This is by no means a plug for Amazon, rather just a college student fascinated by the conveniences modern technology is able to revolutionize constantly. Amazon Prime was something I thought I would never give into, simply because I thought it was a hyped service. Then, I signed up for the free six-month trial available for students, which in itself is a pretty good amount of time for a trial. My six months are about to expire and I am contemplating on whether I should renew the membership for the student discount of fifty dollars for the year, which is half-off the normal rate.
The first thing to know with Prime is that their deals are not always a deal. It would be wise to search other sites or stores before buying a discounted item through Amazon. However, there are some pretty good bargains from time to time. Prime was able to persuade me to buy something I did not necessarily need, such as the Versace Eros Eau De Toilette Spray that was too tempting at 65% off, or roughly a hundred dollars off from its retail value. Another purchase I made was for my new apartment room. Once again, kind of unnecessary, but I was able to snag a leather bed frame that included sideboards, headboard, footboard, and wooden slats for a hundred and forty. The next day, the price jumped to its retail value of two hundred and ten dollars. A key feature to Prime is the free two-day delivery with Prime items. I’ve had things shipped to me that took two months, so the two-day benefit becomes quite handy in situations such as when you desperately need school supplies or textbooks.
With your Prime subscription comes the feature of Prime Now , which is free two-hour delivery from local restaurants and grocery stores. I’ve used this app a few times, ordering things such as Greek yogurt, vegetables, and even TGI Fridays once. But beware; this will ultimately culminate into a more solitary lifestyle where one will never have to leave the comfort of their home again. Okay, that may have been an extreme exaggeration, but it does hold some truth in it. I mean there were times I said to myself, “why make the trek to an Aldi or Target and haul the gallon of milk or cartons of eggs when I could have it brought to my doorstep.” That is why I limit myself to only purchasing items I prefer, that I cannot find at the Aldi by me, such as a certain nonfat Greek yogurt. I hope you try the trial yourself, for Prime is a college student’s life saver .
Upon moving in, I quickly realized the benefits, and drawbacks, from renting an apartment off-campus.
What I like thus far is definitely having the luxury of your own bedroom. The room itself is about the size of the four-person dorm I roomed in freshman year, so to say the privacy and space is appreciated would be an understatement. The living room is the size of the entire room of the two-person apartment of Centennial I was in last year. These comparisons are not meant to downsize DePaul’s living accommodations, but more so to brag about how lucky we were to find this huge apartment. Living off-campus, you also get the sense of having more independence and less supervision - whether that supervision came in the form of checking into your building or having cameras on you wherever you go. However, where there are pros there are cons.
The first thing to note is the location. Yes, Lakeview is a very nice neighborhood and not far north, but it still does not compare to living on campus where I would leave five minutes prior to when my class starts in Lincoln Park or having the Ray and CTA trains conveniently located minutes away. Another downside is the monthly expenses you have to set up and pay for. Cable, Internet, heating, AC, electricity, water, laundry, and printers are all provided on the room and board expenses. As of now, we only have Wi-Fi in our apartment. No TV channels, pay $1.25 a load for laundry, and the electricity bill. For our place, water and heat are covered but the heat it is not controlled inside the units and is in the form of steam that comes from radiators. We also have no AC.
I realized I did not want to live at DePaul forever, and getting an apartment off-campus was ultimately the only option for me unless I commuted from home. I’m not advising as to which form of housing you should go for, but to look into the expenses for both.
It was a beautiful early summer night following a late night excursion to Oberweis. Rather than take the brown line back, I decided to walk - given the warmth and stillness that is otherwise rare during the day. Making my way south down Sheffield, I walked through an empty street lined with a set-up of tents. Turns out I was amidst the aftermath of the first day of Lincoln Park’s Greek Fest.
The next day, in between apartment showings, I thought it’d be a good time to check out the fest and maybe even taste some food from a different culture. Free admission…nice. Live music and dancing…nice. However, it is the food I am most focused on. Looking at the menu I notice the familiar gyros, but many others that are exotic. I kept true to my word of venturing from the familiar and asked someone what certain items are, such as moussaka, pastitsio, and spanakopita. I decided to go with the pastitsio, which can be described as Greek lasagna made with macaroni, ground beef and béchamel sauce. I thought the twelve-dollar price was typical for a festival, but the portion was not. Served with a side of rice, this was a fulfilling portion that should have been considered my dinner.
I was glad to have popped into Greek Fest, even if it was just for a quick meal. I made sure to visit at least one cultural fest this academic year since I missed Pilsen’s Mole De Mayo for the second year in a row. Word of advice, give up the burger and fries for a day, look for a festival in your area, find something on the menu you cannot pronounce, and order it.
Since I saw it on television years ago, I always wanted to visit Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen
in the Ravenswood
Community, so I finally made the effort up there since I now live not too far from there.
If you’re familiar with the Denver-based Casa Bonita, the one from South Park, this is pretty much its deli-sister. This place has it all; pierogis, cheeses, and you know there is an ample supply of sausage. However, the main attraction is the rooftop restaurant. Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, it was closed.
But, what I did not expect was running into another as seen on TV restaurant right across the street. Jerry’s is a restaurant that specializes in sandwiches, and I love me a good sandwich. From a college student budget, it can get a tad bit pricey, but you won’t be disappointed with whatever you decide on because these aren’t your brown sack lunch sandwiches your mom packed you for school.
Besides the food, the area is unlike anything I’ve seen in Chicago yet. The restaurants are nestled on a cozy, narrow street with a small-town atmosphere that brought me back to my hometown, except there is no fountain back home. If you want pure and good food, Gene’s and Jerry’s will satisfy a sandwich craving.
