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Thankful!

I can’t believe it is week ten already here at DePaul!  Finals are already well underway at DePaul, and our winter break officially starts on Wednesday.  The past week has been filled with studying and writing papers, but this weekend I went to two Friendsgiving celebrations!  On Friday I celebrated with some friends in my sorority, and on Saturday my roommates and I hosted one at our apartment.  Both nights I was responsible for making apple crisp, which is my favorite fall dessert.  For each Friendsgiving, everyone invited was required to make an appetizer, a plate for dinner, or a dessert.  Surprisingly, everyone brought such great food and made everything from scratch.  Since DePaul is not in session during the Christmas season at all, I found it to be especially necessary for us all to spend this time together before the holidays.  
I am so grateful for all of my amazing friends I have met at DePaul.  I came here freshman year not knowing a single soul and somehow got to meet some of the best humans I know.  Both Friendsgivings I went to this weekend allowed me to look back on how I met each of my friends, and most of them were simply by chance.  Whether it be having a dorm room right next to my best friends, choosing to room with a girl I met through the DePaul Class of 2020 Facebook page, or simply meeting someone through a friend of a friend, I am so happy to have all of these wonderful people in my life.  What are you grateful for? :)


Build Your Credit

I did not receive my first credit card until after my junior year in college. I understand a parent’s concern in that their child will max out their card, destroying their credit score in the process. Yet, not owning a credit card out of fear is just as harmful to your credit score as abusing a card. No credit is viewed as bad credit. Sure, you may have one open line of credit in the form of student loans, but opening one or two revolving accounts with credit cards are a good way of building your credit before graduation, thus opening doors to cheaper rates in the future and presenting yourself as financially stable to landlords, loans, and so on.

The first question is one will ask themselves is what card should I apply for? There are multiple issuers (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express) across many banks, credit unions, and companies. As a newcomer to credit cards, it would be wise to apply for a card with no annual fee. Next, is to do research at the credit ratings that the card accepts. As someone will no to little to no credit, American Express will more likely accept you. Many credit cards are intended for students specifically like Discover it card.

Once you get accepted, keep in mind your credit limit. Sure, you were given a limit of $500 but do not use the full $500. Once you use more than 30% of your limit and do not pay it off before the next credit score update, it will hurt your credit score. A safe margin would be 15% of your limit. Keep in mind that you do not have to wait until your due date to pay off your card’s balance. You can minimize your balance by paying it off weekly. That way you know that your monthly balance will be paid off in full and not be concerned about paying any fees or interest.

Keep in mind that a credit card is not giving you money. Every cent spent will be taken out of your checking account sooner or later. Besides building credit, credit cards offer many rewards and benefits a debit card will not. Cashback or exclusive access to events are some that even a first-time cardholder may be able to rack up.


Service Immersions

In honor of applications being open for spring break service immersion trips, I thought I should talk about the two trips I have had the opportunity to go on.  During the spring break of my freshman year at DePaul, I went to Bladensburg, Maryland.  During this trip, we went to D.C., as well as Baltimore in Maryland.  The focus of this trip was healthcare, which we learned a lot about when we visited many different sites in D.C..  When we went to Baltimore for a day, we learned about human trafficking, which was an issue I had hardly been exposed to before.  Human trafficking is rarely discussed in the media, so I was very grateful to learn so much about it. 

My second service immersion trip was to Los Angeles, California during my winter break last year.  The focus of this trip was homelessness, and we stayed in the heart of skid row.  This experience is something I will always remember, as well as all of the people I met.  The highlights of the trip for me were sitting with those who were homeless over lunch, and getting to know them.  One man I was talking to said he was so proud of our group for spending our winter break this way, and said he sincerely believes our generation has the power to change the world.  Another highlight of the trip for me was going to a site called Homeboy Industries.  Homeboy Industries helps many individuals who were formerly in gangs or incarcerated.  Their purpose is to help these individuals find a place back in society.  They do this by offering tattoo removals so it is easier for these individuals to get jobs, offering mental health services, workforce development, educational services, and more.  Homeboy Industries also has a bakery as well as Homegirl Cafe, which hires individuals who have come to Homeboy Industries seeking help.  Having these jobs that give them hands-on experience when many other places have turned them down due to their criminal record is a very important step in their road to success.

Both of these trips have allowed me to meet wonderful people at DePaul, as well as all over the United States.  Over winter break I will be going on a service immersion trip to Bogota, Colombia and I am so excited.  I cannot wait to write a blog about it. :)


DePaul Commuter Life

As a commuter student myself, I completely understand the struggle of waking up super early to catch a train or missing the last train and ending up being late to class. I commute from the suburbs which is about 45 minutes away and I usually drive or take the metra. I’ve experienced it all, from being stuck in traffic to missing a train and ending up missing half of class. It can be tough, but it pays off in the end if you’re looking to save money in college or stay close to home.

DePaul has tons of resources that make commuting easier for students.

CTA U-Pass -

Regardless if you commute or not, your U-pass will be your best friend when you’re in the city. It gives you access to unlimited CTA train and bus rides while classes are in session as a student at DePaul.

Commuter Lounge -

The commuter lounge is located on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center in the Loop Campus. It has comfortable couches, study desks, televisions, etc. If you don’t have a dorm or an apartment to go to, it's a great place to relax or take a nap after classes. 

Events for Commuters -

DePaul hosts a ton of events and lunches that are made specifically for commuter students. They usually include free food, games, and movie screenings in the Loop campus that are at reasonable times, so you don’t have to take a late train back home.


It's Christmas Time in the City

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Halloween is finally over and stores all across the city are preparing for the holidays. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been listening to Christmas music since July and you are ready to start celebrating. However, chances are you fall among the majority who are just starting to embrace the start of the festivities. Regardless, Chicago is getting everyone excited with all of its yearly holiday traditions. If you’ve decided to spend November and December in the city, here are some of my favorite things to do to get you in the Christmas spirit.

CTA Holiday Train

Anyone who lives in Chicago, is familiar with the beloved CTA trains. Starting around the end of November, a few of the trains will be fully decked out with holiday decorations. When I first moved to the city, I was so happy to hear that this was something that they did. It’s so exciting when you’re waiting for the train and the one that comes is decorated with lights and streamers. If you want to make sure that you get the chance to ride one, they always post the schedule on the CTA website near the end of November- so be on the lookout for that!

Christkindlmarket  

You can’t talk about Christmas in Chicago without mentioning the Christkindlmarket. This little market transforms the Daley Plaza into a European village with booths full of different food and drinks for you to try. With new vendors every year, there’s always more to explore. The booths range from food to handmade ornaments and little trinkets you can give as gifts. Depending on the day you go, there might be live music and more entertainment so be sure to check the online calendar. I always recommend getting the hot chocolate in the souvenir mug, it’s a staple for every holiday season.

Ice Skating at Millennium Park

This is by far my favorite thing about Christmas in the city. Every year around November, they put up an ice rink in front of our beloved Cloud Gate sculpture (more commonly known as “The Bean”) and open it up to the public. Admission is free, but if you need to rent skates that’s an option as well. There’s a big Christmas tree in the plaza and everyone is in a wonderful mood. If you get the opportunity to go, I would absolutely recommend you do so.

Song of the Week: All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey :)


December Intersession

Winter break for DePaul students is the best. This year the break is 7 weeks long instead of 6 weeks until we start our Winter quarter. We have so much time off to do whatever we’d like. Some people take trips, relax or work. With the great opportunities that DePaul has, we are allowed to take classes during the break.

Winter Intersession classes are a great way to open up your Winter class schedule. The way it works is that you can take a class during the intersession and it will count toward your Winter quarter which also means that the cost for your Winter quarter tuition is lumped in with the intersession costs. There are usually a very limited amount of classes available during the intersession but the list of intersession classes comes out at the same time as the registration period for Winter quarter so it’s always easy to plan out what classes you need to take.

These classes are very condensed over a few weeks depending on the class. Some can be from 9 am to 5 pm for a few days a week it might seem overwhelming but sometimes it’s easier to retain things if you were lectured on them a day before. Intersession classes also don’t take up the entire break, at most they can take up one-third of your 7-week break so you still have time to take a vacation and relax from school if you wanted to.

I highly recommend looking into intersession classes. You can also keep yourself busy during the break with a class and you can have a more relaxing Winter quarter with one less class.  


DePaul Dance Company

At DePaul, there are so many different clubs that it is hard to choose one to devote your time to. There are a few organizations I perused before deciding on being an active member of the DePaul Dance Company.

This long-standing dance company, coined “DDC” by its members, is considered both a club and a team sport. Although we do not have games, trainings, or merchandise like the club sports, we technically get “team sport” funding and get to practice at the Ray Meyers Fitness Center, the campus gym. We have 30+ people across our six teams - ballet, hip hop, jazz, tap, modern, and lyrical. For a small team membership, which lessens each year you’re on the team, you get the opportunity to rehearse twice a week in the Ray (a team rehearsal and a Sunday all-company rehearsal) and perform once a quarter at an off-campus venue.

My freshman year I auditioned for DDC and I do not regret it. As much as I love having friends in my major, it is nice to be friends with people outside of your major! It is also nice to be friends with people of all grade levels. Last year, we even had a graduate student on our hip hop team! I love that I have a group of dancers that I have cultivated friendships with through our passion for dance!  Because we rehearse twice a week, we get close to the people around us. In fact, I met my best friend through DDC. If you have a passion for dance, please consider auditioning and joining us!  


Preparing to Study Abroad

As fall quarter winds down, I’m getting ready to study abroad in Peru over Winter break. I’ve been taking a Latin American Politics course throughout the quarter to learn about the political climate in Peru and gain background information to better understand the country’s current state. Along with this course, there is a lot of other preparation I need to do in order to have a successful trip. For example, since we are spending time in the Amazon Rainforest, all students are required to get a Yellow Fever vaccination. Rather than packing what I normally bring on international trips, I have to think about versatile clothing I can wear on a variety of excursions since we are doing everything from trekking through the rainforest to going deep into the Earth to explore some of Peru’s gold mines.

The trip I’m taking is a combination program for students studying either Political Science or Environmental Science, which happen to be the two majors one of my roommates and I are studying. Ever since it was announced earlier this year, we knew we had to go. It combines both of our disciplines in a really interesting way; we are learning about sustainable resource extraction and the politics and environmental consequences that are involved. By spending two weeks exploring these issues in a hands-on way in Peru meeting with local leaders and traveling to sites of resource extraction, we will learn an incredible amount of valuable knowledge that simply could not have been learned in the classroom. Stay tuned for my first blog of next quarter to find out how it goes!  


Finals Week

Finals week is upon us! The Armageddon is here, and the world is collapsing!

So, allow me to tell you all what I’m thankful for in our time of need. I’m thankful for extended deadlines and reasonable grading by very nice and professional professors. Always be grateful to teachers who help you, especially when they don’t have to. This a university and a lot of people don’t necessarily have to help you as much as they do. So, at the very least be kind, fill out your course evaluations, and do the work!

I’m also thankful for professors who don’t make students come to class on the final day. As we get older we realize that time is money and I respect and appreciate people who do not want to waste the time of others. I’m thankful that should I be lucky enough to pass all my classes I may be on track to graduate on time. I changed my degree at the beginning of Sophomore year and didn’t do so well in a few classes and have been worried about it ever since. But it looks as though things may work out in the end.

 I’m thankful for DeBlogs giving me the outlet to share my thoughts, feelings, and wisdom with anyone who cares to read it. I’m thankful for DePaul being the backdrop to my growth as a young adult into the real world. When things seem tough or hopeless, or you get plagued by negative thinking, try to remember what you’re thankful for and stay positive. The holidays are right around the corner, and everything will be okay in the end.


SigEp LipSync

This past weekend, a few girls in my sorority and I participated in Sigma Phi Epsilon’s philanthropy event: SigEp LipSync.  The event consists of multiple sororities and fraternities coming up with a dance to a mix of songs, and then lip singing to the best of their ability.  This year the theme for the event was Halloween, so every sorority and fraternity that competed in the event made a mix of different Halloween songs and/or wore costumes.  My sorority had a mix of songs for our dance that included the intro of The Purge movie, “Heads Will Roll,” “Somebody’s Watching Me,” “Disturbia,” “Look What You Made Me Do,” and “Time Warp.” Everyone who attended the event was asked to give a five dollar donation at the door, and all of the donations were given directly to Erika’s Lighthouse.  Erika’s Lighthouse is present in many states, but has a location close to Chicago, in Winnetka, Illinois.  Erika’s Lighthouse is a non-profit organization that promotes and educates people on mental health and has the purpose of making sure no child feels alone during their depression. This is a cause I was truly grateful to support.  My sorority ended up getting second place in the competition, which we were really excited about!  We all worked really hard on the dance and practiced multiple times per week.  I was also so happy that many of my friends came to watch my sorority perform, whether they were in my sorority or not.  I had such a great time at this event and would encourage everyone to either participate or observe the event next year. :) 


DePaul Film Fatales

Most of you are probably familiar with the film student organizations at DePaul like The Digital Cinema Collaborative (DCC), but the DePaul Film Fatales is another student org that's all about women in the film industry. Film Fatales supports women with academic and creative needs within the digital cinema field. They have tons of workshops for camera operating, sound equipment, and more, which are focused on teaching women and taught by women. They’re a great way to meet and network with people that are already in the industry and learn from professionals. It's also a great way to get information about job or volunteer opportunities and current projects that others are working on. Along with workshops and informational meetings, there are also tons of film screenings. All of the films that are shown are usually by female directors, with plots that are focused on female characters. The most recent screening was of a film The Mourning Forest by Naomi Kawase, about a nurse who mourns the death of her child. DePaul has tons of clubs that promote diversity and inclusion, and this one example of it. The Film Fatales is a great club especially for anyone who wants to meet more female filmmakers or learn more about the field from a female perspective.  ​​

Essential Items to Battle Chicago Winters

When I decided to move to Chicago for college, the weather was the last thing on my mind. I grew up in Wisconsin so temperatures below zero were something I was very familiar with. However, once I experienced my first winter in Chicago I quickly realized that I was not prepared at all. Last year, winter started in October and it lasted well into late April. I went home for winter break and came back equipped with my warmest sweaters as a way to beat the cold. I had to learn how to endure windy city winters the hard way, but in case you’d rather be prepared, here are some essential items to keep you warm all winter long.

 A Wind Resistant Coat

Do your research on this one! Last October, I had a normal parka as my winter coat but after discovering the Chicago wind, I wished I had a coat that could protect me from it. Investing in a good winter coat something I can’t stress enough. If you’re tight on money, this is a good thing to put on your Christmas wish list.

The Turtleneck

I like to joke that Steve Jobs is my style icon because I’m always in a turtleneck. I have a handful of black turtlenecks in my closet that I like to layer underneath everything and it makes a world of a difference.

The Blanket Scarf

Imagine this: it’s 8 am and you have class in 30 minutes, but the sky outside your window is gray and you’re so comfortable underneath your mountain of blankets. Now imagine how happy you’d be if you could take a blanket to class with you. This, my friends, is the beauty of the blanket scarf. I am guilty of wrapping it around me like a blanket during class and let me just say that my quality of life has drastically improved since this discovery.

Warm Boots

Just like the wind resistant coat, investing in a quality pair of boots is also key. Here in Chicago, walking is a big way to get around so you want to make sure that your feet are warm. I bought a pair of long Hunter Boots and use them as both rain and winter boots all year.

Song of the Week: Emmylou- Vance Joy :)


The Ban on Straws

This past Summer, Starbucks announced they are planning to get rid of their use of straws by 2020. Although they project to have this done by 2020, they have already been starting to cut down on straws with their new cold cup lids and some stores only giving straws out when asked to. Starbucks was the first large company to take this initiative and it has sprung into a great thing.

Ever since their announcement, I have noticed some changes. I realized a few people in my classes have aluminum straws, I notice people in coffee shops with iced drinks not using lids and straws and see them drinking their iced coffee by sipping it. I really noticed it when I ordered an iced coffee in the loop on the 11th floor and the lady making it said they don’t give out straws unless asked for and that they only use biodegradable ones. It seems that DePaul is trying to go greener and use fewer straws also.

I am a frequent coffee buyer, Starbucks especially, because of its many perks. Ever since their straw announcement I have bought more reusable products, I bought a reusable Starbucks cup and straw which I use all the time. I have been a lot more self-conscious lately and with the way, the climate is changing and I am trying to figure out the little things I do every day that can be improved and not hurt the earth. It’s our job to take care of the earth and starting with small things is better than nothing.  


Chicken Places Better than Cluck

Cluck is the on-campus chicken restaurant on the 2nd floor of the Student Center (or the “Stu,” as coined by the students). As good as it is, there are many amazing choices for off-campus chicken in the city of Chicago and around DePaul.

1)    Branko’s.

Branko’s is a sandwich shop across the street from the Quad. It is a small little place right on DePaul campus that many students love to go to for a break from on-campus food. If you go, the menu is a little overwhelming but there are some delicious food choices! I would recommend the grilled chicken sandwich, which is made right there in the back. I’d also suggest having a long conversation with the sweet lady who works there because she is very interesting!

2)    Broken English.

Broken English is a Mexican restaurant a few minute walk from campus on Lincoln. This restaurant has a super fun and hipster vibe - with a giant blue cow in the middle of the store and a hanging red bicycle from the ceiling. It is a very loud restaurant but a fun place to be in for a lunch or dinner out with friends! I’d recommend getting the quesadilla “la gringa” with chicken. You will get about the biggest quesadilla I’ve ever seen! For dessert, I’d suggest getting the El Puro Churro, which is a churro with cinnamon ice cream! What’s not to like!

3)    Budlong Hot Chicken.

Budlong Hot Chicken is a Tennessee Hot Chicken restaurant located off of the Brown Line stop Armitage, which is one stop from the DePaul Lincoln Park campus. It has a really cool vibe with white picnic table seating and red bandana napkins. I’d recommend getting the hot chicken sandwich with the “classic” level of spicy. I’m so weak when it comes to getting hot food but the “classic”, although hotter than the “naked”, has a better flavor. To stop your mouth from burning, I’d suggest getting a side of their white cheddar mac and cheese!

4)    Batter and Berries

If you are looking for chicken in your breakfast or brunch, look no further! Batter and Berries is a really popular brunch place down Lincoln. Because of its popularity, I’d recommend not going during peak times, unless you’re prepared to wait an hour or so. But, although they are known for their delicious French toast, their Cluck-N-Gaufre is my favorite. This is their take on chicken and waffles. The waffle is sweet potato stuffed with pieces of fried chicken inside with a piece of herb chicken and nutmeg hot sauce on top. Although it is a little different from what you expect, it is quite a breakfast! To go with it, I’d suggest the irresistible cheesy potatoes.

5)    Mo’s Chinese Kitchen.

Mo’s Chinese Kitchen is a Chinese food (although they also have Japanese food) restaurant down Fullerton, about a 10-minute walk from the Lincoln Park campus. It has really delicious Chinese food that also delivers late night food for pretty cheap! Although I love their chicken fried rice, their orange chicken is the best! I’d highly recommend getting that and maybe some appetizers because the menu is expansive and everything I’ve had there has been good!


Rethink Banking

As smartphones progressed, so did the opportunities available for app developers and brands to expand beyond a brick and mortar operation. Banks and the rise of mobile banking are no exception. In this digital world, it only seems right that you can make balance transfers and deposit checks all from the comfort of your home. However, there are more benefits of choosing an online bank over a conventional one with branch locations. Online banks have fewer costs since they have minimal physical locations. These savings are passed onto the depositor in the form of interest rates, or the money that banks pay you for holding your money in their vaults. Banks like PNC, Chase, and Wells Fargo have interest rates that are fractions of a percent, paying only a few cents a month. Discover and Capital One on the other hand offer rates that range from one percent an onward allowing you to rack up a few extra dollars a month.

Personally, I switched my bank over to Discover for the rewards and savings. First off, it offers a checking account with 1% cash back. Usually, that is a feature for credit cards, a feature rare for your debit cards. Sure, I admit that ATM access is not as accessible as my prior PNC accounts, but my use of cash is limited to haircuts and quarters for laundry so I am doing fine nonetheless. If I were to move away, I would not have to worry about what banks are predominant in the region since Discover is virtually accessible anywhere from my smartphone or laptop. Do your research before choosing a new bank and transferring your funds. It is a hassle to close accounts and you can possibly accumulate fees while making money transfers between banks.

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Taking Care of Yourself During Finals

As finals season descends on us once more, it’s important to keep in mind your own health and wellness in addition to doing well on your exams. Although it may seem hard to balance both, I assure you it is possible. It seems like everyone I know develops some kind of minor illness during finals, so here are some tips for you to avoid getting sick.
  1. Sleep is VITAL. We all hear this from parents and teachers from the time we’re in elementary school, but I cannot emphasize this enough. Pulling consecutive all-nighters in order to ace every exam is not as important as taking care of yourself and getting a decent amount of sleep. Without sleep, your body simply cannot function at its full capacity which makes it harder for you to do well on finals.
  2. Set aside time to eat. It’s too easy to get caught up studying and forget to eat nutritious meals during finals. Surviving off of granola bars and coffee is not a good idea any other time of the year, so try not to fall into this habit during exam week either.
  3. Need a study break? Head over to the Ray. Working out is a great way to alleviate stress and get yourself moving when you’ve been stuck at a table in the library all day/night. Since the Ray Meyer Fitness Center is open until 11:30 pm during the week, fitting in a quick jog or workout is not as hard as it might seem.
At the end of the day, not taking care of yourself during finals is a good way for you to become sick, and no one wants to spend their vacation time feeling ill. Do yourself a favor and focus on your own well-being over perfect grades this finals season.  

Finals Countdown

It’s almost that time, we’re inching closer and closer to finals and while the end of the quarter seems so close there are still those massive hurdles known as finals. If you’ve been doing great all quarter, I completely understand how easy it is to begin slacking off in the final weeks. But stay focused! All it takes is one missed assignment, bad test score, or lackluster presentation to drop your grade below what you needed. I often have a hard time focusing in the final weeks as I just want things to be over and have felt I’ve done more than enough over the past ten weeks. But contrary to how most view the quarter system I feel it is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to finish strong and that means not waiting till the last minute to start assignments that will surely take hours. As someone who suffers from senioritis, every day I struggle to start things at a reasonable time in lieu of wanting to socialize or do anything but school work. But as fun as those weekend plans may seem they’re never as fun if the thought of impending homework is creeping up in the back of your head. So, enjoy your fun as you should without the worry of exams you haven’t studied for, PowerPoints you haven’t made, and essays you haven’t written. You got to work hard to play hard, so keep your tunnel vision and do the very best you can to end the quarter!​


Service with SGA

This morning, I had the opportunity to raise money for a local women’s shelter called Deborah’s Place with Student Government Association (SGA).  One new requirement for everyone with a position on student government is that they have to do at least five hours of community service a quarter.  In order to make this easier for everyone and more fun, we decided to do it all together.

We all met in the student center and broke off into two separate teams.  Each team went to a Jewel-Osco grocery store near DePaul’s campus.  Once we arrived at the Jewels, we set up a table with a sign and handed out flyers to people as they went inside to grocery shop. These flyers had a list of things the women at Deborah’s Place would like. 

While the beginning of the day was slow for my group donations wise, I was so surprised with how much we accumulated during the day.  People were so willing to give, whether it be dollar bill or multiple bags of toiletries.  One woman who gave us multiple boxes worth of supplies told us that Deborah’s Place had helped her when she was in a toxic relationship.  She explained how Deborah’s Place got her back on her feet, and how thankful she was for all of the work they have done and continue to do.  She even posted on her Facebook page and encouraged her friends to come stop by and donate items to us.  Today made me so happy to see how many people in our community are willing to give to others.  I also had a lot of fun spending time with everyone on SGA.


Best Korean Food in the West Loop

This past week, I was visiting some friends that go to UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) and we went to a place called H-mart near campus. H-mart is a Korean grocery store that has locations all throughout the country. You can find tons of Korean groceries and snacks there, and it’s not too far from the Loop campus. They even have a food court in the front that has a bakery with Korean and Japanese food to choose from. They have so many options, from steaming hot bowls of ramen, to a huge variety of sushi. I tried the Udon from one of the restaurants called Izakaya Yume. The food was so good, and the people there are super friendly and helpful. In Chicago, it can be tempting to go to fast food chains or a restaurant you’ve been to 100 times, but it’s really good to try new things as well and experience a different culture. H-mart is a great place to go when your craving Asian food, and don’t want to make the trip down to Chinatown. It’s also a great way to experience authentic culture and learn something new. I recommend checking out, and stocking up on Korean snacks while you’re there!

Your Vote Matters

A lot of young people in this country don’t realize the privilege is sitting right in front of them. Unfortunately, there is a lot of apathy surrounding elections and voting, especially among the younger generations. With every passing election, voter turnout is lowering when now is the time that people need their voices to be heard. Most of the time, we think to ourselves that our vote isn’t going to change anything. However, your voice and your vote does matter! More often than not, candidates end up winning by a handful of votes- one of which could be yours. I turned eighteen right after the election in 2016 and I’ve spent the past couple of years learning about how important it is to vote. If voting is something you’re still unsure of, here are some reasons why you might want to reconsider.

It’s Our Generation

I’ll admit that in high school I was really uninterested in politics because they seemed to be happening in a world far away from mine. However, I could not have been more wrong. Young adults are just starting to live their lives and are probably more impacted by policies surrounding education, taxes, and healthcare. It’s important to know where you stand on these issues so that you can elect someone who will let you have a say in these laws.

Fight For What You Believe In

I know I am extremely passionate about the environment and am always looking for new ways to be more eco-friendly. Unfortunately, the biggest changes have to come from laws and policies for us to see any drastic improvement. When the time comes to elect a new representative, I always do research and find someone who cares just as much about going green. After finding an issue that I was really passionate about, I found myself wanting to get more involved with politics, and I encourage you to do the same.

Vote Because You Can

There are so many people right now in countries across the world fighting for a right that people in America often take for granted. It is such a gift to be able to participate in law-making and electing representatives. Don’t let your voice be silenced and exercise your rights. Becoming an adult also means becoming more informed and involved with the world around you.

Song of the Week: Simplify- Young the Giant​ :)


Beta Alpha Psi

I am involved in a few things on campus and I like to be dedicated to only a few things because I like being committed to what I’m involved in. It’s good to pick about 3 organizations/activities (depending on the level of time commitment each takes) that interest you.

I joined Beta Alpha Psi, beginning of my sophomore year and have really enjoyed everything about it. Beta Alpha Psi is a National Honors Organization for Accounting, Finance, and MIS majors. This organization focuses on community service, social events, and of course professional events. Beta Alpha Psi does a great job making all events revolve around networking too where a lot of the community service and social events have company members hang out and volunteer with members.

The most well-known event Beta Alpha Psi puts on is Meet the Firms where about 50 firms are available to network with only DePaul students. In the past, it was held at the Congress Hotel, but this year it was held at the Walnut Room at Macy’s where it allowed more firms to fit in the venue than in the past. The event also has a large turnout and many business students benefit from the networking Meet the Firms allows. 

I am currently an officer within the club, as Co-Vice President of Communications, where the other Co-Vice President and I create social and community service events for members. We’ve done dinners, outdoor games, and scavenger hunts for our social events. For community service, we volunteer at Junior Achievement, community races and have done book packing with KPMG.


The Counseling Office

Although we are taught from a young age not to ask for help, having the courage to be vulnerable and say we need assistance is one of the most respectable things a person can do. Especially in college, where we are getting a taste of the real world and we are stressed about homework, work, social life, and pressures of the future, it is hard to do everything on your own. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.

There are many different resources that DePaul has to offer, but one that I would like to highlight is the DePaul Counseling Office. I am not afraid to say that I am a frequent visitor of the Counseling Office. I love that they are currently working to get rid of the mental illness stigma. Just like there is nothing wrong admitting when you need help, there is nothing wrong with saying you have mental health problems and you’re struggling yet working through your depression, anxiety, etc.

Within the Counseling Office, there are many different choices of help. There is group therapy, individual therapy, and psychiatry appointments. I attended an all-women’s group therapy meeting for a quarter and it was amazing. I grew to love these powerful women who were going through the same struggles as me. Even if you aren’t having current problems, you could still learn because there is something nice about people voicing the similar insecurities you’re too afraid to say. Individual therapy is helpful because you can focus on your own personal problems with a therapist who is there for only you during a one-hour session. Psychiatry is also important because there is nothing wrong with needing prescriptions if the therapists think it could help your situation.

All of these resources and more are available through the Counseling Office. These appointments are only $5 - $10, which is a very low price to pay for your mental sanity and health.  


Brushing Up on Excel

As a business major, you’ll hear this question at every interview in some capacity; “How comfortable are you with Excel?” At this point, nearly everyone majoring in business should be knowledgeable in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to the point where mentioning it on a resume is almost useless. Yet, there are many hidden techniques, functions, and formatting options that go undiscovered in Excel.

I do not believe that DePaul has a course with a name that indicates it will be Excel-based, but the closest thing to that would be FIN 202 Quantitative Reasoning. This is a two-credit class where you will spend every moment working in Excel. The course revolves around building an investment simulation for retirement from scratch. Along the way, you will acquaint yourself will vlookups, and even gain exposure to macro-functions.

Still, once your short ten weeks in FIN 202 go by it is essential to keep practicing and learning. I found time over the summer to take Excel courses for free. How? LinkedIn has a feature for premium users called LinkedIn Learning. This area has video lectures, learning modules, and certification exam prep, including Microsoft Excel. This is a valuable resource that covers broad areas of topic including communication skills, programming, accounting, finance, Excel, Word, and so on. You can access it for free through a LinkedIn account and activate the free trial for LinkedIn premium. The trial lasts 30 days and you can cancel so that you will not be charged once it expires. I forgot about this until the last day where I was about to get charged $300 had I not canceled. Take some Excel MOS Exam prep courses and you will surely surprise employers with your skills.


Masego & Kweku Collins

This weekend I had the privilege of seeing not just one of my favorite artists perform but two! On Thursday night one of my roommates and I headed to the Metro, a music venue only a couple ‘L’ stops north from where we live, to see Masego. Along with being a talented rapper, Masego plays a variety of instruments which he incorporated into his show. From the second he picked up his saxophone toward the beginning of his performance, the audience went wild with adoration. Throughout the entire show, Masego continually amazed everyone in attendance with his musicianship and charisma.

The following night some friends and I headed to Lincoln Hall, a local venue, to see Kweku Collins. This show was more intimate since it was in a smaller venue, but there was just as much energy. Kweku Collins has a smaller fan base than Masego, but as a Chicago native (Evanston to be specific) he had a lot of support coming from the audience. Even though it was his first U.S. tour, he performed seamlessly and with tons of energy. At only 21 years old, Kweku is an incredible performer and I would love to see him again soon. I felt lucky to be attending one of the first shows of his first American tour! Seeing both of these artists was unreal, and I’m even more excited for the rest of the shows I’ll be attending this month.  


Happy Halloween

While some may go to movies to get their Halloween scares, for those of you who want a longer trick or treat, the best horror entertainment of the weekend comes in the form of the new ​“Sabrina: The Teenage Witch” that premiered on Netflix this weekend. I know it may seem crazy, as a lot of us may have grown up with the old Melissa Joan Hart version but as most nostalgia from our childhoods this update is very different. I’d compare this show more to “American Horror Story” than anything else but do anything but compare it to the similar “Riverdale”. Instead of glorifying the nonsensical storylines Sabrina works because it’s about magic and monsters and it is supposed to be over the top. But still features much more diversity, good acting, and even LGBT characters that aren’t just there in token roles. For anyone hoping for just a good ole scary show for the holidays fret not, because that’s exactly what the show is, it’s never preachy and has genuinely likable characters. One of the other benefits is that it’s all available now to watch. I came into the show very skeptical and by the end of the first episode I was already determined to finish half of it before going to sleep, woke up and watched even more of it. Only stopping to write this very blog post right now. For someone who doesn’t have ten dollars to waste we got to stick together and watch the best Netflix content, so get on it, Happy Halloween!


The Concert Queen

Hey DePaul!  This past week was filled with so much fun.  I went to three (yes three!) concerts this week, and also had my semi-formal for my sorority. 

On Monday evening, I saw a band called Years & Years.  I have been obsessed with them for about four years now, and I finally got the chance to see them live!  Wednesday night, I went to see Abhi the Nomad who I just recently began to like.  His show was very small, but he continuously had high energy throughout his entire performance.  On Friday night, I saw Kim Petras and Troye Sivan.  My roommate and I won tickets to this show through Radio DePaul and had the best night ever!  We are both such big Kim and Troye fans and are so grateful for the opportunity to see them for free with such great seats.  Each concert I went to was at a different venue, which I also found to be pretty exciting.  The Kim Petras and Troye Sivan concert was at the Chicago Theatre, which I had never been to before.  The venue was so beautiful, and Troye made everyone have a great time by singing and dancing their hearts out whether they were in the nosebleeds or in the front row. 

Friday evening was also my semi-formal, which was at the Laughing Buddha.  This venue just recently opened off the Chicago brown line stop and was perfect for our group.  While I had to leave my semi-formal early in order to get to the Troye Sivan concert, I still had a blast.

I hope you all had as fun of a week as I did! :)   ​​


Self Care in College

Self-care isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re a college student with a busy life. We all, including myself, fall into the habit of overdoing ourselves with too many things at once, but it leaves you feeling stressed, sleep-deprived, and mentally exhausted. As a college student, it's hard to prioritize your own mental health when we need to prioritize academics and work first. It's so important to prioritize self-care along with your other activities, here are some of my tips for practicing self-care in college.

Schedules are key - Start by prioritizing your classes, work, and major due dates. Then your other activities that you need to attend and add them as they come up. If you have a set schedule, you’ll know what days you’re free to take some time off, and when you’re not.

Don’t overdo all-nighters - Sleep is super important when you’re a student. It can be tempting to just stay up all night and study for that midterm or finish up that one assignment. I usually do an all-nighter if I absolutely need to get something done, but I try to avoid it as much as possible. Instead, I would recommend starting assignments or studying as soon as you know when their due and avoid procrastinating.

Take a day off - It’s okay to take a day to just be unproductive and have a breather from the stress of school.

Take care of yourself - Sometimes self-care doesn’t look like face masks and bath bombs. Sometimes it is just making sure you drank enough water or got out of bed in the morning. Whatever self-care looks like to you, make sure you’re doing what makes you feel better and being responsible.


Living in an Apartment: Pros and Cons

When it comes to living in college, students have the option of residence halls or off-campus housing. While I loved my dorm experience and met a lot of my friends there, the freedom that comes with having your own apartment is something I truly enjoy. It’s such an important part of becoming independent and growing as an adult. That being said, a first apartment comes with a lot of responsibility and stress. Just in case you’re debating what kind of housing you want for the upcoming year, here are the pros and cons of living in an apartment.

Pros

When it comes down to it, you have more privacy in an apartment than you would in a dorm room. You have the ability to choose the size of your room, how big you want it and how much money you can afford to spend on housing. If done correctly, living in an apartment could save you a good amount of money because you can decide how you want to budget instead of committing to a big payment up front. There’s also the bonus of groceries living without a meal plan. I learned how to cook and how to make meals that I loved with my roommates. We have dinner together every weeknight and I feel like it’s been a good bonding experience as well as a learning opportunity.

Cons

Being an adult can be a wonderful experience, but as I mentioned before, it comes with more responsibilities than you may expect. My relationship with money has been pretty rocky for as long as I can remember. After moving into a place that I could call my own, I had to quickly learn how to budget and how to manage my spending. Paying rent and bills can be a bit stressful at times, but in the long run, I feel like I’m learning and growing as an individual and that in itself is worth it to me.

Song of the Week: South London Forever​- Florence + The Machine  


Work and School

DePaul has a work hard and study hard culture and I really appreciate that. A majority of the students I meet work while going to school. Whether it’s an internship, retail job, or a babysitting gig, many students here find the balance between studying and doing homework for all their classes and earning some money on the side so they can enjoy the things they like. 
I didn’t start working any real part-time/seasonal jobs until my freshman year at DePaul which I consider a little late because some of my friends and family have been working since early high school. My parents never encouraged me to work because they wanted me to focus entirely on school but I find joy in the independence of working for money that I can spend on whatever I want. I also think I do better in school when I’m working.

Seasonal jobs are a great advantage to DePaul students. Especially now that we have a 6-week break, working during the holiday season at retail stores is a great way to get in a lot of hours and make a lot of extra money for the holiday season whether you are staying in Chicago or are going back home- so many employers are looking to hire during our Winter break.

Many employers understand the importance of school when they have college students as employees. I love working at DePaul because they are definitely the most understanding employer I have ever had and are always flexible when I have school work or events. Many of the on-campus jobs allow you downtime to do your homework and my favorite part is that depending on the department, you build good connections with professors and advisors.


Winter is Coming

One of the most terrifying parts about deciding to go to DePaul was not about DePaul itself; it was about Chicago and its winters. Being from Los Angeles where there are no seasons, I was very nervous about coming to Chicago and living here in the dead of winter.

It really isn’t as bad as they tell you. Yes, at times it is very cold and you will regret coming to Chicago for that brief period of time when you are walking outside and hating your life, however, really, Chicago winters are not as bad as they say. For me, it was a huge transition leaving the 60 degree LA “winter” to -11 Chicago winters, however here I am! You just need to learn to dress smart. The changing of leaves in Fall is absolutely gorgeous and worth the winter that follows. The snow is beautiful and, although it can get tiresome, being in Chicago and fighting the winter is worth it.

What I would suggest is buying a very good heavy duty pair of boots, along with some great fuzzy socks. Keeping your feet warm is very important. Make sure to wear lots of layers. Get thermal leggings, basically just fuzzy socks for your legs, and wear it under your jeans or pants. Wear thermal shirts or just warm layers under your sweaters and your heavy parka. Make sure to get gloves, a scarf you can wrap around your ears and face, and a warm hat. I know, it sounds a little scary with all of those clothes, but being wrapped up like a penguin really puts you in the holiday spirit, ready for the White Christmas!


The Light at the End of the Tunnel

In prior years I was not even invited to first-round interviews. This year, I was fortunate enough to get my foot in the door with each of the Big 4. I am honored to say that I have accepted an offer from PwC for a full-time internship next summer. Granted, that this is still only an internship and not a full-time job offer, I am beyond ecstatic for this opportunity. After years of challenging myself with three honors programs, working jobs - like refereeing, it does eventually pay off if you put in the work.

