Due to a busier class schedule and work, this is the first year I’m spending Easter away from my family. I’m not fond of change and celebrating the holiday in a different city was something I was dreading. Fortunately, one of my lovely friends was also spending the weekend in town and asked me to go to church with him. His love for architecture and need to explore led us to the Holy Name Cathedral, right off of the Chicago stop on the red line. The church was beautifully decorated with stained glass and lots of flowers for the holiday. Our plan was to get there early so that we could find seats but we underestimated how busy the service would be. Every row was packed with families and friendly faces, we walked around the whole building before finding a spot to sit.
The mass went by quickly and even though it was a new experience, I ended up really enjoying it. Growing up, my parents raised me to be Catholic. I’ve noticed that ever since moving to Chicago, my appreciation for the religion and the beliefs they teach has increased. Although DePaul is affiliated with the Catholic church, you have to actively seek out the religious side of campus (just look for the cardboard cutout of the pope in the Student Center). This separation has allowed me to further develop my faith because it’s something I’m looking for voluntarily.
College is all about discovering new things about yourself and staying true to the values you cherish. I love using my faith as an excuse to go out into the city and find new churches with new faces. Despite spending Easter away from home, today was one of my favorite days. Tommy and I started a tradition of eating breakfast at 2:30 pm, and that’s something I hope will never change. :)
Song of the Week: A Dog’s Adventure- Atta Boy
As soon as the car was parked, we wasted no time to get inside the cabin. Some people stayed and started cooking dinner while others took the golf cart out for a spin. There was so much to do, but we still found time to relax. With temperatures so low, the lake was still frozen enough to walk on. It was a little nerve-wracking to have so many people on the ice at once, but we got some really cool pictures out of it. I had forgotten how beautiful sunsets could be, and you could see every color painted on to the sky when you stood on the lake. As the day darkened, spontaneity took us on a walk through the forest. If you looked up, the stars decorated every corner of the sky. Never in my life had I seen that many stars at once; we all took turns pointing out different constellations that were familiar to us.
Even though we didn’t get to escape the cold, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my spring break any other way. I got some quality time with some of my favorite people and we got away from the city stress for a while. A massive thank you to Evan for taking us to his cabin, I can’t wait to go back. :)
Song of the Week: Like Gold- Vance Joy
This weekend, a good friend of mine came to visit from Washington D.C. She had been to Chicago before but not for an extended amount of time. Aside from the main tourist attractions like Millennium Park and Maggie Daley, I got to show her around the pockets of the city that she hadn’t explored yet. It’s interesting to think that you could go from being a complete stranger to a city and then turn it into your home in a short amount of time. Only having lived here for six months, I’ve accumulated a long list of places to show people when they visit.
After spending the day downtown, we made our way to Old Town for a comedy show at The Second City
. The venue is massive, containing stages ranging in size to cater to any show they put on. We were seated in an intimate room where the comedians were only a few feet in front of the audience. Well known for its diverse set of shows and history, this comedy club is definitely one I would go back to. It incorporated stand up and musical comedy as well as ending the show with a live band performance. I had only been to one comedy show before but this one is easily high on my list of favorite experiences I’ve had while living in Chicago.
If you’re ever in town with no idea what to do, I would highly recommend checking out Second City. I left laughing harder than I had in a while and looking for another opportunity to go back and watch another show.
Song of the Week: Stay Alive-José González
There is something absolutely magical about going to a concert. You’re in a room full of strangers, bonded only by mutual love for the artist and their work, but within seconds you are connected. Being amidst excellence and pure talent makes you incredibly grateful to get to be a part of that experience. I love watching people pour every fiber of their being into their work and have that passion radiate through the speakers. It’s inspiring, encouraging and such a vital feeling of empowerment to indulge in. You get to experience the fullness of the art because the artist is right in front of you, carefully cultivating every moment that you will treasure in your memory every time you hear that song.
Chicago’s music scene is steeped in culture. Whether you enjoy classical, jazz or the latest hit on the radio, there are venues and artists here for everyone. The music scene was definitely a bonus when I moved here. I adore going to concerts; they’re one of the best experiences you can have. This past weekend a few friends and I had the opportunity to go see Florist and WHY? live at Lincoln Hall. Just a few blocks away from campus, Lincoln Hall is one of my favorite venues with live performances almost every day.
