Finals week is probably the most stressful week for everyone. There are a lot of tears and the anxiety in the air is almost tangible.

The way I try to look at finals is that I have done the work all semester so I should be familiar with the material. Studying for the final should be nothing more than just a refresher on the things I have already learned.  I find that if I have that mind set when I sit down to study I actually start to feel positive about the final. I think “this isn’t so bad, I can do this.” As long as you are putting forth the effort, finals should not be a problem.

Now, for those classes where you have no clue what is going on, those are little more tricky to tackle. You just have to go into studying with a positive attitude and the thought that you can conquer anything you put your mind to. You might even find yourself saying, “I get this. I am going to rock this final.’

I really believe the key to be successful during finals is the way you approach the situation. If you come in saying you are going to fail, then when you were studying you weren’t focusing on learning the material, you were worried about failing. If you go in saying I know this and I understand, you will be able to concentrate because you are feeling positive, and you will most likely rock your finals.

Also, make sure you are getting enough sleep during finals week. You should not be staying up until 4 am or even pulling all-nighters to study the material. When you don’t sleep, you aren’t able to focus and chances are you aren’t retaining any of the material. You also don’t want to over-sleep and miss your final, or worse fall asleep in the middle.

Your mental and physical health play an important role in your performance, so take care of yourself and think positive, and you will ace all of your finals.

Do you have a particular study habit that you find helps you to retain information and be positive?

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At Loyola University New Orleans, a lot of people can say that Wolfpack Pride isn’t simply a feeling—it’s a way of life. For music therapy sophomore Christine Johnson, Wolfpack Pride is her life. Three generations of her family have attended Loyola, including her mother, her father, her brother, 3 of her aunts, and her grandfather. Because Loyola celebrates its centennial this year, I decided to sit down with this lovely young woman to talk about Loyola’s history and the significant place her family holds in it.

Edward Levy in college, The WolfTake Christine’s grandfather Edward Levy, for example, a student at Loyola who later became a dean of the College of Dentistry. As a student, Edward Levy held positions as president of Alpha Sigma Nu, a Jesuit service fraternity, and Xi Psi Phi, a dentist fraternity. He was also involved in Alpha Pi Omicron, a service fraternity, and served as the secretary of Panhellenic Council. He also served as the editor of The Wolf (the college yearbook) and also founded a training group for people going into war—and those were just a few of his accomplishments.

Edward Levy, Dean of College of Dentistry, The Wolf“My grandfather? Super overachiever,” Christine laughs, “but, you know—this is actually something really cool. Whenever I’m hanging out in [the Ignatius] Chapel, well, that’s where the dental school used to be, so every time I’m in there, I’m like, this is where my grandfather used to teach. I like that.”

Christine moves on to her immediate family, all of who majored in music like her.

“In my family, we say that we’ve taken over every music major except performance,” Christine laughs. “My dad was business of music, my mom was music education, and my brother was music industry. I am music therapy, and now we say that all we need is someone to major in performance.”

Christine’s brother, Mark Johnson, graduated last year. “It was kind of cool for a while to go to the same school as him. We’d never gone to the same school before,” said Christine. Mark now teaches guitar and drums at the New Orleans Academy of Music. He also records and tours with his band, the Acadias.

The story I’m most excited to hear, however, is the story of Christine’s parents. It’s also the story Christine is most excited to tell.

Christine’s parents, Greg Johnson and DeeDee Levy Johnson, actually started dating while they attended Loyola. They met in Loyola’s Chorale, the same singing ensemble that Christine sings in today. Both parents were members of a group called Broadway Babies, a musical theater group at Loyola.

Greg Johnson and DeeDee Levy (Johnson), Christine's own picture“I think the first time my mom heard my dad sing, he was singing ‘Pretty Women’ from Sweeney Todd,” Christine says. She remembers that she has pictures of them and searches on her computer. “My parents are going to kill me!” she sings.

In addition to Christine’s parents, several of Christine’s aunts have attended Loyola, including Diane Levy Centanni, a dental hygiene major, and Debbie Levy Pierce, an education major.

Loyola was a familiar place for Christine when she was a child. She remembers watching performances there and meeting several professors. When she applied to colleges, Loyola was always on the list.

