Introspection: Time Passes

There’s something wonderful about the sound of wind. It makes me think. When a window’s open, there’s a feeling of the ocean waves, the reassuring feel of sound in the silence of the morning, the promise of time’s passing. The reason why I am saying this is because of this week’s introspection, time, more specifically, the passing of time. With Spring Break only a week away, I found it to be the perfect time to write about this. I can, at least, give my humble perspective in this matter that so affects us all in a society in which time truly is money. We often make the mistake that time will wait for us or that we’ll be able to catch up to it. But it doesn’t; we can’t. Time waits for no one, right? It keeps going. That’s an issue that we, as college students, deal with all the time. I bring this up because this week has been a hectic one. Taking eighteen credit hours can be a challenge, especially when you have work alongside it as well as hobbies and clubs. It’s frustrating and draining to deal with it every day. Balancing time to fulfill our academic needs with our social ones is something that we often times take as a one of another type of instance. We either have neglected our studies to be with those we care about. Or the inverse, we abandon our time with friends to keep up with our academics. I too suffer from this blight, seeing as six demanding classes plus work and my position as secretary of a club are always on my lap.

There is no need to remove yourself from your social life. Studying and working are only effective if you can maintain a balance. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, take it easy, chat with friends, don’t think about the writing. For me, doing that let’s the motivation return and makes writing easier after a nice break. Time is everything. You have to think about what matters more? Does this report that needs to be turned in tomorrow more important than you being there for your friend that just broke up with their significant other? I can’t say what is more salient because, like everything, context matters. Nuances in our lives alter our perspective to the point that absolutes absolutely don’t work anymore. But, there is a single true our there that I am confident in.

Time passes; it’s what happens during that time that matters. In one hour I could finish writing a paper. In that same hour, I could have call my mother and father, told them of my day and that I was fine and inquire of theirs. It’s all about priorities. They’re old. Their time is near its end and I can either wait for its passing or scramble frantically to take in as much of it as I can before it’s gone. It’s a hard thing to swallow, knowing that one day they’ll be gone and I will be left with only the ticking of a clock telling me the world’s moved on while I stand there. But what is to be done? Can I really continue on? Time’s going to pass and we can either lament and wallow on what we could have done or will do or we can just do it. I tend to try to do the latter.

Crazy Weather!

2.28Hey all! So this past week we have had crazy weather with tons of snow to it being in the 60’s!We have had it all when it comes to weather this week! I think the only thing I don’t like about it is that it makes life difficult to figure out what to wear because everyday the weather was different!

So this past week in school I was a part of the “Busy Persons Retreat” (BPR). This means that every day I studied the daily scriptures and reflecting on them with a guide. My guide was Sister Kathleen. Working with her was a really good experience because she used to be a teacher and we just really connected to one another about what my thoughts were for the readings. Some cool things about the BPR is that you only meet with your guide every day for half an hour and have an half hour before hand of reading and prepping for the meeting. This was my first year doing it, and it was really easy for me to do because the meetings go with my schedule! So it worked well for me! And this evening (Sunday) we are having a pizza party and meditation which just makes all of this seem cool because it was free! So next year, sign up, people!!2.28 1

On Tuesday for my American Literature Since 1865 course, I had my group presentation about Robert Frost! It was cool to do the research and present it to the class. I also found it really cute that Robert Frost married his co-valedictorian and that she was also his inspiration for a lot of his poetry.. (Awww) And we must have done well because we got an A for it! YAY! And Robert Frost gave the graduation address for Grandma Fisher’s college graduation.

On Wednesday, I made it to round two on the leadership progress which was group interview for returning leadership positions. This year the process has been completely changed so it wasn’t anything like it has been in past years. Although afterwards I realized that I liked it, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it. Some things that were changed was that returners and new applications were separate from each other. And that all positions were together for the group interviews (where before RAs had group interview together, and TPMs separate and all together). Something nice about this is that those who are applying for multiple positions (like me) only have this one interview with multiple people observing. Something that I didn’t like as much about this new process is that I don’t know what I have been brought to the next level in regards to what I am applying for. So for example, I am applying for next year to be a RA, RPM, PM, And TPM but just by looking at my resume and application I could only be in the process still for being a TPM. (Hopefully this is not true but could happen).