Both bands put on such a wonderful show, and due to the intimate nature of the venue, we were right by the stage. Afterward, I went to the bathroom and ran into the lead singer for Florist, Emily, and chatted with her for a few minutes. She told me about her journey as an artist and how being on tour has been unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Her energy was so calming and she was genuinely grateful for our support. It’s moments like these that make me so grateful to live in the city. If you’re ever curious to see what concerts are happening around you, check out chicago.ohmyrockness.com, they also let you know about free shows too!
Song of the Week: Cool and Refreshing-Florist
Transitioning to a new place is always nerve wrecking. There are many uncertainties and everything around you is changing faster than you anticipated. College is completely different from high school and often, we don’t know what to expect. At DePaul, there are a variety of programs and activities implemented to help students adjust to the new city lifestyle. Our orientation is called “Premiere DePaul;” it is a mandatory overnight stay designed to introduce incoming students to all of the resources that DePaul has to offer.
Once you’re signed up for one of the sessions, you are divided into groups based on the major you declared on your application. An Orientation Leader (OL) is assigned to your group and they are meant to help guide you and answer any questions you may have. My group consisted of students from the College of Science and Health, and they weren’t all necessarily psychology majors. This is the first time you are introduced to your future classmates and it’s interesting to see how Chicago draws the attention of people from across the country.
Orientation consists of a lot of introductions and icebreakers for your small group as well as a plethora of information being thrown at you. While this may seem overwhelming, you can ask questions that you may have at any time and there are people there to answer them. During this time, you pick your classes for the fall quarter as well as get more familiar with the campus. There are optional tours of the university and information sessions going on at varied times. Students sleep in the dorms for the overnight portion of orientation to get familiar with dorm life.
It’s important to remember that everyone is nervous going into college and this is a wonderful time to acquaint yourself with some friendly faces. Orientation is only the beginning, so have fun, put yourself out there and welcome to your future here at DePaul! :)
Song of the Week: All Comes Down-Kodaline
It’s about that time of the term where we have to stop everything that we’re doing and pick out courses for the next quarter. I can’t believe that there’s only one quarter left until I’m done with my first year of college. This time last year, I was still debating between schools. I remember that DePaul required incoming students to choose between Discover Chicago and Explore Chicago before even selecting classes for the fall term. Both courses are aimed to help first-year students get acclimated to a new environment and immersed into the Chicago lifestyle.
The First Year Program offers a wide variety of options when it comes to these courses. This year, the options I had ranged anywhere from “Death in the City” to “Chicago’s Public Art & Murals”. There is a course for everyone, the only thing is that they fill up fast so it’s wise to sign up as soon as you can. I remember feeling confused about what Discover and Explore Chicago were and their main differences. To ease some of those worries, I’m here to give you an in-depth rundown of these classes.
Discover Chicago starts with an Immersion Week, that takes place a week before the beginning of fall quarter. During this week, you and your class will learn about different places around the city as well as take trips that pertain to the course. This is also the time when you get familiar with using the CTA and public transit. Students who take this class get to move in a week earlier because of the Immersion Week. After the first week, the class will meet once a week for 3 hours for 7 weeks during fall quarter.
Explore Chicago starts right at the beginning of fall term and it works like every other one of your classes. Students who take Explore are in that course for the full 10-week quarter and meet twice a week for 4 hours. Because this class starts at the beginning of the quarter, Explore students move in at the same time that all of the other students do which is the weekend before the start of the term.
Discover Chicago was the route I ended up choosing because I got to move in a week before everyone else and wanted a bit more time to get used to the city. The class I took was “Psychology of Chicago’s Parks” and it was one of my favorites. I met some of my best friends there and we explored a lot of hidden gems that I would never know about had I not taken this class. Regardless of which option you choose, I guarantee that you will come out knowing a lot more about the city than you did before.
Song of the Week: Build It Better- Aron Wright
Contrary to popular opinion, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Despite all of the consumerism and overall panic that surrounds the holiday, to me, it’s always been one of the best times of the year. Valentine’s Day is a whole day that we dedicate to celebrating all kinds of love: love for your family, your friends, your partner and most importantly, yourself. It’s a day to look around and realize how many people appreciate and support you. Even though it’s one of the most dreaded holidays, I for one, am a huge fan of having another excuse to thank the people I care about. This year, I made my roommate pancakes to show her how much I appreciate her. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite random acts of kindness that
you can use to spread some love next time February 14th rolls around.
