Articles by Emily Rutherford

Changing Paths

This weekend nearly all of my friends graduated from college. For months I was dreading this, knowing that I’m taking a fifth year of school due to transferring, changing majors, and a brief medical leave. I’ve felt so much shame about it, telling myself I’m not smart enough, good enough, motivated enough. That I wasn’t enough. Until I came across this quote and shared it around the Instagram community, and connected with dozens of other people who commented saying they related to being on a different path than all of their friends.

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Sometimes, life comes up but that doesn’t mean it’s a setback, or that I’m not ___ enough. In fact, if I hadn’t transferred schools I’d still be in Canada, if I hadn’t stop enjoying film I wouldn't have found Journalism, if I hadn’t been living back in Chicago I wouldn’t have met my best friends. I wouldn’t be writing for the DeBlogs.

Everyone has a different path, and sometimes yours turns out the exact opposite of how you imagined. Freshman year I planned to study abroad my junior year, graduate in 4 years, and then move to Toronto to work in television…

Things aren’t perfect, but I’m grateful I found DePaul and changed paths. Even if it means graduating a year later.

Finals, Stress and Art

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When I walk around campus during midterms and finals seasons, especially in spring quarter when we’re all antsy to join our semester-school friends on summer break, anxiety fills the empty spaces. And it’s my own anxiety too. So, this time I decided to utilize my biggest de-stressors - art, and spreading positivity and hope around to other students.

In times between classes or at work, I made little reminders to keep going, and have been leaving them around the 
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Lincoln Park ​and Loop campuses. I also left my Instagram name on the back of them, and a lot of the students that found them have reached out to me expressing how it made their day, and they just needed a reminder, even anonymously, that they’re not alone. 

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Doing a random act of kindness for someone else made me smile and lessened my anxiety, even if just for a moment. So if you’re feeling stressed, join in on spreading around the positivity, because we’re all in this together.
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Applying to Internships

It’s internship application season!!! The best time of year!!! I spent some of my spring break sending out applications and emails. It wasn’t until last night as I was trying to fall asleep that I fully panicked about how behind I am, how I’m not qualified enough, how it’s not even worth applying, how people will judge me for not getting an internship, literally the list of self-deprecating statements went on and on until I finally told myself “Emily, it’s 1am, you can’t do anything about it now, splash cold water on your face to calm down and go to bed!”

Applying
Luckily today I had extra time at work to go all out on internship apps, and found out some really helpful stuff along the way. This goes especially for journalism/writing students, but works for everyone! Here are my top 3 tips

1. Handshake - DePaul has given you access to a site called Handshake where employers post job and internship openings. There are literally thousands, and you can apply straight from there. I hadn’t set up my site before (because let’s be real, I was far too lazy), but it works similarly to LinkedIn where your profile has your education, skills, and work experience, so employers can view that! You can also upload your resume and cover letters to be saved on there, so all I had to do was click on my already uploaded resume, write a cover letter for the specific job, and hit apply! 

a. With that comes the reminder that sometimes your resume needs to be shifted around/changed depending on the target audience! Same obviously goes for cover letters, and that’s why you should ALWAYS write a new one for each application!

2. Have a website, blog, or link you can provide of additional writing samples. My work that’s been published is all over the place - the school newspaper, on here, random blogs that published it, but I’m creating a blog right now for one of my classes that I’m going to start using professionally, and I also have a lot of the articles I’ve written published on a medium.com account. If you’re interested in a writing position, chances are they’re going to request some writing, so have it all organized! The same goes for photography, graphic design, film, etc. Better yet, start creating your own website now where you can have all of these things in one, because if you’re like me, I produce work on all sorts of mediums, from film to art to written articles!
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Main idea: just write! The more work you have to showcase the better, and the more choices you’ll have to pick from when trying to display your best work! It’s also just great practice :)

3. Check out the Career Center! DePaul’s Career Center has employees who can do anything from looking over your resume or reel, to helping you prepare for an interview! You can go in and meet with a career advisor, or just go on their website where they give examples of resumes and cover letters.

