Defining the DePaul Experience

As I prepare for graduation just a couple short weeks away, it’s hard not to look back and get nostalgic about my time here at DePaul. I chose this school on a bit of a whim and had no real idea what I was getting myself in to. Located over 1,000 miles away from my hometown, I got the “why DePaul” question more times than I could count. 
When I first toured this school four years ago, I was a nervous high school student who wanted to know anything and everything about what life at DePaul was really like. Four years and 192 credits later, I have experienced so many different things that DePaul and Chicago can offer. From dorm life, searching for my first apartment, studying abroad, getting an internship, volunteering around the city, and meeting some pretty awesome people; my personal DePaul experience has been nothing short of incredible.

I could go on and one about the things this school and city has offered me, but for all the things I did do, there’s an even longer list of things I didn’t. Four years later and I still couldn’t tell you what the “typical” DePaul experience really is, because it’s different for everyone. And most importantly, it is what you make of it.

There are so many avenues and opportunities at DePaul to take advantage of, and the fact that not one student’s story is the same is one of my favorite things about this university. Being able to live and learn in a city as diverse and extraordinary as Chicago just gives you that much more opportunity to add to your college experience. I couldn’t sum up the typical college experience even if I tried, but I can attest to the fact that DePaul was the perfect outlet for me to create my own story.  


The Best and Worst of Night Class

Whether you’re an early bird or night owl, night classes are an essential part of student life at DePaul. While some students have sworn off night classes altogether, others seem to only sign up for these classes. As a loyal night class student, I have always found them to work better in my schedule than taking classes during the day. However, I have definitely noticed the cons of taking them. I encourage all students to try taking a night class at least once but be prepared for the good and bad.

The good: My favorite thing about taking a night class is that it’s only once a week. While it can be daunting to think about sitting in a classroom for three hours at night, remembering that the class only meets once a week definitely makes it easier. Night classes are also great because they offer so much flexibility. They’re great for working students or those who just have busy schedules. Because night classes at DePaul don’t start until after 5 p.m., it allows the opportunity for students to work at a job or internship during the day. Night classes definitely aren’t for everyone, but if you have a busy schedule or you’re more of a night owl, they can be a great choice.

The bad: The name says it all. Focusing on school at the end of the day for three hours certainly isn’t easy. Taking a night class all but assures that you’re on track to have a very long day.  And for those who don’t have time to sleep in in the morning, taking a night class can lead to a disrupting sleep cycle. Another big con of night classes is the possibility of missing out on fun times with friends. Even if you aren’t in the habit of going out on the weekdays, night classes fall right around dinnertime and often times you see your friends getting together while you’re in class.


Making the Most of Student Organizations

I remember how shocked I was when I first came to DePaul and realized how many on-campus organizations there were. Whether you’re into Greek life, skydiving, food, or community service, there is literally something for every kind of person at DePaul. Getting involved in student orgs are an awesome way to meet new people and are a great way to assure you get the most out of your college experience.  

In high school, I did a lot of community service, and I knew I wanted to continue that while at DePaul. Joining the community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, was the perfect way to do that. Not only was I able to do a ton of service for a variety of organizations across the city, but I was also able to meet new people and share that experience with them. 

One of my favorite parts of Alpha Phi Omega is that they had service events that focused on all aspects of giving back. I was able to participate in everything from walking shelter dogs, to volunteering at local soup kitchens, and even participating in huge Chicago events like The Chicago Marathon and Polar Plunge.

Of all the different events I got to be a part of, volunteering for Vincentian Service Day was definitely my favorite.  Each year DePaul students, staff, faculty and alumni participate in a day of service with 50+ community partners in the Chicago area. Though it only happened once a year, I always looked forward to participating in this special day. Being able to see the DePaul community giving back in so many different ways is inspiring and a very special moment to be a part of.

No matter what you like to do with your spare time, getting involved in student organizations is something I absolutely recommend. DePaul has hundreds of different clubs and groups to choose from, and it just may be the highlight of your college career.  


Apps Every Chicagoan Needs

Chicago is a great place to live, but sometimes you need a little help from the App Store. While apps like Uber, banking, and the weather are must-haves (duh) there are quite a few apps I use on a regular basis to make city living that much sweeter. From saving time on your commute to finding the best places to eat in the city, here are some must-have apps I recommend to every Chicagoan.

Yelp: I don’t know about you but I am constantly on Yelp checking out new restaurants across the city. If you consider yourself a foodie or are curious about how a certain restaurant is perceived by the public, this app is a must. Some restaurants even have special or free food offerings for yelp users!

Transit Stop: This app is absolutely necessary if you take any public transit in the city. It gives you live updates on when the train or bus is coming to each stop, right down to the very minute. An essential app the assures you won't be left standing on the el platform for 10 minutes.

Postmates: For days when leaving the apartment just isn’t happening, Postmates is there to the rescue. Whether you’re craving Chinese food for dinner, or need coffee and a bagel in the morning, Postmates makes it easy to get what you want without having to leave the couch.

Timeout: For all of your food, drink, and entertainment needs, you need Timeout. This app lets you discover nearby restaurants and bars, and popular things happening around the city on any given weekend.

OverDrive: This is an app I just recently got into, and it is seriously amazing. OverDrive lets you borrow books and audio books from the Chicago Public Library through a library card. It’s great for reading books on your morning commute and even finding textbooks for class!  


Friendships Abroad

As I look towards graduation just one short month away, it’s hard not to reflect on my past four years here at DePaul. I’ve taken some amazing classes, met awesome people, and overall have had countless memorable experiences. Looking back on my years as an undergraduate, I most remember the once and a lifetime experience I had when going abroad through DePaul’s Study Abroad program.
While it’s cliché to say that studying abroad was the highlight of my time at college, I can’t help but feel that way. Living and studying abroad was always something I was interested in, and DePaul could not have provided a better program. Not only do they have long and short-term options, but the number of destinations they offer all across the world is amazing. I chose to study abroad in Budapest, Hungary during the fall semester of my junior year. While I was nervous about leaving my friends and family behind, I knew that the opportunity to study halfway across the world might never happen again.

While I can go on and on about all the amazingly fun and memorable times I had while abroad in Budapest, it was really the people that I met during that semester that is most memorable. Not only was I able to meet other students from different countries, but I also got to spend those months abroad with DePaul students I never would have met otherwise. The program I was a part of consisted of over 40 students from DePaul, and it was comforting to know that someone just like me was going through this exact same experience. While I loved studying abroad and would recommend it to anyone, the friends you meet along the way are without a doubt the sweetest takeaway.  


Chicago Eats: Beatrix Market

The wait is finally over! Yes, I am talking about the new Beatrix Market that has opened in the Loop Campus downtown. With a prime location right next to the DePaul Center, the addition of this grab & go market hall is bringing some new and delicious food options to the lives of DePaul students.

Beatrix’s website describes the new location as a “quick grab & go experience featuring a large self-serve salad, soup, and hot food bar, rotating chef-prepared salads, sandwiches, and snacks, as well as premium nut and chocolate offerings showcasing local artisans.” The food options here are literally endless. With more than seven hot and cold food bars, a pizza counter, two grab and go pre-packaged coolers, and a coffee and pastry bar, you can satisfy any food craving you have here.

As a part of Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group, Beatrix has several restaurants and markets across the city. They are known for their modern take on American food, and their market locations are specifically targeted towards those looking for a quick bite. Not only does Beatrix Market offer a variety of food options, but they include fresh ingredients in their meals depending on what’s in season. From greens, grains, sprouts, and fruits and vegetables, you can always find a fresh and healthy option.


Housing Experiences as a DePaul Student

Every college student experiences a variation of housing situations throughout their education, and being a student at DePaul is no different. Throughout my last four years, I’ve lived in an on-campus dorm, two apartments, and a dorm while studying abroad. Each of these living situations brought unique experiences and led me to meet new people and discover new places across the city.

DePaul is quite unique in terms of housing because they don’t require students to live on campus during any of your undergraduate years. However many students still choose to live in on-campus dorms during their freshman year and sometimes beyond. Like the majority of incoming students, I also chose to live in the dorms my first year. As an out of state student, I wanted to meet as many new people as possible and get accustomed to DePaul’s campus and the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Choosing to stay on campus my first year was absolutely the right decision for me and I'm so glad I got to experience dorm life as a first-year student.