2.28 2On Thursday I had my event about “love language.” I really loved getting to this event because everyone has to reflect about how they want to receive love and how they least want to receive love. So those who attended the event, started by taking a 20 question quiz on http://www.5lovelanguages.com (in case you want to take it) and then afterwards we talked about what these results meant. One thing that I stressed as being important is that those around you may not have the same love language as you, so not only is it important that they know what your love language, but also that you know the other person. One of the great things about this is that it doesn’t have to be about someone that you are romantically involved with, it could also be your friends! I really enjoyed this event because it stresses how love may not always be easy, and how it’s something you yourself need to work on but also those around you.

2.28 3For those of you who don’t know this, my boyfriend goes the Northwestern and is taking Italian as his language requirement. Part of this requirement is going to events. Last night, I got to accompany him on getting to go and see the Opera of  Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). It was a beautiful performance and it was lovely to see! I seriously am amazed at how great opera singers are! A three hour performance of singing in crazy pitches and without mics! It also brought back my own memories of when I was in orchestra pit for high school musicals! That seems like such a long time ago!

I hope this great weather stays with us and hope you all have a great week!

One Week Until “Spring” Break

Welcome back,

It’s going to be another short blog this week because I’m approaching the last week of classes before spring break and I have a paper and two tests to prepare for. I’m looking forward to having some time off, but I know I have a lot of work to finish so I am not sure how much of a break it will actually be. It has occurred to me however, that this will be my last spring break ever! I am ready to be finished with school, but being a student does have it’s perks.

Last week was rather uneventful aside from a minor snow storm on Wednesday. The forecast predicted a lot more snow than we actually got and I am not complaining. I am beyond ready for spring and I am crossing my fingers that this will be the last snow we see. But in Chicago, you just never know what you’re going to get. I’ve accepted the fact that a spring break in March is likely going to be much more winter than spring.

This weekend, I went home to celebrate a good friend’s 21st birthday! I enjoyed spending time with friends and meeting new people! Even during stressful semesters like this, I try to make room for a little fun whenever I can.

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

Good luck to everyone preparing for the last week before break!

Until next time…

Introduction and First Introspection

Before I get into what I want to talk about, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Chris Thach. I am, as of the 2015-2016 school year, a sophomore here at Saint Xavier University. I am an Art Secondary Education major and a resident student. My hobbies include: writing stories, playing video games, drawing and painting, fishkeeping, gardening, and remembering. I’ll get into detail on that last one in a little bit. Throughout my time on this blog, I will share my thoughts on topics that I would find relevant to students and young people and introspection onto aspects of my own life that others may find meaningful as well as various events and current news on things pertaining to the university, the world and myself. Now onto my first introspection on this blog.

I’d like to think I have it all planned out, at least when it comes to the outcome of my time here. Sometimes, I wish I would never leave and have my friends and I just chatting away in the diner until the end of time. But I know that cannot happen. Time never stops for anyone. In my limited time here, I expect a few things of myself and of the school. I have expectations to complete my education here and receive my teaching licensure and begin teaching art at the high school level or work somewhere in my field, the fine arts. However, life takes twists and turns and it would be naive of me to think everything will go as I wish it. My parents are old, as old as some of your grandparents. In fact it is safe to say that I was literally born in the wrong generation. They may be gone tomorrow or next week; I don’t know and that reality is taxing on a person. Time is an elusive fox that continues to evade me. It cannot be helped. But, what I can do is give myself a wide berth in case life throws a maelstrom against me. It’s not a matter of if they’ll occur but what can I do in response. What that entails is engraved into me from memories and whispers of a dead song that only I remember.

Memories are a hard thing to analyze. Was what I was remembering actually what happened? Or was it just me ciphering the least damaging bits? I don’t open up to people. I do, but like everyone else, you don’t tell everyone what you’re thinking. I simply laugh and tell him he’s being a, well you know, and needs to stop worrying. But the truth is there are things I just won’t talk about, even with family. There are moments in our lives that we take to our graves or, at least, do not discuss with people we will actually have to meet at least semi-frequently. It’s not a matter of trust or love but rather a protection. Humans have engrained in our brains a self-preservation mindset, the flight or fight instinct. For myself, my memories and thoughts that I refuse to share with familiars are not something overtly dangerous like situations of bodily harm or even mental trauma, in fact, they are universally pretty pleasant. Tiny moments of picking up a worm that wondered onto the washed out sidewalk and tossing him back into the grass or drinking that artificial cherry drink while father takes a leak at the edge of the biking trail. Those tiny moments, islands of timeless stability in the raging tempest of time are what I keep to myself. I do it because they are mine. They are lyrics to a dead song that only I remember. The genes we inherited were from our parents, our chances of illness are inherent. And those memories are ours alone. Our memories, how few and blank they may be are ours. So there no wonder we all keep a few to ourselves. That is why I like sitting alone and just remembering. We don’t have much and so the world keeps on spitting out lyrics for us to grab but be careful not to let go of your old ones because they were yours.
— Chris Thach

We Start the Week in Snow and End it in Warmth!

