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Articles by Josue Ortiz

The Extra Mile

I’m a soccer player (fútbol) but my brother is a runner. While I run up and down a field attempting to score a goal and put my team on top, my brother runs, well, just to run. There aren’t many that have the passion and desire to go mile after mile over and over until they’re simply ready to go home. My brother is quite the Forrest Gump​ in that sense (without the beard). Running is his therapy but for me it’s my most recent self-challenge.

It started one ordinary night as I was sitting at my desk staring at my whiteboard. Written in black marker are several video projects, general reminders, and two motivational quotes. I was thinking about how far I have come in my personal and professional development. Staring at the board, I craved a new challenge. Thus running my first marathon came into mind, that’s a lot though, half marathon instead. I stood up, grabbed my black marker, and wrote it at the top of my list, Marathon*. The asterisk, as I explained to my brother, is because I’m running a half-marathon but that doesn’t sound as bold so I wrote marathon. 

Running
Here’s the thing, as mentioned before, I’m a soccer player. It is true I run, according to New York Daily News the average soccer player runs a distance of 7 to 9.5 miles a game. The big difference is that a ball distracts me as I try to score and win. This is where my brother comes into play. I told him about my new challenge idea and he said he is down to not just help me, but also race alongside me (or probably much further ahead…but alongside me in spirit). 

Ideas like this pop up all the time in my head, so it doesn’t mean anything just yet, it’s the execution that makes all the difference. I’ve gone running 5 out of 7 days for two weeks now. I started at no more than 2 miles but I’m currently at 4.08 miles, at a comfortable 8’30” pace. That might not be very impressive to some runners out there but for me it is a huge improvement. My brother has pushed me to go further every single time. I’ll never forget the first time we ran 4 miles and I didn’t think I could make it. The day after I ran for 4 miles again alone. 

I’m excited to embrace this new personal challenge and I’m happy my brother is helping me out. This would not be possible without him as he can run for 13 miles just for “fun” and has encouraged me to get to that level. Seeing him zoom through the streets regularly, but always looking back to make sure I’m keeping up, has made me realize that I can do this, I just have to keep going the extra mile. 

The Get Down Part II

Rejoice, rejoice the long and much anticipated wait, at least for me, of The Get Down Part II​ is now over! For those of you that may be unfamiliar, The Get Down is a Netflix original directed by the Oscar nominated Baz Luhrmann. Set in the Bronx, New York in 1977 the series follows Ezekiel Figuero a teenager with an incredible lyrical ability struggling to fit in and infatuated with Mylene Cruz, the neighborhood angel. 

The Get Down
After watching season one, or Part I as Netflix is marketing it, I found myself in love with the series, the characters, the setting, and more! Baz Luhrmann is one of my favorite directors, so I might be slightly biased. I have watched The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet, and Moulin Rouge all projects that he has directed. To see Luhrmann’s style and aesthetic brought to a television series has been amazing. Needless to say I am very excited to login to Netflix today and check out Part II of The Get Down

Thanks for reading my blog and as always stay awesome friends! 


Washington D.C.

As the clock ticks onward and my time as a Blue Demon undergrad comes to a close, I realize I am experiencing some of the last moments with many of the organizations and clubs I have been a part of throughout my time here at DePaul.

Washington D.C.
Yes, I will stay in touch with my friends, peers, mentors, etc. but life moves on. Some of us will be attending master’s programs at other universities and others will be pursuing careers in Chicago or elsewhere.

This past spring break was my last service immersion trip with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (O.M.S.S.).  This year we went to Washington D.C. and worked with a Wider Circle. I was one of two seniors on the trip. Along with our service, we also became immersed in the communities that we were in. Visiting various museums, attractions, speaking events, and more, often times comparing and contrasting these experiences with Chicago and the broader global context.

As a senior, it was nice to see the underclassmen enjoy themselves as I did during my first service immersion trip. It was a bittersweet week as every moment was impactful and all my peers were awesome. Yet, I know this may be one of the final times I enjoy an experience such as this. With that being said, as I frequently do, I made a video of my time in Washington D.C. Check it out and enjoy! D.C. is a beautiful city.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

Handshake

Living in the information age all the applications, websites, profiles, etc. that are available to help people in different ways feel overwhelming. My personal experience of trying to be healthier is a prime example of this. I started off with the MyFitnessPal app developed by Under Armor. It’s a great app and helps me log food and meals everyday so I can keep track of my calories and macros. Just as I was set on using the app for the rest of my life, my sister got me a Fitbit for Christmas and with the health-tracking wristband came their health app. I then switched to the Fitbit app for my daily logs of food and exercise but found that using MyFitnessPal was easier for food. So now, I’m kind of in this in between of using Fitbit to track my workouts and using MyFitnessPal to track my food for the day, bouncing back and forth from one app to the other. 

The point of this is that apps, and resources in general, are at an all-time high in this day and age. 

Handshake
One app I recently downloaded is Handshake​. Let me start off by saying, I’m super late to the game on this one. When new things come out I usually like to wait for the super early users to test it out and give reviews.  After that I’ll probably partake in the second wave of users depending on what I hear and read. 

Handshake is an example of how I was late to the party. I first heard of it at the beginning of last year through a mass email that was sent to most, if not all, DePaul students. I was hesitant to download the app and register an account for my own stubborn reasons, a decision I have come to roll my eyes toward.  At just 10.9 megabytes, Handshake has become an immediate must use for me.  

I downloaded the app last week before attending the Creative Career Fair in the loop. I easily logged in with my DePaul username and password, set up my profile, and began looking at events and companies listed to attend. It is very convenient! I’m the type of person to open 5 tabs on their browser to research one thing and Handshake made that process easier and quicker. Specifically with the Creative Career Fair, I was able to look at a list of companies attending, see a description, and positions available. Again, late to the game but super awesome nonetheless! 

As with many things I write about, I highly recommend checking out the Handshake app! It seriously was a game changer for me as I prepared for last week’s Career Fair. If you want to read more about Handshake click here

Thank you once again for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!   

1871

​One would think that after four years of attending DePaul University and having a desire to learn about everything the institution has to offer, one might have at least came close to seeing almost all of it. This past Wednesday, I came to realize just how impossible it is to reach such a goal. Taking a detour from our usually scheduled class time, my PRAD 373 professor decided to use this week as an opportunity to showcase 1871 to us, the startup and entrepreneurial hub of Chicago.

1871 is located inside the Merchandise Mart of Chicago. Conveniently staged around several CTA train lines, or “L” tracks if you’re native to the Windy City, it is easy and fairly hassle-free to get to and from there. With an array of shops, restaurants, offices, and more Merchandise Mart serves as a perfect location for 1871.

1871
Thriving in this melting pot of an atmosphere, 1871 provides various programs, workshops, events, guest speakers, etc. for all members. Here is the best part; all DePaul students have access to membership benefits through The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center in the Driehaus College of Business. Students can make a request to use the University’s dedicated space or to attend any of the many events 1871 has to offer. All students have to do is contact the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.

My friends and I have tried to explore everything DePaul has to offer and yet the more I learn, the more I realize I have even more to learn. It’s a good problem to have, in my opinion. So many resources offered that even in my second to last quarter of being an undergrad I’m still learning about new opportunities for students. Make sure to check out the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center if you’re interested in learning more about 1871.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

Blue Demon Dance 2017

Blue Demon Dance
“Put your hands in the air like you just don’t care!” Not necessarily a line that was said during the Blue Demon Dance this past weekend but a classic phrase in the music and dance world. 

This year’s venue for the Blue Demon Dance was the Chicago Sports Museum located at the Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago. Packed with a variety of activities, sports memorabilia, and interactive games, there was no shortage of things to do. Not to mention the amazing performance from the DJ and his partners keeping the crowd hyped throughout the night. 

Blue Demon Dance
This was my third and final dance as I prepare to graduate later this year. So I made sure to soak it all in one last time. The energy was high and students were everywhere enjoying everything the night had to offer from food to games and, of course, dancing. With the venue located at the top of the Water Tower Place, the view was incredible and the night-lights from the city added a very intimate aesthetic. 

Overall, it was one of the most memorable moments of my college experience and a fantastic way to finish out my final Blue Demon Week​

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

The Chicago Auto Show

Going to the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place has unintentionally turned into a tradition for me and my family. The first year I went was with my dad and siblings as a little kid. I remember being really bored and not interested in any of the car displays. It was not the best first impression.

Years later though, I would end up going once with a friend of mine and three times (including this year) with my family, totaling five Auto Show experiences. It’s quite interesting because I do not feel as though my family and I go out of our way to reserve time off and attend it. Instead, going to the Auto Show has just become something that has sort of happened over and over again, getting to this point that is now kind of a tradition.

Chicago Auto Show
I do love the Auto Show, by the way, don’t get me wrong I can sit in Ford Mustangs all day long as I fantasize owning several, hopefully, in my near future. I just find the growth of this tradition to be more unique than some of our other ones.

As with the previous years, the cars on display were incredible! I saw fast cars, slow cars, and cars that I am not sure can legally be driven on the road, but are still interesting to look at anyway. What was the winning brand? Personally, I think the Ford Mustangs takes the gold this year. I’ll admit I am slightly biased, okay very biased, but there is something spectacular about the Mustang series. It’s a classic and the style for the price, in my opinion, cannot be matched. Though the picture that corresponds with this article is of me posing with a Toyota dressed in Cubs gear (good move Toyota), you will also notice my very proudly worn Ford hat. There’s just something about their brand that I love and that is why I say they take gold this year, and possibly every other year, we’ll see.

Either way, if you’re looking for another Chicago event be sure to check out the Auto Show. It happens every year at McCormick Place and tickets are pretty cheap. Hint, hint the super awesome and amazing Office of Student Involvement (OSI) has even cheaper tickets than the already cheap tickets for all students! Just a heads up if you are interested. That’s all I have for today, friends!

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome! 

Make It Count

What would you do with a $500,000 marketing budget if given absolute freedom? 

Scratch the marketing part, what would you do with half a million in general? Some might buy a fancy car others may pay off their student loans or even buy a house. 

Casey Neistat
Casey Neistat, my favorite YouTuber on the platform at the moment, decided to go on a spontaneous, worldwide exploration with his friend and fellow filmmaker, Max, in his adventure movie titled Make It Count. 

I love this piece from Casey. Even though it is an advertisement it is fresh, real, and exciting. There was absolutely no plan or preparation for this video just a run and gun type mentality and the desire to do something epic. The Nike product isn’t even featured in it aside from a couple seconds in the beginning. This blog is shorter than usual, as I just wanted to give a brief introduction to the video. Please take a couple minutes out of your day and make sure to check it out. I know it got my adrenaline pumping. 

As for this week I leave you with this short movie from my favorite YouTuber. Click here to see the video. ​Enjoy!

The Little Things

I’m quite the nostalgic person. There are times when I’ll sit around with friends or family for hours talking about memories and reminiscing on life. There isn’t really a “good old days” when I think back on my life – I mean that in a positive way. When I reminisce, I think of positive times and find them in all moments of my life. This doesn’t mean I am oblivious to the hard times and challenges that have occurred, but those thoughts usually come second. The reason I’m writing about nostalgia this week is because there are some moments in life that while experiencing it I know that it will become a memory I look back on fondly. This week had one of those moments. 

9am Monday morning my iPhone alarm wakes me up for the day. As usual I get ready, get dressed, grab a coffee from Starbucks, and make my way to campus. The weather was gloomy and my spirits were on a slightly less optimistic. This week, I felt, was going to be a long one. Then Tuesday came with Wednesday following and Thursday right after, you know how the week goes. I would go to class, get lunch, go to another class, maybe stop by an event on campus, etc. Thursday I had to register for spring quarter classes, which led me to multiple email exchanges with my advisor as I sort everything out for graduation. Oh boy, graduation. Friends and family are asking what I am going to do and what my plans are. I have many plans and by no means feel unprepared in that regard, but the constant questions make me anxious and overwhelmed at times. Finally Friday came and after three long meetings beginning at 11am and ending at 5pm, I found myself at my girlfriend’s house. 

Clue
Her T.V. broke and no one could figure out what was wrong with it. We tried the typical unplugging and plugging it back in, the good old fashion Nintendo blow dust out of the ports, and pressing random buttons for several seconds trying to troubleshoot it. Nothing. So her sister suggested we play board games (millennials not using technology and enjoying face to face interaction OMG). A few moments later, Clue ​was brought out and we set it up. I was Professor Plum, 37, a former professor of Ancient Mid-Eastern Culture that had been funded by Sir Hugh Black, the unfortunate deceased. We played the game, my girlfriend’s family and I, reading the rules as we went along. After I won the first game we all decided to play again. There were laughs, accusations, misleading information, and more. It was a nice relaxing way to end what had been a very fast and exhausting week. 

This was the moment I referenced at the beginning of this blog. All of us playing Clue as we sat around the coffee table and marked items off our lists in an attempt to bring the murderer to justice. I know it’s not the most enlightening situation ever, but it is a little thing that I know one day in the future I’ll look back on and smile. 
​​​

Post Grad Life

DeBlogs became the first organization I joined as an incoming freshman at DePaul. As many readers can see, our graduation year is stated under our names just below the profile picture. Back then my year was the furthest away from the other bloggers. “College of CDM ​‘17” it states with the earliest graduation year being the class of 2013. 

Throughout my time at DePaul and with DeBlogs I have moved up in seniority, leading me to 2017 – the year I graduate. It’s odd to see my picture at the top of the page where now graduated alumni once were. It’s metaphoric of the progression in myself and my character, as well as my professional development throughout these past 4 years. The little freshman entering the new realm of college life, being at the bottom of the page and the bottom of class levels. 

So here I am now midway through my last winter quarter and the questions are arising, “what are you doing after graduation,” “got any plans for post-graduation?” I’m applying to a few internships, searching jobs, and staying relevant with which companies are hiring in the Chicago and surrounding suburb area. Sound complicated? 

The Future
Senior year can be quite overwhelming but there are many resources DePaul provides that help make the process a little less stressful. To anyone that may be thinking in advance about their senior year or anyone currently there here are some things I found to be helpful. Having a good relationship with your academic advisor. Even if you’ve gone the past 3 years not talking or talking very little to them, just sending an email with questions and concerns makes a world of a difference. I’ve found that when I just list all my questions and concerns, filter free, to my advisor that is when I figure out the most and sort things the best. 

DePaul’s Career Center and professor emailing lists are also a huge help. Google is a great tool, but many times companies and businesses have a relationship with some DePaul faculty or staff members and that puts you in a better spot to reach out to them and create a bigger network of professional relationships. 

This last part kind of piggy backs off the Career Center. Career fairs and networking events at DePaul are a great way to meet people from all over the place. Usually many of these companies are looking to hire DePaul students because of an alumnus that currently works for them or they have some other connection to the university. I’ve been to some fairs as early as when I was a sophomore and the people are all very nice and very helpful with providing certain information about what they and the company they work for do. That’s about all the advice I have. I hope some of you find this blog to be helpful as you go about preparing for the next stage of life. 

Thank you for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome friends!  

#OptimisticChallenge

Sometimes it’s hard to be optimistic. Sometimes it’s hard to see the positives in life. Sometimes negativity seems to be prevalent in everything we encounter. 

Optimism and a positive outlook is something I strive to bring to all situations, relationships, etc. Just last week I wrote on how I waited in line for tickets to Obama’s Farewell Address in Chicago​. While the end goal was something that made the wait well worth it, there were quite a few times I wished that I were back in my nice warm bed resting. I couldn’t feel the tip of my nose and I was jumping up and down to maintain body heat. The brutal wind did not help. Everything in that moment was crummy and, in comparison to being warm and at home, seemed to be the less popular idea. Yet, I kept my thoughts positive. I tried to think about how awesome it would be to see Obama, I sang, danced, and played Pokemon GO

Optimistic Challenge
This idea of being positive is not the answer to all things, but I do truly believe there are times when it should be something to strive for. Yes you can, yes we can, and anything anyone puts their mind to can be accomplished. I’ve been told I’m quite the idealistic person and once learning what that word actually meant, I agree. It is so important to be able to look at what is and imagine what it can be. 

So in times of difficulty, hardship, or adversity I say look to the sky, be happy and know that the sun will come out tomorrow. If you look up #OptimisticChallenge you’ll find a variety of videos with people dancing and smiling. It is one of the more recent social media trends to emerge. Give it a search, have a chuckle, an
d know that the best is yet to come. 

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends! 

