DeBlogs > Aggie Kallinicou
The trip I’m taking is a combination program for students studying either Political Science or Environmental Science, which happen to be the two majors one of my roommates and I are studying. Ever since it was announced earlier this year, we knew we had to go. It combines both of our disciplines in a really interesting way; we are learning about sustainable resource extraction and the politics and environmental consequences that are involved. By spending two weeks exploring these issues in a hands-on way in Peru meeting with local leaders and traveling to sites of resource extraction, we will learn an incredible amount of valuable knowledge that simply could not have been learned in the classroom. Stay tuned for my first blog of next quarter to find out how it goes!
When I’m struggling with a tough class like Chemistry, it is a relief to know that it only lasts for ten weeks as opposed to a typical semester school which breaks classes up differently. Although the faster pace of the quarter system can be overwhelming at first, many students prefer it once they get a feel for it since there are so many perks. Rather than taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, DePaul students take finals the week prior and then get to enjoy a six-week holiday break before jumping into the Winter quarter. This period of time can be used for many different opportunities, and this year I’m choosing to study abroad in Peru for the majority of it.
Another benefit of the quarter system is the number of classes DePaul students will have taken once they graduate. Instead of taking one set of classes in the Fall and another set in the Spring, DePaul students take three different sets of classes throughout the year. There is also an additional Summer quarter that some students take advantage of by enrolling in a class or two during summer break. Although the quarter system may be unfamiliar to some, the knowledge and experience that is gained from it make the hard work worthwhile.
At DePaul, experiential learning is emphasized in a variety of ways and this was one of the biggest draws for me when I was choosing where I wanted to go to school. Since we are located in Chicago, it is easy for classroom learning to expand to hands-on learning within the city. By connecting students with organizations and events all over the city, professors at DePaul are able to successfully integrate what they are teaching in the classroom with valuable experiences. Trips such as the one we took to La Bogh Woods are important in adding value to the coursework that we are learning in the classroom.
Classes at DePaul truly incorporate the city of Chicago into the curriculum. Attending art shows for my photography minor, participating in activism events and getting to listen to influential speakers for my peace, justice, and conflict studies minor, and even working with environmental non-profits for my environmental studies major are all examples of this. Without being in this city, I would not have had the opportunities and experiences that have shaped my college experience as well as shaped me on an individual level. When I hear stories from my friends who go to schools in the middle of nowhere, I am grateful for DePaul and the opportunity to study right in the heart of Chicago. The city truly is our campus!
Since I want to work at an environmental nonprofit in the future,
gaining experience with one as an undergraduate is one of the best
opportunities to set myself up for success. DePaul offers a variety of service-learning courses that match you up with nonprofits in Chicago, and this will be
my third time taking one. These classes are unique to DePaul and reflect the
Vincentian mission of the University, which was one of my initial reasons for
choosing this school. DePaul truly puts an emphasis on service, and being in
the city of Chicago offers so many opportunities to get involved. From service
learning classes to countless service organizations, DePaul has countless ways
for students to serve the community around them.
This quarter I am enrolled in a service-learning class called Environmental Justice & Advocacy as one of my Environmental Studies electives. Service-learning classes at DePaul involve a service aspect in which students are paired up with a local nonprofit organization as an intern for a set amount of hours each week, and they can count for Junior Year Experiential Learning credit. I’ve taken two service-learning classes in the past, and have had amazing experiences with the partner organizations. For this class, I am working with Rebuilding Exchange, a non-profit that diverts building materials from landfills and makes them available for reuse by promoting sustainable deconstruction practices, providing job training programs for those experiencing barriers to employment, and creating innovative models for sustainable reuse.
Since DePaul students usually do not have classes on Fridays, I was able to set up a schedule in which I intern with Rebuilding Exchange every Friday morning. I’ve only been doing this for one week, but I already am learning useful information and knowledge that will be applicable to my future career in the nonprofit sector. The staff at Rebuilding Exchange allow me to focus on areas of interest while also encouraging me to try things I have never done before. I’m excited to continue to contribute to such an inspiring organization and hopefully gain new insights into what it’s like to work for a successful nonprofit in Chicago.