After my freshman year, I moved into my first apartment with a couple of friends I met from my dorm. Apartment hunting at 19 definitely isn’t fun and honestly is not something I would recommend. In the end, we found a great place right in the heart of Wrigleyville. Living in an apartment is totally different from living in a dorm on campus. It’s a great way to get your own space, but it also comes with a lot more responsibility.

I ended up moving to my second apartment for my last two years of school and it’s my favorite yet. Living in Wrigleyville is fun, but is definitely a lot to handle. Overall, I love the unique experience DePaul students get by being able to experience living in off-campus apartments anywhere in the city. I’ve got to explore so many different neighborhoods and discover amazing restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping.  While most students choose to live off campus in either their sophomore or junior years, on-campus dorms are always an option as well. I haven’t had a traditional college housing journey, but it was definitely a fun one.  


Subscription Boxes

Monthly subscription boxes are all the rage, and I have definitely fallen into their trap. With subscription boxes offering everything from clothes, skincare, makeup, food, and even pet toys; it’s easy to get into the habit of receiving a fun box full of goodies every month. The cost of these monthly boxes vary, but most of them are fairly affordable. However, over time, they can definitely put a dent in the budget. Here are some pros and cons I’ve found with these monthly boxes. 

Pros:

There is absolutely nothing better than getting unexpected mail. While subscription boxes technically aren’t unexpected, it’s still a nice surprise when they show up in the mailbox every month. Many of these boxes also allow you to customize your preferences and send you products based on what you like. Not to mention it’s a great way to try out new products that you otherwise wouldn’t have tried. Another great pro of many of these subscription boxes is that you do get a lot of bang for your buck. When I was receiving my Birchbox, a subscription box for makeup/skincare, some of the $10 boxes had $50 worth of products in them. Overall they are a fun and convenient way to try new and exciting products.

Cons:

While there is really no glaring negatives to monthly subscription boxes, there are a few small downsides. One is that the more expensive boxes do put a dent in anyone’s budget when you look at how much you’re spending annually. Another big risk I discovered with these boxes is the difficulty to quit. It was easy to justify spending so little each month in turn for receiving a box full of goodies, and that fact alone kept me coming back month after month. You also risk not liking or having a use for some of the products you receive in your box, but you can always regift!

The verdict:

Overall subscription boxes are a good deal. Be wary that you will probably have a hard time quitting once you start, so make sure to build the monthly payments into your budget. It really comes down to putting in some research and choosing which box (or boxes) are worth it to you.  


Thrift Shopping

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Whether you're trying to save money, trying to save the environment, or looking to find a new vintage piece to add to your closet; thrift shopping is the way to go. Some of my favorite pieces in my closet have come from thrift stores around the city. Plus, many of these stores offer cash and store credit in exchange for gently used clothing. It’s a great way to get rid of the clothes you never wear and fill your closet with great new pieces. Here are some of my favorite secondhand shops across the city.Clothes on rack

Crossroads Trading Co.: With multiple locations across the city, this is definitely my go-to store to buy and sell clothes. All the clothes are always in great shape, and it’s hands down my favorite place to find jackets and shoes. They also offer great store credit when you turn in your gently used items.

Buffalo Exchange: This chain has tons of locations across the country, and is my go-to place if I want to shop the latest trends. With a mix of modern clothes and awesome vintage pieces, you never know what you’re going to find here. While the store is pretty busy most of the time, new inventory is always coming in which makes each time I visit a different experience filled with new clothes.

Belmont Army: This store is secondhand paradise. With four floors of different clothes, shoes, and accessories, I could seriously spend all day looking around. Each level of the store features something different. It’s a great place to find staple pieces for your closet, as well as funky costumes and vintage accessories.

ThredUp: Now this isn’t technically in Chicago, but it is my favorite place for buying used clothes online. As the largest online thrift store, this website makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. They even pull pieces they think you would like based on your browsing history. It’s also a great place to sell clothes without having to make a trip to the store.  


Spring Break in NYC

While most people spend spring break lounging on a beach or relaxing at home, I spent mine exploring the streets of New York City. After a friend of mine graduated DePaul early and moved from the Windy City to the Big Apple, I knew I had to visit her. Though I've visited New York a bunch of times before with my family, we mostly stuck to the overcrowded tourist destinations in the past. And I have to admit, it was a completely different experience seeing the city with a local than it is seeing it as a tourist.  

Flights from Chicago to New York were surprisingly affordable, but in hopes of saving as much money as possible, I booked the earliest (and most painful) 6 a.m. flight. I was in the city for only three days, but each was jam-packed with things to do. We explored different neighborhoods, ate a ton of good food, and checked out some of the best sites in the city.

The first day was spent walking around Chelsea, a hip neighborhood in Manhattan. We explored Chelsea Market; an urban food hall that was pretty much indoor food paradise. This place seriously had food to fit any and every mood. While in Chelsea we also checked out the Highline, an elevated walkway, and greenery built on an old railroad track. With great views of the city, this is definitely something I recommend to anyone in the area.

The next day was full of exploring lower Manhattan neighborhoods. First, we walked through SoHo, a neighborhood known for its shopping and upscale boutiques. We also visited Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park, and hopped around to some quaint Irish pubs in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  The day was finished off with none other than a classic $1 New York pizza slice.

For the final day of exploring we ventured on over to Brooklyn, a quieter part of the city that was pretty much a hipster’s paradise. Like any true tourist, I had to visit the famous Brooklyn Bridge, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The iconic bridge was built in 1883, making it one of the oldest roadway bridges in the U.S.  It was surreal to finally be able to see something in person that I have seen so many times in photos. The rest of the day was spent exploring neighborhoods in Brooklyn, including DUMBO, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.

While it wasn’t exactly the relaxing beach vacation most people like to take on spring break, it was definitely an adventure. Exploring the city through the eyes of a local made the entire experience that much more exciting. Not to mention I got to visit some of the best restaurants that I would never have discovered if it weren’t for local insights. Overall it was a successful spring break exploring one of the world’s most exciting cities.  


Spring in Chicago

Good Food EXPO​ (March 23-24): Join popular chefs and culinary experts and learn all about local and sustainable food. Held in Little Italy, this conference features celebrity chefs, food demonstrations, and over 150 vendors. 

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show​ (March 25): Nothing quite says spring like beautiful blooming flowers. Kick winter to the curb and celebrate the (hopefully) warmer weather with a stroll through Chicago’s Botanic Garden as they celebrate orchids.

Chicago Humanities Festival: Springfest​ (April 27-29): Now in its third year, the Humanities Festival brings artists and activists to the city for a weekend. This year make sure you check out guest appearances from Patrisse Khan-Cullors (co-founder of Black Lives Matter) and Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl), just to name a few!

Bike the Drive​ (May 27): It’s time to welcome back the warm weather and pull the bike out from storage. Join fellow riders as the city shuts down Lake Shore Drive to all cars for five hours and lets bikers cycle through the streets. 

Mayfest​ (May 31-June 1): Celebrating their 23rd year, the Lakeview Mayfest is a tradition that kicks off the festival season. The celebration includes some of Chicago’s best food, dancing, and music all under a giant heated tent.  


Top Five Classes

As Winter Quarter winds down it’s finally hitting me that I’m going into my last quarter of college. Like ever. Not only have my four years here at DePaul gone way quicker than I ever imagined, but senior year has flown by. That being said, I got to reminiscing about some of my favorite classes I’ve taken over the past four years. With over 40 classes under my belt, I’ve pretty much seen it all. Here are some I consider to be my favorite. 

Food and Culture: (ANT 109 ) Many courses at DePaul focus on certain aspects of culture, but this was the first time I learned about the subject through the lens of food. As an anthropology class, this course highlighted people’s food choice preferences, dietary restrictions among cultures, and social impact on food consumption. Definitely one of the more unique classes I’ve taken over the past four years.