- Text someone good morning and send them warm thoughts
- Write positive sticky notes and leave them around your room or apartment as friendly reminders
- Pay for someone’s CTA commute (someone did this for me and it was the sweetest gesture)
- Send some flowers to friends that you haven’t seen in a while
- Smile at a stranger on public transit, just because
- Pay for the person behind you at Starbucks
- Leave a generous tip and a thank you note at for the server at your next meal
- Write and mail a letter to a family member or close friend
- Practice gratitude by allowing yourself a few moments in your day to reflect on all of the wonderful things you have in your life
I hope that everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day, and I challenge you to spread love any way you can next February! :)
Song of the Week: Loving Is Easy- Rex Orange County
The only downside to living in the Midwest is that the winter seems to drag on way longer than they should. Visits from the sun are less frequent and the sky seems to have forgotten that there are colors besides white and gray. I’m the type of person that needs to be surrounded by natural color in order to be productive. That’s why this weekend I decided to make the trip down to the Garfield Park Conservatory and take a morning yoga class.
Popular for its stunning displays of diverse greenery, the Garfield Park Conservatory is the perfect place to escape the winter for an afternoon. Always free and open daily, this beautiful Chicagoan gem is about 45 minutes from campus right off the green line.
The conservatory has different activities that vary every month, and this past weekend a few friends and I decided to grab our mats and check out the yoga class that they offered. Accompanied by a hundred excited strangers of all ages, the room was packed and full of positive energy. I’ve done yoga in several different places, but this class was undeniably the best experience out of all of them. Decorated with a beautiful fountain in the middle, and surrounded by a diverse population of trees the ambiance of the room was perfect for a relaxing yoga practice. We enjoyed ourselves, to say the least.
There’s always something going
on at the conservatory. This yoga class runs every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9-10 am. If you need a little pick me up, I would absolutely recommend you try it out. If yoga isn’t really your thing, I’m looking for someone to try the beekeeping class with me! :)
Song of the Week: Cool It Child- Hazlett
I’m stopping by to share some college student realness: you will spend many hours and many dollars at coffee shops. If you’re thinking “but I don’t really like coffee”, well, you will soon learn to like it out of necessity or succumb to peer pressure. As soon as midterms roll around, I always find myself consuming copious amounts of coffee in order to function properly. Chicago is pretty incredible and has a lot of places that you can try until you find a favorite. I’m fortunate enough to have a roommate that loves coffee and tea as much as I do and is very willing to try new places. Going out to coffee shops is a good way to surround yourself with a new environment and explore the city a bit more. To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites around campus.
Bourgeois Pig- Located a just a block past the School of Music, this is the most convenient place to visit. My favorite thing about this coffee shop is the cozy environment and the fact that most of the items on their menu have literary names. Not to mention, DePaul students get a 10% discount when you show your ID!
Colectivo Coffee- This coffee shop has a special place in my heart because the company started near my hometown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Known for their funky vibes and iconic skull cups, this is where I go when I’m feeling homesick and want a really good cup of coffee. It’s a bit further of a walk but absolutely worth it. Their outdoor patio is gorgeous, so I’d recommend visiting when it’s warmer out.
Hero Coffee- This is a coffee shop to visit when it’s warm outside because their seating is located in the alley in front of the cafe. It’s a very popularly photographed place but it took me half an hour to find the first time I went. It’s hidden across the street from the Barnes & Nobles on campus and is definitely worth a visit.
Song of the Week: Shake It Out- Florence and the Machine
Athletic is a word I’ve always used to describe myself. In high school, I was involved in a variety of sports and I enjoyed being active. In moving to a new city and adjusting to a more demanding schedule, finding time to exercise daily became a challenge. Lucky for me, I got a membership to the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center when I decided to enroll at DePaul. Often referred to as “the Ray,” our gym has a multitude of options that meets everyone’s athletic needs. As someone who has zero knowledge about how to use any exercise machine besides the treadmill and gets easily intimidated by fit strangers, I usually opt for the fitness classes. From pilates to cardio kickboxing, there’s a variety of new workouts to try. These are some of the best classes that I’ve taken are
Yoga: I used to play soccer in high school and yoga helped me stretch out my body. Not only is it a really healthy way to relax and meditate, but it’s also secretly a workout. With some ab exercises subtly woven into the practice, this class will have you do hard work without you realizing it. There’s usually at least one yoga class that runs every day so it’s easy to find a time to go, even during the busiest of weeks.