The Farewell Address

“You really love Chicago, like a lot.” Said a friend of mine as I drove us down Belmont Avenue, a street on the city’s north side. There was more to the conversation but that specific quote made me think. Why do I love Chicago so much? There are many cities with skyscrapers, train systems, deep dish-well pizza, and more so what is it about the Windy City that I find so special?

I came to one conclusion and that is the amount of things occurring in the city. I say “things” purposely to be vague because there is such an array of events, occasions, etc. that happen in this city. President Obama’s Farewell Address hosted by The McCormick Place here in Chicago is a prime example of one of those “things.” A couple weeks ago a friend of mine sent a link to a group chat I am in. The link directed readers to a page of the White House website that displayed information on President Obama’s Farewell Address. The very limited amount of information said a ticket distribution would be held on January 7th, three days prior to his speech. No time was given nor an exact location (McCormick Place is a huge event center). Immediately I knew I wanted to attend the event and began asking friends and family to join me on my adventure to get tickets at McCormick Place at a time I was not sure of.

Farewell Ticket
While many said they were interested, most ended up backing out due to the amount of time required. So I, along with my girlfriend and her sister, decided to wake up Saturday morning at 4 in the morning to be at McCormick place by 5 and wait in line for tickets. What an experience that was! On very little sleep but high morale we ventured off into the three-degree morning that viciously challenged our spirits to get a spot at the President’s speech. With several layers on, a scarf around my neck, and a ski-cap I was prepared to wait outside for the doors to open. Luckily, there was only a short 15-minute period of time before McCormick Place officials let us indoors. The rest of the process, though long, went fairly smooth as we waited in line, obtained our tickets, and left back home for the day.

I was happy I decided to wait in line, as President Obama’s Farewell Address was one of, if not the most, historic event I have ever attended. Regardless of politics, he has changed the narrative of American politics and has brought hope and inspiration to so many. There were the chants of “four more years,” standing ovations, and the tears streaming down so many faces President Obama gave his farewell to the American people.

Thank you for reading my blog and until next time, stay awesome friends!

New Year Same Me

Hello friends and welcome back to a new quarter, new season, and New Year! 

I hope everyone had an amazing winter break, I know mine was fairly productive, and for this blog I’d like to focus on family, friends, and relationships in general. This break was a particularly difficult one as I returned from Los Angeles and began to readjust to life back here in sweet home Chicago. It was kind of challenging at first, everyone went about their day working, studying, etc. My courses had a couple final papers that could be submitted via email so I completed them on the road trip back home. That left me pretty free and available schedule wise when I returned. My friends still had classes and assignments to finish for their courses. At times I felt kind of alone, but I found ways to stay busy. I made movies on my YouTube channel, hung out with my dog, played video games, and worked on my resume. 

New Year
Coming into the New Year I have begun reconnecting with friends as they finish their last days of winter break, and as others return to the city in preparation for the upcoming quarter. It’s changed my mood quite a bit and I feel less lonely than before. Just yesterday I got dinner with two old friends from elementary school and we played pool at one of their houses. It reminded me that sometimes people get busy in life but it doesn’t mean they don’t care. With this being my first blog of the New Year, I have to add some sort of transformative twist on it. At least, that’s when I thought as I began to write this. Yet, as I continued with this blog I came to the realization that I don’t necessarily have any resolutions for 2017. There are pros and cons to 2016 but for me, I kind of want to continue to build on what I established last year. I met a lot of cool people and made a lot of cool connections and I want to keep working on them. Maybe something new for 2017 will pop in my head later but for now it’s New Year, same me. 

Thanks for reading this first blog of 2017. I hope this year brings everyone good things. 

Stay awesome friends!

The Happiest Place on Earth

Has it been three months already? I feel like I just got here! My LA quarter experience is coming to an end with the last week of classes. Tuesday is a normal class and Thursday we will be turning in our final papers and showcasing our final projects. What has been an incredible, inspiring, and phenomenal experience is coming to its conclusion. I’ve enjoyed my time here in Los Angeles and I cannot wait to get back to my sweet home Chicago.

Roller Coaster
My last full weekend here would finish in spectacular fashion as our LA group went to The Happiest Place on Earth on Sunday, Disneyland. What another amazing experience! I didn’t see Mickey Mouse but I did see Minnie posing for the paparazzi as I walked past her on my way to one of the many rides I would go on. Disneyland is a remarkable theme park with characters dedicated to transforming the real world into the fun, sing-along fantasy that Walt Disney himself visualized. Musical performances, theme rides, an array of shops, and more - I was overwhelmed with childhood characters and stories coming to life. The nostalgia was like no other and my group used up every single second of our time there. My personal favorite rides were California Screamin and Hyperspace Mountain, two different rollercoasters that had me screaming and holding on to my lap bar for dear life.

Though our day started off with lots of traffic and long lines, the moment I stepped foot into Disneyland I understood why it was called The Happiest Place on Earth. As I finish out my time here in LA I encourage everyone and anyone with the opportunity to go to California to check out Disneyland! I know I have been seeing a few posts on Facebook of friends of mine being admitted to the Spring LA quarter and I will be sure to share the message with them as well! My last Sunday in California was a huge success!

It Happened

​After 108 years without a World Series Championship and 71 years without a World Series appearance the Chicago Cubs, once coined the “Lovable Loser,” are finally World Series Champions.

With an estimated 5 million people in attendance for the rally and parade in Chicago and countless marketers from Nike to the Walking Dead using this opportunity to show their support, some might be tired of hearing about the Cubbies. However, I love every second of it!

I don’t think there was ever time when I liked so many pictures, tweets, statuses, and more on social media! It truly is a historic time for the city of Chicago and I could not be any more proud. I definitely did all I could to support the Cubs from out here in LA. This is a great time for baseball, a great time for Chicago, and a great time for the Cubbies! The question has been floating around online, “Where were you when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016?” Here’s my story.

After creating a video for the Cubs V.S. Dodgers NLCS in Los Angeles, my roommate and I decided to fly back to Chicago. While there we planned, orchestrated, and executed a World Series video with friends of ours. The Cubs had just gone down 3-1 in the series. I would stay in Chicago long enough to see the boys tie it up 3-3 forcing a game 7. However, my flight back to LA wouldn’t allow me to stay home for the final game.

Chicago Cubs
That afternoon I would go to O’Hare for my plane ride back. Departing at 3:13pm, I would land in Los Angeles at 5:40pm PT giving me enough time to still catch the majority of the game. My cousin came to pick me up and we drove to the nearest restaurant that had a T.V. We ended up at Truxton’s American Bistro where we would watch, as the craziest, most entertaining game I have ever seen would unfold. Jumping up and down from my seat, cheering and clapping and shedding some tears of joy after they won, it all happened there. My cousin and I would also enjoy some of their amazing food. Afterwards, we would drive back home playing Steve Goodman’s Go Cubs Go on a loop with the windows lowered all the way.

As the city moves on with business as usual, it will never forget how the Cubs came back from 3-1 to win and triumph in the most bizarre World Series game 7. So many Chicagoans came together to celebrate after that. The city came together fans from all over the US and the world came to root on the Cubbies! The 7th largest gathering in history would take place downtown! It truly is a historic time. For the last time on this blog (possibly, probably) Go Cubs Go!

Do or Die

​It was October 18th and the Dodgers had just taken a lead in the NLCS. Cubs were now down 2 games to 1 and Chicago knew that it was go time.

Being in Los Angeles for the fall quarter, my friends and I decided to make a video rooting for our Chicago Cubs! It was a passion project to show good vibes and spirits for our fellow Chicagoans that were in LA for the game, and to support our team in the hopes of winning and going onward to the World Series.

Being down in the series 2-1, there was an unspoken thought in the room as we planned out our shots and locations. What if the Cubs didn’t win? No one actually brought the topic up but it was present in all our minds and since the idea for the video was mine I figured I would have to answer. Luckily I didn’t have to but I played around with different responses in my head, trying to predict my friends’ thoughts and feelings. If the question were to have emerged the only possible answer I would feel comfortable giving is “have hope, have faith, stay positive, and wish for the best.” We would later go on to release #LetsGoCubbies!!! and the Cubs would win 3 straight games to become the National League Champions!

This brings me to our newest video titled #LetsGoCubbies II (World Series). My roommate, Kyle, and I found a cheap round trip ticket to Chicago. The idea was to do another video for the Cubs but this time at home in Wrigleyville right next to Wrigley Field.

With the Cubs dropping 2 games in a row, Cleveland would take the lead in the World Series 3-1. The night we landed in Chicago, the question was finally brought up. “Are you still doing the video tomorrow?” “What happens if the Cubs lose?” Without a doubt I replied, “Yes. We’re still doing the video. Keep up the faith and the positivity we’re still in this.” My friends and I would start our Sunday morning off at 9am and would end our filming at 3pm later that day. I would go onto edit the video and get a final cut completed just before the first pitch. The only thing I awaited was the end result. I came to the decision that I was going to post the video on YouTube regardless of the outcome. Later that night, Cubs would go on to beat Cleveland in game 5, forcing a game 6. The series is now 3-2 and the Cubs are still down but there is still a chance. Go Cubs Go! I am rooting for you, Chicago is rooting for you, and let’s fly that W!

#LetsGoCubbies

#LetsGoCubbies II (World Series)

Thank you and as always stay awesome!

Go Cubs Go!

#LetsGoCubbies

Last October I wrote a blog titled #FlyTheW! The Cubs were playing in the NLCS against the New York Mets and all of Chicago was waiting for our chance at a possible World Series title. 

That was last year but today, this week and this series is the now. The Cubbies played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS and had the lead the series 3-2. Conveniently being in L.A. for DePaul’s LA Quarter, I found it necessary that I take out my Cubs gear and show my support. With the Dodgers having a 2-1 lead and coming back home for the next two games, a few friends of mine and I took action to bring support to the Cubs and fans all around. Thus #LetsGoCubbies was created! 

Go Cubs Go
LA has been good to me and I have enjoyed my time here, and will continue to. However, Chicago is Chicago and the Cubs are the Cubs. The Windy City is my home and will forever have a special place in my heart no matter where I reside. So to everyone in Los Angeles or around the world rooting for the Dodgers I said, best of luck and also, let’s go Cubbies! I hope you enjoyed this blog and make sure to check out this video​. Go Cubs!

Stay awesome! 

Give Chance a Chance

He's taken the music world by storm, he’s a Chicago native, he isn’t signed to a label, and fans everywhere love him! His name is Chancellor Bennett better known by his stage name Chance the Rapper. 

Releasing his third mixtape in May 2016 titled Coloring Book, Chance continues to impress music critics and listeners everywhere. With over 57.3 million streams in the first week it has become the most successful mixtape to date for the artist. This resulted in the Recording Academy, the academy responsible for the Grammy’s, allowing stream-only releases to be eligible for a nomination. Which is a huge game changer for Chance and stream-only artists everywhere.
 
Chance the Rapper
This brings us to Chance’s most recent, unique moment. “Hey, Why Not Me?” Have you heard or seen the question yet? In Billboard’s latest issue the independent rapper is seen posing on his full-page ad. What’s the reason for it? Chance has had tremendous success in the music realm and even more so, he’s done it in unique and completely new fashion. The game has changed because of how he decides to market himself and create. Chance is asking for one simple thing, nominate him. I’m sure the musical star would not shy away from actually winning a Grammy ​but that’s not the goal at the moment. See Chance has always been about taking things step by step and right now the short term simple goal is to get nominated. After that, we’ll just have to wait and see. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Chance the Rapper, check him out! It’s worth it and highly recommended! Even Metacritic scored his last mixtape at an average of 90 (which is incredibly, above average). 

Thanks for reading my blog and as always stay awesome friends!

Family

​I love to explore. I've never really been the type to sit still, it's a blessing and a curse.

This week my family is coming into town and I cannot wait! See, being in LA is the first time I've ever lived somewhere other than Chicago. Born and raised in the city I have been on the Northside since I was a baby. That means that I have always had my family with me no matter what. If I had a hard day, if I didn't do well in a class, if I went to a cool event I would always come home and tell my family all about it. When I leave for the day to go to class and explore Chicago I always came back to my house.

Family
Now it's different and I have to rely on text, FaceTime, Facebook, etc. to communicate with them. I leave my apartment and explore LA but there isn't any coming back home to my family to tell them about it and share my experiences. It's difficult, but not impossible, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job. However, now they're coming to visit and I am super excited to show them everything that Los Angeles has to offer! The beaches, the malls, the restaurants everything! As much as I love to explore and travel I also love to be with my family and to share my days with them. This weekend is going to be awesome!

Thanks for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!

Chicago Versus Los Angeles

Chicago has the Cubbies, Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire, and more. Los Angeles has the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Rams, Galaxy, and more. This blog will be focused on the similarities and differences of life in Chicago and life in Los Angeles. 

Chicago vs LA Basketball
Quick disclaimer: I am not saying one city is better or worse than the other, I am simply sharing my experiences in both. 

L.A. has grown on me this past month. I’ve come to love the awesome grocery store that is Ralph’s. The Chicago equivalent of it would probably be Jewel Osco. However, Ralph’s has this amazing rewards program that, in my opinion, is one of the best. Each time I shop there I save about $10 on groceries with my rewards card. The prices are similar, if not the same, to other stores I’ve been to (such as Target and Food 4 Less). Thinking of places in Chicago like Jewel Osco, Strack and Van Til, etc. I can’t think of anything that can match Ralph’s. But! Every grocery store in Chicago does have my favorite brand of Pepper Jack cheese (Sargento) and I have only found it at a Target that’s 30 minutes away from my apartment here. 

Aside from grocery stores, L.A. is much more of a driving city than Chicago. The public transportation is present but not preferred. Many times I’ll GPS a location and it is a 15 to 20 minute drive, and by train or bus it is over an hour. The key difference here is that a lot of times it is preferred to take the public transportation in Chicago because it is actually faster than driving. DePaul is a great example of this with the Loop campus and Lincoln Park campus being one quick train ride away. 

Chicago Skyline
The food scene is amazing in both cities, different, but still amazing. I’ve seen a lot more smaller, independent shops and restaurants here than in Chicago. When it comes to pizza, Chicago takes the gold​, but L.A. has such a huge array of places to eat. Many times you actually feel like you travel to that place as well! Many of the restaurants are in neighborhoods that reflect the part of the world they’re from such Chinatown or Koreatown. While Chicago also has a huge variety, the restaurants are not specific to a neighborhood as much as in L.A. Many times you’ll have the option of pizza and burgers on one side of the street and tacos and chicken fried rice on the other. It is more of this collage of restaurants on a block. 

That wraps up what I have for today. This blog is longer than usual but there is just so much to write about! 

Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome friends!

Internships

I’ve talked about the sunny weather and the great hikes but now let’s get serious. Okay, not super serious but I am going to use this blog to talk about the educational part of being here in LA.

The key idea for LA quarter is to get an internship with a company that interests you. This can be working on creative development, script coverage, visual effects, etc. I currently have two internship positions. One internship is with Division Camera, a rental house on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and the other is with my professor, Tommy O’Haver.

Josue Internship
For Division Camera I work in the “QC” section, which is short for quality check. I test various cameras and accessories to make sure they work. After I check them, I tag the item and store it for our prep techs. I love the environment over at Division. Everyone I have met is really nice and has taught me many new things. It is also super fun to get hands on experience with different cameras, rigs, and more.

With my professor I get to see different aspects of the filmmaking process. Right now I am assisting him with some post-production work for a movie he just recently finished. It’s cool to see him interact and direct the actors as they go about the ADR process. Side note, for those unfamiliar with ADR it is when the actors come to a sound studio to rerecord lines for the movie. Sometimes a different tone or emphasis on a word can change the way a performance is interpreted. ADR is just another component to the movie process that allows the director’s vision to come to life.

Monkeyland Audio Inc.
Me at Monkeyland Audio Inc. a recording studio I went to for my second internship.
Along with our internships, we also take a normal course load of four classes (undergraduate) or two classes (graduate). Classes meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 PM-9:30 PM which allows students some time to commute after work. We have had, and will have, guest speakers come in to talk about their experiences working in the industry. There are also studio tours, as well as a huge variety of events set up by DePaul. If anyone is thinking about doing LA quarter, I personally highly recommend it (and it’s only week 3).

I hope you enjoyed this blog and until next time, stay awesome!   

The Great Hike

I am by no means an expert hiker. I am not even sure what makes one an expert at hiking. 

Hiking
Just this past summer I went on my first ever hike with my younger brother and my girlfriend. I wasn’t the first person in my family to go hiking, that honor belongs to my older sister and her boyfriend. She has always had the interest, but the idea and actually going to do it picked up steam in June. The first hike I went on was at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. I actually wrote a blog post about it. You can read it here. It was a great experience the scenery was beautiful, the walk was calming, and the pictures were awesome. 