I came to college in the Strobel Honors with the assumption that employers would come to me. I carried this sense of entitlement for years until I realized that no one owes me anything. DePaul students are hard workers. We have opportunities in Chicago that many students attending state schools in college towns do not have. If you listen to the stories of successful DePaul alumni they will tell you of their work ethic that calls for commitment in and outside the classroom. Working with the community, balancing an internship while going to school full-time may sound tough, but no one said college would be easy. It shouldn’t be easy. If you start to feel that you could have done more looking back, you may also think that you could have gone further in life. As a senior who began to rethink his work ethic during junior year, I can say it is not too late to turn things around. Just remember, these are the last years of learning and proving yourself worthy to employers, and it will only get more difficult once you graduate.


Preparing For Your First Chicago Winter

DePaul has a significant amount of out-of-state students, which means many freshmen are forced to acclimate to winter weather they may not be used to. Many of my friends from California, Louisiana, Texas, and a range of other southern states came to college having never lived in a place where it snowed in the winter, but they have quickly become familiar with the ins and outs of Chicago’s winters. Since I came to college from another Midwest state, I consider myself an expert on handling freezing, below-zero temperatures.  In order to stay warm, here are some tips for first timers:

  1. You can never have too many layers. In the middle of winter, it will most definitely be cold outside, but it’s likely that most of your classrooms will be warm. Instead of dressing lightly, I prefer to dress myself in layers that are easy to take on and off in order to adapt to changing temperatures in a variety of environments. It’s always better to have an extra layer you can easily slip off than to wish you had another.
  2. Blanket scarves are a game-changer. The term ‘Windy City’ is no joke. Covering your face and neck completely with a huge oversized scarf is the only way to protect yourself without having to buy a ski mask or balaclava.
  3. Invest in a quality winter coat and a pair of boots that will get you through the snow and slush every day. This is not an area you want to fall short in. A coat that keeps you warm while you’re waiting for the train in the morning and boots that keep your feet dry really is important, and you’ll be wishing for both if you don’t have them.
  4. Take the long way if it means you can cut through a warm building. Even if I’m running late in the winter, chances are I’d rather go through the library on my way to class in order to escape the outside air. Taking the route in which you’re inside for the most amount of time is always the way to go.

While winter in Chicago can seem daunting, being prepared goes a long way. It may be freezing cold and windy, but winter is also one of the prettiest times of year because of the Christmas decorations that fill the Magnificent Mile and the rest of the city. As the temperature continues to drop, there are still plenty of parades and holiday markets to look forward to!  


Daredevil

I watch a lot of Netflix. I’m a film and television major here at DePaul so it is honestly the cheapest way to immerse myself in the art for creative purposes. One of the best things Netflix has to offer just premiered this week in the form of “Daredevil” season three. Now I’m sure there are people who are just not interested in comic book related things but to be honest this isn’t a usual comic book show. There aren’t crazy color costumes, there aren’t explosions and things of that nature. The show is more so a crime thriller with some action than anything else. The show follows a lawyer (Matt Murdoch) who despite being blind is a ninja who puts on a mask and beats up criminals at night in New York. But this specific season is great because it not only develops the incredible cast of characters wonderfully but the story is truly well-written. Twist and turns really keep you guessing till the very end and each episode transitions wonderfully into the next (allowing for maximum binging). The action scenes throughout the series are choreographed perfectly. It’s not your stereotypical comic book story, the show is dark, sometimes a bit bleak, but actually has a cool mystery the characters must solve throughout the seasons. Daredevil is entertaining and definitely a show worth your time if you’re up for a crime thriller with a lot of action. Don’t let the fact that it is based off a comic book not make you want to watch it.


Brunch in Chicago

Over the weekend I celebrated one of my friend’s birthdays.  Now, in my friend group, one of the necessities for celebrating a birthday is going out for brunch together.  We always try to go to someplace new, and today we tried out Batter & Berries.  Although we had to wait about an hour and a half for a table, I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves French toast.  The food and service were exceptional, and I will be back soon.

In Chicago, there are many restaurants to choose from for brunch.  There are places that are known for their cinnamon rolls, their French toast, fried eggs, and more.  When I first became vegetarian, I thought I would dread going out to brunch.  I had grown up eating sausage or extra crispy bacon whenever my family decided we were going to have a big breakfast together or when I went out to breakfast with friends.  To my surprise, Chicago has many restaurants with vegetarian and even vegan options.  Some of my favorite go-to places for brunch near the Lincoln Park campus area include Ann Sathers, Pick Me Up, and Cornerstone Cafe.  Cornerstone is my personal favorite.  Whenever I go there, I always build my own veggie skillet.  The skillet is placed on top of hash browns (I order mine extra crispy of course) with a side of pancakes.  The build your own skillet allows you to choose either toast, French toast, or pancakes as your side.  It is about a ten-minute walk from campus and rarely has a long wait.

One thing I love about living in Chicago is that you never run out of new places to try.  What are some of your favorite places to go to brunch in Chicago?  If you see me around campus, feel free to let me know.


Choosing Your Major

Choosing your major can be really daunting when you’re only a freshman. A lot of freshmen decide to start out with an undeclared major, which is a great decision! It allows you to take different classes, explore your options, and figure out what you’re interested in. In my first year, I had no idea what to do or who to talk to for help. After trying out new things and getting help from a lot of people, I finally decided what I wanted to major in. Here are some things that helped me figure out my major!

Check out the University Catalog

The first that I would recommend looking at is all the majors that are offered here at DePaul. One thing that helped me was looking through DePaul’s University Catalog. It gives a lot of information like a list of majors, class and degree requirements, course descriptions, and more!

Look over your Degree Progress Report

>DePaul offers a Degree Progress Report on Campus Connect that shows you how much progress you’ve made toward your current degree. You can use the what-if report and see what it would look like if you changed your major or added a minor, and what classes you would need to complete.

Talk to the Office of Academic Advising Support

Sometimes your academic advisor won’t always be available for a meeting, especially during registration time. Talking to an advisor from the Office of Academic Advising Support can be really helpful. My advisor helped me a lot with figuring out what majors would be best suited to my interests.


How to Save Money in College

One of the biggest surprises that came to me after my first year as a college student was how much money I managed to spend. When I started the year I had already paid for a meal plan and housing so I wasn’t expecting to have any other expenses. One of the best things about living in a city is the abundance of things to do. Unfortunately, that also brings bad news for your bank account. At the start of my second year, I promised myself that I would be a more conscious spender. I wanted to start saving and become more financially stable. After two months of embracing this mindset, I’ve started to see results. I know money is something that causes a lot of stress for college students, so here are three of my most effective strategies on saving money.

Embrace Minimalism!

This lifestyle is something radically different than the one I am currently living, but I’m getting there slowly. I used to be the kind of person who owned 50 dresses and had the right outfit for one specific event. When I was looking for new apartments, I realized that the closets in the rooms were way smaller than ones I was used to. As a result, I started a new experiment with my wardrobe during the summer. If I didn’t wear the item within 30 days, it got donated (or lovingly gifted to my sisters). This allowed me to shrink my closet, but it also made me realize that I didn’t wear or need as many clothes as I thought I did. I also started avoiding the urge to buy clothing impulsively. To me, minimalism means thinking about the things that add value to my life instead of the quantity of things that I own. When I’m out shopping and I see something that I like, I’ll ask myself I need it or if it would add value to my life. If the answer is no- which it usually is, then I don’t buy it. Over the course of a few months, this has saved me quite a lot of money.

Apply for Scholarships!

The biggest misconception a lot of students have is that the scholarship search stops when you get accepted into college. However, this could not be farther from the truth! Scholarships aren’t just for high school students, there are several targeted towards students in college. In fact, a lot of people have more luck winning scholarships when they’re in college because they have more projects and skills to show off. Focus on local scholarships targeted towards your university, and spend a solid 30 minutes a week applying. I promise this will not be a waste of your time.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts!

This one probably sounds like the most obvious, but I don’t think that students realize how many major companies offer discounts for students. One of my favorite resources is Unidays, it’s a website where they list all of the discounts for students and it’s updated weekly. If you’re a big online shopper, I also recommend adding Ebates and Honey to your Chrome extension. Ebates offers you cash back on a lot of your online purchases for companies like American Eagle, Target and Amazon. Honey is a service that finds hidden coupons while you are browsing online and then applies them at checkout. Both of these are completely free and guaranteed to save you money.

Song of the Week: Patricia- Florence and the Machine​ :)


Fall Colors in the City

The only way it truly feels like fall is when the leaves are changing colors. You might think it’s almost impossible to see good foliage in the city but there are still great spots to see the beautiful reds oranges and yellows. Here are some places you can enjoy before it gets too cold and all the leaves are gone:
Millennium Park: 
The trees that are scattered and trails in Millennium Park turn bright red when fall begins. The trees in the gardens, surrounding the bean, and the ones close by at Grant Park make you feel like you’re not even in a city when it’s fall time.
Cindy’s:
If you want to see the fall colors of Millennium Park for a view, walk a block over on Michigan Avenue to see them from Cindy’s Rooftop. This beautiful rooftop bar/restaurant has the perfect view of the park from Michigan to the Lakefront. When it’s cold out they still have outdoor seating with their lit up fire pits.
The 606 Trail:
The 606 is an elevated trail which is still Chicago but far enough from the city where it feels suburban. The trail goes out west and the residential streets along the trail are in mass amounts and they all change colors at around the same time.
Garfield Park Conservatory:
The Garfield Park Conservatory in Garfield Park is one of the largest Conservatories in the world. It encloses many beautiful plants which makes it a great place to visit in the fall time. 
Lincoln Park:
The best place, in my opinion, is Lincoln Park. With the large parks closer to the lake, Lincoln Park turns even more beautiful in the fall. The Lincoln Park Conservatory and Zoo turn great oranges with a great backdrop of the city. 

Favorite Professors

Looking back at my two years here at DePaul, I’ve had some wonderful Professors who I would love to take another class with. Some of these I had chosen because the class worked with my schedule or I heard recommendations, but these professors listed below were just incredible. I would highly recommend taking one of their classes if you can!

From the English department, I have taken two professors who just blew me away – Eric Selinger and Kathleen Rooney. I took a required course ENG 207 Literature from the 1900s - Present taught by Professor Eric Selinger. I was not all that excited for this English core class. It ended up being one of the best courses I have ever taken! He is so passionate and knowledgeable. He also treats his students like the adults they are, which I appreciate. Kathleen Rooney is a Creative Writing teacher and I took her ENG 291 Craft of Fiction Writing. Similarly, she is so invested in her students and passionate that, although there were some short stories I didn’t like reading, her desire to show what makes good writing can’t help but make you fall in love with her and her craft. She is a lot of work but absolutely worth it!

From the Film department, before I switched my major to English, I had two wonderful professors - Firas Aladai and Nick Schmidt. Firas Aladai taught my DC 110 Foundations of Cinema class. It was one of my first classes I took at DePaul and, surprisingly enough, it was his first class! He was a little shy at the time but he is so nice, eloquent, and taught us about some really interesting movies and basics of creating movies! My second class at DePaul was TV 110 Foundations of Television and was taught by Nick Schmidt. As a Film & Television student, I knew I wanted to focus more on Television and I was so blown away with what Nick taught us about the Television industry and some foundational television shows. I’m lucky right now because Nick is my boss on my on-campus job so I get to keep working with him!

Lastly, there are two Liberal Arts professors, Tim Mazurek and Zoaib Mirza, whose classes I really enjoyed. Professor Tim Mazurek, who taught LSP 110 Discover Chicago: Careers in Art and Culture, really inspires me to want to go out and pursue the arts. He is amazing, in particular with switching up the lessons so it was not always just a lecture and I appreciated that. Zoaib Mirza taught my LSP 121 Quantitative Reasoning II class. Although I am not someone who likes math and this class was not my favorite subject matter-wise, Zoaib made the classes interesting and pertinent to real life. I love how he always ended his classes saying “wasn’t that sweet and easy like a Hershey's kiss?”

Overall, I’m lucky to have had these great Professors and I’d highly recommend them! For me at least, a good Professor can make a bad class great!


Glossophobia

Just as with any skill, you ought to practice in order to get better. As with public speaking, you need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations so that they won’t be so uncomfortable anymore. I do not know how exactly my stage fright came about, but I do remember my first case of a speech gone wrong in middle school. I always dreaded the presentation assignments for school, but it was not until last spring that I saw my potential in public speaking. During the Melvoin Ethics Symposium, I was a participant in an essay competition that included a presentation component. I thought I would be able to rely on PowerPoint for a visual aid, but just minutes beforehand I learned that it was a ten-minute speech rather than a presentation. As you can imagine, someone with public speaking fears, my anxiety went through the roof. Just before it was my turn I remembered the best advice I have gotten for public speaking, “do not be yourself”. I went up there with the mentality of being a Ted Talk speaker and delivered a solid speech that landed me second place. Afterward, I received compliments on public speaking, something I never would think to hear. Since then, I vowed to put myself into more competitive environments and uncomfortable situations to further improve. I would advise to just put yourself out there - outside your comfort zone - and yes, do not be yourself at least until you find your style and become acclimated to the spotlight.   


Quarters vs Semesters

As midterms come to an end I’m once again left wondering how another quarter could be flying by so quickly. It seems like I was just being handed the syllabus in most of my classes when in actuality I am beginning to prepare for final projects and exams that are only one month away. While this fast-paced system may sound daunting, it has become one of my favorite aspects of DePaul.

When I’m struggling with a tough class like Chemistry, it is a relief to know that it only lasts for ten weeks as opposed to a typical semester school which breaks classes up differently. Although the faster pace of the quarter system can be overwhelming at first, many students prefer it once they get a feel for it since there are so many perks. Rather than taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, DePaul students take finals the week prior and then get to enjoy a six-week holiday break before jumping into the Winter quarter. This period of time can be used for many different opportunities, and this year I’m choosing to study abroad in Peru for the majority of it.

Another benefit of the quarter system is the number of classes DePaul students will have taken once they graduate. Instead of taking one set of classes in the Fall and another set in the Spring, DePaul students take three different sets of classes throughout the year. There is also an additional Summer quarter that some students take advantage of by enrolling in a class or two during summer break. Although the quarter system may be unfamiliar to some, the knowledge and experience that is gained from it make the hard work worthwhile.  


Chicago Weather

This week was a perfect example of how quickly Chicago weather can turn on you. From close to eighty degrees one day down to thirty-something the next, Chicago is no joke in terms of its wind. As a Chicago native, I’ve been used to harsh winters, but I know that may not be the case for a lot of people.  Even those from states that get plenty of snow, the way Chicago harsh winds operate can catch a lot of people off-guard.

One thing I can suggest is wearing layers for the next couple of months. Scarves and things of that nature are also a good idea to protect your neck and throat. Whenever the weather drastically changes my allergies immediately flare up causing me to get sick. Be sure to drink tea and whatever cold medicine necessary to stay healthy. Because unlike high school, sick days do not get you out of work in college. Even if you miss a class due to extreme sickness it is on you to figure out what you missed and make that work up.  I would much rather go to class than be sick and still have to navigate classes, work, and other University obligations.

A good way to avoid sickness is to not only stay warm outside, avoid germs, but also keep your dorm/living space clean. Disinfect on the regular and be agreement with your roommate on when to clean up. One of the most important things to remember in your freshmen year is that both you and your roommate are responsible for keeping things clean and tidy. So make sure you’re on the same page, stay clean, stay warm, and have a great week!


Sounds of Cinema

Beginning in my freshman year, one of my friends and I decided to have a radio show on Radio DePaul.  The process of getting a show was very easy.  We simply contacted Radio DePaul and presented them with an idea for our show.  We were then each trained and taught how to work everything in the studio.  We got to learn how each piece of equipment works, and what it was for.  For our show, we wanted it to be about movies.  Our show is now called Sounds of Cinema, and we have a different theme each week.  My favorite theme we have had and will have again in just a few weeks is Halloween.  This is my favorite because we get to play songs from the soundtracks of our favorite Halloween movies.

Today, we started a new trend of themes: Astrology.  Our playlist today consisted of songs from movies with famous Libras.  For example, we had Hugh Jackman for The Greatest Showman, Will Smith from Men in Black, and Josh Hutcherson with a song from Bridge to Terabithia.

Radio DePaul has received many awards for being the best college radio station.  I feel so lucky to have this unique experience, and get to combine my love of movies and music!  I love getting text messages from my friends and family, who are able to listen to the show from across the country by simply going to the Radio DePaul website.  My parents listen every week, and love being able to hear my voice even though I am hundreds of miles away from them.

If you would like to listen to the show next week, tune in at 6-7PM on Sunday!


Chicago Cultural Center

Being on Chicago’s Loop Campus for class is really great because it’s near so many different things to do in the city. Also, if you’re a college student, chances are you're looking for something cheap to do on the weekends or when you’re bored. Last week, my friends and I decided to go to the Chicago Cultural Center, which has free admission for everyone year round. It's a great place to experience Chicago's culture and history or explore different parts of the city.

The Cultural Center has so much to do: free art exhibits, classical music concerts, theatre, and family events. It’s located right across from Millennium Park and right off the Washington/Wabash Brown Line stop. I love looking at all the different art galleries from new, interesting artists. Some people find art museums boring, but I find them interesting. They’re a great way to expand your knowledge and appreciate different cultures. The art exhibits are always changing, so you can see something new each time you go there. If you’re someone who is interested in doing art or working in the field, they also offer lectures and workshops by gallery curators and artists.

The building is absolutely beautiful, especially on the very top floor. The Cultural Center is known for its stunning architecture, and they even offer guided architecture tours to learn about it more in depth. Overall, it’s a great place to go to learn more about Chicago and broaden your horizons. And you can take a great Instagram pic too!


Self-Care-Sundays

Upon arriving at college, incoming students are usually worried about making new friends, their schedules and adjusting to a new way of living. College can be a lot to balance, especially when you’ve never experienced something quite like it. I work as a CQM for a class of first-year students and when I asked them if they actively practice self-care, the responses I received were a combination of laughter and confused looks. I learned that they didn’t think self-care was important enough to dedicate time to or they just didn’t know how to practice this kind of behavior. There has been a variety of studies and surveys with findings concluding that an overwhelming amount of young people are struggling or have struggled with anxiety. One study in particular found that 41.6% of college students said that anxiety was affecting their lives.

This year I moved into a new apartment and my roommates and I started a new tradition called “Self-Care Sunday”. We realized that we couldn’t neglect our mental health this year and decided to dedicate a few hours on Sundays to take care of those needs. The following are some of my favorite self-care activities.

Sing loudly in the shower.

I don’t have scientific evidence that this is effective. However, I can personally say that there is nothing more therapeutic than belting out the words to your favorite song after a long day. Not to mention, the bathroom acoustics will have you convinced that you should be a signed artist.

Call your mom.

If you are a college student, chances are you have a pretty tight and busy schedule. It’s also safe to say that you probably haven’t called your mom in a while. My mom is one of the funnies women in my life and after a short 5 minute conversation with her, I feel so much better.

Clean up your living space.

For me, nothing is more stressful than a messy living area. During the week, I’m guilty of throwing my clothes all over the floor and forgetting to pick them up. After cleaning my room, I feel so relieved. It’s as if all the clutter in my life has magically disappeared.

Self-care is incredibly important and I encourage you to find an hour in your week to dedicate to yourself. Contrary to popular belief, self-care doesn’t have to be a grandiose event where you go to the spa and all of your problems magically disappear. Self-care is an ongoing process, all it takes is finding the strategy that works best with you and sticking with it. You are worth all of the stars in the universe and deserve every ounce of love that comes your way. Take care of yourself and hold on to the little things that bring you joy.

Song of the Week: Walls- The Lumineers​


Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon is one of my favorite days of the year. I’ve been volunteering at it since high school and the event still amazes me every time I’m there. There has always been great weather each year I’ve been there, but this year it poured rain at some points which I can’t imagine how hard it would be to run that distance drenched.

Volunteering at the event is a long day but it is nothing compared to what the runners are doing. Waking up at 5 am to get to our AID station and help set up is surprisingly a lot of fun since everyone volunteering has a lot of energy. So many groups of people and organizations (especially from DePaul) sign up together to volunteer at this event which makes it an even better reason to volunteer.

The Chicago marathon not only has a very diverse group of people running but often some celebrities run it. For example, Kevin Hart ran it this year for the first time and so did Chicago Fire Actress, Miranda Rae Mayo.

The Chicago Marathon consists of a maximum of 49,000 runners each year. People from all around the world come to Chicago to run it. I’ve always been told that if I want a cool way to see the Chicago neighborhoods, running the marathon is the way to do it. Starting from and ending in Grant Park, you make a loop north and south of the city, and it captures a lot of Chicago.

It is definitely an amazing event that Chicago hosts every year and I highly recommend to volunteer, spectate or cheer on if you’re not running it.  


On Campus Jobs

College is a stressful time financially. Your grandparents will tell you that they made it through college with the funds they made during their senior year of high school working at the Dairy Queen. But life is very different for us in this day and age. Being a student with a job is the norm.

Having an on-campus job is a wonderful way to make money and stay involved in your community! I work in the Production Office in the School of Cinematic Arts, where I am half a receptionist but also a producer of sorts because I organize and “rip” movies (another word for digitizing), and run our Quarterly Casting Sessions and other events.

I love this job for multiple reasons. First of all, it is nice working on campus because your peers and bosses are all on the same schedule as you. My bosses are both CDM film professors so they understand the stress of midterms week, the lull of Week 7, and the amount of work students have assigned. When I am overloaded with stress or when I have an exam when I am scheduled for work, they are very understanding. This also means that I only have to work when the academic year is up and running. I don’t have to work on school holidays. I don’t have to unless I want to, work over breaks. As an out of state student, it is great that I can work the hours when I am on campus and when I go home for spring break or summer, I don’t need to worry about being fired for having weird times off!

I also get to do something that I am mildly interested in. Although I am not a Film major anymore, I still get to work with film students, read scripts, and help with casting. These are interests that I care a lot about! My roommate is a Film major herself but she works in the Theatre School because she also has a passion for theatre! By getting an on-campus job, you have a way of making some money while still being a student, people who understand the schedule you have, and a built-in networking system and DePaul community involvement at your fingertips.

Happy job hunting!


The Night Shift

A night class will typically last 3 hours and 15 minutes from 5:45 to 9:00 pm in the Loop and 6:00 to 9:15 pm in Lincoln Park. You only meet once a week with Monday through Thursday being the most popular days. There are three-hour classes taught Friday and Saturday mornings - but that is a whole other topic to discuss. What I personally like about night classes is the once-a-week meetings. Think about it, you have an entire week to do homework and study rather than one and a half days for a Monday-Wednesday class. There is also the perk of commuting less to campus since you’re cutting your schedule in half.

If your class schedule is four night classes from Monday to Thursday that means you have wide-open weekdays and the weekend is still all yours. As a senior with an internship and two jobs with DePaul, I take advantage of night classes and weekend classes to work during normal business hours. You can very much work full-time if your classes permit it, but your typical hour and a half class that meets twice a week around noon will prevent you from having a stable work commitment.  


La Bogh Woods

For my Ecology class this quarter there is a lab component in which we meet for an extra three hours per week to conduct experiments and gain hands-on experience with what we are learning in the classroom. On Tuesday, my class and I drove to La Bogh Woods rather than meeting in our usual lab. We have been learning about plant ecology and the different components that make up each interaction, and for the lab, we headed to the woods to analyze and document plants that are growing within Chicago. It was a unique experience because I typically do not get the chance to immerse myself in nature to the degree of being in a forest like La Bogh.

At DePaul, experiential learning is emphasized in a variety of ways and this was one of the biggest draws for me when I was choosing where I wanted to go to school. Since we are located in Chicago, it is easy for classroom learning to expand to hands-on learning within the city. By connecting students with organizations and events all over the city, professors at DePaul are able to successfully integrate what they are teaching in the classroom with valuable experiences. Trips such as the one we took to La Bogh Woods are important in adding value to the coursework that we are learning in the classroom.  


BROCKHAMPTON

As a person who makes music I am absolutely addicted to any and all of it. I love listening to it, making it, discussing it etc. And the thing I want to talk about today is a music group known as BROCKHAMPTON. A group that has inspired me over the past year and a half. Originating from Texas and now operating out of California BROCKHAMPTON is a self-proclaimed boyband. Unlike groups like One Direction however they are reinventing the term as they do not sing ballads just meant for teenage girls. Their musical style varies from hard rap, melodic singing, and generally experimental production that makes them sonically one of the most well-rounded musical acts going today. But it isn’t just their sound that makes them unique it’s their lyrical content as well. The leader of the group “Kevin Abstract” is an openly gay rapper that frequently talks about his struggles in an attempt to bring awareness and normalize such a thing. Other members of the group constantly speak out on issues such as racism, mental health, and sexual abuse. They have their fun songs but they definitely use their platform to spread a message. In a landscape where a lot of popular music is purely surface level or promoting dangerous things BROCKHAMPTON is a group expressing themselves for a new generation who want alternative ideas and unique creativity. Their music is inspiring, their videos are off the wall, and they generally seem like nice people. Anyone looking for new music will definitely enjoy them and I highly suggest it. And thanks to being at DePaul, I am able to potentially see them on tour later this month! 

Coffee Shops

Coffee shops are a college student staple, whether you're getting your morning cup of coffee or looking for a quiet place to study. With midterms right around the corner, coffee shops will be your new best friend - even if you don't consider yourself “a coffee person.” Chicago has so many cool coffee shops everywhere, and they're a great way for you to explore the city. Here’s my list of the best coffee shops in Chicago:

1)    Dollop

If you have classes mainly in the Loop campus, Dollop is great because it is located a block away from campus right off the Harold Washington Brown Line. I love the quiet and comfy environment, it's a perfect way to chill out after classes and get some homework done.

2)    Hero Coffee

Another Loop campus staple for most students, located right on campus in an alley across from the DePaul Center, this is the perfect place to go when you're running late to class and need to grab some coffee because it's so close by.

3)    Goddess and the Baker

Goddess and the Baker is a really cute cafe that doesn’t just serve coffee but really cute desserts too! They're known for their rainbow cake and gelato. I love their cozy environment and homey feel, it’s a great place to go when you feel homesick!

4)    Limitless

If you're looking for the most Instagramable coffee, Limitless has you covered with their glitter lattes! They're regular lattes with a glitter design on top. Located in the west loop, they have a really cool atmosphere that’s great for getting work done.


Applying to College

Happy fall everyone! There’s just nothing like the delicate transitions to crimson and gold and new Starbucks drinks. Not to mention counting down the days until we can wear silly costumes and justify eating lots of unhealthy food, all in the good spirit of Halloween, of course. Unfortunately, October doesn’t only bring cozy sweaters and spiced lattes. Yes, the FAFSA season is upon us.

Fortunately for us admitted students, the chilly autumn months don’t bring as much stress as they used to when we were in high school. But if you find yourself feeling anxious about the college admissions process, here are a few tips to help you out.

1. Keep an eye on the deadlines

Most universities offer two deadlines: early action and regular decision. Sometimes they want you to apply early decision. It’s important to know what these plans mean and when all the information is due.

Early action is the route I chose to go and the one students should choose for their top universities. What this plan means is that you apply to the university earlier than other applicants normally would.  Students receive an earlier response to their application but do not have to commit to the school until National Decision Day (May 1st). These applications are generally due early November.

Early decision plans are binding, meaning that if you get accepted into the school you must attend that college. These contracts are offered more in prestigious schools. Applications for early decision are also due in the beginning of November.

Regular decision is the normal process by which students apply to college. These applications are frequently due in the middle of January and applicants receive a response late March/early April.

2. What is important to you?

Location. Student/Faculty ratio. Tuition. Majors offered. Size. Acceptance rate. Private or public? All of these are factors to consider when applying to college. I know I prefer smaller universities to large ones because I learn better in a close-knit environment. Know what you like and what you don’t and then use that information when selecting a university.

3. Financial Aid

Everyone should fill out the FAFSA. Let me say it louder for the people in the back. EVERYONE SHOULD FILL OUT THE FAFSA. Regardless of income and background, the FAFSA is a great tool- and it’s free! It offers you grants (which you don’t have to pay back) as well as give you information about loans that you qualify for if that’s an option your family was considering. (Did I mention it was FREE???).

4. Apply, Apply, APPLY!

Applying to colleges has been made way easier thanks to the Common App. You can fill out one application and submit it to as many universities as you want. Keep in mind that the more colleges you apply to, the more options you’ll have in the spring. So apply to as many as you can, there’s nothing to lose.

Good luck everyone and happy college application season!

Song of the Week: Dandelion Wine- Gregory Alan Isakov


Chicago Symphony Orchestra

It’s amazing how DePaul’s loop campus is so close to such a wide range of things where I constantly find myself discovering and trying out new places and things to do. The other night my roommates and I decided to go to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). It was the first time all of us had been and definitely see myself going back. Many places in the city offer student rate tickets and the CSO is one of them where they only charge $15 for students. It’s a great place to go if you want to dress up and be fancy and not spend a lot of money on tickets.

The Symphony Center is absolutely beautiful from the minute you walk through the doors. First of all this center is right across from the Art Institute of Chicago (another beautiful Chicago building).

Some people may think this kind of thing is boring but I found it very relaxing. The crowd is extremely quiet (scary quiet), but it really makes you only focus on the music. This concert was a very different feel than from the rowdy concerts I sometimes choose to go to where I have to stand for hours and am prone to get trampled in a mosh pit.

There are so many shows at CSO each month so there is always an opportunity to go see a concert. There are also university nights where they give students additional deals with their $15 tickets. Also, in the Springtime, the DePaul Symphony Orchestra plays at the Symphony Center which is also a great time to go with all your friends.  


Housing

Living on campus in a dorm is a lot of fun. Your friends live so close to you, you can be social at any hour of the night, and you only have to leave five minutes to get to class on time (unless you are going to the loop). It may not be your own personal space, you might have roommates, and a Resident Advisor is technically in charge, but it is still a room of your own that is not your parent’s property. It is freedom for the first time.

Living off campus is a whole new type of freedom. You feel like a real adult. It is very stressful going to see open houses and filling out paperwork to sign for an apartment but it is so rewarding. I lived in an off-campus apartment, about a 10-minute walk to the Lincoln Park campus, my sophomore year of college and it was about the best thing that could have happened. I ended up staying for my junior year too because my apartment was just perfect.

Freshman year is a year of discovery, seeing who you are outside of your family and usual friends. Sophomore year, at least for me, was the year of being a real adult. I had to figure out rent, utilities, and grocery shopping. I had to make sure I wear presentable clothes to class because I’m walking around in the real world, not just on the DePaul campus. I had to leave time to walk to class. I had to fit grocery shopping into my schedule, meal-planning, and cooking, in order to have food for the week.

Although it may be stressful, living off campus is definitely rewarding and totally worth it. I feel like I understand “adulting” more than I did living in a dorm. I assume not being in college will make living in an apartment different because I’ll have to juggle money and job-hunting, but it is good to know that I have the basics down of how to get an apartment and how to live in one. Once it is time for me to graduate, I feel as if I can handle the real world a little better.  


Recruiting Reminders

If you find your way to the Jobs tab you will be given a subset of tabs labeled Job Search, Applications, Employers, and On-Campus Interviews. If you click on the Applications tab you will see a list of all positions in which you applied to. Under each application you will see the status of each that is titled Primary, Declined, Reviewed, or Pending. To be declined is obviously the worst, and under review is a good indication that you are being considered. If your status is still pending that does not necessarily mean it never got to someone’s desk. I have an interview lined up that was arranged through email and my application has still never left the initial Pending status.

The most important status is Primary. This means you have been selected for the first round of interviews. Usually, the interview time slots will be selected manually through Handshake. It would be wise to set email notifications or download the Handshake app to be notified of new developments regarding your applications. The interview selection will usually open up the same day you are selected for primary interviews. Once you know the date and time these slots open, mark your calendar, set a phone reminder, do whatever it takes. If they open at midnight, stay up to schedule your interview the second it is available and do not wait until the next morning. If you do, you risk the chance of not having an open time slot for yourself and will then be on a waitlist hoping for the chance that someone backs out. You do not want to remove yourself from the application process.

With that being said, happy hunting! Do not forget that there are practice interviews available with the Career Center. If you are a senior like me, then you have no room for error in these interviews and all the practice can make a difference in getting THE job you want.


From Portugal to Portland

Last weekend my roommate and I decided to take a last minute trip to Portland, Oregon. My brother who lives in New York City met us there, and the three of us spent the weekend exploring the city and checking out some of Portland’s best eats (Voodoo Doughnut, we love you). 
Portland is a great city because you are able to spend time downtown where there are tons of things to do and see, and also explore some of the most beautiful natural areas surrounding the city. We spent our mornings' scootering around the city using Lime, and our afternoons hiking through areas such as Forest Park and Portland’s famous International Rose Test Garden.

A lot of people ask me how I travel so often while living on a student budget, working five days a week, and taking a full course load. The first part of my answer is that I am lucky to have siblings and friends who are always down for a trip. Along with this, I make traveling a significant priority in my life. I might be missing a party or losing time I could have spent studying, but a weekend trip like the one we took to Portland is more important to me than those things. Whenever I go to a new place I am constantly evolving and learning based off of new experiences and meeting new people, and I find it important to constantly be broadening my worldview and cultural understanding. Whether I am traveling to Portland or Portugal, I know I will be learning a lot about myself and the world around me.


Halloween

We are slowly creeping into October, so you know what that means! Halloween-Scary-themed blog time! Now this isn’t just going to be me recommending scary movies it is more so me showing you some cool stuff I’ve experienced over the years during my time in Chicago. For instance, one cool activity you might like is Navy Pier’s Haunted House experience. The theme changes every year, but the purpose is always the same: to absolutely terrify all those who enter, and all things considered they do a horrifyingly good job. I’ve gone in middle school and high school and have had a lot of fun with it. It is something I recommend to do with friends to maximize the fun; the prices aren’t bad and is a great group activity. But if you don’t want to go downtown I would recommend looking for haunted houses all throughout the Chicagoland area. There are some great ones who put a lot of effort in, as Halloween isn’t just a one night activity for some, a lot of people put time and money into making the holiday a month-long experience and if you are fan, you should help to support the entities that do this. Don’t think being  in college now means you can’t get into the Halloween spirit, there’s more to it than just going to parties with adult-themed costumes looking to do what you may see in movies. Of course, that’s something to look forward to, but walking around in costume throughout campus can lead to some surprising social connections and could lead to meeting new people, so don’t be afraid to let your scary flag fly. Have a great Halloween month!

Meet Sydney

Hey everyone!  My name is Sydney and I am beginning my junior year here at DePaul.  I am majoring in Public Relations and Advertising (woohoo PRAD!) and am minoring in Graphic Design. 

In order for you all to get to know me a little bit better, I figured I would list off some fun facts about myself:

  1. I am one proud Minnesotan and talk about how amazing it is a little too often.  What does Minnesota have to offer you ask? Well it has 11,842 lakes (We call ourselves the land of 10,000 lakes because we are humble.), the one of a kind Minnesota state fair with the famous Sweet Martha’s Cookies, beautiful views up north including Lake Superior and the northern lights, and lastly we are the home of the Mall of America!
  2. I have been vegetarian for a year, except cheating twice with chicken...but really, who can pass up Canes?  I love trying all of the plant-based restaurants Chicago has to offer (I love you, Chicago Diner).
  3. I try to go to a concert every month.  Some of the best concerts I have experienced while I have been living in Chicago are Lorde, Bastille, Miguel, Kid Cudi, and Ariana Grande.  I also saw some amazing artists at Lollapalooza over the summer including but not limited to Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, BROCKHAMPTON, Allie X, Jaden Smith, TYLER, THE CREATOR and CHVRCHES.
  4. At DePaul I am a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, have a radio show on Radio DePaul with one of my roommates (tune in for Sounds of Cinema on Sundays from 6-7!), am the Senator of Mission and Ministry for Student Government, work as the Special Projects Assistant in DePaul Housing Services, and have gone on two service immersion trips to both Los Angeles, California and Bladensburg, Maryland. 
​I am so excited to write about my many interests and all the wonderful opportunities I have gained by going to DePaul.  If you have any questions about living on campus, how to get more involved, or really anything pertaining to DePaul, I’m your go-to gal. :)   

Student Organizations

Welcome back to all the DePaul students!  I am so excited for the school year to begin because I not only missed many of my friends who went home for the summer, but I also joined some different organizations this year that I am thrilled to be a part of.

The first new organization I chose to join is Student Government Association (SGA).  I ran for Senator of Mission and Ministry last spring and was so excited I got elected.  Everyone in Student Government is so driven to make change happen on campus, and I am so eager to work with each member this coming year!  One big initiative SGA is trying to achieve this year is to stop the use of plastic straws on campus.  Before the year began, every place to eat on campus agreed to not give plastic straws to students, unless a student specifically asked them to.  At the involvement fair this past Friday, SGA gave away every single reusable metal straw we ordered to students.  I am so proud to see we are already making a difference on campus less than one week in!

To all my fellow DePaulians, I hope you have a wonderful school year!  I hope to see you around campus this year or specifically at any of the MMATM events.  


Bid Day 2018

Hey DePaul!  I would like to start off this blog post by saying happy bid day to all of the women who went through recruitment this year! 

During my freshman year of college, I had no interest in going through recruitment whatsoever.  I thought all of the typical stereotypes about sorority girls applied to everyone at DePaul, and let me tell you I was 100% wrong. 

My friend went through recruitment freshman year and convinced me to go through formal recruitment during the fall of my sophomore year.  I decided I would give it a try, and if I hated it I would simply drop the process.  I told myself if I didn’t at least give it a try, I would have many “what if” moments down the road.

I was so surprised by how many genuine women I talked to during recruitment.  Each woman I interacted with was so passionate, driven, and simply the opposite of all the preconceived notions I had.  When it came down to picking what sorority felt right for me, I thought back to the sorority where I felt most welcomed.  This sorority for me was Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII).

This week, I was a recruiter for AOII and met so many amazing potential new members (PNMs) going through recruitment.  While being a recruiter was very time consuming, I appreciated getting to know many of the women going through the process and hearing things they were passionate about.

Today, 31 new members ran home to AOII.  Along with these 31 new members, many members of AOII were recruitment counselors this year, and they ran back home to us as well.  Being a recruitment counselor means one helps PNMs pick what sorority they think is best for them.  In order for the PNMs to not feel any bias from their recruitment counselors, recruitment counselors have to disaffiliate from the chapter they belong to.  Many of my best friends in the chapter, including my big, were recruitment counselors.  This meant I was not able to talk to them or be seen in public with them since the end of August.  I was so happy to see my big run home to AOII and finally be able to hug her.  I am also so excited to get to know each one of the amazing new members better throughout the year, and potentially make one of them my little.   


