Greetings to Another Year of School!

5D1FC65F-9994-4AA1-BCD7-BB01CEC842F2Hello all and welcome back to another year of my blog!

For those you who have been constant readers for the past two, going on three years now, thank you. It’s always amazing to know you are reading these posts. For those of you who are new to Cougar Diaries, welcome! Cougar Diaries is an up-close and personal view of SXU students during their time at SXU. I love getting to share my own experience at SXU with others because I love SXU!

Here’s a little introduction about me: I am a Junior with a Middle School Education Major, and endorsements in Language Arts, Reading, Social Science, and ESL Studies. I hail from the shivering cold Minneapolis, Minnesota, where winters are long and summers are under construction. I am the eldest of four siblings. IMG_1334My sister Maya, 18 years old, starts her first day of college tomorrow in New York, our birth place. I’m extremely proud of her for making this huge step into adulthood but know I will miss her. My brother, Emiliano, is 13 years old and although he is my only brother, he is my favorite brother! He has great taste in music, movies, and we can talk about Pokemon GO. And the baby of our family is Luna, 7 years old, and she is one of my favorite human beings in this world. She is the sweetest, most passionate, Snow White princess I know.

This is my third year living in Regina Hall, the first-year resident hall, and I could not be more excited about it. Like last year, I am living on the third floor but this time as a resident assistant. So far, the third floor ladies have been nothing but outstanding, and I am so excited to be serving them this year!

A8A8A554-9917-4691-8185-E0BCBAC56A0FOne thing that stood out to me when I first visited SXU was the community that made the campus home. This year I will be a student ambassador, going on my third year in the program. I have loved getting to work with prospective students and their families as a tour guide. One of the things I love most about this job is getting to meet the students who I gave a tour to. On those days when I’m crazy busy with work and classes, knowing that the conversations I had with touring students made a difference makes me feel great.

I will also continue my involvement with campus ministry by being the Justice Peer Minister, a completely new position this year! My role will involve me working with campus ministry and the SXU community on social justice issues. This will work with my positions for Mercy Students for Peace and Justice (MSPJ). My board positions for MSPJ are the vice president and the immigration head committee. At its most basic level, MSPJ draws inspiration from our collective human desire to alleviate the suffering of our fellow human beings. We empathize with other people and long to relieve their suffering. MSPJ strives to encourage and nurture that concern for others and channel it into contemplation and action so that we may better ourselves, our families, our community, and our world. We draw inspiration from the Sisters of Mercy, the religious order that founded Saint Xavier University. The special characteristic of the Mercy mission includes a consideration for, and service to, the poor and marginalized of society. The Mercy tradition emphasizes compassion, concern and action. We invite students, faculty, and friends to embrace this tradition and draw upon it in their lives.

This year I will be doing my second year as a Transition Peer Mentor (TPM) where I will be working with an instructor on a one-credit course on how first-year students transition into college. Last year I had a great class, and after one meeting this past week, I am looking forward to working with these first-year students on making the most of their college experience.

Something new that I will be a part of this year is Schmitt Scholars!A0435816-45F9-4114-AF87-97946EC9E26D The Schmitt Scholars Program promotes the development of promising Saint Xavier University student leaders, helping participants advance their leadership efforts at SXU and preparing them to make a broader impact on the world after graduation. Schmitt Scholars receive a merit-based scholarship and participate in a program of activities that provide them with opportunities to reflect on and develop their leadership potential. I am looking forward to the growth and development that will occur throughout this program.

This year I do have a lot going on, but I look forward to sharing my involvement and activities with you as a reader! Posts about cute siblings, puppies, and exploring Chicago are guaranteed! Please continue reading throughout the year and let me know if you have suggestions for what I should include in my posts.

GIVELIVELOVE

Happy Love Day readers!

 

Hope you are all openly and outwardly expressing your love on this fine day!

This week has been full of love for me. Sure, I actually had some pretty bad drama and people talking behind me back but literally the event I’ve been working since Wednesday showed me that none of that matters.

I am apart of Mercy Students for Peace and Justice (MSPJ). We focus on bringing peace to campus and inspiring people to help us make a difference with various social issues. This weeks event, because it’s the week of Valentines Day, we started of GiveLiveLove campaign. The purpose behind this campaign is to help people feel more comfortable with openly and outwardly expressing their love for everyone and everything they feel it for.

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Wall of Love after day 2!

Everyday we’ve had a “Wall of Love” up. This is where fellow students are encouraged to write on a post-it note about anything they love- where they love, how they love, who they love, what they love- and then they post it on our wall. We’ve had great success and it’s awesome to see so many people willing to express an emotion that is so pure and beautiful. We are doing different things everyday of the campaign besides the Love Wall.

The boys working the table!

The boys working the table!

On Wednesday, it was Thank-You day. We designed thank yous and encouraged students to take them and give them to friends, family, or even better strangers.

On Thursday, we had the compliment challenge. This is where any student who wanted a button or sticker we designed they had to give out 3 compliments to 3 different people in the Diner.

Today, we have candy and pre-made valentines that have fellow MSPJ member’s artwork on it.