International Wine Education and Management: (HSP 333 ) This is definitely a well-known class among DePaul students. A part of the Hospitality program, this class is designed to help students explore the world of wine management in the hospitality industry. Despite what many think, there’s actually a ton of information to learn in this class. Over the 10-week quarter, we covered regional grape varieties, winemaking styles across the world, and got a crash course on judging wine quality.

Human Sexuality: (PSY 215 ) This was a class I took for my psychology requirement, and I was blown away by how interesting the entire course was. Without a doubt, this is a class I think every college student should be required to take. The course dives into the historical, cultural, psychological and physiological aspects of human sexuality. It also spends a great deal talking about sexual health and why sex is such a taboo subject in society.

Ethics for Health Sciences: (HLTH 229 ) I honestly never thought I would enjoy this class when I first enrolled in it. As a PRAD major, I’m definitely not familiar with any health science classes, but this one was such an interesting surprise. The class focused on the ethical and moral issues behind decisions in health sciences. We also learned a lot about different philosophers, the meaning behind a “good life,” and decisions about end of life care.

Film Philosophy: (DC 227 ) This class is essentially an introductory course to philosophy through the lens of film. It was both difficult and intriguing to watch films from a philosophical side of things; many of the themes in the movies we watched would never have resonated with me if I weren’t thinking philosophically. Definitely, a great class that makes you think about things differently.  


Chicago Eats: Bombobar

One of my favorite things about living in Chicago is all the amazing food and restaurants to choose from. Everything from a Nutella café , to restaurants run by some of the countries best chefs, there is something for every foodie in Chicago. This weekend I finally got to visit BomboBar , something that has been on my to-do list for a while.

Bombobar

BomboBar is the Instagram famous walk-up coffee and donut shop in West Loop. Pictures of their famous hotter chocolate can be found on every Chicago foodies Instagram page. The walk up window is connected to Bar Siena, and their donuts and drinks can be ordered in the restaurant as well. The quaint walk-up eatery offers gelato, coffee, donuts, hot chocolate and Italian pastries. Featured in Time Out’s 100 best dishes in Chicago and Zagat’s 9 extravagant hot chocolates to sip in Chicago, this small café is well known among Chicagoans.

After hearing all the buzz I finally decided to check it out. A few friends and I made our way down to West Loop and gawked over the delicious looking menu. The cafés most popular dessert option is Executive Chef Fabio Viviani ’s famous Bomboloni. These small hole-less donut bites are infused with flavors like salted caramel, maple cream, peanut butter fudge, and more. My friends and I opted to try the s’mores hotter chocolate, which is a dressed up version of a regular hot chocolate. The drink came with homemade marshmallow fluff, chocolate brownie sticks, and a mini Bomboloni. It’s definitely not a drink you would get every day but was totally worth the splurge.

During the colder months, the walk up window has a heated enclosed awning, which is perfect for sipping on hot chocolate or munching on some pastries. And the summer is the perfect time to try some of their famous gelatos. BomboBar is definitely worth a visit and is a great place to take friends or family when they visit. 


Visiting DePaul

Choosing which college to potentially spend the next four years of your life at definitely isn’t easy. I remember being a senior in high school and scouring the web for any information I could get on what being a student at DePaul was actually like. Luckily, I was able to make a trip to Chicago and spend a couple days exploring the city and touring DePaul’s campuses.

One of the most convenient things about visiting DePaul is that you can virtually do it anytime you like. Not only can interested high school students attend a general information session and tour the campus year round, but students who have already been accepted can join an admitted students info session and campus tour anytime between January and April. As an out of state student, this was something that made visiting the university convenient and that much more exciting.

During my first visit to DePaul, I had already been admitted, so I was able to come with a list of questions about what my next steps would be if I decided to commit, and was able to speak with my tour guide about student life. I ended up touring both Lincoln Park’s Campus as well as the Loop Campus, which is something I definitely recommend. One of the things that ultimately made me choose DePaul was the fact that each of the campuses offered something different. It was nice to be able to be in the thick of the city taking classes among working professionals one day, and then get to step into a quieter neighborhood the next. 

Not only was this my first visit to DePaul, but it was also my first time in Chicago. As a student, we often hear the phrase “the city is your campus” which couldn’t be truer. When you commit to DePaul, you are just as much committing to Chicago as you are the university. My tour guide on my visit recommended a bunch of unique neighborhoods to explore and popular restaurants among students. I also got to learn just how many opportunities DePaul students have to take their learning outside of the classroom by getting jobs and internships in the city.

Whether you’re near or far, spending a day getting to know the ins and outs of student life at DePaul is absolutely what I would recommend anybody who is interested in being a future student. With options for those who are merely curious, to high school seniors who will soon be making a college decision, coming to visit ​DePaul for yourself is a worthwhile experience.  


Group Fitness Fun

Aside from having a bunch of different workout equipment and machines, the Ray Meyer Fitness Center also has a variety of group fitness classes that are included in every student’s membership. Taking advantage of the Ray is something that should seriously be on top of every student’s to-do list. I’ll admit exercise isn’t exactly my favorite activity, but having a free gym membership included by being a student at DePaul is hard to beat. And because lifting weights or hitting the elliptical isn’t really my thing, the group fitness classes are my favorite way to get in a quick and fun workout. Here are my top three favorite classes at the Ray.

Barre Burn: Barre classes are fairly new to the world of group fitness, and this quarter was my first time taking one at the Ray. The class combines light dumbbell weights, dance-inspired moves, and the ballet bar for a total body workout. You don’t need to be an expert dancer by any means to do this workout. The ballet bar is mostly used as a prop to balance while doing a range of exercises that focus on strength training. You can also ditch the sneakers for this workout, barefoot or socks only!

Cycle: There’s no doubt that I was pretty intimated before taking my first cycle class. But it is seriously such a good workout and one you can easily modify to your endurance level. The class combines a variety of cycle situations, from hard uphill climbs to long sprints. One of my favorite things about cycle classes is the loud music and colorful lights in the studio. Cycle is such a great way to push your limits and get excited about working out. 

Zumba: If you’re looking to burn some calories by having a dance party, then a Zumba class is definitely what you need. This exercise is popular among people of all ages, and with good reason. The dance-fitness class incorporates Latin rhythms and simple repetitive dance moves to get the ultimate workout. Though this class is dance inspired, the moves are easy enough where anyone can get the hang of them. This is the perfect fun workout to do with friends!

For more group fitness classes check out the schedule at the Ray.   

Senior Capstone

ASKBeing a senior really didn’t hit me until I enrolled in my senior capstone. A Liberal Studies requirement for all DePaul students, Senior Capstone is an interactive course that allows you to reflect on your studies and learn skills for the future. The Public Relations and Advertising capstone is offered online as a means of preparing students for the highly digital workspace that is found within our industry.

For this past week’s assignment, I worked on securing an information interview with a PRAD professional that works in the industry. The assignment had us track down a professional who we would like to talk with, and conduct a short informational interview about the responsibilities of their position, as well as what it takes to secure an entry-level position in the world of Public Relations or Advertising. 

I ended up using DePaul Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network to connect with potential professionals I could interview. DePaul’s ASK network is a great way to connect with DPU alumni in your field who genuinely want to help students succeed in their career. I ended up securing an interview with a Publicist at Zapwater Communication located in the West Loop. Not only did I get a ton of great insights on what its like to be working in the Public Relations field in Chicago, but I also got great advice from a DePaul grad who was once in my shoes.

Had it not been for this assignment I most likely would have never utilized DePaul’s ASK network. Not only has this Senior Capstone class allowed me to reflect on my studies over the last four years at DePaul, but it has also introduced me to tactics and platforms I can use to help network with successful professionals in my industry.  

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Apply for Study Abroad

In honor of the study abroad deadline being just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk about why I encourage every DePaul student to go abroad. People who talk about their study abroad experiences often sound like a broken record, going on and on about how it is life changing and their favorite part of college. I’m here to tell you that all the great things you hear about going abroad are completely and 100% true. From immersing yourself in a different culture to meeting new friends from DePaul and beyond, it’s absolutely one of the most worthwhile college experiences I have had. One of the best parts about all of DePaul’s programs is that they have something that can fit everyone’s wants and needs.

