Probably.

If I am counting correctly, there is about a week and a half left until Thanksgiving and two weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester. So, we’re in the home stretch, it just seems far off because there is so much to accomplish in the meantime! I am wishing all of my fellow cougars focus and strength over the next few weeks, whether it’s your first semester or your last! Even when the going gets tough, remember why you’re here in the first place!

Until next time….

You went where?

My previous blog was about my study abroad experience but now I am going to try to persuade you, the reader, why you should study abroad! There are many reasons to study abroad but here I have put together a brief list of reasons.

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1. It’s cheaper than you think

Not going to lie, study abroad is expensive; especially if you are going to major cities and countries that currency are valued higher than the U.S. dollar. When I studies in Barcelona, the cost of living in Barcelona was roughly the same as Chicago but with exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Euro made Barcelona fairly expensive. Compared to places like London or Paris, Barcelona was heaven despite it’s cost! So considering exchange rates can make a destination expensive, cheaper, or not change. Also, considering the cost of the program is important too. Sometimes, the housing abroad is cheaper than living on campus. This was the case for my program. I saved $5,000 on my overall tution due to the fact that housing in Barcelona was cheaper than on campus. There are also scholarships for studying abroad. Many programs offer need and merit based scholarships. Saint Xavier even offers it’s own study abroad scholarship. Cheaper, cheaper, cheaper.

2. It looks good on a resume

We all know that the world in connected. Depending on where you are in the world, we can fly to India in a day, where as it may have taken months to do so a hundred plus years ago. I can text my cousin in Wales using Whats app, and he can receive the message in seconds. With that said the world is getting smaller so the need to have a “global perspective” is necessary in a globalized world. Employers will like that you put challenged yourself to live in a new environment. Employers will see that you can adjust to change and are open to a little challenge.

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3. Why not?!

Does anyone say YOLO anymore? I know I don’t, but in this case I will. Just YOLO! You are only young once so spend that time traveling.  There is nothing to lose…well if you don’t start traveling soon you’ll be losing your youth because going while you’re young and in college is the best time to travel. When will you ever have as much energy as you do now and when will your responsibilities be as low as they are now! Also, there are lots of stores and travel sites that offer youth discounts!  So take advantage while you can! Also,  you will gain lifelong memories, skills, and friends. I personally have friends all over the United States and in Spain thanks to my study abroad trip. These friends will be in my life for a long time and they give an excuse to travel too! And studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So just do it!

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If you are unable to spend a semester or year abroad, there are programs that happen during the summer and then there are programs that Saint Xavier offers. Saint Xavier offers short term study abroad or service trips that can range between a week and two weeks at a time and go to places like Ireland, Croatia, and Belize. And if you want to stay closer to home, Saint Xavier partners up with the Washington Internship Institute to offer students internships in Washington, DC for fall, spring, or summer sections. All of these are great alternatives to study abroad.

So pack you bags and take a leap of faith!

How I Came to Terms Being a Musician.

You know, I’m sure it is well known by now that I am big music advocate. It’s what I live for and it is what I know best. Now, I may not be the best music theory genius, but for the most part, I know what I’m talking about. As far as musical instruments go, I play bass guitar which is my main instrument, guitar, flute, and some piano.The three music genres I’m a big advocate for is Heavy Metal(of course), Rap, and Jazz. I’m quite knowledgeable when it comes to Metal because I’ve been listening to the genre for 7 years now. If there’s a band within the genre I will most likely have somewhat knowledge of them. I try my best to keep up withnewer bands on the scene. It’s just the genre I was meant to study. One of my dreams is to make a metal band one day. I’m not in it to become famous either, I’m mostly in it for fun and to spread music.

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(Here’s one of my favorite bands of all time, Iron Maiden)

But this genre isn’t the only that gets some love from me. I’m also a huge rap/hip hop advocate. To me, it’s definitely my second favorite music genre of all time. Heck, I even plan on majoring in recording arts and plan to drop a few tracks. Once again, just in for the fun and spread. I’m not saying that I’m talented or even saying I’m a good Emcee. I just want to take risks. If that doesn’t work, then I could always just make instrumentals and I would be doing what I love which is producing music for artists or even recording their albums and being able to say I was the one responsible for that album.

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Now, which music do I play the most instrumental wise? That genre belongs to Jazz, which is probably my favorite music genre to play. I’ve been exposed to Jazz since my Junior year of High School. It all started with the formation of Eric Solorio’s Jazz Ensemble. Boy, does it feel like yesterday that I was in it. Heck, I still play with them from time to time.
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But my love for playing Jazz all came from high school. I really have my wonderful music instructor Madeline Mollinedo to thank for everything that happened in Junior year. I don’t think no other teacher has learned more about me than any other in High School. She watched me progress as a person and as a musician and she is the reason why to this day I have not given up.