Although it has taken a while, warmer weather has finally set in, and just in time for finals. If you’re like me, then you have totally checked out and are finding it difficult to focus on school. I just want to go outside. After some time now, I realize that there are ways to do both.
First, take advantage of Chicago’s beaches. Most notable is North Avenue Beach
. This is my go-to choice because it is just a walk down Fullerton, and the walk itself can take off some of that stress. There is also Oak Street Beach and
even lesser known ones such as 12th Street Beach in the shadow of the Adler Planetarium. I remember my freshman year going to the beach was a weekly thing. Nothing helped me forget about my responsibilities like taking much-needed naps in the sand. These are also great opportunities to catch up on your reading as well.
Another spring habit was visiting the parks. Oz Park is
not too far the Lincoln Park campus and is my ideal spot for throwing around a Frisbee, and there is plenty of trees available to set up a hammock and study outside. Side note, the outdoor patio space on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center is open and I highly recommend checking it out. Pretty neat to eat or study amongst the high-rises.
But these are only suggestions to get started. If you want to find your own secluded spot where you can feel a moment of isolation in a bustling city, go on a walk. Whenever I choose to walk rather than take the CTA
, I am astounded by how very little I know about Chicago.
The most memorable moments from my freshman year was not the overall freedom of living away from home, but the concerts. I am not going to say I will look down upon anyone who hasn’t gone to a concert in Chicago, but I will say you are missing out. A few concerts I can remember:
If you have the means of getting there by car, I attend most concerts at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in
Tinley Park. Besides that venue, there are plenty of venues here in Chicago. As I mentioned before, I worked a basketball event at the Aragon Ballroom but definitely want to see a show there. I like to think I attend a good amount of concerts, but I am just scratching the surface. I have yet to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra ,
or some country band perform at Wrigley, Lollapalooza, Country LakeShake and so on.
of concerts, don’t forget to buy your tickets for DePaul’s FEST
Well it happened. I will soon have to say goodbye to my Centennial apartment. After trying to get a two-person studio amidst the mad rush of applying for on-campus housing, I was not fortunate enough to snag a place at Centennial
, or anywhere for the matter. So, where do I go now?
I have now accepted the fact I will have to live off campus next year, and I am perfectly okay with that. However, I am not sure about the whole process. I do remember a workshop within EDGE Program that pertained to finding apartments, but I threw away all of the sheets and notes I was given.
Luckily, DePaul does offer guidance when it comes to searching for off-campus housing and not just on-campus. In fact, there is a website committed to just this reason. At this link
, there is an interactive experience dedicated to finding that special place to call home. The listings here are rich with details, but can be a tad bit pricey. There is also apartments.com
to expand your options.
As for myself, I have just begun the process. I’ll come back to this subject once, or if, I find an apartment for the next few years.
As I mentioned before, I have an intermittent job as a brand ambassador that I do on the side. Recently, I was offered to do a quick, one-day job for American Express x Uber at the United Center
during a Bulls game. With a high wage (not disclosing) for a short duration of six hours, I saw this as an easy way of earning extra money.
The gist of the duties were simple; greet the Platinum rewards members who won the contest at the gates of the arena, walk them through the entrance along with the free amenities being provided to them, and gather them all up after the game for an exclusive meet and greet with a legendary Bulls player. My assignment was to man the gate, and guide the members through to their next step of receiving a complimentary snack box to enjoy during the game. I could not have been assigned an easier task. The interesting part of the job was the behind-the-scene access I was granted towards the United Center’s new atrium that now houses the Jordan statue. I was briefed on my responsibilities in the atrium’s office in a room called the Scottie Pippen office (hint for later on). After three hours of manning the gate, we brand ambassadors were given a short break where we were actually given some of the extra snack boxes, so a free lunch on top of my pay is always a plus.
Then, we were directed to the United Center’s Stadium Club where we would set up for the post-game event. Since I was not chosen to gather up the members, I was able to just relax even more in the Stadium Club and watch the Bulls overcome the Atlanta Hawks in the last remaining minutes of the game. All I had to now was to greet members into the meet-and-greet and check IDs. During that time, the Bulls legend Scottie Pippen
walked by. I admit a little excitement came over me but I had to keep composure while on the job. After everyone was inside, my responsibilities pretty much ceased. I was given the option to leave, but I stayed around longer hoping I could get a picture with Scottie or snag an extra complimentary jersey of his that were being handed. Unfortunately, I was not able to do either of the two, but nevertheless I enjoyed this one-day job, as I usually do with the other brand ambassador events.
When it came to that time of deciding which college I would attend, it was not an easy choice. Besides DePaul, I had applied to Marquette, Saint Louis University, Northern Illinois University, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My final two contenders ended up being DePaul and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but there are many reasons as to why I chose DePaul above all else.
First off, I wanted stay in-state and close to home so that I could visit family with ease. With DePaul being nestled in Chicago, I never have to drive. I just take the CTA to one of the few train stations that’ll lead me straight home. U of I does have a small train station, but I would’ve had to buy a car down there in order to get around the city. Whereas at DePaul, everything is in walking distance or accessible through train or bus. I also was considering my major in my decision. U of I has one the top accounting programs in the country, so needless to say I wanted to be a part of that. However, DePaul’s business school is nothing to overlook. Then, upon admission into the Strobel Accountancy Honors Program and the University Honors Program, in addition to the fact that DePaul’s class sizes are relatively small to huge lecture halls, I knew that I would receive more challenging and engaging coursework at DePaul.