GIVE LIVE LOVE Y’ALL!

Cougar posting their love <3

Cougar posting their love <3

Culture Shock, and Revelation

Hello all! Hope you’re all starting to get out your warm weather clothes!

This week at Saint Xavier our Muslim group had a Muslim culture week like thing going on. I approached their table and they informed me of some common misconceptions about their heritage, and I ended up participating in the week’s activities. The first, is that opposed to what people may believe, men are not said to be any more superior than women- they are simply stated to be the protectors of their wives. This is how men are generally thought about in our society as well, a husband is supposed to make sure nothing happens to his wife. Another really interesting thing I learned is that Muslim women aren’t forced to wear the hijab. But more so, because I kind of already knew that, they choose to do so at whichever extent they feel comfortable in because it is empowering and makes them feel like it results in more of a personal representation as opposed to physical.

For the week I participated in a dawn to dusk fast while in hijab for four days. I’ve never tried to fast before and can I tell you, it was hard. Especially because in Muslim tradition when one fasts they are not

"I am calm, I am peaceful, I am happy"

“I am calm, I am peaceful, I am happy”

allowed anything in their body- yes, water is not allowed. However, it also reminded of the power of one’s will and that perseverance is always an option. I am also a practicing Buddhist, every time I felt too hungry to do anything and like I couldn’t make it I would meditate. It was surprisingly easier to be at peace and still while I was fasting. My brain and body were more than happy to have the opportunity to stop thinking and acting not just to take a break, but because I needed to; it instantaneously felt like a release.

Another thing that I did differently this week to observe and gain insight into the Muslim culture was wear hijab. I do so by wearing my long skirts with some of my more baggy tops. This was interesting because people could physically see that I was doing something differently. I would catch people who were giving me weird looks and some of them even said something. Maybe they weren’t even being mean or rude, my male Muslim friend in passing said to me “wait, I’m confused.” It ultimately did the same for me as it did for others: culture shock.New Hijab Quotes (3) I appreciate Muslim women in hijab so much more now. It is in fact empowering. There is a sense of both being refined and mystery. I had a heightened sense of awareness for, as weird as this may sound, my head; I felt proud. However, there is of course the inevitable judgments of others and failure to understand the nature of our differences.

 

Don’t be afraid to try something new! Especially when it comes to exploring more about the human race from a different spectrum. I find myself appreciating our species and feeling insightful more and more after every expierence I choose to take advantage of!

 

‘Til next time!

We got friends and you got friends

Within life I have met all different kinds of people. I have not been able to get over how amazed and grateful I am for the individualism of each and everyone of the people I have gotten to know. As humans social interactions

Me and my peeps from back home embracing the winter:)

Me and my peeps from back home embracing the winter:)

are a main element that keep us satisfied and fulfilled.  I have found that whether social interactions are positive or negative, they have instrumental lessons that you can learn about life. Before college, I will say I have had 5 instrumental people that can be nothing other than my best friends. A life long friend of mine who has helped me explore my beliefs and personal code is Deena Delgingaro- she I would say is my truest friend. Then gained in elementary school was Rachel Roseberry. With whom I first started pushing the limits with.

Then in middle school I connected with Katie Mullan and Lydia Auch. Katie and I helped each other maintain our weirdness and realize it is acceptable as long as you accept it. Lydia helped me be more analytical and conscious about who I was as a human being. High school was a big shift, and it was also where Andie Huml joined my group of friends. Andie and I went together very well. We amplified each others’ outgoing, creative sides while always having each others’ backs.

Being separated from all my friends and family has been hard because they mean so much to me. However, here in Regina I am starting to find myself growing exponentially with the friends I have made. Living on

Me and Amanda, one of my closest friend at SXU!

Me and Amanda, one of my closest friend at SXU!

your own and in a dorm is a giant leap in responsibility and will push you in ways you’ve never been pushed before. Making friends with people in the dorms was something I knew was going to be pretty simple because I am a social individual. However, my relationships and connections with multiple people have grown so much already. I can tell that there will be some life long memories, lessons, and friends that happen here.

 

‘Til next week!

The School Year is about done!

Hey Guys,

I don’t know about all of you, but I am pretty glad that school is finally wrapping up and this semester is coming to a close. The end of this semester came by very quickly and I started getting extremely busy!It’s time to get excited about the summer!
This summer I have a lot of great things going on!
The week after school ends I’ll be going to two concerts, one at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago and then the following day I’ll be making a trip out to Columbus, Ohio to go to a huge music festival in Rock on the Range.
At the bottom lounge I’ll be seeing the band Red.  I saw them earlier this year, but this time they will be headlining their own show. They put on a pretty good show, so I’m excited for that!

The following day, I’ll be taking a trip to Columbus, Ohio for Rock on the Range featuring a great lineup consisting of Halestorm, Bullet For My Valentine, Papa Roach, Three Days Grace, A Day to Remember, Stone Sour, and the Smashing Pumpkins.ROTR I don’t think I could find a show with a better line up, so I absolutely cannot wait for this show! This should be one busy summer, but I am ready for it!

