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.
In prior years I was not even invited to first-round interviews. This year, I was fortunate enough to get my foot in the door with each of the Big 4. I am honored to say that I have accepted an offer from PwC for a full-time internship next summer. Granted, that this is still only an internship and not a full-time job offer, I am beyond ecstatic for this opportunity. After years of challenging myself with three honors programs, working jobs - like refereeing, it does eventually pay off if you put in the work.
I came to college in the Strobel Honors Program with the assumption that employers would come to me. I carried this sense of entitlement for years until I realized that no one owes me anything. DePaul students are hard workers. We have opportunities in Chicago that many students attending state schools in college towns do not have. If you listen to the stories of successful DePaul alumni they will tell you of their work ethic that calls for commitment in and outside the classroom. Working with the community, balancing an internship while going to school full-time may sound tough, but no one said college would be easy. It shouldn’t be easy. If you start to feel that you could have done more looking back, you may also think that you could have gone further in life. As a senior who began to rethink his work ethic during junior year, I can say it is not too late to turn things around. Just remember, these are the last years of learning and proving yourself worthy to employers, and it will only get more difficult once you graduate.
College is a stressful time financially. Your grandparents will tell you that they made it through college with the funds they made during their senior year of high school working at the Dairy Queen. But life is very different for us in this day and age. Being a student with a job is the norm.
Having an on-campus job is a wonderful way to make money and stay involved in your community! I work in the Production Office in the School of Cinematic Arts, where I am half a receptionist but also a producer of sorts because I organize and “rip” movies (another word for digitizing), and run our Quarterly Casting Sessions and other events.
I love this job for multiple reasons. First of all, it is nice working on campus because your peers and bosses are all on the same schedule as you. My bosses are both CDM film professors so they understand the stress of midterms week, the lull of Week 7, and the amount of work students have assigned. When I am overloaded with stress or when I have an exam when I am scheduled for work, they are very understanding. This also means that I only have to work when the academic year is up and running. I don’t have to work on school holidays. I don’t have to unless I want to, work over breaks. As an out of state student, it is great that I can work the hours when I am on campus and when I go home for spring break or summer, I don’t need to worry about being fired for having weird times off!
I also get to do something that I am mildly interested in. Although I am not a Film major anymore, I still get to work with film students, read scripts, and help with casting. These are interests that I care a lot about! My roommate is a Film major herself but she works in the Theatre School because she also has a passion for theatre! By getting an on-campus job, you have a way of making some money while still being a student, people who understand the schedule you have, and a built-in networking system and DePaul community involvement at your fingertips.
Happy job hunting!
If you find your way to the Jobs tab you will be given a subset of tabs labeled Job Search, Applications, Employers, and On-Campus Interviews. If you click on the Applications tab you will see a list of all positions in which you applied to. Under each application you will see the status of each that is titled Primary, Declined, Reviewed, or Pending. To be declined is obviously the worst, and under review is a good indication that you are being considered. If your status is still pending that does not necessarily mean it never got to someone’s desk. I have an interview lined up that was arranged through email and my application has still never left the initial Pending status.
The most important status is Primary. This means you have been selected for the first round of interviews. Usually, the interview time slots will be selected manually through Handshake. It would be wise to set email notifications or download the Handshake app to be notified of new developments regarding your applications. The interview selection will usually open up the same day you are selected for primary interviews. Once you know the date and time these slots open, mark your calendar, set a phone reminder, do whatever it takes. If they open at midnight, stay up to schedule your interview the second it is available and do not wait until the next morning. If you do, you risk the chance of not having an open time slot for yourself and will then be on a waitlist hoping for the chance that someone backs out. You do not want to remove yourself from the application process.
With that being said, happy hunting! Do not forget that there are practice interviews available with the Career Center. If you are a senior like me, then you have no room for error in these interviews and all the practice can make a difference in getting THE job you want.
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.
There are multiple ways to have an external perspective review your resume. It can simply be a roommate or friend, or your advisor – who will be able to tell what employers are looking for. As I have noted in previous blogs, the Career Center takes appointments and walk-ins for this very subject. Yet, none of these will indicate what a recruiter is thinking about as much as hearing from a recruiter face-to-face. Clubs like Beta Alpha Psi, Midwest Association for Hispanic Accountants, and Accounting Club offer quick resume reviews with large firms like KPMG. Here you will spend around 15 minutes one-on-one with a recruiter to just talk in a casual setting. Not only will it be beneficial for your resume, but your attendance will also put your name out there and display your interest.
General Meetings & Panels
Anytime a firm is willing to come in and take the time to talk with students through a club is a strong indicator that they are looking to hire DePaul students. Whether you know it or not, firms take into account of who is attending and actively ask which students have RSVP’d. Take caution though, if you RSVP and do not attend or cancel, it will look unprofessional on your part and thus creates a negative first impression.
Social & Volunteer Events
A good way to put your name out there in a casual and comfortable environment is by attending social and volunteer outings. These events focus less on the professional operations of the firm and allow you to be yourself. Yes, you should do community service for the intention of purely serving others, but a volunteer outing through a firm indicates your interest in the firm and shows your presence in the community.
If there was one last tip of advice I can propose, regardless of the formality of the event, just be yourself.
As we get deeper into our college careers, more and more opportunities arise. For example, there are an extensive amount of internships available in Chicago. DePaul students always have great internship opportunities - since Chicago is home to so many incredible companies and organizations. It is likely that you will experience many different internships throughout your DePaul career.
This past Summer I had the opportunity to intern in the finance department of The American Board of Medical Specialties. A nonprofit located in River North which focuses on furthering the education of the doctors of their member boards. Their mission was a little bit complex to understand, but the organization is great. And the people I worked with taught me so much.
I was lucky to have found this position through Handshake around springtime. Even though I didn’t know this organization before applying, the description, and it being a nonprofit, made me really excited. It seemed like a good experience to have with accounting.
There are a lot of great perks to interning in the summer. I had the opportunity to learn and help out different departments of the organization; I was treated like an employee, where I got to sit in on very important meetings and give my input; I was also able to join in their Summer outings and socials in the office.
I worked with very intelligent people in an all-women finance department, which I found very inspiring. They taught me so much I can use in any future career down the line in regards to finance-related knowledge, work tips and even just life tips. I’m glad I’m in a city full of such great organizations and companies and can’t wait to see what other experiences I will have.
Even though we just started Spring Quarter never forget that time can fly by in an instant. That’s why if you’re in need of a summer job I would suggest looking as soon as possible. Regular summer jobs such as camp counselors and things of that nature tend to go quickly (even as early as November!) so if that is something you desire you’re going to want it taken care of sooner rather than later. I wanted to take the time to tell you guys about a summer camp I had the pleasure of working at this past summer right here in Lincoln Park!
That camp is called Galileo, named after the famous astronomer Galileo is a day camp with locations not only all throughout the Chicagoland area but in California as well. Galileo has many programs for campers ranging from ages 6 to 14. To my knowledge, they are still hiring prospective counselors, interns, and anyone who can help out. Last year I worked with a great group of people and had my best summer job yet! As of now I plan on returning in the summer and thought I would let anybody in need of a summer job know. You should definitely apply if you like working with children or want experience in childcare. If you’re majoring in anything education wise you may also qualify as an instructor and gain instant experience teaching children simple yet engaging activities. Definitely be sure to check out The Galileo Website for more information.
With it being more than halfway through the school year, and many job opportunities on the horizon – be it summer or full-time, you’ll need professional clothing. But you don’t always need an excuse to shop, you can treat yourself after these finals and indulge in some retail therapy like me. Here are some places I enjoy shopping at for a more professional look while not hurting my bank account.
LOFT : I always would walk by LOFT thinking it was a place my mom would shop at, but I was very wrong. I wish my mom shopped here. LOFT always has great sales where they usually put regular priced items at 40% off and 50% off on the clearance. They have clothes that are in style and various colors if you are looking to be bolder with your look.
Banana Republic Factory : A new store recently opened on State St. and there is also one on Clark St. - so easy access from both campuses. Banana Republic Factory also always has sales ranging from 30%-50% off items and they even have events where they give cash back coupons. Also, I personally think Banana has the comfiest business pants ever, so if you want to look good and be comfy I recommend pants from here.
Target : I know it sounds weird to shop for professional clothes at T
arget, but first of all, what can’t Target do? And second of all, they just launched a new line called What To Wear and the clothes are
unique and can be worn professionally or for business casual events. Target’s
Cartwheel app also has tons of additional offers where they usually have coupons for an additional percent off clothing.
Others: Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, T.J Maxx - All these stores are great if you like designer brands for a cheaper price. These stores are more of an adventure if you are looking for something specific because of their limited inventory, but definitely worth going to if you have the time and don’t need anything last minute.
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!
DePaul is full of opportunities and ties to the amazing city of Chicago, which means tons of opportunities for internships and jobs. I’m always looking for ways to apply what I’m learning in class into action in the real world, so internships at my age are a great way to do that. I’ve been through so many interviews these past few weeks, and although I’m exhausted from them, I learned more with each interview I had. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when interviewing:
It’s good to know the company you want to essentially work for. I would make sure to note their values and see if they align with yours. Also, research if the company has any events or services that you may be interested in. In addition research the position, make sure the job entails work that interests you.
2. Dress like you want the job
First impressions are important and walking in looking professional is a large part of that. It’s a good idea to invest in a quality suit because you are going to have a lot of interviews and are going to have to wear a suit often.
3. Arrive at least 15 minutes before
One of my coach’s always used to say that if you’re on time, you’re late. Not only is it important to arrive early because it shows you are punctual but it also gets your mind ready and in the interview setting/office before you have the interview.
4. Bring in questions
Curiosity is important. If you are given the name of the person interviewing you, study them and find questions relating to their background to get to know them more. Don’t sound rehearsed with your questions, you want to ask questions pertaining to what they ask you during the interview but always bring some in incase you blank.
The career center has so many great resources to practice answering questions and your elevator pitch! It may sound weird, but practice in front of a mirror too. It really helps with confidence and gets you extra prepared to talk to an interviewer.
6. Know yourself
I outline everything I have ever been involved with and write down what each experience taught me. It’s a good refresher as to where you can pull examples from. This gets me thinking about what experience and skills I have so I can answer behavioral questions quickly.
7. Make it a conversation
You’ll hear this often, but you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you so just make it a conversation. A professional one.
8. Be yourself
Don’t psych yourself out. The company you are interviewing for just wants to get to know the genuine you. If you are passionate about something make sure to incorporate that into your interview. Also, don’t undermine your accomplishment, this is your chance to talk about all the things you are proud of.
9. Thank you letters/emails
Make sure to send a thank you email as soon as possible after the interview. A handwritten thank you note is also a more sincere way to say thank you. I always do both because you can never go wrong saying thank you more than once.
An obvious location to buy formal wear for cheap prices is at a second-hand store such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. However, this idea is not appealing to some (me) because of the thought of not being the first owner. So, I recommend taking it a step above to the department outlet store, Nordstrom Rack. On average, the prices are well below retail, but you definitely get your money’s worth whenever there is the “Clear the Rack” clearance sale, which is usually 25% to 30% off already markdown prices. I bought Florsheim dress shoes from here, as well as True Religion jeans for only forty dollars.
The next tip is one I obsessively follow, and that is online shopping. All I have to say is do not underestimate the promo codes. These are relatively easy to find, but there are some stores where if you sign up for their email list you’ll receive a promo code. For example, Calvin Klein’s site offers 15% off for signing up your email. Now, I am a little extra, but what I do is make a temporary email account, sign up for the promo code, use the code, delete the email account, and then repeat. That way, no matter what sales are occurring I will always have an extra 15% off. Aside from signing up for email promo codes, make an account through the supplier’s website and their reward programs, for some, will offer exclusive promotions or birthday rewards. I remember Ralph Lauren gave me a fifty-dollar gift card for my birthday and Calvin Klein gave me a 20% birthday reward. I prefer shopping Calvin Klein’s site because you are able to apply one promo code, but multiple rewards on one purchase. For example, there was a suit jacket for $425 with matching pants for $175. The sale occurring was 60% off these two, but I applied the 15% off email promo code, the 20% off birthday reward, a 10% off reward for completing a survey, and then a $20 off loyalty reward. Thus, I took a $600 suit and bought it for around $150. I use this same method for Calvin Klein dress socks, ties, and so on.
The resume, a critical document that presents concise information about who we are as workers, is one page of writing that people spend years building and perfecting. Resumes can vary so much depending on the person, their major, and the position that they are seeking. They can range in design and organization and more obviously in their specific content details.
But they all have the same purpose: to convince employers to hire the candidate by capturing their attention and urging them to continue reading his or her resume when they could be spending their time reading someone else’s. The structural features that are expected and essential to every resume allow those reading it to better understand the person who wrote it. Resumes are broken down into specific sections, given labels, and identified by unique formatting patterns.
As a senior this year, I have spent an absurd time thinking about resumes and obsessing over tweaking my own. But luckily, I am not alone in this extremely overwhelming endeavor! I not only have my peers to bounce ideas and formatting questions off of, but I also have the University Center for Writing-based Learning and the Career Center where I can make appointments to talk specifics.
As I have written about before, the University Center for Writing-based Learning offers a variety of appointment types, which can be helpful when you are trying to schedule time out of your busy life. All tutors maintain their own updated resume, are equipped with assisting with specific word choice and basic formatting, and can always help catch those stubborn little grammatical errors.
If you are looking for more specific assistance within your major, the Career Center is a great option! They have someone on staff who is knowledgeable on each major and they are always happy to help you streamline your resume for the exact job you are looking for. The Career Center also has really helpful online resources to help you with formatting and using strong action verbs that are sure to get you hired!
Finally, I recommend two things to ease your resume stress:
1. Drafting early and revising often. Even if you aren’t ready to enter the workforce yet, keeping your experience updated makes things a lot easier when you are.
2. Make the appointments when you have the time and take others’ feedback into consideration. Responsibilities will sneak up on you faster than you think and your desired employer should not be the first one seeing your resume!
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.
As we all know, Chicago is not a “college town.” Choosing DePaul gives you a different experience than those who attend a state school. But that does not mean that we don’t have our own neighborhood treasures. The Lincoln Park campus is just a few blocks away from Armitage, a street known for its cute boutiques, restaurants, and shops. But even closer is Webster Ave, another street packed with hidden gems. One of the gems, where I happen to be sitting right now as I type this blog, is Monograms on Webster.
Monograms on Webster custom embroider almost anything you can imagine! We sell everything from blankets, to cutting boards, to piggy banks, to PJs. And if we don’t have just what you are looking for, you can bring something in and we can customize that too. Before working here, I wasn’t aware that this place existed and I hear the same thing from many of our first-time customers who just happen to walk by. But it is simply the best place to pick out a personalized gift for anyone on your list.
If the creativity and cuteness of Pinterest came to life, it would look a lot like Monograms on Webster. And that is why it’s such a great place to work. Unlike most retail places, Monograms on Webster is a personal shopping experience. You not only get to pick out your gift, but you also can embroider the receiver’s name or monogram on it in almost any font or color imaginable. And I get to help with all of this! Deciding which options to go with is imaginative and fun and seeing the faces of the customers picking up their finished, embroidered gifts is my absolute favorite.
I can go on and on describing what it’s like here, but why not come see for yourself!? Monograms on Webster is located at 1210 W. Webster, right next to Sweet Mandy B’s—a delicious bakery I am SURE you’ve heard about. See you soon!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Over the course of two years, I’ve written about 70 blogs for DeBlogs. As I went through and counted the blogs that I’ve written, I realized that this will be my last blog that I write for DeBlogs! So, in honor of my last blog, I thought it might be fun to compare where I was in my life when I started to where I am in my life now.
When I first started at DeBlogs, I was a junior at DePaul, majoring in Spanish and International Studies, who had just found out he had been accepted to the BA/MA program in
Now, all I have left to do for my master’s is to finish my thesis, which I’ll do over the summer. I’ll (hopefully successfully) defend my completed thesis when school starts back up in the fall, and then I will officially be a master’s graduate!
When I applied to work at DeBlogs back in Spring 2015, I had to submit a sample blog to show that I was a decent writer,
and that I could come up with something interesting to say. I had returned from studying abroad in Madrid just a few months prior to applying to DeBlogs, so I chose to write my sample blog about my time in Madrid.
This year, I suddenly found myself returning to Madrid in
order to do research for my thesis (thank you for funding my trip, DePaul!). While the last minute trip meant that I had to push back my timeline for finishing my thesis by a few months, it was absolutely worth it. Not only did I get to return to my favorite city in the world, but I also got tons of information for my thesis.
I’d like to end my final DeBlog with my last-ever food suggestion. During my time at DeBlogs, I’ve recommended countless restaurants and bakeries. As my parting gift, I urge you to visit Annette’s Italian Ice
at some point during the summer. Of course, despite the name, I go just for the ice cream. If you go once, you’ll go again: I’ve gone like four times this month to satisfy my need to stress eat.
As I mentioned before, I have an intermittent job as a brand ambassador that I do on the side. Recently, I was offered to do a quick, one-day job for American Express x Uber at the United Center
during a Bulls game. With a high wage (not disclosing) for a short duration of six hours, I saw this as an easy way of earning extra money.
The gist of the duties were simple; greet the Platinum rewards members who won the contest at the gates of the arena, walk them through the entrance along with the free amenities being provided to them, and gather them all up after the game for an exclusive meet and greet with a legendary Bulls player. My assignment was to man the gate, and guide the members through to their next step of receiving a complimentary snack box to enjoy during the game. I could not have been assigned an easier task. The interesting part of the job was the behind-the-scene access I was granted towards the United Center’s new atrium that now houses the Jordan statue. I was briefed on my responsibilities in the atrium’s office in a room called the Scottie Pippen office (hint for later on). After three hours of manning the gate, we brand ambassadors were given a short break where we were actually given some of the extra snack boxes, so a free lunch on top of my pay is always a plus.
Then, we were directed to the United Center’s Stadium Club where we would set up for the post-game event. Since I was not chosen to gather up the members, I was able to just relax even more in the Stadium Club and watch the Bulls overcome the Atlanta Hawks in the last remaining minutes of the game. All I had to now was to greet members into the meet-and-greet and check IDs. During that time, the Bulls legend Scottie Pippen
walked by. I admit a little excitement came over me but I had to keep composure while on the job. After everyone was inside, my responsibilities pretty much ceased. I was given the option to leave, but I stayed around longer hoping I could get a picture with Scottie or snag an extra complimentary jersey of his that were being handed. Unfortunately, I was not able to do either of the two, but nevertheless I enjoyed this one-day job, as I usually do with the other brand ambassador events.
