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Thank You Ravenswood

It’s no secret that 12 weeks ago I didn’t want to be a teacher. Originally, I came to college freshman year upset that we couldn’t start observing in the classroom until our sophomore year, but by that February I was so amazed by the power of student leadership that I decided I wanted nothing to do with the K-12 classroom and instead wanted to pursue a career in Higher Education and Student Affairs. 

Three years and multiple student leadership positions later, the second floor of Arts and Letters let out a huge gasp as I shared in Dr. Hansra’s literacy class this winter quarter that I still didn’t want to be a teacher.

I held strong until the morning of my first day of Student Teaching. I didn’t want to be a teacher. I just wanted the next twelve weeks to fly by, so I could start graduate school. However, not even thirty minutes into that first day my cooperating teacher walked us down to gym class where I was directed to play dodgeball with my 6th grade students. As I continued to dodge balls thrown at me I couldn’t help but laugh - in that moment I knew that this place was somewhere special and the next twelve weeks might not be so bad. By my fourth day of student teaching I had fallen in love with Ravenswood Elementary and my students. I thought the honeymoon phase would end, but it didn’t.

Megan
After our first day of PARCC Testing my Cooperating Teaching and I rewarded our students with outdoor recess. For March, it was a gorgeous day. Full sun and nearly 60 degrees. During a game of soccer, one of my students with special needs scored not one, but two goals. He ran a victory lap around the entire field as the class cheered him on and chanted his name. Soon after, when it was time to head back inside to wrap up the day I was astonished with my student's ability to be silent in the hallways and respect others who might still be testing. The last 20 minutes couldn't have been more perfect, even if I had directed them in a movie myself. However, I was quickly brought to reality when not even two minutes after being back in the classroom a Social Studies textbook "mysteriously fell" out of a second story window. Every single one of my days at Ravenswood was special in one way or another. The twelve weeks passed so quickly that I found myself in tears at the end of my last day of Student Teaching. 

Thank you Ravenswood for making me love every day of my last twelve weeks of college. Thank you for being the reason I got out of bed in the morning and remarkably never felt tired. Thank you for giving my life energy and keeping me on my toes. Thank you for accepting me, testing me, and pushing me to become a better teacher. The 113 of you are the reason I am here. YOU are the reason that in the last 12 weeks I have decided that I DO want to be a teacher. 


Surplus With A Purpose

Every year at DePaul my belongings seem to multiply. Freshman year everything was able to fit in my Dad’s Jeep. Moving out Senior year – let’s just say it took some strategic thinking and a few car loads. If you choose to live on campus all four years you’ll likely go from a compact residence hall room to an apartment with your own living room and kitchen. Many of the items I've accumulated such as pots and artwork I'll use into adulthood - but I had a lot of clothes that I wasn't in need of anymore. Here's a few spots near the Lincoln Park campus to donate your used items and give back to the community:

Salvation Army: 2270 N Clybourn Ave
This location is easy to get in and out of if you have a car. There’s a separate end of the parking lot to direct drop offs, making the donation process super easy.  According to CNN, 82% of Salvation Army’s total donations go to aid. In addition to helping low income families gain access to clothing and home goods at a discounted price, the money these families will spend on buying your used clothes will help provide many people with jobs.

SWAP DePaul
Mt. Sinai Hospital Resale Shop: 814 W Diversey Pkwy
If you’re looking to donate to a cause that’s locally based, consider the Mt. Sinai Hospital Resale Shop. Located off the Diversey Brown Line stop this drop off is located about a block and a half from the train. According to the resale shop’s website, “100 percent of the proceeds from the Resale Shop support Sinai. In past years, the proceeds have funded laser instruments for several hospital departments; six incubators for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; video towers for the hospital's state-of-the-art surgery department; and a Nurses' Call Unit for Sinai Children's Hospital's inpatient unit”. When dropping off your used items at this location, you’ll know that your donation is part of something greater!

Demon SWAP: On Campus!
The SWAP in Demon SWAP stands for, “surplus with a purpose”. This donation collection in each residence hall during finals week turns the Student Center into an upcycling store on June 15th. All of the proceeds go to the Vincentian Assistance Fund that assists DePaul students facing emergency situations. In summer 2015 Demon SWAP broke a new record by donating $3,155 to the fund. If you’re looking to help fellow students and see 100% of proceeds donated, Demon SWAP is your donation spot! ​

My Not So Typical College Job

Every high schooler has that classic, embarrassing first job. Mine was fall of my senior year as a hay ride attendant at an apple orchard just outside of my hometown. The hayride didn’t even have hay and by the third weekend I was fairly certain I had sun poisoning. So naturally when my friend Emily told me the magazine her Mom worked for was doing a story on a Family Entertainment Center that was opening I couldn’t have been more excited, primarily just because the job was indoors (in addition to the 32,000 square feet of GoKarts, Laser Tag, Ball Blaster Arena, Arcade, and a quick service restaurant!). Under the Big Top finally opened its doors to the public on Friday, April 20th, 2012. There’s no shame in saying that the first open didn’t go as planned and without enough customers, two weeks later all of us entry level minimum wage employees were laid off.

First Job
In the next six months I graduated high school and moved to DePaul to start my freshman year of college. On October 3rd, 2012 when one of our owners called me to ask if I’d like to come back to work for Under the Big Top, I almost didn’t answer the phone. On the last ring I did, and in the next two minutes I far too willingly agreed to a job that at the time I had no idea would change my life forever. The next day I started the pattern that I’ve followed virtually every weekend since. School at DePaul Monday-Thursday living on campus, and Friday-Sunday in St. Charles working at Under the Big Top.

Some people would call me crazy. And that’s okay. Through my Party Host to General Manager adventure I’ve given up parts of the traditional college experience, weekends in the big city of Chicago, and a sufficient sleep pattern. Yet in return my journey with Under the Big Top provided me with experiences and memories I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Saying yes on that short phone call allowed me to create memories and gain experiences that I never had imagined would be a part of my life. Working for Under the Big Top challenged me to take on responsibilities that I didn’t think I was capable of as my young college self. Under the Big Top introduced me to the attractions industry that I previously didn’t even know existed. For this I am forever grateful. My advice to anyone who’s considering working through college is to do it. Go ahead, jump. Say yes. For me having a job at a Family Entertainment Center became more than just about how I was going to pay my way through school. It taught me how to manage my time, think critically, and learn to swim while everything around me was drowning. 

