Homecoming Week!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week, as it was Homecoming Week!

This past week was once again another busy week! I am starting to believe that every week is a busy one… So maybe I should just drop the whole “it was a busy week” and simply believe that that’s the norm?! I guess a part of me wants to believe that my schedule will just chill out, but that has yet to happen, and SXU is going on Week 8 this upcoming week.

Chicago Public Schools are going on strike this week, so I needed to go in to complete my observation hours earlier then I had originally planned. I have felt completely lucky once again because my teacher is fantastic. For the most part, after the third grade, bilingual classrooms are not present and the focus is on English. As a middle school major, I knew that I wanted to observe a middle level even if it was not bilingual any longer. I was completely speechless when I got to the classroom to find how English and Spanish flowed from the teacher to the students. To me, it was exactly what I was looking for without realizing it. It was almost as if the teacher I was observing had read the textbooks I was reading for my ESL endorsement, and it was truly beautiful. I was honored to have been able to observe a classroom so welcoming and accepting of all students who entered the classroom. Someday, I hope to be a fraction of the teacher who I had the privilege to observe.

IMG_2140On Tuesday I was awarded the O’Brien Medallion Award. The award is given to those who are considered to be great leaders with a focus on service and the SXU core values. The O’Brien Medallion Award is given to 5 students, from each School of SXU: Education, Business, Nursing, and two Liberal Arts. I was shocked to find out that the School of Education picked me, and even more shocked to find out with whom I was receiving the award! I received the award with all seniors who I look up to. I’m truly blessed to have received such a great honor ,and I look forward to getting to wear the medallion when I graduate.

Thursday afternoon, I went to the Tutoring Center for the first time this semester. The Tutoring Center is a great resource for SXU students to use. It’s already included as a part of our tuition, so everyone should use it. I always tell people on my tours that it can be the difference between a B and an A in a course. The tutor who was assigned to tutor Physical Science for Teachers was fantastic! She helped all of us so much. If a tutor is not assigned to a course, as a student you can go to the Tutoring Center and request a tutor in that subject. The Tutoring Center really works to assist students in what they need help on. So if you need help, go to the Tutoring Center and get the help that you need to finish the semester strong!

On Thursday, Mercy Students for Peace and Justice (MSPJ) had their first Open Mic Night. It had the theme of “Voice your Vote,” while in between acts we talked about the importance of voting and talked about the candidates for the election. We also had computers and details about how to register to vote, how to vote absentee and what to bring along with you when you go to vote. We had a great turnout and so many talented SXU students showed off their talents!

On Friday evening, I was able to attend the Heritage Ball. FullSizeRender (37)Those who were invited were SXU leadership from University Housing Staff, Orientation Leaders and board members for Registered Student Organizations. It was a really fun night and I was lucky enough that I got to bring my boyfriend along. They also recognized the O’Brien Medallion Award recipients. It was a fun night with those who work so hard at SXU, and it was a great break from school!

On Saturday, SXU had our Homecoming game. AND WE WON!!!!! It was a great game, and it was a close one! Although I am not the biggest football fan, I still had a blast and surrounded myself with those who love football. FullSizeRender (36)Shout out to my great friends who always show their Cougar pride and are great to be around! Part of the reason I enjoy my time at SXU is because of you.

A quote that I received from my Peer Minister Team is “In my experience, being busy and working hard is the key to sanity and happiness” by Jemima Khan. So let’s forget my earlier statement about wishing school would slow down and get less busy and lets all keep pushing for what we love! Have a great week, everyone!

Simple Ways to Destress

Greetings readers, and welcome back to the blog! I hope you all enjoyed the weekend!

Whether you were taking advantage of the beautiful weather, or soaking in some Cubbies baseball, this weekend was definitely exciting. However, I know there may be a great number of you under some stress or anxiety. You could be overwhelmed with an insane amount of work, struggling to keep up at your job or you can simply be stressing out from life itself. You could be feeling down, confused or even lost. I have definitely been stressed in my lifetime, but the more times it happened, the more times I’ve found ways to fight it. Stress is an unfortunate part of life but there are ways to combat it and get back to a clearer, more positive mind. With that said, here are some great ways to destress and start feeling better sooner.

