Notes From North Sheridan

Loyola University: Norville Center for Intercollegiate Athletics opens! (SLIDESHOW)

Today the Norville Center for Intercollegiate Athletics opened, inviting the Loyola community to step inside the first phase of the ReImagine Loyola campaign. 

The Norville Center is a facility designed for all aspects of a Loyola student-athlete's life.  There are locker rooms for each of the varsity athletic teams, brand new weight rooms, academic advising centers, a lounge area and even conference rooms with walls coated in a special paint that will allow coaches to write on with dry erase marker.  The facilities were a much needed change from the outdated and cramped resources formerly supplied by the Alumni Gym.

The atmosphere at the grand opening was exciting and focused on the future.  Hundreds of students, coaches and administrators packed the Center, checking out every corner of the three story facility. 

I appreciate that the Norville Center seems built into Loyola's heritage with an eye for what lies ahead.  The facility is actually built right onto the Gentile Center, with an entire wall made up of exposed brick from the west side of the gym.  The first floor features a time line of significant Loyola sports events and lucite tables filled with used volleyballs, basketballs and soccer balls (see picture below).

Allan and Alfie Norville, the benefactors and namesake of the Center, were at the event, happily mingling with students, athletes and even the mascot.  Allan Norville, a 1960 Loyola graduate, is a former basketball player who wanted to see the next level of athletics played at Loyola, but he knew they needed a new athletic complex.  So, with the fortune he earned thanks to his Loyola degree, he has given back to the Loyola community. 

As I was leaving the the third floor of the complex, I passed by Al and Alfie for the second time and Alfie was talking to a group of young athletes.  "You're on the soccer team right?" she said.  They eagerly nodded.  "You'll win a lot of championships now!" she laughed.  Attention Loyola athletics: I think championships are the best way to say thanks.

Gallery sneak peek (27 images):

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Chicago Blizzard- Pictures from the Rogers Park/Loyola neighborhood

Tibetan prayer flags

Though I know there have been a flurry of photo albums chronicling Chizzard 2011 and its powdery aftermath, I had so much frolicking around Rogers Park and Loyola I thought I would share the fun with ChicagoNow.

To put these in some perspective, this is Loyola's first snow day in 31 years.  Yes the last time this Chicago university shut down its campus because of heavy snowfall was in 1979- the last record breaking snowstorm in Windy City history.  So lets just say this was a long time coming. 

For me personally this is only my third snow day EVER.  Minnesnowta has a far too efficient snow plow system to fall behind for a trivial two feet of snow.  However, that being said, when I ventured out to meet a friend across campus last night around 5 p.m. I have NEVER experienced weather like that.  50 m.p.h. wind gusts whipped snow chunks into my face making difficult to move forward, let alone breathe, and my appendages numbed with every step further into the icy tornado/blizzard/thunderstorm.

Though it wasn't fun to live through, it was definitely fun to venture out and explore the aftermath.  Rogers Park residents mostly gravitated toward the lake, where sand beaches had been turned into snow beaches and frozen waves made it possible to walk onto Lake Michigan.  And the vibrant socially-conscious graffiti that has always dotted the north-side lakefront made for some strong statements, especially against the blank canvas of snow.

Gallery sneak peek (31 images):

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Loyola: School of Communication Spring Organization Fair!


Sure looks like a t-shirt design...a FREE t-shirt design... (SOURCE:

Hello fellow Loyolans and welcome to the Spring 2011 semester!

As a member of the Loyola School of Communication, a strong advocate of all communication majors and an participant in communication organizations myself, I'm always looking for ways that students not involved with communications can find their way into the wonderful subjects of Journalism, Ad/PR and Communication Studies.

Because of this, I cannot wait for the School of Communication Spring Org Fair.  This is an event specific to the SOC, meaning there will only be communications student organizations present, as well as larger SOC administration such as the Dean's office and the Career Center.  This is important because it will have all the big name organizations on campus: The Phoenix, WLUW, Society of Professional Journalists, Public Relations Student Society of America, Ad Club and several others.  There will also be information about new opportunities as well, such as Rambler Productions, SOC Student Ambassadors and the Career Week coming up in February. 

For any student who is interested in communications, this is a MUST ATTEND EVENT!
Here is the info:

Wednesday January 26, 1-4 p.m.
School of Communication building lobby
First 25 attendees get a free SOC t-shirt!

Oh yea, and the first 25 attendees get a free SOC t-shirt.  What more could you ask for?

Can't wait to see you all there!  Because if you're not a communications major... you're probably in denial.

Excited for the org fair?  Do you have an organization you're dying to join?  Are you mostly interested in getting a free t-shirt?  Let me know!  Comment and I'll comment back.

Merry Christmas from NFNS and LUC


Santa Lu Wolf! (SOURCE:


I should be back to posting regularly soon.  The frenzy of finals week and hectic holidays have really taken a toll on my typing (that's it for the alliterations I promise).

Enjoy your holidays!  Let me know if there is anything you'd like to see from NFNS in 2011.  I'm always open to suggestions!


damen die!.JPG

When Damen is gone, will my grades attained in that building also go away? (Source:

If there is one thing that has been constant throughout this semester at Loyola, it's the pounding, grinding and screeching of Damen's slow and torturous demolition.

After these long four months of de-construction ruining classes, naps on the quad and views of campus, Damen is now nearing its actual end and we're all looking for somewhere to channel our anger at its obnoxious presence (as well as the massive amount of work going into finals).

So check out this video and delight in the karma of Damen's pain.

Then get back to work!  Finals Week is five days away!

Dislike Damen? Delighting in Damen's death? Angry at my abuse of alliterations? Let me know! Comment and I'll comment back.

