Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Freedom to Learn

By Genevieve Buthod

It’s time to take a breather from the structure and demands of school for a little while. Now, to bring on self-imposed structure by finding a summer job or internship! I know it seems nice to just relax for three months and catch up on all of the sleep you missed during finals week. But after a little while, that tends to get old. Our brains are meant to be engaged, our bodies need to do something other than rest for too long.

The truth is, finding work is pretty much essential for most of us paying for school. Summer break is the perfect time to work because we don’t have to worry about how our hours will interfere with schoolwork. Last summer, I worked at a 24-hour diner, and my shifts could be normal, like 9 to 5, or they could be from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. If I was in school during that time, I would have lost my mind. It’s good to only have one aspect of your life stressing you out at a time!

This summer, I decided that an internship would be even better than a simple job. It would be nice to earn money and have steady hours, but it would be even better to have a job that I could put on my resume and gain experience in my future career path. To my surprise, I was accepted for a Research Experience for Undergraduates through Texas A&M University for the summer. I was a little worried because I thought I would have to spend my summer in Texas, away from my family back home in St. Louis. The most important thing about breaks for me is the chance to see family and friends and just be in my home city.

Thankfully, the institute factored in my concerns and paired me with a professional mentor at Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Caitlin Kelleher, with whom I will be spending my summer, created the program Storyteller Alice, designed to help younger children, especially girls, learn and love the principles of programming.

It is an honor to meet someone who shares the same values I do, the same passion for expanding computer education to everyone, not just a privileged few. But to work with her on her projects all summer is a dream come true. I cannot believe my luck that I get to be doing exactly what I hope to be my career later in life right now, in a summer internship. This is the perfect avenue to see what I want to do with my life, and I can’t believe I just get to jump right in and fully experience it.

I encourage everyone, even if you’re still deciding where to go to college, to apply for a summer internship. It could be anywhere, the point is to get experience doing what you enjoy and seeing if it is what you want to pursue in life. You never know, you could just find some new life goals and aspirations.

Have a fantastic and fulfilling summer, everyone, and thanks for reading! See you in the fall. 

Genevieve Buthod is a sophomore, and a major in Computer Science with a minor in Philosophy. She is a happy and healthy vegan. She is also the TIAA-CREF Campaign Manager for Students for Justice in Palestine. Genevieve is the Senior Viewpoints Editor for the Xavierite.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Your Presence Will Be Missed

By Dorothy J. Hill

The end has finally arrived. We always anticipated it and yearned for it to be here time and time again, but no more will you have to wish for it. It is a bittersweet feeling to end something that you want to continue but such is life. Things change and people move on to bigger and better things.

I have been a student at St. Xavier for 5 years. Consider me a Super Senior. Though it was not my initial plan, I am grateful for the opportunity and better as a person for the experiences. As time winded down, I found myself constantly saying 'well, I don't have to do this anymore or deal with this or that.' As excited as I am to progress forward, there's a small part of me that wants to stay. I have built some of the greatest relationships that I would have not ever imagined could take place. It's almost overwhelming.

From the moment I decided to be active as a student beyond the classroom, my life changed tremendously and has aided in my development as an adult and my understanding of life as a whole. The opportunities and experiences I've had, in addition to the relationships I have built, have all had a long lasting impact on me. It is my hope to take what I have acquired and make applicable to all aspects of life.

I will truly miss being a student because I was in the position to bring about a positive impact to others and shine my light as a singer. I was able to connect with others in a way that was special and sincere. I have been able to connect with dignitaries such as the President, Vice-Presidents, many members of the faculty and staff as well as my colleagues. Even though after a while the thought will dissipate, I know and believe that my presence will be missed. Now, let me say, I am a nobody. I am nobody. I'm just one more student that has made their way through Saint Xavier University, but there are some exceptions. I wasn't the type of student that was into being in as many organizations as possible, trying to make my mark on Saint Xavier politically or socially. That is not something that I cared or care for. I served a purpose and that purpose is coming to fruition as I prepare to depart from this place.

What saddens me the most is that I will no longer be working with the same people I have grown to love and enjoy for the past four and a half years. I won't be able to stop across the hall and say hello and chat with President Wiseman or Sister Sue. I won't be able to share my excitement with Vice Presidents Carlson, Murphy or Pelrine. I won't be able to pass by and wave hi to Laura, Elena, Eileen, Jackie, Valerie, Therese, Robert, Sheila, Tammy, Carrie, Esther, Margaret, or anyone else that has helped me so much over the 5 years I have been here.

I am content with my decision to be a Cougar. I have no regrets. There are some things that I think I could have done better with or on but I did what I believed was best at that time for that situation. I at least know that I can leave with a high sense of pride as I leave the same way I entered, singing. So, I leave my mark the best way I know how, on a very high note (literally).

Peace and blessings to you all as we transition to a new thing.

Dorothy J. Hill is a senior from Chicago, IL. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Dorothy is a Student Ambassador and currently serves as the Training Coordinator at Saint Xavier.

