The First Second

The first second after you wake up is the most peaceful thing I can think of. That one second you don’t remember anything – what you ate yesterday, who you talked to and even how the night before history was made. It is the moment where a person is at complete bliss since they haven’t had a thought cross their mind yet. An emotion hasn’t been selected yet, their eyes are about to open and for that one second nothing has come to mind. Although, that second second is when the gates of ideas, memories and emotions open up and flood the mind. This is what I had experienced today.

 

When I woke up, I looked at my phone where I had received hundreds of messages from my friends, family, and peers, all pertaining to the results of the election. Most messages were filled with anger, others sorrow but one was filled with hope for the future.

 

My mother had sent me a message at 8:14 a.m., and the main idea in it was that we must rise above, have faith in God and in our country. “We will get through this,” she said. This was the first text I had read this morning and it had connected with me deeply. This message set the tone of my mood to be at ease and be hopeful. My mother was right – that to rise above we must come together as a country and have faith.

 

The next set of messages I received were from a few friends discussing how they were disappointed with the results. They were very angry and filled with hate. I sent them a screenshot of my mother’s message to me and told them the same thing as she told me, to essentially not be filled with hate or fear from this news. It is okay to disagree with others opinions, just don’t diminish them for their different beliefs and ideas. Years of history will not be set back if we don’t allow it to be. The strides made by us as a nation should not be set back by one person. Our ancestors who made the largest impact on our lives and government did not approach the situation with anger and disgust, they came up with peaceful acts, protests and legislation to better our nation.

 

I normally write about school-related things. This post is not any different. I know my peers here at this school will respect each other both intellectually as well as spiritually. If that is not the case for some, I know that students would stand up for those who cannot speak up for themselves in a respectful nondemeaning manor. For me personally, I as a Latina woman will not have the hatred of others affect me. I will not approach situations with hatred or anger, but instead with faith, hope and love. I believe that everything happens for a reason. This is a test not only for me but for everyone in our nation to be strong, keep our heads held high and to overcome whatever is to be thrown our way.

Those Sky Flowers

There was an energy in the air on Wednesday night. The usual chatter of rowdy college students outside was absent. They were all inside. The chips and salsa were out and the soda was bubbling away in our red party cups as our eyes were glued to the television screen. Everyone had a nice comfy seat which they refused to sit in. We were all standing. Everyone held their breath in that 10th inning as another Cleveland batter took to the plate. So close but so easily taken away those last few minutes could have been. And when the final score came, everything became a shout fest.

 

The quiet stillness of hallways was shattered, as an overly enthusiastic viewer ran down the hall barefoot shouting at the top of his lungs, “They did it!” The sound of fireworks bellowed in the distance on cue lighting the night in an aura of brilliant lights. Excited and exhilarated screams and cheers echo in the empty streets around Saint Xavier on Wednesday as the Cubs finally won! And when I went to the window and heard the collective cry of the campus residents in united celebration, it made me reaffirm my reason for living on campus. It was a good day!

 

After the school day is done and the commuters return home, there is a silence in the air that tells me that the day is over, and yet I must linger. As the sun fades behind the clouds and the day dims as cars depart and less and fewer people are seen walking the sidewalks and paths of the campus, there is a sadness that I feel, like watching a dear friend leave on the train while you remain. Perhaps this is just my family’s famous sentimentality that got my grandfather through the losing side of a World War or my father through years of hard labor to afford me this moment to stand idle in the silent of an American campus. But either way, there is something I find special about living as a resident here at Saint Xavier.