As I’ve talked about before, I work at the front desk of the College of Computing and Digital Media
in their advising office. I’ve had this job for over two years now, and I love it. I get to interact with so many students that come in, the advisors are great to work wi
th and willingly answer all of my questions, and I couldn’t ask for a better boss. These past two years I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs with unpredictable health issues/medical withdrawals, and she lets me back with open arms every single time. It’s incredible.
Once a quarter we have a student worker meeting, usually on a Friday afternoon, to discuss how things are going, changes we should make, etc., but when I walked into last Friday’s meeting, we were showered with gratitude, posters with our pictures on it, spirit animals, and lots of treats. Last week was National Student Employment Week
and to celebrate, they gave each of the five student workers a basket filled with contributions from each of them. Mine was filled with baked goods, fun socks, art supplies (because I’m often found drawing and painting at the front desk/making everyone art), and so many nice words. They brought in snacks and brownie sundaes and we all hung around (and, here’s the icing on the cake: got paid to do so!)
I’ve had a number of jobs and also have friends who work on campus either at DePaul or at other colleges, and I’ve never appreciated one this much or found someone to describe an equivalent position in the same way I’d describe working here. I can recall so many days at jobs I’ve had in the past where I woke up dreading coming in or had stress dreams about work, woke up thinking my shift was over, only to realize that was fictional and I still had to get up and go. If that’s ever happened to you, it’s the worst.
Logistically, the perk of the schedule changing every quarter to line up with our changing class schedule has relieved so much anxiety, and somehow always works out. Since we’re all in positions of having weird availability around class times, I’ve had days where I only work for two hours at the end of the day, days where I work the entire shift, and days when I come in, leave for two hours to go to class, and then come back.
And, let’s be real, any job where you can also do homework during the downtime is a huge advantage to maintain a positive work, school, and life balance. In fact, I’m writing this article from there right now!
I found both of these jobs on the Campus Job Board
, and if you haven’t already been on there, I highly recommend checking it out!
It’s internship application season!!! The best time of year!!! I spent some of my spring break sending out applications and emails. It wasn’t until last night as I was trying to fall asleep that I fully panicked about how behind I am, how I’m not qualified enough, how it’s not even worth applying, how people will judge me for not getting an internship, literally the list of self-deprecating statements went on and on until I finally told myself “Emily, it’s 1am, you can’t do anything about it now, splash cold water on your face to calm down and go to bed!”
Luckily today I had extra time at work to go all out on internship apps, and found out some really helpful stuff along the way. This goes especially for journalism/writing students, but works for everyone! Here are my top 3 tips
- DePaul has given you access to a site called Handshake where employers post job and internship openings. There are literally thousands, and you can apply straight from there. I hadn’t set up my site before (because let’s be real, I was far too lazy), but it works similarly to LinkedIn where your profile has your education, skills, and work experience, so employers can view that! You can also upload your resume and cover letters to be saved on there, so all I had to do was click on my already uploaded resume, write a cover letter for the specific job, and hit apply!
a. With that comes the reminder that sometimes your resume needs to be shifted around/changed depending on the target audience! Same obviously goes for cover letters, and that’s why you should ALWAYS write a new one for each application!
2. Have a website, blog, or link you can provide of additional writing samples.
My work that’s been published is all over the place - the school newspaper, on here, random blogs that published it, but I’m creating a blog right now for one of my classes that I’m going to start using professionally, and I also have a lot of the articles I’ve written published on a medium.com account. If you’re interested in a writing position, chances are they’re going to request some writing, so have it all organized! The same goes for photography, graphic design, film, etc. Better yet, start creating your own website now where you can have all of these things in one, because if you’re like me, I produce work on all sorts of mediums, from film to art to written articles!
Main idea: just write! The more work you have to showcase the better, and the more choices you’ll have to pick from when trying to display your best work! It’s also just great practice :)
3. Check out the Career Center!
DePaul’s Career Center has employees who can do anything from looking over your resume or reel, to helping you prepare for an interview! You can go in and meet with a career advisor, or just go on their website
where they give examples of resumes and cover letters.
Oh and I’m sneaking in a 4th: take breaks. When I get anxious about getting something done I get in crazy anxiety mode and don’t realize how much time has gone by. Eat lunch. Eat snacks. Check Instagram. Take a walk. Anything to put your brain on pause for a minute and refuel it :) Happy applying!
Over here in The Theatre School
, members of the graduating class are focusing on preparing themselves for the professional world. This means securing jobs and internships, preparing portfolios, and for the actors in the house, getting professional headshots.
In many of our exit classes (those that help us prepare for the real world), we’ve had many discussions about the importance of good professional headshots. For those who need a little clarification, this is the image of your face that will be stapled to your resume and submitted at every audition, casting call, or agent meeting you have as an actor. But there is more to it than just a pretty picture, or whatever you use as your latest FB profile pic.
There are a few key qualities in a good professional actor headshot:
1. It looks like YOU. This is where we steer away from glamour shots or anything that takes us too far away from the real, everyday you. The picture should look how you look on your best day, and should look how you would appear when you walk into an audition.
2. It tells a STORY. There are plenty of great pictures one could take. You look fabulous, you’re smiling wide, the lighting is great….but what else? What are you saying in this picture? What glimmers of personality are we seeing? Where might I see you in the world I know and the world I am imagining? It is crucial that your shot not only say “I’m cute” but also says more about you and what you bring to the table. If you are known for your fire, confidence and sass, and can play lots of characters like that – I should see a glimmer of that in your eyes and in what you chose to wear. If you play more of the shy or goofy person, then I should see a bit of that humor behind your eyes as well. It’s about telling people what you want them to know about you before they get to meet you.
3. There is versatility and variety in your shots. Different shots can be used for different things. For instance, on one hand I can play a lot of commanding roles – people who are in charge and know what’s going on, but I can also the shyer, sweeter, offset-of-ingénue type. Now, when I am auditioning for different roles, I want different photos that showcase those qualities. You only need a couple great shots when you are starting out. They should capture the couple sides of your “type”, and when you nail those down, you’ll be able to use your shots for a variety of roles, projects, and companies. Realize that styles are a bit different in each city, so knowing what you need ahead of time and planning is the best way to go.
I recently got my headshots done in preparation for showcase and I can say I am quite pleased! There are a ton of different headshot photographers in Chicago, and each one has a little bit different style, energy, and way of doing things – there is no one way! When choosing a photographer it is important to go with someone whose work you like, and who makes you feel comfortable. You will take your best shots when you feel the most yourself. Everyone prefers a different vibe, so go with your gut. It should be a helpful experience and most importantly FUN.
Although many people are under the impression that internships are purely for upperclassmen, this is a widespread misconception. If you're interested in getting an internship as a freshman, DePaul has a few programs through the Steans Center for Community-Based Service Learning
& Community Service Studies
that allow you to do so, including the Community Partners Internship
(CPI) program which I have been a part of since October.
Being a CPI Intern means working 15-20 hours/week at a local non-profit organization. This time could be spent doing a vast array of things, from teaching English to new immigrants to revamping an organization’s online presence. There is such a multitude of opportunities that anyone can find something they are interested in.
To become a CPI Intern I filled out an online application, was interviewed by someone at the Steans Center, and then was interviewed by the Executive Director who worked at the site I was placed at to see if it would be a good fit. It was a relatively quick process and I started working a couple weeks after my initial application. The Steans Center ensures that you are being placed somewhere that will be most beneficial to you as well as the organization, and you are encouraged to be a part of this process and share which organizations you could see yourself working with.
Although it has been challenging spending 15 hours a week at the organization I am interning with, I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything in the world. I am gaining firsthand experience in a field that I could see myself working with after I graduate, and it is helping me immensely with figuring out what I want to do in the future. It even pays better than most on-campus jobs!
Last week, I had a conversation with one of the employees who had graduated from my school and been in the intern program that I'm currently in, and it was inspiring to hear that she had started as an intern and is now a full-time employee at the same organization. An important lesson that I have learned is that internships are not only for seniors, and it's never too early to start gaining experience in a field you're interested in.
The start of a new quarter often goes two ways: it’s either a refreshing new start, or it’s a mix of chaos, frustration, and tears. This quarter I’m hoping for the first one, and so far we’re on the right track (knock on wood).
While it’s not as refreshing as coming back from summer or winter break, spring break is a much needed pause in the academic work. My whole life I grew up going somewhere on vacation, and I always returned to school refreshed (and usually severely burnt) from the island sun. This year, however, my break was a little different. Rather than jetting off to the beach, I stayed home.
For the first few days I was totally bummed at how the week felt like any other week - I still worked at my on-campus job, and was actually working a few more hours than usual, and still found myself commuting around the city all day to doctor’s appointments, and when I finally got home at the end of the day, I was just as exhausted as if I had spent the whole day in class. In fact, I even had homework to do because I wanted to finish up the work I had left in a class I took an incomplete in. Needless to say, it wasn’t much of a break.
However, as the end of the week approached, I was much more mindful of this. I was aware that school actually only took up a small portion of my time compared to dealing with health problems and working. Unfortunately, there’s no spring break from your illnesses, and that was something that hit hard last week.
When the weekend hit, I had my thoughts more sorted out. I had finished the work for my class and don’t work on the weekends, so spent Saturday doing art in a bookstore with a friend all afternoon, and spent Sunday with my mom getting manicures, shopping, and cooking dinner together. I was finally able to get that much needed break.
Living in the information age all the applications, websites, profiles, etc. that are available to help people in different ways feel overwhelming. My personal experience of trying to be healthier is a prime example of this. I started off with the MyFitnessPal app developed by Under Armor. It’s a great app and helps me log food and meals everyday so I can keep track of my calories and macros. Just as I was set on using the app for the rest of my life, my sister got me a Fitbit for Christmas and with the health-tracking wristband came their health app. I then switched to the Fitbit app for my daily logs of food and exercise but found that using MyFitnessPal was easier for food. So now, I’m kind of in this in between of using Fitbit to track my workouts and using MyFitnessPal to track my food for the day, bouncing back and forth from one app to the other.
The point of this is that apps, and resources in general, are at an all-time high in this day and age.
One app I recently downloaded is Handshake
. Let me start off by saying, I’m super late to the game on this one. When new things come out I usually like to wait for the super early users to test it out and give reviews. After that I’ll probably partake in the second wave of users depending on what I hear and read.
Handshake is an example of how I was late to the party. I first heard of it at the beginning of last year through a mass email that was sent to most, if not all, DePaul students. I was hesitant to download the app and register an account for my own stubborn reasons, a decision I have come to roll my eyes toward. At just 10.9 megabytes, Handshake has become an immediate must use for me.
I downloaded the app last week before attending the Creative Career Fair in the loop. I easily logged in with my DePaul username and password, set up my profile, and began looking at events and companies listed to attend. It is very convenient! I’m the type of person to open 5 tabs on their browser to research one thing and Handshake made that process easier and quicker. Specifically with the Creative Career Fair, I was able to look at a list of companies attending, see a description, and positions available. Again, late to the game but super awesome nonetheless!
As with many things I write about, I highly recommend checking out the Handshake app! It seriously was a game changer for me as I prepared for last week’s Career Fair. If you want to read more about Handshake click here
Thank you once again for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!
As a part-time job I serve as a brand ambassador for different companies when given the opportunity. The most memorable event I worked was the Mountain Dew and NBA three-on-three basketball tournament that took place last summer. This was a nationwide tour, but it had a stop in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom. For three days I worked on the courts facilitating events such as skills challenges, three-point contests for the fans, and distributing prizes. Every now and then I would promote involvement and work alongside with NBA stars such as Gary Payton
and Frank Kaminsky
Given that the contests would only occur intermittently between basketball games, I was pretty much being paid to stand around and watch good basketball games while receiving some free Mountain Dew
along the way. I had a great time working with the NBA and Mountain Dew brand and look forward to working, or even just attending, any more Chicago promotions that are to come.
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!
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.
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!
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.
If you’re anything like me and love to write, or even if you don’t know if you like it, hate writing essays, or just want to improve your writing skills, there are many ways to write outside of essays assigned in your classes. Because obviously those are required and often aren’t about things you’re actually interested AND you’re being graded, so of course you wouldn’t enjoy that feeling of stress put onto you!
Luckily, there are opportunities outside of that, and who knows, it could even advance your essay writing skills! As a Journalism major, I want to practice getting my work out there, writing about things I enjoy, and using writing as a form of distraction from real life, self-care, and a way to calm myself down (which I never thought was possible until I tried it!)
With that, there are many ways even on campus to take this approach. Obviously, that’s what I’m doing here writing for the DeBlogs, but there are additional opportunities on campus as well! The major one is the student newspaper, The DePaulia
. My sophomore year I was intimidated by them and went to one meeting at the beginning of the school year, put my email down for weekly article opportunities from the Arts & Life section, and every single one went into the trash without a second glance. I had this false idea that you had to have lots of experience, the editors would judge you and then not publish your work, and it would just prove that I’m not a great writer.
While all those fears are technically valid, I learned they’re far from true! In fact, they are always looking for new contributors, and you don’t need to write for them weekly if your schedule is super busy. You can just pick up pieces when one of the emails interests you.
Finally, I thought to myself this year, what’s the worst that could happen if I picked up a story? So, I did exactly that. The first week of school I wrote an article about the new Netflix Original shows coming out this fall. They published it, and when I picked up the DePaulia the following week on my way to class, I smiled upon seeing my piece.
If you’re interested, here is the piece
! (Don’t judge the headline, they changed mine and it’s less generic and boring in the print version so I don’t get it either…)
The DePaulia is a great way to get involved on campus, and is definitely worth trying out! Worst case scenario, you discover it’s not your thing so you head in a different direction
As a writer for Deblogs, this is officially my first job through DePaul University. However, this does not necessarily mean this is the first on-campus job I have applied to. There were plenty of opportunities which I attempted to take advantage of, but unfortunately I was not qualified enough. Or perhaps, maybe it was that I was not prepared enough when it came time to show my capabilities in the job interviews. If you feel as if you are not ready for a job or simply want to improve your employability, there are plenty of resources available through DePaul that enable you to make yourself stand out in an interview when the time comes.EDGE Program
EDGE stands for Education and Development Grant for Employability, and by all means it does serve as a tool to gain experience and develop self-knowledge about jobs and careers by participating in projects that also contribute to DePaul. This is a yearlong program and only first-year students are eligible to participate. At the beginning of the year, I attended an information fair to see the various departments that students are able to choose from within EDGE. After submitting my top five, I was placed within my top choice of the Career Center. Each department will have their own certain goal or focus, thus, my experience in the Career Center was different from that of my roommate’s with the Green Team. Just to give a sample of what kind of activities there are in EDGE, I had to go around and talk to companies at the job and internship fairs, then work the fairs by directing guests or facilitating the coatroom, I attended workshops regarding to topics such as budgeting or finding apartments, practiced elevator pitches and mock interviews, and conducted a survey to help improve the interface of Handshake. If you are able to get into this program, regardless of the department you choose, I highly recommend doing so. The time commitment is not overwhelming at all.Career Center
Going off of the Career Center
team with EDGE, there are plenty of ways to improve your professionalism with the Career Center that do not require you to be a part of EDGE. Located at the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses, I have been to the Career Center many times for help. Primarily, I go to their offices for advising and review of my resume. As an assignment for EDGE, I was required to go in for resume advising, however, I have been back a few more times on my own accord. Additionally, there are other advising sessions available to students whether it’d be cover letters, conducting mock interviews, or simple career advising for any concerns with your major, career path, and interview preparation. Scheduling these sessions are simple, many times I have just simply walked in and got started right away. However, if walk-ins are not available, scheduling appointments are as easy as calling or walking into the office to schedule an appointment. If there are questions about the process or about any of the services available, look here
for further information.Job Board
Looking to the campus job board may sound obvious, but most people overlook all the fine details within job postings that can otherwise be used as strengths within the resume and cover letter. As burdensome as tailoring your resume and cover letter to each individual job posting seems, doing so will make you appear more qualified and dedicated to the job from the perspective of the employer. Within most given job postings, each will have a section dedicated to a summary, duties and responsibilities, requirements, and transferrable skills. It is essential to look over all these and find a common or repeated theme across them. By identifying what qualities and skills the employer is seeking and then taking out keywords from the job posting and incorporating them into your resume and cover letter, it will surely grab the recruiter’s eye. Personally, I will often take some words directly from the job posting and paste them into my cover letter and then display how I have that skill or trait through a prior job or experience. From these techniques, I have always been able to get to the interviewing step in the process of getting an on-campus job, however, I never executed the interviews as well as my resume and cover letter. That is why with taking advantage of all that I proposed the chances of getting the on-campus job you desire will substantially increase, there is no such thing as being too prepared.
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!
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.
I’ve gotten to do some really cool things during my time at DePaul, but I would argue that this quarter has included one of the coolest.
This past summer, my social media professor Ben Foster reached out to some of his former students. His question? Would any of us be interested in doing some communications and public relations work with a brewery opening up in West Town. A craft-beer lover, I could think of no better way to spend my last quarter as a 21+ student.
I met On Tour Brewing Company’s founder Mark Legenza, and was instantly inspired by the world of craft brew. Since joining the On Tour team, which currently consists of me, Mark, and our head brewer who is also named Mark, I’ve done a little bit of everything.
From community outreach to social media to graphic design to attending the West Town Food Truck Festival on behalf of On Tour, my new job as Communications Coordinator has allowed me to explore so many avenues of communication. I enjoy the independence that comes with not having an office or set hours, and I’ve even learned a little bit about construction from being on site.
Taking on a position like this one really makes me reflect on the all of the experiences I’ve had while living in Chicago and attending DePaul. My various classes and internships, but also personal interests in craft beer and the restaurant industry have all contributed to my ability to help open up a brewery in Chicago.
As of now, we’re set to open the week of November 14, and will begin brewing this October. I could not be more excited for what’s in store for On Tour Brewing. If you want to stay updates on our progress, follow us on Facebook
. Also, sign up for our monthly newsletter on our website
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!
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.