“I forced myself to look at other colleges,” Christine says, “you know, so I wouldn’t get tunnel-visioned. But I had a teacher in high school who explained what music therapy was, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. There aren’t many colleges that offer that, so Loyola was kind of perfect. It had my program, I practically grew up there, and it was close to home.”

Christine came into Loyola as somewhat of a familiar face. “Lots of my teachers here had my parents [as students]. They get confused sometimes, call me DeeDee,” Christine says. But Christine has already accomplished a lot at Loyola. She’s in the University Honors Program. She also holds membership in the music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, a Christian Life Community or CLC (a small group that meets once a week to discuss spirituality in relation to everyday life), University Chorale, and Active Minds (a group being organized on campus that uses the student voice to destigmatize mental health on college campuses). She’s also going on the Ignacio Volunteer trip to Jamaica this summer.

When I ask her about how she feels about the centennial celebration, Christine says, “I don’t think I’m a significant part of Loyola’s history. I think Loyola is a significant part of my family’s history. Everything is talking about these things that have happened in the last 100 years, and it’s cool to think someone from my family has been there the whole way.”

* Pictures taken from The Wolf online and from Christine Johnson’s own collection with her permission.

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Getting sick is one of the biggest secret roadblocks in college. In an environment when your grades can go from awesome to awful in less than twenty-four hours, an illness—especially a serious illness—can set you back. Here are some tips on avoiding illness and what to do if you do get sick.

The best way to avoid dealing with being sick is simply to not get sick at all. However, we all know that’s not as simple as it sounds. Students packed together in dorms are the perfect incubator for disease. However, the best rules to follow are the ones you’ve been told your whole life: wash your hands, eat healthy (Wow 3 times a day does not count as eating healthy! Get some fruits and vegetables in there so you have the vitamins to fight off disease!), sleep (I know, I’m guilty of skimping on this one too, but try to sleep as much as you can. Your body can’t fight disease if its immune system is depleted.); and don’t share razors, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, or drinks. All of these measures can help prevent sickness. What happens when you do get sick though, despite taking all of these safety measures?

First of all, if you’re not going anything I talked about in the previous paragraph, start doing it. If you’re not sleeping, start doing it. If you’re not eating fruits and vegetables, start doing it, if you can. If you suspect anything more than a small cold, go to Student Health. They open at 8:30 and close around 4. I suggest going early and either being seen early (you usually don’t need an appointment that early) or going early and scheduling an appointment for later in the day (this helps during crunch times for sickness, usually at the beginning of the semester or right when a season changes). You can also call in at (504) 865-2393 to schedule an appointment or see if they have room. Student Health can be time-consuming, but they can test you for several common college diseases. Sometimes, they can even give you medication samples and save you a little bit of money. They can also direct you to an urgent care center, doctor, or hospital, depending on your needs. They also take your health insurance status into consideration.

If you don’t have over-the-counter medicine on hand, try to find a way to get some, if you need it. The C-store carries Tylenol, Advil, and other simple medications. To buy generic brands or something a little more specialized, you can probably visit a Rite Aid or other drugstore. Good medications to always have on hand are a pain reliever/fever reducer like Tylenol or Advil, Mucinex, an allergy medicine like Claratin or Benadryl, Sudafed, and Pepto-Bismol. I also know a lot of students who swear by NyQuil or DayQuil. If you don’t know your recommended dosage, read the box or ask a medical professional and never take more than you need.

One of the trickiest parts of sickness in college is dealing with the sickness by itself and dealing with your classes at the same time. As much as possible, even though you feel crummy, it’s a good idea to go to class, unless you have a fever, are in pain too hard to bear in class, or have been deemed unable to attend class by a medical professional. A lot of professors give out free days for illness, a certain number of days when you can be absent from class without consequence. These days are for illness. Try not to use too many of them at the beginning of the semester. You might find yourself wanting them at the end of the semester when you’re sick and really actually can’t attend class. It’s a good idea to contact your professor anyway to let him/her know you’re ill. You can get information from them about class that day, but try to ask your classmates for notes first.