I studied abroad the fall semester of my junior year in Budapest, Hungary. As one of DePaul’s most popular programs, I got to travel across the world with over 40 DePaul students and take classes at Corvinus University located right in the heart of Budapest. The program focused on studies in commerce, society and culture in Eastern Europe, but students could choose to take classes on any number of things. While I was in Budapest I took a class on the Hungarian language, a class about Eastern Europe film and culture, and even a communications course. I was also lucky enough to have four-day weekends, which gave me a chance to travel with friends to countries all over Europe and the UK.

Though I'm partial to recommending everyone take part in the Budapest program, DePaul offers close to 100 different programs of various lengths for students to choose from. From short two-week trips to programs that are a full year long, you can truly tailor the study abroad experience to your liking. DePaul also offers study abroad fairs and info sessions for select programs that give prospective students a chance to learn what the program is like first hand from student alumni. For those looking to study abroad this summer or next fall, applications are due by February 1st.  Take a word of advice and study aboard, you definitely won’t regret it!


Women's March 2018

One thing I've learned from living in Chicago over the past three years is that there is always something exciting going on, and this weekend was no different. Both here in Chicago and all across the country, women (and men) took to the streets to advocate for equality, protest various policies, and to rally for the upcoming midterm elections this November.

After a successful 2017 Women’s March one year ago, Chicago and cities across the globe prepared for even a bigger turn out this year, and they definitely got one. An estimated 300,000 people flooded the streets of Chicago to march this past Saturday. Clad with signs and flags, the event was truly a special thing to be a part of. As a first time marcher, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the day was filled with optimism, empowerment, and more specifically people advocating others to let their voice be heard through their vote.

As amazing as it was to see so many people out on the streets and advocating for change, the march in Chicago was just one of the hundreds of events that happened worldwide this past weekend. From New York to London, the march was much more than just encouraging women to vote this November. 

It was a gathering ground for people to speak their mind, and march for anything and everything that they believe is important.  As I marched alongside 300,000, I saw advocates showing support for women’s equality, racial minorities, LGBTQ, climate change, healthcare, and so much more.  Overall the march was a day to remember, and all of those who came out this weekend will look forward to the real march to the polls that will happen this November.  


Next Door Cafe

“A lofty cafe with an event wall draws freelancers with work areas & free bookable meeting space,” is exactly what you’ll find if you search “Next Door Café ” on Google.
Located on Diversey just a short walk from DePaul, this coffee shop meets community center is a one of a kind addition to the neighborhood. When I first stumbled across Next Door I was somewhat confused. The sign outside reads “Next Door State Farm” which in no way helped me understand what this place was all about.

After venturing in one Sunday morning, I can definitely say this place is unlike any other coffee shop I've been to around Chicago. Not only do they offer amazing coffee and pastries with plenty of room to lounge, but they also offer financial coaching, educational classes, and bookable meeting rooms. The best part about all of it is that it’s FREE. Well, everything except for the coffee that is. That means free classes, free financial coaching, and free meeting rooms.

At first, I was only interested in the coffee shop aspect of Next Door. Because honestly, financial coaching and budgeting classes don’t register very high on my list of things to do (even if its free). But after some research, I found some really cool classes they offer. From tips on creating a successful website to social media trends, how-to workshops, and even a class titled “I Suck at Budgeting.” The “coaches” aka the teachers of these classes are experts, and they bring real-life experiences to light in order to help you get the most out of the class.

Even if financial coaching or classes aren’t your thing, Next Door is still a solid coffee shop. With plenty of space to lounge, great coffee, and free Wi-Fi, it’s the perfect place to get work done, or just catch up with friends.  

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How to Save Money in 2018

Being a college student in Chicago is pretty tough when it comes to your wallet. From going out with friends to buying food and groceries, it can be hard to save money for the future. But following a couple rules and changing your spending habits can really help put some more cash back into your budget. Here’s some money saving hacks to follow in the New Year.
Use a budgeting app: Learning how to budget isn’t the first thing on any college students to do list. But figuring out your monthly income and expenses can help you understand where all your money is going. Budgeting apps make it easy to see all your spending habits right from your phone and will give you a better sense of where you need to improve.  

Check the library for required textbooks: Buying used or renting textbooks is a great way to save some extra money. But before you buy always remember to check the library. Professors often keep required textbooks in the library for students to check out. The best part about it is that it’s completely free. Textbook prices can be pretty steep, so this simple trick could definitely give you some extra money in your budget.

Pack a lunch: Between classes, schoolwork, and jobs and internships, most students are running around and out of the house for the entire day. Packing a lunch or snacks when you know you have a busy day ensures that you won't end up spending another ten dollars at Chipotle.  Plus use the money you save for going out to dinner with friends or family on the weekend!

Buy a coffee maker: Spending money on coffee is one of the biggest money drainers that I’m definitely guilty of. Splurging for a coffee or latte once and awhile isn’t so bad, but it can definitely add up. Investing in a coffee maker for your dorm or apartment is a great way to get your fix without breaking the bank.

Take advantage of student discountsStudent discounts are seriously one of the best parts of being a college student. From restaurants to clothing stores and even electronics, thousands of companies are willing to give you a deal just because you’re a student. Whatever you’re spending your money on, make sure to always ask if your DePaul ID can save you some cash.

Save spare change: The old trick of throwing your spare change and dollar bills in the piggy bank is actually a great way to accumulate money over time. Get in the habit of putting a couple dollars in a jar every few days and see how much you can make down the road.


Six Things to do over DePaul's Six-Week Winter Break

Winter break is so close I can almost taste it. And one of my absolute favorite things about being at DePaul is the insanely long winter break we have to enjoy.  So whether you’re staying in Chicago or heading home for the holidays, here are six things you can do this winter break.

Take an online class: School might be the last thing any student wants to think about over break, but taking a class during winter intercession is a great way to catch up or get ahead on your credits. DePaul even offers a lot of online classes during winter break, so you can take the class wherever you’d like!

Visit friends/family: Six weeks of break leaves you plenty of time to do some traveling. Whether you’re planning a big trip cross country or visiting friends or family nearby, winter break is the perfect time to do it.

Apply for jobs and internships: Late fall and early winter is the perfect time to start applying for spring jobs and internships. Many employers begin posting job openings during this time, and getting a head start on your resume and application process can give you a leg up on the competition!

Volunteer: Volunteering is a fulfilling and fun way to spend free time during break. Organizations and charities are always looking for extra help during the holiday season, and a few hours of your time can make a huge difference in your community.

Make some money: While classes and homework are on hold for six weeks, it’s a perfect time to make some extra cash for the future. So pick up some extra shifts at work or look for a babysitting gig over the holiday, the extra money will come in handy once school starts back again.

Sleep in: Perhaps something that is on every college student’s to-do list over break is to sleep in. Sleep is hard to come by during the school year, so take advantage of the extra time and catch up on some zzzs while you can.  


Debunking Study Abroad Myths

Let’s be real, everyone wants to study abroad. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? Spending a semester in a foreign country is exciting, fun, and adventurous. In fact, many study abroad alumni often credit a semester overseas as one of the best experiences of college. As much fun as studying abroad is, it can also be scary, nerve-wracking, and a total culture shock. Study abroad often gets a good rep, but there is some controversy out there surrounding the entire experience. After studying abroad in Budapest during the fall of my junior year, I learned a lot about what the entire experience is really like. Here are some of the most common ideas out there I hear about studying abroad, and why I think they’re not entirely true.

You’ll fall behind in credits: Many students think that you can only take electives while studying abroad which will make you fall behind in course credits. While it is true that many students decided to mainly take electives, most programs have classes that will fulfill major or learning domain requirements. So even if you don’t have any elective credits to spare, studying abroad is still an option!

It’s too dangerous: In the state of our world today, spending a semester overseas can be scary as far as safety is concerned. That being said, universities are very in tune with what’s happening in the world, and would never send students off to a country they believed to be unsafe. Many study abroad programs also have a very extensive safety protocol so the university knows where all students are at any given time.

You need to be fluent in another language: Living in a foreign country where everyone speaks a language you’ve never heard before is definitely a huge culture shock. Language barriers are one of the biggest turn-offs for students when choosing a country to study in. Knowing the native language of a country is absolutely beneficial, but not necessary. English is widely spoken and understood across the globe, and many programs have a language component where you can take a beginning level class to help learn the basics of the native tongue. 