I just found out I received a scholarship that will enable me to study abroad in Budapest this fall, and I’m so excited! Study abroad scholarships at DePaul are easy to apply for and can be extremely helpful in regards to saving on travel and living expenses. My scholarship pays for half of the fee to study abroad, which means I will likely be able to participate in the program.
DePaul study abroad programs range from week-long trips during Spring Break to academic year-long trips, and everything in between. The program I am interested in lasts for Fall quarter at DePaul, but actually goes a little bit longer due to the difference in DePaul’s quarter system and my study abroad institution’s semester system. Rather than being in school from September-November, I will be in Budapest from August-December. Some people see this as a disadvantage, but I disagree since it will give me more time to be abroad and experience living and studying in another country.
Since DePaul has such a variety of programs, it is easy to find one that will fit your needs and preferences. DePaul’s study abroad website makes it even easier by allowing you to search for programs based on specific filters and specifications. For me, Budapest seemed perfect due to the low cost of living and prime location. Whatever you are looking for, DePaul has it!
Although I still am unsure whether or not I will be studying abroad in Budapest this fall since there are many factors to consider, I’m grateful for the opportunity to even consider such an experience. Due to the vast array of resources DePaul offers for those interested in studying abroad, this entire process has been made much smoother and easier to navigate.
I’m glad I was able to focus on something creative for a little while before getting back to my apartment to work on homework for the rest of the evening. I’ve only just started learning about photography, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to de-stress. Coming up with interesting ideas for creating photos has shown me that I’m more creative than I initially thought. I have always thought I lacked creativity and was not artistic, but being forced to experiment with creating unique photos within my photography class has shown me I’m capable of more than I thought. As each week goes by and I gain more constructive criticism from my classmates and professor, I can feel myself growing as a photographer. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the quarter takes me!
The theme of the project was ‘Day and Night’ which meant I needed to take some photos in semi-darkness to create the image of ‘night.’ For this part of the project, I asked another friend to pose for some pictures in the front hallway of my apartment which is illuminated by a single string of lights. I was skeptical about taking pictures in semi-darkness without flash, but they turned out pretty well.
Although I ended up taking over 300 photos, only five made the final cut. I’ve only just started my photography class, but I’m already learning a lot about technique and the general rules of creating photos. I’m excited to work on upcoming projects and share them here on my blog!
This quarter my schedule is packed with tough environmental studies courses, but I am also taking a photography class for the honors program arts requirement. Although it’s only week two, I can already tell it’s going to be a challenging yet fulfilling course. Since I am spending most of my time doing scientific work, it’s a welcome relief to be able to devote a few hours each week toward being creative and delving into artistic expression.
For the honors arts requirement, students have a wide range of choices including but not limited to: creative writing, acting, screenwriting, game design, and of course photography. Within photography, students even have the option between digital and still photography. While some of my other requirements feel like something I ‘have’ to do, for this one I had a hard time choosing just one!
For our first project, the assignment was to create photos portraying eggs in a dynamic way. Since I don’t eat eggs and find them completely unappetizing and unappealing, it was difficult to have to spend so much time taking photos of them and attempting to make them appear in an aesthetically pleasing way. After quite a bit of a time setting them up in a million different ways, I finally was able to take some that I liked.
Although I’m already feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work I am going to have to do this quarter with my course load, I am feeling grateful that I decided to add a photography class to my schedule. Additionally, I am glad DePaul encourages students to be creative no matter what major or field they’re studying. Stay tuned to see more photos from my photography class, hopefully, we begin to focus on a subject other than eggs sometime soon!
This year, I’ll be staying in Chicago and picking up extra hours at my regular job. Last winter I stayed in Chicago as well to work and take extra
classes; so I’m a little relieved to actually get a little bit of a break from schoolwork this year. I’ll be going home for a few days for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I’m excited to experience the holiday season here in Chicago for the remainder of break because the city celebrates in so many beautiful ways. Just thinking about ice skating in Millennium Park, attending the annual tree lighting, and shopping for gifts while walking down the Magnificent Mile is what’s getting me through this week. Good luck to everyone who is still finishing up finals! The holidays will be here before we know it (along with a much-needed break from classes).
