Time to Take Action!

Hey all! The weather is warm and life seems great right now, right? Well somewhat! This week I got sick and had a lot happening in my classes, which makes sense because the end is near. This upcoming week is SXU’s last week of classes and then onto finals.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about the end of this school year. This semester is by far the hardest semester I have had. With the most late nights, early morning work sessions, and full day of work, I feel ready to be done with it. At the same time, it seems strange to think that after these two weeks, I will officially be halfway done with college. Although this week was filled more with group projects and homework, I did do some fun things.

IMG_2124On Wednesday, I had my first trip to Springfield attending a MAP rally. Although SXU missed the rally because our bus was two hours late, we did get to go inside of the capital and occupy the building with other schools. It was a great opportunity that allowed us to meet with different representatives from our Illinois area.  On Friday morning, I received an email from President Wiseman saying that:

It is rare that action by committed people produces a tangible legislative result in just 24 hours, but today there was movement in the legislature. Congratulations to all of you! This morning we received word from Rep. Kelly Burke and others that legislation was passed today which would appropriate (release) some of the MAP funds now owed to students in Illinois. That bill should be sitting on the governor’s desk as I write this, waiting for his signature. Keep your fingers crossed!

 

In the meantime, I want you to know how proud I am of our SXU students and your ability to intelligently communicate your stories and your situations to our legislators in Springfield. I heard from my colleagues at other universities that our students were most impressive.  More importantly, our legislators have seen you in action. This is greater success than any of us has experienced yet!IMG_2071

 

In closing, please be sure to thank Rep. Kelly Burke, Senator Bill Cunningham, and Senator Mike Hastings. They obviously were very influential in passing this legislation and sending it on to the governor.

 

I am personally grateful to all of you – and to our staff who accompanied you to Springfield.

–President Wiseman

IMG_2112It truly shows how connected President Wiseman is to SXU and how us young people can actually make a difference. And really, how many university presidents are this awesome?

On Sunday, I had the privilege of working the Breakfast with the Deans for Office of Admissions. I was especially excited about this event because I was working with the School of Education students who will be attending in the fall. It was exciting to get to answer their questions and work with the students who will be the future of SXU.

I wish everyone good luck on the last week of classes and to finish strong! Believe in yourself and keep pushing it! Another year is almost complete! So to end this week’s post I will leave you with a quote by Rivers Cuomo, “With each step I take, I see that my ability to perform gets a little better. So until it starts getting worse, I’m going to keep moving forward.”

Honors Program Senior Conference

Welcome back,

As I mentioned in my last blog, this weekend, I presented my research at the Honors Program Senior Conference. I have been a part of the Saint Xavier Honors Program since my freshman year and this was the last assignment necessary to complete the program. My 11 honors classmates and I presented our work on Saturday morning and enjoyed a wonderful luncheon in the afternoon. My mom and sisters were able to come to SXU and see my presention and support me, which meant the world. It has been an honor (no pun intended) to be part of this program for the last four years. It has enriched my experience at SXU in so many ways, and I am very grateful for the teachers and mentors I have had along the way.

Enjoying lunch in the Butler Reception Room

Enjoying lunch in the Butler Reception Room

Me, my mom and my sister after my presentation

Me, my mom and my sister after my presentation

Officially done with honors program!

Officially done with the honors program!

In the middle of the week, I received my grade for my Senior Seminar project. Not only did I pass, but I got an A! I was beyond relieved and excited to see that grade. Considering the months and months of hard work I put into that project that grade was very important to me. Now that I have finished the honors conference, I am OFFICIALLY done with my senior research. While I have enjoyed the experience and gained so much additional knowledge and skill, I am happy to never have to talk about my project again.

This weekend, I am finishing up my portfolio for the Honors Program as well as a few remaining assignments for other courses. Monday marks the start of my last week of classes at SXU and probably my last week of classes ever! I have been a student for around 18 years now, so it definitely feels weird to say that. Graduation is almost here!