Finding an Internship in the City

Handshake: DePaul makes getting an internship so much easier with their online career platform site that is exclusively for DePaul students. Handshake has thousands of jobs and internships listed, as well as career-related events and resources. Because the site is for DePaul students only, it’s a great resource that can help you gain an edge over the competition.

Career Center: The career center is an amazing resource that DePaul offers and students should definitely be taking advantage of it. When I was looking for internships, I met with an advisor several times to strengthen my resume and create focused and concise cover letters for various positions.  The career center also offers interview tips, career fairs, advising, and so much more.

Clubs: Joining one of DePaul’s many professional clubs is a great way to meet people with similar interests and start networking with professionals outside of DePaul. Many of these clubs have networking events that can help you build connections and may even lead to a job or internship.

Follow up: This is a simple tip that can make all the difference in scoring an amazing internship. Following up with companies you have applied to can make you stand out from other applicants and give you a competitive edge. A simple email or phone call is a great way to show employers how interested you are in the position.

Email notifications: There are tons of job websites out there that can notify you when new companies are looking for an intern. Sites like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn are always posting new jobs and internships for college students. A lot of these sites have a weekly email notification that tells you which companies are currently hiring.  


Chicago Holiday Bucket List

I know its only October, but the holidays are soon approaching and that means it is quite literally the most wonderful time of year in Chicago. November and December are filled with holiday lights, festivals, parades, and even a festive CTA commute. Here are some of the events I think are must-sees this holiday season. 

Lincoln Park ZooLights​

Even the zoo knows how to celebrate the holidays in style. Starting on November 24 and lasting until early January, the zoo transforms into a spectacular winter wonderland featuring millions of string lights. You can also find huge life-size snow globes, ice carving demonstrations, a carousel, and plenty of holiday crafts. (This is just down the street from campus and free!)

Skating at Millennium Park​

The ultimate bucket list item in Chicago is to go skating under the bean at Millenium Park. The ice rink is usually ready by November 17 (weather permitting) and is open to the public completely free of charge. If you don’t have your own skates feel free to rent a pair for a small fee. More than 100,000 people glide their way across the rink during the holiday season; make sure you’re one of them.

CTA Holiday Train

For 25 years the CTA has been embracing the holiday spirit by decorating an entire el train with lights, bells, tinsel, and more. The train runs on different lines each day, and if you’re lucky enough you just might catch it.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival​

Every year the BMO Harris Bank puts on a lights festival parade on Michigan Ave to officially start the holiday season.  More than a million people make their way downtown to watch the parade that features enormous floats, balloons, a marching band, and music performers.  

Christkindlmarket

Germany comes to Chicago for the holiday with the historic Christkindlmarket.  This holiday celebration brings European tradition to life here in the city. With unique holiday shopping, traditional German food and drink, and live entertainment, this is something you definitely don’t want to miss.​


An Afternoon in Chinatown

One of my favorite things about going to school at DePaul is that we get to live in one of the best cities in the world. No matter what time of year, there’s always something do somewhere in the city. One of my favorite things to do is get out and explore all the different neighborhoods of Chicago. And after living in the city for three years, I finally made it to Chinatown .

Chinatown is located right off the Cermak–Chinatown red line stop and is an easy 10-minute ride from DePaul’s downtown campus. The neighborhood is perfect for grabbing a quick bite to eat, or even spending an afternoon exploring all the shops and restaurants it has to offer.  This weekend my friends and I ventured across the city to spend an afternoon in the historic neighborhood.

When we first arrived I was surprised to see all the authentic buildings with beautiful architecture. Though the neighborhood was fairly small, it was filled with tons of shopping and restaurants. From dim sum and ramen to small bakeries with fresh goods, there were plenty of amazing food options to choose from. Chinatown also had lots of shopping where you could find everything from fun souvenirs to authentic medicine shops that stocked hundreds of herbal teas and traditional Chinese remedies. Not only can you find tons of things to do in Chinatown, but the neighborhood does an amazing job at immersing visitors in Chinese culture. 

While I was in Chinatown I ended up grabbing dinner and doing a little shopping throughout the neighborhood. Needless to say, I had an amazing first visit. It was a great way to explore another one of Chicago’s many neighborhoods and get a little taste of Chinese culture right here in the Midwest.  

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#WhyApply

The entire college application process is definitely a stressful experience that brings with it a mix of different emotions. Despite the highs and lows that accompany this time in your academic career, the best piece of advice I can give to any high school senior is to forget all the doubts you have and simply apply to any and all schools that interest you.

When I was searching for colleges and universities I was easily overwhelmed with things like acceptance rates and test scores, so much so it led me to not apply to schools that I was interested in. I’ve realized that the college admission process is so much more than what your grade point average is or how well you did on one test. Instead of calculating the chances you have of getting into your dream school, skip the doubt and apply to as many schools as you can.

A major reason why I applied to DePaul was because I knew they had an incredible Public Relations/Advertising program. However, I also had to think about the possibility that I would change my major or career path sometime throughout college. DePaul offers so many different areas of study that I knew I could find something I loved even if I did end up going in a completely different direction.

Often times at DePaul you hear people saying “the city is our classroom” and the phrase could not be more true. It’s one thing to learn out of a textbook, but it’s an entirely different experience getting to test your knowledge out in the real world. The fact that DePaul is situated in one of the best cities in the world is another reason that led me to apply. Chicago offers thousands of jobs and internships across the city, and DePaul is the best resource to help students land their dream position.

I also loved the fact that DePaul is a university founded on Vincentian values, so much so that the school was named after St. Vincent de Paul himself. I was thrilled that DePaul could offer me an amazing college education, but it’s the things DePaul offers outside education that truly led me to apply here. From community service organizations to student government, Greek life, professional development and recreational sports, there is literally something for everyone here at DePaul.

DePaul has been a dream school for myself and thousands of other students across the globe. Good luck to all high school seniors with the college application process, and I encourage each of you to apply to be a blue demon!

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A Day Outside the City

The hustle and bustle of life in Chicago is certainly fun and entertaining, but getting away from all of it for a day is a nice change of pace. And now that fall is officially here, one of my favorite things to do is spend a day apple picking! Though you might not have much luck finding a farm to apple pick here in Chicago, there’s a handful of places outside of the city that offer the perfect weekend escape for all your favorite fall activities.   

This year my friends and I decided to road trip to County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana. It was an easy drive just over an hour outside of the city, and the farm itself had tons to do aside from apple picking. The best part is admission for u-pick is only $1 as a starting fee, which also includes a free tractor ride to and from the apple orchard. On top of an orchard, the farm also has a sunflower field, a pumpkin patch, and a corn maze.

If picking apples isn’t quite the vibe you are looking for, no need to fret. The farm itself offers much more than the picking experience.​ Located in the middle of the orchard is a huge barnyard with all the essential fall goodies. Here you can find everything from pumpkin pies to cider donuts, kettle corn, fudge, caramel apples, and hot chocolate; all homemade of course. 

During the weekend there is also live music and food trucks with tons of yummy food to snack on. It’s the perfect weekend getaway for anyone who loves the fall season!


Best Study Spots in the Loop

Now that fall quarter is in full swing, homework and assignments are starting to pile up. As a Public Relations and Advertising major, I spend most of my time downtown at the Loop campus. And while DePaul has an awesome library down in the Loop, sometimes you just need to switch it up a little. Whether I need to knock-out a paper or settle in for some serious study time: Here are some of my favorite study spots in the loop campus.

Goddess and the Baker​

A staple for many DePaulians, Goddess and the Baker is a chic and hip coffee spot with some seriously awesome eats. Whether you’re just looking for a caffeine fix or need to fuel up with lunch between classes, this place is sure to have something you’ll love. While it’s one of my favorite places downtown, it’s on the smaller side and definitely fills up quick during the weekdays.

HWL

Harold Washington Library ​

Although many of us know this as an EL stop, Harold Washington Library is home to one of the best study spots downtown. The Winter Garden is located on the 9th floor of the library and has some incredible study vibes going for it. Fit with a glass roof, the room offers tons of natural light and even has free (and fast) Wi-Fi. If you’re looking for a study spot with a view, this place is definitely for you.

