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.


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.  


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!


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.  


#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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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!​ 


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. 

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.