THIS WEATHER IS AMAZING, is it not?! This past Friday and Saturday we got to the amazing 50’s! LOVE IT! This week has been a kind of crazy week; it seems that just when I think I can’t get more busy, I do! This past Monday I did not have field experience because it was President’s day! Instead, I started my lovely morning at 9:30 giving tours before class and also after class! I totally got in my steps in for the day!

Congrats to these Cougars on fighting for a good cause!

On Tuesday, I attend the MAP Grant Rally with SXU and 11 other Illinois colleges. For those of you who are not up to speed on what is happening in Illinois, there is a crisis in Illinois due to the Governor not releasing the state’s budget, this meaning that the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) awards needed and promised across the state of Illinois. At this time, SXU has more than 1,600 of our students depending on these MAP funds, which ends up about $6.4 million. (Each underclassmen class is about 500-600 students). This rally was held at the Thompson Center to show that Governor Rauner needs to sign SB 2043 because our state depends on it. There was a great turn out of students and staff members there. Horribly, Governor Rauner vetoed the funds.At this current time, SXU does not have a plan for next year without these funds.

This past Wednesday and Thursday, my Spring Break Service trip group sold tamales and held a bake sale! We are having another day of selling tamales on Monday to help our group meet our fundraising funds! Both Wednesday and Thursday went really well! Our group would of done it on Friday but we also realized that many of our students don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, so to play it safe, we decided to push it back to Monday!

On Thursday, I had another tour with a great group of students! I always love the students I get to give tours to, but this group of students was fantastic and great listeners! Later on Thursday,we also had our last Spring Break Service trip meeting. I really enjoy these meetings because in these meetings we focus on the how the Sister of Mercy core values which are Red WINE (Racism, Women, Immigration, Nonviolence, Earth) are a part of not only our surroundings but how these issues influence the areas that we are serving. My younger sister Maya also came to visit me from Minnesota for her college music auditions this weekend as well! So it was great to see her and be with her!

On Friday, I had one of my favorite trips to Broadview! FullSizeRenderThe weather made it great; for months, it’s been extremely cold in the morning which does make the experience a little bit more difficult to be fully part of (body freezing is somewhat of a distraction when standing in solidarity). Between 5-10 sisters and brothers were deported that morning, and we stood with the two families who we saw leaving the detention building. On a joyful and happy note, there was a man who had been detained for more than a year who was actually released last week. He came and stood us.

On Saturday, Maya had her music audition and then afterwards we went exploring in downtown soaking up all the great weather we were having! It was great to hear Maya play and just feeling so surprised to hear how much better she has gotten since I have heard her last. Given Maya has always been really great when it comes to music, she has gotten even better since the last time I heard her.IMG_1125

On a complete side note, I also wanted to share what I’m doing for Lent this year! For those who do not know, Lent is the 40 days that Jesus was in the dessert, starting on Ash Wednesday to Easter (see 40 days!) This means that mass goes to an almost-dark place based on our sins and how much we sin. Or at least that’s what I feel like the focus is… So what I decided to do was be healthy in the simplest terms. Going deeper than this would be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. For my mind and those around me, I am working on not being so critical and sarcastic. I realized that I needed to work on this because I have gotten to the point where it’s almost rude and judgmental; I don’t need to do this in life. As you may remember, I have been trying to be healthy by being active and eating right and so I am going to push harder for it this lent by making sure that it is part of my daily life. For the spirit, I am going to be attending Women’s prayer group on a weekly basis, attending the Busy Person’s Retreat this upcoming week, and lastly making sure that every day I have self-reflection and/or praying. What I am also realizing is that I am going to try and journal everyday about what is going on. Not only would this help make my weekly blog posts filled with more details but it also would make sure that I am reflecting and going through everything that had happened that day.

I truly hope this fantastic weather continues! And that you all have a great week this week! And if you are a staff member or student, stop by on Monday starting at 11 am in the Diner to buy tamales, it will be first come first served! We will be ending whenever it finishes! Thanks for reading!

