Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication


My First Year at SOC

My First Year at SOC

Starting a new chapter in life can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially for incoming college freshmen. At Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication, four freshmen embarked on a journey in August 2022 that would challenge them personally and academically. They were eager to begin their college experience, make new friends, and pursue their passion for communication. 

Now, as the 2022-23 academic year ends and they successfully completed the journey, they reflect on their experience. 

Photo: Challis Lee, Film and Digital Media Student


Why did you decide to attend SOC at Loyola, a Jesuit university?

“As a communications student, I chose Loyola because of its inherently abundant opportunities, its proximity to beautiful architecture, and its unique program structure. I have made some incredible friends within the communications community, and I couldn't have asked for anything better! I am extremely grateful for the friendships that have blossomed because of our united program.” ~ Waverly Cayo, Advertising/Public Relations Student

“I decided to attend School of Communication at Loyola because as a first generation and a young woman of color I wanted to make a change. By attending SOC at Loyola, I knew I would be able to succeed in my major and make a significant impact on the world around me. Another reason why I decided to attend Loyola, a Jesuit university, was their mission statement.” ~ Myiah Diaz, Advertising and Public Relations Student

What was your favorite moment during your first year at Loyola?

“My favorite moment during Loyola had to be all the events during welcome week. It was really fun getting to know people and building community with others, especially while the weather was still nice! My favorite event was probably the silent disco as I am a big fan of music.” ~ Challis Lee, Film and Digital Media Student

“So far, I would have to say my favorite moments at Loyola would have to be hanging out with friends on the beach and exploring the city; it never gets old.” ~ Carter Cozzi, Multimedia Journalism Student

Photo: Carter Cozzi, Multimedia Journalism Student


What was your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?

“My biggest challenge was getting situated in a completely foreign environment. At Loyola, it's really easy to make friends and find your individual niche, but for me it was difficult to adjust to college life in general. I didn't really ‘feel’ like a college student yet, and I hope to help eliminate that stigma for the incoming student population. That was one of the biggest barriers standing in the way of me being able to feel truly comfortable as a student.” ~ Waverly Cayo, Advertising/Public Relations Student

“My biggest challenge this year has definitely been overcoming burnout. It's so easy to get overwhelmed with work and your social life, so I've found it's helpful to take a step back and take some time for yourself when you can!” ~ Carter Cozzi, Multimedia Journalism Student

Photo: Myiah Diaz, Advertising and Public Relations Student


What are you looking forward to next year?

“I am looking forward to being with friends and exploring the city more. I am also looking forward to engaging more in my classes through hands-on experiences, which is what I'm sure I will be doing in my theater and digital communication classes.” ~ Challis Lee, Film and Digital Media Student

“As a freshman, I was dipping my toes in the water, and now I’m ready to swim. So, I'm looking forward to joining new clubs and organizations within the School of Communication as well as outside of it. I'm also looking forward to volunteering at the soup kitchen and taking part in more networking activities next year.” ~ Myiah Diaz, Advertising and Public Relations Student

Photo: Waverly Cayo, Advertising/Public Relations Student


Knowing what you know now, what advice do you have for future freshmen?

“My #1 advice for future freshmen is to just put yourself out there. Some of my best friends in the whole world have been made from just pushing myself out of my comfort zone. If you like someone's clothing or shoes or makeup, tell them. I promise you it'll make you feel great, and it'll help you find people you truly connect with. I've made some incredibly strong friendships just from verbally telling people compliments that I was already thinking about in my head! Be vocal and be yourself. Be the person that you've always wanted to be because I promise you, Loyola is the place you can do it. People will love you inside and out.” ~ Waverly Cayo, Advertising/Public Relations Student

“For the future freshmen, I cannot express this enough: live in every moment and experience everything you can!” ~ Carter Cozzi, Multimedia Journalism Student

The first year of college can be a daunting experience, but with the right support and resources, it can also be a transformative one. As we conclude the stories of these four freshmen, we see the growth and development they have experienced in just one year. They have learned to balance academics with extracurricular activities, built connections with their professors and peers, and explored new interests and perspectives. The School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago provided them with a solid foundation to build upon as they continue their academic journey. We look forward to following their progress as they take on new challenges and opportunities in the years to come.