Olivia Griffin

Housing Throughout the Years

I am a huge advocate of living on campus.  Not only is it super convenient to live steps away from your classes, but it is also comforting knowing that you are living with other people who are going through similar experiences as DePaul students.  Now let me tell you about my housing experiences throughout my four years here…

Freshmen Year: University Hall (U-Hall for short!)

My first dorming experience was in U-Hall, a large brick building right off the Quad. I loved being able to look out the window by my desk and see whatever activity was occurring just outside. I was one of few lucky students who had a bathroom attached to the dorm room, which was an awesome benefit for the late night showers that I tended to take.  Here is a photo of my half of the room, decorated for my birthday by my lovely roommate Molly.  Though you may be scared of heights, I definitely recommend lofting your bed to create more room!

Sophomore Year: Centennial Apartments

The deadly combination of living above Whole Foods, being a few feet from the el, and the stunning view, makes Centennial my absolute favorite housing experience.  There I lived with my best friend Olivia in a studio apartment, which meant that we did not have a full door on our bedroom.  But we did have a large bathroom and living room and we attached a curtain to the half wall to create a door.

Summer Before Junior Year: Seton Hall

As I transitioned between my two on-campus apartments, I lived solo in a triple in Seton Hall for a summer.  Though this is not the traditional living arrangement within that hall, it did give me my first taste of community bathrooms, which were always super clean.  In case you have not heard, the other benefit of Seton is the HUGE walk-in closets that can literally house a single bed if you wanted to move in there!  I definitely missed leaving that.

Junior Year: Sheffield Square

My last on-campus experience was in Sheffield Square, which was the most like a traditional apartment.  Though I still shared a bedroom with Olivia, this time we had a door!  We also had a huge kitchen, living room, and study, as well as a front and back door for easy access to classes.  The one drawback was that we lived in the garden unit, which meant that we did not get much natural lighting.

Senior Year: Off Campus (corner of Sheffield and Webster)

Currently, I am living above CorePower Yoga in a one-bedroom apartment because Olivia decided to move back home.  I am so close to campus that it still feels like I am on campus, but most people who live in my building are young professionals as opposed to students.  It is a nice transition now that I am a senior and I am preparing to live independently myself.  


Random Roommate or Facebook "Friend"

So you’ve committed to DePaul, now what? It’s time to decide: 1) are you living in the dorms? 2) which one? 3) with who?! It’s the topic on everyone’s mind—ROOMMATES! I am sure that you have heard both horror stories and love stories on this very topic.  And I am here to advocate for going random. Going random in the age of Facebook groups ?? Who does that!?  I know that it’s not very common to do this anymore and I probably sound like a dinosaur but here’s why… 

Now if you are going random, you are leaving it all up to fate. You cannot blame yourself if the situation does not work out like you might do if you had chosen your “friend.” Either way, you can, of course, remedy the situation with a housing transfer if you really needed to, but I would be less willing to do this if I felt like it was partly my fault. 

Now here’s something else to keep in mind, you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate!  I definitely would not consider my roommate freshman year my best friend, or even a good friend really, but we still had a great room-lationship (and she helped me get a job, which I still work at four years later—thanks, Molly!). When you aren’t best friends with your roomie, it makes it easier to put yourself out there and meet a lot of new people during your first year, which is incredibly important.

So I encourage you to save your energy and don’t make a Facebook post. Instead, wait to meet people in real life and roll the dice with a random roommate!


Common Freshmen Questions

Q: What’s the quarter system like?

A: The quarter system is fast, but I love it!  It gives you a chance to take way more classes and if you don’t like a class very much, it is over in just ten weeks.  But it can be difficult because midterms and finals definitely sneak up on you. As long as you are organized and proactive in completing your reading and assignments, you will do great!

Q: How do you stay on top of your academics?

A: Break up large assignments into smaller tasks, so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed.  Force yourself to write drafts of essays before they are actually due.  Ex. Midterm Paper is due in two weeks, but MY first draft is due in one week.  Reward yourself!  Ex. If I finish this chapter, I will watch a 20-minute show on Netflix (but don’t forget to return to your work!!)

Q: What are professors like?  How are they different from teachers in high school?

