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!
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 :)
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.
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.
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!
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 :)
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!!
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
“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.
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 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 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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
“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.
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!
“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.
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 discounts: Student 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.
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 SPOTS. Because 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!
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
It's crazy to think it's college application season already, isn't it? I cannot believe that I applied to DePaul four years ago! So much has changed, but my love for DePaul has not.
Both my mom and my oldest sister graduated from DePaul, but that does not mean that it was the school that I always thought I would be attending. To be honest, I originally imagined myself at a school much further from my hometown of La Grange, IL. However, health complications that came up during my high school career made that choice a bit unrealistic, so I applied to a few universities much closer to home: Loyola, Marquette, Michigan State, Indiana, and of course DePaul.
After that visit, I started thinking more and more about DePaul. I knew that I wanted to major in Secondary English Education and DePaul would be the perfect link to Chicago Public Schools, giving me a much more diverse experience than my own high school gave me. That is the beauty of attending a city school—you are surrounded by amazing, worldly opportunities rather than being isolated in a small college town. There is absolutely never a dull moment! Whether you are interested in art, music, sports, comedy, or food, there is something for you to do each and every day with the U-Pass at your fingertips.
After my first quarter at DePaul, I knew I made the right decision. Not only was I living in one of the best cities in the world, but I was also surrounded by people who wanted to make a difference. If you don’t already know, DePaul is a Vincentian community that prides itself on its commitment to service and social justice by asking the question: “What Must Be Done? ” This was not something that swayed me in my decision to apply because I was not fully aware of its meaning, but it certainly made me feel a lot more fulfilled when I arrived and embraced the mission of the University.
So, what must be done? Your application to DePaul University of course! You’ll never know if you don’t apply!
The entire college application process is definitely a stressful experience that brings with it a mix of different emotions. Despite the highs and lows that accompany this time in your academic career, the best piece of advice I can give to any high school senior is to forget all the doubts you have and simply apply to any and all schools that interest you.
When I was searching for colleges and universities I was easily overwhelmed with things like acceptance rates and test scores, so much so it led me to not apply to schools that I was interested in. I’ve realized that the college admission process is so much more than what your grade point average is or how well you did on one test. Instead of calculating the chances you have of getting into your dream school, skip the doubt and apply to as many schools as you can.
A major reason why I applied to DePaul was because I knew they had an incredible Public Relations/Advertising program. However, I also had to think about the possibility that I would change my major or career path sometime throughout college. DePaul offers so many different areas of study that I knew I could find something I loved even if I did end up going in a completely different direction.
Often times at DePaul you hear people saying “the city is our classroom” and the phrase could not be more true. It’s one thing to learn out of a textbook, but it’s an entirely different experience getting to test your knowledge out in the real world. The fact that DePaul is situated in one of the best cities in the world is another reason that led me to apply. Chicago offers thousands of jobs and internships across the city, and DePaul is the best resource to help students land their dream position.
I also loved the fact that DePaul is a university founded on Vincentian values, so much so that the school was named after St. Vincent de Paul himself. I was thrilled that DePaul could offer me an amazing college education, but it’s the things DePaul offers outside education that truly led me to apply here. From community service organizations to student government, Greek life, professional development and recreational sports, there is literally something for everyone here at DePaul.
DePaul has been a dream school for myself and thousands of other students across the globe. Good luck to all high school seniors with the college application process, and I encourage each of you to apply to be a blue demon!
Hi again! It’s me. Moving forward in these blogs, I’m going to start using some language common to The Theatre School students -- as a conservatory, we have a shared set of vocabulary to describe what we do as theatre students, but for those of you who may be new to this, let me explain! Every quarter, I’ll be de-coding some commonly used phrases here:
Have any questions on these terms? Want to learn more about how we function here? Email email@example.com for more information or to request terms for next quarter!
TTS - This is short for The Theatre
School. Whether you’re registering for classes, looking for somewhere to collaborate, or just chatting
with another student, this is the slang you’ll use.
- We have our own student
government! They help us with everything from having therapy dogs to organizing student-driven events that serve
our 300+ student community.
ST*RS - This stands for Support Tomorrow’s Rising Stars. It’s an organization of 4th year BFA and 3rd year MFA students that fundraise money to attend their graduate showcases in LA, Chicago,
and NYC. Other
funds go toward helping members pay to
start their professional careers. They also put on a ton of TTS community programming - the organization has hosted everything from
dances to drag shows! See our graduating class
of 2017 here.
Dramaturgy - Pronounced drama - ter - jee. This is a
major and field of study
within theatre. Sometimes
known as “story
detectives,” a dramaturg
helps the creative team better serve
the script and the
audiences of the show.
The Reskin - Actually called the
Merle Reskin Theatre, this space is
a 1000+ seat proscenium stage. We
host 3 children’s productions a year in this theatre -- more info to
come in upcoming blogs. To see a history
of the Merle Reskin,
click here. It’s a building ingrained with Chicago culture!
- The Fullerton
Stage is another
one of our
It’s located in the first floor of our 5 floor building, and it holds 250 audience
members in a thrust-style arrangement. This fall, we’ll be producing
Into The Woods there! Check out Into The Woods here.
The Healy - This is
yet another theatre
space -- and it’s my favorite. This large black box has 8 different seating configurations,
5 catwalks, a floor to
and an amazing view of the city. As of October
1st, this show is loading in for Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander
New England -- more info
Our Season - Referring to our production season, this statement can
reference any of our 30+ shows in
more than 6 theatre spaces
per year. In addition
to having this season
databased online (we do everything from Shakespeare to new
work!), our fourth floor has an amazing calendar of the
As someone in theatre, my days don’t end after 5 pm. I’m usually in rehearsal, working on creative projects, or in meetings. This past Monday, though, was a dark day (for all of the non-theatre folks reading this: a dark day is a night off from rehearsal or performances). On this night off, I had the privilege of attending a Public Program at Victory Gardens Theatre. Victory Gardens is one of Chicago’s Tony-Award winning theatres, and it just so happens to be a 5 minute walk from DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.
Many of our professors and students are connected with Victory Gardens -- whether they’ve worked there, acted there, or interned there -- which added to the fun of the night. I was attending a conversation between Jeanine Tesori (who has worked on shows such as Shrek, Fun Home, and Violet)and Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune Theatre Critic and DePaul University professor.
While the conversation and subsequent performances were amazing, one specific part really inspired me: At one point in the discussion, Jeanine said, “I’m happy Fun Home happened when it did in my career. It was at a point where my ambition matched my skill.”
Since then, I’ve been thinking about that statement. What does it mean to be a young artist, to live in a city full of art, to have tons of ambition, and not to know where your skill level lies?
I’m a director -- this means that regardless of my skill level compared to others in the rehearsal room, I’m expected to be an ambitious facilitator of storytelling. My fabulous professors have prepared me with a toolkit of ways to go about this; I’ve also had the opportunity to direct and assist throughout my 2 years in Chicago. Like others I go to school with, I’m constantly “on the grind” -- finding new gigs, stories to tell, programs to attend, and communities to interact with.
To me, those experiences are just as valuable at developing my talent as the experiences inside the classroom.
I’m thankful to have access to programs like this one at Victory Gardens. I know it’s absolutely a privilege to hear established theatre professionals speak every day. What I find myself wondering, though, is how I can use this privilege to enrich my education and take with me to the rehearsal room.
Part of being a 20-something means forging this path on my own, and part of being a theatre artist means combining my work within DePaul with my opportunities outside of DePaul. With the help of my formal and Chicago-based education, maybe, eventually, I can reach a point where my talent and ambition race side by side.
Now that fall quarter is in full swing,
homework and assignments are starting to pile up. As a Public Relations and
Advertising major, I spend most of my time downtown at the Loop campus. And
while DePaul has an awesome library down in the Loop, sometimes you just need
to switch it up a little. Whether I need to knock-out a paper or settle in for
some serious study time: Here are some of my favorite study spots in the loop
Goddess and the Baker
for many DePaulians, Goddess and the Baker is a chic and hip coffee spot with
some seriously awesome eats. Whether you’re just looking for a caffeine fix or
need to fuel up with lunch between classes, this place is sure to have
something you’ll love. While it’s one of my favorite places downtown, it’s on
the smaller side and definitely fills up quick during the weekdays.
Harold Washington Library
many of us know this as an EL stop, Harold Washington Library is home to one of
the best study spots downtown. The Winter Garden is located on the 9th
floor of the library and has some incredible study vibes going for it. Fit with
a glass roof, the room offers tons of natural light and even has free (and
fast) Wi-Fi. If you’re looking for a study spot with a view, this place is
definitely for you.
Two Zero Three
this cafe isn’t quite as close to the Loop campus as the others, the short
journey is definitely worth it. Located on the ground level of the Virgin Hotel
on Wabash, this chic spot offers comfy chairs in a cozy study atmosphere. With plenty of outlets and natural light, Two
Zero Three is a great place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat and knock-out
Peach and Green
is seriously a hidden gem. Peach and Green covers the trifecta of necessities
for a great study spot: great food and coffee, plenty of seating, and fast
Wi-Fi. With a hot food bar in addition to made-to-order food, this place has
something for everyone. Make sure and grab a comfy seat in one of their couches
by the window!
From only one year at college, I have learned more than I ever did in my four years of high school. There are an endless amount of things I have learned but I’m going to highlight some of the most important things I learned my freshman year.
1. Don't stress about keeping up with friends.
You will go days or weeks without texting/snapchatting/ calling or just plain talking to your friends from home sometimes. THAT IS TOTALLY FINE. Actually, it is a good thing. When you and your friends get together the next time you all will have so much to say your conversations will never end.
2. Capture it. Write it.
You’re going to experience some cool things, document them somehow.
3. Do more of what you love.
You’re beginning a new life in a way; more of a life you’ve always wanted. You can be 100% in college. There are no cliques and everyone is who they want to be, so do the things that make you happy because there are no restrictions.
4. Keep an open mind.
This one is simple.
5. Adventure/ Explore!
There is so much to do! Especially being in the city. So go out, get lost and find some cool places. If you don’t know what to do, ask friends about their favorite places to go and check them out yourself.
6. You are more than a grade.
I know that school can be stressful and you will most likely spot me vigorously doing my homework in the library on a Thursday night but don’t stress too much about grades. If you make an effort in class, talk to professors and find study groups you can work with, you will feel a lot more relaxed. It is not healthy to overstress about school- there is more to you than your grades.
I believe that we are always learning which is why my favorite phrase is an Italian saying: “Ancora imparo” which translates to “I am still learning.” Michelangelo proclaimed this when he was 87 years old which is usually a time where a lot of people think they have seen it all and know everything with all the wisdom they have attained. These two words remind me how I can take any experience as an opportunity to learn. College is one great experience and I am still learning things about college and myself and continuously adding to this list.
Now that the school year is back in full swing, I’m finally settling into my junior year at The Theatre School (TTS). One of my absolute favorite parts of fall is getting to know the new TTS students!
Our conservatory is really small; we hover around 300-400 students spread over 12 BFA and 3 MFA programs. This means that every year, 90 new students enter a tight-knit, closely-networked group of upperclassmen excited to welcome them into their community.
Being a new student can be overwhelming. I remember feeling completely prepared for college, but arriving in an arts conservatory where you have 10 people in a class and 16 hour days was still a bit of a shock (see photo at right). Two years later, now that I’m well adjusted to the ins and outs of TTS, I’m a co-coordinator of a program called the Goodman Orientation Detail Squad -- better known as the GOD Squad.
This mentorship program takes its roots from the Goodman School of Drama, what The Theatre School was called when it belonged to the Goodman Theatre (back when DePaul hadn’t “picked it up” yet!). The idea is basically to pair upperclassman students with underclassmen in their same major, creating a community of empathy, networking resources, and helping adjustments to TTS. It’s amazing to see how comfortable students feel when they know just one person. As professional and grown-up we like to say we are, everyone can always use a helping hand.
It’s amazing to see where students hail from every year to come study here in Chicago! Every student has a different background, view on theatre, and framework on the world. My favorite part of this program, though, is the yearly reminder of the excitement that comes with entering college.
When I’m knee deep in homework and starting to feel some Fall Blues, it’s the excitement of a new Theatre School class that keeps me motivated. What better way to start the school year than to be surrounded by 90 nervous, excited young artists?
If you’re starting your career at DePaul this fall, remember this: GOD Squad program or not, students like me are ecstatic to help you through your journey. Your transition to Chicago is one of the bumpiest, most amazing, inspiring times of your life. Find your squad and live it up!
This is by no means a plug for Amazon, rather just a college student fascinated by the conveniences modern technology is able to revolutionize constantly. Amazon Prime was something I thought I would never give into, simply because I thought it was a hyped service. Then, I signed up for the free six-month trial available for students, which in itself is a pretty good amount of time for a trial. My six months are about to expire and I am contemplating on whether I should renew the membership for the student discount of fifty dollars for the year, which is half-off the normal rate.
The first thing to know with Prime is that their deals are not always a deal. It would be wise to search other sites or stores before buying a discounted item through Amazon. However, there are some pretty good bargains from time to time. Prime was able to persuade me to buy something I did not necessarily need, such as the Versace Eros Eau De Toilette Spray that was too tempting at 65% off, or roughly a hundred dollars off from its retail value. Another purchase I made was for my new apartment room. Once again, kind of unnecessary, but I was able to snag a leather bed frame that included sideboards, headboard, footboard, and wooden slats for a hundred and forty. The next day, the price jumped to its retail value of two hundred and ten dollars. A key feature to Prime is the free two-day delivery with Prime items. I’ve had things shipped to me that took two months, so the two-day benefit becomes quite handy in situations such as when you desperately need school supplies or textbooks.
With your Prime subscription comes the feature of Prime Now , which is free two-hour delivery from local restaurants and grocery stores. I’ve used this app a few times, ordering things such as Greek yogurt, vegetables, and even TGI Fridays once. But beware; this will ultimately culminate into a more solitary lifestyle where one will never have to leave the comfort of their home again. Okay, that may have been an extreme exaggeration, but it does hold some truth in it. I mean there were times I said to myself, “why make the trek to an Aldi or Target and haul the gallon of milk or cartons of eggs when I could have it brought to my doorstep.” That is why I limit myself to only purchasing items I prefer, that I cannot find at the Aldi by me, such as a certain nonfat Greek yogurt. I hope you try the trial yourself, for Prime is a college student’s life saver .
With Fall Quarter beginning last Wednesday, DePaul students are finally getting back into the academic routine. For me, this means transitioning from focusing solely on working to balancing work with my class schedule and school activities. Although it will be a challenging ten weeks since I am taking five classes and maxing out my credit hours, I am eager to delve deeper into some of the subjects I’ll be studying such as Global Climate Change and American Sign Language .
Most students at DePaul typically take 16 credit hours per quarter which is a total of four classes. However, the tuition that you are paying includes 18 credit hours, so you get more for your money if you enroll in the full 18. This quarter, I am using this to my advantage by picking up an extra two credit class that fulfills a requirement for my Peace, Justice, and Conflict studies minor. Although I do not have to do this by any means, it is helping me to get ahead and potentially graduate early.
Taking this class along with my regular schedule is difficult, but it is manageable since a two credit hour class is not nearly as much work as my other classes. I highly recommend maxing out your credit hours, but it is also not necessary for many students. If it is going to be too much, don’t stress yourself out about it and simply take the normal amount. I’ve always been one to take on more than I can handle, so maxing out my credit hours was not a decision I took lightly.
For example, I signed up for 18 credit hours in the spring, but dropped my two credit hour class when I realized it was going to be too difficult to balance with my internship, job, and other activities. Finding what works for you is all about balance, and sometimes it takes making some mistakes to realize what will work best.
Although I’ve only had one full day of classes, I can already tell this quarter is going to be full of interesting lectures/debates and engaging assignments. Taking 18 credit hours will be a challenge, but it is one that I am prepared for and excited about. Sophomore year is going to be a good one, I can already feel it!
My name is Richa (pronounced Reach-ah). I’m currently a sophomore at DePaul University double majoring in Accounting and Finance. I was born, but not raised, in Chicago. I’m from a close suburb called Des Plaines- known for being the home of the first-ever McDonald's and an absurd amount of trains. I am more than grateful to be going to DePaul and being able to take advantage of all it has to offer.
I enjoy a vast amount of things but my favorites would include playing basketball, taking pictures, reading (especially poetry ), going to the beach, visiting art museums and galleries, and exploring Chicago. Chicago has been my classroom and in my free time, I always explore the city for its never-ending adventures. The two distinct campuses allow me to grow, mature, and prepare more for the future. I’ll be sharing a lot of these adventures with you through my blog.
I also think music is very important. I have a wide range of preferences and can’t wait to share my love for music with you on this blog.
I’m Sarah, a junior pursuing a BFA in Theatre Arts, concentrating in Directing, in The Theatre School (TTS). I’ll be DeBlogging all year, so keep reading to find out a little bit about me:
Hey Sarah, where ya from? I’m originally from Northville, Michigan - a small suburban town about 5 hours away from Chicago. My family loved traveling when I was a kid, and after visiting many urban areas, I decided Chicago was best for both my theatre career and my life. I now live in Boystown, a neighborhood about a mile north of DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus. It’s full of history, great food, and fun! It’s also a historic site of Chicago Pride (glance at the photo to the right of me and my pals celebrating pride this year!). Having so much culture at my doorstep is unbeatable.
What do you do? Within The Theatre School’s conservatory, I focus on new work and assistant directing. You’ll hear a ton about the shows I’m working on in the coming year! I work within The Theatre School’s admissions office, and I am a coordinator for the Goodman Orientation Detail Squad -- a mentorship program that pairs new TTS students with current students in their major to help the college transition. I was also a 2016 Orientation Leader. As you can tell, I absolutely love working with new students!
How about outside TTS? My work in theatre focuses a lot on nonprofit development, so many of my experiences in Chicago relate to that. I’m the Finance Director for DemonTHON, a 24-hour dance marathon benefiting Lurie Children’s Hospital. It’s DePaul’s largest philanthropic organization, which has introduced me to some fabulous people. I also work with Oxfam -- an international non-profit working to end poverty -- as one of 38 CHANGE leaders in the country.
But like… What do you do in your free time? When I’m not working on one of my projects, you can catch me eating all around the city. In each blog, I’ll share my restaurant of the week.
Restaurant of the Week: Pick Me Up Cafe! It’s a diner 2 blocks from Wrigley Field that is open until 3 am. Their vegetarian food is unbeatable, and they have a 90s vibe with endless coffee and free wifi. Check it out!
I’m super excited to share more with y’all throughout my year. Keep reading weekly to watch as I fall more and more in love with Chicago and DePaul!
Hi! My name is Olivia and I am a senior majoring in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. I love to read, write, and spend all my free time working with kids, so it’s a pretty fitting major for me.
I grew up in La Grange, a western suburb and have been a lifelong fan of all things Chicago. I am a huge Bulls fan, despite the fact that their management has made quite a few poor choices recently (cough cough the Jimmy Butler trade cough). But I continue to watch and Bull-ieve that we can soon return to the glory of the 90s.
I am one of the few bloggers on DeBlogs that won’t mention their love for food in their introductory blog because I am an incredibly picky eater with food allergies. So if you are looking to hear about Chicago style pizza hot spots, look to someone else. But if you’re sick of hearing the debate between Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s, read on!
Though I can’t speak much about Chicago restaurants, I can certainly make up for it by sharing my Intel on Chicago’s music venues. A few of my favorites are Northerly Island and Aragon Ballroom, but I’ll save those details for a future blog. I absolutely love going to concerts and that is where I spend most of my money.
Luckily, I have money to spend thanks to my many on-campus jobs as a Chicago Quarter Mentor, writing tutor at the UCWbL, and of course blogger with DeBlogs. I also work at the local shop, Monograms on Webster and as a Lincoln Park nanny (I told you I like to spend a lot of time with kids!).
Well, that’s me! I hope you continue to follow my posts to learn more about me, Chicago, and of course DePaul!
This year, as a senior, I experienced my first Immersion Week. For those of you who don’t know, Immersion Week is a unique DePaul opportunity that allows you to meet with the class of your choice every day from 9am-5pm and embrace one of DePaul’s many catchphrases: The City Is Our Classroom.
Most people enjoy this adventure during their first quarter at DePaul, as freshmen. This allows them to get the hang of the public transit system, explore the city’s neighborhoods, discover the hidden gems of Chicago, and of course bond with fellow first-years.
As a first-year student just a few short years ago, I had chosen not to arrive at DePaul a week early to participate in Immersion Week and thus opted for my Explore Chicago Dancing class. I remember moving into my dorm room in University Hall and feeling behind. Many of my fellow floormates already knew each other and the city better than I did due to the intensive Immersion Week that I had shied away from.
With that being said, I am delighted that I finally amended one of my biggest first-year regrets as a senior, checking Immersion Week off my DePaul bucket list! I participated in our class Discover Chicago’s Printed Works Past and Present as a Chicago Quarter Mentor (CQM). As a CQM, I led discussions regarding campus resources, adjusting to newfound college independence, and academic success.
Before I go, I will leave you with my Immersion Week highlights:
- Speaking with Streetwise, an organization that allows those suffering from homelessness make an honest living by selling their magazine and providing necessary resources to help them get back on their feet
- Personally connecting with first-year students by reflecting on my own DePaul experiences
- Visiting Open Books, a used bookstore located in the West Loop that promotes children’s literacy by working with Chicago students through various in-house programs
- Typing on a typewriter, or at least trying to, at The American Writers Museum
- Bonding with our staff professional Justine and our professor, Prof. Easley over delicious Chicago meals
I totally recommend checking out Open Books and The American Writers Museum to experience their greatness for yourself. But until then, you’ll have to just take my word for it!
Well, here it is. What was just a constant theme in my blogs throughout this year has now arrived.
I remember walking onto DePaul’s campus for the first time filled with excitement at what the future had in store for me. Four years, 12 quarters, and countless final exams later and here I am excited once again for what the next chapter has in store.
DePaul University, you’ve been good to me.
Thank you to everyone that has helped and supported me throughout these past four years. Thank you to all the clubs and organizations that brought me in, taught me valuable lessons, and enriched my college experience. Thank you to the readers that visit this site weekly and check out our works.
Lastly, thank you to DeBlogs and everyone behind the scenes making it possible to have our content shared and read by students, faculty, and more. I’ve been with DeBlogs since my freshman year and have somehow managed to find something to write about every single week for 120 weeks (if my math is correct). When creativity lacked, when studies were difficult, and time was limited the DeBlogs crew worked with me and helped me stay on track. Having a weekly blog due made me go out of my way to explore DePaul and my city more than I may have without it.
I developed personally and professionally from freshman year to senior, working on communicating with the DeBlogs team and maintaining what was expected of me. DeBlogs is also the only program I took part in, aside from my scholarship, for all four years at DePaul. So for those looking for a fun, rewarding experience and a chance to build your creative writing portfolio I highly recommend joining the DeBlogs team.
Along with this Grand
Finale blog is a farewell video
I made talking about my experiences at DePaul. Give it a watch! That brings me to the end of this blog. Thank you
everyone, once again, and for the last time…
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!
Class of 2017
Last Sunday, I sat in Allstate Arena at the College of Science and Health’s commencement ceremony. I know everyone often says this, but I cannot believe that I am finished with undergrad! It seriously went by so fast,
and were truly some of the best and transformative years of my life.
I have made many wonderful friends, some of whom will be FFL (friends for life). I struggled through my sophomore year, switched my major, and found something I am really passionate about. I became more confident in and steadfast to myself, and developed strong morals and convictions.
I grew a heart for people and for the world, and am determined to make a difference in my future career. I found a church I love (Park Community Church-- go check it out!!) and met inspiring people that have influenced my faith journey and walk with God.
I fell in love with Chicago, which really isn’t a hard thing to do, even despite its winters. I studied a lot, and continued to develop my love of learning and knowledge. If I were to pick one word to describe these last four years, it would be growth.
Thank you, DePaul, for the past four years. I have immensely enjoyed my time here in Chicago and am appreciative for the ways the city has been transformative. Thank you as well to those who have tuned in weekly to read about my life. It has been such a pleasure to update you all about my life here at DePaul and in Chicago. For the last time, thanks for reading!
99 percent of the time I love the quarter system. I love the ten week
classes, getting to try a number of classes throughout the year, having a break from Thanksgiving to New Years, and starting later in the fall.
Every year, though, the end of May is when I get so envious of all my friends on the semester system already done with school. They’re hanging out, sleeping in, and taking time off while I’m studying for finals and am stressed out all the time.
To cope with this, I’ve figured out some tips.
1. I’ve been having “study dates” with my grad school friends, so while they’re studying for big exams or preparing for grad school, I can study for finals. Its different work, but work nonetheless
2. When I need a study break, it’s a perfect time to hang out with my friends already done with school and go out to eat, or have a movie night.
3. I still go to all the events and parties my friends are having, I just don’t stay for too long. I went to a Memorial Day brunch but left after a few hours.
4. I study with friends still in school! I have friends at Northwestern who also have finals in June, and also many friends at DePaul who are anxiously studying as well, so spending time with them forces all of us to stick to the books, even if all we want to do is go to the beach.
Yesterday, I hopped on a plane to head to Santorini, Greece
for a wedding, and from there I'll be spending the summer in Cyprus, the country I'm from. Having to complete all of my finals early was stressful, to say the least (I wrote 21 pages of essays in one night...), but I'm finally do
ne and it feels amazing! While most of my friends were still in Chicago studying and taking finals, I was able to leave early and get my summer started a little sooner.
Being officially done with my freshman year feels bittersweet. I spent the day before I left crying with my friends, reminiscing on our year, and thinking about how we'll never again live right down the hall from each other. Although I'm really looking forward to living in an apartment next year, I also have come to realize just how convenient and easy it has been living in such close proximity to all of my closest friends. I'm really going to miss it! No matter how many times we complained about having to share rooms or constantly being surrounded by people, we all loved the experience and would not trade it for the world.
Looking back, this year has truly been one of the best and most challenging of my life. Living and studying in Chicago has been even more exciting than I expected, and the opportunities I have had make me feel extremely grateful. From having an internship as a freshman to simply studying downtown in the beautiful Harold Washington Library
, being at DePaul has allowed me access to numerous things I would not have had at any other school. There's simply nowhere else I'd rather be for the next three years. While I'm still really sad about the end of this one, I can't wait to see what the next three hold.
It’s everyone’s favorite time of year again, and by that
I mean the close of another school year. Twelve classes, thirty weeks, and one year later it’s officially time for me to close the book on junior year. Junior year is obviously a big deal, you’re officially an “upperclassmen,” yet you still feel pretty young. It’s the year most people get into the bulk of their major courses, and you start making stri
des toward where you want to be after college.
I won’t lie, this year was definitely hectic. Regardless it was hands down the best year I’ve had at DePaul yet. I started out on an unforgettable note by studying abroad
my fall quarter. I spent 20 weeks in Budapest , Hungary
where I took tons of interesting classes, one being Hungarian
language for beginners. The four months I was abroad I traveled to 10 different countries, successfully drained my entire savings account, and made some amazing memories.
Going abroad was such a great experience, but come the end of the semester I was definitely ready to come back to America. Getting back into my daily routine at DePaul was hard, especially coming off a semester in Europe where homework essentially didn’t exist. Despite the challenging workload brought on by junior year, the best part of it was that I was that I was finally taking most of my major course classes. I was able to experience all the classes I had been waiting to take since I got to DePaul my freshman year, and they definitely didn’t disappoint.
One thing I did notice about this year was the fact that I kept feeling like I should be doing more. DePaul students are definitely ambitious, and it seemed like everyone around me had an internship or was making strides toward their career. It’s definitely easy to get overwhelmed and start comparing yourself to what other are doing. I realized that everyone moves at their own pace, and working yourself up and comparing your progress to everyone around you isn’t going to do you any good. Overall junior year was definitely one for the books, and I can’t wait to see what senior year brings.
As I have talked about many times before, I wrote a senior thesis about maternal mortality in Afghanistan for my final project for the Honors Program. It was really rewarding to write, and I came out with a final paper that I am really proud of and a topic that I am passionate about. Every spring, the Honors Program
celebrates these projects and other students’ research papers by holding the Honors Research Conference. I was able to present by paper at this conference, and it was a really cool experience.
Overall, there were over 80 students presenting a poster, and about half of those students (me included!) were also giving a 10-minute long talk about their project. We had to design an academic poster and then create a cohesive summarizing speech about our project. Shortening my talk to 10 minutes was actually pretty hard – I had a lot I wanted to talk about! I was nervous going into the presentation, but it went really, really well. I feel like I articulated me point well and was able to give a brief overview of everything I talked about in my paper. It was also interesting to hear and learn about other students’ projects. The projects were so diverse, from healthcare to analyses of art and literature to creative writing pieces to economics.
This conference was a great experience, and one that I am sure I will have to do again in grad school. I really enjoy school, and am excited to continue learning and exploring and sharing my knowledge with others. Plus, I got to wear my Leslie Knope
suit, and I’ll take any excuse possible to do that!
The official College Decision Day was a few weeks ago, so congratulations to all of you who have committed to DePaul University! Go Class of 2021!
When I think back to the season where I had to decide on a college, I remember it being really exciting. I couldn’t wait to choose the school I would attend for the next four years! By the time I had to make my final decision, I had narrowed my list down to two schools: Ohio State University and DePaul University. Ohio State was cheaper, closer to my family, and home to the infamous Buckeyes
. However, DePaul was in Chicago, had the exact program that I (at the time) wanted, and had a special quality about it. I felt really pursued and desired by DePaul, something I never got from a giant state school, and knew that the four years I would experience at DePaul would be valued by its faculty and staff. I obviously chose DePaul, and I am so glad that I did.