Oh and I’m sneaking in a 4th: take breaks. When I get anxious about getting something done I get in crazy anxiety mode and don’t realize how much time has gone by. Eat lunch. Eat snacks. Check Instagram. Take a walk. Anything to put your brain on pause for a minute and refuel it :) Happy applying!

Spring Break

​The start of a new quarter often goes two ways: it’s either a refreshing new start, or it’s a mix of chaos, frustration, and tears. This quarter I’m hoping for the first one, and so far we’re on the right track (knock on wood).

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While it’s not as refreshing as coming back from summer or winter break, spring break is a much needed pause in the academic work. My whole life I grew up going somewhere on vacation, and I always returned to school refreshed (and usually severely burnt) from the island sun. This year, however, my break was a little different. Rather than jetting off to the beach, I stayed home.

For the first few days I was totally bummed at how the week felt like any other week - I still worked at my on-campus job, and was actually working a few more hours than usual, and still found myself commuting around the city all day to doctor’s appointments, and when I finally got home at the end of the day, I was just as exhausted as if I had spent the whole day in class. In fact, I even had homework to do because I wanted to finish up the work I had left in a class I took an incomplete in. Needless to say, it wasn’t much of a break.

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However, as the end of the week approached, I was much more mindful of this. I was aware that school actually only took up a small portion of my time compared to dealing with health problems and working. Unfortunately, there’s no spring break from your illnesses, and that was something that hit hard last week.
   
When the weekend hit, I had my thoughts more sorted out. I had finished the work for my class and don’t work on the weekends, so spent Saturday doing art in a bookstore with a friend all afternoon, and spent Sunday with my mom getting manicures, shopping, and cooking dinner together. I was finally able to get that much needed break.

Surviving a Stress-Free Finals Week

The most dreaded time of year is upon us, and we’re getting ready to pull the all-nighters to study for finals. This finals week I’m trying to make my habits and routine look a bit different in an effort to decrease stress and sleep deprivation, so I’m going to share my tips!

1. I’ve been living at my yoga studio this week. It’s been the perfect way to clear my mind of the essays I still have to write and connect with my body and mind. If you don’t have a yoga studio you go to, The Ray also offers classes multiple times a week, so hit those up! Even if you’ve never done yoga before, I started my practice going to those classes, they’re great for beginners!

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2. Doing something positive for others always puts me in a better mood. Last weekend I was stressed out studying at a coffee shop with my friend, and we took a break to spread some positivity in the city, which made us feel SO happy after. We literally couldn’t stop smiling. We decided to take an all-time favorite book of mine, 300 Things I Hope by Iain Thomas, and wrote the different hopeful statements on post-it notes, then we put them all up on a wall in the Jackson red line train station spelling out HOPE. It was so fun and so many people stopped by asking what we were doing and looking at them, adding to it, taking a hopeful statement, etc. Sometimes it’s the little things, and for me, seeing someone else see our message and smile makes me smile!

3. Get out of your house. I usually don’t end up getting much work done when I have “study parties” with friends, but I also find that staying in my house leaves me anxious and distracted. I’ve been spending my Saturdays and Sundays at the Starbucks near my house, and it’s been SO helpful. I bring all my stuff, order a venti Strawberry Acai refresher (light ice - gotta get my money’s worth), and power through my work. That environment of having some background noise has been really helpful for me!

4. Two words: Google Docs. Ever since I wrote an essay late one night in the fall and then my computer froze and lost it all, I’ve been writing everything (including this article!) on Google Docs. It’s come in handy especially during finals week when I can access the study guides I’ve typed up or the article I started writing from any computer. I hate lugging my computer around, and now I can still get work done in the hour break between my classes at the computers at Brownstones, or right now, while I’m at work in the CDM building!

I hope some of these are helpful tips during your finals week! Happy studying!

NEDA

This week is dedicated to a cause near and dear to my heart: National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. As a psych minor and person in recovery, I’ve learned a lot about this illness in and out of the classroom, and especially their prevalence on college campuses.

So, I want to use this week to talk about DePaul’s resources and also what the school has been doing in honor of spreading awareness!