A: Professors, in my experience, are always eager to help!  But they won’t necessarily check in with you as often as high school teachers might. I recommend looking at the syllabus to see if they have listed specific office hours, so you can meet with them individually.  Be proactive and seek help and professors will respect that you are trying to succeed.

Q: What happens if you are absent?

A: If you are sick and cannot make it to class, email your teacher.  It is best to stay in good communication to show that you care and want to be on top of your schoolwork.  Additionally, try and get a doctor’s note.  You should bring your doctor’s note to Dean of Students so that you can get an excused absence.

Q: How do you meet people?

A: You can meet people in so many different ways: get involved with a club, go to DePaul sponsored events (DePaul Activities Board​ has tons of many events), try out group fitness classes at the Ray Meyer Center​, attend DePaul sporting events, talk to people in your classes, hangout in the common areas of your dorm, eat at the Student Center, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

Q: What’s the best part about DePaul?

A: The best part about DePaul is being in the middle of the best city in the United States! There is always something fun to do and with your Ventra pass included in the price of tuition, there’s no excuse not to explore the city.


Meet Olivia! (No, This is Not a Repeat Blog)

It was my second day of freshman year.  Classes had not yet begun and I ventured out of my dorm alone to attend Sunday Night Student Mass at St. Vincent DePaul Parish .  I remember sitting in the pew by myself for the first time.  I had always gone to church with my parents, but now it was time for me to independently live out my faith as an adult. 

After mass ended, a student announced that any freshmen interested in attending a first-year student retreat should meet at the back of the church.  I had attended a few retreats in high school and enjoyed them, so I decided to stay.  And boy am I glad that I did!  There was a small group of students gathered to learn more information and I introduced myself to one of the girls standing there.

“I’m Olivia,” I said nervously.  “No way, I’m Olivia too!” she smiled.  I laughed and I asked her if she was going to go on the retreat.  She nodded and so we both signed up.  We continued to talk as we walked out of church together, finding out that we both wanted to be high school English teachers too.  A few weeks later we were reunited on the retreat and became inseparable ever since! 

Flash-forward to today and we are still best friends.  We lived together for two years (sophomore year in Centennial Hall and junior year in Sheffield Square ) and have more similarities than we can count.  But we also have our differences and we use these to challenge each other to become even better people.  The only thing better than being friends with Olivia is being able to introduce ourselves as “Olivia and Olivia” wherever we go because we are almost always together.  

It’s crazy to think that I would have never met Olivia if I didn’t put myself out there in attending mass alone that second day of freshman year.  Sometimes you want to do things that others you know may not want to do and in doing that you can meet new people that you have something (or in my case, almost everything) in common with.  So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things, alone or otherwise!  


#WhyApply

It's crazy to think it's college application season already, isn't it? I cannot believe that I applied to DePaul four years ago! So much has changed, but my love for DePaul has not.

Both my mom and my oldest sister graduated from DePaul, but that does not mean that it was the school that I always thought I would be attending. To be honest, I originally imagined myself at a school much further from my hometown of La Grange, IL. However, health complications that came up during my high school career made that choice a bit unrealistic, so I applied to a few universities much closer to home: Loyola, Marquette, Michigan State, Indiana, and of course DePaul. 

After that visit, I started thinking more and more about DePaul.  I knew that I wanted to major in Secondary English Education and DePaul would be the perfect link to Chicago Public Schools, giving me a much more diverse experience than my own high school gave me.  That is the beauty of attending a city school—you are surrounded by amazing, worldly opportunities rather than being isolated in a small college town.  There is absolutely never a dull moment!  Whether you are interested in art, music, sports, comedy, or food, there is something for you to do each and every day with the U-Pass at your fingertips.

After my first quarter at DePaul, I knew I made the right decision.  Not only was I living in one of the best cities in the world, but I was also surrounded by people who wanted to make a difference.  If you don’t already know, DePaul is a Vincentian community that prides itself on its commitment to service and social justice by asking the question: “What Must Be Done? ”  This was not something that swayed me in my decision to apply because I was not fully aware of its meaning, but it certainly made me feel a lot more fulfilled when I arrived and embraced the mission of the University. 

So, what must be done?  Your application to DePaul University of course! You’ll never know if you don’t apply!