You’re not going to DePaul to have a cookie cutter college experience where you’re shipped off to the corn fields for four years to earn a degree. You’re attending DePaul to have an experience that is unique to you and to become world ready.  

The Big Reveal

On 99% of campus tours your tour guide will tell you about an event called FEST as you walk through the quad. FEST is the one day a year that the quad turns into an outdoor concert venue. Each year there are two supporting acts and a headliner out on the quad, followed by the winner of DePaul’s Battle of the Bands and another music artist at a second event in DePaul’s McGrath Phillips Arena called After Hours.  

Although FEST doesn’t happen until May, throughout the entire year there’s a lot of buzz about it on social media. From attending FEST forums, to voting in the FEST survey, to gossiping about who the performer *might* be, students get pretty into it.

Clearly there’s more than just google surveys and rumor mills that make FEST come together? So how does it all happen? My freshman year I had the opportunity to serve on the FEST committee. With a chair and 13 assistants, the FEST Committee is a subsection of DePaul Activities Board (commonly known as DAB). Serving on this committee was a great way to get to know other students who enjoyed event planning like I did, as well as the interworkings of putting on a massive event!

The FEST committee plans everything from marketing, to what the performers will eat before they hit the stage, to coordination of staff to volunteer at the event. The committee members are very transparent with expectations, new ideas, execution of duties, and problem solving. However, there’s one thing that’s still kept as huge secret: the line up. There are very few people who know the line up before it’s shared with the entire campus (this year the Big Reveal occurred at Battle of the Bands on May 3rd). As someone who doesn’t like secrets I was actually really glad that this one was kept from me. It’s a unique experience to work toward a common goal with a group of people, but not exactly know what the final product will look like.

In 2016, FEST will be bringing Karmin, T-Pain, and The Neighborhood to campus! Check out the ‘DePaul FEST’ Facebook page​ to watch the Big Reveal video for yourself! 

Day Trips from Chicago

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE DePaul, but sometimes it’s nice to have a day away from campus to regroup. Below you’ll find four places within a three-hour drive of campus. Don’t have a car? Check out the student car share program through Zipcar​!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You’ll be impressed by how awesome this town really is. With skyscrapers, an art museum, and a zoo, Milwaukee has the big city amenities with the small town feel. You’ll be astonished how reasonable the prices are in Milwaukee are compared to Chicago, so go all out! In the few short hours I spent in Milwaukee I was able to try the legendary Kopp's Custard, go on the Sprecher Brewery tour (and pick out four bottles of their soda), and experience the Milwaukee Public market with awesome tilapia tacos and fresh made cheese curds for all under $20!  

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. I’m sure this was a favorite spot among many of us as kids. If you’ve already done the classics – Mt. Olympus Waterpark, the Ducks boat ride, and the upside down museum – I’d encourage you to dig a little deeper. Have you ever tried kayaking, photography, or Geocaching? The Dells are a great area for outdoor exploration. If you’re looking for a less touristy area, check out Mirror Lake, just make sure to bring your gym shoes and sunscreen!

Chesterton, Indiana. At the Indiana Dunes there are 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 70 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. A short drive away you’ll find the Seven Peaks Waterpark with a quarter mile lazy river, as well as one of the last 350 drive-in movie theatres in the United States. You’ll want to pack a lunch to eat along the beach or explore dining options in one of the neighboring towns such as Porter or Valparaiso.    

Monticello, Indiana. Home of the Indiana Beach Amusement Park for the last 90 years! For $36.99 (cheaper than Six Flags!) you get all day access to 9 roller coasters, 22 classic amusement rides, and the water park. There’s even an arcade, beach swimming area, and a boat tour for those looking for extra attractions. Thinking about making your day trip into a full weekend? Indiana Beach has plenty of cottages, cabins, and camping options. 


Discover vs. Explore Chicago

Awesome. So you’ve made it to the portion of your Orientation sign up where it asks you to select a Discover or Explore class. Follow these steps to ensure an informed and successful decision about your first class at DePaul.

Step One: Breathe. You’re going to take roughly 48 classes during your time here at DePaul, today you’re choosing just one of them. Any class you choose from the options listed will fulfill the same Chicago Quarter Liberal Studies requirement. ​

Step Two: Know the difference between these three terms: Discover Chicago, Explore Chicago, and Chicago Quarter. Discover Chicago includes immersion week. Since immersion week starts the week before classes, you’ll step five days focusing on just one class – which leaves plenty of time for class led excursions and discovery of Chicago. Once regular fall classes begin, your Discover class will meet once a week for 2.5 hours during the first eight weeks. Explore Chicago begins with regular fall quarter classes. Your class will meet a total of 4 hours a week for all ten weeks. You’ll still have plenty of time to explore Chicago, but your excursions will be spread throughout the quarter. Chicago Quarter is simply the overarching name of the program that includes both Discover and Explore Chicago classes.

Step Three: Decide which type of course is best for you. I recommend Discover if you’re looking for the opportunity to meet new people and are new to living in a big city. If you’re living on campus, you’ll have an early move-in to your residence hall – for no extra charge! You’ll have access to your meal plan early as well. If you’re commuting to campus, keep in mind that Immersion week days can start early and go late. You’ll be need to make arrangements to and from campus. On the other hand, I’d recommend Explore for anyone who’d rather start classes in September, has a less flexible schedule, or wants to get in extra hours at a summer job before starting school full time.

Step Four: Look through the course options here and choose your top five. 

Step Five: Sign up as soon as possible through Campus Connect as some classes fill up faster than others. Make sure you’ve completed your placement exams at least 24 hours prior! If you have difficulty signing up contact New Student and Family Engagement at (773)325-7360. 