 

Campus life can be a mixed bag at times, especially as a person that works with the maintenance and housekeeping staff here. It can be difficult with certain folks who, for whatever reason, were not taught by their parents to clean after themselves. But besides the occasional workplace gripes as in any place, the students are respectful and generally try to keep their home away from home clean, or at least tolerable for us workers to step in time. On occasion, depending on your personality, you might get into arguments with your fellow residents and dormmates as is to be expected. But for the most part, there is a sense of community here and it is emphasized regularly. It’s an almost comradery among those of us that have no place to go during those holidays when the dorms are closed. And as I look out the window watching the grand explosions of brilliant lights from my door room with the cheers of my fellow residents in the distance, I can’t help but know at least here, there is a gentle peace.

Perks of being on a small campus

There are definite perks to attending a small campus like Saint Xavier that make college life great. I personally enjoy being able to walk around campus and not feel a sense of being lost. But aside from that, these are a few more things that sold me on the SXU experience:

 

Knowing Everybody

The great thing about being on a small campus is that you know a great deal of students, teachers and faculty. It is much easier to find a group of friends that you feel comfortable with much faster than at a larger school. Networking with successful alumni also becomes more accessible, helping you to stand out more for guidance when it comes time for the career world. You can get to know people one on one and make lasting relationships academically, as well as socially.

 

Athletics

On campus, everyone can have the opportunity to join an athletics team. If a team or particular sport is not available, you can join an intramural, where they have such sports as as dodgeball, ice skating, basketball and even ping pong. Getting involved with one activity encourages you to get involved with others, not just athletics. Many of my peers who are involved with sports are involved with other clubs and organizations. As students, our eagerness to get involved supports a strong and active SXU community.

 

Small Class Sizes

Having smaller more private classrooms allow students to become less distracted and gives professors more of an opportunity to work one on one with you, helping with communication. I have had the opportunity of being able to message my professors and had been given a response within minutes. Not to mention when you aren’t in class, they take notice. This makes me feel at ease since it shows that they care about their students.

 

Another thing is that the campus is small enough where you could get to your classes in less than 10 minutes approximately. (I should know – I wake up 15 minutes before classes and only take 5 minutes to get ready.)

 

Last but not least, small classrooms also mean the opportunity for you to keep running into your friends… who can save you a seat in class!

Hitting the Reset Button

Greetings, readers and welcome back! As I write this post, I am on my way home from the great state of Michigan. My good friend and I decided to head up to East Lansing to visit a mutual friend at Michigan State, and it was a great time. After my experience, I can’t help but think how soothing it was to step away from the comforts of my daily routine and recharge before coming back home. This semester is going by insanely quick and we are only a few weeks away from winter break, which means the workload is likely to increase, which could cause stress to also increase. I’ve spoken before on the many ways to distress, but after this weekend, I find it appropriate to tell everyone a new way to help make their life just a little more peaceful.

 

I have lived in Merrionette Park for 15 years, and I love it. The South Side is full of delicious food, friendly people and endless things to do with friends and family. I know the area so well, I can probably get around blindfolded (maybe not that well). However, going to Michigan was a unique experience for me. It was the first time in a long time that I had actually left Illinois and everything I was familiar with. East Lansing itself was an experience but even the road trip had me in awe. I was able to step away from the cars and buildings and enter a rural, more peaceful atmosphere. Michigan is beautiful in the fall. The leaves of trees turned into cooling fall colors and cows and horses grazed on the farms. Now for me, this was somewhat a culture shock. I rarely leave Chicago. Seeing a rural environment allowed me to see how beautiful this country really is. It almost made me forget about all my worries back home. Then, I began to think about the woes of other people. Most Americans are in the same routine every day – wake up, go to work/school, come home, work some more, eat and sleep. It not only drives people crazy but being stuck in the same loop for years can also affect someone’s mood. They may lack energy and motivation to continue doing what they are supposed to do. Nobody wants to fall behind at work or in school, as it can be costly to your career. Taking a trip somewhere away from home is just what everybody needs.

