My Turn: Loyola Edition (a senior year reflection)

In good Jesuit form, I love a good reflection. Reflection is especially good in times of transition, such as now when I’m graduating with one degree and beginning another. My perception of education has changed drastically in just four years, and I am so grateful for my undergraduate education at Loyola. 

Four years ago, as a naive high school senior, I had no idea what I wanted to do. For awhile, I was dead set on attending an Ivy League school out east. I decided against Columbia because I loved the small town life. When I was writing for the Journal Courier, I even wrote an entire column on why I loved small towns and would never want to live in the city. Life’s funny like that. It’s also funny when you get waitlisted to all the Ivy Leagues and have one month to figure out your next plan.

Loyola was actually the first school where I was accepted, but I didn’t think much of it. My older sister went to law school there, but that’s all I even knew and she went there 20 years prior. I visited over my spring break and fell in love, making my deposit 4 hours later.

Fast forward to Chicago life, and I had no idea what to study. I was always the journalism junkie, but I only saw a small spectrum of journalism. I knew I wanted to make money, and I wasn’t going to make much with that. I experimented with physics and math, but after three semesters, I knew I had to change my major. I figured I could go one of two ways: computer science or business. After an introductory computer science course, I realized I understood the basics of coding (I taught myself more on MySpace in 7th grade than I did in this class), but I would rather not make a career out of it. Business it was.

I never took a business course in high school and never desired to. Now, I absolutely love being a business school student and future professional. I can pursue all of my passions with business. My communication skills fair well, and clearly I’m still writing and blogging past my high school newspaper dreams. I still get to work with numbers and calculations while handling logistics. I get creative freedom to pursue different entrepreneurial opportunities. I am still able to enjoy my passions, whether it is fitness or dance or empowerment. I love marketing and everything about it.

Even though I am continuing my education to pursue my MBA in the 5-year program at Loyola, I am constantly asked what my plans are after graduation. I have approximately 5 paths I can immediately take and each depends solely on the future circumstances. I coul work with marketing firms, sports companies, fitness studios, or communications. I can see myself happy and challenged in many roles, and I have no desire to limit my goals at this point.

Some might say I have spread myself too thin over my college career by working so much (this semester I’ve been working 40 hours a week between 4 jobs, which I don’t recommend to those without serious enthusiasm), but I have built a work ethic I am proud of. I have found my personal ways to balance my life, even though I’m pretty sure I exhaust my parents by telling them my schedule. It’s not work if you love what you’re doing, and I plan to continue this work ethic for the rest of my life.

The most important part of my education has been my experiences. Most learning has not come from the classroom or textbooks, but from working, presentations, volunteering, and engaging with the wonderful city of Chicago. I can’t imagine pursuing a business degree anywhere but a city, and Chicago has been the perfect landscape for me to observe and absorb.

My only regrets were not becoming more involved sooner. Most of my classmates don’t realize I am a senior because I did not become fully involved on-campus until I was a junior. Since then, I have yet to turn down an opportunity that pursues my passions.

My biggest fear is forgetting to always be growing. Since high school, I’ve known that I want to continue learning for the rest of my life. I don’t take myself seriously for a second, and I know that I constantly have new lessons to learn. Whether it’s professional or personal, I never want to lose my eagerness to learn and improve.

More than anything, the best part of my college career has been all of the people I’ve met along the way. As an introvert, it would have been easy to focus on my studies and work and ignore social interactions, and I’m already not overly social as it is! Still, I have met so many amazing people by working with Residence Life. As much as I complain about living with freshmen, it was the best decision I made, hands down. I have learned so much from such remarkable humans. My perspective on life is so much wider, and it terrifies me to know most people in the world aren’t trained in cultural competence like we are. I have made friends that will certainly last a lifetime.

Through all my other jobs and activities, I have been lucky enough to meet others who share the same passions as I do and motivate me to better myself always, whether through dance or fitness. I’m so thankful I’m still dancing as captain of Scorch. I’m so thankful my love for teaching has transferred to motivating others in fitness classes.

I am especially grateful for the friends that have stuck with me since the beginning. Steph and Julie have been my literal Day-1 best friends, and they somehow stuck with me through all of my weird anti-social phases and personal issues. My favorite memories have been with them, and I don’t know how I could have survived without them.

Starting mere days after graduation, I will be working at my internship full-time while pursuing my MBA and still teaching fitness classes. I look forward to a change of pace and most importantly LIVING DOWNTOWN. Not only will I be living in the heart of River North, I will not have to commute everyday, wasting hours on Lakeshore Drive and the el.

I am the type of person who keeps lists of weekly, monthly, and yearly goals on my phone. I hope to travel as much as possible this year. I have plans to visit Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon next month, and I hope to visit Niagra Falls in Canada later this summer.  I want to visit my new team at Purdue as I will be managing social media for a new fitness and body possibility magazine based there. I want to study abroad as part of my MBA, most likely over J-term. I want to run a half marathon…. Kind of. We’ll see. I want to expand my blog to include more fitnes, namely videos. I look forward to new experiences, new friends, and new lessons.

Here’s to the post-grad life!

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