If you’re going to be ill for a long time or are hospitalized, absolutely find a way to let your professor know. And always, always, always get a doctor’s note, especially if it’s the doctor telling you that you can’t go to class. Your professor might not want the note, but I know a lot of students who were sick, missed an assignment, didn’t get a note, and had their grades suffer for it. A note is an especially good idea during exams, midterms, or times when you might need an extension on a project due to your illness. Talk to your professors sooner rather than later—this means before your assignment is due. I find that talking to them in person tends to work better than only communicating through email, but you don’t have to talk to them in person. I think they get a lot of sick excuses from students, and it helps if you can prove that your case is legitimate.

When recovering from an illness, it’s good to let your body completely recover. Even though you may feel fine, continue to take it easy (this means rest—try to do your schoolwork if you can so that you don’t get behind, because that’s a very slippery slope). Though your sickness may be gone, your immune system might be compromised. My senior year of high school, I contracted walking pneumonia before contracting an upper respiratory infection while I was recovering from the walking pneumonia. I was sick for a total of four months and was absolutely miserable. Try to prevent that happening to you.

Getting sick is tough, and recovering can be tough when taking a day off is tough, especially if you’re like a lot of students and do other things besides going to class, like working. However, dealing with the situation in a mature manner can go a long way to help preserve your health and your grades.

Do you guys have any sick stories or advice on illness? Post in the comments below!

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Congrats to Khaled Badr and Michael Falatico for their recent Presidential and Vice Presidential wins! This year, I worked on the Elections committee to ensure the election process remained as fair as possible while also spreading the word about every students “right to vote.” As I sat at a table in the Dana Center, calling out “SGA Elections today! Vote here!”, I was struck by the number of students who walked past without stopping to cast their vote. You may ask who is the culprit in this refusal to take part in the selection of the future leaders of our school?


In talking to some students about why they didn’t vote, I heard a lot of people echoing the sentiment that “SGA doesn’t matter.” Let me tell you- that’s not true. SGA plays a very active role in your Loyola experience, whether you realize it or not, and there are many reasons why you should take the time to learn what SGA does and more importantly what they can do for you.

1. You give them money. A part of your tuition every semester is set-aside specifically for SGA. They use this money to provide funding to on-campus organizations as well as various initiatives.

2. Shuttles to and from the airport. Canes in the Quad. Battle of the Bands. Graduate test reimbursement. Research grants. New York Times and USA Today every morning. Software reimbursement. PB&J on Tuesdays. These are all things provided by SGA.

3. A voice in policy issues. While its difficult to change University policy, SGA has a direct line to administrators and the Board of Trustees. If you want something changed, you have to go through these channels. SGA is the voice of the students when policy issues come under review.

4. If you don’t care on a local level, when will you start to care? Perhaps the phrase “Right to Vote” is misleading. Voting is a RESPONSIBILITY. We have a responsibility to our school to care about the direction it goes in. College is the time we all learn how to be involved in our communities. Shake off the apathy, find your voice, and vote.

SGA works hard every year trying to make students as happy as possible. I charge every Loyola student with this mission: make yourself aware of SGA’s impact on campus. And next year, I want to see 100% voter turnout.

So, next year, will you be in line to vote?

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While Earth Day was officially celebrated yesterday, the message that this day carries can be spread to every day of the year. Many sources have a conflicting view to when Earth day was exactly started; however, the true meaning of Earth day can be seen at every park, zoo, conservatory, or forest preserve that desires to show the beauty in nature, especially to the youth of our world.

Earth day celebrates the simple things. The fresh crispness of a blade of grass, the indescribable scent of fresh air on a summer morning, or the soft fluffy petal of a daisy can all be equated to another one of nature’s mysteries.

Some people claim planet Earth is a small place; others say it is gigantic, others limit Earth to a color spectrum, but I simply say Earth is a mystery.  A place that God did not intend to ever be full described in human terms. The tallest mountains to the depths of the oceans have an identity with true anonymity.

The Jesuit value, Sense of Giftedness of Creation or Finding God in All Things, screams the message of Earth day. The opportunity to find God in all of creation allows for respect and protection, yet it also offers the opportunity for abuse.

