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Articles by Amanda Bergeron

Who Live In A Pineapple Under the Sea?

Honestly, the Chicago theater scene never ceases to amaze me. 

An original score for a musical was created by the famous David Bowie, Aerosmith, and more. Which musical you ask? Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants​. I seriously have never thought of ever seeing Bowie and SpongeBob musically intertwine, but why not? Although I have yet to actually see the musical the word on the street is that it is truly entertaining. Bands like Panic! At the Disco and Plain White T’s also composed songs for the musical which makes the middle school version of myself scream.  

SpongeBob Musical
The first thing I wondered was what the musical was going to be about? I feel like SpongeBob has short plot points, but making a two hours long musical sounds daunting. The co-director, and member of Chicago’s very own Steppenwolf Theater, Tina Landau said “The SpongeBob Musical. One of our challenges has been to take an episodic art form, remain true to its spirit of non-sequiturs and outrageousness and then create a really strong storyline that will not only get people involved but pay off emotionally. So we have a story and a subplot, but it's all spiced with the particular flavorings of the SpongeBob universe." So in essence, it is still going to keep its place of having a broad appeal to many demographics.

I hope no one thinks I’m silly for being so intrigued with SpongeBob at 21, but I really think theater is sophisticated enough to bring out the childish and story-telling nature we used to have before we grew up. I think theater has the power to transcend reality and bring us to a lace we once knew, and for me that is being a kid and watching cartoons without a care in the world. I hope you all find this perspective interesting as well!
 
Bikini Bottom is waiting! Find tickets at this website.

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Just in Time!

As I finish up my third year here at DePaul, I have visited the Career Center a total of 10 times. Some meetings were more successful than others in terms of actually finding internships I am interested in. Most of the time I just went to talk to an advisor about possible things coming in the future so I can stay on track and not lose sight on why I am even at school – to get a job that fulfills me.

Something I am looking forward to participating in is the Just in Time Fair. This career fair happens every year directly after graduation. This gives students the much needed opportunity to come face-to-face with employees of all kinds and learn about the application process and job descriptions. Of course technology has to play into this somehow, they also made a Career Fair Plus App!

This app features the ability to plan out your trip and become familiar with the employers that will be showcased. It also shows an interactive floorplan, event details, real time updates, and tips for those needing to better prepare. Along with this, the Career Center​ gave their own insider tips. 
  • ​​​​​​Research companies you’re interested in and come prepared to ask specific questions that reflect your knowledge of that company.
  • Attend the How to Work a Job Fair & Internship Fair workshop. Learn how to effectively showcase your skills and abilities at a fair.
  • Have your resume reviewed. Is your resume error-free and ready for employers? Visit the Peer Career Advisors for a resume critique.
  • Practice your 30-second pitch. Your pitch is how you introduce yourself – it’s a brief overview of you, your background and career interests. An engaging pitch and firm handshake can help you market yourself and stand out to an employer.
Even if you’re not graduating you should still check out the App and the employers list so you can get a sense of the type of companies and non-profits that are looking for fresh faces!


Creating Campaigns

As a communication major, I have certain core classes that need to be fulfilled before graduation. Some of these classes consist of 300 level courses. This quarter, I am enrolled in Public Relations and Advertising Ethics and the final project consists of creating a campaign that you would like to see actually implemented in the world. I thought I would take this opportunity to show you the beginning steps to creating a campaign and where my group is in that process!

The basics consist of establishing an issue, an audience, and an organization that will sponsor the campaign. All of my group members are interested in global feminism so we decided to tackle the issue of violence against women in the Middle East.

Issue:

In many Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Nauru, Chad, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, the world is seeing a crisis. Due to a spread in war and poverty, millions of Middle Eastern civilians have fled their countries in order to seek refuge in neighboring countries. The majority of these refugees come from Syria, where more than 250,000 people have been killed in a four-and-a-half-year conflict. Upon arriving in neighboring countries, many refugees are placed in refugee camps. Our campaign will focus on the mistreatment of women in these refugee camps where women are frequently targeted as subjects of violence and sexual abuse.

Our group chose to create a social media campaign based on this issue because we felt this issue was in need of public recognition. We all feel passionate about gender equality and wanted to focus on a branch of the issue that is not as frequently talked about or illustrated in the media. The women in these refugee camps are subjected to violence and mistreatment every day and have limited opportunities to have their voices heard. Our campaign will urge young women in America to realize the severity of this situation and urge them to take action to empower these refugee women, stop the violence, and change the gender norm.

Audience:

In order to generate the most awareness and effect the most change, we have chosen to target women between the ages of 18-25 living in the United States. These will be young women who are either already passionate about human rights and gender equality issues, or who are socially conscious individuals looking for a social cause to become passionate about.  By targeting this specific audience, it is our hope that the young female population in America will make the voices of the refugee women heard.

Sponsor:

Our sponsor for this campaign will be the Global Fund for Women (GFW). GFW is a nonprofit organization that focuses on women’s rights initiatives throughout the world. They have over 2,000 advisers and partners worldwide, and seek to strengthen women’s rights in the most marginalized areas of the world.  Their mission is to empower women to change their own lives.

We chose GFW as our sponsor for two main reasons. First, they partner with thousands of other women’s rights groups and would therefore be likely and glad to sponsor this social media campaign. Secondly, they are presently doing work on this specific issue. The organization works with other women’s groups in refugee areas and publishes women’s personal stories on their website. Their connection and work for this issue, along with their connection to thousands of other women’s rights groups makes them the perfect sponsor.


After these initial steps, we must look for campaign goals and objectives as well as the ethical values that are embedded in the campaign. What I love most about this type of group work is it creates an opportunity for real world feedback from experienced faculty on our ability to curate a campaign.
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Candy Expo

Sweets and Snacks Expo ​is a 3 day event filled with….. well, snacks. A new hall was added to the convention center which made the event a whopping 4 acres long. I repeat. FOUR ACRES OF CANDY. Although I do not have the biggest sweet tooth, I am intrigued by the hardier snack freebies.

One of the coolest, and most technologically advanced things I have experienced lately was the fact that this event had a “plan my show” app available. This App was created for show-goers to maximize their time at the expo by creating a personal action plan! As someone who LOVES planning and sticking to a schedule I thought this was helpful, especially because going through 4 acres of product sounds daunting. Basically, the app allows you to compile a list of must-sees for you. You can search through companies by category and easily add them to your agenda. This made it possible for me to make the most of my time at the expo!

The thing that interested me the most at the event was the chance to gain insight into the more educational part of consuming snacks. 700+ exhibits were showcased and displayed their products for all of Chicago to see. Once this comes around again next year, I suggest taking a look!


Garage Sales in Chicago

Besides baseball and FINALLY seeing the sun come out, the main reason I love this spring is….garage sales. Well, typically the sales are not actually out of a garage as Chicago apartments usually do not come with one of those unless you pay extra. What I am talking about is the vast array of vintage and plant sales around Chicago when the beautiful spring season arrives. Nothing gets a college kid who is already in crippling debt more excited than the word “bargain.”

A place I have yet to visit is an event called Vintage Garage Chicago​. These events start in the middle of April and continue until mid-fall. From what I have gathered, each month there is a theme which is just a fun added bonus. There is always merchandise from antiques to vintage from 1880’s to the late 90’s in many categories like home goods and lawn decorations. 

I truly love benefiting from the wastefulness of others, which reminds me tell you all to not be afraid of a little alley hunting. You’d be surprised what amazing furniture and decorations people throw out (especially in the more ritzy areas of town). For example, my buddy just found a vintage Guinness poster and a book shelf that they restained a nice dark brown. Another reason I really love the bargain hunt is because guilt free shopping feels better than paying full retail price.  Once you’ve done the majority of your shopping in a stranger’s front yards, a $25 shirt from Target begins to look absurd, which really puts into perspective how much things are worth. 


Leisure at DePaul

I have been getting in the habit of taking at least one online class at DePaul. This habit started late sophomore year. At first I was extremely apprehensive because I learn better with an in person instructor and am also motivated by their teaching to get my work done. With online classes, there needs to be some control within yourself to keep on track, since there is no human you see weekly reminding you about homework or projects. As I get deeper into finishing all my requirements before graduating, I am finding it hard to find domain requirements that are online (and interesting to me).

With that in mind, this quarter I took a shot in the dark and enrolled in an online class that didn’t seem super stimulating, but was the only one open when it was my time to enroll. The course is called Leisure, Recreation, and Health. I thought to myself “what is so scholarly about leisure....? Like riding a bike and reading on days off? How can this simple thing be an area of study?”

I was soon hit with the harsh reality that I have underestimated the world of academia, and also that of the human experience. Leisure is described as an elemental experience, essential to the total well-being of every person; it is a reflection and expression of the cultural values of a society, and it is an important vehicle for medical treatment. Also, leisure can be essential for a healthy community I terms of social climate and stability.

DePaul has many outlets for leisure and I am honored to have the privilege to choose to participate in them. DePaul has the Ray Meyer Fitness Center which provides everything from swimming to ping pong. DePaul also offers their students an amazing opportunity to participate in DemonTHON which is a 24-hour dance party to raise money for the Children’s Hospital. These activities make for a really connected community that have people who hold the same values. The sense of togetherness is something that leisure provides for people.

Although we are at DePaul to get a degree and a career, we also learn the importance of the binary of work and leisure and how the balance of each makes for a happy life  J


Media Studies at DePaul

During my course as a college student, I have heard some remarks about Communication majors that just do not add up in my brain. As a Communication & Media major, I continue to learn about the influences of media and where we stand within it. I have heard people saying that Communication is a cop out major. My response to this is loaded with factual ammo as to why Communication and Media studies are so important. Just like history, media has the ability to interpret the past and give us insight to where we have been and where we are going.

To me, learning about media is like a fish learning everything there is to know about water. As millennials​, we are constantly interacting with it and surrounded by it either consciously or subconsciously. Our inner workings are molded and mirrored by media and understanding it to its fullest degree is something I find philosophically important.  With this in mind, let me tell you about the current media course I am in this quarter!

The central idea of this media course is about diving into popular culture and exploring seemingly “trashy” or “stupid” media products. It makes for a very entertaining class and one where there is a lot of class participation because we all have a lot to say about the media texts around us.

By the end of this course, I will hopefully be able to understand and critically engage with a variety of academic methodologies and models for the study of media, usefully build on and reassess these same models in their own understanding of culture and media, and write my own analyses of media texts and related cultural phenomena. 


Living in Wrigley

Come springtime I become a lot more irritated walking through my neighborhood. I live in Wrigleyville a few blocks from the famous Wrigley Field. Opening day was about a week ago and it was a very blatant reminder of how important the Cubs are to fans, and how belligerent said fans can be. Yes, I did choose this location to rent an apartment the last 2 years, but sometimes being surrounded by bars and crowded intersections can be a drag. This year I am trying a new thing called “positivity". Are you ready?

1. Quality late night food or higher end restaurants are all around! You will never run out of options and can pick places to munch at regardless of how much money you have in your wallet.
Reasons to love living in Wrigleyville

2. SO close to the lake. If I bike I can get to the beach in about 7 minutes and walking takes closer to 15. When you are surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the big city sometimes it is completely necessary to revamp and relax by the lake and soak up the sun.

3. There is a dog park by my house that is always popping. Owning a dog is something I hope to do when I am a REAL ADULT but for now I am totally okay with watching them play from afar.

4. There are multiple music venues around my neighborhood, and if you play your cards right you can meet a few friends that ALWAYS have a plus one to a show.

5. The brown line AND the red line are equidistant to me. This is especially convenient because some places are only accessible form the brown line stops (Trader Joe's​, several thrift stores, anywhere between here and DePaul).


Spring Break 2016

Who needs Miami or Cancun?

Usually I spend my spring break catching up on my reading list and sleep. For many college kids, spring break is a time to lean into freedom and lack of academic responsibility. Many people travel to far away beaches, but for me that has never been finically feasible. I would much rather spend my time doing very little, or traveling to a place most people do not go to for spring break. This year, instead of lying in bed I decided to take a trip to Boston to see what the East Coast had to offer. Sadly, it was rainy and gloomy most of the time, but luckily they have a lot of free things to do and clam chowder to eat (not free, but a girl can dream).

I spent the first day in Boston walking the freedom trail and learning about all of the historical site. It is also the home of the first public park in the US so I spent some time people watching and eating a REAL Boston Crème Pie. Definitely better than the Boston Crème donuts at Dunkin, but I know they are trying their best. I visited some museums and pastry shops, but what I enjoyed most is the realization that I do not need to go anywhere warm to have a pleasant time during my spring break. Yes, a little sun would have been nice, but downtime to me has nothing to do with the weather. I find that spring break is a time to recharge and doing it in an environment that is not packed with party people is the best for me. 


Organization

Ok so, I was not born an organized person. The four corners of my room are usually filled with half folded clothes and books I’ve never read. Color coding and shaping deadlines does not come naturally, but over time (and after a lot of mistakes and missed events) I have learned that getting things done comes easier when I actually KNOW what I need to do and when. Obvious, right? I wish it was that easy to actually implement though. I have curated a little list that’ll hopefully help all of those people like me that were not born with an organizational bone in their body.

1. Write things down: You know that family member that always remembers every significant birthday and holiday? It is not magic they are using….it’s a pen and paper. We have all been at the point where we go “oh pshhh I’ll remember that” and then 2 weeks pass and you forget your mother's birthday. You’re only going to complicate your life more if you try to pack your brain with reminders. This is also helpful around midterms and finals time. When deadlines come quick and assignments pile up, the best way for me to get started is to write it out and see what needs to be done first.