Meet Nooreen

Hey, readers! My name is Nooreen, and I’m one of the newest DeBloggers. I’m a sophomore here at DePaul majoring in Information Systems, with a minor in Digital Cinema. I was born in Chicago but raised in the Northwest suburb, Itasca - where I commute from. I love going to school at a place that lets me be in the heart of the city and still be a short commute away from home.

Some of my interests include watching new movies, exploring the city, taking pictures, and going on adventures with friends. I love going to new places in the city in my downtime, and DePaul has made that so easy. I get to experience so many new things since we have two different campuses. Fashion and photography are both ways that I love to express myself, especially in a place like Chicago where there's inspiration everywhere! From the people to the sites and sounds, there's so much to be inspired by from just being present.

DePaul has so many opportunities, and I highly recommend that you take advantage of them. I’m beyond excited to share my experiences with you all on this blog and if you see me around campus don’t be afraid to say hi! ​​


Welcome Week

​Once again, it's that time of year to get back on your regular sleeping schedule and kiss summer goodbye! The back to school season always brings a mix of emotions: anxiety, sadness, excitement, you name it. Luckily, DePaul.  My favorite event that DePaul does at the beginning of the year is the Loop Block Party, which is basically a party with games, food trucks, and music held across the street. Whether you’re an inexperienced college freshman or a senior, this event is a great way to meet new friends, learn about the campus clubs, or just chill between classes.

The Involvement Fair is a great way for anyone who wants to get involved on campus. Although it’s known for being solely for First-year students, it’s a good way for anyone to learn about what's going on at DePaul. You can learn about tons of different organizations that are on campus. This is a great way to meet new people and get more involved in the community. From clubs to sororities and fraternities, the involvement fair will have something in it for you.

Vinny Fest is a highly anticipated annual event, held at the Lincoln Park quad. The festival is a celebration of St. Vincent de Paul’s feast day. It includes games, raffles, trivia, photos, and of course food! This is a great way for students to get to know one another and just hang out. There's always TONS of events going on at DePaul, especially during welcome week, make sure to keep an eye out!


How to Study Like a Pro

Coming into college as a first-year student, I thought I had my studying strategies down to a tee. After being in school for a few weeks, I quickly realized that was not the case. DePaul is on the quarter system, which means that professors have to teach their class in a shorter amount of time. This also means that as students, we have less time to learn and retain said information. Being the psychology student who is very interested in the mind and how it works, I deemed it only necessary to conduct some research on how to study more efficiently. I wrote down a list and began experimenting until I found some techniques that worked well for my classes and my learning habits. Here are some of my favorite studying tips!

Know Yourself

I know this doesn’t sound like a studying tip, but I promise it is one of the most important first steps. Before you can retain information, you have to figure out how you process it best. I realized in high school that my brain responds well to visual stimuli and I can learn new concepts much easier when they’re written in fun colors and accompanied by pictures. There are several tests online that can help you determine what kind of learner you are. Once you have this figured out, use that information to your advantage and cater your note-taking and studying around it.

Consider the Pomodoro Technique

For a lot of people, myself included, time is not a luxury we can often enjoy. We’re constantly racing to learn as much information as quickly as we can to meet deadlines and finish assignments. The reason why I like to use this technique is because it puts time back in your control. In a nutshell, the Pomodoro Technique is when you set a timer for 25 minutes and concentrate on only one task for that entire time. After the timer goes off, you can take a 5-minute break and then reset it. It sounds very simple, but time after time it’s been proven very effective. I would recommend that you play around with the time intervals until you find one that suits your needs. Personally, I like to set a 45-minute timer and then take a 15-minute break!

Spaced Repetition

The whole point of this strategy is to work smarter not harder. When we learn something, it isn’t stored in a single location but is instantly scattered across various regions in your brain. Spaced repetition is simple, but highly effective because it deliberately hacks the way your brain works. It forces learning to be effortful, and like muscles, the brain responds to that stimulus by strengthening the connections between nerve cells. By spacing the intervals out, you’re further exercising these connections each time. There are lots of good websites that allow you to make flashcards online and they separate the information you know best from the ones you need more practice with.

 Song of the Week: Pulaski at Night- Andrew Bird :)


Farmer's Market Season

It’s finally officially fall which means a lot of cold weather festivities will begin. Fall is my favorite season and hopefully, it’s yours too. It’s the only time Chicago is the perfect temperature where you can go outside and enjoy the festivities and not freeze. A lot of things are “in season” like fall flavors, pumpkin, spice, sunflowers, squash, and all the pretty earth-tone colors like oranges, reds, and browns.

The best thing about all of this is that you can find all these things at one of the many farmers' markets around the city in the Fall Time. Here are a few of my favorite farmers’ markets locations.

Federal Plaza Farmer’s Market

This farmers market is right off the Jackson Blue Line Stop and just a block from the Jackson Red Line stop. It runs on Tuesdays from 7am-3pm so it’s a good place to stop by between your Tuesday Loop classes.

Low-Line Market

This market is located under the Southport Brown Line and although it’s very tiny, it has a lot of unique vendors. They have a build your own bouquet vendor, flower truck, Michigan vendors and a lot of other unique products for sale. This market runs on Thursdays from 3-7:30 pm

Green City Market Lincoln Park​

This farmers market is located at the south end of Lincoln Park. You can buy locally grown produce and all things fall for great prices here. It is huge and so much fun! This market runs through October every Wednesday and Saturday from 7am-1pm

Even if you miss these, don’t worry because the Christmas markets will be here before you know it! 

Choosing Your Major

Choosing your major is a daunting task. Basically, you have to choose what area of study you want to devote four years of your life to and then you must spend the rest of your career in a job somewhere related to that field. As an 18-year-old, that’s terrifying. How do you know what you want to do? How can you choose a major when there are so many? How do you know you’ll want to stick with it for the rest of your adult life?

The beauty of being a junior and looking back at when I applied to DePaul is I realize now that I put a lot of pressure on a decision that I ended up changing. My high school counselors stressed me out because they told me picking and changing my major would affect my future and even hurt my chances of getting a steady and high-paying job. That is not true. I was admitted into DePaul as a Film & Television major. Sophomore year I decided that Film was just not for me and, after considering a transfer to the Theatre School, I landed on being an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing. Right now I am in the process of changing that to a concentration in Literature so that I can apply for the TEACH program and maybe someday teach secondary education English.

And I am still doing okay. The world has not imploded, I am not behind in my studies, and I will still be graduating in four years. And I changed my major three times. So if you are having trouble picking a major, that is normal. If you want to radically flip a major in a whole new field, that is okay. I have a friend who was a pre-med student and now is a directing major in The Theatre School. But if you love your major and don’t want to change it, that is normal too! Do what feels right and you’ll figure it out. If you are struggling, contact an Academic Advisor on campus and they can help steer you in the right direction. I promise everything will work out.  


The Overeager Freshman

One of the most exciting parts about DePaul, at least for me, was the number of student organizations and extracurriculars you can get involved in. From sports teams to acapella groups to Greek life to the Pokémon club, there is something for everyone to do. DePaul has over 350 student organizations in just about every field imaginable. And the best part is that if there is an organization that doesn’t meet your fancy, you can go ahead and create that club!

Like your soon-to-be running theme of freshman year: with freedom comes responsibility. It is overwhelming going to the Involvement Fair (branded at DePaul the “real-life recess”) and seeing all of these clubs that you’d love to join. But I caution you to keep the clubs you actively devote your time to, to a minimum. As a freshman, you will join so many clubs and believe you can keep up with your commitments but don’t spread yourself too thin. Take the time to look over all the possibilities, but maybe select one or two that you can actively attend meetings for, become a member of, and possibly even become an executive board member. It is so much fun being actively involved in a club for years because you can bond with the people who share a similar interest with you!

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do everything you love. Freshmen have the tendency to sign up for 40 clubs and only end up doing one or two because of time’s sake. I encourage you to go out and explore all the ways you could get involved but caution you not to overload your schedule. Please attend club meetings, events, on and off-campus events with the organization of your choosing! But also keep in mind that classes are important, studying is valuable, a social life is healthy, and taking care of yourself is non-negotiable. I wish I told my freshman self that I could not be a member of DePaul Dance Company, DePaul Theatre Union, Writer’s Block, Chinese Studies Association, DemonTHON, DePaul Democrats, DePaul Women’s Soccer, DePaul Film Society, and HerCDM at the same time. In the end, I consistently chose DePaul Dance Company and DePaul Theatre Union, the latter of which I am now President of.

Go out, attend all the Info Sessions and Club Meetings you can, and then choose one or two clubs that mean a lot to you. You’ll appreciate this advice by the end of Fall Quarter when you are slammed with finals. Good luck!


Unwind Outside II

treesAs a student living in Chicago, it can be easy to get caught up in the concrete jungle and lose touch with nature. Sure, there are plenty of parks throughout the city that provides grassy fields, yet you will not escape the banter of people or cars honking and everything else that makes up the metropolitan ambiance. Therefore, if you are willing to go the distance there are secluded locations where you can get peace of mind.

Chicago Botanical Garden​

Located in Glencoe, IL the Chicago Botanical Garden can be an intimidating endeavor to reach. Driving will take about 40 minutes whereas using free transit will cost you just under 2 hours. Admission is free but the parking ranges from $20 to $25. This is a living plant museum that offers 25 different gardens that represent 4 distinct types of habitats. The best time of year to attend is the spring or summer to witness the color-blasted landscape of flowers. If interested, there are horticulture and other volunteer opportunities available for those who would like to work first-hand with the plants.

Morton Arboretum​

Since fall has arrived, the seasonal spectacle people enjoy is the color change in leaves. What better place to view the reds, oranges, and yellows than at a botanical park devoted to trees. Located in Lisle, the drive will also be around 40 minutes with an hour and a half transit commute. Just looking a trees sounds like it can get boring real fast, but fear not there are hiking trails, bike paths, and a maze to sustain your interest. Take part in the Troll Hunt where you seek out 6 massive wooden troll sculptures throughout the park that are constructed by Danish artist, Thomas Dambo.  


Community Food Systems

This quarter I am taking another service-learning class called Community Food Systems. It counts as an elective for my Environmental Studies major as well as for my Food Studies minor, which made it an extremely beneficial class to take for my degree. For this class, in particular, the service-learning component means each student is partnered with a nonprofit in Chicago focused on urban agriculture, food inequities, etc. I am working with a nonprofit called Chicago Farmworks at their urban farm located in East Garfield Park. Every Wednesday morning I take the green line to Kedzie to help out with harvesting at the farm, which includes picking and washing a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, collard greens, bell peppers, and jalapenos. The vegetables harvested from the farm are then transported to soup kitchens across the city on the south and west sides of Chicago.

Gaining experience working in urban agriculture in Chicago is an opportunity I would not get at any other college. Classes such as Community Food Systems make me feel grateful for being able to attend an institution that is focused on social justice and service learning. I have been able to take a variety of these classes during my time at DePaul, giving me a wide range of experience working in different types of nonprofits I am interested in. If you’re also interested in gaining experience working within a city while attending school, DePaul may be a good fit for you too.


Fall Netflix Binge-Watching

As the fall season truly starts to set in, the weather is slowly getting colder and colder and being outside isn’t always the most reasonable option. And what better way to justify staying indoors than a good Netflix binge-watching session. So, allow me to recommend some of my current favorites and give you plenty of reasons to never leave the comfort of your television screen.

First and foremost, for anyone who is a fan of documentary crime dramas “American Vandal​” is a must watch. With the second season having just premiered this past week I have never been so entertained by what might be some of the stupidest crimes in television history. “American Vandal” is a show that attempts to unravel mysteries such as “who drew male genitalia on the cars of a school parking lot” and “who is terrorizing a private school with feces”. What may seem juvenile to some is surely a hilarious watching experience for others.

Another great show you may want to give a try is “BoJack Horseman .” The adult animated series follows an anthropomorphic middle-aged celebrity horse with a drinking problem, navigating a weird subversive Hollywood. It can get very dark and surreal but don’t allow that to stop you from giving it a try. It’s really funny and when it gets serious it’s actually kind of inspiring. I think a lot of animated shows don’t get enough credit for how much meaning and heart they have when you look past the surface, but regardless, these are two of the shows I feel might be enjoyable to all, happy binging and have a great week!


Under the Sea

Even though this is my second year living in Chicago, I still haven’t visited a lot of the major attractions that drive tourists to our city. My love for history and learning has led me to visit all the museums, but for some reason, I never got around to going to the Shedd Aquarium. One of my roommates talks very highly of the aquarium and mentioned that this month, Illinois residents get free admission. With no plans on Sunday, we decided to make the trip to the Museum Campus so I could finally say I’ve been to the Shedd.

As we got off the train and got closer to the aquarium, we found ourselves trapped behind groups of Segways and strollers. It was a beautiful day, so naturally, several families had also planned trips to see the pretty sea life. Once we beat the crowds and were welcomed inside with lovely air conditioning, no time was wasted and we began to walk around the different exhibits. There’s something really special about being able to see such a variety of species interact with one another in their habitats. When we were in the shark exhibit, I couldn’t help but marvel at how graceful and calm they looked. In the past, I’ve always feared them, but now I just appreciate how incredible of an animal they are.  

Another thing I really appreciated about the Shedd, was its determination to educate the public. Throughout the building, there were sculptures of different sea animals made entirely out of plastic. This encourages people to think twice about how their daily choices are affecting animals on the other side of the planet. Humans are tactile creatures with an amazing propensity for compassion. However, that compassion is often not founded from textbooks or television shows. Most people find it difficult to care about a species halfway around the world or to worry about the destruction of land they have never stepped foot on. Aquariums facilitate a connection between those who may never leave their country, or even their home state and the animals. I left the aquarium with a higher appreciation for ocean life, and made a promise to be mindful of every creature that lives on Earth.

If you get the chance to visit, the Shedd is a beautiful place to spend the afternoon. And I know for a fact that the beluga whales will be very happy to see you!

Song of the Week: Swallowed In The Sea- Coldplay :)


Get Involved!

It’s early in the fall quarter which mean it’s the perfect time to get involved at DePaul. There are so many organizations to choose from so you are bound to find something that’s right for you.

It’s very easy to find out about the clubs and organizations on campus the first week. There are posters in every building and the Lincoln Park and Loop Involvement Fair are great events to attend if you are not sure what you what to join. Here is a list of some types of organizations you can join if you are not sure what you want to put your time into:

Fraternity/Sorority: A great choice if you feel you are missing out on the social aspect of college.

Club Sports/Intramural: Fun way to play the sports you’ve always loved playing or a great way to start playing a sport you’ve always wanted to.

Career-based Clubs: There are so many clubs that focus on your major and help prepare you for your career. 

Community Service Organizations: If you want to help out the community and need something consistently to volunteer, join a community service organization.

This is just a very small list of the types of organizations you can be a part of at DePaul.

If you want to contact an organization, Orgsync is a great resource to find out about meeting times and descriptions or an organization’s Facebook page which is most likely more up to date.


Recruiting Season

Resume Critiques

There are multiple ways to have an external perspective review your resume. It can simply be a roommate or friend, or your advisor – who will be able to tell what employers are looking for. As I have noted in previous blogs, the Career Center takes appointments and walk-ins for this very subject. Yet, none of these will indicate what a recruiter is thinking about as much as hearing from a recruiter face-to-face. Clubs like Beta Alpha Psi, Midwest Association for Hispanic Accountants, and Accounting Club offer quick resume reviews with large firms like KPMG. Here you will spend around 15 minutes one-on-one with a recruiter to just talk in a casual setting. Not only will it be beneficial for your resume, but your attendance will also put your name out there and display your interest.

General Meetings & Panels

Anytime a firm is willing to come in and take the time to talk with students through a club is a strong indicator that they are looking to hire DePaul students. Whether you know it or not, firms take into account of who is attending and actively ask which students have RSVP’d. Take caution though, if you RSVP and do not attend or cancel, it will look unprofessional on your part and thus creates a negative first impression.

Social & Volunteer Events

A good way to put your name out there in a casual and comfortable environment is by attending social and volunteer outings. These events focus less on the professional operations of the firm and allow you to be yourself. Yes, you should do community service for the intention of purely serving others, but a volunteer outing through a firm indicates your interest in the firm and shows your presence in the community.

If there was one last tip of advice I can propose, regardless of the formality of the event, just be yourself.  


Sofar Sounds Chicago


College Classes

Coming into college, classes can seem intimidating. For a lot of people, you can go from an intimate classroom setting for one class to a lecture hall the next. For others, it’s the opposite. Whether you are going from a large class where you were able to blend into the background to a smaller setting or vice versa, the transition can be tough. But stay positive! It’s alright to be a bit shy but don’t let the new environment scare you into not letting your voice be heard. DePaul is a great community with a diverse range of people - and you never really know who you can meet if you just say hello to whoever is sitting next to you.

I remember going into classes not knowing anyone and struggling with participating, just because I was content with staying hidden. However, little did I know that being able to express yourself in class is not only good for your social benefit but for your academic benefit as well. Speak up and participate in class/group discussions, because doing so will not only help integrate yourself with your classmates but also help you get to know your professors as well. These professors are great educators who can help you with recommendations for jobs, internships, and other great opportunities that happen at our university.

DePaul is a place full of great resources, people, and opportunities - but you won’t experience any of it if you don’t speak up, get involved, and most importantly have fun. This is a great place to learn and I hope you all make the best of it!


Textbooks 101

It’s not unknown that college can be very expensive. Tuition alone can cause people immense stress - and that doesn’t include housing, textbooks or other hidden fees. As an incoming freshman, I heard rumors about the cost of textbooks, but it wasn’t until I stepped foot in the bookstore that they were confirmed. Our school is on the quarter system which means that every 3-4 months, our professors require different books. After a year here at DePaul, I quickly learned how to avoid insane textbook costs, and I’m here to share a few of my favorite tips.

Compare Prices on Websites!

Slugbooks.com​ is the first place I go when I have to order a textbook. All you do is type in the title of your book or the ISBN number, and it shows you the prices on different websites. My favorite part of Slugbooks is that they show you both the option to buy and to rent, so you know that you’re getting the cheapest option.

Consider an E-book or Online Alternative!​

While printed textbooks are really nice (and my personal preference), a PDF version or an e-book have proven to be way less expensive. The pros to this option are that you don’t have to wait for shipping and you’ll always have your copy on your laptop, so it’s impossible to lose.

Wait Until the First Day of Class!

*Disclaimer: This doesn’t work for everyone or every class*

There have been so many times when I’ve bought a textbook for a class and then only ended up referencing it twice. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending a lot of money on a book that you don’t really need. My advice is to wait until the first day of classes and see if the professor truly requires it before you purchase it.

Song of the Week: Winter Song- The Head and the Heart​ :)


Summer Internships

 As we get deeper into our college careers, more and more opportunities arise. For example, there are an extensive amount of internships available in Chicago. DePaul students always have great internship opportunities - since Chicago is home to so many incredible companies and organizations. It is likely that you will experience many different internships throughout your DePaul career.

This past Summer I had the opportunity to intern in the finance department of The American Board of Medical Specialties. A nonprofit located in River North which focuses on furthering the education of the doctors of their member boards. Their mission was a little bit complex to understand, but the organization is great. And the people I worked with taught me so much.

I was lucky to have found this position through Handshake around springtime. Even though I didn’t know this organization before applying, the description, and it being a nonprofit, made me really excited.  It seemed like a good experience to have with accounting.

There are a lot of great perks to interning in the summer. I had the opportunity to learn and help out different departments of the organization; I  was treated like an employee, where I got to sit in on very important meetings and give my input; I was also able to join in their Summer outings and socials in the office.

I worked with very intelligent people in an all-women finance department, which I found very inspiring. They taught me so much I can use in any future career down the line in regards to finance-related knowledge, work tips and even just life tips.  I’m glad I’m in a city full of such great organizations and companies and can’t wait to see what other experiences I will have.


Investing For All

When people think of investing the first thing that usually comes to mind is stock trading. Getting into stock trading can be intimidating, especially with the fees that are associated with trades. That is why Robinhood was created. With no commission fees and a $0 minimum opening balance, literally, anyone can invest spare money even if it may be only $10. Robinhood is best used for basic stock trading, although the online brokerage has been unveiling new developments like options, cryptocurrencies, and more foreign companies like Adidas were recently added. As with most brokerages, a bonus offer is available for first-time users. However, most of these “bonuses” are a few hundred dollars for investors with initial deposits ranging from $10,000 to well above that. Robinhood’s bonus is free stock in the typical method of referring a friend promo in order to attract audiences. If you use this link, you have a chance of earning free stock like Apple or JPMorgan Chase.

Speaking of JPMorgan Chase, they have been stirring up Wall Street lately. In order to compete with low commission traders like Charles Schwab and free brokerages like Robinhood, J.P. Morgan Chase released You Invest. Accessible through the Chase app, You Invest requires no minimum balance and offers commission-free stock and ETF trades for your first 100 trades. It is $2.95 per trade thereafter, which is still disruptive to other brokerages considering the average runner-up offers $4.95 per trade. Coming in 2019 You Invest members will have the option of investing in a portfolio designed and managed by experts at J.P. Morgan. Therefore, if you do not feel comfortable stock picking yourself nor have the interest in managing your portfolio, this option will cover all this.

In conclusion, these are just two low-cost brokerages a college student can utilize in the first stages of stock trading. If you are a student outside of a finance major, interested in learning more about the field, FIN 290 Finance for Non-Business Majors taught by a former professor of mine, Barbara Fuzesi, will certainly shed light on how be financially independent.


Summer is Not as Long as It Used to Be

With the start of another fall quarter, I can’t help but reflect on this past summer - that once again flew by way too quickly. I stayed in Chicago like I have the past two summers, but managed to take quite a few trips throughout June-August.
From spending the first three weeks of summer exploring Portugal to traveling all the way to Montreal, Canada for a music festival, this summer was the perfect mix of work and play. I worked nearly full-time at my regular waitressing job at Athenian Room , but fit in some amazing trips to make it worthwhile. 
Right before school resumed I was even able to take a trip down to Cuba ​with my sister to celebrate the end of another incredible summer and explore a country nearly untouched by tourism/outside influence. It was the perfect way to relax and immerse myself in a beautiful culture before returning to my regular schedule of work, classes, and very minimal free time. 
Traveling with my friends and family is one of my favorite ways to spend my time, and I’m thankful for a summer filled to the brim with adventures and new experiences. I’ll be spending the next ten weeks before Winter break, posting throwbacks on Instagram and reminiscing on one of the best summers yet. 
For now, it’s time to get back into the swing of things and focus on the interesting classes I’m taking this quarter and the exciting opportunities that already await! 


Happy New School Year at DePaul University!

I’m so glad to once again show you DePaul through my lens, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. First and foremost, I hope everyone had an amazing summer. Allow me to tell you about some of the activities I partook in.
There’s a great old-style arcade in Brookfield, Illinois called "Galloping Ghost " that is very affordable for all-day admission to play whatever you want. As a nostalgia nerd, I spent a lot of time there playing not only today’s most recent games but arcade machines spanning all the way back to the 80’s. Anybody in the area who is a fan of that type of stuff should definitely check it out.

One of the best movies I saw this summer was called “Sorry to Bother You ” directed by musician, Boots Riley, and starring a bunch of smaller actors I like. The experimental film is a topical comedy about the problems of workforce labor. It’s honestly one of the best films I’ve ever seen and has a great deal of diversity and inclusion. It’s an incredibly weird movie but with an important message and some fantastic performances.

And speaking of performances, the last thing I want to share is the perfect way I ended my summer - and that was seeing Childish Gambino live in concert. Coming off his award-winning show, chart-topping songs, and whatever he decides he wants to be good at Childish Gambino had a concert here in Chicago last night and it was incredible, the man can truly put on a show and continues to be in my inspiration in all things creative.

I hope you all did some cool things during summer as well, but regardless the school year here at DePaul will lead to a lot of fun and new experiences, so take some time to not only do some work but enjoy everything on campus as well!


Graduation

If you are planning to join DePaul University’s Class of 2022, first of all, congrats! Secondly, welcome.  Graduation is an exciting and also terrifying time in your life.  I should know because I myself am graduating on Saturday.  But just know that DePaul is a very inclusive and stimulating place to study.

One of the first things that you will do at orientation this summer is signing the Class of 2022 Graduation Banner.  This may seem like an odd thing for you to do at orientation, but it immediately brings you closer to your class. 

And when you pick up your cap and gown at the Student Center senior year…there it will be!  And you’ll get all the feels!  It took me a good 15 minutes to find my name this past Monday, but when I did it was really exciting.  I have come so far. 

My biggest accomplishment at DePaul was successfully completing my student teaching at Jones College Prep without missing a single day.  This was by far the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life; there were so many ups and downs.  But on the last day, I had them complete a teaching evaluation, similar to the one that DePaul students fill out for their professors at the end of the quarter.

I asked them how they would describe my teaching style, their favorite activity, an area for improvement, and an open-ended question asking them if there was anything else I should know.  The responses were overwhelmingly positive. Many described my teaching style as interactive, creative, as well as patient and in the free response question left me supportive messages.  One of my favorites reads:

“I just think that you were a really amazing teacher and I’m going to miss when you are here goofing around with us and telling us your jokes you were a really cool teacher I have only had like this type of fun bond and like that you get us as teens and not many teachers I had are like this even though I know I wasn’t the best student or I didn’t talk to you more about my work I know you totally helped me view English as a fun subject if you have the right teacher.”

Other students stayed after class to thank me and tell me how much I really helped them view English differently.  Even their areas of improvement messages were sweet, saying: 

“I feel like you should be less self-conscious of what you say in class. I feel like I learned a lot from you and you have a lot to offer students, but don't be afraid and don't doubt yourself because you're awesome :)”

Though there were many times where I doubted everything, these students made it worth it. 

So, Class of 2022, I recognize what you are going through—I have many of the same emotions as you do. But it does get better.  You will find your purpose!  And I wish you the best of luck. And Class of 2018? Let’s do this! See you Saturday!

​​​

What I’ve Learned During My First Year

With only a week left of freshman year, I’ve found myself journaling more often and filling the pages with reflective thoughts. This year has been nothing short of exciting and I find myself reminiscing about all of the experiences that I’ve had. When I came to DePaul in the fall, I had no idea what the year had in store for me. Feelings of anxiety and doubt circled my mind, but they were quickly replaced with excitement and love for all that this city has to offer. This first year has been full of a lot of changes and positive academic and personal growth. For my last blog of my first year, I wanted to share a few things that I learned along the way.

How to Develop a New Independence.

I’ve lived in a relatively small town my entire life and moving to a city as big as Chicago was definitely a big shock for me. I expected to be overwhelmed for a long time, but what I didn’t expect was how much I would benefit from the size of the city. I used to be the kind of person that would cling to friends and avoid going anywhere alone out of fear of being judged by other people. However, with the help of public transit, I began to develop an independence and new confidence that I didn’t know I could have. Running errands, walking around the city and eating alone became activities that I found myself enjoying.

The Importance of Maintaining Relationships.

While I was living at home, I would do everything I could to spend as much time as I could with friends and family. Having a strong community is something that I’ve always valued and leaving for college has only strengthened those relationships. Because I’m living out of state, I’ve put more effort into communicating with the people that have added value to my life. My favorite method is writing letters to friends and family because it feels more personal than a phone call.

Asking for Help is Okay.

Being fairly introverted, I’ve always been terrified to ask other people questions or help when I needed it. Attending college and being given a bigger workload, I learned that asking for help is inevitable. After getting over the initial fear of approaching professors, I ended up really benefiting from their help. All of the professors I’ve had are extremely friendly and want to see you succeed. Not to mention they’re crucial for networking and also some pretty interesting people to get to know.

I couldn’t be happier with my first-year experience. I was introduced to some of the best people I’ve ever met and have done things I didn’t know I was capable of. Thank you, DePaul for a great start to my college career, I’ll happily see you in the fall! :)

Song of the Week: Hunger- Florence and the Machine​


Captivating Courses

Recently as I have been applying to jobs, I have spent a great deal of time looking over my transcripts.  As a school on the quarter system, we have the privilege of taking almost fifty different classes throughout our time here.  This inspired me to share some of my favorite classes that I have taken at DePaul over the years:

LSP 111: Explore Chicago Dancing  

If you are a first-quarter freshman at DePaul, you will definitely answer the question—Explore or Discover at least 20 times.  I took Explore Chicago Dancing, which meant that I did not experience Immersion Week, but I did see many diverse dance performances throughout Chicago.  Though Discover wraps up in Week 8, I was exploring The Joffrey Ballet around Week 10, which was an exciting break from the stress of finals! 

LSP 112: Harry Potter: Welcome to Hogwarts

Similar to Explore/Discover, first-year students are required to take a focal point on a topic of their choice to strengthen their writing skills.  As a long-time Harry Potter fanatic, this was hands down my favorite course at DePaul.  We read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together, but then we switched to texts that analyzed the series through the theoretical lenses of philosophy, psychology, religion, and capitalism.

ENG 211: Grammar and Style

Ok, now I am letting my English teacher nerd show.  While I recognize that the name of this course may sound like your personal nightmare, I loved this class.  It broke down the complexities of the English language and related its parts to the beauty of literature.  While the tests were difficult, the knowledge was incredibly useful as it made me further analyze my own way of writing.

CTH 248: Contemporary Moral Issues: Happiness

As you may or may not know, DePaul has a religious studies requirement.  However, that does not mean you need to study the principles of the Catholic faith.  There are a variety of courses that fit this requirement, including this course all about happiness.  Combining philosophy, psychology, and religion with social-emotional learning, this class helped me get through a difficult junior year.  Another perk…it was an online course, which meant I only had to attend three classes that quarter.

ENG 350: Modern British Literature

This upper-level English course was the most enjoyable of my literary concentration.  We read a novel every week including The Magic Toyshop, The End of the Affair, and Atonement and though the pace was quick, I genuinely enjoyed everything that we read.  The professor was also super passionate, allowing the class to give their opinion before analysis, which definitely helped the entire class be more involved in the weekly reading.

LSI 346: Mainstreaming Strategies

This education class allowed me to discover and implement differentiation strategies to allow students of all ability levels and learning styles to flourish in my classroom.  Once again, the professor was super engaging and the course tested our learning in a variety of ways—tests, essays, presentations, etc., so she practiced what she preached.  I don’t think non-education majors can take this course, but if you are an education major be sure to pay attention and take lots of notes here because it is one of the most important classes in the entire program.   


Summer Music

What I look forward to at the end of the school year are all the summer concerts Chicago has to offer. Here are some exciting concerts and music festivals I’m especially excited for.

Millenium Park Summer Music Series

Free music outdoors is one of the best ways to enjoy summer. Millenium Park always hosts many things in the summer along with movies, festivals and concerts. I’m looking forward to enjoying the series this summer especially for a performance by the Bahamas in August. 

Lollapalooza​

This is a popular music festival during the first week of August in Chicago as everyone knows, and although I’ve never been there are a lot of great artists coming this summer such as Bruno Mars, Khalid, Post Malone, Tyler the Creator and many more. I usually avoid Lolla because of the long days and large crowds. I will probably go eventually, but if you want more intimate concerts with the festival artists, I suggest buying aftershow tickets which are cheaper and in my opinion, more worth it.

Summerfest​

Summerfest is an 11-day music festival in Milwaukee during the end of June and beginning of July. It’s an easy drive up to Milwaukee from Chicago and the festival is very affordable and has some great headliners this summer, such as the Weeknd, Florida Georgia Line, James Taylor, Halsey and many more artists.

North Coast​

Northcoast is another music festival that takes place in Union Park at the end of August and beginning of September over Labor Day weekend. I’ve never really considered going to North Coast but with the lineup this Summer I’m most likely going to go because Miguel is headlining one of the days.


Summer in the City

Although we still have a week left of school and another week of finals, summertime Chicago is already here! From beautiful weather to fun neighborhood events, the city is in full summer mode (which makes it difficult to study for these final exams!). This weekend was filled with people heading to the beach, enjoying live music outdoors, and participating in a wide range of outdoor activities that are popular in Chicago such as biking, rollerblading, and jogging down the Lakefront Trail. It was a little taste of summer to rejuvenate us just in time to study hard for our finals so that we can finally start enjoying our relaxing three-month break.

By staying in the city, I am opening up my summer experience to all kinds of possibilities for adventures and events. While some students prefer to spend their summer breaks relaxing at home where they’re from, summertime in Chicago is one of my favorite things to experience! From music festivals like Mamby on the Beach and Lollapalooza to farmers markets like Green City Market and the Lincoln Park Farmers Market, there is no shortage of events to fill your free time in the summer months. It’s the best time to try new restaurants, volunteer your time, explore new neighborhoods, and do all of the things you’ve been meaning to do during the school year but haven’t had time for.  


End of Junior Year

It’s the end of the school year and to be honest I don’t really know what to say. It’s always the same amount of time each year yet somehow it feels like things are flying by. In just another year I’ll be graduating and going into the real world. It sounds scary, to not have the safety net of school and being a student. But it is something that I look forward to. In the last year, I have gotten my first apartment, multiple jobs to help pay for it, and have made significant strides in my personal career. I think in this current age of social media we see a lot of people our age with a lot of success so young and we look down on our own positions. I know for a fact I’ve done this, but I want to let everyone reading know that you should be proud of everything you’ve accomplished no matter how small. If we focus too much on the end game we can’t have fun during the journey. And whatever path you take you should have fun. Whether that be chilling with your closest friends even if you are not doing anything, or spending time on a project for a class you really care about (because school work can be incredibly fun). Whatever it is, just enjoy it because life is too short to be constantly stressing about the future or comparing your situation to others. I’ve had a great school year and hope you have as well. Have a great summer, looking forward to you reading my adventures next year.


Defining the DePaul Experience

As I prepare for graduation just a couple short weeks away, it’s hard not to look back and get nostalgic about my time here at DePaul. I chose this school on a bit of a whim and had no real idea what I was getting myself in to. Located over 1,000 miles away from my hometown, I got the “why DePaul” question more times than I could count. 
When I first toured this school four years ago, I was a nervous high school student who wanted to know anything and everything about what life at DePaul was really like. Four years and 192 credits later, I have experienced so many different things that DePaul and Chicago can offer. From dorm life, searching for my first apartment, studying abroad, getting an internship, volunteering around the city, and meeting some pretty awesome people; my personal DePaul experience has been nothing short of incredible.

I could go on and one about the things this school and city has offered me, but for all the things I did do, there’s an even longer list of things I didn’t. Four years later and I still couldn’t tell you what the “typical” DePaul experience really is, because it’s different for everyone. And most importantly, it is what you make of it.

There are so many avenues and opportunities at DePaul to take advantage of, and the fact that not one student’s story is the same is one of my favorite things about this university. Being able to live and learn in a city as diverse and extraordinary as Chicago just gives you that much more opportunity to add to your college experience. I couldn’t sum up the typical college experience even if I tried, but I can attest to the fact that DePaul was the perfect outlet for me to create my own story.  


Sweet Treats

There is definitely a good amount of food to eat around the city, but what’s even better are the dessert places. I always think ice cream is the best sweet and a fun food to get with friends. I enjoy trying new places because there are so many to try in Chicago and with the weather getting warmer, ice cream is always the best option. 
Here are some of my favorite places to get a cold sweet treat in Chicago:

Original Rainbow Cone

This ice cream originated in the southwest side but a smaller shop has opened up at Navy Pier. The cool thing about this ice cream is that there aren’t scoops of ice cream but slabs of ice cream on a cone!

Margies Candies

I will have to say this is my favorite ice cream place as of right now. They have super large scoops and the inside of this place is very old school and very cozy. They also serve the world largest sundae which is on my bucket list to conquer.

Mario’s Italian Ice

This local Italian Ice shop is only open seasonally in the summer so I would make sure to take advantage of it. They are a mom and pop shop in Italian Village and serve my favorite Italian Ice in the city. They have hints of lemon peel in their cups which really makes them different. Make sure to bring cash when you go because they don’t accept cards and also be prepared for long lines.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

Jeni’s is really popular and although it isn’t my all-time favorite it’s close to campus right off the Armitage stop and always has unique flavors with their Wildberry Lavender flavor being my favorite.

Bobtail Ice Cream

Bobtail is on the lists for being one of Chicago’s best ice cream shops. They have a large variety of flavors along with unique floats, coffee, and shakes.

Windy City Sweets

This shop is a wonderland for those with a sweet tooth. Half the shop is full of every type of candy you can imagine, while the other half is an ice cream shop of everyone's favorite ice cream flavors- including mine Superman ice cream.  


Places to Go, Museums to See!

As someone who is incredibly keen on learning new things, going to museums is something I adore. With different exhibits surrounding a time period, idea, or area of study, it is evident that the primary goal of museums is to educate and engage its community. The environment that they cultivate provides an effortless yet effective way of learning. During the time I’ve lived here, something I have found myself feeling extremely grateful for is the wide array of museums to visit. And not only that but the fact that many of the museums are FREE to visit. Whether you’re interested in art, different cultures or science, I can guarantee that Chicago has a museum for you. In case you have no idea where to look, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best museums that I’ve encountered.

 

  1. The Art Institute of Chicago. Notorious for the lion statues that guard the entrance and the beautiful garden on the side of the building, this museum is a must-see for any Chicago resident. Being home to my favorite painting, “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper, it’s only fair to say that this museum has a special place in my heart. A lot of their exhibits display well-known paintings including work by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. As a DePaul student, you get free admission year-round; which to me is the best gift anyone could ever give me.
  2. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. I’ve noticed the letters “MCA” near the Water Tower on Michigan Avenue, but it wasn’t until my roommate told me about this museum that we actually went and visited. I’m a big fan of art (especially modern art) and I loved the variety of pieces that they showcased. This museum is free to Illinois residents every Tuesday (which includes students!!)
  3. The DePaul Art Museum.​ I’m embarrassed to say that it took me until this past Sunday to finally explore the museum on campus. This beautiful building is located right next to the Fullerton stop and right in front of the Wish Field. With 4-6 different exhibits being rotated annually, there is always something new to admire. :)
Song of the Week: This Beautiful Life- Colony House​


Get Active Outside the Classroom

Beta Alpha Psi

Not only is being an active member of a club or organization a small way to bolster your resume, but it also serves as a means to meet new peers and network with professionals. At DePaul, there is a club for everyone as displayed on OrgSync, and if not, then you have the ability as a student to create your own. I have been amidst the process of joining Beta Alpha Psi’s Gamma Chapter at DePaul, which is part of an honorary organization for accounting, finance, and information systems students. When I attended Meet the Firms as a sophomore, recruiters there told me that my resume did not hold up to those with Beta Alpha Psi and I have been determined since then to raise my major GPA to the minimum requirements of applying to this club.