This mystery that we call Earth continues to be mistreated by the inhabitants.

Although environmental issues do not have an easy solution, Loyola offers programs that contribute to sustaining Earth’s beauty. On Loyola’s campus, “A single stream recycling dumpster from Allied Waste is now on the main campus.  It is located on West Road near the Danna Center Loading Dock and Biever Hall.” This recycling project allows for students to dispose of magazines, paper bags, aluminum cans, cereal boxes, and other items instead of throwing these items away. However, some items cannot be disposed of in the recycling project including batteries, plastic bags, and paper contaminated by food.

Also, Loyola offers other sustainable tips. These can be viewed at

Loyola is a place to live and learn, and renovations are apparent throughout campus. Together, we can make Loyola a better place for everyone in our community.

How do you contribute to planet Earth?  Do you have any specific suggestions that can be carried out at Loyola?

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When I started my college search down the yellow brick road, I said I didn’t care about size or anything like that, but when I actually started touring schools, I noticed that it did matter. When I sat down and started comparing schools, I realized that Loyola was the only place that I really felt welcomed, where people were friendly and passionate, and that was something that I loved.

For me, Loyola is all about the community. I came from a semi-small high school where all my teachers knew me and everything about my family. Because of this experience, I couldn’t see myself acclimating to a big school where I would be in classes with 300 other students. I didn’t want to give up the sense of family and community, and at Loyola, I didn’t have to sacrifice that.

I love that when I walk across campus I run into professors and administrators, who always want to stop to talk, and they are sincere in wanting to know how your life is going. You form a great relationship with the people who are educating you, which fosters a great learning environment. You can tell that your professors are dedicated to educating their students and they really care about us. The professors show great dedication and commitment to not only their students, but also to the material they teach. All of the professors I have had have been passionate about their classes and really wanted to share their knowledge with their students.

Loyola helps people to grow in their field, and I have experienced this in the School of Mass Communication in just the one year I have been at Loyola. Mass Communications is the largest major on campus, but the director of the School of Mass Communication knows my name and will not hesitate to stop and ask me how my day is going. I have even gotten the opportunity to have front page articles in our newspaper, The Maroon, despite being just as a freshman.

Loyola, for me, means a second family and a home away from home. As cliché as it sounds, for me it really is true, and I realize more and more everyday how lucky I am to be here. I have definitely found my place at Loyola, and I cannot wait to see what the next three years hold for me. When I click my ‘maroon’ slippers, I find that I am already at the university I love.

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From upholding the Jesuit values to approachable, insightful, and helpful professors, Loyola University of New Orleans has a multi-layered meaning to me. This year has flown by with many memories and experiences. I vividly remember the reason behind choosing Loyola. Originally, I chose Loyola of New Orleans for the School of Mass Communications and other academic reasons. However, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by Loyola’s accomplishments and connections. Because of the advancement and progress in New Orleans, I knew that Loyola University of New Orleans would be the best opportunity for me because it was growing unlike any other place in the United States. The diversity at Loyola contributes to the peaceful atmosphere with the variety of organizations, activities, and relationships. Loyola means so much to so many people and this is evident in the centennial celebration, but Loyola reveals community to me. From the immediate community of students working together to the entire faculty, staff, and students teaching and learning lessons inside and outside of the classroom, the Loyola community joins over a common love for Loyola. I believe that this shows through in the attitudes of the bright young individuals to the numerous faculty and staff members’ encouragement.  Also, the Loyola community has relationships with one another in and outside the Loyola community. These relationships are crucial for a Jesuit institution and Loyola’s mission. Relationships can be as simple as positive communication with a professor to networking with local or national businesses for a job after graduation. These relationships are rooted in the Jesuit values and principles. The Jesuit value of the heart, generosity, is provided to in many ways but a specific example is through student scholarships that allow many students to attend Loyola. The Jesuit value Development of the Whole Person (Humanistic Education & Responsible Citizen of the World) and Dignity and Value of Each Person (Appreciation of Diversity) are exemplified in programs such as the Wolf Pack welcome activities to other bonding events such as Snow Day at Loyola.

Through my perspective, I have learned that Loyola is a diverse community that values ethical Jesuit relationships, and this is a glimpse at what Loyola means to me.