2. Only keep what you really need: More things means less space. This can create too much clutter. I am quite the packrat and I realize that it sometimes hinders my ability to feel organized and put together. When I started to down size I did it with the “3 day rule” in mind. If I do not use it or think about it for 3 days straight than get rid of it or find it a new home. Decorations are nice and all but sometimes it comes to the point where it overloads your space and inevitably you mind.

3. Stay away from bargains: if u have recently downsized, will you just replace the things you’ve left behind with something new you see on sale? NO. Do you really need 4 pairs of bookends? Probably not. Sometimes sales just create new clutter that is unnecessary.

4. Work hard: put some elbow grease up in there. Things are not naturally going to get organized, unless you are privileged enough to have a personal assistant. It does require real work to be and stay organized. If you put in the effort and time, than you will enjoy a clutter-free life.


Body Positivity on Campus

One of my favorite things about DePaul is the social awareness campaigns that are spread throughout campus. Due to the diverse nature of the student body, it seems to me that many topics are covered and are ever-changing. For example, when I went to the Ray they had an area in the middle with a poster showcasing that it is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The poster was about body positivity and encouraged people to add a note to the body positive board and share what they love about themselves.

I thought that the poster was perfectly placed since the Ray is a place where people go to get in shape, and it is frequently ignored that body image is something that can destroy a person’s self-esteem. Eating disorders are a huge epidemic on college campuses and I love that DePaul I taking action this week, and every other week, to educate, screen, refer and treat college students who struggle with eating disorders of all kinds.

I think that with early detection and showing students that there is a safe community of people who want to help will make all the difference.

This is an issue that not many people feel comfortable talking about even to their best friends, but it is admirable that DePaul is making it a point to create outreach to vulnerable people with these disorders.   

For those who don’t know, being body positive is all about working to change the common ideas of what a body SHOULD look like. It stresses the important of self-love, regardless of size, and that body images projected through the media does not reflect the real reality of the human body and the many forms it takes.

Below is a cool picture of 10 ways to incorporate body positivity into your life!


De-Stress During Finals

During this time of year, the weather gets nicer and the motivation to sit in the library to work on an essay decreases. I have always noticed that finals week is the most strenuous when the temptation to play outside is apparent. Sitting in the Student Center and looking out the window to see everyone walking to the quad to lay in the sun pains me because that’s LITERALLY all I want to do. Since finals are almost in full swing I figured I would make a list of ways to de-stress during a time full of presentations and papers.

1. Make a plan of attack: nothing like an open plan book and some highlighters to get your organization in check. The thing that helps me the most is to write down everything that needs to be done and when it is due. That way your plan of attack will go smoothly when you decide what to do first. Jumping off this of idea, it is=smart to find time in your weekly schedule when you can actually work on the things you outlined for yourself.

2. Find an animal: animals just want love! People have emotional support dogs for a reason, they really really do reduce your stress. Being able to take your mind off of the responsibilities of daily life for a moment can revamp you brain and kick start you into a healthy pattern of work.

3. Go for a run: I’m sure you’re asking me… “I have so much to do so when will I find time to up my cardio?” Well, I’m in the same boat. It sure does take a lot of motivation to do more than a swift walk, but if you have a break in your schedule a good way to de-stress is going on a run/jog/walk/whatever. That way it can hopefully bring you back to an alert state of mind that will help you with your studies. 

4. Take a few deep breaths: I know this sounds very hakuna matata, but so what. Deep breathing will help you decompress and get your noggin back to a neutral state. If you’re too stressed and start to work on a new paper, you might just end up producing some content that is not up to par. Take the time you need to feel okay before diving in.

I hope these will help you during your time at college! Just remember that everyone is in the same boat and stress is more than common in university. Find tools and resources you need around campus to make it through your 4 years with ease! 


Easy Photo Guidelines

Fueled by the desire to showcase your life, it is important to keep in mind the power that well-shot photographs hold. You do not need a fancy DSLR camera to properly immortalize the things you have been involved with or the people in your life. DePaul offers some beginner photo classes, but these tips below have been mighty helpful for me as an amateur photographer that enjoys taking photos day-to-day.

TIPS:

Rule of Thirds: Essentially, the photos will look better if the subject isn’t centered. That may sound counter intuitive, but it makes for a more interesting composition. Many camera phones come with grid options. Place items of interest onto the intersections of lines for a stimulating photo arrangement. Let’s take for example a horizon. Don’t place it dead center but instead align the subject along the left or right grid line. Pictured on the right is a quick example

Change Viewpoint and Watch Out for Clutter: Sometimes eye level can get boring. Try moving the camera up or down, or even tilting it downwards for a more dynamic and dimensional shot.  Also, try to keep one main subject where you want the focus if you’re shooting something other than a group photo.​

Resolution: Always take the time to make sure your device is set to full resolution and quality. Also, don’t zoom in with your camera, but rather zoom in with your feet. Your photo will lose heaps of quality if you manually zoom! For better lighting and contrast, make sure to tap your cell phone screen before taking the picture. This allows for your phone’s camera to adjust the lighting. If not, the subject or background might be too heavily contrasted and the photo will turn out unusable.

Shoot Multiple Times: The beauty about digital photography is it allows for multiple attempts and mistakes, you can take multiple shots of the same thing and one of them could, surprisingly, be vastly different than the rest. Try not to delete when you’re out and about because sometimes the photo could look interesting on a computer monitor as compared to a phone screen.

I know many of these tips seem pretty basic, but small adjustments in the way you photograph can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Luckily, the cost of errors on digital cameras is free!


Yoga at DePaul

Typically speaking, winter is usually a season that comes with a pinch of sadness and a lack of motivation for me. This season, I took it upon myself to become more physically active during a season in which I normally just stay inside and cuddle next to my room heater. Luckily, enrolled students at DePaul get a discounted fee for instructional classes at the Ray​, our fitness center. The yoga classes provide people with the opportunity to learn more about their body and experience a workout that connects mind and body.

The particular class I signed up for a month ago was called Ashtanga​ or Power Yoga. It was described as a vigorous and dynamic form of yoga that sculpts and tones every muscles. It was said to be challenging and that I would learn how to create energy flow that linked my breath and movement. To be honest, I should have picked a more beginner level class but I am happy that I challenged my body in a way that I never have. My classes were every Monday night for an hour.

Although the session was only 5 weeks long, I feel like paying for a program really motivated me to stay with it and be involved until the end. Signing up for this class actually got me out of my house during the winter when all I wanted to do was the opposite. When it comes to physical exercise, I have been more inclined to practice yoga instead of hitting up the elliptical or treadmill. I think it has recently come to me that I should go about being fit in a way that both improves my mind and body so that I’m not purely focused on my own body image.

Why is yoga beneficial?
  1. It is said that the purpose of yoga is to create strength and harmony for the body and mind.
  2. The relaxation techniques incorporate din yoga can lessen chronic pain
  3. Increased flexibility
  4. Helps maintain a balanced metabolism
  5. Can be effective in developing coping skills and having a more positive outlook on life.
What I love most is that about yoga is that it isn’t about comparing yourself to others, but to explore your own limits and modify the poses in a way that is pleasant for your own unique body. 


Writing At DePaul

One thing that I have always been told about the skills I need to be successful in any career field is the skill of proper written communication. Writing is definitely one of the most primary skills that you will be judged upon in college and work. Think of writing as making all of your thoughts visible for other people to see. Some people are obviously better at putting thoughts in words, and if that weren’t the case than we would all be famous authors. Writing out ideas helps you formulate questions/answers and can demonstrate your emotional maturity. Writing also can serve the purpose of solidifying ideas down in ink so that you can come back and refine them. 

In terms of memory, writing class notes with a pen and paper instead of typing with a laptop has proven to link the motor skill with processing the information. I have found that typing can lead to mindless processing because I’m too focused on typing the lecture verbatim instead of soaking in the concepts. When it comes to cognitive learning, I always chose a pen and paper before a laptop (even though having a computer makes some lecture way more bearable). But if creative writing is more your thing, DePaul has a lot of outlets for you.

You could be employed by DePaul at the Writing Center where your job will revolve around helping your peers formulate ideas or help grammar check their papers for fluidity. I have always found that by teaching others I also enhance my own skill set. You can apply to the Writing Center via email and must provide a few writing samples. Through personal experience, they rarely hire first year students, but once your writing becomes stronger and conceptual they take another look at your application. DePaul also has a creative and journalistic outlet with the DePaulia. The DePaulis is mainly student run, which gives people the opportunity to be independent with their work while also enhancing their organization and communication skills. Writing for The DePaulia is a great little test run of how newspapers work and what skill are needed to be a part of a printed paper.

DePaul has also recently started an award winning art & literary magazine called Crook and Folly. This published magazine gives students the opportunity to express their creativity in both written form and visual art. This is a great alternative to journalistic writing that the DePaulia provides. Along the same lines, The English Department has also created an outlet for students via a blog called The Underground. This blog is a newsletter type dealio that covers news, events, student writing, and alumni participation. Check the link below if you are interested!

Writing is seen to be a helpful source of therapy, expression, and skill for everyone I know! With DePaul I have learned to enhance a healthy skepticism in my own and other’s writings that has enhanced my imagination and creativity​.


Meals on the Go

I have officially joined the trend of smoothie making​. First it was juicing, then eating kale and then quinoa​. BUT making smoothies has been my new favorite thing to do in the morning, even if my neighbors get mad at me about the noise. The benefits of making smoothies reside in the fact that they are easy to make and are jam packed with victims that you probably wouldn’t get anywhere else in your daily meals. They are protein filled and immune boosting, which is exactly what I need during the winter months. Honestly, blending your way to better health couldn’t be easier.

Here are some of my favorite filling recipes:

Mango & Yogurt Smoothie:
1/6 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups frozen mango
1 tablespoon honey

Everything in My Freezer Smoothie:
Frozen banana
Frozen mango
Frozen strawberry
Frozen chocolate chips because why not
2 cups yogurt
1 cup almond milk

There is seriously no wrong way to make a smoothie, unless of course you blend some nasty combos like spinach and ginger. No thanks. The reason I am advocating so hard for smoothie making is because I have been so rushed for time in the morning because of MIDTERMS. This tactic has made both my schedule and my tummy happy. Try it out!


Neo-Futurists Show

Although I am strapped for cash, I can’t help but spend a few extra bucks to go see one of Chicago’s longest running shows. The show was put on by The Neo-Futurists whom are a collective of extremely talented directors/performers/writers/funny people. To give you the gist of what they are, here is their mission:

  • A Theater that is a fusion of sport, poetry, and living-newspaper.
  • Non-illusory, interactive performance that conveys our experiences and idea ad honestly as possible.
  • Un-reproducible events at an affordable price
  • Work that embraces those unreached or unmoved by conventional theater- inspiring them to thought, feeling, and action.
The specific show I saw at this theater was titled Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. In short, the exuberant actors attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. With that in mind, the show is ever changing and they always add and subtract certain plays they wish to perform. Before the show beings, the audience is usually given a type of “menu” which includes the play for that day. When the play starts, the audience shouts their requests and the actors scramble to create the set without trying to waste a single second.

From my perspective, none of the actors were stepping into character, but rather retelling personal and insightful stories. I’m not going to spoil any of the plays I saw, but some are extremely shocking and emotionally heavy. That being said, it created the perfect segue into interesting discussion regarding a critical analysis about society and the patriarchy. 

While writing this I find it hard to explain what I experienced as an audience member. All I know it that the theater feels like a safe haven for people that don’t get much out of traditional plays, and that it perfectly mentions the horrors of modern day society and topics that no one wants to talk about.

It is very unique and is totally a must see. My advice is to buy tickets beforehand because they sell out quick and waiting at the door for extra seats never guarantees entry. Sometimes there is no set price for the tickets. Instead, all you have to do is roll dice and pay that. I was truly impressed with the mix of humor and provocative topics. Please check it out here​!!!


Health In College

Whether you dropped out of high school or have a doctorate; whether you are a minority or not; whether you are making 4 or 6 figures a year, chances are that you have left the doctor’s office with less than full understanding of how to improve or maintain your health. Health literacy is SO important, especially since we live in country that does not have free health care (yet). I recently learned that health literacy is super low in this country, so I brought it upon myself to take a health communication​ course. It goes towards my degree anyway and I need to learn how to NOT be human garbage, so why not.

Also, since I have been independent for 3 years now, I have realized how important it is to know your full family health history. Many college kids don’t live with their parents anymore so if you end up sick or in the hospital no one is going to answer these important health questions except you. If you have the means or the opportunity to get to know your family health history, please try and do it before you’re out of your childhood home! Independent doctor’s visits will go so much smoothly if you yourself have the answers. Take the time to take the reins of your own health. Your family’s health can say a lot about your own in terms of lifestyle factors, environments, and genetics. By taking the initiative and tracking the health of your blood relatives, doctors can better identify risk factors that could affect your future self. GET ON IT!

That being said, you won’t necessarily go on to developing the conditions your family members have. Try to strive for the healthiest life you can and, if you have the privilege, attend all the preventative screenings that your doctor recommends.

The Health Communication class I enrolled in got me thinking a lot about the topics I just mentioned. We have also been learning about the impact that differences such as gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation have on health care.

It is no question that health and wellness brings about a drastic improvement in the overall quality of your life, so try and make healthy habits a part of your life during college so TRUE adulthood won’t be so brutal. 


