A lot of young people in this country don’t realize the privilege is sitting right in front of them. Unfortunately, there is a lot of apathy surrounding elections and voting, especially among the younger generations. With every passing election, voter turnout is lowering when now is the time that people need their voices to be heard. Most of the time, we think to ourselves that our vote isn’t going to change anything. However, your voice and your vote does matter! More often than not, candidates end up winning by a handful of votes- one of which could be yours. I turned eighteen right after the election in 2016 and I’ve spent the past couple of years learning about how important it is to vote. If voting is something you’re still unsure of, here are some reasons why you might want to reconsider.
It’s Our Generation
I’ll admit that in high school I was really uninterested in politics because they seemed to be happening in a world far away from mine. However, I could not have been more wrong. Young adults are just starting to live their lives and are probably more impacted by policies surrounding education, taxes, and healthcare. It’s important to know where you stand on these issues so that you can elect someone who will let you have a say in these laws.
Fight For What You Believe In
I know I am extremely passionate about the environment and am always looking for new ways to be more eco-friendly. Unfortunately, the biggest changes have to come from laws and policies for us to see any drastic improvement. When the time comes to elect a new representative, I always do research and find someone who cares just as much about going green. After finding an issue that I was really passionate about, I found myself wanting to get more involved with politics, and I encourage you to do the same.
Vote Because You Can
There are so many people right now in countries across the world fighting for a right that people in America often take for granted. It is such a gift to be able to participate in law-making and electing representatives. Don’t let your voice be silenced and exercise your rights. Becoming an adult also means becoming more informed and involved with the world around you.
Song of the Week: Simplify- Young the Giant :)
One of the biggest surprises that came to me after my first year as a college student was how much money I managed to spend. When I started the year I had already paid for a meal plan and housing so I wasn’t expecting to have any other expenses. One of the best things about living in a city is the abundance of things to do. Unfortunately, that also brings bad news for your bank account. At the start of my second year, I promised myself that I would be a more conscious spender. I wanted to start saving and become more financially stable. After two months of embracing this mindset, I’ve started to see results. I know money is something that causes a lot of stress for college students, so here are three of my most effective strategies on saving money.
This lifestyle is something radically different than the one I am currently living, but I’m getting there slowly. I used to be the kind of person who owned 50 dresses and had the right outfit for one specific event. When I was looking for new apartments, I realized that the closets in the rooms were way smaller than ones I was used to. As a result, I started a new experiment with my wardrobe during the summer. If I didn’t wear the item within 30 days, it got donated (or lovingly gifted to my sisters). This allowed me to shrink my closet, but it also made me realize that I didn’t wear or need as many clothes as I thought I did. I also started avoiding the urge to buy clothing impulsively. To me, minimalism means thinking about the things that add value to my life instead of the quantity of things that I own. When I’m out shopping and I see something that I like, I’ll ask myself I need it or if it would add value to my life. If the answer is no- which it usually is, then I don’t buy it. Over the course of a few months, this has saved me quite a lot of money.
Apply for Scholarships!
The biggest misconception a lot of students have is that the scholarship search stops when you get accepted into college. However, this could not be farther from the truth! Scholarships aren’t just for high school students, there are several targeted towards students in college. In fact, a lot of people have more luck winning scholarships when they’re in college because they have more projects and skills to show off. Focus on local scholarships targeted towards your university, and spend a solid 30 minutes a week applying. I promise this will not be a waste of your time.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts!
This one probably sounds like the most obvious, but I don’t think that students realize how many major companies offer discounts for students. One of my favorite resources is Unidays, it’s a website where they list all of the discounts for students and it’s updated weekly. If you’re a big online shopper, I also recommend adding Ebates and Honey to your Chrome extension. Ebates offers you cash back on a lot of your online purchases for companies like American Eagle, Target and Amazon. Honey is a service that finds hidden coupons while you are browsing online and then applies them at checkout. Both of these are completely free and guaranteed to save you money.
Song of the Week: Patricia- Florence and the Machine :)
Upon arriving at college, incoming students are usually worried about making new friends, their schedules and adjusting to a new way of living. College can be a lot to balance, especially when you’ve never experienced something quite like it. I work as a CQM for a class of first-year students and when I asked them if they actively practice self-care, the responses I received were a combination of laughter and confused looks. I learned that they didn’t think self-care was important enough to dedicate time to or they just didn’t know how to practice this kind of behavior. There has been a variety of studies and surveys with findings concluding that an overwhelming amount of young people are struggling or have struggled with anxiety. One study in particular found that 41.6% of college students said that anxiety was affecting their lives.