Every high schooler has that classic, embarrassing first job. Mine was fall of my senior year as a hay ride attendant at an apple orchard just outside of my hometown. The hayride didn’t even have hay and by the third weekend I was fairly certain I had sun poisoning. So naturally when my friend Emily told me the magazine her Mom worked for was doing a story on a Family Entertainment Center that was opening I couldn’t have been more excited, primarily just because the job was indoors (in addition to the 32,000 square feet of GoKarts, Laser Tag, Ball Blaster Arena, Arcade, and a quick service restaurant!). Under the Big Top finally opened its doors to the public on Friday, April 20th, 2012. There’s no shame in saying that the first open didn’t go as planned and without enough customers, two weeks later all of us entry level minimum wage employees were laid off.
In the next six months I graduated high school and moved to DePaul to start my freshman year of college. On October 3rd, 2012 when one of our owners called me to ask if I’d like to come back to work for Under the Big Top, I almost didn’t answer the phone. On the last ring I did, and in the next two minutes I far too willingly agreed to a job that at the time I had no idea would change my life forever. The next day I started the pattern that I’ve followed virtually every weekend since. School at DePaul Monday-Thursday living on campus, and Friday-Sunday in St. Charles working at Under the Big Top.
Some people would call me crazy. And that’s okay. Through my Party Host to General Manager adventure I’ve given up parts of the traditional college experience, weekends in the big city of Chicago, and a sufficient sleep pattern. Yet in return my journey with Under the Big Top provided me with experiences and memories I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Saying yes on that short phone call allowed me to create memories and gain experiences that I never had imagined would be a part of my life. Working for Under the Big Top challenged me to take on responsibilities that I didn’t think I was capable of as my young college self. Under the Big Top introduced me to the attractions industry that I previously didn’t even know existed. For this I am forever grateful. My advice to anyone who’s considering working through college is to do it. Go ahead, jump. Say yes. For me having a job at a Family Entertainment Center became more than just about how I was going to pay my way through school. It taught me how to manage my time, think critically, and learn to swim while everything around me was drowning.
You’re not going to DePaul to have a cookie cutter college experience where you’re shipped off to the corn fields for four years to earn a degree. You’re attending DePaul to have an experience that is unique to you and to become world ready.
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!
Summer is a wondrous season of warmth, joy, music, and most importantly my birthday.
This blog, however, is about utilizing your summer to the best of your ability. The end of the school year can seem like the end of productivity to some as students prepare for long days on the beach and seeing old friends. For others, the summer serves as an extra academic quarter where they can take courses in order to get ahead or catch up.
Regardless of what your summer plans may be, it is important to use this time the best way for you. The summer after my freshman year I worked at St. John Berchmans part time and took two classes that accounted for my general requirements. It was a more relaxed schedule that allowed me to enjoy time with my friends and travel a bit.
This summer my plans are a little more productive. I have an internship with the Chicago Sky Basketball team; I am looking for a part time job, and will also be taking courses online. Different times call for different arrangements and this break will be dedicated to preparing myself financially and academically for my LA quarter in the fall. I encourage you, my fellow readers, to take a moment and think about what you need from this summer. It can be as simple as relaxing from June to September or it can be busy as I am predicting mine will be.
Nonetheless, sitting down and reflecting will take you a long way, maybe even write down in a notebook what you would like to accomplish during this 2016 summer break.
As I finish up my third year here at DePaul, I have visited the Career Center a total of 10 times. Some meetings were more successful than others in terms of actually finding internships I am interested in. Most of the time I just went to talk to an advisor about possible things coming in the future so I can stay on track and not lose sight on why I am even at school – to get a job that fulfills me.
Something I am looking forward to participating in is the Just in Time Fair. This career fair happens every year directly after graduation. This gives students the much needed opportunity to come face-to-face with employees of all kinds and learn about the application process and job descriptions. Of course technology has to play into this somehow, they also made a Career Fair Plus App
This app features the ability to plan out your trip and become familiar with the employers that will be showcased. It also shows an interactive floorplan, event details, real time updates, and tips for those needing to better prepare. Along with this, the Career Center
gave their own insider tips.
- Research companies you’re interested in and come prepared to ask specific questions that reflect your knowledge of that company.
- Attend the How to Work a Job Fair & Internship Fair workshop. Learn how to effectively showcase your skills and abilities at a fair.
- Have your resume reviewed. Is your resume error-free and ready for employers? Visit the Peer Career Advisors for a resume critique.
- Practice your 30-second pitch. Your pitch is how you introduce yourself – it’s a brief overview of you, your background and career interests. An engaging pitch and firm handshake can help you market yourself and stand out to an employer.
Even if you’re not graduating you should still check out the App and the employers list so you can get a sense of the type of companies and non-profits that are looking for fresh faces!
Nothing makes me happier than going home and seeing my dogs. My family has three dogs: Oreo and Frisco are Boston Terriers, and Abigail is a Boston Terrier/French Bulldog mix. Dogs are just the best. They are friendly, always happy to see you, loving, and comforting. I went home a couple of weeks ago and got prime cuddling opportunities with my dogs. We have had Oreo since I was eight years old and I definitely am the closest to him. I almost smuggled him back to Chicago in my suitcase.
Now that summer has come upon us so quickly, all of the dogs seem to be around Lincoln Park. I swear there is one being walked on every city block- which is great for dog lovers like me. I remember one time during my freshman year I ran into a family walking a Boston Terrier and they let me pet it. I felt so much better afterwards – something about dogs just lifts my mood so much.
If you walk a few blocks south of campus, you’ll find this awesome organization called PAWS
, which is committed to building no-kill communities for stray or unwanted dogs and cats. They help spay and neuter cats and dogs and help get them adopted into permanent homes. They even have a giant team each year that runs the Chicago Marathon to raise awareness and funds for their efforts.
Animal lovers rejoice, because PAWS welcomes volunteers! I know a few people who have volunteered at PAWS and love it. Is there a better way to spend time then playing with dogs? I don’t think so.
If there is one statement that goes without saying, it is that college is expensive! No matter where you go, public or private, trade program or 4 year university, it all costs big bucks. DePaul offers many scholarship, grant, and loan options to help finance your education, and make getting a degree affordable. But what about the other stuff?
It is always nice, and often necessary, to have a little money on the side to take care of other costs related to school or your personal life. Depending on your schedule at school, the possibility of internships or paid part-time jobs can vary a lot. For me, I have a very busy class and rehearsal schedule from 8am to about 10pm every day. This makes it difficult to squeeze in an outside part-time jobs that work with my student schedule. I am sure this is true for many students. But we still need to make money, gain skills and experience, and build our resumes, right? That is where on-campus student jobs come in. There are a variety of campus jobs that students can have. At The Theatre School, I have a position as an office assistant to my Voice and Speech professor. I help with clerical duties such as copying and filing, organization, scheduling, and any other tasks my teacher needs help with in order to go teach her classes as efficiently as possible. This position is great for me because I get to spend time with a professor I really like, doing simple work throughout the day. The best part about it is that it works well with my crazy schedule. I can spend my hour breaks in between classes and rehearsals performing my duties, because I often don't have many consecutive hours to work. This position was offered to me by a professor, and I know that many professors throughout the entire university have students who help them with their office tasks. There are, however, many different jobs that one can hold on campus here at DePaul, at any campus location.
A great way to find out what is available is to visit the DePaul Campus Job Board. This is a webpage managed by the DePaul Office of Student Employment
. To do this simply visit the Student Employment webpage and login as a student using your school-issued Campus Connect username and password. Next click on the tab that reads "Jobs" on the top of the page and you will see a new page that looks like this:
This page lists all of the student jobs that are available now. On the right hand side of the screen you will see options to refine your search. This page enables you to look at student jobs by department, campus locations and more. Some jobs require more experience than others and are clearly labeled here as to whether they are entry level to experienced job opportunities. By clicking the link to each job you will see the description of the job, and the requirements to apply for the position. Need an entry level job on the Loop campus? No problem, able to take a more experienced position at the Lincoln Park location? You can find that here, too. On-campus student jobs are great because since they are made for students, the schedules are often very manageable around your class schedule, and there is a limit on the number of hours you can work in a week, because DePaul believes in giving opportunities, but that studies come first.
Finding a job off-campus is not too hard to do either. Being in a busy city, there are numerous businesses that hire. If there is a particular business or company you would like to work for, I recommend visiting their website or calling to see if there are positions available. Other ways to find part-time work to supplement your class schedule are to visit job search engines, such as Handshake, Snagajob, Indeed, and more. Or visit the DePaul Career Center. And never doubt the power of word-of-mouth. Put it out there that you are looking for work, spread the word, and often you will come across someone who knows of a position that is available and might be the right fit!
College is expensive and students are busy, but trust me, using this handy Job Board site, and keeping your eyes open can absolutely lead to part-time jobs that will work for you as much as you work for them!
In light of the big and exciting new changes approaching
quickly in my life, I can’t help but reflect on the decisions I’ve made to get
to where I am. Not only has DePaul prepared me academically for my next steps,
but has also encouraged me to take ownership over my life – by renting an
apartment, engaging in my community and working in the city I feel more
prepared for post-grad life than I ever though I would! Here are a few things
I’m SO glad I did during my time at DePaul, which I may not have done otherwise
at another university.
Opened up a credit card
It seems terrifying, but opening up a
credit card was one of the best decisions I made during college. Building
credit is really important when you’re looking for an apartment, a car and sometimes
even a job! I was able to nail down my first post-college apartment without
help from my parents because of my good credit and references. Discover is
great for a student card!
Lived off campus
Living in my own apartment during college
taught me the importance of knowing how to cook, clean and get along with
people in small places. I learned how to grocery shop on a budget, compare
internet providers and slowly acquired furniture to take to my next home.
Found a church
I have never been a very religious person,
but one of my first missions when I moved to Chicago was to find a church
community. By becoming a member at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, I made
some of my closest friends, networked with professionals in the area and built
relationships with people I can rely on. I had a supportive environment to
escape to when school was getting me down – I will miss St. Paul’s when I move
Worked A LOT of different jobs
During the last four years I worked at
Chicago’s Skydeck, a small frozen yogurt shop, a cupcake bakery, in the DePaul music admissions office, as a Chicago Quarter Mentor, as a blogger and as a
babysitter – yikes! Having all these jobs taught me a lot about working with
the public, and it’s nice to know that if teaching doesn’t work out (unlikely),
I’ve got a resume full of other things I’m good at!
Not only has DePaul given me the resources to
be a phenomenal teacher, but has also provided me with the skills necessary to
transition smoothly into adult life. (I’m realizing this now more than ever
before!) I’ve been very fortunate to learn and grow in this amazing city – I know I’ll be back sooner or later!
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!
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.
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!
Like most people, I’m not a Rockefeller, so I’ve had a job
(or two) on the side during college. In fact, as I’m writing this, it is
currently National Student Employment Week (or something along those lines).
For the record, I feel appreciated, but also devastated that I had to miss the
student employee dodgeball tournament the other night (the library’s team was
called The Late Fees). Nevertheless, I realized that I’ve been working at the library for almost three years now. Now that I’m searching for internships and
jobs off-campus, I’m realizing all of the benefits of on-campus employment.
The most obvious benefit is straight-up proximity. There are
tons of jobs on both the Lincoln Park campus and the Loop campus. The first
year I worked at the library, I lived across the street from the library. I
could literally go from my bed to the front door of the library within four
minutes. You can’t beat that. You also can’t overstate the efficiency of being
able to get from class to work in minutes, which is why on-campus jobs are
especially convenient for commuters.
As you probably know, DePaul operates on the quarter system,
which is obviously different than the typical semester system. Unlike many
internships (most of which are based off of the semester system), on-campus
jobs are structured around the quarter system. So instead of trying to schedule
your classes around an internship that may overlap two or three weeks with the
next quarter, you can build your work schedule each quarter around your class
schedule. And if you drop a class or add a class early in the quarter and
realize that now you have class when you’re supposed to be working, most
supervisors are pretty willing to work with you and to be flexible to accommodate
your new schedule. You can expect supervisors to be extra understanding during
finals as well!
Furthermore, since on-campus jobs are based on the academic calendar, most jobs are reduced or optional during academic breaks. I’m very
close to my family, so I spend all my breaks at home. Even though the library
is open during breaks, I’ve never worked during a break (and I still have my
job!). Plus, if the university closes because of weather or something like
that, that most likely means that work is closed, too.
Nine times out of ten, I recommend searching for an on-campus job
rather than an off-campus job, especially if you’re like me and you’re lazy and
you don’t want to travel that far for work. I think an off-campus job is best
for those who really want experience in a specific, specialized field. But if
you’re just looking to earn some money on the side, you don’t need to look that
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.
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.
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.
Last week, I wrote all about how to find the perfect summer job. At the end, I promised a follow-up blog about resumes and letters of
recommendation. I’m a man of my word, so here I am. In case you couldn’t tell,
I was in the middle of searching for a summer job when I wrote the last blog
about how to find a summer job. Now I’m working on the applications for the
jobs that I found, so I’m super ready to talk about resumes and letters of
If you’re writing a resume for the first time, it can be
super intimidating. But luckily for you, DePaul has amazing resources to help
you construct your resume. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you go visit
the Career Center (or, at the very least, their website). The Career Center
offers a ton of amazing services, but my favorite one is easily the resume reviews. 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. Even if you’re just updating
a resume that you know is already great, I still recommend meeting with a Peer
Career Advisor. I always think it’s best if you can find someone knowledgeable
to look over your resume before you submit it.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
I know a lot of people who get really hung up on how to ask a professor to write a letter
of recommendation. When I first had to ask a professor for a recommendation, I
didn’t know if I was supposed to ask them in person or if I could just ask over
email. I just ended up just stress-eating. Years later, I can tell you with great confidence
that the answer is whichever feels right to you. If you’re asking a professor
for a recommendation, you should be relatively familiar with them (hopefully
you’ve taken at least two classes with them). If the professor is more of an
old-school type, then I would ask in person. If your professor regularly uses
email or D2L to interact with the class, then they are probably cool being asked
over email. If you’re ever in doubt, be safe and ask in person.
Personally, I’ve always asked for letters of recommendation over email and let me tell you why. If someone agrees to write a letter of recommendation for you, they are doing you a favor. You should make it as easy as possible for them. Asking over email allows me to make sure that I include all of the information that the professor could possibly need and that the information is easily accessible for the professor. At a bare minimum, you should let the professor know where you’re applying, when the recommendation is due (try to give them at least a month before it’s due), and where to send the recommendation. But I like to add as much information as possible. I often summarize the company and position I’m applying to and let them know why I chose him/her for a recommendation. If the position lists any required skills or qualities that I know I’ve demonstrated in the professor’s class, I will explicitly tell them that I am hoping that they can speak about these specific skills. If the application requires that I respond to a written prompt or write a personal statement, I will attach that to the email. Adding more information will make the writing process easier for the professor and I promise it will result in a more personalized, detailed recommendation that will impress whoever reads it. And most importantly, I always write a handwritten thank you note to the professor after it’s all done and submitted. Gotta keep it classy.
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.
Tax season is upon us. If you’re like me and love numbers, you might even anticipate the day you receive your W-2’s with excitement. Completing my taxes each year also serves as an opportunity to think about how I budget my money. Knowing that graduation was less than a year away I met with DePaul’s Financial Fitness Office last August.
Determining how to balance living expenses, saving for graduate school, and the looming repayment of student loans in the most effective way can be tricky. Luckily, DePaul has an office that will help you make your budgeting goals clear! Located in both Lincoln Park and the Loop, Financial Fitness is a campus resource that can benefit all students. In August I had the opportunity to meet with Natalie Daniels. She shared that the popular “80-10-10” rule was a good place to state. Within this rule, 80% of income goes towards monthly expenses, 10% directly to savings, and 10% to debt repayment. As an independent student with a large amount of student loans, the goal I set for myself after the meeting was to trend around “45-55”. The 45% makes up for all expenses, while the other 55% goes towards savings and loan repayment. In my 45% I also include short term savings goals such as purchasing plane tickets for a trip. The money I set aside for savings is meant for long term savings. With this goal I’ve been realistic in knowing that I won’t always be able to predict expenses such as a car repairs and out of pocket medical expenses. This is why my “45-55” rule is a trend, as long as my percentages average out over the quarter and then entire year, I’m on track.
For now, my budget is very conservative. I learned from both meeting with Natalie and the Financial Fitness website that I should be capitalizing off of the fact that being in school and living on campus saves me from the costs of rent and utilities that I would be paying if I were living off campus. Saving more now will help offset the shock of having more necessary expenses when I graduate. I highly recommend checking out the Financial Fitness
website, even before you start classes at DePaul! The spot I’ve found the most helpful is by choosing “About Us” at the top, and then navigating to “Infographics Gallery
In the wise words of Robin Sparkles from How I Met Your Mother, “Let’s go to...the mall!”
My obsession with dedication to shopping is no secret by now. Neither is my rule to never buy anything at full price.
The struggle is so real on Michigan Avenue as I look longingly at window displays full of glamorous items that cost the same as my tuition. Water Tower isn’t much help either. However, before you get too depressed, realize that the mall of your dreams is a quick hop, skip, and city away.
The Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont gives you access to designer brands for reasonable prices. As someone who is in constant need of internship clothing, the Fashion Outlets present a one-stop-shop for everything professional. By no means is everything affordable, but a surprising portion is for a poor college student.
Not to mention the Fashion Outlets has a Wetzel’s Pretzel in the food court. May I suggest you order the Dog Bites?
I admire the simplicity of the mall’s navigation. The layout makes it easy to visit every store systematically. The more expensive designer stores are on the top level, leaving the bottom level for more affordable stores.
Additionally, the mall offers a free shuttle directly from the Rosemont Blue Line to the Fashion Outlets. The shuttle comes about every 10-15 minutes, but if you’re in a rush, or find that it is too cold to wait 15 minutes at the shuttle stop, an Uber is about $6. If you’re really desperate to save your money for the mall, the mall is also possible to get to by foot from the blue line. If you’re fortunate to have your own set of wheels, the mall offers free parking in the parking garage as well.
Next time you’re in the mood to revamp your wardrobe, try shopping in Rosemont. The longer trip will be worth the wait! Happy shopping!
throughout my undergraduate career, I went home to Wisconsin and worked at my hometown library during each summer. This year, I won’t be going back to
Wisconsin. As part of my BA/MA program, I have to take a grad class during the
summer, so for the first time, I will be staying in Chicago! While
it’s super exciting to be staying, I’m starting to realize that I actually have to find a
decent job for the summer. The process of searching for a job or internship can
be sort of intimidating and overwhelming, so I thought I’d offer a few tips to make the
search easier for you!
case you didn’t know, the application period for most summer internships is right now. You can only imagine my
reaction when I found out that I had already missed the deadline to apply for
some summer internships (one of them literally closed on January 1st).