Surviving Night Class

As a night owl, I THRIVE during night classes. All of the synapsis are firing in my brain and my focus is on point. Fortunately, a night class is necessary for me because I’ve found that it frees up so many daytime hours that could be used to work and rack in extra cash. I am a slave to the dollar. Some people avoid night classes their entire academic career, but sometimes luck is not on your side and a required class is only offered in the evening. Anyway, I thought I would take this time to share some of the tips and tricks I have noticed about conquering night classes if academia after 6:00pm is not your thing.​

1. Bring snacks. Dear Lord, bring snacks. Nobody like a grumbling tummy and nobody wants to see you hangry. All of the night classes I have taken have been over 2 hours long which means a lil somthin’ somthin’ is necessary. Avoid loud snacks like super crunchy things or a noisy bag. That can become distracting OR you might be forced to share your noms. I always make the mistake of bringing carrots to the library, but I feel no shame because I need my vitamins okay?

2. Change your outlook and look on the bright side. Night class usually means it’s just one very long class a week instead of two short classes! This means fewer trips to campus and more time for you throughout the week.​

3. Wear something comfortable! It’s college...it’s nighttime. Nobody really cares if you wear sweatpants or not. Trust me, you’re not going to want to sit in your extremely tight high waisted jeans for 3 hours.

4. Look at the weather a day in advance. This tip mostly applies for people commuting to school. Sometimes I arrive to class on a hot day and by the time the sun goes down it’s cold as heck and I’m freezing on my walk home. Be prepared, y’all. It makes the week go by so much smoother.

5. Try to reverse your homework schedule for that day. Instead of waiting until after class just do some homework or readings in the morning. It might feel weird at first, but it’s an adjustment that will make your life easier in the long run. 

I hope some of these are helpful to you all! I really love taking night classes so if you are apprehensive at first, just give it a try and you’ll see for yourself how much more time you’ll have to work or do an extra-curricular. ​


Dimo's: More than Pizza

8 am. Wake up. Go to class. What’s that smell? Oh baby, it’s Dimo’s Pizza​.

I am fortunate enough to live near the best thin crust pizza in Chicago. Granted, I usually eat there after a long night since it is open until 3 am! If you are intrigued by the idea of mac n cheese ON TOP OF PIZZA….this is the place for you.

Dimo’s views pizza as a crispy platform for culinary ambitions. Yes, you could just order a cheese pizza here if you are one of those people. But why not try their thanksgiving style pizza? It has the works. Stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes make for a killer flavor explosion that blows away plain cheese pizza. If that seem too adventurous for you there is always s’mores pizza. This is for people with a sweet tooth only. It is a chocolate pizza with graham cracker bears on tops with gooey marshmallows. Instant cavity.

Their pizza toppings are second best to their business mission. Although they are a for-profit entity, they partner with non-profits to focus on societal improvement. They work on a hyper-local level which connects them more to customers. They were serving food at every concert event I was at this summer, and also have a very cool motivation inspired employees. Their missions states that they never micromanage their employees, but instead lets them work passionately and learn from their past mistakes to find new solution to problems. I know it is just a pizza place, but as a part time worker myself it is obvious how much your work environment affects your daily moods. What better way to feel appreciated at your work than to have obvious trust with your manager. They also sell local art every now and then which adds to the unique décor of the place.

Back to pizza time. Dimo’s is open every single day until very very late. If you want to step outside the world of deep dish head to Wicker Park, Wrigleyville​, or just stay in bed and get it delivered.  

Happy eating.


Master's Program at DePaul

I can NOT believe I am already a quarter into my junior year. As a junior, some people think it is nuts that I am still questioning my major. Although I am not looking to switch from my major of Communication & Media, I am still trying to find my place within it. Knowing about the options that DePaul has to offer is the first step!!

Within the last few years I have developed a passion for the health industry. Although I do not see myself as a nurse or a doctor, I do see myself working within the health field as more of a public health administrator and a member of a non-profit organization. That being said, this year I declared a minor in public health in order to understand the industry a little more. Luckily, the Communication field is HUGE and intertwines with every profession. This can be scary to some students if they do not narrow down their focus. For a student like me who has started to narrow down her focus within her major, it is a wise idea to look at the combined Bachelor’s/Master programs that DePaul has to offer.

The College of Communication offers a handful of combined degrees! This is mostly for successful students who are interested in earning a Bachelor’s AND Master’s degree in a 5 year total span. I am not 100% sure I am going to apply for any of these programs, but I do think it is important to keep in mind that college doesn’t have to be a 4 year experience. The program I am most interested in is definitely Health Communication. Other programs that are offered are Communication & Media, Digital Communication & Media Arts, Journalism, PR & Advertising. These programs are pretty time sensitive, so if I am serious about trying to get accepted I should get. on. it.

The idea really intrigues me, but naturally I’m going to make a pros and cons list to verbalize my feelings on either postponing grad school or jumping right in!

PROS of waiting: a chance to save up money, time to grow and further evaluate my options, time to travel and work in the field to gain more hands on experience.

CONS of waiting: it WILL be hard to get back into the groove of going back to school after time off, might be harder to get into school because the industry could change by the time I decide, what if things happen in my romantic life and can’t go back to school due to children or other responsibilities. 

OK SO there are a lot of “what ifs” f​​loating around my brain. If you foresee yourself in the same boat as me definitely talk to an advisor from the program you are interested in. There is no hurt in taking a few hours out of your day to learn about a possible avenue of life. I have my advising meeting later next week so I will let you know! :) 


Women's Health at DePaul

Since I’m in the school of Communication, I am required to take one science lab for my general education requirements. I have waited 3 years to get it out of the way because I assumed doing anything science related was going to destroy my GPA…boy, was I wrong.

I enrolled in Women’s Health this year for my science lab and it takes the cake for my favorite class I’ve ever taken. Sadly, it takes up my ENTIRE Monday with class from 1-3 AND 6-9, but that is a small price to pay in exchange for how much I’ve learned about my biological self.

During this course I have been able to look at the health care industry through a feminist lens and recognize that women’s health is much more than having different reproductive organs. In fact, it was only in the last 15 years that the medical world starting researching about the vast differences in health outcomes between men and women.

Interesting facts:

Woman listen to both sides of their brain! Most men show brain activity exclusively on the left side (typically associated with listening and speech), while most women show activity on the right side as well (associated with creativity and expressiveness). 

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the US. Women are usually under-diagnosed to the point where it is too late to help them when the condition worsens. 

There are customary stages of experiencing heart pain— uncertainty, denial, seeking help from a friend or family member, recognition of the severity of symptoms, seeking medical attention, and finally, acceptance—but the difference for women was they spent more time in the denial period and were more likely to wait for friends or family to notice they were unwell, instead of approaching them with the problem.

1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during her life-time

This course has made it obvious that I need to practice effective health-seeking/prevention behavior. I have started taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements to avoid osteoporosis because I do NOT need to be any frailer than I already am. Seriously, the wind pushes me to the ground. I have also taken up yoga as a form of exercise.

Not all general education requirements are a drag and this class proved it me because now I have a positive attitude towards science, technology, and math. Who would’ve known?​


Halloween in Chicago

Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon, but I think I am finally over the allure of Halloween. Dark colored lipstick and spooky clothes is my all year around thing so you’d think Halloween would be my most coveted of holidays, but you would be wrong. Things in everyday life are WAYYY scarier than those giant spider webs people decorate their yards with. Student loans, anyone? Ebola? That’s scary AND real.

Franken Plaza
Honestly, Halloween welcomes (the best season ever) fall, I am just not one for cramped and sweaty house shows anymore. Wow I sound like an old person and I’m not even 21 yet.

As you can tell, I’m kind of a sour about Halloween, but this year Chicago reminded me of how fun of a holiday it could be outside of a college campus. I had an old professor from California tell me that no city does Halloween quite like Chicago does. In Chicago, the fun is for adults and children alike.

This is evident in the Franken Plaza​ downtown! I usually go to Daley Plaza for Christmas activities but this year the fountains ran orange in celebration of “Chicagoween”. There were events like hayrides, trick-or-treating, and give away items. What I love most about the Franken Plaza is that once every year The Midnight Circus comes to perform. Sadly, I missed it this time around but last year there were acrobats and jugglers.  

An event that really put me in the Halloween spirit was The Halloween Gathering on the Chicago Cultural Mile​. This event brought together a really diverse and creative community for a really powerful parade. These people went ALL. OUT. Half of the day was dedicated to art featuring things like mask-making booths and performance artists. The rest of the day was the parade.  It started at dusk which is by far the spookiest of hours. This year the Thriller Dance Mob performed in the parade and I’ve had Michael Jackson stuck in my head for a week now.  

Ok, so I might still be a bit of a bum about Halloween but it’s safe to say that Chicago does a great job getting everyone involved. 


RefugeeOne at DePaul

​The Vincentian mission is stressed from day one at DePaul. Giving back and continuing a mission of service are both very big characteristics that define the DePaul community. Unfortunately, I am such a busy bee that I find it difficult to go on mission trips or volunteering excursions during the school year. Thankfully, the DePaul students and faculty make it easy to be a part of charitable efforts by organizing on-campus events. 

The one event that I really loved so far this school year was conveniently held in the Student Center. 

In collaboration with RefugeeOne​, the Arabic Language and Culture Club, and Students Organize for Syria at DePaul University, DePaul was hosting a winter clothing drive to collect warm clothes for new refugee families! They collected clothing items for weeks! 

Collection Box locations:

- Lincoln Park Student Center - Under the stairs on the west side of the building

- Loop campus on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center 

What we are asking for:

- Winter coats

- Gloves, hats, scarves, mittens

- Boots! 

​Through this event I became curious about what RefugeeOne is and how the work their organization does effect the city I live in. Every year, RefugeeOne assists approximately 2,500 refugees and immigrants of all ages, ethnic groups, faiths and backgrounds to find housing, learn the English language, acclimate to American culture, develop computer and job readiness skills, secure employment, obtain medical care, apply for citizenship, and develop overall family strengthening skills.

I feel honored to be a part of a student body that takes time to give back. With RefugeeOne guiding the way we create opportunity for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution to build new lives of safety, dignity, and self-reliance.
If you are interested in getting involved with volunteer or mission trips, check out the site for the Vincentian Community Service Office.


The Magic of Interpersonal Communcation

In my experience, flip flopping majors in college has been a weekly experience. I switched out of AND THEN back into the Communication school a whopping total of 3 times.

Why did I switch? I think it was a mix of fear and confusion. Will it happen again? I hope not. The point is, I am happy in the Communication school and am slowly but surely finding my niche in the career world. Along the journey of acquiring a degree, I have found myself being pushed out of my comfort zone in my Interpersonal Communication class.

Interpersonal Communication is a course that really narrows in on what shapes communication between two people. Topics range from self-concept, conflict struggles, and nonverbal communication. Sometimes I feel like some people don’t take a Communication degree as serious as a Business or Economics degree, but I am here to tell you that after all my schooling so far I have realized that proper communication is at the core of human relations. A business cannot function if they do not have the fundamentals of communication covered.

I think we all share a drive to communicate, regardless of if we see ourselves as introverted or extroverted. That being said, this course really pushed the students to learn how to communicate assertively and confidently. Ever since I entered college I have had an insane fear of public speaking. I can totally hold a great conversation in a small group of new people, but when it comes to standing up in front of a crowd….NOPE. This came as a surprise to me because I always thought of myself as an extroverted person. I mean, I was voted “Most Likely to Host a TV Show” in middle school.

I’m not sure what changed inside of me to make me such a nervous person nowadays, but Interpersonal Communication is giving me the tools to enhance my confidence in an interpersonal context.

Listening is also a HUGE part of communication. Less than 2% of people have had any formal education on how to listen properly. We have been learning how to shut of our internal noise in our own brains in order to listen more effectively. Fun fact: we listen at a rate of 125-250 words per minute, but we think at 1000-3000 words per minute.

Regardless of whatever career you go into, effective communication will create positivity in your profession AND personal lives.

Click this link ​below to see an infographic on how communication has transformed through the ages. Sharing ideas and thoughts has happened since the beginning of human life! Enjoy!


Chicago Museum Week

Although I am a Chicago native, I sometimes make the mistake of forgetting that one of the most distinguishing features of Chicago are the museums. Sometimes the cost of having a good time is too high for my budget, but with museums I like to splurge a little on admission cost just because I love a nicely curated exhibit.

BEHOLD

MUSEUM WEEK​ IS UPON US!!

Museum Week consists of 12 museums all throughout Chicago that offer free or discounted admission, discounts on yearly membership cards, and behind the scene events. From modern art to Mexican culture, this is a chance to experience museums in a very unique way. This is right up my ally because I feel like I have gone to the same museums so many times, but now I can still go to my favorites and expect something new during Museum Week.

These events will take place from October 1-7. If you ask me, I am most excited about the deals that the Lincoln Park Zoo​ has got goin' on. Picture this: A giant 60-foot burlap sack slide, a ferris wheel, a hay mountain, a corn maze, inflatable rides and a pumpkin patch!! FINALLY somewhere I can get a pumpkin in the city that isn't in a sketchy Wrigleyville garage. Some of these festival activities seem kid oriented but why not?! We aren't getting any younger, people.

Please, please check the link below to see if your favorite museum is having any sweet deals. The site also has an interactive map so you can see exactly where the museums are located.

www.chicagomuseumweek.com

Happy exploring!


Expo Chicago

The Art Expo is BACK!

What better way to kick off the fall season than to spend it surrounded by art with a cinnamon spiced mocha in hand. Expo Chicago is an international exposition in which the leading contemporary and modern artists showcase their work. I made sure to wear tennis shoes since the thought of strolling through 140 galleries already hurt my feet. I think that art challenges people. 