DePaul has been the place that has enabled me to grow, both in my academics and in my convictions. It has been the place that has helped me find my passion and provided me with professors who have been strong influences and knowledgeable resources. It has given me lifelong friends and has molded me into an adult. I am extremely thankful for my time at DePaul, especially now that I am about to graduate. For those who are about to attend, you are lucky! Good luck!
This weekend nearly all of my friends graduated from college. For months I was dreading this, knowing that I’m taking a fifth year of school due to transferring, changing majors, and a brief medical leave. I’ve felt so much shame about it, telling myself I’m not smart enough, good enough, motivated enough. That I wasn’t enough. Until I came across this quote and shared it around the Instagram
community, and connected with dozens of other people who commented saying they related to being on a different path than all of their friends.
Sometimes, life comes up but that doesn’t mean it’s a setback, or that I’m not ___ enough. In fact, if I hadn’t transferred schools I’d still be in Canada, if I hadn’t stop enjoying film I wouldn't have found Journalism
, if I hadn’t been living back in Chicago I wouldn’t have met my best friends. I wouldn’t be writing for the DeBlogs.
Everyone has a different path, and sometimes yours turns out the exact opposite of how you imagined. Freshman year I planned to study abroad my junior year, graduate in 4 years, and then move to Toronto to work in television…
Things aren’t perfect, but I’m grateful I found DePaul and changed paths. Even if it means graduating a year later.
DePaul is an amazing university and I have had a great four years here.
My opinion is biased, I would recommend this institution to anyone and everyone looking for a higher education. While being a Blue Demon was always on my mind senior year of high school, the reality of tuition and other costs presented a threat to that desire. I was very fortunate to receive several scholarships that didn’t just help me pay for DePaul but actually made it a possibility to attend.
One of these scholarships came from the Office of Multicultural Student Success .
The Mazza scholarship was the foundation of my college experience. It grounded me as a student of DePaul University and contributed to my personal and professional development these past four years. I have been extremely blessed to be a part of such a great mission. I bring up Mazza now because just last Friday we had our annual end of the year dinner. Our group went to Café Iberico in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
The restaurant focuses on Spanish cuisine and has been around since 1992. They specialize in tapas, Spanish appetizers or snacks. The food was really good and the atmosphere was also nice. There were shie
lds on the walls with different crests on each one. The experience was nice and I recommend Café Iberico to
anyone looking for smaller eats
that pack a big taste. As I finished my arroz
con leche I looked around the table. I was sitting at the end so I had a good view of the group. Then it hit me; this was my last dinner with my Mazza friends. I’m graduating this year, a theme that has been pretty prevalent in my blogs, and I will soon go on to the “real” world to work and apply my major.
The underclassmen sat on the opposite end of the table and they were all chatting, cracking jokes, and having a good time. They’ll be back next year, I won’t. As we said our goodbyes there were quite a few, “I’ll see you around” type farewells. From making it possible to attend DePaul, to contributing to my personal and professional development, to creating this family of scholars the Mazza scholarship has done so much for me.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!
When I walk around campus during midterms and finals seasons, especially in spring quarter when we’re all antsy to join our semester-school friends on summer break, anxiety fills the empty spaces. And it’s my own anxiety too. So, this time I decided to utilize my biggest de-stressors - art, and spreading positivity and hope around to other students.
In times between classes or at work, I made little reminders to keep going, and have been leaving them around the
and Loop campuses. I also left my Instagram name on the back of them, and a lot of the students that found them hav
e reached out to me expressing how it made their day, and they just needed a reminder, even anonymously, that they’re not alone.
Doing a random act of kindness for someone else made me smile and lessened my anxiety, even if just for a moment. So if you’re feeling stressed, join in on spreading around the positivity, because we’re all in this together.
Washington, D.C.: our nation’s capital; the home to monuments, the (free) Smithsonian museum, cherry blossom trees, and George Washington University, where I will be spending my next two years receiving my Master’s degree!
I went to Washington, D.C
. over spring break, and I had such a fun time. I flew in early on a Friday morning and got to my hotel room with enough time to spare to take a quick nap. I then met with someone who
works for the United States Agency for International Development and we talked about global health opportunities in D.C. It was great to meet with him and get advice about the career pathway I want to pursue. By that point, it was late afternoon and I had the rest of the day to myself! I took the Metro over to Capitol Hill
and saw the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress
and walked around the neighborhood for a while. I then went back to my hotel, read a good book, took a bath, and was in bed by 9pm – the perfect evening.
The next day was Admitted Students Day for GWU, so I spent the day doing that. It was exhausting, but informative. I then took the Metra out to Maryland and spent a day with one of my best friends who recently moved to that area. It was a whirlwind weekend visit, but really fun, and I can’t wait to live there permanently in a few months!
Public health is kind of my thing. I’m studying it at DePaul, I’m getting my Masters in it next year… I am super interested by all of it. Particularly, though, I am interested in global health, and what can be implemented around the world to alleviate health disparities and gaps that cause highly preventable diseases and circumstances to prevail. For example, no one should have to live without clean water, or without access to a doctor, or in fear of contracting cholera or tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS. Science and medical technology are advanced enough that many of these worldwide problems could be eliminated, but unfortunately, resources and funds are not allocated and international politics gets in the way.
Fortunately, there are a lot of organizations and international agencies working to eliminate a lot of these disparities, and one organization that is working hard is the United Nations. From 2000-2015, the United Nations implemented the Millennium Development Goals, which were eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015. Some goals were to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, reduce child mortality, and improve maternal health. While the Millennium Development Goals produced significant results, they were not successful in addressing and ending poverty and its root causes. The United Nations
then implemented the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development program, which lays out seventeen goals that “address the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people.”
I personally geek out over programs like this because they are making such a difference to the health and lives of people all over the world. I am excited to see what the year 2030 holds for the people of this world – and you should be, too!
As graduation rounds the corner, I have been reflecting a lot on what I have learned in my last few quarters of college, and the new changes that are occurring in my life. I thought I would take this chance to share with you some of the things that have come up for me, in hopes they may help you in your reflection on your own journey to, through, and after college.
One of the biggest lessons I am learning is to begin changing my perspective when it comes to my accomplishments. This is admittedly a huge challenge for me. I can be a very “big picture” thinker. The way I think about things always includes the larger frame of reference in the world, and in my life. With that, the things I want out of life both professionally and personally, are, in a way, big. I have big dreams of an illustrious acting career, the type of work I’ll do, the places I’ll go, the people I’ll meet, the money I’ll make—all of these things are indeed “big.”
However, I have found over the past few months that not everything I do is as “big” as I can imagine. For years I had always imagined myself on a rocket to success come graduation, while in fact, the grind is much slower than I had once thought. There is a lot of hard work and a lot of challenges and failures that will occur on my road to the success I seek – and that’s okay. I have started to realize that the things I once thought about as “small” are actually victories, and for my own mental well-being, I should honor them as such. For example, I may not be on Broadway yet, but I am understudying at a great theatre company in the fall. While in my mind there are more amazing things I desire, I have to recognize that this is actually a great accomplishment, that will lead to other opportunities in the future. And while I do not have a talent agent before graduation, I am still auditioning and booking work to do post-grad. These are wins, and I am learning to find satisfaction and pride in these things, that help me keep my spirits up as I move forward.
I am learning to be grateful for the challenges I am facing in the transition out of school, because I know they are making me stronger and more resilient in the long run. I’m also learning that the seemingly small things add up to a big picture that I can call success.
So, to anyone who may be down on themselves when it comes to your accomplishments, be it the schools you did or didn’t get into, the jobs you landed or missed, the opportunities that presented themselves or not, know that even if your successes aren’t as big as you imagined, they are still successes and you should value them as such. You are still working hard, and you are still moving forward, even if the path doesn’t look exactly as you thought it would. Stay strong, be proud, and keep working. From my own experience, I can say with confidence that little steps add up to big moves.
When I wrote my last blog, which feels like forever ago, I was finishing up the first half of my time in Madrid. A week later, I’ve now returned from Madrid and I’m suffering from severe jet lag. I still haven’t totally processed the fact that I just spent ten days in Madrid. While part of me feels like my time in Madrid went by way too fast, another part of me feels that I had to have spent a lot longer than just ten days in Madrid. Maybe that’s just because I did so much in ten days; according to my phone, I walked over 75 miles while I was in Madrid (the weather was amazing, so I never took the subway). I’m very happy to be home, but not so excited about returning to my uneventful day-to-day life.
The real reason I went to Madrid was to do research for my thesis, and surprisingly, my research actually went way better than I ever anticipated. The DePaul Graduate Research Fund paid for me to go to Madrid so that I could visit both the National Library of Spain
and an independent archive to gather sources for my thesis. However, I unknowingly booked my trip during Easter festivities in Spain, so the library and the archive were closed for several days while I was in Madrid.
To make matters worse, about a week before I left for Madrid, the archive’s website suddenly said that the archive would be closed until January 2018 for renovations. Just my luck, right? WRONG. Even though I was convinced the archive was closed, I was also pretty deeply in denial. One day, because I’m so obsessive, I decided to take a quick walk just to at least see the building of the archive. Shockingly, I discovered that not only was the archive open, but also that I would be able to take home copies of the documents that I wanted to study!
Before becoming convinced that the archive was closed, I had planned to spend three days at the archive, taking notes on as many documents as I could go through. Now, in a fortunate twist of fate, I could take the documents home, spend as much time on them as I wanted, and spend even more time at the National Library in the meantime! For a master’s student, that’s about as exciting as things can get. Now to get back to actually writing my thesis.
As an out of state student, I've gotten asked why I chose DePaul more times than I can count. For me it was honestly a no brainer. Between the location, the academics, and the opportunities DePaul is able to give students, it was the perfect fit. Despite committing to DePaul being an easy decision for me, I know the stress the entire college application process puts on a student. After the countless admission essays, college tours, and weighing the costs of different schools, I was more than excited to finally make my decision when May 1st came around. Here are some of the top reasons why I chose DePaul.
: Even before I graduated high school I knew I wanted to study public relations. When looking up PR programs
while I was applying to colleges, I continued to stumble upon DePaul’s program. Through research I was also able to find that PRWeek
recognized DePaul as one of the top five PR schools in the U.S. three years in a row. Despite the fact I knew what I wanted to major in long before I my first day of college, I know tons of students go into college undecided on what major they might choose. The great part about DePaul is they literally have a major for everybody. Even though I was fairly certain I would stick with PR, I could rest easy knowing if I wanted to switch majors, I had a ton of options to choose from.
Location: I grew up on the seacoast of New Hampshire in a pretty tiny town. And needless to say, I was eager to move to a big city for college. Boston was too close, LA too far, and New York too big, which made Chicago the perfect fit. The past three years I've spent living in Chicago has been such an amazing experience. There are tons of great foods to eat, shows to see, and festivals to visit. Not only is it a fantastic city to explore, but the career opportunities that can be found throughout the city was something that immediately drew me to DePaul. When I first toured here and heard that many students get real life experience through internships around the city I was beyond excited.
: Campus life is also a huge factor that made me choose DePaul in the long run. This includes everything from Vincentian service opportunities
, on campus groups and clubs, and study abroad opportunities. While at DePaul I've been apart of tons of different community service projects across the city, joined clubs, and even spent a semester studying abroad in Budapest
. I remember when I first toured DePaul and it seemed like nearly every student was doing something they loved outside of class hours. No matter what interests you, there is a group here on campus that would be a perfect fit.
Hola! I’m writing to you all the way from Madrid, Spain, where the weather has been so perfect, I ended up walking around for 8 hours yesterday. As a result, I now blend in when I stand in front of a stop sign.
Despite the sunburn, it probably goes without saying that I’m having the time of my life right now. Both fortunately and unfortunately, I have a lot of free time to enjoy Madrid because I messed everything up. When I booked the trip, my one goal was to travel as early in the quarter as possible, so that I could keep up with my classes and still have a chance at finishing my thesis on time. Logical, right? Nevertheless, somehow, despite my intense research on air fares and hotels, I seemingly missed the fact that my trip coincided with Easter.
So while I’m here to do research for my thesis, most of the places where I’m trying to do research are closed a few days for Easter weekend. As a person who wants to get work done, it’s slightly frustrating, but as a human being, I’ll happily take any free time in Madrid. So far, in my free time, I’ve discovered that one of the traditional Spanish Easter pastries, the torrija
, is actually a modified version of French toast, but somehow way creamier. I mean, the center is almost like a custard. I thought it was going to be terrible, but now I’m craving it and I think I’ll get another tomorrow.
In case you didn’t know, DePaul is funding my research here in Madrid through the Graduate Research Funding program
. This trip is really all about working on my thesis. I spent a few days last week at the Biblioteca Nacional
(National Library) going through newspaper archives, and I’m hoping to spend as much time as possible going through transcripts of interviews at a different archive this week. Until then, I’ll be eating as much torrija as possible!
In order to get my money’s worth, I try to enroll in a two-credit class every quarter. I might as well if I am paying for eighteen credit hours. For the winter quarter I decided to take a five-week class that pertained to jazz in Chicago. I am a fan of nearly all types of music, but jazz is a genre I am not so familiar with.
First off, it was not only an interesting class, but easy as well with minimal work. Most classes we spent listening to jazz through CD’s or YouTube videos, or watching documentaries. The most engaging component of the class was Professor Joseph Cunniff’s requirement of attending the Chicago Jazz Showcase at the Dearborn Station
, not too far from the Loop campus. Founded by Joe Segal
, he has kept the showcase alive for seventy years now, with Joe still manning the entrance and collecting money. The showcase has seen many greats such as Count Basie and George Benson, and for a modest fee too. I paid around fifteen dollars because Cunniff has connections of course, having been in a jazz band himself. Whether you’re a fan of jazz or just curious and wa
nt to explore it more, this would be the prime location to hear good live music.
Spring quarter at DePaul is undoubtedly the hardest quarter as far as staying motivated. While the rest of the college world is finishing finals and trading in textbooks for sunscreen, us DePaulians are still trying to make it through midterms. Pair that with Chicago’s summer-like weather conditions and it makes staying motivated for spring qu
arter pretty much impossible. But fear not, summer will (hopefully) be here before you know it. Here are some of the best hacks that will make spring quarter as painless as possible.
Reward yourself: One of the worst things about prepping to start a boatload of homework or getting ready for a major study session is the daunting thought that it will never end. Though I personally give myself too many rewards while studying these days, it’s important to have something to look forward to. Set goals for your schoolwork and don’t forget to reward yourself every time you check something off your to-do list.
Stay organized: If you’re like me, then right when school starts up after summer you raid the nearest Staples to get all the best planners, notebooks, and pens. And by the time spring quarter come around, you have to fish out an old pen out from the bottom of your bag. Revamp your organization skills to help yourself stay focused and finish off the quarter strong.
Quit procrastinating: As the queen of procrastination, I know this tip is easier said than done. I mean my life motto is pretty much “if tomorrow’s not the due date, today’s not the do date.” But the truth of the matter is, if you really buckle down and focus on schoolwork, it’s not half as bad as you build it up to be. Block off a period of time and dedicate it solely to getting work done. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you don’t check Instagram every five minutes.
Stay positive: Though it may seem like Spring Quarter has no end in sight, summer is getting closer everyday. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re lagging behind in a class or didn’t do well on your last quiz. Think positive and stay focused on the end goal; it will be here in no time.
Throughout high school, my class schedule was mainly dictated by which courses would allow me to receive college credit. Rather than taking classes I was interested in, I packed my schedule with AP
's and dual enrollment courses. In college, the experience is a lot different and here's why.
As I began scheduling classes last summer, I realized just how vast my choices are now that I've entered an entirely new educational setting. There are still core courses required for every student, but they don't even come close to filling up an entire schedule. Rather than only taking classes that I have to take, I'm taking classes that I want to take. What an exciting concept! Even though homework, essays and finals aren’t exactly thrilling, they’re much easier to deal with when they’re centered around subjects that I'm excited and passionate about. A class centered entirely on the multitude and variety of food in Chicago? Sign me up!
Another thing I’ve noticed with college classes is that I have more free time than ever before. Instead of being in class for seven hours straight, five days a week, I'm in charge of choosing which times work best for me. Being able to create my own schedule allows me to do a number of things I couldn’t in high school, such as picking up a dog walking job in the morning or spending time during the week at an internship.
In college, Rate My Professors
is an extremely valuable resource for students across the entire nation. Before scheduling classes, I am able to see which professors will work best with my learning style, and which ones probably wouldn't be as good of a fit. Even though I am not always able to get into the classes with the professors I want, being able to look through reviews of all of them is helpful in the scheduling process.
We all had a guidance counselor in high school, but how many times did you actually meet with them one-on-one? If you're like most high school students, your answer is probably fairly low. In college, it's a completely different story. I've already been assigned two advisors, one is an advisor in my major and the other is an advisor in the honors program that I'm a part of. When I attended orientation, they helped me immensely with scheduling and figuring out a solid plan for my educational path. I had expected to be pretty much on my own because it's college and we're all supposed to be "experiencing the real world" and all that jazz, but my advisors went to great lengths to help me figure things out in regards to not only my schedule, but being a freshman in general.
Throughout high school, many teachers constantly bombarded me with homework that was not beneficial to either me or my teacher. Frequently, a teacher would give an assignment and tell the class that we needed to do it simply because we didn't have any graded work in yet. For me, this seemed pointless and I tended to get pretty frustrated. Although it's scary that in college your final grade only depends on a few tests/papers, it also makes me relieved that I'll never have to do any more "busy work."
Although my classes are much more challenging than they were in high school, having a say in my education makes it a lot more exciting than torturous. More time out of class also means more time studying but hey, at least I didn't schedule any 8 AM’s!
I’m a perfectionist, so I have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. While I appreciate that it pushes me to do quality work, I’m not so much a fan of the anxiety I give myself. I just unnecessarily stress myself out a lot. For the past few months, I have been stressing myself out about presenting at the Midwest Political Science Association
conference. Back in October, I applied to present because, I mean, why not? But after I got accepted to the conference, and as the date of the conference got closer and closer, I just really started psyching myself out.
In the weeks running up to the conference, I regularly panicked about whether or not my paper was good enough, and I had trouble falling asleep because my mind would keep running. I psyched myself out so much that the day before I was scheduled to present, I decided to reorganize my whole paper and re-do my entire presentation. Against every piece of advice, I never slept the night before my presentation, choosing instead to change and revise my presentation. I may have gone a little crazy.
But on Friday, I finally presented my paper, and you know what? It went better than I ever anticipated. Not only did I get really good feedback, but I discovered that I just really like being at conferences. I loved going to panels and sessions to hear what other people are researching, and if you’ve never been in the Palmer House
, it’s beautiful (and surprisingly huge—I got lost a few times). So, despite the mental torture that I put myself through, I’m actually super happy that I did the conference!
I’m writing this blog from my bed in Wisconsin. Even though the conference isn’t over, I had to run home right after my presentation so that I could finish packing for my trip to Madrid! I can’t believe it’s already time for me to go. It feels like I booked my trip just a few weeks ago, but now I leave in less than 24 hours! Next time you hear from me, I’ll be writing to you from Madrid while chomping on churros (and, of course, while doing lots and lots of research).
As spring quarter began, I anxiously (and excitedly) awaited the start of my Introduction to Sustainability class. Having just declared my major as Environmental Studies
with a Sustainability concentration
, I was eager to dig in to a subject I was interested in and felt passionate about.
When I read through the syllabus for the class, one thing stuck out to me as especially daunting: the Impact Project. The main idea of the Impact Project is for students to lessen their environmental impact on specified days throughout the week by altering how they consume food, use transportation and electricity/water, and produce waste.
For food, students are encouraged to become vegetarian in order to conserve resources (such as land and water), reduce their carbon footprint, and lower the amount of methane emissions going into the atmosphere. Since I am already vegan I decided not to pursue this category, but many of the students in my class did choose it and are giving up many of the foods they previously thought they couldn’t live without.
For those who choose transportation, there is the option of either committing to entirely self-propelled transportation (biking, walking, etc.) or simply refraining from driving/riding in Ubers
and instead taking public transportation. This seemed like a good challenge for me because I am often taking users when I am in a rush. Rather than paying extra money for an Uber, I have been trying to wake up a little bit earlier in order to make time for getting on the bus or the ‘L’.
In the electricity/water category, students are supposed to lessen their water and electricity use by at least 50% through strategies such as using a shower timer, unplugging appliances, charging electronics during the day so they’re not plugged in all night, etc. This part of the project has shown me that it’s easier than most people think to lessen shower time and conserve water.
Finally, the hardest category (for me anyway) is waste. On these days, students are challenged to produce zero waste. This includes food packaging, plastic bags, plastic cutlery, etc. I initially did not think it would be as hard as it seemed, but this changed immediately when I woke up and realized I couldn’t even eat my usual granola bar for breakfast because it was wrapped in plastic packaging. I am learning to carry around reusable containers/cutlery in my backpack and never leave home without my reusable water bottle.
Though the Impact Project has just started, I am already gaining a different perspective and understanding of the Earth and how I can make lifestyle changes that have the potential to significantly benefit it. Although this project is already extremely challenging, I can’t wait to learn more about what I can do to help the environment, and I’m so glad that DePaul offers classes that have the capacity to alter
students lifestyles and make them into better and more well-rounded members of society.
A new quarter is upon us here at DePaul, and with it comes a new round of classes. One of my favorite things about taking classes at DePaul is that I was able to enroll in my major classes as soon as I got to campus my freshman year. As a Public Relations and Advertising
major I came into DePaul not entirely sure I was going to love the major, but after being able to take an intro course during during my first quarter, I knew I had made the right choice. I got a little carried away my freshman year with my major classes and decided to leave many of my learning domains (general education classes) until later on. So here I am in my last quarter of my junior year and I am finally finishing up some of my required learning domains.
General education classes often get a bad reputation among most college students because many of the required courses have little to do with the area of study a student is perusing. I came into college thinking the same thing; why would I need to be taking classes in science and philosophy if I was majoring in something completely different? However once I stopped looking at these classes as a waste of time, I started to appreciate them for what they really are: an opportunity to learn about things that interest you outside your area of study.
Although I am a studying Public Relations and Advertising, I’m also really interested in things like medicine, environmental science, and psychology. This year alone I was able to get credit for many learning domains by taking some of the most interesting classes I’ve ever been in here at DePaul. Winter quarter I took a class called Human Sexuality for a psychology
credit, and I can honestly say I looked forward to going to the class every Monday and Wednesday. This quarter I'm fulfilling a philosophy credit in a class called Medical Ethics. After only two weeks of class meetings I can already tell it’s going to be one of my favorite classes this year.
Although I love all of the major courses I take for my Public Relations and Advertising degree, I’m also so grateful I've been able to study so many unique areas of study while here at DePaul. So before you roll your eyes and wish away your learning domains, take a second to explore the many different classes DePaul offers and enroll in a course that truly interests you.
Now that spring quarter has rolled around I am currently working toward the opening of my spring quarter show at The Theatre School. Being that I am getting close to graduating, this is my final show of my undergrad career, making the experience very bittersweet.
The show I am working on is called Cinderella: The Remix
. This play is part of our Playworks series for Families and Young Audiences. This play will be performed at the Merle Reskin Theatre
, DePaul’s performance space in the Loop. This large proscenium theatre will welcome hundreds of young elementary school aged children and families this spring.
I am really lucky to be part of such a fun show for my last production of undergrad. This hilarious play is a new twist on the classic Cinderella story. The play takes place in a fictional land called Hip Hop Hollywood. The protagonist Cinderella wants to be a DJ, but unfortunately in Hip Hop Hollywood, girls are not allowed to DJ. She and her best friend Chin Chilla (yes, you read that right) disguise themselves as boys in order to follow their dreams and DJ for the hottest rapper in town. They encounter challenges and triumphs on their way to empower young girls to follow their passions and realize their potential. The play includes music, dancing, rapping, and is a blast for the whole family. While it is odd to know that this is my last play here, it is heartwarming to go out on a high note.
I play two characters in this show. First, I play Cinderella’s stepmother, named Bad Ma’amajama. She works hard to push her other son, Chocolate Ice, toward success as a DJ, and discourages Cinderella from auditioning for the famous rapper J Prince. I also play the fairy godmother of the story, who comes in the form of a entrepreneurial media queen named Hoperah, loosely based on Oprah
. She shows up to give Cinderella and her bff Chinchilla the confidence they need to overcome obstacles and believe in themselves. I have had a blast creating these larger than life characters, and rapping my way through a story that really means something. This cast is completely made up of minorities, and gives us the chance to represent the populations of young kids who come to see this play who are also from those communities. I really believe it is great to send a message that young girls are smart and capable, and if they believe in themselves, and persevere, they can overcome the odds and be successful. I am proud to be part of a show that can do that for its audiences.
Themes: Fairy Tales; Gender Roles; Girl Power; Hip-Hop; Identity; Pop Culture; Sexism
The cast features Chanell Bell Copeland (Cinderella), Hunter Bryant (Chocolate Ice), Mariana Castro Florez (Chin Chilla), Samantha Newcomb (Bad Mamajama/Hoperah), and Nosakhere Cash-O'Bannon (J Prince).
The production team includes scenic design by Angela McIlvain, costume design by Emilee Orton, lighting design by Richard Latshaw, sound design by Madeline Doyle, dramaturgy by Yasmin Zacaria Mitchel, and stage management by Emily Mills.
This show opens April 20th, and runs Tuesday and Thursday mornings, as well as Saturday afternoons until we close May 27th. If you or a youngster you know if looking for a great way to spend 70 minutes this spring, come check out Cinderella: The Remix! For more information check out our website
Well, it has arrived. My last quarter of undergrad. That went by so fast! I feel like it was just yesterday that I moved into Munroe Hall
my freshman year and started by first classes as a college student. Now that I have been here for almost four years, I have learned a lot on how to live in Chicago and perform well as a student. Here are some tips!
● Schedule your classes wisely: There are going to be required classes you don’t want to take, but don’t put them off until the end! I did that, and it was one of the worst things I could have done to myself. I am in three classes right now that I hate, and that is not a fun way to close out my undergrad career! Get the classes you dread out of the way so that you can take fun electives your senior year. You will not regret it, I promise.
● Take advantage of your professors’ office hours: Your professors are there because they want to help and teach you. If you don’t understand something or need clarity on a topic, go in and ask! They purposefully block off scheduled time just for their students, so take advantage of it. Not only is it helpful to talk with your professors one-on-one sometimes, but they have the opportunity to get to know you better and see that you are putting effort into their classes. That can really pay off in the end, especially if you are on the cusp of a higher letter grade. Plus, a lot of the professors are super cool, so talking with them is really enjoyable.
● Take advantage of Chicago. Guys, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. There is so much to do!!! Museums, restaurants, parks, sports, shopping, culture, shows...the list is endless. Take time to go exploring! Some of my favorite things? Rush tickets for Broadway shows, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Harold Washington Library, and all of the ice cream places in the city.
Most of all, enjoy your time living in one of the greatest cities in the world!
Welcome to spring quarter, everyone! I hope you all had a great spring break. I’m finishing up the master’s part of my BA/MA program
, and I was just thinking, everything is becoming a “last” for me again
. That was my last spring break at DePaul, and this is my final spring quarter at DePaul. It’s sort of sad, particularly because I had a ridiculously busy spring break. So much so, in fact, that I’m currently pretending that I’m on spring break. I’m only taking two courses this quarter, so my schedule allowed me to head home on Wednesday and try to relax a bit. Of course, I’m still doing a ton of work at home, so it’s not very much of a break, but being home makes me feel like I’m on a break. I’m enjoying it.
But really, I’m home right now because I’m trying to rest up before tackling one of the most exciting and stressful weeks of my life. This week is the big one. In between thesis work and homework, I’ve been working on my presentation for the Midwest Political Science Association Conference
. Lucky for me, the conference is just downtown, so I don’t even have to figure out travel plans. I could walk there if I wanted to!
During the official
spring break for DePaul, I laid on my couch and stressed myself out about finishing my paper for the conference. Now, during my unofficial spring break, I’m lying on my couch, eating cake, and stressing out to a lesser degree
over the presentation. At least I’m making progress, right? I present at the conference on Friday, and you better believe that I’m going to treat myself with Pizza Hut afterwards.
Then, just two days after the conference, I’m flying out to Madrid
. I can’t believe how fast time has gone by! It’s crazy to think that I booked my trip less than two months ago and now I’ve already started to pack. I’m going to Madrid to do archival research for my thesis, so I want to make the most of my time. I’ve been doing whatever I can to prepare; I’m going to an archive with transcripts of over two hundred interviews, so I’m going through the list of interviews and creating a new, organized list that arranges the interviews in order of priority based on guesstimated relevance.
All in all, it’s a busy, but exciting, time in Willy’s life right now. Be on the lookout for my upcoming blogs from Madrid, where I will be regaling you with stories of my experiences while also vociferously praising the DePaul Graduate Research
funding program for making my trip possible.
As a college student, there are many different organizations that can become an active part of your 4-year experience. Over the past 4 years I have been lucky enough to be a part of a scholarship organization called The Jackie Robinson Foundation. This is a foundation comprised of young students of color at colleges across the country, dedicated to academic excellence and carrying on the legacy of Civil Rights Activist, Jackie Robinson
Each year of the program, the scholars make a trip to New York City for a mentoring and leadership conference. For one weekend we are immersed in workshops, panels, and networking opportunities related to career success. This is supplemented by cultural outings a fun events that make it truly memorable. This year the theme of the conference was Financial Savvy. There were career panels, off the record sessions with industry leaders, a scholar debate, guest speakers and more, and I spent the weekend overwhelmed with information and trying to soak up as much as I could. Being in my last few months of college, it is important to me to be able to best prepare myself for life after school, so I appreciated this conference even more than I did last year, knowing that everything I was learning would be applicable sooner than I think.
