“Welcome prospective students, parents, and friends to Loyola Marymount University! My name is Emma Murphy, and I am a first-year Biology student from St. Louis.
I can quite vividly recall my experience last year, when I was a senior in high school working on my applications so I’d like to begin this speech talking about how I met LMU. When I first came here, I wanted to hate it. Truthfully, my aunt had gone here about thirty years ago, and I really didn’t want to follow in anyone’s footsteps. I came here for a tour as a courtesy. I remember my dad trying to find parking, and once we finally did, we were already fifteen minutes late. So, we were sprinting across campus because we had no idea where we were supposed to be. And it was during that panicked “we are totally going to miss this tour” sprint of a lifetime, that I looked around. I saw sunshine, palm trees, beautiful buildings, but most interestingly I saw happy people.
Now LMU was probably the twentieth school I toured, but I had never seen a campus with happier students. And I couldn’t stop seeing it. On my tour, at least 20 people came up to my tour guide, gave him a hug, and turned to us saying how much they love it here and how they hope that we will be here next fall. I really couldn’t believe it. They had to have paid everyone on campus like five dollars every time there was a tour or any kind of prospective student event. There was no way everyone was just always this nice.
It got crazier. At the end of my tour, my tour guide told us that he knows what it’s like to apply to college and how stressful and terrifying it can be, to which I rolled my eyes because I had heard that line probably 700 times, and every time I thought there is no way you understand what this “college application process from hell” is really like. But then he said, “I hope I get to see you all next year, but if I don’t I hope you find a place where your soul is set on fire.” I was blown away. I had never thought I would find a school so dedicated to their student’s well-being that they are willing to prioritize that well-being over choosing the school itself. That is what makes Loyola Marymount University unique. No other school that I researched could embody the dedication to serving others like LMU did and continues to do.
So today I want to tell you the truth about LMU. A typical day for me starts around 8 or 9 in the morning. I like to wake up and get ready for my day as fast as possible because I am normally in a desperate hunt for caffeine. I live in Doheny Hall, so the walk to the Lion’s Den, our student-run coffee shop, is short. I am a science major and the majority of my traditional lecture style classes are in the morning. When I say lecture don’t panic and think of your typical 500 students crammed into an auditorium pretending to understand what on earth the unique chemical properties of carbon are. The majority of my classes are small, some tend to be capped at 15 to 20 students. Most of them are seminar-style classes, where you come to class to discuss with your peers your interpretations on the assigned reading, and you begin to develop really unique connections with your classmates.
After a couple of classes and maybe a lab, I am done for the day around one o’clock! My first week, I was shocked by the amount of free time I had. I was just hanging out with friends, playing spikeball, or going to the beach, thinking college is so easy I don’t know what people were warning me about. Then I got my first graded paper back, and I realized that free time was meant to get a little work done. Okay, so adjusted; I would go to class, then head to our gorgeous library. After studying, I’ll take a walk along to bluff, call my mom to remind her I’m alive and meet up with some friends for some dinner.
After dinner, I’ll walk back to my room and ignore the massive pile of laundry that’s starting to look like Mount Everest and go to the Rec Center to work out. Okay honestly that happens about once a month but I’m really trying- I swear Zumba is on my to-do list. In reality, I’ll normally find some friends having a deep conversation over card games. Before I know it, it’s already 10 pm, a popular time for club meetings, and I am off to a juggler’s unite meeting. After some juggling and a little more homework, it’s time for bed. As I head back to my room I really can’t help but think about how lucky I am to live here and be part of the LMU experience.
This part of your life, while stressful, will result in so many fruitful and life-changing moments. Your college experience depends on how much effort you are willing to put into it. I am happy to report that I have been absolutely in love with my time spent here at LMU. Even though I’ve only been here for seven weeks ( that is forty-nine days, or 1176 hours, or 70560 minutes, or 4,233,600 seconds) it really feels like much more than that. I feel as if I’ve known the people here for my entire life, and every minute of my day tends to be spent either in class, studying, or getting into incredibly intense debates with my friends over what the best Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor is (obviously it’s half-baked). The strange thing is, it already feels as if I still have so many things I want to do and not enough time to do them. Honestly, four years doesn’t sound like enough. I mean think about it, I somehow have to figure out how to jampack studying abroad in France, completing an internship, becoming a research assistant in one of LMU’s faculty run labs, taking a class where I learn how to make art, any kind of art, joining clubs that challenge me to engage in something I otherwise wouldn’t have, learning how to surf, applying to work at the Den, getting job or career experience in the medical field, or maybe a psychology research position, and what about philosophy? Name another time in your life where you’re encouraged to discover the meaning of life.
That’s just a taste of the mile-long list of “things to do before I graduate” that continues to grow in my head. As for me and my plans, I hope I will be able to go to graduate school, in pursuit of my PhD, in neuroscience, neuropsychology, or biopsychology. I haven’t quite decided yet, but I am already deep in research looking for internship opportunities, resume building help, and other leadership experiences to further my familiarity with the field. Thankfully, my academic advisor, university advisor, my honor’s advisor, and a few upperclassmen have incredible advice to share. Trust me, there is no shortage of advising here, even if you’re only a seven-week-old, first-year student.
That is a perfect example of the people here at LMU. The bluff is filled with the most amazing faculty, staff, and, most importantly, student body who are all more than happy to help in any way they can. I know that I have never felt more understood, genuinely cared for, and accepted by any other group of people. I promise I am not trying to give you the cliche “this school is perfect” speech, but it’s pretty close. My favorite part about this school is the fact that LMU is a student-centered university. Every single person on this campus embodies the Jesuit mantra of “men and women for others”. Here, service is not viewed as something you do once a month, but rather, something to incorporate into everyday life. The most unbelievable part is that everyone at LMU has a true desire to help others, regardless of personal benefit. Service isn’t required here, it’s chosen. I can guarantee you that selfless support system is truly one of a kind, and nearly impossible to find anywhere else.
Today, I want to leave you with those same sentiments my tour guide gave to me. I hope that you find the school that sets your soul on fire. Having found that here, I know how important it is. My advice to you, to add on to your pages of advice given to you at this stage of life, is to always keep an open mind, always be curious, and always be brave. I came on campus, trying so hard to find flaws and literally anything to hate about LMU, and here I am talking to you about how in love I am with this university. I hope you recognize the love everyone here has for each other and LMU, and I hope you too will one day be able to discover that love. Thank you and go lions!”
— Emma Murphy ’22