Connecting with Loyola: A Student’s Story
February 21, 2014
I was a senior at Malden Catholic High School. My classmates and I were spending our last few months together trying to enjoy everything we could. And though we were enjoying the present time, there was always talk about the future and where everyone would be heading off to college.
I was very active in my college search and knew exactly which schools I would like to attend—schools such as William & Mary, Marquette, Villanova, and Purdue.
Loyola was not a school that I even looked at or gave any consideration to at all; however, I ended up applying because I had a friend who was a first-year student at the time, and said he liked the school (not to mention my mailbox was constantly filled with “Strong Truths Well Lived” and “Greyhounds are the best!” propaganda).
Later on, the acceptance letters began to roll in, and I ended up having a selection of great schools to choose from.
But along with the large and boisterous acceptance letters came the small and dream-shattering rejection letters, and I found out a month before the college deposit was due that I had been denied admission to Notre Dame.
This dealt a huge blow to me, as it was my dream school.
I did not have a clue as to where I would now go.
My parents tried to keep me calm about it and were ensuring me that everything would be fine, like any parent would do. But I was frantic. I kept trying to envision myself at all these different schools—to no avail.
It was not until my parents started looking at tuition costs that Loyola finally caught my eye. Loyola had been extremely generous and offered me more scholarship money than any other school. It was hard to ignore, so we signed up for an accepted students day and drove eight hours to Baltimore right after I had taken my Theology final.
The next day, my parents and I parked our car at the cathedral, got on the shuttle, and drove over to the campus. I stepped off and walked on to the quad for the first time, and I instantly knew that I had found my school: just seeing the quad made my decision for me. Everything else was icing on the cake.
It was a euphoric feeling, as I finally knew where I would be going to school.
I started feeling actually connected to Loyola well before I thought I would…
I had received notice from the athletic department that Loyola’s men’s lacrosse team was in the NCAA tournament, so I watched the games religiously.
To my delight, Loyola made the Final Four and would be playing in Championship Weekend, which was being held in Foxboro, Mass. Living only 45 minutes away from Gillette Stadium, my parents and I were excited as we drove to the game.
It was nuts, to say the least…
The Loyola fan section was unbelievable. There was a tailgate for the Loyola fans in the parking lot, and everyone was dressed head to toe in green and grey. The sense of community and school spirit and pride was almost too much to handle. I loved every second of it.
The day would only get better when my future school defeated my former “dream school,” Notre Dame. Once we saw that, there was no way we weren’t going to the championship game.
On Memorial Day, we witnessed history as Loyola won its first D-1 NCAA title—and was also the smallest school to ever do so. (I boasted about that so much over the summer that my friends couldn’t wait for me to leave.)
The summer ended, and I arrived in Baltimore with a strong connection to everything Loyola.
As I experienced other connections, this feeling would increase tenfold…
I met some of my best friends during my first few days: the graceful dancer, Julia; the iconic Red Sox hat-wearing Patrick; the No. 1 New York Giants fan, Frances; the rugby enthusiast, Jack; the Shakespeare actress extraordinaire, Laura; the Parry the Platypus-loving David; and the delightful Loyola campus celebrity we all know as Kristin.
Connections launched me into my first year and encouraged me to try new things. I joined the rowing team. I sat on the Executive Board of SuperFans. I even played on an intramural volleyball team (not one of my better talents).
Loyola is a place where you can try anything your heart desires, no matter your background.
I implore all of you to get involved in something here on campus and to try something new and completely out of your comfort zone. There are endless opportunities for you to take advantage of, so take advantage of them!
The important thing to realize is that what you put into Loyola is what you will get out of it.
Words cannot begin to describe how much Loyola means to me…
I often describe Loyola as one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me, or I use words such as ‘awesome’ and ‘extraordinary,’ but even they do not describe the feelings I have for this institution.
Thus far, I could not have dreamed of a better experience to have. Loyola is everything that a college should be—and more.
You will find that there will always be someone there for you, no matter the circumstance.
You will discover the professors, administrators, and staff all have your best interest at heart.
You will uncover how cura personalis and discernment can change your day-to-day life for the better.
Most of all, you will unveil what it means to be a Greyhound.
What I am really trying to get across is that each and every one of you comes here for a reason. I urge you to discover what that reason is. It doesn’t matter how or why you decided to come to Loyola; it just matters that you did decide to come here.
The people you meet will be part of some of the best years of your life. It’s these people that make Loyola what it is—and what leaves me unable to describe the pride and joy I receive from it.
Loyola University Maryland is going to become a part of you, and you are going to become a part of it.
I always joke about how much money I could make if I sold t-shirts that said: “Live Laugh Love Loyola,” but I think it fits here…
I encourage all of you to make the most out of your time here—and to Live, Laugh, and Love Loyola.
Jimmy McCarron, ‘16, is originally from Revere, Mass. He is a political science major with minors in biology and forensics, and a member of the Greyhounds men’s rowing team.