One of the most prominent reasons I chose DePaul over U of I was with regards to financial aid. Down in Urbana-Champaign I was offered zero dollars. With DePaul, I received the Presidential Scholarship, accounting scholarship, a grant, and the exclusive EDGE award. Despite only covering a little over half of the total $52,000 cost of attending DePaul with on-campus housing, it was still cheaper than that state school.
These days I do wonder what could have been if I chose somewhere else rather than DePaul, but after only one year of attending, there is no way I could transfer out because DePaul’s roots in Chicago are just too appealing.
In order to get my money’s worth, I try to enroll in a two-credit class every quarter. I might as well if I am paying for eighteen credit hours. For the winter quarter I decided to take a five-week class that pertained to jazz in Chicago. I am a fan of nearly all types of music, but jazz is a genre I am not so familiar with.
First off, it was not only an interesting class, but easy as well with minimal work. Most classes we spent listening to jazz through CD’s or YouTube videos, or watching documentaries. The most engaging component of the class was Professor Joseph Cunniff’s requirement of attending the Chicago Jazz Showcase at the Dearborn Station
, not too far from the Loop campus. Founded by Joe Segal
, he has kept the showcase alive for seventy years now, with Joe still manning the entrance and collecting money. The showcase has seen many greats such as Count Basie and George Benson, and for a modest fee too. I paid around fifteen dollars because Cunniff has connections of course, having been in a jazz band himself. Whether you’re a fan of jazz or just curious and wa
nt to explore it more, this would be the prime location to hear good live music.
Rather than go to the conventional spring break scene where there is beaches and swimsuits, I decided to use my week off after a stressful winter quarter to take the time to unwind with beautiful scenery in Colorado
. With my sister living just outside Denver, this would be the first time visiting her since she moved out there last summer. It was also my first time going to a travel destination such as Colorado. The traditional vacation spots I’d travel to would be Wisconsin to visit family or Florida to escape the winter. I can become awestruck when viewing the Chicago skyline at moments, but my apologies to the city because there is no beauty quite like that of nature.Boulder
The day after I arrived my sister took my friend Miguel and I to our first hiking destination at the Flatirons rock
formations in Boulder, Colorado
. This was my first time hiking and since I like to think I am in decent shape I figured that it wouldn’t be too difficult. All I have to say now is be sure to bring a hydration pack because hiking is essentially the same as a stair climber at your gym. Depending on the trail the difficulty can vary, but nevertheless is it vital to pack water and snacks. After the sweat, the inevitable scrapes on your legs, and twisted ankles, the views are truly mesmerizing and indescribable. I don’t think I am afraid of heights but there were times when I was climbing rock formations off the path that I would realize that if I was to lose my grip and fall I would probably die, and that would make me a little light-headed and shaky.Colorado Springs
Despite a seven-hour hike, we figured it was best to do even more hiking the next day while the soreness in our legs that was bound to happen hadn’t kicked in yet. So, we went to the Garden of the Gods Park
, which was a strikingly different landscape from the Flatirons. Rather than green with pines and higher altitudes, there were rolling hills of red dust and rock. The hiking here wasn’t too challenging, but rather a scenic hike. There are plenty of sights to take in and smaller rock formations to climb on. The prime tourist attraction is the few towering rock formations that erect out of the overall flat landscape.
However, our time at Garden of the Gods was just a warm-up for the daunting task that was ahead. With a tentative group consensus, we decided to hike the Manitou Incline
, a .88 of a mile stair climb that elevates from approximately 2,000 feet to its highest peak of 8,590 feet. Hiking this in an hour and five minutes was honestly one of the greatest challenges in my life. Not only is it a massive stair climb, the sudden increase in elevation will get to you. While climbing, we would have to take a short minute breaks every fifty steps or so just when we were a quarter done with it. Once again, the effort pays off when you see the view at the top, and feel the sense of accomplishment.
And these were only the hikes, I did plenty of other less strenuous activities than I could never do in Chicago. I definitely plan on visiting Colorado again to try new trails, and yes, attempt the Incline again to see if I can beat my time.
For my HON 101
World Literature class I was given the opportunity to see a live-action rendition of Death of a Salesman
, the play we were analyzing in class. Aside from the extra credit affiliated with attending, or that Professor Williams hooked his students up free of charge, I was eager to see the play live since I was exposed to the play through text and film only. Regardless of the thirty dollar ticket, the Redtwist’s
version of Death of a Salesman
was riveting and unique.
Upon entry, I was notified that the theatre only seats about forty people. I liked the sound of that since it would imply that I would be pretty close to the actors, the stage, and that I could get a good view rather than having to observe from rows away. However, when actually stepping into the theatre I was shocked to see its setup. The room was long and narrow, with the seating around the perimeter of the set and props, meaning that the play would unfold at the center of everyone attending. Sure enough, when the play began the actors were only a couple of feet away from me, with every detail in their facial expression, every word in their speech clear. The setup of the theatre gave it a communal environment since other spectators were in your view and you were all sharing this unique moment.
Besides the setup, the actors were no less impressive. Our class was able to witness one of DePaul’s very own Zach De Nardi play the role of Happy Lowman with phenomenal execution. Located off the Bryn Mawr stop, Redtwist is a storefront theatre that will surely not disappointment.