Why I'm Excited For Rambler Basketball (Seriously)


Damn, that's a rowdy crew. (SOURCE:

I almost titled this post "Things I'm Surprised I'm Excited For".

College sports have never been a huge deal to me.  Yes, I'll attend the occasional meet/game/match and yes, I attended my first Big Ten football game this season (for the experience, not because I knew what was going on) but college athletics have never really been a huge draw for me (good thing I go to Loyola!).  And don't even get me started about basketball- as a human with below average hand-eye-coordination and height, biologically I'll never understand the thrill of a slam dunk or the swish of the net.

However, that doesn't make me any less excited for Loyola's upcoming games against Butler (12/1, 7 p.m. Gentile Center) and Kansas State (12/11, 3 p.m. Gentile Center).

Last year, the first college basketball game I attended was Loyola's game against Butler.  We were the underdogs against the nationally ranked team, but we stayed even with them throughout and only lost by one point at the buzzer.  Though Butler obviously went on to have a far more successful season than us, we Ramblers always kept that game in the back of our minds and have been waiting for a chance to prove that we can play even (and maybe even beat) a team of NCAA Championship game caliber.

And now that time has come.  Tomorrow, the Ramblers will host Butler for a home-game rematch- and believe me: we're ready to play.

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Ramblin' Around the Web 11/22


The ultimate Rambler. (SOURCE:

School spirit has never been the in-your-face-bleed-school-colors-get-in-fights-with-opposing-teams'-fans at Loyola.  However, I like to think it is sort of an ever-present undertone to everything students do.

For example, as many of you know, Loyola has not had a football team since the 1930's.  However, that team's legacy has lived on in our team name: apparently when Loyola football was around they were considered one of the worst teams in the nation so they were frequently invited around the country to play other teams.  Hence the name "Ramblers" (rambling around the country... get it?  Get it?).

In the spirit of our late, great football tradition, this week I have been rambling about the web.  In my travels across cyberspace I've picked up some wins, losses and some really memorable sites that I think the world (or at least the ChicagoNow community) should definitely check out (feel free to start with the Loyola Ramblers' athletic site).

  • There are certain things that go unsaid, but really should be told. compiled a list of these in 32 Undeniable Truths for Mature Adults.  My favorite?  "31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is. "  Welcome to my life.
  • One of my favorite procrastination methods is to peruse fashion blogs, and anyone who has clicked through a few knows they follow a pretty clear cut formula.  Refinery 29's "How To Become A Star Style Blogger" offers an only half-serious guide to getting in on the fashion blog game.
  • Speaking of fashion blogs, The Sartorialist is a perfect example.  A little pretentious, but delivers with beautiful photography and crazy fashion choices.
  • I don't care that these are from a website called "Weelicious".  All I care about is the fact that these sweet potatoes in orange cups are ADORABLE and look so delicious. 
  • I'm quite a fan of instances where the Jersey Shore stars attempt to capitalize on their fame and instead crash and burn.  Exhibit 1: Angelina's new single "Im Hot".
  • Exhibit 2: The Situation and Bristol Palin's Dancing With The Stars PSA on safe sex (did they have any idea what they were going to say?)
  • Dori Jones Yang discusses whether students should still pursue a Liberal Arts education in a world where technology is creating jobs.  Regardless, I'm still holding onto my Journalism/Sociology majors thanks.
  • Pandora'd out?  My friend introduced me to the Hype Machine earlier this year and now that's all I play.  The site pulls from music blogs across the web and posts them on a popularity chart, so it has a lot of indie songs and mash ups.  You can also "love" songs and save them on playlists for later listening.
  • did an experiment where they sewed high end designer labels onto low end clothes and attempted to sell them at consignment stores.  The results are hilarious- and will make you second guess the next time you want to splurge on designer duds.
  • The words "dangerous" and "relax" usually aren't put together, but AOL health writes about several different methods we use to relax that are actually dangerous in the long run.  Unfortunately these methods are all typical of a college student.  Great.

Enjoy any of these sites?  Got any sites you found ramblin' around?  Still not convinced a "Rambler" isn't just a euphemism for a homeless person?  Let me know!  Comment, and I'll comment back.

Dear Chicago, Lets Skip Winter This Year (An Open Letter)


Damn, that is one fine, non-wintery city (SOURCE:

Dear Chicago,

Fall is my favorite season, and in 2010 apparently yours as well.  In fact, it has been almost eerily warm especially for a city who's winters can destroy the most hearty of residents.  However for it to be November 11 and the ground be covered in golden and red leaves is really wonderful.  So Chicago can I make a simple request?  Please, PLEASE for the love of outdoor runs on the Lake Shore path, for wearing sweaters, for having feeling in my toes and for eating al fresco, please do not give in to winter.

I know winter can seem deceptively wonderful (seeing as you do have to follow the natural order of life and all) but believe me winter is really not that awesome or necessary to the ecosystem.  In fact there are a lot of reasons winter can simply be eliminated.  Remember the Ice Age?  I'd say that makes up for winter at least until 2080.  And you must remember you are a metropolis and should be on top of new trends.  Look at the way the Earth's temperature is headed now: pretty soon we won't have winter at all!  Let's get on that trend early, and really show the other longitudes and latitudes we totally know what season is "in season".  Sub-45 degrees is so 2009.

Plus, think about all the fun we will have together!  You can tousle my hair and rosy my cheeks because I'll actually spend time outside in January.  We can take long walks together, both enjoying the crisp air and smell of fallen leaves.  I'll promise I'll even pour some of my Pumpkin Spice latte on the ground so you can absorb the delicious flavors formerly available only during the autumn months.