The sooner you start looking, the more options you will have. Also, if you need to get any letters of recommendation or if the application has any unique requirements (like a written response to some prompt), you're going to need time to prepare and complete your application.
What You’re Looking For
you even start searching, sit down and figure out what you’re looking for. Are
you able to work full-time or can you only manage part-time? What is your availability
during the summer? Can you afford an unpaid internship or do you need to be
paid? If you need to be paid, what’s the minimum you need to be paid? Figure
all of these questions out before you even start looking so you don’t waste
your time looking at jobs that won’t work for you.
finding interesting jobs can be the hardest part sometimes! Luckily, there are
so many resources available to you. For just a standard job search engine, I
like to use Indeed. But if you didn’t know, DePaul also has its own job search
engine called Handshake. In addition to listing on-campus interviews, after you
make a profile, Handshake points out all the jobs listed that you’re qualified for.
It’s a great tool, especially if you’re new to looking for jobs. Also, after you’ve
declared your major(s), make sure you’re receiving (and opening) all of the
emails sent from your department! Most departments regularly include job
listings in mass emails. And finally, talk to your professors and friends. Your
professors have most likely seen hundreds of students search for and
secure summer jobs in Chicago. They can tell you with which companies or
organizations past students have been successful. Your friends can do the same.
Ask them if they have heard of any openings or if they have seen anything that
might fit you (and obviously, if you see a job listing that sounds perfect for
someone you know, be a good friend and tell them about it).
should go without saying. Just like when you applied for college, don’t put all
your eggs in one basket. Apply to as many jobs as you find interesting. The
more options you give yourself, the better chance you have at actually getting
hired. Even after you've applied to several jobs, make it a habit to regularly search for any new job listings. I usually check every three to four days to see what's new. It can only help you.
After you’ve found some potential new jobs, it’s time to get some letters of
recommendation and polish your resume! Check back next week for more tips on
how to write the perfect resume and how to ask professors for recommendations!
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.)
In movies we see interns depicted as professionals in two things: coffee runs and office supplies. In real life, this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. A portion of your Liberal Studies requirements at DePaul are fulfilled by the Experiential Learning (EL) credit. Your Experiential Learning can be completed virtually anywhere, as long as the company or non-profit organization is able to house you in a position that will fulfill DePaul’s requirements. If you plan to be an education major, your EL will be fulfilled by your classroom observations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to pursue other passions during your time at DePaul!
In November I was fortunate enough to take my finals early and spend 10 days in Orlando, Florida interning with IAAPA
(the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions). Serving alongside 30 other college students and recent grads, as an Ambassador I had the chance to learn about the ‘Serious Business of Fun’ through the eyes of industry professionals. With the Expo including education sessions, FEC & HR seminars, on site facility tours, events, a trade show floor spanning nine miles of aisles, and 32,000 people there was little down time during - but it was all worth it! Working with the Ambassador team made my decision concrete that the attractions industry is where I see myself working in some capacity for the rest of my life.
Even taking into consideration the networking opportunities and free Dippin Dots the Expo provided, my favorite part of the week was our first night spent volunteering at Give Kids the World
. GKTW is a nonprofit resort in Kissimmee, Florida that houses children with life threatening illnesses and their families for a cost free week long vacation. During this week families experience not only the rides and events on property, but also receive tickets to central Florida's most well know parks - Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Since opening in 1989, Give Kids the World has granted over 140,000 wishes. While at the Village myself and the Ambassador team had the opportunity to prep materials for a charity golf tournament and decorate two villas with holiday decorations. We were all moved by the caring spirit that everyone at GKTW has for children and their families.
Spending my first night in Florida volunteering for such a wonderful organization grounded me in knowing that no matter where I go or what I do in life I will always carry the Vincentian values that I learned at DePaul with me. If there’s one thing I learned from interning with IAAPA it’s that you have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and you can’t just sit in what’s comfortable. DePaul will help give you the tools to succeed, but after that you just have to trust yourself and jump in! No matter your major, the life changing internship is out there!
Tim Arnold is a current DePaul student in the Political Science program. He was able to spend a day with Alderman Smith and get a view of what life is like for Chicago politicians. Read his essay below:
I’ve always thought of politics as the most direct avenue between public want and societal change. The legislature, in particular, empowers the people, providing a sophisticated platform for policy debate. Senators, representatives and city council members alike have the difficult task of advocating for their constituents. They look out for their own, making sure that no one’s opinions, or subsequent rights are left in the dust; that’s an admirable service.
Through DePaul’s Professional Exploration Program (PEP), I spent a day shadowing Chicago Alderman Michele Smith of the 43rd Ward. Upon arriving at City Hall, Alderman Smith greeted me with a warm smile and handshake. We bonded over talk of her work in Lincoln Park and within minutes she had me accompany her to the traditional mayoral gift presentation ceremony. I felt incredibly lucky because this holiday ceremony is normally exclusive to city council members. I mingled with some of Chicago’s most influential politicians, including Mayor Emanuel himself! It was amazing how quickly I felt like one of them. Aldermanic powerhouses were treating me with the utmost respect, sharing their insights on current Chicago issues.
Little did I know, the excitement had just begun. From the ceremony, I was directed to find my seat in the viewing balcony of the main City Hall chamber. I got out my notepad and pen, sat back, and was blown away by the commotion that ensued. The chamber was jam packed with camera crews, politicians, security teams and countless protesters. I coincidentally came the same day as Mayor Emanuel’s last-minute mayoral address. He was to discuss the investigation of the Chicago Police Department in response to the Laquan McDonald video. Tensions were high and it was clear that it would be an historic day. The mayor gave a tearful speech, pointing out the injustice of racial discrimination by law enforcement. Many protesters scoffed at his “apology,” screaming for his immediate resignation. I’ll admit, part of me was terrified to be in the midst of such a volatile situation, but the learning opportunity was far too great to miss out on. I was moved by many of the speakers, especially by one alderman who said, “It's not the person, it's the position. And it's not the personality, it's the policy." I left City Hall reminded of the true responsibility of all politicians; to promote the wellbeing of ALL. Changes must be made, and I was lucky enough to see policymaking in progress.
The rest of my day was focused in Lincoln Park, where Alderman Smith’s ward office is located. I had a chance to meet with her staff, sit in on meetings and get a better idea of how an alderman actually oversees a district. She gave me fantastic tips for getting started in politics as well as how I can become regularly involved in 43rd Ward activities. All in all, the experience was wonderful and I highly recommend that other students take advantage of the PEP Shadow Program. No matter what major you are pursuing, this program has strong connections that can set you up for future internships. I, myself, will return to the ward office in March as a part-time intern. Just remember to be open to anything. Who knows? A shadow day could uncover a passion you never knew you had.
This week my supervisor in the Office of New Student and Family Engagement is hiring a new Office Assistant. Whenever adding someone new to our team the candidate interviews with both their potential supervisor and a potential coworker - which is actually a really innovative process. The students I had the opportunity to meet today were all well-polished and interview ready. In honor of them we’ll be taking a look at the steps to finding a job on-campus.
If an office is hiring on campus, you’ll find out about it on the Campus Job Board. On the right hand side you’ll enter your Campus Connect username and password and then select ‘Student’’. I know you’re probably excited to head straight to the ‘Jobs’ tab, but what you’ll want to do first is set up your profile. In this section you’ll list your contact information, academic information, and availability. It’s important to keep this page up to date, especially since your availability will likely change quarter to quarter.
Now that you’re all on the edge of your seats, go ahead and click on the ‘Jobs’ tab. From my experience, there are usually between 25 and 50 postings on the job board at any given time. You should have lots of options to choose from! Once you click on a job that looks interesting there a few key items to pay attention to. First, make sure you read the job description in full. Aligning some of the key words mentioned in the Duties and Responsibilities section with the experiences on your resume will help you stand out as a qualified candidate. But be sure to always be authentic, don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk!
If you’re offered an interview it’s important that any emails exchanged between you and your potential supervisor are clear and concise. Make sure to start each email with a greeting, end with a salutation, and use spell check. Always communicate through a professional email address. If you don’t already have one, you can set up your free DePaul student email here (once you are officially enrolled in classes).
To prep for your interview I recommend meeting with the Peer Career Advisors. These advisors are a group of students who’ve been selected and trained by the Office of Student Employment to assist their peers through the job search process. With walk-in hours in Lincoln Park and the Loop these peers can be a great resource at any step of the job search process! Once you’re ready for advice about full time careers after graduation, you can also request to meet with a full time Career Counselor who’s specialized in your major! For additional tips, you can check out the Student Employment website or post your questions below!
The thought of beginning my eighth quarter at DePaul University fills me with nostalgia, a dash of anxiety, and a whole lot of excitement. With three quarters until I graduate, senioritis looms large on the horizon, but just far enough away to be ignored. So while I wait for the inevitable, I might as well suit up and give another quarter everything I’ve got.
I’ve decided to take two night classes, a half-credit Friday morning class at 9:00 a.m., and to complete my senior thesis. This, combined with interning three full days a week, nannying on weekends, and dedicating myself to the culinary arts, is sure to keep me busy and on the verge of insanity, which is perhaps my favorite state of being.
In the next ten weeks, I hope to accomplish a few tasks that will help me to set up the future (fingers crossed) success of the rest of my 2016. I’ll share them with you for accountability and potential inspiration:
Complete my senior thesis. While a 50 page research paper seems daunting, I’ve got two professors by my side, an amazing library, two years of research experience, and 70 days...how hard can it be?
Apartment hunting 2.0. As my lease expires this August, it’s never too early to start the apartment hunt. While I love the Lakeview area, I’m open to moving somewhere else for more space and a better price. Is this possible? I’ll let you know.
Obtain a summer internship. Coveted summer internships go on the market now. Look in Spring and you might just be too late. I suggest you visit our career center for guidance, resume help, and free pens. I know I will!
Reconnect with friends. Sometimes it can be hard to balance it all, and this quarter, I won’t let my busy schedule get the best of me. Resigning from the DePaulia has given me my Fridays back, and it is about time that I use Fridays to re-energize and reconnect with the people who matter most.
Write and read more. I used to be an avid reader and writer, but now I have reserved my two former obsessions for school and work. But no longer! It’s time to take reading and writing back!
So here are my hopes and dreams for the next ten weeks. I hope the new year brings you good fortune!
The term “millennials” is a hot buzzword in the public relations and advertising world. I hear the word thrown this way and that in my internship, in my classes, and even amongst friends.
To me, being a part of the millennial generation means more than just having the ability to take a perfect selfie or making goals for your squad. Being a millennial is an exciting generation to be a part of.
A few weeks ago I attended a Politico event presented by Deloitte called Generation Next: Future of Social Action. The event took place at Chez, which is a contemporary loft space for urban events located on Ontario Street by Michigan Avenue.
The event consisted of two panels that spoke about social media as a form of activism. The first panel was extremely informative and consisted of four social media activists: Erika Andiola, the co-director of the DREAM Action Coalition; Andrew Clark, the executive director of Generation Opportunity; Anastasia Khoo, the chief marketing officer of Human Rights Campaign; and DeRay McKesson, a leader in Black Lives Matter.
The panel spoke about the concept of hashtag activism, which is the use of hashtags to draw awareness to an issue. They agreed that hashtag activism is not a cop-out and can be a powerful tool for drawing awareness and starting conversations. Their discussion on the future of social action was insightful and made me think about how I participate in hashtag activism.
Do you think hashtag activism is an effective form of activism? Definitely some millennial food for thought. See the full panel discussion here
if you’re interested in what some social media leaders are doing today.
Recently someone close to me was a victim of domestic violence. They are not a DePaul student, and for their confidentiality will remain anonymous. Through working in various job and leadership capacities at DePaul we’ve been taught what to do when someone discloses a violent or abusive situation to us. Specifically when working for the Dean of Students Office my fellow Office Assistants and I served as a first point of contact for students and supporters interfacing with our department. I always felt safe knowing that, although my job was important and needed to be done well, in a crisis situation I could rely on our Deans and counseling staff to take the reins. Over the past few weeks I’ve realized that the bystander intervention and mandated reporter trainings I’ve been required to participate in have provided me with some of the most significant knowledge I’ve learned since coming to DePaul. When you choose DePaul, you're not just choosing academics, you're choosing life. I'm incredibly thankful that I attend a university that doesn't keep difficult topics hush hush. Instead, DePaul opens up a dialogue about them and teaches its student to be better informed and more compassionate human beings.
An Open Letter to My Friend, Who Was the Victim of Domestic Violence,
The cards you were dealt certainly aren’t fair. Nothing you’ve ever done, said, or even subconsciously thought means that you, or anyone else for that matter, deserves to be hit, bit, and threatened by someone you’ve known since the day you were born. I’m thankful that you had the courage to come to me when you did. It caused me emotional and physical pain to know that I couldn’t keep you safe, so I went to the police that night to report this crime that someone had inflicted on you. In the past I had kept your secrets, when there was a new boy you liked and when you accidentally told me who you had for Secret Santa, but this was a secret that I just couldn’t keep. I’m proud of you for going to the station and talking the police after they called you. Selfishly, I’m glad that you weren’t mad at me for not keeping your secret too.
I wish that I could erase that scar from under your eye and the bruises from your body. I wish I could make those bad memories and your pain go away. I wish I could pay for all of your bills and living expenses, so you didn’t have to work so much while you try to heal. I wish I could build you a house of your own with the most advanced security measures, so you could have your own space and feel safe. I wish I could make any judicial process you might decide to go through simple. And I wish that I could give your aggressor the help that they need too.
But right now, all I can do is tell you that I love you. I’ll always be here to listen, no matter the time of day. I’ll keep sending you Snapchats, hoping to make you laugh. I’ll keep reading up on resources for victims, so if there’s an option you want to explore you won’t have to do it alone. And most of all, I promise you that for the rest of our lives no matter how many miles are between us you will always be my friend. I feel like God has brought you into my life to help him watch over you. The cards you were dealt certainly aren’t fair, but these cards won’t stop you from accomplishing great things. Despite everything you’ve been through, I know that you’re going to change the world for the better.
I recently hit the half-way point in my student teaching! Just to provide you with a little more information, music education students teach for 16 weeks – which is divided into two 8-week long sessions. For all other education majors, student teaching only lasts 10 weeks (which is exactly one quarter at DePaul). The reason why music students have longer teaching experiences is because our certification is grades K-12, while others are certified to teach specific age groups. I began teaching 4th-8th grade band August, and although I had a great experience, I’m excited to be heading to a high school to complete my next 8 weeks of teaching.
Also this past week, I submitted my edTPA portfolio to the state of Illinois. edTPA is a newly mandated teacher assessment tool that is now required for all teacher candidates who are applying for a teaching license in Illinois (there are quite a few other states doing this, too!). If you might be interested in becoming a teacher, edTPA will become a very familiar term to you! The portfolio is made up of three major “tasks” that prompt the teacher candidate to explain their processes of planning lessons, teaching the lessons and assessing the students. For example, my portfolio was based on an 8th grade saxophone sectional, where I planned all the lessons, taught all the lessons and then assessed the students on the material we covered. Though the process of edTPA can seem daunting, its purpose is to help us plan, teach and assess with greater attention to details so we can be the best teachers possible! The DePaul College of Education has done a great job providing students with the tools and resources we need to pass the edTPA. I should know what my score is in the next two weeks, and as long as I score a 35 out of 75 points, I will be applying to be a real-life teacher in no time!
In the past 8 weeks, I have learned the following things
about middle school students:
- Most of them have at least one shoe lace untied, and they
like it that way.
- They talk using their "outdoor" voice 95% of the time.
- They ask questions that they already know the answer to,
such as, “Do I have band today?” when they have band every day of the week
- They are insanely creative, and need more opportunities to
express themselves at school.
In the program I was teaching, all students used Noteflight at least three days a week. Noteflight is a web-based composing
program that offers school memberships that allow students to create their
own work, review the work of others and submit assignments to the teacher.
Students in my classes were composing melodies and pieces that even I would
struggle to write – and I’ve studied music theory! I loved seeing the students
fully engaged in writing their own music, and their creativity was truly
Though I know high school will be different in many ways,
(they most likely won’t give me as many hugs on my last day), I’m looking
forward to the new challenges I will face.
If you want a true glimpse into the kinds of things middle
school band students say, watch the video below. It is the most accurate I’ve
ever seen and describes my experience perfectly.
Coming soon to a theater, school, and city near you! Bernadette the movie finished production this past summer and has a target release date of spring 2016.
Professors John Psathas and Patrick Wimp ventured to create a feature length film utilizing the skill of DePaul students and the opportunity provided by CDM’s (College of Digital Media) Project Bluelight.
With a dedicated student crew, John Psathas, director and producer, and Patrick Wimp, director of photography traveled all around Illinois to create the perfect suburb for their coming of age comedy. Taking full advantage of local Chicago actors as well as students from the DePaul Theatre School, the teaser for Bernadette has been played over 8,000 times with the Facebook page being just shy of 2,000 likes. Several articles mentioning the film have been released through various news outlets such as The DePaulia
, Reel Chicago
, and the Chicago Tribune
. The film is now in the post-production phase but behind the scenes photos, witty statuses, and other content is being released on their social media sites frequently, keeping fans of the film engaged until the premiere. To keep track of the film follow and check out the links below.
As always, thank you for reading my blog. I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did working on it. It is a great display of the talent here at DePaul University and an even better display of what good collaborations can create.
Living in the big city comes with a price … quite literally. While DePaul offers great grants and scholarships to alleviate high tuition costs, in today’s higher education market, it’s hard to come out on top financially.
As I’ve mentioned before, I truly believe that being a poor college student is a rite of passage on the road to adulthood. But after about the fourth cup of Ramen in four days, I seriously am thinking about retracting that statement.
Luckily for me, I’ve been blessed with many money earning opportunities throughout my years at DePaul. From being an EDGE Program participant to working paid internships, I’ve had the ability to grow professionally, while earning some nice cheddar.
One job that I am extremely proud of is being a child care provider to various families throughout Chicago. I currently work for a Child Care Agency called K. Grace Childcare, Inc. and couldn’t be happier with the experience that I’ve had here.
Working with my busy schedule, I babysit only when I can find the time to. Sometimes this means I work once a week and other times it means I’ll work three times a week. K. Grace matches you with families on an availability basis, and also if you fit any special needs that the family may require.