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This is the beginning of many of music tales. I have many experiences with many music performances which I will elaborate more for the next couple of blogs. But for now, I’ll explain the one at the top. This was my second to last performance in high school. Every year, Eric Solorio has a Cinco de Mayo festival and all the clubs and programs have some things to offer to the performances such as Dancing, Mariachi, Poetry, and Music. We played some Latin jazz tunes these are honestly my favorite. The rhythms are simple but memorable. That’s the best thing for me personally, because I usually end up memorizing the music not needing my music sheets. These tunes are the reason why I ended memorizing the rest of the songs I play. I kept playing them and playing them to the point where I even used this as improvising in other tunes using the same rhythms from other songs and making them my own.

Nano’s Birthday!

blog pic 8 nanoHey everyone so another week has gone by and I find myself counting down the days for Thanksgiving break. Yes, I am guessing most students, faculty and staff are as well, but I haven’t been able to be home since the very beginning of August and this past week I have realized how homesick I have been. So you could really say that I am so excited about this upcoming break (which I really am). This upcoming Tuesday is my brother, Emiliano’s (or as we call him, Nano) 13th birthday! It seems crazy to me that he will becoming a teenage! I remember when he was born and was a little baby! And when he would wear only suits to preschool and kindergarten (I miss those days). In reality I just miss him a whole bunch, but can’t wait to see him and the rest of my family this month!

This past week I wasn’t able to attend as many events as I would have liked to due to my classes and studies but all is well on that note! Today (Sunday) I attended my first Elected of Zion worship service ever and it was a completely new experience! The involvement and interaction that the audience had was something that I have never been a part of. Seeing the encouragement and uplifting actions as a result of the worship in the service was just a moving experience. It really was a new experience that I have had never been a part of but so many students took comfort in the familiarity of the service. If you would like to hear and see one of the opening songs press praise.

I am super excited about this upcoming week especially because on Monday a fellow RPM is hosting an event of going downtown to see the Malala movie of “He Named Me Malala”! She was able to get about twenty tickets for free so there will be a group of us going tomorrow which I am so pumped about!

On a total side note but how are you all feeling about this new Adele song “Hello”? I’m honestly not that impressed with it, and it just sounds like all the other Adele songs, except not as cool? Not sure what the big deal is about it…

If you are interested in a Spring Break Service trip signups are still happening! The deadline is November 20th (Friday) and signups are done so through OrgoSync on mysxu! So sign up fast because spots are filling up! Hope you all have a fantastic week and stay home during this change to colder weather!

A Little Adventure to Break Up the Week

Welcome back to my blog,

I’m posting this blog a little bit early because tomorrow is my nephew’s 7th birthday party and then I plan to spend the remainder of the day working of my research paper!

It has been another week of classes and work. It’s that time of the semester when deadlines are approaching and everything I have put off is catching up with me. If I have counted correctly, there are about 5 weeks left of this semester. It is mind-boggling to think that in just a few months, I will be starting my last semester of college.

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It seems like I started yesterday, but at the same time, I am ready to be done with college and out of the classroom for a long time… maybe forever.  I am most excited to start using everything I’ve learned. I’ve spent the past four years preparing for my career and I am ready to start applying that knowledge and skill. However, up until this point, my years have pretty much been planned out for me. After I graduate, there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty and that can be intimidating.

Saturday sunrise over the duck pond

Well, enough talk about the future. So far this weekend, aside from catching up on homework, I got to go on a little adventure! I went duck hunting with a friend and his family for the first time! I am not a hunter by any means, in fact, I have always been a little bit against it, but it was a fun, new experience.

 

We had to be at our destination at about 5:15 am in order to get into the blind by sunrise, which wasn’t easy. My sister and I sat up in our beds at 4:30 am and gave each other that “what are we doing?” look.   I didn’t personally shoot anything because it was my first time out. It was a lot more beautiful and relaxing than anticipated and the sunrise was amazing. Just something to check off my list.

Until next time….

La Vida Española

I could write a novel about my time abroad. There is no short way to summarize seven months of studying/living abroad. Maybe the only short way to describe it would be life changing. Here is a snidbit of what I now refer to as “that time I lived in Barcelona, Spain”.

It was the best decision I have ever made so far in life, and all the clichés about living abroad are true. I gained greater confidence, independence, and clarity as to what I could do in the future in the future. I became a global citizen. I’ve made lifelong friends. I even had some romance. Oh la la!  I would do the experience over again in a heartbeat if I had the chance.