Countdown to graduation: 12 days, 6 hours, 18 mins, 29 secs

Until next time…

Senior Art Show

This week marked a very important occasion for the Art Department at Saint Xavier of which I am a part of. This Saturday, April 23, was the second half of the senior art show of which the artists of the Senior Seminar course showed to their instructors as well as their families and friends all of which they have achieved this year as well as what they have done since they begun their education at Saint Xavier. There were beautiful traditional drawings, informative and beautifully designed information posters, digital design and more. The reason why I enjoy these shows and why I encourage all students and anyone really to check them out is because of what they represent. These pieces are the products of nearly half a decade of work here at Saint Xavier. It shows what the school has to offer in the old field of fine arts. While SXU is known for its nursing program and its business program, the institution has a thriving and strong Art Department that I am lucky to be a part of. Below will be some examples of the art shown in this half of the art show. What I want to discuss in this blog is the significance of this show and the SXU Art Department as a whole for us art majors. The reason I am writing about this is because of the thoughts that have begun flowing in my own mind of what it will be like for me in Senior Seminar in two years.

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The Art Department at SXU is small. The entire department is located within a simple protestant church down the road from campus. Due to its small size, both location and faculty-wise, there is a much more casual and close relation between students and teachers. Most of us who are in the department are on a first name basis with our professors, cracking jokes and snarky comments unheard of in other departments. As a result, we realize that a professor does not have to be the distant and hard-to-approach mentor we once thought but a human being that like us who shares the same hopes and aspirations and fears we do. There is no need to be afraid to talk to them, but we are them and they are us. Education is not a one-way transference of information. It’s a collaboration, a sharing of knowledge to better ourselves. That is a major reason why I feel that I made the right choice. I’m sure other universities have similar going ons at their art departments but I feel that with our small size, there is more room for connections that could not be possible if anywhere else. There’s a lot on my plate but seeing some of my close friends succeed in this endeavor has given me some steel to push on steadfast.

Gorgeous Weather

The weather is finally amazing everyone! It’s time for spring dresses and sandals! Yayyyyy! I hope you all are enjoying the weather as much as I am.

This past Monday, I started my week with my field experience at Columbia Explores. Every time I go, the more excited I am about being a teacher. Although I am not at all a morning person, I want to be so that the students I work with get the best assistance and lessons. I believe there is hope for myself on being a morning person. (Knock on wood.) After my Monday afternoon class, I signed a contract with Ali who works for Student Life to be a Transition Peer Mentor (TPM) next year, so that’s exciting!

FullSizeRender (8)On Tuesday after my 8 am class, I had a tour which I believe went well, and then did table hours for “Pals for Tara.” Pals for change has brought together many RSOs at school to create awareness over SXU’s own student Tara Hill, who is a full-time student who has cancer. Tara is a fellow classmate of mine and I know few other students who are so kind-hearted and positive about life. Here’s her GoFundMe page if you would like to give anything: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/h4xb/give-so-tara-can-live utm_source=giveforward&utm_medium=share&utm_campaign=dashboard&shareid=34613. And here’s her blog if you are interested on reading more about Tara: http://www.onetarahill.com/423324285.

On Tuesday evening, I was able to convince Professor Hilton to let our class attend the “Professionalism in the Work Place” event. IMG_1940It was an exciting event to have with a great turnout of individuals interested in professionalism when it comes to religion, sex, and race. Responding to immigration issues was one of my favorite events that I attended this past week. We had three fantastic guest speakers who were all SXU graduates. I was really happy to go because they gave me hope about MSPJ for next year. After recently finding out that our budget has been decreased and that we will only be allowed to use the SXU shuttle services twice a semester instead of four times, I felt heartbroken. Knowing that this past year Yuritza and I had worked so hard to get our bus as full as possible and have the largest turnout for each trip than ever before, these budget cuts hurt a great deal. But it gives me reassurance to know that the Sisters of Mercy are going to be working with us to continue our monthly trips and fundraising for them.

IMG_1992On Friday, we had our last PM (peer minister) meeting with our old team. We also had some new members join. To me, it was a surprisingly emotional meeting. Knowing that so many of our fantastic team members will be graduating and going our own separate ways seems so unreal. I feel as though this year has went by too fast. To me, this meeting also showed me how the change of my positions for jobs next year will be different than this year: No longer being a RPM (resident peer minister) and being an RA (resident assistant) and a PM for Justice makes me truly excited to see how it will all go. I am really looking forward to our new team for next year, and I’m so excited for all the great members who stepped up to these positions.

On Saturday, I “needed” to attend the Art Institute in downtown for my online ESL class.IMG_1978 I was happy to have this reason because I have been waiting to go all year and haven’t been able to. I was even able to attend the van Gogh gallery. It was also surprisingly a lot cheaper to go as well. Because I was able to get in for the price of a Chicago student resident and the van Gogh exhibit was less than $20. I was super surprised! It was a great time but crazy busy being a Saturday afternoon.