Being from another state has pushed me to be more independent and reliant on myself. Rather than being able to call my parents to come check out an apartment I am interested in, I have to be attentive and responsible and decide for myself whether it seems like a safe place to live and a good fit. Instead of going home when I get sick or have had a hard week like some of my friends are able to do, I do not have that option. Being completely on my own has pushed me to succeed on my own without falling back on anyone else, and I am proud of the accomplishments I have achieved while living here in Chicago.
Another thing that going to school in another state has taught me is to treasure the time I have with my family and friends at home. When I fly home for Thanksgiving in a couple weeks, I will not have been home for eight whole months! Since this is the case, when I do have a few days at home I make sure that I take full advantage of them. Rather than spending any time watching Netflix in my room, I’m usually hanging out with my grandma, going on lunch dates with friends I rarely see, or catching up with my five siblings. I don’t waste a single moment because I understand how precious this time truly is.
Although it is difficult when one of my roommates meets her family downtown for dinner and I’m missing my family, or my other roommate calls her parents to bring her something she forgot at home and I crave that convenience, I do not regret my decision to go to school in another state. I would not be the person I have become if I had not pushed myself to do this, and there is truly no place I would rather be than living and learning in Chicago. My experience at DePaul is simply not something I would have been able to have at any school in Ohio where I am from.
Once I knew I wanted to go to school in Chicago, the next step was to decide which school was right for me. My situation was a little bit different than your average applicant because I applied before I even visited DePaul due to being an out-of-state student. By spending a lot of time on DePaul’s website, I gained some insight that led me to realize how important service is to the DePaul community. As secretary of my high school service club and an extremely active volunteer in my community, I knew service was something I wanted to continue to be a part of in my college career. DePaul’s emphasis on service was a large factor in my decision to apply as well as one of the reasons I was drawn to DePaul in particular over other Chicago schools.
Once I applied to DePaul, the decision to attend school here was fairly easy. It’s cliché to say that once I stepped on campus it felt like home, but it did. DePaul is unique because it does not feel like you are constantly surrounded by the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago. When you are on campus in Lincoln Park it feels like a college campus, and when you are downtown in the Loop it feels like you are right in the middle of Chicago. You could go from a class in 14 E. Jackson to an internship with any of Chicago’s Fortune 500 companies within ten minutes. On the other hand, you could also go from a class in Lincoln Park to relaxing on North Ave. Beach within about twenty minutes. At DePaul, you really do have the best of both worlds, and this is another significant reason that I was drawn to this school in the first place.
Good luck to all of you seniors who are in the application process! I know you’ll find the right school for you, and hopefully, that means being a blue demon for the next four years here at DePaul.
With Fall Quarter beginning last Wednesday, DePaul students are finally getting back into the academic routine. For me, this means transitioning from focusing solely on working to balancing work with my class schedule and school activities. Although it will be a challenging ten weeks since I am taking five classes and maxing out my credit hours, I am eager to delve deeper into some of the subjects I’ll be studying such as Global Climate and American Sign Language .
Most students at DePaul typically take 16 credit hours per quarter which is a total of four classes. However, the tuition that you are paying includes 18 credit hours, so you get more for your money if you enroll in the full 18. This quarter, I am using this to my advantage by picking up an extra two credit class that fulfills a requirement for my Peace, Justice, and Conflict studies minor. Although I do not have to do this by any means, it is helping me to get ahead and potentially graduate early.
Taking this class along with my regular schedule is difficult, but it is manageable since a two credit hour class is not nearly as much work as my other classes. I highly recommend maxing out your credit hours, but it is also not necessary for many students. If it is going to be too much, don’t stress yourself out about it and simply take the normal amount. I’ve always been one to take on more than I can handle, so maxing out my credit hours was not a decision I took lightly.
For example, I signed up for 18 credit hours in the spring, but dropped my two credit hour class when I realized it was going to be too difficult to balance with my internship, job, and other activities. Finding what works for you is all about balance, and sometimes it takes making some mistakes to realize what will work best.
Although I’ve only had one full day of classes, I can already tell this quarter is going to be full of interesting lectures/debates and engaging assignments. Taking 18 credit hours will be a challenge, but it is one that I am prepared for and excited about. Sophomore year is going to be a good one, I can already feel it!