The reason I am bringing up hikes again is because just this past weekend I went to Topanga State Park here in California. To go on, you may have guessed it, a hike! 

A handful of students from the LA Quarter program decided it would be a fun way to spend our Sunday afternoon and I, of course, was completely and totally down (not in the literal sense but the cool slang sense like “Ya dude I am so down to go to the beach”). Having gone hiking about four or five times in the summer, I knew exactly what I needed. I grabbed my designated exploration backpack (a backpack I bought at Lollapalooza last year because the gym bag I had broke, but that’s a story for a different blog), five water bottles (three for myself and two for my roommate), and a handful of snacks ranging from fruit to granola bars (truly an essential if you’re going to be walking/climbing for 2 hours or more). 

Hiking

After gearing up I picked up my cousin and her roommate, met with the rest of the group, and drove to Topanga. I was ready to conquer the climb up to Eagle Rock, one of the key destinations in the park. Immediately I noticed some key differences between California hiking and Midwest hiking, specifically Illinois, the air is a lot dryer. Hiking requires breathing, much like life in general, but more so controlled breathing. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. At least that’s what I was taught. The difficult thing about that is the dryness of the air. I felt dry but not dehydrated. I wasn’t dizzy and I was drinking water as needed, but there is something about the air that proved a challenge for me. Even though the air was dry and the sun was ever present, everyone in our group made it to Eagle Rock​ and back to our cars. The first hike in California was a memorable one and I look forward to many more as I continue my life here for three more months. 

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome my friends!

Welcome to LA

The statuses are being posted, the pictures are being shared on Instagram, and everyone is sharing their first day of school posts. Many of my fellow seniors are even saying “last first day of school!” Which is true and makes me excited and nervous, but we will talk about that in a different blog.

Beach Josue

Welcome to fall quarter here at, my favorite university, DePaul! If you’re a new Blue Demon a super welcome to you! This fall I am studying in Los Angeles, California for DePaul’s LA Quarter program. It’s pretty nice over here in LA the weather is warm, the palm trees are cool, and the history is rich. I’ve yet to go to the Hollywood sign but rest assured it is on my to-do list.

For those unfamiliar with DePaul’s LA Quarter​, it takes place in the fall and spring quarters and is for students studying animation, film, and other majors of that nature. I was fortunate enough to get in this fall and will be here until the winter quarter. The main ideas while out here is to get an internship with a production company, explore the city, and network. I look forward to sharing more of my LA experiences with my readers throughout the quarter and if you’re interested in having a more visual experience with me, you can check out my YouTube channel where I will be vlogging some of my days here!

Thanks for reading my blog and once again welcome to another new year!

Stay awesome friends!


TOP and Music in Chicago

Chicago is known for many things like pizza, sports, and diversity. The music scene is no stranger to that list.

With smaller venues like the Metro and the Aragon hosting smaller artist and larger arenas such as the United Center and Allstate hosting more popular musicians, there is never a dull weekend in the city.

This past Sunday I took advantage of what my hometown has to offer and checked out Twenty One Pilots (TOP) for their Emotional Roadshow tour at Allstate. It was incredible! To anyone that knows me personally, my love for TOP is no surprise. I first heard them in the summer of 2014 on Q101, a radio station dedicated to smaller more underground bands. The song I heard was Car Radio and ironically it played on the car radio of the vehicle I was driving for work. Now very present in the mainstream, the growth of Twenty One Pilots can interestingly be seen throughout their performances in Chicago.

TOP
In 2013 the band performed on the small, side stage at Lollapalooza to a crowd consisting of a few early followers. Fast forward to 2015, the duo was invited to perform at Lollapalooza again. This time, however, they were at the Samsung stage providing them more room and attention than 2013. Given a performance time of 5:30 PM on Sunday, the band was expected to draw in a decent crowd but nothing larger than what a headliner could attract. What actually occurred took the music festival by surprise. Tens of thousands of fans came to see their beloved duo take the stage. Some spent their whole Sunday waiting at Samsung stage in order to get a good spot. Others ran over from various stages where other artists were performing. After TOP’s set ended the tens of thousands of music listeners headed elsewhere leaving the opportunity for fans of Florence and The Machine to advance to a better viewing spot. TOP’s after Lollapalooza show was held at the House of Blues and would mark the second to last show in a smaller venue that the duo would perform.

Capping their 2015 in Chicago with one last performance at the Aragon, Twenty One Pilots would wave farewell to the underground scene as they broke into the mainstream revisiting Chicago this past Sunday at the Allstate arena. On a personal note, it sucks to have so much competition now when I am trying to purchase tickets for my favorite band, on the other hand, I am happy to see so many people enjoying their wonderful talent as I have done so since 2014.


Utilizing Your Summer

Summer is a wondrous season of warmth, joy, music, and most importantly my birthday. 

This blog, however, is about utilizing your summer to the best of your ability. The end of the school year can seem like the end of productivity to some as students prepare for long days on the beach and seeing old friends. For others, the summer serves as an extra academic quarter where they can take courses in order to get ahead or catch up. 

Regardless of what your summer plans may be, it is important to use this time the best way for you. The summer after my freshman year I worked at St. John Berchmans part time and took two classes that accounted for my general requirements. It was a more relaxed schedule that allowed me to enjoy time with my friends and travel a bit. 

This summer my plans are a little more productive. I have an internship with the Chicago Sky Basketball team; I am looking for a part time job, and will also be taking courses online. Different times call for different arrangements and this break will be dedicated to preparing myself financially and academically for my LA quarter in the fall. I encourage you, my fellow readers, to take a moment and think about what you need from this summer. It can be as simple as relaxing from June to September or it can be busy as I am predicting mine will be. 

Nonetheless, sitting down and reflecting will take you a long way, maybe even write down in a notebook what you would like to accomplish during this 2016 summer break. 


Copa America Centenario

“I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!” Sound familiar? 

Team USA gears up this summer to take on international teams from South America, Central America, North America, and the Caribbean in the Copa America Centenario! This year marks 100 years of the Copa America​ and the U.S. is hosting the tournament. Chicago will be hosting our United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) and Costa Rica as well as Argentina versus Panama and the Semifinal round. 

All the games will be played at Soldier field home of the Chicago Bears football team. I am super excited because I love soccer! Here at DePaul I play on the intramural teams throughout the school year and in the summer I join leagues around the city. The USMNT had a good run in the 2014 World Cup making it out of the Group stage. They competed with international teams Ghana, Germany, and Portugal. The team would fall to Belgium later on but showed that the U.S. is a force to be reckoning with in the soccer world. 

Josue Copa
Since then, the team has seen rises and falls in their success losing in the CONCACAF tournament that would later be won by rival international team El Tri of Mexico. The Copa America is important for two reasons one head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has introduced a new, younger and inexperience team to the world, literally the world. With veteran players such as Dempsey, Bradley, and Howard the USMNT will both succeed in this tournament and set the tone for the Confederations Cup and later the 2018 World Cup or they will lose and it will be back to reconstruction for our team. 

Only time will tell but for now I chant in support of my USMNT, “I believe that we will win!”  


Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

79 degrees and not a thing to do on a sunny, Saturday afternoon my brother calls me and asks if I can pick him up from school as he just finished his race. In a lethargic manner I arise from my slumber, get dressed, and drive to my alma mater to get my brother. 

I arrive at Gordon Tech (now DePaul College Prep) and see him playing games on his phone while sitting in the sun. He gets in my car, tells me about his race, and drive to the store to pick up some items. With such a beautiful day at my disposal, my previous craving to stay in all day and watch Daredevil on Netflix had left and all I wanted to do was explore the world. “Do you want to go on a hike?” I asked my brother. “Uhmm, sure why not.” he replies. I call my girlfriend and ask her if she’d like to join us on our spontaneous adventure, she says yes. 

My brother and I pick her up, go to our house, pack some water and snacks, and make our way to Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve​ in DuPage County. As we park, I take notice of others in attendance. This was my first time on a hike and I wanted to see what others were wearing, drinking, eating, etc. I saw these two gentlemen wearing backpacks that seemed to have anything one might need when venturing into the wilderness. There were also some bikers with mountain bikes, water, helmets, and more prepared for the journey ahead of them. My group? Well we had sneakers, water, sunglasses, a small backpack, squished granola bars, and a thirst for adventure! 

We took our first steps into the unfamiliar realm of nature and made our way to a post containing simple directions. “Waterfall 2.9 miles à” it stated. Our crew then began our hike down the path to the waterfall. The experience was one definitely worth the trip. We saw robins, squirrels, otters, and dragonflies. There weren’t any deer sightings but we did find some tracks showing their presence. A passerby pointed us in the direction of a playground just through the forest so we went, for what we thought would be a quick stop by. Playing on the monkey bars, swings, and eating some of our squished granola bars quite some time had passed and we decided to save the waterfall sighting for another day. 

Some might call this a failed mission but considering it was my first time ever hiking, I think it was a huge success! If you’re ever looking to get in touch with nature make sure to check out Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in DuPage County, you won’t regret it! 


Logan Square

Lincoln Park is nice and so is the loop but nothing can compare to my neighborhood, Logan Square. 

I’ve lived in Logan Square for whole life – since I was a little baby until now. It’s a welcoming community with a lot of activities throughout the year. No matter what the weather may be, there is probably something happening in Logan Square. 

In the summer we have the Milwaukee Arts Festival, Farmer’s Market, and movies in the park. The frigid cold of the winter doesn’t stop us as we host Holiday on The Square, a day where participating shops and restaurants offer deals, treats, tastings, and more! Logan Square is known as one of the more diverse neighborhoods in Chicago with 38.2% of homeowners working blue-collar jobs and 61.8% working white-collar jobs. The median household income is around $76,000. 

It is my personal and expert advice that if anyone is ever looking to explore Chicago a little more they should go check out Logan Square. The art scene is incredible, the food variety is like no other, and the local shops give a more intimate and less city type feel. While there are things to check out in the winter, as previously noted, the summer time is ideal to fully experience the neighborhood. 



Dancakes Treats DePaul!

Imagine a pancake that looks so good you want to frame it instead of eat it. It is the Mona Lisa of the breakfast food, the Statue of David of cakes. Well, you must be having a Dancake then! YouTuber, Instagrammer, and professional pancake artist, Dancakes, came to DePaul the other night for the DePaul Activity Board’s weekly event, DePaul After Dark (DPUAD). 

With an estimated attendance of about 200 students, Dancakes kept the crowd interested as he made his famous artsy cakes while streaming it on a monitor for everyone to see. He did Simba from the Lion King, Michelle and Barack Obama, Danny DeVito, and more! He even took time to create my dog Gimzo as a pancake and it was pretty awesome (wipes away tears of joy). If you want to see more of Dancake’s awesome creations make sure to check out his social media down below! 

Dancake's Instagram!

 Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome! 


Spring Events in The Windy City

Having been born and raised in Chicago, I’m pretty used to there always being something happening each day. Whether it is something small like a street artist performing as I walk to the store or wait for the train, or something big like Lollapalooza, there is always some event going on in this city. 
It is almost impossible to not know of something fun happening. As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer there will only be an increase of these awesome city events. This brings me to the purpose of today’s blog, go out and do stuff! 

A painting in tribute of Prince
Yes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon TV, etc. have unlimited content that you could spend hours and hours of your day watching and enjoying; and as a filmmaker I frequently let my day get consumed by those but there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored as well! 

Just a few weeks ago I went to this gallery at a place called the GRAFFITI LOUNGE located at 116 W. Hubbard St. I knew someone that was showing some of their work at the gallery and went to support them. Aside from the incredible artwork, the atmosphere of the place was an experience in itself. The view was incredible, the food was delicious, and the people were really nice. It was one of those moments were I could have decided to have stayed home and catch up on House of Cards or go out and see a part of the city I have never been to before. I think it is safe to say, I chose wisely. 

This was just one event too, there are tons happening every day at different times in the city both indoors and outdoors! So with that being said, please take the time to check out Chicago events happening by clicking on this link. I hope you have an awesome experience and learn something new about the city you live in.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!


VSD 2016

Vincentian Service Day (VSD) is DePaul’s annual day of service where hundreds of students go out in the community to carry out the Vincentian mission. 

Each year athletes, scholars, staff, faculty, and more meet in the McGrath arena on a Saturday morning to get hyped for the day. This year the focus of our service was centered on homelessness. Several students shared their experience followed by an address from President Father Dennis Holtschneider

It is an event that is inspiring, fun, and reflects what DePaul is all about. I participated with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS) and led our group along with my friend and fellow scholar Katie. We went to the Hermitage Community Garden​ in Englewood and helped pull weeds, lay mulch, and prep soil for planting. 

After our service was done, our group reflected on what we had done and how our time was spent. VSD concluded with a cookout that is usually in the Quad but because of weather was in the Student Center. There was hot dogs, music, games, and throwback pictures previous VSD events. It was time well spent!

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!


Let's Talk FEST

“Good music is hard to find,” said no one ever at DePaul University. 

Here on campus we have tons of talented musicians that dedicate their lives to playing, writing, and performing. Just last week the DePaul Activities Board (DAB) hosted its annual Battle of the Bands, where student bands and DJs come to battle for the audience’s admiration in hopes of getting their vote and winning the grand prize. 

The line up this year had a variety of talent from the hardcore rock style of Rotten Mouth to the smooth, funky jams of Walcott. In between bands, DJs performed their sets to keep the crowd going. It was a packed venue over at Lincoln Hall, a venue near campus just north of Lincoln and Fullerton. The winning band was awarded studio time and connections with Music Garage in Chicago. 

The winning DJ gets the opportunity to open for After Hours, the EDM DJ performance that happens after FEST in the McGrath arena. As if all this wasn’t enough for an awesome packed event, the FEST line up is revealed exclusively to all those that come first then online for all of DePaul to see. The winners included Rotten Mouth and DJ Affinity. Make sure to check out DePaul After Hours to see DJ Affinity open for Grandtheft! Also, in case you are wondering. The line up this year is Karmin opening, T-Pain in the middle, and The Neighbourhood headlining FEST 2016! 

Make sure to get your tickets next week when they go on sale!  


Final Countdown Spring Time

​​​​​“It’s the final countdown!” (Mimics guitar noises with mouth).  

That is exactly what I thought as I pondered what to write about for this blog. The Final Countdown is a song created by the artist known as Europe. It’s a pretty famous song and one you should check out if you have not heard it yet. 

Now to bring it back to the blog, I am writing about this song because it is our Spring Quarter here at DePaul. That means fall and winter have passed and there are only a few more courses between me and summer. With the weather getting warmer, the day getting longer, and shorts making their way back into my everyday outfit it can be difficult to focus on classes when all I want to do is go to the beach. However, this blog is to remind you, and myself, that we have to finish strong! 

Chilling in the sun and driving for endless hours with the windows down as your hair flies in the wind is almost here but business is business and work must be completed first. DePaul will be transitioning into the glorious, festive ways of the summer with various events on campus like Battle of The Bands and FEST ​but these are to be enjoyed only after you, and I, have finished the work that must be done. So in conclusion, help me help you help me and let us work together to finish this year strong and earn our fun, relaxing summer!
 
Let’s do this!


I'm Going to LA!

I frequently talk about the film program here at DePaul University. The reason being is I am a film student. I am now done with the majority of my third year of college and have only this Spring Quarter to complete before I head into my final year at DePaul. 

It’s a bit nerve-racking, I must admit, but some good news has recently come my way. The LA Quarter​ is a program available to students that wish to go to Los Angeles and study for a quarter. It is typically provided for the fall and spring quarters. In order to get into the program you have to submit a piece of work, fill out an application, write a letter of intent, and get a professor to recommend you. All of which, I did about a month ago before the deadline. 

I didn’t tell anyone that I applied, not even my family, because I didn’t want there to be all this excitement if I didn’t get in. Also, I am kind of superstitious and did not want to jinx myself. About two weeks after applying I was onset for this short film titled Cobra Cliff. We were preparing our next shot and I got an email from CDM​ with the header saying “LA Quarter” but no giving any indication of acceptance or not. I pardoned myself from the set and immediately opened the email to see that I had been accepted to the LA Quarter for Fall Quarter of the 2016-2017 academic year. I wanted to jump with joy and excitement and tell all my friends but we were seconds away from rolling so I didn’t. 

Somehow, I held in all my excitement for the rest of the shoot but the moment I got out I texted my family, my friends, and everyone else that would care to know. Today, I share it with you my fellow reader and friend. If you are pursuing film here at DePaul be sure to check out the LA Quarter. I am very excited for this opportunity and look forward to writing to you all from sunny LA next year!