This year I moved into a new apartment and my roommates and I started a new tradition called “Self-Care Sunday”. We realized that we couldn’t neglect our mental health this year and decided to dedicate a few hours on Sundays to take care of those needs. The following are some of my favorite self-care activities.
Sing loudly in the shower.
I don’t have scientific evidence that this is effective. However, I can personally say that there is nothing more therapeutic than belting out the words to your favorite song after a long day. Not to mention, the bathroom acoustics will have you convinced that you should be a signed artist.
Call your mom.
If you are a college student, chances are you have a pretty tight and busy schedule. It’s also safe to say that you probably haven’t called your mom in a while. My mom is one of the funnies women in my life and after a short 5 minute conversation with her, I feel so much better.
Clean up your living space.
For me, nothing is more stressful than a messy living area. During the week, I’m guilty of throwing my clothes all over the floor and forgetting to pick them up. After cleaning my room, I feel so relieved. It’s as if all the clutter in my life has magically disappeared.
Self-care is incredibly important and I encourage you to find an hour in your week to dedicate to yourself. Contrary to popular belief, self-care doesn’t have to be a grandiose event where you go to the spa and all of your problems magically disappear. Self-care is an ongoing process, all it takes is finding the strategy that works best with you and sticking with it. You are worth all of the stars in the universe and deserve every ounce of love that comes your way. Take care of yourself and hold on to the little things that bring you joy.
Song of the Week: Walls- The Lumineers
With only a week left of freshman year, I’ve found myself journaling more often and filling the pages with reflective thoughts. This year has been nothing short of exciting and I find myself reminiscing about all of the experiences that I’ve had. When I came to DePaul in the fall, I had no idea what the year had in store for me. Feelings of anxiety and doubt circled my mind, but they were quickly replaced with excitement and love for all that this city has to offer. This first year has been full of a lot of changes and positive academic and personal growth. For my last blog of my first year, I wanted to share a few things that I learned along the way.
How to Develop a New Independence.
I’ve lived in a relatively small town my entire life and moving to a city as big as Chicago was definitely a big shock for me. I expected to be overwhelmed for a long time, but what I didn’t expect was how much I would benefit from the size of the city. I used to be the kind of person that would cling to friends and avoid going anywhere alone out of fear of being judged by other people. However, with the help of public transit, I began to develop an independence and new confidence that I didn’t know I could have. Running errands, walking around the city and eating alone became activities that I found myself enjoying.
The Importance of Maintaining Relationships.
While I was living at home, I would do everything I could to spend as much time as I could with friends and family. Having a strong community is something that I’ve always valued and leaving for college has only strengthened those relationships. Because I’m living out of state, I’ve put more effort into communicating with the people that have added value to my life. My favorite method is writing letters to friends and family because it feels more personal than a phone call.
Asking for Help is Okay.
Being fairly introverted, I’ve always been terrified to ask other people questions or help when I needed it. Attending college and being given a bigger workload, I learned that asking for help is inevitable. After getting over the initial fear of approaching professors, I ended up really benefiting from their help. All of the professors I’ve had are extremely friendly and want to see you succeed. Not to mention they’re crucial for networking and also some pretty interesting people to get to know.
I couldn’t be happier with my first-year experience. I was introduced to some of the best people I’ve ever met and have done things I didn’t know I was capable of. Thank you, DePaul for a great start to my college career, I’ll happily see you in the fall! :)
Song of the Week: Hunger- Florence and the Machine
Whenever I ask adults what their favorite part of college was, a large percentage of their responses relate to how involved they were. One of the best parts about going away to college is the opportunity to discover different parts of yourself. By investing your time in different organizations on campus, you have more freedom to explore those passions. There are multiple ways to involve yourself while pursuing your degree. DePaul has a convenient website, OrgSync, where every club and organization is listed to make it easy to see what is available.
I joined a lot of clubs when I started in the fall and was quick to realize that not all of them were for me. I did, however, find something that I really liked. In the winter, I found a research team that needed volunteers for their Epi-CFS team. After submitting my resume, and going in for an interview, they offered me a volunteer position and I’ve been working with them ever since. Through this opportunity, I’ve gotten the chance to network and meet with lots of different people in the psychology community. I volunteer at the center four hours a week, calling and screening-eligible participants. The research assistants on the team are some of the kindest people I’ve met and they’ve created a wonderful community within the center. Even though I’m only a first-year student, they’ve already offered to write me letters of recommendation for graduate school and are there to answer any questions I have. These are resources I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t looked into being involved on campus.