But I understand you have to switch seasons at some point.  I mean, if it stays fall all year round pretty soon L.A. and Miami are going to get wind of it (we know they have an unfair monopoly on beautiful weather, but someone has to break the trust) and they won't be happy.  So around March 1st, you can start transitioning into spring.  I'd suggest doing a little cleaning, maybe Chi-Clone part II to get all the leaves out of the way, and then throw in a mix of warm rain showers and sunshine to really get that photosynthesis going.  That will probably be done around March 3rd, at which time we can get back into 60 and 70 degree weather.

Thanks so much for listening Chicago.  You are a beautiful city, but can I be honest?  White (or gray slush for that matter) really isn't your color.  Lets stick with what we both know is the best option: skipping winter all together.

Karis (and everyone else in Chicago)

One Day I Decided to Say Hello to Everyone I Know...


Oh, herro. (Source:

College is known as a time for fostering friends and relationships, or at least that's the general idea.

However, on a daily basis (weekends are a category of their own) I often find college campuses tend to be a place where you keep your head down, listen to your iPod, and say hello to only those you know will for sure return your greeting.  Since beginning college I have probably met and introduced myself to hundreds of Loyola students and, with Loyola's small residential campus, I see probably one third to half of every day. 

But how many do I say hello to?  To be completely honest, my unwarranted fear of awkward situations makes this number pretty small.  Say I am walking along and I see someone I know from a class.  I could wave/say hello but what if they ignore me?  What if I wave and they look at me and look away?  What if ten other people walking on the sidewalk also see and think "Wow, she is a total loooossserrrrr" (apparently I'm walking on a sidewalk with second graders)?  Or worse: what if at the last second they say hello to me and I am the ignorer?  Within a millisecond, I could have just annihilated the chance of ever expecting a greeting from that person again. 

So lets just say most of my encounters with people I sort of know include: recognition, decision of whether I know them well enough to say hello, pulling out of my cell phone for fake text and breathing a sigh of relief when we pass by each other, awkward situation avoided.    It feels safer that way, like I'm saving the both of us from potential social anxiety. 

However, one morning last week, I was in Southside Market getting coffee for what was sure to be a long day.  I was waiting to be checked out when I saw a girl from my philosophy class last semester who I was never formally introduced to, but recognized because we had mutual friends.  We made eye contact, and she smiled and waved which I returned.  Suddenly my day seemed a little brighter; my coffee was served with a side of social acceptance!

I thought, if this small non-verbal gesture created such a positive change in my day, how could it help those who I ordinarily wouldn't say hello to?

So for the rest of the day, I attempted to say hello/wave to everyone who I saw who I know I had been introduced to.  Here are the results:

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The Inevitable Post On Facebook After Watching "The Social Network"


Are we all just "Facebook-blue" social networking stick figures? (SOURCE:

Just as my first inclination after watching "Super Size Me" was to go to McDonalds, immediately after seeing "The Social Network" this weekend, I logged onto Facebook. 

The movie follows the creation story of Facebook, and the legal battles that ensued, focusing mainly on Mark Zuckerberg as the socially abrasive and morally questionable protagonist.  The movie drew parallels between Zuckerberg's personal social life and the creation and expansion of the most popular social networking site in the world.  However the movie shows little of the actual website, which made me curious: what would I think of Facebook now that I knew its back story?

As soon as the page loaded, I felt a surprising jolt of adrenaline- like I literally felt myself jumping onto the information highway.  No longer was Facebook just another website to procrastinate on and keep up on my friends' lives, it suddenly seemed like something bigger than my relationships, something that connected and shaped my world.  I saw exclusivity in the privacy settings and a sense of community with anyone else on the Loyola Chicago network and a sense of self in the way I presented myself to the world.

I thought about the final scene in the movie where we see Mark Zuckerberg request to be friends with the original girl who rejected him and set him off on a college social networking spree, and how you felt his insecurity and timid hope that she will accept him into her social sphere.  Everyone who has stepped onto a college campus has felt this awkward sense of social awareness, and Facebook managed to perfectly move this experience to the digital world.

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Has Good Involvement Become Over Involvement?

great picsource college jolt.jpg

STRESS (Source:

I stood in front of my tour group the other day and started with the usual shpeal: "Hey guys, welcome to Loyola!  My name is Karis and I will be leading your tour today.  I'd like you to introduce yourselves, but first I'm going to let you know a little about me and what I'm involved with here at Loyola."

And then I froze.

Suddenly I could not remember for the life of me what I do at this school.  Here I was, about to tell four high school seniors every aspect of student life at Loyola, and I could not remember how I was involved.  My day-to-day life whizzed in a circle around my brain: meetings, emails, applications, practices, lists and Google docs.  Panicking, I snagged the first three memories that appeared in the extracurricular whirlwind: "Uhh, I'm involved in Student Ambassadors.. I write for the Loyola Phoenix, and uh, I, uh play soccer..Yeaaa, that's about it.  But I want to hear what you guys are interested in!"

Apparently not noticing my vague and hesitant answers about my extracurricular activities,
the prospective students went around and talked about their own involvement.   I breathed an internal sigh of relief, and began the tour, but not without feeling slightly embarrassed.  What self-respecting Student Ambassador can't even remember what she does outside of class?

I started to think about how busy and chaotic student life has become.  It seems everyone in college can't just be in college: they have to be padding their resumes with internships, leaderships, experiences and initiatives on top of a spectacular academic record.  A free afternoon is a rarity, and sort of feels uncomfortable.  Its like a constant guilt for students: you feel like you're wasting your time if you aren't being productive.

It brings me to a scary and stressful question: have students reached the point where good involvement means over-involvement?