$50,000 right here!
In this case I really believe that contemporary and modern art really challenges me. I find myself rushing through the galleries because sometimes modern art doesn’t strike me as interesting. The more I expose myself to difficult art the more I find myself taking time to absorb it and appreciate it, even if it is slightly confusing. As an art lover myself, this experience was well worth the mere $15 I spent on a ticket, although it was nothing short of overwhelming.

Spanning the globe across 16 countries and 47 cities, the art that was showcased came in all shapes, sizes, and mediums. Although I am not known to be the most glitzy gal, one of my favorite pieces was a giant mirror that was commissioned by Tiffany & Co. The mirror was constructed using 856 individually hand-cut pieces and were placed in a mosaic fashion. The piece was mostly used as a hot spot for selfies since it is a giant mirror, but after the millennials moved along it gave me an opportunity to get up close to the mirror and try to absorb the talent that was put into it.

This exhibit was a visual feast!

Mirror in a mosaic fashion

I got the opportunity to see an insanely expensive piece be sold on the spot. It cost $50,000 before tax which is the equivalent to 50,000 McChickens. Keep that in mind. 


The Health Promotions and Wellness Center

I’ve come to learn that my 20’s are about self-discovery. Whether that discovery is finding out the perfect burrito bowl combination for my taste buds or the right work out plan my body can handle, I know that self-discovery is leading me to certain habits. I believe that the habits I will establish during my 20’s and 30’s will be the ones that stick the most and might become the foundation of my potential big girl adult life.

Although we all have our vices (neglecting important obligations to binge Friends reruns), it is important to establish positive behaviors and step away from the negative ones during the habit forming years that are your 20’s. We are not all superheroes and, sadly, are subject to the very human act of laziness and lack of self-actualization. Thankfully, the DePaul community has the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness to provide educational and holistic support to produce long-term, healthy behaviors.  

Instead of searching for yoga tutorials on YouTube once a month after the guilt of eating 2 bags of Doritos sets in, why don’t you just pop over to their office and learn about the wide range of health topics they offer support with? From proper nutrition to relationship violence, the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness covers many important topics. The faculty is there to improve help-seeking behaviors and enhance your ability for sustainable, positive habits.​

Personally, I have an issue with stress control. I was lucky enough to have a member of the office come into one of my class to discuss stress management and healthy coping strategies. She guided the class through a mediation session where we shut our eyes and centered ourselves by focusing on our body. Heavy breathing exercises were also a part of this session which helped me better learn how to steady my breathing and slow down my thoughts. I have never been the best with coping with stress, but I know good vibes equals good mood.​

A new campaign called Take Care DePaul has been launched recently. This campaign encourages students, families, and faculty to model choices that positively impact the well-being of themselves and the ones around them.

If you are in the market for better vibes or just need someone to talk to about obtaining a healthy life style, please dance your way over to the Office of Health Promotions and Wellness for some resources and community support.

Location: Lincoln Park Student Center, Suite 302. 2250 N Sheffield Ave.
Phone: 773-325-7129 

Be Well!


Positive Learning Environment for the New School Year

Before I began my first day of junior year I tried to remind myself that academia goes more smoothly when paired with a positive learning environment.

Having a solid relationship with professors and peers is a good place to start! I have never been one to instantly introduce myself personally to my professor on the first day of school, but I do try to make it a point to raise my hand at least once during the first week. Honestly, I’ve noticed this makes me a lot more likely to contribute to class discussion later on in the quarter. By making an active attempt to interact with your professors and peers, this creates an environment that feels safe to ask questions in. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel apprehensive to ask certain questions in class because I think they might be silly or unnecessary, but more often than not someone else in the class has the same question. I believe that if you try to create relationships with your professors and peers it will make for a comfortable and fun learning environment that could last until graduation day. You never know when you will need those teacher recommendations.

Finding a comfortable place to study is also crucial for creating a positive learning environment. The most obvious choice on campus is the library with its beautiful stained glass on the third floor and easy access to printers, but I have friends that can’t concentrate in complete silence. If that sounds like you definitely check out Brownstones in the Student Center or the Pit area in the SAC. They both provide comfortable seating, printers, and glorious glorious coffee. Ain’t nothing like some good ambience to get you in the mood to crank out some essays.  

Also, keep in mind that a positive learning environment is not necessarily the physical place you are in, but could also include the mindset you have in your noggin. Creating attainable and realistic expectations while studying is crucial for avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed. Laying down the ground rules for yourself and how far you can push your brain is quintessential to your victory as a student. For example, give yourself a time limit on how long you will look over a particular subject or take a break from revising an essay when you feel the words starting to blend together. Sadly, we are not machines that can work days on end, but it is amazing how far we can push ourselves with a positive mindset and a little bit of scheduling.

Good luck this quarter, y’all!


Handshake at DePaul

Although I have about two years until graduation and the big job hunt begins, I thought I would begin to look a little deeper into what DePaul has to offer in terms of helping students find post-graduation work.

This inquiry came at the perfect time because DePaul just launched a new program called Handshake. The DePaul Career Center​ tries to showcase opportunities for meaningful connections between students, alumni, and employers. Handshake is a very very up to date program that is basically just like any other social networking site! The good thing about Handshake is that it is custom built for the DePaul Community AND is great on mobile devices for all you people on-the-go.

I haven’t gone too deep into the program yet because I am still working on my resume and noting down my work experience, but after playing around with it for a while I figured out that the questions they ask you at the beginning of the log in process are there to help pin point which area or real world job would be best suited for you. The more of your profile that you honestly fill out, the better the program is at making sure you see the job information that is most relevant to you. Eventually, Handshake learns what your major is and makes sure you see relevant listings that pair well with your professional skills. I am known to stress out a bunch about career matters of the future, but it’s nice to know DePaul has my back and is looking out for me and my prospective career.  

Thinking about robots taking over the world is scary and all, but this high tech program makes sure DePaul students don’t go without a job (which is even scarier).

If you’re interested in taking a peek look no further!

http://www.hiredepaul.org/employers

Happy job hunting!


Sound Design Studio

In my Introduction to Sound Design​ course we had the chance to use the professional sound studio in the CDM building. Although this course was one of my very first CDM classes, I never knew this part of the building even existed. According to the professor some of the equipment was out of date, but I feel like that happens extremely quickly since technology advances at warp speed. Nevertheless, the equipment we worked on for sounds mixing and recording was more advanced than anything I’ve ever seen. Buttons and switches GALORE! 

We first took a little tour around the studio before we dove into our final project. What we had to do was practice ADR. ADR means Automated Dialogue Replacement​ which is simply recording over original lines in a film. To do this we must match and synch the new lines with the actions on the screen. 

A few students got to be actors for a day and stand in the ADR stage which is the place where the actor can record their voice while watching the film to make sure their voice synchs up with the visual.  After this was done and their voices were recorded, we had to go into the original footage and replace the actor’s voices with the newly recorded ones. This was because our professor thought we needed a little more practice with sound effect and design editing.

Sound effects editors and sound designers are the artists who add the computer beeps, gunshots, laser blasts, and explosions (and more) to the film. If you can’t notice that the sounds are actually unnatural, than the artist is doing their job correctly. Sound designers use a variety of technologies to create unique sounds effects that have never been heard before, or to artificially create specific “mood” sounds to complete the filmmaker’s vision.

The best things we did in the sound studio must have been creating our own Foley. The word Foley was taken from the name Jack Foley​, a Hollywood sound editor, who is known as the father of these effects. Basically, Foley effects are sounds like footsteps, object handling, the rustling of clothing, ect…

This project made me realize that even the smallest details are needed to create a well-rounded film and that someone’s actual job is to make footstep sounds for films. If I could get medical, dental, and a decent salary I probably would do that too. All in all, I think this class was a success. If you are ever interested in learning more about sound in film, take Introduction to Sound Design. 


DePaul's Annual Drag Show

In all honesty, I believe that I had a great start to my long Memorial Day weekend. With fake nails and mountains of glitter in hand, drag queens took the stage in the DePaul Student Center to entertain and engage us with their back bending dance moves. I heard about DePaul’s 6th Annual Professional Drag Show through Act Out DePaul​.​

Act Out DePaul is an LGBTQA ​activist organization. For those of you that don’t know the alphabet soup that is LGBTQA, it means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning, and Allied. Act Out meets weekly and serves as a safe zone for people to discuss issues facing the community. The members have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of queer theory and activism. This community of people make it a point to spread awareness about the broad world of sexuality and gender identification. I was ecstatic to hear that I would be able to attend the Drag Show that Act Out puts on for the second year in a row.

Basically what goes down is a few hundred people crowd into a room waiting for the lights to dim and the show to start. Each drag queen comes out 1 or 2 times to perform a song (lip sync) and dance their hearts out. This is a fun way to educate the community about drag queens and the confidence that they hold as well as the far reaching spectrum of sexuality and identity.

Every time I attend one of these events I feel extremely proud to be a member of DePaul’s community. The liberal and open minded attitude about diverse ways of living and thinking make this environment an eye opening place to study. Act Out as well as other LGBTQA organizations reflect the needs and interests of the diverse student body through a range of services, educational programs, and events such as the Drag Show.  ​​​


Editing Class

As I continue to narrow down exactly what type of career I want to go into, I decided to take an editing class in hope of mastering Adobe Premiere Pro​. I figured even if I don’t go into the digital cinema​ realm it is still a great resume builder to be able to understand and navigate an interface.  There is no prerequisite to this course (DC220), so feel free to dive in if you’re interested in editing that takes place for all types of video media, just remember to buy a big external flash drive. 

During this course we have analyzed and assembled dramatic scenes under a variety of conditions and narrative strategies. For example, our first assignment was to watch all the different takes of footage from an old short film call “The Hold Up”. The shots were jumbled up and we were supposed to put them and edit them in whatever sequence we thought fit. I loved this because my professor really stressed that there is no right way to edit the footage. Yes, there is a specific passing of time in the film, but the length of each shot and the way we splice them together is all up to us. It just has to make sense to any type of viewer. This class makes it so that the first step towards mastering the art of video editing involves trusting our individual creative skills and judgments. 

We also are introduced to the fact that there are difference types of formats, conversions, and aspect ratios that play a big part in the editing world. The beauty about these things or about Adobe Premiere in general, is that if you are interested in taking your projects to the next step you can always look up the Premiere manual or tutorials online. 

Through interactive lectures, demonstrations, readings, and projects, I have successfully been able to get the basics as well as some advanced techniques in Adobe Premier. 
 


Sister Helen Prejean

One of the best things about DePaul is the mass amount of speakers and established socialites that come and discuss their ambitions and lives with the students. Most of the time you do not have to RSVP to events but if the flyer asks for than it is a must! Most of the events I’ve attended were in the Student Center conference room or Cortelyou Commons​. Both of these facilities can hold many many people, and the events I’ve seen stem from a gender quality activist to a student run amateur drag show.

One of my goals for this quarter as well as upcoming school year is to attend more DePaul events. The most recent one I have seen was on a whim, but I’m more than glad that I attended. I had the honor of being in the presence of Sister Helen Prejean​. Although at first I did not recognize this name, once I looked deeper into who she was it hit me that she is a very influential person in the subject of the death penalty. She wrote Dead Man Walking which was turned into the award winning film featuring Sean Penn. Although this topic was pretty heavy for a sunny weekday afternoon, I knew that this was a prime opportunity to learn more about a subject that I am not well-versed in.

Before Sister went on stage there was an exhibition. The room was filled with hand written letters from the Stateville Correctional Center​. This series of letters was called “Why My Life Matters”. Most of the letters were background information about the convicted person, and appeals to bring back the parole board. Many of the letters were very well written and extremely thorough. This in particular gave me a huge reality check because the letters were written a month ago behind bars while I stand and read them sipping on a latte with the freedom to walk right out of there if I wanted too. On the floor of the room was scotch tape outlining the actual length and width of a prison cell. Just another tid-bit of information that further makes me realize the conditions prisoners live in.​

Sister Helen Prejean spoke for less than an hour, but she was extremely adamant about cultivating conversation about the topic with us, instead of just talking AT us. She had a panel discussion and invited people from the audience to come up to the microphone and answer questions. After a question had been asked she didn’t straight out answer it, but rather asked other members of the audience what they thought. I thought this tactic was warm and inviting and made everyone comfortable with talking about such a dark topic.

After the session as over, I felt like I knew more about the morality of punishment and the United States’ justice system. Sister Prejean has not only inspired the film industry, but also inspired conversation and change in the way people view the death sentence.

More events can be listed at the site here​.

Afterwards I bought a copy of her book and had it signed! Talk about an evening well spent. ​


DERBY 2015

​​​As a kid who grew up in the outskirts of Chicago the idea of the Kentucky Derby​ has had really no significance to
me, but for my buddies Grant and Lena the Derby ​is at the height of excitement when it comes to spring activities. Although I have no betting money to shell out, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to be surrounded by giant hats that 
shouldn't be considered hats, and horses that have better hair than I do.

My skin/body/soul is not meant for the Kentucky sun so about 9 layers of sunscreen was applied within the duration of the outing….so pale. Honestly, in the crowd of over 294,000 people you could probably spot me out pretty easily from an aerial view.

The whole day passed insanely fast, especially with all of the prime people watching. To be clear, we didn’t sit in the fancy seats that surround the race track. We sat in the epicenter of Churchill Downs​ in a giant cluster of people in the middle of the field. See picture for reference.

The infield is a delicate mixture of fraternity brothers, the elderly with modest income, and Kentucky locals. Where did I fit into that? Probably more with the elderly on account of the fact that I napped for an hour the second we got there and really stressed to everyone around me the importance of hydration.