That Saturday evening I was also finally able to see “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2!” The first one is one of my favorite movies so I was so excited about the sequel. I was not at all disappointed. Without giving away details to the movie, it is totally worth going to see if you haven’t done so. I even dragged my boyfriend along and he also enjoyed it way more than he thought he would. So yay! It’s even boyfriend approved!

I seriously hope this weather stays and that everyone enjoys their week!

A quote to leave you with by Jimmy Dean: “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

Bread, A Service Introspection

At Saint Xavier, there is a required general education course that all undergraduates must take in order to graduate, community-based learning. Some high schools may also have this as part of their requirements. CBL, as it is more colloquially called, is an aspect of a class that involves the participation and appreciation of service in the lesson plan for the course. Service, it is, in my opinion, the core value of SXU. We hear it all the time — service, community service, volunteer service. All of this wordplay, but what does it actually mean? This week, I participated in an SXU service opportunity that occurs every Monday and Thursday afternoons, Bread Truck. In it, we went to several locations in the neighborhood, including an area known as Back of the Yards that has a predominantly Latino, many newly arrived immigrants, and black population with much of the populace at or below the poverty line. For those students that may not have experienced the level of poverty that those living in the area endure, it may be a shock, an eye-opener of one salient facet of Chicago. But for those of us, including myself,that indeed experienced the level of poverty they currently experienced, it was a reminder of painful memories and an ever constant thought in the back of our heads, the feeling of true hunger. It is a human right, I believe, that all people should be fed, never to go hungry. Millions around the world and here at home suffer that terrible pain. It is services like the Port Ministries Bread Truck that bring light to this issue and attempt to elevate it. That is what I wish to discuss in this week’s introspection, service.

We, as citizens of this nation have the opportunity and duty to our fellow citizens, the downdraught and destitute. I often hear the word privilege used in a manner, especially today, that is jarring and divisive. I, myself, do not like the word. Instead, I find opportunity a better fit. It allows us, with our financial and social standing, to achieve things to a degree that those that cannot are able to. When you think hard and long on this issue, a thought comes to mind. Would I want someone to do the same? I’m pretty sure we’d all want someone to help us get back on our feet. All of us would want not to go hungry. When you look into the eyes of these people, you see a part of yourself in them. When you drive through Chicago and see these people asking for money from car to car or out front of the Art Institute, it’s easy to ignore them and hope they don’t ask you. But once you hand them a paper bag with food, when you see them beam as they humbly accept the meal, you can no longer ignore them and it is hard. But this is life. WE all have a duty to our fellow man. This is what Saint Xavier University desires in its students, and it is something we all should strive for, service.

19 Days of College Remaining

Welcome back,

I’ll start the blog with some good news. I passed Senior Seminar! I got a phone call from my professor on Monday evening letting me know that I had successfully completed the class. I will get my official letter grade this week, but this means that my research and presentation met all of the standards, and most importantly, I will be receiving my degree in communication. It was definitely a long and difficult road, but I have learned more from this course than any other. It’s always satisfying to see your hard work pay off.

With that behind me, I was able to relax a little bit this week and focus on some of my other assignments and things on my to-do list before graduation. This week, I plan to start packing up some of the non-essential stuff in my apartment so that I won’t be so overwhelmed come finals week and graduation day.

In addition to that giant weight being lifted off my shoulders this week, we had absolutely beautiful weather in Chicago this weekend. High 70′s and sunny! I took this opportunity to go out and do a little shopping for my post-grad trip to Disney World with my family and I spent the rest of my time outside. I even got my fishing license and went on my first fishing trip of the season. The amazing weather just made me that much more excited for summer!

We went fishing at the Monee Reservoir which is fully equipped with bait for purchase, a concession stand, boat and equipment rentals!

We went fishing at the Monee Reservoir which is fully equipped with bait for purchase, a concession stand, boat and equipment rentals!

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Next Saturday, I will be presenting my research at the Honors Program Senior Conference. I’m hoping that since I have already done this presentation once, I’ll be a little less nervous this time around. In preparation, I’m going to take some time this week to practice my presentation and tweak it for my new audience. I’m looking forward to having this project fully behind me and finishing up my other classes in the next few weeks!