 

This little trip allowed me to step away from the things that I am used to. I was able to leave my woes at home and clear my mind for the first time in a while, and it felt refreshing. I also became less stressed about the school year and was able to just let go and have fun. I think that it is essential that all everyone take an opportunity like I did to get away from everything, even if it is for a day or two. Taking a break from your usual routine can be very beneficial to your health, whether you are a student or an adult. It is almost like hitting the reset button! I also feel more determined to do my best in school after taking a break from the daily norms of my life. In general, it just feels good to “get away” for a little bit. Of course, Michigan isn’t the only place to go to recharge. There are many places you can go to in order to feel comfortable and relaxed, such as a forest preserve. You can even go somewhere in which you feel the most comfortable, such as a friend or family member’s house. It is all about going to a place where you know you can swim in your own thoughts and just relax. There are many places to help clear your head. It is just up to you to find them.

Striving for Excellence

The hall resounds my footsteps as I amble down an empty hall. Not a sound besides myself occupies the hall on a dreary Tuesday morning. The occasional murmuring of one of the janitorial staff draws my attention from my fixed view of the empty diner. But overall, the most deafening noise was the silence in what should be the busy and bustling heart of Saint Xavier. But then I remembered and slapped my forehead disparagingly. On Tuesday of this week, day classes were cancelled for Faculty Development Day. It was no surprise that I was disappointed in waking up early, but then the feeling of being overjoyed replaced my disappointment. How lucky to have some free time to get homework done, socialize and just laze around. And I can assure you that I did just that. It sounds like fun and games, and it was, but beyond the face of the situation was more than just a day to laze around. Well, maybe it was like that for us students, but for the professors and educators that form the bedrock of this institution of higher learning, it was no laughing matter. That Tuesday was more than just a day for the professors to sit around in a conference room listening to someone recite a PowerPoint. It was a time for professors and another faculty at our school to continue on their path toward excellence. And make no mistake, that is the goal.

 

In the School of Education, one of the primary aptitudes that are cultivated and improved on is the pursuit of excellence. Teaching is much different than educating a person. I can teach little Jimmy not to lie to his friends or how to dig a hole for a tree sapling. He’ll do it but he won’t understand why. And that’s the biggest thing that should be asked of students. Why? Why pursue this career? Why are you here? Why does such-and-such thing happen? School should be a place that strives to build up students, to have them think critically and face the uncertainties of life with a raised chin. It should not be a place that accommodates stagnation, self-aggrandizement or sheltering oneself from ideas and beliefs different than one’s own. It is a place that educates, that shows us the world we live in and allows us the capability to lead, to think and to grow. By not challenging us, the professors would be stifling our learning and that cannot happen. That is why our school has days such as Tuesday to have professors bounce ideas back and forth and find better ways to educate the youth in an ever-changing word.

 

We get a day off, and it’s great. We get to sleep in and do nothing. We can afford that moment of lax bliss. But what students forget is the reasonings behind these things. An educator cannot afford to stand idly when the road of excellence is ever expanding outward. One can never reach the end but to not continue on the journey means an end of the journey. And when a teacher ends their journey for excellence, they cease to be an educator but an arbiter of stagnation. The sole responsibility of a teacher, an educator, is the personal growth of their students. That is what happened on Tuesday. We all know that one good teacher. For whatever reason, there is something about them that we cannot forget but somehow they have changed and touched our lives. It is because they continue on that path of excellence. They strive for it. And if you’re open to it, you will find someone like that here, too.

Day for Getting Ahead

There are definitely some nights, even weeks, where it is just too chaotic to get anything done. Everyone experiences it at some point; it is inevitable. I felt this way within the past couple of weeks between balancing work, school, home and keeping a social life. I indeed had to make some of these responsibilities suffer to catch up. Falling behind can happen in more than one way that it is out of your control. Although, in one day and with one organized list, you can get right back on track.

 

First thing to focus on is organizing around both your work and school schedule. With your class schedule set at the start of the semester, if you work, you are usually able to set your work schedule around your classes. From there, once you know what your free time looks like, you can then get on track with the rest of your responsibilities.