Churchill Downs on Derby Day is essentially a sea of giant hats, photo finishes, and several explanations on how to bet correctly. I’m insanely grateful for the wide range of people that attend DePaul. My buds are from all over of the country which gives ample opportunity to see where they come from and share some new experiences together. If you ever have the opportunity to check out Louisville, Kentucky​ for a long weekend, give it a go and please for the love of all things holy do not forget the sunscreen. 


Learning History Through Art

Something I took upon myself this quarter is to take a full course load of 18 credit hours. For me, this means 4 three hour credits and a small two credit hour course that meets every Sunday at the Art Institute of Chicago.​

What prompted me to take this course is the fact that Joe Cunniff, a sponge of knowledge, is leading it. I had Joe as a professor for my first course here at DePaul (Discover ​Jazz). He is such a unique being jam packed with information. Truthfully, I don’t even know how one person can have that much trivia in their brain. Joe is notorious for disappearing during class on hot days to grab ice cream and reciting Shakespeare out of the blue. I really can’t put into words how entertaining and well-versed he is. He is a real gem that keeps humanities alive.

​Once I figured out he was teaching the course I didn’t hesitate to enroll with my roommate Kat (whom I also met during that first class of Discover Jazz). I knew he was going to be the perfect professor to enlighten me on a subject I wish I knew more about- Art History​. The Art Institute holds a collection of pieces that offer wide opportunities for people like me who are interested in learning about historical happenings through the context of art. So far the course has only covered Roman, Greek, and Renaissance related art, but we will also dive deep into the late Middle Ages and modern/contemporary styles.

Although we have only met 4 times so far, I have already been able to deepen my understanding on how to study a painting through the use of trends that mark a certain period of time. Joe also stresses the importance of the artists that create the work and how their documented experiences give further insight into the time period.

I knew I wanted to take this class because I’ve been to the Art Institute a few dozen times and always seem to walk quickly by the rooms that don’t intrigue me. Instead of continuing to ignore and disregard art I don’t “get”, I might as well enroll in a class that can educate me without adding more to my tuition cost.

Joe also encourages out of class members to sit with us and listen to the lecture, so if you are free on Sunday 1-4pm you can see us all armed with notebooks at Michigan and Adams in front of the info desk.


Springtime in Wrigley

Springtime in Chicago means BASEBALL​! Whether you root for the Cubs​, Sox​, or neither, the energy is high all around the city for sports lovers. Although I myself am not a huge sports person, I am a part of the Wrigleyville ​community so the Cubs are something that is unavoidable. Picture me crawling through a flock of loud fans outside of the field with 5 grocery bags and a backpack thinking about the best route to get to my apartment while hoping my bags don’t break all over the feet of party seeking sports lovers. Although living a block away from Wrigley Field has its down falls sometimes, I think the vitality of this neighborhood is just what I need to get out of my winter funk.

Yesterday I made the spontaneous decision to go to the Cubs vs. Padres game at Wrigley. All of the tickets online were not being sold anymore, so I decided to hit the streets and find someone selling tickets outside of the field. I got pretty good seats for $15 after haggling down the price. Like I said earlier, I am not a die-hard fan, but the environment is fun to be around. If I’m being EXTRA adventurous I would sell my left kidney for a hotdog and cubs shirt. This time I decided to save the money and the organ and opted to eat at Al’s Beef directly after the game.

Springtime in Chicago further reminds me why I moved here in the first place. There is now a constant buzz around every city street. People are ready to bust out the sandals and beach towels to try and forget about the harsh winter that froze over the city.

Here’s to another sunny season in my favorite city! 

Why I Chose DePaul

DePaul kind of fell into my lap. As a kid growing up in the outskirts of Chicago, the bustling city was always intriguing to me. I spent many middle school nights taking the Metra ​inbound to Union Station​ to catch some terrible pop punk shows. After 4 years of typical high school angst, my plan for college was to get out of the Midwest and travel far away just to experience something other than flat land and indecisive weather. After looking around at different college fairs, I applied to several Arizona Universities.

Soon after the fair I visited DePaul on a tour that I felt like my mom was more excited for than I was. It was a cold day and I had the attitude that I had already seen all Chicago has to offer. BOY, I WAS WRONG. DePaul blew me away with the campus grounds that even looked decent on a muggy, cloudy day. I applied with high hopes and felt that even if I didn’t know what major I wanted to declare, I knew that I wanted to figure it out here. Having 2 academic years at DePaul under my belt has given me enough to process why, in fact, I choose this school when I was so dead set on getting out of the Midwest.

I honestly believe that it all comes back to DePaul’s reputation for being a part of a service driven community and using Chicago as a second classroom. The potential idea of being stuck at a campus ONLY surrounded by my peers made me feel so trapped…. but a campus surrounded by a large city?! That I can handle. The location was definitely a huge plus. And with a large city comes many opportunities for internships and volunteer work!

Besides the fact that I was awarded scholarship ​money from DePaul, I mainly based my decision on the fact that I believe that Chicago will provide me with all the tools I need to succeed in whatever I choose to do. It is a plus that I am so close to home but I rarely visit unless it is a holiday. I am happy to say that, although DePaul isn't the cheapest option, it is the best investment that I am making towards my future.​

GOALS

As my last quarter of my sophomore year comes to a start, I realize that it’s time to start revamping the way I do things during the school year. Quarters ​go by so quickly and it is always toward the end of the school year that I decide to reflect and spice up the rhythm of my weekly outside of school schedule. With this in mind, I conjured up a list of things I should REALLY be doing during the school year and habits I want to slowly but surely slide into my life.

GO TO MORE DEPAUL SPONSORED EVENTS: I always kick myself after missing a free event held at DePaul. Only in college will I have the opportunity to sit in on forums and listen to established and well known people talk before me. Not to mention sometimes there is free food. The events that are held are not always in my zone of interest, but that shouldn't hinder me from at least stopping in and checking it out. A specific future event that I am attending is called Cultivating Compassion. During this event DePaul students have the opportunity to interact and engage with a Buddhist nun that studied under the Dalai Lama.

GO TO THE GYM MORE: The Ray Meyer Fitness Center​ does not only have the best Blue Demon smoothies, but they happen to have really intense yoga session that is free. Okay, so the intro class is free but I usually just keep taking the intro class over and over again because that’s how I roll…. But, I digress. During freshman year I made it a habit to hit the gym at least 3 times a week, but now that I live off campus it seems a little harder to get my lazy bones over there. Although I have yet to try out the weight lifting zone, I am getting better at NOT being winded when I walk up the stairs.

STOP DRINKING COFFEE: Ohhh jeez, this one is a toughie. Truthfully I feel that a cup of coffee in the morning keeps me awake for about 27 minutes, but I can’t help but kick the habit of drinking it every day right when I wake up…..and then continuously throughout the day. I noticed that if I go a day without coffee I feel borderline ill. Sleepy, groggy, and irritable just begins to explain the withdrawal my body is feeling without sweet, sweet caffeine.

Now that I’ve written these down it feels way more concrete. I’ll keep cyberspace up t​o date on my progress.


Spring Break 2015: Doing Nothing

​​​When I say I did nothing during spring break, I mean NOTHING. Sure I spent some time with friends lounging at a lake house for a few days, and I DID get a lot of movies off of my Netflix queue…. but compared to everyone else’s vacation spent in a new state or going abroad I didn’t do much at all. At first, I was disappointed that I wasn’t very productive and that I took a week off of work, but some quality lounge time turned out to be the stress reducer that I really needed.

I actually got 8 hours of sleep every night for a consecutive seven days which is something I haven’t had in who knows how long. College, so far, has meant a sleeping schedule far from ideal. A spring break jam packed with nothingness gave me time to recharge my brain juice and balance my mind back to a normal state. Catching up on my sleep drastically improved my mood which made it very obvious that I should try harder during the school year to at least take a nap or two during the week if I can’t get a full 8 hours.

Sitting around my apartment also gave me ample time to figure out exactly what I wanted for the following quarter. I took it upon myself to get a full 18 credit hour course load and added a class that meets once a week at the Art Institute​. Although a degree in art history ​isn’t on my to do list, over break I realized that if I am paying to be a part of the DePaul community I might as well take all the credits offered and make the most of my time here.

While I was eating Girl Scout cookies I my bed all I was receiving were Snapchats and Facebook updates filled with pictures and videos of people on their break. To me it seemed that people were spending all of their time documenting their trip instead of living in it. Not doing much over break while everyone was away gave me the opportunity to unplug from the internet, as well as my cell phone. I think we all get wrapped up in our Snapchats and Instagram accounts that we forget we have the choice to step away from that. Stepping away from my phone is what I did which gave me more time to snuggle with the king of cats, Big White.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t get the chance to leave the city during spring break. Some time alone is healthy and hard to come by during the school year. EMBRACE IT!​​​​

The Den

​​​​​A buddy of mine had an extra ticket to a play that was being performed in Wicker Park​, and due to my love for theater and inability to deny a cash free evening I could NOT say no. We ended up finding a hidden gem on Milwaukee Ave which further convinced me that I have not even seen a quarter of what Chicago has to offer.

Even if you don’t enjoy plays, just go to The Den Theater​ to hang in the lobby. Walking into The Den feels like you’re walking into a hip Victorian lady’s living room. Mismatched leather couches are scattered throughout the lobby accompanied by what seems to be floating vintage frames and art pieces along one wall. The room is lined with old-style drapes with the recent add on of a small bar and café. It really is a beautiful and homey environment. 

The stage we saw our show on was decorated like a circus with party decorations hanging down from the ceiling. The candles in the mason jars were synchronized with the tone of the play. When it got real quiet and serious the candles began to get dimmer and dimmer. This added to the entire ambiance. They also have a broad selection of board games in the café ranging from Taboo ​to the Game of Thrones strategy game.

While searching for this place we completely missed it so keep your eyes peeled. 


What I Wish I Knew as a Freshman at DePaul

​​​​​No matter how many “How to Survive College” forums you read online in preparation for the big leap into higher education, I feel like you never quite know how to navigate college life until you’re in the thick of it yourself. Trying to make new friends, figuring out career goals, and picking classes are all stressful elements that never seem to settle down towards the beginning of your college career. Although everybody adjusts to college life in a different way, here are a few tips from lil ol’ me that will hopefully make your transformation into a stellar first year student a smooth one.

​As a DePaul freshman I wish I fully wrapped my head around how expensive Chicago really is. I never regret moving here, but entirely understanding that the cost of living AND the tax is way higher here would have made me save a little bit more in high school instead of spending weird amounts of money on Starbursts. It really hit me that I’m going to need to pinch pennies where I can and spend time searching for free events around the city.  

Speaking of free events, that’s the second thing I wish I knew more about as a DePaul freshman. With another year under my belt living in this city, I have been able to scope out some places that are little to no cost. Like the free movies in the park​ events that take place in dozens of parks around the city. Although these events only happen towards the beginning and end of the school year, being surrounded by intricate architecture under the pavilion in Millennium Park​ to watch Ghostbusters for the 300th time gets me through the school weeks.

As a freshman I also wish I knew how to take advantage of the buses. I feel like in the first year many students rely on the El ​and don’t want to get out of their transit comfort zone once they figure out how to navigate just one. Buses are a reliable transit option during the day. And although they aren’t really good to lug big backpacks or grocery bags around, is the EL any better? The bus is also a nice change of pace too because instead of seeing what Chicago has to offer on an elevated train, you’re able to be on street level and potentially discover a shop or café that you never would have seen from a train cart. ​

DePaul After Dark

In order to establish closer ties within the DePaul community, Campus Recreation holds many special events throughout the year. The most recent event was for all the students that want to relive their recess glory days. The theme was retro sports and students were encouraged to dust off their playground game skills in events like four square, knockout, hopscotch, tether ball, and more! I don’t know about you, but when I was a 5th grader I DOMINATED at four square. Although I am not nearly as limber and quick as my 5th grade self, it was nice to see that I still have SOME physical ability when it comes to sports.

This event was also put together in order to celebrate Blue Demon Week. The amount of school spirit that was condensed into the gym was overwhelming! Before entering the gym there was a giant Jenga competition outside in the lobby. We are talking GIANT Jenga pieces, guys. As if that game needed to be MORE suspenseful. Students in the DePaul Dodgeball Society were even decked out in matching uniforms!

Many of these team work oriented games really bring about a sense of comradery and silliness to the DePaul community, which is perfect for this time of year since finals are about to roll around. The idea for a retro game night is a stellar one, especially for winter time! This event gave students the opportunity to escape the snow and burn off a layer (or two) of that winter fluff we all know we have. Events like double dutch, swing dancing, and skip it made that possible. 

If you do not dabble in the world of hand eye coordination or intense physical movement, they also had a bingo and canvas bag decorating station!  Campus Recreation frequently updates their Facebook and Instagram (depaulcampusrec​) with event info as well as an insider look at the students who make events like retro sports night possible. 

What NOT to pack

Packing for college is both exciting and overwhelming. Personally, figuring out what to bring was a daunting task (as I am a novice hoarder). Before entering college I knew that I really wanted to downsize by only bringing the essentials instead of cluttering my entire dorm ​with tiny thrift store knickknacks. Here are some general things you should never bring. 
 
Your ENTIRE closet - I know you might think you’re going to need that specific blue shirt for something someday, but I promise you it will just stay on the same hanger for the entire school year. From my experience, I usually end up wearing the same outfits over again or even multiple times if it isn’t dirty because who has time for laundry?  Not I. A lot of dorms do not have big closets so you heavy shoppers out there might have to make somewhat of a sacrifice. If you want to make less trips from your car to dorm room on move in day, make sure to hold off on every item in your shoe collection. 