As a part-time job I serve as a brand ambassador for different companies when given the opportunity. The most memorable event I worked was the Mountain Dew and NBA three-on-three basketball tournament that took place last summer. This was a nationwide tour, but it had a stop in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom. For three days I worked on the courts facilitating events such as skills challenges, three-point contests for the fans, and distributing prizes. Every now and then I would promote involvement and work alongside with NBA stars such as Gary Payton
and Frank Kaminsky
Given that the contests would only occur intermittently between basketball games, I was pretty much being paid to stand around and watch good basketball games while receiving some free Mountain Dew
along the way. I had a great time working with the NBA and Mountain Dew brand and look forward to working, or even just attending, any more Chicago promotions that are to come.
What’s become pretty much a tradition in my family is going the annual auto show in Chicago. Although my interest in cars is subtle because neither do I not drive with the commodity of free public transportation nor do I have the money to look for a vehicle of my own. However, the auto show is still something I look forward to and attend every year to burn a few hours out of a day.
Now I may sound like a cheapskate or some extreme couponer, but I take advantage of the auto show for the free stuff. The ticket price for an adult is thirteen dollars, however, you can expect a reasonable return on investment if you play your cards right. After one visit, I managed to get two ten-dollar gift cards and a fifty-dollar Visa gift card. There are plenty of small booths that offer a free game such as spin the wheel or shooting a puck at the Blackhawks
booth. Last year I recall my friend winning free White Sox
ticket at one of these games. This year however I took the time to sign up for the test drives that are offered to attendees. Granted that I did not actually drive the car (because I haven’t driven in years and don’t trust myself) but rather ride as a passenger, I still received a free gift card from Mazda
test drives. In addition the to the twenty dollars worth of gift cards, I received a fifty dollar Visa gift card from Ford.
So, if the presentation of innate automobiles doesn’t excite, then the opportunity of receiving free gift cards, money, and prizes surely should. If it does, make sure to visit the Chicago Auto Show
when it rolls around every year.
When you receive your bill for your quarterly tuition, you’re being charged for eighteen credit hours every time. Yet, most students only enroll for sixteen credit hours a quarter. Why? They may find five classes to be too overwhelming, or simply because they don’t know that there are courses worth less than four credit hours.
I did not know until recently that there are one and three credit hour classes. Regardless of that, some majors have at least a few two credit requirements. What I am getting at is that there are ways to fulfill eighteen credit hours every quarter and not doing so in a burdensome way.
After getting those two credit courses that are required out of the way it leaves you with freedom to explore subjects that outside of your major or even college. As an accounting major I was required to complete a professional business writing course as well as a career management class for accountants. With no other requirements to look towards I was able to search for some unconventional courses for a business student. I currently am taking a two credit course in the history of jazz
because I wanted to take a break from the formalities of business courses.
Some classes that intrigue me are the “PE” classes that are held at Lincoln Park’s Ray Meyer Center. These include basketball, volleyball, golf, or even actual fitness classes like weightlifting and conditioning. Imagine that, playing and studying a sport that you enjoy for credit. By fulfilling the full eighteen credits each quarter you increase your cumulated credit hours that slowly brings you closer to graduation. As a requirement for the Certified Public Accountant exam
, I am obligated to complete one hundred and fifty hours, and each additional two credit hour class brings me nearer. So, before you decide to burn the money that goes toward those two credits, take a look into different areas of study and see if there anything that interests you.
Perhaps one of the forgotten days with regards to its anxiety-inducing suspense, but stressful nevertheless, is your enrollment date. This is the day when you and many other students wait for the minutes to countdown until there is that mad rush when the enrollment button opens up. This is the day you either get that dream schedule of yours with classes that make your quarter flow smoothly or classes that tear your days apart. Yes, the procedure for class scheduling seems like a simple process, but what if your course cart schedule doesn’t go as planned before you even have the opportunity to enroll? There are some things to consider before you organize your class schedule.Honors Program
Surely any honors program may give off an intimidating connotation, but there is a certain advantage that comes with the challenging coursework. If you are in any honors program whether it’d be the University Honors Program, Strobel Accountancy Honors, Finance Honors, and so on, you’ll get the advantage of priority enrollment over non-honors students in your grade and all students below you. This comes in handy especially when you have those required core classes that are critical to graduating on time.Degree Progress Report
Beside D2L, I probably use this tool from DePaul the most. The degree progress report can be found on Campus Connect and primarily depicts the course structure for your major. However, the DPR can also make searching for classes a more efficient task by clicking the box of a requirement that will open up window providing details on that requirement. Clicking on “Course List” will open another window to show the courses offered in order to fulfill that requirement. Furthermore, clicking an individual course will lead you its description and sections offered where you can finally add it to your course cart or schedule. Advisors
As a twenty-one year old man I like to think I can do things myself. However, I’ve learned that even my judgments can be stubborn when it comes to class scheduling. I remember freshman year when I thought I had my schedule all figured out, taking a summer course and transferring it over to DePaul. Yet, there may be prerequisites affiliated with certain courses or some courses may only be offered during certain times of the year. I hadn’t noticed this until I met with my advisor to assist me with my schedule. She pointed out the flaws and how it would have actually hindered my future classes. Moral of the story is to get an outside perspective, preferably a professional one whose job is to advise students.Other details
When searching for courses, be sure to look for those small details I’ve mentioned above. Within course descriptions it will tell you if it has any prerequisites, where it is located, and usually who the professor will be. If not, you could schedule a Loop class back to back with a Lincoln Park class, or get denied at the enrollment time like I did when I tried to take a class that wasn’t available until I had junior status. Another thing, make sure to be caught up on all payments and have no withholdings otherwise all classes will get a red X at the time of enrollment.