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The Loyola Index: College Week 1


Loyola students go back to school!

Its been nine days since I moved in and seven days since I started classes, but it feels like a year since either of these events occurred. 

The first week of anything is always a little harrowing.  Getting settled, acclimated, comfortable and into a routine is a strange thing to do, and you find there are some things that make or break your process of being in a new place.

So as I moved through this marathon of a week, I jotted down little occurrences and details about life back at Loyola: what went smoothly, what went horribly, things that bothered me and things that elated me.  And after it all, I've put together a back-to-school index of what was great about move-in/beginning of classes week and what was not so great.  Would you add anything to my list?
(note: goes from best to worst)


  1. Visible students
  2. Giant head statue thing in front of Madonna Della Strada
  3. The Phoenix
  4. Sophomore housing
  5. The Norville Center
  6. New classes
  7. Mundelein craziness
  8. Horrendous commuting
  9. Damen Hall
  10. Lack of a/c and internet

Continue reading for an explanation....

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Sophomore Year... Wise Fool?



Cliches that are repeated for a reason: sophomore year is a crossroads in life. (SOURCE:

Definition: Sophomore (from

From the Greek words Sophos; meaning wise, and Moros; meaning fool, or foolish. Literally, a 'wise fool'.
1. A word used to denote the stage when a person has gained sufficient knowledge and/or skill to be of some use to his/her society or community, but is still sufficiently untutored or unskilled to perform wisely or correctly in most situations.

Tomorrow I move into Loyola as a sophomore, and "wise fool" is sounding more and more like how I feel as a second year college student.

After freshman year ended I felt confident about my future and content with the way I had spent my first two semesters.  I got some key classes out of the way, had a decent job, dabbled in a couple extra curriculars, and had some fun along the way.  I felt changed, learned, challenged, and most importantly like I had moved forward in life.  No longer was I a stock character in a B-list teen movie: I was an individual who was prepared for life.

But as summer listlessly rolled by and as I spent day after day coaching four year olds on their forehand and convincing suburban moms/daughters to buy more undergarments than ever necessary, I became more disillusioned with the way things were.  I mean if I was such a smart, accomplished young woman on my way to completing world changing deeds, why was I working two dead end part time jobs 30 hours a week?  Shouldn't I or someone else be taking advantage of my young and spritely mind?  Didn't I move forward in my life?

Now I'm starting this college life once more, but in a way it  feels like I'm in the same place I was last year.  Yes, I have a year under my belt, I have an amazing group of friends, and I know my way around the city (sort of), but at the same time I have so much to learn

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Freshmen: The Packing List You Didn't Know You Needed


They must be looking for all the stuff they should have packed. Looks like they should have read NFNS first... (SOURCE:

A year ago today I moved into Loyola as a college freshman.  Though I remember being nervous about every aspect of that day, what I was most initially anxious about was whether I was over packed.  I imagined rolling up to the school, opening up my trunk, and everyone in sight immediately stereotyping me as the diva who couldn't bear to leave any of her precious possessions behind.  A terrifying thought for someone who really wanted to make friends. 

However, in my fear of over packing I ended up under packing.  Countless times throughout the year I would smack my head in frustration: "Why didn't I think to pack       ?!"  Though most of the time these items were available at the nearest Target or CVS, my bank account usually prevented me from actually obtaining these items.

So freshman of fall 2010: you think you have everything packed?  Think again.  I have compiled a list of items you wouldn't have thought you needed but definitely do.  You may recoil from having to add more items to your already gargatuan pile of college stuff, but believe me these items are worth it:

Gallery sneak peek (6 images):

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ChiU: Bloggers Needed!

Attention Chicago college students (or those soon to be):

As we all know, Chicago is one of the best cities to be a college student.  Between the free public transportation (thanks UPass!), the incredible museums and attractions (all with a student discount of course), and never-ending opportunities for nightlife, food, and celebrity sightings, having a campus in the city is a pretty unique perk.

In light of this, I'm looking for writers from each of the largest Chicago-area schools (Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul, Columbia, UIC, and University of Chicago) to contribute to a blog for Chicago college students, by Chicago college students.  I call it: ChiU.

If you are interested, please send me an email with the following information:

  • Name
  • School
  • Age/Year in School
  • Why you want to be a ChiU writer and what are you interested in writing about? (Music/news/nightlife/food/fashion etc)
  • Any special skills (Can you record video? Take pictures?)
  • Any blog you have had in the past or currently update, also Twitter if you have one
  • Any other information you would like to pass along

I would love to get this started relatively close to the beginning of the school year, so the sooner you email me the better!

Email me at or either account works.

Hope to hear from you soon!
Thumbnail image for CHI U.jpg

Students Involved In Non-Hedonistic Activities (Yes, Its True)


Clean cut, demographically equal, and doing good. Young adults of 2010! (Source:

The end of high school and college can seem like the time most young adults kick back, relax, and enjoy a beer (or two or ten) as they party through the best years of their lives.  The new found independence paired with an allowance from mom and dad seems to create an environment of carefree fun rather than productivity.  Quick, get an image of a college student in your head.  Let me guess: did the student look something like this?

However, young adults today vary far from the stereotype Animal House first created.  In fact, the emphasis on learning and exploration in at a young age often creates the mindset that teens/college students/young adults can try and do anything.  So they do.  From first attempting the Diet-Coke-and-Mentos experiment in a grocery store parking lot to organizing charity events that raise thousands of dollars, young people do cool stuff, mostly because they can.

