About Carleigh Kemp

Well hello there! My name is Carleigh! I am a senior here at SXU. I am double majoring in the fields of International Studies and Spanish, with hope of getting a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. I am a reserved girl but I still have a lot to say! Through this blog I will share my experiences at SXU, advice, reviews, and everything in between with the wonderful and diverse SXU community!! Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave a comment!! Thank you!

Time Waits For No One

I am officially done with the first semester of my senior year of college! Woah!! This semester has been the most challenging semester ever, and I am so glad that it is nearly over.

But before it ends, here is a bit of review of my semester.


At the Heritage Ball with my roomie Addie.

This semester I roomed with transfer students. When I had decided that I was going to live with strangers, I thought that this would be a good thing for me. I would be coming back from Barcelona, and I didn’t want to go back to so much normalcy. I wanted to keep meeting people like I was doing while in Barcelona. At the moment I am glad that I did this. I have meet more people through my roommates, so my social circle has expanded, but not going to lie it was difficult living with strangers. My roommates are great and we have become good friends now, but when I moved back to campus I sort of wish I had roomed with my friends that I had know for years now. I had been away from campus for nearly a year and so it was a bit of an adjustment coming back; so having my friends would have made the adjustment back to school much easier. But now all is well. I am glad that the initial discomfort that I felt at the beginning of the semester is finally going away.


On September 21 I went to a concert to see this French singer, Stromae. I have been a fan of his for a few years now and so I was super excited that he was coming to Chicago. I bought my ticket in July and was hoping to persuade a friend to come with me by the time of the concert. Well, that didn’t happen. Considering he only sings in French and they don’t speak French so I can see their disinterest. I on the other hand do not mind a little language barrier. If it sounds good I will listen to it no matter the language. So guess who went to the concert by herself? This girl did.

I was honestly super nervous about going by myself. Would people notice that I was alone? Do I look lonely or something? I was actually trying to find an excuse not to go. I didn’t even tell my roommates that I was going to a concert until I was literally leaving out the dorm to go make my away downtown. When I arrived at the venue I was surrounded by French speakers. I was like I was in Europe all over again. It was lovely.

The concert was AMAZING!!! I am so glad I went. It turns out it doesn’t really matter if you go to a concert alone because during the actually performance, who holds a conversation? No one. Sure, it was a bit awkward before the music started but I ended up making small talk with the couple next to me and I found out that they both work for the French consulate here in Chicago! They are Americans and they work for the French government. That’s so cool.

There is a link to Stromae’s song “Papaoutai”. Maybe you know some French or maybe you don’t. Be open to the experience.




Another memory was having brunch downtown for a friend’s birthday. We went to a restaurant on State and Grand. The name of the restaurant escaped me at the moment but it was a high end Mexican Restaurant. I love going downtown. There is so much activity going on downtown. It was a nice break and change of pace, and the food was delicious.


A few days after having brunch downtown, my friends and I made are way back into the city to head to Wrigleyville.  It so nice to be going to school within city limits.



The most recent memory is Thanksgiving. We did the usual. We we had a family dinner, well two to be exact. I had dinner with my dad’s family then later on in the day with my mom’s family. So I got double the trouble. Before Thanksgiving break I hadn’t been home to see my family in over a month. IT WAS SO NICE TO SEE THEM!!!! Having gone away to Spain and not seeing them for months I really appreciate them so much more. I will see them over winter break of course but at that moment spending time with them was much needed.

So the time has come…I must now begin to pack my bags. May time slow down just a bit because I am a slow packer.


It’s The Final Countdown!!

Happy Gobble Gobble Day!!! I am stuffed and need a nap, but I can’t sleep for long because I have to prepare for finals. I can’t believe the semester has gone by so quickly! In just a week, finals will begin!!

With that being said, here is my list of things to help get you through studying for finals week…or weeks, as some final exams and papers are due a week before the actual finals week.

1. Coffee

Coffee is essential during finals. It gives you energy to get you through an all-nighter or wakes you up for an early morning exam. Plus, having a Starbucks in Morris Hall is so convenient for late night or early morning coffee needs!


2. Yoga

Exercising is really good for decreasing stress and increasing endorphins. I personally enjoy practicing yoga to clear my mind during any stressful period of time. Yoga focuses on breathing and being in the moment. So if you feel stuck when writing a paper take a break and do some yoga. Clear you mind and breathe. Woosah!

