- Class: Sophomore
- Major: English
- Gender: F
- High School: Harry D. Jacobs High School
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about Loyola is its location. There are two main campuses within a short distance from one another, one located next to Lake Michigan, and the other a block away from Michigan Avenue (the Magnificent Mile) in the middle of downtown Chicago. Basically, you get the best of both worlds Ð a beautiful college campus environment next to the gorgeous lake, and the city life! Loyola is definitely not in a college town. Right outside the gates of Loyola, you either have RogerÕs Park (a fairly dangerous neighborhood) or downtown Chicago, which is pretty amazing. However, there is one thing I would change Ð the weather. First of all, the weather is absolutely unpredictable, sometimes changing every five minutes. It might be raining, then snowing, then beautiful outside, and then some hail too Ð all in one day. One fall morning, the weather was so nice I went to class in flip flops. When class ended, I literally had to walk across campus in a blizzard. The school is a perfect size, there are about 9600 undergrads. ItÕs small enough that you will recognize many people around campus, but big enough that you do not know everybody. I love the medium size compared to the size of a huge university because I feel more like an individual instead of a statistic. The staff is very helpful, and Loyola truly makes an effort to help students discover their passions. I came to college completely confused and scared about my future, but there were so many welcoming organizations and people who specifically wanted to help students like me find their niche. Also, I love that I can walk to class in under ten minutes on LoyolaÕs main campus. Definitely gives me more sleep in the mornings! When I tell people from out of state that I attend Loyola, they usually have never heard of the university. However, people from Illinois and surrounding states always recognize Loyola for its academic reputation, and I always hear good things. Recently, IÕve spend most of my time at the Richard Klarchek Information Commons, which we like to call the IC. It is a brand new all-glass building on the edge of Lake Michigan where students have access to a coffee shop, computers, and huge, comfy leather chairs overlooking the lake. Students seem to love the IC, itÕs the perfect place to get work done. Other than that, I like to hang out in my dorm downtown. ItÕs a new, apartment-style residence hall located a block away from the John Han*** building and amazing Chicago restaurants and stores. Recently, there have been strong student complaints about racial profiling on campus. The other day, an anti-racist group at Loyola marched against administration for their lack of concern for these problems. As a minority, I have never had a specific encounter with racial profiling, nor do I know anybody who has, but there have been several severe instances that need to be addressed. Other than these issues, students seem happy with their experiences at Loyola.
Loyola is very focused on producing well-rounded students, thus requiring core classes that cover 10 knowledge areas. Basically, it makes up about 1/3 of our undergraduate education. Although it is a good way to teach students about areas outside their majors, it is fairly demanding and time-consuming compared to the gen ed requirements of other schools. I have met some students who hate the core, feeling it takes away from their main interests and makes it more difficult to graduate on time. On the other hand, I have met many students who have no problem completing the requirements and who enjoy having a little knowledge about everything. Some core classes are really interesting and fun. For instance, almost all of my friends have taken ÒChristian MarriageÓ to fulfill a theology requirement. The professor is a priest who loves to act out his ÒbridezillaÓ stories, literally walking down the aisle of the lecture hall, and he gives us wonderful advice that we can use for the rest of our lives. He is one of many professors who enjoys teaching, and he makes sure to give each one of his students a hug at the end of the semester. In large lecture hall settings, professors often do not attempt to learn any names. However, most of my classes range from 20-35 students where the professors do learn names and sometimes have interesting ways of remembering them. One professor had us bring in a picture of ourselves, and another actually took pictures of his students. Personally, I work very hard when it comes to school. I am always reading a few novels, writing a few papers, and studying for some exam. The academics at Loyola are often more challenging than people think. One student I know transferred to Loyola from a more prestigious school, thinking it would be easier, but finding it much harder than his previous situation. I find myself going to professors during office hours a few times a month. Loyola is mostly known for its pre-med and business students. I am an English major, and I actually know very few English majors in my class. The program seems to be getting more popular, and an English Club just started this year. I have enjoyed every English course IÕve taken so far, even the ones I thought I would hate. I came to college hating Shakespeare, but I have found myself loving his plays! The instructors are fun and insightful, helping me gain a greater appreciation for English classes that fell outside my interest. I have found English students to be friendly and not competitive. Mostly, we find commonalities in either complaining or talking about books we like.
There is such a wide range of students at Loyola, that it is difficult to describe a typical student. Students come from all financial backgrounds; many students commute from the city or suburbs while other students come from different states to attend a private school in Chicago. I would say that the majority of students are middle-class, Caucasian, and hold both left and right political beliefs. However, many students are quite apathetic when it comes to politics. There are many groups of diversity around campus, from clubs about ethnicities to religious and feminist clubs. For the most part, these types of groups are greatly accepted on campus. I think it is safe to say that diversity is something Loyola is proud of, and students seem very open-minded. Recently, however, students have been protesting problems of racial profiling by campus security, and many racial minorities do not feel accepted or noticed. This raises a question about the acceptance of diversity at Loyola, and students are actively fighting to fix it. There is also a large gay population at Loyola, and their organization ÒAdvocateÓ seems active and widely supported. Many straight students supported a previous fundraiser, buying ÒStraight is great, gay is fabulousÓ tee-shirts and wearing them around campus.
The Best Things
Living in Chicago
The Worst Things
The lack of a school community and spirit