1. The first step to destressing is to stay positive. Now, I know many of you will criticize this thought process, giving me the “easier said than done” spiel. However, staying positive is my first step to distress, and I believe it is a vital one. One cannot simply calm down without wanting to. Feeling down on yourself is not a positive mindset to be in. Convince yourself that you want to feel better. You’ve got to want it! Now, once you are driven and in the state of mind to fight stress, do some basic activities that can get your mind off of the things holding you down.

2. One easy way to destress, especially for college students, is to get away from the situation at hand and meditate. Now, I use this term very loosely. You don’t necessarily have to break out the ancient Buddhist meditation methods (unless you’d like to), but putting your headphones on and playing your favorite songs is a fantastic way to destress. It doesn’t take much effort and it is a great way to take a deep breath and to relax to the comfort of your favorite artists and bands. It is a great way to simply recharge and take a mental break from whatever obstacles are blocking you from feeling positive. Even taking a nap is a form of meditation.

3. If you’d prefer a more interactive and physical approach to destressing, exercising is a great method to use. Going outside for a walk, hitting the weights, or even going for a run allows your mind to wander and recharge, while also keeping you nice and healthy. Personally, runs are the best way to destress. If you aren’t a runner, I highly recommend this activity if you are stressed. A simple run can get your mind to break from its negative barriers and allow you to restore your sanity. The sweat can even represent all your woes leaving your body

4. Most importantly, eat well. Students tend to eat junk food when they are stressed out. Examples include ice cream, cookies and chips. It is best to avoid eating junk food when you are stressed because your brain will find comfort in unhealthy snacks causing you to gain weight. It is scientifically proven that eating heathier foods will keep your mind focused. Foods such as fruits, nuts and even chicken (don’t even think about those McNuggets) are all healthy choices for brain food. Remember, a healthy body creates a healthy mind.

There are many other ways you can destress, but these are my personal methods that I use every time I find myself feeling down. A life without stress just isn’t possible, however, ways to fight through it are! There will be times in life when we are ready to give up and feel like shutting down. It is up to us to find our own paths to healing ourselves from stress, and I can tell you from experience that it is very possible.

In the immortal words of John Cena, “No matter how great the setback, no matter how severe the failure, you never give up.”

The Sunset on Campus

The crisp cool air is quite the refreshing taste as the day winds down to a close. It is the lasting feeling of a renewed autumn season. The campus quiets down as people trot off to wherever it is they are going. The squirrels chatter and scurry along, as I hear the sound of a dog and their owner in the distance. But there’s a sound that disrupts the sounds of silence. A deep rumble from across Lake Marion humbles the sounds of the bathing geese. By narrowest of margins, victory is achieved and the roar of exalted crowds bellow toward the sunset on campus. It is the Homecoming game!

Every year, Homecoming brings to the campus of Saint Xavier an energy and excitement that rejuvenates the sleepy campus grounds during the weekends where the only folks around are the diner workers and the resident students. During the school week, the campus is thriving with people hurrying and shuffling along. But during the weekend, the morning is a quiet haven for elderly people taking a nice quiet stroll always eager to say hello, and the evening is a quiet time for a walk with music. But this weekend was different. Crowds of folks from the community came for the annual Cougar 5K and excited college students were preparing for the Homecoming Dance or recovering from the Heritage Ball that Friday. Masses of hundreds strolled along the green quad and the pale sidewalks and asphalt streets. It was a marvelous sight to see, so many people from the community coming together for the annual Cougar 5K. And after the race was over, families with children and couples, old and young, took a nice stroll around the serenity of an empty campus on the weekend.

Living on campus for the past three years, I find myself longing for that quiet stillness of the quiet campus. But for Saturday, it was refreshing to see all those people. It was a lovely sight to see all those people coming together. There was a nostalgia, a warm and almost melancholic sort of feeling of right after school when the excitement of going home from a long day at school was finally at hand. I enjoy the energy of these people populating the campus. It’s unpredictable but that’s what makes living on campus a story on its own.

Events to Events

Hey everyone! Homecoming Week is around the corner, and I am so excited!

This week has been a busy one. For the Office of Admissions, I had multiple orientations for the First-Year Student Ambassadors. I will be supervising 40 first-year students, and I am truly excited because it’s a great group of ambassadors!

IMG_2094On Tuesday, I got to attend a workshop presented by Julie Veloz about her life and overcoming many obstacles to get to where she is today. I personally felt connected to her story for multiple reasons: being Latino, living in our society, being true to herself, and having curly hair (and accepting it!). This workshop became one of my favorite events that I have had the chance to attend, and it was a great reminder to myself about who I am and who I want to be.