Ironing board - I can’t even remember the logic I used for bringing an ironing board to school, but it definitely was a flawed one. Nobody got time for that. If anything bring a small steamer to get the wrinkles out of your clothes or better yet just use the steam from the shower. It works, people, it really works. 

Coffee maker/Hot plate - You will be an RA’s worst nightmare. Although instant coffee would be extremely convenient, it is potentially dangerous to you and everyone in the building. I got my poor coffee maker taken away the first week because I neglected to thoroughly read what DePaul suggest we leave at home.
 
Check out this link if you’re curious about what is not allowed in DePaul dorms!

Happy packin’!


Apartment Living

​Apartment hunting can be a major drag, especially when you are on a time crunch. Unlike most of my buds that I made freshman year at DePaul, I decided that I would move straight into an apartment during the summer instead of going home. Why would I move out of Chicago when I had yet to experience the glory of lake side jogs, farmers markets, street shows, free baseball games, and movies in the park?! The idea of going back home to suburbia was out of the question.

I’ll gladly skip ahead to the “Happily Ever After” of apartment shopping and spare you the drama. I found an apartment without having to sell a vital organ!!!! WOOPIE! By “apartment” I mean a dusty, but spacious, area with walls above a bar in Wrigleyville. This place was a no brainer because it is only a 15 minute commute to Lincoln Park campus and a prime area for people watching and pizza munching. We did have a mouse problem once, but that is taken care of (RIP Brian).

Rent is fairly cheap and living off campus is refreshing in the sense that it gives me some physical and mental distance from school. By not having to follow the rules that come with dorm life, I feel a stronger sense of independence and freedom. Also, the freedom of having an apartment allowed me and my roommates to buy a kitten!!

Our kitten Alfred
Although quiet hours are relatively nonexistent, I must say that I miss a lot of things about living in the dorms. The convenience of dorming made it easier to hang out with friends because they live a few halls down, instead of having to take the el like I do now. I also miss being able to do my laundry in the same building. Now, because it is winter, I have to trek down the ice covered stairs to get to the basement of the building next door to throw my clothes in a washer that works half the time. I’M NOT BITTER. Now that I am not on campus anymore, I am not nearly as motivated to go to the gym. I tried doing an at home workout once though (I’m lying).

All in all, both dorm life and apartment living are all things to adjust to. Elements like grocery shopping, remembering to pay rent and utilities, cleaning the entire apartment are all new variables that I have to fit into my life. Am I an adult yet? I’ll keep you updated on my progress.


Quimby's Bookstore

​The sun finally made an appearance this weekend after what feels like months of cloudiness, so some gal pals and I decided it was time to get out of the house and cruise around Wicker Park. Naturally, we were hunting for tacos. The wait for a table was pretty long, but we were all really avid about consuming tacos so we took that opportunity to stroll around Wicker. 

During our impromptu adventure we came across the gems of all gems. Quimby’s bookstore lives right off of the Damen blue line​. Quimby’s is by no means a normal book store… it’s not even your usual indie bookstore. They offer tons and tons of independently produced zines in addition to saucy graphic novels and well-curated fiction. This place takes indie to a whole new level with their vintage photo booth and sculptures made out of rusty nails and recycled metal. 

If you are unaware of the actual definition of a “zine,” it is a small circulation of self-published work often reproduced via a photocopier. Although it may seem low in budget, the artistic quality is usually off the charts.  Below are some pictures of the zines and short stories my roommate and I picked up--

Although the space is the size of a kidney bean because it’s filled wall to wall with imaginative weird things, Quimby’s frequently holds special events. For the past 4 years, Quimby’s has hosted a Zlumber party in their store (get it?). The point is to pack the store with artists and
creative writers for an overnight slumber party. Participants are encouraged to bring good vibes and jammies in case they want to catch some zzz’s after working on their zine. Of course, you can leave whenever you want (YOU ARE NOT HELD CAPTIVE). Free food is provided which is more than enough reason to go because….well it’s food. 


Screenwriting

This quarter I decided to give myself some creative leeway which prompted me to enroll in a class that would cultivate my artistic abilities. Intro to Screenwriting is presenting me with the opportunity to master the art of writing dramatically for motion pictures. I mean let’s be honest, I love sitting down with 1 or 7 bags of Doritos while watching a flick…but actually developing a solid idea for a film is a tricky thing. With the help of DC 201, I have been learning how to develop the correct format, visual writing style, scene, character, and dialogue for a screenplay. 

Every day we start the class discussing movies or shows we have watched over the weekend, which is the most entertaining way to begin a lecture. We are talking about pure entertainment, people. These conversations have brought to light how many films I have yet to see (and also how little time I have to watch movies). We learn these things through a series of writing exercises. I don’t physically exercise because…no… so writing exercises are going to have to do.

I like the feeling of having somewhere to go without moving anything but my fingers.  Creative writing is like giving birth to a world where you make the rules and the possibilities are boundless. When I write, I pull from personal experiences and mix and mash them with silly ideas that are not allowed in the typical “formal” college writing style.

The thing my teacher stresses the most is to never be boring. No, not every synapse that comes out of my brain is a solid idea, but this class had taught me to run with my gut feeling and develop something regardless of my confidence in the idea. In the end, the opportunity to write creatively gives me the opportunity to express my inner feelings and experiences through the creation of as story.

I never realized how important it is to have a creative outlet until I neglected it for so long. By no means is this class a blow off, but it utilizes parts of my brain that have been dusty while I’ve been busy critically analyzing philosophical texts and peer reviewed sources.

Try to remember that the classes you pick don’t have to be rigid all the time, especially at the beginning of your college career. Open electives and fulfilling learning domains are great opportunities to play around with different interests that might not run parallel to your desired major. Keep creativity and humor in the mix because it definitely takes the pressure off of stressful course work when you know at least one assignment is going to be about Guy Fieri falling in love with a strip of bacon.

Happy writing!

The Harrowing Tale of a Retail Worker

In hindsight, rolling pretzels in high school at the age of 16, all to save up for college, was actually the first step in preparing me for my future career and I didn't even know it. No, I don’t want to make pretzels a full-time career (unless it is consuming them), but the skills I have learned from working in customer service has molded me into the employee and teammate I am now.​

Four years after experiencing the greasy lifestyle of being a pretzel wench, I am now a sales associate at a women’s clothing store called Anthropologie. Valuable lesson numero uno: working in retail isn't a job for everyone. A job in customer service (or really any job where you have to interact with humans) takes patience, a friendly personality, and the oh so useful ability to smile when someone is yelling at you because a specific candle isn’t in stock.

Retail work is sometimes mind numbing and dull, but at least it continues to teach me that mastering the ability of managing time makes a world of difference. When it comes to reaching a goal, I now understand the importance of doing tasks in the most efficient way possible. I spend hours upon hours doing shipments, putting on sensors, restocking the merchandise, and every single day I find a quicker way to do it. Now, whenever I wrestle tasks at my internship that have seemed to be done inefficiently in the past, I find a way to make a more economical and better use of time.

Working with customers is also great practice at making first impressions. Coming in contact with hundreds of people a day has trained me how to read body language as well as become a master at dealing with other people’s needs and emotions.  These interactions will make working/meeting future clients or co-workers a breeze. In my experience, I now know that when someone starts to get defensive with their tone or body language it usually means that they feel attacked or overlooked. This is when you take a moment to listen, show that you value their opinion, and try to have a calm discussion about the issue. I learned all this just by helping a customer return a pillowcase.

My current retail job has also made it clear that networking yourself is the key to making big things happen. For instance, a co-worker of mine made it known that her boyfriend was a producer at The Second City Network. TSCN is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge deal to me because Saturday Night Live was made possible by the comedians that performed there and I am just in love with the plays and improve shows they create. I got the producers email and asked if he needed an intern to do some grunt work around the office. 3 weeks later, I started my first internship at one of the most well-known comedy clubs in the USA. NETWORKING, PEOPLE, NETWORKING!

 Sometimes when you’re looking at things close up you can’t tell how big of an effect they have on your life. In retrospect, the time I’ve spent working in retail has helped me foster skills that I know I will use in my future career and interactions with people. 

SOUL

SHOUT OUT to my big hearted roommates, Carly and Kat, for being a part of the student run organization SOUL. Speaking Out as Unified Leaders (SOUL) is a volunteer operation that provides the south side youth at Langford Academy a positive outlet through art and writing. SOUL provides the 6th-8th grade students the opportunity to explore various forms of expression and are encouraged to use these expressions in their community to create positive change. 


Although you have the option to be a member OR a mentor, participants in SOUL are highly encouraged to be a mentor and work hands on with the kids instead of just showing up to the weekly meeting.

SOUL is a prime example of DePaul’s Vincentian values. Through creative writing and public speaking, the youth will learn about themselves, the community, and how they fit into their community. SOUL’s core goal is to give the marginalized youth a safe place to express themselves and help them reach their full potential.

The mentors in SOUL go to Langford every Friday to work with the marginalized youth. They use a creative arts based curriculum paired with critical thinking to help prepare the students for high school and beyond. Topics discussed include food deserts, gang violence, racism, and events going on in the community.

One of the main reasons I chose DePaul is because of the importance they put on doing service work. These values and opportunities create a passionate and heartfelt community. What are you doing for change?

DePaul Art Museum

LOOK, you can be cultured for free!!!

This five star university museum is located directly next to the Fullerton train station and is by far one of my favorite buildings on campus. What this museum lacks in space, it makes up for with its welcoming ambiance and gorgeous view of Lincoln Park.

​This unpretentious museum has exhibits large enough to be interesting, but small enough to avoid the dreaded “museum fatigue.” I am always impressed with the wide variety of art that is showcased in this treasure trove that I feel many students overlook. The museum displays local artists, outsider art, and even touches on contemporary issues including feminism and war. The gallery serves as an experimental laboratory that showcases an innovative approach to art and culture.​

Many of the projects seen at the gallery are historical or thematic in nature, but The DePaul Art Museum has made a commitment to display contemporary art as a means of exploring aspects of our very own culture.  

Although the museum is closed for instillation until the end of January, they are re-opening with a brand new exhibition titled “Rooted in Soil.” The new exhibition is said to bring together works by contemporary artists that explore the life-sustaining but overlooked medium of soil. Rooted in Soil will be showcased until mid-April.

Not a fan of dirt? Click the link below for more info about upcoming events, collections, and exhibitions.

http://museums.depaul.edu/


 


ICE ICE BABY

Maggie Daley Park has been under construction since what feels like the beginning of time. The city’s first ice skating ribbon opened during winter intersession, so naturally I gathered up a group of buds that stayed in the city over break to test out the new rink.

After waiting for the Zamboni to do whatever the heck it does, we geared up with our $12 rental skates and hit the ice (Pro Tip: bring your own skates). Literally, I hit the ice with my body. I am not the most coordinated person even on solid, non-slippery terrain. The ribbon shaped course seemed pretty basic until you glide a few yards and the path begins to elevate. This was a surprise to both me and my gluteus maximus. Despite my best efforts, I never truly got the hang of it the way Chazz Michael Michaels did in Blades of Glory. The one perplexing question is why would anyone design a skating rink with inclines? Regardless, the new park is beautifully designed and harbors a perfect vantage point for unique views of the skyline.  

Construction on this site is still underway, but it seems to me that this place may be my new favorite summer hangout spot. Installation of a rock climbing wall has begun, along with modern playground equipment in the shape of a ship and lighthouse. My gut is telling me that most of the park attractions are supposed to appeal to children, but my gut is also telling me that I am young at heart and no one can stop from becoming one with a jungle gym. This $60 million park will bring a whole new experience when visiting Chicago. Due to the fact that is adjacent to Millennium Park, folks can visit the Bean and then visit Maggie Daley Park to play in Chicago’s front yard. Stay tuned for live-action photos of me climbing the rock wall with a bunch of little kids.​ 


GOT NO MONEY?

Welcome to oh-so-typical college finances. Freshman year was a little different for me because I lived on campus and didn’t have to worry so much about rent and utilities, but this year money has been TIGHT. To save some cash while clothes shopping, I have been expanding my wardrobe with cheap things from thrift stores around Chicago.

Close to Lincoln Park campus, there is a Rag Stock with 2 floors full of goodies. WARNING: A common misconception is that Rag Stock is a thrift store. IF A SWEATER IS $20 IT IS NOT A SOLID THRIFT STORE. NO. This place has super hip stuff, but I assure you there are better places to snag an old man sweater at a lower price.

I usually hit up Unique Thrift off the Wilson red line. They have 50% off Mondays which is super dangerous because how many knit sweaters do I REALLY need? Either way I usually go at least once a month to see what they have. I actually found some really cool paintings and home décor here a few times and nothing was over $5.
Insider Tip: don’t buy comforters or pillows. Just don’t mess with that.


Closer to Lincoln Park campus is the Belmont Army. I lived by this place for over a year and I just recently found it. The gem of gems. Most of Chicago’s “vintage” shops that I have been to are insanely overpriced, but this place has some good finds. They have 4 floors and each place has a unique vibe. The second floor is a shoe store, then an army surplus store, and the 4th floor (best) is a neat vintage shop. Everything is tidy and clearly labeled which is something that most thrift stores lack. They carry trendy garments as well as casual basics. There’s a whole section for “hippie dresses”, shoes, funky t-shirts, antique kitchenware, and the employees are helpful and charming.

Although Chicago has the famous Michigan Ave, you should check out some of these hole-in-the-wall treasure troves, for sure.