Some of the highlights of the weekend included cultural outings. Each class (freshman, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors) goes to a cultural outing in the city, to appreciate another aspect of a well rounded education and life: art. For those who know me, as a theatre maker, this is my jam and therefore one of my favorite parts. I was able to attend a performance of Jitney on Broadway. This is a play written by one of my favorite playwrights, August Wilson. The play was directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson
, an acclaimed director of Wilson’s work, who I met in my time as an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival two summers ago. Two actors in the show I also met and worked with in my time at WTF, including Andre Holland
, who was recently a part of the academy award winning film Moonlight
(starring previous DePaul student Ashton Sanders). It can be such a small world sometimes, and you are reminded that you are only a few degrees of separation away from your dreams. The play was fabulous and I was so glad I got to see it.
After soaking in the knowledge about Financial Savvy over the weekend, on Monday night came the chance to dance the night away at the Annual Awards Dinner. Andre Holland, above mentioned actor, was the emcee of the night and hosted the award ceremony. We all got dressed in our best black tie attire, and shared in recognizing industry leaders and game changers in their accomplishments both in business and in philanthropy. After a delicious dinner, and some musical entertainment, the scholars were able to dance it up at the scholar after-party.
It truly was a fun filled and informative weekend, and I left with bittersweet feelings. As graduation approaches, I remember that this was my last conference with JRF, and my last year as a scholar. It is a strange feeling to note something that has had such a profound impact on your college experience in coming to a close. I have very fond memories, and will use the knowledge and inspiration I’ve been given here as I move forward and tackle the world post-grad.
For my HON 101
World Literature class I was given the opportunity to see a live-action rendition of Death of a Salesman
, the play we were analyzing in class. Aside from the extra credit affiliated with attending, or that Professor Williams hooked his students up free of charge, I was eager to see the play live since I was exposed to the play through text and film only. Regardless of the thirty dollar ticket, the Redtwist’s
version of Death of a Salesman
was riveting and unique.
Upon entry, I was notified that the theatre only seats about forty people. I liked the sound of that since it would imply that I would be pretty close to the actors, the stage, and that I could get a good view rather than having to observe from rows away. However, when actually stepping into the theatre I was shocked to see its setup. The room was long and narrow, with the seating around the perimeter of the set and props, meaning that the play would unfold at the center of everyone attending. Sure enough, when the play began the actors were only a couple of feet away from me, with every detail in their facial expression, every word in their speech clear. The setup of the theatre gave it a communal environment since other spectators were in your view and you were all sharing this unique moment.
Besides the setup, the actors were no less impressive. Our class was able to witness one of DePaul’s very own Zach De Nardi play the role of Happy Lowman with phenomenal execution. Located off the Bryn Mawr stop, Redtwist is a storefront theatre that will surely not disappointment.
As many of you probably already know, last quarter I completed my Honors Thesis Project. I have written about my thesis in some of my previous blog posts, and I am happy to announce that I officially finished it and turned it in this past week! It ended up being 35 pages long, and I am super proud of it.
It was actually really enjoyable to write, and if you are in the honors program, I encourage you to take on the thesis project for your senior
. You get to choose what you research and write about, ensuring that you are actually interested and invested in the thesis. You have 10 whole weeks to write it - you have to be disciplined during those 10 weeks and manage your time well, but it definitely is enough time to tackle a project of this magnitude. You also get to choose the professors who you work with, so you can choose professors who you have experience with or who you know you work well with. There is a lot of freedom in this project, which is great, and the honors program really just wants to support you so that you can create some of your best work.
If you are planning on continuing your education after DePaul, have a research study or project you have always wanted to do, have a topic that has always interested you that you want to explore in-depth, are a really talented creative writer, or just enjoy writing and creating in general, than this project is for you. Do not let the page limit or time length of this project intimidate you. You will end up creating a project you can be really proud of and present. If you have any questions about my experience with this project, feel free to ask them in the comments section!
It’s to the point in the quarter where I’ve lost all track of time. I’ve stopped trying to keep track of the month or what day of the week it is. I was in shock last week when I found out I had to start working on finals already. I feel like I just finished midterms! But it turns out that I just haven’t been paying attention to how much time has passed. I’ve just been trying to keep my head down and race to the finish line this quarter.
On Saturday, I started my day by throwing a tantrum that the Pizza Hut on campus suddenly closed. For the record, I’m still only in the bargaining phase of the five stages of grief
. After temporarily regaining my composure, I went out to go grab a wrap for lunch. It took me twenty minutes to figure out why everyone except me was inebriated and wearing green. I thought St. Patrick’s Day
wasn’t for two more weeks! To be fair, I’m not that far off since St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until the 17th. But still, I probably still would have been just as blindsided.
Anyways, I got my sub, went home, ate it, and got back to work on finals. It was starting to get late, so I glanced over at my clock and saw that it was 1:45am. “Okay,” I told myself, “I’ll just work until 2 and then go to bed.” I look up just a few minutes later and I see that it’s now 3:04am. You guys, I panicked hard. I thought maybe I fell asleep, but I didn’t remember sleeping or waking up. Then, I thought that maybe my laptop was breaking and the clock on it wasn’t working anymore. But my phone read the same time. I felt like I was living in The Twilight Zone
. A half hour later, I discovered that Daylight Savings Time
had just started.
Needless to say, I haven’t really been on top of things lately. Between my thesis, finals, preparing to present at the conference
, and getting everything ready for Madrid
, I’m desperately trying just to keep my head above water. But I’ll admit that it’s somewhat a relief to know that finals will be done in just a few days.
The most dreaded time of year is upon us, and we’re getting ready to pull the all-nighters to study for finals. This finals week I’m trying to make my habits and routine look a bit different in an effort to decrease stress and sleep deprivation, so I’m going to share my tips!
1. I’ve been living at my yoga
studio this week. It’s been the perfect way to clear my mind of the essays I still have to write and connect with my body and mind. If you don’t have a yoga studio you go to, The Ray also offers classes multiple times a week, so hit those up! Even if you’ve never done yoga before, I started my practice going to those classes, they’re great for beginners!
2. Doing something positive for others
always puts me in a better mood. Last weekend I was stressed out studying at a coffee shop with my friend, and we took a break to spread some positivity in the city, which made us feel SO happy after. We literally couldn’t stop smiling. We decided to take an all-time favorite book of mine, 300 Things I Hope
by Iain Thomas, and wrote the different hopeful statements on post-it notes, then we put them all up on a wall in the Jackson red line train station spelling out HOPE. It was so fun and so many people stopped by asking what we were doing and looking at them, adding to it, taking a hopeful statement, etc. Sometimes it’s the little things, and for me, seeing someone else see our message and smile makes me smile!
3. Get out of your house
. I usually don’t end up getting much work done when I have “study parties” with friends, but I also find that staying in my house leaves me anxious and distracted. I’ve been spending my Saturdays and Sundays at the Starbucks near my house, and it’s been SO helpful. I bring all my stuff, order a venti Strawberry Acai refresher (light ice - gotta get my money’s worth), and power through my work. That environment of having some background noise has been really helpful for me!
4. Two words: Google Docs
. Ever since I wrote an essay late one night in the fall and then my computer froze and lost it all, I’ve been writing everything (including this article!) on Google Docs. It’s come in handy especially during finals week when I can access the study guides I’ve typed up or the article I started writing from any computer. I hate lugging my computer around, and now I can still get work done in the hour break between my classes at the computers at Brownstones, or right now, while I’m at work in the CDM building!
I hope some of these are helpful tips during your finals week! Happy studying!
One would think that after four years of attending DePaul University and having a desire to learn about everything the institution has to offer, one might have at least came close to seeing almost all of it. This past Wednesday, I came to realize just how impossible it is to reach such a goal. Taking a detour from our usually scheduled class time, my PRAD 373 professor decided to use this week as an opportunity to showcase 1871
to us, the startup and entrepreneurial hub of Chicago.
1871 is located inside the Merchandise Mart
of Chicago. Conveniently staged around several CTA train lines, or “L” tracks if you’re native to the Windy City, it is easy and fairly hassle-free to get to and from there. With an array of shops, restaurants, offices, and more Merchandise Mart serves as a perfect location for 1871.
Thriving in this melting pot of an atmosphere, 1871 provides various programs, workshops, events, guest speakers, etc. for all members. Here is the best part; all DePaul students have access to membership benefits through The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center in the Driehaus College of Business
. Students can make a request to use the University’s dedicated space or to attend any of the many events 1871 has to offer. All students have to do is contact the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.
My friends and I have tried to explore everything DePaul has to offer and yet the more I learn, the more I realize I have even more to learn. It’s a good problem to have, in my opinion. So many resources offered that even in my second to last quarter of being an undergrad I’m still learning about new opportunities for students. Make sure to check out the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center
if you’re interested in learning more about 1871.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
In less than five weeks, I’ll be on my way to Madrid. I’m already to the point of excitement where I can barely fall asleep at night. I usually end up lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, just thinking about all the things that I’m going to do in Madrid. I’m boring like that. But with my trip coming up so quickly, it’s probably actually a good idea for me to start preparing plans for my time in Madrid.
As I’ve been working on my thesis, I’ve been forced to accept that not everything is accessible online. Since I’m researching Spain, it would make sense that there are some resources that are only available in Spain. The Graduate Research Funding program
is paying for me to go to Madrid so that I can access those kinds of resources. To that end, I officially submitted my library card application for the National Library of Spain
last night. The personal significance cannot be understated. With this application, I will finally able to settle my personal vendetta against the National Library of Spain.
Back when I was studying in Madrid in 2014, one of my professors in Madrid recommended that I visit the National Library, knowing that I worked at DePaul’s library
and would probably be interested in seeing the National Library. Very excited about this suggestion, I ran over to the National Library that same day after class. However, when I tried to enter, I was told that I would need a researcher ID card in order to enter, and was politely directed to the exit. Over two years later, I’ve only become more bitter about being rejected. This time, with card in hand, no one will be able to stop me from looking at books.
While I’m very excited about restoring my pride and digging through archives in the National Library, I’m mostly excited to eat my way through Madrid again. I already have a prioritized list on my phone of all the food that I need to consume once again. Expect a comprehensive blog about my culinary escapades after I get back.
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing a new student campaign called We Are DePaul Blue
. They launched as part of a Public Relations Campaign class, where they’re part of a national competition where schools are teamed with a national non-profit client.
This year, they were assigned Campaign to Change Direction
, whose philosophy is, “If everyone is more open and honest about mental health, we can prevent pain and suffering, and those in need will get the help they deserve”.
Students Mia Hinkebein, Kate Hohenstatt, Alexa Ohm, and Meghan Thesing are working behind this project.
“Their mission is essentially what we’re localizing to DePaul, so it’s about mental health, self-care, and most importantly for them, knowing the five signs of emotional suffering,” Alexa said.
These five signs are:
1. feeling hopeless
2. poor self-care
3. feeling agitated
4. feeling withdrawn
5. personality changes
We Are DePaul Blue is aiming to teach these five signs to the DePaul community.
“Their big thing with the five signs is that we have to start with a common language in order to normalize it,” Mia said.
Thus, the four girls are encouraging individuals and groups to take the pledge to learn them and are also presenting them to student organizations on campus. They want to start talking about it, because the only way to combat a stigma is to bring a voice to it.
“A big component of our campaign is the friend aspect because people are more likely to reach out to a friend to talk about their mental health than go into a counselor, so it is just building that community on campus,” Kate said.
Since their launch mid-February, they have received a lot of positive feedback from students, and hope to turn this into a student organization at DePaul in the future.
We Are DePaul Blue’s launch also comes at a fitting time with finals just around the corner. They recently had a “Decompress Your Stress” event, as well as “Positivity Pop Up” where post-it notes with positive sayings were put up on campus for students to take.
In addition, a lot of events are coming up to encourage self-care and positive well-being before the quarter comes to a close, such as a self-care workshop on February 28 and a mindfulness meditation on March 8.
“Even if the people coming to our events are people who are having a great day that day and just want to try this, they have a network of people who at one point are probably going to need them to know what these five signs are or know what that self-care tip is to help them,” Alexa said.
To get involved with We Are DePaul Blue, take the pledge to learn the five signs, attend their events, follow them on social media, and use #WeAreDePaulBlue.
They also encourage you to share your story
and talk about mental health more often to help combat the stigma and normalize the topic.
One of the coolest things about the 4th year of the acting program at The Theatre School is the sprinkling of really fun and less common classes. By now we no longer have the same quantity of intense acting technique classes, but have a few different classes that give us a taste for other kinds of techniques.
One of these classes is an On Camera acting class taken in the winter quarter. This one-quarter course is taken once a week for 3 hours downtown at Acting Studio Chicago. Our teacher, Rachael Patterson from Acting Studio Chicago, guides the class through audition technique and scene preparation for on camera work, helping us all to become more confident in our ability to tackle that aspect of the industry post-grad.
We began the quarter working on commercial copy. Students would receive various pieces of text from different kinds of commercials and work on preparing them for commercial auditions. From pasta to health insurance we worked on making specific choices to make an impact when you only have a couple sentences, or a couple of words to work with. We then moved on to working on scenes from TV and film, and we learned what it takes to prepare for those. The quarter was topped off with scenes selected from various films and TV shows that we have prepared and will take in to audition for Gray Talent agency
It has been a really interesting to learn about how the on-camera acting and auditioning works. The main focus during this course has been learning how to bring more of your own unique personality to the work. We’ve also been learning how to simplify your choices, and modify your actions to fit the frame of the medium. I am appreciative that at this point, after 3 years of working on transformation in acting, we are coming back to ourselves and bringing ourselves to the party. After taking this class I am really looking forward to working on TV and film work in the future and putting these new skills into practice out in the real world!
As spring quarter rapidly approaches, graduating students are now looking straight ahead at their final quarter of college. Spring quarter will be a whirlwind of changes and mixed emotions. This will be the time when I take my last college classes, participate in the last events of my collegiate experience, and perform in my last show of undergrad. Now, at the end of February, we here at The Theatre School
are in the midst of casting the spring quarter productions, which are the final shows of the year, and for me, the final shows of my time here at TTS.
Today I arrived on campus, highlighted scenes in hand, ready to audition for the last round of shows of my undergraduate experience. The audition process for the casting pool was the same as usual. Each member of the acting company split up into groups, and sent into three different rooms to audition with scenes from our three main stage productions. We were greeted in each room by the smiling faces of students and faculty working on each of the shows, and were encouraged to have fun auditioning for each role we read. While the day had a familiar feel, putting it in those term s- the “last time”, really took me aback.
This is the last time I’ll go online to DePaul’s Backstage domain to check out the audition sides. This is the last time I’ll find a partner in the hallway who would be willing to read with me in the audition room. The last time I will walk into the room full of my classmates, colleagues, and cohorts, to audition for a play that I will help to create within this learning environment.
Along with my final set of TTS auditions comes the realization that this spring will be my last TTS show. With this in mind, it makes me determined the make the most of whatever process I am in for the next few short months. I want to be able to learn as much as I can before I leave, and really enjoy myself in the process. It is also really exciting to think about what lies ahead. If this is my last show of my undergraduate career, the work that waits beyond is many wonderful experiences creating my own work, and working in the professional world! While it may feel a bit strange to know that this last show means something is coming to an end, it also means a very beautiful beginning to a chapter of life that I’ve been thinking and preparing for for a long time. Finally I can say I’m almost there, and finally I can say I’m ready. Here’s hoping I’ll break a leg!
The last show to open on the mainstage this winter was a unique and impactful play with a title to match the description. We Are Proud To Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the years 1884-1915
was the last show to hit the Fullerton Stage this quarter.
This contemporary piece written by Jackie Sibblies Drury, is an intense and thought-provoking play within a play that challenges topics of race, identity, violence, and storytelling. What stories do we tell? Who has the right to tell them? How do the complexities of our own identities influence these stories and how we fit in them. The characters of this play, a group of young passionate artists, wrestle with these questions, coming in and out of the world of their own presentation, until the lines between reality and the story their inhabit become blurred.
The TTS website describes this play:
“An ensemble of eager, well-meaning young actors devises a play about a nearly forgotten African genocide. When their artistic director suggests they should not read the German letters that make up the core of their presentation, the group must come to terms with the fact that they can't tell a new story until they have unearthed the original one.”
To give you a little insight into how this play operates, the list of characters gives us a hint. The 6 character cast includes characters named Black Woman, White Man, Black Man, Another White Man, Another Black Man and Sarah (played by a white woman). These characters are played by actors who fit those descriptions. I was lucky enough to see this play on opening weekend, and was insanely proud of the students who came together to create this play. A play that deals so personally with such tough topics and images requires a huge amount of bravery from each of the artists involved. This is an extremely relevant and well-acted play that punches you in the gut and forces you to face the realities of your actions and your history.
The cast features Ayanna Bria Bakari (Actor 6/Black Woman), Tuckie White (Actor 5/Sarah), Keith Illidge (Actor 4/Another Black Man), Michael Morrow (Actor 2/Black Man), Sam Straley (Actor 1/White Man), and Arie Thompson (Actor 3/Another White Man).
The production team includes scenic design by Jessica Olson, costume design by Olivia Engobor, lighting design by Joseph Clavell, sound design by Haley Feiler, dramaturgy by Hampton Cade and Lauren Quinlan, and stage management by Erin Collins.
In the fall of my junior year at DePaul, I went and studied abroad in Madrid
for a quarter (you can read more about that here
). I was a Spanish and International Studies double major, so I figured I should probably visit a Spanish-speaking country at some point. To say that it changed my life would be an understatement. I encourage anyone and everyone who has the opportunity to study abroad
to do so.
I consider studying in Spain to be one of the greatest decisions of my life. Not only did studying abroad help me improve my Spanish and nearly complete my Spanish major, but studying in Spain also inspired me to get my master’s in International Studies and write my thesis on the Spanish transition to democracy.
A little over two years after returning from Madrid, I sat in the International Studies department conference room and defended my thesis proposal. At some point during my defense, I made an offhand comment about how I was having a hard time finding some specific information on the transition because so many records and papers aren’t available online and are only held in Madrid.
The members of my thesis committee encouraged me to apply to the Graduate Research Fund
, which funds graduate students who want to conduct research or present at a conference. At the ve
ry last moment possible (you can’t even imagine), I submitted my application for funding to go dig around in some archives in Madrid.
Ever since I submitted the application, I haven’t been able to think about anything else. I’ve just been looking up flights and hotels in the hope that I’d be accepted. And then, finally, just a few hours ago, I got the email. My request for funding had been approved. I started screaming and booked everything right away. In less than two months, I’ll be on the plane back to Madrid.
When you receive your bill for your quarterly tuition, you’re being charged for eighteen credit hours every time. Yet, most students only enroll for sixteen credit hours a quarter. Why? They may find five classes to be too overwhelming, or simply because they don’t know that there are courses worth less than four credit hours.
I did not know until recently that there are one and three credit hour classes. Regardless of that, some majors have at least a few two credit requirements. What I am getting at is that there are ways to fulfill eighteen credit hours every quarter and not doing so in a burdensome way.
After getting those two credit courses that are required out of the way it leaves you with freedom to explore subjects that outside of your major or even college. As an accounting major I was required to complete a professional business writing course as well as a career management class for accountants. With no other requirements to look towards I was able to search for some unconventional courses for a business student. I currently am taking a two credit course in the history of jazz
because I wanted to take a break from the formalities of business courses.
Some classes that intrigue me are the “PE” classes that are held at Lincoln Park’s Ray Meyer Center. These include basketball, volleyball, golf, or even actual fitness classes like weightlifting and conditioning. Imagine that, playing and studying a sport that you enjoy for credit. By fulfilling the full eighteen credits each quarter you increase your cumulated credit hours that slowly brings you closer to graduation. As a requirement for the Certified Public Accountant exam
, I am obligated to complete one hundred and fifty hours, and each additional two credit hour class brings me nearer. So, before you decide to burn the money that goes toward those two credits, take a look into different areas of study and see if there anything that interests you.
For those of you planning on furthering your education after you receive your undergraduate degree, you know how extensive the applications are. They require many components: resume, transcript, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and some sort of test (and money – those application fees are no joke). Medical schools require the MCAT
, law schools require the LSAT
, and business schools require the GMAT. There are more specialized tests that I am sure I missing. However, the test that covers admission to most graduate schools is the GRE
I recently took the GRE over winter break, and I’m here to give you all the inside scoop on it!
I studied using the Kaplan
GRE study book, pictured on the side. I like Kaplan – they give you lots of tips and have an online program with accessibility to tons of practice tests. Spend a lot of time reading over the tips on the essay section of the GRE. I would say that was the part of the book that helped me the most. Practice the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections as much as you can because you want to become as familiar with the test as much as possible before you officially take it. Also, look over some of the math terms/equations that you may be fuzzy on. Some of the math that was tested on the GRE I hadn’t done since sixth grade and I wish I had looked over those terms more.
The best thing about the GRE is that is an individually-timed test. If you remember back to the SAT or ACT, you took it in a big room with lots of other students, and you all started and ended the test at the same time. Because the GRE is computer-based, timing is up to you. If you finish early on a section, you can just continue on to the next one. You don’t have to wait for everyone. I was told to allot 5 ½ hours of my day to the GRE, but finished the test in 3 ½ hours because it did not take me the whole time.
Overall, the GRE was not that bad. Was it the best 3 ½ hours and $220 I have ever spent in my life? Heck no. But, it got me into graduate school and for that reason I am mighty thankful for it. Don’t stress about the test, come prepared, and I can assure you that you will do great.
On Tuesday in my News Reporting class, my professor brought in a panel of speakers to talk about the field, their careers, and what to do and not to do.
One of the panelists, Jen Sabella, who is the deputy editor and director of social media at DNAinfo
, kicked off the panel saying her number one goal is to make any story, no matter how boring of a topic, into an interesting piece.
She expanded on her advice to reporters, which is to never stop asking questions. As an editor she said that the best reporters ask as many questions as possible, and if they do miss something, they always have the follow-up contact information available. In regards to pitching, she emphasized that you have to know your audience and know the style of the company you’re pitching to. “Do your homework. See what the site publishes. Lurk through the navigation,” she said.
Another panelist, Julie DiCaro, a freelance writer and 670 the Score
anchor, talked about how social media was her saving grace. “If you want to be a journalist, just start writing. If you want to be in radio, start a podcast. If you want to be in TV, start a YouTube channel” she said.
After being a lawyer for 15 years, DiCaro broke into journalism after blogging for years and building up a following on social media. “One of the best things law school ever did for me was teach me how to build a case because that’s exactly what you have to do [in this field]. People will come at you at social media about everything you say”
Alongside Sabella and DiCaro were Kathy Chaney, Ebony Print Managing Editor, Bettina Chang, Chicago Magazine web editor and cofounder of the nonprofit organization City Bureau, Investigative Reporter Maria Zamudio, and Andrea Watson, neighborhood reporter at DNAinfo.
Each panelist brought a unique and informative perspective to the table, and the remaining time was filled up discussing boundaries on social media, fact checking, interview skills, internships, and building connections. I learned so much!
One of the most memorable quotes was “Generosity is currency. You share other people's work and they share yours...helping people that way will help you 1000 fold. Stay in touch with your classmates, even if it’s just on twitter. Lean on each other and rely on each other,” Julie said.
Big news has hit the halls of The Theatre School, in the form of the 2017-2018 Main Stage Season. The announcement was shared with the TTS community at an event in the Merle Reskin lobby of the new theatre school building on Fullerton and Racine.
A large crowd of students and faculty gather around with attentive ears to hear which shows had been selected for next school year. There was a general buzz of excitement from the students who will in the casting pool next year, each thinking about what the future holds for them and where they will end up. Over the past couple of years, it has become a new tradition for each director of the upcoming shows to present the show they are directing at a special event. They share with the community their reason for choosing the show, their thoughts and concepts about the production, and why it matters to our community. Each show chosen for the upcoming season was chosen because of how relevant it can be to the current social and political time we live in, and how the story may matter to our community and the world at large.
It is a very special time to see how our school is recognizing the current atmosphere and responding with art that fits in with our thoughts, feelings, and actions of the moment. As a school, we still have not completed our current season of kick-ass shows, but we all have much to look forward to next year. Honestly, as a soon-to-be graduate, it was a little surreal to talk about the upcoming season knowing that I will not be a part of it. I will be moving on to a world of unknown things, but will no doubt come back to visit and see what they do with this new season of shows. It’s all so exciting!
SO, without further ado, I am pleased to share with you all, the 2017-2018 season:
ON THE FULLERTON STAGE
Into the Woods
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim * book by James Lapine
Directed by Barry Brunetti * musical direction by Mark Elliott
November 3-13, 2017 (previews 11/1 & 11/2)
By Mary Shelly* adated by Nick Dear
Directed by Micharl E. Burke
Frebruary 9-18, 2018 (previews 2/7 & 2/8)
By Anton Chekhov
Directed by Jacob Janssen
April 13-22, 2018 (previews 4/11 &4/12)
New Playwright Series
Title, Playwright, and Director TBD
May 18-26, 2018 (previews 5/16 & 5/17)
IN THE HEALY THEATRE
Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England
By Madeleine George
Directed by April Cleveland
October 20-29, 2017 (previews 10/18 & 10/19)
Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play
By Anne Washburn
Music by Micharl Friedman * directed by Jeremy Aluma
January 26-February 4, 2018 (previews 1/24 & 1/25)
MFA18, Title TBD
An emsemble performance created by MFA III actors, directed by Dexter Bullard
May 4-13, 2018 (previews 5/2 & 5/3)
CHICAGO PLAYWORKS FOR FAMILIES AND YOUNG AUDIENCES
Augusta and Noble
By Carlos Murillo * directed by Lisa Portes
October 5-November 11, 2017
Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook
By Allison Gregory * adapted from the book series by Barbara Park
Directed by Krissy Vanderwarker
January 11-February 17, 2018
The Cat in the Hat
By Dr. Seuss
Directed by Jeff Mills
April 19-May 26, 2018
STUDIO SERIES, Titles/Playwrights/Directors TBD
For those joining the DePaul Community next year, it is already time to get excited about the many good things in store!
Perhaps one of the forgotten days with regards to its anxiety-inducing suspense, but stressful nevertheless, is your enrollment date. This is the day when you and many other students wait for the minutes to countdown until there is that mad rush when the enrollment button opens up. This is the day you either get that dream schedule of yours with classes that make your quarter flow smoothly or classes that tear your days apart. Yes, the procedure for class scheduling seems like a simple process, but what if your course cart schedule doesn’t go as planned before you even have the opportunity to enroll? There are some things to consider before you organize your class schedule.Honors Program
Surely any honors program may give off an intimidating connotation, but there is a certain advantage that comes with the challenging coursework. If you are in any honors program whether it’d be the University Honors Program, Strobel Accountancy Honors, Finance Honors, and so on, you’ll get the advantage of priority enrollment over non-honors students in your grade and all students below you. This comes in handy especially when you have those required core classes that are critical to graduating on time.Degree Progress Report
Beside D2L, I probably use this tool from DePaul the most. The degree progress report can be found on Campus Connect and primarily depicts the course structure for your major. However, the DPR can also make searching for classes a more efficient task by clicking the box of a requirement that will open up window providing details on that requirement. Clicking on “Course List” will open another window to show the courses offered in order to fulfill that requirement. Furthermore, clicking an individual course will lead you its description and sections offered where you can finally add it to your course cart or schedule. Advisors
As a twenty-one year old man I like to think I can do things myself. However, I’ve learned that even my judgments can be stubborn when it comes to class scheduling. I remember freshman year when I thought I had my schedule all figured out, taking a summer course and transferring it over to DePaul. Yet, there may be prerequisites affiliated with certain courses or some courses may only be offered during certain times of the year. I hadn’t noticed this until I met with my advisor to assist me with my schedule. She pointed out the flaws and how it would have actually hindered my future classes. Moral of the story is to get an outside perspective, preferably a professional one whose job is to advise students.Other details
When searching for courses, be sure to look for those small details I’ve mentioned above. Within course descriptions it will tell you if it has any prerequisites, where it is located, and usually who the professor will be. If not, you could schedule a Loop class back to back with a Lincoln Park class, or get denied at the enrollment time like I did when I tried to take a class that wasn’t available until I had junior status. Another thing, make sure to be caught up on all payments and have no withholdings otherwise all classes will get a red X at the time of enrollment.
Even if one of the courses you want is full you can still request to be put on waitlist and have the chance to be accepted if another student opts out. I was able to get into two or three courses this way thus far. Take into these consideration so that when the enrollment date comes the most difficult part will be waking up early enough for your time.
In my history of TV and Radio class the other week, we had to write an essay interviewing someone over 50 and under 25 about their TV watching habits growing up. It seemed like fitting timing also with the Oscars coming up at the end of the month (and the fact that my friend and I discovered a Spotify playlist called “Lizzie McGuire Comes On At 4pm” and it’s life changing.
SO, with those two things in mind, I thought I’d share my finding on interviewing my mom (born in the early 1960s), and my younger sister to compare their TV watching habits and show the contrast of the millennials.
For starters, my mom talked about how watching TV was a family event. She said that certain movies were on once a year around the same time so annually her and my grandparents and uncle would watch the Wizard of Oz
when it came on.
That literally blew my mind when you compared it to my sister saying she remembers watching Full House and Lizzie McGuire before bed with me, and then starting talking about Shonda Rhimes
“TGIT” lineup, saying “I’ve never watched it then though I always record it and watch it on the weekends because I HATE COMMERCIALS but I liked having Grey’s Anatomy
back to back.”