What’s Premiere DePaul?

Attention incoming first year students! Orientation sign up is now open! During your time on Campus Connect you’ll be selecting both your Premiere DePaul Orientation dates, and more excitingly, the first academic class you will take at DePaul University (see my next blog for more info). You might be feeling some butterflies and stress, but reading the below Q&A will hopefully lessen those feelings!​
At Premiere DePaul you'll have an Orientation Leader to show you the ins and outs of DePaul

What’s the difference between Orientation and Premiere DePaul? All students go through some sort of Orientation; as in incoming first year student your Orientation is called Premiere DePaul.

Do I have to attend Premiere DePaul? It’s not that you have to attend, you GET to attend!

Do we sleep at DePaul overnight? Yes – in the infamous Munroe Hall! Unless you are not living on campus next year and plan to attend Premiere DePaul Session 12 or 13. If you have extenuating circumstances, email orientation@depaul.edu.

Should my parents or supporters come to Premiere DePaul? Bring them along! There’s a two-day guest program that runs along side the student program. You’ll have the opportunity to see your guests at meals and a few conjoined sessions.

Is Premiere DePaul boring? NO WAY! In addition to meeting new people and scheduling your first quarter classes; three meals are provided, there’s two tours of campus, a theatre performance, and friendly competitions at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center that always begin with a dance party!

Speaking of food, what if I have allergies or dietary restrictions? When you sign up for Premiere DePaul, make sure you list any accommodations you’ll need during the program. Someone from the Orientation team will follow up with you if they need more information. If you forgot to list your accommodations when signing up, you can email orientation@depaul.edu.

Do I have to pay for Premiere DePaul? There is a fee, but it will be assigned to your student account. The money is not due when you come to Orientation, instead it will be added to your Fall Quarter tuition bill.

Will there be time to explore Chicago? The Premiere DePaul schedule is jammed packed with DePaul campus events. Don’t worry! The exploration of Chicago is coming – check out my next blog on Discover and Explore Chicago for more info! 


Last First Day of Class (Plus 9 Days)

On Monday social media exploded with “last first day of classes” posts. For College of Education seniors however, Monday was already our 10th day of “classes”. All aspiring teachers complete 11 weeks of Student Teaching the quarter before graduation, meaning that we start full time at our placement schools during finals week.

As stressful as this might sound, teaching 35-40 hours a week, recording your lessons for edTPA (the new teacher licensure exam), and writing final papers - it’s an experience you’ll become thankful for. Once you make it through five long days of hard work and little sleep, the rest of your Student Teaching experience will be far less stressful.

And that is what’s awesome! My last quarter at DePaul past the official “last first day of classes” isn’t stressful. Is teaching hard work? Of course! Five days a week you’re up on your feet in front of 30 preteens trying to convince them that history is cool. You’re teaching in the now, but constantly thinking in the future. Each day of your class needs to connect, or the instruction won’t be meaningful. You’re constantly trying to find the balance between independent and interactive activities while monitoring student learning.

Besides being a Social Studies teacher, I’m wearing multiple other hats. I’m a comedian that hopes at least half of my room thinks I’m funny. I’m a private investigator when someone jokingly steals someone else’s pencil case. I’m a referee when my students decide the pillows in the back of the room are toys. I’m an advocate for the moments where someone is being bullied in the hallway. I’m a cheerleader when I motivate my students to share their answer with the class. And what some days seems to be the most frequent – I’m a nurse responding to the bumps, bruises, and upset stomachs of the 5th and 6th grade.

Yes, being a teacher is hard work – but it’s worth it! Taking classes and participating in leadership positions the last three and a half years have prepared me to be successful in the classroom. There’s no other way I’d rather spend my last quarter at DePaul than with the 5th and 6th grade at Ravenswood Elementary School.

5 Tips for Surviving "DePlague"

You might ask, “What is DePlague? That sounds awful!”
Well, it is, but don’t go running away just yet.

“DePlague” has become the joking term for DePaul students who get sick. Let’s face it – it’s flu season. When you’re living with hundreds of other students, and walking around in Chicago’s less that comfortable temperatures – it’s bound to happen.

Tip #1: Be Prepared with Your Tool Kit

Try to purchase the basics - cough drops, pain reliever, cold medicine, tissues, and a replacement tooth brush before or soon after moving to campus. If you wake up sick on a cold snowy day, the last thing you’re going to want to do is get out of bed and go to the Student Center or CVS. I’d also recommend picking your own thermometer. It’s important to be able to track your own temperature and call your doctor if you see it reach above 103 F (Mayo Clinic).  

Tip #2: Make a Doctors Appointment

Living in Chicago there are a variety of top notch networks of doctors such as Northwestern, Rush, University of Chicago, and Illinois Masonic to choose from. When making an appointment, first ask if the doctor will accept your form of health insurance. To be seen sooner, ask if you can come for a walk in appointment the following morning. Many offices are willing to see last minute patients first thing in the morning, because they won’t already be bogged down with patients. If you have preexisting conditions or want to be a doctor’s office pro, ask what Integrated Healthcare System the office uses. You’ll find that many doctors and hospitals use what’s called “Epic”. There’s a good chance that your doctor back home and your doctor at school will use the same software – if they do, they should be able to access your medical records electronically! For me, this is extremely helpful because I have a mild heart condition. It saves both myself and the doctor time when it comes to understanding my medical history and increases accuracy.

Tip #3: Know how to seek emergency medical attention

If your symptoms become intolerable or you get that feeling that something isn’t right, you’ll likely need to consider a trip to the emergency room. Illinois Masonic Hospital is the closest hospital to the Lincoln Park campus. In non-life threatening emergencies, DePaul’s Public Safety team will drive you to and from the hospital no matter the time of day. Unfortunately, this was a DePaul service I had to use for the first time last Monday night. The warm cheery vibe the officer gave off was something I was incredibly thankful for at 3:30am.  

Tip #4: Notify your professors

If you go to the doctor or the emergency room, be sure to ask for a note for school. You can use this documentation of your illness to complete an Absence Notification through the Dean of Students Office. Although this process doesn’t excuse you from class or assignments, it notifies your professor of a personal or medical emergency, and is a good way to initiate the conversation about what work you might be able to make up.