For your viewing pleasure: Yoga for Stress Relief

3. Motivation


Find something or someone that motivates you. Maybe remind yourself that Ryan Gosling is cheering you on and wants you to succeed.

4. Humor

That brings me to my next point… Having a laugh is always a stress relief. So taking a break from studying or writing to watch a funny video will do you wonders.

Here’s a video to help:Who doesn’t like funny animal videos?

5. Confidence

Surely this is the hardest feeling to have during final weeks. The final exam, the final essay, or the final project for many students can make or break their grade for a class. There is a lot of pressure to get a good grade but going into an exam, writing a paper or presenting a project with confidence is one of the keys to success. Worrying will cause stress and forgetfulness. Prepare ahead of time and do whatever it is you are working on with a clear mind and positive thoughts.

Will Farrel





Feed Me Seymour!!

 When I am well fed I am like this sweet, little, happy flower.

It’s that time in the semester where I am almost down to my last $100 on my meal plan… and this girl is getting hungry. When I am hungry I can become this crackmeister, demanding to be fed!! I am much like the plant from the film Little Shop of Horrors, so I have to find ways to supplement some of my meals and feed myself.

Where else would I go to find creative suggestions for easy and cheap meals for this broke college student named Carleigh? YouTube of course!!

Here is what I found:

Ramen Noodle Recipes!!!! YUMMY!!

Easy Vegetarian Recipes!!!

Hmmm….Questionably delicious but its cheap (in euros)!

Thanksgiving Meal In An Hour

These are great ideas!!!  Now that my meal plan is running low, I guess it’s time to get more elaborate and start cooking for myself in the good ol’ dorm! Pretty much everything I need in order to cook a decent meal is right at my fingertips. Suites on campus are provided with a refrigerator and a convection oven. My suite mates and I have a hot plate and a coffee machine in our kitchenette as well. I have everything that I need, so let’s get started because I’m hungry!!


Home Sweet Home

I have gotten to the point where I call my dorm “home”. The dorm is where my clothes are. It’s were I sleep. My friends live with me. I cook for myself. It’s my home. I’ve lived on campus the entire time I have been at SXU minus when I studied in Spain, so I am very much accustom to living away from home.

…But between you and I…I live roughly 35 minutes away from SXU. My permanent address is somewhere in Hyde Park. So what gives Carleigh? Why do you live on campus when you live so close? I have asked myself this many times.

Picture looking out the window in January. What do you see? Snow. I ain’t about that life. Let’s be real.



I am fortune enough to have this opportunity and I definitely appreciate it, as living on campus is expense. I may regret my desicion a year from now when I have to start paying my loans but for the moment I will enjoy my “home”.

So after years of living on campus here are three benefits of living on campus.

1. Convenience

Of course, this is number one. Living on campus allows me to have easier access to teachers and campus resources like library, the Shannon Center. living on campus makes my commute to the main building or to the Pulaski center between 5 and 15 minutes. Having a shorter commute would allow for longer time to sleep, more time to work, and more time to watch Netflix.

2. Independence

Like I said I only live 35 minutes away, so I can easily go home, have a home cooked meal, and have my laundry done for me…sometimes but I choose not to. Living on campus gives me the freedom to make my own decision on how I live. I can decide when I want to do laundry or clean the living room. Living on campus has allowed

3. Friends

I thinks it is much easier to make friends living on campus then commuting. People are around you 24/7 while living on campus so making friends is inevitable. For one your roommates. I have lucked on my roommates. My roommates freshman and sophomore year are all my best friends. This year I am rooming with transfer students and so far so good. Also, having neighbors helps to make friends too. If you are in need of a spatula, go to your neighbor. Having to borrow a cooking utensil or some salt are great ice breakers!


College is stressful, so if I can make it less stressful in any way I am doing it. Living on campus helps me do that.



You went where?

My previous blog was about my study abroad experience but now I am going to try to persuade you, the reader, why you should study abroad! There are many reasons to study abroad but here I have put together a brief list of reasons.