Countdown to Graduation: 19 days 11 hours 40 minutes 56 seconds

Until next time…

The Canvas is Blank

Art has been a very important part of my life growing up. But I never saw it as a viable career path since, to be frank, I was not very good at it. It was only during my last two years in high school that I was able to fully appreciate the craft as it pertains to me and bring myself to the level of which I am now. Now, it is my second year at Saint Xavier, and I am fully engaged in my path toward becoming an art teacher. As an artist and an appreciator of art, museums and art galleries are a welcome change of sight from the normal pace of school here at Saint Xavier. This week, I had a fantastic opportunity to see both. On Thursday, my Digital Imagery class went to the Art Institute of Chicago. There we went and saw many pieces of wonderful and intriguing art pieces. My favorites include, “Festival in Montmartre” by Gino Severini, “Terracotta Decorative Panel” by Louis H. Sullivan and “The Banquet” by Rene Magritte. Here are the three pieces:
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This wasn’t the first time I went to the Art Institute. In fact, I’ve been there about six times and each time I’ve learned something new. But like my art professor said, museums are where art made by dead people hangs; galleries are where art made by living people hangs. You can only learn so much by looking. Sometimes you have to ask and listen.

On Saturday, there was the Senior Art Seminar gallery opening. There were dozens of people who came to the SXU campus gallery to see the hard work of the seniors in the Art Department. A lot of my friends were there and it was nice to see their progress and what the future for myself entailed. One of my friends displayed a beautifully constructed miniature house with a film projected on it displaying his pet insects and arthropods. Another student displayed dozens of black-and-white photographs of locations across Chicago in which a person was murdered. It was hauntingly beautiful — the serenity of the photos – while knowing full well that someone had lost their life there. It really broadens my understanding of the media and the depth of an artist’s concept.

For this week, I’d like to discuss the importance of exploring the field in which we pursue. I often hear people entering careers as a result of their parent’s urging. It’s a problem we all might face. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a parent having high expectations for their children. In fact, I would encourage it as it shows that anything less is unacceptable, at least for me. But there needs to be a restraint on that notion. Students need to be able to fully examine their own path and horizons if they are to be happy with the career they seek. Leave no stone unturned on your path and be sure to never regret it. This path we seek is ours, not our teachers or our parents. It is ours of which our lives will revolve around. The canvas is there; we just need to think of what to paint.

Big News!

IMG_1760Hey everyone! I hope your first full week of April went well. My first week of April was eventful and showed me how many blessings I truly have in my life.

On Monday, I got to start my week at my field experience site and it is always a great time. It breaks my heart that I have less than a month with these great students and my mentor teacher. Getting to be a part of their classroom has taught me so much; I will always hold onto these memories. Seeing firsthand how to create a positive environment in a classroom with limited resources and see true growth in these students is something I can strive to do in my own classroom someday.

On Tuesday, I had an exam in my American Literature course and found out this weekend that I got 100% (YAY, studying works!) Following this, I had a tour for the Office of Admissions with my old roommate, Brittany. It’s always more fun giving a tour with another person. And I think for Special Visit Day, it can make it more personal for the prospective students. Later on Tuesday, I had a meeting with MSPJ (Mercy Students for Peace and Justice) and ECO Club on how we are going to collaborate for Earth Day (April 22) and the Hunger Banquet (April 20). So keep your eyes open around school for flyers with more details about these two events!

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On Wednesday, I had my “De-Stress with Pop Pilates” event, and it was great! It was supposed to be April 30, but Amanda, the instructor got sick so I decided to push my event back a week. It was a great event to see students be a part of! Students tried out Pop Pilates, tried new healthy snacks and we talked about ways to de-stress in college. I would say the event was a success!

On Friday, after going to the Office of Financial Aid and talking with my family, I committed to the paperwork and signed the contracts for my leadership positions for next year. I am so excited to announce that I am going to be a Resident Assistant (RA), Peer Minister for Justice (which is a whole new position they created this year- PM for Justice), and a Transition Peer Mentor again (TPM)! I feel truly blessed to have been picked for all three positions and look forward to seeing how they are all connected and yet different from one another. FullSizeRender (4)(This picture is from my FOCUS summer orientation, but it’s how I am feeling two years later!)

On Saturday, I was able to go to the Senior Art and Design Presentation. I was really excited about going because I was actually asked to participate in someone’s project, so I was looking forward to the finished product. I was so amazed with all of the artwork and I would for sure say to stop by and see it if you can! Here are some details from the SXU website:

The Senior Art and Design majors will be presenting their yearlong thesis work in two exhibitions entitled “Collective Imagination.” The first show will run April 9-19 and will feature Adewumi Adegoke, Tania Gutierrez, Dominique Joly, Karina Ramirez, Thomas Rohlfs and Wioleta Takuska. Opening reception is Saturday, April 9 from 3-5 p.m.The second show will run April 23-May 5 and will feature Lindsey Surin, Janet Tencza, Thoas Schultz, Eleanore Menke, Heidi Gregerson and Emma Healy. Opening reception is Saturday, April 23 from 3-5pm. Both exhibits will be in the SXU Gallery; hours are Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to  2 p.m.