How To Survive Group Projects

If you’re like me, you cringe at the words “group presentation.”

I want it to go on the record that this quarter I have had a grand total of 7 group projects, and it’s not even finals week. As much as we hate them, presentations are pretty prevalent for many of the people that have seminar courses. Many of the classes I have taken so far are discussion based, which means there is a hefty portion of your grade that depends on how much you actively participate with class discussions. And by “actively participate” I mean actually sharing some formulated thoughts and not just answering the question with a lazy “yes” or “no”.

IT IS COLLEGE. WE. CAN. DO. THIS.

During most seminar courses there comes a point where the professor wants you to interact with your peers and create a group presentation. These topics are either assigned to you OR you get to choose your own from a list. Exciting stuff, people. Now, I have had about a dozen group projects since I started DePaul in the fall of 2013, and it is safe to say that not all of them went smoothly. Here are my two cents as to what you can do to make sure your group presentation doesn’t suck.
 
1-      Instantly exchange email or phone numbers with your group members.
Just do it. Even if the professor doesn’t give you time to meet with people after s/he assigns groups, stay after class and meet ‘em just so that you can get started sooner with everybody’s contact info. This way it will be way easier to decide when to meet. If you have an embarrassing email that you made when you were 8 like I did, maybe it is time to step up the email game.

2-      Create a fricken Google Doc.
OR PREZI OR SOME OTHER SHARED DOCUMENT SITE. Learning how to use a Google Doc was much needed this quarter. Not so much “learning” but figuring out that it is an actual thing that makes school work more convenient. Sometimes it is impossible for everyone to meet at one time (especially as you get older and more students you know have more obligations than they did when they were a freshman). Google Doc has been my best friend this quarter (sad but true) because I can still participate in the group project by editing with them online even with my busy schedule

3-      TRY to go over the final presentation with your group before the due date.
Having one final collective practice with everyone physically there makes presenting so much less awkward. The person who has the honor of flipping through the slides with the right arrow on the keyboard during the entire presentation will know his/her cues and things won’t get awkward. This will give you time to figure out if your links ACTUALLY work. It is awkward as heck when the 3 minute video that was supposed to be the main point of the presentation doesn’t end up working (trust me).
 
Perfecting group presentations isn’t easy. It takes time for people to adjust to sharing work and figuring out the best way to get the project done. Just remember this: look over the dang presentation. Just look it over. You’ll have an easier time verbalizing the information if you actually know what’s happening on the slides. Also don’t forget the eye contact. Heavy eye contact is good in this situation (not on the el or at any time past 11pm).

I BID YOU FAREWELL AND GOOD  LUCK​


 


Desk Blog

In between inhaling cheese fries and making elevator rides as awkward as possible, I juggle 3 jobs and a full course load of school work. Trying to balance multiple jobs and school is a reality for many students. Anything from a fun night out with friends to paying for books, the money has to come from somewhere. If you are fortunate enough to have some of your spending money supplemented by your family, I still believe that having a job can expand your social network and communication skills.

Luckily, I landed a job as a desk receptionist at the DePaul dorms. The shifts are 4 hours in duration and it is very easy to trade shifts because, as we all know, sometimes plans happen spontaneously. What especially rules about this job is that not only do you get paid to sit down, but you get to make friends with people you normally wouldn’t run into. This job has made it easy for me to stay in touch with the campus community even with my tight schedule.

Truth be told, the highlight of working the desks at a college campus has to be all the connections you make with the food delivery people. I’m pleased to say that not ONCE have I purchased Insomnia Cookies because the delivery people are so dang nice. Now I’m not saying that if you become a DR (desk receptionist) that you will automatically get free yummy things, but if you be genuinely nice the world will do you a favor sometimes. I don’t even have a huge sweet tooth but the fact that it’s free makes all the difference for a typical money-less college kid like myself.

Another perk to this job is that it gives you time to get homework done. For example, I am literally writing this blog while I man the desk at University Hall. Also, I suffer from chronic procrastination and if I am just sitting at a desk and the only thing I have in front of me is my sociology textbook I’ll just suck it up and read. Although internet access is limited, a four hour timespan creates a sweet environment to get some easy reading or journal entries done. Research papers or other types of assignments that might need to be supplemented by the internet are a little more difficult to get done.

I honestly suggest looking into getting a job on campus such as desk reception (or at least be a delivery person and hook ‘em up with some food because hunger is real during those shifts).

If you’re interested in finding an on-campus job or how to prepare for a position…check out the site below.

https://studentemployment.depaul.edu/find_a_job/

A Guide to Rocky Horror Live

Rocky Horror is the first true audience participation film. Viewers are known to yell back lines during extended pauses in the scenes. People dress up in outrageous costumes and enjoy the 100 minute long rock- musical horror film. (By the way there is not gore in this “horror” film).

This month I did something I’ve been waiting all year to do. The Rocky Horror Picture Show live performance plays all year round at The Music Box Theater, but I thought it would be WAY more fun to go during Halloween. This cult classic is a horror parody filled with sci-fi, rock & roll, and the lair of a transvestite (a character named Dr. Frank-N-Furter).

During the live perforce, the movie plays in the background while (very dedicated) performers act out the scene playing behind them. Basically it’s just a sandwich of entertainment. In order to be prepared for this type of unique experience it is important that you remember to bring a good sense of humor. Dressing up like one of the characters will always get you some points, but the main thing here is that you should show up feeling as comfortable as possible. I did not dress up as a specific character, but I did dress in attire inspired by this film (sparkly hat, fish nets, high waisted pants, and a bow tie).

Show goers are also encouraged to bring props!!! This show relies heavily on audience participation, so get ready to be a fool. Props include (but are not limited to) rice, water pistols, newspaper, confetti, and toast. Just find a piece of toast and you’ll fit it, basically.

Even if you don’t know the film too well, the vibe of the theater is like no other. Make the most of your first experience and don’t hold back. Check out the Music Box home page for details about viewing times.

http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/features/the-rocky-horror-picture-show

You can see the trailer below.




Comedy in Chicago

​There’s no question that Chicago is one of the most hoppin’ open mic, improv, and stand up cities around. I didn’t know how active the comedy scene was until I actually moved here. If you don’t know someone who participates in the comedy scene there are dozens of places​ you can check out, sometimes even for free.

The Second City is always a hot spot for me and my friends on Saturday nights. The Second City produced prime comedic talent such as Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and many more people that will make your side split. If I’m feeling spendy I’ll pay to see a show. Most shows last 2 hours including an intermission, but I usually save the cash and hit up the free improvisation set after the shows. A free improv set follows every last performance of the night. The theatre’s seating area is Cabaret style so be prepared to share a table with your neighbors and make some new friends. The improv team is insanely talented. The show usually involves some audience participation. For example, the performer asked the audience for suggestions involving kitchen supplies. Naturally, I yelled out “TOASTER” and the team busted out a 10 minute sketch involving a toaster. Who knew kitchen supplies could be so entertaining? Check out the video below if your want to see the team in action.

Other smaller theaters hold frequent events for comics to work on their standup routine. I usually attend events at The Playground Theater held by my buddies at Chicago College Class Clowns. C4 is Chicago’s only stand up show run by students for students. Students from UIC and DePaul showcase their silly talents every Thursday night for $5.  

If you’re really interested in comedy and making it a part of your career, DePaul offers screenwriting classes for all genres. But, if you’re like me and just want to sit back and enjoy the show, check out UP Comedy Club, The Laugh Factory, The Second City, or The Playground Theater. Most places provide a student discount because everybody knows we ain’t got the cash.




Assaf Evron

​One of the many reasons I took a contemporary art class was to acquire more information on a domain of art that I do not understand. Contemporary art has always been a struggle for me and I’ve been known to shrug it off or dismiss it completely. Seriously, it boggles my brain. 

After realizing my insolence, I decided it was time to submerge myself in something that confuses me to either solidify or alter my opinions. I am grateful that our class had Assaf Evron, an Independent Artist/Consultant at The Shpilman Institute for Photography, come speak to the class about his work and involvement with the broad spectrum that is contemporary art. His photo-based works focus on the structures and forms of the overlooked and unappreciated. 
 
What I found effective about the artist's talk was that he showcased many different types of work he has created instead of focusing on the process of just one. This opened up a whole new set of conversations. He also explained his work with colorspace which is a graphic representation of mathematical formulas. That’s right, he took a math formula and created art with it. I can barely wrap my head around advanced math so this was way out of my comfort zone.  

 
Not only has he proved that the culture of contemporary art has no boundaries, but neither does the major you attain in college. Assaf Evron earned his BA from the department of General History at the Tel Aviv University and is working and making living outside the realm of “general history”. I think sometimes people, including myself, put too much pressure on picking a major when it is apparent that you don’t always end up in the field that your major pertains to. Having a general direction is safe, but it is important to know that life is full of flexibility and a particular major doesn’t automatically put you in a category for a specific career until you die.

Stretch the boundaries like Assaf.
Check out his web page below.

Thanks for stickin’ with me




Gravity Test

​“Risk taker” would not be a word my friends would describe me as. Loud? Yes. Frizzy? Depending on the humidity level…yes. I am so content with letting gravity hold me to the ground as I watch Netflix and eat Doritos in my bed, but I couldn’t shake the urge to do something remotely risky. Some say skydivers have a death wish, but I am a full believer that they wish to live and when I say live I mean LIVE. On October 5th 2014, I decided it was time that I experienced LIVING at a much much higher altitude.

 
As a precaution, Skydive Midwest makes each jumper sign a liability form in case a disaster were to occur. Statistically speaking I had a bigger chance of getting into a deadly car crash on the drive to Skydive Midwest than getting hurt during the actual jump. I think my safety depended mostly on me not panicking on the plane ride up. Just for future reference, do not sit next to me on any plane ride. I despise those aluminum torture machines….that being said, I am totally okay with being pushed out of one. 
 
At 14,000 I was harnessed to a professional sky wizard (and stone cold babe), Tim, and was reminded that a backup parachute will automatically deploy at 1,500 feet if (for some reason) the initial parachute fails to launch. THEN CAME THE MOMENT OF TRUTH. We waddled towards the door and 3..2…1.. I was flying.

 I wish I could formulate the words to describe the feeling. It all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to think about the parachute. It was beyond liberating.

Check out the video of me falling towards mother earth. Prepare yourself for “rock on” hand signs that I don’t even remember doing. Adrenaline is a crazy thing, my friends. I recommend a high dose every now and then.  


​​

Art Expo

​This school year I made it a point to enroll in classes that challenge my views on particular subjects. Art has always been a part of my life due to my father’s profession, but it is safe to say that some art domains really just go over my tiny head. Oh, a giant canvas completely covered in blue paint? I DON’T GET IT. A shovel and a pile of dirt in the middle of an exhibit? STOP, WHAT IS GOING ON?!  I decided to give a contemporary art class a chance in hopes of sorting out some of the mind boggling confusion that has been laid out for me in the past. 

In the middle of September, Navy pier presented 120 of the most influential international artists of contemporary culture. A 30 minute train ride and $15 later (student discount AYOOOO) my friends and I finally arrived to explore some of the deepest pockets of the modern art world. 

 
The first exhibit was literally unavoidable. A 50 foot high architectural piece by Jessica Stockholder made of plastic containers dominated the front room. It was a tornado of color and organizational containers- which made me realize I need better Tupperware, but I digress. Guests were invited to climb the stairs as if to simulate climbing the mountain of plastic that was erected before them. 
One of the pieces of art was my favorite mostly because it was interactive and I got to step inside a giant fuzzy nest. The first step was to pick out a bird. Naturally, I chose a prairie chicken. After that you are asked to step into the nest alone and tell a deep secret. The microphone distorts your voice and replaces the sound waves with the chirps of the bird of choice. So basically I heard my secret being relayed to me by a prairie chicken. Satisfying you ask? Yeup. Obscure? For sure. 

120 exhibits later and my brain was going into over-stimulated mode. There was a piece that cost well over $40,000. I’m surprised my body didn’t go into epileptic shock seeing my tuition money in the form of oil pastels. All in all I was honored to support such a revolutionary group of artists with my money and bewildered demeanor. I moved to Chicago to learn about things that the suburbs couldn’t provide for me, as well as challenge my barely solidified opinions about art and artist. Chicago has gone above and beyond to produce an environment for the culturally proactive, and I’m more than happy that I challenged myself with a contemporary art class this quarter. 
Check out the Expo Chicago website if you’re thirsty for more.



Etc.

So my freshman year is coming to an end. Only four finals and I am finished! This is a bittersweet feeling because this has been the most exciting/challenging/scary/fun school year I have ever experienced. I will miss dorm life and I will certainly miss living on campus.

As I started to pack up my belongings I realized that my food plan still has $400+ on it. At DePaul the food plan money rolls over each quarter, but not onto the next school year. Although I am a food consuming monster, I know there is no way that I will be able to eat $400 worth of food in less than two weeks. THANKFULLY DePaul offers students the opportunity to bulk buy items from our little grocery/convenient store called Ect. located in the Student Center.

Being able to bulk buy has been super convenient because now I have enough salsa to last me for eternity. They didn't sell tortilla chips, so that is my most recent problem. BUT HEY, SALSA! I was able to purchase many non-perishables like an ungodly amount of Reeses, Cheerios, and granola bars.  Other things being sold were Gatorade, toilet paper, plastic cups/plates, Naked Juice, Starbucks drinks, and all the dip a college kid could ask for.

You guys should seriously consider buying bulk instead of letting that money go to waste! If you need any salsa please contact me.