DePaul’s own counseling services (UCS) is made up of a team of psychologists, psychiatrists, externs and an urgent care specialist. In addition to one-on-one counseling, they offer a few group therapies, like an anxiety and depression group, a relationship group, and a women's group.

Additionally, the campus gym, The Ray, has classes dedicated to promoting self-care and mindfulness, like their weekly meditation every Wednesday from 12:30-1pm, and the multiple yoga classes they offer each week.

Specifically this week, DePaul showed their care by holding a Love Your Body Yoga class Tuesday, February 28th at The Ray, and right now the student center has pieces of paper taped to the walls with positive encouragements about self-love (picture below).

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NEDA week is a super important time to show love for yourselves and your peers in honor of the disorder with the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. It’s one that comes with a lot of stigma, misunderstandings, and lack of treatment, and that’s exactly why this week happens!

The store Aerie also showed a lot of support, selling shirts that said “strong beautiful me” that went to supporting NEDA.

If you or someone you know needs support, check out DePaul’s resources, or take this screening online.

Happy NEDA week! :)

Parking in Chicago

​As a commuter student, I’ve found this quarter to be especially difficult since my schedule isn’t the most helpful for when I’m in Lincoln Park vs. The Loop.

A lot of times I find myself driving in more often than not, so here are the two greatest apps

1. SpotHero App. Download it. Now. It’ll change your life I promise!!! You put in your location and time you’ll be parking and it shows you all the parking garages near there. AND, best of all, IT’S INSANELY CHEAP. A lot of the time I park for $13 on Adams and Wabash. Now that’s a deal. In fact, my car is there right now :)

They also regularly will extend your time for free as well! There’s a garage on Rush and Ohio that I park in multiple times a week for $10 for the day!

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2. ParkChicago App. This one’s for street parking in the city, and once again, it’s so much easier than going to the little boxes and pushing the $ signs for how long you’ll need to park. Instead, you can do it right from your car, and extend it whenever you need! The other day I was in class in Lincoln Park and as I was leaving class decided to go straight to the gym, so just whipped out my phone and extended my parking for a bit instead having to go back and move my car

So, next time you’re driving into the city or to the Lincoln Park campus, check out these two great apps, they literally have saved my life (and my paycheck)!

History of TV

In my history of TV and Radio class the other week, we had to write an essay interviewing someone over 50 and under 25 about their TV watching habits growing up. It seemed like fitting timing also with the Oscars coming up at the end of the month (and the fact that my friend and I discovered a Spotify playlist called “Lizzie McGuire Comes On At 4pm” and it’s life changing.

SO, with those two things in mind, I thought I’d share my finding on interviewing my mom (born in the early 1960s), and my younger sister to compare their TV watching habits and show the contrast of the millennials.

For starters, my mom talked about how watching TV was a family event. She said that certain movies were on once a year around the same time so annually her and my grandparents and uncle would watch the Wizard of Oz when it came on.

That literally blew my mind when you compared it to my sister saying she remembers watching Full House and Lizzie McGuire before bed with me, and then starting talking about Shonda Rhimes “TGIT” lineup, saying “I’ve never watched it then though I always record it and watch it on the weekends because I HATE COMMERCIALS but I liked having Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal back to back.”

History of Television
Later on I asked my mom about “guilty pleasure” shows, and she said they were nothing like they were today, because shows were pretty innocent. Her “guilty pleasure” was watching M.A.S.H in high school.

My sister on the other hand went on about how when she was younger she loved watching SpongeBob every morning, and in high school she secretly was obsessed with (of course) Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Obviously TV has come a long way since the 1960s and 1970s, but the shift into it being a very isolating ‘in my room alone watching Netflix’ experience is what really caught my eye and I think shows the greatest shift from the family time it was back then. Next time you catch yourself isolating in your room watching endless hours of 30 Rock (or whatever show you never get sick of!) just be mindful of that!

Leave Lady Gaga Alone

If you’ve read my blogs so far, you’ll know I’m a big self-acceptance advocate. I think body image is talked about way too much, and almost always it’s in a negative light. 

