Celebrating ‘Friendsgiving’

The holiday season is less than a week away and I feel as though no one is as excited as I am for it. Everyone has their own holiday traditions that they have with their friends and family. A few traditions that my family does for Thanksgiving is say grace before we eat. Christmas, we celebrate at my house which I love because all the leftovers are at my house, including all the homemade desserts, such as cake, pie, cannoli and even brownies. Food is the best part of the holidays with the family.

 

A Thanksgiving tradition my friends and I have is that we have “Friendsgiving.”
“Friendsgiving” is when you and a bunch of friends bring food, pot luck style, then just celebrate being together. What I love most about celebrating “Friendsgiving” is that everybody wants to be there — not because their parents forced them to come to the party. Everyone gives small gifts with a lot of thought behind them, and each gift usually has a small background of an inside joke that nobody but that friend can understand.

 

In all, the holidays have a few things in common that everyone can agree on which is spending time with loved ones, laughter and reminiscing about the memories made over the year. The winter holiday season is full of exciting feelings that are hard to be explained. The best way I could explain it is that it’s a celebration of loved ones. The coldest time of the year becomes the warmest time for people’s hearts.

Give ‘Hamilton’ a Shot

I have recently been completely obsessed with the Broadway musical “Hamilton” for the past week. I knew about the play but never gave it much thought, now I can’t stop thinking about it. The music had put me in such a great mood that it made me want to research more about not only the plays’ roots and influences but the history of the nation. It has gotten to the point where my roommates don’t know what to do with me anymore. As I am writing this blog post, I am listening to the album. I belt the show tunes in the shower, on my way to class, folding laundry, crafting. I have yet to even see the play!

 

It all started when I read an article online about Lin-Manuel Miranda who had created an album remixing all the songs in the hit show with popular artists (and a late-night talk show host) such as Usher, SIA, Queen Latifah, Chance the Rapper and Jimmy Fallon, to name a few. The single “It’s Quiet Uptown” performed by Kelly Clarkson was available to listen to. I heard the song and immediately loved it!. The lyrics were just too simple yet clever. I had wondered what the original Broadway song sounded like so I listened to it as well. The original song was great! After playing these versions 100 times, I decided I should most likely listen to the rest of the album. Best decision I ever made! The music score has heavy influences of Broadway mixed with R&B and hip hop. The songs had themes that pertained to social issues of today as well as discussing the history of our founding father Alexander Hamilton.

 

I highly recommend listening to this Broadway musical. “Hamilton” has received such great reviews and won so many awards and for good reason. It is influential, and this play’s popularity came at the perfect time considering the whole election season has ended. If you are sparked by curiosity to look up the history of our founding father to know what his life was life, he is in fact our nation’s first security who created the national bank.

 

I hope you are convinced to give it a listen to or even research more about the history of our nation; it’s very interesting. With that, I sign off.
- Amber

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.

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!

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.

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

Hoco 2k16

Homecoming Week here at Saint Xavier is one of the most exciting week of events that the school hosts. Every single day we were able to do something from October 1-8. A couple of things I was able to do was receive a waffle on a stick that was chocolate-dipped and sprinkled with Butterfinger crumbles, courtesy of SXU Diner. Another fun activity held was the movie in the quad where they showed the film “Now You See Me 2.” To top it off, there was even a dance called the Heritage Ball. Students were able to dance the night away before the big game held on Saturday.

On Saturday, October 8, the SXU football team won 25- 21 against Concordia University Ann Arbor. From the moment you walk into the stadium, you are given face stickers that you are able to put on as well as a $5 concession stand voucher. (I personally got a walking taco … It was delicious!) The SXU cheerleading team as well as the dance team the Paw Prints had got the crowd full of spirit motivating the Cougars to push through to the very end to win. Outside of the stadium, Cougar fans were tailgating and coming together in support of our home team. It’s a time for students to get to know each other outside of a school setting while having loads of fun.

I am most looking forward to next year’s homecoming game because of how successful this year was. My friends and I got closer and made plenty of memories as well as made brand new friends. If there is any event you should attend, it is this one! So mark your calendars, people, because before you know it the year will end and a new one will begin!