But studying abroad is scary. And going abroad alone is even scarier; but sometimes when you are bitten with wanderlust, you just have to take a leap of faith. Also, when you get guidance and support to help you through the study abroad process it is so worth it!

My journey began a year before I had actually planned on leaving to study abroad. I went to the Office of International Studies to discuss the process of studying abroad and where I could go.  Should I go to Turkey? Study in Istanbul, where Asia meets Europe? Should I go Buenos Aires and maybe drive a motorcycle through South America like Ché Guevara? Hmmm or maybe I should learn flamenco in Granada, Spain. The Office of International Studies was very helpful with providing me options of where I wanted to go.  The program had to meet the requirements for my major as well as my budget. So from a list of programs given to me by the Office of International Studies, I decided on a program with Arcadia University Barcelona, Spain for a full academic year. Arcadia University is based in Philadelphia and is known for its study abroad programs. Arcadia offers programs all over the world including the United Kingdom, France, Chile, South Africa, and Turkey.

Arcadia offered two housing options: live with a family or live in an international apartment. The housing options offer a different experience but while I was studying in Barcelona I lived with a host family. I am not fluent in Spanish, but as a Spanish major I need to be; so to get more exposure to Spanish language and Spanish culture I felt living with Spanish family would be a great opportunity. Plus, the idea of eating a home cooked meal every day was great.

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During my first week in Barcelona, I went to Barceloneta, a famous beach in Barcelona and jumped into the Meditrranean Sea! That same week I went on a tour of Barcelona with other students in my program, and I took a picture in front of La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia is a church designed by Antonio Gaudi. The church has been under construction since 1900 and there is no definate date on when it will be complete.

 

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On the first day that I meet my host family, I was very nervous. I thought, “Do you really want to do this Carleigh?” I felt like crying the moment I saw my host mom for the first time. It became real when I saw her. I was really going to live seven months with a family that I had never met and I could hardly speak the language with. Looking back on it now it was a great decision to live with a host family. I became part of the family. My Spanish family consisted on my host mom Esther, and her two teen age daughters Silvia and Marta. Sometimes Esther’s mother Maria would come and stay with us, and so I also had a Spanish grandmother, who cooked an AMAZING Spanish tortilla! I attended family holidays and dinners. My host family hosted a dinner for my best and her mom when they came to visit me. My family was very generous and open. I greatly appreciate them, and I can’t imagine not having lived with them.  They were my family away from home and I cherish the memories we made together. One of the most memorable memories was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Spain but Esther made it one. She invited her closest friends, I invited a friend my study abroad program (whose birthday happened to be on Thanksgiving), and we had a feast. Esther made traditional Spanish tapas and a turkey. She had never made a turkey before.

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During my time abroad I made some many memories! Here are more snapshots.

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At a Barca game on December 16, the last day of my first semester in Spain. Four days after this game I was on my way to Cardiff, Wales to spend the Christmas and New Years holidays with my Welsh cousins.

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Here I am on the Welsh coast! It was an absolutely beautiful view! I was in the United Kingdom for two weeks staying with cousins and I felt like I was experiencing a second cultural immersion. It was so nice to hear English after being surrounded by Spanish and Catalan while in Barcelona. I felt very at home in the UK. And FYI, British food in delicious!

 

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At Park Guell with other study abroad students in my program my first semester in Barcelona!

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At Tibidao, a church on top of a mountain overlooking Barcelona with study abroad students my second semester!

As I said earlier in the post, my time abroad was life changing. It was an experience that will stay with me forever. I encourage every one to study abroad. It is an experience that should be taken advantage of if you have the opportunity to, and quite possibly it is a once in a lifetime opportunity but not for me. I already have a bag packed and ready for my return!

 

November is here!

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Shucks! Halloween is over already? Awww man. Ohhh, well. Looks like we gotta move on because it’s November. Let me ask you guys something. What do the last three months of the year and Drake have in common? They go back to back. Haha, little hip hop joke for you all. What I mean by that is October, November and December have the best holidays of the year. Now that may be an opinion, but notice how these three holidays actually bring our families together and make us spend time with one another. I don’t think it can get any better than that. Okay maybe it can, and that’s all thanks to Thanksgiving.

