Jesuit schools, in particular this Jesuit school, are the way to go if you’re interested in broadening your mind and opening up your world view. I’ve taken classes on how the concept of “the self” is represented in literature, why open borders and immigration are so important in the US and Mexico, and the fundamentals of conflict and peace in the Middle East. I’ve examined the theories behind labor economics, learned about the interplay between chemistry and art, and studied the Bible as literature as opposed to a religious work. All this was just in the classroom.

Outside the classroom, I spot fliers everyday for presentations on things meant to start a dialogue. The BSU hosted a speaker this semester who spoke on what it means to be an African-American woman. Loyola Life sponsored a panel discussion which examined what services are available on campus for pregnant students and students who already have children. A few years ago when Sodexo went on strike over a wage dispute, SGA put together a panel encouraging questions about what was going on and how students could get involved. Just this week I attended a screening of the documentary “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes.” The director of the film was present and spoke on the representations of gender, sexuality, and race in hip-hop music.

Learning is more than just memorizing facts. Learning takes place in more ways than just lectures, labs, and seminars. Learning is about figuring out a way to incorporate your own understanding of the world with someone else’s. Learning requires growth, growth requires struggle, and out of this struggle we find a common ground with which to communicate. My three years thus far at Loyola have fostered this through the willingness of my professors to teach on complex social issues, fellow students who engage in casual debates, and an administration who wants to give everyone a chance to speak.

Coming up on April 19th, Alpha Sigma Nu (the Jesuit Honor Society) is hosting a particularly hot button debate on the inclusion of birth control in insurance policies for the employees of the New Orleans Archdiocese. We go to a Jesuit school and some might think that issues such as birth control are completely off the table. However, these are the topics that Loyola encourages open conversation. That’s what I love about Loyola- you’re allowed to think.

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