Finding activities that you're passionate about is just as important in college as it was in high school. It’s important to keep an open mind, one of the best things about being in a new place is trying things you would have never imagined you could do. Be patient, you’ll find the club that’s right for you in no time. :)
Song of the Week: Like Vineyards- Little India
It’s here! It’s here! The trees are beginning to grow leaves, the grass is finally green again, and the sunshine reminds your skin of a warmth you haven’t felt in a long time. Springtime in the city is well underway, and you couldn’t be happier about it. The only downside? All of your friends that go to schools on the semester system are already enjoying their summer vacation while you have one more month until finals. But worry not, for I’ve thought up a few ways to make the most of the few weeks while staying on top of your work.
As it warms up, consider a change of scenery and do your homework outside. DePaul’s quad is absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorite places to be. The trees are just far enough apart to set up a hammock and do some reading for class. If that’s not really your thing, there are some tables with solar-powered charging stations for your laptop. There truly is no excuse not to be outside, and hopefully, it will help you feel like you’re not missing out on spring weather.
Plan Out Your Week!
Being the queen of procrastination, I admit that this is something I’m still trying to get better at. However, mapping out your week and dedicating time to completing assignments will greatly help reduce your stress levels. Prioritize what you can get done and what you can hold off on to give you more control over your time.
Make Time For You!
Even though school should be your main concern, don’t neglect your needs and the things that bring you joy. It’s easy to feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to dedicate to yourself, but these things are very important for your well-being. Laugh with some friends, have a picnic on the beach, or enjoy some ice cream from Jeni’s (10/10 would recommend). Just remember to devote some time to yourself, everything else can wait.
Summer vacation is right around the corner so stay persistent, make time to relax, and get ready to CRUSH the rest of spring quarter! :)
Song of the Week: Next Year- Two Door Cinema Club
College is going to be a completely new experience. You’ll get to meet different people, move into a room with someone you may not know and make decisions independent of your parents. This is one of the most exciting yet trying times of your life. It’s very easy to get comfortable in our own worlds; which is why it’s important to remember that there is something to learn from every person you interact with. In dedicating time to hear about different experiences from others, there is the opportunity for individual growth.
I would say that my college experience here at DePaul has been unique to that of any other schools. With a campus in Lincoln Park and the Loop, I’ve had the chance to learn both inside and outside of the classroom. Chicago is home to 2.7 million beautiful people and living here has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of them. Building relationships and networking is a crucial skill to have as a young professional, and what better place to practice that than a big city school?
Not only have I had the chance to befriend people here at DePaul, but also at other universities in the Chicago area. This past year alone, I’ve met some incredible people from Loyola, Northwestern, and UIC. In doing so, my college experience has incorporated the different cultures from various universities. I love how accessible everything is via transit and how easy it is to go visit the different campuses.
There is something incredible about merging school cultures and getting to show other students around the best parts of campus. Some of my favorite people come from halfway across the country and I wouldn’t have met them had it not been for college. I carry a little piece of every person I’ve encountered with me, and I can’t wait to keep learning from new people. :)
Song of the Week: Real Peach- Henry Jamison
Chicago is known for a lot of things: Navy Pier, the bean in Millennium Park, deep dish pizza and unfortunately, extremely long winters (I say as I write this in April). One day while waiting for the train, a friend of mine noticed that the heat lamps had a sign that read “operate November 1 through March 1”. He asked if the winters were truly that long, to which I nodded unhappily. Once the cold months hit, it’s hard to imagine a time where the sun was a consistent part of each day. Fortunately, after living in the Midwest for nineteen years, I’ve gotten some insight on a few things that can help you battle the long winters.
Remind Yourself of the Color Green!
When the sky is constantly gray it’s easy to forget that the world was once painted with other colors. My favorite way to reincorporate green into my life is by buying flowers and succulents to brighten up the room. Additionally, Chicago has two beautiful conservatories that are both warm and free! If you don’t feel like making the trip to the Garfield Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Conservatory is a short walk from campus. They always showcase a diverse collection of greenery that serves as a wonderful reminder of what the warmth will bring
Taking care of yourself is so important, especially during the colder months. Drinking enough water keeps your skin hydrated and healthy, despite the cold air. Exercising releases endorphins into your system that both boosts your mood and helps fight stress. Also eating food that’s rich in vitamins can help compensate for the lack of Vitamin D the sun isn’t providing.
Surround Yourself with Positive People!
Several studies show that the people with whom we surround ourselves with make a big difference in our emotions, both positively and negatively. During the winter, it’s easy to isolate yourself and most of your time doing activities alone. Spend more time with friends and people that you can share laughs with, it’s more than likely that their excitement and smiles will be contagious. :)
Song of the Week: Camera- Young the Giant
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
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
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
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! :)