1. It’s cheaper than you think

Not going to lie, study abroad is expensive; especially if you are going to major cities and countries that currency are valued higher than the U.S. dollar. When I studies in Barcelona, the cost of living in Barcelona was roughly the same as Chicago but with exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Euro made Barcelona fairly expensive. Compared to places like London or Paris, Barcelona was heaven despite it’s cost! So considering exchange rates can make a destination expensive, cheaper, or not change. Also, considering the cost of the program is important too. Sometimes, the housing abroad is cheaper than living on campus. This was the case for my program. I saved $5,000 on my overall tution due to the fact that housing in Barcelona was cheaper than on campus. There are also scholarships for studying abroad. Many programs offer need and merit based scholarships. Saint Xavier even offers it’s own study abroad scholarship. Cheaper, cheaper, cheaper.

2. It looks good on a resume

We all know that the world in connected. Depending on where you are in the world, we can fly to India in a day, where as it may have taken months to do so a hundred plus years ago. I can text my cousin in Wales using Whats app, and he can receive the message in seconds. With that said the world is getting smaller so the need to have a “global perspective” is necessary in a globalized world. Employers will like that you put challenged yourself to live in a new environment. Employers will see that you can adjust to change and are open to a little challenge.


3. Why not?!

Does anyone say YOLO anymore? I know I don’t, but in this case I will. Just YOLO! You are only young once so spend that time traveling.  There is nothing to lose…well if you don’t start traveling soon you’ll be losing your youth because going while you’re young and in college is the best time to travel. When will you ever have as much energy as you do now and when will your responsibilities be as low as they are now! Also, there are lots of stores and travel sites that offer youth discounts!  So take advantage while you can! Also,  you will gain lifelong memories, skills, and friends. I personally have friends all over the United States and in Spain thanks to my study abroad trip. These friends will be in my life for a long time and they give an excuse to travel too! And studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So just do it!



If you are unable to spend a semester or year abroad, there are programs that happen during the summer and then there are programs that Saint Xavier offers. Saint Xavier offers short term study abroad or service trips that can range between a week and two weeks at a time and go to places like Ireland, Croatia, and Belize. And if you want to stay closer to home, Saint Xavier partners up with the Washington Internship Institute to offer students internships in Washington, DC for fall, spring, or summer sections. All of these are great alternatives to study abroad.

So pack you bags and take a leap of faith!

La Vida Española

I could write a novel about my time abroad. There is no short way to summarize seven months of studying/living abroad. Maybe the only short way to describe it would be life changing. Here is a snidbit of what I now refer to as “that time I lived in Barcelona, Spain”.

It was the best decision I have ever made so far in life, and all the clichés about living abroad are true. I gained greater confidence, independence, and clarity as to what I could do in the future in the future. I became a global citizen. I’ve made lifelong friends. I even had some romance. Oh la la!  I would do the experience over again in a heartbeat if I had the chance.

But studying abroad is scary. And going abroad alone is even scarier; but sometimes when you are bitten with wanderlust, you just have to take a leap of faith. Also, when you get guidance and support to help you through the study abroad process it is so worth it!

My journey began a year before I had actually planned on leaving to study abroad. I went to the Office of International Studies to discuss the process of studying abroad and where I could go.  Should I go to Turkey? Study in Istanbul, where Asia meets Europe? Should I go Buenos Aires and maybe drive a motorcycle through South America like Ché Guevara? Hmmm or maybe I should learn flamenco in Granada, Spain. The Office of International Studies was very helpful with providing me options of where I wanted to go.  The program had to meet the requirements for my major as well as my budget. So from a list of programs given to me by the Office of International Studies, I decided on a program with Arcadia University Barcelona, Spain for a full academic year. Arcadia University is based in Philadelphia and is known for its study abroad programs. Arcadia offers programs all over the world including the United Kingdom, France, Chile, South Africa, and Turkey.

Arcadia offered two housing options: live with a family or live in an international apartment. The housing options offer a different experience but while I was studying in Barcelona I lived with a host family. I am not fluent in Spanish, but as a Spanish major I need to be; so to get more exposure to Spanish language and Spanish culture I felt living with Spanish family would be a great opportunity. Plus, the idea of eating a home cooked meal every day was great.