Getting to know my fellow cougar pals outside of the football stadium before the big game

Getting to know my fellow Cougar pals outside of the football stadium before the big game.

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!

Common Mistakes A Freshman Can Avoid

Freshman year of college is most likely the most exciting thing to happen. You are finally away from home and you get to meet new people and find a newfound freedom. With all those things, you tend to make a few mistakes along the road every now and then that you learn from. As a freshman resident last year, I noticed that there are three things that my fellow peers in my class and I had made the mistake of doing. These could have been completely avoided if taken noticed of.

1. The first most common mistake a freshman at SXU could make as a resident is not budgeting their meal plan money. I used to budget myself to spending no more than $25-30 a day. This had worked perfectly because I had a surplus of meal plan money. I remember there were a few of my peers who depleted their meal plan to $0.01 with a month left in the semester and they would get embarrassed to constantly ask people to buy their meals. Since, I had a surplus of money, I felt it was only polite to help those who didn’t budget correctly. Although, with every meal you buy someone else whose surplus quickly diminished, the more likely you are to find yourself without the funds you need. The school meal plan is designed to be used for one person; thus, the lesson of this first common mistake is to budget your meal plan correctly as well as avoid buying other people food on your meal plan.

2. Another common mistake made as a freshman is missing class. I personally as a freshman last year had gotten sick and had to miss a whole week of classes. Granted I had talked to my professors and given doctor’s notes to them, but I had missed so much class it was difficult to catch up. Now that was just my scenario of missing class. The biggest mistake you could make is missing class to sleep in. There are ways to avoid being so groggy in the morning: Have a set schedule for sleeping, avoid all-nighters and eat breakfast. The way I get myself to class is by giving myself an incentive. Usually, I reward myself for going to all my classes for the week by allowing myself to eat my favorite snack or binge watch a show on Netflix. The reason I stress going to class so much is because you are basically cheating yourself out of money every time you ditch. You already paid for school, so by not going, you are wasting not only your money but the opportunity to pursue an education as well.

I hope you avoid these mistakes not only as just a freshman but in general for your time at school. I know this seems like logical advice to follow because we, as students, have been told this since we could comprehend the meaning of responsibility, but once you start developing these simple habits you will see how much less hectic and how much more organized your life will be.

My Favorite Places (On Campus)

Saint Xavier University may indeed be a small campus; although, what it lacks in size it makes up for with quality. Before I had made my decision to come to this school a few years back I took a campus tour and immediately fell in love with it. SXU has not only historical pieces from the first campus, such as the arch, but also, it has newer places to relax, such as the small pond next to Mercy Circle. I will be discussing in this post my three favorite outdoor spots on campus that I go to relax, study, snack or even to just admire the view.

1. The first favorite place on campus to go to is hands down Lake Marion. This lake catches my eye every time I make my way from my dorm to either my classes or the gym and vice versa. There are benches along the edge of the lake that allow my friends and I to just sit and gaze from sunset to sunrise. You could also take a walk on the path along the lake.

Lake Marion : the go to spot

Lake Marion is the No. 1 go-to spot!

2. My second favorite place to go on campus is the center of the quad. The school’s crest is engraved in the pavement. There are trees all around the crest along with benches to sit on. This is the place I go to whenever I want to meet up with my friends who live in different dorms and just goof around. This is also a great place to sit and read a book before class with a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. On my way back from class, I prefer to walk through this area because of not only its beauty but for seeing the friendly faces on campus.

Center of Quad : the hangout

The center of quad is another great hangout place.

3. My third personal favorite place to be on campus is Mercy Circle. It is an area that is similar to the above stated places, but it is a lot more quiet and closed off. It is a place I go to just study and relax. The pine trees encase the area so it is private. There is a statue of the Virgin Mary, and I’m normally on the ledge of the area by the statue. This is a perfect space if it is a gorgeous day outside and you need a minute to yourself after class.

Mercy Circle: the spot to go to for peace and serenity

The Mercy Circle is the perfect spot to go to for peace and serenity.

I hope you check out these places for yourself and feel free to comment below what your favorite outdoor spot on campus is.