What does Loyola mean to you?

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Loyola, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee for the brick and stone, flowers and trees

The beautiful grounds which bring pleasure to me.

I love Loyola week, where we all show our pride

With Wolfpack tattoos and chalking outside.

I love SGA, working tirelessly for us

To improve our campus and gain our trust.

This school draws all kinds, diverse and exciting,

Conversations around campus are always delighting.

I love my secret places I’ve found all around,

Hidden lounges, bell towers, even underground.

I love all the staff members, friendly and kind,

They’ve gotten me out of many a bind.

I love all my friends here, quirky and cool,

Although we’re all crazy, we don’t act the fool.

I love my Professors because they push me to excel

That they want me to succeed, its not hard to tell.

I love being “Awakened” twice a year,

The Awakening community is one I hold dear.

I love DG for hope, for strength, for life,

They’ve gotten me through so much, even in strife.

I love thee, Loyola, you’re the place for me;

Helping create men and women for others: AMDG.

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I’ve moved 5 times in my life and have never been able to really connect myself to one location and call it home until I came to Loyola.
I thought New Orleans would be another city for me to blow through in four years and move on, but Loyola had other plans for me.
The first day I set foot on campus I was challenged to change the university and make it my own. It was like Havok himself handed me the keys to Loyola and told me to bring it back with a full tank in 4 years.
It’s been about 3 years so far and it’s been one hell of a ride. I’ve joined the honors program, organized trips across the country, become an RA and have been elected editor-in-chief of the paper all because whenever I’d get an idea in my head to do something, everyone at Loyola always asked me: why not?
Whether someone wants to learn a new language, compete nationally in their favorite sport or even leave the country for a couple years, Loyola is there to help them figure out how, even if it’s never been done before.
Even with all the resources Loyola has and will get for it’s students, it wouldn’t feel like home without close friends. The people I’ve met at Loyola and the city have become like a family to me. From the festivals to the concerts and crawfish boils, I’ve done things with my friends that I might never get to share with anyone again after I graduate and that alone makes the relationships I’ve started here unique.
My story isn’t special though. Everyone gets a chance to do what they want here and turn Loyola into whatever they want it to be. During the centennial celebration it became clear to me that it’s been that way for 100 years now. Seeing students from decades ago move to integrate the school, start the first fraternity on any Jesuit campus and shaped the world we see every day doesn’t show whats already been done, but what can be done.
It’s a big responsibility to get behind the wheel of a something that’s meant so much to so many people and I’ve given it a few dents and scratches in my three years, but that’s the way it should be. So how have you taken on Loyola to make it your own?

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It’s finally here! CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS! Loyola has been shining in New Orleans for 100 years, and we get to be a part of the party! There are lots of events going on for the rest of the year, and TONIGHT we are lucky enough to have a great concert at the Howlin’ Wolf. After an opening set by Loyola band Naughty Professor, Fitz and the Tantrums will get up on stage. They are definitely an up and coming band, and will put on an excellent show.

The band formed in 2009 when Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick bought an old church organ and became inspired to write the song “Breaking the Chains of Love.” Says Fitz of this single, “I immediately knew it was the best song I’d written.” A few phone calls later, the  band was assembled and rehearsing. They played a show the end of that week, and have been touring and recording ever since.

With a neo-soul, Motown, and Stax inspired sound, Fitz and the Tantrums have a very unique feel. Fitz and the Tantrums consists of Michael Fitzpatrick (lead vocals and keyboards), Noelle Scaggs (vocals and percussion), James King (saxophone, flute, trumpet, and harmonica), Joseph Karnes (bass guitar), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards) and John Wicks (drums and percussion). Interestingly, the guitar isn’t featured in the music because Fitzpatrick was “sick of hearing it.” There music takes you back to the 1960’s but has a modern twist on it with their funky style and crooning voices.

SGA and UPB are providing buses to the Howlin’ Wolf starting at 6:30pm. Naughty Professor plays at 8pm, and Fitz and the Tantrums go on at 9pm. Here’s the Facebook group with more information.

The best part? The concert is entirely FREE! So, are you going to come?

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