I can say with 100 percent confidence that being a child care provider has helped my professional development. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great families throughout the city and am able to adjust to new surroundings and adapt to any situation quite quickly. Whether I am babysitting for a group of young 5-year-olds having a sleepover, dealing with a crying toddler in a public place or cooking for kids with severe food allergies, I am forced to think quickly and act accordingly.
I have had some great memories with lots of the kids that I babysit, including going to countless parks throughout the city, getting schooled in soccer and also learning how out of shape I am, seeing critically acclaimed films such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, and knowing far too much about the lyrics to Frozen and the origin of the Minions.
And of course, the pay is great too. I’m always paid directly after my shift, mainly in cold, hard cash. No wait, no taxes, no problems.
If you’re looking for a job this quarter and you like kids, exploring parks and different neighborhoods, Disney channel, Minecraft and/or all of the above, consider child care providing and making some serious dough.
Every Thursday night I hunker down in the basement of University Hall to crank out my two-page section for the DePaulia, our student-run award winning newspaper. The windowless dungeon gives you no sense of time, making two hours feel like ten, and sometimes vice versa.
However, this Thursday night I was in for a treat. The Arts & Life Editor called me around 8 p.m. to let me know that she had an extra ticket to cover Rita Ora. I stopped everything I was doing and on my way I went to Lincoln Hall.
Working on the DePaulia has its perks, especially if you have the coveted position of Arts & Life. Our Arts & Life section covers popular culture and artsy topics ranging from new art exhibits to neighborhood events in Chicago.
What makes people especially envy of the position is that the job entails covering concerts and music festivals. This year, our Arts & Life Editor attended Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and Riot Fest…for free! Gaining press access allows select members of our staff to go to the events and cover them for the paper. We live tweet the events, photograph them and review them all on our website depauliaonline.com. I highly suggest you check it out.
So this Thursday when I was informed there was an extra press ticket for the DePaulia, I ran out of the basement and into freedom.
Not prepared for the concert what so ever, I was dressed in jeans and a cropped gray t-shirt. My makeup had melted off my face throughout the day and with no time for fix-ups I looked like a hot mess. My hair was in a messy bun that I tried to unknot but couldn’t and my necklace was missing four beads, which I had found out during my first class of the day but decided to keep the necklace on because I am classy like that.
Looking around Lincoln Hall at everyone who had bought tickets months ago and had subsequently marked this date down on their calendar with a countdown, I wasn’t surprised to be very “underdressed.” Not that people were dressed to the nines, but people there were definitely dressed to impress.
Before the concert, I actually did not know one thing about Rita, but now I would consider myself a huge fan. She is immensely talented and is from London, so even when she was talking I was impressed. Her backup crew was small but also had some serious vocals.
Despite arriving an hour late due to her flight being delayed, she was extremely apologetic and even tweeted updates to her followers where she was once she landed at O’Hare. Her set list was small given that she doesn’t have a ton of produced songs available, but she did perform three new songs that will be coming out this year.
Extremely interactive, Rita even pulled a fan up on stage to dance with her. While I know that this trick can be corny at concerts and oftentimes seems really staged, this instance was extremely genuine. Rita is truly someone who is appreciative of her fans and had various side conversations with them during her concert. I tried, but my back row spot couldn’t quite project my voice far enough.
Rita’s raw talent isn’t apparent through her featured position on many artists’ tracks in pop music, but after seeing her headline her own show live, that really is a shame. I have no doubt that in a few years Rita will be selling out much larger venues than Lincoln Hall.
Was I star struck when she came on stage? If you know me, you’ll know that the answer was an astounding yes. My fellow editor and I stood in the back row of Lincoln Hall. She had to take notes throughout the concert for the DePaulia so we didn’t want to be body slammed in the middle or front rows.
Our presence at the concert is another story in itself. As the audience double fisted beers and shots, we double fisted a pen and paper. We got many curious stares as we took in the atmosphere and wrote down what she said. We clearly weren’t concert dressed and were 110% sober, unlike the rest of the crowd. We stood out like a chipped nail on a perfectly manicured hand.
I’ve always been an extremely star struck person. When I am around anyone remotely famous I completely lose it. So when Rita came on stage after her delay, I immediately became her number one fan as I shouted, “I love you Rita!” on a continuous loop. Bringing even more attention to our sad presence at the concert, I eventually stopped.
The concert was a great way to end to a hard first week back at school. Make sure to check out DePaulia online for an official review of the concert. Also, listen to the DePaulia’s Podcast “Culture Shock” on iTunes for our hilarious commentary on the concert and more.
Sophia Odeh is a recent DePaul graduate, where she received a B.A. in Psychology. She was recently interviewed by Kara Studzinski of ValuePenguin about her experience at DePaul University as a Psychology major. You can read the full interview below:
Sophia Odeh is a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology major with a concentration in Human Services. She will be graduating in the spring of 2015 [editor's note: Sophia has now graduated]
What has your experience in psychology been like at DePaul University? Were there other schools you were considering, and if so, why did you choose this one?
Studying psychology at DePaul University has been a wonderful experience because of our location. Having a university located in one of the most diverse cities in our country really puts the students and research conducted here at an advantage to work with underrepresented populations and more diverse clients. DePaul has always been my top choice for this reason. I was attracted to the idea of going out into the city and working directly with populations in need, and DePaul has offered me superb hands on experience that taught me that psychology is more than just the individual, but the person’s whole ecological system as well.
What influenced you to pursue a major/career in psychology?
Beyond the fact that I have a desire to help people, I wanted a rewarding career path. I want to make a difference in the world and the best start is by influence an individual’s life in a positive way.
Have you participated in any internships? If so, how many, how were they, and did you find the schools resources to be helpful in helping you find this opportunity?
Through the Human Services concentration at DePaul University, we are required to have a yearlong internship for the duration of our senior year. We were provided a list of past internship sites that have taken in DePaul students, but it was up to us to reach out and find a place that was the best fit for our interest. I interned at DePaul’s Family and Community Services which is a training clinic for the second year graduate students in the clinical psychology doctoral program here at DePaul University. This was a very advantageous opportunity for me because I attended trainings for the doctoral students and was given the opportunity to work one on one with clients and families.
What are your future career plans and aspirations?
My goal is to attend a child focused clinical psychology graduate program for my Psy.D. or Ph.D. I am going to become a clinical psychologist and continue working with underrepresented populations. I am specifically interested in working with adolescents whose environments make them prone to developing a mood disorder or other behavioral problems.
What has been the most challenging aspect of studying psychology, and was this something you had originally anticipated?
I personally learned the most from my involvement in research and at my internship site. I found the hands on experiences to be among the most challenging because I was working directly with clients and some were at a high risk for depression. At first, it was difficult to not bring my work home with me because this is something that I was never taught to prepare for in the classroom or from a textbook. It was hard to predict how I would react to certain situations and clients, but this can only be learned through exposure and working directly in the field. I did learn that after the first time, I was able to handle future situations better and I found myself more prepared for difficult circumstances.
What advice would you give someone else trying to break into this field?
This is a very competitive field to be in, and you need to be passionate about the population you choose to work with. I would recommend joining a research lab or working with people very early on so you can learn if it is right for you because it can be difficult to change your path later on.
Is there anything you wish you had known about psychology ahead of time before choosing this career path?
It took me a long time to decide between working with adults or children, but now that I know working with children and adolescents is the right fit for me, I know where to involve myself more to prepare for graduate school. I feel that DePaul University has prepared me very well for a career in psychology by all the experiences they have to offer and ways undergraduates can get involved, and this helped me figure out my exact interest for this very broad field.
Although I have about two years until graduation and the big job hunt begins, I thought I would begin to look a little deeper into what DePaul has to offer in terms of helping students find post-graduation work.
This inquiry came at the perfect time because DePaul just launched a new program called Handshake. The DePaul Career Center
tries to showcase opportunities for meaningful connections between students, alumni, and employers. Handshake is a very very up to date program that is basically just like any other social networking site! The good thing about Handshake is that it is custom built for the DePaul Community AND is great on mobile devices for all you people on-the-go.
I haven’t gone too deep into the program yet because I am still working on my resume and noting down my work experience, but after playing around with it for a while I figured out that the questions they ask you at the beginning of the log in process are there to help pin point which area or real world job would be best suited for you. The more of your profile that you honestly fill out, the better the program is at making sure you see the job information that is most relevant to you. Eventually, Handshake learns what your major is and makes sure you see relevant listings that pair well with your professional skills. I am known to stress out a bunch about career matters of the future, but it’s nice to know DePaul has my back and is looking out for me and my prospective career.
Thinking about robots taking over the world is scary and all, but this high tech program makes sure DePaul students don’t go without a job (which is even scarier).
If you’re interested in taking a peek look no further!
Happy job hunting!
Part one of graduate showcase is in the books! My class just returned from doing our showcase in New York City
over the past several days. It was a very exciting, exhausting trip and I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to see the city in this new light.
Until now, I’ve never seriously considered living in New York. I really like the city itself but I’ve always thought that it wasn’t really a place in which I could see myself living. The bustle and cramped spaces always seem claustrophobia inducing and that was my over-riding image of the city. However, this time around I was able to get out of Manhattan
a bit to see Brooklyn
, and see that New York is not only Manhattan. There are slower paced neighborhoods where people live their lives at a pace not all that dissimilar to Chicagoans. This pleasantly surprised me.
I never had any qualms about not being able to do the kind of work I really want to do if I moved to New York, but the alumni panel that we attended as part of our activities made it clear just how empowering the city is for artists. Almost universally across our panel, the individuals wore many different hats as actors, writers, producers, and directors or some combination therein. What I take from this is that if you make it be so, you don’t have to be put into a box as one type of artist in New York, and that people are really driven to make their own work which is also my main desire artistically as I move past graduation. How awesome is that?
Beyond the official aspects of our time there, I also enjoyed seeing some old friends, visiting some really cool bars and restaurants, and taking in an Upright Citizens Brigade
comedy show. New York treated me really well. Now we have a few days back in Chicago for the hometown version of our showcase before leaving for LA where I lived for several years when I was younger. I can’t wait to continue to share our work! Let’s go get ‘em.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
Since we’re headed west soon, here’s a warm weather throwback for y’all.
I’m a cheesy guy. I’m a sappy, nostalgic, hopelessly romantic dude and what I’m about to say is cheesy but true: I love learning. So, as my formal education comes to a close (at least for the foreseeable future because I don’t currently see myself going back to get a grad degree), I’ve started to think about what I’m going to do next to continue my education in theatre and just as a person in the world. The options are endless.
From an acting/theatre perspective, I’m fairly certain the next training on my agenda is take improv classes. I’ve been doing improve since I was the president of my high school’s improv
comedy troupe (What what, Improvability!). This past quarter we had an improv class with Noah Gregoropolous
. This was definitely one of my favorite classes at DePaul. It was less focused in comedy than it was in using the training we have for written text and applying it to improvisation. The only real rule was that we wanted to always be truthful. The excise this provided was great because it encourages you to always mean what you say on stage no matter what which can be harder than you think if you’re not relaxed and focused in the moment. This practice was super inspiring to me, especially at this stage of my training. As such, I’m definitely planning on taking classes at iO ASAP. I feel like it will be just the kind of practice I need to keep my enthusiasm for acting alive.
My to-do list of post grad hobbies outside of theatre is crazy long. I want brew my own beer, work wood, play music, write poetry and short stories, cook delicious food, work on an organic farm in Norway, backpack everywhere, learn a million languages, build houses, and plant a killer garden. The way I see it, to be a quality actor you have to be a real human being. You have to appreciate things outside of the theatre that inform you in your theatre work. And at this point I just want to hit the ground running. I’m young and I want to squeeze every bit of opportunity out of my day. I want to learn something new constantly. And I will do it. The work never stops.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
You just have to sing along! YOU HAVE TO.
I secretly live in the basement of University Hall
. The office of DePaul’s student-run newspaper, The DePaulia
, is located in this lovely dungeon of a space and my job as the Opinions Editor means I spend many a night cooped up inside of here.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love working for The DePaulia for a multitude of reasons. While I’m not a journalism major, I find the art of crafting news to be quite fascinating. I enjoy being informed about the latest developments at DePaul, and appreciate having an outlet that allows me to be critical of DePaul's administration.
I’ve had a lot of cool opportunities to cover DePaul events and get involved in the world of journalism this year. My job as Opinions Editor entails assigning stories every week to my writers, editing these stories, and then using Adobe InDesign to format my two-page section layout. There was definitely a learning curve at the beginning and deadlines were tough to make, but with each issue I learn something new and it gets easier and easier to do my job.
I’ve covered a variety of topics this year, not only for my section but also for News, Focus, and Nation & World. One of my longer opinion pieces about sexual assault awareness on campus won First Place Non-Sports Column at a Non-Daily Newspaper by the Illinois College Press Association
— a title I am very proud of and grateful to have earned.
I’ve also written about hackers, bookstores, Valentine’s Day
, debates, climate change, and tons of other topics. Writing is something that I am very passionate about, but it doesn’t always come easy to me. There have been plenty of times where I’ve stared at a blank screen for what seems like days on end. But suddenly, an idea comes to mind and I just have to run with it.
I have made some of my best friends at the DePaulia and learn something from them every day. We all bring something unique to the table and our collaborations over the past year have earned The DePaulia Best Non-Daily Newspaper in the state by the Illinois College Press Association.
A few Friday's ago, The DePaulia hosted debates for the Student Government Association (SGA) candidates. We used the #dpelect to send receive any questions that students had for the candidates. We livestreamed the debates on our website at www.depauliaonline.com
I encourage everyone to not only read The DePaulia to find out what the latest and greatest news is around campus, but to also become involved in creating news. It’s easy to join and all of our editors will work with writers to develop their journalism skills. It doesn’t hurt to have a few news clips for your resume as well.
I hope you tuned in last Thursday night and Friday to watch the DePaulia’s SGA Debates! Whether you are a potential or current student, SGA and its members are important for the functioning of our student organizations and the budgets that are allocated to them. Choosing candidates wisely can only work to your benefit in the future.
This time of year is pretty exciting because of all the looming change. Whether you're getting ready to graduate high school or to start your senior year, it's time to start transitioning. Change is fun!
Here are five things that I wish I did before starting college at DePaul:
(1) Identify a mentor for the next four years, someone that you will be able to look up to for guidance. This may be someone in your potential career field or someone from back home that you're particularly fond of. Whoever it is, it may be best that they are a bit older and ready to give honest advice. This could also be a DePaul professor. In fact, that would be excellent because they can help you navigate your four years while also being someone that will see you change through your time here. I've had a faculty mentor (Dr. Caitlin Karver) and I can't stress enough how thankful for her I am. So, take a leap and reach out to someone (a professor, someone in Chicago, someone back home). Think about your support system, who you go to when you need help or support.
(2) Do some introspection. Think about the core of who you are. You're going to be challenged by a lot of new things in college, but what are some things that you're not willing to give up? What are some things you're ready to move past? College is a fantastic time to let these changes happen :)
Make a list of goals. Like real, solid goals. They could be long term (4 years and above) or short term (1 year) goals. Even goals that may seem impossible. Challenge yourself to set expectations. It may help you start taking advantage of the incredible things that DePaul and Chicago offer! For example, "Tom's goal #1 as an entering freshman at DePaul: Ride on every single CTA
bus line start to finish"- Such a great way to see new neighborhoods. Goal status: incomplete (because I didn't articulate this goal before starting college!) :(
(4) Summer, Summer, Summer. This summer you should do something life-giving. Something that will give you energy that you can take with when you go to college. For example, maybe get a job working at a summer camp. You'll have countless stories when you get to college. Or, get a fun job where you learn something new. Make memories with your parents, family, loved ones. Then, document your memories! I can't tell you how many times freshman year I went through the pictures from my summer before. It was comforting and helped me remember some of the people I loved when I wasn't seeing them all the time.
(5) Get ready for a hell of an incredible experience! I'm not sure how to prepare for this, but just get excited. You're soon to embark on a fantastic journey. Celebrate your success so far and prepare so that you can thrive in college.
One of the best things about DePaul is the mass amount of speakers and established socialites that come and discuss their ambitions and lives with the students. Most of the time you do not have to RSVP to events but if the flyer asks for than it is a must! Most of the events I’ve attended were in the Student Center conference room or Cortelyou Commons
. Both of these facilities can hold many many people, and the events I’ve seen stem from a gender quality activist to a student run amateur drag show.
One of my goals for this quarter as well as upcoming school year is to attend more DePaul events. The most recent one I have seen was on a whim, but I’m more than glad that I attended. I had the honor of being in the presence of Sister Helen Prejean
. Although at first I did not recognize this name, once I looked deeper into who she was it hit me that she is a very influential person in the subject of the death penalty. She wrote Dead Man Walking which was turned into the award winning film featuring Sean Penn. Although this topic was pretty heavy for a sunny weekday afternoon, I knew that this was a prime opportunity to learn more about a subject that I am not well-versed in.
Before Sister went on stage there was an exhibition. The room was filled with hand written letters from the Stateville Correctional Center. This series of letters was called “Why My Life Matters”. Most of the letters were background information about the convicted person, and appeals to bring back the parole board. Many of the letters were very well written and extremely thorough. This in particular gave me a huge reality check because the letters were written a month ago behind bars while I stand and read them sipping on a latte with the freedom to walk right out of there if I wanted too. On the floor of the room was scotch tape outlining the actual length and width of a prison cell. Just another tid-bit of information that further makes me realize the conditions prisoners live in.
Sister Helen Prejean spoke for less than an hour, but she was extremely adamant about cultivating conversation about the topic with us, instead of just talking AT us. She had a panel discussion and invited people from the audience to come up to the microphone and answer questions. After a question had been asked she didn’t straight out answer it, but rather asked other members of the audience what they thought. I thought this tactic was warm and inviting and made everyone comfortable with talking about such a dark topic.
After the session as over, I felt like I knew more about the morality of punishment and the United States’ justice system. Sister Prejean has not only inspired the film industry, but also inspired conversation and change in the way people view the death sentence.
More events can be listed at the site here.
Afterwards I bought a copy of her book and had it signed! Talk about an evening well spent.
It’s not everyday (everywhere) that you get to learn one-on-one next to a professor in the research lab as an undergrad. But, that’s how I spent my afternoon. And that’s nothing new either. I’d say it’s a common occurrence at DePaul.