In light of this, I've decided to put together a few links, articles, and descriptions of young adults who have put their energy into creating something cool.  These teens struck me as great examples of simple ideas and work ethic that have grown into something big.  Hopefully it will change your immediate image of a college student and maybe even inspire you to take on their mindset.

Gallery sneak peek (5 images):

View the gallery...
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Education News: More Exciting Than You Think! (LINKS)


If only news about education was always this straightforward... (Source:

Have you ever clicked on the "education" link that rests on the subject bar of most news websites?

As a college student it may seem redundant to check out news that reports on the way you live everyday.  Sometimes news sites seem to treat as groundbreaking what ordinary college students observes walking to class and back.  Why ignore other, more pressing issues, when you see (and possibly participate) in trends like the rise of focus-enhancing drugs during finals and the prevalence of facebook as an online community?

However, now more than ever is the time to check out education news.  After forging through a year of college, I noticed many of my friends across the college board had the same types of complaints: Why does college cost so much? Is taking an unpaid internship worth anything?  How am I going to get a job I love after college?  Private school, public school, huge student population, tiny student population, rural, suburban, urban, it seems that students everywhere are experiencing the same basic issues when it comes to college without realizing these are universal issues. 

And this is where education news comes in.  I picked a few articles that have captured my attention and seemed to be a common theme among college friends as of late.  Issues like the spending choices of private school vs. public school, the debate between finding a job you'll love or finding a job for the sake of working, and how to properly utilize social media in case a future employer happens to be searching you on facebook/twitter.  Read up! You may be surprised at trends that are spanning the nation.

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So All the Songs of Summer 2010 Don't Suck?

Thumbnail image for BLOGGY.jpg

Stock photo of urbanite listening to music. Probably jammin' to my choices for summer 2010 songs.

At the beginning of the summer, I wrote a post about my pessimism in regards to finding a good summer play list.  It seemed that every song that streamed through the Top 40 radio stations was recycled, annoying, or just plain strange.  Nothing new from the money driven corporations that seem to use a thinly veiled payola to get their musicians on the radio, but as I mentioned usually there are one or two songs that you're happy to have playing three times an hour.

So while we have to put up with "Can't Be Tamed" by Miley Cyrus (the winner of the Worst Summer 2010 Song Poll with 25% of 86 votes, just barely edging out "Your Love Is My Drug" by Ke$ha) a few good tunes have found their way into the airwaves.  Though they may be squished between Rihanna's sexual screeching and Lady Gaga's metaphorical mumbling, they are there and we will listen.

But considering the dismal nature of the majority of the music on the radio today, I was forced to dig deeper, when it came to selecting potential good songs for this summer's play list.  A few of the artists are on the edge of the charts or not on any at all.  Regardless, put them all on a mix cd/iTunes play list and repeat away- they will be stuck in your head for July, August and in all memories of summer 2010.

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The Epidemic of Summer


Beware: deceptively awesome activities. (Source:

Notes From North Sheridan has been woefully neglected thanks to a growing epidemic I like to call: "summer".

Yes, the feared "summer" takes all ambitions and goals that one has for three and a half months of no school and evaporates them into a mist of sun, friends, barbecues, swimming and freezie pops.  You would think that three months free of obligations, homework, extracurricular activities would foster an environment of productivity for the college student.  All those to do lists that have been piling up, those scholarships to apply for, internships to seek out, and subjects to explore should get completed with time to spare right?  Time is on our side.  Summer should be the season of productivity and efficiency!

Instead the contagious nature of summer cleverly pulls the college student into its seductive grasp only to infect the naive young adult who is lulled into a false sense of security and warped sense of time.  Common saying among those infected include: "Dude its only July, I still got half the summer to apply for work-study"  and "I may as well read Cosmo now, I have a whole year of reading actual literature ahead of me".  In the last stages of this disease symptoms include panic, heavy breathing, stress, lack of sleep, and exclamations of "Its AUGUST 31ST??? Where did summer GO?!"

In my case, I was under the enchanting spell of summer for the last few weeks.  I frolicked. I laughed.  I swam.  I tanned.  I drank pina coladas.  Got caught in the rain.  Summer employed every sweet weapon in its arsenal to get me to ignore responsibilities and focus on having fun.  However, a couple of days ago I had a vague memory that I had a blog, that I went to school, and one day wanted to have a career.  So I logged onto ChicagoNow, whipped off my sunglasses and choked on my lemonade when I saw I hadn't posted in two weeks.  With a power not unlike the Patronus charm in Harry Potter, I summoned all my hopes and dreams and willed the evilness of summer away.  After a day or two of reading the New York Times, rewriting to do lists, and reading horror stories of people living at home in their 30's, I am now back on track.

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June 19- Elude the Marketplace: Art, Music and Poetry from Chicago's up-and-comers

Jordan Yondo, Michael McDonald, and Sinjin Hilaski performing at the first "Elude the Marketplace".

So you love art and music, but you're a little burnt out on the what mainstream Chicago offers.  Of course the Art Institute is awesome, but there are only a few times you can marvel at the pointillism of Seurat before it begins to feel forced.  And though the Museum of Contemporary Art always has a few thought provoking exhibits, after you see them once or twice they sort of lose that "Are those dead bodies under a sheet?" shock value.

This weekend why not switch up your usual weekend routine, and come to Elude the Marketplace: Episode II "If They Can't Sell Us They'll Get to Know Us Real Well", a music and art show put on by upcoming Chicago artists and students.

This is the second art and music show put on by Loyola students Jordan Yondo and Sinjin Hilaski, and hosted by Nate Jenkins.  The first Elude the Marketplace was a huge success, bringing together some of Loyola and Chicago's most interesting up and comers.  Students and people from the neighborhood wandered through the apartment, taking in technically impressive and thought provoking art from students and artists alike, while several passionate poets and acoustic musicians provided a constant soundtrack.  The event was so successful, they've decided to repeat it and add more musicians and established artists.