After attending events such as a bowling social, a volunteer opportunity with the Chicago Cubs, and workshops with Deloitte, it is very apparent to me, the benefits of joining this club. However, if you feel that there is not a club at DePaul that suits you, then you can form your own. You require a faculty sponsor for whatever club you decide on. By creating your own club, and taking on the responsibility of President, Vice President, Treasurer, and so on, it displays strong leadership skills and an entrepreneurial attitude that is highly attractive to employers. Extracurricular activities expand beyond DePaul as well. There are student memberships available for professional organizations within career paths. For example, there is the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts or Illinois CPA Society which offer free student affiliate memberships.  


New Restaurants

Living in Chicago means being surrounded by countless new restaurants to try all over the city. Although this can be exciting, it’s also important to not go overboard spending money. When I first arrived in Chicago as a freshman I wanted to try anything and everything, but my spending habits quickly caught up with me. Almost two years later, I’ve found a balance between going out and trying new restaurants but not breaking the bank. One of the biggest changes I’ve made since moving into an apartment is cooking meals for myself and planning ahead for busy days by cooking meals in advance. This is a good strategy to utilize when trying to save money, but it’s also important to go out now and then and give in to your inner foodie!

One of my new favorite restaurants is Earth’s Kitchen, a Japanese American fusion restaurant located in Uptown. My friend and I accidentally happened upon it after visiting a used bike shop in Uptown, and it turned out to be everything we didn’t know we were looking for. This is one of my favorite ways to find restaurants; simply looking around wherever you are instead of solely relying on Yelp reviews and the internet. Our bike shopping adventure turned into apartment hunting, and we’re now thinking of moving to Uptown! Anything can happen when you explore a new neighborhood.  


Staying Motivated

As the school year begins to wind down you might find yourself losing motivation to continue putting your all into your school work. Whether that be from senioritis, already killing every other assignment in the class, or even just general laziness. But take it from someone who struggles with this himself, you’ve got to keep pushing forward. I know Summer seems right around the corner (or Spring, depending on how the Chicago weather feels that day) but it’ll be much more satisfying knowing you’ve put all your effort into crushing final exams, projects, etc. so you can feel confident about knowing you’ve aced (or at least passed) all your classes. DePaul is a little different from other universities in that we are on the quarter system which means a lot of your friends may already be on Summer vacation traveling the world, going to festivals, and while it may seem fun to join them it is easy to lose focus about what’s important. Passing your classes, making sure you have a summer job, having an internship, etc. I personally have been procrastinating a few projects but over the next weeks, I plan to change that. Even as a Junior I still have a lot to learn about time management and not waiting until the last minute to do something, even if the deadline was given to me weeks ago. Put the work in and it’ll be worth it trust me.

The Best and Worst of Night Class

Whether you’re an early bird or night owl, night classes are an essential part of student life at DePaul. While some students have sworn off night classes altogether, others seem to only sign up for these classes. As a loyal night class student, I have always found them to work better in my schedule than taking classes during the day. However, I have definitely noticed the cons of taking them. I encourage all students to try taking a night class at least once but be prepared for the good and bad.

The good: My favorite thing about taking a night class is that it’s only once a week. While it can be daunting to think about sitting in a classroom for three hours at night, remembering that the class only meets once a week definitely makes it easier. Night classes are also great because they offer so much flexibility. They’re great for working students or those who just have busy schedules. Because night classes at DePaul don’t start until after 5 p.m., it allows the opportunity for students to work at a job or internship during the day. Night classes definitely aren’t for everyone, but if you have a busy schedule or you’re more of a night owl, they can be a great choice.

The bad: The name says it all. Focusing on school at the end of the day for three hours certainly isn’t easy. Taking a night class all but assures that you’re on track to have a very long day.  And for those who don’t have time to sleep in in the morning, taking a night class can lead to a disrupting sleep cycle. Another big con of night classes is the possibility of missing out on fun times with friends. Even if you aren’t in the habit of going out on the weekdays, night classes fall right around dinnertime and often times you see your friends getting together while you’re in class.


Here to Stay is the Bluebird

chickenIn the never-ending pursuit of a great chicken sandwich, I found myself another contender. I have mentioned before the Budlong chicken sandwich with its Nashville influences, and of course, the classic chicken sandwiches of Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s are worth mentioning.  However, when scouring Postmates the fried chicken sandwich of Bluebird caught my attention, but I scrolled on and that was that. Then, when getting my haircut at Gabby’s I noticed across the street was Bluebird, as if fate was presenting itself in clear sight.

Like Budlong, Bluebird offers a fried chicken sandwich in Nashville-hot style or simply not sauced. I chose the latter just to be safe. The toppings were similar as well: brioche bun, pickles, and coleslaw, with the only noticeable difference of Bluebird including a Roma tomato.  Considering the price is two dollars cheaper than Budlong, this sandwich is one I highly recommend. Yet, it does not stop there for there are other items on the menu that are noteworthy. The fried chicken sandwich is what lured me in, and since it made a good first impression on me I am looking forward to going back to try other things such as the duck fat fries, the Nashville chicken sandwich, smoked gouda burger, or the truffle burger. While chicken may be a trend of my blogs, I appreciate a good burger just as much. Henceforth, I vow to return to Bluebird ​to give my time and money to other areas of its menu.


Class Trips

Last week I attended an MFA show put on by the SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) downtown with my art and artists in contemporary society class. Wandering through compelling and interactive art exhibits for an hour and a half may not sound like a typical college class setting, but this happens quite often at DePaul. For example, my environmental justice class traveled to Springfield, Illinois a couple weeks ago to meet with representatives in order to propose legislation relating to environmental justice. Gaining real-world experience lobbying with representatives was truly amazing. Class trips like these are one of my favorite things about attending DePaul. Being surrounded by relevant events and exhibits related to what I’m studying in the classroom allows me to truly immerse myself rather than simply reading about it in textbooks.

Classes at DePaul truly incorporate the city of Chicago into the curriculum. Attending art shows for my photography minor, participating in activism events and getting to listen to influential speakers for my peace, justice, and conflict studies minor, and even working with environmental non-profits for my environmental studies major are all examples of this. Without being in this city, I would not have had the opportunities and experiences that have shaped my college experience as well as shaped me on an individual level. When I hear stories from my friends who go to schools in the middle of nowhere, I am grateful for DePaul and the opportunity to study right in the heart of Chicago. The city truly is our campus! 


Alpha Phi Omega

When you go to school in a big city like Chicago, there is a large need for volunteers, which means that it is not hard to fulfill DePaul’s mission.  In responding to Vinny’s question “What Must Be Done? ” the answer is, a lot!  But any little bit helps.

I answered the question by joining Alpha Phi Omega my sophomore year and volunteering with the service fraternity every quarter.  

APO has many relationships with nonprofits and charities across the city, but one of my favorite volunteer opportunities was cheering on the runners at the Hot Chocolate Run.   If you know anything about me, you know that I despise waking up early (although now that I am teaching every day I am a lot more used to it). Still, watching the sunrise above the city with my fellow fraternity brothers was a fond memory and a great way to kick off this volunteer opportunity. 

For the next four hours, we cheered, danced, and supported the exhausted runners on their journey to the finish line.  The goal was simple: make them smile and give them a reason to keep going.  I am not a runner, so I was consistently impressed with everyone who was part of the race, from kids to grandparents, and it was great to give them that extra boost of motivation.  

This is just one of many runs that APO volunteers at—they also support those in the Chicago Marathon as well as the Color Run.  I highly recommend checking these opportunities out or finding other ways that you can donate your time helping out the city in which we live.  Oh and don’t forget to rush Alpha Phi Omega next fall!      


Men of Color Initiative

Becoming involved with some organization, club, or group at your university is a must. Not only does it look good on a resume but it allows you to meet a lot of different people and potentially even bring you closer to the school you’ve decided to attend. Here at DePaul University I have become involved in the Men of Color initiative. It is a program that works to help acclimate male minority students into DePaul. The program aims for incoming freshman to have someone to help them not only use all of DePaul’s resources to the best of their ability but also have someone to talk about common struggles such as being a person of color in a predominantly white college.
Programs like this are very important because having people you can identify with and know what you’ve been through and knowing you are not alone is something that a lot of students do not have. Being a part of this program just within the last year has opened my eyes to just how important it is that I can help incoming freshmen navigate the tricky world of university. In fact, in just the last two months I helped a student to ultimately decide DePaul was the best place for their university education just speaking candidly about my experience. So whether it is a program like this, a school-sponsored one, or even an intramural sports team try to get involved, it can change your life.

Epi-CFS Volunteering

Whenever I ask adults what their favorite part of college was, a large percentage of their responses relate to how involved they were. One of the best parts about going away to college is the opportunity to discover different parts of yourself. By investing your time in different organizations on campus, you have more freedom to explore those passions. There are multiple ways to involve yourself while pursuing your degree. DePaul has a convenient website, OrgSync, where every club and organization is listed to make it easy to see what is available.

I joined a lot of clubs when I started in the fall and was quick to realize that not all of them were for me. I did, however, find something that I really liked. In the winter, I found a research team that needed volunteers for their Epi-CFS team. After submitting my resume, and going in for an interview, they offered me a volunteer position and I’ve been working with them ever since. Through this opportunity, I’ve gotten the chance to network and meet with lots of different people in the psychology community. I volunteer at the center four hours a week, calling and screening-eligible participants. The research assistants on the team are some of the kindest people I’ve met and they’ve created a wonderful community within the center. Even though I’m only a first-year student, they’ve already offered to write me letters of recommendation for graduate school and are there to answer any questions I have. These are resources I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t looked into being involved on campus.

Finding activities that you're passionate about is just as important in college as it was in high school. It’s important to keep an open mind, one of the best things about being in a new place is trying things you would have never imagined you could do. Be patient, you’ll find the club that’s right for you in no time. :)

Song of the Week: Like Vineyards- Little India​


Delta Sigma Pi

I remember after finishing my first quarter I wanted something more from my DePaul experience and that I wanted to join some kind of greek life. That’s when I decided to rush Delta Sigma Pi, a co-ed professional business fraternity on campus. Many people think “fraternity” and think of a very social group of people that only have fun. People also think “professional/business” and may think boring.

Delta Sigma Pi is an organization that has helped me grow a lot, especially professionally. This fraternity has a large variety of things to offer business majors. We have the lowest dues on campus and students have the opportunity to rush in the Fall or Winter. We focus a lot on professional development, community service, and everyone’s favorite - brotherhood events. Below is just a snapshot of the types of events we have.

Professional Events: There are always a handful of professional events every quarter which can vary. But some that happen often include professional/alumni panels, how to dress workshops, resume workshops, guest speakers, and a yearly event that is a personalized internship/job fair for members of the fraternity.

Community Service Events: We are heavy on giving back. Some community service events we’ve done include visits to the Ronald McDonald House, Chicago Marathon, Junior Achievement, Anti-Cruelty Society and donations to local causes.

Brotherhood Events: Although we are a professional fraternity, we also know how to have fun. There are an endless amount of fun events we do such as going to Chicago Fire games, grill outs, game nights, bowling, and dinners just to name a few.

Freshman year was a lot of me trying to find out what kind of people I wanted to be surrounded by. I’m glad I found this organization because the people in it have been such a great influence on me and many of the people I have met in this organization are some of my best friends.


Making the Most of Student Organizations

I remember how shocked I was when I first came to DePaul and realized how many on-campus organizations there were. Whether you’re into Greek life, skydiving, food, or community service, there is literally something for every kind of person at DePaul. Getting involved in student orgs are an awesome way to meet new people and are a great way to assure you get the most out of your college experience.  

In high school, I did a lot of community service, and I knew I wanted to continue that while at DePaul. Joining the community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, was the perfect way to do that. Not only was I able to do a ton of service for a variety of organizations across the city, but I was also able to meet new people and share that experience with them. 

One of my favorite parts of Alpha Phi Omega is that they had service events that focused on all aspects of giving back. I was able to participate in everything from walking shelter dogs, to volunteering at local soup kitchens, and even participating in huge Chicago events like The Chicago Marathon and Polar Plunge.

Of all the different events I got to be a part of, volunteering for Vincentian Service Day was definitely my favorite.  Each year DePaul students, staff, faculty and alumni participate in a day of service with 50+ community partners in the Chicago area. Though it only happened once a year, I always looked forward to participating in this special day. Being able to see the DePaul community giving back in so many different ways is inspiring and a very special moment to be a part of.

No matter what you like to do with your spare time, getting involved in student organizations is something I absolutely recommend. DePaul has hundreds of different clubs and groups to choose from, and it just may be the highlight of your college career.  


DePaul Fest Putting in Work

festThe lineup for DePaul Fest 2018 was recently released and I can say I am fairly impressed. A$AP Ferg and BJ The Chicago Kid is a pretty good lineup considering previous years’ performers. Out of all honesty, I passed on Logic last year, but this year is looking to be a must-attend for me. I was sincerely shocked when I heard A$AP Ferg was coming to DePaul. I wouldn’t say I actively listen to his music, but I thought an artist of his caliber would be too big of a name to book for Fest. As for BJ The Chicago Kid, I think he is a hidden gem. You might know him from his hook on Schoolboy Q’s “Studio,” Chance the Rapper’s “Blessings,” his remix of Kanye’s  I Can’t Hold My Liquor,” or his feature on A$AP Mob’s “Way Hii.” I had the chance to see him as a part of the Redbull 30 Days in Chicago, but I was not able to. I have high hopes for this year’s Fest.

Tickets for Fest 2018 are available now for only $10 with an additional $1.09 fee.  Check the link ​below to grab a ticket. The concert is available only to DePaul students and it is one ticket per person. The concert will be held on Friday, May 25th at 5:00 pm on the Quad in Lincoln Park. I am hoping A$AP Rocky will make a surprise appearance at Fest, but that is definitely a long shot.


How to Survive Spring Quarter

It’s here! It’s here! The trees are beginning to grow leaves, the grass is finally green again, and the sunshine reminds your skin of a warmth you haven’t felt in a long time. Springtime in the city is well underway, and you couldn’t be happier about it. The only downside? All of your friends that go to schools on the semester system are already enjoying their summer vacation while you have one more month until finals. But worry not, for I’ve thought up a few ways to make the most of the few weeks while staying on top of your work.

Work Outside!

As it warms up, consider a change of scenery and do your homework outside. DePaul’s quad is absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorite places to be. The trees are just far enough apart to set up a hammock and do some reading for class. If that’s not really your thing, there are some tables with solar-powered charging stations for your laptop. There truly is no excuse not to be outside, and hopefully, it will help you feel like you’re not missing out on spring weather.

Plan Out Your Week!

Being the queen of procrastination, I admit that this is something I’m still trying to get better at. However, mapping out your week and dedicating time to completing assignments will greatly help reduce your stress levels. Prioritize what you can get done and what you can hold off on to give you more control over your time.

Make Time For You!

Even though school should be your main concern, don’t neglect your needs and the things that bring you joy. It’s easy to feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to dedicate to yourself, but these things are very important for your well-being. Laugh with some friends, have a picnic on the beach, or enjoy some ice cream from Jeni’s (10/10 would recommend). Just remember to devote some time to yourself, everything else can wait.

Summer vacation is right around the corner so stay persistent, make time to relax, and get ready to CRUSH the rest of spring quarter! :)

Song of the Week: Next Year- Two Door Cinema Club


Formal Season

Happy May! And last full month of school...which means formal season! If you’re in a club or in greek life or have a friend in either of those, it is likely that you are going to a formal. Formal’s are a fun way to meet new people or just hang with your friends. It’s also a great excuse to dress up and have a formal outing.

Formal’s from DePaul organizations are a lot of fun especially since we have access to the city and all its venues. I had a lot of fun last year since it was my first year at DePaul and going to formal. If you enjoyed homecoming and dances in high school, you would really enjoy formals. They are a lot more relaxed than the high school dance atmospheres, and smaller which is what I prefer.

Also, formal’s allow you to see great venues in Chicago. For example some common places, organizations hold formal is the 95th floor in the John Hancock, the 99th floor of the Sears Tower, Rivers Restaurant,  7 Lions Chicago and many more great venues along the river or rooftops.

If you are stressed about bringing a date, I wouldn’t worry. It’s great to go with one of your best friends to make the most out of your night. Even asking friends from outside of school, to allow them to experience some time with you at DePaul.

Also, if you are looking for a fun dress on a last-minute budget, I always try the Akira Outlet off Diversey, but if I really need more options, there’s always a lot to choose from off State Street near the loop campus like Forever 21, H&M and Nordstrom.  


ARCH

At the beginning of last quarter, a friend and I decided that we needed to get more involved at DePaul. We have attended various meetings for clubs, but it has been difficult finding something that we can both attend regularly due to our hectic work and school schedules. As we were browsing Orgsync, DePaul’s website listing all of its clubs and organizations, we found something called ARCH. According to the website, “ARCH is an organization that promotes awareness of homelessness and mental illness in Chicago through service and reflection.” As students who have always been involved in service in our own communities, ARCH’s mission statement appealed to both of us. As we read more about it, we found out that ARCH travels to a local women’s shelter, Deborah’s Place, every Sunday morning to cook brunch for the women staying there and engage in dialogue with them.

Ever since we discovered ARCH, we have learned a lot through this engagement. Last year I interned with a nonprofit working toward connecting homeless people in Chicago with permanent housing, so it felt right to involve myself in something along the same lines. Traveling to Deborah’s Place on Sunday mornings is the best way to start my week and is a deeply meaningful use of my time. I would encourage anyone looking for an impactful way to spend a couple hours each week to become involved in ARCH. It has allowed my friend and me to gain a lot of perspective as well as to feel as if we are positively contributing to our community.  


Gordo's Goodies

It does not have to be hot out for me to enjoy ice cream, but the weather this week certainly did put me in the mood.  To celebrate Friday and the sun, my Jones colleague took me out for ice cream.  But this experience was unlike any other ice cream experience I had ever had.  And coming from me, that really is saying something!  She brought me around the corner from the school to Gordo’s, which FYI is walking distance from our Loop campus for your convenience!

I walked in and was immediately in love.  There was an artful process to this place and I was in awe:

First, you get to pick your homemade ice cream bar flavor out of a wide assortment.  I had only ever had prewrapped Hagaan Daaz or Dove bars, so to see homemade ice cream bars out of the wrapper was shocking.  But this was just the beginning.  After considering all my options and realizing that I probably could not go wrong, I settled on strawberry.

Step number two was picking my dip—was it going to be dark, white, or milk chocolate?  Easy!  Milk of course.  Mmmm chocolate covered strawberries here I come! 

But wait, step three.  While the chocolate is still hot, pick your topping.  I looked at all the colorful options but decided to opt for taste over aesthetics.  I went with Oreos.  I watched as she rolled my chocolate covered strawberry creation into the bucket of Oreos and my stomach grumbled. 

Finally, she handed me my customized bar in a little food boat, which I later realized is for when you get to the end of the bar and your creation begins to crumble.   By then you need a spoon and a second stomach!  You really need to check out Gordo’s to see for yourself and I just may tag along with you for round two. 


Comics

I’m a big comic nerd. So, the month of May so far has been very good to me. Whether it’s the release of Avengers: Infinity War or impending superhero blockbusters like Deadpool 2 and The Incredibles sequel,  I absolutely cannot wait for movies this summer. That being said, I’ve begun to notice that movies like these are beginning to receive some backlash. Not that they haven’t necessarily had them before, but now people are being more vocal about how they don’t like superhero movies; how they’re all just the same and are a waste of time. I get it, from the outside in they are, they usually include a lot of forgettable bad guys and beams of light shooting from the sky but I think it’s important to remember that while everyone and their mother is trying to copy the success of the Avengers. There are other people trying to take comic book properties in another direction. Whether it’s on TV or movies I think we should stop putting a stigma around these movies and try to enjoy them for what they are and sometimes that is just mindless entertainment. Sure, these movies don’t try to be thought-provoking but they are entertaining spectacles and the ones that do put in the effort and are quality don’t deserve the hate that the less than quality copycats do. If you’ll never be a fan that’s fine, but if you’re even mildly interested in comic books but don’t care for blockbuster summer action look for something more your style, you’re sure to find something you like.

Apps Every Chicagoan Needs

Chicago is a great place to live, but sometimes you need a little help from the App Store. While apps like Uber, banking, and the weather are must-haves (duh) there are quite a few apps I use on a regular basis to make city living that much sweeter. From saving time on your commute to finding the best places to eat in the city, here are some must-have apps I recommend to every Chicagoan.

Yelp: I don’t know about you but I am constantly on Yelp checking out new restaurants across the city. If you consider yourself a foodie or are curious about how a certain restaurant is perceived by the public, this app is a must. Some restaurants even have special or free food offerings for yelp users!

Transit Stop: This app is absolutely necessary if you take any public transit in the city. It gives you live updates on when the train or bus is coming to each stop, right down to the very minute. An essential app the assures you won't be left standing on the el platform for 10 minutes.

Postmates: For days when leaving the apartment just isn’t happening, Postmates is there to the rescue. Whether you’re craving Chinese food for dinner, or need coffee and a bagel in the morning, Postmates makes it easy to get what you want without having to leave the couch.

Timeout: For all of your food, drink, and entertainment needs, you need Timeout. This app lets you discover nearby restaurants and bars, and popular things happening around the city on any given weekend.

OverDrive: This is an app I just recently got into, and it is seriously amazing. OverDrive lets you borrow books and audio books from the Chicago Public Library through a library card. It’s great for reading books on your morning commute and even finding textbooks for class!  


A City Full of Friends

College is going to be a completely new experience. You’ll get to meet different people, move into a room with someone you may not know and make decisions independent of your parents. This is one of the most exciting yet trying times of your life. It’s very easy to get comfortable in our own worlds; which is why it’s important to remember that there is something to learn from every person you interact with. In dedicating time to hear about different experiences from others, there is the opportunity for individual growth.

I would say that my college experience here at DePaul has been unique to that of any other schools. With a campus in Lincoln Park and the Loop, I’ve had the chance to learn both inside and outside of the classroom. Chicago is home to 2.7 million beautiful people and living here has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of them. Building relationships and networking is a crucial skill to have as a young professional, and what better place to practice that than a big city school? 

Not only have I had the chance to befriend people here at DePaul, but also at other universities in the Chicago area. This past year alone, I’ve met some incredible people from Loyola, Northwestern, and UIC. In doing so, my college experience has incorporated the different cultures from various universities. I love how accessible everything is via transit and how easy it is to go visit the different campuses.

There is something incredible about merging school cultures and getting to show other students around the best parts of campus. Some of my favorite people come from halfway across the country and I wouldn’t have met them had it not been for college. I carry a little piece of every person I’ve encountered with me, and I can’t wait to keep learning from new people. :)

Song of the Week: Real Peach- Henry Jamison ​ 


My Memorable DePaul Experience

 I have only been at DePaul for less than 2 years now and I have experienced so much so far. My freshman year was the most eventful year, there are a lot of things Chicago and this university have offered me.

There is always a lot going on in Chicago and probably some sort of event every day. Also, there are always famous people in the city not to mention there are a lot of great people who are from Chicago. Like Barack Obama.

In the spring of 2017, Obama came to the University of Chicago for an event on their campus. This was the first time he made a large public appearance since leaving the White House. He did a talk with young leaders (college students) from all over Chicago.

I really enjoyed this event because it felt like a conversation with Obama, although I wasn’t talking to him and just watching him talk to six amazing college students from Chicago.  I also enjoyed how this event was not about politics at all, it was about how the next generation can get involved and engaged with civic life.

The discussion was very inspirational and was mostly lead by the students with Obama having charming comments in between. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from that event:

The single-most important thing I can do is to help, in any way I can, prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and take their own crack at changing the world”

It’s not just that we’re reading different news, but we don’t talk to each other anymore. Civic engagement at some point will require a level of civility”

“Worry less about what you want to be and worry more about what you want to do”

This event was very intimate. I believe there were only 400 people in the room and 300 of those were Chicago university students. Each Chicago University received a few tickets where they could pick how to distribute the tickets. DePaul chose to raffle these tickets off through an online sign-up and I was happy to get a ticket.

Going to a school like DePaul has given me a lot of cool experiences like this. I’m excited to see what else I’ll get to experience while here.  


Trip Down Memory Lane

FLW HouseIn the concluding weeks of my junior year, I consistently look to the days behind me and reflect on my experience thus far. In terms of what has been most memorable, nothing compares to the first week during my Discover Chicago immersion week. My class was focused on Frank Lloyd Wright with an emphasis on his prairie-style architecture applied towards many houses and buildings in Chicago.

I remember the first time riding the L and looking at the train line map like it was in a foreign language. I thought to myself, “how could I remember all these stops’ names and where I was?” Just as any newcomer to the CTA, hearing the “doors closing” sent my class and me into a frantic rush into the train since everyone was afraid not to get left outside the cart and removed from the group. Then came the day when the professor let us get back to campus on our own after an excursion to one of Wright’s houses. It was that time when I had the first moment of actually exploring the city as a local, unrestrained of guidance and freedom to go anywhere I want. At the time I did not know where I was or how far from campus I had ventured with a small group of classmates, but now I realize it was Belmont since it was when I was introduced to Cheesie’s Pub & Grill.

For the rest of that quarter, I continued my explorer mentality and getting acclimated to the new lifestyle that is college. I would say I miss that feeling of being a newcomer, full of curiosity and awe from the new wave of experiences that were to come.  


Uncovering My Passion at DePaul

It may sound cheesy, but something that has made my DePaul experience memorable is being passionate about what I am studying and being surrounded by peers and professors who share this passion. When I came to college I did not think I would be majoring in Environmental Studies because I wrote it off as being too difficult and wrote myself off as being not smart enough. I worked my way through a variety of majors before finally realizing what I was meant to be doing, and that is studying the environment. The restoration and preservation of the planet is the most important thing in the world to me, and being able to study what I love most every day is such a meaningful experience.

Without my professors encouraging me to declare an Environmental Studies major and the support of my friends and family, I would probably still be stuck in a major I am not proud of. I am thankful I decided to take a leap of faith and declare a major I was extremely intimidated by because I have gained such an immense amount of knowledge and experience in this process. Nothing compares to the feeling of talking with a professor about a rainforest we both visited in Costa Rica and felt connected to or talking with my peers about the actions we take to help the planet. Within my own circle of friends I am often referred to as the crazy environmentalist, but within my classes, many of my peers share the same mindset as me. They are an inspiration to me and we all encourage each other to do more for the environment. Since my major is so closely intertwined with my daily lifestyle, it is important to me that I’m surrounded by people who share my struggles, passions, and triumphs. Struggling through three-hour labs has not been a walk in the park, but all of my hard work will pay off when I graduate with a degree I’m proud of and am excited to use. ​


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.  


My DePaul Experience

My DePaul experience can be summed up as unexpected. As in, when I started going to this school I certainly didn’t expect to be performing music in front of people - not once but three separate times. In fact, when I entered DePaul I didn’t think I would be making music at all. Where you decide to go college really can change the trajectory of your life. Whether that be the friends you make, the classes you take, or the paths you embark on, I feel like DePaul has influenced all of those things. Music is a big part of my life now and I’m not sure if it would be that way if I didn’t go to school here. The people I’ve met have allowed me to experience new things and have opened my mind to different ways of thinking that I believe have allowed me to become more diverse. Whether it be the way I dress, the way I talk, or the way I interact with people my development as a person is forever tied to my experiences at this university. Whether they’ve been bad or good I have dealt with things I wouldn’t change at all, because it has allowed me to grow into the person I need to be for what I want to do in the future, and thanks to what has happened to me here that will be a lot. I’m thankful for DePaul and their diverse student groups, organizations, and their location because I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything, and I hope you experience life-changing moments of your own here.


Friendships Abroad

As I look towards graduation just one short month away, it’s hard not to reflect on my past four years here at DePaul. I’ve taken some amazing classes, met awesome people, and overall have had countless memorable experiences. Looking back on my years as an undergraduate, I most remember the once and a lifetime experience I had when going abroad through DePaul’s Study Abroad program.
While it’s cliché to say that studying abroad was the highlight of my time at college, I can’t help but feel that way. Living and studying abroad was always something I was interested in, and DePaul could not have provided a better program. Not only do they have long and short-term options, but the number of destinations they offer all across the world is amazing. I chose to study abroad in Budapest, Hungary during the fall semester of my junior year. While I was nervous about leaving my friends and family behind, I knew that the opportunity to study halfway across the world might never happen again.

While I can go on and on about all the amazingly fun and memorable times I had while abroad in Budapest, it was really the people that I met during that semester that is most memorable. Not only was I able to meet other students from different countries, but I also got to spend those months abroad with DePaul students I never would have met otherwise. The program I was a part of consisted of over 40 students from DePaul, and it was comforting to know that someone just like me was going through this exact same experience. While I loved studying abroad and would recommend it to anyone, the friends you meet along the way are without a doubt the sweetest takeaway.  


Why DePaul

Deciding where to go to college is no easy choice to make. Around this time last year, I remember making lots of lists, desperately trying to figure out where I wanted to go to school in the fall. I come from a city in Wisconsin where it’s very common for high school seniors to consider the big state school, UW-Madison, as their college option. While there were a lot of people telling me that Madison would be a good fit for me, I felt in my heart that I wanted to do something different. Going out of state was definitely something I wanted to do, but being close to my family was really important to me. After weighing out my options, DePaul seemed like the perfect decision for me. I’ve been living here for almost a year now, and I continue to fall in love with different parts of the community and the school each day. There are lots of reasons as to why this university has been the best option for me and since lists are what I’m best at, here’s why I chose DePaul:​
  1. Location! With two campuses in very different locations, you truly get the best of both worlds here. Lincoln Park has the stereotypical college campus with a beautiful quad and all the buildings close by, while the Loop campus is centrally located downtown, with Millennium Park just a five-minute walk away. Not only is there so much to do here, but it was also only 2 hours away from home so I could easily visit if I ever got homesick.
  2. Academics! Coming into college I knew I wanted to study Psychology. I love the program and all of the opportunities that come with living in such an exciting city. I joined a research team and volunteer for them by screening participants. It was important for me to get opportunities like this because I was unsure of the concentration I wanted to pursue and needed to see the options available. I also added Spanish as a double major, and have had very positive experiences with the department.
  3. Size! I knew that I worked best in smaller class sizes, so this was a big factor when it came down to choosing schools. I like DePaul because even though it feels small during class, you have a whole world to explore when you step out into the city. Another perk of having smaller classes is the relationship you get to build with your classmates and professors. They all know my name by the second week of class and always say hi if I see them around campus.
  4. Campus Life! DePaul places a lot of emphasis on its core Vincentian values. The school is named after St. Vincent and dedicates a good amount of work to make sure that the spirit of service that he embodied is represented throughout campus. I felt welcomed the minute I stepped foot on the quad and the feeling has stayed with me through the year.

Sitting on my bed, reflecting on my college decision, I could not be happier with how things turned out. Even though it’s only my first year, I’ve grown so much as a person and a student. I’ve created my own home away from home here in Chicago and I couldn’t imagine having the college experience anywhere else. Good luck to all of the lovely seniors on your college decisions, I hope to see some of you next year!! :)

Song of the Week: Cold- Novo Amor

 


A Day at the Art Institute of Chicago

As a DePaul student, we get many perks and one of them is free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago! And not on just certain days, but at all times! I did not know this as I was applying to DePaul but I am so glad I found out shortly after because this museum is my favorite in the entire city.

Even if you are not a big fan of art, the Art Institute is a great pass-time place to go to especially when the weather isn’t great. I usually choose to go on rainy days or when there are new exhibits. It also has a great variation of art from different time periods, contemporary, modern, photography and even more. If you want to explore all the wings of the museums I recommend you put off a minimum of 2 hours of your day.

The museum always puts in new temporary exhibits every few months which makes it fun to go back as every time a new one is in. But there are also permanent exhibits and pieces that I can look at over and over again. Making a good relaxing playlist and looking at some of my favorite pieces is one of my favorite things to do.

There’s currently a temporary exhibit (closing in a few days) named “My Room is Another Fish Bowl” Philippe Parreno. This exhibit is just a room filled with helium fish balloons that visitors can interact with.  You can see from the picture, that the kids really enjoyed this exhibit.

One of my favorite permanent installations are the Chagall windows. I love these windows because first of all, they remind me of Ferris Bueller’s Day off and also because there are benches right in front of the piece where you can sit and really see the detail that went into the stained glass. I always notice new details every time I see this piece.​​​ ​


The Struggle of Dorm Life

dormUnless you’re a commuter or happen to know someone in the city that’ll let you stay at their place, odds are you’ll live in a dorm your freshman year of college. For some, this will be quite an adjustment, especially if you had a room to yourself back at home such as myself. Before college, the thought of being assigned three random strangers to be living in close quarters terrified me. Fortunately, my roommates were not extreme so I did not have to drastically alter my habits, although I did have to adjust to turning the television off at 11:00 pm.

My dorm arrangement was a quad consisting of two sets of bunk beds with myself being on top. The benefits of being the top is that you feel less confined, especially if you live in Seton ​where the ceilings are high. The drawbacks are that the temperature up there is a toasty twenty degrees different than your lower bunk counterpart, and having to climb a ladder every time you want to get to and from your bed, and that you’ll need some time to overcome the fear that you’ll roll over right off the top bunk.

Privacy, there is none. With three roommates, a communal style bathroom and shower room, the only time I could ever feel alone was at the library’s ​third floor, a.k.a. the quiet study floor. As for eating, my diet primarily consisted of what the Student Center has to offer due to the meal plan, however, it would also be fairly difficult to maintain home cookware for the dorms since the only stove is in the lounge and there is minimal storage for pots, pans, and dishware. When I look back to freshman year as opposed to my current situation where I have my own room, I wonder how I was ever able to live in such conditions. Yet, I kind of miss those days. Those were times of meeting the new people that lived all around me and immersing myself in a new city that I would call home. The struggle of dorm life was not so much a struggle after all, but rather a humbling experience that propelled me into the college experience I yearned for.


2018: A Space Odyssey Revisited

film still

Beginning May 18th, Stanley Kubrick​’s 2001: A Space Odyssey will be returning to theatres to commemorate its 50th Anniversary. Stanley Kubrick is known for his ability to capture beautiful scenes in a way that was well ahead of its time. Most people would recognize his work in The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, or even the conspiracy theory that he helped fake the moon landings. After watching trailers for 2001: A Space Odyssey, it is easy to see how some would come to think such a thing. I was shocked to learn that the movie was released in 1968.

With that being said, the movie that is being deemed the Interstellar of the 20th Century will be shown in theatres ​once again starting May 18th through the 29th. Then again, perhaps Interstellar is the 2001: A Space Odyssey of the 21st Century since Christopher Nolan expresses its heavy influence and lasting impression it made on him. After all the recommendations and hype, I am more than excited to see Stanley Kubrick’s revolutionary film in 70mm print in a theatre just as audiences did fifty years ago.


Visiting Home

Being an out-of-state student is difficult, even though the state I am from is only a six-hour drive from Chicago. Since I am constantly working, studying, or in class, the number of times I am actually able to make it home for even a weekend are slim to none. For this reason, I decided to fly home this past Sunday and surprise my dad for his birthday. I had not been home since Christmas, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a trip back and see some of my family while also celebrating my dad.

I arrived in Ohio Sunday morning and spent the entire car ride to my house laughing and catching up with a few of my siblings. When we made it home, they all went inside before me while I waited to surprise my dad. After a few minutes, I rushed inside and he couldn’t believe it! He kept asking me how I made it and did not stop smiling for the longest time.

Although spending a day at home was a very short trip, it was also just what I needed and I am thankful to have been able to make it for my dad’s birthday. Being fairly far from home with no family in the city can start to become a little tough after a while, so it’s important for me to make time to go home and see my family. Although I usually force them to come visit me in Chicago because I love showing them around the city and introducing them to my friends, sometimes I miss spending time in the place where I grew up. Hopefully, my family will be visiting me in Chicago sometime soon! ​

Class Sizes

Whenever they show college classes in the movies, they tend to depict the scene of a large lecture hall like this:

I have never been in a DePaul class that looks like this and for that, I am incredibly grateful.  One of the best things about my DePaul experience has been the opportunity to bond with the other students in the teaching program.  I know that this would not have been possible without the benefit of DePaul’s small class sizes.  I began to make friends in my classes right from the beginning, which is not something that most college students can say. 

During my sophomore year, I began to take classes in the education program and I started to meet people who were also majoring in Secondary English Education.  As my junior year rolled around, I saw the same faces in my English classes as well and I was able to form even closer relationships with these people.  Now that I am a senior about to graduate, I can honestly say that my capstone class feels like a second family.  We have all gone through the trying experiences of long observation hours, night classes, and now student teaching and we have shared stories, food, and sometimes tears.  Without these girls (and only a few boys), I do not know how I would have survived, but I am thankful to DePaul for blessing me with such amazing colleagues and friends.


Why DePaul

I chose DePaul because it was the best possible option for me. The film program here has a lot of opportunities and teaches a lot for anyone interested in going into the Film and TV industry. It allows me to stay in state and still be away from home experience college life. To be honest some days it is hard to remember a time in which I wasn’t at DePaul. Going here allows me to be pursuing film and other interests more than I ever could in high school, it has allowed me to meet an incredibly diverse group of people in a short period of time, and I get to continue living in a city I love. I had a lot of other options and places I could have gone but after the last few years I’m convinced things have worked out as they should, and I am exactly where I belong. I’ve met close friends I wouldn’t trade for the world, I’ve had experiences that have made me the person I am today and I am not sure I could have those opportunities somewhere else. 
DePaul has helped me grow into someone I am proud to be. Someone who has learned to balance multiple jobs, relationships, and school work while also preparing me to live my life as an adult post-graduation. Everything is different for everyone but I feel DePaul was the path I was always going to take, because thinking about everything I’ve done it all just makes sense, and hopefully it will for you too.​


Chicago Eats: Beatrix Market

The wait is finally over! Yes, I am talking about the new Beatrix Market that has opened in the Loop Campus downtown. With a prime location right next to the DePaul Center, the addition of this grab & go market hall is bringing some new and delicious food options to the lives of DePaul students.