Later on I asked my mom about “guilty pleasure” shows, and she said they were nothing like they were today, because shows were pretty innocent. Her “guilty pleasure” was watching M.A.S.H in high school.
My sister on the other hand went on about how when she was younger she loved watching SpongeBob every morning, and in high school she secretly was obsessed with (of course) Keeping Up With the Kardashians
Obviously TV has come a long way since the 1960s and 1970s, but the shift into it being a very isolating ‘in my room alone watching Netflix’ experience is what really caught my eye and I think shows the greatest shift from the family time it was back then. Next time you catch yourself isolating in your room watching endless hours of 30 Rock
(or whatever show you never get sick of!) just be mindful of that!
So, I have a lot of terrible habits in my life. That should surprise no one. I am a super bad nail biter, I procrastinate a lot, I’m a stress eater, I have a tendency to make impulsive purchases (especially when it comes to buying things for other people), I’m never on time for anything… The list goes on and on. I don’t think it’s even up for debate that I have way more bad habits than I have good habits. Recently, one of my worst habits has gotten even worse.
I’ve written before
about how stressed I get, and about my attempts to cope with stress. Whenever I get stressed, I sort of shut down and withdraw from the outside world. It’s really not the worst response to stress; it sort of has the effect of eliminating distractions and forcing me to focus all of my energy on addressing the cause of the stress.
During finals, I might be stressed for a week or two. Prolonged stress can be mentally and physically taxing. In those situations, I typically try to give myself one free day to do literally anything else so I can give my mind a break. I’ll schedule all of the work that I need to around that one day. On that day, I usually take a long walk, go downtown, work out, and treat myself to some of my favorite food and watch a movie. Anything to distract my mind and that makes me stop putting pressure on myself for a little bit.
Since I started work on my thesis last summer, I’ve reached a new level of stress in my life, and I haven’t been coping with it well at all. I’ve always been able to power through the stress of finals because finals might only last a week or two. With my thesis, I’ve been dealing with constant finals-level stress for six months at this point, and I won’t be done with my thesis for at least another four months.
At some point, I suddenly just stopped letting myself take days off like I used to. Whenever I thought about taking a day off to escape from the stress, I would think about how much work goes into a thesis, and I’d force myself to stay at home and do more work instead. Of course, since I never allowed myself to recover, I’d struggle to focus, the quality of my work would decrease, and I’d get even more stressed. As a result, for the past six months, I essentially lived Rapunzel’s
life. I locked myself away, and I only let myself leave for class or groceries. When I had to go out for special occasions, I was always doing work in my head and writing down ideas in my phone.
This week, I had a moment of clarity and decided that I had to cut myself some slack. I went to the gym twice this week (something that probably hasn’t happened in six months), took a mini-road trip with my cousin, and today, I finally let myself take my long walk again. Suddenly, everything seems a lot more manageable.
As a journalism major, I often have to write articles or report on topics that don’t necessarily grab my attention, but are a class requirement so have to get done. In a journalism class I’m in right now, my professor is very focused on informing us about things going on all around the city, not just in the few neighborhoods we frequently visit or ones that gather breaking news.
The current assignment we’re doing to cultivate this is a 77 challenge, where we were each assigned one of the 77 community areas
in Chicago and have to go explore that neighborhood and then write an article about it. Mine was the South Shore.
Coming from the northern suburbs, I spend most of my time up there, and rarely venture past the Jackson red line
stop. Thus, I had little clue about where the South Shore was, what went on there, or the demographic of the people residing there.
From my research, I quickly learned this is where Michelle Obama is from, it’s located along the lake (hence the name) just south of the University of Chicago
, and is where Tiger Woods is building a brand new golf course in hopes of hosting future PGA Tour
events. This is something that is super timely and current, as town meetings and discussions have been happening all month about it.
As I’m not an avid golf player or follower, I had absolutely no idea any of this was going on, when in reality it’s a pretty big construction. And, I found all this out by simply googling “South Shore Chicago” and clicking the “news” tab.
Now I’m not saying you should google all 77 neighborhoods and find out random facts about each, but what I am saying is that a lot goes on in such a big city, and it doesn’t hurt to venture outside of your normal comfort zone every once in a while, or even just look up news about some new places in the city, because there’s always something to follow up on!
DeBlogs became the first organization I joined as an incoming freshman at DePaul. As many readers can see, our graduation year is stated under our names just below the profile picture. Back then my year was the furthest away from the other bloggers. “College of CDM
‘17” it states with the earliest graduation year being the class of 2013.
Throughout my time at DePaul and with DeBlogs I have moved up in seniority, leading me to 2017 – the year I graduate. It’s odd to see my picture at the top of the page where now graduated alumni once were. It’s metaphoric of the progression in myself and my character, as well as my professional development throughout these past 4 years. The little freshman entering the new realm of college life, being at the bottom of the page and the bottom of class levels.
So here I am now midway through my last winter quarter and the questions are arising, “what are you doing after graduation,” “got any plans for post-graduation?” I’m applying to a few internships, searching jobs, and staying relevant with which companies are hiring in the Chicago and surrounding suburb area. Sound complicated?
Senior year can be quite overwhelming but there are many resources DePaul provides that help make the process a little less stressful. To anyone that may be thinking in advance about their senior year or anyone currently there here are some things I found to be helpful. Having a good relationship with your academic advisor. Even if you’ve gone the past 3 years not talking or talking very little to them, just sending an email with questions and concerns makes a world of a difference. I’ve found that when I just list all my questions and concerns, filter free, to my advisor that is when I figure out the most and sort things the best.
DePaul’s Career Center
and professor emailing lists are also a huge help. Google is a great tool, but many times companies and businesses have a relationship with some DePaul faculty or staff members and that puts you in a better spot to reach out to them and create a bigger network of professional relationships.
This last part kind of piggy backs off the Career Center. Career fairs and networking events at DePaul are a great way to meet people from all over the place. Usually many of these companies are looking to hire DePaul students because of an alumnus that currently works for them or they have some other connection to the university. I’ve been to some fairs as early as when I was a sophomore and the people are all very nice and very helpful with providing certain information about what they and the company they work for do. That’s about all the advice I have. I hope some of you find this blog to be helpful as you go about preparing for the next stage of life.
Thank you for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome friends!
, on the “Willy is Getting His Master’s” show, I was a mess. I mean, you can read that blog and tell I was a mess. Not much has changed in that regard, but I am in a completely different place in the thesis process now, which is VERY EXCITING. I’ve been working on thesis research for a long, long, long time. Like, at least a year and a half now. In that time, I’ve read so much on my topic and my topic has gone through so many revisions.
For the past few months, I’ve been slowly putting together my thesis proposal, which essentially outlines my argument, some preliminary research, and the general outline of my thesis. Right at the end of Fall Quarter, I decided to sort of shift my topic and take a different approach. I threw out most of the work that I had done up until that point and started anew. Well, this week, I successfully defended my thesis proposal! WOOHOO! This means I can finally get started on actually writing my thesis. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m so excited to finally be done with the proposal.
On a similar note, one day back in October, I got an email from the International Studies
department that the following day was the deadline for applications to present at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference
. I was pretty sure that I had no interest in presenting, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to apply anyways. Sure enough, I got accepted! Despite my initial apathy, and despite now being incredibly nervous and intimidated, I’m officially registered to present at the Conference in April! I have no clue what the preparation process for presenting will look like, but I will definitely keep you all in the loop!
Now is the winter of our...Latest show! Get it? That’s a play on the famous opening line of my current production! It’s another round of Shakespeare for me this winter at The Theatre School. This quarter I have been cast in Shakespeare’s Richard III
. I am taking on the powerhouse role of Queen Margaret, a noble woman scorned, as well as rounding out the ensemble of actors as the Lord Mayor of London, and a member of the opposing Army. This is an ensemble driven piece, meaning most cast members are playing multiple roles and helping to create this piece together. Having just finished Romeo and Juliet this past fall, and growing my love for this classical writer, it was exciting to me to try my hand at one of Shakespeare’s fiercest female roles. A mature woman, who had her Kingdom stripped from her uses curses to exact her revenge on the guilty parties involved. It has been a blast to explore this language and my more powerful qualities.
The TTS Website describes our show:
“Richard, Duke of Gloucester, conspires, manipulates, and murders his way onto the English throne, making more than a few enemies along the way. Can Richard rule England? Or will his misdeeds undo him? This Shakespearean classic explores the effects of morality, or lack thereof, in a political state.”
Our show will be produced in the Healy Theatre, our large black box theatre within the TTS building. Tickets are now on sale with the opening of the show January 27th running until February 5th. Directed by second year MFA director Jacob Janssen, the goal has been to bring this politically charged play to our modern American audiences who are also experiencing the transfer of power, and have to deal with the aftermath (current election/inauguration anyone?). The neat thing about our production? The title character of Richard III is being played by a female actress! Yes to untraditional casting!
For those in the Chicago area, come by and see this dramatic and powerful play. As always tickets are only $5 for students and $15 for the rest of the public. For info or tickets visit our website
I am pumped to see how the show turns out, and the reaction from the community. And I am always glad to know that whatever the end result, the process and learning experience is always worth it to me.
Be well DePaulians!
For those of you who have ever applied to graduate school or have looked into what applying entails, it is a lot of work! Most schools require your transcript, two to three letters of recommendation, your resume, GRE scores
, and the dreaded personal statement. The personal statement is a short narrative that describes your education, experience, and professional career objectives. You basically have to sell yourself to the university you are applying to. It is a lot of pressure to put on a 1,800 word essay!
Here are some tips to writing your personal statement:
● Go to a workshop class. DePaul offers workshops specifically to help you write your personal statement. Use this free resource!
● Think about a moment or experience that is really important to you or has shaped who you are as a person. I wrote how my worldview was expanded by my love of reading. I had a friend who wrote about how her trip to the Philippines opened her eyes to the reality of human trafficking. Then, connect that experience to the reasons you want to go into the field you are applying to.
● Give yourself time. Do not do what I did and give yourself a week to write your personal statement (I mixed up the deadlines for the programs I was applying to. Whoops!). You do not want to feel hurried or pressured to write this essay. Give yourself as much time as possible to make it the best quality.
● Use friends or professors as resources. I had a couple of my good friends who I knew were well-educated and eloquent edit my personal statement and it was one of the most helpful things I did. Getting another perspective on what I was writing and having someone fix a mistake I had glossed over really improved my personal statement.
I hope these help! Good luck! I promise, writing your personal statement is not as intimidating as it looks.
I’m always grateful that I go to a school where there is so much to do. Not that I have a ton of free time, but I like to venture outside of my bedroom occasionally. When I do finally go outside, I want to make the most of my time. These are the events that I’m looking at this quarter:
January 23rd: Are Ya Smarter than Your Professor
February 22nd: The Scholar’s Improv 2: Academic Boogaloo
I love the DePaul Humanities Center
. This quarter, they’re reprising a popular improv event starring comedians and
professors. In between improv sketches performed by the comics, professors improvise a lecture as they present a PowerPoint that they’ve never seen before. Not only is it hilarious, but it gives you an appreciation for what professors actually do on the daily.
February 23rd: Polarpalooza
Every year, DAB hosts a big, free winter concert, just for DePaul students: Polarpalooza. Every winter, 600 students fill up Lincoln Hall
for a private concert with an up-and-coming music act. Tickets are free, but limited, so you have to be on your game if you want to snap up some tickets. DAB has a knack for picking acts that get way bigger right after performing at Polarpalooza (see: Fun.
, Walk the Moon
, Chance the Rapper
). Be sure to check out their website
at the beginning of February when they announce the performer!
February 25th: Blue Demon Dance
Every year, DAB also hosts a dance for DePaul students. It’s held somewhere fancy off-campus (last year it was held at Navy Pier!) and there’s food and music, and dancing, I assume. Keep an eye on DAB’s website
to see where the Blue Demon Dance will be held this year!
When it comes to exams, it’s been a hit or miss thus far. Upon my first quarter at DePaul I thought I would be able to get by with my laidback high school studying habits (not studying at all) and walk into the midterm or final, ace it, and get an A in the class as I had always expected. However, I received a rude awakening when my overall grade of a B+ going into the final was lowered by a D on my exam putting me only a few tenths of a percentage from receiving a C in the class. After that I vowed to commit myself like never before and put in hours of studying for my exams. Since my first quarter in which I averaged a 3.0 GPA, I have raised my GPA to a 3.58 in a year. While studying does obviously improve test scores, I still managed to get a C+ in another class. Here are some observations and tips for when it comes to studying for exams.
The most obvious tip is one that will save you the stress and exhaustion of cramming in hours of studying, and that is to keep up with the work. In classes where homework is not required nor taken for a grade are the classes where I found myself taking advantage of this leniency and ultimately saw the negative impact. I would put off reading the chapters and relied on the class lectures for soaking in the material, but I was only lying to myself thinking I could possibly get away with this. Therefore, I recommend not only reading from the text but also reading the chapter before your professor lectures it. That way the material won’t be overwhelmingly new to take in and repetitive information won’t hurt anyway.
Nevertheless, doing the assignments simply won’t cut it for preparation of the exam. Material from the beginning chapters may have slipped your mind by the time the midterm or final comes around so it’s essential to revisit them. When it comes to studying I find it best to be in a quiet and solitary environment. The primary location I use for studying is the most familiar and that is my room at times when my roommate is not there. Sitting at my desk with no distractions enables me to solely focus on whatever I’m immersed in. If your room is constantly occupied then I recommend the study rooms available on every floor of DePaul apartments and dormitories. Although noise from the hallway may inevitably cause minor distractions it is still a good location for isolation. One last location I have used is the library. At the Lincoln Park campus library the third floor is dedicated entirely to quiet study. Here you can find yourself with many other stressed students all studying in near silence. The library is good study spot but I admit I’d much rather stay in my room in something comfortable than to walk over the library to study, being comfortable and doing what works best for you is the last tip I propose for when it comes to studying for exams.
As some of you may know, I am currently in the process of writing a thesis paper as my capstone project for the Honors Program
. It is a lengthy process (my thesis will be around 30-40 pages), but a rewarding one. Thankfully, the Honors Program does not throw you into this project unprepared. The Honors Program offers a 2-credit class (HON 300) during Fall Quarter, taught by Nancy Grossman, the Associate Director of the Honors Program, to give guidance on the final project.
I am so thankful I took this class, and if you are remotely considering writing a thesis, you should take it too! It is a small class (my class had 12 people) and if you are planning on writing a thesis, everything that is due during the quarter would be due anyway. In order to enroll in the capstone thesis project, you have to submit a thesis proposal, which includes an abstract, annotated bibliography, and proposal statement for the project. Throughout the quarter in HON 300, those components are due, so you have the opportunity to work ahead and get feedback on the proposal that you will eventually submit to be approved to write the thesis. Regardless if you take the class, the thesis proposal is due, so it really is to your advantage to enroll in HON 300 (you get credit!).
Another reason to take the class is that you also get feedback on your topic and thesis statement from your peers. It was really helpful to get constructive criticism on my topic, as I was able to refine it and think about my topic in ways I never would have originally due to the perspectives from my classmates. It was also fun to critique other students’ topics, too!
While writing a thesis paper for the Honors capstone is ambitious and intimidating, it is also a satisfying experience. I know I will be better prepared for graduate school after writing this thesis, and it is definitely something for me to show off and be proud of. Come be ambitious with me!
With the start of a new quarter, comes the start of a new round of shows here at The Theatre School. The first to open on the Main Stage in 2017 is an exciting new play, NIGHT RUNNER. This action packed show has generated a lot of buzz for being a brand new play by hot Chicago Playwright Ike Holter. Part of our Playworks series for young audiences, this show is performed for Chicago public school and families downtown at our Merle Reskin Theatre, a space with a history of its own. This play takes place in South in the mid 1800’s, and revolves around a huge part of our nation’s history at that point - slavery. Essentially a thriller about the heroism of Harriet Tubman, the underground railroad, and the path to freedom, this play takes a look at history through the unique lens of a comic book superhero. The Theatre School website describes this impactful tale:
“Join us for the story of Cora, an enslaved 12-year-old, and the Night Runner, the mythic but dark figure who shows her the way. When a cruel slave owner arrives and snatches Cora's brother Marcus in exchange for debt, Cora flees to find him. In steps the legendary Night Runner, a fierce, fast-talking female superhero, who helps Cora escape to freedom and discover her own inner strength.”
This play opens this week, and I will admit I am more than excited to see it. The Theatre School’s program with Chicago Playworks
brings a different children’s show to the students and families of Chicago each season. Hundreds of kids from across the city come and are exposed to the magical world of theatre, and are immersed in a story that asks them to use their imaginations and learn new things. Frequently these students don’t get to go on many field trips, or are new to learning about plays and theatre, and this is what makes it so special to share with them. This is a unique and special moment in their week, and in their lives.
Personally, as a young woman of color, I know how important it is to see yourself represented in the art, literature, and entertainment that surrounds you. Having been in a kids show myself, I have seen the large and diverse audiences with children of many different backgrounds. Many of these students are young people of color, and I see myself in them, 10 years ago. Wide eyed and expectant, they are taking in everything around them, which makes it extremely important to consider what kind of stories you share with these young people. As a young black woman, the reason I am so excited for this show is that it shows my history. OUR history as Americans, in a way that empowers and celebrates the strength of my community. It is important that those hundreds of kids of all colors and backgrounds learn about the horrors of American Slavery, the heroism of Harriet Tubman, and the strength that all people have inside them. By seeing people like them on stage, or seeing their history in this light, we can have a profound impact on the learning, and the empowerment of these young kids. With the incorporation of beautiful new music, and exciting rhythm and dance, a scary and uncomfortable topic transforms throughout the story that will leave audiences cheering as our young heroine makes her way to freedom.
Due to this serious subject matter this play is recommended for audiences 9 years of age and older. To find out more about our shows at TTS, or ticketing ( only $5 for students- yay!) visit our website
Welcome back and here’s to a passionate, and meaningful new year!
If I’m being honest, DePaul was not my first choice school. I thought that I might’ve wanted to attend a big state school at first, like Ohio State, where lots of kids from my high school went. Then, I thought that I wanted to attend a school in Manhattan. But after visiting DePaul in the last semester of my senior year, I knew I had found the perfect place for me.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Emma Lenhart, and I am a 19-year old sophomore at DePaul. Apart from being a full-time student, I also run my own online business and Chicago lifestyle blog at EmmaLenhart.com
. My work is a lot different than some of my peers at DePaul, because I work primarily from my laptop and never have to physically “go-to-work” or sit in an office/cubicle. However, having my own business online and blog has allowed me to create my ideal lifestyle and connect with some amazing people and brands.
This past fall, I was invited to attend HerCampus’ College Fashion Week. At the event, I was able to see runway styles from Chicago-land entrepreneurs and designers. I also got to network with other bloggers in my niche and make connections to brands. There were actually a few other DePaul students that also attended, which made me so proud of the university I call home!
I know that DePaul is the perfect place for me and my personality, and it only becomes more apparent to me the further along I get at my DePaul education. As a student at DePaul, I feel free to express myself and pursue my dreams. Whenever I met someone new and tell them about my blog, they seem to genuinely be interested in my work and ideas. DePaul fosters an environment of creativity and individuality that you can feel in the classroom and even around campus. I’ve had the privilege of meeting other DePaul bloggers, and even big-time Chicago bloggers. Having access to one of the nation’s largest blogging communities has given me so many opportunities and experiences that I never dreamed I would have at only age 19.
Aside from being free to work on my blog whenever I find free time outside of classes, I also get to learn things that help me grow my presence and audience in the classroom. I am currently studying Public Relations and Advertising, and I’ve found that my professors are usually hugely experienced and wise in the subject areas I care so much about. DePaul has allowed me to connect with professors and professionals in my dream industry. Last year in one of my Public Relations classes, the social media manager for the Chicago Cubs came in to give a presentation to our class. It was amazing!
I can’t imagine attending any other university than DePaul and thriving as much as I currently do. I never feel embarrassed of my passions at school, and feel like I have people surrounding me that care and support my dreams. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for DePaul for helping me every step of the way.
Making the transition from fall quarter to having six weeks off for winter break is a pretty big change, especially since most schools are not on the quarter system so chances are most of your friends are in the midst of finals these weeks after Thanksgiving.
If you’re anything like me, you strive off of the structure associated with classes and due dates, and all of a sudden having nothing to do seems nice at first but after a few days you’re bored and stuck in a rut.
That was me the past two years. So, this year, I decided to make a change. For these three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas I decided to get a required basic communications class out of the way by taking a December Intersession course online. Additionally, I continued working at my job in the CDM
Advising office as a student worker.
Even though my class was online and I didn’t have that structure of needing to show up for class, I took that as an opportunity to structure my schedule by going to coffee shops or Barnes and Noble to do my readings or write essays. I scheduled in going to the library to take the midterm and final exams online. I used the structure of being in front of a computer at work to write these blogs or post the required discussion posts for the class.
These little changes made such a huge difference. And, so I could still see my friends that go to school in Chicago but do have finals, we could study together or take a break and grab lunch.
So, if you have basic intro classes you’ve been waiting to get out of the way or even have open electives and one of the December classes offered catches your eye, I definitely recommend trying it out! Just be ready to do a lot of work, it’s not a blow-off period, you’re squeezing 10 weeks of class into 3!
As a journalism major, one of the super fun classes I’m required to take is public speaking. Immediately after I signed up for this class during enrollment last spring, I dreaded beginning. Public speaking is on the top of my “things I hate doing” list.
Growing up I was super shy and introverted, and although I’ve outgrown that, I’m an incredibly anxious person and am still not a fan of having all eyes on me. Luckily, the class hasn’t been as bad as I expected, and I actually learned some valuable skills (and didn’t pass out or run out of the room during my speeches).
So, here are some tips I have for the next time you have to give a speech either in class or outside of school.
1. Notecards. We were allowed to have notecards with bullet points during our speech, and naturally there were those kids in my class who thought they were better than that, so didn’t use any. Luckily I looked past that cockiness and wrote down a few notes for each point I was making. It allowed me to not completely read from them but when I’m super anxious sometimes my mind goes blank so it was a good safety net. And if I wanted to quote someone I could have the whole quote actually written out.
2. Eye contact. Eye contact is one of the most uncomfortable parts, and I have a tendency to avoid looking directly at people, but instead look above them or literally anywhere else. Lesson: don’t look above them. When other presenters did that it was so obvious to the audience and it definitely looks odd. Instead just keep your eyes moving around the room without holding it anywhere for too long.
3. Don’t wait until the very end to present yours.
4. Timing. Because we had a certain time length our speech had to be, I would practice my speech alone and time it, but you almost never speak at the same pace during the speech. I talked much faster when I was in front of the class because I was nervous, so if your time requirement is 5-7 minutes, aim to have to be closer to 7 when you rehearse (if you're like me and your anxiety quickens your speaking rate).
5. Speak about something you’re passionate about! Luckily my professor was very open about topics, and we could literally present on anything, as long as it filled the general requirements (i.e.: a persuasive or informative speech). When you talk about something you're passionate about, you feel less inclined to follow the rigidity of your notecards, because you can just speak from all the knowledge and passion you have inside. So, naturally my speeches were about going to school in Canada, yoga, and companies that donate profits to charity (and I’m obsessed with elephants so used The Elephant Pants as an example).
Last week I detailed which ways one can stay active and physically fit amongst the freedom of doing (or not doing) what you want and eating what you please. This week I want to focus precisely on the eating component. Like I said before, I could eat Chinese food just about everyday, however, considering sweet and sour chicken is not the healthiest choice I took it upon myself to seek foods that are tasty yet nourishing. For simplicity, I am going to divide these foods between on and off campus.
Being a freshman or even an upper classmen living on-campus such as myself, the Student Center offers an abundant variety of food at almost anytime of the day. There are times when I was guilty of eating mozzarella sticks and burgers at midnight or ice cream for sup
per, but there are healthier options available to those stuck within the limitations of a meal plan. Both the Student Center in Lincoln Park and the DePaul Center cafeteria in the Loop offer a “garden bar” with options such as vegetables, tuna, or low-carb pastas. If you’re like me then you’ll get tired of the usual offerings provided by DePaul, but not to worry, there are limited time platters that change on a weekly basis.
Additionally, since I have the luxury of an apartment with a full kitchen, I like to take some vegetables and other ingredients from the garden bar and use them to cook a little something of my own at my place. I often use the chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach for omelets, burgers, or pasta.
Of course, DePaul’s on-campus dining does provide a limited amount of offerings. Being in Chicago, you can just walk a block and surely find a refreshing alternative. Living in Centennial, there is literally a Whole Foods beneath my feet. I’ve only eaten there twice now, however there is a wide assortment of healthy foods available there. What makes Whole Foods unique is that it serves as a grocery store with an on-campus-style of eating as well. There are buffet counters in the center of the store where one can simply fill up a plate or to-go box just as you would at the Student Center. But besides Whole Foods, the city is bountiful of restaurants for the occasions when you want to treat yourself or not put up with having to cook or do the dishes afterwards. Going to a Walmart, Costco, or Target is also always a safe way to go for a greater assortment of ingredients and other packaged snacks.
For many students in their last year of undergrad, in addition to finishing up their studies, and enjoying the last moments of their college experiences, a lot of time and energy is spent planning the next steps. For some this means making connections, learning about possible career paths, securing jobs and internships, making plans for graduate degrees, travel, and more. As I have mentioned before, the 4th year of the acting program makes a lot of moves to prepare graduating students for the professional world of acting. One way to prepare students for the profession, is preparing them for the real job of an actor - auditioning.
For actors, auditioning is the way to get in the door, get in the room, and get a job in the world of professional theatre. This is a time for you to make an impression with casting directors, directors, producers, and the creative team of a project, or particular theatre. It is of extreme importance to make the most out of your auditions, those few minutes in the room make a big impact on those watching. For those watching, ideally, they get to meet you and get a sense of who you are, see your work, and find out if you might be right for their project or season.
Additionally, it doesn’t always matter if you book the specific role you are auditioning for. What I mean by this is that sometimes those watching may not find you a perfect fit for the project at hand, but if they like your work, and you as a person, they are likely to call you back in the future or recommend you for other projects. You really never know what they can lead to in the future. This is the reason why it is important to work on getting confident and comfortable with auditioning. The best way to do this is through practice, and luckily the 4th year of the acting program gives you the chance to do just that.
In the BFA performance program
, students take multiple quarters of audition classes, to learn how to prepare, practice coming into the room, and presenting material. Over this fall quarter, 4th year students participated in an audition class that took the practice to the next level, by inviting guests to come watch. This class met once a week, for 2.5 hours every Friday. The first few weeks of class were spent searching for monologues that fit your “type” or personality well, and rapid fire working them to presentation readiness. Other classes focused on cold-reading scenes, presenting scenes without much preparation or information. Many times when auditioning for a role, you will be sent ‘sides’, or short scenes to prepare to bring in. The goal is to come in with strong choices, even under a time crunch. Later in the quarter, guests were invited to come in and watch our auditions and give feedback. Professionals from various theatres around Chicago, including Timeline Theatre
, Writers Theatre
, Oak Park Festival Theatre
, and more, watched us all perform our monologues and gave their honest feedback to help up reach our best potential. Then they sat down with us and spoke with us about the industry, auditioning in the future, and shared some tips and stories about their experiences working in Chicago theatre, and more. This was extremely informative and it was helpful to get an outside perspective on our work so far, and get some really helpful advice moving forward. This is a great way for us to learn, but also to make connections with professionals in the city, that we may be auditioning for in the future. Classes like this make me look forward to getting more experience and practice over the next quarter, and then taking on the real world!
How is it the end of the quarter already? These past 10 weeks went by so fast!
I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to winter break. This has been a crazy quarter and I am ready for a rest! This has been my busiest quarter thus far academically and I am really looking forward to having some time to watch Netflix, read for fun, and catch up on some sleep.
I will be keeping busy over break, but not in the busy/stressful school way. I will be in Chicago over break working, which I am really excited for. I have a full-time nannying job for a 3-month old little nugget - it will be such a treat. I love babies and honestly she will take 3 naps a day so it will be a fairly easy job.
If you have never spent Christmas time in Chicago, I highly recommend you do so! There is so much to do and city feels so much more peaceful and magical. I personally am looking forward to seeing the Lincoln Park Zoo
Lights and going to the Christkindlmarket
downtown at Daley Plaza.
This next week will be consumed with finals, but then we will be rewarded with turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie. Oh, I am so excited for Thanksgiving dinner! And then, only a month until Christmas! I hope this has been a great quarter for you all. Have an incredible and relaxing break and holiday season! I look forward to catching you all up on my life in the winter.
I’ve written almost 50 blogs for DeBlogs. When I started at DeBlogs, I had so many ideas that I knew I wanted to write about. But after about the 30th blog, it started getting a little trickier to come up with new ideas off the top of my head. I was coming to the end of the list of things that I thought more people needed to know about (like Demon Discounts
or all of the resources at the Library
), so I just started writing more about my experiences and basically what I had been doing for the past week.
So every week, I sit down and grab my phone and go through all of the pictures that I’ve taken recently. Usually, I’ll find a picture that’s funny or has a good story, and then I’ll go write about where I was or what I was doing when I took that picture. Well, today, I went to look through my pictures. What do I find? Just a wall of pictures of random pages from books and my notebook and two pictures of bags of oranges in front of a sign that says “Apples” (see photo). Now, I know that I’m not the first person to take photos of pages in a book. I didn’t invent the wheel either. But this wasn’t just one day where I studying and snapping pictures of books —these pictures were taken over a five-day period.