I actually think that Thanksgiving is the most underrated holiday of these last three months. Yeah, the food is good, but many people forget why we even celebrate anymore. And I’m not talking about like the origins and stuff. I’m talking about the ideas of being grateful for what you have and in this occasion, Family is one of the biggest, if not the biggest things you have. They’re the ones who will always have your back from day one. Even if you don’t like spending time with your family because of personal reasons, it’s still best to make them feel appreciated because you wouldn’t have made it this far in life without their emotional support. That’s why family is one of the most important aspects of Thanksgiving. But sometimes I wish everyone acted like everyday was Thanksgiving. Maybe the world would be a better place if that were the case. But you know, it’s still nice to have that bonding even if it’s mostly just shown on Holidays. Now to count down the days for Thanksgiving. I am Thankful that it’s not on the last day of the month like Halloween. Haha

First Day of November

Hey everyone! So this past week a lot was going on! To begin with, on Monday the information about the different service trip locations was released!   It was a success! To sign up for a service trip (which everyone should want to do) you can do so by going on OrgSyn through your mysxu account online! This is something that I also need to do still . . . But still, everyone should want to do it, so sign up!

On Tuesday, we had the beautiful day of no classes which was really nice for me because it felt like the day two of my weekend (because last weekend’s Open House on Sunday didn’t feel so much like a weekend) thus having Tuesday off, finished my weekend!

day of the deadThis past Wednesday we had the Peace Walk, which had a great turnout! All of the presentations helped me with the current events and decide on my own new stance on many current issues. The best part was having students interested in getting involved and to see them excited about the current events. Later on Wednesday, we also had Dis de Los Muertos that also was a fantastic event with a great turnout!  And even after this event, I was able to get a bit of the Hocus Pocus movie! (And still have time for homework and studying that night! It was a busy night!)

candles for peace walkOn Thursday, I had this big Illinois History Exam that  (knock on wood) I feel pretty good about! I do this weird thing when I take exams, I get really energized that after I’m still kind of up there, still in test mood. So in my Christian Ethics class afterwards I was pretty much jumping off walls and was till Women’s Prayer Group at 2, which was my relaxing and breathing point of the day. I seriously have no idea why everyone women  does NOT attend prayer group because it helps de-stress with everything crazy going on. . .

Halloween- Eve I registered for spring classes which makes me soooooooooooooo excited! Not only for the classes that I am taking but I’m also (at this moment) registered for 17 credits which is more like a normal college student and less than my crazy self now!hallowwen tiff and nena On the actual Halloween I didn’t do anything except watch my new favorite show that my boyfriend got me obsessed with which is Games of Thrones (seriously so good, but not a family show) and go out to dinner with him. Attached I have a picture of my baby sister, Luna (age 6) and my stepmom, Tiffany, in the Halloween customs. Back home we really love Halloween, so not getting to be there with my family kind of feels like missing Christmas, but it’s okay because its November 1st which means Thanksgiving break is coming up and I get to go home for the first time since the beginning of August and I am so excited!!

And now, my post needs to come to an end because I need to study for my huge Christian Ethics exam on Tuesday that I am terrified about . . . Wishing everyone good luck with new month of November and good luck with another new week of school.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, readers!

I hope everyone had a spooky weekend! Last Halloween was my first Halloween as a 21-year-old so I went to a huge Halloween party at a local bar with a few friends. It was an experience, to say the least, so this year, I took a little bit of a different, more relaxed route in terms of Halloween festivities.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, this is the first year in a while that Halloween has landed on a Saturday. This meant that I had enough time to drive out to the northern suburbs of Chicago to take my nephews trick – or – treating! The oldest is about to turn 7 and I have never spent Halloween with them so it was really special! It also allowed me to relive my childhood a little bit too!

A witch (my sister), a werewolf (my nephew), Indiana Jones (my nephew), and two cats (my sister and I)

A witch (my sister), a werewolf (my nephew), Indiana Jones (my nephew), and two cats (my sister and I)

We all got dressed up and trick – or -treated in their neighborhood in the evening. The weather had been rainy all day, but the rain came to a halt just in time for the kids to get outside! There are a lot of kid’s in their neighborhood so the streets looked like a scene from a movie! They had so much fun! Afterwards, everyone ate a lot of candy and we stopped a couple of Halloween parties in the neighborhood. They were worn out by the end of the night, but they made some great memories and so I am so glad I could be there this year!

An abundance of trick-or-treaters!

An abundance of trick-or-treaters!

Today makes the official start of November and daylight savings time as well so everything is a little confusing. October has always been a very special month for me and every year it is a little difficult for me to let go! Stores have already set up their Christmas merchandise and decorations and I am simply not ready for that. I absolutely hate how face-paced the world is today. It is as if we can’t stop to enjoy one thing before moving on to the next.

I plan to be very busy working on my first research paper for my senior project in the coming weeks. By the time it is complete, it will be somewhere between fifteen and twenty pages. So as you can probably imagine, I am going to have a lot on my plate and I am not looking forward to it! The work starts NOW!

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!

Until next time…