The product of networking among Chicago's most creative circles, the event will showcase the work of several musicians, poets, and visual artists who are some of Chicago's most exciting up and comers.   

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Rogers Park Neighborhood: The Best Chicago Has to Offer

rogers park.JPG

Where the art meets the street meets the beach. (Source:

You've windowshopped the Gold Coast dry, Wrigleyville has destroyed your liver the last, oh, however many weekends you've lived in Chicago, you narrowly escaped being run over by a hipster on a bike while perusing Wicker Park, and you have so many Millenium Park pictures its beginning to feel like that giant metallic bean is just your bathroom mirror. 

While all those neighborhoods are great and offer some of the best food, entertainment and culture in Chicago, if you venture North you'll find that some of the best of Chicago is off the beaten path.

I'm talking about Rogers Park.  When I originally came to Chicago, I expected every neighborhood to look like something off of "My Boys": lots of brownstones, window boxes, and open air bars and cookie cutter city-type people.  However, Rogers Park, the neighborhood Loyola is located in, doesn't exactly conform to those ideas, aesthetically or ideologically, but that's why I've grown to love this side of Chicago so much.

To preface my description of the neighborhood, Rogers Park is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the United States, second only to the South Bronx.  There are over 80 languages spoken  and the ethnicity is split nearly even between whites, blacks, and hispanics.  This ethnic blend creates a melting pot of cultures that fosters a independent spirit and diverse environment.  You won't look weird walking down the street, because there is no dominant race, culture, or type of person. 

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Quiet Drama: The Scripps National Spelling Bee


Intense competition. (Source:

This week has brought together some of the greatest rivalries to compete for some of the most elite trophies in history.

The Lakers versus Celtics for the NBA Finals, Blackhawks versus Flyers for the Stanley Cup, Elizabeth Platz versus Laura Newcombe for the Scripps National Spelling Bee... wait what was that last one?

Yes, the National Scripps Spelling Bee.  Call me a nerd, but these last few days I have found myself more enthralled by the Bee than any event ESPN has been covering.  This competition, older than the NBA Finals and not much younger than the Stanley Cup, has as much drama and excitement as a shirtless limo ride through downtown Chicago.

These kids, ages 8-14, essentially sacrifice their childhood to prepare for the rigor of the competition.  They memorize and study thousands of note cards,actually read the dictionary, and compete in several tiers of competition.  And these aren't just your ordinary SAT vocabulary words.  These are words like "rhabdomyoma" (a benign tumor of the striated muscle) and "terribilita" (artwork that exhibits the sublime mixed with fear and awe) These are words the spell check marks incorrect- they aren't even in the computer's dictionary.  These kids have to know literature, languages, dialects, pronunciations that even the most traveled linguist would have deemed unnecessary to ordinary human interaction.  However, they probably are far beyond ordinary human interaction.

While most people may cringe at the thought of a childhood spent indoors, hunched over scratched words and under the watch of overbearing parents these kids seem to embrace it.  This is just an enjoyable hobby they can later put on college applications. Most describe dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers, business men/women, and other successful careers that pretty much have nothing to do with know how to spell the word "ochidore" (a shore crab).  Spelling is just be something to challenge their brilliant minds until they can start saving the world.

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"I like your beard...": The Verdict on 5 Songs That Are Threatening Summer Playlists


Well at least she has found her summer song... (Source:

One of the classic rites of summer is finding a summer anthem.  A quintessential combination of hummable melody, sing-a-long-at-the-top-of-your-lungs lyrics, and timeless meaning serves as both a soundtrack  and a visceral memory jerk back to to these three months of sunshine.  This song can be found in a variety of ways, but for many its a top 40 ditty- something played repetitively on car stereos during dusk cruising around the city and on sunny road trips to the beach.  Either way it creates a collective connection between every summer experience.

In this way, we rely on popular music to give us a good summer song.  Its a lot to ask from the profit fueled corporations and hit-machine artists, but usually there is something to grasp onto come May. Remember  "Summer in the City" by the Lovin Spoonful,  "Summer Girls" by LFO and even last summer's "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas?  Certainly not groundbreaking in lyrics or sound technology but there was heart behind the track, which made each song the perfect soundtrack to summer.

So this summer, I turned on my radio on ready to find some head bopping, karaoke worthy song to enjoy through all the experiences that lay ahead in summer 2010.  However, as the commercial-free hour rolled on I became more and more dismayed.  Why is Ke$ha screeching about drugs, slumber parties, and beards?  Does Jason DeRulo know how creepy he sounds when singing about imagining sexual intercourse?  Does Rihanna realize that she repeats nearly every word she sings in "Rude Boy"?  The confusion mounted as Miley Cyrus turned into Britney Spears in "Can't Be Tamed" and Lady Gaga... well did what Lady Gaga does in "Alejandro". 

These five songs are some of the most popular in the country right now, and are quick to be infiltrating their way into our summer soundtrack.  But before we blindly succumb to each of their repetitive plays and accept that they'll be our summer songs simply out of lack of other options, and also before we viciously rebel and listen to the Of Montreal Pandora station all summer, I've decided to evaluate each song for what its worth:

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Loyola University: Prepare for the Demolition of Damen Hall


Looks like a toaster? Boasts 20 escalators and one terrifying elevator? No open-able windows? All the attributes of the hallowed halls of Damen. (Source:

Though I have only completed one year at Loyola, I feel I developed a solid love/hate relationship with the soon-to-be demolished Damen Hall.