So I guess what I’m saying is that my life has revolved around schoolwork and my internship this quarter. Since I’m a BA/MA student
, I’ve had to take three graduate courses this quarter. A typical graduate course load is just two courses. I started the quarter off strong and thought that I’d be able to handle everything. By the third week, I had submitted my letter of resignation to the library, where I had worked since my sophomore year. The BA/MA program is no joke. It’s been incredibly challenging, but it’s also been so exciting to see myself progress in my research. I still so happy that I chose to do the BA/MA program. But in all honesty, nothing is more exciting to me than the fact that Winter Break is just a few weeks away.
At the end of September, I went on a 4 day retreat to Starved Rock for one of my courses - SNC198 Mindfulness and Meditation - and learned more on that retreat than I ever have in my other courses.
Now for over 7 years, Dr. Michael Skelley, a professor in DePaul’s School for New Learning, leads a group of 20 students on a mindfulness and meditation retreat to Starved Rock
semiannually. For 4 days we participated in meditation practices, group discussions, mindful walking and hiking, reflective journaling, and embracing the power of silence. We were also encouraged to turn our phones off and remain mindful the whole time (and we couldn’t bring homework!)
During the weekend, Skelley discussed types and causes of pain and suffering, invisibility, curiosity, and letting go. And, of course, we practiced meditating, because there really is no wrong way to do it. He says, “I think there are so many myths about meditation that people have heard and so people try to meditate on their own and they end up just getting frustrated or doing themselves more damage than good and so I’m really concerned about trying to correct some of the myths.”
Skelley has been practicing mindfulness from the age of 10 on, but found his interest in Buddhism while earning his PhD in the 1980s. At the time, Insight Meditation Society opened a practice in Massachusetts, and author John Kabat-Zinn developed his mindfulness-based stress reduction program.
The famous Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh
said, “In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” This is the foundation of their teachings, and of the retreat as well. It was a really eye opening experience to notice what comes up for us in meditations, and being disconnected from society in general calmed a lot of my anxiety about school, work, deadlines, etc.
He mentioned that most of the students who take his class say they’re taking it because they feel stressed in one way or another. Because of this, the 20 of us were able to bond and relate on so many levels even at all different ages, and spending 4 days with them was such a valuable experience. Now all we talk about is how we want to go back!
In reflecting on his own practice, Michael tries to do 30 minutes of formal meditation daily, and takes everyday tasks, such as reading, walking, and cooking, and slows down to do them mindfully. He encouraged us at the end of the retreat to put in place a similar routine, and we are currently following an 8 week meditation book and the meditations it includes. Now, I try to do a 10-20 minute meditation every evening, and it helps me fall asleep because it calms down my built up anxiety from the day.
Everyone should definitely check out this course! It’s available every fall and spring, and it’s one I will never forget!
! Now let me spoil your celebrations. News flash: hold on to your hat because finals are quickly approaching. I hope you’re ready. Finals Week officially begins on Wednesday, November 16th—just a little over two weeks away! However, if your schedule is anything like mine (I hope for your sake that it isn’t), your finals are coming up even sooner than that. My last final is due on November 14th, two days before the start of the so-called “Finals Week.” How does that make any sense!? It doesn’t. But it does mean that I have to start getting ready for finals ASAP. Now, as a master’s student, this is my fifth year of finals. I know what I’m doing. I’ve developed and perfected my own strategies for getting through finals. Here are a few of my suggestions:
-- Ideally, start working on your finals as early as possible. As teachers and professors have told you a thousand times, if you do a little bit of studying, reading, and writing every day, you’ll retain the information better and finals will be a breeze for you. Plus, you have time to go back and edit your writing. If this is how you work, be proud of yourself and know that I’m extremely jealous.
-- Be realistic about yourself. If you wait until the last minute to do homework, you’re probably going to wait until the last minute to prepare for finals. So even though working a little bit each day is ideal, you can’t expect to suddenly adopt that kind of schedule just in time for finals. Instead, try to set achievable goals and benchmarks that improve, rather than change, how you normally work.
-- Building on that idea, prepare for the worst case scenario. I know that I’m a severe procrastinator. I always try to work on that. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not. But I’m always prepared in case I procrastinate until the last minute. So now in the days leading up to finals, I’ll try to stock up on healthy(-ish) snacks and get extra sleep so that I’m as clear-headed as possible if I need to pull an all-nighter to write the essay that I’ve had four weeks to write.
Who I Am
: Hello students of DePaul, my name is Logan and I am the newest member of the DeBlogs team. I am a sophomore within the Driehaus College of Business
ring in Accounting and Management Information Systems
. I am from the southwest suburb of Yorkville, IL which is about an hour outside of Chicago. I went from driving 70 down country roads with a view of cornfields to riding the train everyday with a scenic skyline I can take in from my apartment. I was a member of the Education and Development Grant for Employability (EDGE) Program with the Career Center freshman year, but I am always seeking new means to get more involved on campus.
What I Do: There are a few things you should know about me and what I am interested in outside of the classroom. First and foremost, I have a slight obsession with Chinese food. Whether it’d be takeout or a buffet, you know I’m always down for it. After an entire academic year I’ve spent here at DePaul, I have yet to find someone else who enjoys country music as much as I do. That being said, I often go to country concerts, an average of ten a year to be exact. However, I am a fan of nearly all music. My favorite concert so far was Nicki Minaj and Rae Sremmurd, but then after that the best concerts were Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, etc. I enjoy exploring the city, always seeking new restaurants to try out. I often go to the Ray to play pickup basketball, workout, or play intramural volleyball. You can also catch me at the beach trying to relax and escape my academic responsibilities by playing sand volleyball or just sleeping.
Why I Do This: As much as I would love to explore the city, visit every Asian restaurant, and blog about how awesome the food is, I want to share all my experiences on and off campus, the good and the bad, so that hopefully others can learn from them to get the most out of their experience at DePaul. Between keeping up with two honors programs, maintaining physical shape, looking for jobs and internships, and trying to make friends along the way, I realize it all can seem overwhelming. Although these fours year are meant to pursue an education for your desired career, it can be much more than that. Studying at DePaul in a great city like Chicago is a unique experience!
Midterms have come and gone, and life in my little part of campus is just as busy as ever! The last couple of weeks have been a blur running from here to there, rehearsal to tech to performances, juggling class work, homework and just plain life work. But at the end of this very crazy workweek, the community at The Theatre School
was rewarded by seeing another work of art come to life on stage. This past weekend marked the opening of yet another TTS Mainstage production, this time in our versatile Healy black box theatre, located inside the new Theatre School building on Fullerton and Racine. Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
, was the second of three Mainstage productions to open this Fall quarter at DePaul. I was able to attend opening night of this gorgeous show, and while it took a lot of hard work to put up for all involved, it certainly was something to be proud of.
Eurydice is a modern play with a twist on the Greek myths of Orpheus and Eurydice; it is a beautifully written and poetic story of love, everlasting bonds, and the mysteries of the afterlife. Our website describes the tale:
“Eurydice and Orpheus are young and in love. On their wedding night, Eurydice meets a man who claims to have a letter from her deceased father. She pursues the letter but dies in the effort. Orpheus descends into the Underworld to save her, and Eurydice must choose between a life with her husband and the certainty of her father's unconditional love”
This play is one that I have seen many times and know very well. For me, this is unusual, as I typically see a lot of plays I have never read or do not have any preconceived ideas about. I have seen this play 3 times in the last few years, and even performed in it myself during my high school years of acting competitions and festivals. The lovely thing about Friday night’s performance, was that I was able to see the play in a new and exciting way, seeing my ideas of the characters and the (under) world they inhabit in a fresh way that may have challenged how I thought about them before. The design of the show was stellar in my opinion, and created really striking memorable and moving moments, that I am still thinking about. Especially for myself, as a very visual person, the images I witnessed in the show were quite striking. I was so proud of the work I saw on stage that night, and really impressed to see the growth by many of the artists involved.
The production team includes scenic design by Joy Ahn, costume design by Emilee Orton, lighting design by Simean Carpenter, and sound design by Connor Ciesil.
The cast features Edward Hall (Big Stone), Keith Ilidge (Orpheus), Sarah Serebian (Little Stone), Kiah Stern (Loud Stone), Michael Stock (Father), Sam Straley (Man/Child), and Sola Thompson (Eurydice), all directed by MFA director Michael Burke.
To any and all around the Lincoln Park area, looking to see an unusual, and undoubtedly gorgeous piece of theatre, I encourage you to come see Eurydice now through the end of October at The Theatre School at DePaul. Student tickets are always $5. For more information about our season visit our website
and stay tuned for info on the last mainstage of the Fall season, Romeo and Juliet, coming next week. As always, stay great DePaulians!
We have arrived at one of my favorite times in Chicago. I absolutely love Chicago in the fall, especially in Lincoln Park. The changing leaves are beautiful, the weather is perfect, and everyone is cozy in sweaters and scarves.
The changing season also means that so much is happening at DePaul right now! We have finished midterms and are experiencing the calm before the storm that is finals week. I personally have two huge final research papers, an exam, two formal poster presentations, and a thesis proposal due by November 18. *Gulp.* Everyone say a prayer for your friendly neighborhood DePaul student - most students' schedules are like this.
It is also prime visit time at DePaul
! I have been noticing a lot of tours happening around campus and it is cool seeing all of the students who could potentially become Blue Demons next year. Go class of 2021 (wow, so weird)! The tour guides do a great job of showing you around campus and highlighting the unique and awesome parts of the school. This is really the ideal time to visit - it is not snowing or miserably cold yet - so come and see why DePaul is the perfect school for you!
The Theatre School mainstage season has officially begun with this week’s opening of the Chicago Playworks production, The Kid Who Ran for President. The Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences series is a wonderful DePaul tradition.
These shows are fully produced each quarter just as our other mainstage productions, with a team of dedicated student actors, dramaturgs
, designers and technicians for the lighting, set, sound and costumes, and often headed by a faculty director. These shows take place downtown at the historic Merle Reskin Theatre, now a venue specifically used for these children’s shows. The stories told on this stage are often adaptations of well-known books for kids, or spins on popular characters and important figures, creating a mixture of classic and new material. Chicago schools and families are then invited to join us for 90 minutes in the magic of theatre.
This election season is kicked off rather appropriately with The Kid Who Ran for President by Jeremiah Clay Neal, and directed by Chicago Playworks
Artistic Director, Ernie Nolan. This is a stage musical adaptation of the children’s book by the same name written by Dan Gutman. Here is a short description of the play:
“When sixth grader Judson Moon runs for President of the United States under the guidance of his campaign manager and best friend Lane, the campaign trail is turned upside down. Can Judson deliver on his promises once he is elected? This musical comedy full of hope and song
brings some common sense and a rockin' pizza party to the White House,
if only for a few days.”
This play hopes to engage its young audience in the conversation about our upcoming presidential election, the importance of good leadership, the power of privilege, and will explore what would happen if indeed a kid ran for president. Throughout the show, the kids in the audience are asked to be a part of the action by voicing their own political opinions, cheering along, and by seeing other “kids” engage in politics on stage, we hope to show them that they can in fact, change the world.
With its catchy songs, and interesting characters, audience members young and old are in for a wacky and rather relevant morning of theatre. I have already heard the songs and cannot wait to see it this weekend! With young characters, a striking parallel to our current election, and both kids and grown ups will appreciate, “Kid Prez”, can be enjoyed by a wide audiences of theatre goers. It is always the goal of our productions to stay current and relevant to the our community in Chicago, and by picking themes that align with a current climate, hoping to draw the most crowds and have the most impact on our audiences.
This show is now open and runs through November 12th, 2016. Performances are Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:00am and Saturdays at 2:00pm. There are plenty of chances to see it, so do not miss out!
For more information about this show, our season, ticketing and more visit the TTS Website.
My four-year plan changed. As most of them do.
Most notably, it turned into a three-year-and-one-quarter plan. But also worth noting, it started in the realm of political science.
I began my journey at DePaul with a strong belief that my calling in life was to be a lawyer. I was going to become Elle Woods (minus all the pink), and ultimately rule the world. However, as I progressed through DePaul, I started to become more interested in public relations and advertising.
Although my dreams of being a lawyer have been postponed (who knows, maybe one day I’ll go to law school), I couldn’t be happier that I gained a political science degree. Being a political science major has taught me how to be pragmatic and assess situations from all sides. It has taught me how to break up dense information, conduct research, and has strengthened my writing skills.
Every single one of my classes was thought provoking and very useful. Despite hoping to pursue a career in public relations once I graduate this Thanksgiving, being a political science major has shaped the way I think, and I know I’m smarter because of it. Plus, it has given me the opportunity to join Pi Sigma Alpha, a political science honors society.
Last year, I had the pleasure of serving the club as Vice President, and was able to create my own initiatives and help out at the new member induction ceremony. It was an awesome way to end my year on the board.
For the first presidential debate this week, Pi Sigma Alpha and the political science department hosted a watch party for students. It’s awesome to be a part of a community that is so interested in politics.
Need advice on declaring your major? Let me know. But understand that adding majors or changing them isn’t as dramatic as it seems :)
I’ve talked about the sunny weather and the great hikes but now let’s get serious. Okay, not super serious but I am going to use this blog to talk about the educational part of being here in LA.
The key idea for LA quarter is to get an internship with a company that interests you. This can be working on creative development, script coverage, visual effects, etc. I currently have two internship positions. One internship is with Division Camera, a rental house on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and the other is with my professor, Tommy O’Haver.
For Division Camera
I work in the “QC” section, which is short for quality check. I test various cameras and accessories to make sure they work. After I check them, I tag the item and store it for our prep techs. I love the environment over at Division. Everyone I have met is really nice and has taught me many new things. It is also super fun to get hands on experience with different cameras, rigs, and more.
With my professor I get to see different aspects of the filmmaking process. Right now I am assisting him with some post-production work for a movie he just recently finished. It’s cool to see him interact and direct the actors as they go about the ADR process
. Side note, for those unfamiliar with ADR it is when the actors come to a sound studio to rerecord lines for the movie. Sometimes a different tone or emphasis on a word can change the way a performance is interpreted. ADR is just another component to the movie process that allows the director’s vision to come to life.
Along with our internships, we also take a normal course load of four classes (undergraduate) or two classes (graduate). Classes meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 PM-9:30 PM which allows students some time to commute after work. We have had, and will have, guest speakers come in to talk about their experiences working in the industry. There are also studio tours, as well as a huge variety of events set up by DePaul. If anyone is thinking about doing LA quarter, I personally highly recommend it (and it’s only week 3).
I hope you enjoyed this blog and until next time, stay awesome!
Many have said that as young college students yet to enter the “real world,” that a great unknown lies before us. The world is our oyster, the possibilities are endless, and our whole lives are ahead of us, waiting to unfold in amazing and surprising ways. When you really think about it, it is pretty true. College is the small chunk of time in the transition between adolescence and adulthood where one can explore and learn about the world, themselves, and what they want for the future. Being in my last year of undergrad has made me become very reflective on my true passions and desires, and well as contemplating the many possibilities for what can happen post-grad.
As a 4th year acting student, I am currently taking an audition class, where we learn how best to prepare for the world of auditioning for professional theatre. Within this course we discuss the realities of the business, and ways to be successful. One required text for this course is the book, “The Actor’s Business Plan”, written by former Theatre School
professor and acting coach, Jane Drake Brody. This book guides the reader through preparation for the business of acting, and life. The first assignment I had to complete is creating a list of dreams. This seemingly simple assignment has really had an impact on the way I am examining the possibilities for my future, and has made me reflect on the importance of dreaming big.
In this assignment, you create lists of your biggest, truest dreams in many categories. The dreams are broken down into categories for Career, Personal, Financial, Educational, and Community Service dreams. Your task is simply to begin listing your dreams for each of these areas of your life.
Growing up, we were often told to dream big, but as you get older, there is sometimes a pressure not to admit what your truest, grandest dreams are because they might not be realistic, they might not come true. There is an aspect of practicality that makes it hard to say what would honestly be your dream. This assignment took the pressure off and allowed me to truly evaluate my ultimate dreams for the future. In the days since I completed it, I have been noticing the importance of dreaming big. Before I wrote them all down, I didn’t even realize that some of these things on my list were dreams of mine at all! I believe that the bigger you dream, the greater success you can have. Even if your accomplishments don’t turn out exactly as you had them on paper, it is still important to name the dreams you have. To paraphrase what my audition teacher tells our class, don’t prepare for failure! There will undoubtedly come times when you fail at things in life, but don’t count on that. Count on making these dreams a reality.
I want to encourage all young people to take a good look at your dreams, and write them down. No one else has to see them, but if you are honest with yourself, you set yourself up for the possibility of them coming true with hard work and determination. Be great DePaulians!
Interested in learning more? Check out The Actor’s Business Plan: A Career Guide for the Acting Life by Jane Drake Brody, available on Amazon
Every morning, from my first day of kindergarten through my last day of 12th grade, as I left for school, my mom would remind me to “take advantage of my free education.” Well, when I arrived at college and realized that my education was no longer free, I felt even more pressure to get the most out of it. DePaul has so many resources for students, but tons of students don’t even know what they’re missing out on! So I figured I’d just compile a few of the ways to get the most bang for your buck at DePaul:
I’m a huge advocate for regularly meeting with advisors. Especially because advisors can really help you strategize and maximize your time and credits at DePaul. I came into DePaul hoping to just be able to graduate within four years. I quickly realized that if I was going to pay for the credits anyways, I might as well try to get as many majors and minors as I can. Four years later, I graduated with two majors, a minor, and a few master’s courses already under my belt. It was only because I kept in touch with my advisors that I was able to figure out how to finish all the requirements within four years.
Taking care of your mental and emotional health is extremely important. There have been times when I definitely haven’t taken care of myself like I should have, and my metal health suffered. And when that happens, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and unmotivated. The good news is that you definitely don’t have to handle that all by yourself.
Don’t submit a resume without having someone look it over! I cannot recommend strongly enough that you go visit the Career Center (or, at the very least, their website). The Career Center offers so many great services, but my favorite one is easily the resume review. You can meet with a Peer Career Advisor who can help you with any questions you have about resumes, cover letters, and interviews. If you’re in a rush, they also offer handy walk-in appointments.
If need help with an essay or want feedback on your writing, you can make an appointment to meet with a Writing Center tutor. If you’re trying to clarify or strengthen an argument, write your thesis statement, fix your grammar, or whatever, the Writing Center can help. No matter your skill level, your paper will only get better if you meet with a Writing Center tutor. Pro tip: ask your professor if they offer extra credit for meeting with a Writing Center tutor.
There's nothing worse than having computer problems when you have work to do. Luckily for you (and me), DePaul’s Genius Squad is FREE and has locations both at the Lincoln Park Campus (in the library) and at the Loop Campus (in the Lewis Center). Next time, bring it to them and see what they can do before you give even a dollar to anyone else.
Happy fall, DePaulians! For those who don’t know me, my name is Samantha Newcomb, and I am a senior majoring in Acting
at the Theatre School at DePaul
Holy cow, that may be one of the first times I have introduced myself that way (as a senior), and it is blowing my mind just a bit.
School is back in session and I have already experienced a huge milestone. Wednesday was my LAST first day of school! It sounds crazy coming out of my mouth, but now that I am in my senior year of college, this is the last time I will experience the thrills of “back to school” (yes, okay, maybe some day I’ll go to grad school but not right away). Simply remembering that this is my last year of school –ever really puts things into perspective. For the last 17 years I have focused on nothing but school. Putting all my efforts into my studies and getting good grades, all the time and energy spent on getting to middle school, high school, choosing a good college. The time has certainly flown by, and while I consider myself a life-long learner, it really is amazing to me that I am facing my very last year of consecutive study. Next stop, getting my degree!
This year is really unique, because it is focused on the transition from academia to the professional world. For my course of study, this means focusing less on the “how to” of acting itself, and shifting toward the business aspects of the arts industry. Topics include auditioning, compiling good resumes and headshots, getting agents for representation upon graduation and more. Of course as many people put it, we are facing entry into the “real world.” I am both nervous and excited for this process, and hope to share my experiences with you all along the way!
Other things I am looking forward to this fall:
Typical autumn things - changing leaves, fall clothing, warmer beverages and cooler temps
Reuniting with my friends and classmates - 3(ish) months apart is a long time!
My new classes - I am taking a mixture of classes on familiar and new topics including Musical Theatre, Meisner Acting Technique, Movement to Music, Auditioning, and Rehearsal and Performance. Now that I am in my last year, my classes are entirely focused on my major.
My Fall Show - Updates on this to come!
I can say that I am genuinely excited to begin my senior year, and really soak up all I can in my last year at DePaul. I can already tell that it will be an eye opening, challenging, and growth-filled year. I have many goals for myself academically, professionally, and personally, that I hope to accomplish. I want to do well and work hard in class, and on stage, but I am really trying to keep in mind the need to have fun and enjoy it along the way! I know that I can often be too focused on doing the right things or on the goals I have, that I forget that college is supposed to be an enjoyable time to learn, explore, and have FUN! Life is about the journey.
Welcome back to all in the DePaul Community, I hope you are as excited to start Fall Quarter 2016 as I am! Stay tuned as I fill you all in on the happenings at The Theatre School, my life as a senior and more.
Until then, be well and do good!
Ten weeks. That’s it.
As I begin my fall quarter this year, I also begin my last quarter at DePaul...ever. On the one hand, no more late night trips to the library, finals week, or homework. On the other hand, no more “free” gym membership, L pass, or summer break either.
I have mixed feelings about the end of my journey at DePaul. I’m excited to enter the real world and use my degree, but I’m sad to leave the routine of school and my campus community. While it’ll be nice to never have to attend a class again, it’s also new territory. The last time I wasn’t in school was a good sixteen years ago, which is crazy.
What is life without school? I’m not sure. I think I’ll have to pick up a new skill like piano
or a language to fill the void of class and homework.
Until then, I’m dedicated to the job search. (Shameless plug: If you know of anyone in need of an aspiring public relations professional, please let me know.) This summer I sharpened up my resume, did some job market research, and finished up an amazing internship with Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. I’m optimistic about finding a job, but let’s see if I feel the same way in five weeks…
My classes this quarter are ideal, but my schedule, not so much. It figures that my worst schedule would occur when I had the earliest registration time. I’m taking two political science classes and my final public relations requirement. A mere 12 credit hours stand between me and graduation. That’s a hurdle I know I can jump.
So here we go! The ten-week stretch. What’s life got in store for me as a DePaul grad? We all will just have to wait and see.
The statuses are being posted, the pictures are being shared
on Instagram, and everyone is sharing their first day of school posts. Many of
my fellow seniors are even saying “last first day of school!” Which is true and
makes me excited and nervous, but we will talk about that in a different blog.
Welcome to fall quarter here at, my favorite university, DePaul!
If you’re a new Blue Demon a super welcome to you! This fall I am studying in
Los Angeles, California for DePaul’s LA Quarter program. It’s pretty nice over
here in LA the weather is warm, the palm trees are cool, and the history is
rich. I’ve yet to go to the Hollywood sign but rest assured it is on my to-do
For those unfamiliar with DePaul’s LA Quarter, it takes
place in the fall and spring quarters and is for students studying animation,
film, and other majors of that nature. I was fortunate enough to get in this
fall and will be here until the winter quarter. The main ideas while out here
is to get an internship with a production company, explore the city, and network.
I look forward to sharing more of my LA experiences with my readers throughout
the quarter and if you’re interested in having a more visual experience with
me, you can check out my YouTube channel where I will be vlogging some of my
Thanks for reading my blog and once again welcome to another
Stay awesome friends!
Like I do everyday, I got hungry today. After realizing that the only food I had in my apartment was half a bottle of ranch dressing, I decided to venture outside and wander aimlessly until I found some food. This has become my routine over the summer — I never remember to buy groceries until one day when I open the fridge and see tumbleweeds just blowing around a vast, empty space. So off I went to take my usual route and cut through the quad. Today, however, my trusty shortcut became a longcut. I quickly found myself in the middle of the DePaul Involvement Fair
, stuck in an unmoving mass of people. Using the giant inflatable rock climbing wall as my North Star, I was able to make my way through the sea of people (and make a pit stop at a table that offered free cake) in a few minutes. As I walked away, it finally sunk in that the school year has officially started again.
So, WELCOME BACK (or just WELCOME if you’re new to DePaul)! I hope everyone had a great summer. Personally, I had a roller coaster of a summer. It started off real rough for me. The second week of summer break, I went to get my hair cut because I was starting to look like a Beatles impersonator. I asked for a trim, but I can only assume that the hairdresser heard “buzz cut” instead. The result was not pretty.
Other than my new haircut that made me look like a moldy Mr. Potato Head
, my summer was surprisingly fantastic. I had a summer thesis research course that was intense, but also super helpful (and it only made me cry a few times). In addition to working at the library a few nights each week, I started an internship that has been better than I ever could have imagined. I actually loved it so much that I decided to continue interning there through the fall!
Since I’m a BA/MA student (which you can read all about here
), I have to go above and beyond the standard graduate course load this fall and take three courses. By the end of fall, I will have to have a formal thesis proposal completed and ready to present. I’ve been super lucky in that I’ve already secured a thesis advisor, so hopefully the rest of the thesis process will go just as smoothly! I’m way excited to get deeper into thesis research and to see what I can come up with when pushed to the brink of mental collapse.
So it is time to buckle up and brace yourself for harrowing accounts of me stress eating my way towards my master’s degree. Welcome back to school!
Being a part of the performance program often limits my view to all the things going on in the performance department at TTS. However, there are so many different majors in The Theatre School, all working hard every day to learn and create in their prospective disciplines. The Design/Tech students make up a great portion of the student population, all studying design and construction in their specialties in lighting, scenic, costume, sound, dramaturgy, directing and more. Now that it is summer, the design/tech students have finished many of their large projects and designs that they have been working on in their classes and MainStage shows all year long.
During finals week, the many students proudly display their work in the lobby and scene shop of The Theatre School building. Each student has their own board displaying their research, concepts, process, and representations of their final product, including photos, drawing, models, and fully constructed items. The school can tend to be very separated, not allowing students of other disciplines to see what their peers have been working on for so long. Being in such an open and accessible area as the Lobby, surrounded by windows and natural light, it is easy for all to view the wonderful creations made by the talented students of DePaul.
Personally, as I walked through the exhibition, I was inspired and in awe of all the work that it takes to bring all of these designs to fruition. I have seen many of the shows and final products on stage, but I find it fascinating to see the process that one goes through before it comes to life. Seeing the mini models of sets I've walked on, or renderings of dresses I've seen in plays really makes me appreciate the talented and hardworking students all working toward one common goal. It reminds me to step outside my little bubble and appreciate what goes on all around.
It’s no secret that 12
weeks ago I didn’t want to be a teacher. Originally, I came to college freshman
year upset that we couldn’t start observing in the classroom until our
sophomore year, but by that February I was so amazed by the power of student
leadership that I decided I wanted nothing to do with the K-12 classroom and
instead wanted to pursue a career in Higher Education and Student Affairs.
years and multiple student leadership positions later, the second floor of Arts
and Letters let out a huge gasp as I shared in Dr. Hansra’s literacy class this
winter quarter that I still didn’t want to be a teacher.
held strong until the morning of my first day of Student Teaching. I didn’t
want to be a teacher. I just wanted the next twelve weeks to fly by, so I could
start graduate school. However, not even thirty minutes into that first day my
cooperating teacher walked us down to gym class where I was directed to play dodgeball
with my 6th grade students. As I continued to dodge balls thrown at
me I couldn’t help but laugh - in that moment I knew that this place was
somewhere special and the next twelve weeks might not be so bad. By my fourth
day of student teaching I had fallen in love with Ravenswood Elementary and my
students. I thought the honeymoon phase would end, but it didn’t.
our first day of PARCC Testing my Cooperating Teaching and I rewarded our students
with outdoor recess. For March, it was a gorgeous day. Full sun and nearly 60 degrees.
During a game of soccer, one of my students with special needs scored not one,
but two goals. He ran a victory lap around the entire field as the class
cheered him on and chanted his name. Soon after, when it was time to head back
inside to wrap up the day I was astonished with my student's ability to be
silent in the hallways and respect others who might still be testing. The last
20 minutes couldn't have been more perfect, even if I had directed them in a
movie myself. However, I was quickly brought to reality when not even two
minutes after being back in the classroom a Social Studies textbook
"mysteriously fell" out of a second story window. Every single one of my days at Ravenswood was special in one way or another. The twelve weeks passed so quickly that I found myself in tears at the end of my last day of Student Teaching.
Thank you Ravenswood
for making me love every day of my last twelve weeks of college. Thank you for
being the reason I got out of bed in the morning and remarkably never felt tired.
Thank you for giving my life energy and keeping me on my toes. Thank you for accepting me, testing me, and
pushing me to become a better teacher. The 113 of you are the reason I am here.
YOU are the reason that in the last 12 weeks I have decided that I DO want to
be a teacher.
A few months ago I finished a medical school interview tour through more than 10 cities across the US. I was working as a tech at a hospital in Austin, Texas after completing my BS in Chemistry at DePaul. Mostly, I was seeking refuge from the winter for a year - exploring a new city and preparing myself for the next stage of my education. In two weeks I will start medical school in Pittsburgh.
Since leaving DePaul I’ve had the chance to talk to a lot of students starting med school this fall from other universities around the country. At multiple schools I was interviewed by current students from an alphabet soup of prestigious universities. These conversations helped me better understand that there is something special about a science degree from a Vincentian University in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
Spring quarter of my sophomore year at DePaul I took a seminar to prepare to lead a service immersion trip the next year. We met from eight in the morning until noon every Friday for 10 weeks. I was simultaneously taking organic chemistry, and the classes overlapped for an hour. It’s pretty much unheard of to be enrolled in overlapping classes, yet, each Friday morning I took an hour detour to my organic chemistry class.