Today (Sunday), I felt truly honored because I had my Induction Ceremony for Kappa Delta Pi, the School of Education honor society. We had a great guest speaker from the Chicago Sun Times newspaper, reporter Maudlyne Ihejirika. IMG_1920She presented an inspiring speech about “I Care” teachers and how essential it is for a teacher in an urban area to care even when there are limited resources for the classroom. Because my family is all in Minnesota, I was lucky to have my boyfriend there with me. It made me happy that he got to be there for a celebratory moment, instead of just listening to my rants about how much homework, stress, and studying that I need to do (which is normally what he is subjected to).

Overall, it was a busy, fantastic, hectic, and blessed full week. So I want to end this week’s post with a quote that brings me comfort about the future and college on this last month of classes:

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” –Malcolm X

Communication Senior Seminar 2016

Welcome back,

As mentioned in the previous blog, this was a MAJOR week for me. I spent most of my time putting the finishing touches on my senior research project and rehearsing my presentation.

Presenting my research in McGuire Hall.

Presenting my research in McGuire Hall.

Friday and Saturday were the days my classmates and I have been working for since August. I presented my research project on Friday evening in McGuire Hall in front of the communication department faculty, my classmates, friends and family. I was beyond nervous. Luckily, the presentation went pretty well. It was so gratifying to see all of my hard work pay off and also to see my classmates showcase their projects as well. We have become somewhat of a family over the last two semesters, and it was a very proud moment for all of us. We were all extremely relieved to have the presentations behind us and took some well-deserved time to celebrate our accomplishments! Now, we await our grades.

My beautiful flowers and delicious cake from my family!

My beautiful flowers and delicious cake from my family!

My sister and I after my presentation.

My sister and I after my presentation.

In the midst of the hectic presentation preparations, I did manage to squeeze in a little time to attend Grad Fest on Wednesday evening and pick up my graduation tickets and cap and gown. Holding my cap and gown in my hands was surreal! In just a few weeks, I’ll be walking across the stage. Just yesterday I had four years of college in front of me and now I have four weeks!

I want to say congratulations to my fellow communication senior seminar classmates on the completion of some amazing projects. Everyone worked so hard and really put their skills and knowledge on display. It is an honor to work alongside this group of students. We have so much to be proud of!

Two of my fellow comm senior seminar classmates.

Two of my fellow comm senior seminar classmates.

Countdown to Graduation: 26 days 6 hours 35 minutes 11 seconds

Until next time…

Spring Has Come

It is the week after Easter. School has begun again and with it, a new change. Spring has come to the city in gusto and with it comes the air of opportunity. The change of the seasons always brings about new possibilities. There is something sentimental of the end of something and the beginning of another. But like every opportunity, you can either take it or leave it. That is what I wish to discuss in this week’s introspection. What do we do when the opportunity presents itself? The answer to that question speaks volumes to a person’s character.

There are times in which we may feel aimless. I know for us college students, it is by far one of our most salient issues in this pivotal time in our lives. Is this career the right fit for me? Am I happy with what I’m doing? It is quite easy to just stay stagnant, to embrace the status quo rather than taking the hard road and really evaluating what it is that we as students desire for our futures. I know for myself this is the case. I am a low-energy person. If it can be done in fewer and faster steps, I’ll do it, even if the outcome is subpar to a more time managed process. But this is not the right thing to do every time. As individuals growing up and developing as adults, we need to understand that all of that is determined on our self-evaluation into what exactly is us. Are we content? Is content even good enough? Sometimes we have to take the hard road and dismantle and deconstruct what exactly it is that we seek here at the university.

Like most colleges and universities, Saint Xavier has a Career Services Center and advisors that guide students along and listen to their concerns. I happen to have advisors from both the Art Department and School of Education. While it is important for us as students to evaluate our lives, we mustn’t forget that we have people here to help us along the way. It’s part of their job to assist us on our educational journey. Being able to work within and with others is an important part of learning who we are. It is by self-evaluation that we can have new beginnings. For the spring to come, we must bear the harsh winter.