Even if one of the courses you want is full you can still request to be put on waitlist and have the chance to be accepted if another student opts out. I was able to get into two or three courses this way thus far. Take into these consideration so that when the enrollment date comes the most difficult part will be waking up early enough for your time.
When it comes to desserts, donuts (or doughnuts?) are the pinnacle of sugary indulgences. Although I believe there is no such thing as a bad donut, there are surely some that stand above others. Do-Rite Donuts’
claim to fame is their technique of making donuts in small batches, never more than thirty-six at a time. Additionally, you have the option of selecting from gluten free and vegan donuts. Where can you find these little tastes of heaven? You can actually find these at the Student Center
where they are available for sale (and you can use your meal plan to buy them).
Nevertheless, if you want the full Do-Rite experience, you can choose between their two locations at 233 E. Erie St. (Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken) and 50 W. Randolph Street (
Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee)
. I’ve only been to one of the two, Do-Rite Donuts and Chicken. Although I got a small taste of the entire menu, I recommend anyone who stops by to try the Cheese Danish Donut and The Sweet Heat. The latter is something I’ve been dreaming of for years. There is a fried chicken patty between a glazed donut bun. I mean seriously, I could not think of a better duo other than donuts and fried chicken.
Don’t agree? Check out one of the two locations and become a believer yourself.
Being a private university, it comes as no surprise that DePaul has a higher tuition rate. Despite that, I chose DePaul because it was actually cheaper than my state school preferences after all the scholarships and grants they offered me. There are more scholarships out there other than what DePaul has to offer upfront when you’re an incoming freshman. In fact, there are scholarships that don’t even necessarily apply to your major and you can still be eligible. All scholarships, through DePaul and off campus funding can be found at DePaul’s Scholarship Connect.
Once you are a DePaul student the first step would be to visit DePaul’s scholarship website
. Here you will sign in with your usual Campus Connect username and password, and will be directed to the main page. This will show you all your active or submitted scholarship applications. In order to view what applications are currently open, go to the “Opportunities” and choose between “Ours” for DePaul scholarships or “External” for such. Also, there is a “Recommended” tab that will show a list of scholarships that are though to be your most compatible according to your major. If there is any that applies to your major, I recommend filling out a general application, which is one application that makes you eligible for multiple scholarships.
And if you’re curious about who funds your scholarships, there is a “Donors” tab to read a short biography of your donor and the history of your scholarship. So, at least visit the Scholarship Connect site because any money that goes toward your tuition is always welcomed.
Unless you’re a commuter, local, or just fortunate enough to have your place, you more than likely spent your first year of DePaul living on-campus. Although some look to the dorm life as a burden, I look to living on campus as an advantage more than anything else. As a sophomore living at the on-campus apartment of Centennial Hall
, I deeply enjoy all the spoils that come with my time staying within DePaul.
Whether it was Seton Hall freshman year, or Centennial my second, it is really nice to be in the vicinity of nearly everything DePaul. If I want to work out at the Ray, eat at the Student Center, study at the library, attend Lincoln Park classes, or hop on the train, it is all within a short walking distance. For most that live off campus, it is a pain to have to get on the train or bus to go nearly anywhere. And with all that is available on campus, I find it much easier to get involved and active. As I have seen with some friends that live off campus, they’ll at times say they don’t want to do some things, like play basketball at the Ray
, because it’s too far.
Another great benefit of living on-campus that many people overlook is the quality of the rooming. As a freshman with anything from one to three roommates (such as myself) it can be difficult to appreciate the conditions you’re living in. In Seton we took pride in our high ceilings and walk-in closets. Now, I was lucky enough to get a two-person studio apartment at Centennial. My roommate and I are spoiled with our own bathroom, two closets, fully equipped kitchen, free laundry, and individually controlled air conditioning. I’ve been to a couple of apartments in Wrigleyville
and none have compared to the spaces at Centennial.
When it comes to getting around the city, the CTA system is my go-to means of transportation around ninety percent of the time. In fact, even if I want to go home in the suburbs I still rely on my Ventra Pass in order to get to Union Station. With that being said, although your Ventra plays an essential role to your education at DePaul, it does come with risk and responsibility as I have learned through personal experience.
The first caution to consider is one that concerns nearly every college student and this money. Of course, your Ventra provides unlimited accessibility to the CTA train and bus routes, but once you lose that pass it will cost you to replace it. There was a night when I went to a concert and decided not to take my wallet and just put my id’s and pass in my pocket. On the way back I used my pass to get onto the blue line, but ironically managed to lose it in the time I got on the blue line and transferred to the red line. A replacement Ventra costs fifty dollars and it takes a week to receive a new one, so I had to spend an additional thirty in temporary passes until I received my new Ventra card. Therefore, I recommend always using your wallet, and if you have it on you, securing your wallet in a backpack or bag.
Another risk of riding the train or bus is the rare occurrences like assault and robbery. Yet, there are simple and obvious precautions to take to lower the chances of such misfortunes. Most effective is to not venture out late at night alone. Even on campus where there is Public Safety there have been reports of students being victim to crimes. When it comes to traveling somewhere unfamiliar or at a risky time of day, there is strength in numbers. Of course, if you are feeling uncomfortable in a certain situation and don’t feel safe taking a train or bus, just pay for a taxi. Yes it’ll be costly, but there is no cost too high for your safety.