Beatrix’s website describes the new location as a “quick grab & go experience featuring a large self-serve salad, soup, and hot food bar, rotating chef-prepared salads, sandwiches, and snacks, as well as premium nut and chocolate offerings showcasing local artisans.” The food options here are literally endless. With more than seven hot and cold food bars, a pizza counter, two grab and go pre-packaged coolers, and a coffee and pastry bar, you can satisfy any food craving you have here.

As a part of Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group, Beatrix has several restaurants and markets across the city. They are known for their modern take on American food, and their market locations are specifically targeted towards those looking for a quick bite. Not only does Beatrix Market offer a variety of food options, but they include fresh ingredients in their meals depending on what’s in season. From greens, grains, sprouts, and fruits and vegetables, you can always find a fresh and healthy option.


Dorm Life!

The thought of starting college can be exciting and simultaneously stressful. One of the biggest worries incoming students face is the housing process and roommate situation. When I made the decision to move to Chicago and attend DePaul, I decided against finding someone to live with off of Facebook and opted for the random roommate option. A month or so after completing my housing agreement, I got a letter in the mail saying that I was going to live in Munroe Hall along with my roommate’s contact information.

And just in case you’re still packing, here’s a list of things you may not think to bring to college:

  • A REALLY long charging cord. DePaul doesn’t allow extension cords in the dorms and there aren’t a lot of outlets in the dorms, so a long cord is incredibly helpful.
  • A Stapler. I can’t even tell you how many papers I had to write this first year and organization is key! The cute little stapler on my desk and I quickly became really good friends.
  • A Photo Album - As a graduation gift, my best friend gave me a photo album of all of the pictures she had of us. Looking through it is an easy solution for the inevitable homesickness.
  • Rain Gear! A quality pair of rain boots can double as rain and snow gear. Chicago is located in the Midwest, need I say more?

Song of the Week: West- Sleeping at Last


Freshman Year in the Loop

I did not have a normal freshman year experience in Lincoln Park as many other students did. I was one of the few handfuls of people who chose to dorm in the loop at the University Center (UC). Not many people know that there is housing in the loop for DePaul students but I saw it as an option and finding out it was so close to the business school made me want to live there my freshman year. The University Center also houses Robert Morris University, Columbia College University and Roosevelt University students, so it’s an interesting way to dorm your first year of college.

The UC is very different from any Lincoln Park residence hall. It is a skyscraper, has laundry, a small gym, and good food all within the building. Also living in the heart of the city made it so much easier for me to explore Chicago. There are so many cool places around the UC and there is such easy access to all the train lines.

Also with the UC being a skyscraper, you can possibly have a great view depending on your floor. My roommate and I had a great view of the lake if you peaked your head out of the window enough. Living so close to the lake was also one of my favorite things about living there. The lakefront trail was less than a mile away and I could go for a short run to the museum campus with a beautiful view.

Although it sometimes feels like I missed out on the “normal” freshman year of a DePaul student I’m glad I got a different experience because I was able to see a lot of different things being in the loop that others didn’t. I’m more familiar with downtown than I thought I would be.


Service in the City

This quarter I am participating in another service learning class called Environmental Justice and Advocacy. It’s an elective for my major, so while not everyone is required to take this class it sounded like a great opportunity to get more involved in environmental justice outside of the classroom. In the first week of class, I was placed with Rebuilding Exchange, a nonprofit focused on diverting building materials that would go to landfills and repurposing them for sustainable reuse. They also have a job training program to assist individuals who face barriers to employment (due to previous incarceration, homelessness, etc.) in gaining skills in the field of sustainable reconstruction. This organization does a multitude of amazing things for communities in Chicago, and I feel lucky to be able to intern with them this quarter! Service learning classes are truly some of my favorite. Although a lot of extra time and effort is required, the people you meet and the experience you have makes everything worth it.

Since I want to work at an environmental nonprofit in the future, gaining experience with one as an undergraduate is one of the best opportunities to set myself up for success. DePaul offers a variety of service-learning courses​ that match you up with nonprofits in Chicago, and this will be my third time taking one. These classes are unique to DePaul and reflect the Vincentian mission​ of the University, which was one of my initial reasons for choosing this school. DePaul truly puts an emphasis on service, and being in the city of Chicago offers so many opportunities to get involved. From service learning classes to countless service organizations, DePaul has countless ways for students to serve the community around them. ​


Quick Quarters

Choose DePaul for the quarter system.  One of my favorite parts about DePaul is their schedule.  Although it stinks that many of my friends are graduating next weekend and I still have to wait another six weeks (not like I am counting down or anything!), the quarter system is worth it.  Why,  you may ask?

1. No Friday class!  DePaul schedules classes on Monday / Wednesday and Tuesday / Thursday, which means most students enjoy three day weekends.  There are some exceptions for music, theater, and science students, but I was lucky enough to consistently enjoy free Fridays.  This has been a difficult adjustment now that I am student teaching full time—the weekend is much too short!

2. It goes by quickly, which is especially great if you are not a fan of the class.  You don’t really have time to become bored with the material because you are always moving on to the next thing.  The quarter system has prepared me to learn things more quickly, which will serve me well in the workplace.

3. You get to take more classes, which means more variety.  While most schools shop for classes just twice a year, we get to do it three times a year!  This means more room for classes and don’t forget you can always tack on that extra two-credit ​class that piques your interest.

4. Worry-free breaks!  This is a big one.  Before each one of our breaks, we have finals, which means that there are no projects, homework, or studying to worry about while we are enjoying winter, spring, and summer breaks. 

5. And last but not least, you get to confuse people when you explain to them the quarter system schedule.  Is it quarters or trimesters?  Wait when do you get off?  You don’t go back until AFTER Labor Day?!


Freshman Year Housing

Choosing where to live can be a surprisingly difficult part of freshmen year of college. Who you live next door to can affect so many things; such as who you become friends with, who you don’t like, who you never want to see again, if you’ll ever get a noise complaint, or whether you will ever have to file a noise complaint. This train of thinking can lead to a lot of spiraling thoughts. Don’t worry, I’m here to let you know that none of that matters. What you should care about most is what you think is going to be best for you. The things I’ve listed already are factors you cannot predict and are out of your control, so focus on what you can control.

I would suggest all freshmen live on campus​ (if possible of course) because that is the best way to really get a feel for campus life and how things work at DePaul. Living on campus gives you the opportunity to meet people not only from your dorm but other living areas as well. Being on campus also gives you the option to go to a campus event at the drop of a dime. That being said, you might need to research the prices of certain dorms to make it work with your financial situation. Some dorms are more expensive than others and have different types of amenities. However, wherever you decide to live just get involved. Be friendly, meet people around you, and don’t be a shut-in. I met some of my best friends halfway through freshmen year and it turned out they lived two doors down from me. You never know what’ll happen if you say hello to someone next door.


Housing Experiences as a DePaul Student

Every college student experiences a variation of housing situations throughout their education, and being a student at DePaul is no different. Throughout my last four years, I’ve lived in an on-campus dorm, two apartments, and a dorm while studying abroad. Each of these living situations brought unique experiences and led me to meet new people and discover new places across the city.

DePaul is quite unique in terms of housing because they don’t require students to live on campus during any of your undergraduate years. However many students still choose to live in on-campus dorms during their freshman year and sometimes beyond. Like the majority of incoming students, I also chose to live in the dorms my first year. As an out of state student, I wanted to meet as many new people as possible and get accustomed to DePaul’s campus and the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Choosing to stay on campus my first year was absolutely the right decision for me and I'm so glad I got to experience dorm life as a first-year student.

After my freshman year, I moved into my first apartment with a couple of friends I met from my dorm. Apartment hunting at 19 definitely isn’t fun and honestly is not something I would recommend. In the end, we found a great place right in the heart of Wrigleyville. Living in an apartment is totally different from living in a dorm on campus. It’s a great way to get your own space, but it also comes with a lot more responsibility.

I ended up moving to my second apartment for my last two years of school and it’s my favorite yet. Living in Wrigleyville is fun, but is definitely a lot to handle. Overall, I love the unique experience DePaul students get by being able to experience living in off-campus apartments anywhere in the city. I’ve got to explore so many different neighborhoods and discover amazing restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping.  While most students choose to live off campus in either their sophomore or junior years, on-campus dorms are always an option as well. I haven’t had a traditional college housing journey, but it was definitely a fun one.  


Beat the Winter Blues

Chicago is known for a lot of things: Navy Pier, the bean in Millennium Park, deep dish pizza and unfortunately, extremely long winters (I say as I write this in April). One day while waiting for the train, a friend of mine noticed that the heat lamps had a sign that read “operate November 1 through March 1”. He asked if the winters were truly that long, to which I nodded unhappily. Once the cold months hit, it’s hard to imagine a time where the sun was a consistent part of each day. Fortunately, after living in the Midwest for nineteen years, I’ve gotten some insight on a few things that can help you battle the long winters.

Remind Yourself of the Color Green!

When the sky is constantly gray it’s easy to forget that the world was once painted with other colors. My favorite way to reincorporate green into my life is by buying flowers and succulents to brighten up the room. Additionally, Chicago has two beautiful conservatories that are both warm and free! If you don’t feel like making the trip to the Garfield Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Conservatory is a short walk from campus. They always showcase a diverse collection of greenery that serves as a wonderful reminder of what the warmth will bring

Be Healthy!

Taking care of yourself is so important, especially during the colder months. Drinking enough water keeps your skin hydrated and healthy, despite the cold air. Exercising releases endorphins into your system that both boosts your mood and helps fight stress. Also eating food that’s rich in vitamins can help compensate for the lack of Vitamin D the sun isn’t providing.

Surround Yourself with Positive People!

Several studies show that the people with whom we surround ourselves with make a big difference in our emotions, both positively and negatively. During the winter, it’s easy to isolate yourself and most of your time doing activities alone. Spend more time with friends and people that you can share laughs with, it’s more than likely that their excitement and smiles will be contagious. :)

Song of the Week: Camera- Young the Giant​


Spring Quarter Motivation

It’s week 3 of Spring quarter and the common lack of motivation is striking students, especially me. It’s the beginning of April and all my friends are raving about how they are done with school in less than a month and I could not be more excited for summer. Although I love the quarter system, the Spring quarter always gets tough.

It’s kind of a good thing that it still feels like Winter outside because if it was 90 degrees I would be nowhere near the library or any enclosed building. The weather is keeping me still in school mode thankfully. I have been trying to stay away from the cold by staying inside at cozy coffee shops to get my schoolwork done.

The best way to motivate yourself the rest of the school year is to keep a countdown. I’ve had one from the start of this quarter and have been counting down the weeks until Summer. Planning out what I have, week by week, has also kept me organized as I’m drowning in deadlines and papers. Also crossing things off my to-do lists and calendar are a few of the best feelings in the student world.

It’s good to keep in mind that once you work hard to get good grades for your last quarter of the year you can treat yourself to a nice trip during Summer!


Beans n’ Cornbread

BBQ I have found my go-to joints for many different types of cravings: Chinese food, tacos, fried chicken, burgers, etc. However, I did not find a BBQ place that I could depend on. Granted, I did not try a whole lot of BBQ places in Chicago, I have definitely found a contender. Not too far from me is Wrigley BBQ, located off of Addison and Broadway. There are many components to a good barbeque such as the sides, the sauce, the beverages, but none more important than the meat. No amount of sauce could cover up dry or wrongfully cooked meat.

At Wrigley BBQ I tried the brisket and pulled pork sandwich, topped with coleslaw with a side of their Carolina Vinegar BBQ sauce, fried pickles, and a sweet tea. The sandwich itself was pretty good, the brisket and pork were cooked perfectly. The slaw was not the best I’ve had, but it complimented the sandwich well. The standout of my meal were the deep fried pickles. Most places will fry up pickle slices, thus resulting almost in a pickle chip. Wrigley BBQ fries up pickles spears (pickles cut from top to bottom rather than slicing the sides). What you get is a pickle french fry rather than a chip and the result is surprisingly different, yet more delicious. Wrigley BBQ is a promising barbeque joint I will follow up with again, but the search for THE barbeque place is still underway.  


Environmental Justice & Advocacy

rebuilding exchange

This quarter I am enrolled in a service-learning class called Environmental Justice & Advocacy as one of my Environmental Studies electives. Service-learning classes at DePaul involve a service aspect in which students are paired up with a local nonprofit organization as an intern for a set amount of hours each week, and they can count for Junior Year Experiential Learning credit. I’ve taken two service-learning classes in the past, and have had amazing experiences with the partner organizations. For this class, I am working with Rebuilding Exchange, a non-profit that diverts building materials from landfills and makes them available for reuse by promoting sustainable deconstruction practices, providing job training programs for those experiencing barriers to employment, and creating innovative models for sustainable reuse.

Since DePaul students usually do not have classes on Fridays, I was able to set up a schedule in which I intern with Rebuilding Exchange every Friday morning. I’ve only been doing this for one week, but I already am learning useful information and knowledge that will be applicable to my future career in the nonprofit sector. The staff at Rebuilding Exchange allow me to focus on areas of interest while also encouraging me to try things I have never done before. I’m excited to continue to contribute to such an inspiring organization and hopefully gain new insights into what it’s like to work for a successful nonprofit in Chicago.​


Thank Your Teachers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…being a teacher is really difficult! You think writing a 5-page paper is exhausting? Try grading 100 of them! I wish I could go back in time and take back all the complaints I had about slow-grading teachers. I have so much empathy for them right about now. Though I can’t, you can!

Show some appreciation for your teachers—they really do work hard. And the thing that makes it all worth it is hearing students thank me on their way out of our classroom’s door each day. This shows me that my efforts are worth it—that I really have made an impact on someone’s learning.  That is after all the main goal. 

Still, I was thinking back to my own experience as a high school student and I could not remember one time that I thanked my teacher on just an average school day.  It is crazy to think about how something that means so much to me now, could mean so little to me then that I did not even pay the simplest respectful gratitude to my own teachers. That is why I ask you to give it a try…thank your teachers!

One of the most influential factors of your own happiness is practicing gratitude.  So why not make yourself and your teacher happier with just two simple words? It can make a world of difference, believe me!​


Off-Campus Living

Today I want to give some helpful advice for those who are considering off-campus housing and how to go about finding a place that is right for you. First and foremost, unless you absolutely can’t afford it I would suggest living on campus freshmen year. It helps you meet other incoming freshmen and make connections you otherwise wouldn’t be able to make if you weren’t always in the same vicinity. And trust me, friendships like that can change things dramatically. Outside of freshmen year though it is common for most upperclassmen is to find an off-campus apartment to live in. And that means no longer relying on just your meal plan (i.e. buying groceries and cooking) which can be a radical change for a lot of students (especially if you’re coming from out of state). So, what I would suggest is trying to find an apartment with friends you trust in an area near transportation (I’d say redline would be ideal as it never stops running as opposed to the Brown or Purple line). Apartments are incredibly expensive though, so unless you’ve got parents willing to bankroll things for you (and I know some of you do) working and saving money is a necessity. It took me an entire summer of being frugal and working as hard as I could to just barely afford to move into my current apartment. Thank God for refund checks and financial aid because that’s what allows me to keep living in my apartment. So, don’t fret, off-campus living is a possibility, it just means it’ll take some work.


Subscription Boxes

Monthly subscription boxes are all the rage, and I have definitely fallen into their trap. With subscription boxes offering everything from clothes, skincare, makeup, food, and even pet toys; it’s easy to get into the habit of receiving a fun box full of goodies every month. The cost of these monthly boxes vary, but most of them are fairly affordable. However, over time, they can definitely put a dent in the budget. Here are some pros and cons I’ve found with these monthly boxes. 

Pros:

There is absolutely nothing better than getting unexpected mail. While subscription boxes technically aren’t unexpected, it’s still a nice surprise when they show up in the mailbox every month. Many of these boxes also allow you to customize your preferences and send you products based on what you like. Not to mention it’s a great way to try out new products that you otherwise wouldn’t have tried. Another great pro of many of these subscription boxes is that you do get a lot of bang for your buck. When I was receiving my Birchbox, a subscription box for makeup/skincare, some of the $10 boxes had $50 worth of products in them. Overall they are a fun and convenient way to try new and exciting products.

Cons:

While there is really no glaring negatives to monthly subscription boxes, there are a few small downsides. One is that the more expensive boxes do put a dent in anyone’s budget when you look at how much you’re spending annually. Another big risk I discovered with these boxes is the difficulty to quit. It was easy to justify spending so little each month in turn for receiving a box full of goodies, and that fact alone kept me coming back month after month. You also risk not liking or having a use for some of the products you receive in your box, but you can always regift!

The verdict:

Overall subscription boxes are a good deal. Be wary that you will probably have a hard time quitting once you start, so make sure to build the monthly payments into your budget. It really comes down to putting in some research and choosing which box (or boxes) are worth it to you.  


Happy Easter

Due to a busier class schedule and work, this is the first year I’m spending Easter away from my family. I’m not fond of change and celebrating the holiday in a different city was something I was dreading. Fortunately, one of my lovely friends was also spending the weekend in town and asked me to go to church with him. His love for architecture and need to explore led us to the Holy Name Cathedral, right off of the Chicago stop on the red line. The church was beautifully decorated with stained glass and lots of flowers for the holiday. Our plan was to get there early so that we could find seats but we underestimated how busy the service would be. Every row was packed with families and friendly faces, we walked around the whole building before finding a spot to sit.

The mass went by quickly and even though it was a new experience, I ended up really enjoying it. Growing up, my parents raised me to be Catholic. I’ve noticed that ever since moving to Chicago, my appreciation for the religion and the beliefs they teach has increased. Although DePaul is affiliated with the Catholic church, you have to actively seek out the religious side of campus (just look for the cardboard cutout of the pope in the Student Center). This separation has allowed me to further develop my faith because it’s something I’m looking for voluntarily.

College is all about discovering new things about yourself and staying true to the values you cherish. I love using my faith as an excuse to go out into the city and find new churches with new faces. Despite spending Easter away from home, today was one of my favorite days. Tommy and I started a tradition of eating breakfast at 2:30 pm, and that’s something I hope will never change. :)

Song of the Week: A Dog’s Adventure- Atta Boy


Thank You Ramblers!

March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year! I always make a bracket, even though I never get anywhere close to a perfect bracket. I had Michigan State going all the way (yes go ahead and laugh at me, but Obama had them winning too so there’s that). Once they were knocked out I was able to just enjoy the games and root for teams as the tournament went on.

I only had Loyola winning the first round, but once they won beyond that, I was rooting for them. I was so excited to have a Chicago team finally get into the final four. I really thought Loyola was going to the final game until a few minutes into the second half on Saturday. Although I’m really upset about the large number of turnovers and sad shooting percentage, I’m glad they got so far in the tournament.

They definitely united Chicago and made this city proud, especially being an 11th seed team. I loved being out in public during some of the games and seeing people of all ages representing Loyola with their colors or watching the game on their phones in a park or at a restaurant.

I know this tournament just ended, but I can’t wait until next year’s tournament, Loyola has a fairly young team so next season will be interesting. I also really hope our men’s team can make it into the tournament soon so I can really root for a Chicago team.

Thank you again, Loyola, for keeping Chicago excited and on their feet!


Learn the Language of Business

Yet, you shouldn’t read it solely because it is required, but rather for its content and relativity to your major and your forthcoming career. I recommend any student in the Driehaus College of Business to subscribe in order to familiarize themselves with the rhetoric of the business world.

I once considered subscribing to the paper version of The Wall Street Journal but was deterred because of the pricing. Now that I have to subscribe, I found that there are student discounts available. From class one up until the final exam can be as long as twelve weeks. I found a subscription for online access that costs me one dollar for fifteen weeks. Even if you prefer to read the articles as if they are in a layout of the newspaper copy, there is an option to view the print online. Other discounts I remember seeing was a combo of the print and online version for fifty dollars for the entire year.


Housing Resources

Finding a place to live or people to live with can be extremely stressful, but DePaul provides a number of resources to help students through the housing process. Here are three of my favorites!
  1. Your class Facebook page. When you are first accepted to DePaul, you are invited to join a Facebook page of everyone in your class attending DePaul. For example, I am part of the DePaul Class of 2020​ Facebook page, and this is where I found a lot of helpful information before coming to school and even now. This is where I found my freshman year roommate who I am still living with today, and it’s a great place to get to know your classmates, scope out potential roommates (and friends!), and get a feel for DePaul.
  2. Offcampushousing.depaul.edu. This website is another resource students can use in order to find available apartments and roommates. It is more formal than the Facebook page; students can create listings for available rooms as well as roommate profiles for themselves. The website asks important preference questions about your habits and ideal roommate in order to match people up with others they will get along with.
  3. DePaul Students Living Off-Campus​ Facebook page. This is another Facebook page, but its sole purpose is to help students connect with each other regarding housing, roommates, and even furniture for sale. It’s closely monitored, and you are only granted access to join if you are a DePaul student. One of my roommates for next year found a summer sublet using this page, and I know plenty of people who have used it to find their current roommates as well.
Although the housing process can seem overwhelming, DePaul does everything they can to make the experience go as smoothly and stress-free as possible. I’ve used all of these resources at one time or another, and I would have had a much harder time without them.

Wait, How Old Are You?

You teach high school? But you look like you could be IN high school! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this…and sure I MAY have gotten stopped by the school security guards once or twice before.  But I’d like to attribute that to me just being in the halls at unconventional times—AKA during class periods.  Still, everyone always tells me I look so young, but what is a 22-year-old supposed to look like?  I am, relatively, young!  But when I look at my friends, I don’t feel as if I look noticeably younger than them, so what’s going on here?   

I’ll admit that I do not usually wear a lot of makeup and I don’t spend much time in the mornings selecting my outfit.  I am good to go with jeans and a tee shirt because I like to go with the flow.  Plus, I would rather spend more time in bed than in front of the mirror.  But as a teacher, I know that I need to dress professionally and I do!  Still, the comments come and although older women often tell me that I’m lucky and I will appreciate the comments soon enough, I don’t believe them. 

Whenever people make remarks or jokes about how young I look, I find it irritating.  What is the point?  To me, it undercuts the way I look and sometimes calls into question my qualifications as a teacher.  So next time you think you are complimenting someone by calling them baby face, think twice!  Because yes, believe it or not, I am a senior in college!  This too is something I had to say when I walked into immersion week as a CQM and was directed to where the freshmen were sitting… ​ 


Summer Jobs

Even though we just started Spring Quarter never forget that time can fly by in an instant. That’s why if you’re in need of a summer job I would suggest looking as soon as possible. Regular summer jobs such as camp counselors and things of that nature tend to go quickly (even as early as November!) so if that is something you desire you’re going to want it taken care of sooner rather than later. I wanted to take the time to tell you guys about a summer camp I had the pleasure of working at this past summer right here in Lincoln Park! 
That camp is called Galileo, named after the famous astronomer Galileo is a day camp with locations not only all throughout the Chicagoland area but in California as well. Galileo has many programs for campers ranging from ages 6 to 14. To my knowledge, they are still hiring prospective counselors, interns, and anyone who can help out. Last year I worked with a great group of people and had my best summer job yet! As of now I plan on returning in the summer and thought I would let anybody in need of a summer job know. You should definitely apply if you like working with children or want experience in childcare. If you’re majoring in anything education wise you may also qualify as an instructor and gain instant experience teaching children simple yet engaging activities. Definitely be sure to check out The Galileo Website for more information.

Thrift Shopping

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Whether you're trying to save money, trying to save the environment, or looking to find a new vintage piece to add to your closet; thrift shopping is the way to go. Some of my favorite pieces in my closet have come from thrift stores around the city. Plus, many of these stores offer cash and store credit in exchange for gently used clothing. It’s a great way to get rid of the clothes you never wear and fill your closet with great new pieces. Here are some of my favorite secondhand shops across the city.Clothes on rack

Crossroads Trading Co.: With multiple locations across the city, this is definitely my go-to store to buy and sell clothes. All the clothes are always in great shape, and it’s hands down my favorite place to find jackets and shoes. They also offer great store credit when you turn in your gently used items.

Buffalo Exchange: This chain has tons of locations across the country, and is my go-to place if I want to shop the latest trends. With a mix of modern clothes and awesome vintage pieces, you never know what you’re going to find here. While the store is pretty busy most of the time, new inventory is always coming in which makes each time I visit a different experience filled with new clothes.

Belmont Army: This store is secondhand paradise. With four floors of different clothes, shoes, and accessories, I could seriously spend all day looking around. Each level of the store features something different. It’s a great place to find staple pieces for your closet, as well as funky costumes and vintage accessories.

ThredUp: Now this isn’t technically in Chicago, but it is my favorite place for buying used clothes online. As the largest online thrift store, this website makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. They even pull pieces they think you would like based on your browsing history. It’s also a great place to sell clothes without having to make a trip to the store.  


Spring Break Up North

collageThis year, my friends and I decided to take a more unconventional approach to spring break. We made a quick run to ETC, packed our warmest clothes and drove five hours to a cute cabin in Northern Michigan where we spent the next four days shivering among nature. Despite the cold, we managed to have a really lovely weekend. After being in the city for so long, it’s easy to forget how incredible it can be to be surrounded by greenery with no sounds except the rustling of leaves and the birds singing.

As soon as the car was parked, we wasted no time to get inside the cabin. Some people stayed and started cooking dinner while others took the golf cart out for a spin. There was so much to do, but we still found time to relax. With temperatures so low, the lake was still frozen enough to walk on. It was a little nerve-wracking to have so many people on the ice at once, but we got some really cool pictures out of it. I had forgotten how beautiful sunsets could be, and you could see every color painted on to the sky when you stood on the lake. As the day darkened, spontaneity took us on a walk through the forest. If you looked up, the stars decorated every corner of the sky. Never in my life had I seen that many stars at once; we all took turns pointing out different constellations that were familiar to us.

Even though we didn’t get to escape the cold, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my spring break any other way. I got some quality time with some of my favorite people and we got away from the city stress for a while. A massive thank you to Evan for taking us to his cabin, I can’t wait to go back. :)

 

Song of the Week: Like Gold- Vance Joy​


Spring Break

This was the first year the DePaul calendar had cut our Spring break short but I found a way to make sure I had a long enough break. I luckily only had one in-person final which was originally scheduled for the last day of finals, but I knew my professor had another section of the class which had their final on the first day of exams. I planned ahead from the beginning of the quarter and made sure I studied accordingly and made sure my professor was fine with me taking my final early. Therefore, I was able to have a lengthy Spring break of a week and a half.

One would think that I went through all that work and cramming to study to go somewhere hot and tropical for Spring break like everyone else, but that was not my Spring break. I really wanted to go on a road trip with friends this break but its hard planning car situations out last minute and making your friends take off work. Instead, I spent most of my break with my family and my break flew by so fast.

My brother was home for a few days, so we enjoyed being couch potatoes for the first time in forever where we watched all the March Madness, 5 Netflix ​movies, and about 2 seasons of the Office. I hung out with my little cousins and caught up with them doing family things like puzzles and games. Finally, I hung out with my parents and I went shopping with my dad and cooked with my mom.

Although it feels like I was absolutely unproductive this break, I was happy I was back home and able to spend time with my family - which doesn’t happen too often because of school. It was so relaxing since I had no homework or tests to worry about, I essentially shut off my brain for 10 days.

Only 10 more weeks until the next break!


Top Tacos

TacosTacos are a type of food that can take on many interpretations; there are Korean style, choice of corn or flour tortilla, onion, and cilantro, or lettuce and tomato. After three years in Chicago, there are three establishments in particular that I find myself eating at the most. The evolution of my taco preferences does not only signify my maturity as a student but as a taco connoisseur as well. 

Taco & Burrito Express​

On North Halsted just a short walk from DePaul’s Lincoln Park, this was my go-to place when I had those 3:00 am Mexican food cravings. In all honesty, I do not remember what the tacos taste like, for I am one of those people who would rather order the same thing every time than to try something different and risk not liking it. Thus, I ordered the California burrito most of the time, which came with steak, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. When all others are too timid to stay open past 9:00 pm, Taco & Burrito Express does not falter from satisfying late-night appetites.

Taqueria Los Comales​

This was the restaurant I would have recommended for freshman and sophomore year. There are locations scattered all throughout of the city, but the flagship location for myself was in Pilsen. From Lincoln Park, a trip to Los Comales seems like a daunting task. Nevertheless, these tacos are so good that once I got the craving I was determined to make the journey all the way to the 18th Pink Line. What did I get every visit? Three lengua (beef tongue) tacos with a horchata.

Mary’s Taqueria​

In the middle of my junior year I found my current and only taqueria I will ever need. Some may say I am biased because my girlfriend works here and is the plug for tacos, but I can say without hesitation these tacos are my favorite. I still have the same taste for lengua tacos with cilantro, onion, and salsa verde, but I do diversify my orders now. Along with lengua, I recommend el pastor and tripe, which is the muscle lining of the cow’s stomach. It may sound gross and unsanitary, but like tongue, it will surely be an expected delight.  


Solo Spring Break

DePaul’s spring break was a little bit shorter this year, so I decided to take my exams early so I could enjoy the full week. It kicked off with St. Patrick’s Day, which Chicago is known for celebrating by dyeing the Chicago River bright green. My friends and I had the best time adventuring around the city attending various parties and get-togethers and going downtown to see the river. It was a great way to celebrate the end of winter quarter and relax a little.

Next stop for spring break was Puerto Rico. I decided to take a solo trip and go on an adventure of my own, which might seem unusual for spring break when people are usually gathering a bunch of their friends to head down to Florida or Mexico. I wanted to take a trip by myself because I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about solo travel before I study abroad this fall in Budapest, Hungary. My older sister has also taken countless trips by herself through Southeast Asia and Central America, and seeing how much she learned and grew from these experiences inspired me and pushed me to take a trip of my own.

My trip to Puerto Rico was a huge success! I was able to navigate the country pretty well, and a native Puerto Rican even complimented my Spanish skills (which I’ll be honest are very weak). It was a huge challenge, but it turned out to be one of the best trips I have ever taken. I saw beautiful sights, swam in the Atlantic, learned a lot about how the people are recovering from Hurricane Maria, and even formed friendships with people from all over the world who were staying in my hostels. I highly encourage everyone to take a solo trip of their own, even if it sounds daunting. My experience traveling to Puerto Rico taught me many lessons and has also inspired me to take more trips like these in the future.


Digication at DePaul

digication banner

If you go to DePaul, chances are you’ve had to make at least one Digication e-portfolio .  As a current senior, I’ve made at least six over the years! 

So what is Digication? 

Digication is an online platform that allows you to curate text, images, video, files, and more in a creative and visually appealing manner.

Who uses Digication? 

Both DePaul students and faculty use the web platform.  The first-year writing program especially likes to use Digication to allow students to document and reflect upon their writing process.  I have also had to make Digication portfolios for my jobs as a Chicago Quarter Mentor and writing tutor at the UCWbL to help me monitor my progress in achieving my professional goals in these positions.  

What’s the point?

The point is to create a portfolio that keeps your work in one place so that you can see your growth.  Portfolios are not only helpful to look back on, but they can also be extremely beneficial in preparing for jobs that require you to document your experience and showcase your work in some way.  I am currently in the process of curating my teaching portfolio to highlight my philosophy, goals, and successful lesson plans alongside student work.

If you haven’t already, you will soon be exposed to the joys and sometimes frustrations of Digication e-portfolios.  Lucky for you, there are plenty of resources to assist you along the way.  And nothing beats looking at the finished product—a professional looking website that is entirely created and populated by you and your work.   


Spring Quarter

The start of the Spring Quarter is here! It is slowly beginning to get warmer (emphasis on slowly) and summer seems like it’s just around the corner. Something important to keep in mind though is that staying focused will only get harder from here. As it gets warmer there will be more social activities, not just on the weekends but all throughout the week, and as long as you’re able to get what you need to be done there’s nothing wrong with indulging in some fun. However, take it from someone who has let Spring Quarter get the better of them by losing focus, just know that a quarter at DePaul can go from good to bad real quick if you’re not focusing on your classes. Don’t let assignments pile up, don’t let hanging out with your friends get in the way of your own personal goals.

Spring Quarter is the last three month stretch of the school year and everyone wants it to be their best whether that’s academically or socially. And don’t let this blog post make you think I’m trying to steer anyone away from doing any extracurriculars. Join some clubs, meet some new people, have some fun. This is just a friendly reminder that college is an even balance. You must work hard and play hard. After all, we’re spending a lot of money for an experience that isn’t just about our education but our experience at DePaul in and of itself. So have fun, go to class, learn what you want to learn, and enjoy your time at DePaul before the summer hiatus begins.


Spring Break in NYC

While most people spend spring break lounging on a beach or relaxing at home, I spent mine exploring the streets of New York City. After a friend of mine graduated DePaul early and moved from the Windy City to the Big Apple, I knew I had to visit her. Though I've visited New York a bunch of times before with my family, we mostly stuck to the overcrowded tourist destinations in the past. And I have to admit, it was a completely different experience seeing the city with a local than it is seeing it as a tourist.  

Flights from Chicago to New York were surprisingly affordable, but in hopes of saving as much money as possible, I booked the earliest (and most painful) 6 a.m. flight. I was in the city for only three days, but each was jam-packed with things to do. We explored different neighborhoods, ate a ton of good food, and checked out some of the best sites in the city.

The first day was spent walking around Chelsea, a hip neighborhood in Manhattan. We explored Chelsea Market; an urban food hall that was pretty much indoor food paradise. This place seriously had food to fit any and every mood. While in Chelsea we also checked out the Highline, an elevated walkway, and greenery built on an old railroad track. With great views of the city, this is definitely something I recommend to anyone in the area.

The next day was full of exploring lower Manhattan neighborhoods. First, we walked through SoHo, a neighborhood known for its shopping and upscale boutiques. We also visited Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park, and hopped around to some quaint Irish pubs in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  The day was finished off with none other than a classic $1 New York pizza slice.

For the final day of exploring we ventured on over to Brooklyn, a quieter part of the city that was pretty much a hipster’s paradise. Like any true tourist, I had to visit the famous Brooklyn Bridge, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The iconic bridge was built in 1883, making it one of the oldest roadway bridges in the U.S.  It was surreal to finally be able to see something in person that I have seen so many times in photos. The rest of the day was spent exploring neighborhoods in Brooklyn, including DUMBO, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.

While it wasn’t exactly the relaxing beach vacation most people like to take on spring break, it was definitely an adventure. Exploring the city through the eyes of a local made the entire experience that much more exciting. Not to mention I got to visit some of the best restaurants that I would never have discovered if it weren’t for local insights. Overall it was a successful spring break exploring one of the world’s most exciting cities.  


Just for Laughs

This weekend, a good friend of mine came to visit from Washington D.C. She had been to Chicago before but not for an extended amount of time. Aside from the main tourist attractions like Millennium Park and Maggie Daley, I got to show her around the pockets of the city that she hadn’t explored yet. It’s interesting to think that you could go from being a complete stranger to a city and then turn it into your home in a short amount of time. Only having lived here for six months, I’ve accumulated a long list of places to show people when they visit.

After spending the day downtown, we made our way to Old Town for a comedy show at The Second City. The venue is massive, containing stages ranging in size to cater to any show they put on. We were seated in an intimate room where the comedians were only a few feet in front of the audience. Well known for its diverse set of shows and history, this comedy club is definitely one I would go back to. It incorporated stand up and musical comedy as well as ending the show with a live band performance. I had only been to one comedy show before but this one is easily high on my list of favorite experiences I’ve had while living in Chicago.

If you’re ever in town with no idea what to do, I would highly recommend checking out Second City. I left laughing harder than I had in a while and looking for another opportunity to go back and watch another show.

Song of the Week: Stay Alive-José González


Professional/Business Casual Attire

With it being more than halfway through the school year, and many job opportunities on the horizon – be it summer or full-time, you’ll need professional clothing. But you don’t always need an excuse to shop, you can treat yourself after these finals and indulge in some retail therapy like me. Here are some places I enjoy shopping at for a more professional look while not hurting my bank account.

LOFT : I always would walk by LOFT thinking it was a place my mom would shop at, but I was very wrong. I wish my mom shopped here. LOFT always has great sales where they usually put regular priced items at 40% off and 50% off on the clearance. They have clothes that are in style and various colors if you are looking to be bolder with your look.

Banana Republic Factory : A new store recently opened on State St. and there is also one on Clark St. - so easy access from both campuses. Banana Republic Factory also always has sales ranging from 30%-50% off items and they even have events where they give cash back coupons. Also, I personally think Banana has the comfiest business pants ever, so if you want to look good and be comfy I recommend pants from here.

Target : I know it sounds weird to shop for professional clothes at Target, but first of all, what can’t Target do? And second of all, they just launched a new line called What To Wear and the clothes are unique and can be worn professionally or for business casual events. Target’s Cartwheel app also has tons of additional offers where they usually have coupons for an additional percent off clothing.
Others: Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, T.J Maxx - All these stores are great if you like designer brands for a cheaper price. These stores are more of an adventure if you are looking for something specific because of their limited inventory, but definitely worth going to if you have the time and don’t need anything last minute.   

Buses or Trains

While the bus is my savior when it comes to traveling to and from the Sheridan station, I ride the buses for more than just commuting to class. Since the train station is about five blocks west, bus #36 travels north and south on Broadway, a street lined heavily with restaurants and grocery stores. Timing the buses is sort of an art, however, one that requires experience with the CTA system. To this day I still am not quite sure how many minutes it takes from one train stop to the other, so I often will miss the bus that’ll pick you up at the train stations. The best way to track both trains and buses is the Transit Stop app. Although the Maps app that comes with IOS does provide bus arrival times, since I started using this platform about three weeks ago I had multiple instances where the Maps app provided wrong information. Such an instance was telling me a bus was arriving in three minutes but it turned out to be twenty-five minutes instead. So ultimately, what I am trying to hint at is that there is no need to waste money on Uber or Lyft, but instead, take advantage of the CTA system in which DePaul provides .  


American Sign Language

As an Honors student at DePaul, I am required to take a sequence of language courses that end in me reaching intermediate proficiency. For this requirement, I chose to focus on American Sign Language even though I had no prior knowledge of the language. As I finish my second quarter of ASL, I can honestly say it is nothing like I thought it would be. When I used to think about sign language, I thought of charades, miming, and trying to convey English words through body movements and hand signals. This is a huge misconception, and ASL is actually a complex, beautiful language of its own. It does not exactly mirror English as I had initially thought, but uses its own syntax and contains unique differences from English.

