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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​

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.  

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."