Phil

At DePaul it is common for every student to fulfill multiple learning domains. From philosophy to self, society, and the modern world, students are required to take classes that expose them to different topics that are possibly not discussed in their specific major. At the beginning of the school year I was bummed because I wanted all of my classes to be about public relations & advertising because I was so excited to dive head first into my major. Sooner rather than later I realized how fun and educational these classes are. I also realized that, if I wanted to, I could choose classes that correlate with public relations and advertising to get a broader understanding of the major.
 
During my first quarter at DePaul I chose to start with the philosophical dimensions domain so I added Love, Hate and Resentment into my course cart. Little did I know that I would soon meet a professor that changed the way I felt about those three raw emotions, and about knowledge in general. Professor Danielle Meijer is her name and she is a raaaaad woman. She is opinionated and, although some of our viewpoints clash, she is more than willing to hear multiple viewpoints and makes it a point to tell the class that just because she thinks one way doesnt mean it is correct. I respect her for those words because I feel like some teachers I've had in the past push their biased opinions on students, while Meijer avidly verbalized the fact that there is not just one way to look at things (especially in philosophy). Her passion for philosophy is contagious and a 90 minute class felt like 15 because the topics were so engaging and out there. Quarters fly by so at the end of week 10 I was sad that I was unable to continue seeing her every Tuesday and Thursday.
 
She is a wonderful professor that has made me pursue a minor in philosophy. I highly suggest taking a class taught by her or at least seek her out if you have any philosophical questions (or questions about belly dancing because she has done that too). For learning domains, I suggest taking classes that are beyond your comfort zone because sometimes a challenge is necessary. Who knows, maybe you will uncover a passion that otherwise would have been ignored.

The Kentucky Derby

Moving to the city was a big step in my life. Although I only had to move about an hour away from my home, I was nervous (and excited) to see what the big city had in store for me. Due to the fact that I do not have a very good sense of direction, I thought that navigating public transportation would be a nightmare. Before deciding to explore the city and TRY to learn how the El works, I metamorphosed into a social butterfly and made some new friends.
 
If you ever go to any DePaul event as an incoming student, or even as an undergrad, you will realize that the word “diversity” is said a handful of times. A few handfuls. The word was stressed so much and I forgot its meaning until I actually started to make friends who were from so many different walks of life. Suburban Amanda would never have thought that she could find common interest with a Nigerian girl who moved to North Carolina before attending DePaul, or an English boy whose accent is too charming to handle.

The opportunities and the experiences I have had so far as a freshman at DePaul were all heightened by the fact that all of my friends are (at first glance) so different than I am. Here I realized that cliques are a thing of the past and you don’t have to enjoy the same style of music to learn and grow with a friendly person. For example, I made a new friend during winter quarter who is from Kentucky. A few weeks ago he packed his car with friends and snacks and drove us 5 hours to his hometown of Louisville to experience the Kentucky Derby.

DePaul set up the foundation for this experience to happen because if they didn’t enroll such a diverse spectrum of people, I never would have been able to wear a giant hat at Derby. I learned how to properly bet on horses and how to apply several layers of sunscreen because the southern sun is very unforgiving. DePaul has pulled me out of my suburban bubble and has revealed to me a world of diversity and endless new experiences with people from all of the world. I can’t wait to see what next quarter has in store for me, and who I’m going to meet next.

Oz and Resident Events

Living in the dorms definitely has its perks. The residence halls put together events for the students and they usually include free food so you cant go wrong with that. Some friends and I decided to join in and go see The Wizard of Oz on Broadway.  BUT FIRST, my amazing residence director, Tracy, got us all Chipotle. After becoming uncomfortably full, the University Hall gang went over to the Cadillac Palace to visit Dorothy and Toto. We had prime seats in the balcony.

What I'm trying to tell you guys is that living in the dorms provides students with opportunities others will not receive. There will constantly be posters and signs throughout the buildings alerting students of upcoming (and mostly free) events. The RAs do an amazing job of trying to make everybody feel a part of the DePaul community. I think living in a dorm is just a part of the typical college experience. Although DePaul is considered a commuter school, it is safe to say that I am very happy that I chose living in the dorms my freshman year. I have met the best group of people and even my future roommates. Although some of the safety procedures (like checking in guests) might seem tedious after a while, it is all done to protect you and make you feel safe in your temporary home.

If you decide to live in the dorms as a freshman try to soak up all the events and opportunities while they last. College is supposed to be the best 4+ years of our lives, so take every opportunity DePaul provides and go beyond your comfort zone.

DePaul Drag

​On May 1st I got to witness the DePaul Drag Show. Act Out, a DePaul club affiliated with LGBTQ, set up the show at Cortelyou Commons. The place was jam packed with drag lovers and queens (and kings) of all shapes and sizes. There were fur coats, wigs of all kinds, pristine makeup, and 6 inch heels. During the program, the queens got to perform a dance to the song of their choice. Every performance was sassy and saucy and I never knew I would experience something like this at DePaul. I don’t even have words to describe how amazing it was to be surrounded by the most supportive and accepting peers. At the end of all of the performances there was a lip sync/dance off between the three finalists. To me, they are all winners.  The amount of courage they have to show off their true colors is admirable. DePaul is truly a place of diversity.

DePaul will also be putting on another drag show on May 12th. During this show there will be a professional drag queen from the hit TV show Rupaul’s Drag Race performing.

Check out Act Out’s Twitter as well as LGBTQ.​



Wicker Park

​Wicker Park is basically the mecca of the Chicago art scene. There is an intense night life, a bohemian vibe, and many annual music festivals when summer hits. Wicker Park is filled with struggling artists and musicians so don’t be surprised if you see people on the streets with guitars and harmonics looking for some extra change. 
There is meditation in the park, burlesque shows, cheeseburger Fridays, an antique sale, and so much more.  All you have to do is just on the blue line and get off at Damen and these experiences can be yours! http://www.wickerparkbucktown.info/events/full-list​

Last summer I went to Wicker Park Fest and it was a blast!!!! It is free but they suggest a $5 donation which is a small price to pay for all of the entertainment. This year at Wicker Park Green Fest there will be thousands of eco-friendly people enjoying the festivities and food….the stage is bicycle powered…nuff said. So far the lineup includes: Guided By Voices, The Features, The Soil & The Sun, Viet Cong, Cheap Girls, Meat Wave, Geronimo!, Chicago Farmer and Charlie Parr. If you are ready to bask in the sun, make sure to book your calendar for June 21-22.

 

Street Art in the Chi

​Although I have only lived in the city for 8 months, I have noticed that Chicago has tons of beautiful secrets painted on the sides of brick buildings. The independent art scene is so alive in Chicago, but I think sometimes people don’t take the time to appreciate it. The first time I was introduced to random street art (some people deem it graffiti) is during Discover week at the beginning of the school year. Joe, the professor of my jazz class, took us all to Pilsen to experience Latino culture and, naturally, eat churros. The art on the side of the building is so much more than graffiti. I feel like Chicago has these little pockets of art that people forget to take the time and appreciate. 

 
Right off the green line is Brach's Candy Factory. It is the text book definition of abandoned. It sounds scary because it is. I can’t promise that you will come back alive or with all of your organs, but the art that has been spray painted on the inside of the factory is mind blowing. Go check it out for yourself if you dare, or live vicariously through this photo. 

 
The thing about Chicago, or any city for that matter, is that you never know what you’re going to run into during your seemingly normal routine. THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT EXCITING. Daily routines become mundane and blah and there is no escaping it, but seeing beautiful art on the street makes me realize why I chose Chicago as my home. It is an artistic, ever changing, inspiring, surprising place with new things around every corner- if you are willing to take the time and look.




Go explore.

Fun in the Sun

​After a long winter it is always refreshing to see new faces in the quad the second it gets over 50 degrees. When spring quarter hits, people are ready to go outside, and I can’t help but to think about all the summer activities Chicago has to offer. Chicago comes alive in the summer and I can’t wait for all the concerts! Whatever type of music you jive with, there will certainly be an outside festival dedicated to it this summer. Check out the link below for your 2014 Chicago summer festival guide. http://www.chicagomag.com/arts-culture/February-2014/2014-Summer-Festival-Guide/

 
Do you want to ruin your summer bod in style?! After a show make sure to pick up a hot dog. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a Chicago dog in the summertime. You can continue to ruin your diet at Sweet Mandy B’s, Molly’s Cupcakes, or Black Dog Gelato. Oh and check out Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. THIS ISN'T YOUR TYPICAL ICE CREAM JOINT. They have flavors like Wildberry Lavender, Whiskey & Pecans, Banana French Toast and the crazy list goes on and on. Just do it. Unless you’re lactose intolerant.  

Have fun in the sun, guys. No need for 7 layers of clothing- SUMMER IS HERE!​

JOB HUNTING!

​THE STRUGGLE! All 4 years of high school, I had a job. I was gettin’ that cash money and saving MOST of it for school. Once I enrolled at DePaul I decided to take a quarter off of work and get assimilated with new friends and a new city. I don’t regret it at all- taking the time off, that is. But the time has come to get my bum back in gear and get a cash flow once again. 
 
My suggestion to you job hunters is to take a gander and what DePaul Jobs has to offer. Positions may be scarce, but if you get in there early in the year you will have a better chance and grabbing something. Campus jobs are convenient and flexible and the students are limited to only 20 hours per week so that they can keep up on their homework as well. With a DePaul job you will be able to get your foot in the door right at the beginning of your college career. Who knows, you might meet managers, coworkers, and supervisors that could help you climb up the employment ladder if you show the initiative. Check out the link below for more deets.


If you strike out, there are outside jobs all over the city! Hit up Craigslist for possible positions. Many employers are looking for young, energetic students that need the money. Also, if you can tolerate small children/dogs/cats…check out www.care.com  You could be a dog walker… a little poop cleanup never hurt anybody. Plus, dog walking pays pretty good. These people are desperate to find someone to take care of their dear old poodle while they’re at work.

Good luck, fellow job hunters, good luck

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Not Going on Spring Vacation?

​While your friends are getting tan at Santa Monica Beach, don’t sit at home being bitter. Here are some things you can do over spring break if you aren’t lucky enough to leave the state.

1)      Look for scholarships- I know I know, thinking about school is the last thing you want to do over break. Hear me out though…. Writing scholarship essays is hard enough during the school year, so take this free time to buckle down and try to score some free money!! There are many different scholarship sites that allow to create a free account and access countless scholarship applications. GET TO IT!

2)      Check out study abroad programs- Ever wonder which way toilets flush in Europe or what the Eiffel Tower REALLY looks like? DePaul has a vast selection of countries to visit WHILE getting college credit. From Asia to Australia, DePaul gives their students the option to study abroad and learn about different cultures. You can also check out outside study abroad programs such as the Erasmus Programme. You have the option to study in 3 different countries with this exchange program (and to be honest it is much cheaper than any other program I’ve seen). Personally, I want to go to Norway because they actually PAY students to go to college over there. Crazy. Click the link below for more info on that jazz.


3)      Eat mass amounts of cereal- Everybody likes cereal right? Whether it’s Bran Flakes or Apple Jacks you should go nom on some right now. Cereal is acceptable to eat at any time of the day. You probably are not on a beach so don’t worry about the food baby. Just eat the dang cereal.

4)      Put new music on your iPod- I don’t know about you, but I still have music from middle school on my iPod. Spring break is a good time to find some new tunes and ditch the old ones (sorry Jonas Brothers…your time has come & it is long overdue). 

5)      Netflix- Okay so this is an obvious one. Netflix has saved me from countless hours of boredom and has never let me down (except the time they took down James and the Giant Peach before I could watch it… but I digress). Kick back, relax, watch some House of Cards because once school starts again your Netflix time will shrink at an alarming rate.

Food Trucks or Bust

One of the greatest things about nice weather in Chicago is the insane amount of food trucks that could be found around almost every corner.  Whether you are wandering the city at 1:00am or on your way to class, food trucks are a great way to experience different cultures on the go. My personal favorite is the Wow Bao truck. They serve these medium size dough balls of Asian food yummygoodness. The truck doesn't always have the full menu, but I love it anyway. I stalk this truck on a weekly basis because they give their location on twitter if you hashtag #bunsontherun.

Although Wow Bao buns are magically delicious, the Tamale Spaceship is top notch quality when it comes to food and entertainment. TAMALE SPACESHIP! The name alone is a winner. A man in a traditional Mexican wrestling mask distributes the heavenly tamales and says things like “Blast off,” and other spaceship related sayings. The Spaceship lands at the same spot four days out of the week so no need for roaming!

Check out this link for other awesome food truck experiences



Discover Vs. Explore Chicago

First-year students get to choose to enroll in Discover Chicago or Explore Chicago. Both classes teach new students about university life, resources at DePaul, and how to be a financially successful student. I remember back in the day, or 7 months ago, when I had to choose between these two classes. Both courses have many class options ranging from underground music, Irish culture, AIDS awareness, poetry, jazz, ect..

If you’re as eager as I was to get started at DePaul, you might want to check out Discover Chicago. These classes are usually smaller (about 22 students) and you get to move in one week before the official start of Autumn Quarter.  With Discover, students get to be immersed in the city and get a feel for the campus before all other classes begin. For me, immersion week was the best! It is easy to bond with classmates even if you're as awkward as I am because the excursion are enjoyable and the class size is small. I even met my current best lady friend in my class and we are getting an apartment this summer! My Discover Jazz class wandered throughout the city every single day and enjoyed the sights. We went to museums, parks, the lake, and they bought us all Panera which was a plus. I’ve never learned so much about the city and I’ve been living 30 minutes away from it my whole life. 

Check out this link to decide if Discover or Explore is right for you: