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The Alumni Sharing Knowledge Network

The DePaul Alumni Sharing Knowledge Network​ (ASK) is an awesome network that connects DePaul students with alumni that are currently working as industry professionals. The ASK Network is full of DePaul alumni that want to help current DePaul students succeed in their career. My freshman year, I really struggled a lot deciding what to major in and what career and industry would be the best fit for me. 

The ASK network helped me a ton because I was able to connect with tons of people in different career fields that I was considering and ask them questions about it. It also helped that you can search for alumni, not just based off their career field or major, but also their cultural background, what clubs they were involved in, and so it's easier to find alumni that have similar experiences as you. 

It's really helpful whether you’re looking for someone that shares a particular background or identity with you and know what their experience is in their job field. I was able to find a ton of different people working in various fields that I was interested in and then interview them about their experience. I ended up getting a lot of information about the IT and computer science field that made it way easier to decide what to major in after knowing what the industry is like. 



ASK network logo


DePaul Fest 2019

DePaul Fest logo



There are a lot things to look forward during Spring Quarter like nicer weather, making summer plans, and one of my favorites, FEST. FEST is a concert held on DePaul’s Quad on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. It’s my favorite way to end the year and take a break from school. FEST usually has a great range of artists. Here are just some of the artists that have performed at FEST over the past few years: Logic, Jesse McCartney, A$AP Ferg and BJ The Chicago Kid. This year we have 3Oh!3 and Lil Yachty. 

Not only is FEST on campus and easy accessible to DePaul Students, it is also super affordable: Tickets are $5 if you got them before the announcement of the artists and still only $10 if you choose to buy them after the artist reveal. Although FEST is exclusively available to DePaul students, students are allowed to bring 1 guest to FEST for the same price – which is great because most other schools have finished for the year, so your friends from other schools could be available to come. 

In addition, the show doesn’t stop at FEST. After the main FEST show, there is usually an aftershow in the Student Center for free, all you need is your DePaul ID to get in. Last year, Manwolves played the aftershow; a local Chicago band that I still listen to, and while the artist for the aftershow hasn’t been announced yet, I am sure they will be good.


Demon Discounts

The best thing about being a college student are all the discounts we receive! There are so many discounts-ranging from restaurants, activities, retail, technology, transportation – we are eligible for that I didn’t realize I was missing out on until I recently checked our Demon Discounts page. I wish I took advantage of a lot of these earlier because I could have saved so much money. I wanted to highlight my favorite perks as a DePaul student.

I don’t go to the movies often, especially because so many theatres in the city can be expensive. No worries if you’re a DePaul student, because you can get 2 AMC movie tickets for $8.50 per quarter! All you have to do is show your ID to either campus’ Student Involvement Office and pay.

amc theatre logo
 


In regards to food, there is an extensive list to where our DePaul ID gives of discounts but my favorite is the 10% off at Revival Food Hall because this food hall is a five minute walk from the Loop Campus and has a bunch of good food options to pick from so I love going here.

My third favorite it the 10% discount at Mitazi Salon. Getting my nails done is one of my favorite ways I treat myself and what better way to do so at a salon that is essentially almost on campus. 

I suggest looking at all the other places we as DePaul students get discounts at and making sure to check if a place takes students discounts before paying full price.

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Why You Should Join the Student Government Association

This week I will be talking about an organization I joined at the end of last year, which is the lovely Student Government Association (SGA)! I chose this week to talk about SGA because the campaign process has begun for the individuals that are choosing to run for positions. I believe that SGA is a great organization to join because it allows you to be able to share your thoughts and opinions with various people who help run the university, even the president! People with various jobs and positions at the university also tend to gage the opinion of students on SGA first before making concrete changes to our university. 

Through SGA I have also had the ability to be on various committees including drug policy, earth week, speaker review board, DePaul TedX speaker selection, and sexual assault and mental health. Being on these committees allowed me to partake in events and decisions that brought so much change to DePaul. There are also elections in the fall so if you are going to be a freshman next year, check it out then! 

Being a part of SGA truly made me feel like I was making positive changes on DePaul’s campus and also gave me the opportunity to work with and get to know some amazing student leaders here. If you have any questions about SGA at all, feel free to ask away!


Sydney's SGA title and role



CDM Tutoring Center

One of my first ever programming classes at DePaul was Intro to Computer Science where we learned the language Python. Having never learned coding before, it was overwhelming and kind of difficult for me and a lot of the other students. I made the huge mistake of never visiting the CDM Tutoring Center​ when I had trouble with this class. Looking back, this class wasn’t as difficult as it seemed at first, had I gone to the tutoring center or talked to my professor. When I started going there Spring Quarter for another class, it made understanding the program and getting a good grasp of it much easier. A lot of the tutors are graduate or undergraduate students as well so they have a good grasp on the concepts and they’re very understanding and easy to talk to.

It’s also super helpful if your professor’s office hours don’t work with your schedule or you need last minute help on a problem with someone. The Tutoring Center has a bunch of tutors that can help with tons of different coding languages like Java, C++, HTML, etc. It’s also really great because you can schedule either one-on-one meetings, phone calls, or video calls so there’s a lot of flexibility for you get the tutoring you need. The Tutoring Center isn’t just for coding/programming classes, it offers different tutors in programs like photoshop, After Effects or Game Design for the Schools of Cinematic Arts and Design. The CDM Tutoring Center is something you should all take advantage of and learn from my mistake, especially if it’s your first time learning or using these programs!


Adding a Double Major

The great thing about college is that you get to choose what you want to study as opposed to high school where you are forced to take classes on things that you have no interest in. The wide selection of majors and classes DePaul offers makes it more exciting to pick classes. I always knew I wanted to major in accounting from taking classes in high school and enjoying it then. I knew I wanted to add another major but had a lot of trouble picking what else I wanted to major in. 

I ended up switching majors and minors a few times throughout my time at DePaul and it’s very normal, as I’ve met people who have even changed their major 5 times. I knew I wanted to add another major and that I wanted it to also be in the business school to make things easier. The best way I think to approach adding another major is talking with others that have majors that interest you. I spoke to a lot of people who have a major in economics and always enjoyed my economics classes so I ended up adding that as my double major. I especially enjoy it because there are some economic electives that also fulfill the understanding the past requirement so I don't have to take more classes. 

It’s also beneficial if you know exactly what career you want to pursue after graduation, that you choose a major or minor that enhances your skills for that career. It’s great to take advantage of adding a major, minor or concentration to show potential employers that you have specialized or extra knowledge on certain subjects that can make you a more valuable asset to an employer.


Eating Well Beyond the Dining Hall

As a freshman at DePaul, meal planning or grocery shopping is not something that often crosses your mind. With an on-campus dining hall​ located in Lincoln Park as well as the Loop campus offering a variety of choices for you to spend your meal plan money, most of the work is done for you when it comes to food. However, most sophomores, juniors, and seniors opt to live off-campus without a meal plan, and this comes with a new set of challenges. 

Fall quarter of sophomore year, I spent a lot of money eating out and ordering delivery because I was used to having a meal plan and the prepared food that came with it. This was not sustainable for me monetarily, which is why I ended up instead beginning to invest time in grocery shopping and cooking for myself. It’s not as difficult as it may seem, and is even easier once it becomes habit. Some of the staples in my daily routine include avocado toast for breakfast, smoothie bowls for lunch, and some type of grain and vegetable combination for dinner. None of these foods are particularly pricey, and they each leave room for creativity and variation. 

When you move off-campus and begin to live more independently, it is important to set a routine for yourself that is realistic to follow. This is what works for me, but something completely different may work better for you. The important thing is that you’re taking care of yourself (and your bank account) with the food choices you make. 

avocado toast


Surviving Online Classes

I’ve taken my fair share of online classes at DePaul. This quarter I ended up taking two online classes and two in-person classes so I have time to focus on things outside of school and work on it during my own time. It can be difficult at first if you’ve never taken an online class before, but it just takes getting used to and a LOT of self-discipline.

Meet your professor - The first thing I would recommend is getting to know you professor. This isn’t necessary but it’s useful to go in during office hours and get help or ask questions face to face. 

Organization – Organization and time management is key when it comes to online classes. One thing that helps me is setting email notifications on D2L that sends you emails reminding you when quizzes or assignments are due. You can also add reminders to your calendar of any important dates and remember to check D2L at least once a week to make sure you’re on top of things. 

Don’t Procrastinate - Trust me, it’s so easy to procrastinate or ignore an online class because you don’t have to be in a class at a set time, and doing it all in one day. This will only end up giving you unnecessary stress to get everything done right before it’s due. It’s better to work on classwork throughout the week and getting it done ahead of time.

Treat it like an In-Person Class – Some people think they can get away with not watching a lecture or doing a reading because it’s an online class, but that’s not the case. The best way to make sure you pass the class and learn is to watch the lecture and treat it like any other in-person class. Some CDM classes are filmed on COLtube or depending on your professor, they’ll upload their own lectures to D2L. 


Regrets of a College Senior

sunset

As I recall my experiences serving on student panels at events like Premiere DePaul and admitted student days, a common question from students was “What do you wish you did differently now that you’re almost done?” The typical answer was resentment of not studying abroad, what I regret most is not applying myself earlier.
I did not start my first internship until the summer going into senior year. I wish I had taken the opportunities of working and studying in Chicago simultaneously. As a DePaul student, you are able to work for a large employer and walk to campus after your shift, a key advantage over the universities that, due to their locations, require students prioritize summer positions and internships. Another benefit of internships early in college is simply exploring what interests you. There are many areas of business that fascinate me and I regret not bouncing between internships to gain an understanding and overall feel behind each varying interest. 

As a graduate, if your resume shows short-term employment you are looked upon as uncommitted and therefore an unfavorable candidate. Conversely, if you’re an undergrad with a similar resume, you are looked upon as curious, dedicated, and not something that employers commonly think of Millennials and Gen Z’s as—lazy. I don’t believe that prior internships can confirm someone’s interest 100% accurately for internships do have their limitations, but it would surely help one gain a better sense of the industry and employer.


Busy Season at a Big 4

kpmg logo

So I’m back writing for DeBlogs after taking Winter Quarter off to intern full-time at KPMG. If you’re an accounting major you have most likely heard of The Big Four accounting firms; Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG. I just got done interning at KPMG for audit, and I have learned a lot!

All in all, I had a phenomenal experience. I definitely recommend interning during busy season if you’re an accounting major. I had the opportunity to meet interns from all over the country who want to work in Chicago and made great relationships with them. I also was able to also expand my network within the firm with my teams that I was on and also with the clients I worked with. Everyone I met throughout my internship was so knowledgeable and helpful which made learning on the job easy especially with no prior audit knowledge.

I was glad that during my entire internship, I was treated the same as a full-time employee. This really helped me see what it would be like if I were asked to come back as a full-time employee (which is very common after a big 4 internship). The hours are a lot longer during January-March (busy season) which can be anywhere from 40 hour work weeks to 70 hours a week. It sounds rough, but it’s not too bad because interns get paid by the hour and the teams you work in are pretty fun where they find ways to make busy season a bit less stressful, and also many people (like me) take off from school to focus on the internship so there is nothing else to worry about.

Although, there are a lot of technical things you learn and do on the job, there are always “intern” tasks you have to do like get coffee or run errands. The best way to go about any internship is to have a good attitude, it definitely goes a long way.

chicago skyline from above



Visit a Peer Financial Advisor

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As I mentioned a few blogs ago, there is new program within Financial Fitness where I recently got a job as a Peer Financial Advisor. With seven advisors in total available Monday to Friday in both the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses, our schedules are flexible to meet yours. As a Peer Financial Advisor, we are here to help students understand their financial aid, plan for studying abroad, manage credit, create budgets, and much more, all in a safe and confidential setting. 
Whether you’re an incoming freshman with questions on your financial aid package or extra financial aid opportunities, a current student looking for credit or exploring the finances behind apartment searching, or a senior looking to graduate soon seeking exit counseling for loans, Peer Financial Advisors are able to help. It is crucial that student increase their awareness behind their personal finances. A common trend I see as an advisor is the accumulation of debt from simply not understanding terms and conditions behind financial instruments. 

If you’re interested in making an appointment, email financialfitness@depaul.edu. Whether it’s as small as brainstorming new methods of saving, or devising a plan to pay off loans, a Peer Financial Advisor can help. Also, if you’re a student organization looking for a speaker to come in and give a presentation on personal finances, Peer Financial Educators are available through the Financial Fitness program as well.


Look out for Peer Financial Advisors at events throughout both campuses during weekdays. Feel free to stop by for questions or simply to grab a personal finances booklet.


Presenting Research on Peru

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to present research at an on-campus event called "Mining, Forests, and Communities in Peru." My classmates and I have been studying the political history and current environmental predicaments of Peru since the beginning of Fall quarter, which culminated with a two week trip through Lima, Puerto Maldonado, and Arequipa. Last December, we gained hands-on knowledge and experience from locals and nonprofit organizations doing conservation and reforestation work. Since arriving home from Peru, each of us has been further exploring a topic of interest in order to present a body of research at last week’s event. 

My own project, entitled “The Drivers Behind Destruction: Root Causes of Ongoing Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon,” focused on the main causes of deforestation and how they are being addressed in Peru by local people and the government. Being able to draw from experiences I had in Peru including the organizations I visited and people I talked with allowed me to take this research much deeper than any I’d previously done. Presenting research to strangers for the first time was a little bit nerve-wracking, but it was pretty incredible to be able to share what I’ve learned from my experiences in Peru and delve into issues I’m very passionate about. If you’re thinking about studying abroad and are interested in environmental and/or political issues, check out the program Peru: Forests, Mining, and Communities.

Aggie's research on Peru



Being an English Major

Although many comedians, including Chicago’s own John Mulaney, make fun of English majors, I have really enjoyed my three years here at DePaul in my major. Here are the top five tips and positive attitudes I learned as an English major. 

1) An English degree is applicable to any job. When I decided to be an English major, I got a lot of comments about what I could do as a job. They would make fun of me saying that the only career you could get is being an English teacher. And, in fact, I do want to be an English teacher, but there is much more you can do with an English major. Being able to communicate efficiently, think critically, and analyze small details will never not help in any field. 

2) There is a lot of flexibility in choosing classes. The English major curriculum at DePaul is tailored so that English majors can study what they want. There are core classes and some required classes, but, for the most part, English students can take the literature time period they like. You prefer medieval literature? 16th century poetry? 19th century romance novels? LGBTQ narratives? Native American Literature? Well, you can tailor your schedule to have those specific classes. There are so many literature classes and the ability to choose what class you want to take is very exciting. 

3) English classes are challenging yet getting a good grade is pretty easy. Although there are exceptions, a lot of English professors grade based on big assignments being completed, not “good”. In all the classes I’ve taken so far, and that is a considerable amount, the professor will give me credit for thinking critically about the work and backing up my sources with textual evidence. The classes are difficult, especially my class where we read Paradise Lost and The Canterbury Tales, however I was able to get a good grade because I did the work. Unlike other types of fields like Math where you need to get the correct score to pass, in English, you can almost always do well by interpreting something and having the evidence to support it. 

4) Similarly, I love that in English there is no wrong answer (for the most part). Because the poems and literature we’re studying have so many interpretations that could be possible, I never feel put-down in my classes. In some other fields, I always struggle because I feel as if I cannot find my way to the correct answer. In English, whatever you think may be true, as long as you have evidence and a logical progression of thought in your argument. I love that there is no wrong answer in English, so I am able to rhetorically persuade my audience that my answer is a correct one. 

5) Lastly, the best part of being an English major is that I get to study stories. Although some literature is very difficult, I am proud to say that I read stories for a living. And I do. Literature, outside of essays, are all fiction and created through imagination of these amazing thinkers and writers in different time periods. Instead of reading textbooks, I get to read fun stories from all time periods. In addition to how much less money I am spending for textbooks, I love how creative and interesting English can be. 


Spring Break for Out of State

One of the biggest dilemmas about being an out of state student is what you do during breaks. Right now, we are in Week 9 out of 10 in the Winter Quarter. We only have a week or so for Spring Break, before we have to come back for another 10 week Spring Quarter. 

Spring Break, in terms of time, is much different than the other breaks. We only have a week, unlike Summer Break that is about three months long and Winter Break, which is 6 weeks long. So what do we do? 

For an out of state student like myself, the idea of going home is exciting and stressful. For someone who is very far from home, over 2,000 miles, there is a big choice to decide when to go home. Every year, I struggle with my choice. I’d love to go home and see my family, but I would spend more time travelling than I would like. It’s difficult because a lot of people at DePaul live in the area, therefore, if you stay at DePaul, a lot of the people will be gone with their families. And you’ll be here alone, with very little to do. 

During my freshman year, I was homesick and wanted to go home to see my family. My sophomore year, I decided to stay in Chicago and pick up some extra work in the Film School. Although it was a little lonely and was jealous of my friends who took the train to see their family, I viewed more of Chicago than I realized. I took some walks alone, exploring the city of Chicago that I don’t have the time to see during the quarters. I learned about new restaurants and hubs of town that I didn’t know existed. 

So no matter what you decide to do this Spring Break, you’ll have a good time. Staying here in Chicago is a great for exploration, and going home means you get to see your family. Both will be a positive experience. 


My Loop Oasis (Cafe)

Chicago is full of countless TONS of cool restaurants to try out, it can sometimes be overwhelming. When I was a freshman, I wanted to check out every new restaurant I saw. But obviously this could be a little difficult when you find yourself spending too much. A good way to avoid this is to try not to eat out too often. Instead, opt for cooking if you live on campus or bringing food from home.

A friend of mine recently introduced me to a Mediterranean restaurant called Oasis Cafe​ in the Loop. It’s a great place to get a quick bite to eat that’s also very affordable! The location is a little strange, because it requires you to go through several jewelry shops and all the way to the back. But trust me, it’s very much worth it! Oasis Cafe has tons of Mediterranean options that are both meat and vegetarian. What I like most is that their meat is all Halal. This is great because there aren’t many Halal food options near campus for Muslim students, so it’s great that there’s one nearby that’s also cost-friendly. I definitely recommend checking out Oasis Cafe the next time you’re in the Loop and craving Mediterranean food. 


oasis cafe sign



Let's Talk About Philanthropy!!!

If you do not know already, I am in Alpha Omicron Pi at DePaul. During winter and spring quarter we put on events to raise money for our philanthropies. Our international philanthropy is juvenile arthritis and arthritis research, which is what we had an event for a little over a week ago. The event was called Spike Out Arthritis, which is a volleyball tournament that we put on. All of the sororities and fraternities can sign up a team of six to eight people to compete in the tournament. Both the winning sorority and winning fraternity teams got the prize of money for their philanthropy. 

spike out arthritis tshirt


At the event, everyone in my sorority had various responsibilities. The jobs we were assigned were either score keeper, raffle floater, referee, or team coach. I had the privilege of coaching Chi Omega’s team who lost their first game, but ended up winning their next three games and became the champions of the losers bracket! Go Chi O!

I had so much fun at this event because I got to know some of the lovely ladies of Chi O better, and also got to watch all of the sororities and fraternities get very competitive. Believe it or not, people get really into the tournament each and every year. The event was a big success, and I am excited to be a part of it again for the last time next year. 

alpha omicron pi sisters






Living in Liberal Arts

One part of DePaul I was originally conflicted about was the liberal arts aspect of our curriculum. We have our major classes, which are interesting classes we really care about, but then we also have “learning domains” and “liberal studies program” classes, which are what the university tells us we have to take. 

The learning domains are broken into six different categories - Arts & Literature, Philosophical Inquiry, Scientific Inquiry, Religious Dimensions, Understanding the Past, and Social, Cultural, & Behavioral Inquiry.  Depending on what major you declare, you’ll have a certain amount of classes in each of these domains. If you’re in the Honors program or another specialized program, these run differently, but, for the most part, you get to choose from at least thirty different classes in each of these categories. So you are forced to take, let’s say, a history class that fulfills a Understanding the Past credit, however you can choose what historical context you like. I have taken an interesting Greco-Roman history class that I enjoyed so much!

The liberal studies program is the same for every student throughout the university, per specific exceptions. It includes the first year classes - two rhetoric classes, two math classes, a Chicago Quarter class, and a focal point. Then there are a class you have to take each of the successive years - a multicultural seminar sophomore year, an experiential learning junior year, and a capstone senior year. 

At first, I didn’t really know how I felt about this. I have friends at other colleges who are allowed to take whatever classes they wanted. But now I really appreciate having taken all these other classes that are outside my major. Some of these classes were even better than my major classes. Looking back at all the learning domains I’ve taken, I am happy I could have taken a break from my literature and education classes to learn about topics that I am also interested in, but not enough to study it for a degree. Having learning domains and a liberal arts program allowed me to have a wide variety of knowledge, and still focus on the classes that I care about.


Easy Money

money

Although I am sure I wrote a blog on scholarships before, I want to reiterate the importance of applying for them because it amazes me how many students won’t after their freshman year. They’ll receive the same or perhaps less financial aid while the cost of attendance rises. If you finance your own college education, I’m sure you are all too familiar with the ins and outs of financial aid. If you aren’t, then please take my advice and relieve your student debt. Even if your parents pay for college, be generous back and reduce each of their quarterly payments with these simple tricks.

First, I encourage everyone to fill out the general applications available on Scholarship Connect. My senior alone, I received an extra $6,500 from the finance and accounting scholarships. There are few questions where the answers must be 500 words or less, but each general application puts your name in for multiple internal scholarships, so your odds are better than you think.

Also, if you have already filed for financial aid, if you need to, consider filing a financial aid appeal form. The 2019-2020 forms were recently posted and you find them at this link​As my dad always says to me, “The worst they can say is no”. My father and I sent an appeal form as an incoming freshman and every year since. The results can truly vary. 


Procrastination and Other Things

I had absolutely no motivation to go to class today. Whether it was from a lack of sleep or not keeping track of my priorities, school fatigue is a problem that plagues us all. But fear not! It is a problem that we can conquer but only if you put forth effort. 

If you have early morning classes, I’m sure you already know getting enough sleep is a necessity. For the past few years, I’ve depended on caffeine to help wake me up, when in reality I need a better sleeping schedule and a proper diet. Not only that, but proper exercise can also help your motivation and ability to stay focused on your goals. 

Also: try not to procrastinate. I know it is easier said than done, but waiting until the last minute for everything will only become detrimental as time goes on. Take it from someone who at one point became a Master of Procrastination: In the end we must evolve as young adults who will eventually join the public work force. As hard as things may seem now, the real world (post-college) can be a rough place. Bosses, supervisors, superiors, etc. will not accept late work and are definitely not as swayable as professors you might encounter here. Consistently being late will get you fired. So while it may be annoying to adhere to some rules within a university, it is much better than having to keep up with a real life job. So enjoy your time but realize you must evolve with it!

falling asleep while studying



Look Out for the New Financial Fitness

Finance button on keyboard

If you were a member of some clubs or organizations on campus, you may have had a run into the DePaul Financial Fitness Program​. The premise of this program is that an employee of the program would visit and provide tips and guidance on important financial undertakings like off-campus housing or financing your education.

I am proud to announce that have begun a new position of on-campus employment as a Peer Financial Advisor under the Financial Fitness Program. With the generosity of a donor, I am part of new specialty team aimed at taking the program into new territory. The new program hopes to expand outside class presentations and perhaps dive into one-on-one advising sessions. After my time as a Financial Coach at the Center for Economic Progress over the last summer, I was excited to see that kind of program make its way into DePaul.

The program is still being developed, but I am hoping that undergrads will soon be able to seek guidance from an advisor soon. I understand that college is not cheap, especially if you’re financing your education yourself. Things happen in life unexpectedly, and if you’re feeling stressed or simply need advice, I hope the new Financial Fitness Program will be a valuable resource at your disposal. I will provide updates on details when I attain them, but for now expect help on a topics such as credit building, student debt, loans, and applying for financial aid. 


Keys to Successfully Registering for Classes

This week was a big one for many students at DePaul, because we picked classes for Spring Quarter! When I first started college, I was very worried and overwhelmed with all of the classes I had to get done. As time went on, I realized all of the resources I needed in order to stay on track for my degree and make sure I was taking the best classes possible.

1. Meet with your advisor.
I try to meet with my advisor each quarter before I pick my classes. I do this to make sure I am still on track to graduate on time, and that all of the classes I am taking count as either a core class or towards my major.

2. Make sure you are comfortable with Campus Connect (the website we use to pick classes).
Before my sophomore year, I always dreaded picking classes because Campus Connect really confused me. I began to play around with the website a little more, and realized how to pick classes more easily so that they would fit my schedule. I recommend making sure to mark what times or days you would like a specific class to be, and also what campus you would like it to be on. 

Campus Connect Main Screen
3. Take some core classes first, especially if you are unsure of what major you want to pursue. 
During my freshman year, I was sure to take my two math classes right when I began at DePaul so I could get them out of the way. I remember hearing my friends complain about still having to complete their math credits last year, and I was so grateful that was not me. I also suggest taking other core classes first because it is best to focus more on your major as your time at DePaul comes to a close.

4. Create a schedule that works best for you. 
Make sure you pick classes at times you are ready to learn. You have a lot of flexibility to pick classes as early as 8 in the morning, or as late as 6 at night. I also suggest not being afraid to pick classes at a lot of different times, because then you can figure out what works best for you.

5. Make sure you know your registration time!
In order to assure you get all of your preferred classes, you should be sure to register as early as possible! On Campus Connect there are different sets of registrations times for students, so make sure to check yours.

I hope everyone is enrolled in all of the classes they wanted, and are excited to begin Spring Quarter (arguably the best quarter) very soon!

girl at computer



Catch Me on Admitted Student Day

DePaul Sign


If you are a prospective student who has been admitted into DePaul University, I strongly recommend attending the admitted student days to hear first-hand from current students on their experiences at DePaul. Yes, you can read DeBlogs and gain a good sense, but these events are a great opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns you may have.

 You can hear from a panel of students from 10:00AM to 10:30AM in the Lincoln Park Student Center on the following dates:

 Friday, February 22

Friday, March 15

Friday, April 12

 I will be speaking at the student panel on Friday, February 22. If you are thinking of going into the Strobel Accountancy Honors Program then you were probably also invited to attend a Strobel Honors Reception. The receptions take place from 1:30PM to 2:15PM in the Loop at the DePaul Center on the 11th floor in the DePaul Club room on the following dates:

 Friday, February 22

Friday, March 15

Friday, April 12

 You can see me at the March 15 and April 12 receptions and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have before finalizing your decision on what college to enroll in. You can register at go.depaul.edu/admittedevents​



Adjusting for Success

Internships are an important part of any college experience. No matter what your area of study is, an internship is a necessity in gaining a full-time job in your field post-graduation. I’ve just started my first internship these past few weeks, and it has been quite an eye-opening experience. 

For almost the last year, my only job was working weekend afternoon/nights. Now, most of my week is the early nine to five adult life that for so long I have been dreading. But after like two weeks, it is not that bad at all! Freshmen year the earliest class I had was at 10am. After that, most of my classes are in the afternoon or at night, meaning I’ve spent the better part of the last four years not waking up early. It is a privilege I enjoyed very much, but this quarter I’ve been trying to acclimate myself more to the real work force. 

I know it is a struggle for quite a few college students, and I’m here to tell you waking up earlier and getting sleep is something you should never fear. I think one of the many tropes of college is that all-nighters and a lack of sleep are a necessity to get everything done -- but that’s not true. The right amount of sleep is key to your mental health and not something you take lightly. Most professional jobs want you on your A-game bright and early and if its your dream job you will have to comply, for the betterment of your career. 


Unwind with Wine

Wine glasses


*This article is more directed towards juniors and seniors, but if you are under 21 then you have something to look forward to.*

As a student of three honors programs, I haven’t much leeway when it came to deciding my classes. Lately, each quarter would be one class towards honors accounting, one class towards honors finance, one class within honors requirements where I at least could decide the topic, and then one class that usually fulfills a business core requirement. After a fall quarter where I took two graduate-level accounting classes, an honors finance class, and an honors senior capstone, I was burnt out. That is why on the first day of the winter quarter I decided to swap an honors class for something I actually wanted to take out of my own freewill. With space for just one class in my last year of college where I could choose anything, I decided to enroll into HSP 333: International Wine Education and Management.

Sure, a class where you taste wines every week on Thursday may come across as wanting to receive an “Easy A,” but this class encompasses much more. I chose the class to expand my knowledge of wines in hopes of improving my etiquette for professional networking events or any other formal occasion. I’ve always enjoyed wine, but could never distinguish a good one from a bad one, nor did I know what to look for on a bottle. Midway through the quarter I can say that there I much to learn about wines and that the tasting component of the class is a way of learning the different varietals there are. Perhaps I enjoy the class because it is a different tone and pace from business courses, perhaps it is the free weekly wine. I encourage any student to not be afraid to look for classes outside your field or comfort zone if given the flexibility, because the last thing you want to say after you graduate is “I should have…”​ 


Finding Ways to be Grateful in January


The older we get, the farther we are from the whimsical elements of life we once used to cherish. I remember loving snow as a kid, and now when I see it I wonder if I’m going to have enough motivation to get to class. No longer do I anxiously await meeting new classmates, but wonder if there’s anyone who I will get along with. I think as we get older and become more accustomed to life at a college university we begin to lose touch with things we once enjoyed. We begin to take little things for granted that we once may have marveled at. I know this may not be the case for many but being able to choose my class schedule and never having to wake up past a certain time is a privilege I never had growing up in the Chicago Public School system. 

Since I’ve been to DePaul, I’ve never had a single class on Friday. When I tell my friends from other universities that I’m on break from Thanksgiving 'til early January, they look at me like I’m crazy. Now I know you’re wondering why I’m telling you stuff you already know, but I talk to so many students ranging from Freshmen to Seniors and all of them (even myself from time to time) seem to be ungrateful for the things we have in front of us. We have great professors, great offices/leaders, incredible amenities that a lot of colleges don’t have. So just remember that on those rough days of snow, annoying roommates, noise complaints, and anything else that’s got you annoyed.

text saying "There's always something to be grateful for."


Let it Snow!


Let the heavens rejoice, we have snow! I was starting to think that global warming had really taken over. And while 50-degree days in January is definitely a cause for concern, I’m just happy to see that snow is on the ground. I mean really what is Winter Quarter if you are not bundled up in snow boots trudging through blizzards to get to class? 

Chicago in the Snow

Now I know for those who may be from warmer parts of the country, Chicago weather is not something you are accustomed to. Well have no fear as I have been living in Chicago my entire life and I’m still not used this weather. Every year, blankets of snow seem to get further away from December and closer to the beginning of spring, which can make things very confusing wardrobe-wise. I think I’m currently in a record year when I’m wearing four different layers just to keep warm, and I assume that will only continue as the temperature continues to drop. 

Some key things to remember though is that large amounts of snow and cold weather is no excuse not to go to class, attendance adds up to participation points you may be counting on to get the grade you need. Also, don’t let cold weather stop you from leaving your dorm. I know the walk from your room to the student center may seem like a journey, but you must get used to being active in cold weather such as this, especially if you have got a few more years here at our wonderful university!


From Colombia to Minnesota


Hi everyone! I just want to wish a big welcome back to everyone at DePaul after our six (!!!) week break. This six week break is one of the things that I love the most about DePaul because it allows students to not be worrying about finals over Thanksgiving. DePaul provides countless programs and experiences to students over breaks. These experiences allow students to go on a short-term study abroad trip or a service immersion trip.

Over my break, I had the opportunity to go on a service immersion trip to Bogotá, Colombia with eight other students. On this trip we learned about the issues of the education system, displacement, and armed conflicts. Having the opportunity to hear stories from individuals who have experienced these issues first hand was so amazing, and I am forever grateful for their determination to spread awareness of what is going on in their country. One thing that I take away from this trip is the importance of community. Wherever my group went, we were welcomed with open arms. Despite the language barrier, we were still able to make a connection through laughs and smiles. One day while we were volunteering at a school, one boy in second grade named Oscar was determined to teach me Spanish. He found it hilarious that I did not know what basic things such as ‘cement’ meant in Spanish. While he was teaching me Spanish, I also taught him some words in English as well.

Bogota, Colombia 
Once I returned from this trip, I was lucky enough to spend time with my family and friends in the arguably best state ever, Minnesota. One thing I miss the most going to school in Chicago is nature. While I was home, my mom and I planned a day trip to Duluth, Minnesota. While we were there we hiked through the snow and saw some beautiful sites.

Nature in Minnesota
​I hope everyone had a wonderful break, and I hope everyone has an even more wonderful winter quarter. :) 


Happy 2019!


Happy 2019 DePaul! It feels like forever since I’ve done a DeBlog and I hope it doesn’t show. I think my biggest New Year’s Resolution is to make sure I don’t let senioritis take away from my focus. I spent most of break relaxing after the war zone that was finals week, but I also spent the most time I ever have working on extra-curriculars. Whether that be music, writing, or even meeting cool new people, looking back I really enjoyed 2018, and I hope it was just as beneficial for all of you! Now here’s where the tough part comes in: adjusting back to rigor that is higher education. 

I’m sure you’ve all been back for a few days now and seeing friends you haven’t hung out with since before break can lead to a bit of a distraction, and some may even feel that after one quarter “you’ve got everything in the bag.” But don’t get too cocky, take it step by step, don’t let the “syllabus week” catch you off guard, and stay focused. But just because it’s the start of the quarter doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Don’t be afraid to join new clubs or try new things this quarter. Some of the closest friends I have met and most interesting experiences I’ve had at DePaul have been a result of trying new things and meeting new people in Winter Quarter. Don’t let the cold weather stop you from getting out every now and then; you’re here to learn but you’re also here to have fun. So, start your 2019 off the best way you know how!​

DePaul Student Center



Advice I'd Give to my Freshman Self

As a junior in my winter quarter, there is the depressing and looming fear of the “real world” coming in my near future. As I reflect back on my time at DePaul, I think of how I would have done my freshman year differently, or what I would have told my freshman self if I could go back in time. Here are the five pieces of advice I think are important to know going into freshman year: 

1) Although your counselors or advisors or even your parents will make a big deal about how you need to make a decision about a major, don’t listen to them. You can always change your major, your concentration, or your minor. Just because you made a decision as a 17 or 18 year old about what you want to do about your future doesn’t mean you have to stay with that decision forever. You can always make a new choice. 

2) You’ll make friends. Do not worry that no one will like you and you’ll be lonely. I promise, you’ll find a friend, if not multiple. If not, I’ll be your friend. 

3) Strike up conversations with the people around you. My freshman year, I was a little too introverted than I should have been. I lived on campus, in the hub of DePaul. I wish I spent more time talking to people in the Dining Commons, in my dorm, and even in my classes. As an upperclassman living off-campus now, I don’t get as many opportunities to meet new people and I wish I could go back and make friends as easily as it would have been when I was on campus. So make sure to put yourself out there and meet new people. DePaul students are very friendly. 

4) You may or may not fall in love and that is okay. I was scared out of my mind that I would not find anyone I would want to go on a date with. I was worried everyone would date someone and I would be single and lonely. That is not true. I have friends who are dating, I have friends who are not dating, and everyone is happy with their choice. If you want to date, the option is there. If you don’t want to date, you won’t feel left out. 

5) Although the quarter system may seem stressful, everyone is in the same boat and you’ll make it through. The teachers and your fellow students are just as stressed about the timeline as you. The syllabus may look scary at first glance but everything will be okay. Just make sure you keep up with the readings, homework, and attend class. I was so stressed about homework my first quarter freshman year, and I wish I told myself that everything would work out. You’ll get the hang of it. 


The Counseling Office

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

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

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

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


Applying to College

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

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

1. Keep an eye on the deadlines

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

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

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

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

2. What is important to you?

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

3. Financial Aid

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

4. Apply, Apply, APPLY!

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

Good luck everyone and happy college application season!

Song of the Week: Dandelion Wine- Gregory Alan Isakov


Welcome Week

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

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

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


The Overeager Freshman

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

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

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

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


Get Involved!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Textbooks 101

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

Compare Prices on Websites!

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

Consider an E-book or Online Alternative!​

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

Wait Until the First Day of Class!

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

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

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


Graduation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

​​​

What I’ve Learned During My First Year

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

How to Develop a New Independence.

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

The Importance of Maintaining Relationships.

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

Asking for Help is Okay.

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

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

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


Defining the DePaul Experience

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

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

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


Trip Down Memory Lane

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

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

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


Uncovering My Passion at DePaul

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

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


My DePaul Experience

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


Class Sizes

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

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

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


Why DePaul

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


Chicago Eats: Beatrix Market

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

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

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


Quick Quarters

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

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

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

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

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

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


Beat the Winter Blues

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

Remind Yourself of the Color Green!

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

Be Healthy!

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

Surround Yourself with Positive People!

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

Song of the Week: Camera- Young the Giant​


Spring Quarter

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

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


Buses or Trains

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


American Sign Language

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

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

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Finals Tips

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

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


All About Orientation

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

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

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

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

Song of the Week: All Comes Down-Kodaline


Aspiring Musicians


Photographing Chicago Landscapes

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

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

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


Discover Chicago

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

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

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


Senior Capstone

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

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

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

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

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Apply for Study Abroad

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

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

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


Wanna Go Workout?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Surviving Night Class

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

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

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

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

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

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


Being Vegetarian in College

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Digital Cinema

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


How to Save Money in 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Benefits of Finals Week

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fall Quarter Finals

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

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


Week 9 Focus

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

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

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

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Life as an Out of State Student

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

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

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


Common Freshmen Questions

Q: What’s the quarter system like?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What happens if you are absent?

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

Q: How do you meet people?

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

Q: What’s the best part about DePaul?

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


Debunking Study Abroad Myths

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

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

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

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


What is the UCWbL?

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Written Feedback: Students submit a draft and their tutor provides written marginal comments and a detailed summary note.

Note: Appointment options 1-3 require students be present during the actual appointment time, whereas options 4 and 5 do not.  Rather, in these options the tutor works independently on writers’ submissions and they receive feedback after the appointment is over.

The benefits of making an appointment at the UCWbL are countless, but I will leave you with a few:

1. Second Opinion: It is always great to receive feedback and you as the writer get to decide what the tutor focuses on.  Whether you need to be reassured that your thesis is strong, double check your APA citations, or brush up on your grammar, having a second pair of eyes can’t hurt!

2. Minimizes Procrastination: Making an appointment allows you to set deadlines for yourself.  Whether you are brainstorming with a tutor or receiving feedback on a draft, with an appointment at the UCWbL you are not leaving your assignment until the last minute.

3. Possible Extra Credit: Some professors offer extra credit if you take the time to make an appointment at the UCWbL.  Be sure to ask if you are on the hunt for an extra point or two!


Finding an Internship in the City

Handshake: DePaul makes getting an internship so much easier with their online career platform site that is exclusively for DePaul students. Handshake has thousands of jobs and internships listed, as well as career-related events and resources. Because the site is for DePaul students only, it’s a great resource that can help you gain an edge over the competition.

Career Center: The career center is an amazing resource that DePaul offers and students should definitely be taking advantage of it. When I was looking for internships, I met with an advisor several times to strengthen my resume and create focused and concise cover letters for various positions.  The career center also offers interview tips, career fairs, advising, and so much more.

Clubs: Joining one of DePaul’s many professional clubs is a great way to meet people with similar interests and start networking with professionals outside of DePaul. Many of these clubs have networking events that can help you build connections and may even lead to a job or internship.

Follow up: This is a simple tip that can make all the difference in scoring an amazing internship. Following up with companies you have applied to can make you stand out from other applicants and give you a competitive edge. A simple email or phone call is a great way to show employers how interested you are in the position.

Email notifications: There are tons of job websites out there that can notify you when new companies are looking for an intern. Sites like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn are always posting new jobs and internships for college students. A lot of these sites have a weekly email notification that tells you which companies are currently hiring.  


Alpha Omicron Pi Semi-Formal

 
As some of you may know I recently joined Alpha Omicron Pi which is a sorority here at DePaul. This past Saturday was our semi-formal, and it was one of my favorite experiences of this year! 

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. AOII Semi was on a yacht! Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Rather than having our semi-formal at some fancy hotel downtown, it was on a yacht that took us up and down the Chicago River. The backdrop of all of the beautiful skyscrapers lit up at night was truly indescribable, and it was an unforgettable experience I would likely not have gotten through any other organization.
  2. Chicago weather this October has been surprisingly perfect. On Saturday night it was warm enough for my friends and me to spend most of the night dancing up top on the open-air part of the yacht rather than down below deck. The weather could not have been more ideal!
  3. The food. Chipotle was catered this year, which meant endless amounts of guacamole for free! I did not even have to try to hide it under extra lettuce which was a huge perk. Eating good food while surrounded by beautiful buildings and dancing with my friends between bites made for such a fun time.
This year’s semi-formal was such a blast, and I can not wait to see what the rest of the year brings within Alpha Omicron Pi. I have only been a part of this amazing group of girls for less than a month, but it already is starting to feel like home!
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Treat Yourself

Midterms are brutal, but being done with them is relieving. My biggest motivation during midterms is thinking about all the ways I’m going to treat myself after. The minute I left my last exam I was out running errands and finding ways to recover from the excessive studying I did. I believe everyone should do a little something (or nothing) after a few tough exams. Spoiling yourself is one of the easiest things to do but if you can’t think of anything here are some ways to treat yourself .

Shopping: Retail therapy is real. Who cares if you failed your finance midterm if you look cute in your brand new shoes? It’s hard not to splurge when shopping , but it still is relaxing buying some new clothes or just window shopping after staring at textbooks for 2 weeks straight. I try to avoid shopping for clothes and usually buy myself flowers and some books because I finally have the chance to read something for fun.

Food: Order your favorite food! The best way to spend money is on food. I usually buy a bunch of my favorite snack foods which includes Jewel cookies, Reese’s, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The best way to treat yourself is to literally treat yourself- too bad it never involves anything healthy.

Shut Off Your Brain: Do nothing. After exams is the best time to start a new show to binge watch or stay in the night and watch one of your favorite movies (as you eat your favorite pint of ice cream). Being curled up in bed and not having to use your brain for something intellectual is so relaxing and rewarding.

Friends: After putting off hanging out with your friends to study you need to go out and socialize. Hang out with your friends and try to avoid talking about school. Get away from campus and enjoy some of the cool places Chicago has to offer.


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

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

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

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

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

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


Why Did I Apply

I remember growing up, a lot of my friends had a “dream school” they wanted to go, but I didn’t have that. As I was applying to colleges during the fall of my senior year I never thought that DePaul would be the college I’d end up at. I’m halfway through my sophomore year and have realized that DePaul is perfect for me. This university fits everything I need and it turns I am going to my dream school.

Location: First of all DePaul has an amazing location. Honestly, I found DePaul to be the prettiest of the Chicago universities. Although I’m from the suburbs and would visit the city almost every week for fun before my freshman year, I never get tired of Chicago. I love Chicago and couldn’t see myself in a rural area for school. Chicago is full of culture, opportunities, and lessons and it is true when everyone says “the city is your campus.”

Financial Fit: DePaul met my financial needs. Money is a very stressful thing and that played a large factor for me when I was applying to colleges. I was lucky enough to qualify for some of the many DePaul scholarships.

Business School: DePaul has a well-known business school and knowing I wanted to major in accounting made it easier for me to see why DePaul was a good fit. DePaul offers a lot of good networking opportunities since it is located in and near the city. I thought about how being surrounded by the fast pace lifestyle of Chicago would help me prepare more for the future.​​

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Why I Chose to Become a Blue Demon Vol. II

On the other hand, choosing to attend DePaul, or stay for that matter, solely based on the premise it is located in Chicago does not by any means constitute a valid reason to study here. Truth be told, I think it is the field experience - in terms of jobs and internships - that separates DePaul from most universities. I see firsthand the dedication of studying in honors programs, declaring multiple majors, working a job as a full-time student (whether it be on or off campus) and attaining internships before graduation; all to which typical DePaul students will have the luxury of accomplishing as opposed to those of a state school. I see old high school classmates in their state universities partying and tailgating, to which I must admit seems so fun, you know that stereotypical college experience. But, it is no wonder as to why parties are the dominant theme; they don’t have some of the world’s most renowned cultural institutions, corporate employers, and recreational parks in their backyard. There is a reason why Chicago is the first destination they flock to when summer break comes around.  


#WhyApply

When I was a senior in high school, my head was spinning with the thought of all of the colleges I could apply to and potentially attend. It seemed as if the opportunities were endless, which caused me to feel extremely overwhelmed and unsure of which choices to make. One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to attend school in a city filled with opportunity and potential for growth. I wanted to be in a place where I could do a million different things and not feel as if I was limited in any way. For me, that ended up being Chicago due to its location (six hours from home) as well as my love for the city and all that it has to offer.

Once I knew I wanted to go to school in Chicago, the next step was to decide which school was right for me. My situation was a little bit different than your average applicant because I applied before I even visited DePaul due to being an out-of-state student. By spending a lot of time on DePaul’s website, I gained some insight that led me to realize how important service is to the DePaul community. As secretary of my high school service club and an extremely active volunteer in my community, I knew service was something I wanted to continue to be a part of in my college career. DePaul’s emphasis on service was a large factor in my decision to apply as well as one of the reasons I was drawn to DePaul in particular over other Chicago schools.

Once I applied to DePaul, the decision to attend school here was fairly easy. It’s cliché to say that once I stepped on campus it felt like home, but it did. DePaul is unique because it does not feel like you are constantly surrounded by the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago. When you are on campus in Lincoln Park it feels like a college campus, and when you are downtown in the Loop it feels like you are right in the middle of Chicago. You could go from a class in 14 E. Jackson to an internship with any of Chicago’s Fortune 500 companies within ten minutes. On the other hand, you could also go from a class in Lincoln Park to relaxing on North Ave. Beach within about twenty minutes. At DePaul, you really do have the best of both worlds, and this is another significant reason that I was drawn to this school in the first place.

Good luck to all of you seniors who are in the application process! I know you’ll find the right school for you, and hopefully, that means being a blue demon for the next four years here at DePaul.


#WhyApply

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

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

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

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

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


#WhyApply

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!

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Bid Day

As recruitment came to an end last weekend, my nerves were at an all-time high. The night before bid day my roommates and I stayed up late running through every possible scenario, but we really did not know what to expect. On Sunday morning, hundreds of girls crowded into Cortelyou Commons to wait to see which sorority gave them a bid, and it was such an exciting environment! Everyone was dancing and having a good time while trying not to think about the sealed bid cards our recruitment counselors were holding.

When I opened my bid, I found out that I had received it from Alpha Omicron Pi. When I met with them for Preference Tea on Saturday I had really enjoyed the conversations I had and the people I spent time with, so I was really excited to receive an offer to join. After finding out my bid, I walked over to the quad where I “ran home” to Alpha Omicron Pi​. It was such a heartwarming experience to arrive at their spot on the quad and receive countless hugs from people I was excited to get to know better. Spirits were high and everyone was happy and excited to see the new members of their chapter.

After hanging out on the quad and taking tons of pictures, we headed to Buckingham Fountain to take even more! Everyone boarded trolleys and we ended up blasting some throwback hits and singing our hearts out the whole way there. The girls in AOII were all incredibly welcoming and inviting, which made the experience that much more fun.

Once a million pictures had been taken, we boarded the trolleys once again and headed back toward Lincoln Park to an arcade called Replay. When we arrived, there was tons of food waiting for us and free games to play ranging from pinball to Pacman. With icebreakers, good food, and lots of laughs, we ended the day right and had a blast doing so.

Bid day was a really great experience for me this year, and I am so glad I ended up signing up for recruitment and giving Greek life a chance. Although I came in with a lot of preconceived notions and misconceptions, the process taught me a lot about what Greek life at DePaul truly stands for, and I am incredibly excited to find out all that this year has to offer within AOII​ and the Panhellenic community as a whole. ​


TTS: Decoded

Hi again! It’s me. Moving forward in these blogs, I’m going to start using some language common to The Theatre School students -- as a conservatory, we have a shared set of vocabulary to describe what we do as theatre students, but for those of you who may be new to this, let me explain! Every quarter, I’ll be de-coding some commonly used phrases here:

​TTS - This is short for The Theatre School. Whether you’re registering for classes, looking for somewhere to collaborate, or just chatting with another student, this is the slang you’ll use.

TTSSGA - We have our own student government! They help us with everything from having therapy dogs to organizing student-driven events that serve our 300+ student community. 

ST*RS - This stands for Support Tomorrow’s Rising Stars. It’s an organization of 4th year BFA and 3rd year MFA students that fundraise money to attend their graduate showcases in LA, Chicago, and NYC. Other funds go toward helping members pay to start their professional careers. They also put on a ton of TTS community programming - the organization has hosted everything from dances to drag shows! See our graduating class of 2017 here.​

Dramaturgy - Pronounced drama - ter - jee. This is a major and field of study within theatre. Sometimes known as “story detectives,” a dramaturg helps the creative team better serve the script and the audiences of the show.

The Reskin - Actually called the Merle Reskin Theatre, this space is a 1000+ seat proscenium stage. We host 3 children’s productions a year in this theatre -- more info to come in upcoming blogs. To see a history of the Merle Reskin, click here. It’s a building ingrained with Chicago culture!

The Fullerton - The Fullerton Stage is another one of our theatre spaces. It’s located in the first floor of our 5 floor building, and it holds 250 audience members in a thrust-style arrangement. This fall, we’ll be producing Into The Woods there! Check out Into The Woods here.

The Healy - This is yet another theatre space -- and it’s my favorite. This large black box has 8 different seating configurations, 5 catwalks, a floor to ceiling window, and an amazing view of the city. As of October 1st, this show is loading in for Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England -- more info here.​

Our Season - Referring to our production season, this statement can reference any of our 30+ shows in more than 6 theatre spaces per year. In addition to having this season databased online (we do everything from Shakespeare to new work!), our fourth floor has an amazing calendar of the season.

Have any questions on these terms? Want to learn more about how we function here? Email  theatreadmissions@depaul.edu for more information or to request terms for next quarter!


Never Bored on Eboard

Last week I wrote about getting involved, but this week I wanted to specifically dive into what it’s like to be an Eboard member.  For those of you who don’t know, Eboard is short for Executive Board.  This sounds super fancy, but basically, it just means that these members are elected to lead a campus organization.

In the spring of my sophomore year, I was elected to serve on Alpha Phi Omega ’s Eboard as the pledge educator.  As the pledge educator, I led weekly pledge classes to help new members get to know the ins and outs of the fraternity.  I really enjoyed this role because it allowed me to connect with our newest “bros” and get some practice leading a classroom, something I always appreciate as a future high school teacher. 

But something I did not think about when I ran for the position was the other part of being on an Eboard—working as a group.  I am not going to lie; being on Eboard was quite stressful at times.  Trying to coordinate six different schedules to coordinate meeting times, plan events, and keep our 60+ members happy sometimes felt as painful as a group project (and who likes those!?). 

But learning how to collaborate effectively with my peers in a new way was extremely beneficial in allowing me to learn more about myself and in preparing for the professional world.  Here are three things I learned as an Eboard member:

1.      Communication really is key: I know that is literally so cliché, but there were many times when our Eboard was a mess because people went totally MIA (including our VP of Communications ironically!).  If you are having a busy week, that’s ok.  Just let the rest of Eboard know so that they can cover for you.

2.      Some things are just out of your control: Our Eboard had a lot of lofty goals at the beginning of our term, but some of them were just impossible to achieve due to things outside of our control.  Planning takes time and we often were running out of it due to the speed of the quarter system.  We also struggled with the commitment and energy level of our members at times.  We could only control what we put in, not necessarily what they chose to take out, which is important to remember when leading a group. 

3.      No matter what, leadership is truly rewarding: Whether things were running smoothly or there were many bumps along the way, knowing that I was leading an organization in achieving their goals was exciting!  I loved leading the class, chapter meetings, and events because it allowed me to appreciate the Eboard before us and after us as well as all the leaders in my life. 

 


The Responsibilities of an Apartment

​​Getting your own apartment is one of the most grown-up things that happen during your college years. I know everyone wants to grow up, get away from their parents and do things themselves, but having your own place is a lot more responsibility than I ever thought I could handle.

If you thought you missed your mom’s home cooked meals when you were in the dorms, you were very wrong. Coming home after a long day of classes and having to figure out what you want to eat is one of the most stressful things. Of course, the possibilities are endless compared to the stu food, but who has the time to make food? You’ll most likely end up popping some frozen food in the oven or make some pasta. Also, don’t forget you have to go grocery shopping about every week. Where’s the best place to buy groceries ? What groceries do you need? What won’t go bad fast? Which brand is the best? Is $2.49 too much for strawberries?

I usually don’t mind cleaning, but there is so much more to clean and so many other housekeeping things that need to be done than I thought. Dust accumulates dramatically in my apartment and sweeping and mopping have become an everyday ritual. There are always dishes to be washed and put away, bathrooms that need cleaning, and tons of laundry to be done. I finally understand how much my mom does to keep our house put together.

The good thing is that I have finally become super aware of the value of a dollar (my parents have waited 20 years for this day). Having the amount of rent in mind along with having to pay bills for utilities has made well aware of the amount of money I have to put away for necessities.

Although an apartment is an absurd amount of work, it becomes a place that you can make your (and your roommates’) own. You can add the little things that make it cozy enough for a place you and your friends can kick it. My first apartment is making me realize how fast I’m growing up and is definitely preparing me for more adult responsibilities I will have in the future.

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What I Learned From My Freshman Year at College

From only one year at college, I have learned more than I ever did in my four years of high school. There are an endless amount of things I have learned but I’m going to highlight some of the most important things I learned my freshman year.

1. Don't stress about keeping up with friends.

You will go days or weeks without texting/snapchatting/ calling or just plain talking to your friends from home sometimes. THAT IS TOTALLY FINE. Actually, it is a good thing. When you and your friends get together the next time you all will have so much to say your conversations will never end.

2. Capture it. Write it.

You’re going to experience some cool things, document them somehow.

Journal

3. Do more of what you love.

You’re beginning a new life in a way; more of a life you’ve always wanted. You can be 100% in college. There are no cliques and everyone is who they want to be, so do the things that make you happy because there are no restrictions.

4. Keep an open mind.

This one is simple.

explore

5. Adventure/ Explore!

There is so much to do! Especially being in the city. So go out, get lost and find some cool places. If you don’t know what to do, ask friends about their favorite places to go and check them out yourself.

6. You are more than a grade.

I know that school can be stressful and you will most likely spot me vigorously doing my homework in the library on a Thursday night but don’t stress too much about grades. If you make an effort in class, talk to professors and find study groups you can work with, you will feel a lot more relaxed. It is not healthy to overstress about school- there is more to you than your grades.

I believe that we are always learning which is why my favorite phrase is an Italian saying: “Ancora imparo” which translates to “I am still learning.”  Michelangelo proclaimed this when he was 87 years old which is usually a time where a lot of people think they have seen it all and know everything with all the wisdom they have attained. These two words remind me how I can take any experience as an opportunity to learn. College is one great experience and I am still learning things about college and myself and continuously adding to this list.


New School Year, New Students

Now that the school year is back in full swing, I’m finally settling into my junior year at The Theatre School (TTS).  One of my absolute favorite parts of fall is getting to know the new TTS students!

Our conservatory is really small; we hover around 300-400 students spread over 12 BFA and 3 MFA programs. This means that every year, 90 new students enter a tight-knit, closely-networked group of upperclassmen excited to welcome them into their community.

Being a new student can be overwhelming. I remember feeling completely prepared for college, but arriving in an arts conservatory where you have 10 people in a class and 16 hour days was still a bit of a shock (see photo at right). Two years later, now that I’m well adjusted to the ins and outs of TTS, I’m a co-coordinator of a program called the Goodman Orientation Detail Squad -- better known as the GOD Squad.

This mentorship program takes its roots from the Goodman School of Drama, what The Theatre School was called when it belonged to the Goodman Theatre (back when DePaul hadn’t “picked it up” yet!). The idea is basically to pair upperclassman students with underclassmen in their same major, creating a community of empathy, networking resources, and helping adjustments to TTS. It’s amazing to see how comfortable students feel when they know just one person. As professional and grown-up we like to say we are, everyone can always use a helping hand.

It’s amazing to see where students hail from every year to come study here in Chicago! Every student has a different background, view on theatre, and framework on the world. My favorite part of this program, though, is the yearly reminder of the excitement that comes with entering college.

When I’m knee deep in homework and starting to feel some Fall Blues, it’s the excitement of a new Theatre School class that keeps me motivated. What better way to start the school year than to be surrounded by 90 nervous, excited young artists?

If you’re starting your career at DePaul this fall, remember this: GOD Squad program or not, students like me are ecstatic to help you through your journey. Your transition to Chicago is one of the bumpiest, most amazing, inspiring times of your life. Find your squad and live it up!

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Getting Involved

As a first-year student, you will hear over and over again about the importance of getting involved on campus.  For me, this was a lot of pressure. I was just getting adjusted to living on my own (with a randomly assigned roommate) and excelling in college courses.  How could I possibly add anything else into my busy schedule?  Looking back, I laugh at the thought of me thinking my life was busy at this point…just you wait freshman year self!  But in all seriousness, the first year of college is crazy and it can feel stressful to think about how you want to get involved. 

With that being said, what I wish someone would have told me then is that getting involved does not necessarily mean joining a billion clubs.  Yes, when you go to the Involvement Fair on the Quad you will probably feel pressured into putting your email on at least 20 different pieces of paper, especially if you want free things.  But that isn’t necessarily the key to getting involved. 

Being a part of the campus comes in a variety of different forms and can take part at different stages of your college career.  This how “getting involved” went down for me:

Freshman Year: I chose not to join any clubs or organizations.  But despite what some of you may think after reading that sentence, I was still involved on campus.  I attended events sponsored by DePaul Activities Board​, I participated in group fitness classes at the Ray, and I embraced the activities within the residence hall.

Sophomore Year: I worked in the New Student and Family Engagement program as a Chicago Quarter Mentor (CQM), leading a class of first-year students in discussion about campus resources at DePaul.  I also joined Alpha Phi Omega​ (APO), a co-ed service fraternity that volunteers with organizations throughout Chicago.

Junior Year: I continued working as a CQM, became an Executive Board member of APO, and began tutoring at the University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL).    

Senior Year: I am enjoying my third year as a CQM and member of APO and my second year as a tutor at the UCWbL​.  I also started writing for DeBlogs!  Originally, I was hesitant to apply for DeBlogs because of my status as a senior.  I felt like I may be joining too late. 

But I soon realized that it is never too late to find something you are interested in and getting involved isn’t something only freshmen do.  I speak from experience when I say you can always find new ways to get involved at DePaul.  Being a member of the campus community is an ongoing process and it is important to keep your eyes open for fresh opportunities!   


Welcome Back!

With Fall Quarter beginning last Wednesday, DePaul students are finally getting back into the academic routine. For me, this means transitioning from focusing solely on working to balancing work with my class schedule and school activities. Although it will be a challenging ten weeks since I am taking five classes and maxing out my credit hours, I am eager to delve deeper into some of the subjects I’ll be studying such as Global Climate and American Sign Language .

Planner

Most students at DePaul typically take 16 credit hours per quarter which is a total of four classes. However, the tuition that you are paying includes 18 credit hours, so you get more for your money if you enroll in the full 18. This quarter, I am using this to my advantage by picking up an extra two credit class that fulfills a requirement for my Peace, Justice, and Conflict studies minor. Although I do not have to do this by any means, it is helping me to get ahead and potentially graduate early.

Taking this class along with my regular schedule is difficult, but it is manageable since a two credit hour class is not nearly as much work as my other classes. I highly recommend maxing out your credit hours, but it is also not necessary for many students. If it is going to be too much, don’t stress yourself out about it and simply take the normal amount. I’ve always been one to take on more than I can handle, so maxing out my credit hours was not a decision I took lightly.

For example, I signed up for 18 credit hours in the spring, but dropped my two credit hour class when I realized it was going to be too difficult to balance with my internship, job, and other activities. Finding what works for you is all about balance, and sometimes it takes making some mistakes to realize what will work best.

Succulents and Pens

Although I’ve only had one full day of classes, I can already tell this quarter is going to be full of interesting lectures/debates and engaging assignments. Taking 18 credit hours will be a challenge, but it is one that I am prepared for and excited about. Sophomore year is going to be a good one, I can already feel it!​


Meet Sarah!

Hey y’all!

I’m Sarah, a junior pursuing a BFA in Theatre Arts, concentrating in Directing, in The Theatre School (TTS). I’ll be DeBlogging all year, so keep reading to find out a little bit about me:

pride

Hey Sarah, where ya from? I’m originally from Northville, Michigan - a small suburban town about 5 hours away from Chicago. My family loved traveling when I was a kid, and after visiting many urban areas, I decided Chicago was best for both my theatre career and my life. I now live in Boystown, a neighborhood about a mile north of DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus. It’s full of history, great food, and fun! It’s also a historic site of Chicago Pride (glance at the photo to the right of me and my pals celebrating pride this year!).  Having so much culture at my doorstep is unbeatable.

What do you do? Within The Theatre School’s conservatory, I focus on new work and assistant directing. You’ll hear a ton about the shows I’m working on in the coming year! I work within The Theatre School’s admissions office, and I am a coordinator for the Goodman Orientation Detail Squad -- a mentorship program that pairs new TTS students with current students in their major to help the college transition. I was also a 2016 Orientation Leader. As you can tell, I absolutely love working with new students!

How about outside TTS? My work in theatre focuses a lot on nonprofit development, so many of my experiences in Chicago relate to that. I’m the Finance Director for DemonTHON, a 24-hour dance marathon benefiting Lurie Children’s Hospital. It’s DePaul’s largest philanthropic organization, which has introduced me to some fabulous people. I also work with Oxfam -- an international non-profit working to end poverty -- as one of 38 CHANGE leaders in the country.

But like… What do you do in your free time? When I’m not working on one of my projects, you can catch me eating all around the city. In each blog, I’ll share my restaurant of the week.

Restaurant of the Week: Pick Me Up Cafe! It’s a diner 2 blocks from Wrigley Field that is open until 3 am. Their vegetarian food is unbeatable, and they have a 90s vibe with endless coffee and free wifi. Check it out!

I’m super excited to share more with y’all throughout my year. Keep reading weekly to watch as I fall more and more in love with Chicago and DePaul!


Meet Olivia!

Hi! My name is Olivia and I am a senior majoring in Secondary Education with a concentration in English.  I love to read, write, and spend all my free time working with kids, so it’s a pretty fitting major for me.

I grew up in La Grange, a western suburb and have been a lifelong fan of all things Chicago.  I am a huge Bulls fan, despite the fact that their management has made quite a few poor choices recently (cough cough the Jimmy Butler trade cough).  But I continue to watch and Bull-ieve that we can soon return to the glory of the 90s.  

I am one of the few bloggers on DeBlogs that won’t mention their love for food in their introductory blog because I am an incredibly picky eater with food allergies.  So if you are looking to hear about Chicago style pizza hot spots, look to someone else.  But if you’re sick of hearing the debate between Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s, read on!   

Though I can’t speak much about Chicago restaurants, I can certainly make up for it by sharing my Intel on Chicago’s music venues.  A few of my favorites are Northerly Island and Aragon Ballroom, but I’ll save those details for a future blog.  I absolutely love going to concerts and that is where I spend most of my money.  

Luckily, I have money to spend thanks to my many on-campus jobs as a Chicago Quarter Mentor, writing tutor at the UCWbL, and of course blogger with DeBlogs.  I also work at the local shop, Monograms on Webster and as a Lincoln Park nanny (I told you I like to spend a lot of time with kids!).  

Well, that’s me!  I hope you continue to follow my posts to learn more about me, Chicago, and of course DePaul!   


(Re)Discovering Chicago

 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:

  1. 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
  2. Personally connecting with first-year students by reflecting on my own DePaul experiences
  3. 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
  4. Typing on a typewriter, or at least trying to, at The American Writers Museum
  5. 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!

 

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The Best of DePaul's Welcome Week

It’s that time of year again! Time to retire your swimsuits and beach towels and trade them in for a backpack full of textbooks. Back to school time always bring with it varying emotions. Some are anxious and excited to begin a new school year, while others refuse to believe summer is coming to an end. No matter what kind of student you are, DePaul’s extensive list of back to school events will definitely have something for you. From barbeques on the quad to study abroad and involvement fairs, here’s some of the best of DePaul’s back to school events.
VIA

Vincentians in Action: Whether you’re new to DePaul or are a seasoned upperclassmen, you undoubtedly know about the Vincentian values our university prides itself upon.  Our namesake, St. Vincent de Paul, and his fellow Vincentians aimed to build a better community through service. The Vincentians in Action group is a community of students on campus who aim to do the same. As part of the welcome back events, the organization is holding an open house for any and all students interested in learning about the various opportunities available to serve our surrounding community.

Involvement Fair: The involvement fair is often dubbed an event that is solely for freshman students.  Despite its rep, the fair is great for any student who wants to get involved around campus. With groups from all different walks of life, anyone can find an organization that interests them. Joining an on campus group is a great way to meet new people and get involved around DePaul.  

Vinny Fest

Vinny Fest 2017: Vinny Fest is an annual gathering of DePaul students and faculty held on the Lincoln Park quad. The festival is a celebration in honor of St. Vincent de Paul’s Feast Day. During the celebration, there will be games, raffle prizes, Vinny trivia and plenty of snacks for all. This is a fun and laid back event that gives students the opportunity to hang out with fellow classmates and show some DePaul spirit.

Study Abroad Fair

Study Abroad Fair: No matter where you are in you DePaul career, it’s never too early (or too late) to think about studying abroad. The Study Abroad Fair is a great way for students to learn about the over 70 study abroad options DePaul offers. From long to short-term programs, DePaul offers study abroad experiences all over the globe. The fair will feature many study abroad alums, so you can learn from students who have first-hand experience studying through DePaul’s program. As a study abroad alum, I definitely recommend this event!


The Quarter System

99 percent of the time I love the quarter system. I love the ten week classes, getting to try a number of classes throughout the year, having a break from Thanksgiving to New Years, and starting later in the fall.
 
Every year, though, the end of May is when I get so envious of all my friends on the semester system already done with school. They’re hanging out, sleeping in, and taking time off while I’m studying for finals and am stressed out all the time.

To cope with this, I’ve figured out some tips. 

DePaul
1. I’ve been having “study dates” with my grad school friends, so while they’re studying for big exams or preparing for grad school, I can study for finals. Its different work, but work nonetheless

2. When I need a study break, it’s a perfect time to hang out with my friends already done with school and go out to eat, or have a movie night.

3. I still go to all the events and parties my friends are having, I just don’t stay for too long. I went to a Memorial Day brunch but left after a few hours.

4. I study with friends still in school! I have friends at Northwestern who also have finals in June, and also many friends at DePaul who are anxiously studying as well, so spending time with them forces all of us to stick to the books, even if all we want to do is go to the beach.

Why I Chose DePaul

The official College Decision Day was a few weeks ago, so congratulations to all of you who have committed to DePaul University! Go Class of 2021!

Orientation
At DePaul's orientation

When I think back to the season where I had to decide on a college, I remember it being really exciting. I couldn’t wait to choose the school I would attend for the next four years! By the time I had to make my final decision, I had narrowed my list down to two schools: Ohio State University and DePaul University. Ohio State was cheaper, closer to my family, and home to the infamous Buckeyes. However, DePaul was in Chicago, had the exact program that I (at the time) wanted, and had a special quality about it. I felt really pursued and desired by DePaul, something I never got from a giant state school, and knew that the four years I would experience at DePaul would be valued by its faculty and staff. I obviously chose DePaul, and I am so glad that I did.

DePaul has been the place that has enabled me to grow, both in my academics and in my convictions. It has been the place that has helped me find my passion and provided me with professors who have been strong influences and knowledgeable resources. It has given me lifelong friends and has molded me into an adult. I am extremely thankful for my time at DePaul, especially now that I am about to graduate. For those who are about to attend, you are lucky! Good luck!

Top 5 Surprises of Freshman Year

I’m not ashamed to admit that before coming to college I researched pretty much everything I could about what to expect. And I mean straight up Googling “what is college actually like.” Looking back, that probably wasn’t the best way to realistically prepare myself for what to expect when it came to university. But after my countless hours of research, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what my freshman year would be like. But honestly, I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. Here are the top five things that surprised me about freshman year:

Meeting people: It’s a fact that everyone comes into college worried about making friends. The plus side to that is that people are seriously so friendly freshman year. From orientation to your dorm floor, everyone wants to meet as many people as they can. I was not expecting people to be so welcoming off the bat, but I also wasn’t expecting how fast relationships come and go. The people you become friends with your first week of college probably won't stay your friends all four years of college. But don’t fret, with so many people to meet, you’re sure to find your niche.  
 
Freshman Year
Me and my freshman year roommate 
Classes/attendance: Practically all through high school my teachers would go on and on about how much harder college classes are going to be. College classes definitely have a large workload, but they are not as scary as high school teachers make them out to be. One thing that definitely surprised me was how much attendance and class participation mattered. Coming into DePaul I was expecting a classroom full of hundreds of students. In reality, most of my classes have no more than 30 students, which makes attendance that much more important. 

Homesickness: Whether your hometown is 20 minutes away or 20 hours away, homesickness is bound to get to you freshman year. Getting homesick is totally normal, but I was honestly surprised at how long I felt homesick for. Everyone always goes off to college and talks about how amazing it is, but no one really talks about how much they miss home. Though your homesickness might linger, it’s no cause for worry; soon enough college will feel like a second home. 

Money: I knew I was going to spend a lot of money in college, but I had no idea it would add up so quickly. Sure, having a meal plan saves some money and is super convenient, but the cash dwindles quickly the first year of school. From buying textbooks and schools supplies to grabbing food with friends on the weekend, money is definitely easy to spend while in college. Try making a budget or applying for an on-campus job for some extra spending cash.  

Time: When all is said and done, freshman year flew by and I was really surprised at how fast classes went by on the quarter system. Ten weeks seems like a long time to be in class, but midterms and finals sneak up on you way faster than you would imagine. Freshman year is definitely a whirlwind of emotions and new experiences, so remember to take it all in while you can. 

In Search of a New Home

Looking for a New Home
 
Well it happened. I will soon have to say goodbye to my Centennial apartment. After trying to get a two-person studio amidst the mad rush of applying for on-campus housing, I was not fortunate enough to snag a place at Centennial​, or anywhere for the matter. So, where do I go now?

I have now accepted the fact I will have to live off campus next year, and I am perfectly okay with that. However, I am not sure about the whole process. I do remember a workshop within EDGE Program that pertained to finding apartments, but I threw away all of the sheets and notes I was given. 

Luckily, DePaul does offer guidance when it comes to searching for off-campus housing and not just on-campus. In fact, there is a website committed to just this reason. At this link, there is an interactive experience dedicated to finding that special place to call home. The listings here are rich with details, but can be a tad bit pricey. There is also apartments.com and apartmentguide.com to expand your options.

As for myself, I have just begun the process. I’ll come back to this subject once, or if, I find an apartment for the next few years. 

Wellness at The Ray

There are few college students today who don’t describe their state as being “stressed out” a lot of the time, especially as DePaul students are wrapping up midterms this week. With this in mind, I wanted to seek out ways the university was helping to combat this problem.

The Ray
Sarah Hardin, Associate Director of Wellness Services and Initiatives at The Ray is part of this initiative in reducing stress. 

Wellness Services focus on the wellness wheel, which includes physical wellness, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, social, intellectual, and financial. DePaul’s goal is to offer resources for all of these, she said.

Each quarter, The Ray Meyer Fitness Center, known to students as The Ray, offers a variety of wellness workshops to go along with different types of wellness. 

This quarter, workshops have included “Eating Healthy on Campus,” “Fuel for your Workout,” a running efficiency clinic, and coming up Thursday May 11, a wellness walk and expo entailing a 1.5 mile walk around campus, raffles, prizes, and information about campus and local wellness resources​

Additionally, every quarter the week before finals, The Ray teams up with other services on campus to provide Brain Fuel Week. During this time, a variety of relaxing events are available for students, like coloring books and massage chairs in the library, make your own aromatherapy bottles, and a “DeStress Through Mindfulness” workshop on June 1.

Wellness
“The Ray is the big resource for stress relief. We are the alternative to stress,” Harding said. She also emphasized that other activities are available at the gym aside from working out, like intramural sports, a variety of fitness classes, DIY arts and crafts workshops to stimulate creativity, and a weekly midweek meditation class.

The midweek meditation is put on by the Office of Religious Diversity every Wednesday at 12:30, and is an opportunity to “take a time out, relax, and focus in on what is important to reduce stress,” she said. “You don't have to love physical activity to come here.”

A lot of individual resources are available on campus as well, like the University Counseling Services. They have a number of counselors available that target different areas, and offer different support groups, like a women’s group, and an anxiety and depression support group.

If you or someone you know is dealing with stress or other psychological distress, reach out the counseling services, or attend one The Ray’s many stress-reduction and wellness workshops. 

Why I Chose DePaul

As an out of state student, I've gotten asked why I chose DePaul more times than I can count. For me it was honestly a no brainer. Between the location, the academics, and the opportunities DePaul is able to give students, it was the perfect fit. Despite committing to DePaul being an easy decision for me, I know the stress the entire college application process puts on a student. After the countless admission essays, college tours, and weighing the costs of different schools, I was more than excited to finally make my decision when May 1st came around. Here are some of the top reasons why I chose DePaul.  

Academics: Even before I graduated high school I knew I wanted to study public relations. When looking up PR programs while I was applying to colleges, I continued to stumble upon DePaul’s program. Through research I was also able to find that PRWeek recognized DePaul as one of the top five PR schools in the U.S. three years in a row. Despite the fact I knew what I wanted to major in long before I my first day of college, I know tons of students go into college undecided on what major they might choose. The great part about DePaul is they literally have a major for everybody. Even though I was fairly certain I would stick with PR, I could rest easy knowing if I wanted to switch majors, I had a ton of options to choose from. 

Choosing DePaul
Location: I grew up on the seacoast of New Hampshire in a pretty tiny town. And needless to say, I was eager to move to a big city for college. Boston was too close, LA too far, and New York too big, which made Chicago the perfect fit. The past three years I've spent living in Chicago has been such an amazing experience. There are tons of great foods to eat, shows to see, and festivals to visit. Not only is it a fantastic city to explore, but the career opportunities that can be found throughout the city was something that immediately drew me to DePaul. When I first toured here and heard that many students get real life experience through internships around the city I was beyond excited.   

Campus life: Campus life is also a huge factor that made me choose DePaul in the long run. This includes everything from Vincentian service opportunities, on campus groups and clubs, and study abroad opportunities. While at DePaul I've been apart of tons of different community service projects across the city, joined clubs, and even spent a semester studying abroad in Budapest​. I remember when I first toured DePaul and it seemed like nearly every student was doing something they loved outside of class hours. No matter what interests you, there is a group here on campus that would be a perfect fit.


Why You Should Be Excited About Taking College Courses

Throughout high school, my class schedule was mainly dictated by which courses would allow me to receive college credit. Rather than taking classes I was interested in, I packed my schedule with AP​'s and dual enrollment courses. In college, the experience is a lot different and here's why.

As I began scheduling classes last summer, I realized just how vast my choices are now that I've entered an entirely new educational setting. There are still core courses required for every student, but they don't even come close to filling up an entire schedule. Rather than only taking classes that I have to take, I'm taking classes that I want to take. What an exciting concept! Even though homework, essays and finals aren’t exactly thrilling, they’re much easier to deal with when they’re centered around subjects that I'm excited and passionate about. A class centered entirely on the multitude and variety of food in Chicago? Sign me up! 

Class Schedule
Another thing I’ve noticed with college classes is that I have more free time than ever before. Instead of being in class for seven hours straight, five days a week, I'm in charge of choosing which times work best for me. Being able to create my own schedule allows me to do a number of things I couldn’t in high school, such as picking up a dog walking job in the morning or spending time during the week at an internship. 

In college, Rate My Professors​ is an extremely valuable resource for students across the entire nation. Before scheduling classes, I am able to see which professors will work best with my learning style, and which ones probably wouldn't be as good of a fit. Even though I am not always able to get into the classes with the professors I want, being able to look through reviews of all of them is helpful in the scheduling process.

We all had a guidance counselor in high school, but how many times did you actually meet with them one-on-one? If you're like most high school students, your answer is probably fairly low. In college, it's a completely different story. I've already been assigned two advisors, one is an advisor in my major and the other is an advisor in the honors program that I'm a part of. When I attended orientation, they helped me immensely with scheduling and figuring out a solid plan for my educational path. I had expected to be pretty much on my own because it's college and we're all supposed to be "experiencing the real world" and all that jazz, but my advisors went to great lengths to help me figure things out in regards to not only my schedule, but being a freshman in general. 

Throughout high school, many teachers constantly bombarded me with homework that was not beneficial to either me or my teacher. Frequently, a teacher would give an assignment and tell the class that we needed to do it simply because we didn't have any graded work in yet. For me, this seemed pointless and I tended to get pretty frustrated. Although it's scary that in college your final grade only depends on a few tests/papers, it also makes me relieved that I'll never have to do any more "busy work." 

Although my classes are much more challenging than they were in high school, having a say in my education makes it a lot more exciting than torturous. More time out of class also means more time studying but hey, at least I didn't schedule any 8 AM’s!

Introduction to Sustainability

As spring quarter began, I anxiously (and excitedly) awaited the start of my Introduction to Sustainability class. Having just declared my major as Environmental Studies with a Sustainability concentration, I was eager to dig in to a subject I was interested in and felt passionate about.

When I read through the syllabus for the class, one thing stuck out to me as especially daunting: the Impact Project. The main idea of the Impact Project is for students to lessen their environmental impact on specified days throughout the week by altering how they consume food, use transportation and electricity/water, and produce waste.

Shower Timer
The picture is of the shower timer I’m using
For food, students are encouraged to become vegetarian in order to conserve resources (such as land and water), reduce their carbon footprint, and lower the amount of methane emissions going into the atmosphere. Since I am already vegan I decided not to pursue this category, but many of the students in my class did choose it and are giving up many of the foods they previously thought they couldn’t live without.

For those who choose transportation, there is the option of either committing to entirely self-propelled transportation (biking, walking, etc.) or simply refraining from driving/riding in Ubers and instead taking public transportation. This seemed like a good challenge for me because I am often taking users when I am in a rush. Rather than paying extra money for an Uber, I have been trying to wake up a little bit earlier in order to make time for getting on the bus or the ‘L’.

In the electricity/water category, students are supposed to lessen their water and electricity use by at least 50% through strategies such as using a shower timer, unplugging appliances, charging electronics during the day so they’re not plugged in all night, etc. This part of the project has shown me that it’s easier than most people think to lessen shower time and conserve water.

Finally, the hardest category (for me anyway) is waste. On these days, students are challenged to produce zero waste. This includes food packaging, plastic bags, plastic cutlery, etc. I initially did not think it would be as hard as it seemed, but this changed immediately when I woke up and realized I couldn’t even eat my usual granola bar for breakfast because it was wrapped in plastic packaging. I am learning to carry around reusable containers/cutlery in my backpack and never leave home without my reusable water bottle.

Though the Impact Project has just started, I am already gaining a different perspective and understanding of the Earth and how I can make lifestyle changes that have the potential to significantly benefit it. Although this project is already extremely challenging, I can’t wait to learn more about what I can do to help the environment, and I’m so glad that DePaul offers classes that have the capacity to alter students lifestyles and make them into better and more well-rounded members of society.

Getting the Most From Learning Domains

A new quarter is upon us here at DePaul, and with it comes a new round of classes. One of my favorite things about taking classes at DePaul is that I was able to enroll in my major classes as soon as I got to campus my freshman year. As a Public Relations and Advertising major I came into DePaul not entirely sure I was going to love the major, but after being able to take an intro course during during my first quarter, I knew I had made the right choice. I got a little carried away my freshman year with my major classes and decided to leave many of my learning domains (general education classes) until later on. So here I am in my last quarter of my junior year and I am finally finishing up some of my required learning domains.

General education classes often get a bad reputation among most college students because many of the required courses have little to do with the area of study a student is perusing. I came into college thinking the same thing; why would I need to be taking classes in science and philosophy if I was majoring in something completely different? However once I stopped looking at these classes as a waste of time, I started to appreciate them for what they really are: an opportunity to learn about things that interest you outside your area of study.

Learning Domains
Although I am a studying Public Relations and Advertising, I’m also really interested in things like medicine, environmental science, and psychology. This year alone I was able to get credit for many learning domains by taking some of the most interesting classes I’ve ever been in here at DePaul. Winter quarter I took a class called Human Sexuality for a psychology credit, and I can honestly say I looked forward to going to the class every Monday and Wednesday. This quarter I'm fulfilling a philosophy credit in a class called Medical Ethics. After only two weeks of class meetings I can already tell it’s going to be one of my favorite classes this year.

Although I love all of the major courses I take for my Public Relations and Advertising degree, I’m also so grateful I've been able to study so many unique areas of study while here at DePaul. So before you roll your eyes and wish away your learning domains, take a second to explore the many different classes DePaul offers and enroll in a course that truly interests you.

DemonTHON

If you are a DePaul student, then you have for sure heard of DemonTHON. For those who don’t know, DemonTHON is DePaul’s 24-hour dance marathon that benefits Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Participants raise money throughout the year through fundraising, canning, and donations. Then whole thing culminates in the dance marathon. That’s 24 hours of standing, dancing, and cheering for the sweet little kiddos who aren’t able to stand or dance because of illness. This year’s dance marathon is from 5pm on April 28 to 5pm on April 29 – which, if you are counting correctly, is in TWO WEEKS. 

I participated in DemonTHON last year, and it was an incredible experience. My legs and feet have never been as sore as they were during that 24 hours, but it was so worth it after seeing how much money we raised for the kids. Last year, the organization hit the one million dollar mark that had been raised and donated to Lurie’s hospital. It was awesome to be a part of, and I am similarly excited for this year. 
 
DemonTHON
Part of Cru's DemonThon team this year 
The 24 hours are split up into six different theme hour chunks. Some of the theme hours this year are Harry Potter​, Nightmare on Sheffield, and Battle of the Decades. These theme hours provide games and activities which make the time pass quickly. We also get to learn the Morale Dance, a ten minute long dance that is performed every hour of the marathon. Throughout the event, we hear from and meet families who have directly benefited from the money raised for DemonTHON. It is so inspirational to hear the strength and hope that these kids and their families have in the midst of scary illnesses. It is a jam-packed, fun-filled, emotional 24 hours that I am really looking forward to participating in again!

If you are a DePaul student and have not signed up yet, now is your chance! Join a team, raise your $250 fundraising goal, and dance for the kids!

My Final Spring Quarter

​Welcome to spring quarter, everyone! I hope you all had a great spring break. I’m finishing up the master’s part of my BA/MA program, and I was just thinking, everything is becoming a “last” for me again. That was my last spring break at DePaul, and this is my final spring quarter at DePaul. It’s sort of sad, particularly because I had a ridiculously busy spring break. So much so, in fact, that I’m currently pretending that I’m on spring break. I’m only taking two courses this quarter, so my schedule allowed me to head home on Wednesday and try to relax a bit. Of course, I’m still doing a ton of work at home, so it’s not very much of a break, but being home makes me feel like I’m on a break. I’m enjoying it.

Madrid
I took this screenshot the night that I booked my trip to Madrid. As you can see, when I booked the trip, I was 49 days away from check-in. I’m now down to single digits.
But really, I’m home right now because I’m trying to rest up before tackling one of the most exciting and stressful weeks of my life. This week is the big one. In between thesis work and homework, I’ve been working on my presentation for the Midwest Political Science Association Conference. Lucky for me, the conference is just downtown, so I don’t even have to figure out travel plans. I could walk there if I wanted to!

During the official spring break for DePaul, I laid on my couch and stressed myself out about finishing my paper for the conference. Now, during my unofficial spring break, I’m lying on my couch, eating cake, and stressing out to a lesser degree over the presentation. At least I’m making progress, right? I present at the conference on Friday, and you better believe that I’m going to treat myself with Pizza Hut afterwards.

Then, just two days after the conference, I’m flying out to Madrid. I can’t believe how fast time has gone by! It’s crazy to think that I booked my trip less than two months ago and now I’ve already started to pack. I’m going to Madrid to do archival research for my thesis, so I want to make the most of my time. I’ve been doing whatever I can to prepare; I’m going to an archive with transcripts of over two hundred interviews, so I’m going through the list of interviews and creating a new, organized list that arranges the interviews in order of priority based on guesstimated relevance.

All in all, it’s a busy, but exciting, time in Willy’s life right now. Be on the lookout for my upcoming blogs from Madrid, where I will be regaling you with stories of my experiences while also vociferously praising the DePaul Graduate Research funding program for making my trip possible.

1871

​One would think that after four years of attending DePaul University and having a desire to learn about everything the institution has to offer, one might have at least came close to seeing almost all of it. This past Wednesday, I came to realize just how impossible it is to reach such a goal. Taking a detour from our usually scheduled class time, my PRAD 373 professor decided to use this week as an opportunity to showcase 1871 to us, the startup and entrepreneurial hub of Chicago.

1871 is located inside the Merchandise Mart of Chicago. Conveniently staged around several CTA train lines, or “L” tracks if you’re native to the Windy City, it is easy and fairly hassle-free to get to and from there. With an array of shops, restaurants, offices, and more Merchandise Mart serves as a perfect location for 1871.

1871
Thriving in this melting pot of an atmosphere, 1871 provides various programs, workshops, events, guest speakers, etc. for all members. Here is the best part; all DePaul students have access to membership benefits through The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center in the Driehaus College of Business. Students can make a request to use the University’s dedicated space or to attend any of the many events 1871 has to offer. All students have to do is contact the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.

My friends and I have tried to explore everything DePaul has to offer and yet the more I learn, the more I realize I have even more to learn. It’s a good problem to have, in my opinion. So many resources offered that even in my second to last quarter of being an undergrad I’m still learning about new opportunities for students. Make sure to check out the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center if you’re interested in learning more about 1871.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

Blue Demon Dance 2017

Blue Demon Dance
“Put your hands in the air like you just don’t care!” Not necessarily a line that was said during the Blue Demon Dance this past weekend but a classic phrase in the music and dance world. 

This year’s venue for the Blue Demon Dance was the Chicago Sports Museum located at the Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago. Packed with a variety of activities, sports memorabilia, and interactive games, there was no shortage of things to do. Not to mention the amazing performance from the DJ and his partners keeping the crowd hyped throughout the night. 

Blue Demon Dance
This was my third and final dance as I prepare to graduate later this year. So I made sure to soak it all in one last time. The energy was high and students were everywhere enjoying everything the night had to offer from food to games and, of course, dancing. With the venue located at the top of the Water Tower Place, the view was incredible and the night-lights from the city added a very intimate aesthetic. 

Overall, it was one of the most memorable moments of my college experience and a fantastic way to finish out my final Blue Demon Week​

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

I’m Going to Madrid (Again)

In the fall of my junior year at DePaul, I went and studied abroad in Madrid for a quarter (you can read more about that here). I was a Spanish and International Studies double major, so I figured I should probably visit a Spanish-speaking country at some point. To say that it changed my life would be an understatement. I encourage anyone and everyone who has the opportunity to study abroad to do so.
 
I consider studying in Spain to be one of the greatest decisions of my life. Not only did studying abroad help me improve my Spanish and nearly complete my Spanish major, but studying in Spain also inspired me to get my master’s in International Studies and write my thesis on the Spanish transition to democracy.
 
Madrid
I’m going back to Madrid and I’ve never been more excited about anything in my entire life.
A little over two years after returning from Madrid, I sat in the International Studies department conference room and defended my thesis proposal. At some point during my defense, I made an offhand comment about how I was having a hard time finding some specific information on the transition because so many records and papers aren’t available online and are only held in Madrid.
 
The members of my thesis committee encouraged me to apply to the Graduate Research Fund, which funds graduate students who want to conduct research or present at a conference. At the very last moment possible (you can’t even imagine), I submitted my application for funding to go dig around in some archives in Madrid.
 
Ever since I submitted the application, I haven’t been able to think about anything else. I’ve just been looking up flights and hotels in the hope that I’d be accepted. And then, finally, just a few hours ago, I got the email. My request for funding had been approved. I started screaming and booked everything right away. In less than two months, I’ll be on the plane back to Madrid.

The Forgotten Two-Credit Classes

Money
When you receive your bill for your quarterly tuition, you’re being charged for eighteen credit hours every time. Yet, most students only enroll for sixteen credit hours a quarter. Why? They may find five classes to be too overwhelming, or simply because they don’t know that there are courses worth less than four credit hours.

I did not know until recently that there are one and three credit hour classes. Regardless of that, some majors have at least a few two credit requirements. What I am getting at is that there are ways to fulfill eighteen credit hours every quarter and not doing so in a burdensome way.

After getting those two credit courses that are required out of the way it leaves you with freedom to explore subjects that outside of your major or even college. As an accounting major I was required to complete a professional business writing course as well as a career management class for accountants. With no other requirements to look towards I was able to search for some unconventional courses for a business student. I currently am taking a two credit course in the history of jazz because I wanted to take a break from the formalities of business courses.

Some classes that intrigue me are the “PE” classes that are held at Lincoln Park’s Ray Meyer Center. These include basketball, volleyball, golf, or even actual fitness classes like weightlifting and conditioning. Imagine that, playing and studying a sport that you enjoy for credit. By fulfilling the full eighteen credits each quarter you increase your cumulated credit hours that slowly brings you closer to graduation. As a requirement for the Certified Public Accountant exam, I am obligated to complete one hundred and fifty hours, and each additional two credit hour class brings me nearer. So, before you decide to burn the money that goes toward those two credits, take a look into different areas of study and see if there anything that interests you.

Breaking My Bad Habit

So, I have a lot of terrible habits in my life. That should surprise no one. I am a super bad nail biter, I procrastinate a lot, I’m a stress eater, I have a tendency to make impulsive purchases (especially when it comes to buying things for other people), I’m never on time for anything… The list goes on and on. I don’t think it’s even up for debate that I have way more bad habits than I have good habits. Recently, one of my worst habits has gotten even worse.

I’ve written before about how stressed I get, and about my attempts to cope with stress. Whenever I get stressed, I sort of shut down and withdraw from the outside world. It’s really not the worst response to stress; it sort of has the effect of eliminating distractions and forcing me to focus all of my energy on addressing the cause of the stress. 

During finals, I might be stressed for a week or two. Prolonged stress can be mentally and physically taxing. In those situations, I typically try to give myself one free day to do literally anything else so I can give my mind a break. I’ll schedule all of the work that I need to around that one day. On that day, I usually take a long walk, go downtown, work out, and treat myself to some of my favorite food and watch a movie. Anything to distract my mind and that makes me stop putting pressure on myself for a little bit. 

Long Walk
It felt so good to finally get out of my room today.
Since I started work on my thesis last summer, I’ve reached a new level of stress in my life, and I haven’t been coping with it well at all. I’ve always been able to power through the stress of finals because finals might only last a week or two. With my thesis, I’ve been dealing with constant finals-level stress for six months at this point, and I won’t be done with my thesis for at least another four months. 

At some point, I suddenly just stopped letting myself take days off like I used to. Whenever I thought about taking a day off to escape from the stress, I would think about how much work goes into a thesis, and I’d force myself to stay at home and do more work instead. Of course, since I never allowed myself to recover, I’d struggle to focus, the quality of my work would decrease, and I’d get even more stressed. As a result, for the past six months, I essentially lived Rapunzel’s life. I locked myself away, and I only let myself leave for class or groceries. When I had to go out for special occasions, I was always doing work in my head and writing down ideas in my phone.

This week, I had a moment of clarity and decided that I had to cut myself some slack. I went to the gym twice this week (something that probably hasn’t happened in six months), took a mini-road trip with my cousin, and today, I finally let myself take my long walk again. Suddenly, everything seems a lot more manageable. 

A Secret to Scholarships

Scholarships
 
Being a private university, it comes as no surprise that DePaul has a higher tuition rate. Despite that, I chose DePaul because it was actually cheaper than my state school preferences after all the scholarships and grants they offered me. There are more scholarships out there other than what DePaul has to offer upfront when you’re an incoming freshman. In fact, there are scholarships that don’t even necessarily apply to your major and you can still be eligible. All scholarships, through DePaul and off campus funding can be found at DePaul’s Scholarship Connect. 

Once you are a DePaul student the first step would be to visit DePaul’s scholarship website​. Here you will sign in with your usual Campus Connect username and password, and will be directed to the main page. This will show you all your active or submitted scholarship applications. In order to view what applications are currently open, go to the “Opportunities” and choose between “Ours” for DePaul scholarships or “External” for such. Also, there is a “Recommended” tab that will show a list of scholarships that are though to be your most compatible according to your major. If there is any that applies to your major, I recommend filling out a general application, which is one application that makes you eligible for multiple scholarships.

Scholarships
And if you’re curious about who funds your scholarships, there is a “Donors” tab to read a short biography of your donor and the history of your scholarship. So, at least visit the Scholarship Connect site because any money that goes toward your tuition is always welcomed.

Living On-Campus

Quad
 
Unless you’re a commuter, local, or just fortunate enough to have your place, you more than likely spent your first year of DePaul living on-campus. Although some look to the dorm life as a burden, I look to living on campus as an advantage more than anything else. As a sophomore living at the on-campus apartment of Centennial Hall, I deeply enjoy all the spoils that come with my time staying within DePaul.

Skyline
The view from my Centennial apartment that never gets old
Whether it was Seton Hall freshman year, or Centennial my second, it is really nice to be in the vicinity of nearly everything DePaul. If I want to work out at the Ray, eat at the Student Center, study at the library, attend Lincoln Park classes, or hop on the train, it is all within a short walking distance. For most that live off campus, it is a pain to have to get on the train or bus to go nearly anywhere. And with all that is available on campus, I find it much easier to get involved and active. As I have seen with some friends that live off campus, they’ll at times say they don’t want to do some things, like play basketball at the Ray​, because it’s too far.

Another great benefit of living on-campus that many people overlook is the quality of the rooming. As a freshman with anything from one to three roommates (such as myself) it can be difficult to appreciate the conditions you’re living in. In Seton we took pride in our high ceilings and walk-in closets. Now, I was lucky enough to get a two-person studio apartment at Centennial. My roommate and I are spoiled with our own bathroom, two closets, fully equipped kitchen, free laundry, and individually controlled air conditioning. I’ve been to a couple of apartments in Wrigleyville and none have compared to the spaces at Centennial. 

Writing a Thesis

As some of you may know, I am currently in the process of writing a thesis paper as my capstone project for the Honors Program. It is a lengthy process (my thesis will be around 30-40 pages), but a rewarding one. Thankfully, the Honors Program does not throw you into this project unprepared. The Honors Program offers a 2-credit class (HON 300) during Fall Quarter, taught by Nancy Grossman, the Associate Director of the Honors Program, to give guidance on the final project.

I am so thankful I took this class, and if you are remotely considering writing a thesis, you should take it too! It is a small class (my class had 12 people) and if you are planning on writing a thesis, everything that is due during the quarter would be due anyway. In order to enroll in the capstone thesis project, you have to submit a thesis proposal, which includes an abstract, annotated bibliography, and proposal statement for the project. Throughout the quarter in HON 300, those components are due, so you have the opportunity to work ahead and get feedback on the proposal that you will eventually submit to be approved to write the thesis. Regardless if you take the class, the thesis proposal is due, so it really is to your advantage to enroll in HON 300 (you get credit!).

Studying
Another reason to take the class is that you also get feedback on your topic and thesis statement from your peers. It was really helpful to get constructive criticism on my topic, as I was able to refine it and think about my topic in ways I never would have originally due to the perspectives from my classmates. It was also fun to critique other students’ topics, too!

While writing a thesis paper for the Honors capstone is ambitious and intimidating, it is also a satisfying experience. I know I will be better prepared for graduate school after writing this thesis, and it is definitely something for me to show off and be proud of. Come be ambitious with me!

How Choosing DePaul Has Helped Me as a Blogger

​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.    

Emma
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.

Emma
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.​

Mindfulness and Meditation

At the end of September, I went on a 4 day retreat to Starved Rock for one of my courses - SNC198 Mindfulness and Meditation - and learned more on that retreat than I ever have in my other courses.

Retreat
Now for over 7 years, Dr. Michael Skelley, a professor in DePaul’s School for New Learning, leads a group of 20 students on a mindfulness and meditation retreat to Starved Rock semiannually. For 4 days we participated in meditation practices, group discussions, mindful walking and hiking, reflective journaling, and embracing the power of silence. We were also encouraged to turn our phones off and remain mindful the whole time (and we couldn’t bring homework!)

During the weekend, Skelley discussed types and causes of pain and suffering, invisibility, curiosity, and letting go. And, of course, we practiced meditating, because there really is no wrong way to do it. He says, “I think there are so many myths about meditation that people have heard and so people try to meditate on their own and they end up just getting frustrated or doing themselves more damage than good and so I’m really concerned about trying to correct some of the myths.”

Skelley has been practicing mindfulness from the age of 10 on, but found his interest in Buddhism while earning his PhD in the 1980s. At the time, Insight Meditation Society opened a practice in Massachusetts, and author John Kabat-Zinn developed his mindfulness-based stress reduction program.

The famous Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh​ said, “In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” This is the foundation of their teachings, and of the retreat as well. It was a really eye opening experience to notice what comes up for us in meditations, and being disconnected from society in general calmed a lot of my anxiety about school, work, deadlines, etc.

Retreat
He mentioned that most of the students who take his class say they’re taking it because they feel stressed in one way or another. Because of this, the 20 of us were able to bond and relate on so many levels even at all different ages, and spending 4 days with them was such a valuable experience. Now all we talk about is how we want to go back!

In reflecting on his own practice, Michael tries to do 30 minutes of formal meditation daily, and takes everyday tasks, such as reading, walking, and cooking, and slows down to do them mindfully. He encouraged us at the end of the retreat to put in place a similar routine, and we are currently following an 8 week meditation book and the meditations it includes. Now, I try to do a 10-20 minute meditation every evening, and it helps me fall asleep because it calms down my built up anxiety from the day.

Everyone should definitely check out this course! It’s available every fall and spring, and it’s one I will never forget!

The Most Underrated Buses in Chicago

​As if the L wasn’t intimidating, the 130 CTA bus routes are confusing enough to get you severely lost anywhere in Chicago you can imagine. Sound enticing?

Well, it should. Once you begin to master the CTA buses, your navigational prayers will be answered. I implore you to outsmart your friends this winter, and learn the bus system. Don’t trudge those extra 5 blocks through snow, sleet, and sadness to your destination; find a bus that will take you directly there.

According to the CTA’s website, the CTA has about 1,888 buses that operate 130 routes and 1,301 route miles. If that’s not dizzying enough, the buses make 18,843 trips a day and serve 10,813 bus stops. What does this mean for you? With the right planning, you can find the bus of your destination dreams.

Perhaps, my appreciation for the buses stems from the fact that I now live off three great bus routes. The #77 Belmont, #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, and #151 Sheridan are my go-to routes.

However, my bus-queen status does not mean that the buses and I don’t have our differences. While I’m lucky that the buses I need come pretty regularly during the morning and day-time hours (night is a completely different story), some buses, such as #65 Grand, pretty much come every 20-25 minutes, which can make being on time difficult.

147 Bus
The buses are not a possibility for you unless you’ve downloaded a bus-tracking app. Transit Stop works particularly well and also is useful for L arrival times. You’ll need it to plan your journeys and figure out when to go outside to the bus stop at the last possible minute.

Unless you have a day to explore the bus lines and learn by trial and error, I recommend you look up bus routes online before you hop on willy-nilly. Once, when I was commuting home after work this past summer, the bus I needed (#146) was a ways away, so I decided to hop on #147. What difference could a number make?

Nope. I was very wrong. As I sat on #147 Outer Drive Express, I pressed my face and hands to the glass window as I watched my apartment, a.k.a. my destination, whiz by, eventually fading out of sight. Learn from my mistake.

Good luck with your bus adventures! And, may the bus odds be ever in your favor this winter.

25th Reunion Dinner

The Willis Tower
One of my favorite experiences I’ve had at DePaul is being a member of the Student Alumni Ambassador program. Every quarter, we don our finest business-casual wear, attend fancy alumni events, and get our mingle on! 

The Student Alumni Ambassadors were founded to strengthen the bonds and connections between alumni and the university, enlighten alumni on the current university culture, engage current students in the alumni community, and develop future alumni leaders. It’s a great way to network with DePaul alumni, but it’s also fun to learn about their experiences at DePaul. 

This past weekend was alumni weekend, and I attended the 25th Reunion Dinner, as an SAA, in the Willis Tower’s Metropolitan Club. It’s no surprise that the views were spectacular and the food was amazing. 

Tasked with saying a few words to kick off the event, I spoke about how grateful I am for my experiences at DePaul. I truly believe that DePaul’s ability to incorporate Chicago and its resources into the classroom is unparalleled. 

Salmon
On the menu for the night were passed hors d’oeuvers including quatro formaggi arranchini, three-hour short rib on a crostini finished with a blue cheese crown, and jumbo shrimp with horseradish spiked cocktail sauce. Beyond that delicious spread came the main courses, which included salad, pan-seared salmon with a smoked paprika crust, and crème brulee with fresh berries and a traditional caramelized candied crust. 

Did I mention being an SAA was pretty awesome? 

It was great to connect with former DePaul students from the graduating class of 1991 over a delicious meal 66 floors above the ground. Their passion for their alma mater has not faltered, making me excited about my future as a DePaul alumni. 

Crème Brulee
If you have the chance to become an SAA during your time at DePaul, I could not recommend it enough! Plus, you get to work with the amazing John Palmares, the associate director of the Office of Alumni Relations​ (also a DePaul grad).

160,000 members strong, the University Alumni Association is something I look forward to joining in 2017. 


Health and Fitness in College

Today I want to talk about something sort of unrelated to life in The Theatre School, but connected to college life in general. You my have guessed it by the title of my post -- it’s Health and Fitness in college. I’d like to be open and honest about this subject, in hopes that it may help other current or prospective students. 

Personally, health and fitness have not always come easily to me growing up. Before college I never really played sports regularly, or learned great nutritional habits. Even when I arrived as a freshman, I was intimidated by the Gym - a place I’d never been before - and unsure how to navigate the dining areas in the healthiest ways. In fact, when I came to college I encountered the infamous “Freshman 15”. Before college I had always heard this phrase, a colloquialism for the time when many new college students gain weight (in this case a theoretical 15lbs), due to poor food options, choices and more.  After a few months of college, and hibernating through the harsh Chicago Winter, I found that my clothes didn’t fit anymore, and I wasn’t feeling good in various ways. While it is embarrassing to me to admit that I have dealt with this, I know that at colleges all over the country, many students deal with the challenge of staying healthy and fit in college. Here at DePaul, the Student Center - where campus dining is located is open very late, and with your meal plan only a swipe away - food, snacks, and sweet treats seemed always available. While I had access to the gym, I had never had a regular fitness regimen, and was intimidated to go in the first place. For many students starting college, added to lack of sleep, and more, it can be easy to put on a few pounds. Or, at least it was for me. Now that I am a senior, I have a more consistent health and fitness regimen that helps me stay feeling my best - although it hasn’t been easy to get here. Here I want to share some resources that DePaulians can take advantage of to make healthy choices that are right for them. 

The Ray
The first resource to take advantage of is the Ray Meyer Fitness Center​ on the DePaul Lincoln Park Campus. While I was quite intimidated to go to “the Ray” my first year, I encourage any student to go (your student fees get you all access with your student ID)! For those who are already fitness experts, and those who are new to it like I was, the Ray is the place to be, I swear. With rows and rows of fitness equipment and machines, students and members can find almost anything to add to their workout. The Ray also holds scheduled daily group fitness classes from dance to interval training to cycling, as well as opportunities to connect with personal trainers staffed right here at the Gym. The Ray had endless resources for fitness and fun, with intramural sports, camping equipment rentals, special events and classes and more all designed to help students and members stay active, healthy and happy. 

The second place to keep an eye out for is the Student Center, affectionately called “The Stu”. This is where dining services is held, with all the food options for students who live on campus. There are many different options available, from salad bar to burgers and fries. Having so much available was not so great for me my first year, but I admit as someone who knowingly struggles with nutrition and weight, I should have gone in with a plan. Getting pints of Ben and Jerry’s and late night curly fries are undoubtedly part of anyone’s college experience, but finding balance and making healthier choices on the regular can sometimes be a challenge. I advise anyone new to their dining hall, who wants to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15, to go in with a plan, do what makes you feel your best, and enjoy all things in life and college in moderation. 

It took me well into my college years to really figure out how to make choices to be my healthiest and best self, and is something that still takes a lot of work. For others it may come easier, but for any students current and future who wonder or worry- know that the struggle is real, you are not alone, and DePaul has some awesome resources to help you enjoy college in the healthiest and happiest way. 

To learn more about the Ray Meyer Fitness Center, visit their website here at Campus recreation.


Get the Most Out of DePaul

Every morning, from my first day of kindergarten through my last day of 12th grade, as I left for school, my mom would remind me to “take advantage of my free education.” Well, when I arrived at college and realized that my education was no longer free, I felt even more pressure to get the most out of it. DePaul has so many resources for students, but tons of students don’t even know what they’re missing out on! So I figured I’d just compile a few of the ways to get the most bang for your buck at DePaul: 

I’m a huge advocate for regularly meeting with advisors. Especially because advisors can really help you strategize and maximize your time and credits at DePaul. I came into DePaul hoping to just be able to graduate within four years. I quickly realized that if I was going to pay for the credits anyways, I might as well try to get as many majors and minors as I can. Four years later, I graduated with two majors, a minor, and a few master’s courses already under my belt. It was only because I kept in touch with my advisors that I was able to figure out how to finish all the requirements within four years. 

Taking care of your mental and emotional health is extremely important. There have been times when I definitely haven’t taken care of myself like I should have, and my metal health suffered. And when that happens, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and unmotivated. The good news is that you definitely don’t have to handle that all by yourself. 
Don’t submit a resume without having someone look it over! I cannot recommend strongly enough that you go visit the Career Center (or, at the very least, their website). The Career Center offers so many great services, but my favorite one is easily the resume review. You can meet with a Peer Career Advisor who can help you with any questions you have about resumes, cover letters, and interviews. If you’re in a rush, they also offer handy walk-in appointments. 

career center
If need help with an essay or want feedback on your writing, you can make an appointment to meet with a Writing Center tutor. If you’re trying to clarify or strengthen an argument, write your thesis statement, fix your grammar, or whatever, the Writing Center can help. No matter your skill level, your paper will only get better if you meet with a Writing Center tutor. Pro tip: ask your professor if they offer extra credit for meeting with a Writing Center tutor.

There's nothing worse than having computer problems when you have work to do. Luckily for you (and me), DePaul’s Genius Squad is FREE and has locations both at the Lincoln Park Campus (in the library) and at the Loop Campus (in the Lewis Center). Next time, bring it to them and see what they can do before you give even a dollar to anyone else.

Keep Calm and Senior Year

Ten weeks. That’s it. 

As I begin my fall quarter this year, I also begin my last quarter at DePaul...ever. On the one hand, no more late night trips to the library, finals week, or homework. On the other hand, no more “free” gym membership, L pass, or summer break either. 

I have mixed feelings about the end of my journey at DePaul. I’m excited to enter the real world and use my degree, but I’m sad to leave the routine of school and my campus community. While it’ll be nice to never have to attend a class again, it’s also new territory. The last time I wasn’t in school was a good sixteen years ago, which is crazy.

What is life without school? I’m not sure. I think I’ll have to pick up a new skill like piano ​or a language to fill the void of class and homework. 

St. Vincent Circle
Until then, I’m dedicated to the job search. (Shameless plug: If you know of anyone in need of an aspiring public relations professional, please let me know.) This summer I sharpened up my resume, did some job market research, and finished up an amazing internship with Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. I’m optimistic about finding a job, but let’s see if I feel the same way in five weeks…

My classes this quarter are ideal, but my schedule, not so much. It figures that my worst schedule would occur when I had the earliest registration time. I’m taking two political science classes and my final public relations requirement. A mere 12 credit hours stand between me and graduation. That’s a hurdle I know I can jump.

So here we go! The ten-week stretch. What’s life got in store for me as a DePaul grad? We all will just have to wait and see.


Apparently School Is Starting

Willy
As you can see from my technique and form in this picture, I almost made the Men’s Gymnastics team to compete in Rio this summer.
Like I do everyday, I got hungry today. After realizing that the only food I had in my apartment was half a bottle of ranch dressing, I decided to venture outside and wander aimlessly until I found some food. This has become my routine over the summer — I never remember to buy groceries until one day when I open the fridge and see tumbleweeds just blowing around a vast, empty space. So off I went to take my usual route and cut through the quad. Today, however, my trusty shortcut became a longcut. I quickly found myself in the middle of the DePaul Involvement Fair, stuck in an unmoving mass of people. Using the giant inflatable rock climbing wall as my North Star, I was able to make my way through the sea of people (and make a pit stop at a table that offered free cake) in a few minutes. As I walked away, it finally sunk in that the school year has officially started again. 
 
So, WELCOME BACK (or just WELCOME if you’re new to DePaul)! I hope everyone had a great summer. Personally, I had a roller coaster of a summer. It started off real rough for me. The second week of summer break, I went to get my hair cut because I was starting to look like a Beatles impersonator. I asked for a trim, but I can only assume that the hairdresser heard “buzz cut” instead. The result was not pretty.

Other than my new haircut that made me look like a moldy Mr. Potato Head, my summer was surprisingly fantastic. I had a summer thesis research course that was intense, but also super helpful (and it only made me cry a few times). In addition to working at the library a few nights each week, I started an internship that has been better than I ever could have imagined. I actually loved it so much that I decided to continue interning there through the fall! 

Willy Haircut
After receiving a panicked call from me about my disastrous new haircut, my parents demanded that I send them a picture so that they could assess how bad it really was. At the time, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. 
Since I’m a BA/MA student (which you can read all about here), I have to go above and beyond the standard graduate course load this fall and take three courses. By the end of fall, I will have to have a formal thesis proposal completed and ready to present. I’ve been super lucky in that I’ve already secured a thesis advisor, so hopefully the rest of the thesis process will go just as smoothly! I’m way excited to get deeper into thesis research and to see what I can come up with when pushed to the brink of mental collapse.
 
So it is time to buckle up and brace yourself for harrowing accounts of me stress eating my way towards my master’s degree. Welcome back to school! 

The Value of a Science Degree from DePaul

A few months ago I finished a medical school interview tour through more than 10 cities across the US. I was working as a tech at a hospital in Austin, Texas after completing my BS in Chemistry at DePaul. Mostly, I was seeking refuge from the winter for a year - exploring a new city and preparing myself for the next stage of my education. In two weeks I will start medical school in Pittsburgh. 

Since leaving DePaul I’ve had the chance to talk to a lot of students starting med school this fall from other universities around the country. At multiple schools I was interviewed by current students from an alphabet soup of prestigious universities. These conversations helped me better understand that there is something special about a science degree from a Vincentian University in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

Spring quarter of my sophomore year at DePaul I took a seminar to prepare to lead a service immersion trip the next year. We met from eight in the morning until noon every Friday for 10 weeks. I was simultaneously taking organic chemistry, and the classes overlapped for an hour. It’s pretty much unheard of to be enrolled in overlapping classes, yet, each Friday morning I took an hour detour to my organic chemistry class. 

CSH 

The first day of the seminar we created “safe space guidelines" - values to which we would hold each other accountable. One week I left a discussion of the difference between service rooted in solidarity and charity to attend a lecture on carbonyl reactions. In the seminar we occasionally “checked-in” with each other on our current emotional, physical, and intellectual wellness. We once started our early morning with a massage train. 

Every Friday that semester I went from a room where reflection, human connection, transparency, and dialogue were goals to an organic chemistry lecture hall where we were studying the fundamentals of the chemistry behind human life.

I was quite confused about the sharp contrast in environments but invigorated by the switch in thought and the mental space shared by these two loves - science and social justice. 

These are the worlds that a doctor is part of. Medicine and healthcare are moving away from the hospital and into the communities and people’s lives who they serve. Doctors and healthcare providers of the future will need to better understand the forces that shape the health of their individual patients and community populations as a whole.

Before starting college at DePaul, I knew next to nothing about the Vincentian mission at DePaul. But my experiences outside of the science department at DePaul laid the foundation for my career in medicine. The Vincentian mission showed me the utility of studying science and helped me understand what I must do in this world - use that knowledge and privilege to directly impact the daily lives of people. 


My Summer in Chicago

I am now officially a graduate student! This week, I started my summer graduate class. This is my first summer staying in Chicago. Let me tell you, things at DePaul work a little differently during the summer. I’m taking one night class during the summer. While night classes usually meet once a week for ten weeks during a normal school term, the summer term is actually divided into two five-week sessions, so my night class meets twice a week for five weeks. It’s short, but intense.

cake
I spent a few days at home between my last final and the start of my summer class. Look at the cake my mom made me to celebrate my graduation!

Actually, my whole schedule is intense (at least for these five weeks). Following my own advice, I found a great full-time summer internship. So I work at my internship from 10am-5pm Monday-Friday. After work, on Mondays and Wednesdays, I then run to work at my other job at the Lincoln Park campus library from 6pm-10pm (because my internship is unpaid and I need money). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I head over to my summer graduate class from 6pm-915pm. And then in all my free time, I will try to finish all the coursework for that class. It’s looking to be a super relaxing summer. Despite my overwhelming schedule, I’m still hoping to find time to enjoy my first summer in Chicago, especially after my class ends in early July. There’s so much to experience during the summer.

To be completely honest, I just really want to go to The SpongeBob Musical. If you haven’t heard, there’s a new Spongebob musical that is premiering in Chicago before it moves to Broadway. The super unique thing about this musical is that rather than a single composer writing all of the songs, a bunch of famous musicians each composed a single song. So imagine a musical about Spongebob Squarepants featuring songs composed by Lady Antebellum, John Legend, Panic! At The Disco, T.I., and David Bowie, among others. I cannot imagine what a T.I. song about Spongebob sounds like and I need to find out.

banner
When I got home after my last final, I discovered that my parents had repurposed my high school graduation banner.

If you’re not into Spongebob though, there are plenty of other things to do in Chicago during the summer. If you like music but aren’t as interested as I am about hearing a Panic! At The Disco song about Spongebob, you can try to find tickets to Lollapalooza. You can find the lineup for Lollapalooza here. Or if you’re more like me and you’d rather spend your money on food, you can always try to brave the crowds at Taste of Chicago. I’ve always wanted to go to Taste of Chicago, but I’ve never gotten a chance, so my goal this summer to is find time to make it to Taste of Chicago.

I’m so excited to finally be able to spend the summer in Chicago. Let me know if you have any exciting plans for your summer!


And That's a Wrap!

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!
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My Five Favorite Memories

Over the past four years, I have had countless experiences at DePaul that I will remember for the rest of my life. Aside from making great friends and getting a high quality education, the city of Chicago has given me some of the best memories. Here are five of the most memorable things I’ve done while at DePaul over the past four years:

1.  Chicago Jazz Festival​

At the beginning of September, Chicago hosts a jazz festival downtown in Millennium Park. I loved bringing a blanket and a picnic with a couple of friends, sharing a view stories and laughs and listening to world-class jazz performances (all for free!) Usually the discover Chicago class for music students ends with attending a jazz concert – I will miss laying on the grass, watching sunsets over lake Michigan and being a train ride away from one of the best and biggest outdoor venues in our country.

Throwback to 2012: Downtown!
2. Student Leadership InstituteWinter Leadership Conference

During the winter of my freshman year, I had the opportunity to attend the winter leadership conference in Zion, Illinois. At no expense to me, I got to stay in a hotel on Lake Michigan, eat delicious meals and participate in group discussions and activities about how to be a good leader and be a positive role model on campus and beyond. I learned so much about myself and met some great people along the way.

 3. Bakery-crawling

If you’ve been reading my blog this year, you know I am obsessed with bakeries. I have loved trying new places – cupcakes, pies, cookies, doughnuts – I love it all! I will miss having adventures to new sweet spots, but I know where I will be stopping first when I come for a visit… check out my favorites: Dinkel’s, West Town Bakery, Stan’s Donuts, Sweet Mandy B’s, Molly’s Cupcakes, Bake, Swirlz, Twisted Baker

4. Bowling nights and attending ILMEA

I had the privilege of being the president of the DePaul chapter of NAfME, or the National Association for Music Educators. I had a great time road tripping down to Peoria for the Illinois Music Education Conference – not only did I grow as an educator, but it was a full weekend of spending time with my peers, networking with professionals and purchasing new music and equipment. We also started a new tradition of going bowling at the end of the school year at Diversey River bowl – a great celebration of all the hard work we do each year!

Dancing in Sierra Leone, Africa

5. All of these things:

Eating Chicago-style pizza, going to Cubs games, seeing the Chicago Symphony, sitting on the beach, running races downtown, performing in different venues, teaching in local schools, singing in the church choir at St.Paul’s, traveling to Africa and collaborating with my awesome peers!

Memories at DePaul go way beyond the classroom – Chicago is our campus!


Presenting at the Honors Student Conference

On Friday, May 13th, the unluckiest day of the year, I was lucky enough to be able to present at the third annual Honors Student Conference. This year, over 100 students presented research papers, artistic works, or thesis projects at the conference (you can see the program here!). 

While Honors thesis students are obligated to present at the conference, any Honors student is eligible to present a poster at the conference. In order to present a poster, an Honors student can either apply for the conference or be nominated by a professor. If you apply, you submit your paper or work to the Honors Student Conference Committee for consideration. If a professor nominates a work you completed for class, you’re automatically accepted to the conference. I was honored to be nominated by one of my favorite professors (thank you, Professor Steeves!) for a paper I wrote for my Honors Senior Seminar. 

To be completely honest, I almost turned down the opportunity to present at the conference. Unlike most people (I imagine), it wasn’t the idea of public speaking that gave me anxiety. I did theatre for years; I have no problem speaking in public and I knew my topic well. I got anxious when I found out that I would have to make a poster. Not only am I not a very visual person in general, but my paper topic was very conceptual and theoretical and did not lend itself very easily to visual representation.

Thankfully, the Honors Program offers two short workshops to prepare everyone for the conference. While everyone had to attend a workshop about how to present a poster, I opted to also attend the workshop on how to create a poster. I furiously took notes and started working on it that night. While I was able to format everything right, I still struggled to figure out how to visually organize my topic. I stressed out about it for weeks. Unsurprisingly, I finally had my flash of brilliance the day before the conference and stayed up until the early hours of the morning working on my poster. In the end, the stress was worth it and I could not be more proud of my poster.

The actual conference experience was amazing and stress-free.  Everyone was so complementary about my poster and at least pretended to be super interested in my paper and what I had to say. I had sort of forgotten that there are so many students studying subjects other than my own. Of course I’ve taken classes with students from different majors, but I rarely get the opportunity to see students represent fields of study that aren’t my own. So it was exciting to see people that I know and actually be able to see what they are studying. Likewise, it’s exciting to speak to professors outside of your department about your field of study. Each professor ends up approaching your topic from a different perspective and their questions make you understand your own topic even better. 

Presenting at the Honors Student Conference was really the best experience. If I weren't a senior, I would already be looking to present again next year. If you're ever on the fence about presenting, do it and I promise you won't regret it.


Just in Time!

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!


Creating Campaigns

As a communication major, I have certain core classes that need to be fulfilled before graduation. Some of these classes consist of 300 level courses. This quarter, I am enrolled in Public Relations and Advertising Ethics and the final project consists of creating a campaign that you would like to see actually implemented in the world. I thought I would take this opportunity to show you the beginning steps to creating a campaign and where my group is in that process!

The basics consist of establishing an issue, an audience, and an organization that will sponsor the campaign. All of my group members are interested in global feminism so we decided to tackle the issue of violence against women in the Middle East.

Issue:

In many Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Nauru, Chad, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, the world is seeing a crisis. Due to a spread in war and poverty, millions of Middle Eastern civilians have fled their countries in order to seek refuge in neighboring countries. The majority of these refugees come from Syria, where more than 250,000 people have been killed in a four-and-a-half-year conflict. Upon arriving in neighboring countries, many refugees are placed in refugee camps. Our campaign will focus on the mistreatment of women in these refugee camps where women are frequently targeted as subjects of violence and sexual abuse.

Our group chose to create a social media campaign based on this issue because we felt this issue was in need of public recognition. We all feel passionate about gender equality and wanted to focus on a branch of the issue that is not as frequently talked about or illustrated in the media. The women in these refugee camps are subjected to violence and mistreatment every day and have limited opportunities to have their voices heard. Our campaign will urge young women in America to realize the severity of this situation and urge them to take action to empower these refugee women, stop the violence, and change the gender norm.

Audience:

In order to generate the most awareness and effect the most change, we have chosen to target women between the ages of 18-25 living in the United States. These will be young women who are either already passionate about human rights and gender equality issues, or who are socially conscious individuals looking for a social cause to become passionate about.  By targeting this specific audience, it is our hope that the young female population in America will make the voices of the refugee women heard.

Sponsor:

Our sponsor for this campaign will be the Global Fund for Women (GFW). GFW is a nonprofit organization that focuses on women’s rights initiatives throughout the world. They have over 2,000 advisers and partners worldwide, and seek to strengthen women’s rights in the most marginalized areas of the world.  Their mission is to empower women to change their own lives.

We chose GFW as our sponsor for two main reasons. First, they partner with thousands of other women’s rights groups and would therefore be likely and glad to sponsor this social media campaign. Secondly, they are presently doing work on this specific issue. The organization works with other women’s groups in refugee areas and publishes women’s personal stories on their website. Their connection and work for this issue, along with their connection to thousands of other women’s rights groups makes them the perfect sponsor.


After these initial steps, we must look for campaign goals and objectives as well as the ethical values that are embedded in the campaign. What I love most about this type of group work is it creates an opportunity for real world feedback from experienced faculty on our ability to curate a campaign.
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It's Graduation Time

Unsurprisingly, I think I'm holding a candy bar wrapper in my hand at my high school graduation.
Four years ago, during the rehearsal for my high school graduation, a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed me about my post-high school plans. Apparently, I told him that I wanted to major in Spanish at DePaul and then continue on to get my law degree and specialize in tort reform or immigration law. Four years later, I’m getting ready to graduate and I can definitively say there’s no way I’m heading to law school. And while I’m a little atypical in that I start (graduate) class again two days after the graduation ceremony, the fact is that I’m finally graduating and it’s a pretty good opportunity to reflect on how I’ve changed during my time at DePaul.

I had a really rough start at DePaul and almost dropped out. I don’t think I had emotionally prepared myself for such a big change in my life. I was so homesick and overwhelmed that for the first month of school, my dad would drive to Chicago all the way from Madison every Thursday, pick me up right after my last class, drive me home, and then drive me all the way back to Chicago on Sunday night. I remember my parents begging me to just try to finish out the quarter. I had a similar experience with International Studies as well—after I finished the first course, I contemplated dropping International Studies as a major because I thought I wasn’t smart enough and I just wasn’t good at it. I just felt so inadequate.

Here I am getting ready to sumo wrestle at my high school's party for seniors. I look super excited for college.

When I first came to college, my goal was just to graduate. I did not have high expectations for myself at all. And when I think about that, I realize that I’ve accomplished so much more than I ever thought I was capable of doing. All throughout high school, I knew that I wanted to study abroad at some point during college, but I sort of doubted that I would ever actually go through with it. Not only did I study abroad in Madrid, but I discovered that Spanish political history is pretty interesting. I got back from studying abroad and applied for my master’s (which never even crossed my mind in high school) so that I could study Spanish political history. The kid who almost dropped out of DePaul and International Studies because he thought he couldn’t handle it is staying at DePaul for a fifth year so that he can get his master’s in International Studies.

This summer will be the first summer that I’m staying in Chicago rather than going back home. It’s sort of bittersweet because I feel like it means that I’m finally officially an adult, but I’m also excited because I have a great internship lined up, I get to work on my thesis, and I'm just ready to start a new phase of my life. 


Chicago Rock Spot

In the words of the profoundly philosophical and reflective Nicki Minaj, “Let’s go to the beach, each, let’s go get a wave.”

Nicki couldn’t have summed up the goal of my summer any better. If you can’t find me and it’s blazing outside, I’ll be laying out by Belmont Harbor. A quick, Bus 77 ride away from my apartment, the walkway along Belmont Harbor doesn’t get as crowded as Fullerton Beach​ or North Avenue Beach.

While this part of the lakefront doesn’t have any sand, if you don’t mind laying on a towel on concrete, it’s the perfect spot. There are even a lot of rocks along the lake, making some nice, natural, sit-in-the-water seats. My friends and I have titled this place, the Rock Spot.

The Rock Spot is an ideal location to soak up the summer sun and skip all the hot sand. I’ve never been a fan of coming home from the lake and having to dump out the sand in my bag. My inner neat freak is not okay with the residual graininess and stickiness that undoubtedly comes from a day at the beach.

Dipping my pinky toe into the water this Monday morning, I thought I had mentally prepared myself for how cold the lake would be, but I definitely didn’t prepare enough. According to the National Weather Service in Chicago, the temperature of Lake Michigan at the Chicago shore is currently 58 degrees. It was a glacial temperature to say the least.

I’m still waiting for the water to warm up, but until then, I’ll be lounging by the Rock Spot. Hope to see you there!


Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

79 degrees and not a thing to do on a sunny, Saturday afternoon my brother calls me and asks if I can pick him up from school as he just finished his race. In a lethargic manner I arise from my slumber, get dressed, and drive to my alma mater to get my brother. 

I arrive at Gordon Tech (now DePaul College Prep) and see him playing games on his phone while sitting in the sun. He gets in my car, tells me about his race, and drive to the store to pick up some items. With such a beautiful day at my disposal, my previous craving to stay in all day and watch Daredevil on Netflix had left and all I wanted to do was explore the world. “Do you want to go on a hike?” I asked my brother. “Uhmm, sure why not.” he replies. I call my girlfriend and ask her if she’d like to join us on our spontaneous adventure, she says yes. 

My brother and I pick her up, go to our house, pack some water and snacks, and make our way to Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve​ in DuPage County. As we park, I take notice of others in attendance. This was my first time on a hike and I wanted to see what others were wearing, drinking, eating, etc. I saw these two gentlemen wearing backpacks that seemed to have anything one might need when venturing into the wilderness. There were also some bikers with mountain bikes, water, helmets, and more prepared for the journey ahead of them. My group? Well we had sneakers, water, sunglasses, a small backpack, squished granola bars, and a thirst for adventure! 

We took our first steps into the unfamiliar realm of nature and made our way to a post containing simple directions. “Waterfall 2.9 miles à” it stated. Our crew then began our hike down the path to the waterfall. The experience was one definitely worth the trip. We saw robins, squirrels, otters, and dragonflies. There weren’t any deer sightings but we did find some tracks showing their presence. A passerby pointed us in the direction of a playground just through the forest so we went, for what we thought would be a quick stop by. Playing on the monkey bars, swings, and eating some of our squished granola bars quite some time had passed and we decided to save the waterfall sighting for another day. 

Some might call this a failed mission but considering it was my first time ever hiking, I think it was a huge success! If you’re ever looking to get in touch with nature make sure to check out Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in DuPage County, you won’t regret it! 


In Defense of the Quarter System

Every May, right about halfway through the month, you start hearing DePaul students complain about the quarter system. It’s not hard to figure out why. I know firsthand how brutal it can be to see pictures of your friends from other schools already enjoying summer break (or even worse, graduating) when you just finished midterms. I don't think that the quarter system gets the respect that it deserves. Here are a few reasons that I love the quarter system:

It's easy to fall behind and hard to catch up in a ten week quarter. At the beginning of the school year, I downloaded an app to try to stay organized and on top of my work. I spent six hours one night inputting every assignment I had during the quarter. I don't think I ever looked at the app again.
You get to take more classes. In a semester system, you typically take 4-5 classes per semester. At DePaul, the typical course load is 4 classes per quarter. Over the span of four years, the quarter system allows you to take 8-16 more classes than you would in a semester system. So while the 10-week courses in the quarter system move fast and can be hard to keep up with at times (these pictures show my desperate attempts to stay organized), those extra classes can make adding a minor or a second major so much easier.

If you have a bad quarter and your grades drop, you have plenty of opportunities to raise your GPA. Rough quarters happen to the best of us. Whether you’re dealing with personal issues outside of class or you just don’t understand the material in class, it’s way easier to recover your GPA in the quarter system. Under the semester system, your final GPA is the average of eight semesters. Under the quarter system, it’s the average of twelve quarters. So when it comes time to calculate your overall GPA, a single semester has a way bigger impact than a single quarter.

If you don’t particularly like your professor, you don’t have to deal with them for that long. Somewhere along the line, you’re inevitably going to end up taking a class with a professor who, for whatever reason, you wouldn’t take again. The good news is that, in a quarter system, your class with that professor only lasts for ten weeks rather than fifteen weeks. You can always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The schedule just makes way more sense. The semester system is fragmented in ways that the quarter system isn’t. In a semester system, Thanksgiving break interrupts fall semester and spring break divides spring semester. In the quarter system​, Thanksgiving means the end of fall quarter and the beginning of winter break, which is the entire month of December. Spring break marks the end of winter quarter and the beginning of spring quarter.

Let me know what you think about the quarter system!


On Campus Jobs

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!

Go Cubs Go!

After living five blocks from Wrigley Field​ for the past two years, I finally got a chance to experience this iconic ballpark.

Last week, I was blessed with a cancelled class on Thursday night. As if that wasn’t lucky enough, my friend had an extra ticket to the Cubs game. Fate wanted me to go to that game and enjoy a Cubs win over the Washington Nationals!

Around 7:00  p.m. we walked the four blocks from my apartment to Wrigley. I embarrassingly did not have any Cubs apparel to wear to the game. I once owned a W shirt, but lost it in the wild, wild west, also known as my closet. I wore a dark blue coat instead, trying to blend in with the Cubs crowd. It worked!

I was ultimately surprised at the size of the ballpark. The only ballpark I had been to previously was U.S. Cellular, which seems so much bigger than Wrigley. But perhaps, my memories of U.S. Cellular deceive me as the last game I went to was in middle school I believe.

The Cubs and Sox rivalry is one I am very familiar with. My parents are die-hard Sox fans and have raised me to follow in their footsteps. Unfortunately, my move to Wrigleyville has changed my loyalty, as I found myself sitting in Wrigley Field shouting “Go Cubs go,” on Thursday.

I’ve told my family that my switch from rooting for the Sox to the Cubs is a matter of safety; imagine if I was walking down Addison after a Cubs game let out and I had on Sox shirt. I’m sure that an excited Cubs fan might punch me in the face. It’s easier if I assimilate into my neighborhood and cheer for the Cubbies.

But, ask me to cheer for the Green Bay Packers? Never would I ever.


Post-DemonTHON

Last week, I wrote about the exciting impending event, DemonTHON and this week, I am thrilled to recap the event and talk about what a fun success it was! For those who need a refresher about what DemonTHON is, it is DePaul’s 24-hour dance marathon to raise money for Lurie’s Children’s Hospital. Dancers raise money to participate in the event and then stand/dance for 24-hours, For the Kids (DemonTHON's motto). 

The big event was jam-packed with activities, stories, and music that made the 24 hours go by quickly. Each hour all the dancers participated in the Morale Dance, a 10-minute long choreographed dance to a mashup of a bunch of songs. By hour 24, we certainly knew the dance moves! After the Morale Dance, we heard a Miracle Story, a story from families and kids who have been treated and cared for at Lurie’s Hospital. Those were some of my favorite parts because we were able to meet and hear from people who have been positively impacted by the money we’ve raised. It made the sore feet and tiredness so worth it!

The Cru team at DemonTHON. PC: Alex Segall Photography
Each chunk of 4-5 hours had themes, too, like State Fair and 2000’s. Each theme hour gave dancers the opportunity to change into costumes and play themed games. We were fed food donated and catered by businesses all over Lincoln Park, which was great. We also danced a whole lot, which actually helped our feet not hurt. My favorite was the Half Hour Power Hour, which was half an hour filled with constant throwback 90’s and 2000’s music. What a blast!

I do not think I have ever been so tired and sore at the end of the 24 hours, but participating in the event was so worth it. We raised $274,887.77 FTK (for the kids!)! In the five years that DemonTHON has been at DePaul, $1,000,000 has been raised, and that is just absolutely incredible and humbling. I am so proud to have been a part of something so important and inspirational. FTK!

The Misanthrope

This quarter I’ve been spending a lot more time on campus. With my Mondays now free, I typically spend my whole day in Lincoln Park. Besides spending too much money at the DePaul Whole Foods, I have been regularly reading our campus message boards and have found out about some pretty cool activities on campus.

While I admittedly jot down most of these activities in my planner, never to be revisited again, last week I actually followed through on something. Buying a ticket with my roommate to see The Misanthrope by Moliere​, I decided to take a trip to the DePaul Theater School on the corner of Racine and Fullerton.

Arriving to the theater just before the show started, I was a bit flustered as I sat down and took in my surroundings. The Fullerton stage is small and intimate; the glow of the lighting reaches all audience members, leaving no one completely in the dark.

The stage set a beautiful scene, highlighting a fancy foyer with large bay windows. Two double doors on each side of the stage acted as the entrance and exit points for the characters during the play.

The play itself was smart and quick. The characters were outspoken and comical, and all of the play’s lines rhymed, which is automatically very impressive. While I won’t spoil anything from the play, DePaul’s interpretation was marvelous, not that I’ve ever read the original or seen a different version.

I always appreciate DePaul Theater School plays. For only $5, not enough students take advantage of this opportunity. Plus, who knows which future famous actor or actress you might see on stage at DePaul.



DemonTHON

I had a very long, fun, emotional, physically exhausting, incredibly rewarding weekend: I danced for DemonTHON, DePaul’s 24-hour dance marathon that benefits Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Throughout the year, DemonTHON ​hosts events around DePaul and Chicago to engage with and raise money for the children being treated at Lurie’s. The entire event is wrapped up at the 24-hour dance marathon, which was this past weekend. For 24 hours, I stood and danced for all the children who can’t. 

I was on the Cru DePaul team and I was so excited for the weekend. To be honest, the thought of being on my feet for 24 hours straight was a little lot daunting, but it is for an amazing cause and I was surrounded by all of my friends. I was most excited to meet and hear the stories of some of the children who have been treated at Lurie’s. They are such an inspiration and have made the entire fundraising adventure and the dance marathon 110% worth the aching feet and tired bodies.

The Cru crew dressed up for Tacky Prom. Don't we look great?
Throughout the year, DemonTHON has hosted events to raise money and to celebrate those who are dancing. My favorite event was Tacky Prom where we dressed up and danced in bad 80’s dresses. It was so fun! DemonTHON has also hosted many bake sales in the Student Center, sold lots of merchandise, and gone canning almost every week, among numerous other fundraisers (where 100% of the profits go to the kids!). So far, in the four years DemonTHON has been at DePaul, students have raised $725,112.23. That’s amazing! I am so happy I get to be a part of something so special that makes such a big difference. I will be writing an update next week talking about how the big event went and how much money we raised. Stay tuned!

Where to Study: Group Edition

Let’s get one thing clear: no one likes group projects. It’s impossible to find a time when everyone is available to meet. There’s always either someone who does nothing or someone who tries to do everything. If you’re lucky, you might even have one of those people in your group who asks a thousand questions or that one person that does all of their work, but does it all wrong. You can never decide on a place to meet up. Now I may not be able to help you with your annoying group members, but I’ve come up with a list of the best places for groups to study on campus.

I'm always at the library (and not just because I work there).
Probably the most obvious place to study is the library. All four floors of the library have tons of tables and chairs and desks, but for group work, definitely stick to the first two floors. Each floor of the library is supposed to get quieter as you go up and you don’t want to be that group that everyone else on the floor complains about. If you want to talk as a group, but don’t want to be distracted by everyone around you talking, you can reserve one of the study rooms in the library.

If your group is working primarily on your computers, try out one of the media:scape tables on the first floor of the library if you haven’t already. While you can reserve the media:scape tables in the Information Commons on the first floor of the library, the media:scape tables in the Scholar’s Lab in the library are first come, first serve. Each media:scape table has one or two big monitors, either a PC or a PC and a Mac, and a bunch of connection cables for laptops. After everyone plugs their laptops into the media:scape table, you can switch which screen is displayed on the monitor with the push of a button. It’s especially amazing for doing research as a group. Whenever someone finds a really helpful source, they can push the button and everyone can see that same source up on the big screen.

The media:scape tables could not be better for when your group has to make a PowerPoint.

If your group is a little more casual, or you’re just studying for a test with a bunch of people, the SAC Pit is the place to go. While the SAC Pit is super busy during the morning and early afternoon, it quiets down and turns into a great place to study. If you’re looking for somewhere quieter during the day, you can just go up to meet at one of the tables on the second, third, or fourth floor of Levan Center, which is connected to the SAC. The tables are right next to huge windows, which obviously provide tons of light, and aren’t used nearly as often as they should be.

My other favorite place to meet up and study is at the Arts and Letters Hall​, right across the street from Levan Center and the SAC. All four floors of Arts and Letters have different arrangements of tables, couches, and chairs that make studying a lot more comfortable. That being said, I get distracted way more often in Arts and Letters than I do anywhere else, so I can only study here when I'm feeling particularly motivated. It's one of the most popular places to meet for group work, so good luck finding a table during the day.

Good luck studying!


Let's Go Hawks!

Through a twist of fate and luck, my dad and I scored tickets to the Chicago Blackhawks game against the St. Louis Blues. We had great seats on the first row of the third floor, right behind the goal.

Getting lost on our way to the United Center, it was overwhelming when we first arrived into the stadium. The sheer number of people in red jerseys (myself and my dad included) confused us and comforted us at the same time.

I had never been to Hawks game before, but now that I’ve experienced the madness I can think of no other professional sport that is as exciting to watch live. The crowd is rowdy as can be, and the swiftness with which the puck moves leaves no moment of the game unhurried.

The finals score of Game 6 was 6 to 3, with the Hawks advancing to Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs. I scored a win myself as I got a free rally rag imprinted with the iconic words “One Goal” when I arrived at the stadium. (Everyone did, but still…)

Let’s go Hawks!


Admitted Students Weekend

When spring rolls around students all over the country are going through the same thing: making college decisions. The acceptance letters are in, the financial aid packages have arrived, and now there is one thing left to do: CHOOSE. While I am now in my junior year of my undergraduate career, I remember this time of year vividly, my senior year of high school trying to choose the right college to attend. I've briefly mentioned some of my experience choosing a school, but there is an event coming up at The Theatre School that is has got this on my mind. That event is Admitted Students Weekend. I remember as a high schooler going on countless college tours, reading endless pamphlets, and surfing around too many college websites. Sometimes these would be an overload of too much information, and sometimes not enough information, but the tours and pamphlets and websites don't always let you know what the student experience is really like at a college or university. Enter Admitted Students Weekend. I remember once I had received my acceptance letter to DePaul, I was beyond excited. But I had a big choice to make whether to attend DePaul, which had been my first choice at the time, or choose one of the many other options I had. A big thing to consider is fit - do I think I can fit here? Will I get not only the education I desire, but also the student experience I want? 

The Theatre School at DePaul hosts an awesome event to allow students to get a taste of just that. Students who have been accepted into one of the many different degree programs at TTS are invited in April to come to campus for Admitted students Weekend. This is a 2 to 3 day event where students who have been admitted get to truly experience the student life of people with their major. These prospective students get to spend the night in the dorms with current students with their same major, seeing for themselves what it is like to live on campus. They get to watch classes attended by current students to see what they are learning, and get to attend a demo class themselves to try out some of the work. This is a chance to meet some of the other students who may attend, meet current students, ask questions and feel the energy of the school. There are panels with current students and panels with alumni, answering any questions, addressing concerns, and sharing their own experiences. 

As a girl from the Pacific Northwest, who had never really been to Chicago other than to tour the schools, it was important to me to know more before making a huge decision to move all the way across the country. Also I knew that the other school I had visited really didn't feel right to me. In April of 2013, I got an invitation to attend Admitted Students Weekend, to come see what it is like to be an Acting Major​ at DePaul. I can honestly say that it is one of the best decisions that I made. With some objections from my parents, I found a way to get a ticket to Chicago to visit for the weekend. When I got here, I got to tour the school (this was not the beautiful 73 million dollar facility we have now), meet the students, ask questions and get a feel for it myself. I really had to ask myself, based on what I have seen and heard here, could I see myself here? I think that is a CRUCIAL question to ask yourself when picking a school. There are many factors to think about, for me they were location, cost, curriculum, diversity, and more. To be honest, cost was a huge one for me, coming from a single parent home. But to be even more honest, it was important to me to put the cost aside and ask myself is this where I see myself for the next 4 years? For me, the answer was yes. I loved the idea of conservatory style training paired with a well-rounded liberal arts education. I loved the idea of being in Chicago. I loved what I saw as a collaborative environment with committed students and artists. I loved the values DePaul has regarding service to our community and using the city as your classroom. These appealed to me greatly. 

I just received an email today saying that this coming weekend is Admitted Students Weekend at TTS, and to be on the lookout for ways to make the students feel welcome, and help them with their decision. It is crazy to me to be on the other end of the experience this time around, as I have the last few years. I am so grateful that DePaul hosted a weekend like this, as it really helped me make one of the biggest decisions in my life. My advice to anyone currently making their own college decision is to definitely attend any event offered such as the one I have just mentioned. But if you have only experienced the tours, and the photos and paragraphs that are scattered across the website, really ask yourself, "Can I see myself here? Will I get what I want out of my education and my experience?" Answer honestly, and go with your gut. Everything else will work itself out. 

This is a very exciting time of year, and I am very excited to see who decides to become a Blue Demon next fall. 

DePaul Internship Credit

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 requirementI 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.

Congrats, Accepted Students!

​​​Congratulations accepted students! Decisions for the DePaul School of Music​ have finally been sent out and we all are anxiously waiting to see who decides to join our community in the fall. Choosing a college and enrolling is extremely exciting – but it can also be overwhelming! As an employee of the music admissions office, I thought I’d give you few tips to ease your transition into DePaul (plus some reasons why you should choose us!)

1. Do your research before making a decision.

What is the mission of the college? What academic resources will you have access to? What kinds of clubs are available? Will there be internship opportunities? What are the perks of being a student at DePaul? Where is the campus? What are the facilities like? What are the college’s strengths and weaknesses? Can you study abroad?

Check out these amazing DePaul resources: The Writing Center​, Career Center​, Ray Meyer Fitness Center​, University Counseling​, DePaul Central​, Financial Fitness Program​, Study Abroad Program​

2. Music students only: Relax, You’re guaranteed on-campus housing!

All incoming undergraduate music students are guaranteed on-campus housing​. What does this mean? As long as you get your housing paperwork in on time, you will not be turned away or put on a wait list. Keep in mind that you are not required to live on campus – though we do suggest it for your first year at DePaul! Field trips, free food and new friends? who wouldn't want to live on campus.

3. Sit in on classes, take a tour and pick a current student’s brain.

The Music School is currently offering 1:30pm info sessions and tours​ Monday-Friday, but we are more than happy to arrange custom visits to show you why DePaul is the place to be! Want to see a music theory class, intro to music education or orchestra rehearsal? How about a tour of our new and improved practice rooms? Call or email the music admissions​ office to set up a visit.

4. Join the Official DePaul University Class of 2020 Facebook page.

You’ll be able to ask questions and get to know other admitted students! DePaul organizations often post useful information about housing, orientation​ and exciting events designed just for you. Also “like” the DePaul School of Music page for updates about current students, construction and fun facts!

Choosing a university can be really challenging with high attendance costs and (potentially) leaving home for the first time. I hope that you will consider DePaul for your next educational journey! As always, you can contact the music admissions office with any questions or concerns – you might even get me on the phone! DePaul is a great place to be, and I think you will agree.


Be a Student Employee

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.

I can't believe I missed out on dodgeball.

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 far.


America the Beautiful

​​​​​Is it really spring if you didn’t visit the annual Macy’s Flower Show?​ I don’t think so.

Or at least that’s what I told my roommate as I strung him along to look at flowers with me on the ninth floor of Macy’s on State Street.

Of course, the annual show did not disappoint. With the theme, “America the Beautiful,” this year’s flower show took on the task of trying to represent the flowers of America in a space the size of a large apartment.

Did it do our nation’s flowers justice? I have no idea. The flowers I recognized at the show were few and far between. However, Macy’s did identify all the flowers for patrons through signage placed in flower beds and attached to decorated walls. They even labeled grass in case you got confused by the green stringy things growing out of the soil. How nice.

The show celebrated not only flowers, but also recreated various iconic destinations out of flowers. The Washington Monument was replicated from a structure of white flowers, with cherry blossoms lining the pathway. The Statue of Liberty’s fire torch is that what you call it, I really have no idea was also replicated using a multitude of colorful flowers.

In case you are wondering, you are not allowed to purchase any flowers at the flower show. Macy’s lists that fact as the answer to a frequently asked flower show question ​online. Quite ironic considering you can buy anything else under the sun at Macy's.

Perusing the pathways of the flower show gave me the spring break I didn’t have this year. Plus, armed with my Zyrtec, Kleenex, and memories of the flower show, I am now officially ready for spring. Bring on the allergies.




Advantages to Your Student ID

One of my favorite parts of going to such a diverse school like DePaul is having friends in so many different fields and majors. I am a Health Sciences major, but some of friends are majoring in Psychology, Finance, Communications, and English. It is so cool to see how close we are even though we all have such different passions and majors.

One of my friends, Trevor, is in the School of Music and is majoring in Vocal Performance. He is passionate about opera and this quarter he had a leading role in Die Fledermaus, a German opera. It was thankfully performed in English as my German skills are pretty lacking. To give a quick insight, the three-act opera in centered around a masquerade ball and is full of disguises, romance, lust, and humor. 

Trevor played the witty friend to the main character and humorously meddled in the lives of his friends to reveal an affair. Trevor and the entire cast did a wonderful job and it was a very entertaining way to spend a Friday night.

I really encourage DePaul students to take advantage of performances like these. With a Student ID, tickets are free and you get the opportunity to see the immense talent of your fellow students. There is so much more, too, that DePaul students unknowingly have access to that is not taken advantage of. Did you know that with a Student ID you get into all of the DePaul athletic events free? There’s even a shuttle bus that takes you down to Allstate Arena to watch the boys’ basketball team play. DePaul has a lot of talented students, whether their passions be in music, athletics, or theater, and it is so cool that we get the opportunities to see their talents be performed. 

I'm Going to LA!

I frequently talk about the film program here at DePaul University. The reason being is I am a film student. I am now done with the majority of my third year of college and have only this Spring Quarter to complete before I head into my final year at DePaul. 

It’s a bit nerve-racking, I must admit, but some good news has recently come my way. The LA Quarter​ is a program available to students that wish to go to Los Angeles and study for a quarter. It is typically provided for the fall and spring quarters. In order to get into the program you have to submit a piece of work, fill out an application, write a letter of intent, and get a professor to recommend you. All of which, I did about a month ago before the deadline. 

I didn’t tell anyone that I applied, not even my family, because I didn’t want there to be all this excitement if I didn’t get in. Also, I am kind of superstitious and did not want to jinx myself. About two weeks after applying I was onset for this short film titled Cobra Cliff. We were preparing our next shot and I got an email from CDM​ with the header saying “LA Quarter” but no giving any indication of acceptance or not. I pardoned myself from the set and immediately opened the email to see that I had been accepted to the LA Quarter for Fall Quarter of the 2016-2017 academic year. I wanted to jump with joy and excitement and tell all my friends but we were seconds away from rolling so I didn’t. 

Somehow, I held in all my excitement for the rest of the shoot but the moment I got out I texted my family, my friends, and everyone else that would care to know. Today, I share it with you my fellow reader and friend. If you are pursuing film here at DePaul be sure to check out the LA Quarter. I am very excited for this opportunity and look forward to writing to you all from sunny LA next year!


DePaul Opera Theatre Presents "Die Fledermaus"

​​​​For all you vocalists out there – or maybe even if you just enjoy opera – DePaul students blew me away a few weekends ago in their performance of Die Fledermaus​ at the Merle Reskin Theatre​ downtown. Accompanied by a full orchestra under the direction of Steven Mosteller​, DePaul Opera Theatre​ put on an amazing performance, I'd say the best one I've seen by DePaul students! DePaul Opera Theatre does three operas a year; the fall and spring operas are performed at DePaul’s concert hall, but every winter DePaul students take the stage at the Merle Reskin Theatre to present a full-blown performance - costumes, sets, props, galore!

The first thing (but certainly not best thing, of course!) about going to the opera was that it was FREE. DePaul knows we are hard-working students, which is why they make sure we have as many opportunities to see performance as possible without emptying our bank accounts. Not only did my student ID get me in without paying a penny, I sat in the fourth row! Some say it’s better to sit in the balcony for better views of the whole stage…I thought I had the best view in the house. The Merle Reskin​ is a really cool theatre with three floors – I was really impressed to see how many people came out to support my peers.

DePaul presents "Die Fledermaus"
The two best things about this Opera were that it was in English and it was hilarious! Die Fledermaus​ is basically about a man who must report to an 8-day jail sentence – but on his last night before turning himself in, he goes to a party to meet pretty ladies and drink champagne. His wife finds out and attends the party as a masked guest and her husband tries to flirt with her. In the end, the husband finds out it was the wife at the party and is in shock – however, we find out the whole ordeal was a prank played on the husband by a friend. My favorite part of the show was when they revealed that it was a prank - there was dancing, giant champagne bottles and bubbles everywhere! It was really fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. The music was great and I was floored by how talented my colleagues are. My best friend, Kelsey, was assistant concertmaster in the orchestra (second chair violin) – I couldn’t have been more proud!!

There is never a shortage of amazing performances around here.  The opera was so well done - a woman at intermission turned to me and said, "wait...are they all students?!?" Yes Ma'am, they are and they ROCK! I’m really looking forward to the spring because all of my talented friends will be giving recitals at DePaul​! It was really fun to have a night out and experience a great performance.

Losing Wisdom, Gaining Strength

​​​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.

​​

Spring Break and Easter

​​​​​It is officially my final quarter at DePaul! Only 10 weeks stand between me and obtaining my undergraduate degree​ in music education. I’m feeling a lot of things – but mostly excitement! If all goes according to plan, I'll be a full-time teacher in the next 6 months.

Unfortunately, I’m starting spring quarter less rested than I would have liked. I decided to spend my week-long break in Maine with my family with the intention to take a much needed rest and start applying for jobs (yikes!). As soon as I arrived home, I went to the doctor for a cough that had been persisting for a couple of weeks and left with a handful of medications for acute bronchitis. As if having bronchitis wasn’t enough, it got extremely worse over the weekend! I ended up at the doctor’s office 3 times in 5 days and spent my whole break in bed. It was a huge bummer and I didn't get a single application done – at least I was able to spend a little bit of time with my family!

Bronchitis didn’t completely ruin my spring break though – I still had a fabulous Easter! I love everything about Easter…the church service at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ​, spending time with friends and eating delicious food. I was lucky enough to celebrate on both days of the weekend with both Will’s family and friends I’ve met through my involvement at St. Paul’s.

One of the first things I did when I moved to Chicago was find a church to call “home." My family never went to church when I was growing up – it was through attending with friends that I started to enjoy going. It was just my luck that the church that was of most interest to me is located only one block away from DePaul’s campus! St. Paul’s United Church of Christ invited me in with open arms, and over the last few years I’ve had the great pleasure of singing in the choir and performing on my bassoon in the summer. It’s a great feeling to have a place other than DePaul where people know my name and care about my well-being.

Will and Me after Easter services at St. Paul's!
It was through singing in choir that I met Lois and Greg, an older married couple who invited me to join them for my first Easter in Chicago four years ago. Since then, I’ve become best friends with their daughter, Hope, attended several family dinners and receive a formal invitation to Easter brunch every year! It has been so wonderful to have a support system here in Chicago since all of my family is on the East Coast – I’m so grateful to St. Paul’s for helping me create these relationships that will hopefully last my whole life. 

Due to some scheduling conflicts, Greg and Lois held their brunch on the Saturday before Easter, which allowed me to join Will’s family for the first time on the holiday. Though I was a little tired due to my week-long battle with Bronchitis, I feel so lucky to have been able to spend time with two families that I care about so much! I might be 1,000 miles away from my own relatives, but having both families in my life has made Chicago feel  more like “home” than I ever thought it would.

360 Degree DePaul Quad

There are many cool things about DePaul and our campus. 

There are coffee shops, events with free food, friendly people, and of course our Quad! This blog isn't much of a blog, but more of an introduction to the video embedded here. See, I just recently purchased the Ricoh Theta S 360 degree camera and it is super awesome! So I decided, why not take awesome thing number one (DePaul's Quad) and awesome thing number two (new, crazy 360 camera) and put them together! 

Thus I present to you my fellow friends, readers, and family (hi mom!) the first 360 degree video of DePaul University's Quad! Feel free to look up, down, left, right, at the sky, at me, at the ground, and whatever else you like! Sorry, for all the exclamation points, I'm very excited if you cannot tell. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this short video! 

Thank you for reading/watching my blog and as always, stay awesome!

Event Planning at DePaul

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. ​​​

To the Art Institute!

When I am feeling overwhelmed with college, the best medicine is to get out into the city and do something fun. It’s easy to forget about all the amazing opportunities that surround us when we are worried about due dates, deadlines and GPAs! Last weekend, Will’s mom requested that we join her at the Art Institute of Chicago to celebrate her birthday – just the stress-relieving adventure I needed! I was super excited for two reasons: I hadn’t been there in two years AND DePaul and the Art Institute have an agreement that admission is FREE for all undergraduate DePaulians this year. What’s better than spending a day appreciating beautiful artwork for free?

In the short amount of time we spent at the institute, I saw a lot of amazing things. I’m currently taking a class about the history of Medieval India to fill my history requirement, so it was really neat to see Islamic Art from the 13th and 14th century empires that existed in India. Seeing art that directly relates to what I’m learning in the classroom really enhanced my understanding of the readings and lectures – Chicago truly is integrated into our curriculum!

Bronze Bowl with Lace, Ursula Von Rydingsvard
There was one more piece of artwork that I found truly fascinating – which ended up being the exhibit that Will’s mom had been dying to see. It was a sculpture called Bronze Bowl with Lace by Ursula Von Rydingsvard. The sculpture was outside due to its towering height and stood alone with the skyline as its background. It was truly beautiful, and you can see in my picture just how huge it was! The work is made from cedar and has a very unique lacing pattern at the very top. I’m really glad we had the opportunity to see it while it’s here, as it will be leaving the Art Institute in mid-April.

The perks that come along with being a college student in the city of Chicago are awesome. We are super lucky this year to have free admission to the Art Institute – but even if we didn’t, all the museums in Chicago have “resident days” where admission is free or discounted with proof of Illinois residency (giving your zip code usually works!) The only one I have yet to experience is the Adler Planetarium, but it is high on my lists of to-dos before graduation. I’m definitely re-inspired by my trip to the Art Institute, and I’m looking forward to getting out into the city more the next few months.

Resumes and Recommendations

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 recommendation.

RESUMES

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.​


Financing Your Education

I submitted my FAFSA for 2016-2017 last month, it is the LAST time applying for financial aid in my undergraduate career!  Looking at the cost of attendance, and what kind of aid I’m eligible for has got this topic on the brain, and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all.

Everyone knows college is expensive. This is true at any institution of higher learning. And without sugar coating anything- it is true at DePaul. While I can only speak from my own experience, when I was applying to college, cost and financial aid were of upmost importance. While it had always been my dream to attend a great private school, one with a fantastic arts program and career opportunities, the price tag often made it seems like my dream college was out of reach.  DePaul had always been my first choice school, but the cost was overwhelming. To my good fortune, DePaul is also one of the schools I applied to that offers the most scholarship and financial aid to its students, and in my 3 years has continually tried to help me pay for my education.

When paying for your higher education, whether at DePaul or elsewhere, it is important to cover all your bases, and know what resources you have available to you.

1) FAFSA - this is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is an application that all students must fill out before being offered any kind of aid. This form is for the government, and schools use it to determine how much aid you will be offered. When I was in high school, there was a rumor that FAFSA was just money they give to students. NOT TRUE. FAFSA is simply a way of measuring your “need” to see if you are eligible for government funding grants and loans that will be paid to your school.  Remember loans are the ones you have to pay back!

2) Know what kind of scholarships and grants your school offers. DePaul offers a MULTITUDE. In fact a great majority of students at DePaul receive scholarships and other aid to cover costs of tuition, housing, and more. Be in communication with the financial aid department of your school.  There are ALL kinds of scholarships available, from academic to talent, to even ones based on service. Weighing what is available against cost of attendance is a great way to measure if a school is affordable to you.

3) Know there are outside scholarships available. I have spent many hours of my life applying for outside scholarships, and believe me there are tons out there! I am fortunate to currently have a scholarship from the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which gives me scholarship dollars to supplement the aid I get from DePaul. There are scholarship search engines that help you find ones based on the criteria you specify! The internet is a glorious thing for finding help paying for college.

4) On campus jobs and work-study. Many schools, including DePaul, offer on campus jobs, and work study jobs that you can apply for to help get some extra cash or cover educational costs.

The key is really about being strategic, being thorough, and knowing for yourself what is doable. I knew coming to college that I wanted to keep my debt to an absolute minimum. Weigh your options! Paying for college is hard, but luckily I have been adamant about knowing the resources available to me, and DePaul is one of the most helpful institutions I know! I will graduate with an arts degree from a great private catholic school, with minimal debt! That’s absolutely something to be grateful for.

 

Check out these links to learn about Financial Aid and scholarships to finance your degree!

 FAFSA - The Government Website can be found here​

 DePaul Financial Aid Department info located here​

 There are many scholarship search engines out there. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Fastweb​

Cappex  ​

Scholarships.com ​

And of course there is always good old fashioned Google! 


Coping With College

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.​


Yoga at DePaul

Typically speaking, winter is usually a season that comes with a pinch of sadness and a lack of motivation for me. This season, I took it upon myself to become more physically active during a season in which I normally just stay inside and cuddle next to my room heater. Luckily, enrolled students at DePaul get a discounted fee for instructional classes at the Ray​, our fitness center. The yoga classes provide people with the opportunity to learn more about their body and experience a workout that connects mind and body.

The particular class I signed up for a month ago was called Ashtanga​ or Power Yoga. It was described as a vigorous and dynamic form of yoga that sculpts and tones every muscles. It was said to be challenging and that I would learn how to create energy flow that linked my breath and movement. To be honest, I should have picked a more beginner level class but I am happy that I challenged my body in a way that I never have. My classes were every Monday night for an hour.

Although the session was only 5 weeks long, I feel like paying for a program really motivated me to stay with it and be involved until the end. Signing up for this class actually got me out of my house during the winter when all I wanted to do was the opposite. When it comes to physical exercise, I have been more inclined to practice yoga instead of hitting up the elliptical or treadmill. I think it has recently come to me that I should go about being fit in a way that both improves my mind and body so that I’m not purely focused on my own body image.

Why is yoga beneficial?
  1. It is said that the purpose of yoga is to create strength and harmony for the body and mind.
  2. The relaxation techniques incorporate din yoga can lessen chronic pain
  3. Increased flexibility
  4. Helps maintain a balanced metabolism
  5. Can be effective in developing coping skills and having a more positive outlook on life.
What I love most is that about yoga is that it isn’t about comparing yourself to others, but to explore your own limits and modify the poses in a way that is pleasant for your own unique body. 


Budgeting with Financial Fitness

Tax season is upon us. If you’re like me and love numbers, you might even anticipate the day you receive your W-2’s with excitement. Completing my taxes each year also serves as an opportunity to think about how I budget my money. Knowing that graduation was less than a year away I met with DePaul’s Financial Fitness Office last August.

Determining how to balance living expenses, saving for graduate school, and the looming repayment of student loans in the most effective way can be tricky. Luckily, DePaul has an office that will help you make your budgeting goals clear! Located in both Lincoln Park and the Loop, Financial Fitness is a campus resource that can benefit all students. In August I had the opportunity to meet with Natalie Daniels. She shared that the popular “80-10-10” rule was a good place to state. Within this rule, 80% of income goes towards monthly expenses, 10% directly to savings, and 10% to debt repayment. As an independent student with a large amount of student loans, the goal I set for myself after the meeting was to trend around “45-55”. The 45% makes up for all expenses, while the other 55% goes towards savings and loan repayment. In my 45% I also include short term savings goals such as purchasing plane tickets for a trip. The money I set aside for savings is meant for long term savings. With this goal I’ve been realistic in knowing that I won’t always be able to predict expenses such as a car repairs and out of pocket medical expenses. This is why my “45-55” rule is a trend, as long as my percentages average out over the quarter and then entire year, I’m on track.

For now, my budget is very conservative. I learned from both meeting with Natalie and the Financial Fitness website that I should be capitalizing off of the fact that being in school and living on campus saves me from the costs of rent and utilities that I would be paying if I were living off campus. Saving more now will help offset the shock of having more necessary expenses when I graduate. I highly recommend checking out the Financial Fitness ​website, even before you start classes at DePaul! The spot I’ve found the most helpful is by choosing “About Us” at the top, and then navigating to “Infographics Gallery​

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago

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.

My spirit animal Robin Sparkles.

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!


Searching for Summer Jobs

All 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!

Start Early

In 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. 

Know What You’re Looking For

Before 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.    

 

Find Something Good

Actually 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).

Diversify

This 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!​


Honors Program: What Actually Is It?

ANNOUNCEMENT (and update to my previous blog): If you haven’t heard, DePaul Activities Board has announced that We The Kings will be playing at Polarpalooza this year!

It’s crazy to think about how my time as an undergraduate is coming to a close. Last quarter, I completed the last of the requirements for my Spanish major. After next quarter, I will have finished my International Studies major and will be registered as a graduate student at DePaul. Right now, though, I’m taking my final Honors class.

No matter what you study at DePaul (during your undergraduate career, at least), you will have to take some series of liberal arts classes to fulfill your degree requirements. For most students, this requirement takes the form of the Liberal Studies Program. For other students, the Honors Program replaces the Liberal Studies Program. I know when I was applying for the Honors Program, I really had no clue what it was. And now even as a senior, I still meet students who have never heard about the Honors Program and know nothing about it. With the deadline for Honors Program applications approaching quickly (March 2nd, in case you were wondering), I thought this would be a great time to talk about how the Honors Program differs from the Liberal Studies Program.

The Liberal Studies Program is comprised of two parts: the Common Core and the Learning Domains. The Common Core is a series of 7-8 classes that all students in the program have to take, including the Chicago Quarter class, the Focal Point Seminar, and the Sophomore Seminar on Multiculturalism. The Learning Domains, on the other hand, are extremely broad categories. Each student must take at least one class (depending on your major) from each of the six Learning Domains. Each Learning Domain can be fulfilled by taking one of ~100 eligible electives.

A genuinely embarrassing throwback photo from freshman year. Here I am with the incomparable Steph Wade at an Honors event.

The Honors Program is designed for students who want an extra academic challenge. In particular, the Honors classes really emphasize writing and critical analysis. That being said, participation in the Honors Program severely limits your course options. While Honors students similarly have to meet the same Common Core and Learning Domain requirements as Liberal Studies students, Honors students are generally limited to the courses offered by the Honors department. For instance, while Liberal Studies students can choose from a list of over 100 courses to fulfill the Arts and Literature requirement, Honors students take HON101: World Literature (to be fair, the content of which can vary with the professor). While I’ve heard of one or two people that really didn’t like the limited options, I can say in all honesty that I’ve been genuinely satisfied with almost every class I’ve taken in the Honors Program.

In addition to your transcript reading “Honors Program Graduate,” the Honors Program offers a ton of perks. Seriously, I tell everyone to apply to the Honors Program for one main reason: priority registration. At DePaul, freshmen get last choice for signing up for classes. By the end of registration week, a lot of classes are already full. As an Honors student, you have first choice for signing up for classes, even before seniors. It’s amazing (and a good way to make sure you always get the schedule you want). Beyond that, the Honors classes are never more than 20 students. Never. I have four years worth of emails from the Honors advisors reminding students not to waste their time asking professors to make an exception for them. Because the program is relatively small, you end up seeing a lot of familiar faces in your classes. And if you want even more of a familial atmosphere, the Honors Program has its own floor in Seton Hall.

The Honors Program may not be right for everyone, but I recommend it to anyone who thinks it might be right for them. Check out their website and apply soon!​


December Intercession

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.

Our COP21 Tumblr blog.
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.)


Auditioning for DePaul

One of the toughest aspects of wanting to attend music school is the audition process. For those of you who aren’t musicians or don’t plan to apply to music school, auditions are short, live performances that perspective music students must play for an audience of instrument-specific teachers. For example, when I applied to DePaul I had to perform the first movement of a famous Bassoon concerto​ and some scales for two bassoon faculty members here on campus. Though academics are still important for getting accepted, the audition often becomes more important in the decision process.​​​​

What you might be thinking now is, ‘why are you bringing this up right now?’ ​ DePaul School of Music​ audition season is right around the corner! Starting the first weekend in February, musicians from all over the country will be here throughout the month (only on the weekends!) to audition for a spot in the undergraduate and graduate classes for the fall of 2016. It’s an exciting time, but for all those students auditioning it is probably equally or more of a nerve-wracking time. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some information and tips for auditioning at DePaul.​

Regardless of major, everyone MUST audition!

It’s important to remember that all of our majors in the school of music require an audition. Are you interested in Sound Recording Technology​ or Performing Arts Management​? You are also required to audition! Even if you are not a performance major, you will be required to take lessons and participate in ensembles​. You can check out the audition requirements for each instrument here​. Not feeling the performance aspect? DePaul School of Music is now offering three different minors that do not require an audition: Music Business​, Music Recording​ and Music Studies​. These can be declared once you’re already a DePaul student, so don’t worry about it until your first quarter.

Take the audition, and then make a day out of it!

During the audition weekends, current DePaul students will be offering music school and campus tours for perspective students and parents – do it! Not only will you get another look at all DePaul has to offer, you’ll get to talk to a current student about his or her experiences here. You’ll also be able to attend an information session with the director of admissions​ to get a recap on degree requirements​ and financial aid​. Lastly, DePaul is surrounded by delicious restaurants and fun things to do – check out the Lincoln Park Zoo​ or see a Chicago Symphony​ performance. Get a taste of what it’ll be like to go to school here.

Perhaps most importantly, be prepared for your audition.

Your entrance audition is your chance to show the DePaul faculty just how talented you are, so be prepared! At this point, you should be practicing every day for at least a couple of hours. Play your audition materials for anyone who will listen. Record yourself all the time. Take lessons with different teachers (even better – take lessons at the schools you are applying to!). The audition plays a huge role in decisions about admission and financial aid, so make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

Lastly, if you have questions, please ask!

During the audition weekends, DePaul hires current students to help make sure things run smoothly – don’t be afraid to ask them questions! Have a question about a program? Ask. Don’t know where to go for lunch? Ask. All of our students are eager to help and share their experiences, so take advantage of it. You can also email the admissions office at musicadmissions@depaul.edu​ if you have application or scheduling questions.

I wish you all luck during the upcoming audition season – and for those of you not auditioning, perhaps send some good vibes to anyone you know who might be. The audition process may seem, and quite honestly IS, daunting, but it’s all worth it for the chance to pursue your passion – it was for me!


A Peak Into DePaul’s Hiring Process

This week my supervisor in the Office of New Student and Family Engagement is hiring a new Office Assistant. Whenever adding someone new to our team the candidate interviews with both their potential supervisor and a potential coworker - which is actually a really innovative process. The students I had the opportunity to meet today were all well-polished and interview ready. In honor of them we’ll be taking a look at the steps to finding a job on-campus.

If an office is hiring on campus, you’ll find out about it on the Campus Job Board​. On the right hand side you’ll enter your Campus Connect username and password and then select ‘Student’’. I know you’re probably excited to head straight to the ‘Jobs’ tab, but what you’ll want to do first is set up your profile. In this section you’ll list your contact information, academic information, and availability. It’s important to keep this page up to date, especially since your availability will likely change quarter to quarter.

Now that you’re all on the edge of your seats, go ahead and click on the ‘Jobs’ tab. From my experience, there are usually between 25 and 50 postings on the job board at any given time. You should have lots of options to choose from! Once you click on a job that looks interesting there a few key items to pay attention to. First, make sure you read the job description in full. Aligning some of the key words mentioned in the Duties and Responsibilities section with the experiences on your resume will help you stand out as a qualified candidate. But be sure to always be authentic, don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk!

If you’re offered an interview it’s important that any emails exchanged between you and your potential supervisor are clear and concise. Make sure to start each email with a greeting, end with a salutation, and use spell check. Always communicate through a professional email address. If you don’t already have one, you can set up your free DePaul student email here (once you are officially enrolled in classes).​

To prep for your interview I recommend meeting with the Peer Career Advisors​. These advisors are a group of students who’ve been selected and trained by the Office of Student Employment to assist their peers through the job search process.  With walk-in hours in Lincoln Park and the Loop these peers can be a great resource at any step of the job search process! Once you’re ready for advice about full time careers after graduation, you can also request to meet with a full time Career Counselor​ who’s specialized in your major! For additional tips, you can check out the Student Employment website or post your questions below!


New Quarter, New Events Part 1

​​​​​Welcome back, everyone! Like I said in one of my blogs at the beginning of last quarter​, I start every quarter by looking for any changes or anything new at DePaul. Yesterday, while I was perusing the campus, I made a terrible discovery. It is with a heavy heart that I announce that the Chinese food station at the Student Center is gone. Fortunately, they’ve now added a wings station, a Korean-Mexican fusion station, and an ice cream station. So things aren’t all bad.

Speaking of food, if you’re anything like me, you’re currently broke because you spent all your money buying new clothes to disguise the fifteen pounds you gained over winter break. If that sounds like you (or even if you’re lucky and didn’t gain fifteen pounds over break), you’re probably looking for some cheap stuff to do during this quarter. Luckily for you, I’ve found a ton of stuff to do over the next two and a half months! 

I love to write about the DePaul Activities Board​’s event calendar. DAB always hosts events you actually want to go to. You all know what I mean by that. Unfortunately, by the time you read this, you will already have missed (or maybe not, I don’t know if you went) what may have possibly been the event of the year: DePaul After Dark​: Harry Potter​. Every Thursday night, DAB hosts DePaul After Dark at the Student Center. Each week has a different theme with new activities. It’s always free and usually includes some sort of free food and giveaways. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve ever looking for stuff to do on a Thursday night.

It goes without saying that DAB does way more than just DePaul After Dark. This quarter, in addition to a ton of smaller events, including a Superbowl Party and an Oscar Viewing Party, DAB is going to host two of its biggest annual events: the Blue Demon Dance​ and Polarpalooza​. The Blue Demon Dance is the culminating event of Blue Demon Week​, a week dedicated to fostering school spirit at DePaul. This year, the Blue Demon Dance is being held on January 29th at Crystal Gardens​ on Navy Pier. Tickets are only $10 and totally worth it.