Make sure you all go out and have a great summer, we don’t have very many summers left before we enter the real world.

The weekend is for work

Hi there audience,

So ever since I transferred to this school I realized that saying on campus for the weekend is terribly quiet. Not exactly something I am used, to coming from working and going to school in downtown Chicago for most of my life. I normally, like 80% of other students at this school, go home on the weekend. I head home on my normal CTA route of two different buses. This weekend I decided to remain on campus for a number of reasons. My first reason was because I noticed, while at home, I get very distracted with watching TV and playing video games with my brothers. I remained on campus to get some excess studying done. Mission accomplished, because of how incredibly quiet and empty the campus is during the weekend I was able to get more done than three days of the week. During the week, I am in class, hanging with friends, in guitar ensemble or improv, it can get tough to put school work as a priority. It is reversed here actually, fun is during the week, the weekend is for work.

I’ve Been Enjoying…

This is a pretty busy time for me as classes are wrapping up and I’m approaching graduation.

I wanted to share through images, some of the things I’ve been enjoying!

Preparing for my Senior Seminar Presentation and finally presenting in front of faculty and friends

Preparing for my Senior Seminar Presentation and finally presenting in front of faculty and friends.

Having fun with friends attending concerts, conferences, and supporting each other!

The Spring weather!

Spring weather!

Inspirational movies and music!

Inspirational movies and music!

Appreciating my last days living on campus!

Appreciating my last days living on campus!

Having a Starbucks on campus and my fav drink being in season!

Having a Starbucks on campus and my favorite drink being in season!

Until next time!

-Sydney <3

Meet Bobby!

Everyone has that one person you can go to and I have tons of best friends in my life, but the one person I know that will always be there for me is my brother Bobby.

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Bobby is a typical 19-year-old guy who loves hanging out with his friends, works, and goes to school. I can count on him for anything, and I really do not think that he knows how much he means to me.  Even though he is 14 months younger than me I look up to him, and he doesn’t even know it. Even though we fight at times, I would not trade him for the world.  He is one of the funniest people around and has a loving personality people would love to have!

Going away to school was hard for both of us. I hated not seeing him everyday or not going to school with him. We went to the same school for twelve years so that was a big adjustment. Keeping  a relationship with my brother has been one of my top priorities while being away. Being away has even made me closer to my brother and I look forward to going home to see my best friend.

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No matter what- if you commute or live on campus hold onto the relationships with your family, especially your siblings. They are your life long friends, no matter what. My life would be so different and empty without Bobby, and I cannot wait to spend this summer with him!

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The colors of spring

Hi audience,

So looks like there were a couple of events happening before the semester comes to an end. The president of the school hosted free food on Tuesday April 23. It was great for commuters and residents low on meal plan money. A great event upcoming is the Taste of SXU, now I have never been to this before but I have heard many great things, free food and events also great for students on a budget. The school is took students to a trampoline house for fun on a Thursday night, should be a great way to JUMP into the summer vacation attitude.

In other great news, the weather has been getting better for summer, the Color Run, which is a jog around SXU was delayed for this Wednesday. In detail, the Color Run is more than a simple jog around campus, at different stations there were students throwing color die at the runners. Lastly later today I have a gig with the guitar ensemble. I am still on tour.

Forever Friends

 

caitlin came to visit me in the summer of 2010

Caitlin came to visit me in the summer of 2010 (a picture off of the Bean in Chicago)

When I was younger my family moved from Chicago to Philadelphia. I made one of the best friends I will ever have during my time there, Caitlin. Just a few years later my family moved back to Chicago and I had to leave my best friend behind. Even though we are thousands of miles apart we share a bond that I can never replace! We used to write back and forth to each other and send presents, pictures, drawings, etc. One of the most heartfelt things we had sent back and forth to each other is this poem called Forever Friends. I want to share it with you so that you, too, can pass it along to one of your best friends no matter what you two may go through and experience. Whether is it together or apart, you both know that you are always together in heart!

 

caitlin2

I went to visit Cailtin in the summer of 2012 (a picture on the boardwalk in Rehobeth Beach)

Forever Friends

I’ve been thinking about you and me, and how our friendship cam eto be- how long ago that we could be forever friends. And now I look back on those days and smile at all the little ways we made the tough times seem okay, like true forever friends. At times we’d laugh so hard and then we’d catch our breath and start again. Cause having fun comes easy when you’re with forever friends. Together we’ve shared wondrous sights, like soft spring days and starlit nights. When all the world seems still and right, with my forever friend. And on those days when rain would fall and life was not much fun at all, you were always there to take my call. A true forever friend. Life’s winding roads may take us far, but if we’re apart, let each bright star remind us just how blesses we are to be forever friends. And when the stars shine down, we’ll see perhaps by fate or destiny- a friendship that was meant to be- you and me- FOREVER FRIENDS.

If you love someone, make sure to tell them. If they touch your heart in a way that no one else does, tell them just how special they are when you have the chance. Spend as much time with them while you can! (because, hey, you might move halfway across the country)