After the Super Bowl this weekend, my social media feeds were blown up, but not with anything about football. Not even with anything about Lady Gaga​’s performance. But rather, body shaming her. There were tweets sent out about how distracted people were by looking at her stomach, and that she needed to hit the gym. 

Lady Gaga
As a college student, so many people I know, myself included, struggle with their bodies and hey, guess what? EVERYONE has rolls on their stomach. It’s literally impossible not to. It’s really discouraging to see how Lady Gaga is treated because of her body, especially after she has been so public about struggling with eating disorders in her past. This is the exact type of treatment that fuels eating disorders, fuels negative self-talk, and thoughts of not being good enough.
 
Project Heal wrote a great blog post about this that you should definitely all read here!

It’s blogs and people like the ones at Project Heal who have been coming back at all this Lady Gaga body hate and making me feel a little bit better. A relatively unknown social media community is the BOPO, or body positive community, and they are all about embracing their bodies as they are.

Aerie is a part of this community, as they don’t brush up or photoshop any of their models, and hire models of all shapes and sizes. Iskra Lawrence is one of them and has been extremely influential on me, and I was lucky enough to hear her speak at the 2016 Chicago NEDA walk.

So, my fellow college students, don’t fall into the traps of the body shamers and haters and people who spend their days purposely seeking out people to destroy. Engage in the BOPO community, the people full of acceptance and self-love, not denial and self-hate, because truly everyBODY is beautiful. Lady Gaga, you’re beautiful.


Another Resolution Post

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A phrase that often gets on my nerve is “new year, new you” As I scrolled through social media and talked with people, people always want to “reinvent themselves” and “start over.” I get it, I’ve been there too, but I hate how much emphasis we put on starting over on January 1st, because more often than not, it doesn’t work like that.

Something I’ve been advocating for and focusing on instead this week and this year, is making a commitment instead of a resolution. It probably sounds hypocritical seeing that my last post was about alternative resolutions, but this piggybacks off of that and sheds a new light on the word “resolution.”

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By definition, resolution means problem solving. It means something is wrong and we must fix it.  The strict deadline of starting on January 1st also leaves no room for fluidity and error, because so often we get in the mindset that if we slip up or act in opposition to our resolution, it’s over, we have failed, and now we have to wait for next year. In reality, every day, every hour, every minute is a new chance for you to make decisions in line with your values and every action you take is a fresh start for you - it doesn’t have to begin at midnight of the New Year.

Research has proven that these focuses are more beneficial and long lasting than a New Year's Resolution to diet or work harder. Those are such ambiguous and unattainable goals, and without recognition of achievement within those goals, you don’t get any gratification or reward from it, which is what inspires you to keep going. 

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So, this year, I’m committing to working on self-acceptance, which includes challenging perfectionism and being okay with upsets or bumps in the road. It’s striving to live a life in line with my values, which can be broken down into small things like trying to meditate for 20 minutes each day, and allowing myself to take breaks from my homework and recharge. It’s feeding and nourishing my body in a healthy way, and challenging the rigid structure I often find myself bound to, especially when school starts. It’s practicing flexibility, because that helps manage my stress levels and overall productivity.

And while some of these are just as ambiguous as resolutions, it allows me to work on different things everyday instead of getting obsessive about calorie counting on My Fitness Pal, which ultimately just sucks you into your phone and mental calculations and takes you away from everything else going on in your life. It’s only been 5 days and already one night I didn’t meditate, but instead of saying “oh well, nice try at this one, Em” I said “I’m going to do it tomorrow morning instead!”

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This isn’t a “new me.” I’m still my same self, just making a commitment to challenge the aspects of my life that aren’t working well right now :)

Here is some art I’ve done ​of some of my favorite quotes to inspire you in the new year:

The Addiction of Social Media

The other day I was at the Apple Store getting my phone fixed, and they had to restore it and set it up as a new phone. This meant that everything got erased off of my phone - apps, texts, contacts, pictures, and it got completely reset. Afterwards, as I started redownloading apps, I decided I wasn’t going to redownload social media right away and have a little detox from it.