Tip #5: Clean your space!

As soon as you’re feeling us to it, deep clean your space. Vacuum the rugs, wash your bedding (in DePaul’s FREE laundry machines and dryers), scrub your reusable water bottle, clean all surfaces, and don’t forget to sanitize all of the door handles and light switches in your room or apartment. The key to any contagious illness is to limit its ability to spread. Take Care DePaul! 


Show Your DPU Pride

You may hear some students claim that DePaul, “doesn’t have school spirit.” My counter argument to these opinions is that students are what make up school spirit. Bringing a group of friends any sporting events, not just basketball games, is what allows you to have fans to cheer with. These small groups of friends are what make up a roaring student section, it can be as simple as that. Being a part of the Big East means that we’re up against some great teams so the competition ​is fierce and games are worth watching. ​

A few weeks ago, I attended the Marquette vs. DePaul Men’s Basketball​ Game where I have the opportunity to sit feet away from an NCAA court (something that a lot of universities don’t offer!) Reflecting back, I really wish sporting events had been a bigger part of my DePaul experience. DePaul is building a new arena on the South Side of Chicago near McCormick Place​, but until then the Men’s Basketball Team plays at Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Since you can’t quite make it to Allstate via public transportation, DePaul Athletics is awesome enough to provide free busses to students that go directly from the Lincoln Park Campus to Allstate and back. All you have to do is reserve your spot on Campus Connect. There is also an option to purchase a $5 parking pass you’re traveling from home and would prefer driving to Allstate.

Once you make it to the basketball game the excitement and perks continue. For the Marquette vs. DePaul game all student attendees were given a free t-shirt, drawstring bag, and spirit sign! Then at halftime, Athletics provided free lunch in one of the lounges at the top of the stadium. Chicken tenders and fries hit the spot as Blue Demons took on the Golden Eagles in the 2nd half. Although the game ended with an (unfortunate) Marquette win, 73-60, the experience and memory of a DePaul basketball game was well worth the trip!

D-Factor Finale

Tuesday night Residence Hall Council ​(RHC) hosted its annual D-Factor Finale. D-Factor is DePaul’s premiere talent show where students compete for their chance to win a $250 Amazon gift card. Before making it to the finale there are open auditions in which all DePaul students can submit a video of their talent – any talent! Over the past for years we’ve seen everything from singers and dancers to hula hoopers, beat boxers, and whistlers. I’m always amazed by the secret talents DePaul students have been keeping under wraps, which is what makes choosing the finalists so difficult.          

For 2016’s D-Factor Finale we were able to feature nine finalists: Kelsey Miles, Ryan Salmon, Aurora Lawrie, Katriel Hampton-King, Patrick Sarmiento, Andrew Stembaugh, Thalis Karatsolis, Donyae Lewis, and Dylan Fisher. The competition started out fierce as Andrew opened the show with a break dancing routine. Receiving honorable mention for the judges for keeping his glasses on his face the entire performance, the audience knew they were in for both talent performances by our contestants and comedic remarks from our judges. As per tradition, professional staff members from Housing Services and Residential Education serve as judges for the event. This year we were graced by the funny remarks of Residence Directors Dan and Megan, Assistant Residence Director Chastity, and Facility Area Coordinator Taylore. RHC is always thankful for the support we receive from both Residential Education and Housing Services!​

After nine incredible performances the audience voted Katriel Hampton-King the winner of D-Factor 2016 – congratulations Katriel! Also a special shot out to the awesome RHC members who made this event possible!

Metra Commuters Rejoice

Thinking about living at home next year and using the Metra to commute to and from campus? You’re in luck! Metra has been in the news quite a bit lately regarding two new advancements: mobile tickets and new seats.

Metra runs eleven different train lines that turn driving commutes into study time and nap time. Although taking the Metra can be a bit pricey, it’s generally cheaper (and less hassle) compared to driving and parking in the city. To add to these perks, Metra recently rolled out mobile ticketing. Housed in the ‘Ventra’ app, which is available for both iPhone and Androids, you can purchase single, 10 ride, and monthly passes. When it’s time to board the train you’ll use the app again to redeem your ticket. It’s as simple as that! The AWESOME part about this app is that if you’re running late to catch a train you won’t run the risk of the additional $3 fee for purchasing a ticket on-board the train. Just simply purchase through your app on the way to the station and skip the line at the ticket counter!

Metra’s second advancement will take place in a more gradual release. A few weeks ago the Milwaukee North Line (running northwest from Union Station to Fox Lake) ran the first refurbished car. The new cars feature the following improvements:

  • Better lumbar support

  • Cup holders
  • Armrests
  • Headrests
  • Electrical wall outlets in every other row of seating           

In 2016, Metra will be rolling out 30 of these cars and based on customer reaction make a plan for future renovations. Dividing seats with armrests will give riders the option to define their own personal space on a crowded train, but the major buzz seems to be around the wall outlets. Finding an outlet in current Metra’s rail cars feel similar striking gold. Access to electricity in the new cars mean you can stream videos and scroll through social media during your entire commute without worrying about wrecking your battery. Look out for these new features the next time you hop on the Metra!​


Budgeting with Financial Fitness

Tax season is upon us. If you’re like me and love numbers, you might even anticipate the day you receive your W-2’s with excitement. Completing my taxes each year also serves as an opportunity to think about how I budget my money. Knowing that graduation was less than a year away I met with DePaul’s Financial Fitness Office last August.