One of my favorite things about the science program at DePaul is that the small size and teaching focus means more face time with professors. It means having a faculty research mentor and advisor to help you learn outside of the classroom. I get it that this blog is a bit cheesy, but I can’t explain any other way how special this is.
I started working in Dr. Karver’s lab my sophomore year when I was in organic chemistry. I realized that I really enjoyed organic and I wanted to see how that classroom information was actually put to use (outside of the teaching lab). So, I went to Dr. Karver’s office hours and told her I was interested and a couple of weeks later I was starting my first reaction.
Being a part of a research lab has impacted my experience at DePaul substantially. Not only has it offered a community of peers to look up to, but it’s made the information I learn in all my science classes more relevant. It’s given me more motivation to learn in class and has fueled an interest to do research in the future. Before I started in the lab, I thought that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it. I thought something along the lines of, “I like working with people and talking to people and that’s not necessarily what you get to do in the lab.” While it may be true that it’s not the most social activity in the world, doing research as an undergrad has really made my time at DePaul special. It’s provided me with a professor that I can always go to for advice, even if it’s unrelated to research or her courses.
Once you get started at DePaul, try to search what kind of research the people are doing that are teaching you in your lecture classes! You may be surprised by the research that some professors are doing. Then, go meet them! Find their email and set up an appointment and convince them of your interest and you’re well on your way to an incredibly worthwhile opportunity.
This may come as a shock to some of you, but I've decided to go farther north next year. MUCH farther north.
Where, you may ask?
ALASKA. No joke, I'm moving to Juneau, Alaska this July (just five weeks after I graduate!) to begin a year-long Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for El Sistema
music education at University of Alaska Southeast
. I know that you are already well informed about the El Sistema movement and what it stands for from my other blogs. You probably have already pieced together that I greatly respect it and desire to know more about how to teach music well, especially in underserved areas.
I actually heard about this MAT program after I found out that I was accepted into another graduate program that was similar but wasn’t quite what I wanted. Upon my acceptance, I talked with colleagues in the El Sistema community who told me that they had heard of a brand new program at University of Alaska Southeast that is offering a Master's for people who want to study under nationally-renowned music pedagogue, Lorrie Heagy. Although it was originally difficult to picture myself in Alaska, I decided to look into the program and talk to Lorrie myself before making any decisions. Within hours of emailing her, Lorrie and I were skyping as she sat in a classroom of an Alaskan public school, and she told me all about her work, her vision for this program, and the details behind it. And I thought, "Why not?! I'll at least apply!" A month later, I had submitted all of my extensive application materials.
Throughout that month, I began to think deeply about what I want my first year, post-graduation to look like. I had been accepted to a job I was excited about in Chicago, I could also continue to teach with El Sistema Ravinia and privately, and accept gigs. I also wasn’t sure if I felt ready to leave this city or my friends. But there was also this feeling, this natural instinct within me, reminding me of how much I absolutely love adventure and exploring new places. I reassured myself that this would only be a year-long commitment and started to come around to the idea of possibly moving outside the continental U.S. to participate in a program I had only just heard of a month before. I started to watch videos, read articles, and talk with others about the program and Lorrie Heagy’s work, and it became clear to me that this was where I wanted to earn my Master’s degree.
I received my official acceptance letter just last week, and I have already announced to all of my family and friends my decision. It was actually entertaining to see how everyone reacted to it; some were very excited for me and knew that this would be a great adventure. Others were puzzled as to why I would want to move there or why I was going to receive a Master’s in Teaching and not in performance. I just explained as well as I could about the transformation my career goals have gone through during my time at DePaul, and that yes, it’s crazy and scary, but that I want to pursue a career in El Sistema education. And with its bays, glaciers, and mountains, Alaska doesn’t actually sound like such a bad place to do it!
So as I mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare myself to graduate, pack up my things, and fly off to Juneau, I am trying to take time to be excited about this and also be present where I am now, soaking up my last few weeks at a fantastic school in a beautiful city. Making decisions about graduate school has shown me just how well being a music student at DePaul has prepared me for this big step, and it makes me ever prouder to be a Blue Demon.
My new school’s mascot is “Spike”, the humpback whale, so I can officially say that I am either a Blue-Whale Demon, or a Blue Demon-Whale! I’m not sure which one I like more yet. ;)
As midterms wind down, I can’t wait for the summer to finally be here. As this will be my first summer in Chicago, the possibilities seem quite endless for me during the next upcoming months.
This summer will also be my first summer working an “adult job.” Not to put the lifeguard profession down or anything — I have mad respect for anyone who is willing to save lives — but my new internship makes me feel as if I am going places in life.
Starting in June, I will be a copywriter creative intern at Potbelly Sandwich Works. I am very excited to apply the skills I’ve learned at DePaul to an internship in which I will be dealing with real world issues.
But on top of working a full time job, I’m in the process of compiling a bit of a “Summer To Do List” full of things I plan on learning this summer. Every summer I convince myself that I will dedicate the threeish months I have off to learning how to do new things or becoming an expert at something. And every summer I commit to about three or four… about one about half of a goal.
However, this summer will be different! I can already feel it!
Here’s my list and goals for summer 2015:
. I’ve always wanted to start my own blog, and with websites like WordPress
, this is more than a possibility. Luckily, DePaul students have free, unlimited access to Lynda.com, a website that has an online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills. I plan to fully utilize Lynda.com over the summer in my WordPress learning journey.
. This is on my list every summer. Knitting
just doesn’t sound as fun in the summer months as it does in the winter, but I need three months to practice, practice, practice so I won’t be knitting scarves with holes in them come January.
• LinkedIn etiquette
. I recently have been on LinkedIn
a lot more lately. Perhaps, my frantic search for a summer internship fueled my fire to update my profile. However, I plan to keep updating it and expanding my network. The verdict is mixed for me as to whether LinkedIn is necessary or not, however I plan to play around with this social networking site more this summer.
. Maybe it’s my constant perusing on Pinterest, but I am totally convinced that calligraphy
is one of the most beautiful forms of art. I would love to learn how to do this kind of lettering this summer.
• Cooking. I feel like learning how to cook more than pasta is necessary at this point ... this “learning” goal is more of a quality of life thing more than anything else.
• Tan. This isn't really a learning goal. I just really need to work on my tan. Pale is so not my color. Don't forget to use sunscreen though : )
. Mostly for when I get lost. But also because the movie Interstellar inspired me to become more knowledgeable about space, the stars, and the galaxy in preparation for when we must find a new planet.
What are you up to this summer? While I certainly am all about some high quality goal setting, sometimes just relaxing and enjoying life is the best thing to accomplish during break.
One of my favorite things about DePaul is the relationships that are possible with professors and staff. Because of the small size of the science/pre-health programs
, and DePaul's commitment to an individualized education, there's a bounty of invaluable resources to help you navigate your time in college and figure out what to do after college.
My main point is that it's NEVER too early to start getting prepared for these things. Professors are an excellent resource to help with class and getting involved outside of class. However, sometimes you need to talk to someone that can provide you assistance that a professor can't necessarily provide. These people are pros (literally) at what they do. They know how to help students get involved, how to mentor students to be more professional and job-ready, and how to help students in their preparation for life after DePaul.
Here they are, three resources that you MUST know about. I recommend that you meet these women first thing at DePaul, how about the first month you're here?!
Lindsey is The Pre-Health Advisor at DePaul (I put a capital T in THE because she's a very important resource). Lindsey is an incredible resource for anyone looking to go in to a health related field after college. She'll help you make sure you are on track for success in the future. I appreciate Lindsey because she is very approachable. There have been many times in my admissions process for medical school that I needed to ask a question, maybe a silly question, and Lindsey has always been there to help. A few times I have made appointments with Lindsey just to chat and make sure that I'm on the right track. And the best part is that Lindsey has always been perfectly fine with this. She's very informed of application processes and realistic with you about your progress and position. She'll give you advice so that you're better informed and prepared for whatever will come after your time at DePaul.
Hilarie is the Career Specialist for the College of Science and Health (CSH). When I was receiving feedback for a committee letter recommendation, the major message from my advisor was to meet with Hilarie as much as possible. My advisor spoke of Hilarie as a type of professionalism skills goddess. My advisor said that Hilarie would be able to get me in the place I need to be with interview, professionalism, and confidence skills. I've met with Hilarie multiple times and she's exceeded all the expectations I had from her based on my advisor's recommendation. Hilarie was clear with specific actions I needed to take to improve, and she was encouraging yet realistic of how I can overcome some of my interview struggles. Every meeting I have with Hilarie I walk out with a sense of excitement for the practical suggestions that Hilarie gave me on how to improve.
Michelle just started a new position as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Resource. I met Michelle because I started as a biology major at DePaul and Michelle was the biology academic advisor at the time. Even when I switched my major to health sciences and then chemistry, I still went to see Michelle once (I probably technically wasn't supposed to do this) for her wisdom. Michelle is really easy to talk to, yet you won't leaving a meeting not knowing the next steps. I especially appreciate the way that Michelle makes you feel encouraged, supported, and motivated. You can tell that Michelle really does care about the success of her students.
Choosing a college is arguably the hardest decision a young person ever has to make. How can you choose a home based on an hour visit, a subpar student tour guide, and thousands of brochures screaming at you that [insert college here] could be your new home?
It’s definitely quite close to impossible.
I decided I wanted to go to DePaul a few days before the decision date, so I’m no stranger to the big decision.
Luckily for me, DePaul was the perfect fit. I love city life and couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. I’m close to home, but at the same time, far enough away to establish a name for myself from the ground up. This is exactly what I wanted.
Last weekend I spoke as a panelist at DePaul’s Honors Reception, an event for admitted Honors students, and I was reminded why I chose DePaul in the first place.
I chose DePaul because I wanted an adventure. The sprawling cornfields of the Midwest and the sweltering heat of the south didn’t do the trick for me. I felt stagnant — I couldn’t see myself exploring the location and in the process, finding myself. College is a time to grow, and while academics are important, environment is equally so.
The deciding factor came down to a scheduled visit with a potential advisor. Being able to ask questions about DePaul and student life in a personal, one-on-one setting helped me feel that faculty was approachable. And the truth is at DePaul they are more than approachable. I consider some of my advisors and professors my friends.
Last week I found myself sitting next to my political science professor at a Mexican restaurant eating chips and salsa and chatting about bubble baths— if that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is.
I encourage you to contact a DePaul student or advisor if you are curious as to what student life and academics look like beyond a brief tour. This helped me choose the right college, and I can say that the advisor I initially met during one of my visits to DePaul is someone that I am very close with now.
I always thought DePaul’s phrase, “The city is your campus,” was cheesy and simply a public relations ploy, but being a second-year student at DePaul, I can say that I live by that mantra. The city truly is my campus. I learn something every day from walking the streets of Chicago, and exploring the different neighborhoods and cultural environments.
Additionally, the opportunities this city has are endless – I’ve seen Broadway shows, went to some really intimate concert venues, had access to the mayoral candidates election parties, seen drag shows, been to famous restaurants, walk Michigan Avenue and State Street on a daily basis, been to Chicago sports games, and I currently live right next to Wrigley Field.
Beyond that, I’ve had the opportunity to become an editor at
our student newspaper, write this blog, nailed some pretty sweet internships,
started a blog, volunteered with CPS students, helped start a Super PAC, became
a research assistant, and so much more.
I think it’s safe to say that not everyone has been as
privileged as I have in their college experiences.
Wherever you’re at in the decision making process, I wish
you the best of luck and know that at the end of the day college isn’t always
about where you go, but about what you do once you’re there.
It has been a great start to my final quarter of college: I had a fantastic Easter with my family in Michigan, and this past week, I started a new teaching job! While I love working in the DePaul Music Admissions office dearly, teaching cello with El Sistema programs is my passion in life.
In case you are unfamiliar with the El Sistema movement and have not read some of my earlier posts, El Sistema is an educational methodology centered around social empowerment through music. The movement began in Venezuela in 1975 by a man named Jose Antonio Abreu; he started programs around Venezuela that provided kids with free music education, five to six days a week, keeping them off the streets and in a loving community. This philosophy is centered around the belief that every child deserves an equal opportunity to grow as a person, using music to encourage that growth.
This is actually the third program I have been honored to work with in the past three years. I began volunteering with The People’s Music School Youth Orchestra
program my freshman year of college. How did I find out about this opportunity? I saw a poster hanging on the DePaul School of Music bulletin board! I am forever grateful for that bulletin board. I taught cello for the first time with that program, leading group and private lessons with students who ranged from ages 8 to 14.
I worked with The People’s Music School (TPMS) until the end of my Junior year and then went on my summer adventure to Trujillo, Peru where I worked with a non-profit organization called VivePeru
, teaching cello, and also taught cello with an El Sistema program there called Arpegio Peru. My experiences teaching with Vive Peru and with Arpegio Peru were both phenomenal. With Vive, I taught lessons at the Trujillo Conservatory, working with Peruvian students ranging from ages 22 to 27. It was so amazing to not only work with students who were older than I was, but I also taught my lessons completely in Spanish! Working with Arpegio gave me a glimpse into the South American El Sistema experience, one that is characterized by deep friendship, great joy, and intense love for music. It was incredible to travel to the nearby city of Chimbote each weekend to teach kids and adults.
I returned to Chicago this Fall, extremely excited to enroll in North Park University’s Certificate in Music for Social Change program, a year-long study of El Sistema history, philosophy, and principles. I am currently finishing this course and have been learning so much about El Sistema because of it!
As of last week, I am teaching with an El Sistema program headed by Ravinia, as part of their “Reach, Teach, Play” program. I am teaching once a week in the Austin neighborhood, which is a very different community than Logan Square, the neighborhood where I taught with TPMS.
No matter where I have taught- from Peru to Chicago- I see energy, eagerness, and passion in each student. All of them crave to learn more and be the best they can be. Although I am teaching them musical and social skills, I know that I have so much to learn from each of my students. I love being immersed in a very different culture and learning about my students’ stories and dreams. I am excited to grow more as a teacher in the next couple of months before I graduate, and I am also looking forward to what I will learn in the years to come because of El Sistema!
Ever since I was in seventh grade, I have been babysitting. I love everything about children: their silliness, smiles, laughs, curiosity, and hugs. When I came to DePaul, I knew I wanted to continue finding families to work for. It is the best job, especially for a college student. You essentially make your own hours, as you can accept or decline jobs as your schedule permits. Also, I love growing close to a family because it gives me a warm, loving place to be that usually combats the loneliness or stress that comes with college life.
Because I am not from Chicago, I did not really know how I was going to find families to babysit for. There were a couple job postings on one of the bulletin boards in the Student Center
that I had luck with, but I did not really find a lot of jobs until I joined an online site. There are a few babysitting websites in Chicago, but the one I chose is called UrbanSitter
. It was one of the best decisions I made, as I have gotten so many jobs and contacts from this website.
As a potential sitter, you set up a profile containing an introductory paragraph, past experience, hourly rates, and the neighborhoods you are willing to work in. Your profile goes through a screening process and if accepted, you then update your availability for parents to see or apply to jobs already posted. It is really easy and once you meet a family on UrbanSitter, it is likely you will stay in contact and sit for them again. I have many repeat families that I love sitting for that I found on UrbanSitter. It is a great way to make money on that random Friday or Saturday night where you don’t have plans. You essentially get paid to play with kids and then after they go to bed, watch TV or do homework. UrbanSitter is also great if you are looking for a part-time, weekly job. I have had a wonderful experience with UrbanSitter and I recommend it if you are looking to babysit in Chicago.
After a month of incessant e-mailing, scheduling on scheduling, and a mini social media campaign, the Third Annual Honors Student Government
Alumni Panel was a go.
The planning of this event had literally consumed my life for a good month, however, the success of the event was totally rewarding.
With the help of my fellow Academic Committee Co-Chair, the Honors Program staff, and the Alumni Office, I was able to put together a nice gathering of Honors students, former Honors students, meatballs, and cheesecake bites. Yes, of course there was free food. We scheduled DePaul catering which meant bruschetta, coffee, and lemon ice water. If that wasn't reason enough to come to the event, then I don’t know what was.
We had a diverse panel of four alumni come to share their knowledge of the job market and their respective industries with Honors students. This event was extremely helpful in gaining some affirmation that recent DePaul grads are doing some pretty cool things. For example, one of our panelists was the founder of his own startup company, while another was adjunct faculty in DePaul’s CDM College. All of the panelists brought great insight and were able to shed light on how the Honors program helped them prepare for their current jobs.
They all recommended seeking out internships early on during your college career. This is important for gaining experience, and even if you hate your internship, it gives you information about what you don’t want to do. In the world of endless opportunities, every chance you can get to narrow your possibilities is helpful.
DePaul makes our alumni network super accessible to reach out to for advice. Through our College and Career Center’s ASK program (short for Alumni Sharing Knowledge), it’s possible to find a mentor to help guide you through your potential job field. They also can you help to prepare you for job interviews and look over your resume. The ASK program is a great networking source because you automatically have something in common: Once a Blue Demon, always a Blue Demon.
Our event took place directly after our general body meeting for Honors Student Government and went as follows:
- 4:30-5:00 Set up and greet alumni
- 5:00-5:15 Head shots
- 5:15-6:15 Alumni Panel
- 6:15-6:30 Raffle and closing announcements
Overall, all the hard work paid off! The event went very smoothly, the alumni and students had fun, and there were those cheesecake bites...I had so many I lost track. It’s nice to know the DePaul community doesn’t end when you graduate. Through ASK and Alumni Panels, the fun is just beginning.
Charles W. Johnson graduated from DePaul University in 1999, where he received his B.A. in English. He recently wrote an an article on his personal blog The Vociferous Envoy - a blog featured on the very popular Chicago Now website - in which he reflects on his time at DePaul and a special relationship that helped bring him to where he is today.
Why I Write My Blog -
A couple of weeks ago I told you how I write, now I will let you know why I write or at least who taught me how to write. Trust me as much as some of us may have seemed to come out the womb writing, there were plenty of people to shape us, motivate us and tighten up our style.
I'd be remiss not to mention all of the great educators from Saint Columbanus in Park Manor, Paul Revere Elementary In South Shore, Seven Holy Founders in Calumet Park and of course Brother Rice in Mount Greenwood.
But its at DePaul University where writing took over my life and I realized not only did I have a gift but I needed to work on it. Now I'm no scholar, I started at DePaul University as a "Bridge Student" meaning I came in early that summer in a program that basically meant I was probationary.