Stepping Out

5:00 AM: Alarm goes off. Snooze? No time, I grab my phone and call my friend. “Are you up?” I ask. “I’ve been up, I just got out of the shower,” she replies. “Oh, okay I’m getting my stuff ready then I’ll be on my way.”

5:45 AM: Pack my equipment in my car camera, drone, GoPro, 360-degree camera, and three tripods. I start my car, look at my mirror, check my blind spots, and I’m off. First stop is Starbucks, a necessity when waking up so early in the morning.  “What’s up Jerome?” Jerome is my favorite Starbucks barista; he’s really cool and funny too. “What are you doing up so early?” He asks. “I’m trying to shoot the sunrise.” I explain. My usual drink, when the weather is on the colder side, is a venti peppermint mocha. About two seconds go by from me ordering my drink and me getting my drink, Jerome is fast like that.  “Thanks man, have a good one!” I say my farewells to Jerome and head back to Falcon (side note: Falcon is the name if my car).

6:00 AM: I arrive at my friend’s house and text her, “I’m here.” “Coming,” she replies. Two seconds pass, maybe three, she isn’t as fast as Jerome and she comes to my car. “Let’s go!” I exclaim. I drive off NASCAR style down the street. The sun rises in 30 minutes and we have to drive across town to the beach, park, walk to the spot, and set up my shots.

6:30 AM: Traffic caught me off guard. I didn’t think there would be so much this early in the morning. Getting closer to the lake and I just realized I am not too sure on where to park. I’ve only ever walked and biked to the beach. Also, the sun is starting to peak. “Where do I go?” I ask my friend. “I’m not sure” she replies. Still driving in pursuit of a parking spot and I see an entry that I am not entirely sure I could go into but I do anyway. We find the parking lot, good risk to take; we park, unload, and walk to the spot. Time is not on our side and the sun is ready to rise for the day. The wind whips against my face as I try to set up the shots I need.

6:45 AM: The sun has already begun rising but with a little movie magic I can fix it. All cameras are rolling and my friend and I hide our faces from the wind as it continues to hit us.

7:15 AM: We wrap up, go to Falcon, and head to Jam and Honey for some breakfast.

March 31st, 1:00 PM: I sit in Starbucks with Taylor, my partner in crime and write about the crazy, fun, and hectic experience of going out that day to shoot the sunrise. She’s reading a history book and I am excited to be reliving this story as I write about it for my blog.

March 31st, 1:30 PM add the video to the blog and share it for viewers to enjoy.

Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed the video (the video is posted below), and as always stay awesome!

​​​​

ABC - Always Be Creating

Creating things is awesome. From nothing but a thought in your mind to now a physical object that can be handed out and shared. I love to create. 

Here at DePaul I am double majoring in Digital Cinema​ and Public Relations and Advertising​. The Digital Cinema portion of my degree is what I am going to focus on in this blog. It all started when I was in 8th grade. My father had bought me my first camcorder, it was supposed to be for our family but I used it the most, and my sister had just bought the first laptop for our family. It was with these two items that I began making movies. 

I would use the free editing software known as Windows Movie Maker​ and I would film my brother, my family, and anything else I could. I began putting the clips into the editor and messing around with the different functions, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Which, in a way, was kind of nice. I was not told how to edit, how to add clips, or different ways to cut. I simply did it through trial and error. 

That was one of the coolest feelings ever for me to just mess around with something that I had to figure it out. It was a discovery and I was addicted to learning more and exploring more. I started doing little camera tricks like making stuff disappear, making inanimate objects move, and adding music to my footage. The biggest take away I had was just to create. There are no rules - no right or wrong way to go about it, there is just creating. Making something that didn’t exist before is a feeling that I love. 

So to my fellow artists, explorers, and creators I say to you ABC, Always Be Creating.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friend!


360 Degree DePaul Quad

There are many cool things about DePaul and our campus. 

There are coffee shops, events with free food, friendly people, and of course our Quad! This blog isn't much of a blog, but more of an introduction to the video embedded here. See, I just recently purchased the Ricoh Theta S 360 degree camera and it is super awesome! So I decided, why not take awesome thing number one (DePaul's Quad) and awesome thing number two (new, crazy 360 camera) and put them together! 

Thus I present to you my fellow friends, readers, and family (hi mom!) the first 360 degree video of DePaul University's Quad! Feel free to look up, down, left, right, at the sky, at me, at the ground, and whatever else you like! Sorry, for all the exclamation points, I'm very excited if you cannot tell. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this short video! 

Thank you for reading/watching my blog and as always, stay awesome!

Miracles 'Til Midnight

​​Family, friends, good Samaritans, and more! This was my experience this past Thursday as DemonTHON​, our dance marathon on campus, worked all day and night to raise $48,000 for the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. 

From 6am Thursday until 12am Friday our dancers went anywhere and everywhere in the city where they would have the opportunity to get someone’s change or kind donation For The Kids. The venture began with a kickoff event in Centennial where coffee, bagels, and other breakfast goods were provided to give us the energy for the long, demanding day ahead of us. 

Serving as the Assistant Technology Director, I arrived on campus and immediately pulled out my camera to film promotional content for our YouTube channel and Facebook page. Directors, assistants, and morale captains packed into the Office of Student Involvement​ (OSI) with their laptops writing heartfelt emails to family members, friends, past teachers, and anyone else that might be willing to contribute. 

Classes served as an obstacle on this ambitious day and a three-hour depart from my DemonTHON duties had to be taken. However, my adventures resumed at the end of class. Reporting to OSI, I inquired about anything I may have missed and what was next to come. A hospital tour brought me and several dancers to the loop to see what all our donations and hard work do for the hospital. 

The day did not end there, and I rushed back to OSI to drop off footage to the Director of Technology so he could edit and upload it for our social media. Switching hats from DemonTHON to DePaul Activities Board, I volunteered as a dealer for Black Jack for our Casino Night themed DePaul After Dark. The event ended at midnight but I was allowed to leave early to join my DemonTHON crew just before the big reveal of our total. 

It was back in OSI that over 50 members awaited the final number. Tired and sweaty we cheered and kept our spirits up with chants like “I believe in miracles!” Finally, it was time, we entered the conference room and the countdown began. Everyone in the room was silent and apprehensive to see if we reached our goal. The animation created by our Director of Technology and PR Director began to rise and the final number was revealed, $48,312.99! The room erupted as dancers hugged one another and cried tears of joy. We had accomplished our goal! This was my first experience ever for Miracles ‘Til Midnight and it was amazing.


"Free Run"

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Run, sprint, just go, and don’t look back. Sure, people will look at you like you’re crazy but it’s a feeling that cannot be matched. 

It was the summer of 2014 and I had just completed my first year at DePaul. I was looking forward to hanging out with old friends, playing soccer for endless hours, and going on long late night bike rides. Yet, it wasn’t exactly like that. I got a summer job, enrolled in two courses, and the tires on my bike had to be replaced. It was overwhelming. 

A friend had told me about “free running​.” Sound weird? It kind of is. The idea is to, at any moment and any place, take off sprinting as fast and as hard as you can. Just go and don’t look back, until you’re out of breath and need to stop to catch it. There really isn’t any purpose to it besides the feeling of freedom and the burdens being lifted off your shoulders for that short moment where you feel on top of the world. 

Running, it’s so simple but so impactful. I remember when she first told me about the idea and I thought it was a bit weird and figured I would never try it myself. To sprint for no reason, what if someone thought I stole something? Or thought I was running away from a crime scene? These were the logical, and limiting, thoughts I had at the time. Then one day, after work, I felt it. I was tired, stinky, exhausted, and just felt crummy. I remember walking out of the building and there was an open sidewalk, not a person in sight or a car driving by. I looked to my left and my right, behind me and in front. I just felt it and began, walking my pace quickened and then, I sprinted. Down the side street, jumping over cracks in the sidewalk, dodging fences that people left open, feeling the wind in my face, my short hair pushing against the breeze, sweat gathering on my forehead, my heart pounding, and my legs churning. I ran as fast as I could in my cargo shorts and tennis shoes. At the end of the block I stopped and put my hands on my head as I gasped for air. I laughed and smiled. Not one person was around me, not one car driving by. I had just completed my first ever “free run” and I now understood why it was called that.  


Thanks for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome! 


Dear Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad,

Blue Demon Week 2016 recently came to a close, I’m in the winter quarter of my third year here at DePaul University, and I cannot stop thinking about how grateful and blessed I am to be here at this institution. My friends are painting their faces, the band is playing music in the student center, and everyone is eating this Rice Krispy treat that turns their mouth blue. Words cannot express how I feel. With all the fun festivities around and the school spirit enriching our days, every thought of mine comes back to you two. My mom and my dad. You are my role models, my inspiration, and my heroes. Your unconditional love and your never-ending support are something I have come to learn is rare, and for that I am forever grateful. Here at DePaul I am thriving and loving every day I am on campus. I have roles in several organizations, I am taking vigorous courses that challenge me every day, and the future feels limitless. This I owe to you. 

The courage I have to yell “selfie” while student leaders pose with our president, Father H., comes from the confidence you instilled in me. The ability to listen to others and hear their story comes from the love you have given me. And the passion I have for everything I do comes from the passion you have for me. Anything and everything I do in the future will be because of you. 
So as I conclude this open letter, I want to say, thank you mom and dad for your love, your kindness, your compassion, and most importantly thank you for believing in me.

 Sincerely,
 Your grateful son


Kill 'Em With Kindness

​​“Kill ‘em with kindness.” Something I hear quite often. I’m not sure how to feel about it. 

On one hand you have a positive and kind act being the response of a negative one, but on the other hand is it a genuine kindness or is it just a different method of revenge? 

This is what I like to call, an “either or” type of situation. This means that there really isn’t a right answer it simply depends on what you believe. I like to think that the killing with kindness method, regardless of intent, is a good one. If you try to fight fire with fire, well, you’re going to get a bigger fire. However, if you fight fire with water, that changes the game. 

There was an interesting activity I took part in on a retreat once in high school. On the floor laid several candles all of which were lit. The speaker began talking about the significance of everyone and their purpose in life. As she progressed in her speech, she began blowing a few candles out. She continued this until there was just one candle left. At this moment, the speaker told us that we are all lights in this world. The last candle was blown and we sat in darkness. With our hearts beating, our minds thinking, and our senses feeling (my words not hers) we make this world the place it is. The speaker continued her speech and began lighting the candles one by one until the whole room was once again bright. 

One light may not seem like a lot, especially when it is surrounded by darkness but together, we shine bright and make the world warmer. This, I believe, is the key. As St. Vincent himself believed oh so many years ago, we must learn to coexist, accept, and love one another because together we are bright and warm and the darkness stands no chance.

 Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome.



Don't Say It! Midterms!

​​​The following conversation actually happened:

Me: “Hey, how’s your day going?”
Friend: “It’s going…my professor has us working on our midterm already.”
Me: “Geez, why so early?”
Friend: “Midterms are next week…”
Me: “What?” *Checks calendar* “Whoa…where did the time go?”
Friends: “I know right.”

This blog is about midterms. Yeah! Yeah? Well, depending on your situation, it can be either or. Like the above conversation, mine was more of an “aw man.” See, here at DePaul, times flies by pretty quickly. As a quote I once heard, but can’t remember where it is from, said, “The days are long but the years are short.” Sigh. This is true. Now in my third year here at DePaul, I’ve begun thinking about the post-graduate life and what it has in store for me. I think about jobs, where I will live, my friends, my family, if I’ll have my own dog, the usual questions. However, that’s far-ish away, let’s talk about midterms and some life hacks to help you survive.

1. Study – Yes, good ole fashion hitting the books and getting all that information into your head. Studying is proven to help increase grade results more than if you did not study at all. Think you know the material well enough? No harm in at least reviewing it one more time.

2. John Richardson Library – Libraries have a lot of cool things. Like books that may be useful for whatever class you are taking. Regular library hours are posted weekly on their website here​. It is important to note that during finals week the library is open 24 hours for students to use. I didn’t know that my freshman year, but it would’ve been helpful.

3. Coffee – Yeah! Personally my favorite part of procrastination, I mean, getting my work done in a reasonable and responsible time. Coffee can be your friend. However, it is important to note that coffee should not be the only thing you consume. Water actually helps keep your body awake and alert by hydrating it. DePaul offers frequent and convenient water refill stations all around campus that will have your bottle full within seconds. Coffee and water? Midterms don’t stand a chance!

4. Sleep – It’s actually pretty important. With the hustle and bustle of midterms and finals it can be easy to forget about one of most essential needs as humans. Make sure you are resting, it can be the difference between you finishing your exam and getting an “A” or falling asleep and getting a “F” because you had to turn in a blank scantron with drool on it. Yes, your grades are important but so is your health, so make sure to get some rest my friend.

That is all I have for you today, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. I wish everyone the best of luck on their midterms.

Thank for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

You Are Awesome

I remember being told that if I didn’t get A’s and B’s in school that meant I was a bad student. I remember being told that if I didn’t read, study, or act properly I would never succeed in life. I remember being told that I had to dress a certain way and talk a certain way in order to be taken seriously. These things I remember. I also remember the first novel franchise I ever became obsessed with, Captain Underpants.  

With mean old, grumpy Mr. Krupp becoming hypnotized by his students, George Beard and Harold Hutchins, Captain Underpants​ was created to save the world from various villains that threatened our existence. I took an instant liking to the novels written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey. 

With the success of Captain Underpants, spinoffs were produced such as Super Diaper Baby​. It was no question that I would begin to read those as well, given Pilkey’s talent for entertaining writing. Then one day I decided to take another look at the first novel. Usually I would read a book from cover to cover then immediately jump to the next one, indulging in a sort of pre-Netflix binge of literature. However, this time I went to one of the final pages and saw a picture of a man with text just below the image. It was Dav Pilkey and the text was a message to the reader. I cannot recall the full excerpt but what I do remember is the excitement I felt when I read that Dav Pilkey was not really a “good” student and that his teachers told him he would not succeed. 

This changed my world. It is a lesson that I have kept with me ever since that day. We are all unique in our own way and no matter what any teacher, boss, friend, or ex-friend says, in the end all we can do is be ourselves. 

It was not the end of the world if I got anything lower than a B. The teachers that doubted me were wrong because here I am today at a world-class university achieving and succeeding every single day. 

Who would have known that a superhero running around in his underpants would have taught me so much?


Being a Blue Demon

The days are long but the years are short. I find myself balancing the daily life of a college student, oblivious to the time passing. I wake up, get ready, grab coffee, take the train to the Loop​, and head to class. It is a routine, it is my schedule. 

As I reflect on my college life thus far, I remember when I was a freshman taking my first steps on campus following the student orientation leader like it was yesterday. I was excited, apprehensive, and even a bit scared. I was entering a new world transitioning from high school to college. 

Fast forward, now I am a junior. I am in several different organizations with leadership positions in two of them. I’ve been on retreats with my fellow peers, participated in DePaul’s dance marathon (DemonTHON​), planned and coordinated events for the DePaul Activities Board​, and more. It has been, and still is, an experience I will remember for years to come. When I think and reflect on the person I am and the values I hold dear, my four years at DePaul will be a major aspect of that. As the days fly by and I continue to go about my routine, oblivious to the time passing, I am convinced more and more every day that I made the right decision by becoming a Blue Demon.

Thank you for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome.


Early Holidays

The holidays are on their way and as usual, people have begun setting up their trees and playing Christmas music. My family has always been quite the procrastinators when it comes to setting up our own. Usually, traditionally, we set up the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. However, in reality, we usually wait until the week of Christmas. Maybe not enjoying it for too long before the actual holiday but leaving it up for a good amount of time after Santa makes his visit to our home. This year, my mom decided to get a head start on Christmas.

I was very surprised a few Wednesdays ago when I showed up with a film crew to my house ready to make a short for my visual design class, and the tree had been placed in our living room. Though bare, the Christmas tree stood tall and invaded the space I needed for my cinematic world. Unable to shoot around the tree, I decided to allow it in our shots. Since the film is set in winter, I figured it could work aesthetically. Friday that same week, I came home late from DePaul to be greeted by a wondrous, beautiful display of flashing lights and sparkly ornaments. It eased the tension from my demanding week and calmed me. Though I was disappointed that I did not get a chance to assist in the setup, my mom explained to me how the train, that goes around our tree and plays music, was still in the box. She was hoping that one tradition would remain the same. So, like every year, my brother and I played Straight No Chaser​’s Christmas album, constructed the track for the train, and placed the polar express​ in its rightful position. 