Determining how to balance living expenses, saving for graduate school, and the looming repayment of student loans in the most effective way can be tricky. Luckily, DePaul has an office that will help you make your budgeting goals clear! Located in both Lincoln Park and the Loop, Financial Fitness is a campus resource that can benefit all students. In August I had the opportunity to meet with Natalie Daniels. She shared that the popular “80-10-10” rule was a good place to state. Within this rule, 80% of income goes towards monthly expenses, 10% directly to savings, and 10% to debt repayment. As an independent student with a large amount of student loans, the goal I set for myself after the meeting was to trend around “45-55”. The 45% makes up for all expenses, while the other 55% goes towards savings and loan repayment. In my 45% I also include short term savings goals such as purchasing plane tickets for a trip. The money I set aside for savings is meant for long term savings. With this goal I’ve been realistic in knowing that I won’t always be able to predict expenses such as a car repairs and out of pocket medical expenses. This is why my “45-55” rule is a trend, as long as my percentages average out over the quarter and then entire year, I’m on track.

For now, my budget is very conservative. I learned from both meeting with Natalie and the Financial Fitness website that I should be capitalizing off of the fact that being in school and living on campus saves me from the costs of rent and utilities that I would be paying if I were living off campus. Saving more now will help offset the shock of having more necessary expenses when I graduate. I highly recommend checking out the Financial Fitness ​website, even before you start classes at DePaul! The spot I’ve found the most helpful is by choosing “About Us” at the top, and then navigating to “Infographics Gallery​

DePaul: Urban Educated. World Ready.

A few weeks ago it was Blue Demon Week ​at DePaul! As a part of the many celebrations that took place Enrollment, Marketing and Management put out a new series of videos. Below you'll see a link to the headlining video. "DePaul: Urban Educated. World Ready​" is one of my favorite videos DePaul has ever put out (my #1 will forever be the Premiere DePaul Video​ the Orientation Leaders that I supervised stared in). In two minutes and twenty-three seconds the video hits home about what DePaul stands for and what it means to be a DePaul student.

 “DePaul isn't trying to be like every other university in America, we want to be DePaul.” 

Bold, but true. When you accept admission to DePaul you should be excited to know that your college experience won’t be like your friends’ who are attending other universities. As a student at DePaul you get to live in America’s third largest city. This means that you don’t have to wait until your senior year to have an internship. There are enough companies in the city for you to start interning as a first year student! When you’re sitting in class it won’t be with 500 strangers. At DePaul all but one of my classes has had between 20 and 40 students.  We only have two large lecture halls in Lincoln Park that hold at maximum 100 students each. At DePaul our educational experience is personal and extends far beyond the classroom.

“The fact that St. Vincent de Paul’s name is over our door gives us a sense of mission that we need to make a difference.”

After taking an entire course on St. Vincent DePaul I could share quite the list of fast facts. From at best an average priest to canonized saint, Vincent de Paul had quite the journey in his lifetime. More than 350 years after his death, Vincent de Paul’s Congregation of the Mission thrives on though the hearts and souls of Vincentians around the world. As a DePaul student you’re able to see hands on how the missions of justice and human dignity is fulfilled by asking and answering the question, “What must be done?”​

Open my blog to watch the video below:

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Free Museum Days!

Through the college search process you’ve likely already realized that there are tons of perks that come along with living in Chicago. From the lake shore path, to the beach, to the Lincoln Park Zoo that’s located just a 15 minute walk from campus; you won’t have a problem finding ways to fill your spare time in the warmer months. I find the winter months to be a bit more challenging. January and February can be quite brutal, but as long as you grab your gloves and ear muffs you’re still bound to find great adventures in the city.​

Chicago has tons of museums that offer free heated indoor fun during the winter months. Three of these museums: The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium are located on the same peninsula south of the loop called the “museum campus”. Traveling to the museum campus is easy (and free with your student UPASS) by taking the Red Line from Lincoln Park to the Loop campus, and then transferring to the 146 bus. 

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, DePaul canceled classes and five of Chicago’s museums hosted free days for Illinois residents. Michal and I decided to tackle two of the museums – the Field and the Shedd! When we arrived at The Field Museum​ we were greeted by SUE ​the tyrannosaurus rex. Scientists have found over 90% of SUE’s skeleton, making her the most complete T. rex fossil ever found. From here we traveled through the Ancient Americas. From the Aztec’s to the Hopewell’s we saw pottery excavated from the 1400’s and authentic pieces of clothing from different cultures. Other highlights from the museum included life like animal exhibits and learned about lichen​ (LIKE-en) known as, “The coolest thing you’ve never heard of."

After leaving The Field Museum, we walked over to the Shedd Aquarium​. By this point in the afternoon people had caught onto the Free Days. We stood in line for quite a while, but the backdrop of the city’s skyline made the wait worth it! Once inside we decided to grab some much needed lunch. If you’re looking for a place to grab a quick lunch on the Museum Campus, I’d recommend Shedd’s “Bubble Net” cafeteria – be sure to grab a table by the floor to ceiling windows looking out to Lake Michigan! After wondering through the Waters of the World and the Great Lakes, we were lucky enough to catch the scuba diver Q & A at the Caribbean Reef’s 90,000 gallon habitat.


For more information about free tickets to Chicago museums, click here​DePaul also offers exclusive discounts and perks to students called Demon Discounts; information about what discounts your student ID will provide you access to can be found here​. 

Interning in Florida

In movies we see interns depicted as professionals in two things: coffee runs and office supplies. In real life, this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. A portion of your Liberal Studies requirements at DePaul are fulfilled by the Experiential Learning (EL) credit. Your Experiential Learning can be completed virtually anywhere, as long as the company or non-profit organization is able to house you in a position that will fulfill DePaul’s requirements. If you plan to be an education major, your EL will be fulfilled by your classroom observations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to pursue other passions during your time at DePaul!

In November I was fortunate enough to take my finals early and spend 10 days in Orlando, Florida interning with IAAPA​ (the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions). Serving alongside 30 other college students and recent grads, as an Ambassador I had the chance to learn about the ‘Serious Business of Fun’ through the eyes of industry professionals. With the Expo including education sessions, FEC & HR seminars, on site facility tours, events, a trade show floor spanning nine miles of aisles, and 32,000 people there was little down time during - but it was all worth it! Working with the Ambassador team made my decision concrete that the attractions industry is where I see myself working in some capacity for the rest of my life.