During my first week in Barcelona, I went to Barceloneta, a famous beach in Barcelona and jumped into the Meditrranean Sea! That same week I went on a tour of Barcelona with other students in my program, and I took a picture in front of La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia is a church designed by Antonio Gaudi. The church has been under construction since 1900 and there is no definate date on when it will be complete.



On the first day that I meet my host family, I was very nervous. I thought, “Do you really want to do this Carleigh?” I felt like crying the moment I saw my host mom for the first time. It became real when I saw her. I was really going to live seven months with a family that I had never met and I could hardly speak the language with. Looking back on it now it was a great decision to live with a host family. I became part of the family. My Spanish family consisted on my host mom Esther, and her two teen age daughters Silvia and Marta. Sometimes Esther’s mother Maria would come and stay with us, and so I also had a Spanish grandmother, who cooked an AMAZING Spanish tortilla! I attended family holidays and dinners. My host family hosted a dinner for my best and her mom when they came to visit me. My family was very generous and open. I greatly appreciate them, and I can’t imagine not having lived with them.  They were my family away from home and I cherish the memories we made together. One of the most memorable memories was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Spain but Esther made it one. She invited her closest friends, I invited a friend my study abroad program (whose birthday happened to be on Thanksgiving), and we had a feast. Esther made traditional Spanish tapas and a turkey. She had never made a turkey before.


During my time abroad I made some many memories! Here are more snapshots.


At a Barca game on December 16, the last day of my first semester in Spain. Four days after this game I was on my way to Cardiff, Wales to spend the Christmas and New Years holidays with my Welsh cousins.


Here I am on the Welsh coast! It was an absolutely beautiful view! I was in the United Kingdom for two weeks staying with cousins and I felt like I was experiencing a second cultural immersion. It was so nice to hear English after being surrounded by Spanish and Catalan while in Barcelona. I felt very at home in the UK. And FYI, British food in delicious!



At Park Guell with other study abroad students in my program my first semester in Barcelona!


At Tibidao, a church on top of a mountain overlooking Barcelona with study abroad students my second semester!

As I said earlier in the post, my time abroad was life changing. It was an experience that will stay with me forever. I encourage every one to study abroad. It is an experience that should be taken advantage of if you have the opportunity to, and quite possibly it is a once in a lifetime opportunity but not for me. I already have a bag packed and ready for my return!


Oh, the Places You’ll Go

My roommate has a Dr. Seuss theme map of the world that says, “Oh, the places you’ll go”. I’m about 8 months from graduation and I have been wondering something along the lines of, “Oh, where am I to go?”

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Figuring out what I want to do after college is pretty daunting. I am doubling majoring in Spanish and International Studies. When I tell people this I generally get a response similar to, “Wow! That sounds hard. What is it?” or “That sounds smart. What are you going to do with that?” There is no clearly defined career that I could go into with my majors so this is a justifiable question. I could be a Spanish or English teacher. I could be a translator. I could work for the State Department (which may be my ultimate goal). There is a seemingly endless amount of possibilities, but I don’t know what I what to particularly hone into yet. So I got some trusty help from the school.

First, I meet with Lee Cruz at the Career Center for some advice on how go about looking for a job or an internship after I graduate. My ideal situation would be to volunteer somewhere for a year to get non-for-profit work experience or experience teaching English as a second language. This was my first time going to the Career Center so I didn’t know what to expect. During the meeting that lasted for about an hour, Mr. Cruz reviewed my resume. He gave me some advice on how I should format my resume, as well as what is important to include in my resume. He also suggested that I put more details into the section about studying abroad; he said this should be the highlight of my resume. He then gave me a list of resources I could use to find potential jobs or internships. He discussed the resources in great detail; by the end of meeting I felt very well informed and more confident in where to start looking for opportunities that would be available for me after I graduate.

About a week later, on the October 16th, Saint Xavier had its annual Job and Internship fair. It’s typically held once or twice a year at the Shannon Center. Various organizations and companies come to the campus looking for prospective interns or new hires. There were a lot of organizations and companies that were looking for interns or new hires for careers in Accounting, Business, Nursing, Special Education, and Service Volunteers. I was particularly interesting in the organizations involved in service volunteering. As previously stated, I really want to take a year.

