About Bridget Goedke

Hi everyone! I am currently a Senior communication major at Saint Xavier University! This is my second year blogging for the Cougar Diaries and I am very excited to continue sharing my story! I tend to blog a lot about my classes, happenings in and around SXU, my relationship with my identical twin sister, my family and friends and anything that I can't seem to get out of my head! I am graduating in May and preparing myself for life outside of SXU. So I invite you to join me as I embark on the final lap of my college career!

Thank you, Saint Xavier!

Welcome back,

I am going to give a quick update regarding some exciting things that have happened to me in the last week and then I will close my final blog with a reflection on my time here at Saint Xavier.

Last Wednesday, I attended the College of Arts and Sciences Award Ceremony and was named an Outstanding Communication Student of 2016! It was such an honor to receive this award from the Communication Department. While I do work very hard in my courses and with student media, anyone that knows me well knows that I am very hard on myself and my work. I rarely consider myself or anything I do to be good, let alone outstanding. So, this award and the fact that my professors see my work as outstanding means more to me than I could ever express!

Outstanding Communication Student

Outstanding Communication Student

Additionally on Friday, we celebrated my mom’s retirement. She has been principal of Beecher Elementary School for the past 15 years and has accomplished so much in that time. I am beyond proud of her and excited to celebrate this new phase of her life! So much of my success at Saint Xavier is a result of her love and support (and money), so I am so happy to be able to celebrate her.

Happy retirement, Mom!

Happy retirement, Mom!

I am about five days away from graduation as I type this blog. Everything seems surreal at this point. While the last four years have been some of the most difficult of my life, it still feels like I moved into my freshman dorm yesterday.

As I reflect on my time at Saint Xavier, I am flooded with so many thoughts and memories. My freshman year was one of the most fun and exciting years of my life. I made some amazing friends and memories that I still look back on and laugh or smile about to this day. It was a whole new world for my sister and I.

When tragedy struck our family just a few weeks after we returned home for the summer, our lives changed forever. After losing my father suddenly, I knew I didn’t have the strength to return to SXU in the fall.  But something pushed me back, carried me back. Losing my dad has made every day since a painful struggle. My sophomore year, I cried to my mom on the phone every single day about how badly I wanted to quit and come home. Yet, everyday I would wake up, get dressed and go to class, completing tasks successfully one after another as if someone else was doing them for me. I know now that is was my dad who has been carrying me through the last three years, which is why graduation will be the most bittersweet day of my life thus far. This will be the first major event that my dad will miss. I began this journey with him by my side as I cried when they left me on my own for the first time. I end this journey walking across the stage with one very important audience member missing. He should be here — not just to support Ally and I, but because so much of this accomplishment belongs to him. Yet, deep inside I know he would be so proud and ecstatic about all that we have accomplished. He was our biggest fan. So, as I walk across the stage on Saturday, I know that someone very special is walking with me, just as he always has. I can firmly and proudly say…this is for you, dad.

Thank you to everyone who has played a role, big or small, in getting me to this day. Thank you to my mom, my siblings and my friends for supporting me and keeping me laughing during some of the most dark and difficult times. Thank you to the SXU community for teaching me, helping me find my voice and passion, and giving me a platform on which to speak my mind and share my life for the last four years! It has been a pleasure sharing my experiences with you through this blog. Congratulations to the class of 2016, enjoy this moment! Once a Cougar, always a Cougar!

Until next time…

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…

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…

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…

Bridget’s Guide to Managing Stress

Welcome back,

This week promises to be one of the most stressful and nerve-racking weeks of my college career. I have two senior presentation dress rehearsals, a paper due on Thursday and my big senior presentation on Friday night – not to mention Grad Fest on Wednesday! I have learned a lot about dealing with stress in the last four years, and I know I will be putting some of the techniques to good use this week. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of my de-stressing techniques with you via the blog and hopefully you’ll find something that works for you as well!

1. Get outside – Even if you take a short walk to Starbucks or around Lake Marion, set aside some time to get outside during a stressful time. You will be surprised how much more clear your mind gets after just a few minutes outside.