Yes, Christmas in my house came quite early this year but every night when I return from a long day of studying and campus activities; I see the star shining on top and the lights flashing away endlessly. Just for that moment, I forget about the demands of the world and the abundance of tasks that lie ahead of me. Who knows, maybe this early Christmas helped me do better on my final exams.

Happy early holidays. Stay awesome!​


Winter is Upon Us!

​​Winter is upon us. 

Do not let any random warm days fool you, my friend. Soon there will be snow up to our knees, cars will need a few extra minutes to warm up, and even Santa will need help flying through the stormy weather. 

Yes, Chicago winters are infamous for testing the patience and character of all its inhabitants. From neighborhood teamwork to shovel up the streets and sidewalks, to the cars that still drive 60 mph as if snow is a myth, the winter tests us all. 

With the cold heading our way soon, it is important to know what is going on. Unlike summer, destinations need to be planned because no one wants to walk around without a safe, warm place to go to. My recommendation is to make sure to layer up, take a nice hot beverage with you on the go, and plan your adventures wisely! 

Of course the snow and blistering cold isn’t all that bad. Make sure you enjoy the white fluffy beauty of Mother Nature before it is gone for the year. Throw snowballs, build snowmen or snowwomen, and make some snow angels. Whatever your winter goals are and wherever you may be, I hope everyone has an amazing holiday season!

Thanks for reading my blog, stay awesome friend!


FEST 2016 Survey is Here!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas? No. 

The FEST ​survey is up and being shared all over DePaul social media platforms! From Twitter to Facebook, if you are not following the DePaul Activities Board yet change that now. 

FEST is DePaul’s spring music festival held on the Quad during the last quarter of the year. Every year there are various events held to promote the event from forums to surveys. Just today the DePaul Activities Board released the official FEST survey for FEST 2016. 

With an amazing line up from The Neighbourhood ​to Chance the Rapper​, this year is already creating buzz around campus. So who do YOU want to see at FEST? Check out the survey on the link below. 

Also, if you’d like to read more about FEST and the DePaul Activities Board, click on their website and see what the organization is all about. 

Survey: http://depaul.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bPoQiRwOgkkBeLP

 

D.A.B.: http://orgsanddepartments.orgsync.com/org/dab/

 

Thank you for reading my blog! Stay awesome my friends!


Bernadette the Movie

Coming soon to a theater, school, and city near you! Bernadette the movie finished production this past summer and has a target release date of spring 2016. 

Professors John Psathas and Patrick Wimp ventured to create a feature length film utilizing the skill of DePaul students and the opportunity provided by CDM’s (College of Digital Media) Project Bluelight. 

With a dedicated student crew, John Psathas, director and producer, and Patrick Wimp, director of photography traveled all around Illinois to create the perfect suburb for their coming of age comedy. Taking full advantage of local Chicago actors as well as students from the DePaul Theatre School, the teaser for Bernadette has been played over 8,000 times with the Facebook page being just shy of 2,000 likes. Several articles mentioning the film have been released through various news outlets such as The DePaulia​, Reel Chicago​, and the Chicago Tribune​. The film is now in the post-production phase but behind the scenes photos, witty statuses, and other content is being released on their social media sites frequently, keeping fans of the film engaged until the premiere. To keep track of the film follow and check out the links below.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/131947745

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BernadetteMovie

Instagram: https://instagram.com/bernadettethemovie/

 As always, thank you for reading my blog. I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did working on it. It is a great display of the talent here at DePaul University and an even better display of what good collaborations can create.​


#FlyTheW!

​​“Fly the W!” “Go Cubs go!” “Cubs Nation!” If you’re in Chicago, you’ve probably heard the awesome news. Cubs are heading to the Pennant for the first time since 2003. 

Dominating the St. Louis Cardinals, the beloved Cubbies took the series 3-1 (best out of 5) and they did it with one win on the road and two in their hometown. Fans all over say this is the year the Cubs go all the way knock on wood

For many fans, this highly successful season comes as a surprise as it was noted early on that this would be a year of progress. The “five year plan” was something Cubs President Theo Epstein came up with. The reason, to give fans a deadline by which he would transform the Cubs from lovable losers to playoff contenders. Criticized, at first, for three consecutive losing seasons, Epstein is now in his fourth year as Cubs president and has shown what he is made of. Building from within, Epstein brought up 3 key players from the minor leagues. These included Kris Bryant​, Albert Almora​, and Javier Baez​. Additionally, the Cubs signed Cuban powerhouse Jorge Soler ​to a 9 year, 30 million dollar contract. Epstein saw the talent and brought them to Chicago - a gamble that is paying off. 

All stats aside, the story of this team is one to remember. With 8 of their players being born in the 90’s, the Cubs are a young team and show potential for years to come. A season that was supposed to be nothing more than another building year, has now turned into the latest chance for Cubs fans to see their team win a World Series. Players built and developed from within the organization have taken charge in the Big Leagues making names for themselves against top teams in the MLB. The Chicago Cubs have been exciting this year for many more reasons than just their record. It’s their story, their players, their fans, etc. This - knock on wood - is our year!

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

Go Cubs! Fly The W!

My First Steps in a World of Blue Demons

​​​DePaul University is awesome, that’s no secret. I’ve said it many times in these blogs and in casual conversations with friends. 

While there are so many great things about this institution that I can talk about forever, nothing can compare to the first few times I visited the campus. It was a long time ago, in a very different Chicago. Daley was still mayor and the Sears Tower, well it is still the Sears Tower, but you get the point. My sister was a junior at DePaul and asked me if I wanted to come to campus. Being in high school at the time, I was super excited to be on a college campus around college people doing college things. She brought me to the student center in Lincoln Park, showed me the SAC​, the Quad​, library​, etc. It was awesome, I was in love, and I wanted to be at DePaul that moment. 

Fast forward to a few months after that visit, my friend from high school and I are walking around Lincoln Park. Realizing we were close to the student center, I suggested we explore the campus. We entered the student center and saw the fast, busy hustle of college life. No one noticed us and we had no idea where to go so we just continued exploring. Walking without a purpose, I gave my friend a fairly poor tour of the campus as everything my sister had taught me had faded from my mind. Though the information I provided may have lacked accuracy, it was a joy to show my friend the college of my future. The moment I stepped in Blue Demon territory I knew it was the right place for me. No other place had the life of DePaul, the beauty, or the convenience of being in Chicago. 

While many students may be looking for the right college for them at this time, the best suggestion I have is to explore. Be fearless and ask questions, Google everything there is to know about the college, find out what it is they’re known for, what they focus on, etc. With this big moment in the life of a high school senior, I wish you all the best of luck!

Thank you and stay awesome my friends!


T.E.A.M.

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T.E.A.M., an acronym I learned at an early age, stands for “Together Everyone Accomplishes More.” Teams are important in life because they help everyone go further than they could ever go alone. With a group working in unity to accomplish a common goal, there are no limits. I’m a firm believer in teams, I have been taught my whole life that it is essential to work together in order to get things done.

I attended a Digital Cinema Collaborative (DCC) event just last week. We had first year students (and others that were interested in getting more involved with the film community) ask mentors about anything they wanted to know. There was one question that stuck out to me: “How would someone that wants to make a movie go about starting it?” Mentors then began answering the student with various responses about the process, planning, etc. Finally, it was suggested to the student to not be afraid to ask others for help. Proud of the DCC mentors, I related to that response the most. 

I often think about how many times we need help. It could be with homework, working out, or our car. Asking for help can often be a scary thing and I know I have personally shied away from requesting others assistance in a time of need. Yet, it is something so crucial to our existence.  

Sports consist of teams, companies consist of teams, and even our world is a team. We see others in need and we help them, or we have a vision and a goal and inspire a group to fulfill it. When people work together and do their role we see giant skyscrapers built, World Series or Stanley Cup championships won, humans on the moon, and progress for a better tomorrow. Indeed as a team, united as one, no task becomes too great and no challenge can overcome us. As Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand." Let’s work side by side for a common goal because together everyone accomplishes more.

Thank you for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome!

April 29th-30th: DemonTHON 2016

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There’s a date! You may ask, “A date for what?” DemonTHON! DePaul University’s 24-hour dance marathon! Sound awesome? Interested in being a part of this really cool nationwide movement? Well look no further!

DemonTHON is our annual dance marathon where we raise money for the Ann and Richard H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. We dance, inspire, and strive for a greater tomorrow. I got involved with DemonTHON last year as a member of the Catholic Campus Ministry team. You can register as a team or individually. Together my team and I raised money For the Kids! 

We danced the full duration of the event, learned the morale dance, and I even got on stage to lip sync to “Dirty Diana”. It was an event that impacted me so much that I decided to take my involvement a step further. Working on the technology committee, I have begun doing video production for this amazing organization. My tasks mostly include filming and editing content for our YouTube channel. This year I hope to bring more friends of mine to the event so we can all dance together. 

Dancing is fun, making friends is awesome, and the cause is a good one! The event sees a huge student turn out every year and gets major support from other organizations at DePaul, as well as local businesses.

If you are interested in finding out more about DemonTHON, here are some links to check out:

·      Official Website​!

·      YouTube​!

·      Help me fundraise​!

·      Facebook​!

Words do not allow me to express just how amazing of an experience this event is. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you are interested in helping with the event or registering as a dancer.

Thank you for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome!


Welcome Back!

The warm, relaxing nights have now passed and the days are starting to become colder. Starbucks has begun their Pumpkin Spice Latte season and Chicago gets ready to say goodbye to yet another summer. 

There’s always something happening on our quad!
Hello fellow Blue Demons and welcome to another new year of school, the third year in my college saga. With three years here at DePaul under my belt, I find it helpful to pass on a bit of advice to get the year started on a good note. 

Make sure to get involved! 
One of the greatest resources available to DePaul students is OrgSync. OrgSync is where students can find information on all clubs at DePaul.

Try new things!
With so many different opportunities on campus, your choices seem almost unlimited. Don’t see a club you would like to have? Make it! I’ve had several friends that have all kick started their own organizations this year including:  DePaul Eats, Doctor Who Club, DePaul Directs. You can read about more student organizations here​

Become close with your professor!
Professors are awesome here at DePaul, they come early to class and stay after class to talk. They will remember you more if you use them as the resource they are and might even help you out get into your field of interest.

As I sit here in the DePaul Activities Board office, I think of all the decisions I have made that led me to where I am now. The tips above, some provided by fellow friends, are all things that have changed my college experience here at DePaul. I’ll never forget seeing the theatre students perform during orientation. They asked questions like “Who am I? What do I want to do?” Being the cool high school graduate I was, I mistakenly found the skit to be cheesy and not appealing. Looking back to that moment now, I realize just how fitting it actually was. All those questions they asked were questions I was asking myself. The most important tip I would say is to be you.

Thank you for reading my blog, welcome back, and as always stay awesome!

Love All Blog!

​​​“Do onto others as you would want to be done onto you.” A lesson my parents taught me early on in my life. If I don’t want someone bullying me then I should not bully others. Little did I know back then just how important their teachings would
become. Being in college and working with many different people from different places, it is a value I have become very happy I have. There are many times when I experience cruelty from others in the way they speak and treat me. At the same time I observe friends, family, or just anyone feeling hurt by the harsh words of an individual. In this huge world with so many different cultures and ways of living, it is impossible to go through life believing there is only one absolute way to live. It’s times like these I remember the teachings of my parents and along with that, the new values I am obtaining at DePaul. Attending WLC (
Winter Leadership Conference​) this past year, I learned an abbreviation that has changed the way I approach situations, people, and life. SRL or a Socially Responsible Leader. The dimensions of SRL are something I have written about before, but just to refresh they are:

•      Self-Understanding & Personal Integrity

•      Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others

•      Contributing to a Larger Community

•      Knowledge and Intellectual Competence

•      Striving for Excellence

I am a firm believer in these dimensions. Communicating is difficult and people often miscommunicate creating issues aside from whatever problem may need to be solved. With the five dimensions above, communicating will not necessarily be 100% clear, but it will be a lot clearer and better than a conversation without these dimensions. My hope for anyone that reads this blog, is that you read and understand these dimensions and of course, if given the opportunity, participate in WLC.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

​​

For The Grads!

​​Finals are over, the stress is gone for the moment, and summer is finally here! However, this is not a summer blog, this blog for all the seniors that I have met this year. I want to say thank you for everything you have done for me as a friend, fellow DePaul peer, and genuine person. It was not until today when I was looking at my Facebook feed that I realized just how many great people I had moving on. From friends that I met at the Winter Leadership Conference​ to friends from the DePaul Activities Board, each and every one of you has impacted my life greatly in one way or another. The world is in need of all your talents and I am sure the class of 2015 will greatly influence it. 

Thank you all for being amazing and you all have a special place in my heart. Go accomplish your goals and dreams and remember that I always got your back! Just like many of you have had mine. I hope to continue the greatness that the Class of 2015 has shown me and that I can inspire others as you have done.

Thank you for everything and congratulations!


My Team Blog

“Dance like no one’s watching.” “Live like there’s no tomorrow.” “Live, love, and laugh.” These quotes are fairly familiar as I see them frequently on Tumblr​, Facebook, Instagram​, etc. Though they are used a lot, the meaning and value of these phrases should not be lost. It’s easier said than done to smile when you’re sad, to keep moving when you’re tired, and to think positively when you’re feeling down. However, I’m a firm believer in the fact that we have to do these things in order to continue progressing. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in resting and taking some days off to just relax and recuperate, but eventually we have to get back to the hustle. The world is always moving and it never stops for anything, with 7.2 billion people on this planet (and more coming every day) it is important to take the time you need, but to eventually get back into action. This, as I already said, is easier said than done. I have found myself feeling blah many times in my life. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep or be lazy with my dog, Gizmo.

When in these funks of mine I usually snap out of it with the help of my friends, family, and inspirational videos or quotes like the ones above. A common teaching in film school is to not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I know how to write a script, film a video, and edit it but someone else might be a better writer or editor, and it is okay to ask for help because in the end the movie will better. So aside from film, in those moments of blah I look for my team of helpers to bring me up, and they usually do. A team is important in life because they support you and keep you up when the struggles of life try to knock you down. Even Batman eventually joined the Justice League​. To all those that have helped me through ups and downs, thank you, this blog is for you. For the individuals that are looking for a team of their own, keep going, you’ll find one eventually and remember to ask for help when you need it. Together everyone accomplishes more!   

Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome!

For K.S.

Josue Ortiz​​​


Memorial Day

Have you heard the news yet? DePaul University will be closed this upcoming Monday, May 25th for Memorial Day​! So bring out those grills, text your friends and family, and sit back to enjoy a lovely three day weekend. 

It is always nice to get an extra day to relax and rest, but why exactly do we celebrate Memorial Day? Well, Memorial Day is a day of remembering those that have died while in the service of the United Stated of America. Originally called “Decoration Day,” there are several different states and cities that claim to have founded the national holiday. However, in 1966 president Lyndon Johnson declared the birthplace of Memorial Day to be Waterloo, New York​. He stated that it was “difficult” to prove the origins of the day with certainty. 

Aside from the birthplace of the day one thing is certain, Memorial Day came to existence as a result of the Civil War. General John A. Logan​ stated in a General Order that “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing flowers, or otherwise decorating graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Thus creating the Memorial Day we know and celebrate to this day. So to all those enjoying their three day weekend, make sure to remember the people that have changed our lives so greatly.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome!


Who Moved My Cheese?

​​​​​Who Moved My Cheese? A story written by Dr. Spencer Johnson​. Life is an interesting adventure we go through ups and downs, smiles and frowns, jumping with joy and spinning around. The book Who Moved My Cheese? Tells the story of four characters in a maze looking for “Cheese.” The Cheese is a metaphor for things we want in life such as a job, love, money, etc. Though I have yet to finish the book (I plan on finishing soon), I find it to be an interesting and extremely relatable read. Comfort, stability, and security are what many people spend their whole lives trying to obtain. The book’s intro discusses how these different elements are desires for humans because we believe they make us happy. This causes us to become attached and dependent on these things when we get them, and when we lose them or it gets taken away from us, it can be harmful. I was suggested this read back in high school by my sister, who at the time was in college. I remember being very interested in the idea and concept and therefore decided to read the book. Though I was filled with interest, I failed to finish it due to the fact that I really could not relate to the story. I was a junior in high school that played soccer, volleyball, was in the National Honors Society, a student ambassador, and had absolutely no idea of just how the world and life could flip things upside down. Coming into DePaul, I experienced many changes and different things that really opened my mind and broadened my perspective. One of the things I remember from orientation was the theater school giving a performance on how college is different and “better” than high school. I probably should have taken the play more seriously than I did, but to be honest, the cliché case scenarios that were discussed are all things that have come up in my life. The way people react when in certain environments, the way I was shy to try anything different my first year, and more.