60 Degrees and Sunny

Welcome back,

That’s right, the title of this post was the weather yesterday, February 20th, in CHICAGO! We experienced two unseasonably warm days this weekend and it seemed to put everyone in great mood after several weeks of bitter cold. One thing is for sure, if you choose to go to college in Chicago, you won’t be bored with the weather. Although a 60 degree day in February is unusual, rapidly changing weather is something I’ve come to expect. At this point in the year, it isn’t unlikely that we’ll experience a couple different seasons per week! Days like yesterday always give me hope that spring is on the way, but make it that much more difficult to face the frigid temperatures when they inevitably return.

Enjoying blue skies and a warm breeze!

Enjoying blue skies and a warm breeze!

I spent my entire day outside yesterday for the first time in months! I did not open my laptop five thousand times, like I normally do, and it felt great! I am so thankful to have had the chance to enjoy some sun and warmth before the busy week ahead. However, because I lounged outdoors yesterday, I’m a little behind schedule today. Worth it.

Last week was a very important week for SXU students, and college students everywhere. Saint Xavier University students, faculty and staff participated in the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) rally on Tuesday in Chicago. Representatives from SXU gathered together to fight for the release of these funds that thousands of students depend on to pay for their education. Although I was not able to attend the rally, SXU gained a lot media attention for their strong presence and I am really proud to be associated with such amazing students! It is great to be a Cougar!

Congrats to these Cougars on fighting for a good cause!

Congrats to these Cougars on fighting for a good cause!

 

 

Valentines Once Again

Hey all, so I just wanted to start with an apology about how my last two post haven’t been what I believe they should be. Last week my post too short, and this week it’s a day late. For that, I am really sorry! It has been a crazy couple of weeks for me which should not influence my posts!

The Diner featured the Mercy Student for Peace and Justice (MSJP) Wall of Love during last week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Wall of Love is supposed to be visual event where the SXU community decorate the Diner in colors that bring them love. So we asked our staff and community what “brings you love” and “what reminds you of love” and “what makes you happy”. It was somewhat sad to see how much people struggled with coming up with one thing that made them feel loved in their life. But also it made me happy to see students asking if they could do more than just one post-it note because they need more room. A happy video of the event last year is this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWO3GzckXJA

2.15. part 1This past Thursday, I had Eucharist Minister training. After this training, I can now give the bread and blood of Christ, so I think that’s pretty cool. To be given the opportunity to service our community and truly welcome them to our chapel. Our chapel works towards allowing everyone to feel truly welcomed at McDonough Chapel at SXU, all are welcomed.

On Friday, I was able to volunteer with Student Ambassadors (the tour guides) at the Ronald McDonald House which was a great experience! I had never actually been to the Ronald McDonald House but once I got there I saw how fantastic it all was! The “house” was more like an actual mansion but the house is a great resource in the Chicago area. Looking online at the website it says “Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital opened its doors on December 15, 2008 as the fourth (of five) Ronald McDonald Houses in the Chicago. Our 16 bedroom House was designed as the ‘little House in the woods’ nestled in a grove of trees right across the street from Advocate Children’s Hospital. Unique to this House are our four extended stay suites, with separate living and sleeping areas, for families who need to stay over 30 days.  2.15 part 2The House is located right across the street from Advocate Children’s Hospital. Our hope is to provide world class care, comfort and compassion for families during their greatest hour of need, when their child is in the hospital.  Studies have shown that children heal 31% faster when their family is by their side. This year throughout Chicagoland, we anticipate providing 43,000 nights of care and comfort for families, saving close to $7.5 million in hotel and food costs for families in medical crisis.” If you are interested at looking at the website here it is! http://rmhccni.org/rmh-near-advocate-hope-childrens-hospital/

Later that Friday, I took my boyfriend to go and see the Chicago symphony orchestra (CSO) for part of his Valentines gift! I would like to start with, I’m not crazy about Valentine’s Day. But my boyfriend is pretty fantastic and does so much for me throughout the year that I decided to work really hard on saying thank you… 2.15. part 3So we were able to see the CSO with student tickets which seriously is great! Great seats for even a better price! (Seriously will miss it when I graduate). Even though Director Riccardo Muti was unable to conduct his February concerts in Chicago due to recovery from a hip operation that was needed following a minor accident. Distinguished Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who is currently in Chicago to lead the CSO in performances this weekend (February 5 & 6), has graciously agreed to remain with the Orchestra for an additional set of concerts on February 11 – 16. And it was truly a great performance. My boyfriend and I had a pretty relaxing weekend of great food! Making this valentines not suck so much! I hope that you all had a great week and a happy valentines!