2. Call your family – If you’re away at school like I have been, being away from your family can make dealing with stressful times all the more difficult. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk it out with someone in your family. You will be comforted by speaking to someone familiar and you might gain some extra insight about getting through the stress. Plus, I’m sure your family is always happy to hear from you!

3. Exercise – Whether you like to go to the gym, run, or just do some yoga in your room, make sure to allow time for that during a stressful week. It’s easy to let exercise fall by the wayside when you have so much going on, but stress makes exercise that much more important! For me, starting my day with a little yoga in my apartment is very effective. It helps me clear my mind and get relaxed before I try to take on any difficult tasks.

4. Watch a good show or movie before bed – One of my biggest problems during stressful times is falling asleep. If I work right up until bed time, I find that sleep just doesn’t come very easily. Therefore, I think it’s extremely necessary to put your work aside an hour or so before you go to bed and just put on your favorite show or movie to help yourself relax and take your mind off any stressful events ahead. Getting an adequate amount of sleep will help ensure that you’re ready to tackle the next day!

I hope these tips will help someone else battle stress and be successful as much as they have helped me during my time at SXU. This week represents the culmination of a lot of hard work for my classmates, and so I would appreciate prayers, thoughts and positive vibes!

Until next time…

Happy Easter!

Welcome back,

I have just finished a wonderful Easter celebration with my family. At SXU, we do get the Thursday and Friday prior to Easter off, but we’re back in class the following Monday. In the past, this has put a bit of a damper on my Easter because I would have to pack up sometime in the evening and start driving back to school. However, I am lucky enough to not have classes on Mondays this semester so I am extending my little Easter break and staying with my family.

Me and my nephew, John!

Me and my nephew, John!

I have been perusing Facebook at different points throughout the day to see how my friends celebrate the holiday with their families, and I always find it interesting how diverse family celebrations can be, yet I’ll spy common threads throughout.

My family usually dyes Easter eggs, goes to mass, has an egg hunt, and prepares a delicious meal of ham, potatoes, salad and green beans! I guess you could say we keep it pretty traditional, but I love when I see some of my family’s traditions pop up in other people’s Facebook posts.

We also have a delicious sugar cookie recipe that we make for both Easter and Christmas that I think I finally have the hang of. I was able to make the cookies from start to finish with no help this year. Sometimes it’s the little wins like this that make you feel the most like an official adult.Eggs skillfully dyed by my sister and IIMG_1083 (1)

The rest of my week will be devoted to editing my research paper with extreme scrutiny (it is due on Wednesday) and crafting my presentation for April 8. I am beyond nervous for the next month and ready to get it over with! The next few weeks will represent the culmination of a lot hard work so I hope everything goes as well as possible! It’s time to get back to work!

Until next time…

Countdown to Graduation: 1 month, 9 days, 5 hours, 34 minutes, 46 seconds

A Busy Weekend Leading Into a Busy Month

Welcome back,

Today marks the official start of spring although you might not know it due to the current 36 degree temperature.

I’ve had a relatively busy week and weekend. I turned in the first draft of my senior research paper. After spending most of my spring break writing, it stands at 70 pages currently. The next step is a week or so of editing before I turn it on the 30th. I can’t wait to have this paper completed! I know it will be a huge weight off of my shoulders!

On Thursday evening, the scholarship program I am lucky enough to be a part of hosted an awesome event! We welcomed an award-winning cartoonist, Keith Knight, and he gave a wonderful and humorous talk about race and police brutality in the U.S. It was a very enlightening and inspiring night!

A slide from Keith Knight's presentation

A slide from Keith Knight’s presentation

This photo was the opening slide of Keith’s presentation. Many of his comics focus on the unfair and unequal treatment of African American’s by law enforcement officers. Keith cites instances throughout his presentation in which he, his friends, or other African Americans were treated more harshly by police or experienced misplaced suspicion simply due to the color of their skin. Keith’s goal is to start the conversation on this topic, even though it may be awkward and unsettling to some, and hopefully spark awareness and change.