Even taking into consideration the networking opportunities and free Dippin Dots the Expo provided, my favorite part of the week was our first night spent volunteering at Give Kids the World​. GKTW is a nonprofit resort in Kissimmee, Florida that houses children with life threatening illnesses and their families for a cost free week long vacation. During this week families experience not only the rides and events on property, but also receive tickets to central Florida's most well know parks - Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Since opening in 1989, Give Kids the World has granted over 140,000 wishes. While at the Village myself and the Ambassador team had the opportunity to prep materials for a charity golf tournament and decorate two villas with holiday decorations. We were all moved by the caring spirit that everyone at GKTW has for children and their families.

Spending my first night in Florida volunteering for such a wonderful organization grounded me in knowing that no matter where I go or what I do in life I will always carry the Vincentian values that I learned at DePaul with me. If there’s one thing I learned from interning with IAAPA it’s that you have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and you can’t just sit in what’s comfortable. DePaul will help give you the tools to succeed, but after that you just have to trust yourself and jump in! No matter your major, the life changing internship is out there!


A Peak Into DePaul’s Hiring Process

This week my supervisor in the Office of New Student and Family Engagement is hiring a new Office Assistant. Whenever adding someone new to our team the candidate interviews with both their potential supervisor and a potential coworker - which is actually a really innovative process. The students I had the opportunity to meet today were all well-polished and interview ready. In honor of them we’ll be taking a look at the steps to finding a job on-campus.

If an office is hiring on campus, you’ll find out about it on the Campus Job Board​. On the right hand side you’ll enter your Campus Connect username and password and then select ‘Student’’. I know you’re probably excited to head straight to the ‘Jobs’ tab, but what you’ll want to do first is set up your profile. In this section you’ll list your contact information, academic information, and availability. It’s important to keep this page up to date, especially since your availability will likely change quarter to quarter.

Now that you’re all on the edge of your seats, go ahead and click on the ‘Jobs’ tab. From my experience, there are usually between 25 and 50 postings on the job board at any given time. You should have lots of options to choose from! Once you click on a job that looks interesting there a few key items to pay attention to. First, make sure you read the job description in full. Aligning some of the key words mentioned in the Duties and Responsibilities section with the experiences on your resume will help you stand out as a qualified candidate. But be sure to always be authentic, don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk!

If you’re offered an interview it’s important that any emails exchanged between you and your potential supervisor are clear and concise. Make sure to start each email with a greeting, end with a salutation, and use spell check. Always communicate through a professional email address. If you don’t already have one, you can set up your free DePaul student email here (once you are officially enrolled in classes).​

To prep for your interview I recommend meeting with the Peer Career Advisors​. These advisors are a group of students who’ve been selected and trained by the Office of Student Employment to assist their peers through the job search process.  With walk-in hours in Lincoln Park and the Loop these peers can be a great resource at any step of the job search process! Once you’re ready for advice about full time careers after graduation, you can also request to meet with a full time Career Counselor​ who’s specialized in your major! For additional tips, you can check out the Student Employment website or post your questions below!


At DePaul There's a Dialogue

Recently someone close to me was a victim of domestic violence. They are not a DePaul student, and for their confidentiality will remain anonymous. Through working in various job and leadership capacities at DePaul we’ve been taught what to do when someone discloses a violent or abusive situation to us. Specifically when working for the Dean of Students Office my fellow Office Assistants and I served as a first point of contact for students and supporters interfacing with our department. I always felt safe knowing that, although my job was important and needed to be done well, in a crisis situation I could rely on our Deans and counseling staff to take the reins. Over the past few weeks I’ve realized that the bystander intervention and mandated reporter trainings I’ve been required to participate in have provided me with some of the most significant knowledge I’ve learned since coming to DePaul. When you choose DePaul, you're not just choosing academics, you're choosing life. I'm incredibly thankful that I attend a university that doesn't keep difficult topics hush hush. Instead, DePaul opens up a dialogue about them and teaches its student to be better informed and more compassionate human beings. ​

An Open Letter to My Friend, Who Was the Victim of Domestic Violence,

The cards you were dealt certainly aren’t fair. Nothing you’ve ever done, said, or even subconsciously thought means that you, or anyone else for that matter, deserves to be hit, bit, and threatened by someone you’ve known since the day you were born. I’m thankful that you had the courage to come to me when you did. It caused me emotional and physical pain to know that I couldn’t keep you safe, so I went to the police that night to report this crime that someone had inflicted on you. In the past I had kept your secrets, when there was a new boy you liked and when you accidentally told me who you had for Secret Santa, but this was a secret that I just couldn’t keep. I’m proud of you for going to the station and talking the police after they called you.  Selfishly, I’m glad that you weren’t mad at me for not keeping your secret too.

I wish that I could erase that scar from under your eye and the bruises from your body. I wish I could make those bad memories and your pain go away. I wish I could pay for all of your bills and living expenses, so you didn’t have to work so much while you try to heal. I wish I could build you a house of your own with the most advanced security measures, so you could have your own space and feel safe. I wish I could make any judicial process you might decide to go through simple. And I wish that I could give your aggressor the help that they need too.

But right now, all I can do is tell you that I love you. I’ll always be here to listen, no matter the time of day. I’ll keep sending you Snapchats, hoping to make you laugh. I’ll keep reading up on resources for victims, so if there’s an option you want to explore you won’t have to do it alone. And most of all, I promise you that for the rest of our lives no matter how many miles are between us you will always be my friend. I feel like God has brought you into my life to help him watch over you. The cards you were dealt certainly aren’t fair, but these cards won’t stop you from accomplishing great things. Despite everything you’ve been through, I know that you’re going to change the world for the better.  

Halloween Happenings

Hopefully all of our candy bowls are still at least halfway full after Halloween festivities! At DePaul October is a busy time for student leaders filled with lots of event planning. Holidays like Halloween are a great way to promote community between students, as well as serve as another way to continue Health Promotion and Wellness’s “Take Care DePaul” mission.  This mission is meant to help students learn how to make better informed decisions that promote the wellness of themselves, as well as those around them.