But through that program I had tutors and mandatory study hall and that got my study habits right. It also got me on track with my writing and by the autumn quarter (yes DePaul is on a "three quarter system"), I was really into writing for my classes. It was right after that I switched my major from Marketing to English because it was clear where my talent was and where my passion was. And I really sucked at business math.
It was my sophomore year, when I got through all the first required classes and I took Creative Writing and the professor was Dr. Peter Vandenberg. He was the first professor who had us critique each others work. Which in the fall of 1995 meant making copies of your work at Kinkos and bringing enough for everyone in class in a cardboard box.
That process was eye opening (not going to Kinkos at 11 at night after my shift at Montgomery Wards), but having your classmates "talk about" your work. You quickly learned your strengths and weaknesses and Dr. Vandenberg would give you positive feedback but not enough to let you get full of yourself.
I came out of that class knowing I had some work to do but I was eager to write, I had the next writing class and I forget the professors name but she changed my life as well, I had written this 20 some page interracial, romantic comedy that made of some my classmates uneasy. The professor liked it and said it would be better if I changed it from third person point of view to first person point of view. And I had like two days to do it.
I rewrote the whole story overnight, literally. I took that challenge personally and wrote straight through for six or so hours and re did the whole story line by line and she was right, it was so much better with 1st person point of view. I got an A on the paper and never wrote in third person again.
My third year at DePaul was my most challenging, by the spring of 1997 I had lost two grandparents in the span of nine months and was writing like some deranged author. And I had my next class with Dr. Peter Vandenberg, it was Rhetoric a 300 level class that even had some graduate level work in it. This was a small class, I think nine of us and met at 10 in the morning Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was one of the hardest classes I ever had. Dr. Vandenberg challenged us every class, this was no "Creative Writing", it was ethos, long readings and lots of discussions. There was no hiding, you read, you wrote, you spoke, you sometimes felt dumb.
But what changed me was another challenge by Dr. Vandenberg. We had a writing assignment and I had just had a racial incident at my job at Montgomery Wards (basically a black law enforcement officer was a customer and asked me to break a cardinal rule so he could shop the way he wanted to, I refused and he questioned my blackness), the incident devastated me but my management backed me up. I told Dr. Vandenberg about what happened, he told me write it for class.
Whoa, okay but I did it and of course the class critiqued it (and I had to relive the incident), I never felt more "naked" before a class before or since. But after that I was fearless with my writing.
After that I had two more classes with Dr. Vandenberg (pictured is my last class with him "Rhetoric Of Graffiti"), or as he says "I majored in Vandenberg", and yes in the years since he's become a great friend but I will never forget his lessons in the classroom and even the time he took out of class for me. I remember at one point I wasn't writing as much and he told me "Shakespeare doesn't write much now either", but he was happy I was taking more time to read.
This past weekend the legendary former basketball coach of University of North Carolina Dean Smith died and basketball icon Michael Jordan mentioned how Coach Smith taught him about the game about basketball and life. I know what he means because Dr. Vandenberg taught me such much through writing and I'm no Michael Jordan but having a great mentor who is also a excellent friend is beyond words and its why I write.
I can’t stop thinking about the movie Whiplash. By now, many of you out there have probably at least heard of it. For those of you who haven’t, Whiplash is a remarkable film about a young jazz drummer at the nation’s top music conservatory being pushed to the limit by a supremely demanding conductor at the school. It’s such a beautifully done film; masterfully acted, shot, and edited. And it asks an important question: what makes the great artists truly great?
As I inch ever closer to graduation, the constant daydreaming about what kind of work I want to do as an artist and human being is becoming ever more pressing. I’m in a really fortunate position, I can pretty much go anywhere and do anything I want, but it’s tough to figure out what my path will be. I know what I value and I know the kind of people I want to work with, but it’s a matter of putting myself in a position that will allow me to be free to do exactly the kind of work I want to do.
One of my immediate goals is to continue to do a great deal of quality classical work, both Shakespeare and otherwise. Thus far the performances I have done that I enjoy the most and from which I learn the most have been performing Shakespeare. I’m going to continue on this track because I believe that if you can perform classical text well, you can do it all well. It’s also becoming more and more of a desire of mine to write and produce some killer short films with my buddy. I’ve been learning more about what it actually takes to produce a film and it seems like something we can actually do. I have no doubt that we can make some honest, personal films and I want to get it done! The wheels are turning!
In Whiplash, our protagonist takes to heart the idea that the great jazz musicians in history became great because they were relentless and never, ever took no for an answer. While I think one has to take care of themselves and have a healthy separation from their work, I do think that it is so important to go after artistic pursuits with single-minded determination. It’s the only way and that’s how I plan on working from this point on.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
I saw The Districts on Seth Meyers this past week. Great energy and killer sound for such a young band. I mean, come on! They just graduated HIGH SCHOOL!
As a student worker in the School of Music Admissions office
, I have been fortunate enough to see how DePaul's School of Music
is run from behind the curtain. Although there is no crazy scientist who is trying to be a large, powerful wizard back there, I have discovered some pretty cool things about my school! In fact, I have realized that DePaul's music school offers a lot of great job opportunities for its students, and through that, we have all seen how efficiently our school runs.
Here are some positions around the DePaul School of Music where students work: Front Desk Worker
- The front desk worker is essentially the face of the School of Music. These workers sit behind the main desk, answering telephone calls for the school, directing people, and answering their questions. They also handle the sign-out sheets and keys for the different studio rooms and classrooms, giving out keys to students who have permission to access those rooms. Front desk workers also sort the incoming mail on a daily basis and handle the lost and found bin.Admissions Worker
- I will warn you- I am extremely biased about this position because I love my job! Admissions workers learn to do many things: we answer emails and phone calls about admission-related questions, handle admission materials- which involves scanning, uploading, and updating the documents sent to our office, give tours to prospective students and their parents, and send mail. We also work on audition days, when applicants are auditioning for the School of Music! Set-up Crew Worker
- Set-up crew is a more labor-intensive job. Workers are assigned to set up and tear down all the chairs, risers, and stands for the rehearsals and performances of different ensembles. Workers show up before and stay after the rehearsal or concert, making sure everything is in place and ready.
Stage Managing Worker- Stage managers act as both backstage managers and ushers during performances. They often work student recitals. They are in charge of controlling the lights during the performance and changing the stage setup when needed. For ensemble and other larger performances, workers can be ushers and pass out programs in the front of the hall and make sure the concert will not be disturbed. Stage managers are also in charge of locking and unlocking the two performance halls within the School of Music throughout a given day.
Students do not need to be eligible for work study in order to have these on-campus jobs; once you arrive as a student in the School of Music, you may apply for any job that has openings and decide how often you are willing to work. Student workers are paid minimum wage, gaining important work experience while making some extra money!
This quarter, my class has a tandem of two weekly classes at the Acting Studio Chicago. The Acting Studio is a center for classes focused in acting technique and also the business side of the entertainment industry in Chicago. The classes we are taking are an acting for the camera class and also an audition technique class. They present an interesting one-two punch every week introducing every week to what it might really be like to work as an actor in Chicago.
In acting for the camera, we go through scenarios every week that resemble an actual on-camera audition that we would go on. We read commercial copy and learn how to most effectively use our training to make this sometimes dry text unique to us and boil down what will help us get callbacks on these auditions. It’s a subtle technique and looking at yourself on the screen once we’ve filmed the segments is very weird at first. I’m getting more used to it with each class but it can make you pretty self-conscious. It really just comes down to practice, I think. Doing this kind of material is something very few people in my class have ever done but we’re getting better. In addition to reading copy, we’ve gone through scenarios for auditions with no written text and worked in pairs. We are certainly getting an advantage because so many other actors our age not coming out of a program such as ours don’t have this opportunity to learn the industry and the technique before jumping in to an audition.
Speaking of auditioning, our audition class on Fridays is an extension of the audition class we had last quarter. We are learning what it takes to get in the door with agents and do our best work when we get in the room for those auditions. I guess the biggest thing that I’m taking from all of it is that there is no right way to do it, really. The most important thing to me is that I don’t feel like I’m compromising any part of myself to get work that I think I “should” get or “have” to get. I want to and will do it my way and I am confident that, because of that, I will do the work that I want to do. Rock on, amirite?
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
Say what you will about Beck, but the dude can really write a jam.
No one thinks about having ice cream in the winter, especially in Chicago, but that didn’t stop hundreds of students from attending the DAB (DePaul Activities Board)
sponsored event of Jerry Greenfield. Jerry, from Ben and Jerry’s ice cream
, came to speak to DePaul students about, well, ice cream and give a little insight on the entrepreneurial
experience. Though it was a business orientated presentation, the event was open to all students. Jerry Greenfield made jokes, answered questions, and posed for several pictures with students afterward. The night was a successful one, and there was even a little treat for students at the end. This is one of many DAB events occurring this winter quarter. From what I’ve heard, students loved it and had fun, and there have been many new students interested in joining DAB recently.
So, I would like to pass on an invitation to anyone that may feel like joining a new club, getting more involved, or would just like to get access to awesome, free events like Jerry Greenfield. Stop by the student center
on Monday at 5 pm. DAB has its general board meetings then. They are located in the cafeteria in the room by the pasta line. I will be there as usual so feel free to come say hi!
As always thank you for reading my blog stay awesome!
A couple of weeks ago I was completing an assessment for a potential job. One of the sections measured my proficiency in English by asking me to correct sentences if necessary. In one question I was given a sentence containing the word sometime and asked to correct the sentence if it was used incorrectly.
It's unfortunate that it wasn't until then that I really wanted to investigate the difference between sometime and some time. It's also unfortunate that I couldn't just Google it because the exam was proctored via the internet by a company that had control of my computer and webcam.
As students growing up in a world where we can search the internet for almost any fact or information that we're looking for, our approach to education is certainly going to have to change. This isn't a novel idea, people have been talking about it for a long time. Check out this short video about that.
But, here's why this is so relevant. As learners and future productive members of society, we have to figure out how we're going to adapt. We have to figure out what it means if we're not sure how to use sometime and some time. Today in the clinic I volunteer at another volunteer was translating for a patient. The volunteer knew Spanish well, but there were a few words that were difficult. I had Google translate on call, ready for the moments when I was asked to look up a word. And it worked. The communication was much faster and easier than looking up the words in the Spanish medical dictionary sitting right next to us.
Thinking about how we (as students) should respond is kind of frightening. Not only do we have to think about how we will adapt to these changes, but we will have to think about how to teach our kids. In biochemistry it's imperative to know the amino acids structure, pKas, and properties without having to look them up. It's part of the language. It's not possible to effectively interpret biological/ chemical information without "knowing" these things. In this case, knowing definitely implies knowledge that require no consultation of external resources. But, using this definition, I didn't "know" the difference between the uses of sometime and some time when I was taking my assessment, and I kind of felt ashamed.
I offer no answer or solution. I'm just beginning to think about what all of this means. This fascinating issue is becoming increasingly relevant to us as students. We need to figure out how to find, process, interpret, and store the information that we come across. It's our job as students to figure out how we'll use the technology we have to enhance our education. We'll have to adapt to learn new skills applicable to the jobs we'll be performing.
You must be wondering, if you haven't Googled it yet. Here's the difference between sometime and some time:
This past week, I attended the first planning meeting for one of the most exciting and daunting events of senior year for us acting majors: Graduate Showcase. Our Showcase is where we travel to New York City and LA to do a performance of scenes and monologues for industry professionals like agents, casting directors, and managers. Oh, we also do one here in Chicago, by the way. In addition to doing the Showcase itself in those cities, we also attend alumni networking events that can put us in contact with alums of TTS
(The Theatre School) that might be able to help us get settled in those cities should we decide to move there. And the crazy part? We do all three performances within the span of two weeks! Nuts, righ
t? So, this first planning meeting was mostly to talk logistics. We covered things like budgeting, getting headshots printed, transportation, and lodging. It’s all very overwhelming and absolutely exhilarating.
Many of my classmates have pretty much already decided if they want to move away from Chicago right after Showcase and graduation or not, but I’m in a very flexible spot. I always thought that I would want to leave Chicago for LA right away but after these past four years, my thoughts on it have definitely shifted. I want to do different kinds of work than I did before and that could lead me anywhere.
I have no idea where I will be six months from now but I’m leaning towards probably staying in Chicago for the time being and maybe even going overseas for a while. I’d love to see what the UK might have for a young theatre maker such as myself, especially if I had some collaborators who also wanted to head over there. It’s always been a dream of mine to live overseas for at least a while and soon might be the best time to do it.
Ultimately, I will have to see what the next several months hold for me and what opportunities Showcase might present, and then go from there. It’s very exciting to have all of these options ahead of me. I’m just going to have to go with my gut.Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
This week is "Towers" by Bon Iver. My favorite song off their self-titled second album. I could listen to it any time, any day.
In hindsight, rolling pretzels in high school at the age of 16, all to save up for college, was actually the first step in preparing me for my future career and I didn't even know it. No, I don’t want to make pretzels a full-time career (unless it is consuming them), but the skills I have learned from working in customer service has molded me into the employee and teammate I am now.
Four years after experiencing the greasy lifestyle of being a pretzel wench, I am now a sales associate at a women’s clothing store called Anthropologie. Valuable lesson numero uno: working in retail isn't a job for everyone. A job in customer service (or really any job where you have to interact with humans) takes patience, a friendly personality, and the oh so useful ability to smile when someone is yelling at you because a specific candle isn’t in stock.
Retail work is sometimes mind numbing and dull, but at least it continues to teach me that mastering the ability of managing time makes a world of difference. When it comes to reaching a goal, I now understand the importance of doing tasks in the most efficient way possible. I spend hours upon hours doing shipments, putting on sensors, restocking the merchandise, and every single day I find a quicker way to do it. Now, whenever I wrestle tasks at my internship that have seemed to be done inefficiently in the past, I find a way to make a more economical and better use of time.
Working with customers is also great practice at making first impressions. Coming in contact with hundreds of people a day has trained me how to read body language as well as become a master at dealing with other people’s needs and emotions. These interactions will make working/meeting future clients or co-workers a breeze. In my experience, I now know that when someone starts to get defensive with their tone or body language it usually means that they feel attacked or overlooked. This is when you take a moment to listen, show that you value their opinion, and try to have a calm discussion about the issue. I learned all this just by helping a customer return a pillowcase.
My current retail job has also made it clear that networking yourself is the key to making big things happen. For instance, a co-worker of mine made it known that her boyfriend was a producer at The Second City Network. TSCN is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge deal to me because Saturday Night Live was made possible by the comedians that performed there and I am just in love with the plays and improve shows they create. I got the producers email and asked if he needed an intern to do some grunt work around the office. 3 weeks later, I started my first internship at one of the most well-known comedy clubs in the USA. NETWORKING, PEOPLE, NETWORKING!
Sometimes when you’re looking at things close up you can’t tell how big of an effect they have on your life. In retrospect, the time I’ve spent working in retail has helped me foster skills that I know I will use in my future career and interactions with people.
Two weeks of the quarter down already! Of course, I’m already as busy as ever. So typical.
This quarter, I am working on a really exciting project with some students at DePaul that I am extremely pumped about.
My friend, Colin Mackintosh, is the founder and president of his own Super PAC, which is quite amazing. I feel very lucky to be a member of this political organization.
The Super PAC is called the Student Debt Reform PAC and works to fight for the right of current and former students to have the ability to refinance their federal student loans. This issue is such an important one for anyone pursuing a higher education. Trying to tackle the issue with my fellow students is a really refreshing project. To give you a quick snapshot of the current tuition situation in America, take a look at these facts I found while doing a quick Google search:
- Student loans have passed credit cards and auto loans to become the second biggest source of personal debt in the U.S., trailing only mortgages
- Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, a number that has tripled in the last decade
- The average Class of 2014 graduate with student loan debt has to pay back some $33,000. Even after adjusting for inflation that’s nearly double the amount borrowers had to pay back 20 years ago
- Only 41 percent of students graduate in four years.
Quite honestly, these statistics are quite unsettling. People shouldn’t be punished for wanting to pursue a higher education and make a better future for themselves. With the creation of a Super PAC focused on spreading awareness about student debt reform, it should be comforting that there is an effort in the political realm trying to make a difference.
One of the PAC’s goals is to stay as bipartisan as possible by focusing more on alerting and education people on the importance of the issue of student debt, rather than focusing on promoting individual candidates. I think that student debt reform is truly a bipartisan issue. Unfortunately, everyone can relate to the astronomical amount of debt that our country’s undergraduate and graduate students face.
Check out the Student Debt Reform Super PAC’s website at www.studentdebtreform.com
On the website, individuals can donate to the PAC using credit or debit cards, PayPal, or by sending a check that includes the required information listed on the website. Individuals can even donate using cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin. Pretty tech savvy, I must say.
Also on the website, people can buy debt reform stickers and use them to spread the word! All of the proceeds go to the Student Debt Reform PAC.
It’s cool to apply many of the concepts I have been learning in my classes to a real world project. Being a political science and public relations and advertising double major, I have found my education thus far to be extremely useful.
Whether you’re looking at colleges now, are a current college student, or are still paying off student loans, I hope that you consider student debt reform to be a possibility. Spread the word about the Student Debt Reform PAC!
Chris Lamprecht, a senior studying community psychology, has participated in service since high school, but this year, he was able to find to a project that combined his desire to make a difference with an opportunity to gain skills for his future career as a community psychologist.
“I was looking to get more involved with the community, as well as to do something related to community psychology values and research,” said Chris.
Chris is working with DePaul’s Center for Community Research where he gathers and analyzes data on students who attend Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The goal is to identify stressors CPS students face that can lead to violence. Ultimately, the research will be used to support a program that helps these students find positive ways to manage stress.
“It’s service, but its practical experience too in terms of me getting to participate in research. I’m still out there in the community helping to find a way for students to cope with stress, but this is great internship experience for me too.”
While participating in service shaped Chris’ education, it wasn’t a deciding factor in his choice to attend DePaul.
“Choosing DePaul, I was very attracted to the campus, the city of Chicago—a lot of self-interested reasons, but it ended up being the best choice. Service has changed my outlook on life, the way I look at my friends, family and politics. It has opened my eyes to tolerance and acceptance. Being able to connect with other people has been one of the most profound experiences I’ve had.”
When Rebecca Woods was applying for financial aid, she discovered DePaul’s community service scholarship
“It fit with my personality and what I wanted to do,” says Rebecca, who grew up doing service projects with her family. “The classes in the program sounded really interesting; I wanted to learn more about gentrification and segregation in the city.”