This year, Mercy Corps, Dominican Volunteers, and the Peace Corps were attending. I was supper excited about speaking with a representative from the Peace Corps. Two years of service plus travel and covered medical and dental! YASSSS!  I researched the Peace Corps a few times prior to my going to the fair was greatly interested  in learning more about what they look for in potential applicants and how I could make my application stand out.

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All three programs that were at the fair offered some form of travel and loan deferment during their programs.  A year or two of volunteer service will help me to gain greater international experience and potentially I could learn another language, as well as reduces the stress of having to immediately start paying off student loans. Also, many volunteer organizations, such as The Peace Corps, Mercy Corps, and Dominican will give you a monthly stipend for you services, potential loan reduction, and scholarships for graduate school. It’s all really appealing. As the world becomes more economically and politically connected such experience will definitely look good on my resume.

After my experiences with the Career Services and the job fair, figuring out what I want to do after I graduate feels less daunting then it did before hand. I feel more comfortable, and a tab bit excited about what is in store for me after I graduate. I may not know exactly where I will end up but I feel more confident I will be going somewhere amazing.

Sunday Funday

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining; it’s a perfect 54°F, and I just had breakfast with my family. It was nice to reconnect with my mom aka “homes”, my brother, and my aunt and uncles. What a great way to start the week, no?


Sunday means many different things for many people as we have different routes for how to spend this day. For some it’s a day of praise and worship. For others it’s a cleaning day, and for folks like me, it’s a day to get done with all the homework that you put off during the week. I believe that despite what you do on Sunday; Sunday is a universal day to start fresh. Sunday is a start to a new week maybe with a lighter conscious, a cleaner house, a more organized schedule, or whatever you want or need Sunday to be.

So to assist in making Sunday a “fun day” and to begin your week off with a bang, here are some videos that are sure to put a smile on your face and send you good vibes.

Puppy jumping on iPad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_HVrHd5UhI

Bill Withers- Lovely Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYi7uEvEEmk

Ashley Monroe- On To Something Good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-1reayyENA

SoulPancake- The Power of Optimism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbjH9d4h6GQ

All these videos are happy, positive, and light. What a great way to start your week off!

Autumn is here, but I won’t Fall into a rut

“Rain, rain go away”, has been playing in my head repeatedly for the past few days. The official day of fall was September 23rd, but it really felt like fall this past weekend. It was cloudy, cold, and rainy. It was out right gloomy! This definitely put a damper to my mood.

I have noticed that during the fall and winter season my mood changes. I become a bit more susceptible to overwhelming stress and anxiety; and it has a lot to do with the weather. So to combat this I take vitamins D, K, and B12 but I also try to surround myself with positivity; and it begins from the moment I awake up.

On the wall next to my bed I have put up quotes and maps for inspiration and…of course, positivity.

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“The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.”

“Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.”

These are my favorite quotes from my collection on my wall. I interpret the first quote as being true to yourself. The second is about living in the moment, and not worrying about things far in the future.

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Right above my quotes are two maps, one of the United States and the other of the world. I am obsessed with maps. I think they are beautiful and inspiring. I have marked the places I have traveled to with a dark “x”. Looking at my maps reminds me of the places I’ve been, and the places that I will one day travel to.

It’s really all about the small things when it comes to creating positivity. Just a matter of mindset, healthy diet,…and when possible, warm weather.

Homecoming Celebrations


This Homecoming weekend was one to put in the books. My weekend was packed with things to do, and I’ve made so many great memories.


I started my weekend off with going to the Heritage Ball with my roommate Addie on Friday. It was so nice to dress up. It was a much needed change from the t-shirt and jeans I normally wear. Dressed to the nines, Addie and I, with the rest of the Heritage Ball guests made our way to the Chicago History Museum. I wanted to go to this museum for a few months now, so I was very excited when I heard that the dance would be held at the museum. When we arrived, we walked around the museum and then made our way to the banquet where we grabbed a bite to eat and joined our friends on the dance floor.


Saturday I woke up bright and early to cheer on some friends that were participating in the Cougar 5k. I am not a runner, so kudos to all the runners out there! I admire your athleticism! I spent the rest of my Saturday tailgating and watching the Cougars win against Sienna Heights University. This was my first football game of the year. I am not a big fan of football but I am so glad I went to this game. As a senior this is one of the last times I will see the Cougars play as a student at SXU.

This was a great weekend; may next weekend be just as fun!