The first day of the seminar we created “safe space guidelines" - values to which we would hold each other accountable. One week I left a discussion of the difference between service rooted in solidarity and charity to attend a lecture on carbonyl reactions. In the seminar we occasionally “checked-in” with each other on our current emotional, physical, and intellectual wellness. We once started our early morning with a massage train.
Every Friday that semester I went from a room where reflection, human connection, transparency, and dialogue were goals to an organic chemistry lecture hall where we were studying the fundamentals of the chemistry behind human life.
I was quite confused about the sharp contrast in environments but invigorated by the switch in thought and the mental space shared by these two loves - science and social justice.
These are the worlds that a doctor is part of. Medicine and healthcare are moving away from the hospital and into the communities and people’s lives who they serve. Doctors and healthcare providers of the future will need to better understand the forces that shape the health of their individual patients and community populations as a whole.
Before starting college at DePaul, I knew next to nothing about the Vincentian mission at DePaul. But my experiences outside of the science department at DePaul laid the foundation for my career in medicine. The Vincentian mission showed me the utility of studying science and helped me understand what I must do in this world - use that knowledge and privilege to directly impact the daily lives of people.
The first two weeks of June are a much anticipate time at DePaul, as we come to the end of the year it is indeed time for FINALS. There is so much energy both mental and physical that goes into the preparation the of final papers, projects, exams, and more. Here at The Theatre School, we absolutely have tests and papers to complete, but here finals can come in many forms. For the performance classes, given the content of the curriculum, a written paper cannot be enough to show how to the work is applied. This is where final scenes and monologues come into play.
One class that all performance majors (and a few other theatre majors) take is Stage Combat. This is a class to learn the skills of fighting on stage. This includes hand-to-hand skills, like slaps, punches, kicks, and more. We learn Rapier and Dagger as well - yes, sword fighting is required here!
In your second year of the Acting program, you learn all of these techniques in a special class designed to help you learn how to apply all of these to scene work. The point is not to learn how to fake punch someone, or sword fight for fun. The point is to learn how to do these things when they are in service of telling the story in a play. We then know how to safely execute these things, so they look convincing to the audience, to tell the story, but keep all involved safe from actual harm. As an upperclassman, acting students may take Advanced Stage Combat class as an elective. This is to sharpen the skills already learned sophomore year, and to learn new techniques with different kinds of stage weapons.
At the end of the quarter of stage combat class, there is a final scene showing, where the students pick scenes from plays to including hand-to-hand or sword fighting. The goal is really the acting work, the necessary staged fights are not simply a duel for all to watch! The students are tested on the execution of their skills in class, and then have an evening showing that the school is invited to come and watch.
Last night I attended the final combat scene showing and had such a great time! The scenes ranged from silly to scary, featuring very convincing sword thrusts, face slaps, and gut kicks. It is always so fun to come together and celebrate the hard (and sweaty) work of the students as they show their skills in action. It has been over a year since I took that class, and watching the scenes I was wondering if I was getting a little rusty! Overall it is an interesting hour packed with creative, hard work from the students.
While this isn't a 10-page paper or written exam, it takes just as much hard work to learn, practice, and present. These may seem like unusual, cool, or easy finals compared to many other classes or programs, but they are skills that are just as valuable to our careers and our safety in our craft.
The end of the year marked the closing of a very long run of Peter Pan and Wendy, the show I was in during Spring Quarter of this year. This was the closing of my last show of junior year, and it has left me feeling very reflective of my experiences this year, all the things that I have learned, and facing Senior Year (whoa). At TTS only junior and senior actors (as well as 2nd and 3rd year MFA actors) can audition and perform in the many official productions. This time last year I was just thinking about how crazy it felt to finally be facing junior year, and finally be in the casting pool for the MainStage shows. There was so much uncertainty and nervousness and excitement around what it would be like to be an upperclassman, and be in a real show. Now, a year later, I have just finished my third MainStage show, and looking straight in the face of my last year of undergrad, and my last 3 shows. It is an equally exciting and nervous place to be, but for different reasons. I now have an understanding of how the process works and of the work I need to do to be successful.
Here are some things I've learned from the three shows I was in this year, and greatest memories.
Joe Turner's Come and Gone by August Wilson-on
the Fullerton Stage:
What I learned: This was my favorite show experience this year, and will always remain very special to me. A lot of this is due to the fact that it was my very first real production in college, and my first MainStage show. During this process and in exploring the role of Zonia Loomis, an 11 year old living in 1910, I learned to follow my instincts and really have fun in the work. They call it a play for a reason! This show taught me that I can have a truly safe, collaborative, fun, and wonderful experience creating a piece of theatre, when all involved truly love and care about the work in the same way.
My favorite memory: The connections I made with the entire team are so special to me. Also, in the rehearsal process we explored rhythm, singing, and dancing in a way that was improvisational and came from the heart.
In the Blood by Susan-Lori Parks- in the Healy Theatre:
What I learned: In this process I played a young homeless mother of five, struggling to beat the odds and create a better life for her family-but is ultimately destroyed by the forces around her. This role was very challenging to work on, given the size of the role and circumstances of the story. I will admit that I was very scared to work on this role. But after the process I learned that while it is okay to be scared, the only way to get the work done is to face it head on, and proceed step by step. I learned to be an advocate for myself and that I need to work on communicating my needs as an actor in the process. I learned that I can do things I didn't know I was capable of.
Greatest memory: The bond I created with some of the cast members of this show. Also, on opening and closing night, sharing with each other the ways in which we were proud of each other.
Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M. Barrie - in the Merle Reskin Theatre:
What I learned: In this play I had two ensemble roles of the Neverbird and one of Captain Hook's pirates. During this process I was able to apply some of the things that I had been learning in the classroom over the last couple of years in some different ways. The Merle Reskin Theatre, located in The Loop, is the largest stage and theatre that we perform on at TTS. Such a large space and large audience demands you fill it up and send the story up and out so everyone in the audience can receive it. I got to play with my voice work to be heard in such a large space, and play with different voices for a bird, and for a pirate. I got to explore my movement work also in exploring bird-like movement, and playing a scruffy male pirate. Also, I took the acting lesson "Never let yourself get bored" into account and always switched up my point of view or actions on stage as a pirate. Because I was in the background and still serving the story, it was fun to play around with different things, just for myself.
Greatest memory: Wearing awesome costumes made by the students at TTS!
I have learned all of this in process, even more in the classroom and even more outside of the classroom. Being a part of these has taught me about acting, about life, and about myself. I look forward to many new learning experiences in the shows next year!
I am now officially a graduate student! This week, I started my summer graduate class. This is my first summer staying in Chicago. Let me tell you, things at DePaul work a little differently during the summer. I’m taking one night class during the summer. While night classes usually meet once a week for ten weeks during a normal school term, the summer term is actually divided into two five-week sessions, so my night class meets twice a week for five weeks. It’s short, but intense.
Actually, my whole schedule is intense (at least for these
five weeks). Following my own advice, I found a great full-time summer
internship. So I work at my internship from 10am-5pm Monday-Friday. After work,
on Mondays and Wednesdays, I then run to work at my other job at the Lincoln
Park campus library from 6pm-10pm (because my internship is unpaid and I need
money). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I head over to my summer graduate class from
6pm-915pm. And then in all my free time, I will try to finish all the
coursework for that class. It’s looking to be a super relaxing summer. Despite
my overwhelming schedule, I’m still hoping to find time to enjoy my first
summer in Chicago, especially after my class ends in early July. There’s so
much to experience during the summer.
To be completely honest, I just really want to go to The SpongeBob Musical. If you haven’t heard, there’s a new Spongebob musical that
is premiering in Chicago before it moves to Broadway. The super unique thing
about this musical is that rather than a single composer writing all of the songs,
a bunch of famous musicians each composed a single song. So imagine a musical
about Spongebob Squarepants featuring songs composed by Lady Antebellum, John Legend, Panic! At The Disco, T.I., and David Bowie, among others. I cannot
imagine what a T.I. song about Spongebob sounds like and I need to find out.
If you’re not into Spongebob though, there are plenty of
other things to do in Chicago during the summer. If you like music but aren’t
as interested as I am about hearing a Panic! At The Disco song about Spongebob,
you can try to find tickets to Lollapalooza. You can find the lineup for
Lollapalooza here. Or if you’re more like me and you’d rather spend your money
on food, you can always try to brave the crowds at Taste of Chicago. I’ve
always wanted to go to Taste of Chicago, but I’ve never gotten a chance, so my
goal this summer to is find time to make it to Taste of Chicago.
I’m so excited to finally be able to spend the summer in
Chicago. Let me know if you have any exciting plans for your summer!
I always love when my friends from the suburbs come to visit me in Chicago at the end of spring quarter. It gives me an excuse to walk to The Bean and take silly pictures, and to ignore the fact that I’m still in school.
The only time I curse the quarter system with all my might is inevitably when all my friends get out of school a month earlier than I do. Their freedom rubs off on me, and I get dazed and confused about the fact that I still have to go to a week of classes and finals.
But, it’s hard to be sad when the weather is this beautiful in the city. My friends visited me last weekend, and we spent the sunny afternoon sitting along the lakeshore, attending Chicago street festivals, and eating way too much.
After coming to the sad realization that it’s beach season, and my nonexistent exercise routine that I worked so hard at during the winter has not prepared me for swimsuit shopping, I’ve decided it’s time to make a lifestyle change. No more nightly Kit Kat to reward myself for making it through the day. No more eating out everyday. And, for the first time all year, I even stepped foot into the Ray.
Yikes...it took me 2.8 quarters (a.k.a. 28 weeks) to walk into the gym. But, I’m slowly getting back into the habit. With no school work this summer and a part-time internship, it’s time to spend my energy elsewhere. I’ve also found out that a summer membership to the Ray only costs $42, which is a steal considering you get to attend fitness classes as well.
Like always, I can’t believe that this school year has come to a close. Thinking that I’ll only be at DePaul for 10 more weeks next year is something that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. It won’t be reality until I walk out of my last class next quarter, and realize that I’ll never have to do that again (until graduate school, that is).
With entirely no plans for post-graduation this November, who knows where I’ll be at this time next year. I could uproot and move to a different city after landing a dream job. Or, I could stay in the city that I now call home — Chicago. Hopefully, this summer I’ll start figuring it all out. But, until then, good luck on finals!
On Friday, May 13th, the unluckiest day of the
year, I was lucky enough to be able to present at the third annual Honors Student Conference. This year, over 100 students presented research papers,
artistic works, or thesis projects at the conference (you can see the program here!).
While Honors thesis
students are obligated to present at the conference, any Honors student is
eligible to present a poster at the conference. In order to present a poster,
an Honors student can either apply for the conference or be nominated by a
professor. If you apply, you submit your paper or work to the Honors Student
Conference Committee for consideration. If a professor nominates a work you
completed for class, you’re automatically accepted to the conference. I was
honored to be nominated by one of my favorite professors (thank you, Professor
Steeves!) for a paper I wrote for my Honors Senior Seminar.
To be completely honest, I almost turned down the
opportunity to present at the conference. Unlike most people (I imagine), it
wasn’t the idea of public speaking that gave me anxiety. I did theatre for
years; I have no problem speaking in public and I knew my topic well. I got
anxious when I found out that I would have to make a poster. Not only am I not
a very visual person in general, but my paper topic was very conceptual and
theoretical and did not lend itself very easily to visual representation.
Thankfully, the Honors Program offers two short workshops to
prepare everyone for the conference. While everyone had to attend a workshop
about how to present a poster, I opted to also attend the workshop on how to
create a poster. I furiously took notes and started working on it that night. While
I was able to format everything right, I still struggled to figure out how to
visually organize my topic. I stressed out about it for weeks. Unsurprisingly,
I finally had my flash of brilliance the day before the conference and stayed
up until the early hours of the morning working on my poster. In the end, the
stress was worth it and I could not be more proud of my poster.
The actual conference experience was amazing and stress-free.
Everyone was so complementary about my poster
and at least pretended to be super interested in my paper and what I had to
say. I had sort of
forgotten that there are so many students studying subjects other than my own.
Of course I’ve taken classes with students from different majors, but I rarely
get the opportunity to see students represent fields of study that aren’t my
own. So it was exciting to see people that I know and actually be able to see
what they are studying. Likewise, it’s exciting to speak to professors outside
of your department about your field of study. Each professor ends up approaching your topic from a different perspective and their questions make you understand your own topic even better.
Presenting at the Honors Student Conference was really the best experience. If I weren't a senior, I would already be looking to present again next year. If you're ever on the fence about presenting, do it and I promise you won't regret it.
Four years ago, during the rehearsal for my high school graduation, a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed me about my post-high school plans. Apparently, I told him that I wanted to major in Spanish at DePaul and then continue on to get my law degree and specialize in tort reform or immigration law. Four years later, I’m getting ready to graduate and I ca
n definitively say there’s no way I’m heading to law school. And while I’m a little atypical in that I start (graduate) class again two days after the graduation ceremony, the fact is that I’m finally graduating and it’s a pretty good opportunity to reflect on how I’ve changed during my time at DePaul.
had a really rough start at DePaul and almost dropped out. I don’t think I had
emotionally prepared myself for such a big change in my life. I was so homesick
and overwhelmed that for the first month of school, my dad would drive to
Chicago all the way from Madison every Thursday, pick me up right after my last
class, drive me home, and then drive me all the way back to Chicago on Sunday
night. I remember my parents begging me to just try to finish out the quarter. I
had a similar experience with International Studies as well—after I finished
the first course, I contemplated dropping International Studies as a major
because I thought I wasn’t smart enough and I just wasn’t good at it. I just
felt so inadequate.
I first came to college, my goal was just to graduate. I did not have high
expectations for myself at all. And when I think about that, I realize that
I’ve accomplished so much more than I ever thought I was capable of doing. All
throughout high school, I knew that I wanted to study abroad at some point
during college, but I sort of doubted that I would ever actually go through
with it. Not only did I study abroad in Madrid, but I discovered that Spanish
political history is pretty interesting. I got back from studying abroad and
applied for my master’s (which never even crossed my mind in high school) so
that I could study Spanish political history. The kid who almost dropped out of
DePaul and International Studies because he thought he couldn’t handle it is
staying at DePaul for a fifth year so that he can get his master’s in
summer will be the first summer that I’m staying in Chicago rather than going back home. It’s sort of bittersweet because I feel like it means that I’m
finally officially an adult, but I’m also excited because I have a great
internship lined up, I get to work on my thesis, and I'm just ready to start a new phase of my life.
May, right about halfway through the month, you start hearing DePaul students
complain about the quarter system. It’s not hard to figure out why. I know
firsthand how brutal it can be to see pictures of your friends from other
schools already enjoying summer break (or even worse, graduating) when you just
finished midterms. I don't think that the quarter system gets the respect that
it deserves. Here are a few reasons that I love the quarter system: You get to take more
In a semester system, you typically take 4-5 classes per semester. At DePaul,
the typical course load is 4 classes per quarter. Over the span of four years, the
quarter system allows you to take 8-16 more classes than you would in a
semester system. So while the 10-week courses in the quarter system move fast
and can be hard to keep up with at times (these pictures show my desperate
attempts to stay organized), those extra classes can make adding a minor or a
second major so much easier.
If you have a bad quarter
and your grades drop, you have plenty of opportunities to raise your GPA. Rough quarters happen to
the best of us. Whether you’re dealing with personal issues outside of class or you just don’t
understand the material in class, it’s way easier to recover your GPA in the quarter
system. Under the semester system, your final GPA is the average of eight
semesters. Under the quarter system, it’s the average of twelve quarters. So
when it comes time to calculate your overall GPA, a single semester has a way
bigger impact than a single quarter.
If you don’t particularly
like your professor, you don’t have to deal with them for that long. Somewhere along the line,
you’re inevitably going to end up taking a class with a professor who, for
whatever reason, you wouldn’t take again. The good news is that, in a quarter
system, your class with that professor only lasts for ten weeks rather than
fifteen weeks. You can always see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The schedule just makes
way more sense. The semester system is fragmented in ways that the quarter
system isn’t. In a semester system, Thanksgiving break interrupts fall semester
and spring break divides spring semester. In the quarter system, Thanksgiving means
the end of fall quarter and the beginning of winter break, which is the entire
month of December. Spring break marks the end of winter quarter and the
beginning of spring quarter.
Let me know what you think about the quarter system!
I have started a dangerous journey: I have begun watching Grey’s Anatomy
I had sworn to myself that I would never watch it because it was such a big time commitment and I didn’t (and still don’t) have the time to get sucked into 12 seasons of a show that I knew I would like. I even know a lot of what happens because I didn’t care if my friends spoiled it for me. You guys, I seriously was never going to watch it. Until I watched a couple of episodes with my best friend and got completely hooked. I am now halfway through season three and it is taking over my life.
I am invested in the characters, plot, and drama, but it also reminds me of the times I spent shadowing my aunt in the hospital when I was still a Pre-Med major. My aunt is a fertility specialist and I really enjoyed the time I spent with her. Her job is so interesting and I learned a lot from my time with her. I got to shadow doctors in the OR, attend patient consultations, and really get a clear picture of what it is like being a doctor.
As part of the Pathways Program
at DePaul, you also have the opportunity to shadow physicians in the field that you’re interested in. A really cool aspect of the Pathways Program is that you are assigned a mentor from Rosalind Franklin
. Your mentor will be able to answer any questions you have, support you through the process of applying to Rosalind Franklin, and help connect you to opportunities, like internships or shadowing experiences. It is one of the most beneficial aspects of being a member of the Pathways Program, I think, because it helps you make connections and gives you someone who really knows what it is like to practice the profession that you are interested in.
Now that spring quarter is in its final few weeks, most of the productions at The Theatre School have closed, but the hard work and creativity is still full steam ahead.
It is now the time of year for Wrights of Spring, a special event showcasing new work created by students here at TTS. Playwriting students have been working hard writing and revising new work throughout the year. Wrights of Spring is the moment these writer get to share their work with a larger audience of students, faculty, and guests.
These pieces range from shorter one-acts, to full length plays that are presented in staged readings. The playwrights cast other students from across disciplines in the roles they have created and often team up with student directors to come together to share their stories.
For nearly two weeks there are daily showings of these brand new works. At any of these readings you will see dozens of audience members crowding into classrooms and theatre spaces. Each playwright sets up the space differently, perhaps with suggestive set elements, some with a bare stage, with fully staged action or actors standing behind music stands delivering the playwrights words. However it may be, audiences witness the actors, scripts in hand, present these new works. Often it is the first time the playwright gets to hear their piece outside of their classes. They have been working tirelessly to craft their plays throughout the year, and finally get to see how their play is received by a wider audience. This is a chance to hear what is working, and what is not, so they can continue improve and sharpen their writing. It is also a celebration of the talent we have among us here at TTS. This is a fun, supportive and amazingly creative event, with dozens of new plays showcased during these two weeks.
The culmination of this event is the opening of the New Playwrights Series showcase production. This is when a student playwright’s work is chosen to be fully produced on the MainStage. This season that show is "The Women Eat Chocolate" written by 4th year Caroline Macon, starring BFA III and IV actors, and directed by Heidi Stillman, who among many things is known for her work at Lookingglass Theatre
here in Chicago.
On the TTS website there is a description of this World Premiere play:
"At age 13 Alexandra Appleton is certain she's a poet. Her life spirals out of control when her younger sister, Dot, passes her in the race to womanhood. After a psychedelic trip, Alex struggles to distinguish fantasy from reality. Are the adults in Alex's life out to get her? Is her poetry teacher more than just a friendly mentor? And most importantly, will Alex's body catch up to her brains?"
This is a beautiful written play that I am truly excited to see it on stage.
Spring is undoubtedly the season of growth and here we are see some budding new work!
I think I’ve most definitely said this before, but the
opportunities for performing in the city of Chicago are endless. Even when you
aren’t looking, they get dropped in your lap!
I’ve been pretty busy over the last few weeks, but when I
got an email inviting me to perform with the Chicago Symphonic Winds I could
not say no. I was recommended by one of my favorite professors, Dr. Erica Neidlinger, because she is the guest conductor for our upcoming concert. Aside
from getting to play great music with equally great musicians, Dr. Neidlinger
is my idol and I love watching her rehearse and conduct. We’ve been doing an
independent study together this quarter where I have been analyzing wind band repertoire,
working on conducting and helping out with the wind symphony rehearsals. It’s
really cool to be recommended for this kind of opportunity as a music education
major – it feels great to be respected as a musician even though my main focus
The Chicago Symphonic Winds is a non-profit organization of
instrumentalists who want to keep wind literature (aka band music) alive. Not
only do they perform several concerts a year, but also participate in
educational outreach to bring music to local schools. You can read more about
their mission here.
We had our first rehearsal last week and I was blown away by the musicianship of the other players. Mostly DePaul and Northwestern alumni, the musicians volunteer their time and talents to the ensemble. It was also really neat to be playing with people who I once played with at DePaul – it’s comforting to know that they are sticking with their passion and continuing to grow as professionals.
DePaul music students perform all over the city and country.
Several of my classmates play with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training
orchestra for the Chicago Symphony! Others have started their own ensembles and
performed in master classes with people like Chris Martin (trumpet), Frank Forst (bassoon) and other successful musicians. My best friend Kelsey is
attending both the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland and the
Northwestern Summer Violin Institute over the summer, and many of our peers are
headed off to other summer festivals, too!
The program for this concert is “Suite Francaise” by Darius
Milhaud, “Variants on a Medieval Tune" by Dello Joio and “Sinfonietta for Concert Band” by Ingolf Dahl. If you don’t know any of these pieces, just trust me
when I tell you this is a great concert!
I have been getting in the habit of taking at least one online class at DePaul. This habit started late sophomore year. At first I was extremely apprehensive because I learn better with an in person instructor and am also motivated by their teaching to get my work done. With online classes, there needs to be some control within yourself to keep on track, since there is no human you see weekly reminding you about homework or projects. As I get deeper into finishing all my requirements before graduating, I am finding it hard to find domain requirements that are online (and interesting to me).
With that in mind, this quarter I took a shot in the dark and enrolled in an online class that didn’t seem super stimulating, but was the only one open when it was my time to enroll. The course is called Leisure, Recreation, and Health. I thought to myself “what is so scholarly about leisure....? Like riding a bike and reading on days off? How can this simple thing be an area of study?”
I was soon hit with the harsh reality that I have underestimated the world of academia, and also that of the human experience. Leisure is described as an elemental experience, essential to the total well-being of every person; it is a reflection and expression of the cultural values of a society, and it is an important vehicle for medical treatment. Also, leisure can be essential for a healthy community I terms of social climate and stability.
DePaul has many outlets for leisure and I am honored to have the privilege to choose to participate in them. DePaul has the Ray Meyer Fitness Center which provides everything from swimming to ping pong. DePaul also offers their students an amazing opportunity to participate in DemonTHON which is a 24-hour dance party to raise money for the Children’s Hospital. These activities make for a really connected community that have people who hold the same values. The sense of togetherness is something that leisure provides for people.
Although we are at DePaul to get a degree and a career, we also learn the importance of the binary of work and leisure and how the balance of each makes for a happy life J
Awesome. So you’ve made it to the portion of your Orientation sign up where it asks you to select a Discover or Explore class. Follow these steps to ensure an informed and successful decision about your first class at DePaul.
Step One: Breathe. You’re going to take roughly 48 classes
during your time here at DePaul, today you’re choosing just one of them. Any class you choose from the options listed will fulfill the same Chicago Quarter Liberal Studies requirement.
Step Two: Know the difference between these three terms: Discover Chicago,
Explore Chicago, and Chicago Quarter. Discover Chicago includes immersion week.
Since immersion week starts the week before classes, you’ll step five days focusing
on just one class – which leaves plenty of time for class led excursions and
discovery of Chicago. Once regular fall classes begin, your Discover class will
meet once a week for 2.5 hours during the first eight weeks. Explore Chicago begins
with regular fall quarter classes. Your class will meet a total of 4 hours a
week for all ten weeks. You’ll still have plenty of time to explore Chicago,
but your excursions will be spread throughout the quarter. Chicago Quarter is
simply the overarching name of the program that includes both Discover and
Explore Chicago classes.
Step Three: Decide which type of course is best for you. I recommend Discover if you’re looking for the opportunity to meet new people and are new to living in a big city. If you’re living on campus, you’ll have an early move-in to your residence hall – for no extra charge! You’ll have access to your meal plan early as well. If you’re commuting to campus, keep in mind that Immersion week days can start early and go late. You’ll be need to make arrangements to and from campus. On the other hand, I’d recommend Explore for anyone who’d rather start classes in September, has a less flexible schedule, or wants to get in extra hours at a summer job before starting school full time.
Step Four: Look through the course options here and choose your top five.
Step Five: Sign up as soon as possible through Campus
Connect as some classes fill up faster than others. Make sure you’ve completed
your placement exams at least 24 hours prior! If you have difficulty signing up
contact New Student and Family Engagement at (773)325-7360.
This quarter I’ve been spending a lot more time on campus. With my Mondays now free, I typically spend my whole day in Lincoln Park. Besides spending too much money at the DePaul Whole Foods, I have been regularly reading our campus message boards and have found out about some pretty cool activities on campus.
While I admittedly jot down most of these activities in my planner, never to be revisited again, last week I actually followed through on something. Buying a ticket with my roommate to see The Misanthrope by Moliere
, I decided to take a trip to the DePaul Theater School on the corner of Racine and Fullerton.
Arriving to the theater just before the show started, I was a bit flustered as I sat down and took in my surroundings. The Fullerton stage is small and intimate; the glow of the lighting reaches all audience members, leaving no one completely in the dark.
The stage set a beautiful scene, highlighting a fancy foyer with large bay windows. Two double doors on each side of the stage acted as the entrance and exit points for the characters during the play.
The play itself was smart and quick. The characters were outspoken and comical, and all of the play’s lines rhymed, which is automatically very impressive. While I won’t spoil anything from the play, DePaul’s interpretation was marvelous, not that I’ve ever read the original or seen a different version.
I always appreciate DePaul Theater School plays. For only $5, not enough students take advantage of this opportunity. Plus, who knows which future famous actor or actress you might see on stage at DePaul.
Attention incoming first year students! Orientation sign up is now open! During your time on Campus Connect you’ll be selecting both your Premiere DePaul Orientation dates, and more excitingly, the first academic class you will take at DePaul University (see my next blog for more info). You might be feeling some butterflies and stress, but reading the below Q&A will hopefully lessen those feelings!
What’s the difference between Orientation and Premiere
DePaul? All students go through some sort of Orientation; as in incoming first
year student your Orientation is called Premiere DePaul.
Do I have to attend Premiere DePaul? It’s not that you have
to attend, you GET to attend!
Do we sleep at DePaul overnight? Yes – in the infamous
Munroe Hall! Unless you are not living on campus next year and plan to attend
Premiere DePaul Session 12 or 13. If you have extenuating circumstances, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should my parents or supporters come to Premiere DePaul? Bring
them along! There’s a two-day guest program that runs along side the student
program. You’ll have the opportunity to see your guests at meals and a few conjoined
Is Premiere DePaul boring? NO WAY! In addition to meeting
new people and scheduling your first quarter classes; three meals are provided,
there’s two tours of campus, a theatre performance, and friendly competitions
at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center that always begin with a dance party!
Speaking of food, what if I have allergies or dietary
restrictions? When you sign up for Premiere DePaul, make sure you list any
accommodations you’ll need during the program. Someone from the Orientation
team will follow up with you if they need more information. If you forgot to
list your accommodations when signing up, you can email email@example.com.
Do I have to pay for Premiere DePaul? There is a fee, but it
will be assigned to your student account. The money is not due when you come to
Orientation, instead it will be added to your Fall Quarter tuition bill.
Will there be time to explore Chicago? The Premiere DePaul
schedule is jammed packed with DePaul campus events. Don’t worry! The
exploration of Chicago is coming – check out my next blog on Discover and
Explore Chicago for more info!
Let’s get one thing clear: no one likes group projects. It’s
impossible to find a time when everyone is available to meet. There’s always
either someone who does nothing or someone who tries to do everything. If
you’re lucky, you might even have one of those people in your group who asks a
thousand questions or that one person that does all of their work, but does it
all wrong. You can never decide on a place to meet up. Now I may not be able to
help you with your annoying group members, but I’ve come up with a list of the
best places for groups to study on campus.
Probably the most obvious place to study is the library. All
four floors of the library have tons of tables and chairs and desks, but for
group work, definitely stick to the first two floors. Each floor of the library
is supposed to get quieter as you go up and you don’t want to be that group
that everyone else on the floor complains about. If you want to talk as a
group, but don’t want to be distracted by everyone around you talking, you can
reserve one of the study rooms in the library.
If your group is working primarily on your computers, try
out one of the media:scape tables on the first floor of the library if you
haven’t already. While you can reserve the media:scape tables in the
Information Commons on the first floor of the library, the media:scape tables
in the Scholar’s Lab in the library are first come, first serve. Each
media:scape table has one or two big monitors, either a PC or a PC and a Mac,
and a bunch of connection cables for laptops. After everyone plugs their
laptops into the media:scape table, you can switch which screen is displayed on
the monitor with the push of a button. It’s especially amazing for doing
research as a group. Whenever someone finds a really helpful source, they can
push the button and everyone can see that same source up on the big screen.
If your group is a little more casual, or you’re just
studying for a test with a bunch of people, the SAC Pit is the place to go. While
the SAC Pit is super busy during the morning and early afternoon, it quiets
down and turns into a great place to study. If you’re looking for somewhere
quieter during the day, you can just go up to meet at one of the tables on the
second, third, or fourth floor of Levan Center, which is connected to the SAC.