Two Zero Three​

Although this cafe isn’t quite as close to the Loop campus as the others, the short journey is definitely worth it. Located on the ground level of the Virgin Hotel on Wabash, this chic spot offers comfy chairs in a cozy study atmosphere.  With plenty of outlets and natural light, Two Zero Three is a great place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat and knock-out some work.

Peach and Green​

This place is seriously a hidden gem. Peach and Green covers the trifecta of necessities for a great study spot: great food and coffee, plenty of seating, and fast Wi-Fi. With a hot food bar in addition to made-to-order food, this place has something for everyone. Make sure and grab a comfy seat in one of their couches by the window!​ 


Dorm Room Essentials

Let’s be real, living in a dorm room isn’t the most glamorous thing any of us have done. Between the drab walls and furniture, and sharing a small space with a complete stranger, moving into the dorms can be a bit daunting. Despite the fact that it may not be the most ideal living situation, dorm life lets you meet tons of new people from all corners of DePaul. Here are some of the must-have dorm room essentials that will help you survive the year.
RoomPower strip: This is the holy grail of an essential dorm room item. Odds are you are only going to get one outlet to yourself when living in a dorm, and let’s be real, that’s not going to cut it. Power strips are a quick and cheap fix to make sure all of your essential items stay powered up – just make sure it is surge protected. 
Handheld steamer: If you’re anything like me, then 95% of your clothes are wrinkled before you even get a chance to wear them. And lugging an ironing board into your dorm’s laundry room isn’t the most ideal fix. A simple handheld steamer will make sure your clothes stay fresh and wrinkle-free. Use it for bed sheets too!

Seating storage: When you’re living in a dorm you need to take advantage of storage wherever you can get it. Seating storage is a great way to add another sitting area to a small dorm room while also getting a small space to store your things. This is the exact seat I had when I lived in the dorms.

Shelf

Closet storage: Again, I can’t stress how important storage is. I was mildly horrified when I walked into my dorm room and saw how small the closet was. But fear not, the way you use the space is far more important. From shoe organizers to hanging shelves, closet storage will seriously save your life while you live in a dorm.

Microwavable mug: Not going to lie, this is an item everybody should have, whether you live in a dorm room or not. A big, microwave-safe mug (like this one) is seriously a genius invention. You can use it for the essential college meals, like microwave mac and cheese, but it can also be used in an attempt to actually cooking a real meal.  You can make things like steamed vegetables, mug cakes, and even omelets!

Miscellaneous dorm room essentials: Throughout the year you’ll find yourself needing the most random things for your room. Among those are TONS of command hooks, velvet hangers, a mini tool kit, a first aid kit, and a Brita water filter.

Happy dorm living!  


The Best of DePaul's Welcome Week

It’s that time of year again! Time to retire your swimsuits and beach towels and trade them in for a backpack full of textbooks. Back to school time always bring with it varying emotions. Some are anxious and excited to begin a new school year, while others refuse to believe summer is coming to an end. No matter what kind of student you are, DePaul’s extensive list of back to school events will definitely have something for you. From barbeques on the quad to study abroad and involvement fairs, here’s some of the best of DePaul’s back to school events.
VIA

Vincentians in Action: Whether you’re new to DePaul or are a seasoned upperclassmen, you undoubtedly know about the Vincentian values our university prides itself upon.  Our namesake, St. Vincent de Paul, and his fellow Vincentians aimed to build a better community through service. The Vincentians in Action group is a community of students on campus who aim to do the same. As part of the welcome back events, the organization is holding an open house for any and all students interested in learning about the various opportunities available to serve our surrounding community.

Involvement Fair: The involvement fair is often dubbed an event that is solely for freshman students.  Despite its rep, the fair is great for any student who wants to get involved around campus. With groups from all different walks of life, anyone can find an organization that interests them. Joining an on campus group is a great way to meet new people and get involved around DePaul.  

Vinny Fest

Vinny Fest 2017: Vinny Fest is an annual gathering of DePaul students and faculty held on the Lincoln Park quad. The festival is a celebration in honor of St. Vincent de Paul’s Feast Day. During the celebration, there will be games, raffle prizes, Vinny trivia and plenty of snacks for all. This is a fun and laid back event that gives students the opportunity to hang out with fellow classmates and show some DePaul spirit.

Study Abroad Fair

Study Abroad Fair: No matter where you are in you DePaul career, it’s never too early (or too late) to think about studying abroad. The Study Abroad Fair is a great way for students to learn about the over 70 study abroad options DePaul offers. From long to short-term programs, DePaul offers study abroad experiences all over the globe. The fair will feature many study abroad alums, so you can learn from students who have first-hand experience studying through DePaul’s program. As a study abroad alum, I definitely recommend this event!


Junior Year Wrap Up

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year again, and by that I mean the close of another school year. Twelve classes, thirty weeks, and one year later it’s officially time for me to close the book on junior year. Junior year is obviously a big deal, you’re officially an “upperclassmen,” yet you still feel pretty young. It’s the year most people get into the bulk of their major courses, and you start making strides toward where you want to be after college.

Budapest
I won’t lie, this year was definitely hectic. Regardless it was hands down the best year I’ve had at DePaul yet. I started out on an unforgettable note by studying abroad my fall quarter. I spent 20 weeks in Budapest , Hungary where I took tons of interesting classes, one being Hungarian language for beginners. The four months I was abroad I traveled to 10 different countries, successfully drained my entire savings account, and made some amazing memories. 

Going abroad was such a great experience, but come the end of the semester I was definitely ready to come back to America. Getting back into my daily routine at DePaul was hard, especially coming off a semester in Europe where homework essentially didn’t exist. Despite the challenging workload brought on by junior year, the best part of it was that I was that I was finally taking most of my major course classes. I was able to experience all the classes I had been waiting to take since I got to DePaul my freshman year, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. 

Brooke
One thing I did notice about this year was the fact that I kept feeling like I should be doing more. DePaul students are definitely ambitious, and it seemed like everyone around me had an internship or was making strides toward their career. It’s definitely easy to get overwhelmed and start comparing yourself to what other are doing. I realized that everyone moves at their own pace, and working yourself up and comparing your progress to everyone around you isn’t going to do you any good. Overall junior year was definitely one for the books, and I can’t wait to see what senior year brings. 

Save Lives, Give Blood

I’ll be the first to admit that needles aren’t my favorite thing in the world. I have no real irrational fear of them, but I tend to psyche myself out every time I get a shot at the doctors. That being said, giving blood is pretty much the only time I voluntarily allow someone to stick me with a needle. We’re all familiar with the American Red Cross, an organization set on increasing the availability of blood nationwide. The organization hosts hundreds of blood drives across the country on a daily basis and is set to host a two-day blood drive right at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center on DePaul’s campus. 

Give Blood
Giving blood is a quick and easy way to help save lives. Nationwide someone is in need of blood every two seconds, and one blood donation can help save up to three lives. According to Red Cross’ website, an estimated 38% of people nationwide are eligible to give blood, but less than 10% actually do. Check out the eligibility requirements on their website to see if you can become a donor. 

Blood donation can definitely be a little scary, especially for a first timer. So here’s what to expect if you do decide to donate. On the actual day of your donation, make sure you stay hydrated. It’s recommended that you drink an extra 16 ounces of water on donation day to make the process go as smooth as possible. The actual blood withdrawal only takes about 10 minutes, but plan on the entire donation taking around an hour from start to finish. You must first go through the registration process, a mini physical to check blood pressure, pulse, and iron levels, and you finish with the actual donation and refreshments afterwards

I promise you, donating blood is a great way to help make a difference and literally only takes one hour of your time. The Red Cross says you can donate blood every 56 days, and with tons of times and locations to donate across the city, making a difference is easier than ever. The donation at The Rey Meyer Fitness Center is set to be June 27 & 28 from 3-7 p.m. Make a difference and sign up to save lives! 

Tips for Finding an Apartment in the City

Apartment hunting season is officially among us. Which means all those times you binge watched HGTV are finally going to pay off. But be warned, finding an apartment in the city isn’t as glamorous as House Hunters makes it out to be. In fact, finding the perfect college apartment can be downright stressful. Here are some tips that will make apartment hunting as painless as possible.