Boxing Bootcamp: A friend of mine convinced me to try this (thanks, Tommy!), and even though I felt totally out of my element at first, I ended up really enjoying myself. There is something very empowering about learning different kinds of punches and realizing that I’m absolutely capable of defending myself, should the occasion ever arise. This class does wonders for your arms. Fair warning though, you will be EXTREMELY sore after day one.
Zumba: Dancing is one of those activities that I am absolutely horrible at but continue to do because it’s so much fun. The combination of upbeat music and a room full of energetic people is such a powerful motivator and will get you through 45 minutes of intense Zumba.
I’ve grown to love the Ray and incorporate a visit into my daily routine. Going to these classes with friends is a fun activity that will encourage healthy habits (and it’s free!). Even if occasionally it means braving the cold, I know I’ll feel really good after working out. And as a bonus, they have really delicious smoothies in the cafe on the first level :)
Song of the Week: Don’t Take the Money- Bleachers
With the start of a new year comes a long list of resolutions that usually takes a while for me to start addressing. That’s why this past November, I decided that I was going to start my journey towards self-betterment a little earlier. Over the course of the past two months, I chose to transition into a vegetarian lifestyle. Meat wasn’t a huge part of my diet before, so I thought it wouldn’t that big of an adjustment. I made this change while we were on our long winter break, and I grew nervous about maintaining this diet in college, where the food available to me was more limited.
Fortunately, I returned to the student center pleasantly surprised. Over the break, the university had built a new vegan restaurant next to the sandwich deli. “Rooted ” offers the option of a wrap, a salad or a bowl with lots of different kinds of yummy foods to mix together for endless combinations. This was my first experience with vegan food and I fell in love with it! This is my new go-to place because everything goes well together and it’s so delicious, you can’t even tell it’s healthy.
One of the things I appreciate about DePaul is how accommodating they are to students’ needs. There is a variety of foods to enjoy even with a limited diet. In case you need some more inspiration, a few of my favorites meals are:
Salads with a lot of garbanzo beans. Right when you walk into the main portion of the cafeteria, there’s a salad bar that’s always stocked with enough fresh greens to satisfy any salad craving.
Buffalo Mozzarella Sandwich. The Bean is the main cafe on campus. They’re always stocked with lots of different sandwich and wrap options when you want a quick bite to eat before class. I love the buffalo mozzarella sandwich because it’s super filling and easy to take with me.
Veggie Sushi. We are fortunate enough to have a kitchen staff that makes fresh sushi every day. That’s right, FRESH sushi. The veggie sushi holds a very special place in my heart. They sell it at ETC, which can be found on the second floor of the student center. I will say that sushi is super popular and it goes quick. For the most variety, I’d suggest going early in the afternoon.
There are lots of signs and labels on foods listing the ingredients. It’s always safe to check before you eat anything. If you have any other dietary concerns, don’t hesitate to ask the staff. They’re super kind and very willing to help you find something that suits your needs. Happy New Year and happy eating! :)
Hello, dears! My name is Haedy Gorostieta, and I have an ongoing love affair with iced chai lattes. I am a first-year Psychology and Spanish double major here at DePaul. Coming from Waukesha, Wisconsin, a not so small suburb just 30 minutes west of Milwaukee, moving to such a huge city was definitely a challenge. In Waukesha, the night sky is frequently decorated with stars and there are more trees than people. Nonetheless, I’ve come to fall in love with Chicago and all that it has to offer.
Some of my pastimes include discovering new bands and adding them to my Spotify playlists, exploring the city’s green spaces, and throwing up peace signs in every photo that’s taken of me. I live for stolen hours in cute coffee shops with my trusted journal and laptop, feeding off of everyone’s productive energy, and trying to check off items on my to-do list. My favorite day is Sunday as it stands for relaxed mornings and a fresh start to a new week. You can often find me admiring sunsets or exploring unique pockets within the city.
Just having finished my first quarter of college, I’ve come to the realization that I’m at the beginning of a life-changing journey. And what better place to bloom than in the city that never sleeps at night? I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to document my experiences through these blog posts. If they’re the slightest bit helpful, then I’ve done my job. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to stop by; it truly means the world. And if you see me strutting down the streets of campus, don’t be afraid to say hi! :)