Another aspect of ASL at DePaul that was surprising for me is the idea of ‘deaf events.’ As a requirement for ASL classes, students must attend three of these events in which deaf people along with ASL students from all over Chicago interact and communicate with each other. We typically meet at either Starbucks or Blaze Pizza and spend a couple hours mingling and meeting new people. In most language classes, this would be completely unheard of. The opportunity to use what you are learning in class to communicate with others is incredibly helpful and I am glad that this is such an integral part of the classes I have taken. The ASL program at DePaul is truly a great program, and I would recommend taking an introductory class if you are at all interested!

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'Twas the Night Before Student Teaching

Tomorrow is my first day of student teaching at Jones College Prep .  I cannot believe that this moment that I have spent over three years preparing for is already here.  It is exciting, but it is also slightly terrifying. 

Still, I know that DePaul has prepared me well.  I have spent the past two years observing in high school English classrooms throughout CPS.  I have spent the past three years reading and writing my own teaching philosophy.  And I have spent most of my life brushing up on my knowledge of American and British Literature, the writing process, and the nuances of grammatical structure.  I am ready.   

But am I?  It is crazy to think that last week I wrapped up my last set of classes as a full-time student (don’t get me wrong, I am still working on those finals, but still!).  How can I be finished with classes when I feel that there is still so much for me to learn!  Luckily, I will spend the rest of my life in a classroom learning from my students as much as I hope that they learn from me.        

I am excited for the opportunity to put my skills to the practical test and begin my transition into adult life.  I know that these 11 weeks will certainly fly by and that I will be sitting in Wintrust Arena with cap and gown on before I know it.  I am going to try and just take it day by day and I will be bringing you along with me.  So be prepared to enter the whirlwind that is the teacher lifestyle—it won’t disappoint!   


Finals Tips

Studying is a different beast. If you wait last minute to study for a big test (especially if it is a subject you’re not that good at) it will more likely than not lead to a poor score. You don’t have to spend 8 hours a day studying right up until the exam, but a full week or couple days before the test try studying at least an hour - in small doses, things will seem less daunting and it may even help you remember the things you need to learn.

Projects are the same thing, in my opinion, try to start it piece by piece or else you will just try to be rushing the day before. One last important thing to remember as well, never overwork and stress yourself out. It’s important to take breaks or else your work will get sloppy. Finals are important but they are not life or death. Your mental health and overall well-being should always come first. Have a good week and good luck!!


Spring in Chicago

Good Food EXPO​ (March 23-24): Join popular chefs and culinary experts and learn all about local and sustainable food. Held in Little Italy, this conference features celebrity chefs, food demonstrations, and over 150 vendors. 

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show​ (March 25): Nothing quite says spring like beautiful blooming flowers. Kick winter to the curb and celebrate the (hopefully) warmer weather with a stroll through Chicago’s Botanic Garden as they celebrate orchids.

Chicago Humanities Festival: Springfest​ (April 27-29): Now in its third year, the Humanities Festival brings artists and activists to the city for a weekend. This year make sure you check out guest appearances from Patrisse Khan-Cullors (co-founder of Black Lives Matter) and Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl), just to name a few!

Bike the Drive​ (May 27): It’s time to welcome back the warm weather and pull the bike out from storage. Join fellow riders as the city shuts down Lake Shore Drive to all cars for five hours and lets bikers cycle through the streets. 

Mayfest​ (May 31-June 1): Celebrating their 23rd year, the Lakeview Mayfest is a tradition that kicks off the festival season. The celebration includes some of Chicago’s best food, dancing, and music all under a giant heated tent.  


Music to My Ears

There is something absolutely magical about going to a concert. You’re in a room full of strangers, bonded only by mutual love for the artist and their work, but within seconds you are connected. Being amidst excellence and pure talent makes you incredibly grateful to get to be a part of that experience. I love watching people pour every fiber of their being into their work and have that passion radiate through the speakers. It’s inspiring, encouraging and such a vital feeling of empowerment to indulge in. You get to experience the fullness of the art because the artist is right in front of you, carefully cultivating every moment that you will treasure in your memory every time you hear that song.

Chicago’s music scene is steeped in culture. Whether you enjoy classical, jazz or the latest hit on the radio, there are venues and artists here for everyone. The music scene was definitely a bonus when I moved here. I adore going to concerts; they’re one of the best experiences you can have. This past weekend a few friends and I had the opportunity to go see Florist and WHY? live at Lincoln Hall. Just a few blocks away from campus, Lincoln Hall is one of my favorite venues with live performances almost every day.

Both bands put on such a wonderful show, and due to the intimate nature of the venue, we were right by the stage. Afterward, I went to the bathroom and ran into the lead singer for Florist, Emily, and chatted with her for a few minutes. She told me about her journey as an artist and how being on tour has been unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Her energy was so calming and she was genuinely grateful for our support. It’s moments like these that make me so grateful to live in the city. If you’re ever curious to see what concerts are happening around you, check out chicago.ohmyrockness.com, they also let you know about free shows too!

Song of the Week: Cool and Refreshing-Florist ​ 


Interview Tips

DePaul is full of opportunities ​and ties to the amazing city of Chicago, which means tons of opportunities for internships and jobs. I’m always looking for ways to apply what I’m learning in class into action in the real world, so internships at my age are a great way to do that. I’ve been through so many interviews these past few weeks, and although I’m exhausted from them, I learned more with each interview I had. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when interviewing:

1. Research

It’s good to know the company you want to essentially work for. I would make sure to note their values and see if they align with yours. Also, research if the company has any events or services that you may be interested in. In addition research the position, make sure the job entails work that interests you.

2. Dress like you want the job

First impressions are important and walking in looking professional is a large part of that. It’s a good idea to invest in a quality suit because you are going to have a lot of interviews and are going to have to wear a suit often.

3. Arrive at least 15 minutes before

One of my coach’s always used to say that if you’re on time, you’re late. Not only is it important to arrive early because it shows you are punctual but it also gets your mind ready and in the interview setting/office before you have the interview.

4. Bring in questions

Curiosity is important. If you are given the name of the person interviewing you, study them and find questions relating to their background to get to know them more. Don’t sound rehearsed with your questions, you want to ask questions pertaining to what they ask you during the interview but always bring some in incase you blank.

5. Practice

The career center​ has so many great resources to practice answering questions and your elevator pitch! It may sound weird, but practice in front of a mirror too. It really helps with confidence and gets you extra prepared to talk to an interviewer.

6. Know yourself

I outline everything I have ever been involved with and write down what each experience taught me. It’s a good refresher as to where you can pull examples from. This gets me thinking about what experience and skills I have so I can answer behavioral questions quickly.

7. Make it a conversation

You’ll hear this often, but you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you so just make it a conversation. A professional one.

8. Be yourself

Don’t psych yourself out. The company you are interviewing for just wants to get to know the genuine you. If you are passionate about something make sure to incorporate that into your interview. Also, don’t undermine your accomplishment, this is your chance to talk about all the things you are proud of.

9. Thank you letters/emails

Make sure to send a thank you​ email as soon as possible after the interview. A handwritten thank you note is also a more sincere way to say thank you. I always do both because you can never go wrong saying thank you more than once.


The Economical Brew

coffeeCoffee has become a necessity to the everyday lives of those in modern society. I must admit that I take after my father by absolutely needing a coffee in the morning in order to function. Like shampoo, everyone has their preferred coffee brand. Some have Starbucks, others Dunkin Donuts, or the local staples like Emerald City and Metropolis Coffee Company. Sure, there are those fulfilling sentiments of buying a cup and sitting in-store, but I have found that it’s best to brew the pot yourself at home.

Like my father, I have grown to like Dunkin Donuts coffee, and while special flavors like coconut or pumpkin spice are a nice treat once in a while, I have my very own daily routine. I suppose I am one of the few who takes their coffee black and cold, thus I brew my pot the night before. Does the coffee taste as good? Honestly not, but the amount of pots I can brew from one six-dollar bag of Dunkin coffee grounds is obviously more reasonable. Also, I enjoy coffee like how one would enjoy tea, wine, or whiskey; I don’t like it too sweet, I want to savor the bitterness and unadulterated flavors. As for adding flavor, I’ll mix some ground pumpkin spice or cinnamon into the coffee grounds if I am craving it. I am not advising to swap your favorite coffee brands, but to buy their coffee beans or grounds and brew some yourself.


Weekend Traveling

Last weekend I had the chance to visit my best friend from home at Miami University in Ohio. Since DePaul students typically do not have classes on Friday’s, it is easier to take weekend trips during the school year. I was able to leave on Friday morning and return on Sunday night which allowed me to spend more time with my friend and get the most out of the weekend.

DePaul’s proximity to O’Hare also makes it easier to take trips like this one. A short 30-minute drive or about an hour on the L will get you to the airport. Taking the L to O’Hare is what I prefer simply because it’s free with your student U-Pass and the ride to the airport is fairly scenic and enjoyable. However, for those 5 am flights, I usually call an Uber or a Lyft.

Visiting other schools makes me realize how grateful I am to go to DePaul and be in the city of Chicago. Most typical colleges throughout the United States do not have even close to the number of opportunities offered at DePaul because of its location, and I’m thankful I ended up in such an exciting city for my four years of college. Being away for only one weekend made me miss it here, which reaffirms that this is the school for me.


Favorite Movies and TV Shows

By the time you are reading this, the Oscars will have already happened. However, I am still going to tell you about some of my favorite movies and television shows I’ve watched this year. First and foremost, if you see any large superhero blockbuster it must be the wildly popular and successful “Black Panther​.” Rounded out by an incredible cast and amazing director this movie is not only outstanding by Marvel movie standards but it fits my criteria as a good movie. The film has a message, it is fun, it is well acted, and now we are one step closer to having more diversity in high budget Hollywood films.
In terms of television, I would recommend “The Venture Bros​” to anyone who is a fan of Adult Swim (and Rick and Morty in particular). It’s basically a parody of Johnny Quest, comic books, and generally weird stuff that mixes and mashes together as a wildly sporadic but entertaining show. Good animation mixed with stellar voice acting and writing, it is a must watch for anyone who likes weird adult humor and sci-fi action. 
Speaking of weird this is where I will tell you about “Black Mirror​” and why it is incredible. The anthology series is surely inspired by Twilight Zone but it has created its own legacy by showing us a darker side of the technology we as humans hold dear. In each episode we see a future affected by a piece of technology that drastically changes how we interact as humans. Anybody wanting to see a creative view on the future, I would definitely check it out, as well as the other two recommendations!


Top Five Classes

As Winter Quarter winds down it’s finally hitting me that I’m going into my last quarter of college. Like ever. Not only have my four years here at DePaul gone way quicker than I ever imagined, but senior year has flown by. That being said, I got to reminiscing about some of my favorite classes I’ve taken over the past four years. With over 40 classes under my belt, I’ve pretty much seen it all. Here are some I consider to be my favorite. 

Food and Culture: (ANT 109 ) Many courses at DePaul focus on certain aspects of culture, but this was the first time I learned about the subject through the lens of food. As an anthropology class, this course highlighted people’s food choice preferences, dietary restrictions among cultures, and social impact on food consumption. Definitely one of the more unique classes I’ve taken over the past four years.

International Wine Education and Management: (HSP 333 ) This is definitely a well-known class among DePaul students. A part of the Hospitality program, this class is designed to help students explore the world of wine management in the hospitality industry. Despite what many think, there’s actually a ton of information to learn in this class. Over the 10-week quarter, we covered regional grape varieties, winemaking styles across the world, and got a crash course on judging wine quality.

Human Sexuality: (PSY 215 ) This was a class I took for my psychology requirement, and I was blown away by how interesting the entire course was. Without a doubt, this is a class I think every college student should be required to take. The course dives into the historical, cultural, psychological and physiological aspects of human sexuality. It also spends a great deal talking about sexual health and why sex is such a taboo subject in society.

Ethics for Health Sciences: (HLTH 229 ) I honestly never thought I would enjoy this class when I first enrolled in it. As a PRAD major, I’m definitely not familiar with any health science classes, but this one was such an interesting surprise. The class focused on the ethical and moral issues behind decisions in health sciences. We also learned a lot about different philosophers, the meaning behind a “good life,” and decisions about end of life care.

Film Philosophy: (DC 227 ) This class is essentially an introductory course to philosophy through the lens of film. It was both difficult and intriguing to watch films from a philosophical side of things; many of the themes in the movies we watched would never have resonated with me if I weren’t thinking philosophically. Definitely, a great class that makes you think about things differently.  ​


All About Orientation

Transitioning to a new place is always nerve wrecking. There are many uncertainties and everything around you is changing faster than you anticipated. College is completely different from high school and often, we don’t know what to expect. At DePaul, there are a variety of programs and activities implemented to help students adjust to the new city lifestyle. Our orientation is called “Premiere DePaul;” it is a mandatory overnight stay designed to introduce incoming students to all of the resources that DePaul has to offer.

Once you’re signed up for one of the sessions, you are divided into groups based on the major you declared on your application. An Orientation Leader (OL) is assigned to your group and they are meant to help guide you and answer any questions you may have. My group consisted of students from the College of Science and Health, and they weren’t all necessarily psychology majors. This is the first time you are introduced to your future classmates and it’s interesting to see how Chicago draws the attention of people from across the country.

Orientation consists of a lot of introductions and icebreakers for your small group as well as a plethora of information being thrown at you. While this may seem overwhelming, you can ask questions that you may have at any time and there are people there to answer them. During this time, you pick your classes for the fall quarter as well as get more familiar with the campus. There are optional tours of the university and information sessions going on at varied times. Students sleep in the dorms for the overnight portion of orientation to get familiar with dorm life.

It’s important to remember that everyone is nervous going into college and this is a wonderful time to acquaint yourself with some friendly faces. Orientation is only the beginning, so have fun, put yourself out there and welcome to your future here at DePaul! :)

Song of the Week: All Comes Down-Kodaline


Lauv at Polar Palooza

Every Winter Quarter, DePaul hosts Blue Demon Week – aka homecoming! This is a week where many campus organizations host events to celebrate being a Blue Demon. There are so many things to do such as crafts, fitness classes, basketball games, food and even a concert – not to mention tons of DePaul swag. All of this is free too, so it definitely doesn’t get better than that!

What I was most excited for was DePaul Activities Board’s (DAB) Polar-Palooza. Polar-Palooza is the concert that is always held during Blue Demon Week.

This year, they brought out Lauv. He is a musician from San Francisco but wrote his debut EP based on his time in New York where he studied Music Technology at New York University. He’s well known for his singles’ “Easy Love” and “I Like Me Better.” Going to a lot of concerts, it’s always worrisome to me that artists will be terrible live or too flashy, but Lauv did not disappoint. He seemed like he was just having fun dancing and singing on stage.

It’s almost better that Lauv is not too big of an artist yet and is up and coming. I think it’s great that DePaul always gets artists to perform here before they get too big so you get to see them before all of that. And did I mention DePaul students get to see these artists before they are too famous...for free?

I’m really excited to see who will perform at Fest this year because the lineups never disappoint and it’s always fun seeing these concerts. Even if you aren’t too big on concerts or have not been to one, I still recommend grabbing a group of friends to go because that plays a large part in your concert experience. 


Advanced Movie Going

If these factors still do not impress you, then there is a more luxurious modification to movie going at AMC . At the River East location, there is an AMC Theatre that is not typical in the traditional sense since there is a bowling alley, arcade, bar, and so on. As for the theatres themselves, there are equipped with leather recliners, dine-in service, Dolby Cinema technology that offers “Moving Audio” and more vibrant colors, any movie would surely become more likable. Get Out is an amazing movie, to begin with, but watching it for the first time in a theatre was an experience, one that has made me a theatre attendee ever since.

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Study Abroad Opportunities

I just found out I received a scholarship that will enable me to study abroad in Budapest this fall, and I’m so excited! Study abroad scholarships at DePaul are easy to apply for and can be extremely helpful in regards to saving on travel and living expenses. My scholarship pays for half of the fee to study abroad, which means I will likely be able to participate in the program.

DePaul study abroad programs range from week-long trips during Spring Break to academic year-long trips, and everything in between. The program I am interested in lasts for Fall quarter at DePaul, but actually goes a little bit longer due to the difference in DePaul’s quarter system and my study abroad institution’s semester system. Rather than being in school from September-November, I will be in Budapest from August-December. Some people see this as a disadvantage, but I disagree since it will give me more time to be abroad and experience living and studying in another country.

Since DePaul has such a variety of programs, it is easy to find one that will fit your needs and preferences. DePaul’s study abroad website makes it even easier by allowing you to search for programs based on specific filters and specifications. For me, Budapest seemed perfect due to the low cost of living and prime location. Whatever you are looking for, DePaul has it!

Although I still am unsure whether or not I will be studying abroad in Budapest this fall since there are many factors to consider, I’m grateful for the opportunity to even consider such an experience. Due to the vast array of resources DePaul offers for those interested in studying abroad, this entire process has been made much smoother and easier to navigate.


Professor Communication

Last year, I took a challenging medieval literature course in which we read long, sometimes very confusing, texts written in Old English.  I will never forget that class for a variety of reasons:

1) It was one of the most difficult classes I have taken

2) The professor was very intimidating 

3) One student stormed out on the very first day of class.

It was the first day of Spring Quarter and we were sitting in a beautiful corner classroom of Arts and Letters hall.  Our medieval professor was giving us an overview of the course and setting expectations for the level of rigor that we should all be prepared for.  All of a sudden, in dramatic fashion, a girl in the front row starts packing up her belongings.  The professor asked her, “are you leaving?” and the girl burst out:

“Yes! I hate this class. I cannot possibly stand 11 more weeks of this or you!” She then proceeded to storm out of the room. 

We were all shocked, especially our professor.  She tried to laugh it off, but you could tell she was rattled.  This blatant disrespect was uncalled for and totally inappropriate, especially in front of the whole class.  Sure, our professor had been trying to intimidate us to drop the course all period, but I do not think she expected anything like this.

I am sharing this story to remind you the importance of proper professor communication.  This is clearly the non-example.  What this student could have (and probably should have) done was stick out the rest of the class period (it was already over halfway over!) or quietly drop the class via Campus Connect —no one needs to know why.  In this case, an email to the professor would not even be necessary, but in other cases, it might be.

One of the things most teachers and professors I know complain about is the informality of student emails.  Students jump right into what they want or need without taking the time and respect to offer a greeting, introduce themselves, and ask clear questions.  In this day and age, email etiquette is essential, so be sure to double-check your emails for the proper protocol.  


Aspiring Musicians


Chicago Eats: Bombobar

One of my favorite things about living in Chicago is all the amazing food and restaurants to choose from. Everything from a Nutella café , to restaurants run by some of the countries best chefs, there is something for every foodie in Chicago. This weekend I finally got to visit BomboBar , something that has been on my to-do list for a while.

Bombobar

BomboBar is the Instagram famous walk-up coffee and donut shop in West Loop. Pictures of their famous hotter chocolate can be found on every Chicago foodies Instagram page. The walk up window is connected to Bar Siena, and their donuts and drinks can be ordered in the restaurant as well. The quaint walk-up eatery offers gelato, coffee, donuts, hot chocolate and Italian pastries. Featured in Time Out’s 100 best dishes in Chicago and Zagat’s 9 extravagant hot chocolates to sip in Chicago, this small café is well known among Chicagoans.

After hearing all the buzz I finally decided to check it out. A few friends and I made our way down to West Loop and gawked over the delicious looking menu. The cafés most popular dessert option is Executive Chef Fabio Viviani ’s famous Bomboloni. These small hole-less donut bites are infused with flavors like salted caramel, maple cream, peanut butter fudge, and more. My friends and I opted to try the s’mores hotter chocolate, which is a dressed up version of a regular hot chocolate. The drink came with homemade marshmallow fluff, chocolate brownie sticks, and a mini Bomboloni. It’s definitely not a drink you would get every day but was totally worth the splurge.

During the colder months, the walk up window has a heated enclosed awning, which is perfect for sipping on hot chocolate or munching on some pastries. And the summer is the perfect time to try some of their famous gelatos. BomboBar is definitely worth a visit and is a great place to take friends or family when they visit. 


Discover Chicago vs. Explore Chicago

It’s about that time of the term where we have to stop everything that we’re doing and pick out courses for the next quarter. I can’t believe that there’s only one quarter left until I’m done with my first year of college. This time last year, I was still debating between schools. I remember that DePaul required incoming students to choose between Discover Chicago and Explore Chicago before even selecting classes for the fall term. Both courses are aimed to help first-year students get acclimated to a new environment and immersed into the Chicago lifestyle.

The First Year Program offers a wide variety of options when it comes to these courses. This year, the options I had ranged anywhere from “Death in the City” to “Chicago’s Public Art & Murals”. There is a course for everyone, the only thing is that they fill up fast so it’s wise to sign up as soon as you can. I remember feeling confused about what Discover and Explore Chicago were and their main differences. To ease some of those worries, I’m here to give you an in-depth rundown of these classes.

Discover Chicago

Discover Chicago starts with an Immersion Week, that takes place a week before the beginning of fall quarter. During this week, you and your class will learn about different places around the city as well as take trips that pertain to the course. This is also the time when you get familiar with using the CTA and public transit. Students who take this class get to move in a week earlier because of the Immersion Week. After the first week, the class will meet once a week for 3 hours for 7 weeks during fall quarter.

Explore Chicago

Explore Chicago starts right at the beginning of fall term and it works like every other one of your classes. Students who take Explore are in that course for the full 10-week quarter and meet twice a week for 4 hours. Because this class starts at the beginning of the quarter, Explore students move in at the same time that all of the other students do which is the weekend before the start of the term.

Discover Chicago was the route I ended up choosing because I got to move in a week before everyone else and wanted a bit more time to get used to the city. The class I took was “Psychology of Chicago’s Parks” and it was one of my favorites. I met some of my best friends there and we explored a lot of hidden gems that I would never know about had I not taken this class. Regardless of which option you choose, I guarantee that you will come out knowing a lot more about the city than you did before. 

Song of the Week: Build It Better- Aron Wright


Photographing Chicago Landscapes

I’m really glad that DePaul makes it required for students to take a Chicago course, either Discover or Explore. I took Explore because I didn’t want to end my Summer early and I felt like I was familiar enough with Chicago being from the suburbs. But thinking I was familiar with as much as I could be with Chicago, I went to a lot of places I had never been to with my Explore class. I took Photographing Chicago Landscapes with Thomas Denlinger. I’ve always liked photography and wanted to do more with it so I chose this class as my Explore course and I loved it.

We visited Pilsen, where we did a street art/ graffiti walking tour and went to the National Museum of Mexican Art. We took a lot of pictures of the neighborhood artwork. We also visited Devon street which is an Indian neighborhood, we even had lunch there. In the first week of classes, we went to the Lincoln Park Conservatory where we were able to take a lot of pictures of nature. I made albums of the photos I took during this class and here are some of them.

It’s a good thing that DePaul has this as a required first-year course because many students that go to DePaul are not from the area so it helps them learn more about the city they’re going to school in. It even broadens the Chicago knowledge of those who think they are already familiar with the city like me.


First Impressions

LPCFor some reason, DePaul was always a top contender for the college I would eventually attend. I think it goes back to middle school when I was first exposed to the school at a UIC versus DePaul basketball game. Years later, I got a first-hand look at the campus when I signed up for a prospective student visit day. I took quite a few tours, but there is one particular moment I remember the most. This visit had to be in the spring because all I remember is strolling through DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus with the sun shining bright and the trees blossoming on Sheffield. I was taken aback by such an attractive environment, especially on a college campus in Chicago. 

Aside from the campus eye candy, I remember my first impressions of the Loop campus ’ DePaul Center. The contrast between the two campuses was stark. On one hand, there is subtlety and community, and then there is formal and professional. As an incoming accounting major, I saw the facilities of the business school as something that would truly prepare me for a career. I noticed the classroom sizes were smaller than a typical five hundred-student lecture hall, thus making DePaul’s curriculum more inviting and engaging. All these factors aligned together just right because it did not take much convincing for me to enroll a few months later. I hope others can experience the visit days as I have. If this is not possible due to snow or rain, there are surely many other attributes to DePaul that will entice.  


Discover Chicago

Discover Chicago was one of my favorite parts of freshman year at DePaul, and I’m so thankful for the experience I had. The course I enrolled in was called Nonprofits in Chicago: The Business of Helping, and was taught by Professor Melissa Markley. Throughout the quarter we traveled to nonprofits all over the city and spent time in class coming up with our own ideas for the nonprofits we envisioned within the city. By delving into the details of how each nonprofit worked, we were able to learn what a nonprofit needed to succeed and implement it into the creation of our own. This course inspired me in numerous ways and acted as a catalyst for me to become more involved in community service and volunteer work at DePaul. A few weeks into the quarter I even landed my first internship with a nonprofit, and I’m not sure I would have pursued that opportunity without this class.

For Discover courses, students arrive at school one week earlier than everyone else and are plunged into a week-long immersive experience traveling throughout the entire city of Chicago. In my class, we took field trips all over the city including to the Chicago History Museum, Ronald McDonald House, Tree House Humane Society, Pilsen Alliance, The Plant, and Growing Home. We traveled by bus and train, learning how to navigate the CTA along the way. Most of the days were pretty long, ranging from a few hours to all day. However, nothing compares to having an entire week to simply explore the city you’re going to call home for at least the next four years and learn about a specific aspect of it (for me it was nonprofits). It was also nice to have the campus to ourselves before the rest of the student body arrived.

My classmates from my Discover course are now some of my best friends, and the experience we shared brought us together in a different way than any of my other courses ever have. Last summer I even spent time traveling with a friend who I sat next to on the first day of Discover week. One of the best parts of this class is that each student picked it for a reason, so you’re all brought together by this passion you share. You’ll truly make connections that last, and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything!


Premiere DePaul: A Preview of the Next Four Years

It was the end of June, just about a month after graduating high school, and it was already time to register for classes at DePaul.  But I later found out that registering for classes would be the last thing that we would do during the two-day orientation, known as Premiere DePaul

As I walked into the crowded Student Center, I was immediately directed into a long line that eventually led to a photographer.  It was time to get my DePaul ID! Little did I know that this would later be the key to swipe into U-Hall freshman year, Centennial sophomore year, and Sheffield Square junior year.

I then met my orientation leader and the other members of my group—all of whom happened to be girls.  We played a few icebreakers and learned each other’s names, hometowns, and future majors.  Another girl in my group was also interested in education, so we clicked right away!  With this group, we attended information sessions on DePaul academics, safety, and extracurriculars as well as taking a tour around campus. 

By the end of the long first day, I was excited for bed. All of the future freshmen filtered into Munroe Hall to find their rooms.  But my first night in the dorm was relatively sleepless because of all there was to do. On each floor, activities were held in the common area--everything from “spirit animal” readings to movies to munching on Insomnia Cookies.  In case you haven’t heard yet, Insomnia cookies are all the rage in college.  They deliver until 3 AM and are the key to surviving every all-nighter and orientation is when I was first introduced to this future obsession. 

The second day flew by and I was finally able to register for classes, which made the entire experience feel even more real.  And just like that, Premiere DePaul was over. On the way home, I thought about how excited I was to attend DePaul, which made waiting those next two and half months very difficult. But when it was finally time to move in—I was ready!   


Orientation

Orientation is by far one of the best DePaul experiences you’ll have. I think the school, as well as the students, do a wonderful job of integrating new students into life not only in the Lincoln Park campus but Chicago as well. Despite living here all my life, there are a bunch of places and things to do here that I would have never known about if not for some of the wonderful Orientation leaders you’ll meet during your experience. In fact, one of my orientation leaders ended up being my mentor and one of the closest friends I had freshman year. Never be afraid of any student older than you. They’re there to help you become more comfortable. I remember trying to play icebreakers and people being too shy but because of our orientation leaders we eventually were able to become a more comfortable with each other than we were going in. And I think that’s part of the DePaul experience too. You might walk in not knowing anyone and then you leave with more connections than you could’ve ever imagined. Part of the fun is that you also get a little sneak preview of dorm life by spending the night. I think it’s definitely pretty cool to have a fun night in the dorm with multiple activities happening on different floors. I remember having karaoke, cookies, and plenty of board games. All in all, orientation is meant to not only be an educational preview of what lies ahead these next few important years but to also be fun. Life should always follow a work hard play hard motto, you always need a healthy balance. And that’s what DePaul is.

Visiting DePaul

Choosing which college to potentially spend the next four years of your life at definitely isn’t easy. I remember being a senior in high school and scouring the web for any information I could get on what being a student at DePaul was actually like. Luckily, I was able to make a trip to Chicago and spend a couple days exploring the city and touring DePaul’s campuses.

One of the most convenient things about visiting DePaul is that you can virtually do it anytime you like. Not only can interested high school students attend a general information session and tour the campus year round, but students who have already been accepted can join an admitted students info session and campus tour anytime between January and April. As an out of state student, this was something that made visiting the university convenient and that much more exciting.

During my first visit to DePaul, I had already been admitted, so I was able to come with a list of questions about what my next steps would be if I decided to commit, and was able to speak with my tour guide about student life. I ended up touring both Lincoln Park’s Campus as well as the Loop Campus, which is something I definitely recommend. One of the things that ultimately made me choose DePaul was the fact that each of the campuses offered something different. It was nice to be able to be in the thick of the city taking classes among working professionals one day, and then get to step into a quieter neighborhood the next. 

Not only was this my first visit to DePaul, but it was also my first time in Chicago. As a student, we often hear the phrase “the city is your campus” which couldn’t be truer. When you commit to DePaul, you are just as much committing to Chicago as you are the university. My tour guide on my visit recommended a bunch of unique neighborhoods to explore and popular restaurants among students. I also got to learn just how many opportunities DePaul students have to take their learning outside of the classroom by getting jobs and internships in the city.

Whether you’re near or far, spending a day getting to know the ins and outs of student life at DePaul is absolutely what I would recommend anybody who is interested in being a future student. With options for those who are merely curious, to high school seniors who will soon be making a college decision, coming to visit ​DePaul for yourself is a worthwhile experience.  


Visiting Friends

After struggling through midterms for two weeks, I decided to visit a few of my friends at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (U of I). Visiting friends at other schools is so much fun and it is so exciting getting a different college experience for a few days.

There are a lot of ways to get there but I took the Greyhound ​bus, which cost me about $30 roundtrip -which isn’t too bad. There are also other ways to get there like the Amtrak ​and Suburban Express, which I prefer but the times for those didn’t work with my schedule. Although I enjoyed the convenience of the Greyhound, I’m not a fan of the bus or the station. They can sometimes get crowded and aren’t the cleanest, but the prices and times are always great.

I’ve visited before and each time is always a different experience. In comparison to DePaul, U of I is practically the opposite which makes sense because DePaul is not a state school. It was weird being surrounded by corn and not skyscrapers, and having to walk 20 minutes to get to and from one class to another because the campus is 100 times larger than DePaul’s.

Although it is totally different from what I’m used to, I loved it. The campus is really beautiful and the academic buildings vary from really old antique looking to brand new and modern. I even went to a class with one of my friends and did my homework in one of their Libraries for one of the days.

If you and your friends ever have a free weekend, I highly recommend planning a visit one way or the other. There are so many ways to get places, as I mentioned, and it’s always better to catch up with friends in person.  


Professional Wardrobe

shoesAs most students will realize their freshman year, you will notice that there is far more freedom to spend your money with minimal parental guidance. Since college began I spent a lot of money, both foolishly and savvy. While I was trying to identify my own sense of style, I noticed I was lacking the appropriate attire for someone majoring in accounting. I remember the first networking events where I had to wear my father’s suit and tie, and that was the usual outfit for all my business-related occasions. Yet, I have learned a thing or two when it comes to finding a quality suit, tie, shoes, and such.

 An obvious location to buy formal wear for cheap prices is at a second-hand store such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. However, this idea is not appealing to some (me) because of the thought of not being the first owner. So, I recommend taking it a step above to the department outlet store, Nordstrom Rack. On average, the prices are well below retail, but you definitely get your money’s worth whenever there is the “Clear the Rack” clearance sale, which is usually 25% to 30% off already markdown prices. I bought Florsheim dress shoes from here, as well as True Religion jeans for only forty dollars.

The next tip is one I obsessively follow, and that is online shopping. All I have to say is do not underestimate the promo codes. These are relatively easy to find, but there are some stores where if you sign up for their email list you’ll receive a promo code. For example, Calvin Klein​’s site offers 15% off for signing up your email. Now, I am a little extra, but what I do is make a temporary email account, sign up for the promo code, use the code, delete the email account, and then repeat. That way, no matter what sales are occurring I will always have an extra 15% off. Aside from signing up for email promo codes, make an account through the supplier’s website and their reward programs, for some, will offer exclusive promotions or birthday rewards. I remember Ralph Lauren gave me a fifty-dollar gift card for my birthday and Calvin Klein gave me a 20% birthday reward. I prefer shopping Calvin Klein’s site because you are able to apply one promo code, but multiple rewards on one purchase. For example, there was a suit jacket for $425 with matching pants for $175. The sale occurring was 60% off these two, but I applied the 15% off email promo code, the 20% off birthday reward, a 10% off reward for completing a survey, and then a $20 off loyalty reward. Thus, I took a $600 suit and bought it for around $150. I use this same method for Calvin Klein dress socks, ties, and so on.


Museum of Contempory Art Chicago

This past weekend I spent an afternoon wandering through art exhibits and displays at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Chicago. Although this is my favorite Chicago museum, I have not been since last December. Due to the combination of heavy class and work schedules, it has been difficult to make time to go, however, my brother and his friend’s visit to Chicago was a perfect excuse for me to return and immerse myself in the museum. I was in a rush to get to work, but we still ended up spending a couple hours exploring and taking a lot of pictures along the way.

Being a short train ride away from some of the best museums in the country is one of the best parts about being a DePaul student. Along with our proximity, DePaul students are also offered steep discounts for museum admission. For example, the Art Institute is completely free with a DePaul ID, and the student discount at the Museum of Contemporary Art lowers the admission price to only $8. Students learning about art movements or historical time periods in their classes can then go and see exhibits and installations about these topics in person. Even if you’re not in any of these classes, spending a day museum-hopping can be a great way to destress while also being surrounded by inspiring exhibits that make you think and get your creativity flowing!


Just Something About Snow

When everyone always complains about Chicago winters, I don’t join in.  Winter is, after all, my favorite season.  Yes, it is freezing cold and when you board the el all bundled up you become insanely hot.  But there is one magical thing that happens every winter—Snow

Snow is a blanket that covers the city and makes all things new with its purity.  Yes, it soon grows dingy, but for a time it stays perfect.  And have you ever noticed the sense of quiet that a new snowfall brings? With snow comes peace, even just momentarily. Then there is the satisfaction of making the first path of footprints in a fresh bank of snow.  You sink in and you step out, leaving your mark as you go. 

Snow brings me back to the days of being a kid—snowballs, snowmen, snow angels, sledding, forts, and the list of fun goes on and on.  When it snows at DePaul, adults are frolicking in the Quad and there is a sense of joy all around that is quite contagious. 

My absolute favorite place to go when it snows is the beach.  The lake turns into an endless tundra and once again it is quiet. It is just crazy to think that this is the very same place that will be swarming with people in swimsuits in just a few months. 

Now I know that I can feel nothing but positivity for the snow because I don’t have to drive or shovel--  #apartmentlife.  But still, just try and take in these beautiful moments with me before the slush of March and showers of April are soon upon us.


Black Panther

As a massive comic book nerd and film major, I am incredibly excited to know that Marvel’s Black Panther is finally going to be released this upcoming weekend. Not only is the movie important for the superhero genre but it is crucial for the movie industry as a whole. There isn’t another example of a multi-million dollar property at the forefront of pop culture and entertainment with an almost entirely black cast and crew. It’s almost unheard of in terms of superhero movies let alone big budget Hollywood. As someone of color who feels they are greatly underrepresented in media, I think this a great time to rejoice and have confidence that things will get better and people will realize that people do want to see themselves represented and want to see something different. I think that’s also the biggest take away from this movie -people want something different, Black Panther isn’t just more of the same of the usual superhero stuff.

From the looks of the film, it deals with complex topics of political unrest, classism, and monarchy. I believe these themes are extremely relevant in a time in which we aren’t so sure on how we feel about these topics. And to have them put in an action-packed film proves that it isn’t just going to be another popcorn flick with a rinse and repeat formula. Black Panther makes me extremely excited to not only see the future of Hollywood but just for the future of our society in general because while some might not be such a fan of the movie, the amount of support the film has shows me anything is possible, sometimes you just have to be patient.  


Group Fitness Fun

Aside from having a bunch of different workout equipment and machines, the Ray Meyer Fitness Center also has a variety of group fitness classes that are included in every student’s membership. Taking advantage of the Ray is something that should seriously be on top of every student’s to-do list. I’ll admit exercise isn’t exactly my favorite activity, but having a free gym membership included by being a student at DePaul is hard to beat. And because lifting weights or hitting the elliptical isn’t really my thing, the group fitness classes are my favorite way to get in a quick and fun workout. Here are my top three favorite classes at the Ray.

Barre Burn: Barre classes are fairly new to the world of group fitness, and this quarter was my first time taking one at the Ray. The class combines light dumbbell weights, dance-inspired moves, and the ballet bar for a total body workout. You don’t need to be an expert dancer by any means to do this workout. The ballet bar is mostly used as a prop to balance while doing a range of exercises that focus on strength training. You can also ditch the sneakers for this workout, barefoot or socks only!

Cycle: There’s no doubt that I was pretty intimated before taking my first cycle class. But it is seriously such a good workout and one you can easily modify to your endurance level. The class combines a variety of cycle situations, from hard uphill climbs to long sprints. One of my favorite things about cycle classes is the loud music and colorful lights in the studio. Cycle is such a great way to push your limits and get excited about working out. 

Zumba: If you’re looking to burn some calories by having a dance party, then a Zumba class is definitely what you need. This exercise is popular among people of all ages, and with good reason. The dance-fitness class incorporates Latin rhythms and simple repetitive dance moves to get the ultimate workout. Though this class is dance inspired, the moves are easy enough where anyone can get the hang of them. This is the perfect fun workout to do with friends!

For more group fitness classes check out the schedule at the Ray.   