The tables are right next to huge windows, which obviously provide tons of
light, and aren’t used nearly as often as they should be.
My other favorite place to meet up and study is at the Arts and Letters Hall, right across the street from Levan Center and the SAC. All
four floors of Arts and Letters have different arrangements of tables, couches,
and chairs that make studying a lot more comfortable. That being said, I get distracted way more often in Arts and Letters than I do anywhere else, so I can only study here when I'm feeling particularly motivated. It's one of the most popular places to meet for group work, so good luck finding a table during the day.
Good luck studying!
During my course as a college student, I have heard some remarks about Communication majors that just do not add up in my brain. As a Communication & Media major
, I continue to learn about the influences of media and where we stand within it. I have heard people saying that Communication is a cop out major. My response to this is loaded with factual ammo as to why Communication and Media studies are so important. Just like history, media has the ability to interpret the past and give us insight to where we have been and where we are going.
To me, learning about media is like a fish learning everything there is to know about water. As millennials
, we are constantly interacting with it and surrounded by it either consciously or subconsciously. Our inner workings are molded and mirrored by media and understanding it to its fullest degree is something I find philosophically important. With this in mind, let me tell you about the current media course I am in this quarter!
The central idea of this media course is about diving into popular culture and exploring seemingly “trashy” or “stupid” media products. It makes for a very entertaining class and one where there is a lot of class participation because we all have a lot to say about the media texts around us.
By the end of this course, I will hopefully be able to understand and critically engage with a variety of academic methodologies and models for the study of media, usefully build on and reassess these same models in their own understanding of culture and media, and write my own analyses of media texts and related cultural phenomena.
Another quarter, another nerd fest. Earlier this month, I packed up my poster, thumb tacks and blazer, and headed over to the Museum of Science and Industry to attend this year’s Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Bringing together hundreds of college students in the Chicagoland area, participants present their posters and speeches to a group of judges from the Chicago universities. I created a poster based on my honors thesis paper from last quarter because who wouldn’t want to translate 60 pages into a four-foot by three-foot space?
After various rounds of edits, my poster was finally ready to print. I admittedly almost forgot to print the poster, and I blame this on the fact that creating it was just so much effort.
Being the truly resourceful college student that I am, I also scored myself some free thumb tacks from the SAC Pit by volunteering to clean up our campus message boards. Ingenious.
When I got to the conference, I checked in, received a name tag and headed over to the West Pavilion to hear the welcome remarks from the event’s keynote speaker. Much to my surprise, the keynote speaker was renowned scientist Dr. Marius Stan. While I honestly had no idea who Dr. Stan was, I did recognize him from his role in "Breaking Bad" as Bogdan the carwash owner.
While Dr. Stan researches intelligence software to understand and predict the physics and chemistry of materials, he also has made a name for himself in acting.
While being an extra one day on the set of “Breaking Bad,” the director asked him to say a line for him, and Bogdan the carwasher was born! Back for consecutive seasons, Dr. Stan became an integral part of “Breaking Bad.”
Dr. Stan’s speech was amazing. His double life was fascinating to hear about, and I hope that I am as fortunate to find two careers that I am passionate about, rather than just one.
Compared to the opening remarks, the rest of conference was definitely anti-climactic. Research on research on research, I escaped to explore the rest of the museum and was not disappointed. The coolest part was seeing the U-505 submarine from World War II. It was huge and very well preserved.
And with that, the research conference came to a close for me. I dipped out early, but not before getting my free t-shirt. Now that’s how you attend a research conference.
When spring rolls around students all over the country are going through the same thing: making college decisions. The acceptance letters are in, the financial aid packages have arrived, and now there is one thing left to do: CHOOSE. While I am now in my junior year of my undergraduate career, I remember this time of year vividly, my senior year of high school trying to choose the right college to attend. I've briefly mentioned some of my experience choosing a school, but there is an event coming up at The Theatre School that is has got this on my mind. That event is Admitted Students Weekend
. I remember as a high schooler going on countless college tours, reading endless pamphlets, and surfing around too many college websites. Sometimes these would be an overload of too much information, and sometimes not enough information, but the tours and pamphlets and websites don't always let you know what the student experience is really like at a college or university. Enter Admitted Students Weekend. I remember once I had received my acceptance letter to DePaul, I was beyond excited. But I had a big choice to make whether to attend DePaul, which had been my first choice at the time, or choose one of the many other options I had. A big thing to consider is fit - do I think I can fit here? Will I get not only the education I desire, but also the student experience I want?
The Theatre School at DePaul
hosts an awesome event to allow students to get a taste of just that. Students who have been accepted into one of the many different degree programs at TTS are invited in April to come to campus for Admitted students Weekend. This is a 2 to 3 day event where students who have been admitted get to truly experience the student life of people with their major. These prospective students get to spend the night in the dorms with current students with their same major, seeing for themselves what it is like to live on campus. They get to watch classes attended by current students to see what they are learning, and get to attend a demo class themselves to try out some of the work. This is a chance to meet some of the other students who may attend, meet current students, ask questions and feel the energy of the school. There are panels with current students and panels with alumni, answering any questions, addressing concerns, and sharing their own experiences.
As a girl from the Pacific Northwest
, who had never really been to Chicago other than to tour the schools, it was important to me to know more before making a huge decision to move all the way across the country. Also I knew that the other school I had visited really didn't feel right to me. In April of 2013, I got an invitation to attend Admitted Students Weekend, to come see what it is like to be an Acting Major
at DePaul. I can honestly say that it is one of the best decisions that I made. With some objections from my parents, I found a way to get a ticket to Chicago to visit for the weekend. When I got here, I got to tour the school (this was not the beautiful 73 million dollar facility we have now), meet the students, ask questions and get a feel for it myself. I really had to ask myself, based on what I have seen and heard here, could I see myself here? I think that is a CRUCIAL question to ask yourself when picking a school. There are many factors to think about, for me they were location, cost, curriculum, diversity, and more. To be honest, cost was a huge one for me, coming from a single parent home. But to be even more honest, it was important to me to put the cost aside and ask myself is this where I see myself for the next 4 years? For me, the answer was yes. I loved the idea of conservatory style training paired with a well-rounded liberal arts education. I loved the idea of being in Chicago. I loved what I saw as a collaborative environment with committed students and artists. I loved the values DePaul has regarding service to our community and using the city as your classroom. These appealed to me greatly.
I just received an email today saying that this coming weekend is Admitted Students Weekend at TTS, and to be on the lookout for ways to make the students feel welcome, and help them with their decision. It is crazy to me to be on the other end of the experience this time around, as I have the last few years. I am so grateful that DePaul hosted a weekend like this, as it really helped me make one of the biggest decisions in my life. My advice to anyone currently making their own college decision is to definitely attend any event offered such as the one I have just mentioned. But if you have only experienced the tours, and the photos and paragraphs that are scattered across the website, really ask yourself, "Can I see myself here? Will I get what I want out of my education and my experience?" Answer honestly, and go with your gut. Everything else will work itself out.
This is a very exciting time of year, and I am very excited to see who decides to become a Blue Demon next fall.
As someone who has juggled a full-time class load with a full-time internship, it can be overwhelming. Last quarter I learned my lesson, and this quarter I tweaked my game plan.
Enrolling in an advanced internship course through DePaul’s College of Communication, I am now receiving college credit for my marketing internship. Classified as a communication elective and a fulfillment for my junior year experiential learning requirement, I go to my internship as normal and also complete career development assignments for class on the side.
I decided to enroll in an online course with DePaul career specialist and instructor Michael Elias. At first, I was skeptical of the course's assignments. Would setting goals and having my supervisor sign them actually change my work habits? Did I really need to upload a recording of my elevator pitch and receive critiques from classmates?
The answers? Yes, yes and yes.
Michael’s class has helped me not only in my internship, but also in my personal career development. I feel confident about going into my next networking event and introducing myself and my career goals to complete strangers.
Our final assignment consists of making our own online portfolio, in which we showcase our accomplishments and essentially, our personal brand. While the final project is somewhat intensive, the course load itself is very light, not causing students to be overworked with the balance of class and their internship.
Be sure to check out internship courses at DePaul for a great way to earn class credit and gain real-world experience, while also making a buck or two.
Spring quarter is in full swing and it is that time again for me to announce the current show I am working on, and tell you all a little about it! I am currently a part of the company of actors working on Peter Pan and Wendy. Each quarter, among the many shows produced at TTS, we also put up a children's show, or as we call it TYA - Theatre for Young Audiences. These are fully produced shows that are showcased at the Merle Reskin Theatre in the Loop. Before the new state-of-the-art Theatre School building was erected on Fullerton and Racine in 2013, all Main Stage shows were performed at the Merle Reskin Theatre downtown. Now that we have two new stages right here on the DePaul Lincoln Park campus, the Reskin is just for our Chicago Playworks Series, made up of plays for young audiences. Chicago public and private schools are invited to bring their students to see these magical productions as field trips on Tuesday and Thursday mornings throughout the week. In addition to these more formal outings, families across Chicago attend these wonderful plays as well.
Right now we are in the middle of the tech process for Peter Pan and Wendy. This is the point of the rehearsal process where all the pieces come together. This includes lighting, sound, set and props, and costumes, all coming together to elevate the play, and bring it to life. Peter Pan and Wendy is a stage adaptation of the well-known children's book following the story of a young girl and her interaction with a young boy who simply won't grow up, together they take a magical adventure to Neverland, complete with flying, danger, and lessons learned in the process.
While creating the show, the cast and director had the tricky challenge of creating the flying sequence, where Wendy and her siblings fly to Neverland with Peter Pan and his fairy friend Tinkerbell. This involved the whole cast, as we are using our bodies to create the magic illusion of flying. This involves a serious of lifts, and highly choreographed sequences to fly the characters through this magical world. This had been a high energy, exciting - and sweaty - process!
Peter Pan and Wendy opens April 21st and runs through May 28th. Performances are Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10am, and Saturdays at 2pm. If you are in the Chicago area, take advantage of this brighter weather and make your way downtown to see this magical world come to life at the Merle Reskin Theatre at 60 E Balbo Ave Chicago, IL 60604.
Visit the TTS website
for more information about this show and the others running this Spring.
With less than two months of school left, preparing for life
post-DePaul is scary, exciting and stressful all at the same time! Though my
main focus should be on finishing my classes, maintaining my GPA and enjoying
my time in the city, I can’t help but worry about what is happening next –
where will I work? Where will I live? What will happen to my relationships, and
how will I go about building new ones? I feel like I’ve had job applications on
my mind more than anything else – until this past week when my post-grad status shifted from unknown to employed!
After only filling out a few job applications, I’ve
officially been hired by a school district to teach 5th-12th
grade band. For this particular school, I had a FaceTime interview due to
distance after submitting my application materials through email. The
superintendent and I had a great conversation about the direction of their band
program and the ways in which I could help provide a challenging and enjoyable
learning environment for their students. Within three hours I had received the
job offer! Taking the advice of my advisor, I made the three hour trip to the
school to make sure it would be a good fit before making any kind of decision.
Once I had seen the school, spoken with both principals and discussed further
job requirements, I had no doubt in my mind that this was the job for me. I
signed my contract and am now eagerly waiting to start my first job as a
real-life teacher this August!
This new job will pose a lot of new challenges for me, and I
couldn’t be more thrilled. I will be responsible for teaching 5th-12th
grade band (probably about 65-70 students), with the expectation that I will
begin a marching band, prepare students for ILMEA auditions and perform several
times a year. The school is located in rural Illinois, just about 3 hours
outside of Chicago – certainly a drastic shift from the environment I’ve been
living in these past four years! Aside from teaching and having ownership over
my band program, I’m really looking forward to fresh vegetables from local
farms, starry night skies and forming new relationships with my new co-workers
and neighbors. I might even think about getting a pet to keep me company!
It is pretty uncommon for teachers, especially
fresh-out-of-college teachers, to be hired this early before the start of the
next school year. I consider myself extremely lucky to already have a plan in
place! Being a DePaul student has prepared me so well – I know that all of my
graduating colleagues will be successful because of the education we have
received here, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for them.
For now, I’ll be doing my best to stay focused and get my
physics homework in on time. Only 6 more weeks until graduation and the start
of the next chapter of my life!
I frequently talk about the film program here at DePaul University. The reason being is I am a film student. I am now done with the majority of my third year of college and have only this Spring Quarter to complete before I head into my final year at DePaul.
It’s a bit nerve-racking, I must admit, but some good news has recently come my way. The LA Quarter
is a program available to students that wish to go to Los Angeles and study for a quarter. It is typically provided for the fall and spring quarters. In order to get into the program you have to submit a piece of work, fill out an application, write a letter of intent, and get a professor to recommend you. All of which, I did about a month ago before the deadline.
I didn’t tell anyone that I applied, not even my family, because I didn’t want there to be all this excitement if I didn’t get in. Also, I am kind of superstitious and did not want to jinx myself. About two weeks after applying I was onset for this short film titled Cobra Cliff. We were preparing our next shot and I got an email from CDM
with the header saying “LA Quarter” but no giving any indication of acceptance or not. I pardoned myself from the set and immediately opened the email to see that I had been accepted to the LA Quarter for Fall Quarter of the 2016-2017 academic year. I wanted to jump with joy and excitement and tell all my friends but we were seconds away from rolling so I didn’t.
Somehow, I held in all my excitement for the rest of the shoot but the moment I got out I texted my family, my friends, and everyone else that would care to know. Today, I share it with you my fellow reader and friend. If you are pursuing film here at DePaul be sure to check out the LA Quarter. I am very excited for this opportunity and look forward to writing to you all from sunny LA next year!
On Monday social media exploded with “last first day of classes” posts. For College of Education seniors however, Monday was already our 10th day of “classes”. All aspiring teachers complete 11 weeks of Student Teaching the quarter before graduation, meaning that we start full time at our placement schools during finals week.
As stressful as this might sound, teaching 35-40 hours a week, recording your lessons for edTPA (the new teacher licensure exam), and writing final papers - it’s an experience you’ll become thankful for. Once you make it through five long days of hard work and little sleep, the rest of your Student Teaching experience will be far less stressful.
And that is what’s awesome! My last quarter at DePaul past the official “last first day of classes” isn’t stressful. Is teaching hard work? Of course! Five days a week you’re up on your feet in front of 30 preteens trying to convince them that history is cool. You’re teaching in the now, but constantly thinking in the future. Each day of your class needs to connect, or the instruction won’t be meaningful. You’re constantly trying to find the balance between independent and interactive activities while monitoring student learning.
Besides being a Social Studies teacher, I’m wearing multiple other hats. I’m a comedian that hopes at least half of my room thinks I’m funny. I’m a private investigator when someone jokingly steals someone else’s pencil case. I’m a referee when my students decide the pillows in the back of the room are toys. I’m an advocate for the moments where someone is being bullied in the hallway. I’m a cheerleader when I motivate my students to share their answer with the class. And what some days seems to be the most frequent – I’m a nurse responding to the bumps, bruises, and upset stomachs of the 5th and 6th grade.
Yes, being a teacher is hard work – but it’s worth it! Taking classes and participating in leadership positions the last three and a half years have prepared me to be successful in the classroom. There’s no other way I’d rather spend my last quarter at DePaul than with the 5th and 6th grade at Ravenswood Elementary School.
For all you vocalists out there –
or maybe even if you just enjoy opera – DePaul students blew me away a few weekends ago in their performance of Die Fledermaus at the Merle Reskin Theatre downtown. Accompanied by a full
orchestra under the direction of Steven Mosteller, DePaul Opera Theatre put on an amazing performance, I'd say the best one I've seen by DePaul students! DePaul Opera Theatre does three operas a year; the fall and spring operas are performed
at DePaul’s concert hall, but every winter DePaul students take the stage at
the Merle Reskin Theatre to present a full-blown performance - costumes, sets,
The first thing (but certainly not
best thing, of course!) about going to the opera was that it was FREE. DePaul knows we are
hard-working students, which is why they make sure we have as many
opportunities to see performance as possible without emptying our bank
accounts. Not only did my student ID get me in without paying a penny, I sat in
the fourth row! Some say it’s better to sit in the balcony for better views of
the whole stage…I thought I had the best view in the house. The Merle Reskin is
a really cool theatre with three floors – I was really impressed to see how
many people came out to support my peers.
The two best things about this
Opera were that it was in English and it was hilarious! Die Fledermaus is basically about a man who must report to an
8-day jail sentence – but on his last night before turning himself in, he goes
to a party to meet pretty ladies and drink champagne. His wife finds out and
attends the party as a masked guest and her husband tries to flirt with her. In
the end, the husband finds out it was the wife at the party and is in shock –
however, we find out the whole ordeal was a prank played on the husband by a
friend. My favorite part of the show was when they revealed that it was a
prank - there was dancing, giant champagne bottles and bubbles everywhere! It
was really fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. The music was great and I was
floored by how talented my colleagues are. My best friend, Kelsey, was
assistant concertmaster in the orchestra (second chair violin) – I couldn’t have been more proud!!
There is never a shortage of
amazing performances around here. The opera was so well done - a woman at intermission turned to me and said, "wait...are they all students?!?" Yes Ma'am, they are and they ROCK! I’m really looking forward to the spring
because all of my talented friends will be giving recitals at DePaul! It was
really fun to have a night out and experience a great performance.
As a college student, it is important to create networks of people to support you. While I have a wonderful community of people here at DePaul, I also believe in expanding your network.
I currently am a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar. This is a scholarship foundation created in the legacy of the legendary black baseball player and civil rights activist, Jackie Robinson.
I have been a part of this foundation since I applied for this award before entering college. The Foundation is made up of college students across the country studying various things. Each spring, the scholars attend a Mentoring and Leadership Conference.
This is a four day event in New York City where all the scholars come together with professionals to learn about career readiness, professional skills, networking and more. The weekend is full of guest speakers, workshops and seminars where students get to interact with other students and industry professionals. This conference takes place the first week of March each year, and I have just gotten back from attending my third conference of my college career.
While I was there I attended social justice panels, sessions on interviewing skills, financial planning, networking, being a career focused woman (the men attended a session of their own) and more. These were all so informative and I learned a great deal from listening and practicing these skills.
While I was there I entered the JRF's Got Talent competition with a monologue I had prepared at school, and won 2nd place! I had a great balance of business and pleasure, also getting to attend a black tie formal gala and the ballet during my stay.
While I learned a lot and had great fun, one of my favorite things about attending is simply the people I get to be around. As an ambitious college student of color, it was great to spend time with so many other smart successful and talented students of color. The group of students involved in the Jackie Robinson Foundation are some of the best and brightest young minds in our society, and I am always so grateful for the opportunity to be in their presence and learn from them. What is especially amazing is just how supportive, encouraging, curious, and uplifting they all are. They are all individuals destined for greatness, who want everyone else to be successful in their prospective fields as well. That is the key. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. This is what JRF gives me.
It is essential to your own well-being and your success in whatever you do to have people around who will lift you up, encourage you to strive for more, and inspire you along your journey. As I move closer to the professional world and my adult life, I am learning that there will be some people and places that do not foster the kind of growth you might want. So I am learning to create a network of people near and far that I can learn from, be supported by, and will be interested in my goals regardless of their own success. And I can do this for them.
This past weekend in New York really has given me a breath of new inspiration to keep working toward my goals. I think everyone should create that network, and maintain relationships with people who help you to grow.
My spring break left much to be desired.
As fun as getting all four of my impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed was, I just felt like my time could have been spent more usefully. Laughing gas, pain pills, and Netflix helped to numb the effects of the extraction, but nothing could have prepared me for recovery road.
I’m a worry wort. I worry over things I can and cannot control. So naturally, I worried about my healing mouth for a majority of my recovery. As the words “dry sockets” haunted my nightmares and daydreams, I sought WebMD and the always reliable Yahoo Answers to help me sort through my potential problems. In reality, they just created more things for me to worry about.
However, after days of applesauce, milkshakes, and swollen cheeks, I finally started to feel better. Currently, I am continuing my saltwater rinses, but the pain has subsided. I think I’m going to make it through.
All that time spent resting actually made me feel reenergized for spring quarter. My first class of the quarter went extremely well. With only 11 people in my writing class, the class will give us a chance to really hone in on our writing skills. I hope my next three classes go just as swimmingly.
This quarter is sure to be a busy one. Between school, my internship, nannying, friends, and nursing the newfound holes in my mouth, I’m wondering how many hours of sleep I’ll average this spring. Plus, as the weather starts to get warmer, it will undoubtedly become harder and harder to focus on school. But, like every other quarter, I’m always up for a challenge.
. When I was in seventh grade, I took my first Spanish class. On
my first quiz ever, I forgot the word for ‘angry’ so I made up my own
Spanish-sounding word (“angrioso,” in case you were wondering). When I was a
sophomore in high school, my entire Spanish class became so obsessed with
Rebelde, a Mexican telenovela about some teenagers at a boarding school who
form a band named RBD, that we had a viewing party and each dressed up as a
different character. When I was a junior in high school, we had to share our
talent for Spanish class, so I performed “Genio Atrapado,” the Spanish version
of “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera. When I was a junior in college, I studied abroad in Madrid for three months.
Almost nine years after my first Spanish class, I’ve
officially completed my Spanish major. After I finished my last Spanish class
last fall, I realized that I never have to take another Spanish class again. Pretty bittersweet. Two
months later, my friend, who knows four languages and makes me feel terrible
about myself, told me about the DELE test. Let’s talk about why I’m kicking
myself for not taking a Spanish class this quarter.
The DELE test is basically a Spanish fluency exam endorsed
by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. So when my friend mentioned it, I
imagined it being like the ACT or SAT. I thought I’d casually go in and take a test and
they would tell me how fluent I am. NOPE. It’s no joke. You register to test
for one of six fluency levels and then it’s 4+ hours of writing, reading, listening,
and talking. If you pass, you’re certified at that level. If you don’t pass,
then you just end up wasting $150. That stresses me out. By the time I take
this test, it will have been five months since I was last in a Spanish class. Of
course no one told me about this test when I came back from studying abroad in
Spain and was at the top of my Spanish game. I basically sounded like a
telenovela at that point in my life. Now I can barely pronounce the menu at a
Like a geek, I bought the big study book in order to prepare
myself. A day later, I’m already realizing that I’m in over my head. You may be wondering
why I’m doing this to myself. I’m sort of wondering that, too. In all honesty, I just
think it’d be nice to have an official certificate saying that I’m fluent at a
specific level, rather than just saying that I majored in Spanish. I think it’d be something nice to have on my resume.
Furthermore, since I’m done with Spanish classes, my Spanish is only going to
get worse (unless, of course, I somehow get a Spanish-speaking job or move out
of the country or become famous for my rendition of "Genio Atrapado"). If I do move, the certificate is internationally recognized
and if I pass the level that I’m attempting to test into, I will officially be
fluent enough to enroll in Spanish universities. Since it’s permanent and I’d
never have to take the test again, I might as well take it as soon as possible.
It’s not like I have anything else going on in my life right now.
As finals week comes to a close, I really wonder where the time went this quarter. With the swiftness with which wet cement sets, the quarter was over seemingly before it began.
Fresh off of New Year’s resolutions that included going to the gym and creating more time for myself, the Zoe I was ten weeks ago could have never predicted what lay ahead for me during the past three months.
A career move, a 60 page thesis and a DePaul College of Communications advising snafu (that I am still trying to sort, fingers crossed) pretty accurately sum up my quarter. Did I accomplish my goals of getting in shape and reading more? Nope. Do I feel satisfied with my quarter regardless? Heck yes.
This quarter was the most sleep deprived quarter I have ever experienced. In the midst of morning cups of coffee and 7 a.m. commutes into the loop, I had the fortunate opportunity to do some serious soul searching. At least the soul searching that comes with loopy morning thoughts sandwiched amongst total strangers on the unpredictable journey to work also know as a typical ride on the Brown Line.
While I won’t delve into my philosophical reflections that stemmed from a lack of sleep combined with the ingenuity of someone who ate free birthday cake for lunch at work today, I will say that my quarter has been a quarter of rewards. I’ve managed to work a full five days a week, attend school at night, nanny on weekends and still maintain my sanity (or at least a majority of it). While I certainly had days where giving up sounded tempting, thanks to those around me, I never did.
Something I admire about going to school in Chicago are the opportunities that students are able to pursue. With the help of the DePaul Career Center and programs like ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge), finding an internship does not have to be a shot in the dark. I have made awesome connections through DePaul that have led me to take on full time internship positions while still in school.
Busy as ever, but thankful, I am definitely looking forward to spring break. What, may you ask, am I doing on my last-ever spring break? Getting all four of my wisdom teeth out! If that isn’t a banging way to end a crazy quarter, than I don’t know what is.
In high school, often students are forced into taking the same core classes over and over and over again. In college, life could not be more different.
This quarter, I’m taking an event planning class, a film class, a social media strategy class, and am completing my senior thesis. Needless to say, my class schedule is far from boring or repetitive.
My event planning class has been one of my favorite classes at DePaul. My professor, Anne Davis, works for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, and many of her lessons and homework assignments come straight from her actual job.
The insights you get from having a professor who actually works in the field that they teach about is something that is invaluable and very common at DePaul. Last quarter, I took a political communication class taught by someone who was working for U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth. I’ve also taken an honors art history course where my professor was a guest curator for an exhibit at the Art Institute.
Getting a firsthand perspective on real world, real time projects and events makes class so much more interesting. Anne has brought in some really impressive guest speakers, letting our class ask questions and learn the behind the scenes details of events like Taste of Chicago, Chicago’s Draft Town, and Chi-Town Rising.
We’ve also learned how to negotiate sponsorship for events, plan event layouts, and create production schedules. Every homework assignment was created in the hopes that the assignments could be used as work samples on job interviews. I feel confident about the work and feedback I’ve received on my assignments from Anne, and would definitely consider bringing them with me to a relevant job interview.
One of the coolest classes Anne planned was a backstage tour of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. My class and I got to see the symphony’s dressing rooms, practice rooms, instruments, and we even got to sit in the seats behind the musicians that face the audience.
Anne’s class has introduced me to the true nature of the event planning industry. I’m finding that I have a newfound interest in the industry and I hope that my future career will involve planning large scale events. Her class is definitely not easy, but the work that I am producing and the knowledge that I’m gaining makes every project and quiz worth it.
During this time of year, the weather gets nicer and the motivation to sit in the library to work on an essay decreases. I have always noticed that finals week is the most strenuous when the temptation to play outside is apparent. Sitting in the Student Center and looking out the window to see everyone walking to the quad to lay in the sun pains me because that’s LITERALLY all I want to do. Since finals are almost in full swing I figured I would make a list of ways to de-stress during a time full of presentations and papers.
1. Make a plan of attack: nothing like an open plan book and some highlighters to get your organization in check. The thing that helps me the most is to write down everything that needs to be done and when it is due. That way your plan of attack will go smoothly when you decide what to do first. Jumping off this of idea, it is=smart to find time in your weekly schedule when you can actually work on the things you outlined for yourself.
2. Find an animal: animals just want love! People have emotional support dogs for a reason, they really really do reduce your stress. Being able to take your mind off of the responsibilities of daily life for a moment can revamp you brain and kick start you into a healthy pattern of work.
3. Go for a run: I’m sure you’re asking me… “I have so much to do so when will I find time to up my cardio?” Well, I’m in the same boat. It sure does take a lot of motivation to do more than a swift walk, but if you have a break in your schedule a good way to de-stress is going on a run/jog/walk/whatever. That way it can hopefully bring you back to an alert state of mind that will help you with your studies.
4. Take a few deep breaths: I know this sounds very hakuna matata, but so what. Deep breathing will help you decompress and get your noggin back to a neutral state. If you’re too stressed and start to work on a new paper, you might just end up producing some content that is not up to par. Take the time you need to feel okay before diving in.
I hope these will help you during your time at college! Just remember that everyone is in the same boat and stress is more than common in university. Find tools and resources you need around campus to make it through your 4 years with ease!
For many college students, the opportunity to study abroad
is a must-have when applying for schools. Like most universities, DePaul
offers a ton of options for studying abroad at several different times throughout the year! There are over 40 countries and 70 programs available, and students have the opportunity to travel with non-DePaul programs
as well. If studying abroad is something you might be interested in, DePaul is an option worth exploring.
As a music student, studying abroad does not come as easily as many of us would like. As part of our class requirements, everyone must be in a major ensemble
every quarter to complete their degree within four years – and keep any performance scholarships
you might receive. In light of this scheduling conflict with studying abroad, most students opt to travel during summer and winter break. Many vocalists at DePaul study in Italy over the summer through a program promoted through DePaul. During my sophomore year, I was extremely lucky to have been chosen to travel to Sierra Leone, West Africa for two weeks during our winter break, which helped to fill my wanderlust (aka desire to travel).
My trip to Sierra Leone was two weeks long and happened in December of my sophomore year. Instead of "studying" abroad, the purpose of traveling to Sierra Leone was to teach - which is why I like to call it "teach" abroad instead. Over the course of the trip, we visited four different schools – a music academy, an orphanage for the hearing impaired, an all-girls school and a 1st -8th grade co-ed school. We brought recorders for the children and taught them how to play short songs, danced, sang and donated paper, crayons and cases of water to each school that we visited. It was amazing how well we were able to communicate with the teachers and children even though we did not speak the same language – music is such a powerful medium for communication between cultures. We participated in drum circles, attended a soccer game, walked through major cities and engaged with local people – we also ate goat, cassava and lots and lots of rice and oranges!