With all the changes going around, it can often feel like things are up in the air and not stable at all. I feel like that right now with final projects taking up a large portion of my time. The thing to remember is that life is all about adapting, or at least that’s what Who Moved My Cheese emphasizes. A person can go from rags to riches or vice versa in a day and the way to survive is by adapting to it. So to my fellow reader, friend, or follower I would just like to say that if your Cheese has been moved recently do not worry. It is all a part of life and while whatever dilemmas you may be facing seem too much, trust me, they’re not. I recently had some Cheese moved in my life and though it was hard at first, I’m still standing and walking through this maze of life.  


FEST 2015!

“Ladies and gentlemen give it up one more time for [insert band/DJ name here]!” That’s more or less how my night was spent last Thursday at Battle of The Bands & Fest ​Big Reveal as the MC. It was a great time, as always, over at Lincoln Hall ​with the DJ’s keeping people jumping up and down and the bands giving the people a sound to sway to. 

Of course the big thing everyone was waiting for, the reveal! Sound unfamiliar? Well there was a reveal that happened at the event, a BIG reveal, and if you were there then I hope you know what I am talking about. FEST 2015 is on its way! May 22nd is the official day and it is something everyone should go to! When talking about amazing, awesome, fun, incredible, and (I’m out of adjectives) really cool events at DePaul it is essential to bring up Fest. It is the biggest event of the year with thousands of DePaul students attending and amazing artist performing. It is held in the beautiful Quad and students can enjoy it anywhere from front row to the UHall ​patio viewing area. 

Now, for the final part of this blog. Who is going to perform at Fest? Well, hopefully you have already heard as everyone has been Tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, and more about it. However, just in case:

FEST 2015 presents:

Opening – Milo Greene​

The poster makes it look a lot cooler!

Middle Act – American Authors​

Headliner – Big Sean​

But wait there’s more!​

After Hours:

Milo & Otis

So if you have yet to get your Fest tickets, what are you waiting for? I will be there, other awesome people will be there, and it is going to be a great time!

Thanks for reading my blog and always stay awesome!

P.S. I want to see YOU at Fest and if you see me come say hi I love making new friends! 


A Whole New World to Study

The birds are chirping, the grills are coming out, and the car windows are being rolled down. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Summer, of course, is what I am talking about. 

With summer being right around the corner I have found myself in search of new places where I can do work, study, and just focus on school stuff. Sure, the quad ​is beautiful but there are now frisbees invading the space and threatening our heads (which we need to study). And of course there is always the library to study, but with such beautiful weather it almost seems unfair. If you are like me and find yourself in need of some new study environments I have a few tips for you.

One:
 While it is technically still the quad, the hills by the SAC ​(Schmitt Academic Center​) have been a place I used to get some work done. The good thing about this area is that people usually don’t go there to fling their frisbees or toss any footballs around. It is nice, peaceful, and you kind of feel like a king, or queen, as you look down on the people that pass by. 

Two: Arts and Letters​, it is such a beautiful building with an amazing view. The giant windows in the lobby area may not provide the full outdoor aesthetic for you, but it sure does come close. The sun can be seen rising and setting from the very top floor. 

Three: There’s no way I can talk about Arts and Letters without mentioning the patio area right next to it. With several chairs and tables to use and an overall beautiful feel, I often find people sitting on the patio even during the winter. 

Last but not least: The Ray. ​I know crazy right? Maybe it’s a personal thing, but there is something about the fast pace of the Ray that I find relaxing. While others are rushing around and working out, I am simply sitting in my chair doing so​​​me work.

I hope this was helpful. Thank you for reading my blog and stay awesome!

Spring is in the Air

​​​​​Spring is here! Saying something like that in Chicago is always risky as the weather can change from 70 and sunny to 30 and snowy within minutes. However, this spring seems to be a success thus far (fingers crossed) as the weather has been fairly warm and friends of mine seem to be going to the beach to take a lot of selfies lately.

With that being said, make sure to take advantage of all the great things to do in the city when the weather is nice. Millennium park ​is always a beautiful place to walk around, The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool ​is quiet and relaxing, and much more!

With the arrival of spring comes the anticipation of summer. Some notable summer activities include the Milwaukee Arts festival (free), Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, and many more. One thing I always like having is a complete list of festivals in Chicago for the summer. So for people who are like me, or even if you’re not but are still interested in festivals in the summer, you can find a huge list on the website ChooseChicago​.

I hope everyone is enjoying their spring so far! Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!


DePaul Is My Type of University

DePaul University was the right fit for me because of many different reasons. 
I knew that I wanted to stay in the city when I was looking for colleges and that led me to look at DePaul, Columbia, UIC, University of Chicago, etc. One of the major differences for me was the liveliness of DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus​. I remember walking through and seeing so many students racing from one side of the quad to another trying to get to class. It was the quickness of DePaul life that I really found intriguing as well. There was always some sort of activity happening somewhere on campus, never a dull moment. 

Having had my sister attend DePaul, I visited and saw the campus a lot whenever my parents would drop her off or pick her up. Aside from the Lincoln Park campus, I fell in love with commuting to the loop for class. I remember talking to my family about how cool it felt to be in the morning hustle on the L​ to get to class while professionals made their way to offices and work sites. 

In the end I knew DePaul University was the place for me because it simply felt right.


Vincentian Service Day 2015

“Vincentian Service Day 2015 coming up!” Stated one of the emails in my never-ending inbox on Gmail. The message contained information on the day the event would occur and what was needed in order to register. 

As usual, I plan on attending Vincentian Service Day​ with one of the various groups I am committed to here at DePaul. It’s really nice to be a part of so many organizations because when events such as these come up I can either participate in it with my scholarship group, my CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry​)  group, or my DAB (DePaul Activities Board​) group, etc. Nonetheless I am super excited to contribute once again to the amazing service the DePaul University offers. 

I remember when I was senior in high school thinking about all the different things I had learned and accomplished. One of those things I was proud about was joining a club called Mission Awareness, a club dedicated to doing service activities in school and throughout the Chicago area. One of the thoughts I had as I applied to different colleges and universities was, “Am I going to continue this service?” DePaul was perfect for me because it took so many different things
that I learned in high school, such as service, and not only continued them but expanded on them. This will be my second year participating in Vincentian Service Day and I still remember my experience from last year as if it was yesterday. We helped with a community garden on the Southside of Chicago. The lady that overlooked the garden did it all on her own because city budget cuts allowed enough funding for one worker. Any sort of assistance she was able to get was all from volunteers. When the day ended, she was so grateful for our help that she gave us candy! 

I am looking forward to Vincentian Service Day 2015 and I am looking forward to helping someone who may need it.  


Spring Break 2k15 NOLA

​​​​​This year spring break brought many new memories, friends, and experiences my way as I traveled once again with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS) ​to New Orleans, Louisiana for my spring
break service immersion trip. The weather was beautiful, the food was spicy and delicious, and the people were amazing. We teamed up with the St. Ber
nard Project, SBP for short, to help repair houses that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. 

Many people reacted in similar ways when I told them that I would be heading to NOLA ​for service. They asked questions like “They still need help?” or “That was ten years ago what else needs to be done?” While staying in the lower 9thward, I saw many houses that had little to no progress since the tragic storm, houses that have been ignored and forgotten about. During drives to our service site I saw open land that I did not think much about. It wasn’t until Rachel, the director of SBP, told us that houses used to occupy the land and instead of being rebuilt they were bulldozed. 

The experience was one that will always be with me and make me think about life, people, stories, etc. I will never forget just how different every neighborhood​ felt, as if they were different states. When thinking of Chicago, I know that every neighborhood ​has its own feel but I can still identify the areas as Chicago. Yet in
NOLA, the lower 9th ward was a neighborhood of progress, one that is rebuilding slowly but surely, the French Quarter provided an atmosphere unlike anything I have experienced in America, and downtown gave a similar feel to our loop with shops, people, and angry drivers. 

NOLA has a special place in my heart now and the St. Bernard Project is something I stress for people to look into in order to provide some help and support for the New Orleans community.

If you are interested in helping out check out this link​.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

Three Things I Wish I Knew As a Freshman

College can be a pretty overwhelming place. Coming from a high school with a total of 500 students, it was quite the change in atmosphere when I entered DePaul my freshman year. I was used to seeing friends of mine all throughout the day and knowing everyone in my grade level. I’ll never forget the first involvement fair I attended. I remember all the poster boards, flyers, people, and more. It was chaos for me because there were so many different things to see and there seemed to be no way to navigate it all. It wasn’t until this year (my second) that I started getting the hang of things. I joined DAB (DePaul Activities Board​), CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry​), DCC (Digital Cinema Collaborative​), MOC (Men of Color​), did intramural soccer​, and participated in several retreats and conferences. 

However, this amount of participation on campus stemmed from one single day in the summer. I was sitting on my bed thinking about how bored I was and decided to log onto OrgSync ​and join some organizations. It was then that I began looking at various student orgs and sent messages to random members asking what I needed to do in order to join. OrgSync is a great resource for students and is definitely one of the biggest things that has contributed to my college experience. I wish that I would have taken it more seriously when I first heard about it in my LSP course. 
Second to OrgSync would be have the courage to talk to professors and build relationships with them. In my fall quarter I was very shy and did not meet with professors during office hours or talk to them outside of class. However, when I finally began to speak with professors of mine later on in the year, I found them to be really cool and helpful. 
Last but not least, I wished I knew about all the events on campus that had free food. I could have saved a lot of money by attending more student org events and, at the same time, would have learned more about different clubs. So for final advice to anyone that may be an incoming freshman to DePaul talk to your professors, classmates, look at OrgSync for clubs you’re interested in, and try new things. 
Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome!


NOM NOM Pancake Day

National Pancake Day was the other day and if you go to any IHOP you will get a free stack of buttermilk pancakes. Awesome right? 

My friends and I contributed to the holiday that night. The idea of having a whole day dedicated to pancakes really got me thinking. This has to be one of the craziest ideas ever proposed, right? Well I did a little research and found out that the day is used as a marker for the day before the first day of Lent. In the past, people would follow Ash Wednesday with meals that did not contain meat, dairy, eggs, etc. which usually led to a pancake type of food. Pancake Day is usually a day that precedes Ash Wednesday in either March or February (depends where you are). This made me think of other holidays that may not be as well known. 

Here is a small list of days for the month of March:

•         National Peanut Butter Lover's Day(I’m allergic)
•         Zero Discrimination day
•         Casimir Pulaski Day

The list goes on and on. So, to end this article I would like to say that anything you can possibly imagine as a holiday, probably already is. However, if it isn’t yet a holiday take the chance and try to get it nationally recognized.
 
Thank you for reading my blog, and as always stay awesome!


Wholly Whole Foods It's Here!

The suspense is over! After about a year without a convenient grocery store, Whole Foods is coming to DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus. Students had great opportunity, as the first 500 customers in line will receive a gift card with a possible amount of 5-50 dollars. One lucky customer received a $500 gift card. 

Whole Foods is replacing the long time grocery store, Dominick’s, which has recently sold the rest of their stores to Jewel Osco, Whole Foods, and Mariano’s. Students will surely greet the new store with a warm welcome having not had the convenience of Dominick’s for the past year. The grand opening is taking place Wednesday February 25th, 2015 at 9am. The Whole Foods will once again provide a grocery store on campus for DePaul students to use and offers a café in-store, something students are familiar with from the old days of Dominick’s and Starbucks. 

Some students have expressed concern about the high prices that accompany the Whole Foods name saying they still might be forced to go elsewhere. The store looks great from outside and provides a nice view of the Fullerton on higher levels. Along with the view, there is also what looks to be a walk through where students can line up for morning café goods. This will surely be giving Dunkin Donuts under the L some competition. No matter what conflicts surround the opening Whole Foods, I am still looking forward to attending the grand opening and having a store to shop at that is on campus.       


Get Jiggy With it: Blue Demon Week 2015

​In the wise words of Michael Jackson, “Let’s dance, let’s shout. Shake your body down to the ground!” The highly anticipated and very fun event Blue Demon Week is happening this week. It is sponsored by Student
Government Association in cooperation with D.A.B. (DePaul Activities Board), DemonTHON, and the Athletics Department. There will be a huge variety of events going on from bumper cars in the Student Center to trivia night. I hope everyone is as excited as I am! Now is the perfect time to show your Blue Demon pride.

•         Monday (2/23):  7pm Student Center room 120 – We have trivia night
•         Wednesday (2/25):  6pm Student Center room 120 – Speed Demons Bumper Cars
•         Thursday (2/26):  9pm-12am The Ray – DePaul After Dark

Last but not least, Friday (2/27) night we have the Blue Demon Dance! If you know me, I take any opportunity I can to get my jiggy on. The dance starts at 8pm and goes until 12am. There will be food, a DJ, and more. The dance will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel and provides the perfect chance for people to show off their
footwork. I hope to see everyone I know there and cannot wait to get my groove thing on. Tickets for the dance will be on sale throughout these events. Come enjoy being a Blue Demon this week and show off your pride!  


Be Motivated

Starting your day off the right way is very important, it can mean the difference between getting the job you want or doing better in class. As a kid, my parents would always tell me that I had to eat a good breakfast in order to get my day going. A good breakfast, in their opinion, usually meant a banana with orange juice and maybe cereal or toast. I’ve never been a big breakfast person but I do get my morning coffee every day.

Aside from food, there are other morning routines that are important to me. One of which usually consists of listening to music and getting the morning rust off me with a little bit of dancing as I get ready. Recently, I found this pretty awesome YouTube video that took a bunch of motivational speeches from movies and put them all together with music. It is great! I really get a kick out of it. It may be considered kind of cheesy by some, but when I hear just the audio without even watching the video, I get pumped for my day. There are several famous speeches and quotes like Rocky’s, “It’s not about hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,” to Will Smith telling his son in a film, “You got a dream, you got to protect it.”

I like the video because it shares a very special message with its audience. The message is that no matter what happens in life, no matter how difficult things get, and no matter what anyone says you have to keep moving forward. The world is a big place with over 7 billion people in it, with over 7 billion different opinions, and over 7 billion different ways of living. So no matter what anyone says, thinks, or how many “hits” you get from life, get up and never give up. I invite my readers to watch the video on YouTube and I hope that they get just as much out of it, if not more, than I did.

You can watch the video below:



​​

Housing

Belden, Clifton, Corcoran, Munroe, Seton, U-Hall and more!

DePaul has tons of options for any student that may be considering living on campus. Though a commuter, I have made many friends by visiting dorms of people I knew. I’ve been to Belden, Seton, Clifton, Munroe, U-Hall, and University Center. It has become kind of a game for my friends and I to try to get me into all the residence at least once before I graduate.
U-Hall at night

Aside from the friends, both the loop campus and Lincoln Park offer a variety of scenery and activities off campus. From the movie theater on Webster to the variety of restaurants on Halsted and Lincoln DePaul students can get a great experience no matter what time it is.

Conveniently located by the Red and Brown line, students can travel throughout the city with ease. Chicago provides a great learning experience for students outside of the classroom and I would highly recommend anyone considering living on campus to do it.



DAB and Jerry Greenfield

No one thinks about having ice cream in the winter, especially in Chicago, but that didn’t stop hundreds of students from attending the DAB (DePaul Activities Board) sponsored event of Jerry Greenfield. Jerry, from Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, came to speak to DePaul students about, well, ice cream and give a little insight on the entrepreneurial
experience. Though it was a business orientated presentation, the event was open to all students. Jerry Greenfield made jokes, answered questions, and posed for several pictures with students afterward. The night was a successful one, and there was even a little treat for students at the end. This is one of many DAB events occurring this winter quarter. From what I’ve heard, students loved it and had fun, and there have been many new students interested in joining DAB recently.

So, I would like to pass on an invitation to anyone that may feel like joining a new club, getting more involved, or would just like to get access to awesome, free events like Jerry Greenfield. Stop by the student center on Monday at 5 pm. DAB has its general board meetings then. They are located in the cafeteria in the room by the pasta line. I will be there as usual so feel free to come say hi!

As always thank you for reading my blog stay awesome!


Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others

Fresh off WLC (Winter Leadership Conference), I told my CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry) small men’s group that I was enlightened. We meet on Monday’s and this past Monday, as many of you probably already know, was the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Some schools had days off, others used this day to remember and share the ways of Doctor Martin Luther King, and for me I had my small group. It was interesting, as usual, but the discussion became centered around leadership which corresponds to the weekend retreat I attended. We talked about Jesus and his teachings and drifted into discussion about Doctor King. 