As Residence Hall Council (RHC​) President I was incredibly proud of the many groups of Hall Senators who hosted events the week of Halloween. Highlights included caramel apple making, scary movies, pumpkin decorating, and costume contests. Seeing new DePaul students take the reins on planning events for their peers really speaks to the community you’re a part of when you live on campus. 

To the right you’ll see our fantastic Corcoran ​Senators, Jesse and Anna, at the start of their Halloween event. Residents participating in the costume contest won college essentials, and all were welcome to enjoy pizza, play Mario Kart, and watch Hocus Pocus. Jesse and Anna show a great amount of commitment to making their residents feel like their hall is their home. I'm incredibly thankful that they are on RHC! Look out for them next year around campus!  

If you’re planning on commuting to campus or living in your own apartment next year, don’t worry! Other organizations like DePaul Activities Board, Transfer Student Union, and Catholic Campus Ministries hold events that are open to the entire student body as well. Some exciting activities the last few weeks have included a Halloween themed grocery bingo night, tick-or-treating food drive, and a trip to a corn maze! 


Loop Campus: Sweet Tooth Detours

DePaul’s Loop Campus is located in the heart of Chicago at State Street and Jackson Boulevard. To move between campuses students can take either the Brown or Red Line. Although the Brown Line may have more scenic views, the Red Line stops between Fullerton and Jackson make their way through some tasty Chicago favorites that are sure to please any college student!

Chicago Stop: Sprinkle’s Cupcakes​

Sprinkles Cupcakes originally started in Beverly Hills before the Food Network famous Candace Nelson opened a location in Chicago. Known for their 25 rotating flavors and Cupcake ATM, Sprinkles is also dedicated to serving the communities of their locations.  Since 2005, Sprinkles has donated $7 million in cash and cupcakes to organizations. My recommendation is the Red Velvet, which even comes in sugar free, gluten free, and vegan varieties. 

Grand Stop: Pinkberry​

Chicago has many frozen yogurt chains, but I’ve yet to find one that tops Pinkberry. My favorite is the original, a more refreshing version of traditional vanilla, with strawberries and Nutella. Before you head over be sure to download the Pinkberry app that serves as a punch card and your ticket to free froyo on your birthday!​

Lake Stop: Magnolia Bakery​

One of my best friends is from New York, so I originally stopped into Magnolia to pick up some dessert to further our great Chicago vs. NYC debate. This time folks, NYC wins hands down! Magnolia’s vanilla buttercream can only be described by the word 'perfect', so be sure to pick up a slice of cake the next time you’re in the loop! ​

Munroe Stop: Pret A Manger​

First, Pret A Manger is located inside of Target, so you already know it’s going to be a great place. Second, their croissants are great and baked fresh throughout the day.  This quick serve spot is a definite step up from the snack bar in most suburban Targets, so you can even grab a healthy lunch before class at a reasonable price if you want to take a break from your meal plan.   

Jackson Stop: Garrett Popcorn​​

There’s no better way to get to know Chicago than the Garrett Mix! Cheese and caramel popcorn are mixed together in the same bag to create a sweet and savory snack. Just be sure to grab a few napkins before you head out to avoid cheesy fingers! ​


Top Five Lincoln Park Lunch Spots

With admission processes in high gear and the beautiful fall weather Chicago has been having recently now is definitely the time to visit​ DePaul’s campus! When I first visited DePaul I chose to do the Admission Information Session and Lincoln Park Tour back to back. These programs generally run 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm on the weekdays, as well as Saturday mornings. Before or after your tour be sure to check out one of Lincoln Park’s award winning restaurants.  Below you’ll find my top five lunch spots within walking distance of campus.

​5th Place: Uncle Sammy’s​

Named ‘One of the Six Serious Sandwich Shops of Chicago’ by Time Out magazine, Uncle Sammy’s is a great soup and sandwich shop located below the 1237 West student apartments. I recommend roast beef, ham, and provolone cheese on freshly baked bread, also known as the ‘Windy City’. Another must is Uncle Sammy’s Ghirardelli brownies. They’re the perfect dessert to save for your trip home!

4th Place: Jam 'n Honey​

Calling all Nutella fans! You’re college decision will easily be made once you see Jam & Honey’s Nutella jars on every table! Serving breakfast all day, you can’t go wrong with the Banana Nut French Toast or Eggs Benedict. You’ll just want to remember to stop at the ATM before heading to this cash only restaurant.

Third Place: State​

State (at the corner of Webster and Bissell) takes sports and food to the next level! 80% of ingredients are locally produced before they are prepared in State’s full scratch kitchen and served to your table surrounded by 124 flat screen TV’s.  On Wednesday through Fridays State has different specials that bring many menu items down to just $5.99 or $6.99 each, including their signature Buffalo Skillet Dip and Signature Rock Shrimp.

Second Place: Homeslice​

Just across the street from State is Homeslice. Their 31 types of pizza (Yes 31, that is not a typo!) are perfect for groups of two, four, or even more! Can’t decide which pie to try? Calzones are also an option! I recommend the Smoked Ham & Avocado - it’s a new twist on a time old classic. Homeslice also offers whole grain crusts and gluten free options to please all pizza lovers. 

First Place: Pasta Palazzo​

Locateat Halsted and Armitage, Pasta Palazzo offers classic Italian cuisine with reasonable prices.  The grilled calamari appetizer in lemon-herb vinaigrette offers a refreshing twist to traditional fried calamari. Next I’d suggest the handmade gnocchi with your choice of sauce. After these two dishes your room for dessert may be limited, but if you’re up for the challenge you won’t regret the tiramisu!​ 


DePaul’s Shopping Week via Course Cart

A very common question among incoming students is, “What kind of classes will I be taking at DePaul?” In preparation for your first quarter on campus your schedule will be chosen at Orientation alongside an academic advisor who will guide you through every point, click, and submit button. For all quarters after Orientation you’ll always have the option to meet with your advisor in person or ask those questions via email, but most of the schedule making process will be put in your hands! Campus Connect is DePaul’s online hub for MANY things, Course Cart being one of them.

