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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. 


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! 

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. 

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.