Saturday, September 29, 2018

Orientation: The Second Time Around

Last year I was an incoming student at Loyola. A year later, I am exercising my leadership skills by speaking at orientation. Take a look at what I said to the incoming students. 

You are about to embark on an amazing journey! You should be so excited. I am a part-time social justice student. I commute from Elmhurst every week. For undergraduate, I got my degree in communications. When I graduated from Elmhurst College, I interned at different nonprofits, I did some advocacy work with the Federal Communications Commission, and the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation for five years, then I came back to school.

In this department, I have had Dr. Mike Canaris and Dr. Peter Jones as professors. They were tremendous. Everyone here wants you to succeed. I feel like they know you will the work. As a student who takes twice the time it takes you to do a paper, I can attest that the workload is reasonable. This is graduate school. Feel welcome to communicate with professors but you cannot afford to not put in the effort. As long as they know you’re trying, they will help you. For example, in Mike’s class, I was doing well on the assignments, but I wanted to throw the textbook out the window. I expressed my sentiment to him, and he understood I did not have a theology background. We worked through it. Every single professor wants you to succeed, they truly do.

OK, now I get to talk about the fun stuff! I am the Student Engagement Committee student chair. Last year, I was sitting where you are. I decided to go to the first meeting, it’s really fun. Now, I’m in a leadership position. With my disability, I could have easily been the online student that no one really knew. That identify did not sit with me very well. Getting involved really and truly is rewarding. For one, I can walk into a classroom and have an idea of who that professor is and vice versa.  Your experience is so much richer if you get involved. We also need members to make the Student Engagement Committee work. Most of the Committee graduated last spring, so I hope you at least come to the first meeting. The first meeting is September 5th at 3 o’clock. We won’t have it the first week because that would be crazy but the second week on September 5th at 3 o’clock, please come. Getting involved only leads to good things. 
To sum up, everyone in the room is now your cheerleader. We need to be present. Get to know people. These professors have touched my life. This is a very devoted group of faculty that will challenge you while respecting your beliefs. As for me, I’m the woman using a wheelchair, who uses a communication device to speak, usually in pink, I’m real easy to recognize. I want to get to know you. I hope to see you around and chat.

Loyola University's Institute of Pastoral Studies is amazing and my home away from home. They did publish it in their blog which is so cool! Here is the link to their blog:

Happy Fall,

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