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Where Are They Now?" Alum Spotlight: Amanda Phillips

By Sydney Bennett

So, I thought I would try something fun with this blog, interviewing! It's always good for college students to hear from alum and to be inspired to continue to work hard because we know that it holds a purpose and prepares us for success. For this alum spotlight, I interviewed my freshman RA Amanda Phillips. Enjoy the Q & A! :-)

1. When did you graduate?
A: I graduated May 2011.

2. How did you feel while graduation and right after?
A:  During graduation, I felt very proud! I was the first in my
immediate family to graduate and I was humbled! It was an honor!
Honestly, right after, I was in shock and extremely hungry!

3. What clubs and leaderships roles did you have @ SXU?
A: I was in Service Club, BSU, AFC Upper Room Ministries, and NSCS. I
was an RA for two years! Vice President of BSU and Secretary! Also
Public Relations Vice President for NSCS (National Society of
Collegiate Scholars)

4. What was your favorite thing/part about going to SXU?
A: My favorite part about going to SXU was the ability to shine. At a
smaller university, you have much more chances to make an impact on
people’s everyday lives and also receive recognition that you wouldn't
at a much bigger university! I also like the location! I could get
anywhere in Chicago easily!

5. Where do you work now?
A: I am a Media Teacher at Black Hawk School in Park Forest, IL and I
am also a server at night.

6. What are your future plans?
A: I plan this summer to attend the Media Institute in Washington, DC
as a precursor to my new field of study: Integrated Communications! I
have been accepted to DePaul Graduate School of Communication and hope
to start there next year! My blog is up and my business is well underway!
I hope to bridge Education and Media with my business, blogs, books,
and personality.

7. What’s the best thing you've learned at SXU?
A: The best thing I learned at SXU was how to do my own financial aid.
JK! It was how to be a team leader among great leaders!

8.  What were your favorite classes/professors @ SXU? 
A: I was a very balanced person at SXU. I made a “TO DO" list for my
days, and scheduled every little thing that had priority. I give 100
percent to everything, and it kept me focused. I made sure all my
homework was done on the weekdays so I could go out on the
weekends! Every weekend was fun!

I hope some of her tips helped you! Stay inspired and enjoy the college journey also enjoy summer!
- Sydney

Sydney Bennett is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. She is a Mass Communications major with minors in both Sociology and Art & Design. She is President of Ambassador's for Christ(AFC) and a member of their Gospel choir at Saint Xavier.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


By Luci Farrell

Graduation is looming over me. I say this figuratively and literally. As my graduation cap and gown are currently hanging on my door above me, even I cannot deny that the time is nearly here. I picked up my stole I get to wear for completing the honors program at SXU and made fan girl squeals the entire way back to my room. I would be more embarrassed if I wasn’t so tired.

Yet, now it’s all becoming real to me. Cap, gown, stoles, all stare at me and my housing contract will be up soon. I do not have classes for next semester and I am packing my belongings for the last time. I would probably feel overwhelmed if there weren’t so many other things to do. Well, that and being overwhelmed takes more energy than I could probably muster. Ah, the little daily blessings.

I suppose my previous blog was my sappy goodbye. I just couldn’t see myself ending on that note, no matter how eloquent it sounds in my head. I always tried to keep a humorous blog so naturally I have to end the same way. After all, what good is an ending without a smile?

I had the opportunity to submit a bid/nomination/draft/what have you, to speak at commencement. Unfortunately I did not take that opportunity.  The main reason was that I did not have the time to properly put together what I would say. My capstone project was due the same day and two years of research takes serious editing and care. Still, I cannot help but wonder what my speech would look like. What words would I want to leave my class with? Would I want to make everyone laugh, think, or cry? I have made heartfelt speeches and have witnessed people cry at my words. I won’t lie, it’s a nifty feeling knowing you can move people that much. Would I have that catchy last line? When Steve Jobs gave his commencement address at Stanford University, he ended his speech with, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” How would I have been able to leave my skewed wisdom behind with a few words? How could I ever have an ending like that?

What wisdom do I have? I have my stories, my experiences, and my odd knowledge. All would make for questionable speeches, probably not the best way to go. Yet, there are some things I have learned that everyone should know.

Always say yes to the road trip.

Don’t turn down a concert.

Take a class that challenges you, maybe even your beliefs.

Dance in the rain.

Mattresses in the living room make movie nights better.

Color books are essential to sanity in college.

Dance parties are mandatory for every five pages finished in a term paper.

Nutella and a banana make a perfectly acceptable breakfast.

Water bottles are your friends.

Febreze is a godsend.

Sometimes rearranging furniture is what you need to do to clear your head.

It is okay to cry on the kitchen floor.

It is okay to ask for help.

You’re not alone.

Sometimes a hug is all you need.

So that’s what I have to impart. That is my wisdom. Yet, there is one bit of wisdom I have left behind every week, though in variation. Keep Calm. Regardless of the problems in your life, keep calm. Relationship troubles, school troubles, or the zombie apocalypse, my advice stays the same.