One thing I noted about the discussion was the peaceful approach to very difficult and conflicting topics. Things such as prostitution or racism usually get people very heated in debate, and in unfortunate circumstances violence. This past weekend at WLC, we discussed the 5 dimensions of an SRL (Socially Responsible Leader). Which are as follows: 

  1. Self-Understanding and Personal Integrity
  2. Taking Seriously the Perspectives of Others
  3. Contributing to a Larger Community
  4. Knowledge and intellectual Competence
  5. Striving for Excellence

I want to focus on number two, “Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others.” The way I interpret this dimension is that everyone has his or her own way of thinking. We all have values, morals, and opinions that do not always, in fact quite frequently, agree. 

So this specific dimension, I feel, is easier said than done for two reasons:

 One, anything you have ever been taught in life has to be put on hold and you need to listen to the person speaking. You need to think about their position and their life to understand where they are coming from. 

Two, you have to go against your natural instinct of sticking to what you know. We have to become uncomfortable and delve into the life of another individual in order to truly understand them and take their perspective seriously. I believe that the great teachings of Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. are exactly what we should use as models for our life. They push humanity to be more. Everyone has his or her opinion, and everyone will fight for what they believe is right. It is a higher understanding that allows us to relate to one another. To say, “we are different and that is not something that should separate us, but rather something that should bring us together in order to learn more and become more as people.”

That is all for today, thank you for reading my blog, if anyone has heard of WLC and is on the fence about attending I highly recommend that you do. For more information visit the SLI (Student Leadership Institute).

Stay awesome!


Just Do You

Blue, red, and green are my favorite colors. I like the hit AMC show The Walking Dead. I have a huge passion for soccer, but also like to play many other sports. Can you relate? If not, no worries because those are things that I personally like. You may agree with me that soccer is the greatest sport in the world or you may disagree, and that’s all okay. Today, I’m going to be writing about being yourself.

Many times in life, I have felt as if I had to act a certain way in order to be accepted. I thought that if I talked a certain way and wore clothes that were popular then people would like me. Yet, when I would go home and be in my room alone I knew that the person I was pretending to be was far from who I actually was. This year at DePaul has been a very explorative one for me. I have joined several clubs and have taken part in numerous activities from D.A.B. to intramural soccer. I recently told a friend of mine that I am trying to figure out what I like, the type of people I want in my life, and the way I want my life to go. Whenever anyone has asked me about this year I usually begin by listing all the clubs I am in. This is usually followed with something like “wow you’re a busy person.” I think that’s kind of funny because I think of myself as more of a confused person than a busy one. The reason I go to so many groups and am in all these clubs, aside from the fact that they’re fun, is simply because I need to figure myself out. Which is awesome because it leads to exposure to different people and different ideas, which eventually leads to me deleting or accepting new ways of thinking. Year number two at DePaul is going pretty awesome for me, so far.

So now I think about the people around me. What I see on Facebook, what my friends tell me, and what I hear people talking about with their friends leads me to a realization. No one has any sort of idea of what is going on. That may sound bad at first but allow me to elaborate. 

As confused as I feel with certain things, my parents have seen it all, or at least have seen more than me. When I think that something I’ve experienced is crazy, insane, and has never happened to anyone else my parents laugh and tell me a story of their past. They offer advice to me and even understand that I have to make my own mistakes in order to grow. That’s what I mostly hear from others too. “I did (insert awesome story here) because I wanted to try it.” There should be no judgment or wagging of the finger, there should just be understanding and acceptance. That goes for mistakes as well as good experiences because we have to make mistakes in order to learn and we have fail in order to succeed. For my parents, they accept me for who I am. As for who I actually am, well that’s still being discovered little by little every single day. There is one thing that’s certain, and that is that I am just doing me. Living every day the way I want to and not allowing anything, or anyone, to prevent me from trying something new. In the end, our choices are what define us and I would rather be known as the awesome guy that went skydiving than the guy who said he was going to do it but “never had the time.” 

Thanks for reading my blog, as always stay awesome!


Back to The Future and New Years

Three, two, one, “Happy New Year!” Went everyone as we all embraced in hugs, high fives, and even kisses.

2015 is officially here, or as some of my friends joked, year number -3 since the world “ended” in 2012. With the arrival of the New Year comes new ideas, inventions, events, and more! However, only six days into the New Year and there are already many anticipations. Several of these come from Back to The Future 2.

As the 80’s were coming to an end, the brilliant minds of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale had to think of what the world would look like in the 21st century. Their ideas consisted of flying cars, auto fit clothing, skateboards that hover, and more. The 1989 film to this day has been a fan favorite and a must see. It has made the year of 2015 famous before people could even say goodbye to 2014. Though many of the fictional inventions have a ways to go, it is always a great feeling to leave an old year behind and have 365 new days ahead.

I am excited to make 2015 a great year and cannot wait to see the Cubs win the World Series (Back to The Future). I hope everyone has had a great winter break and is ready to start the New Year on a good note!

Thank you for reading my blog and always stay awesome!


Chill Blog

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday. I hope you have had your coffee for the day and are ready to tackle the stress of a new week.

No matter what you may have planned for this week there are a few “highs” to look forward to like Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Even though both of these events are right around the corner, it may seem like ages before any sort of relaxation may come your way.

To help pass the time, here are three videos that will hopefully make you laugh, cry tears of joy, and relax you a little bit until Thanksgiving.

Thank your for reading my blog and as always stay awesome!

Thanksgiving Tick Tock Clock Countdown: 1 day 8 hours 50 minutes and 18 seconds

View the 3 videos below:


Finals Week: Resources and Tips

Finals week, we all knew it was coming. The weeks were passing by and those dreadful exams, projects, and papers got closer and closer. 

The holidays are just around the corner, but between some delicious turkey and us lies the moment of truth, did we learn anything in our courses? Hopefully you have and your finals will be a breeze, but I know even though I may study and be well prepared for my finals, I still get nervous. Something I like to tell myself is, “everything will be okay and failing this test will not be the end of the world.” That usually helps calm my nerves a bit, and then I can focus better and doubt myself less during my exam. However, tests are not the only thing most people have to worry about. Along with the exams, there are usually major projects due and/or papers. So for those long nights ahead, here are some places you can go to rest in peace. I mean, study in peace.

One place to check out is the CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry) office located in suite 104 in the student center in LPC. They will be open every day from 9am – 9pm, aside from Friday (9 am – 5pm), and anyone is welcome to come in, sit on the very comfortable couches, and work. Granted the couches are extremely comfortable so you might fall asleep, but the invitation is there. 

DAB will also be hosting a finals study session in the LPSC (Lincoln Park Student Center) room 120 on November 23rd starting at 3pm. Just like CCM, this event is open to all students, but wait there’s more! Right outside of room 120 there will be a tea bar and free massages to help relieve some of the stresses of finals. 

Another thing to remember is the library will be open 24 hours starting November 18th and throughout the rest of finals. So, whether it’s at CCM on a comfy couch, with DAB and free massages, or just at the library in your favorite study spot I wish everyone good luck during this finals week and may we all pass our classes!


Thank you for reading my blog today and as always stay awesome.

Thanksgiving Tick Tock Clock Countdown: T-minus 7 days, 10 hours, 3 minutes, and 39 seconds 


Get Involved!

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Today I will be writing about getting involved at DePaul. “Get involved” I am sure many of you have heard this before whether it was at orientation here at DePaul, from a speaker, or someone else. I am here to let you know, it is true! 


There's a fairly new app that is trending around college campuses called “Yik Yak” and on this app I see too many post about individuals not having friends, no events to go to, etc. Aside from Yik Yak, I recently looked up DePaul University on Google, because I was bored, and found that we actually have a Yelp page dedicated to us. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Yelp is a website where consumers can post reviews about a certain business, store, and now apparently schools too. While scrolling through the reviews, I saw a person post about how angry they were with the experience they had here at DePaul and I was shocked! This user gave DePaul a 1 out of 5 star rating and posted a very long and descriptive review of how DePaul let them down. 


I will not go into specifics, but one thing I noticed when reading the review was that this user was a commuter and not involved. In case you didn't notice, I am a HUGE advocate of DePaul University and am enjoying my experience here greatly. So to see a review like this, I had to take a step back and really think.

DAB: Michael Uslan Event
Michael Uslan speaking at DePaul - One of the many events held by DAB

The realization I came to was that if it was not for all the clubs and organizations that I am a part of my experience here would suck, and that decision to become more than just a student has to come from the individual themselves. DePaul supplies the resources but you have to supply the motivation. 

So to those who feel as though they have no friends, no plans, and nothing to do I challenge you to look on OrgSync and join random clubs. Cause the only way your experience will become better is if you take that extra step. If you are the type of person who needs an invitation to something or else you won't go, then consider this my invitation to you! I will be including a list of a few events going on that I will be at. If you see me do not hesitate to walk up and say “hi,” I love people and even more than that I love making new friends! 


Events:


  • Catholic Campus Ministry(CCM)

    • Food for Thought – Friday 11/14/14 1:15pm LPCSC 104

  • DePaul Activities Board(D.A.B.)

    • General Board meeting – Monday 11/10/14 5pm LPCSC 220

  • Ray Meyer Fitness Center

    • Intramural Sports registration for winter quarter teams starting

  • DAB

    • Mockingjay premiere event – 11/21/14 – time: TBA

  • OrgSync link: https://orgsync.com/login/depaul-university?redirect_to=%2Fhome%2F413


Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome.


Thanksgiving Tick Tock Clock Countdown: T-minus 16 days, 8 hours, 45 minutes, and 42 seconds


Post Midterms

​There's no better week than week 7. Midterms are over, a few classes may not have as much homework because class time was used for the exams or presentations, and students everywhere can take a big sigh of relief. Well…at least for three more weeks we can. 

Yes, midterms may be over and Halloween just happening may have you thinking about the holidays already, but you can't clock out just yet! 

I personally find the post-midterm era of courses to be very interesting. In some classes there are students that have decided to pursue new studies and others students have a new boost in their confidence. 

 
The post-midterm era is something I thought would be cool to write about after the things I have experienced personally and seen in other people. For example, last year after spring quarter midterms the universe decided to become really awesome. The weather became amazing, the birds came back to chirp, and spring love was in the air with summer not too far away. But where was I? Staring at all of it from behind my class window. Indeed it can be very easy to stop worrying about classes after midterms. In some classes, I have even seen what I feel can only be described as: “The Post-Midterm Apocalypse.”  This is when the population of the class goes from 30 to 10 within a day. It is very easy to do many things online nowadays as about 90% of what I need from my courses can be found on D2L. However, it is still important to lug yourself to class and to finish strong. Mainly for two reasons. One: you will do better in your class, that B could be a B+ or even an A- as long as you finish strong, and two: after all the stress, coffee, work, and insomnia (not the cookies) the reward of lying in bed and having nothing to worry about will be that much more satisfying! 

Thank you for reading my blog today, as always stay awesome and have a good day!


Falalala Not Yet

​Jingle bells, snow, reindeer, and more! Christmas is almost here! Wait, let's not forget Thanksgiving. 

If you're like me or most of the people I know, then you are probably used to everyone jumping from Halloween straight to Christmas. I remember when I was younger, I would always tell my mom that it wasn't fair and that people were “bullying” Thanksgiving. To this day I stick to my pro-Thanksgiving mindset because it is not fair to skip the one holiday that is all about eating. 

Maybe there's more to it, but all in all I know I look forward to having a giant turkey on my table surrounded by a variety of side dishes. This is including, but in no way limited to, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and mac and cheese. Aside from the main feasting day, there's always so much food left over that it practically lasts all the way to Christmas. The way I look at Thanksgiving is this: most other mammals hunt for food and store it for the long winter (ex. squirrels and their acorns) so I think Thanksgiving is the human way of storing food, at least long enough till Christmas arrives.  

 

To conclude this Thanksgiving spiel I introduce an addition to my weekly blog. I call it “Thanksgiving Tick Tock Count Down”, in which every week I will give the exact time left until Thanksgiving! 

Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome,

Thanksgiving Tick Tock Countdown: T-minus 21 days, 7 hours, 52 minutes, and 39 seconds. 


HALLOWEEEEEEEN Muahaha

​The shadowy figure in the corner of your eye, the giggle you hear at night, or the monster under your bed. Welcome to my blog everyone and happy Halloween! 

Oh ‘tis the season to be scared (for fun of course). Halloween is an interesting holiday with quite the history. The origin of dressing up and getting candy actually stems from people wanting to be “mistaken” for a ghost or ghoul so the dead would not hurt them. The sweets came from people offering goods as a trade for safety from the ghouls. 

 
However, fast forward 2000 years and it is now a goofy holiday were children get a little spooked and hopped up on sugar rushes. Yet little do they know about the true origins of it. So, while you're out this Halloween dressed up in whatever spooky costume you have, remember that the dead might be out with you. 

Thanks for reading my blog, stay awesome, and stay spooky. 


May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

​Refresh the page, click the link, go to winter 2014-15, and repeat! Sound familiar? Well if you're like me, you have probably been stressing over enrolling for classes in the winter quarter. Yes, the course cart becomes available weeks in advance to the enrollment date, but many of the classes have yet to be listed and many more have yet to even have a professor assigned to them. In fact even up until the night before my enrollment day, all but one of my targeted courses had a “TBA” in the room column and a “STAFF” notice for the professor column. This, as you can probably figure, was nerve wrecking for me leading me to stress over my classes. Now I am enrolled for my first choices for winter quarter, and I can look back at my “method” of course stalking and laugh. 

So what's my method? Well I am glad you asked, it's very simple you see:

1.) Attack - Course Cart becomes available and within the first few days I must look at the courses listed for the quarter and pick the dream schedule, which since most classes do not have professor names or rooms, usually depends on times.

2.) Search – Keep an eye for emails from professors and departments that might tell you of a class you had not seen online. If interested refer to step 1 and attack it. 

3.) Hawk – Keep checking your course cart as much as you check your MySpace, wait, I meant Facebook. That's right, you have to be addicted to the point where it is just second nature to check your course cart every single day until you see information containing the professor or the location. 

4.) CIA – So now it's been a good amount of time and the professors are finally listed with their corresponding course. So you can relax right? Wrong!
Go to: http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/campusRatings.jsp?sid=1389​ and do your homework on the listed professor. I like to think of it as a background check to make sure I'm getting the right teacher for me. 

5.) A to B – So you found out your professor is a 1.2 out of 5, but it's okay because in A to B you make a backup list of courses you're interested in just in case something goes wrong with your first plan. 

 
6.) Tick – Tock – Everything is good now all your courses are in your cart, you CIAed your professors, and all you have to do is wait until your enrollment time. False, you should wait until 5 minutes before your enrollment time and refer to the “refresh, click link, go to quarter” method I mentioned earlier in order to make sure that none of the course you want get closed. In that case, please refer to step 5. 

7.) Now you have all your courses done and you are enrolled. The last step is very simple, write a blog about it and be prepared for all the “thank yous” you will receive for helping everyone out. 

Thank you for reading my blog today! I hope my advice helps you in your endeavors to get your courses. 

As always stay classy, stay awesome, and for enrollment week, may the odds be ever in your favor. 


Catholic Campus Ministry

​Hello everyone and welcome again to my blog. 

Today I will be sharing my experiences at CCM, Catholic Campus Ministry. CCM is full of awesome people, food, and events. I heard about CCM my first year at DePaul but I never joined anything until this year. 

I went to the kick off mass earlier this year and was greeted by a bunch of members. Everyone had a smile on their face and was super friendly, I have never felt more welcomed. Father Memo Campuzano was energetic and awesome during mass. After the kick off mass, I was called by Piotr another member of CCM who invited me to join a small group on Wednesdays. The group has grown from a few guys to around ten now. 

 
I would highly recommend anyone looking to join a club or organization to check out CCM. The “headquarters”, as I like to call it, is in the student center just across from the chapel. If for some reason you can't find it, just follow the smell of food that is not coming from the second floor. CCM has been awesome to me so far and I look forward to meeting more people and continuing my adventures with them as the year progresses. 

That's all for today, as always stay classy and stay awesome. 


Check Out Chicago

​New shoes, new friends, new weather, new schedule, and did I mention a new year? Hello everyone, welcome back to a new year at DePaul, and welcome back to the DeBlogs - the best place to see what is up on campus, around Chicago, and more! Today I will be writing about my adventure to Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. 
 