Don’t do it alone: With thousands of different units available, picking which apartments to go after can get pretty confusing. Luckily, Chicago has tons of great options that can help you find the perfect home. Try Chicago Apartment Finders or Apartment People, both free services that can help hook you up with your perfect apartment. For do it yourselfers check out listings on Zillow, Trulia, and even Craigslist.   

My first apartment
Be realistic: Finding an apartment with everything you want at a good price probably isn’t going to happen (sad, I know). Make a list of what you want out of an apartment and what you’re willing to sacrifice. Would you rather have cheaper rent or live closer to a CTA stop? Having in unit laundry and granite countertops would be great, but are you willing to break the bank for it? Once you establish what’s important to you, finding a good fit will be less of a stress. 

Act fast: The apartment-hunting scene in Chicago moves fast, so be prepared to keep up. When you’re going to tour a potential winner, be prepared to apply for the apartment right then and there. Don’t wait for something better to come along, because chances are someone will swoop up your potential crib sooner than later. 

Consider location: With tons of different neighborhoods in the city, there are infinite possibilities of where you new home could be. Remember to consider things like: proximity to campus, how far the nearest CTA stop is, and most important of all, where the nearest grocery store is located. Seriously, lugging a weeks worth of grocery’s 15 blocks is something no one should have to experience. Apartments in neighborhoods with lots of shops, restaurants, and grocery stores will definitely up the rent price, but if you look close enough, finding something in your budget is definitely doable. 

Top 5 Surprises of Freshman Year

I’m not ashamed to admit that before coming to college I researched pretty much everything I could about what to expect. And I mean straight up Googling “what is college actually like.” Looking back, that probably wasn’t the best way to realistically prepare myself for what to expect when it came to university. But after my countless hours of research, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what my freshman year would be like. But honestly, I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. Here are the top five things that surprised me about freshman year:

Meeting people: It’s a fact that everyone comes into college worried about making friends. The plus side to that is that people are seriously so friendly freshman year. From orientation to your dorm floor, everyone wants to meet as many people as they can. I was not expecting people to be so welcoming off the bat, but I also wasn’t expecting how fast relationships come and go. The people you become friends with your first week of college probably won't stay your friends all four years of college. But don’t fret, with so many people to meet, you’re sure to find your niche.  
 
Freshman Year
Me and my freshman year roommate 
Classes/attendance: Practically all through high school my teachers would go on and on about how much harder college classes are going to be. College classes definitely have a large workload, but they are not as scary as high school teachers make them out to be. One thing that definitely surprised me was how much attendance and class participation mattered. Coming into DePaul I was expecting a classroom full of hundreds of students. In reality, most of my classes have no more than 30 students, which makes attendance that much more important. 

Homesickness: Whether your hometown is 20 minutes away or 20 hours away, homesickness is bound to get to you freshman year. Getting homesick is totally normal, but I was honestly surprised at how long I felt homesick for. Everyone always goes off to college and talks about how amazing it is, but no one really talks about how much they miss home. Though your homesickness might linger, it’s no cause for worry; soon enough college will feel like a second home. 

Money: I knew I was going to spend a lot of money in college, but I had no idea it would add up so quickly. Sure, having a meal plan saves some money and is super convenient, but the cash dwindles quickly the first year of school. From buying textbooks and schools supplies to grabbing food with friends on the weekend, money is definitely easy to spend while in college. Try making a budget or applying for an on-campus job for some extra spending cash.  

Time: When all is said and done, freshman year flew by and I was really surprised at how fast classes went by on the quarter system. Ten weeks seems like a long time to be in class, but midterms and finals sneak up on you way faster than you would imagine. Freshman year is definitely a whirlwind of emotions and new experiences, so remember to take it all in while you can. 

Student Perks

Although we’re all in college for an education, some of the perks that come with being a student are hard to beat. These perks vary by school, but nonetheless should definitely be take advantage of throughout your college career. DePaul offers students some of the best benefits out there, from free food and events, to more grown up and serious perks, like career services. So don’t miss out, here are some of the perks every DePaul student should be taking advantage of. 

The Ray: This is one I continuously need to remind myself of. Though the thought of going to the gym might not seem like a “perk” per say, it’s definitely a blessing in disguise.  If you have ever had a gym membership outside of DePaul, the prices can run pretty steep. If the treadmills not your thing (and I speak from experience) try one of the group fitness classes that are included with the free student membership. P.S. The Ray also has the best food on campus, so it’s a win-win.   

UNiDAYS
Student Discounts: This is a perk almost every college student knows about, but might be the most underused. Tons of different restaurants and shops around Lincoln Park offer student discounts specifically for DePaul students. Not only that, but any college student in America can get discounts on some of the biggest retails in the country. Discounts range from Ray-Ban and Apple, to Panasonic and TOMS. Head over to UNiDAYS website and sign up with you school email to receive your personalized discount code. DePaul also offers it’s own Demon Discounts for students with amazing deals across the city. 

Electives: Elective might be the single best thing about taking college classes. Not only are they super fun and interesting to take, but they’re required to graduate. Tons of students leave electives for their last two years of college, which means these classes may be some of the last times you are actually enrolled as a student. DePaul offers some of the best classes out there with awesome teachers who are serious experts in their field. Some of the must take electives at DePaul include Issues in Sex and Gender and International Wine Education and Management. 

Career Services: This might be the most beneficial perk that students are provided throughout college. DePaul’s career center offers tons of amazing benefits to students. They host resume workshops, job and internship fairs, provide interview tips and tricks, and can even set students up with career advisors. This service should definitely be taken advantage of no matter where you are in your college career. 

Ice Cream in the City

The minute the sun comes out in Chicago it’s like everyone in the city comes out from hibernation. Like seriously, where did all these people come from? From brunching under the sun to lying in the park, everything is better when the weather is nice. And as soon as it gets nice out you better bet I'm scoping out the city for the best ice cream spots. From classic flavor combination, to over the top and seriously Instagram worthy creations, here are some of my favorite ice cream joints around town. 

Annette’s Italian Ice: Getting your first scoop of Annette’s ice cream is seriously a rite of passage as a DePaul student. Only a couple blocks away from campus, this quaint neighborhood ice cream stand offers some of the best flavors (like a drool worthy peanut butter cookie dough) and not to mention THE best Italian ice in the city. But be warned, it’s cash only! 

Jeni's
Aha Crepe: Okay, we’ve all seen those Facebook videos of the rolled ice cream. And if you’re like me, every time you scroll by one you have to watch the whole thing. Rolled ice cream is the newest trend in sweet treats, and Aha Crepe has just added it to their menu. Not only are these ice creams strangely addicting to watch being made, but this location tops there’s with treats like Fruit Loops, toasted marshmallows, cookies, and fresh fruit. 
 
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: For those looking to get one of the prettiest ice creams in town, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a must visit. Not only do they craft up some of the most Instagram worthy combinations, but no matter what flavor you like, Jeni’s has an answer for you. From vanilla bean to dark chocolate for those who like a classic combination, to goat cheese and red cherries, and chocolate with cayenne, there’s nothing this scoop shop doesn’t have. 

Margie’s Candies: Okay, this place is seriously the definition of ice cream nostalgia. The atmosphere is one straight out of a 1970s diner, complete with an epic list of monster sized ice cream sundaes. This place is so great it even has a long list of Hollywood A-Listers who have stopped in for a sweet treat, including The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Meryl Streep.  If you’re up for the challenge order “the worlds largest sundae” which includes a whopping 25 scoops of ice cream. Ready, set, eat! 

Cone Gourmet Ice Cream​: Located in West Loop, this place has got to be one of the trendiest ice cream shops in the city. With flavors like “Netflix ‘n Chill” and “Granny Smith Apple Sorbet” this shop is a must visit during a warm spring day. Be sure to go along with the Irish theme of the shop and ask to get your cone dipped in a layer of Lucky Charms cereal for an extra bit of sweetness.  