Some of the female Regina Hall RAs and I had our first event on Thursday. IMG_2106It was called “Floor Code,” which had different bonding activities, including a spa night. The event was a success and a lot of fun to host! So many of the residents didn’t want to leave, but it was getting late.

This Friday, I had a sad flashback of what it is like to be part of a Minnesota sports team. About a month ago, I bought tickets to see the IMG_2120Sox versus Twins game, and they were really good tickets. The tickets were right next to home plate, so I was super excited! Just last week I found out that SXU Student Life had tickets available for students because that evening was Saint Xavier on the field! So it was a REALLY fun game because I got to see SXU students — except the Twins were completely crushed, and it made the Minnesota fans (my boyfriend and I) really sad.

I did some shopping for the Heritage Ball and also for an award I am receiving next week.(Will share pictures for next week’s post!) During that evening, there was a fun Super Saturday party connected to Hispanic Heritage Month that had great music and food. I wish I didn’t have to be on duty that evening, but for the short time I got to be there, it was great!

I hope everyone has a great Homecoming Week! Check out the list of events to happen this week below!

And I am ending this week’s post with a quote by Maya Angelou that reminds me of the workshop from this week: “My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your ashes of kindness.”FullSizeRender (33)

 

SXU’s Beneficial Resources

Greetings readers! I hope you all had a great weekend and are feeling fantastic. It is honestly hard to believe it is already October. Freshman year is going by quicker than I expected, which definitely has me thinking of how I cannot slow down when it comes to my academics. In just a little over two months, the first half of my freshman year will be over. This thought fuels me to continue to grind inside the classroom and stay focused on what is important. Though the year is going by quick, last week felt like my longest one so far. However, despite the large workload, I was able to power through it successfully, and I even did it with some assistance.

Saint Xavier has shown me that faculty and staff are genuinely determined to make sure their students succeed in life, especially in the classroom. There are many resources available to students to help them in their studies. However, for many students, there will always be that one subject that is more difficult to them than the rest. For me, it has always been math. I have known many people over the years that are in the same boat as me when it comes to math. I can understand some of it, but when it comes to complex problems, such as word problems, I always have difficulty comprehending it. One of the reasons I chose to go to Saint Xavier was because I liked the idea of small class sizes. The small classes give me the opportunity to receive one-on-one help from my professor if I ever need assistance. And I definitely took advantage of that this week. I have been in contact with my professors for help, and they have helped me every single time, no questions asked. In addition, I have also gotten help from other students and even taken a trip to the Learning Center. With all these options available, I was able to power through the week and successfully complete a chapter in math. It is a great feeling to know that whenever I need help, the University and my professors are there for me. It is vital for students to know that there is no shame in asking for help.

In addition to utilizing the resources to improve my academics, I have also used the resources to improve my health. Saint Xavier not only stresses the importance of doing well inside the classroom, but also preach about living a healthy lifestyle. I enjoy utilizing the University’s gym, as it gives me an opportunity to stay in shape. In addition to the gym, the University also has a variety of healthy foods to choose from on campus, especially at Cougar Fuel. Cougar Fuel in the Shannon Center is a great place for me to get a healthy meal or drink for a fair price. Wraps, smoothies and salads are just a few of the healthy choices to pick from on the menus. It is great to see the University push for a healthy lifestyle, as a healthy body creates a healthy mind. It is something I will continue to enjoy as my college career continues.

It is crazy to see that I am already in the month of October in my freshman year and I am enjoying every second of it. I did not think college would be going as well as it is, and I am definitely not letting up. It is inevitable that the school year will continue to get harder, but it is within those hard times that my work ethic will illustrate the determined student that I really am. With all the resources available to me to improve myself physically, mentally and spiritually, the sky’s the limit for me. I am eager to see what else the University has to offer and will continue to explore the ways to become better every week.

Beverly Art Walk

Gray dusty-looking clouds, an unpleasant dampness in the air, there’s a cold chill in the wind that never gives a reprieve for those outside. That’s what it should have felt like. But the sounds of rain pattering on the sidewalk and the skidding of tires on wet asphalt was drowned out. I heeded no sounds of sirens or of disconcerting chatter and fits of cigarette-induced coughing. I saw no stoic men in blue or sad dirty faces or the frail forms of old women outside hurrying to wherever they were going. There were all inside, away from the cold chatting and laughing at a common thing to behold. All I heard and saw was the common love for art. This weekend was the annual Beverly Art Walk, a one-day event that brings together the local artists of the Beverly area and the greater community of Chicago.