Besides engaging in music during my trip, I also got a first-hand look into how lucky we are to have food, water and shelter easily accessible to us here in the U.S. Many of the children we worked with were hungry, thirsty and often extremely malnourished – at times it was very emotional for us. Even so, the children were so excited to have us there with them and seemed so happy and blessed to have loving families and a place to learn every day.
My trip to Sierra Leone was unforgettable – I’ll always remember 6-hour long drives through jungle-like conditions, hearing the prayers from mosques at 4am, bucket showers by candlelight and geckos all over the ceilings. I’ll remember the joy that came with sharing music with others, the smiles and hugs from the children and the sadness that came with leaving them. Above all, I’ll never forget how lucky I am to live in a supportive community of professors, friends and family and how powerful music can be in my life and the lives of others.
When I finished student teaching in the fall, I thought my last two quarters at DePaul would be a breeze. Thinking that taking three classes, instead of six or seven as in previous years, would be a piece of cake, I picked up extra shifts at my work, agreed to more babysitting gigs and committed myself to maintaining a strong GPA through the end of this year. Now almost done with the quarter, I’m realizing that I was very wrong! Though I am still managing to get all my work done, it has been a real challenge to keep up with my various jobs (four, to be exact!) and still make time to relax and see my friends. I think it’s pretty common for college students to overwork themselves, which is why I want to share a few coping skills that have been working for me in dealing with the stress of college.
The first and most important thing I’ve been doing to keep myself afloat is getting enough sleep at night. I have heard horror stories of my peers who have procrastinated so much that giving up a night of sleep is their only way to get work done. THIS IS BAD. Even if I haven’t finished my work for the day, I always make a point to get at least seven hours of sleep at night and wake up earlier if necessary.
Exercising has also been a saving grace for me these last few weeks. Regardless of how much work I have to do, I try my hardest to get to the Ray Meyer Fitness Center at DePaul at least three times a week. Even if I only have time for a quick run or weight lifting session, getting my body moving makes me feel empowered and motivated to get things done.
Though it may not be the healthiest coping mechanism, food helps me get through all of life’s challenges. Often times I’ll set a goal – such as, get all of my homework due Monday done by Friday afternoon – and if I do it, I get a pizza. Who wouldn’t do homework in exchange for pizza? There is nothing more satisfying than a big slice of pepperoni pineapple from Renaldi’s or a massive plate
of beef Pad Thai from Noodles in the Pot after a long week of online quizzes,
discussion posts and readings. Side note: these foods are more satisfying if I
eat well during the week - something I have been striving to do since the
beginning of the New Year!! The addition of a Whole Foods with a gigantic salad
bar on DePaul’s campus has been a dream-come-true for my waist line…
Lastly, my friends are crucial in minimizing the stress of
school. Doing homework with my best friend Kelsey has been a major factor in my
ability to keep up with my classes. Even though our assignments are always
drastically different, it’s still fun to celebrate the completion of a task
with a high-five or another cup of coffee. (Coffee and College go hand-in-hand
for me. Addicted? Maybe. Necessary? Yes.)
One of the major lessons that I have learned this year is
that my education needs to come first. College is becoming more and more
expensive each year, and though DePaul offers great scholarships, student loans can still
be scary! Have bills to pay or enjoy having money for meals, concerts and
experiences? Me too! Working is important for so many college students – myself
included – but never forget that college is for learning first. Enjoy your time
as a student; wherever you end up, never let work negatively interfere with
your success in college.
Enough about me already – let’s talk about another DePaul student that you should know about. Over the past 3.5 years I have had the opportunity to meet and network with some truly phenomenal musicians and teachers. Last week, I had the privilege of attending a performance by my colleague and good friend, Natalie Vanderlaan, a 4th year music education student (like myself) and fabulous vocalist, pianist, and composer. I decided to interview Natalie about some of her recent accomplishments and how DePaul has helped her along the way.
First of all, let me tell you that this girl has accomplished A LOT over the past few years. Here are just a few highlights:
- Member of the DePaul Choirs where she performed works such as Beethoven 9 and the Mozart Requiem.
- A vocalist in Chicago’s annual Schubert celebration,
“Schubertiade” for two years.
- A chorus member for the opera, La Boheme her freshman year.
- Music director at Etc. Music School in Evanston, IL, where
she helps to create and direct original musical theatre for children
kindergarten to 12th grade.
- Music director and pianist for a show at Second City Chicago.
- Regular performer at the DePaul “Lounge” – every Thursday
evening, DePaul brings in student musicians to give performances for anyone who
wants to attend.
Thursday night at the Lounge, located in the DePaul Student Center, was where I saw Natalie perform last week – It was awesome! Not only is
Natalie a great singer, but she also wrote a majority of the songs she
performed. I kid you not; this girl could give Sara Bareilles a run for her
money. I don’t think I could have been more impressed.
In an interview with Natalie after hearing her perform, it
was really awesome to hear her talk about how much DePaul has helped in getting
her to where she is now.
“Through DePaul I’ve learned to be a
compelling and original performer – and to not apologize for taking the stage
and for making a statement” – Natalie Vanderlaan
Natalie said that the most helpful skills she’s learned
came from her music theory, music history and music education classes at
DePaul, and says these classes were really foundational in her recent
accomplishments. Natalie also stressed the importance of collaborating with her
peers - taking advantage of the knowledge and skills of others is crucial for a growing musician and educator.
“I chose DePaul not only for its excellent track record with
music, but also because of the Vincentian ideal and integration into the city
of Chicago. DePaul celebrates and empowers the inherent dignity of every human
being, all while providing us with opportunities to strengthen our skills and
learn through experience in the city”
So true, Natalie. Thank you DePaul, for surrounding me with
some of the most talented friends I could ask for.
As a member of the Honors Program
, I have had the opportunity to take many classes that have both interested and challenged me greatly. One of the nice things about the required classes for the Honors Programs is that they are so diverse. I get to take classes on subjects I would never learn about otherwise, which I think is one of the great things about college. I am a Health Sciences major which means I take a lot of sciences classes with labs and other health-oriented classes, but I also get to take classes through the Honors Program about, for instance, the rhetoric of fairy tales, film and literature representation of World War I, and the perception of Muslim-Americans in the United States following 9/11. These program offerings are not only interesting, but make well-rounded, educated students (something that I hope to be!).
One of the best Honors classes I have taken thus far at DePaul fulfilled the Interdisciplinary Arts requirement (HON 205). The topic of this class was Constantinople: City of Two Empires. I knew nothing about Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) before beginning the class, so I did not really know what to expect. As is the usual of any Honors class, the course consisted of a lot of critical, intense reading. In all honesty, this class required the most reading out of any Honors class I have taken yet and at the beginning of the course that was definitely something I did not expect. As the quarter progressed, I became more and more fascinated by Constantinople
and its rich history, beautiful art and buildings. As a result, the reading became less of a chore and more of an interest. That tends to happen to really good classes, and this one was no exception.
It helped, too, that our professor, Dr. Elena Boeck, was so passionate and knowledgeable about Constantinople. She expected a lot out of us, which is normal in an Honors class, and was super helpful during her office hours and genuinely cared about our progress. HON 205 was one of the hardest classes I have taken, but one of the best. It was a unique class because the history of Constantinople is something I highly doubt I will study in another class, but I am grateful to the Honors Program that I get to take classes like this. Plus, if I ever get the opportunity to visit Istanbul, Turkey, I will be able to show off my vast knowledge of the city (bonus!).
One thing that I have always been told about the skills I need to be successful in any career field is the skill of proper written communication. Writing is definitely one of the most primary skills that you will be judged upon in college and work. Think of writing as making all of your thoughts visible for other people to see. Some people are obviously better at putting thoughts in words, and if that weren’t the case than we would all be famous authors. Writing out ideas helps you formulate questions/answers and can demonstrate your emotional maturity. Writing also can serve the purpose of solidifying ideas down in ink so that you can come back and refine them.
In terms of memory, writing class notes with a pen and paper instead of typing with a laptop has proven to link the motor skill with processing the information. I have found that typing can lead to mindless processing because I’m too focused on typing the lecture verbatim instead of soaking in the concepts. When it comes to cognitive learning, I always chose a pen and paper before a laptop (even though having a computer makes some lecture way more bearable). But if creative writing is more your thing, DePaul has a lot of outlets for you.
You could be employed by DePaul at the Writing Center where your job will revolve around helping your peers formulate ideas or help grammar check their papers for fluidity. I have always found that by teaching others I also enhance my own skill set. You can apply to the Writing Center via email and must provide a few writing samples. Through personal experience, they rarely hire first year students, but once your writing becomes stronger and conceptual they take another look at your application. DePaul also has a creative and journalistic outlet with the DePaulia. The DePaulis is mainly student run, which gives people the opportunity to be independent with their work while also enhancing their organization and communication skills. Writing for The DePaulia is a great little test run of how newspapers work and what skill are needed to be a part of a printed paper.
DePaul has also recently started an award winning art & literary magazine called Crook and Folly. This published magazine gives students the opportunity to express their creativity in both written form and visual art. This is a great alternative to journalistic writing that the DePaulia provides. Along the same lines, The English Department has also created an outlet for students via a blog called The Underground. This blog is a newsletter type dealio that covers news, events, student writing, and alumni participation. Check the link below if you are interested!
Writing is seen to be a helpful source of therapy, expression, and skill for everyone I know! With DePaul I have learned to enhance a healthy skepticism in my own and other’s writings that has enhanced my imagination and creativity.
On Thursday evening a special event took place in The Theatre School. The Theatre School Student Government Association (TTSSGA) hosted an event to celebrate the announcement of the 2016-2017 Season! In the winter of each year, there is an announcement of the plays we will put on in the coming school year. Now typically this is sent out in the form of a school wide email. This year, however, member of the TTSSGA, wanted to bring the school together as community to announce next year's season of plays.
At 5pm, students from all disciplines filed down the stairs and into the Merle Reskin Lobby of the school. This was the first time ever that there had been a collective event to celebrate the great work and great art we have to look forward to next year. The Dean of the Theatre School, Dean John Culbert, gathered in front of the mass of students along with the artistic directors of our theaters, and directors of next year's shows.
The Dean began with some opening remarks about how we choose the next season of productions. He talked about how the subjects and themes of our Main Stage shows reflect what we as a school are thinking about. These production are how the world knows what is important to us. It was great to hear from the leader of our school, and know that he and the team he works with has us, as students and young artists, in mind, as well as the issues of our current world. I had always wondered who chooses the next season, how they decide and of course, what the shows will be. One by one, the directors of next year's shows got up to the microphone, announced their show, and answered a simple question, "Why here, Why Now?" The directors shared the themes of the shows they had chosen and why they think they are relevant in the community and world we live in.
It was a great event to get the whole school excited about the season, and to be on the same page about our collective goal as a school. I cannot tell you how excited I am for next year’s season, and excited to share it with all of you. Next year's season is as follows:
On the FULLERTON STAGE:
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Cameron Knight
by Jackie Sibblies Drury
directed by Erin Kraft
directed by Nathan Signh
Title, Playwright, and Director TBA
In the HEALY THEATRE
by Sarah Ruhl
directed by Michael Burke
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Jacob Janssen
An ensemble piece to be performed by MFA III actors
CHICAGO PLAYWORKS FOR FAMILIES AND YOUNG AUDIENCES
by Jeremiah Clay Neal
directed by Ernie Nolan
(developed through The Theatre School's Cunningham Commission for Youth Theatre)
by Ike Holter
Directed by Lisa Portes
book and lyrics by Psalmayene 24
music by Nick tha 1Da
directed by Coya Paz
This coming season touches on so many relevant topics, such as election and new leadership, race, sexual orientation, gender roles, violence, family dynamics and more. I am so excited to explore these important topics on these amazing stages next year! Good things ahead!
A few weeks ago it was Blue Demon Week
at DePaul! As a part of the many celebrations that took place Enrollment, Marketing and Management put out a new series of videos. Below you'll see a link to the headlining video. "DePaul: Urban Educated. World Ready
" is one of my favorite videos DePaul has ever put out (my #1 will forever be the Premiere DePaul Video
the Orientation Leaders that I supervised stared in). In two minutes and twenty-three seconds the video hits home about what DePaul stands for and what it means to be a DePaul student.
“DePaul isn't trying to be like every other university in
America, we want to be DePaul.”
Bold, but true. When you accept admission to DePaul you should be excited to know that your college experience won’t be like your friends’ who are attending other universities. As a student at DePaul you get to live in America’s third largest city. This means that you don’t have to wait until your senior year to have an internship. There are enough companies in the city for you to start interning as a first year student! When you’re sitting in class it won’t be with 500 strangers. At DePaul all but one of my classes has had between 20 and 40 students. We only have two large lecture halls in Lincoln Park that hold at maximum 100 students each. At DePaul our educational experience is personal and extends far beyond the classroom.
“The fact that St. Vincent de Paul’s name is over our door
gives us a sense of mission that we need to make a difference.”
After taking an entire course on St. Vincent DePaul I could share quite the list of fast facts. From at best an average priest to canonized saint, Vincent de Paul had quite the journey in his lifetime. More than 350 years after his death, Vincent de Paul’s Congregation of the Mission thrives on though the hearts and souls of Vincentians around the world. As a DePaul student you’re able to see hands on how the missions of justice and human dignity is fulfilled by asking and answering the question, “What must be done?”
Open my blog to watch the video below:
As a soon-to-be music teacher, there is nothing more
inspiring than being surrounded by successful teachers and talking about
education. Every year, several DePaul music education students make the
three-hour car trip to Peoria, Illinois to attend the Illinois Music Educators Conference – ILMEA for short. Over the course of two days, I attended four different clinics, two concerts, and a DePaul reception held for current
students and alumni.
This year we were able to bring 13 DePaul students ranging from freshmen to seniors. We took three cars – I was lucky enough to drive a minivan rented from Zipcar –
and arrived early in the evening. We made it in just enough time to attend band and choir performances, which were really good. Since I’m a bassoonist and interested in teaching band, I attended the band concert and absolutely loved all of the music. Listening to quality music played by talented musicians is really motivating and always reminds me of why I love music so much.
The next day, we all went our separate ways and attended hour-long clinics that were most applicable to our interests. Between 8:30am and 5pm, I was able to attend four different clinics: Assessing students in the Performance Classroom, Warm-Ups and Ensemble Development That Work!, a student teaching panel (I was on the panel!!) and a “new music reading” concert where all the pieces were written within the last couple of years. A huge perk of ILMEA are the exhibitors that attend the conference; music and instrument distributors, representatives from different colleges and travel companies are only a few examples. I decided to skip a clinic so I could browse for some new music, and I successfully purchased some new bassoon pieces to work on over the next few months. Although the day was long and exhausting, I felt that I’d learned a lot and had a great experience.
After all the clinics and rehearsals had ended, our group went to a collegiate (college students only) dinner provided by the conference. The idea was that we would be able to meet and greet with students from other universities – but unfortunately the space was too small to accommodate the large number of students who attended! We were able to meet a few people, but we mostly ended up spending more time with each other…but we weren’t complaining. To complete the day, we went to a DePaul reception held in a large hotel room to reconnect with our professors and meet with DePaul School of Music alumni. It was great to see friends who have graduated and hear about the successes of DePaul graduates – it gave me a lot of hope for my own career after graduating! DePaul has prepared me well to be a music teacher, so I have no doubt that I’ll have plenty of success stories, too.
I’ve conducted a surprising amount of research during my time at DePaul. While the task of writing a research paper is always intimidating, the rewarding feeling when the paper is done and handed in makes it all worth it.
Being in the DePaul Honors Program, most of my honors classes culminate in the writing of an original research paper. Since I’m currently taking my last honors requirement (my senior thesis) I estimate that I’ve written about nine substantial research papers consisting of ten or more pages through DePaul’s Honors Program this far.
What’s great about DePaul’s Honors Program are the opportunities it offers to continue to develop research even after your class has ended. Sometimes it can be frustrating to spend 3875975 hours researching a topic only to get a grade back and never think about your paper again.
This past quarter I was fortunate enough to present my research from my Honors 201 course States, Markets, and Societies at the 2015 National Collegiate Honors Conference. The conference is an event held once a year by the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and invites honors students from across the nation to participate in weekend long activities. This year, the conference was held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chicago.
The DePaul Honors advising staff suggested that I apply to present in the conference. When my research was accepted, DePaul covered my registration fee, I turned my research paper into a research poster, and the rest is history.
My project was titled “What’s Wrong with the 99 Percent?: The Failure of the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the United States.” In my paper, I examined how the messaging, protest tactics, and outcomes of the Occupy Wall Street movement were different from that of the women’s suffrage movement and the Civil Rights Movement. I made sure to include visual elements in my poster to illustrate the differences present within the movements.
For the poster presentations, students set up their posters in a large room within the Sheraton. We then stood by our posters as other students and faculty perused topics and mingled amongst themselves. I had some very engaging and thought provoking conversations regarding my topic with people from all over the United States. It was also fun to hear about other students’ experience in the city so far. Many of the students I talked to had never been to Chicago and wanted to know what was worth checking out.
The NCHC conference was a definitely a neat experience — but I won’t lie, I’m a total nerd so I dig these types of things. Regardless, the conference proved that you don’t have to be a graduate student to start conducting your own research. With the right resources and guidance, undergraduates can have the ability and confidence to examine and analyze any topic.
ANNOUNCEMENT (and update to my previous blog): If you haven’t heard, DePaul Activities Board
has announced that We The Kings will be playing at Polarpalooza this year!
It’s crazy to think about how my time as an undergraduate is
coming to a close. Last quarter, I completed the last of the requirements for
my Spanish major. After next quarter, I will have finished my International
Studies major and will be registered as a graduate student at DePaul. Right now,
though, I’m taking my final Honors class.
No matter what you study at DePaul (during your
undergraduate career, at least), you will have to take some series of liberal
arts classes to fulfill your degree requirements. For most students, this requirement
takes the form of the Liberal Studies Program. For other students, the Honors Program replaces the Liberal Studies Program. I know when I was applying for
the Honors Program, I really had no clue what it was. And now even as a senior,
I still meet students who have never heard about the Honors Program and know
nothing about it. With the deadline for Honors Program applications approaching
quickly (March 2nd, in case you were wondering), I thought this
would be a great time to talk about how the Honors Program differs from the
Liberal Studies Program.
The Liberal Studies Program is comprised of two parts: the
Common Core and the Learning Domains. The Common Core is a series of 7-8 classes
that all students in the program have to take, including the Chicago Quarter
class, the Focal Point Seminar, and the Sophomore Seminar on Multiculturalism.
The Learning Domains, on the other hand, are extremely broad categories. Each
student must take at least one class (depending on your major) from each of the
six Learning Domains. Each Learning Domain can be fulfilled by taking one of
~100 eligible electives.
The Honors Program is designed for students who want an extra
academic challenge. In particular, the Honors classes really emphasize writing
and critical analysis. That being said, participation in the Honors Program
severely limits your course options. While Honors students similarly have to
meet the same Common Core and Learning Domain requirements as Liberal Studies students, Honors students are
generally limited to the courses offered by the Honors department. For
instance, while Liberal Studies students can choose from a list of over 100 courses to fulfill the Arts and Literature requirement, Honors students take
HON101: World Literature (to be fair, the content of which can vary with the professor). While
I’ve heard of one or two people that really didn’t like the limited options, I
can say in all honesty that I’ve been genuinely satisfied with almost every
class I’ve taken in the Honors Program.
In addition to your transcript reading “Honors Program
Graduate,” the Honors Program offers a ton of perks. Seriously, I tell everyone
to apply to the Honors Program for one main reason: priority registration. At
DePaul, freshmen get last choice for signing up for classes. By the end of
registration week, a lot of classes are already full. As an Honors student, you
have first choice for signing up for classes, even before seniors. It’s amazing
(and a good way to make sure you always get the schedule you want). Beyond
that, the Honors classes are never more than 20 students. Never. I have four
years worth of emails from the Honors advisors reminding students not to waste
their time asking professors to make an exception for them. Because the program
is relatively small, you end up seeing a lot of familiar faces in your classes.
And if you want even more of a familial atmosphere, the Honors Program has its
own floor in Seton Hall.
The Honors Program may not be right for everyone, but I
recommend it to anyone who thinks it might be right for them. Check out their website and apply soon!
As I have mentioned before, I am currently in my third year of the acting program here at DePaul. As is true for many programs, there are a string of courses one must take in order to complete the major, and earn your degree. For the acting program, there is a planned out sequence of courses we take in our years of training. The third year of the program is when we get to finally tackle Shakespeare
in our coursework. This class is an acting class for us, meaning it is not simply a literature analysis of Shakespeare’s work, but it is geared toward performance majors and our goals to be able to speak and perform this wonderfully challenging text.
This course has been a two quarter sequence, and lucky for my class, it has been revamped this year. The Theatre School has hired a new faculty member this year, Cameron Knight, who now teaches acting and Shakespeare to the undergraduate and graduate acting students. We began with part one of the sequence in fall quarter of this year. The students in my class were all coming to begin this learning process with various experiences and knowledge of The Bard and his writing. By this I mean that some students came to the class already loving Shakespeare, some hating it, some having read many of his works, some never having read it at all, but we all started from the same place with the work.
The first quarter began with form. Learning all the conventions of Shakespeare’s writing, starting with reading analysis and scansion of the text. We then moved onto speaking the text and clear communication of the text. While analysis is great and essential, as actors we must learn how to be effective and clear in the speaking and communication of the text. We then moved into scene work leading up to our final, which was a presentation of these scenes for the performance faculty. This winter, we began the second part of the sequence. This quarter we jumped right in with scene work, paired with partners to work on different scenes, as well as monologues and group scenes.
I have really loved taking this course and have learned so much. Reading Shakespeare, and preparing it for performance really is like learning a new language, and a new way to approach language of any type. My professor was right when he says, if you can handle this author, you can handle just about any author/playwright. Once you learn the form, you get to "play Jazz" he says. He is truly a great teacher, and has facilitated this learning process in an individualized way. My class has gone from tentative and cautious with this challenging language, to truly understanding, loving, and now playing with these complicated and beautifully written stories. It has changed how I view this author, and how I see my future with this author as well, giving me a sense that I really could, with more work and practice, work confidently and well on Shakespeare and classical text during the rest of my collegiate career, and professionally. I love taking courses that directly apply to the skill set I desire to have for my career and this course has definitely done that.
The following conversation actually happened:
Me: “Hey, how’s your day going?”
Friend: “It’s going…my professor has us working on our midterm already.”
Me: “Geez, why so early?”
Friend: “Midterms are next week…”
Me: “What?” *Checks calendar* “Whoa…where did the time go?”
Friends: “I know right.”
This blog is about midterms. Yeah! Yeah? Well, depending on your situation, it can be either or. Like the above conversation, mine was more of an “aw man.” See, here at DePaul, times flies by pretty quickly. As a quote I once heard, but can’t remember where it is from, said, “The days are long but the years are short.” Sigh. This is true. Now in my third year here at DePaul, I’ve begun thinking about the post-graduate life and what it has in store for me. I think about jobs, where I will live, my friends, my family, if I’ll have my own dog, the usual questions. However, that’s far-ish away, let’s talk about midterms and some life hacks to help you survive.
1. Study – Yes, good ole fashion hitting the books and getting all that information into your head. Studying is proven to help increase grade results more than if you did not study at all. Think you know the material well enough? No harm in at least reviewing it one more time.
2. John Richardson Library
– Libraries have a lot of cool things. Like books that may be useful for whatever class you are taking. Regular library hours are posted weekly on their website here
. It is important to note that during finals week the library is open 24 hours for students to use. I didn’t know that my freshman year, but it would’ve been helpful.
3. Coffee – Yeah! Personally my favorite part of procrastination, I mean, getting my work done in a reasonable and responsible time. Coffee can be your friend. However, it is important to note that coffee should not be the only thing you consume. Water actually helps keep your body awake and alert by hydrating it. DePaul offers frequent and convenient water refill stations all around campus that will have your bottle full within seconds. Coffee and water? Midterms don’t stand a chance!
4. Sleep – It’s actually pretty important. With the hustle and bustle of midterms and finals it can be easy to forget about one of most essential needs as humans. Make sure you are resting, it can be the difference between you finishing your exam and getting an “A” or falling asleep and getting a “F” because you had to turn in a blank scantron with drool on it. Yes, your grades are important but so is your health, so make sure to get some rest my friend.
That is all I have for you today, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. I wish everyone the best of luck on their midterms.
Thank for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
While my friends’ winter breaks were filled with ski lodge visits and European travels, mine was filled with class, my internship, and the challenge of trying to Christmas shop for others, rather than myself. Needless to say, relaxation and adventure do not exactly come to mind when describing my 6 weeks off – or I guess I should say on.
Although my winter break wasn’t spent hiking through the Swiss Alps or visiting historic castles in London, it was fulfilling in its own way. I turned the big 2-1, finished four more class credits, and picked up some extra work hours.
Putting in some extra class time over the December intercession was a great decision this break. Normally, I spend the six weeks off bored out of my mind without a car stuck in the suburbs, so being able to work towards graduation kept me busy. I took a special topics journalism class with Dr. Jason Martin. Throughout the duration of the course, my class and I reported on the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, also referred to as COP21. We produced original content, graphics, maps, and social media accounts to help our reporting efforts.
This being my first December intersession class, I was a little apprehensive of how much work I would be asked to complete. The idea of intercession is to complete a regular 4 credit, ten week class over a shorter amount of time. In my case, I had three weeks to immerse myself in learning new skills and producing original content.
Despite the quick three weeks, this course taught me a wealth of information. Our class set out to provide real-timecoverage of an unfolding global event and to contextualize and localize environmental issues. We successfully completed our objectives and gained a voice in the flurry of live COP21 news coverage.
My role in our class reporting project was to aid in developing a social media strategy for the three week period. I learned how to read Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and was trained on a social media analytic program called Crimson Hexagon. Additionally, I learned how to utilize a conversation storytelling tool called Storify. At the end of the class, I contributed to a final social media engagement report, in which we tracked and explained our reporting growth.
The fast-paced nature of the class could be stressful at times, but covering such an interesting topic and producing content that our audience was engaged with was definitely rewarding. With a newfound interest in global climate change, it will be interesting to see how the promises made at COP21 hold up in the years to come.
If you’ve never taken a December intersession class before, I would highly recommend looking into it. I wish I had taken advantage of this option my first two years at DePaul. Additionally, I’d recommend taking any of Dr. Martin’s classes. He is an excellent professor and I’ve had him twice at DePaul thus far.
I guess while my winter break wasn’t spent traveling, it was well-spent at home in the company of classmates and co-workers. Maybe spring break will bring me some much needed relaxation time (unlikely, but a girl can dream.)
I am excited to announce the latest show I am working on for The Theatre School. I am currently cast in a play called In the Blood
by Suzan-Lori Parks. This is the second Main Stage production I have acted in during my time in the casting pool and what an experience it has been!
In the Blood is an intense and beautiful story of family, struggle, and triumph in the face of personal and systemic adversity. On The Theatre School website there is a description:
"Hester la Negrita is a homeless single mother of five who dreams of finding beauty and love for her family despite her poverty-stricken life. As she struggles to defy the odds, she runs into a series of harsh and unexpected obstacles.
In this modern day riff on Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks asks who has the right to the American Dream. Directed by Nathan Singh, MFA Directing, Class of 2017.
Is poverty inescapable for individuals already in the cycle? "
The characters of the play include the protagonist, Hester, which is played by one actress. We also meet her five children, Jabber, Bully, Trouble, Beauty, and Baby. The play is written as such that the five actors who play the children also double as five other adults that Hester interacts with, her doctor, reverend, welfare caseworker, her best friend, and her first love. The play explores their relationships and the way these individuals may be in positions to help Hester, but may not help her the way we would hope.
I have been cast as Hester, the mother and main character that this world surrounds. It has been quite a challenging role, and the ultimate test to apply my training to performance. It is a mammoth of a role, and such a deep and important play, I am really lucky to be working on it. It is a beautiful piece of writing written by a black woman, about a black woman's experience with the powers that be, wrestling with race, class, gender, and the system that controls them. While we are getting close to the performance dates, and it is a little nerve wracking, I am excited to see how it turns out!
The show opens January 22, and runs through January 31, 2016. I encourage anyone to come see this important work of art! Student Tickets are $5, and $15 for the general public. The cast, crew, and design and technical team are all made up of current BFA, and MFA students here at DePaul, with the assistance of TTS staff.
Please come see In the Blood and support the art of students like you, and as always, be well.
I mentioned in a previous blog that I had attended the
Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic right before I went home for
I’d like to give you a little more information on just how AMAZING this event is - Especially for anyone who might be interested in pursuing a degree in instrumental music education!
The Midwest Clinic is a four-day clinic that takes place at
the McCormick Place in Chicago. McCormick Place is a giant convention center with rooms that seat hundreds of people – the perfect size for the thousands of teachers, and future teachers like me, to congregate and nerd-out over instrumental music. I would normally attend all of the days of the clinic, but because of student teaching I was only able to attend one day. There are several concerts, tons of clinics and a room full of almost every music-related business you can think of - there is even a collegiate-track for pre-service teachers called, "Generation Next", which provides clinics that are more applicable for college students!The cost of the
entire clinic for a college student is only $50 dollars – and I’m telling you,
it is worth every penny.
On the day that I attended the clinic, I was able to make it
to three different clinics. There were upwards of 20 clinics and concerts occurring, but I made sure I had time to walk around
exhibits and meet and network with other people. The best clinic I went to was
about a program called United Sound, which is an organization that provides
resources for schools to include students with disabilities into their band and
orchestra programs. In my high school student teaching placement I had the
privilege of working with some diverse learners, and it really impacted my
teaching philosophy in terms of having an inclusive band program. I’m so glad I
attended the United Sound clinic because n