Now 2 days later, I still have not downloaded Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and it has actually felt pretty good, but not until now have noticed a few things. 

On several occasions, I have found myself going on my phone without even thinking to scroll through Instagram, only to realize I don’t have it. I’m noticing that it is such a habit, and that whenever I’m bored, it’s how I fill my time. I have also found myself on multiple occasions thinking “I need to make this my snapchat story” and turn on my phone to do so.

It’s crazy how addicted our society is to social media. And while it’s a great communication style and news outlet, it’s also a huge time-sucker. In only two days, I’ve noticed some perks, such as...

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I got to the train early this morning. Every morning after my alarm goes off I find myself scrolling through what I missed on Instagram and Twitter and checking Snapchat, and never realized how much time that takes away. No wonder I’m always in a rush in the morning…

Another perk was that I had to write an essay for my December Intercession Class that’s due today, and I got to work at 9 and finished the essay by 11am. Normally I would’ve been sitting at my desk at work my entire shifting writing this essay, getting distracted on social media, killing time, etc. 

Buuuut there were also some downsides….like I forgot I didn’t have the Starbucks app redownloaded when I was in line this morning, so no stars for me! The same thing happened on the Metra this morning because I didn’t have the Ventra ​app redownloaded, but I think the conductor felt bad for me in a frenzy trying to log back in and it failing, so he just let me ride for free. Shoutout to that guy.

Really there’s no right or wrong that came out of this, it was more just interesting to observe the different habits I’m in that I didn’t realize before. And tomorrow I’m off to Mexico for a week so will probably take more of a pause from social media as well to just enjoy the time with my family, but of course will have to post a picture or two on Instagram :) 

Floating

In a previous post I’ve shared that I’m taking a mindfulness class right now (SNC198...aka the best class ever that everyone should take), and how we went on a 4 day retreat to Starved Rock back in September.

Since that retreat, the rest of the class has been online, but we’ve had some cool assignments to do, which always keeps the class really interesting. Since it’s in the School of New Learning, those students take the course as a pass/fail, but if you’re enrolled in it to fill your junior year experiential learning domain, like myself, you receive a letter grade for it. Thus, you have some extra assignments to do. Luckily, they’re fun and engaging. 

One of them is an essay where we had to try out an alternative form of meditation and compare it to the meditations and mindfulness practice we did on the retreat. Something I had always wanted to try but never got around to doing, was floating in a sensory deprivation tank. So, I thought this was a perfect opportunity (and justified spending money on it).

Oto Float
A place called Oto Float had opened up right by my house in late August, so I went in there one afternoon. To kill two birds with one stone, I thought I’d also write an article about it for my journalism class. After talking to one of the owners for a while and checking out the place, he said I could interview him, and gave me my first float for free!

The tank contains 1000 pounds of Epsom salt, which makes you effortlessly float to the top/ You have the option to keep the tank open or closed, have the lights in there on or off, and have music or a guided meditation playing.

Floating causes a feeling of weightlessness, and the reduction of external stimuli allows for a deep state of relaxation. In this state, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which reduces anxiety. 

In an interview with Jen Stutler, an employee at Oto Float and girlfriend of the founder, she says “I find that it seriously reduces my anxiety. My first float amplified it, my heart was beating fast, but now I can’t wait to get in the tank. It’s safe in there. And I find I have a better outlook when I’m done. I feel better for days.”

I had a similar experience, where I was super anxious for the first 20-30 minutes, but after that time flew by, and it was really on my way home that I felt the effects and felt so much calmer and at peace.

I haven’t been back since, but I hope to soon and everyone should try it out, especially in the midst of finals!
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Writing for the DePaulia

If you’re anything like me and love to write, or even if you don’t know if you like it, hate writing essays, or just want to improve your writing skills, there are many ways to write outside of essays assigned in your classes. Because obviously those are required and often aren’t about things you’re actually interested AND you’re being graded, so of course you wouldn’t enjoy that feeling of stress put onto you!