 

Finding extra school time to study can help you get ahead of schedule. On Tuesday, I had the whole day to catch up on my math and to get ahead so that I could finish early. The reason I could do this was because my classes were cancelled, so instead of being lazy, I did extra work for my classes.

 

Home life is tricky, especially for students who live far away from home. This weekend, I had to work long hours and could not make it to a family event. So, to make up for this, I went home today, where I got to see my family as well as my dogs. I picked my siblings up from school. We did our homework while eating snacks. After we had finished our homework, my family and I went for burgers together. Simple things like this make spending time with the family that much more special.

 

As far as my social life, I value spending times with my friends. We had the chance to catch Game 1 of the World Series and eat at Gilhooley’s. We discussed our day off to one another, and we showed off our Halloween costumes to get opinions on how to improve them. We even expressed our stress about exams and homework due at the end of the week. Yet, we are all excited for Halloween weekend and to go to Regina Hall’s Super Saturday Halloween party.

 

With one day, you can catch up on all the responsibilities you had allowed to suffer. If you do, you’ll be able to accomplish important tasks, or even get ahead with your responsibilities. I’m about to write my next couple of blog posts right now actually!

 

Getting ahead and staying on track with responsibilities helps when you have a day off of school to work everything out. If balanced correctly, I shouldn’t fall behind again.

Is Hell Freezing Over?

So, I was going to write about my week in school. I was going to discuss how the week went, how I was doing and what not. However, I simply cannot avoid talking about the history that was made in the city of Chicago over the weekend. So if you’ve been keeping up with Chicago sports, specifically baseball, the Cubs have been on a quest to make it to the World Series, which would be their first since 1945. Well, the Cubs are now just four games away from a World Series championship. Yes people, this is actually happening.

 

Now I doubt I’ll be the only one talking about this but the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 on Saturday in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series to punch their ticket to the World Series. Yes, you read that correctly. The Chicago Cubs are going to the WORLD SERIES. It almost doesn’t seem real. It sounds so weird just mentioning “Cubs” and “World Series” without any negativity whatsoever.

 

Now for people who don’t care too much about sports, specifically baseball, just know that this is a HUGE deal. For starters, the last time the Cubs reached the World Series, World War II had just ended, the first ballpoint pen went on sale and Franklin Roosevelt was president. Yeah, it has been that long. The Cubs worked their tails off all season to reach this goal, and it finally paid off. Although the journey has just begun, this historical accomplishment has hit home for many Cubs fans, especially for me and my family.

 

Watching the Cubs in the playoffs this year has been remarkable. Yes, it was stressful at times but the Cubs have shown time and time again why they are the best team in baseball. Their win on Saturday night was just another reason for me and Cubs fans to stay calm and just enjoy baseball. After the Cubs turned a double play to end the game, my family was thrilled and excited beyond belief, especially my dad, who was the most excited out of all of us. He has been a Cubs fan his whole life. He enjoyed watching Cubs greats growing up, such as Ryne Sandberg, Dave Kingman, Andre Dawson, Rick Sutcliffe, Mark Grace and many more. He shared his passion with the Cubs with me at a young age and, of course, with the rest of my family. He supported this franchise for many years and to see his support pay off with a Cubs World Series berth just warms my heart. However, we weren’t the only Cubbies fans getting emotional. We watched endless clips of fans at Wrigley also feeling what we felt. Fans of all ages were yelling, cheering and crying tears of joy. In my neighborhood, “W” flags flew, horns sounded, and fireworks lit up the sky. It almost felt like a dream. I did nothing but smile and thank the Lord. It didn’t hit me until I woke up Sunday morning and realized what we had just accomplished.