I traveled home this weekend to celebrate some special things with my family. On Saturday, I went out to a nice dinner with my mom, two sisters and a good family friend. We went to Ballagio restaurant in Homewood, Illinois. We enjoyed some great Italian food and cocktails! It is kind of a drive from campus, but I would recommend it if you’re ever in the area. Following dinner, we went to one of my favorite southside bars, Grape and Grain Co. in Homewood, Illinois. They have a wide variety of beer and wine, live music and a great atmosphere! I would highly recommend Grape and Grain to any southsiders.

My sisters and I getting drinks and Grape and Grain Co.

My sisters and I getting drinks at Grape and Grain Co.

Today, we are preparing for my cousin’s baby shower! I was given the task of creating the shower favors and I got a really cute idea from Pinterest. If you know me, you know I get just about all of my ideas from Pinterest! It’s always fun to get some inspiration online and see your idea come to life! I love this shower favor because it can easily be adapted to fit any type of shower (baby, bridal, etc.). I am so excited to celebrate this new addition to our family!

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The week ahead will be a short, but busy one! We do not have class Thursday or Friday this week due to the Easter holiday, but I have a lot of work to get done in the next three days! Getting closer to the end of my final semester!

Countdown to graduation: 1 month 16 days 14 hours 18 minutes 6 seconds

Until next time…

 

Back In Action

Welcome back,

I have just arrived back on campus after a week off for spring break! Luckily, we had a few really nice days last week that made it actually feel like spring!

A beautiful spring day!

A beautiful spring day!

 

I didn’t do anything exciting like go on a trip this break because I needed to use this time to work on my senior project. Although I still have a long way to go, I made some solid progress! The final product is due on March 30th, a little over two weeks away! And following that, I will be presenting it to the faculty of my department and receiving my grade in early April. I’m nervous already!

I did get to spend a lot of time with family and friends over break and I ate some great food! I’m not exactly looking forward to being back at my apartment and cooking for myself again. Towards the end of break, I traveled to the far north side of Chicago to visit my sister and her family. It’s always great to spend time with my nephews and enjoy everything the north side has to offer!

I enjoyed a nice bonfire on my last night of break.

I enjoyed a nice bonfire on my last night of break.

Froyo

Froyo

A beautiful sunset in my home town

A beautiful sunset in my home town

As I mentioned in the previous blog, the Schmitt Scholars are hosting an awesome event this Thursday! So, my week will be filled with continued work on my project and preparation for the event. We’re hoping for a fun evening and good turn out! Hopefully our hard work will pay off!

Our event flyer

Our event flyer

Countdown to graduation: 1 month 23 days 5 hours 24 minutes 23 seconds

Until next time…

 

Spring has sprung!…maybe

Welcome back,

As I sit there and write this blog, I am currently on spring break! Unfortunately, with all of the work I have to do on my senior project, this won’t be much of a break. But, I am determined to make the best of it because this will likely be the last “spring break” I ever have!

Although a spring break in the beginning of March in Chicago is much more winter than spring, the forecast for this week looks promising. We won’t be enjoying sun and 75 degrees, but it looks like we’ll stay in the 50s and 60s which is a serious improvement…I’ll take it!

I don’t have much planned for my break other than catching up on work and visiting family. I’m hoping to relax a little this week because I know things are going to be pretty hectic in my life for the remainder of the semester.

One reason things are really going to pick once I’m back at SXU is because the Schmitt Scholars (the scholarship program I have been lucky enough to be a part of for the last year and a half), is hosting an event on March 17th!

We’ve invited a very talented Cartoonist, Keith Knight to visit SXU! I haven’t planned an event as SXU in a while, so I am very much looking forward to seeing all of our hardwork pay off and this event come together. I would like to invite everyone reading this blog to attend our event! I might be biased, but think it is going to be both fun and informative. If you love art and humor, Keith Knight won’t disappoint! The event is FREE and I’ve included the link to his website and the information for the event below!

I hope all SXU students have a fun, safe and relaxing break! Think warm thoughts!

Countdown to graduation: 2 months 0 days 12 hours 43 minutes 46 seconds

Until next time…

www.kchronicles.com

Keith Knight at SXU, Thursday, March 17th at 7 pm in McGuire Hall

One Week Until “Spring” Break

Welcome back,

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

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

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

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

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

Until next time…