Luckily, there are opportunities outside of that, and who knows, it could even advance your essay writing skills! As a Journalism major, I want to practice getting my work out there, writing about things I enjoy, and using writing as a form of distraction from real life, self-care, and a way to calm myself down (which I never thought was possible until I tried it!)

The DePaulia
With that, there are many ways even on campus to take this approach. Obviously, that’s what I’m doing here writing for the DeBlogs, but there are additional opportunities on campus as well! The major one is the student newspaper, The DePaulia​. My sophomore year I was intimidated by them and went to one meeting at the beginning of the school year, put my email down for weekly article opportunities from the Arts & Life section, and every single one went into the trash without a second glance. I had this false idea that you had to have lots of experience, the editors would judge you and then not publish your work, and it would just prove that I’m not a great writer.

While all those fears are technically valid, I learned they’re far from true! In fact, they are always looking for new contributors, and you don’t need to write for them weekly if your schedule is super busy. You can just pick up pieces when one of the emails interests you. 
   
Finally, I thought to myself this year, what’s the worst that could happen if I picked up a story? So, I did exactly that. The first week of school I wrote an article about the new Netflix Original shows coming out this fall. They published it, and when I picked up the DePaulia the following week on my way to class, I smiled upon seeing my piece.

If you’re interested, here is the piece! (Don’t judge the headline, they changed mine and it’s less generic and boring in the print version so I don’t get it either…)

The DePaulia is a great way to get involved on campus, and is definitely worth trying out! Worst case scenario, you discover it’s not your thing so you head in a different direction


Midterms and Art

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I’m sure many of you can relate, but my midterms week consisted of many hours in the library, study groups, venti coffees, little sleep, and my hand
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cramping from writing study guides. I’m often told I’m a perfectionist and need to “chill” about studying endlessly, so for the first time ever, I tried to follow that advice. What I set up was that I would study until 10-11pm, and then had to do an hour of “self-care.” So, I got out all my art material (I’m really into watercolor and calligraphy right now), lit candles, played relaxing music, and sat on my yoga mat with my dog.

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Of course, it gave me anxiety. I needed to study more, I wasn’t prepared, and I couldn't focus. The more I challenged those thoughts though, the easier it got. I was given the advice to make an art piece that got out all the thoughts in my head. And guess what? It worked! This is a technique called cognitive defusion, where you defuse from being stuck in your head by expressing them through art, writing, or by saying “I notice I’m having the thought that…” Suddenly I wasn’t obsessing over the midterm I had the next morning, and just let myself relax.

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Over the past 6 months or so I’ve been trying to do this occasionally, and have also been posting my art on an Instagram account I have and surprising my friends by mailing them art with some of my favorite quotes. This week especially though, this outlet helped me the most! So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you should totally try this! Or if you’re not into art, participate in one of your favorite hobbies mindfully! I promise it helps :)

Meet Emily!

Oh hey there!

I’m Emily and I’m a senior studying Journalism with a minor in Psychology. I’m originally from the northern suburbs, Wilmette, where I frequently go to visit my dog Piper. 

Some (fun) facts about me: 
1. I went to school in Canada my freshman year
2. I’m a dual citizen with Canada and the US
3. I have an obsession with elephants (and rode one once in Thailand...best day of my life)
4. I’ve been making movies with my friends since I was 10 
5. I tap danced for 10 years
6. I can quote pretty much every line of Friends
7. I could eat a PB&J for almost every meal
8. I’m obsessed with yoga (and am getting into meditation)
9. I played badminton in high school (it’s a real sport...we went to State)
10. I just went on a 4 day meditation retreat for one of my classes (and I get credit for it!)

Emily
At DePaul I have experience transferring, taking classes part time (and taking a medical leave), commuting for a quarter, living in on campus apartments, writing for the DePaulia, changing majors and being a student worker in the CDM graduate admission office!

When I’m not in classes or working, I enjoy writing in coffee shops, taking my dog to the beach, rewatching 30 Rock (but my latest obsession is The Newsroom and Broad City), watching movies and being a film snob about them, practicing yoga (obviously), and making breakfast for dinner.