All You Need Is Love

Contrary to popular opinion, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Despite all of the consumerism and overall panic that surrounds the holiday, to me, it’s always been one of the best times of the year. Valentine’s Day is a whole day that we dedicate to celebrating all kinds of love: love for your family, your friends, your partner and most importantly, yourself. It’s a day to look around and realize how many people appreciate and support you. Even though it’s one of the most dreaded holidays, I for one, am a huge fan of having another excuse to thank the people I care about. This year, I made my roommate pancakes to show her how much I appreciate her. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite random acts of kindness that you can use to spread some love next time February 14th rolls around.

  • Text someone good morning and send them warm thoughts
  • Write positive sticky notes and leave them around your room or apartment as friendly reminders
  • Pay for someone’s CTA commute (someone did this for me and it was the sweetest gesture)
  • Send some flowers to friends that you haven’t seen in a while
  • Smile at a stranger on public transit, just because
  • Pay for the person behind you at Starbucks
  • Leave a generous tip and a thank you note at for the server at your next meal
  • Write and mail a letter to a family member or close friend
  • Practice gratitude by allowing yourself a few moments in your day to reflect on all of the wonderful things you have in your life

I hope that everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day, and I challenge you to spread love any way you can next February! :)

Song of the Week: Loving Is Easy- Rex Orange County


Aldi Spree

aldiI recommend a lot of restaurants to try in Chicago, but you do not always need to visit a restaurant or the Student Center to get a good meal. That is why grocery stores are a money-saving alternative that can provide a wider variety of foods you cannot find on-campus.
I may be biased because my parents do a majority of their grocery shopping at Aldi, but I sincerely think Aldi has some of the cheapest prices around. I was a frequent buyer at Target but I soon changed my habits when I was more reliant on groceries in the transition to apartment living. What I find myself buying the most from Aldi are their New York Strip steaks. One steak ranges from eight to eleven dollars, which I find cheap relative to the steaks you’d pay for at a restaurant. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I can cook a steak better than a restaurant, so, even more, the reason to buy in-store, but I may be biased with my cooking skills. I believe each dorm at DePaul has either a stove in-room or a lounge area with a kitchen with essential cooking appliances, so there is no reason one cannot cook a meal of their own.

Picking Classes

Its midterms week and course cart has opened! How exciting? Everyone is asking each other about what classes to take and who is the “easiest” professor. I love making my schedule and I spend at least an hour every time when making mine because I want to make sure I can handle that schedule for 10 weeks. Here are some things I consider when I’m making my schedule.

Although many people look at ratemyprofessor.com and ask their friends who the “easiest” professor is, it’s important in addition to these sources to look more into picking professors than just this. Ask your friends about the professor's teaching style. Everyone learns differently and this is always my number one concern when picking a professor. So don’t fully think that a professor with a 4.8 overall and 1.8 difficulty will be your type of professor.

I just started taking online classes and I love them. These classes are what you make of them and I enjoy taking them because they allow me to learn at my own pace (along with deadlines) and free up my schedule. Online classes are not for everyone and can take some time getting used to so try one out and see how well you can handle them if you are unsure about them.

It may sound weird but I also consider the weather a lot when picking my classes. I don’t mind waking up early for a class when it’s hot outside, but cannot get out of my warm bed and walk to the train for an 8 am in the cold. So in the winter term, I tend to schedule my classes later in the day and in the spring term, I schedule them earlier so I can be done with my day early and enjoy the rest of my day on the beach.

My last piece of advice would be to make sure you leave time to breathe in your schedule. Don’t take the 5 hardest classes at once. Add at least one fun class per quarter so you don’t completely dread going to your classes.  


Finding Your Creativity

photo This quarter has already proven to be incredibly stressful and busy, so it’s important to take some time every once in a while to focus on something creative. I had a couple hours of free time yesterday, so I decided to grab a friend and experiment with a photography idea I had thought of earlier.

We headed over to Levan, an academic building on campus, and found an empty classroom with a projector. I played various videos on the projector while my friend posed in front of it, and even though I’m still figuring out the correct camera settings to use for this specific idea, the photos turned out pretty well.

I’m glad I was able to focus on something creative for a little while before getting back to my apartment to work on homework for the rest of the evening. I’ve only just started learning about photography, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to de-stress. Coming up with interesting ideas for creating photos has shown me that I’m more creative than I initially thought. I have always thought I lacked creativity and was not artistic, but being forced to experiment with creating unique photos within my photography class has shown me I’m capable of more than I thought. As each week goes by and I gain more constructive criticism from my classmates and professor, I can feel myself growing as a photographer. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the quarter takes me!​​


Lincoln Park Conservatory


Let's Talk Resumes

The resume, a critical document that presents concise information about who we are as workers, is one page of writing that people spend years building and perfecting. Resumes can vary so much depending on the person, their major, and the position that they are seeking. They can range in design and organization and more obviously in their specific content details.

But they all have the same purpose: to convince employers to hire the candidate by capturing their attention and urging them to continue reading his or her resume when they could be spending their time reading someone else’s. The structural features that are expected and essential to every resume allow those reading it to better understand the person who wrote it. Resumes are broken down into specific sections, given labels, and identified by unique formatting patterns.

As a senior this year, I have spent an absurd time thinking about resumes and obsessing over tweaking my own.  But luckily, I am not alone in this extremely overwhelming endeavor!  I not only have my peers to bounce ideas and formatting questions off of, but I also have the University Center for Writing-based Learning and the Career Center where I can make appointments to talk specifics.

As I have written about before, the University Center for Writing-based Learning ​offers a variety of appointment types, which can be helpful when you are trying to schedule time out of your busy life.  All tutors maintain their own updated resume, are equipped with assisting with specific word choice and basic formatting, and can always help catch those stubborn little grammatical errors.

If you are looking for more specific assistance within your major, the Career Center is a great option!  They have someone on staff who is knowledgeable on each major and they are always happy to help you streamline your resume for the exact job you are looking for.  The Career Center also has really helpful online resources to help you with formatting and using strong action verbs that are sure to get you hired!

Finally, I recommend two things to ease your resume stress:

1.      Drafting early and revising often.  Even if you aren’t ready to enter the workforce yet, keeping your experience updated makes things a lot easier when you are. 

2.      Make the appointments when you have the time and take others’ feedback into consideration.  Responsibilities will sneak up on you faster than you think and your desired employer should not be the first one seeing your resume!


Play4Polarpalooza

One of the coolest things I believe DePaul does is hold multiple music events on campus. At the end of the school year, we have a concert called DePaul Fest which has led to musical acts such as Childish Gambino, T-Pain, The Neighborhood, Logic, and many others performing for a price that’s more than affordable for all students.
But not only does DePaul give established artists a chance to perform here but up and coming DePaul students as well. I have been to many of weekly events where students host panels and performances all over campus allowing students to perform covers of songs, poetry, and even original material. For instance, this Tuesday, February 6th at 7 pm to 9 pm yours truly will be competing at the Play 4 Polarpalooza competition where six DePaul musical acts will be competing for the chance to be the opener for the winter concert, Polarpalooza. Don’t worry though this isn’t going to be me plugging myself for an entire blog. I more so just want to let any students know that this campus is a great resource to not only have your music heard by the student population but also start to get your name out there and collaborate with other DePaul musicians. I wish everybody competing the best of luck and hope anybody interested will come out to support not only your favorite blogger but the rest of your fellow DePaul students. You might see an accompanying theme to a lot of my blogs here but the gist is there are a lot of cool things that make DePaul a really great place, so definitely take advantage of them and definitely spread the word!


Senior Capstone

ASKBeing a senior really didn’t hit me until I enrolled in my senior capstone. A Liberal Studies requirement for all DePaul students, Senior Capstone is an interactive course that allows you to reflect on your studies and learn skills for the future. The Public Relations and Advertising capstone is offered online as a means of preparing students for the highly digital workspace that is found within our industry.

For this past week’s assignment, I worked on securing an information interview with a PRAD professional that works in the industry. The assignment had us track down a professional who we would like to talk with, and conduct a short informational interview about the responsibilities of their position, as well as what it takes to secure an entry-level position in the world of Public Relations or Advertising. 

I ended up using DePaul Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network to connect with potential professionals I could interview. DePaul’s ASK network is a great way to connect with DPU alumni in your field who genuinely want to help students succeed in their career. I ended up securing an interview with a Publicist at Zapwater Communication located in the West Loop. Not only did I get a ton of great insights on what its like to be working in the Public Relations field in Chicago, but I also got great advice from a DePaul grad who was once in my shoes.

Had it not been for this assignment I most likely would have never utilized DePaul’s ASK network. Not only has this Senior Capstone class allowed me to reflect on my studies over the last four years at DePaul, but it has also introduced me to tactics and platforms I can use to help network with successful professionals in my industry.  

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Stretch Out the Stress

The only downside to living in the Midwest is that the winter seems to drag on way longer than they should. Visits from the sun are less frequent and the sky seems to have forgotten that there are colors besides white and gray. I’m the type of person that needs to be surrounded by natural color in order to be productive. That’s why this weekend I decided to make the trip down to the Garfield Park Conservatory and take a morning yoga class.

Popular for its stunning displays of diverse greenery, the Garfield Park Conservatory is the perfect place to escape the winter for an afternoon. Always free and open daily, this beautiful Chicagoan gem is about 45 minutes from campus right off the green line

The conservatory has different activities that vary every month, and this past weekend a few friends and I decided to grab our mats and check out the yoga class that they offered. Accompanied by a hundred excited strangers of all ages, the room was packed and full of positive energy. I’ve done yoga in several different places, but this class was undeniably the best experience out of all of them. Decorated with a beautiful fountain in the middle, and surrounded by a diverse population of trees the ambiance of the room was perfect for a relaxing yoga practice. We enjoyed ourselves, to say the least.

There’s always something going on at the conservatory. This yoga class runs every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9-10 am. If you need a little pick me up, I would absolutely recommend you try it out. If yoga isn’t really your thing, I’m looking for someone to try the beekeeping class with me! :)

Song of the Week: Cool It Child- Hazlett


Bean There, Drank That

I’m stopping by to share some college student realness: you will spend many hours and many dollars at coffee shops. If you’re thinking “but I don’t really like coffee”, well, you will soon learn to like it out of necessity or succumb to peer pressure. As soon as midterms roll around, I always find myself consuming copious amounts of coffee in order to function properly. Chicago is pretty incredible and has a lot of places that you can try until you find a favorite. I’m fortunate enough to have a roommate that loves coffee and tea as much as I do and is very willing to try new places. Going out to coffee shops is a good way to surround yourself with a new environment and explore the city a bit more. To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites around campus.

Lincoln Park

Bourgeois Pig​- Located a just a block past the School of Music, this is the most convenient place to visit.  My favorite thing about this coffee shop is the cozy environment and the fact that most of the items on their menu have literary names. Not to mention, DePaul students get a 10% discount when you show your ID!

Colectivo Coffee​- This coffee shop has a special place in my heart because the company started near my hometown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Known for their funky vibes and iconic skull cups, this is where I go when I’m feeling homesick and want a really good cup of coffee. It’s a bit further of a walk but absolutely worth it. Their outdoor patio is gorgeous, so I’d recommend visiting when it’s warmer out.

The Loop

Hero Coffee​- This is a coffee shop to visit when it’s warm outside because their seating is located in the alley in front of the cafe. It’s a very popularly photographed place but it took me half an hour to find the first time I went. It’s hidden across the street from the Barnes & Nobles on campus and is definitely worth a visit.

Song of the Week: Shake It Out- Florence and the Machine​


Concerts on concerts!

So it’s 2018 and there are so many artists announcing tour dates and I feel extremely overwhelmed with the number of potential concerts I can go to. It’s the end of January and I’ve already gone to two concerts and already have some planned for the next few months.
Lana

January 11th was Lana Del Rey’s concert at the United Center as a part of her LA to the Moon North American tour. I don’t usually go to the United Center for concerts but my best friend is a huge fan and Lana is an amazing artist so it was worth it. We had pretty bad seats, but it was nice not having to worry about being crushed against hundreds of people. We got to enjoy her beautiful voice from the comfort of our seats as we ate our overpriced fries and nachos. Pro tip: maybe have a nice dinner before you go to the United Center. Lana was a great person to see live along with Jhene Aiko, both amazing women artists. If you have never listened to them before I highly recommend if you love chill female artists.

More recently, I went to another concert but a smaller one on January 27th with my friend at Uncommon Ground. We went to see Beach Bunny, a really good local indie/power-pop band. This venue was all the way over by Loyola but worth the distance because we got off the Loyola redline stop and enjoyed a great dinner at Blaze Pizza before the show. 

Uncommon Ground was also super cool, it’s a restaurant too with the music section in the back where people can enjoy the bands that are playing with a good dinner in a small intimate room. This was definitely a lot different than the Lana concert and a good relaxing setting, but both were great concerts. I can’t wait to go to more upcoming concerts in Chicago. The music scene is amazing here and I can’t wait for more artists to announce tour dates and hopefully add more shows. Make sure you follow your favorite artists so you don’t miss a chance to see them live!


I Stole a Balloon on Free Balloon Day

During the January 15—19 stretch I took advantage of the free days to go to the Shedd Aquarium right on Museum Campus. The next round of free days won’t be until February 5th through the 9th. I recommend acquiring the tickets online so that there is no hassle, confusion, or wait upon entering any of the museums. When I went to the Shedd they can simply scan the barcode of the ticket on my phone. It has been years since I visited the Adler Planetarium or Field Museum so I will make it a priority to swing by when February comes.  


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!


Academic Advisor

One thing I always recommend for students is to keep in touch with your advisor​. I know it may seem like a chore and that you’re old enough to keep up with your own academic progress but you should always use your advisor as a resource. If you’re changing your degree or major they will have all the information you need to either make a smooth transition or advise you on how things would change for you. I believe it is still a freshman requirement to meet with your advisor before you sign up for your second quarter of classes but for most students, that’s usually the last time people decide to keep in touch.

But sometimes there are questions that only an advisor can answer such as substituting classes and double majoring or minoring. And usually, these types of questions don’t come until your last two years of college. And by that time some students completely forget or fall out of touch with their advisors. I’m speaking from experience here as I haven’t talked to my advisor for quite some time despite needing important answers about my academic future.

Luckily for me and many other students in similar situations, it is never too late. On your campus connect ​or your degree progress report you can find out your advisor’s name and then schedule a meeting with him or her. I’d suggest doing it as soon as possible as they have plenty of students to meet with. Never hesitate to use your academic resources to better yourself at DePaul.


Apply for Study Abroad

In honor of the study abroad deadline being just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk about why I encourage every DePaul student to go abroad. People who talk about their study abroad experiences often sound like a broken record, going on and on about how it is life changing and their favorite part of college. I’m here to tell you that all the great things you hear about going abroad are completely and 100% true. From immersing yourself in a different culture to meeting new friends from DePaul and beyond, it’s absolutely one of the most worthwhile college experiences I have had. One of the best parts about all of DePaul’s programs is that they have something that can fit everyone’s wants and needs.

I studied abroad the fall semester of my junior year in Budapest, Hungary. As one of DePaul’s most popular programs, I got to travel across the world with over 40 DePaul students and take classes at Corvinus University located right in the heart of Budapest. The program focused on studies in commerce, society and culture in Eastern Europe, but students could choose to take classes on any number of things. While I was in Budapest I took a class on the Hungarian language, a class about Eastern Europe film and culture, and even a communications course. I was also lucky enough to have four-day weekends, which gave me a chance to travel with friends to countries all over Europe and the UK.

Though I'm partial to recommending everyone take part in the Budapest program, DePaul offers close to 100 different programs of various lengths for students to choose from. From short two-week trips to programs that are a full year long, you can truly tailor the study abroad experience to your liking. DePaul also offers study abroad fairs and info sessions for select programs that give prospective students a chance to learn what the program is like first hand from student alumni. For those looking to study abroad this summer or next fall, applications are due by February 1st.  Take a word of advice and study aboard, you definitely won’t regret it!


Wanna Go Workout?

Athletic is a word I’ve always used to describe myself. In high school, I was involved in a variety of sports and I enjoyed being active. In moving to a new city and adjusting to a more demanding schedule, finding time to exercise daily became a challenge. Lucky for me, I got a membership to the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center when I decided to enroll at DePaul. Often referred to as “the Ray,” our gym has a multitude of options that meets everyone’s athletic needs. As someone who has zero knowledge about how to use any exercise machine besides the treadmill and gets easily intimidated by fit strangers, I usually opt for the fitness classes. From pilates to cardio kickboxing, there’s a variety of new workouts to try. These are some of the best classes that I’ve taken are

Yoga:  I used to play soccer in high school and yoga helped me stretch out my body. Not only is it a really healthy way to relax and meditate, but it’s also secretly a workout. With some ab exercises subtly woven into the practice, this class will have you do hard work without you realizing it. There’s usually at least one yoga class that runs every day so it’s easy to find a time to go, even during the busiest of weeks.

Boxing Bootcamp: A friend of mine convinced me to try this (thanks, Tommy!), and even though I felt totally out of my element at first, I ended up really enjoying myself. There is something very empowering about learning different kinds of punches and realizing that I’m absolutely capable of defending myself, should the occasion ever arise. This class does wonders for your arms. Fair warning though, you will be EXTREMELY sore after day one.

Zumba: Dancing is one of those activities that I am absolutely horrible at but continue to do because it’s so much fun. The combination of upbeat music and a room full of energetic people is such a powerful motivator and will get you through 45 minutes of intense Zumba.

I’ve grown to love the Ray and incorporate a visit into my daily routine. Going to these classes with friends is a fun activity that will encourage healthy habits (and it’s free!). Even if occasionally it means braving the cold, I know I’ll feel really good after working out. And as a bonus, they have really delicious smoothies in the cafe on the first level :)

Song of the Week: Don’t Take the Money- Bleachers  


Food Nostalgia

​​It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve gotten back and I’m really missing the food from India. A lot of the food can be found here too, but it tastes a lot different in India. Everything I ate was so fresh. Whether it was a restaurant or a family member’s cooking, the food was prepared so well and tasted so great because they used locally grown vegetables and fruit. Here are some pictures of some of the food I ate.
picnic
We were on the way to Udaipur, but needed to find a place to eat, so we parked the car on the side of a road and had a picnic on the side of the road in Rajasthan. We went with my cousin’s friends and her uncle, so everyone brought something they made from home.

pineapple
We went to a spice garden and I never knew pineapples are pink before they get ripe. Also there are a lot of street vendors so I always bought fruit from them and would love getting the pineapple slices with spices.

chutney
Our chef from the houseboat we stayed on made this pineapple chutney and it was one of the best things I ate.

fruit
Local fruit stand in my cousin’s village. (The red fruit is not a tomato)

coconut
I love how they are a two in one, drink and snack because you can eat the inside once you’re done drinking.

coconut
We had a coconut in South India every day

leaf
We had a traditional south Indian meal on a banana leaf. Eating this was an experience because we sat down at a long table and the servers would walk by and slap food onto our leaves and we had to eat things in a certain order and with our hands.


Got to Get That Dough

donutsMy autumn quarter was a busy one, so much so that I forgot to put some time aside for my true love, doughnuts. When you get the craving for doughnuts, there is a dilemma that arises: which doughnut shop do I go to? I could play it safe and revisit a familiar place like Do-Rite Donuts. On the other hand, I could step out of my comfort zone and try a different doughnut shop. 

As it turns out, there is a Stan’s Donuts less than a mile from my apartment. Upon entering I was disappointed with the low variety and quantity of doughnuts, but I was to blame because I did go in the evening. Nevertheless, there were some extraordinary flavors to choose from. I went with a Captain Crunch doughnut with a cream filling and when that fried pastry touched my palette, I realized the premium doughnut price tag was well worth it. There are Stan’s Donuts scattered across the city. I just ran into another one off of the Roosevelt Red Line. I recommend you go in, try one, try two, or maybe a dozen, and you will agree doughnuts are the best desserts out there.  


Day and Night

Since there were no classes this Monday due to Martin Luther King Day, I decided to convince a couple of my friends to be my subjects for a photography project for class (see my last post ). Throughout the morning I trudged through the snow trying to create some quality pictures by posing my roommate in various settings and positions, but I actually ended up taking my favorites when we stopped for a quick coffee to warm up at Le Pain Quotidien, a coffee shop near campus.

The theme of the project was ‘Day and Night’ which meant I needed to take some photos in semi-darkness to create the image of ‘night.’ For this part of the project, I asked another friend to pose for some pictures in the front hallway of my apartment which is illuminated by a single string of lights. I was skeptical about taking pictures in semi-darkness without flash, but they turned out pretty well.

Although I ended up taking over 300 photos, only five made the final cut. I’ve only just started my photography class, but I’m already learning a lot about technique and the general rules of creating photos. I’m excited to work on upcoming projects and share them here on my blog! 


DePaul Neighborhood Spotlight: Monograms on Webster

As we all know, Chicago is not a “college town.”  Choosing DePaul gives you a different experience than those who attend a state school.  But that does not mean that we don’t have our own neighborhood treasures.  The Lincoln Park campus is just a few blocks away from Armitage, a street known for its cute boutiques, restaurants, and shops.  But even closer is Webster Ave, another street packed with hidden gems.  One of the gems, where I happen to be sitting right now as I type this blog, is Monograms on Webster.

Monograms on Webster custom embroider almost anything you can imagine!  We sell everything from blankets, to cutting boards, to piggy banks, to PJs.  And if we don’t have just what you are looking for, you can bring something in and we can customize that too.  Before working here, I wasn’t aware that this place existed and I hear the same thing from many of our first-time customers who just happen to walk by.  But it is simply the best place to pick out a personalized gift for anyone on your list. 

If the creativity and cuteness of Pinterest came to life, it would look a lot like Monograms on Webster.  And that is why it’s such a great place to work.  Unlike most retail places, Monograms on Webster is a personal shopping experience.  You not only get to pick out your gift, but you also can embroider the receiver’s name or monogram on it in almost any font or color imaginable.  And I get to help with all of this!  Deciding which options to go with is imaginative and fun and seeing the faces of the customers picking up their finished, embroidered gifts is my absolute favorite. 

I can go on and on describing what it’s like here, but why not come see for yourself!?  Monograms on Webster is located at 1210 W. Webster, right next to Sweet Mandy B’s​—a delicious bakery I am SURE you’ve heard about.  See you soon!    


The Catcade

Cat lovers galore! Any DePaul students who don’t own cats but want to play with them at your own leisure I have the perfect weekend activity for you. This past Saturday I spent my time at “The Catcade ”. Chicago’s Arcade Cat Rescue and Lounge is a place where you can not only play with various cats but also play some classic arcade games as well (Metal Slug, Pac Man, Galaga, etc. for those wondering). 

I had never been there before but I found the experience to be incredibly enjoyable. As someone who would classify themselves as more of a dog person, I’ve always been apprehensive about cats, especially since I’ve never really interacted with them for a long period of time. That all changed however once I went to the Catcade and began just observing and playing with kittens. I think the biggest thing to realize is that cats really do have a mind of their own. Not necessarily better or worse than dogs they are simply just different. They can lose and gain interest in something in a matter of seconds. 

There are plenty of toys to try to attract their attention but one of the many things the establishment will tell you before you engage with the cats is that you can’t control whether they want to play with you, you’re not allowed to pick them up at will because cats aren’t those kinds of animals. But in the end, it makes it that much more gratifying when you do get them to play with you and I think it’s worth the 15 dollars for an hour. All the cats are from rescue shelters and are adorable. The Catcade is located off the Belmont redline stop at 1235 W Belmont Avenue. Try it out sometime and have fun!


Women's March 2018

One thing I've learned from living in Chicago over the past three years is that there is always something exciting going on, and this weekend was no different. Both here in Chicago and all across the country, women (and men) took to the streets to advocate for equality, protest various policies, and to rally for the upcoming midterm elections this November.

After a successful 2017 Women’s March one year ago, Chicago and cities across the globe prepared for even a bigger turn out this year, and they definitely got one. An estimated 300,000 people flooded the streets of Chicago to march this past Saturday. Clad with signs and flags, the event was truly a special thing to be a part of. As a first time marcher, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the day was filled with optimism, empowerment, and more specifically people advocating others to let their voice be heard through their vote.

As amazing as it was to see so many people out on the streets and advocating for change, the march in Chicago was just one of the hundreds of events that happened worldwide this past weekend. From New York to London, the march was much more than just encouraging women to vote this November. 

It was a gathering ground for people to speak their mind, and march for anything and everything that they believe is important.  As I marched alongside 300,000, I saw advocates showing support for women’s equality, racial minorities, LGBTQ, climate change, healthcare, and so much more.  Overall the march was a day to remember, and all of those who came out this weekend will look forward to the real march to the polls that will happen this November.  


Skate at Your Own Risk

ice skatingTo keep the spirit of new adventures alive, I decided to try skating. I had roller-skated years ago and was not that bad, so I figured it’d be pretty similar. Well, I was pretty wrong and my confidence had deceived me. After multiple hard falls onto the ice and sore ankles, I vowed never to skate again.

The first thing you should know about the “ribbon” is that it is not like your typical skating rink. This set of ice snakes along Millennium Park and features slight alterations in elevation. Located not too far from the Millennium Park rink by the Cloud Gate, I chose the Maggie Daley Ribbon because it was less busy and actually bestows a larger square footage of ice. The cost to rent skates ranges from twelve dollars to fourteen dollars depending on the day (weekdays are cheaper). If you’re an avid skater, I’d recommend buying your own skates since they’ll probably fit better and an ill-fitting pair of skates will make your time on the ice miserable. Admission is free to everyone every day, so there really is no excuse to not give skating a chance. The Ribbon opened in mid-November and will remain open to the public until the beginning of March.


Intro To Digital Photography

This quarter my schedule is packed with tough environmental studies courses, but I am also taking a photography class for the honors program arts requirement. Although it’s only week two, I can already tell it’s going to be a challenging yet fulfilling course. Since I am spending most of my time doing scientific work, it’s a welcome relief to be able to devote a few hours each week toward being creative and delving into artistic expression.

For the honors arts requirement, students have a wide range of choices including but not limited to: creative writing, acting, screenwriting, game design, and of course photography. Within photography, students even have the option between digital and still photography. While some of my other requirements feel like something I ‘have’ to do, for this one I had a hard time choosing just one!

For our first project, the assignment was to create photos portraying eggs in a dynamic way. Since I don’t eat eggs and find them completely unappetizing and unappealing, it was difficult to have to spend so much time taking photos of them and attempting to make them appear in an aesthetically pleasing way. After quite a bit of a time setting them up in a million different ways, I finally was able to take some that I liked.

Although I’m already feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work I am going to have to do this quarter with my course load, I am feeling grateful that I decided to add a photography class to my schedule. Additionally, I am glad DePaul encourages students to be creative no matter what major or field they’re studying. Stay tuned to see more photos from my photography class, hopefully, we begin to focus on a subject other than eggs sometime soon!


Surviving Night Class

As an education major who volunteers at high schools during the school day, I am accustomed to having a night class at DePaul.  In fact, this quarter I have three night classes throughout the week (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday!).  But even if you are not an education major, you are likely to have at least one night class by the time you graduate from DePaul.

Night classes are once a week for about three hours, usually 6:00-9: 15 PM or 5:30-8: 45 PM.  They can quickly feel quite long, but I am here to share with you a few tips that can make your experience with night class go just a bit more smoothly: 

1) Eat dinner beforehand—Nothing makes class drag longer than a grumbling stomach.  Also, this prevents you from eating dinner past 9:00 pm, saving you from late-night eating induced nightmares!  When you get home from the class you can focus on unwinding by watching an episode of your favorite TV show, rather than trying to cook something up when you are already drained.

2) Be sure your professor is giving you the 15-minute break you are allotted—Sometimes professors try and negotiate with the class on the first day regarding this.  They may offer to let you out 15 minutes early in reward for powering through the three hours uninterrupted.  Although this may seem sweet at first, it is important to give our brains a break, even if it is only for a few minutes.  No matter what, just know that the lecture/class time is only supposed to be three hours, despite the class being three hours and fifteen minutes.

3) Bring a water bottle and pack a snack—I can definitely say that I drink the most water when I am in class.  It not only keeps my body healthy, but it mostly gives me something to do when I am stuck sitting in the same position for a long time.  If boredom strikes, you can at least enjoy a quiet, light snack and cool water from the water bottle fill-up stations, conveniently located in every building.

4) Try to make friends, or at the very least exchange contact information with one classmate—This gives you someone to talk to during the break, someone to collaborate with during discussions or projects, and most importantly someone to connect with if you miss a class.  Since night class is only once a week, it is important to attend every class.  But if you are sick, it is always helpful to have someone to text right away to find out what you missed!


Next Door Cafe

“A lofty cafe with an event wall draws freelancers with work areas & free bookable meeting space,” is exactly what you’ll find if you search “Next Door Café ” on Google.
Located on Diversey just a short walk from DePaul, this coffee shop meets community center is a one of a kind addition to the neighborhood. When I first stumbled across Next Door I was somewhat confused. The sign outside reads “Next Door State Farm” which in no way helped me understand what this place was all about.

After venturing in one Sunday morning, I can definitely say this place is unlike any other coffee shop I've been to around Chicago. Not only do they offer amazing coffee and pastries with plenty of room to lounge, but they also offer financial coaching, educational classes, and bookable meeting rooms. The best part about all of it is that it’s FREE. Well, everything except for the coffee that is. That means free classes, free financial coaching, and free meeting rooms.

At first, I was only interested in the coffee shop aspect of Next Door. Because honestly, financial coaching and budgeting classes don’t register very high on my list of things to do (even if its free). But after some research, I found some really cool classes they offer. From tips on creating a successful website to social media trends, how-to workshops, and even a class titled “I Suck at Budgeting.” The “coaches” aka the teachers of these classes are experts, and they bring real-life experiences to light in order to help you get the most out of the class.

Even if financial coaching or classes aren’t your thing, Next Door is still a solid coffee shop. With plenty of space to lounge, great coffee, and free Wi-Fi, it’s the perfect place to get work done, or just catch up with friends.  

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Being Vegetarian in College

With the start of a new year comes a long list of resolutions that usually takes a while for me to start addressing. That’s why this past November, I decided that I was going to start my journey towards self-betterment a little earlier. Over the course of the past two months, I chose to transition into a vegetarian lifestyle. Meat wasn’t a huge part of my diet before, so I thought it wouldn’t that big of an adjustment. I made this change while we were on our long winter break, and I grew nervous about maintaining this diet in college, where the food available to me was more limited.

Fortunately, I returned to the student center pleasantly surprised. Over the break, the university had built a new vegan restaurant next to the sandwich deli. “Rooted ” offers the option of a wrap, a salad or a bowl with lots of different kinds of yummy foods to mix together for endless combinations. This was my first experience with vegan food and I fell in love with it! This is my new go-to place because everything goes well together and it’s so delicious, you can’t even tell it’s healthy.

One of the things I appreciate about DePaul is how accommodating they are to students’ needs. There is a variety of foods to enjoy even with a limited diet.  In case you need some more inspiration, a few of my favorites meals are:

Salads with a lot of garbanzo beans.  Right when you walk into the main portion of the cafeteria, there’s a salad bar that’s always stocked with enough fresh greens to satisfy any salad craving.

Buffalo Mozzarella Sandwich.  The Bean is the main cafe on campus. They’re always stocked with lots of different sandwich and wrap options when you want a quick bite to eat before class. I love the buffalo mozzarella sandwich because it’s super filling and easy to take with me.

Veggie Sushi. We are fortunate enough to have a kitchen staff that makes fresh sushi every day. That’s right, FRESH sushi. The veggie sushi holds a very special place in my heart. They sell it at ETC, which can be found on the second floor of the student center. I will say that sushi is super popular and it goes quick. For the most variety, I’d suggest going early in the afternoon.

There are lots of signs and labels on foods listing the ingredients. It’s always safe to check before you eat anything. If you have any other dietary concerns, don’t hesitate to ask the staff. They’re super kind and very willing to help you find something that suits your needs. Happy New Year and happy eating! :)  


Digital Cinema

Shout out to all Digital Cinema students! Especially the ones not aware! You should use all the resources here at DePaul to your disposal. As students of the College of Computing and Digital Media, we have unique opportunities such as renting extremely expensive and high-quality equipment. I’m in my junior year here at DePaul and I certainly don’t think I’ve used these resources as much as I should have been.
But it’s never too late, underclassmen should be aware that at the Loop campus in the basement of the 14 East Jackson building there is “The Cage​” that allows you to temporarily borrow equipment. If there’s any short films, sketches, or even professional interviews you would like to do, I would suggest using these resources to the best of your ability all four years. Don’t be afraid to ask about certain materials and equipment if you’re not sure how to use them. Always make sure you’re getting exactly what you ask for and please always return it on time. 
There are many students here at DePaul waiting to use the equipment so try not to damage it either. I recently rented cameras from the cage and had one of the best filming experiences of my life. I’m personally not so handy or knowledgeable behind the camera so it was difficult at first but I learned quite a lot just to getting into it and doing what I can. I think in-class learning is a necessity but getting actual experience is just as important. So it doesn’t matter what your concentration is, rent some equipment, start filming, and get some equipment!


Study Abroad in Switzerland

“Hi, how are you?” “How was your break?” “What did you do?”

It’s the first week back from our six-week long winter break and I have been prepared to answer these same questions about 5 times a day. I’m glad I finally have something to talk about this time. This winter break I spent 10 of my days studying abroad in Switzerland and it was one of my highlights of 2017. I’m going to swiftly go through some of the things that we did on our trip and hopefully convince you to study abroad- or just travel in general.

The first full day we were in Geneva we had a tour at the United Nations in the morning then a meeting with the Ambassador from Costa Rica at the World Trade Organization in the afternoon. I still can’t believe I was at the UN and got to sit at a table with the Costa Rican ambassador with my classmates and hear about what he had to say- he was so personable I could have listened to him talk forever.

The next day we walked to cultural sights of Geneva after we had a morning at the Red Cross Museum. The Sunday we were there was our fun day! It was filled with good food and beautiful views. We went to a chocolate factory to learn about how chocolate was made and of course, we ate a bunch of amazing Swiss chocolate in the end. The chocolate from there was amazing, it melts in your mouth and tastes so clean- if that makes sense. After a morning of chocolate, we went to Gruyere Town which was a small town on a mountain where we had a raclette lunch and explored a castle.

Monday we had a visit at UNICEF which was one of my favorite visits. We met with a woman who knew so much about UNICEF and answered everything and more we asked. She was so knowledgeable about what she did and worked her way through a unique route to get to where she is now.

On Tuesday we moved from Geneva to Zurich, a larger more city-like area of Switzerland and along the way, we stopped at another castle and did some Christmas shopping in one of the many Christmas markets we had seen. On the second half of our trip, we did a lot of visits: we went to a college in Zurich, the World Economic Forum, WWF, and ROPKA. Our professor made sure we visited a good range of organizations, for example from a grassroots one (ROPKA) to WWF (such a well-known one).

Although it seems like what I enjoyed most about my study abroad trip was the food, I enjoyed every single educational visit we had more than anything. I have experienced so many different types of organizations of the nonprofit world and love the memories and knowledge I have gained from the visits we did and people we met.

I highly recommend studying abroad, especially this program if you are a business student and are interested in traveling. It’s good exposure to traveling along with an interactive way to learn about an interesting subject. I’m very glad this trip was my first experience in Europe. My Professor has created an amazing program and has inspired me to continue traveling and exposing myself to more experiences and cultures.  


Winning Winter

winterI can easily say that of the three years I have studied in Chicago, this year proves to hold the most brutal winter. In addition to the subzero temperatures, I no longer have the luxury of walking only a couple of minutes to the Fullerton train station. Now, I walk fifteen minutes in the frigid cold and I had no choice but to upgrade my winter wardrobe. Here are my go-to winter essentials I utilize on a daily basis. 

Tommy Hilfiger Long Snorkel Coat

If you saw me in the prior two years during temperatures below fifty degrees you would have seen me wearing a Loras college jacket. I learned the hard way that a bomber jacket stands no chance against the Chicago winter and I looked to a parka for warmth. This Tommy Hilfiger parka is literally my lifesaver for the commute to classes.

Uniqlo Heattech Extra Warm Tights

With my torso and arms not feeling a slightest of breeze, my legs on the other hand still suffered. Jeans just would not cut it and I found myself with numb legs after every excursion outside. The answer was quite simple: just put on another layer underneath. That is why these skin-tight and cozy long johns are a game changer and like the parka, are the first of its kind I have ever owned.

Timberland Nelson Chukka Boots

I learned quickly freshman year that if you don’t own waterproof boots, you’d come back to your dorm with wet and cold feet. I chose these particular boots because they’re waterproof, but also a lower cut and feature black nubuck, thus making them adaptable to casual and formal outfits. I used to wear my gym shoes to the gym, but I nearly ruined the pair with all the salt on the sidewalk and stepping in dirty snow.

Timberland Solid Watch Cap

This is simply a black beanie to match the black boots. As much as I hate what a hat does to my hair, my ears will always thank me for wearing one. 

Polo Ralph Lauren Quilted Field Gloves

Wearing gloves was something I’d only do when playing in the snow or shoveling the driveway. I have never been a person to wear gloves casually, but once again, these Chicago winters will change a man. These gloves are like a jacket for your hands. Fleece interior lining, leather palms, and nylon for the back, I am not afraid to wear these for an interview or just to class.

There are obviously plenty of other things to consider for dressing in the winter like thick socks for your boots, a warm inner layer like a crewneck sweatshirt, or a thick pair of jeans, but these are the everyday staples of my wardrobe. Despite the fact I am, for the first time in my life, properly equipped for winter temperatures, I still cannot help but look forward to summer and laying on the beach once again.  


#OneWord2018

It’s January—a time of new beginnings, resolutions, and future goals.  I am not usually one for New Year’s resolutions, but in my English Education class, I was introduced to an intriguing idea. 

We were to choose a single word to reflect and focus on each day throughout the New Year.  Now telling someone who is thoroughly invested in the English language and its many intricacies to pick just one word for an entire year is definitely a challenging proposition.  But after watching this video in class, I was truly inspired.    

Breathe. 

I chose this word to guide me through 2018 for a variety of reasons. 

We breathe every second of every day, most of the time without even realizing it.  For the majority of us, it isn’t work to do so.  For my grandma with emphysema, it is an act of labor—one she cannot do without the assistance of 24/7 oxygen flowing through a “hose in her nose” as she says.  But together, we breathe. 

breatheTo breathe is to be alive and when life gets tough it is important to remember that even though it can sometimes be challenging, life truly is a beautiful gift. 