When it comes to exams, it’s been a hit or miss thus far. Upon my first quarter at DePaul I thought I would be able to get by with my laidback high school studying habits (not studying at all) and walk into the midterm or final, ace it, and get an A in the class as I had always expected. However, I received a rude awakening when my overall grade of a B+ going into the final was lowered by a D on my exam putting me only a few tenths of a percentage from receiving a C in the class. After that I vowed to commit myself like never before and put in hours of studying for my exams. Since my first quarter in which I averaged a 3.0 GPA, I have raised my GPA to a 3.58 in a year. While studying does obviously improve test scores, I still managed to get a C+ in another class. Here are some observations and tips for when it comes to studying for exams.
The most obvious tip is one that will save you the stress and exhaustion of cramming in hours of studying, and that is to keep up with the work. In classes where homework is not required nor taken for a grade are the classes where I found myself taking advantage of this leniency and ultimately saw the negative impact. I would put off reading the chapters and relied on the class lectures for soaking in the material, but I was only lying to myself thinking I could possibly get away with this. Therefore, I recommend not only reading from the text but also reading the chapter before your professor lectures it. That way the material won’t be overwhelmingly new to take in and repetitive information won’t hurt anyway.
Nevertheless, doing the assignments simply won’t cut it for preparation of the exam. Material from the beginning chapters may have slipped your mind by the time the midterm or final comes around so it’s essential to revisit them. When it comes to studying I find it best to be in a quiet and solitary environment. The primary location I use for studying is the most familiar and that is my room at times when my roommate is not there. Sitting at my desk with no distractions enables me to solely focus on whatever I’m immersed in. If your room is constantly occupied then I recommend the study rooms available on every floor of DePaul apartments and dormitories. Although noise from the hallway may inevitably cause minor distractions it is still a good location for isolation. One last location I have used is the library. At the Lincoln Park campus library the third floor is dedicated entirely to quiet study. Here you can find yourself with many other stressed students all studying in near silence. The library is good study spot but I admit I’d much rather stay in my room in something comfortable than to walk over the library to study, being comfortable and doing what works best for you is the last tip I propose for when it comes to studying for exams.
Being the lover of food that I am, I sometimes like to watch the Travel Channel and one of its shows, Food Paradise. This show basically showcases some of the most popular and unique restaurants in America that are infamous for their one of a kind creations and tastes. It comes to no surprise that Chicago is mentioned pretty often throughout the seasons of Food Paradise, and I have been fortunate to visit a few of the restaurants I’ve seen on TV. However, there is one restaurant that I’ve been yearning to go to for a while and finally went. Deemed as the unofficial most manly burger joint in America, Butcher & the Burger is one of the few restaurants that I went into with high expectations and still managed to exceed them.
If you’re like me and the idea of getting on the train or bus to go to a restaurant more than thirty minutes away turns you off don’t worry because Butcher & the Burger
is located in Lincoln Park on Armitage right off the Brown Line stop
. Sure, you could get on the train for one stop or walk ten minutes, either way it’s altogether a pretty short distance. Upon walking in you’ll find yourself staring at a large chalkboard detailing all that can go onto your burger. The process is broken down into simple steps: choose your meat, your seasoning, your bun, your toppings, and then other additional things such as fries, drinks, etc. I chose a bison burger with backwoods game seasoning on a split-bun with bbq sauce, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, and pickles.
I can admit the burgers can get a tad bit pricey, especially if you order premium toppings like brisket or grilled mushrooms, but once I took that first bite into what would be the best burger I’ve ever had, all concerns for currency disappeared as quickly as my burger did.
This Butcher & the Burger is only one of many destinations I’ve seen on TV that I look forward to visiting to. If I go to major cities in the country that are home to a “food paradise” restaurant I always try to stop by. Some other popular local hotspots I went to are White Knight Diner in St. Louis, Missouri or The Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia. Nevertheless, there are plenty of infamous Chicago destinations available to us DePaul students. Check out this link
for a list of these local favorites.
With the transition into college comes the responsibility of making your own decisions, especially when it comes to your health. Through the power of a meal plan at your hands, it is easy to get carried away and find yourself buying a carton of Ben and Jerry’s and frozen Chinese food at eleven at night. Nevertheless, there are plenty of commodities available to combat the freshman fifteen.
Just as students are given the unlimited access to the CTA system, the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center offers all it can to DePaul students. Although I have a tendency to lack in my routine as the quarter progresses, this is where I primarily go to work out. The first floor hosts the racquetball courts that can be utilized for other activities such as golf or wallyball.
What tends to be forgotten is the pool that I have yet to swim in, the only recollection I have of seeing it was my orientation. Up the stairs to the second floor is where you’ll get most of your workouts in. There is plenty of cardio equipment, studios hosting multiple group fitness classes, machines, and free weights that are all-inclusive to the DePaul student. The third floor is where the basketball courts as well as another studio are. I use this part of the Ray as much as the second floor - this is where you can have fun while working out by getting involved in an intramural sport or simple pick-up games. So far, I have participated in intramural soccer and volleyball, and often shoot around or play pickup games of basketball. Above the courts there is a track and more exercise equipment that include more cardio machines, bars, ropes, and mats. If you don’t feel like running the track or core work, then at least visit the fourth floor for it view of the skyline.
