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
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!
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.
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!
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
- 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!
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.