 

Though it was a great weekend for baseball, us Cubbies fans can’t get too ahead of ourselves. It was good to see our team reach the World Series but the journey is not over yet. The Cubs are going into Cleveland Tuesday night to face an extremely talented Indians team in a seven-game set. These games will definitely not be easy by any means but after a brilliant performance by the North-siders in the NLCS, I can definitely say that the Cubbies will put on the show of a lifetime. The trip to the grandest stage of them all was stressful but exciting, and now it is time to relax and let the Cubs be the Cubs. Even when the Cubs were struggling, they managed to get themselves together and never quit. They showed their “Never Back Down” attitude and it is just a reminder to me of how good of a baseball team we really have. The Cubs’ chemistry is at an all-time high and the bond between every single player is stronger than ever. Of course, it is a huge accomplishment itself just reaching the World Series but getting that illustrious ring after 108 years would be the icing on the cake.

Giving What is Precious

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It flows through our veins. It is both the symbolic and literal essence of life within us. Blood, it has many connotations, and its importance is as much a part of us as the heart that beats it and the words that give it its poigance in our lives. And it is this importance that has ironically led to its spillage. Wars both small and large have resulted in its waste. From the streets of Chicago to the battlefields of distant lands, blood is a tangible resource and its value forgotten and yet remembered.

 

Here in the United States, a shocking statistic is that most blood centers barely have enough blood for a few days at a time, if that. Most of the time they are hemoragging blood, pardon the pun. That’s where these blood drives come in. Every year, we have several blood drives at Saint Xavier. And every time, it is a packed house. This semester, people had to wait for hours since the lines were backed up, and the organization that was doing the blood drive was overburdened. Now you can say this was an unfortunate incident with an unorganized company. But I say it was the real spirit of the SXU community.

 

This school is built on the spirit of giving, of sharing. The Sisters of Mercy are renown for its commitment to service. It is one of the very pillars in which this school has been founded on. And every aspect of life here has something to do with it. From the service club that sends volunteers for the bread truck or the drives that collect clothing or school supplies for those less fortunate, there is always something going on that take the chance to help someone. That was exemplified this week with the blood drive. Dozens of students took time out of their days and in many cases, including mine, missed class for a chance to contribue if only a little to help. Because that’s what this community is about, that is why I have remained here and am confident in SXU’s core values.

 

When I was a child, my father told me a story, actually more like a series of great epics of his life in a poor village to a great war in his homeland to his escape to America. And the only part he always remembered telling me was the time he donated blood. It was prior to his visa being approved to come here after the Vietnam War. He said that, “if this land takes me in, I give them what is most precious to me for it has given what is most precious to it.” It is that commitment to service that was exemplified by my father, by this school and by this community which I find so inspiring. We hear so much sadness in the world. And as a result, some people find it difficult to find a reason to try and make a difference. How can someone be the change they want to see if they don’t work at it. A mountain is not built from the top most rock down. It takes the small stones that form its base. And it is the practice of giving that allows mountains of change to occur.

The Wolf of SXU

Here at Saint Xavier University I knew exactly which major I had wanted to choose, which was business marketing. Many people ask me why I chose to be a business major, and I won’t lie my decision was not only heavily influenced by family but media as well. This is a very serious topic for me, which I hope you’ll find inspiring. And if you’ve read this much, then I’m quite sure you will finish the rest.

The deciding factor for me choosing my major was not just the hope of successfully landing a job straight out of college but was because I had watched movies like “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Now before you go and start judging me for basing my decision of my educational future off this film — hear me out! I completely get that this movie is over dramatized, but the core of the plot of this true story is what I am mainly focused on. It’s about a man who worked all his life as the little guy and made a couple smart decisions that made him a millionaire. There is also that drive given whenever you see or hear stories to further understand what exactly is going on in the business world as well as how to get in the game yourself. All business majors are not in it just to learn about business; they are in it to get smart about the world of economics and make money, at least in my opinion.

Watching this movie the first time, I was heavily confused on the terminology that the characters were using until I had taken a few business courses here at SXU. Going to classes such as Business 101 and even macro/microeconomics heavily improved my knowledge on the business world. Now, when I watch the movie I’m not confused about terminology like GDP or concepts, such as product differentiations.

