DeBlogs > Brooke Jackson
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.
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.
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.
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.
While there are many food options to choose from in the loop campus, the addition of Beatrix Market is great for DePaul students and staff. Not only can you choose from a variety of foods, but the atmosphere of the market makes it perfect to pass those couple hours in between classes. I might be a little bitter that this location opened during the last quarter of my senior year at DePaul, but I plan on stopping by every chance I get.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 discounts: Student 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Goddess and the Baker
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.
Harold Washington Library
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
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
Peach and Green
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!
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.
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!
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 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: 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!