Good luck this week! And have you heard about the heat spike this Friday of getting into the 50’s?! SO EXCITED! Especially after the snow this weekend!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Welcome back,

This is going to be a quick blog, considering I am drowning in homework to complete for this week. It’s been a snowy day here in Chicago, I hope it is one of the last of this winter, although I doubt it. Aside from the snow, it has been brutally cold this weekend, making doing anything except staying inside under a blanket just about unbearable. I am beyond ready for spring to arrive. It looks like the end of this week might bring us much more comfortable temperatures, so I am trying to keep my focus on those days to get me through the cold morning walks through campus. The sun is setting a little bit later every day. Soon, 5 pm won’t feel like midnight.

Aside from homework and planning, I carved out some time to treat myself this weekend for Valentine’s Day. I went home to hang out with me Mom and enjoyed some delicious meals. I also got myself a manicure. Not having to paint my own nails is near the top of my list of favorite things. I also spent a little time working on a DIY project for my bedroom at home. Over winter break, I began remodeling my room and transforming it from a hot pink, teenage girl heaven into a classy, gray, rustic, oasis.

Our weekend DIY project

Our weekend DIY project

I recently saw some mason jar lanterns on Etsy that would fit perfectly with my theme, but they were a little pricey. With the help of some really talented and creative friends, we crafted the same product at almost no cost. I absolutely could have not done this myself, so I am very grateful to have such generous and hard-working friends!

That’s about all I have to report this week! I can’t wait to get up in the morning and shovel snow (sarcasm is difficult to convey through the internet, but I hope you caught it).  I hope everyone has a wonderful and productive week! Stay warm!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Welcome back,

I’ve had a rather uneventful week filled with researching, writing and rewriting. One of the most challenging aspects of your senior year is that you’re attempting to successfully complete a very challenging and rigorous capstone course, but it is not the only thing you have going on in your life. That capstone course (my senior project) would be much more manageable if it was the only task on my plate. I am currently still taking three other classes and holding two positions on campus. Sometimes it seems my to-do list only gets longer despite the amount of work I put in. I suppose that is the importance of senior year, though. It’s more than just taking classes and passing exams. You’re trying to prove that you can apply your skills and knowledge and manage many things at once, much like you will have to do after college. I know I’ll never just have one task to complete. I’ll likely have have a job, a house to manage and a family someday. For that reason, as hard as this may be, I appreciate the experience I am gaining.

I have, however, been able to take some breaks and do a few fun things. My friends and I have recently rediscovered some of our favorite board games from our childhood. We’ve spent a few evenings playing Clue, Yahtzee and Dominoes in our apartment after our long days of class, clinicals and student teaching. One would think those games would not be nearly as entertaining at 22 as they were at 10, but I would argue that we enjoy them even more now! I would strongly suggest you dig your old board games out of your closet!

A little peek into a University apartment (and our snacks).

A little peek into a University apartment (and our snacks).

 

In addition to that, I am eating some unhealthy snacks and watching Super Bowl 50 with my roommates as I type this blog! I am really just in it for the half-time show, but it’s fun nonetheless. Time to get back to the game!
Until next time…

Sorry For Not Having Such an Exciting Week!

1.1Hey all! I hope you have all had a great week! The weather has been pretty good I think! The snow has pretty much melted the snow on campus and everything is becoming alive once again on campus! Even though it is still chilly out, spring is just around the corner! This post is going to be a somewhat short one just because I am not sure that I really did anything worthy of writing about!

I did do my workouts and Pilates classes! Which is something that I am really starting to enjoy and look forward to doing! Like who doesn’t enjoy feeling like they want to die? (Only kind of kidding…)

I was able to do the Breadtruck this past Thursday, which made my day!1.2 I always love getting to do the breadtruck! And one new thing about the Breadtruck this time was that we had another car following us spreading awareness and information about diabetes.

I also discovered one of the major pros of living in Chicago: insomnia cookies! Getting to buy warm cookies after nine at night can lead to no regrets! Seriously, was great and warm!

1.3Lots of homework and meetings this week so I am sorry for this being a short one! But next week will be a fantastic post with more happening!