I am currently a senior and 2018 has been a highly anticipated year.  When I graduated high school in 2014, 2018 sounded so distant to me as I joined the “Official DePaul University Class of 2018” Facebook group. 

This year, I will student teach at Jones College Prep, graduate DePaul, and begin my life as an adult—no longer in that weird semi-independent, but still very much dependent on my parents' stage of life.   

Through all these exciting, but incredibly challenging and stressful changes, I will remind myself to breathe.  To take a step back and realize how lucky I am to live in Chicago, to attend a great university, to be able to rely on an unbelievable support system of family and friends, and to breathe—to be alive!

Though it has only been four days since I have selected my word, it has already positively influenced my perspective on this New Year and on my life as a whole.  When I am feeling overwhelmed, I breathe.  When I am feeling joyous, I breathe that feeling in too. 

So I encourage you to think, what word inspires you to tackle 2018?  What word do you want to think about right when you wake up, the moments before you fall asleep, and all the time in between?  There are so many words to choose from, but by selecting just one you can work towards living a more focused and intentional lifestyle. 

Happy New Year to all!  And don’t forget to breathe.    


Winter Break at DePaul

This winter, I spent the majority of DePaul’s six-week break here in Chicago. Last year I divided my time between working an internship and taking an extra class, while this year I only worked my regular job as a waitress at Athenian Room which gave me the chance to rest and rejuvenate for winter quarter. 
From going downtown to take pictures of Chicago’s beautiful Christmas decorations to enjoying brunch with friends (& my sister who came to visit), this winter break was definitely restful and a welcome relief from the stress of fall finals. Having an entire six weeks off of school allowed me to take a much-needed break while also spending time with those I love and continuing to work and make money.

Although DePaul’s quarter system can seem daunting or strange, it offers students some major perks. Along with our extended break, the school year also does not start until September while most other universities are beginning their academic year in mid-August. It has taken some getting used to, but I would not trade the quarter system for anything else.

I hope everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating winter break!  


How to Save Money in 2018

Being a college student in Chicago is pretty tough when it comes to your wallet. From going out with friends to buying food and groceries, it can be hard to save money for the future. But following a couple rules and changing your spending habits can really help put some more cash back into your budget. Here’s some money saving hacks to follow in the New Year.
Use a budgeting app: Learning how to budget isn’t the first thing on any college students to do list. But figuring out your monthly income and expenses can help you understand where all your money is going. Budgeting apps make it easy to see all your spending habits right from your phone and will give you a better sense of where you need to improve.  

Check the library for required textbooks: Buying used or renting textbooks is a great way to save some extra money. But before you buy always remember to check the library. Professors often keep required textbooks in the library for students to check out. The best part about it is that it’s completely free. Textbook prices can be pretty steep, so this simple trick could definitely give you some extra money in your budget.

Pack a lunch: Between classes, schoolwork, and jobs and internships, most students are running around and out of the house for the entire day. Packing a lunch or snacks when you know you have a busy day ensures that you won't end up spending another ten dollars at Chipotle.  Plus use the money you save for going out to dinner with friends or family on the weekend!

Buy a coffee maker: Spending money on coffee is one of the biggest money drainers that I’m definitely guilty of. Splurging for a coffee or latte once and awhile isn’t so bad, but it can definitely add up. Investing in a coffee maker for your dorm or apartment is a great way to get your fix without breaking the bank.

Take advantage of student discountsStudent discounts are seriously one of the best parts of being a college student. From restaurants to clothing stores and even electronics, thousands of companies are willing to give you a deal just because you’re a student. Whatever you’re spending your money on, make sure to always ask if your DePaul ID can save you some cash.

Save spare change: The old trick of throwing your spare change and dollar bills in the piggy bank is actually a great way to accumulate money over time. Get in the habit of putting a couple dollars in a jar every few days and see how much you can make down the road.


Meet Haedy!

Hello, dears! My name is Haedy Gorostieta, and I have an ongoing love affair with iced chai lattes. I am a first-year Psychology and Spanish double major here at DePaul.  Coming from Waukesha, Wisconsin, a not so small suburb just 30 minutes west of Milwaukee, moving to such a huge city was definitely a challenge. In Waukesha, the night sky is frequently decorated with stars and there are more trees than people. Nonetheless, I’ve come to fall in love with Chicago and all that it has to offer.

Some of my pastimes include discovering new bands and adding them to my Spotify playlists, exploring the city’s green spaces, and throwing up peace signs in every photo that’s taken of me. I live for stolen hours in cute coffee shops with my trusted journal and laptop, feeding off of everyone’s productive energy, and trying to check off items on my to-do list. My favorite day is Sunday as it stands for relaxed mornings and a fresh start to a new week. You can often find me admiring sunsets or exploring unique pockets within the city. 

Just having finished my first quarter of college, I’ve come to the realization that I’m at the beginning of a life-changing journey. And what better place to bloom than in the city that never sleeps at night? I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to document my experiences through these blog posts. If they’re the slightest bit helpful, then I’ve done my job. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to stop by; it truly means the world. And if you see me strutting down the streets of campus, don’t be afraid to say hi! :)  


Meet Joe!

Hi there! I’m Joe Hendrix and one of the newest DeBloggers! I’m a junior here at DePaul University majoring in Digital Cinema  with a concentration in screenwriting. I’m from the city of Chicago and I couldn’t be happier to be at a university that allows me to stay in my hometown around my family and friends while also exploring new parts of the city I’ve never been to all while also meeting new and interesting people. As you can tell by my major I’m really into movies and television, specifically writing for them.

But I’m also into music as well, over the last couple years I’ve become fond of many different genres such as alternative R&B, underground rap, Triphop, etc. At the end of my freshmen year, I even began to start making music myself. I find it to be a fun way to express myself as I believe music is a medium that everyone at some point or another will enjoy. Music is universal.

That being said I want to be a jack of all trades when it comes to my career. I’d like to create a television show, movie, album, anime, and probably some other stuff in my lifetime. I like to think of myself as a creative. I don’t want to limit myself to just one career or thing that defines me, and I don’t think you should either. People I look up to like Donald Glover are comedians, writers, musicians, and actors and that inspires me to try to go after and obtain whatever I want in life. And I’d like to hope that in the future I can try to achieve many things I didn’t think were possible when I was younger, and I hope you do too! I look forward to you learning more about me and my adventures here at DePaul! Have a nice day and always go the Vincentian ​way!


Gourmet Hot Dogs

hot dogIf you were lucky enough, then you had the privilege of visiting Hot Doug’s when its doors were still open. Sure, I had to wait three hours, but I would have done it time and time again. Hot Doug’s did not just serve your typical Polish; this place had exotic meats like duck, rattlesnake, elk, and pheasant. Unfortunately, Hot Doug’s has since closed its doors, but now has a tiny operation going on at Wrigley Field by the bleachers.

When searching Google for the best value food in Chicago, I came across Hot “G” Dogs as a recommendation. Let me first tell you that you will not find any bargains here (with sausage at the eight dollar mark) but you will walk into a restaurant that mimics the style of Hot Doug’s. The gourmet toppings for their specialty sausages are indescribable, but they surely compliment the sausage in an unimaginable way. The menu features some of the same items, even right down to the duck fat fries. I always ask people if they had the luxury of visiting Hot Doug’s in the past, but now I will have to ask if they will go to Hot “G” Dogs sometime soon.


The Benefits of Finals Week

It is round one of DePaul’s triple set of finals and it is my senior year.  Safe to say I am feeling fairly drained, but this blog post is dedicated to focusing on the positives of finals week.  As contradictory as you might find that last statement, finals week, in my opinion, is not as bad as it seems at first glance.

Yes, you have many things to do, but you also have a lot more time to do them.  The best part of finals week is NO CLASS and in my case no work either.  As a writing tutor, the benefit to not missing any of your shifts during the regular quarter is having the luxury of time off during finals.  All of a sudden I have found myself with this free time that I did not have all quarter and it provides a total breath of fresh air.  Once I have taken that much needed deep breath, however, I must use this time wisely to spread out my workload.

You can also use this time to explore NEW STUDY SPOTSBecause you don’t have to balance class and studying like you do during midterms, you can really travel away from campus to get your work done.  Try checking out local coffee shops, public libraries, or even a friend’s apartment.  It’s always nice to get a change of scenery when it seems your project is never ending! 

Another benefit of finals week is EMPATHY.  Everyone understands when you roll up to the library at 1:00 am in a mismatched sweat suit, messy bun, and a towering stack of incomplete work.  Everyone at DePaul is going through finals week together, which means everyone can complain, wear pjs, stress, and celebrate collectively when it is all over.

Speaking of celebrating, once finals week is over we get to enjoy a SIX-WEEK WINTER BREAK.  Not only is our break nice and long, it also allows us to celebrate all of the holidays worry-free.  Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the New Year, you won’t have to stress about projects or tests hanging over your head while you are enjoying this special time with your friends and family.   

So hang in there, DePaul.  You can do it, especially if you try your best to stay positive!


Christmas in Chicago

This year will be the first year I will not be able to celebrate actual Christmas in Chicago and I am extremely upset about it. But Chicago starts celebrating Christmas very early; the holiday festivities start the beginning of November so I’m glad I won’t be missing too much. So for those people who play Christmas music as early as they possibly can, here are some of Chicago’s early holiday festivities you can go to and begin spreading your holiday spirit.

Chicago’s 104th Christmas Tree Lighting

When: November 17 @ 6pm​

Where: Millennium Park

This year’s tree is about 62 feet tall and the ceremony is always accompanied by music and fireworks. It’s usually a really short ceremony so if you are not a fan of standing in the cold for hours, this is a good event to go to.  

The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival​

When: November 18 @ 5:30 pm

Where: Michigan Avenue- from Oak Street to Wacker Drive

During this festival along Michigan Avenue, the holiday lights are turned on for the beginning of the holiday season. The Magnificent Mile always looks like a winter wonderland in the winter with all the lights and street decorations. There is also a parade for this festival with tons of music and sometimes famous people-for example Ben Zobrist and his wife were on a float last year after the Cubs had won the world series.  

Christkindlmarket: Chicago​

When: November 17-24

Where: Daley Plaza

The famous Christkindlmarket is a must “go to” during the holiday seasons. There are vendors selling cute holiday items, along with food and the most infamous hot chocolate in their specialty mugs. If you have never been, you must go to this market!

Christkindlmarket: Park at Wrigley​

When: November 24-December 31

Where: Park at Wrigley

The Christkindlmarkt is also opening up another location for their market in Wrigleyville. This market will include mostly the same things but with more activities and even an ice-skating rink. If you have already been to the Chicago Christkindlmarket I suggest you check this one out.  


Fall Quarter Finals

There’s no feeling more bittersweet than being halfway done with finals. Although I still have a lot more work to do and all-nighters in the library to suffer through, I already know how good it’s going to feel when I’m officially done with schoolwork for six whole blissful weeks! At DePaul, we do things a little differently than most schools. Rather than coming back to school after Thanksgiving, we take our fall quarter finals beforehand and then have a six-week long break for the whole holiday season. The break can seem a little unusual, but it’s the perfect opportunity to work a seasonal job, take extra classes to get ahead, get a “winternship,” go on an incredible study abroad adventure or simply spend some time at home with family and friends enjoying some much-needed relaxation time.

This year, I’ll be staying in Chicago and picking up extra hours at my regular job. Last winter I stayed in Chicago as well to work and take extra classes; so I’m a little relieved to actually get a little bit of a break from schoolwork this year. I’ll be going home for a few days for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I’m excited to experience the holiday season here in Chicago for the remainder of break because the city celebrates​ in so many beautiful ways. Just thinking about ice skating in Millennium Park, attending the annual tree lighting, and shopping for gifts while walking down the Magnificent Mile is what’s getting me through this week. Good luck to everyone who is still finishing up finals! The holidays will be here before we know it (along with a much-needed break from classes).​


Six Things to do over DePaul's Six-Week Winter Break

Winter break is so close I can almost taste it. And one of my absolute favorite things about being at DePaul is the insanely long winter break we have to enjoy.  So whether you’re staying in Chicago or heading home for the holidays, here are six things you can do this winter break.

Take an online class: School might be the last thing any student wants to think about over break, but taking a class during winter intercession is a great way to catch up or get ahead on your credits. DePaul even offers a lot of online classes during winter break, so you can take the class wherever you’d like!

Visit friends/family: Six weeks of break leaves you plenty of time to do some traveling. Whether you’re planning a big trip cross country or visiting friends or family nearby, winter break is the perfect time to do it.

Apply for jobs and internships: Late fall and early winter is the perfect time to start applying for spring jobs and internships. Many employers begin posting job openings during this time, and getting a head start on your resume and application process can give you a leg up on the competition!

Volunteer: Volunteering is a fulfilling and fun way to spend free time during break. Organizations and charities are always looking for extra help during the holiday season, and a few hours of your time can make a huge difference in your community.

Make some money: While classes and homework are on hold for six weeks, it’s a perfect time to make some extra cash for the future. So pick up some extra shifts at work or look for a babysitting gig over the holiday, the extra money will come in handy once school starts back again.

Sleep in: Perhaps something that is on every college student’s to-do list over break is to sleep in. Sleep is hard to come by during the school year, so take advantage of the extra time and catch up on some zzzs while you can.  


Week 9 Focus

Week 9 for me is also known as my “get your life together” week. The fall quarter is almost over and our first break is so close. I can barely focus because I’m too excited to be done with school for the year, go home, see my friends and family, and celebrate the holidays.

Sadly, it’s time to prepare for finals even though it feels like I was taking midterms last week. Although it’s super easy to get distracted I’m going to take my distractions and use them as motivation. It’s so easy to get distracted when you’re near the end of the quarter and want to avoid your papers, group projects and studying but there are ways to stay focused. I’m just going to share some ways on how to stay focused when you have a lot of things on your plate.

My favorite way to keep organized and get things done is to make lists. Daily lists are the best. Where you can list all the things you need to get done for the day, and checking those things off as you go through your day is such a relieving feeling. Setting reminders is also very helpful, whether it be a reminder to do your laundry at 2 pm or finish your paper at 11:59 pm. This is a great thing to do if you’re very forgetful like me. Also, putting things on a calendar can help you see how available you are and how you can manage your time best. These are just a few ways I get my life together when I’m stressed, but stress is normal - especially when finals are approaching. It’s important to keep yourself motivated and not be too hard on yourself. Make sure to take breaks and make time for yourself.

​​​

Young Thug at the Metro

This is the second concert I have attended that was sponsored by Red Bull. The first was a Soulja Boy concert freshman year. These Red Bull concerts are typically really cheap if you sign up for the mailing list. The Soulja Boy concert was five dollars, whereas the Young Thug concert was fifteen if you bought the tickets before they sold out in the primary market. Not only are the concerts really cheap, but also Red Bull will provide a lot of free commodities for those attending. Of course, there will be an ample supply of energy drinks, but you are given a token that can be redeemed for a concert tee or other merchandise branded for that night’s concert. I cashed my token in for a Young Thug concert shirt of pretty decent quality. Red Bull ambassadors also gave out slices of pizza to those of us waiting for hours in line before the show. 

While it may be too late to buy tickets at fifteen dollars for artists like Migos (which I regret not buying) you can still purchase tickets in the secondary market- like StubHub. I still have one more concert in part of the 30 Days of Chicago and that is Khalid performing at the Aragon Ballroom on November 21. Check below for the full lineup of artists that will be performing throughout the month.

 


Life as an Out of State Student

Being from another state has pushed me to be more independent and reliant on myself. Rather than being able to call my parents to come check out an apartment I am interested in, I have to be attentive and responsible and decide for myself whether it seems like a safe place to live and a good fit. Instead of going home when I get sick or have had a hard week like some of my friends are able to do, I do not have that option. Being completely on my own has pushed me to succeed on my own without falling back on anyone else, and I am proud of the accomplishments I have achieved while living here in Chicago.

Another thing that going to school in another state has taught me is to treasure the time I have with my family and friends at home. When I fly home for Thanksgiving in a couple weeks, I will not have been home for eight whole months! Since this is the case, when I do have a few days at home I make sure that I take full advantage of them. Rather than spending any time watching Netflix in my room, I’m usually hanging out with my grandma, going on lunch dates with friends I rarely see, or catching up with my five siblings. I don’t waste a single moment because I understand how precious this time truly is.

Although it is difficult when one of my roommates meets her family downtown for dinner and I’m missing my family, or my other roommate calls her parents to bring her something she forgot at home and I crave that convenience, I do not regret my decision to go to school in another state. I would not be the person I have become if I had not pushed myself to do this, and there is truly no place I would rather be than living and learning in Chicago. My experience at DePaul ​is simply not something I would have been able to have at any school in Ohio where I am from.


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.


Debunking Study Abroad Myths

Let’s be real, everyone wants to study abroad. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? Spending a semester in a foreign country is exciting, fun, and adventurous. In fact, many study abroad alumni often credit a semester overseas as one of the best experiences of college. As much fun as studying abroad is, it can also be scary, nerve-wracking, and a total culture shock. Study abroad often gets a good rep, but there is some controversy out there surrounding the entire experience. After studying abroad in Budapest during the fall of my junior year, I learned a lot about what the entire experience is really like. Here are some of the most common ideas out there I hear about studying abroad, and why I think they’re not entirely true.

You’ll fall behind in credits: Many students think that you can only take electives while studying abroad which will make you fall behind in course credits. While it is true that many students decided to mainly take electives, most programs have classes that will fulfill major or learning domain requirements. So even if you don’t have any elective credits to spare, studying abroad is still an option!

It’s too dangerous: In the state of our world today, spending a semester overseas can be scary as far as safety is concerned. That being said, universities are very in tune with what’s happening in the world, and would never send students off to a country they believed to be unsafe. Many study abroad programs also have a very extensive safety protocol so the university knows where all students are at any given time.

You need to be fluent in another language: Living in a foreign country where everyone speaks a language you’ve never heard before is definitely a huge culture shock. Language barriers are one of the biggest turn-offs for students when choosing a country to study in. Knowing the native language of a country is absolutely beneficial, but not necessary. English is widely spoken and understood across the globe, and many programs have a language component where you can take a beginning level class to help learn the basics of the native tongue. 


(Fuh)n on Lincoln Avenue

I was never a big fan of any food that is soup-like but pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has changed my hatred for soup. The first time I tried this soup was with my roommate on a typical freezing cold day. This place is essentially a Chipotle for your soup. You pick the type of base you want, the type of protein, vegetables, and broth. The best part about this place is that they have student discounts, so your large bowl of noodle soup comes out to less than $7.

The employees are incredibly nice and every time I go here I have had a good conversation with the server which always makes me feel more welcome. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the red stools are my favorite because they imitate the stools they have in Vietnam which you can see in the pictures they have hanging up. This place is a great sit down restaurant and I love taking my friends from out of town here so they can enjoy it too.



Finger Lickin' Chicken

The other fried chicken unique to the Chi is Special Kudo. What makes this fried chicken different from the others I’ve had is that it uses halal methods: the Islamic form of slaughtering where the animals are killed swiftly. However, the butchering alone does make the chicken taste so good. You have the liberty of choosing between spicy and original for the batter used to fry. As a newcomer, I took the conservative route and did two spicy and one original. I personally prefer a little spice, but not to the point where I have to say out loud “oh wow”. In this case, the spicy was not too noticeable, but there are some seasonings that I cannot explain that make up the batter. You’ll notice green and red specks within the golden crispiness, and whatever they are, they are delicious. There is only one Special Kudo in the world and that is a block from where I live on Broadway Street in Lakeview. Their mission statement proposes they want to expand to every state in the Union, and with their great food and low prices, I anticipate Special Kudo will achieve that goal.


Halloweekend 2017

Although the temperature was dipping below 30 on the night of the concert, my friends and I bundled up in our winter coats with our vampire costumes underneath and trekked out into “Chiberia,” the nickname for Chicago when it gets nearly as cold as Siberia. We were feeling a little skeptical because of the weather, but we ended up having the best time! Once we made it inside the Aragon Ballroom and out of the freezing weather, we all let loose and danced all night. For anyone who likes EDM music or just wants to have a lively, exciting concert experience I highly recommend attending Freaky Deaky next year for Halloween!


What is the UCWbL?

I have worked at the UCWbL for a little over a year now and this experience has greatly impacted my time as a DePaul student.  As a tutor, I have worked with students to brainstorm topics before they have even begun to write.  I have spoken with international students in comparing Chicago to their own cities, while simultaneously helping them to grow their English vocabulary.  I have even assisted students in organizing and designing their online portfolios through Digication. 

Many students do not realize all that the UCWbL offers and more students should really take advantage of our diverse services.  Some may think that they don’t have time to make an appointment, but with five different kinds of appointments, there is something for everyone: 

1. Conversation Partner: English Language Learning (ELL) students practice their vocabulary, grammar, and overall conversation skills in-person. 

2. Face-to-Face: Students collaborate in-person with their tutor during any stage of the writing or project process.

3. Online Real-time: Students meet and collaborate remotely with their tutor over video and live text chat.

4. Screencast Feedback: Students submit a draft and their tutor provides audio and visual commentary via a 10-15 minute video clip. 

5. Written Feedback: Students submit a draft and their tutor provides written marginal comments and a detailed summary note.

Note: Appointment options 1-3 require students be present during the actual appointment time, whereas options 4 and 5 do not.  Rather, in these options the tutor works independently on writers’ submissions and they receive feedback after the appointment is over.

The benefits of making an appointment at the UCWbL are countless, but I will leave you with a few:

1. Second Opinion: It is always great to receive feedback and you as the writer get to decide what the tutor focuses on.  Whether you need to be reassured that your thesis is strong, double check your APA citations, or brush up on your grammar, having a second pair of eyes can’t hurt!

2. Minimizes Procrastination: Making an appointment allows you to set deadlines for yourself.  Whether you are brainstorming with a tutor or receiving feedback on a draft, with an appointment at the UCWbL you are not leaving your assignment until the last minute.

3. Possible Extra Credit: Some professors offer extra credit if you take the time to make an appointment at the UCWbL.  Be sure to ask if you are on the hunt for an extra point or two!


Finding an Internship in the City

Handshake: DePaul makes getting an internship so much easier with their online career platform site that is exclusively for DePaul students. Handshake has thousands of jobs and internships listed, as well as career-related events and resources. Because the site is for DePaul students only, it’s a great resource that can help you gain an edge over the competition.

Career Center: The career center is an amazing resource that DePaul offers and students should definitely be taking advantage of it. When I was looking for internships, I met with an advisor several times to strengthen my resume and create focused and concise cover letters for various positions.  The career center also offers interview tips, career fairs, advising, and so much more.

Clubs: Joining one of DePaul’s many professional clubs is a great way to meet people with similar interests and start networking with professionals outside of DePaul. Many of these clubs have networking events that can help you build connections and may even lead to a job or internship.

Follow up: This is a simple tip that can make all the difference in scoring an amazing internship. Following up with companies you have applied to can make you stand out from other applicants and give you a competitive edge. A simple email or phone call is a great way to show employers how interested you are in the position.

Email notifications: There are tons of job websites out there that can notify you when new companies are looking for an intern. Sites like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn are always posting new jobs and internships for college students. A lot of these sites have a weekly email notification that tells you which companies are currently hiring.  


Short Trip to D.C.

This summer I visited my brother who lives in Arlington, Virginia the week before school started. This weekend I was thinking about all the places I visited when I was there so I thought I should write about my trip for my blog post. A lot of people visit the D.C area because there is so much to see around there so I narrowed it down to a few of my favorite places I visited.

National Gallery of Art - East Building

The National Mall is extremely overwhelming. I thought I enjoyed museums until the National Mall but there are way too many museums to visit and it certainly gets boring after a few museums. If I had to pick my favorite building along the National Mall I would say it was the East Building of the National Gallery of Art- mostly because I’m a huge art gallery fan. This was the contemporary and modern art building and I really enjoyed it and I definitely recommend going here if you’re an art fan.


Washington Monument

To be honest my favorite thing about the Washington Monument were all the fun pictures that I was able to take interacting with it (I didn’t upload any on this page because my brother is terrible at taking pictures.) But I suggest the classic holding the monument in your hands or casually leaning on the monument like it’s your best friend.

This art museum along the National Mall was super cool because they had a few interactive exhibits. For example, the picture on the right was an interactive outdoor exhibit by a Japanese artist, Yoko Ono, where people can write wishes on a tag and attach it to the tree. There was also one indoors called “My Mommy is Beautiful” and people could write things about their mothers.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial was the first place I visited and it might have been one of my favorites because my brother kept reminding my mom and me that this is his favorite place. The memorial was very quiet and respectful which is why I enjoyed it so much.

Arlington Cemetery

My brother lives in Arlington and this was my favorite place we visited out of all the places I visited from the five days I was there. This was another peaceful and respectful place which made the long walk through the entire cemetery worthwhile because everyone was paying a lot of respect throughout the entire cemetery.


The Van Gogh Universe

As for the movie itself, it is literally something I had never experienced before. Loving Vincent is the first fully painted feature film. Painted in Vincent van Gogh’s postimpressionist style, the film is a biographical drama that takes place in the weeks following Vincent’s death, with frequent flashbacks to his life. Not only is the movie composed of over 65,000 paintings that are contributed by 125 professional artists, it also features plenty of scenes from a multitude of van Gogh’s original paintings. Some are discreetly incorporated into the film while others are quite obvious such as the implementation of Starry Night as the opening scene. Honestly, the plot may be predictable and cliché, but this is a film you will assuredly appreciate. Loving Vincent is not shown in commercial theatres, but you can see the movie yourself at venues such as the Music Box, ArcLight Chicago, Landmark Renaissance Place Cinema, and Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 15 & IMAX.  


Alpha Omicron Pi Semi-Formal

 
As some of you may know I recently joined Alpha Omicron Pi which is a sorority here at DePaul. This past Saturday was our semi-formal, and it was one of my favorite experiences of this year! 

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. AOII Semi was on a yacht! Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Rather than having our semi-formal at some fancy hotel downtown, it was on a yacht that took us up and down the Chicago River. The backdrop of all of the beautiful skyscrapers lit up at night was truly indescribable, and it was an unforgettable experience I would likely not have gotten through any other organization.
  2. Chicago weather this October has been surprisingly perfect. On Saturday night it was warm enough for my friends and me to spend most of the night dancing up top on the open-air part of the yacht rather than down below deck. The weather could not have been more ideal!
  3. The food. Chipotle was catered this year, which meant endless amounts of guacamole for free! I did not even have to try to hide it under extra lettuce which was a huge perk. Eating good food while surrounded by beautiful buildings and dancing with my friends between bites made for such a fun time.
This year’s semi-formal was such a blast, and I can not wait to see what the rest of the year brings within Alpha Omicron Pi. I have only been a part of this amazing group of girls for less than a month, but it already is starting to feel like home!
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Escaping the Concrete Jungle

One of my favorite things about attending DePaul and living in Lincoln Park is the access it grants me to nature.  This may seem surprising to you because it is not the first thing most people think about when they think about living in the city of Chicago.  However, Lincoln Park is home to the zoo, lily pond, conservatory, and of course the lakefront! 

When I was very young, I used to tell people that I wanted to be a zookeeper when I grew up, so the Lincoln Park Zoo - of course - has a special place in my heart.  It is within walking distance of campus and the best part about it?  It’s free!  Not only are there always gorillas, giraffes, and lions to enjoy, but the zoo also hosts a variety of events that really help you get into the holiday spirit, such as Fall Fest and the Zoo Lights.  Fall Fest is a staple for me every year because there is an awesome pumpkin patch that transports you right out of the city!

The lily pond is right near the zoo as well and it provides you with the perfect place to escape the chaos of the city and reflect on whatever is going on in your life.  It is just the slice of quiet you need to remember the beauty of nature and self-care, which is why I always feel so relaxed when I spend time here.

If you especially enjoy exotic plants or you just need a place that will make you feel like it is the middle of summer, I suggest you make your way to the Lincoln Park Conservatory.  Here you will find beautiful flowers, greenery, and fountains in a warm and cozy greenhouse.  No matter how cold it is outside, you will always feel like you are on a tropical vacation in the botanical garden!

If you know Chicago, then I am sure you know about the lakefront path.  Still, it never gets old to come spend some time at the lake.  If you like to run or bike then it is definitely the place to be, or if you are more like me, then it is the place to see other people do those sorts of things while just relaxing and taking in the remarkable Chicago skyline!


Chicago Holiday Bucket List

I know its only October, but the holidays are soon approaching and that means it is quite literally the most wonderful time of year in Chicago. November and December are filled with holiday lights, festivals, parades, and even a festive CTA commute. Here are some of the events I think are must-sees this holiday season. 

Lincoln Park ZooLights​

Even the zoo knows how to celebrate the holidays in style. Starting on November 24 and lasting until early January, the zoo transforms into a spectacular winter wonderland featuring millions of string lights. You can also find huge life-size snow globes, ice carving demonstrations, a carousel, and plenty of holiday crafts. (This is just down the street from campus and free!)

Skating at Millennium Park​

The ultimate bucket list item in Chicago is to go skating under the bean at Millenium Park. The ice rink is usually ready by November 17 (weather permitting) and is open to the public completely free of charge. If you don’t have your own skates feel free to rent a pair for a small fee. More than 100,000 people glide their way across the rink during the holiday season; make sure you’re one of them.

CTA Holiday Train

For 25 years the CTA has been embracing the holiday spirit by decorating an entire el train with lights, bells, tinsel, and more. The train runs on different lines each day, and if you’re lucky enough you just might catch it.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival​

Every year the BMO Harris Bank puts on a lights festival parade on Michigan Ave to officially start the holiday season.  More than a million people make their way downtown to watch the parade that features enormous floats, balloons, a marching band, and music performers.  

Christkindlmarket

Germany comes to Chicago for the holiday with the historic Christkindlmarket.  This holiday celebration brings European tradition to life here in the city. With unique holiday shopping, traditional German food and drink, and live entertainment, this is something you definitely don’t want to miss.​


Treat Yourself

Midterms are brutal, but being done with them is relieving. My biggest motivation during midterms is thinking about all the ways I’m going to treat myself after. The minute I left my last exam I was out running errands and finding ways to recover from the excessive studying I did. I believe everyone should do a little something (or nothing) after a few tough exams. Spoiling yourself is one of the easiest things to do but if you can’t think of anything here are some ways to treat yourself .

Shopping: Retail therapy is real. Who cares if you failed your finance midterm if you look cute in your brand new shoes? It’s hard not to splurge when shopping , but it still is relaxing buying some new clothes or just window shopping after staring at textbooks for 2 weeks straight. I try to avoid shopping for clothes and usually buy myself flowers and some books because I finally have the chance to read something for fun.

Food: Order your favorite food! The best way to spend money is on food. I usually buy a bunch of my favorite snack foods which includes Jewel cookies, Reese’s, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The best way to treat yourself is to literally treat yourself- too bad it never involves anything healthy.

Shut Off Your Brain: Do nothing. After exams is the best time to start a new show to binge watch or stay in the night and watch one of your favorite movies (as you eat your favorite pint of ice cream). Being curled up in bed and not having to use your brain for something intellectual is so relaxing and rewarding.

Friends: After putting off hanging out with your friends to study you need to go out and socialize. Hang out with your friends and try to avoid talking about school. Get away from campus and enjoy some of the cool places Chicago has to offer.


Nashville Hot Chicken in Lincoln Park

First, let me tell you the good things about this place. Upon entering the atmosphere is something of the South, or just not Chicago at least. White picnic tables, mason jars, and red paisley bandanas as napkins all contribute to the homey feel of this place. Second, the menu is not extensive at all, which I kind of like because who wants to look through a Cheesecake Factory menu? Simply put, this place does chicken and just about only chicken. 
There are other southern comforts like slaw, cornbread, beans, biscuits with jam, and alike. The bad thing about this place, I must admit, is the price. Eleven dollars for a chicken sandwich is crazy to me, but I can justify the price by its taste and supporting a local small business. That chicken sandwich can be made with no sauce, classic sauce, hot or x-hot sauce. Served on a brioche bun with pickles and slaw, this is one of the best chicken sandwiches I could have asked for. I got the hot finish for the chicken, to which the heat does creep on you after a bit - to the point where you’ll be asking for water refills. I vow that I will return to Budlong to try their chicken pieces with some sweet tea… after my next paycheck. 


Chicago's Music Scene

On Tuesday, I was able to see Aquilo and Yoke Lore perform at a venue right down the street, Lincoln Hall . They both put on phenomenal performances, and I was reminded of how lucky I am to live in Chicago where the music scene is so vibrant. For example, there are multiple concerts each week at Lincoln Hall, and most of them are under $20. Since the venue is fairly small, the concerts feel more intimate and personal which makes the experience even better. During Aquilo, I was close enough to the lead singer that I could have reached out and touched him! I’ve already seen a handful of artists at Lincoln Hall, and I have plans to see even more in the coming months.  

The opportunities for experiencing live music are endless in Chicago, and I try to take advantage of them as much as I can. In the next couple weeks, I’m seeing LEON, Snakehips, Klingande, and Oliver Heldens which are all artists that I am incredibly excited about! Besides Lincoln Hall, there are plenty of other fantastic venues such as Concord Music Hall , The Riviera Theatre , etc. Having access to such a wide variety of music performances, events, and venues is truly one of my favorite things about this city. I cannot imagine getting this same experience at a state school because it just is not offered. Chicago’s music scene is simply unparalleled!


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!  


An Afternoon in Chinatown

One of my favorite things about going to school at DePaul is that we get to live in one of the best cities in the world. No matter what time of year, there’s always something do somewhere in the city. One of my favorite things to do is get out and explore all the different neighborhoods of Chicago. And after living in the city for three years, I finally made it to Chinatown .

Chinatown is located right off the Cermak–Chinatown red line stop and is an easy 10-minute ride from DePaul’s downtown campus. The neighborhood is perfect for grabbing a quick bite to eat, or even spending an afternoon exploring all the shops and restaurants it has to offer.  This weekend my friends and I ventured across the city to spend an afternoon in the historic neighborhood.

When we first arrived I was surprised to see all the authentic buildings with beautiful architecture. Though the neighborhood was fairly small, it was filled with tons of shopping and restaurants. From dim sum and ramen to small bakeries with fresh goods, there were plenty of amazing food options to choose from. Chinatown also had lots of shopping where you could find everything from fun souvenirs to authentic medicine shops that stocked hundreds of herbal teas and traditional Chinese remedies. Not only can you find tons of things to do in Chinatown, but the neighborhood does an amazing job at immersing visitors in Chinese culture. 

While I was in Chinatown I ended up grabbing dinner and doing a little shopping throughout the neighborhood. Needless to say, I had an amazing first visit. It was a great way to explore another one of Chicago’s many neighborhoods and get a little taste of Chinese culture right here in the Midwest.  

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Why Did I Apply

I remember growing up, a lot of my friends had a “dream school” they wanted to go, but I didn’t have that. As I was applying to colleges during the fall of my senior year I never thought that DePaul would be the college I’d end up at. I’m halfway through my sophomore year and have realized that DePaul is perfect for me. This university fits everything I need and it turns I am going to my dream school.

Location: First of all DePaul has an amazing location. Honestly, I found DePaul to be the prettiest of the Chicago universities. Although I’m from the suburbs and would visit the city almost every week for fun before my freshman year, I never get tired of Chicago. I love Chicago and couldn’t see myself in a rural area for school. Chicago is full of culture, opportunities, and lessons and it is true when everyone says “the city is your campus.”

Financial Fit: DePaul met my financial needs. Money is a very stressful thing and that played a large factor for me when I was applying to colleges. I was lucky enough to qualify for some of the many DePaul scholarships.

Business School: DePaul has a well-known business school and knowing I wanted to major in accounting made it easier for me to see why DePaul was a good fit. DePaul offers a lot of good networking opportunities since it is located in and near the city. I thought about how being surrounded by the fast pace lifestyle of Chicago would help me prepare more for the future.​​

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Why I Chose to Become a Blue Demon Vol. II

On the other hand, choosing to attend DePaul, or stay for that matter, solely based on the premise it is located in Chicago does not by any means constitute a valid reason to study here. Truth be told, I think it is the field experience - in terms of jobs and internships - that separates DePaul from most universities. I see firsthand the dedication of studying in honors programs, declaring multiple majors, working a job as a full-time student (whether it be on or off campus) and attaining internships before graduation; all to which typical DePaul students will have the luxury of accomplishing as opposed to those of a state school. I see old high school classmates in their state universities partying and tailgating, to which I must admit seems so fun, you know that stereotypical college experience. But, it is no wonder as to why parties are the dominant theme; they don’t have some of the world’s most renowned cultural institutions, corporate employers, and recreational parks in their backyard. There is a reason why Chicago is the first destination they flock to when summer break comes around.  


#WhyApply

When I was a senior in high school, my head was spinning with the thought of all of the colleges I could apply to and potentially attend. It seemed as if the opportunities were endless, which caused me to feel extremely overwhelmed and unsure of which choices to make. One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to attend school in a city filled with opportunity and potential for growth. I wanted to be in a place where I could do a million different things and not feel as if I was limited in any way. For me, that ended up being Chicago due to its location (six hours from home) as well as my love for the city and all that it has to offer.

Once I knew I wanted to go to school in Chicago, the next step was to decide which school was right for me. My situation was a little bit different than your average applicant because I applied before I even visited DePaul due to being an out-of-state student. By spending a lot of time on DePaul’s website, I gained some insight that led me to realize how important service is to the DePaul community. As secretary of my high school service club and an extremely active volunteer in my community, I knew service was something I wanted to continue to be a part of in my college career. DePaul’s emphasis on service was a large factor in my decision to apply as well as one of the reasons I was drawn to DePaul in particular over other Chicago schools.

Once I applied to DePaul, the decision to attend school here was fairly easy. It’s cliché to say that once I stepped on campus it felt like home, but it did. DePaul is unique because it does not feel like you are constantly surrounded by the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago. When you are on campus in Lincoln Park it feels like a college campus, and when you are downtown in the Loop it feels like you are right in the middle of Chicago. You could go from a class in 14 E. Jackson to an internship with any of Chicago’s Fortune 500 companies within ten minutes. On the other hand, you could also go from a class in Lincoln Park to relaxing on North Ave. Beach within about twenty minutes. At DePaul, you really do have the best of both worlds, and this is another significant reason that I was drawn to this school in the first place.

Good luck to all of you seniors who are in the application process! I know you’ll find the right school for you, and hopefully, that means being a blue demon for the next four years here at DePaul.


#WhyApply

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