She and the two dozen other students in her cohort choose a location to spend about 30 hours each quarter volunteering. In some classes, they dig deep into issues such as homelessness, marginalization and racism. In others, they “unpack” their experiences, sharing what they’ve learned and exploring what service means to each of them.
“Service has been very humbling in both my academic and non-academic experiences. I’m meeting people I wouldn’t have met, putting myself in their shoes,” she says. “It’s taught me to think more critically about my actions and my education and how lucky I am.”
Rebecca spent her first three years at DePaul volunteering at LIFT, an advocacy program in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. She started as an advocate and worked her way up to the leadership team. Now a senior, she’s supporting senior citizens living in a retirement community. At both locations, her volunteer work has had an impact on her résumé.
“I developed professional skills as well as academic skills. I created marketing campaigns for LIFT, trained people, developed organizational skills, learned to delegate,” Rebecca says. “I really got a lot more out of it than just putting in my hours."
Her experiences also have shaped her professional goals. Although she’s always wanted to work in marketing, she now wants to work on cause marketing for a socially responsible company.
“My community service and business ethics studies have really crafted my goals,” she says. “Applying for the community service scholarship is one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
In between inhaling cheese fries and making elevator rides as awkward as possible, I juggle 3 jobs and a full course load of school work. Trying to balance multiple jobs and school is a reality for many students. Anything from a fun night out with friends to paying for books, the money has to come from somewhere. If you are fortunate enough to have some of your spending money supplemented by your family, I still believe that having a job can expand your social network and communication skills.
Luckily, I landed a job as a desk receptionist at the DePaul dorms. The shifts are 4 hours in duration and it is very easy to trade shifts because, as we all know, sometimes plans happen spontaneously. What especially rules about this job is that not only do you get paid to sit down, but you get to make friends with people you normally wouldn’t run into. This job has made it easy for me to stay in touch with the campus community even with my tight schedule.
Truth be told, the highlight of working the desks at a college campus has to be all the connections you make with the food delivery people. I’m pleased to say that not ONCE have I purchased Insomnia Cookies because the delivery people are so dang nice. Now I’m not saying that if you become a DR (desk receptionist) that you will automatically get free yummy things, but if you be genuinely nice the world will do you a favor sometimes. I don’t even have a huge sweet tooth but the fact that it’s free makes all the difference for a typical money-less college kid like myself.
Another perk to this job is that it gives you time to get homework done. For example, I am literally writing this blog while I man the desk at University Hall. Also, I suffer from chronic procrastination and if I am just sitting at a desk and the only thing I have in front of me is my sociology textbook I’ll just suck it up and read. Although internet access is limited, a four hour timespan creates a sweet environment to get some easy reading or journal entries done. Research papers or other types of assignments that might need to be supplemented by the internet are a little more difficult to get done.
I honestly suggest looking into getting a job on campus such as desk reception (or at least be a delivery person and hook ‘em up with some food because hunger is real during those shifts).
If you’re interested in finding an on-campus job or how to prepare for a position…check out the site below.https://studentemployment.depaul.edu/find_a_job/
Who doesn’t love a good debate? I know I sure do. Especially a political one charmingly deemed the “Sheffield Scuffle.”
Last week I went to see the DePaul College Republicans and the DePaul College Democrats go head-to-head in this year’s political debate. The two teams debated issues pertaining to the economy, the environment, crime and education. It took place in the student center (on Sheffield Street, hence the aforementioned charming name of the debate.)
I was a little biased while sitting in the crowd because my awesome roommate was debating on the side of the Democrats. Despite my political views (I sure won’t get into them here, so don’t worry), I had to show my support for my friend.
Like the dork that I am, I decided to sport an American flag bandana. I thought, “what could be cooler than literally walking into the political debate with a fashion statement of democracy tied to my forehead?” I ended up getting a lot of laughs, but I’m pretty sure they were at me instead of with me. I stand behind it though. You’ve got to wear red, white, and blue to any political event. It’s the unwritten rule.
While the debate was by no
means perfect, it was certainly entertaining. A professor from the political
science department moderated the debate and the turnout was pretty successful.
The debate was structured as follows: Opening statements, questions posed from
one side to the other, response, rebuttal, repeat, switch sides for the
questions on the next topic, concluding statements, and question and answer
Did ya get all that? I would
say that there are a lot of opportunities to get involved politically on
campus. Although I’m not in neither the DePaul College Republicans nor the
Democrats, they both are strong clubs on campus that many students belong to.
Additionally, there are many
other ways to get onto the political scene here. Through internships for
aldermen and congressmen throughout the city of Chicago, these politicians are
always looking for DePaul students to help volunteer. Being a political science
major, it’s exciting to know that there are so many opportunities to get
involved on campus and in the city.
Of course while at the
debate I had to take a selfie in the crowd. If you look on stage you’ll see my
roommate debating about the minimum wage. I’m about to blow that picture up and
hang it on our apartment wall. Talk about wall art…
This year I am volunteering at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (is that a long name or what?) downtown off of Michigan Ave. I have only had two shifts so far but I can tell it is going to be one of the best experiences of my year. I am in the Cardiac CCU, which is the intensive care unit for children with cardiac problems. It is definitely sad to see such sick children, but it reassures me to know that I am helping to brighten their days. There is no age limit on the CCU- there are newborns up to adults. My focus, of course, will be on the babies and children.
So far, I have held a lot of babies which just fills my soul with peace. Babies are so special and helping them relax and sleep is a wonderful job, especially if the baby doesn’t have very many family members coming to visit and nurture them. Playing with the older kids is a blast, too. They are obviously much more interactive. So far, I have been beaten in Uno, fished Play-Doh out of a container of bubbles, and learned all the names of (and decapitated) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For the record, they are Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello. Having a younger sister, I could only tell you the different ways to dress a Polly Pocket or Barbie.
Even though they are sick, these children have already made an impact on me. Instead of being able to go to school and play outside like normal children, the kids on the Cardiac CCU are stuck in hospital rooms. Life is short and you never know what it will throw at you. Be loving, happy, excited, and grateful for all the opportunities and the life you have. Life is a gift so don’t waste it!
Hi, everyone! My name is Ruth Hogle, and I am a senior cello performance major in DePaul’s School of Music. Welcome to my DeBlog page!
There are many things I am passionate about and love writing about, and one topic that I still love to talk about is my experience living and working in Peru my past two summers.
When I entered my freshman year of college, I never thought I would travel outside of the country during my four years at DePaul. As a music major, it is very difficult to find a study abroad program that allows me to earn credits at a different school during the school year. Because my major is so focused and requires a lot of specific classes in order to earn my degree, taking time away during the quarter was not an option. And I was okay with that; I accepted it.
And then sophomore year happened. All of a sudden, I craved adventure. I felt a strong desire to travel to a foreign place on my own before I became an upperclassman in college. So I began looking for missionary programs around the world, including trips to Asia, Europe, and Australia. However, around the time I was looking online at these programs, a friend from my cello studio told me about a program he had volunteered with the previous summer…in Peru.
My first thought? “Peru?? What exactly is so cool about that place?” I had actually never heard much about South America as a whole, let alone this country on the west coast of the continent. I vaguely knew what Machu Picchu was, but that was it. However, soon after, I met with my friend and learned about the program and instantly became very interested. Hearing his experience and seeing the deep love he has for Peru really inspired me. I could hear a new word screaming at me in my head” “Aventura!!” I ended up applying the next day and was accepted as a music teacher with this nonprofit organization, Vive Perú, two days later!
So my first summer, I taught cello lessons five days a week at a local music conservatory in Trujillo, Peru and traveled on the weekends. It was incredible to learn about Peruvian culture, to travel to other places, and to make music with people from an entirely different place.
This past summer, I returned to Peru to work with Vive Perú as an in-country coordinator. My job entailed running errands, visiting other volunteers at their work sites, taking photos of the volunteers, updating our organization’s social media, and helping lead workshops and medical campaigns. This summer taught me a lot about how a non-profit organization runs (which was so fascinating…and overwhelming!!), and I learned even more about Peruvian life, as I developed strong friendships and grew close to my Peruvian host family.
Whenever I reflect on the total of four months I spent in Peru, I always smile. My time in South America did actually change me. There is something about living in a completely different and new place, away from everyone and everything you know that really pushes a person to grow exponentially. I experienced once-in-a-lifetime things and will have stories to tell for the rest of my life!
Some highlights of my trip: bungee jumping and repelling down a waterfall in Ecuador; practicing and speaking Spanish; petting multiple llamas, pigs, sheep, and hairless Peruvian dogs; sand boarding; performing in a fourth of July concert with the Trujillo Symphony Orchestra and being the only American on stage; forming friendships with Peruvians, with whom I still talk; and playing with children from a severely impoverished neighborhood multiple times a week and seeing them smile and laugh.
If you have an adventurous spirit and crave to see the world, consider studying abroad! If you want to learn a lot about a different place and about yourself, take the plunge (like I did when I jumped off that Ecuadorian bridge!) and climb that mountain (similar to the Andes mountains I visited multiple times the past year!). The world is literally yours to discover.
I think we can assume that being a lawyer isn't as glamorous as a great show like "Suits" depicts, but being a lawyer definitely has some similarities. As a kid, I remember wanting to be lawyer. I used to lie (innocently) a lot as a child. I couldn't even tell you why I did. I remember my mom always telling me to be a lawyer while I grew up. Now, I'm hoping it becomes a reality. The other day, a friend asked me why I wanted to be a lawyer, and I was a bit surprised by the question. I never really even asked myself that question.
It's a tough question to answer. Why do I want to be lawyer? What kind of law should I practice? Talking to individuals in the field, it seems to be a process of give and take. The private sector, although lucrative, is time consuming. If I want to go that route, I will have a six figure salary and live well, but I doubt I would have time to enjoy it my first ten years. With first year associates needing to acquire anywhere from 1800-2100 billable hours a year, you're looking at a 60-80 hour work week. On the flipside, you have government and non-profit work. Quite fulfilling work, time to enjoy your life, and an average salary where you can expect to be paying back loans for a while.
I've been told that, as a lawyer, you will look at both sides to every issue. For this issue, I look to combine both career possibilities. I want to be a part of that fast-pace lifestyle as well as give my time and energy to help those who cannot afford legal services. Hopefully I can find a job that satisfies both aspirations of mine. The more I learn about the law, the more frustrated I get with it. This only reinforces my desire to go to law school. I want to know about the law and what we can do to fix it.
My response to the question: I want to manipulate the law in my favor, and by doing so, effectively fix it. Yes, it's idealistic and probably irrational and unrealistic, but my belief nonetheless. I hear, from many intelligent people, not to go to law school. With an ever-increasing number of students attending law school and not nearly enough jobs for all of them, it's a big risk with a limited chance for a big reward. Their arguments are perfectly logical, but I am a believer of doing what you want to do and what makes you happy. I want to be a lawyer, and I want to try and help people in that capacity. I am still ignorant, and I know my opinions will change as I learn more, but my core beliefs will remain the same.
Once again, I know I am an idealist, but if something you want to do is within your grasp, I don't think there should be any question of embracing it and striving to achieve it. It's not easy to succeed in your desires if you don't try. I have learned this through my experiences and am better for it. I want to be a lawyer because I know I will put more effort into it than anything or anyone else, not because I need to, but because I want to. Luckily I realized my goals fairly early and am constantly finding more reasons to love my choice. I don't know what will happen to me in the next five to ten years. I don't know what I will be doing. But if I can challenge the laws that we all abide by and hopefully, by changing it, help more people than just myself, I will be happy.
This past Wednesday I had my Pre-health Advising Committee (PAC) letter of recommendation
interview. The letter is a component of the medical school application process that is important for showing schools who I am outside of my academic experience. My committee adviser is Dr. Southern in the Chemistry department. She has been my main point of contact in the committee as well as the person who I will meet with to receive feedback from the interview.
The process for a PAC letter of recommendation started a couple of months ago when I submitted four letters of recommendation from individuals (two from professors, one from a current doctor, and one from my current work supervisor). I also submitted a personal statement, a few essay responses, my transcripts, and my resume.
Most medical schools are now looking for a committee letter of recommendation
from a pre-health committee at your school, so it's an important process and I'm happy to have the chance to bring many voices into one letter. I'
ve definitely felt supported by my professors and advisers in the process of applying to medical school. The PAC letter is something students generally do as juniors or seniors, depending on when you are looking to apply to medical school. So far, my main piece of advice in the PAC letter process is to start thinking early about your decision to apply to medical school and to think deeply about why you want to become a physician.
As my junior year comes to a close, I am beginning to take some of the more difficult classes for my major. One of those classes is tax. As I have come to find out, tax is one of those courses that you either love or hate. Some people find joy in filing returns, learning tax code, and saving their clients money. Others have trouble wrapping their head around the subject and would probably rather take any other class than tax. Even though I have just started taking this class, I have noticed that there are many things that I enjoy about the subject.
For one, I really like that it is very relatable to current situations. I recently filed my tax return and noticed many things went hand in hand with my class. Taxes are very important in every American's life. Learning how they work is very interesting. It is one thing to know you have to pay taxes every year and another thing to know and understand why you pay taxes and what your taxes are doing for you.
When looking at tax code, it is very easy to get bogged down in the numbers and rules and laws that make up the code; however, when you take time to really dissect the information, it can be extremely interesting. What I really like about this class is that we are not just memorizing information. We are critically analyzing the code and understanding why it is what it is. Not only am I able to understand the code better, I know why I pay what I pay.
I think that it is extremely important that you take classes that are relatable to your future. Many students, in my opinion, don’t understand taxes. Some probably have not been in the position to care. But, looking to the future, I know that taxes will be a part of life, whether good or bad. As Ben Franklin said, 'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
THE STRUGGLE! All 4 years of high school, I had a job. I was gettin’ that cash money and saving MOST of it for school. Once I enrolled at DePaul I decided to take a quarter off of work and get assimilated with new friends and a new city. I don’t regret it at all- taking the time off, that is. But the time has come to get my bum back in gear and get a cash flow once again.
My suggestion to you job hunters is to take a gander and what DePaul Jobs has to offer. Positions may be scarce, but if you get in there early in the year you will have a better chance and grabbing something. Campus jobs are convenient and flexible and the students are limited to only 20 hours per week so that they can keep up on their homework as well. With a DePaul job you will be able to get your foot in the door right at the beginning of your college career. Who knows, you might meet managers, coworkers, and supervisors that could help you climb up the employment ladder if you show the initiative. Check out the link below for more deets.
If you strike out, there are outside jobs all over the city! Hit up Craigslist for possible positions. Many employers are looking for young, energetic students that need the money. Also, if you can tolerate small children/dogs/cats…check out www.care.com You could be a dog walker… a little poop cleanup never hurt anybody. Plus, dog walking pays pretty good. These people are desperate to find someone to take care of their dear old poodle while they’re at work.
Good luck, fellow job hunters, good luck
I’ve never been good at math. Strike that. I’ve never been good at golf (assuming that never shooting below 100 on 9-holes qualifies you as “not good”). I’ve always been god awful at math. I was so bad at math that when I came across this answer on funnyexam.com
, I had to do a double take and wonder if one of my old teachers had uploaded an old test of mine.
(As an aside, if you ever want to have a laugh and be completely terrified for the future of America, FunnyExam.com
is a great site to go to).
The thing is, I'm not as bad at math as I think I am. I wasn't bad at it as a kid, but that changed when I went to high school. I found myself having greater and greater difficulty with the subject. To make matters worse, I had a teacher, who for whatever reason, always made me feel like I couldn't handle the material. Our personalities just didn't sync up and it bled over into my coursework. Eventually, I wound up convincing myself I wasn't smart enough to handle it, and that stuck with me for years.
After graduating high school, I went years without taking a math class. (When you change colleges every six months this is easier to do then if you have any intention of actually graduating). Finally, I was forced to take a math class. The experience would change my life. The teacher I had in that class was the best educator I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. All of a sudden, I understood everything. Math, which had seemed impossible, was suddenly simple.
Likewise, the question of what I would do for free, became simple as well. That. That is what I wanted to do. Give student who felt they had been cast aside a second chance. Show people that ]even in subjects they don’t consider themselves good at, they can exceed their own wildest expectations. To find the people that everyone else had given up on, the people who had convinced themselves they weren’t smart enough. That is what led me to teaching.
Why do you want to be a teacher? If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question, I wouldn’t have to be a teacher. I would be sitting on the beach on my own private island, sipping on drinks with tiny umbrellas in them.
It turns out you don’t actually get a dollar when you’re asked annoying, repetitive questions. So why did I decide to become an education major? It wasn’t an obvious choice for me. I hated school before I got to college. I would do as little as possible to get by, and as soon as the bell rang at the end of the day I was out the door. I’m not the type of person who wants to be a teacher in order to relive my high school glory days.
Many of my classmates have told me they entered the education field because when they were in school they participated in after school activities they wanted to continue to be involved with. I’m about as coordinated as a punch-drunk polar bear on roller skates, so sports have never been my thing.
The only after school activity I ever participated in during high school was attending one meeting of the Spanish Club. My reasons for attending Spanish Club were twofold: One: To get my parents off my back about joining a club. Two: The cute girl who was treasurer of the club. At the meeting I realized that:
- The cute treasurer had a boyfriend
- I really hate Spanish
- I could just go back to ignoring my parent’s badgering about joining a club.
Attending that meeting wasn’t a complete waste of time. Ten years later, I can still remember two Spanish phrases: “Mucho gusto me llamo es” and “Yo jugar futbol”. The fact that I know the first phrase because it is a lyric to a Sublime song, and I’m still not entirely sure if “futbol” refers to football or soccer, is beside the point. In any case, I was never one for extracurricular activities, so my desire to become a teacher has nothing to do with that.
So how did I wind up here? As I explain in my introduction, I bounced around to several different colleges after graduating high school. At one of these schools I had two life changing events. One of which I’ll talk about now, and the other I’ll talk about in my next post (blogger rule #1 leave your audience with a cliffhanger). The first was a conversation with a classmate. He was telling me about his major, and how he came to it. He had gone to a coworker, who he considered a mentor, to ask career advice. His mentor had a simple question for him to determine his career. Figure out what you would do for free, and find a way to get paid for it. So the simple question was “What would you do for free?”
What would I do for free? The question haunted me for months. I knew what I didn’t want to do, but finding something I was truly passionate about was a little harder. I’ll talk more about how I finally found my answer to that question in my next post. Until then, leave a comment, tell me what you would do for free…