Having been on campus about a total of six hours before coming to Loyola as a freshman, I had forgotten about Damen and its less than aesthetically pleasing presence, but seeing as it is ten floors and 34 concrete columns wide, I was quickly reminded.  Walking into its looming structure and fighting my way into the stream of single file student escalator lines was almost as intimidating as my impending Metaphysics class.  I remember walking into class and thinking "If this is actually what college classrooms look like, Hollywood has gravely misled us all."  The barren white cinder block walls and windows that weren't capable of opening gave each classroom a sense of imprisonment, which is fitting, because it was supposedly designed by someone who originally designed prisons.  The lack of air circulation and outdated heating/cooling methods usually left each classroom either stiflingly hot or bone chillingly cold.  The long hallways of lockers made me wonder if I was still in high school.  Just keeps getting better doesn't it?

For those of you who don't know, Damen Hall is Loyola's liberal arts radiator-shaped free-for-all classroom prison structure (to put it lovingly).  On campus tours we were instructed to call Damen a "potpurri" of liberal arts classes, and assure prospective students that this eyesore of a building would soon be demolished.  Imagine: a building at its best being likened to a dusty outdated air freshener and biggest asset being its quick approaching demolition date.  According to the University, its really that bad.

But while Damen had its faults, there were a few bright spots among the gray concrete and cinder block.  To begin with, the views were also incredible.  Whenever I had enough of paying attention in class I could gaze out over the blue of Lake Michigan and the brownstones of Rogers Park, and on a clear day I could almost see to Northwestern.  I also liked its sense of reputation and history on campus.   Any alumni I talked to had fond memories of walking up the escalators to their classes in Damen.  It was also a hub of student activity: bake sales, bagel sales, whatever those pastries the Muslim Student Association always sold (I never got one, but I always wanted one) sales- I was guaranteed to find a snack or two courtesy of student organizations.  And if not there, Damen Express provided any treat I needed (as long as it was king sized and overpriced).  And I have to admit, I loved the bathroom sinks.  The faucets were perfect: just the right temperature and water pressure for washing your hands with easily turnable knobs- none of this fancy hand sensor stuff.

Plus Damen's faults what were made it strong.  It was sort of a Loyola universal truth that Damen sucked so if you really had to fish to find something to talk about with someone unpleasant, the fallback "God, Damen was so hot today" almost always worked to start a decent two minute conversation.    And you were pretty much guaranteed to have a class or two (or all five) within its walls, so there was a good chance you would run into a friend in class or in the building.  And its decrepit, outdated structure provided one of the best adventures I've had at Loyola: exploring the greenhouse that rests on the roof.  A friend and I took the narrow staircase up the extra 11th flight and poked around in the rarely used (or cleaned) glass rooms and took in the 360 degree views of Evanston, West Chicago, Downtown, and Lake Michigan.  Pretty incredible.

However, Damen was an academic building, and in terms of classrooms it failed.  Miserably.  And for that reason Loyola is tearing it down and creating a new building in its place. Apparently they are very excited for this change.

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How Your Hair Can Help Clean the Gulf Oil Spill [VIDEO]

Thumbnail image for LONG ASS HAIR.jpg

She could single-handedly clean up the entire Gulf (Source:

College students are notoriously cheap and one expense that frequently gets overlooked is the haircut.  See that 20 year old dude's eyes? Oh, you can't?  Yeah, he's in college.  Walk amongst three college freshman girls and assume the hippie trend of untamed locks is back?  No actually, they just chose to buy groceries this week.

However, now that summer has started a hair cut has become imperative for all ages.  My own hair, uncut for two years (yes that noise you just heard was the shocked and appalled gasp of hairdressers everywhere), is going on 22 inches, which is a little ridiculous.  I have always liked my hair long and simple plus the last time I cut it short and styled, one of my guy friends described it as "a super powerful art executive who has frequent one night stands and has a penthouse filled with futuristic furniture" type of cut.  Not exactly what I was looking for at  the time, and definitely not something I would like to repeat.

But that being said, I need a haircut but I want it to go toward something good so I originally thought of Locks of Love.  However, on closer examination of my hair, I began to see the effects of not cutting for two years: split ends dominate much of the last few inches.  Locks of Love does accept hair like this, but I  would rather cut it now, let it grow, and donate the healthier hair in a month or two.  But I still want my haircut to do something more than be swept in the trash from the floor of Aveda.  That is where Matter of Trust comes in.

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Study Break: Creative Procrastination [VIDEO]

By now it is getting to the end of finals week, and I'm sure you, like me, are starting to feel the effects.  After leaving the library no later than 3 a.m. three days in a row while stressing out over final grades and guzzling coffee, procrastination has become key in keeping me functioning.

Another area I've noticed college students tend to neglect during finals week is their inner creative side. We become so wrapped up in numbers and note cards that our brains get stuck inside a small cube constructed of numbered study guides and review sheets. However, people tend to learn better when they take breaks and switch up their learning styles. So when you begin to hear an omnipresent textbook narrator explaining the world around you in terms of Abnormal Psychology or Evolution and Genetics, perhaps its time to get your brain out of studying mode, and into one of the following:

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Study Break: Intelligent Procrastination


You may have a stack of things to do this big, but at least you know who the Red-Shirts are.(Source:

So you've refreshed your facebook 12 too many times, you've watched every viral video from "Chocolate Rain" to the "Evolution of Dance" and you've StumbledUpon nearly every website on the internet-- in other words, you put the "Pro" in procrastination.