The Ray is great and all, but there is plenty to do off campus as well. Perhaps the most popular destination is none other than the coast of Lake Michigan. When the weather permits it, this is an excellent area to stay active while soaking up the sun. If I was more of an athlete I too would probably be running along the lakeshore shirtless like so many do, but I prefer subtle beach activities. It can be beach volleyball, sand soccer, throwing a football or Frisbee; it beats staying in your dorm doing nothing. To those that are courageous and think they can handle it, Chicago offers plenty of marathons and events to push yourself physically and for a good cause. I cannot run long distances but I have participated in the Aon Step Up for Kids
a few times where the challenge is climbing eighty floors to the top of the Aon Center, one of Chicago’s tallest buildings, while raising money to help the children and families at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
Once you’re able to get into a routine and push yourself, getting yourself to stay active can be pretty simple. With all the events and opportunities there are available in the city, you can propel your health to newfound heights while perhaps also having fun.
Last week I detailed which ways one can stay active and physically fit amongst the freedom of doing (or not doing) what you want and eating what you please. This week I want to focus precisely on the eating component. Like I said before, I could eat Chinese food just about everyday, however, considering sweet and sour chicken is not the healthiest choice I took it upon myself to seek foods that are tasty yet nourishing. For simplicity, I am going to divide these foods between on and off campus.
Being a freshman or even an upper classmen living on-campus such as myself, the Student Center offers an abundant variety of food at almost anytime of the day. There are times when I was guilty of eating mozzarella sticks and burgers at midnight or ice cream for sup
per, but there are healthier options available to those stuck within the limitations of a meal plan. Both the Student Center in Lincoln Park and the DePaul Center cafeteria in the Loop offer a “garden bar” with options such as vegetables, tuna, or low-carb pastas. If you’re like me then you’ll get tired of the usual offerings provided by DePaul, but not to worry, there are limited time platters that change on a weekly basis.
Additionally, since I have the luxury of an apartment with a full kitchen, I like to take some vegetables and other ingredients from the garden bar and use them to cook a little something of my own at my place. I often use the chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach for omelets, burgers, or pasta.
Of course, DePaul’s on-campus dining does provide a limited amount of offerings. Being in Chicago, you can just walk a block and surely find a refreshing alternative. Living in Centennial, there is literally a Whole Foods beneath my feet. I’ve only eaten there twice now, however there is a wide assortment of healthy foods available there. What makes Whole Foods unique is that it serves as a grocery store with an on-campus-style of eating as well. There are buffet counters in the center of the store where one can simply fill up a plate or to-go box just as you would at the Student Center. But besides Whole Foods, the city is bountiful of restaurants for the occasions when you want to treat yourself or not put up with having to cook or do the dishes afterwards. Going to a Walmart, Costco, or Target is also always a safe way to go for a greater assortment of ingredients and other packaged snacks.
Last weekend was my birthday, and my family decided to treat me to a meal I’ll never forget. Of course, going back home away from the bustle of the city to just relax by a bonfire and being able to appreciate the fall weather was great in itself, but it was where I ate that is the real highlight of my weekend. Here are two restaurants that are located in Chicago that I highly recommend trying out. Flat Top Grill
– 30 South Wabash Avenue
Flat Top Grill is a create-your-own stir fry, meaning that you ultimately have control what ingredients are going into your bowl. Now, considering you are given a relatively small bowl to fill with vegetables, rice, noodles, sauces, and many other options, you can strategically stack your ingredients in order to get the most of your money. Additionally, you are given the opportunity to choose two meats, as well as other add-ons such as eggs, cheese, tofu, and roti bread. Once all thrown together and cooked by the chef, you are presented with your unique dish (such as the one shown above) in a surprisingly big portion. What I like about Flat Top Grill is that it can be worth the money. For lunch, one bowl is $10 and $13 for dinner. For an additional $4, you can go up to put together as many bowls as you wish, but I have never been able to create more than two. Fogo de Chão
– 661 North Lasalle Street
This restaurant is a Brazilian steakhouse, or churrasco. Granted that I went to the one in Naperville, there is also one in Chicago. One of the best meals of my life, Fogo de Chão is an endless buffet of meats. You are given these coasters that have a green side and a red side. The green side is a cue for the waiters who are walking around with meats such as filet mignon, top sirloin, rib eye, sausage, chicken, and lamb and offer if you would like to try whichever they have at the time. You can refuse any particular item, but when you are full or want to take a break, turn the coaster to its red side so that you’ll no longer be approached. There is no possible way you will leave hungry, for you’ll still be eating even when you are full. Yeah, the food is that good. WARNING. This place will break your bank, for just between two people the cost was around $120. If it weren’t for a gift card, I most likely would have never tried this place. However, the food was so delicious I think I have devoted myself to come back at least once a year for a special occasion. Therefore, I recommend only going here if you are comfortable paying big money or simply wanting to treat yourself.