About two weeks before your enrollment time (a day and time you’re assigned each quarter where you can official begin to register for classes for the next quarter) the infamous Course Cart will open. Once Course Cart opens current students can see all the classes in every single subject that will be offered including meeting days, times, and professors (if they’ve already been assigned).

It’s easy to get lost looking at all the interesting classes DePaul has to offer, so I usually start building my Course Cart from my Degree Progress Report (DPR). In every major there will be a specific set courses you will be required to take. As an education major my required courses have covered planning, assessment, and teaching strategies. The rest of your classes will be made up of liberal studies learning domains and elective credits. Elective credits are a great place to add a double major or minor. Learning domains on the other hand are a great way to learn about things you’re interested in, but don’t necessarily want to commit to for a major or minor. Although my major is Secondary Education, I have the equivalent of a minor in Political Science and have applied a few of my learning domains to Digital Cinema courses.

The DPR (shown to the right) breaks down all of the requirements that will be specific to your degree plan. When you click on the blue hyperlinks a window appears that will tell you all the courses you can take fulfill the specific requirement and the quarter in which each course will be offered. If the class sounds interesting after reading the course description you’re just a few clicks away from adding to your course cart. Keep in mind that your Course Cart is just like your Amazon cart. By adding a class to it you’re not committing to it yet. So go ahead and load it up with everything that sounds interesting. Just don’t forget to run the final 12-18 credits you decide on by your advisor to make sure you’re on track before your enrollment date!


What Really Matters Through the College Decision Process

​​​​​I grew up in a town where the question was never, “Are you going to college?” but instead, “Where are you going to college”. With this you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you the first time I took the SAT – yes the real SAT – was in 6th grade.  I spent most of middle school obsessing over the Ivy Leagues, as I wanted nothing else but to be Rory from Gilmore Girls. However, in high school I learned that if you want to be a teacher it makes the most sense to go to college in the same state where you eventually want to teach.  So I traded my east coast Rory Gilmore dream for collegeboard.org​

Out of all the schools I applied to I was serious about three of them. DePaul was the only school out of my top three where housing wasn’t guaranteed to first year students, so we put down both the tuition and housing deposits early on just in case. It’s pretty obvious now that, to my parents liking, those three hundred nonrefundable dollars certainly did not go to waste! 

Even with the deposits down I didn’t end up making my official college decision until April of my senior year. One of my Student Council advisors, Mrs. Manheim, was the one who helped me make that final choice. We were in the car on the way to a district board meeting when she had me list the pros and cons of each university. I remember sitting there and telling her, “and DePaul’s version of student council is called Residence Hall Council​, RHC for short. They have a website and everything. I’ve already read their whole constitution. They elect three senators from each hall, and one day if I’m President I’ll get to spend the whole summer on campus just planning RHC stuff”. Continuing to drive she said, “I think you should go to DePaul, but it looks like you’ve already made up your mind”. It was there ladies and gentleman that deep down in my heart I found my answer. 

The sixth grade SAT studying me knew that academics were important, and the twelfth grade me knew that student activities ranked in at a close second. The best advice I can give anyone heading into the admissions process is that picking the right school involves more than just looking at the fast facts. Do your research about everything else the campus has to offer, and most importantly trust your gut. No matter what you’re never going to know what exactly the future has in store. After all, three and a half years from now you might be the one who just wrapped up their summer “planning for the next year of RHC."

Jet Setting to DePaul

​​​I’m a huge fan of Google, but search engines can only be so much help when traveling somewhere new. This time last year I had never been on a plane before, but in a matter of the next seven months I found myself embarking on ten different planes to four conferences, and one trip to visit a friend. Chicago’s various modes of transportation and I have gotten to know each other very well, so hopefully these tips can be of help to anyone traveling from their home state to DePaul for the first time! ​​​

Two Airports, One City
Midway and O’Hare are your key words here. Midway is located southwest of the center of the city, and O’Hare northwest of the city. With 188 gates and 122 food and beverage locations, O’Hare is a huge airport. Flying in and out of O’Hare is nice, because more gates means more destinations and more flight times. The benefits of flying in and out of Midway is that the airport is much smaller than O’Hare, making it easier to navigate. At Midway there’s only three terminals and each gate has a fair amount of charging space for laptops and cell phones. Whether you choose Midway or O’Hare both airports are pretty solid with plenty of food options strategically placed past security (a major plus), and easy access to both public transportation and cabs.  

When it comes to booking the flight, some travel gurus say the cheapest time to book is domestic flight is six weeks in advance on a Tuesday afternoon. For me, I’ve had the most luck avoiding Sunday flights and using websites like the one linked here​ to compare prices. Always be sure to take into account the airline’s baggage policy. Southwest might be a few dollars more than a smaller airline, but there’s no extra nickel diming and up to two checked bags always fly free! 

Airport to Campus
Both airports have direct access to public transportation. Buses are great, but the ‘L’ is the truest form of Chicago transportation and much faster! Here’s an outline of your route if you’re headed to the Lincoln Park Campus.

From O’Hare: Blue Line (O’Hare to Clark/Lake), then transfer to the Brown Line (Clark/Lake to Fullerton). This route takes about an hour. 

From Midway: Orange Line (Midway to Roosevelt), then transfer to the Red Line (Roosevelt to Fullerton). This route takes about 50 minutes. 
Boarding the ‘L’ train is easy using a contactless debit or credit card or by purchasing a Ventra pass at any CTA station. Information about CTA fairs can be found here​. If you’re staying in the city for a few days and plan on using the ‘L’ for a lot of site seeing, I’d recommend purchasing an unlimited ride pass. $10 24-hour passes can be purchased at each station, and 3 day and 10 day passes can be purchased at retailers throughout the city​

If you’d rather take a cab from the airport to campus, I’ve found it easiest just to wait in the cab line at the airport instead of trying to book transportation ahead of time. Be sure to specify to your driver if you’re headed to the Lincoln Park (Fullerton and Sheffield) or Loop campus (Jackson and State). Depending on what airport you’re coming from and the time of day you arrive, the ride can be anywhere between 25 minutes and an hour.