Well, something I've noticed while spending more time in the library than sleeping in the last three days is that during finals week, students tend to get so wrapped up in their textbooks and notebooks, they forget there is a real world outside of ENGL 282 and CMUN 150.  A quiet corner in the library soon becomes a no violence, war, poverty zone (unless studying U.S. History of course).  So what I suggest is a different approach to procrastination.  Instead of letting your brain chug gallons of facebook and youtube in between mental bouts of studying, why not feed it a healthy smoothie of current events instead (is it obvious I ate only once today)?

Reading up on current events not only gives you a sense of what day and time it is (apparently fluorescent lights don't rise and fall with the sun...?), it also may help you with that Final Paper you need to get an A on.  Professors are pretty incredible people.  Not only do they manage to teach several classes, grade several hundred papers, stay available for office hours, conduct research or write books, they also seem to have in depth knowledge of every current event ever (at least mine do).  If you throw in say something about the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana or the bailout of Greece by the European Union, they may do a small dance of excitement (quick imagine your professors dancing) and stamp a big shiny A on your report card.

Here are a few that you should probably know something about...

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Study Break: Classic Procrastination


Not my own research, but clearly well executed. (Source:

Finals week is prime time for developing key procrastination habits.  There is the coffee run (refill every ten minutes after chugging a thermos of dark roast- black), there is the crossword puzzle/sudoku break (that inevitably turns into a night long battle since you can't concentrate on anything else until you can figure out that elusive 42 across), there is the list making (first a list of what needs to be made into a list, then prioritize each list, then categorize each list into subtypes...) and then there is facebook (no explanation needed- excuse me I need to refresh my newsfeed, its been 30 seconds).

While hurling five (or more) high pressure, grade dependent exams/papers into a span of two weeks is obviously a healthy and accurate way to assess students, it surprisingly (whodathunkit?) also takes a toll on students' dispositions.  This I believe is the real reason for procrastination: students are simply overworked, under-rested, and strung out on caffeine and just need to give those neurons a little R&R.  So I have decided to do the first ever NFNS mini-series focusing on the subject of procrastination.  Being a procrastination expert myself, for the next week I will put together multiple lists of different types of procrastination so your brain cells can get a little bit of a change from a constant refresh of the facebook homepage. 

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Mike Posner: Get Familiar


"Designer shades just to hide your face..."

"Get familiar!" screamed the frantically dancing girl next to me at the Mike Posner concert last night.  Though I was slightly scared of being decked by one of her enthusiastically  flailing limbs, I couldn't help but agree with the sentiment of her excitement.  "Get familiar" is good advice for anyone not familiar with 22 year old Posner, a hip hop/ pop connoisseur and recent Duke University grad.  Since getting his mix tapes from a friend last fall, I have been hooked on his catchy beats and clever remixes of Top 40 songs and could not wait to see him live in concert.

The crowd at VLive was a mix of college students and young adults, dressed for the club setting.  Top 40 dance mash ups mixed by DJ Skyler bumped in between sets, and the crowd turned into a dance party while waiting for each performer to start.

The show started at around 9:45 when the hyper energetic Chicago rapper Na Palm hit the stage.  He did about five songs, all generally comprised of a fast club beat and a subject matter of partying, women, and fun.  His penchant for good times played loud and clear through his songs and the crowd definitely appreciated it. 

The next act up was an rock/ hip hop/ new wave boy band called 2am Club.  Though I wasn't expecting this type of music after the crazed hip hop energy of Na Palm, I enjoyed their set.  They reminded me of Rocket Summer with more emphasis on guitar and bass than piano: bouncy, catchy, and ready for the Top 40 charts.  However their stage presence was a little strange for two reasons.  First, they seemed a little cramped, but I think that may have been due to the fact they had to fit two lead singers, a bassist, guitar player, keyboardist, and drummer on a stage usually shared by a DJ and two go go dancers (on some Saturday nights- ringleaders and girls on swings).  Second, their stage identity seemed like a confused combination of hip hop energy and the practiced hand gestures of an acapella group.  Regardless, their music was catchy enough to convince me to look them up, and after listening to a few tunes I would say their music makes up for the boy band vibe I kept getting.

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Red Line Crawl


24 Hour Starbucks and guy in Green Man suit. Average Red Line stop.

As I discussed in one of my last posts, I have a very limited amount of time left of this year in Chicago.  I want to take advantage of the city as much as possible with what I have left so when my residence hall announced a "Red Line Crawl" for a Saturday afternoon, two friends and I signed up immediately. 

We had three hours to complete a variety of tasks along five North Side Red Line stops.  Each task was worth a number of points, and whoever made it back within the three hour time limit with the most points won the challenge.

The tasks ranged from taking a picture posing as a street musician's band to finding a cupcake shop off Fullerton.  We had a blast running around the city (literally- lets just say it was a good thing I was wearing running shoes and workout pants) and exploring each of these stops.  We found out a few things while attempting to complete all the tasks: younger people are much more likely to help out with a scavenger hunt than older people, people in green man suits tend to be very energetic, the Edible Arrangements off of Howard give FREE samples of chocolate covered strawberries/bananas/apples (so delicious!), and there are a lot of green awnings in Chicago. 

As nerdy as it sounds, scavenger hunts are really fun.  I wish that I had done something like this at the beginning of the year because it would have really forced me to go out and explore the neighborhoods around Loyola.  Though I have hung out around Fullerton/Belmont/Addison/Lawrence/Howard, this was a good way to direct us toward cool destinations, interact with people in the city, and see a lot of the city in a small amount of time.  If you are new to the city, or have been here for awhile, I would suggest making a list of everything you want to do and set a time limit on how long you have to do it.  All those things you have wanted to see in Chicago will be checked off your list, plus you may discover a few new destinations.

Gallery sneak peek (27 images):

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