As a writer for Deblogs, this is officially my first job through DePaul University. However, this does not necessarily mean this is the first on-campus job I have applied to. There were plenty of opportunities which I attempted to take advantage of, but unfortunately I was not qualified enough. Or perhaps, maybe it was that I was not prepared enough when it came time to show my capabilities in the job interviews. If you feel as if you are not ready for a job or simply want to improve your employability, there are plenty of resources available through DePaul that enable you to make yourself stand out in an interview when the time comes.EDGE Program
EDGE stands for Education and Development Grant for Employability, and by all means it does serve as a tool to gain experience and develop self-knowledge about jobs and careers by participating in projects that also contribute to DePaul. This is a yearlong program and only first-year students are eligible to participate. At the beginning of the year, I attended an information fair to see the various departments that students are able to choose from within EDGE. After submitting my top five, I was placed within my top choice of the Career Center. Each department will have their own certain goal or focus, thus, my experience in the Career Center was different from that of my roommate’s with the Green Team. Just to give a sample of what kind of activities there are in EDGE, I had to go around and talk to companies at the job and internship fairs, then work the fairs by directing guests or facilitating the coatroom, I attended workshops regarding to topics such as budgeting or finding apartments, practiced elevator pitches and mock interviews, and conducted a survey to help improve the interface of Handshake. If you are able to get into this program, regardless of the department you choose, I highly recommend doing so. The time commitment is not overwhelming at all.Career Center
Going off of the Career Center
team with EDGE, there are plenty of ways to improve your professionalism with the Career Center that do not require you to be a part of EDGE. Located at the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses, I have been to the Career Center many times for help. Primarily, I go to their offices for advising and review of my resume. As an assignment for EDGE, I was required to go in for resume advising, however, I have been back a few more times on my own accord. Additionally, there are other advising sessions available to students whether it’d be cover letters, conducting mock interviews, or simple career advising for any concerns with your major, career path, and interview preparation. Scheduling these sessions are simple, many times I have just simply walked in and got started right away. However, if walk-ins are not available, scheduling appointments are as easy as calling or walking into the office to schedule an appointment. If there are questions about the process or about any of the services available, look here
for further information.Job Board
Looking to the campus job board may sound obvious, but most people overlook all the fine details within job postings that can otherwise be used as strengths within the resume and cover letter. As burdensome as tailoring your resume and cover letter to each individual job posting seems, doing so will make you appear more qualified and dedicated to the job from the perspective of the employer. Within most given job postings, each will have a section dedicated to a summary, duties and responsibilities, requirements, and transferrable skills. It is essential to look over all these and find a common or repeated theme across them. By identifying what qualities and skills the employer is seeking and then taking out keywords from the job posting and incorporating them into your resume and cover letter, it will surely grab the recruiter’s eye. Personally, I will often take some words directly from the job posting and paste them into my cover letter and then display how I have that skill or trait through a prior job or experience. From these techniques, I have always been able to get to the interviewing step in the process of getting an on-campus job, however, I never executed the interviews as well as my resume and cover letter. That is why with taking advantage of all that I proposed the chances of getting the on-campus job you desire will substantially increase, there is no such thing as being too prepared.
After looking at weather forecasts that call for temperatures ranging from high 50’s to low 70’s, the trees losing their green colors, and noticing that I have to wear a sweatshirt everywhere I go now, it dawned on me that summer is officially over. Sadly, that means no more beach days until another eight months or so for me. Despite the days getting shorter and snow just around the corner, there are many things to look forward to until the next summer comes around.
As much as I do enjoy the summer, the fall is ultimately my favorite season. In October, there is so much to look forward to. I may be biased in saying that October is the best month because my birthday is in it, but there is much more to it than that. Yeah, all the leaves changing color is pretty and that, but it is the haunted houses and decorations for Halloween I find most comforting.
After signing up through OrgSync
, I am going to Statesville Haunted Prison
with a few friends. The event is being put together by the University Apartment Communities and we’ll be bused to and from the haunted house all for free. Another thing I want to check off my list before the month is over is going to Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America. Mix rollercoasters, haunted houses, and cool autumn weather, it ought to be a good time.
Perhaps even more exciting for a lot of people is the start of the basketball and hockey season. Whether it’s college or professional, both are right at your doorstep in Chicago.
Personally, I like to watch most Bulls and Blackhawks games in the comfort of my room with my big HD television, but if I do ever want to go to a game I always have the luxury of getting discount tickets through DePaul at the Student Center and just hopping on the train. If I stick around long enough into December, I can experience the CTA Holiday Train
this year or even the Christkindlmarket
, both of which I’ve never done even though I’ve lived in the Chicago suburbs my whole life.
Although I am sure I missed plenty of seasonal activities available during the winter season ahead, it is always helpful to look on OrgSync for event postings. I mean, if there is something free, why not try it!?
Who I Am
: Hello students of DePaul, my name is Logan and I am the newest member of the DeBlogs team. I am a sophomore within the Driehaus College of Business
ring in Accounting and Management Information Systems
. I am from the southwest suburb of Yorkville, IL which is about an hour outside of Chicago. I went from driving 70 down country roads with a view of cornfields to riding the train everyday with a scenic skyline I can take in from my apartment. I was a member of the Education and Development Grant for Employability (EDGE) Program with the Career Center freshman year, but I am always seeking new means to get more involved on campus.
What I Do: There are a few things you should know about me and what I am interested in outside of the classroom. First and foremost, I have a slight obsession with Chinese food. Whether it’d be takeout or a buffet, you know I’m always down for it. After an entire academic year I’ve spent here at DePaul, I have yet to find someone else who enjoys country music as much as I do. That being said, I often go to country concerts, an average of ten a year to be exact. However, I am a fan of nearly all music. My favorite concert so far was Nicki Minaj and Rae Sremmurd, but then after that the best concerts were Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, etc. I enjoy exploring the city, always seeking new restaurants to try out. I often go to the Ray to play pickup basketball, workout, or play intramural volleyball. You can also catch me at the beach trying to relax and escape my academic responsibilities by playing sand volleyball or just sleeping.
Why I Do This: As much as I would love to explore the city, visit every Asian restaurant, and blog about how awesome the food is, I want to share all my experiences on and off campus, the good and the bad, so that hopefully others can learn from them to get the most out of their experience at DePaul. Between keeping up with two honors programs, maintaining physical shape, looking for jobs and internships, and trying to make friends along the way, I realize it all can seem overwhelming. Although these fours year are meant to pursue an education for your desired career, it can be much more than that. Studying at DePaul in a great city like Chicago is a unique experience!