Dear Bloggers,

Keep Calm and Carry On.

Luci Farrell is a senior from New Haven, CT. She is an Organizational Communication major with a minor in Anthropology. Luci is a Resident Peer Minister on campus and chair of the Honors Program Advisory Council at Saint Xavier University.

Concert Review and Lessons Learned

By Genevieve Buthod

This past Friday night, Saint Xavier’s jazz ensemble performed our final concert of the year in McGuire Hall. We played many lively songs, including recognizable titles like “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and “Well You Needn’t” by jazz greats Dave Brubeck and Thelonious Monk, respectively. We also played more subdued, mysterious tunes like “Stolen Moments” by the incredible Oliver Nelson from his famous album The Blues and the Abstract Truth. The energy in the room was tangible, not only because of the excitement from playing, but from the feeling the band created when we brought the songs out from the pages.

 Something about performing truly brings me to life as a musician. It is more than just personal enjoyment of a great song; it is the thrill of intense improvisations coming out of my horn, out of my body. It is my duty to share the best possible version of those songs that I can with the audience and with my fellow performers. Up on that stage, we all owe it to one another to put our hearts into our work. It requires an entire loss of personal ego. We have to forget ourselves and put ourselves into the group in the best way possible. We have to seamlessly meld our individual talents and motivations into one unified, if multifaceted, sound.

Playing in the jazz ensemble and other music ensembles at SXU reminds me that I can only do so much if I stand on my own. I play a monophonic instrument, which means that my saxophone can only play one note at a time, unlike a piano or a guitar.  Even when I’m soloing, I need everyone else in that band with me, holding up the chords alongside my lines, guiding me in the right direction. I would be absolutely lost without the bass notes showing me where I am in the form, without the horn section’s long low tones showing me where I’m headed next.

This final concert was a terrific opportunity to remind myself how much I need help when I’m trying to pull off something so much bigger than myself. Being an independent spirit, it’s nice to have direct proof in front of me that I truly need the input and support of the people around me. It is an important lesson to learn, and I am glad to be learning it through music. 

Hope to see you all at the Saint Xavier Orchestra concert this coming Wednesday, the 25th at 7:30 p.m. and the University Wind Ensemble Concert this Thursday the 26th at 7:30p.m. Both will take place in the old gym, the rehearsal space in the G-wing. Our last concerts of the year will be sure to draw in guests, and I hope our readers are among them!

See you then…

Genevieve Buthod is a sophomore, and a major in Computer Science with a minor in Philosophy. She is a happy and healthy vegan. She is also the TIAA-CREF Campaign Manager for Students for Justice in Palestine. Genevieve is the Senior Viewpoints Editor for the Xavierite.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

College Should Be

By Sydney Bennett

 We’re nearing the end of the semester where everyone is basically over most of their classes or to put it in better terms; we’re excited for our summer breaks! This is a time when classes can become repetitive and not interesting, but I’ve found that they don’t have to be. Even towards the end of the semester classes can be enjoyed. I’ve found that some of mine still are enjoyable. Furthermore, college should be an enjoyable experience, not just something we do in between the time or to get a job. College should be... Enlightening I know I’m not the only one that has had those a’ha moments. The moments where you develop a greater understanding or find a missing link. Usually your enlightening moment comes after a challenge. That’s what college should create. A challenging atmosphere that encourages us to evaluate and criticize, to help shape our views. I’ve had plenty of professors here that did not necessarily share the same faith or background with me, but their classes helped enlighten me. The best enlightening moments are the ones where you feel closer to yourself, something feels relatable to you. College should be enlightening. Encouraging We all know that the state of the world is not exactly ideal. College shouldn’t be an escape from the effects that are displayed here on Earth, but it also shouldn’t bring us down. Am I the only that has been in classes where you leave feeling a little depressed? My best classes are the ones that leave me hopeful for a future and that remind me of the power I possess. I definitely have experienced classes here that have given me confidence, strategies, and a positive outlook on the world. With diversity as one of our main values, beliefs should be accepted. College should be encouraging. Expressing Maybe it’s just me that loves to express, but I have a feeling it’s not. There is so much talent that I’ve seen on campus when we have comedy shows, talent shows, and open mics. It’s amazing to see how my peers are able to express themselves. A lot of my art classes have given me this gift. But even when we have to write critical analyses and give feedback in class discussions, it all helps. Our college experience should help us find our favorite and best ways to express ourselves. It should also help strengthen our personal ways of expressing in weaker areas. College should be expressing. Those are just a few ideas of what I think college should be and I can honestly say it has been here for me. What else do you think college should be? In the midst of the hard work, early mornings, and challenging times don’t forget to look at the beauty of college. All of the things that college could and should be for you should be kept in your remembrance.

Sydney Bennett is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. She is a Mass Communications major with minors in both Sociology and Art & Design. She is President of Ambassador's for Christ(AFC) and a member of their Gospel choir at Saint Xavier.
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