Here’s a short list of my favorite business movies to check out that not only are entertaining but informative in a way as well.


1. The Wolf of Wall Street

2. The Big Short
3. Margin Call
4. Joy
5. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
6. Food Inc.
7. The Intern
8. Wall Street (1987)
9. The Pursuit of Happyness
10. The Company Men

The Lovable “Winners”

Chicago has always been one of the world’s most popular cities. Our pizza, skyscrapers, and rich history are what make the city and its people so valuable. With all these factors defining who we are, there is one thing that ties all Chicagoans together; Sports. Sports is such a huge part of the culture of Chicago and almost all of our teams have given us a taste of what it is like to be world champions. The notorious Super Bowl winning ‘85 Bears, the six-time champion Bulls, the Sox in 2005, the Hawks, specifically in ‘10, ‘13, and ‘15, and even an MLS title by the Fire in ‘98. All living Chicagoans have been able to see our teams make the city proud and give us the title of “Champions. Every team except the Cubs.

Born and raised a fan of the “Lovable Losers,” the Cubs were always a big part of my life, specifically for me and my dad. We have been watching the Cubs on TV and attending multiple games for many years. I will always remember my first Cubs game back in September 2003. Right after school, my dad informed me that it was time for my yearly check up with the doctor. As a child, hearing the word doctor only meant one thing; a shot. I felt scared and uneasy, thinking to myself how my day went from normal to tragic so quickly. Little did I know we were on our way to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs. As soon as I saw Wrigley, my dad handed me my ticket. “Surprise!” He said. I had never been so happy. It was about 2 in the afternoon when we took our seats in right field bleachers. As the Cubs took the field, I couldn’t help but smile. I had never see a Cubs games like this. Though I had watched multiple games on TV with my dad, it was a totally different atmosphere to be sitting alongside the Bleacher Bums. The smell of the field, the roar of the crowd, and the cool, windy weather made the experience perfect. I got a “thumbs up” from center fielder Moises Alou and even saw Sammy Sosa hit a homerun onto Waveland. It was definitely a remarkable experience.

You don’t have to be a Cubs fan to know the history of this ancient franchise. Words like 1908, Billy Goat, and Bartman are very popular in the baseball world. They are all reminders of how long the Cubs organization and their fans have suffered. As a Cubs fan, not a week goes by that somebody is reminding me of our World Series drought. Trust me, if I had a dime for every time somebody mentioned 1908 to me, I’d be rich. Despite what people say, the Cubs are doing something that cannot be denied by anybody; they are winning. And doing it impressively.

The Cubs finished off the 2016 season 103-58, the best record in Major League Baseball. Baseball fans around the league have become familiar with names like Rizzo, Bryant, and Arrieta. Not only have the Cubs become winners, they have become fan favorites. This year, I have seen non baseball fans start enjoying the sport because of the Cubs. Believe it or not, there are even some Sox fans rooting for the Cubs to win (you know who you are.) The Cubs have rallied the people of Chicago together in hopes of finally breaking the curse and 100+ year drought by winning the World Series. It would mean the world to my family and fans worldwide for the Cubs to win it all. We have been loyal fans through thick and thin and this year, we have never looked better.

No matter what happens, I will always support my team. The Cubs have always been a big part in my life and at this point, it is impossible to stop supporting this franchise. The past couple seasons are just reminders that anything is possible. The Cubs have become Chicago’s favorite baseball team and I’m happy that they are finally getting the attention they deserve. This team brings out the good and even the bad in baseball fans. Cub fans and Cub haters will always be at a war of words but no matter what team you support, you will always find yourself talking about the Chicago Cubs. It is how historic they are Despite what anyone says to me or whatever happens in future baseball seasons to come, you will always find me “Flying the W.”