Why I Chose DePaul

As an out of state student, I've gotten asked why I chose DePaul more times than I can count. For me it was honestly a no brainer. Between the location, the academics, and the opportunities DePaul is able to give students, it was the perfect fit. Despite committing to DePaul being an easy decision for me, I know the stress the entire college application process puts on a student. After the countless admission essays, college tours, and weighing the costs of different schools, I was more than excited to finally make my decision when May 1st came around. Here are some of the top reasons why I chose DePaul.  

Academics: Even before I graduated high school I knew I wanted to study public relations. When looking up PR programs while I was applying to colleges, I continued to stumble upon DePaul’s program. Through research I was also able to find that PRWeek recognized DePaul as one of the top five PR schools in the U.S. three years in a row. Despite the fact I knew what I wanted to major in long before I my first day of college, I know tons of students go into college undecided on what major they might choose. The great part about DePaul is they literally have a major for everybody. Even though I was fairly certain I would stick with PR, I could rest easy knowing if I wanted to switch majors, I had a ton of options to choose from. 

Choosing DePaul
Location: I grew up on the seacoast of New Hampshire in a pretty tiny town. And needless to say, I was eager to move to a big city for college. Boston was too close, LA too far, and New York too big, which made Chicago the perfect fit. The past three years I've spent living in Chicago has been such an amazing experience. There are tons of great foods to eat, shows to see, and festivals to visit. Not only is it a fantastic city to explore, but the career opportunities that can be found throughout the city was something that immediately drew me to DePaul. When I first toured here and heard that many students get real life experience through internships around the city I was beyond excited.   

Campus life: Campus life is also a huge factor that made me choose DePaul in the long run. This includes everything from Vincentian service opportunities, on campus groups and clubs, and study abroad opportunities. While at DePaul I've been apart of tons of different community service projects across the city, joined clubs, and even spent a semester studying abroad in Budapest​. I remember when I first toured DePaul and it seemed like nearly every student was doing something they loved outside of class hours. No matter what interests you, there is a group here on campus that would be a perfect fit.


How To: Stay Motivated Spring Quarter

Spring quarter at DePaul is undoubtedly the hardest quarter as far as staying motivated. While the rest of the college world is finishing finals and trading in textbooks for sunscreen, us DePaulians are still trying to make it through midterms. Pair that with Chicago’s summer-like weather conditions and it makes staying motivated for spring quarter pretty much impossible. But fear not, summer will (hopefully) be here before you know it. Here are some of the best hacks that will make spring quarter as painless as possible. 

Studying
Reward yourself: One of the worst things about prepping to start a boatload of homework or getting ready for a major study session is the daunting thought that it will never end. Though I personally give myself too many rewards while studying these days, it’s important to have something to look forward to. Set goals for your schoolwork and don’t forget to reward yourself every time you check something off your to-do list. 

Stay organized: If you’re like me, then right when school starts up after summer you raid the nearest Staples to get all the best planners, notebooks, and pens. And by the time spring quarter come around, you have to fish out an old pen out from the bottom of your bag. Revamp your organization skills to help yourself stay focused and finish off the quarter strong. 

Quit procrastinating: As the queen of procrastination, I know this tip is easier said than done. I mean my life motto is pretty much “if tomorrow’s not the due date, today’s not the do date.” But the truth of the matter is, if you really buckle down and focus on schoolwork, it’s not half as bad as you build it up to be. Block off a period of time and dedicate it solely to getting work done. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you don’t check Instagram every five minutes. 

Stay positive: Though it may seem like Spring Quarter has no end in sight, summer is getting closer everyday.  Don’t beat yourself up if you’re lagging behind in a class or didn’t do well on your last quiz. Think positive and stay focused on the end goal; it will be here in no time.  

Getting the Most From Learning Domains

A new quarter is upon us here at DePaul, and with it comes a new round of classes. One of my favorite things about taking classes at DePaul is that I was able to enroll in my major classes as soon as I got to campus my freshman year. As a Public Relations and Advertising major I came into DePaul not entirely sure I was going to love the major, but after being able to take an intro course during during my first quarter, I knew I had made the right choice. I got a little carried away my freshman year with my major classes and decided to leave many of my learning domains (general education classes) until later on. So here I am in my last quarter of my junior year and I am finally finishing up some of my required learning domains.

General education classes often get a bad reputation among most college students because many of the required courses have little to do with the area of study a student is perusing. I came into college thinking the same thing; why would I need to be taking classes in science and philosophy if I was majoring in something completely different? However once I stopped looking at these classes as a waste of time, I started to appreciate them for what they really are: an opportunity to learn about things that interest you outside your area of study.

Learning Domains
Although I am a studying Public Relations and Advertising, I’m also really interested in things like medicine, environmental science, and psychology. This year alone I was able to get credit for many learning domains by taking some of the most interesting classes I’ve ever been in here at DePaul. Winter quarter I took a class called Human Sexuality for a psychology credit, and I can honestly say I looked forward to going to the class every Monday and Wednesday. This quarter I'm fulfilling a philosophy credit in a class called Medical Ethics. After only two weeks of class meetings I can already tell it’s going to be one of my favorite classes this year.

Although I love all of the major courses I take for my Public Relations and Advertising degree, I’m also so grateful I've been able to study so many unique areas of study while here at DePaul. So before you roll your eyes and wish away your learning domains, take a second to explore the many different classes DePaul offers and enroll in a course that truly interests you.

Spring Quarter Must-Do’s

There is no doubt that spring quarter at DePaul is definitely the hardest quarter to get through. Fresh off a week of spring break, the thought of going back to school for another 10 weeks is pretty daunting. But not so fast, despite spring quarter being the most grueling quarter academically, it’s hands down the best quarter to take advantage of the many perks throughout city. As the weather heats up and school winds down, make sure to go out and explore everything Chicago has to offer. Here are some of my favorite things to do during springtime:

Festivals: Warmer weather means the start of the festival season. Chicago is home to some of the most unique and well-known festivals in the country (like a festival just for donuts). No matter what you’re interested in, there is a festival out there for you. Some of the best events happening this spring include: Randolph Street Market Festival, Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival, Lincoln Park Greek Fest, and my personal favorite, Donut Fest.

Navy Pier: Though Navy Pier isn’t often a hot spot to visit during the colder months, it is a great place to hang out once spring comes along. The newly renovated Navy Pier isn’t just a tourist attraction, but is a Chicago landmark that should definitely be taken advantage of.  Located right on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier has some of the best views of the city. There’s also plenty of restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and not to mention a giant 200-foot Ferris wheel.

Chicago Cubs
Cub’s Game: After coming out on top last season, many DePaul students were able to literally witness history as it happened right down the road. As the new season approaches, skip the TV and make your way down to Wrigley Field to watch the defending champions up close and personal. Tickets can be as cheap as $10, which makes seeing a game both fun for you, and for your bank account.

Bike around the city: One of the best things about warmer weather is the opportunity to explore the city via bike. Biking around Chicago is a great way to navigate different neighborhoods, and lets you to take in the sights and sounds of the city on your journey. Don’t fret if you don’t own your own bike, Divvy offers unlimited 30-minute rides in a 24 hour period for less than $10 a day.

Meet Brooke!

Hey there! My name is Brooke and I’m currently a junior here at DePaul studying Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Graphic Design. I grew up on the Seacoast of New Hampshire​ (no, I did not live on a farm as many have asked in the past) but made the journey halfway across the country for school here in Chicago.

Though life here in the city is just a wee bit different than back in New Hampshire, I quickly found myself feeling right at home here in Chicago and can’t wait to share all my past and future DePaul experiences with you all.   

After moving 1,000 miles away for college, I decided that just wasn’t far enough. During fall quarter of my junior year I studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary (not Hungry) where I was totally culture shocked into the lifestyle of Eastern Europe. During my time abroad I traveled to 10 other countries, consumed approximately a pound of gelato a week, and took a class on Hungarian language. After 16 weeks in Budapest, I can say with great honor that I could successfully speak just about three phrases in the native language. 

When I’m not in class you can find me scooping (or eating) ice cream at work, exploring the city’s best coffee shops, or paying $1 extra to add avocado to every meal I eat. Stick around to hear all about my life here at DePaul, and follow me as I journey to find the best (thin crust) pizza in the city.