Here in Chicago, the arts scene is very much alive, and Beverly is no exception. Artists working in oils, others in ceramics and others working with what they’ve found lying on the sidewalk all coming together for a whole day showing their practice in a massive open reception for all to see. A stone’s throw away from Saint Xavier University, the Beverly Art Walk was a sight to behold. Packs of people hopping onto the trolly on a scenic route through the major parts of the Beverly area with stops at the studios and homes of many prominent local artists.

Portrait in Broken glass by Dalton Brown

Portrait in broken glass by Dalton Brown

One such artist I met was Dalton Brown, a prolific black artist whose primary theme in his works is “seeing and feeling.” Working in oil paints, he began dabbling with broken glass due to his background. The picture above is of one of his portraits. What first caught my eye was that it was done in broken glass he collects. The glass is from alcohol bottles which are a meaningful part of the piece since he said the portraits were of members of his family who were or have dealt with alcoholism. He had a lot of good advice for fellow artists: He said it’s not enough that an artist paints or does their craft; they also have to be able to “see and feel” what it is they’re doing. Without that passion for art, it will show in the quality and the heart of the heart.

Wall dedicated to prospective Saint Xavier Students from neighboring high schools.

Wall dedicated to prospective Saint Xavier students from neighboring high schools.

 

Wall dedicated to Saint Xavier

Wall dedicated to  Saint Xavier students.

SXU Beverly Art Walk Mural Wall

SXU Beverly Art Walk Mural Wall

One of two pieces of mine showcased at the SXU Beverly Art Walk Gallery.

One of two pieces of my work showcased at the SXU Beverly Art Walk.

Here at Saint Xavier, we didn’t have that problem. While renowned for our education and nursing programs, SXU has a thriving and well-respected artistic community of which I am part of. For the past three years, SXU has had its own gallery location to showcase the art of current students, alumni and of prospective high schoolers. It was a wonderful thing to see professors from the University and members of the community come and support us and the school and those hopefully soon on their way to join the SXU community. We probably had a good 300 people come through over the course of the day. We had a huge wall, which we left blank for anyone and everyone to come and leave their mark. Children barely able to walk and elderly folks in walkers and canes all came together to create art filled with more than skill but heart. The most meaningful part of the whole event for the SXU Gallery, in my opinion, was being able to talk to the high schoolers, the fresh faces on the block, and learn about their art endeavors, see where they were coming from in their mindsets and give them tips. For now, it is done. But the future is unknowable and uncertain. I just hope to see those fresh faces on campus here at Saint Xavier.

Defeat Boredom

Every now and then, there comes a time when boredom creeps up. The good thing about this though is that there are ways to get rid of this feeling. I’ve created a list of activities you can do, which includes future Saint Xavier University events to attend.

1. Watch a movie with friends
2. Organize your closet
3. Paint/draw
4. Write a poem
5. Work out at the gym (The Shannon Center is free for SXU students!)
6. Learn a new dance
7. Grab a cup of coffee and catch up with friends at Starbucks
8. Go to a baseball game (On September 30, a bunch of SXU students went to the White Sox game over at Cellular Field.)
9. Join an intramural sport, such as volleyball, powderpuff football, soccer and many more
10. Meditate
11. Study at the library
12. Throw around a football in the quad
13. Play a computer game
14. Take a Zumba class
15. Go to a pumpkin patch
16. Go to Six Flags Fright Fest
17. Have your pet blessed at 5 p.m. October 4 at McDonough Chapel
18. Relieve some stress by petting the therapy dogs in the student lounge on October 6 in the afternoon
19. Participate in the Cougar 5K Run/Walk at 9 a.m. October 8
20. Practice yoga
21. Rollerblade around campus or even in the city
22. Attend a sporting event (October 8 is the big SXU Homecoming football game!)
23. Have a photo shoot

Try doing something new like Rollerblading with friends, whenever you feel that you are bored with your same old routine

Rollerblading with friends: Try doing something new whenever you feel that you are bored with your same old routine!