Let me begin by saying that it is completely free! You can see animals such as rabbits, chipmunks, coyotes, and more. The pond has lily pads in it and reflects the sky in a romantic way that would be perfect for anyone trying to impress their significant other and keep their wallet happy at the same time. The pond has a rich history and walking through the cobblestone path you may believe that everything in the area is natural, but it's not. To my surprise, while learning about the history of the area from a staff member, I found out that it was all man made. 
 
If you are trying to find the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, you want to head east on Fullerton going towards the lake. It is on the north side of the street just before Lincoln Park Zoo. The workers there are extremely nice and greet everyone with a smile. If you like photography or just want to get a nice profile picture for your Facebook, it’s the place to go. There is even a little patio type area made of wood where you can read, meditate, eat, or plan your first kiss. Remember this is all for the low price of free! So if you are in the area please do check it out - you will not regret it.  

Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome. 

My First Freshman Summer

Music, beaches, dancing, barbecues, fun in the sun, and more! Sound familiar? It is summertime everyone and I could not be more excited.

To begin this summer of 2014 I must first say goodbye to my first year at DePaul. There have been many great memories this first year for me such as my spring trip to St. Louis with my Mazza group, filming with my CDM friends, and just plain old hanging out on the quad. I remember my first day on campus for orientation and how nervous I was. So many people were walking around, talking, trying to figure out what was going on and where to go next. The rush of it all was a memory I will never forget.

Fast forward a few months to meeting people in my classes and hanging out with them in and out of class. One of the greatest decisions I made my first year was getting involved with as many things as I could. I was involved with DeBlogs, OMSS, STARS, I shot short films with friends, and just spent time on campus. I've heard many things about the future of my college career and what to expect, such as harder classes, but I am excited to continue my education at DePaul and I could not have asked for a better intro year.

I'm Josue Angel Ortiz, sophomore at DePaul University, stay awesome my friends! ​​​

Tips for Finals Week

Finals, that's all I can say and that's all I can think about. Finals here, finals there! What am I going to do? Well, here are a few tips to stay relaxed during some of the most stressful times of your life:

Number one:

Do you have a dog? Dogs have scientifically been proven to relieve stress in people. In fact, DePaul offers a fun activity called “Canines on Campus” were they bring dogs onto the quad and let students pet them and play with them. Not a dog person? No worries!

Number two:

Surround yourself with cool, fun people that will help you relax not add to the pressure and stress you already have. Friends are important and if you need someone to sing you a goodnight song, well they might just be the one. Don't like people? Once again you are in luck!

Number three:

Take five minutes out of your study time to enjoy something. Click away from your d2l tab and watch a funny YouTube video or buy one of those battery powered massage items and put it on your back. Don't want to take time away from your studies? Well you are again in luck!

Number four:

Set a goal for yourself. What are you going to do after midterms? Make plans with friends, family, loved ones for a super, awesome fun day of awesomness. Go out to eat at a fancy restaurant, go to an amusement park, or a road trip. You are in college my friend, the opportunities are endless!

None of these work out for you? Well, I tried. A for effort? I wish my professors believed in that.

Thank you - as always my name is Josue A. Ortiz. Keep it classy, keep it awesome, and most importantly, keep it as stress free as possible.

Professor Help

“Help me I'm failing!” Ever screamed that out to yourself before, or thought it while trying to study for a class? No need to worry! For the first time in my college career I found myself looking for a little extra guidance for my class. It was my Intro to Computer Scene class and I was working on this one problem that for some reason I could not figure out. I had spent 8 hours working on it and had three different files saved that were attempts to complete the problem and yet, nothing. When I fixed one thing a different thing got messed up, or when I tried a new method I got an error. Needless to say, the whole thing was a disaster.

So I did what any good student should do, I gave up.

Just kidding.

I submitted what I had and told my professor if I could meet with him for some help. Even though I was getting a bad grade on the assignment I still wanted to know how to solve it for future reference. So I made an appointment with him during his office hours and we met, worked out the problem, and I learned. Moral of the story, do not ever be afraid to ask for help and get some extra assistance whether it be from a tutor, the professor, or anyone else. Failing sucks, but it can be prevented.

Thank you for reading my blog as always stay happy, stay cool, stay passing, and of course stay awesome!

Josue Angel Ortiz


Friendly Advice

Hello all, I hope everyone is having a great day. This week I'd like to take this blog and use it to offer some helpful advice for my fellow peers. Now I know that we all have different ways of strategizing our courses, but what I want to say is take your easier courses in the spring and the more challenging courses in the fall or winter.

This helpful tip was given to me a bit too late for my first year, but I will be sure to use this strategy in my second year at DePaul. Taking your more challenging courses in the fall or winter is overall easier than in the spring for this reason; in the fall most students are coming back from a long summer of either working, hanging out, or just catching up on all the sleep they missed during the academic quarters. Therefore, you are more likely to feel motivated to challenge your mind with harder courses and get that thinking cap going again after its summer relaxation time. This is opposite in the spring, though. Instead, in the spring the weather is getting nicer, students are more likely to think about summer plans, and some friends might be out for break before you and want to hang.

This spring of my first year, I am taking more challenging courses in my current spring quarter and let me tell you something, it has been quite the challenge on me so far. Granted, I think I'm doing really well and I'm keeping up with the demands of my professors, but the beautiful(and lucky) nice weather we have had in Chicago lately makes me think beaches, soccer in the park, and water parks not homework, extra credit assignments, and midterms.

Needless to say, school should always be the first priority, I am just suggesting that those extra, super hard classes are taken while weather is cold and you want to stay home and be warm because it is easier than to stay with your books. Netflix is always there...but that's a whole other blog to write.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Stay classy, stay smart, and as always stay awesome.

Josue A. Ortiz


#BringBackOurGirls

You might have seen them on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook - #Bring Back Our Girls or #Real Men Don't Buy Girls. If you are like me, earlier this week you might have been looking to find out what this is all about and why it has caused such an uproar. I will explain the situation to the best of my abilities in this blog. This recent viral hashtag is a result of the kidnapping of 300 girls from a school in Chilbok, Borno Nigeria. The group that has claimed to have committed this act of terror calls themselves Boko Haram.  This phrase is from the local Huasa language of North Central Africa and loosely translates into Western education is a sin.

To understand the story better, it is important to know some background information on the Boko Haram. They were established in 2002 by Mohammad Yusuf, an Islamist. They were at first focused on social change and blamed the poverty of the north on government neglect. The group believed itself to be discriminated against because of its Muslim beliefs as opposed to the southern region of Nigeria that is predominately Christian. In 2009, Yusuf was taken by authorities and was executed on video; this footage would later go viral and cause the Boko Haram group to step up their campaign.

The now more aggressive Boko Haram group went on to commit extreme acts of terrorism in Nigeria. These acts ranged from an explosion at a bus terminal in Abuja, Nigeria that killed 71 people and injured 124 to the most recent kidnapping of 300 female students. Though the group has a strong hatred against the Christian south, most of its victims have been Muslims from the north. The reason for this is that the group believes the traditional Muslim leadership is corrupt and therefore wants to replace it. The main goal of the group is to establish an Islamic state in the north under Shariah Law.

Shariah Law is the extreme, conservative law of Islam.  Examples of these laws include: theft being  punishable by amputation, women not being allowed to drive, a woman who has been raped cannot testify against her rapist in court, and so on.

Back to the kidnapping of 300 female students, we can see how the Boko Haram group would commit such an act as this. They are extremists rebelling against the ways of the west and trying to keep their religious ideals alive. In fact, a saying of theirs is Government of the people by the people and for the people will be destroyed and replaced by government of Allah by Allah and for Allah. One of the issues with the Nigerian government addressing the Boko Haram group is that whenever they have a lead witness that can help, the witness will often turn up dead the next day. This has led to the government attacking and killing many innocent people in an attempt to stop the group, leading  to an increase of participation by citizens in the Boko Haram.

The girls that were kidnapped ranged from the ages of 16 19 years old and were studying science courses, law courses, and more. The students all gathered at a school in Chibok, Borno to take their final exams and it was then they were attacked. It is said that 53 girls have escaped the group but 276 still remain hostages. The Boko Haram group has said that the girls will be sold into the marketplace and as wives to the jihadist members in their group.

As a result, the United States, Great Britain, and other countries have begun discussion on how to aid the Nigerian government to bring back these girls. People all over the world have begun to post pictures, tweets, and more on social websites to get the word out about this terrible incident. Celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and Ashton Kutcher are using their fame to help get the word out too. It is important at this time that we all come together no matter who we are or where we are from, to help this cause in any way possible. Every effort no matter how small makes a difference, I am just a college student at DePaul University writing a blog, but I am giving what I can to this cause and I ask for everyone who reads this to please keep the word going and keep the spirit of #BringBackOurGirls alive during this difficult time.

My thoughts and prayers are out there for these victims and there families. I look forward to the day our girls come back and to the day the Boko Haram is just a history lesson. Thank you for reading my blog and please spread the word.

#BringBackOurGirls

#RealMenDontBuyGirls

Thank you,
Josue A. Ortiz

Works Cited
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/nigerian-schoolgirl-describes-abduction-terrified-to-go-back-to-school-1.2639024
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/boko-haram-the-group-behind-the-brazen-nigerian-schoolgirl-kidnappings-1.2633899
http://www.billionbibles.org/sharia/sharia-law.html
http://socialtimes.com/real-men-don%E2%80%99t-buy-girls-youtube-campaign-takes-on-sex-slavery_b57152

Easter Blog

​Eggs, candy, days off from school, and of course the bunny! Easter is a great holiday that I personally enjoy especially when the weather is as awesome as the holiday itself. Like this Easter, I went out with family, enjoyed the sun, and had some food. Though all these things themselves are great let us not forget the real reason Easter is celebrated and that is the resurrection of Christ. 

 
On previous Easters I had done church, basket giving, eggs, the whole bunch, but this Easter I experienced something really cool and worth knowing about. What I am talking about is The Shrine of Christ's Passion in ST. John, Indiana. At our arrival we were greeted by a giant statue of the Virgin Mary and a fountain that gave a cool, relaxed feeling to the place. I immediately took out my phone and started taking pictures everywhere of everything. We proceeded into the gift shop of the shrine, which was also the entrance to the walkway, and went to the back to exit. There were a few tables set up for people to eat lunch and enjoy themselves on an outdoor patio. We continued and the first thing we saw was Jesus sitting in the middle of a table holding bread and wine with seats surrounding him. It represented the last supper.

 
The walkway continued to show different moments of the stages of the cross from when Jesus fell to his crucifixion. Not sure if this is true, but I was told that the walkway was measured to the actual distance Jesus had to walk. For whatever it is worth let me just say that my family and I were pretty tired after walked it. The overall experience was great and the shop had a lot of great things to get from cheap key chains, to fancy little models of the last supper. All profits go to helping the area remain open and continue providing its free services to people. If you ever get the chance to go to the Shrine of Christ's Passion, I HIGHLY recommend you do, preferably on a day with nice weather. 

 
Hope you all had a good Easter, stay classy, stay awesome.

Josue Angel Ortiz  

Daffy Duck and Normal

​On Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, there are often posts that make me laugh, inspire me, or make me sad. A post I just recently saw talks about friends and being normal. The picture features Daffy Duck from the Looney Tunes and he says: “I couldn't ask for better friends...More normal ones maybe!!! But, what fun would that be?” 
 
Aside from the awesome awesomeness of Daffy Duck in the picture, I was interested by the quote. The reason being is that from childhood to high school, I was always told things like “reach for the stars,” “be unique,” etc.,giving me the awesome spirit that I have to this day. Yet, as much as I was told this, I find it hard to believe in some ways. My senior year, I asked peers of mine why exactly they wanted to go to college. The answers were a variety of “better opportunities,” “more money in a job,” and “to learn more.”

So, this made me think: Am I just going with the crowd? The answer I have come up with is, yeah, I am. At least now I am, in a way, because when the opportunity arises for me to be more than normal, I take it. Something I have heard quite a few people say is that they believe they are nothing special, and that out of 7 billion people in the world, what difference can they really make?

Well, as much as I wish I could make everyone believe they are special, I can't, and so I turn to my blog for help. I want everyone to realize that we do make a difference and our presence in this world has a meaning. If you don't believe your existence is valuable, then I challenge you to look around your world, your life, and the people you know. Think about how they interact with you and how a portion of their life is you. Everyone is special and everyone is awesome-don't ever forget that.

Bringing this blog back to Daffy, I always think about what my perception of “normal” is.I have come to the idea that normal is something kind of like me. Since I think I'm awesome if someone else is similar to me, I would be drawn to them because I think that they act normally. But, if they are not like me, and they do things I'm not used to, then that makes them cool and not normal, in my opinion, because it shakes things up.

So, my friends, I hope that you always remember that you're awesome, you're unique, and don't be normal because, like Daffy says, “What fun would that be?” 

St. Louis, You're Alright

​I hope everyone had a good spring break. I know we are now entering the second week of our lovely spring quarter and I thought that I might share my experience in St. Louis with my readers. This blog is titled “St. Louis, You're Alright.” I titled it this because I got to see two sides of St. Louis when I went there. One was the tourist side with visits to several restaurants, The Arch, and a few museums. The other side I got to see was the many different faces of St. Louis citizens that were homeless or needed assistance in some way. My group stayed at The Bridge where many individuals go as guest to eat and enjoy the company and service provided by The Bridge. 

 
Beside the glorious Arch, Busch Stadium, and the really cool graffiti wall in St. Louis, there are many shelters and services that are provided for people that need help. One of these was the women's shelter that housed single mothers that needed help providing for themselves and their children. That day our group went was a day filled with smiles, laughs, and positive energy. I remember walking in and we were taken into this conference room where we watched a video that talked about the goals of the women's shelter. After the video our group began getting split into different, smaller groups so we could work on various things. My group was in charge of washing the windows in the building and we cleverly title ourselves the “WWC” - Window Washing Crew.

Our crew did it all. We went from the first floor to the second floor, cleaning every single window in sight. Things got a bit tricky on the second floor with some secret, hidden windows but they were no match for our crew. We kept washing away until every single piece of dust on a window had been wiped up by our rags. The lady that assigned our roles laughed at our methods and engaged in our goofy conversations, creating a more comfortable feel to our working environment.

At the end of our day, we went back to the front room on the first floor and met up with the rest of the scholars. Then a baby and her mother came by and everyone's attention was focused on them. The infant walked around gazing at us giants with her big puppy eyes. She spoke very well and even learned to give people high fives. 

 
As our group left the shelter, we found ourselves still thinking about the shelter and the amazing things it was doing for its residents. That shelter was a life saver for many and a sign of hope for even more. We decided to use some of our tourist time to go to a Target and get as much toiletries as possible. We returned the next day with our large Target bags and a message to the shelter to keep doing what they were doing. We saw our little friends again and gave them high fives once more.

St. Louis, you are pretty cool city. You have a good baseball team, nice malls, good restaurants, but most importantly, you’ve got spirit. Don't get me wrong, I love Chicago with all my heart, but I don't know - there's just this feel to St. Louis that I can't get over. So, for now, I say stay classy St. Louis and keep doing what you're doing.​

The Perspective Blog

​Perspective is quite an interesting topic. For example, one person is being robbed and another person intervenes by attacking the robber. However, the victim runs away and now a random citizen walks by only to see a man beating up another man for no reason. That man might intervene to save the robber not knowing the incident that occurred five seconds before. As much as we think that we know what is going on, the truth is we don't. We only know what people tell us or what we can identify for sure. I can walk down the street in baggy clothes with my pants sagging and my laces undone and people will observe me a certain way, but then I can change into super tight clothing and put on makeup and now I am something else. Perspective creates issues but it is essential in creating order. 

 
During times of elections there is always tons of propaganda; this guy said this and that lady said that so on. Yet, with all these commercials, flyers, and buttons going around, do we even really know anything about our candidates? I would say no, not at all. In fact, this candidate could say one thing and actually feel completely differently. We do not see these people wake up in the morning or hang out in their house, so our perspective of them is only what they want us to know. Now this isn't a bad thing either because I wouldn't exactly feel comfortable knowing what pajamas Obama wears to bed.

The reason I decided to write about perspective today is because I have been getting bombarded with flyers, junk mail, and candidate supporters lately due to the campaigns for state representative. I appreciate the work from all the candidates to campaign their name as much as possible, but some of the stuff can get a bit silly sometimes. To conclude this blog I just want to say to anyone interested in politics, law, or really just in life, that you should always remember that your perspective is one of many. Be critical in this information sharing age of ours and remember that everyone and everything has something about them that you may not know.

Thanks again, stay awesome!​