Last, but definitely not least, is Polarpalooza, DePaul’s free winter concert! I give DAB credit for somehow always picking acts that get way bigger right after performing at Polarpalooza (see: Fun.​, Walk the Moon​, Chance the Rapper​). Tickets are free, but limited, so you have to be on your game if you want to go. Every winter, 600 students fill up Lincoln Hall​ for a private concert with an up-and-coming music act. Be sure to check out their website​ on January 22nd when they reveal the artist who will be performing!

When I told you that I found a ton of stuff to do this quarter, I wasn’t exaggerating. Check back next week to find out about more free events happening on campus this quarter!​


Surviving Night Class

As a night owl, I THRIVE during night classes. All of the synapsis are firing in my brain and my focus is on point. Fortunately, a night class is necessary for me because I’ve found that it frees up so many daytime hours that could be used to work and rack in extra cash. I am a slave to the dollar. Some people avoid night classes their entire academic career, but sometimes luck is not on your side and a required class is only offered in the evening. Anyway, I thought I would take this time to share some of the tips and tricks I have noticed about conquering night classes if academia after 6:00pm is not your thing.​

1. Bring snacks. Dear Lord, bring snacks. Nobody like a grumbling tummy and nobody wants to see you hangry. All of the night classes I have taken have been over 2 hours long which means a lil somthin’ somthin’ is necessary. Avoid loud snacks like super crunchy things or a noisy bag. That can become distracting OR you might be forced to share your noms. I always make the mistake of bringing carrots to the library, but I feel no shame because I need my vitamins okay?

2. Change your outlook and look on the bright side. Night class usually means it’s just one very long class a week instead of two short classes! This means fewer trips to campus and more time for you throughout the week.​

3. Wear something comfortable! It’s college...it’s nighttime. Nobody really cares if you wear sweatpants or not. Trust me, you’re not going to want to sit in your extremely tight high waisted jeans for 3 hours.

4. Look at the weather a day in advance. This tip mostly applies for people commuting to school. Sometimes I arrive to class on a hot day and by the time the sun goes down it’s cold as heck and I’m freezing on my walk home. Be prepared, y’all. It makes the week go by so much smoother.

5. Try to reverse your homework schedule for that day. Instead of waiting until after class just do some homework or readings in the morning. It might feel weird at first, but it’s an adjustment that will make your life easier in the long run. 

I hope some of these are helpful to you all! I really love taking night classes so if you are apprehensive at first, just give it a try and you’ll see for yourself how much more time you’ll have to work or do an extra-curricular. ​


Introduction to BA/MA

For a long time, I never imagined myself getting a degree past my bachelor’s. I had no interest in it and I just didn’t feel it was for me. While I was studying abroad in Madrid last fall, I became fascinated by Spain’s transition to democracy. When I got home, I decided that I wanted to continue my education and get my master’s in International Studies. When I began researching different master’s programs, I found out that DePaul had recently begun offering a combined bachelor’s/master’s program in International Studies. In February, I applied for the program. It was the best move I ever made. In June of 2016, I will be complete my bachelor’s. In June of 2017, I will complete my master’s. And I’m so pumped about it.

Combined BA/MA programs are relatively new in the grand scheme of higher education. You can see the ever-growing list of DePaul’s BA/MA programs here (they’re the ones with the asterisks). The conventional path to a master’s usually takes six years: four years to earn your bachelor’s and another two to earn your master’s. At DePaul, the BA/MA programs allow you to complete both your bachelor’s and your master’s within five years. On top of that, the BA/MA program cuts the cost of a master’s almost in half!

In my BA/MA program, the BA/MA students and the regular master’s students have the same class requirements. The difference is the distribution of those classes. During the two years of a regular master’s program, a full course load is generally two classes per quarter. Right now, during the senior year of my undergrad, I will be taking one graduate class and three undergraduate classes each quarter. Next year, I’ll be taking three graduate classes each quarter. So while it’s a shorter program, it is definitely more intense.

On the left is the cost for each year of the conventional master's program. On the right is the cost for the year (plus a summer) of the BA/MA program.

If you’re thinking about going for your master’s, but the price is intimidating you, I would definitely suggest looking into the BA/MA programs. The three graduate classes that I take this year are covered by my undergraduate tuition (and the credits go towards both my bachelor’s and my master’s). But that’s not even the best part. The real MVP is the Double Demon Scholarship. Before I met with my advisor, I had never heard of the Double Demon Scholarship in my life. Don’t let the ridiculous name fool you. It’s pretty amazing. If you went to DePaul for your undergrad, and you’re coming back for a graduate program, you receive 25% off all of your graduate credits. So not only am I getting twelve graduate credits included in my undergraduate tuition, but the rest of my credits are discounted.

How much does that actually change the cost? The conventional two-year master’s program in International Studies at DePaul will cost $32,552. For me to earn my master’s through the BA/MA program, I will pay $18,503. That’s a savings of $14,049, not to mention a year of my time (which is priceless, as everyone who knows me will tell you).

Right now, I’m loving the program. All the International Studies grad classes are held at night, so it has been really easy to schedule around (especially since night classes only meet once per week). It’s definitely a new level of stress to be balancing the requirements of three undergrad classes and a grad class at the same time. But to me, a little extra stress is worth saving the money and time.


Red Cross Club at DePaul

One of the things I really love about DePaul is the amount of clubs and organizations ​it has. That is obvious every September at the Involvement Fair when the Quad is completely packed with students checking out all of the groups DePaul has to offer. I personally love being involved and now that I am a junior, I have found the clubs that I love and am passionate about. I am involved in many, with one of those being the Red Cross Club.

This is a new club that was started at the end of last year. I am on the Executive Board as the treasurer and we have been excited to think about potential events for the upcoming year and how we want to make our mark on campus. We have a few in mind, like a Valentine’s Day Blood Drive and an event where you can create your own first aid kits. During fall quarter we had a Halloween event, too. We walked around Lincoln Park during the city’s Trick or Treat time and instead of asking for candy, we asked for non-perishable food items to donate to the RTW Veteran Center. The RTW Veteran Center helps homeless veterans by supplying three hot meals a day and giving them assistance to get back on their feet. It was super successful and we are thankful to the families of Lincoln Park for being so generous.

Most of the group that went out to collect food items. We definitely adopted the Halloween spirit by dressing up!
Because the Red Cross​ is a national organization, the DePaul Red Cross Club works closer with the Greater Chicago Red Cross Branch. It is a blessing to get advice and support from the Red Cross and also is wonderful because they present us with many opportunities. For example, once registered as a Red Cross volunteer, CPR and First Aid classes are free! What a great opportunity to get certified and use the skills to help people. I personally am excited to see how the Red Cross Club will grow and make a difference on campus this year. ​

Master's Program at DePaul

I can NOT believe I am already a quarter into my junior year. As a junior, some people think it is nuts that I am still questioning my major. Although I am not looking to switch from my major of Communication & Media, I am still trying to find my place within it. Knowing about the options that DePaul has to offer is the first step!!

Within the last few years I have developed a passion for the health industry. Although I do not see myself as a nurse or a doctor, I do see myself working within the health field as more of a public health administrator and a member of a non-profit organization. That being said, this year I declared a minor in public health in order to understand the industry a little more. Luckily, the Communication field is HUGE and intertwines with every profession. This can be scary to some students if they do not narrow down their focus. For a student like me who has started to narrow down her focus within her major, it is a wise idea to look at the combined Bachelor’s/Master programs that DePaul has to offer.

The College of Communication offers a handful of combined degrees! This is mostly for successful students who are interested in earning a Bachelor’s AND Master’s degree in a 5 year total span. I am not 100% sure I am going to apply for any of these programs, but I do think it is important to keep in mind that college doesn’t have to be a 4 year experience. The program I am most interested in is definitely Health Communication. Other programs that are offered are Communication & Media, Digital Communication & Media Arts, Journalism, PR & Advertising. These programs are pretty time sensitive, so if I am serious about trying to get accepted I should get. on. it.

The idea really intrigues me, but naturally I’m going to make a pros and cons list to verbalize my feelings on either postponing grad school or jumping right in!

PROS of waiting: a chance to save up money, time to grow and further evaluate my options, time to travel and work in the field to gain more hands on experience.

CONS of waiting: it WILL be hard to get back into the groove of going back to school after time off, might be harder to get into school because the industry could change by the time I decide, what if things happen in my romantic life and can’t go back to school due to children or other responsibilities. 

OK SO there are a lot of “what ifs” f​​loating around my brain. If you foresee yourself in the same boat as me definitely talk to an advisor from the program you are interested in. There is no hurt in taking a few hours out of your day to learn about a possible avenue of life. I have my advising meeting later next week so I will let you know! :) 


At DePaul There's a Dialogue

Recently someone close to me was a victim of domestic violence. They are not a DePaul student, and for their confidentiality will remain anonymous. Through working in various job and leadership capacities at DePaul we’ve been taught what to do when someone discloses a violent or abusive situation to us. Specifically when working for the Dean of Students Office my fellow Office Assistants and I served as a first point of contact for students and supporters interfacing with our department. I always felt safe knowing that, although my job was important and needed to be done well, in a crisis situation I could rely on our Deans and counseling staff to take the reins. Over the past few weeks I’ve realized that the bystander intervention and mandated reporter trainings I’ve been required to participate in have provided me with some of the most significant knowledge I’ve learned since coming to DePaul. When you choose DePaul, you're not just choosing academics, you're choosing life. I'm incredibly thankful that I attend a university that doesn't keep difficult topics hush hush. Instead, DePaul opens up a dialogue about them and teaches its student to be better informed and more compassionate human beings. ​

An Open Letter to My Friend, Who Was the Victim of Domestic Violence,

The cards you were dealt certainly aren’t fair. Nothing you’ve ever done, said, or even subconsciously thought means that you, or anyone else for that matter, deserves to be hit, bit, and threatened by someone you’ve known since the day you were born. I’m thankful that you had the courage to come to me when you did. It caused me emotional and physical pain to know that I couldn’t keep you safe, so I went to the police that night to report this crime that someone had inflicted on you. In the past I had kept your secrets, when there was a new boy you liked and when you accidentally told me who you had for Secret Santa, but this was a secret that I just couldn’t keep. I’m proud of you for going to the station and talking the police after they called you.  Selfishly, I’m glad that you weren’t mad at me for not keeping your secret too.

I wish that I could erase that scar from under your eye and the bruises from your body. I wish I could make those bad memories and your pain go away. I wish I could pay for all of your bills and living expenses, so you didn’t have to work so much while you try to heal. I wish I could build you a house of your own with the most advanced security measures, so you could have your own space and feel safe. I wish I could make any judicial process you might decide to go through simple. And I wish that I could give your aggressor the help that they need too.

But right now, all I can do is tell you that I love you. I’ll always be here to listen, no matter the time of day. I’ll keep sending you Snapchats, hoping to make you laugh. I’ll keep reading up on resources for victims, so if there’s an option you want to explore you won’t have to do it alone. And most of all, I promise you that for the rest of our lives no matter how many miles are between us you will always be my friend. I feel like God has brought you into my life to help him watch over you. The cards you were dealt certainly aren’t fair, but these cards won’t stop you from accomplishing great things. Despite everything you’ve been through, I know that you’re going to change the world for the better.  

A New Home for the School of Music

​​​​​This past week, an exciting announcement was made: The construction of a new School of Music ​building has begun! There has been talk of this new, state-of-the-art building for a couple years – though due to funding the project has been delayed until now. There is a lot of excitement amongst students, faculty and staff who have been anticipating this for quite some time. As prospective DePaul students, especially if you’re interested in the School of Music, there are a few things you should know.

1. There is going to be a lot of construction.

Though the School of Music building and the concert hall will remain standing, the building that sits parallel to N. Halsted st. (also known as McGaw Hall) will be demolished in January. The parking lot that exists now will no longer be available, as crews will need the space for construction. You can see a construction timeline here​.

2. You will have a place to practice.

Another reason why construction has not begun until now is because crews have been renovating a building on campus for us to use during this time. Don’t worry! It’s only a short walk to the Annex (the previous home of the Theatre School) from the School of Music. Students will be able to practice from 8am-9pm on weekdays and 9am-9pm on weekends. Need more time? You’ll be able to head over to the O’Connell building to practice between 9pm-12am. There are also practice rooms under the DePaul concert hall and many professors allow you to sign out their studio rooms. Getting your daily scales and etudes in won’t be a problem.

3. You’ll take the same classes and same lessons with our amazing faculty.

Though facilities certainly are an important element in choosing a college, I think the faculty and programs available trump buildings. Regardless of the construction and renovations, you’ll still be taking lessons and classes with the same esteemed faculty.

This is a sketch of what the new building will look like!
4. It will be worth the wait.

This new building will have four different performance spaces, designed specifically for our DePaul ensembles. A 505-seat concert hall, a 76-seat jazz hall with a “club” vibe and two recital halls; a 140-seater and a 81-seater to provide students with the best possible setting to showcase their talents. Brand-new studios, practice spaces and classrooms are also in the plans. I heard from a reliable source that there will be five whole classrooms and storage space just for the music education department – how amazing is that?!

The musicians, faculty and staff​ are what make the DePaul School of Music special. Though you will have a beautiful, new facility at some point during your time at DePaul, it’s the people inside who make your education worthwhile.  This period of construction is a small price to pay for the outstanding space that will help to showcase the extraordinary musicians (including you!) who attend DePaul.

If you’d like more information about construction, FAQs and facility facts, click here​.


Ace That Essay!

​​​​​It’s getting to be that time of quarter again: finals. I don’t know about you, but every single one of my finals for this quarter is an essay. That's why I've already started stress eating. No matter how many essays you’ve written (and I’ve written my fair share), the process of writing an essay can be tricky. And if you’re a freshman, your first college essay can be particularly daunting. In anticipation of the stress of finals, I’ve compiled a list of my tips to writing an essay:

1. Turn It Off

Everyone who knows me knows about my laughable attention span. So naturally, the hardest thing to do is to get away from distractions. I physically gravitate towards distractions, so this just kills me. Sometimes you really need to get work done and the Candy Crush​ request notifications just won't stop. There have been times when I have had to take extreme measures. I have (in order of insanity): turned off my phone, taken the batteries out of my remote, placed my phone on the other side of my room, and at my lowest moment, I even turned off my WiFi. But I got my work done, and that's what is important.

A relic from my freshman year, evident by the cringeworthy hashtags. I've known the struggle of essay writing all too well, as you can see. (Also, feel free to follow me if you're so inclined.)

2. Spread It Out

No, I’m not one of those annoying people who believe that you should write “a paragraph a day” or any of that nonsense. Honestly, I have yet to meet someone who actually does that. I am very much someone who has to write an entire paper at once. Nevertheless, I still spread my work out. How? One day, I might pick my topic and find some sources. Another day, I might outline my argument. Then, usually at the last moment, I write the paper. No matter what, I know I will put off the actual writing until the last second, so anything I can do in advance to prepare just makes my life easier. Try different ways of dividing the work and see what works best for you!

3. Phone A Friend

As my poor friend Joanna can tell you, I’m a talker. I talk all of my ideas out. Unfortunately for her, she’s always around when I have an epiphany about my thesis, so she is routinely forced to listen to me go over my argument. If you're struggling with a concept or you’re not sure if you're making sense, try to talk it out with your friends (especially if they’re in the class too!). Most of the time, they will be able to tell you where you’re going wrong or give you suggestions.

Disclaimer: Not all friends are made the same and it's up to you to pick one who will make your paper better, not worse.

4. Ask an Expert

If you’re struggling up a storm (we’ve all been there), you can make an appointment to meet with a Writing Center​ tutor. They can help you with almost anything you need. If you’re trying to clarify or strengthen an argument, write your thesis statement, fix grammar, or whatever, they can go over your essay with you. They won’t write it for you, but they can help you every step of the way.  And for the record, they can even help with papers for foreign language classes! 

5. Go to the Source

The most obvious and most underutilized resource you have: your professor. If there is something you don’t understand about your assignment, you can’t pick a topic, or you just need a little guidance, no one can help you more than your professor. DePaul professors are usually really good about being open and available for questions. Obviously, this varies from professor to professor. I’ve had professors who were only willing to meet during office hours or who wouldn’t reply to emails on weekends. I’ve also had professors who hand out their home phone number and tell students not to hesitate to call if they ever have any question. One of my professors even came in on a weekend to meet with me. No matter what, professors are there to help and want you to do your best, so don’t be afraid to talk to them!

I’m getting ready to write a ton of essays for my finals, so if you have any more tips, let me know!​


Take Care of Yourself

DePaul is one of those schools that uses the unique quarter system. This means the year is sectioned into ten-week quarters, fall, winter, spring (and then optional summer). This makes time in class really fly by, and within a moment, midterms and then finals are approaching rapidly. Many students bear a full course load, work, involvement in student organizations or volunteering, or rehearsal and performance stacked on top of social and personal time as well. Most of us are crazy busy, and keep it that way, whether we handle it well or not. While this can be a productive and exciting thing, it can sometimes prove difficult to keep up with all of the demands of busy student life, and take care of yourself. 

There are many times I have experienced, or seen students around me let their personal well-being go by the wayside in order to accomplish all they had to do. While it is very admirable to get those things done, it is always important to practice good self-care. I couldn’t tell you the number of times my fellow classmates and I have had to skip meals, skip sleep, let laundry go untouched in the hamper for far too long, buckle down and get to “the grind” in order to turn out finished products and meet deadlines. While everything gets done (or maybe not), all we do is wear ourselves down! There is one thing that I really believe in, and that is self-care. With a crazy schedule, I too have trouble practicing good self-care.  However, I want to share one simple but important thing that we often discuss in my Acting classes. As actors, we put our minds and bodies through so much, and while the work is so important we have to remember to take care of the person doing it! This applies to any person accomplishing any feat. You cannot do your best if you cannot take care of your best self.

By my third year of college, I know that if I do not get a reasonable amount of sleep I will get sick, and if I do not eat I will not be able to make it through rehearsal, and many other things. I really do recommend listening to your body, and your mind and spirit to know what it is you need. While many people learn the hard way, there are also ways to be preventative and proactive in this pursuit. Time management and planning are key. Just asking yourself what small thing can I do to feel better about everything I have to do? Is it taking a short nap? Is it carrying more healthy snacks? It is taking time to meditate? Creating a cleaner/more peaceful environment to work? Asking for help? While I cannot tell another individual how best to go about this, I can only recommend giving yourself permission to think about these things, and realizing how important it is to take care of YOU.

DePaul has some resources to take advantage of, to help with a variety of problems that may be preventing students from finding and taking care of their best selves:

Some of these include Academic Support and Tutoring, University Counseling Services, Health and Wellness, Economic Distress and more. You can check these out on the DePaul Support Services site.

The Career Center offers help with resumes, job seeking skills, and more!

I also found this really neat Time Management Planner on the DePaul website.

Continue to do great things DePaulians, and take care of yourself in the process!​


Why I Chose DePaul

The most common question I hear when I tell people that I’m from Maine is, “Why come to Chicago?” 

When I was in high school, I was one of those go-getter types. I wanted to be a part of everything and experience as much as I could; honors societies, science club, team sports, music in and out of school, and mission trips were only some of the things I was involved in during those four years. When it came time to apply to college, I saw it as an opportunity to try something new and get out of the New England bubble that I'd known my whole life. I wanted a college that was going to challenge me in my music and academic studies, provide networking opportunities and help me become the best musician and person I could be – and not to mention, give me a big, new place to explore!

I initially favored DePaul for two reasons: it’s in a big city and it offered me the most financial aid. My first visit DePaul was also my first time in Chicago, and I was in love with the big city vibe! Though not directly downtown, I thought it was so cool that I could hop on a train and be right in the middle of the 3rd biggest city in the country in less than 15 minutes. DePaul also offered me a great amount of financial aid…as a music student I was considered for both academic and talent scholarship awards. Though the scholarships now come as one combine package, (meaning, students receive one lump sum of scholarship instead of two different scholarships), audition performance and high school academics both still affect financial aid for music students.

After doing a little more research on DePaul’s offerings, reputation, and mission I was completely sold. In the school of music specifically, several of the faculty members play in the various symphony orchestras and other high-achieving ensembles (Chicago Symphony, for example!). Check out the DePaul Facu​lty pages​ if you want to know more. DePaul also offers several different performing ensembles​: two orchestras, two choirs, one wind ensemble, jazz bands and combos and many other smaller ensembles. There is never shortage of performance opportunities around here. When I made the switch from performance to music education​, I was sold all over again with a future of studying with inspirational educators, working in local schools and being able to student teach in some of the best schools in Illinois. (Not to mention – my advisor specializes in social justice in education, which is something I’m really passionate about)

DePaul is a Vincentian school and I’m passionate about the commitment to social justice and community support. You can read more about DePaul’s Vincentian identity here​. In short, St. Vincent de Paul asked the question, “What must be done?” to help those in need, and DePaul does as much as possible to continue this mission through service to the surrounding community. DePaul has several organizations that help students find volunteer opportunities, such as DePaul Community Service Association​.

Though I often miss my family, easy access to the beach and eating cheap lobster, I will never regret choosing DePaul for my college education. DePaul has prepared me to be a great teacher and person; and for that I will always be grateful!


FEST 2016 Survey is Here!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas? No. 

The FEST ​survey is up and being shared all over DePaul social media platforms! From Twitter to Facebook, if you are not following the DePaul Activities Board yet change that now. 

FEST is DePaul’s spring music festival held on the Quad during the last quarter of the year. Every year there are various events held to promote the event from forums to surveys. Just today the DePaul Activities Board released the official FEST survey for FEST 2016. 

With an amazing line up from The Neighbourhood ​to Chance the Rapper​, this year is already creating buzz around campus. So who do YOU want to see at FEST? Check out the survey on the link below. 

Also, if you’d like to read more about FEST and the DePaul Activities Board, click on their website and see what the organization is all about. 

Survey: http://depaul.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bPoQiRwOgkkBeLP

 

D.A.B.: http://orgsanddepartments.orgsync.com/org/dab/

 

Thank you for reading my blog! Stay awesome my friends!


In Love with the Library

​​​​​Lamest title ever, right? I couldn't resist it.

Anyway, due to the fact that I’ve been working at libraries (on and off) for over four years now, I guess it’s not surprising that I have an affinity for libraries. In my professional opinion, libraries aren’t given enough credit and definitely aren’t appreciated as mu​ch as they should be. The reality of the situation is that a lot of people aren’t aware of all the resources that libraries offer. With finals creeping up, I thought it would be the perfect time to highlight some of my favorite things about DePaul’s Lincoln Park Library​!

Proof of my library credentials. And what you read is true- I have been mistaken for Ryan Gosling before. And I am also an icon and trendsetter. All credit for this magnificent poster goes to Laura from the Oregon Public Library. I still owe her baked goods.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the library has lots of books (and DVDs and CDs). But what if the library doesn’t have the exact book you’re looking for? Through the library catalog (found on the library's homepage), you can request books from other libraries as well! Most of your requests will come from in-state (through I-Share​), but if no I-Share member has the book, it will come from the next closest place (through ILLiad​), whether that be University of Chicago​ (which strangely isn’t a member of I-Share), or somewhere in Australia (what book could you be looking for!?). Right now, I have a book from University of Connecticut. Even better, you can do all of this requesting from the comfort of your home so you never have to get out of bed!

If you’re doing research and having a hard time finding sources on your topic (we all know that struggle), there’s a research help desk​ in the library! They can help you find sources, navigate databases, refine your search terms, anything you need. They’re amazing. Even more amazing is how accessible they are. If you can’t make it to the library, you can call them, email them, or even chat with them online. If you’re really struggling with your research, you can make a one-on-one appointment with the research help desk for up to an hour!

If you’re like me, there are times when you are trying to distract yourself from the disaster that is your academic career. In case you haven’t heard, the library now rents video game consoles​. Yes, you read that right. You can check out an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, or PlayStation Vita from the library (and the library in the Loop has even more to offer!). If you already have a console, there are dozens of videogames to choose from (for older consoles, too)!

This is the desk of someone starting a thesis. I'm so lucky there isn't really a limit for how many books you can check out (there is, but it's 99 and who has the time to even find 99 books to check out!?). In case you were wondering, I did not get the pumpkin from the library.

Probably the most popular feature of the library is the study rooms​. If you’re doing group work, you can reserve a private room so you can all work together without being bothered (or bothering anyone else). If you’re trying to work on a presentation or watch a movie with a group, you might want to reserve one of the media:scape ​tables or theaters (which is just a booth instead of separate chairs, but it’s so comfortable and highly recommended). What’s cool about media:scape is that each table (or theater) has two big computer monitors that you can either hook your laptop up to or you can use the PC attached to the monitors. Either way, it’s a really easy way for everyone in your group to be able to look at the same screen!

Finally, there's nothing worse than having computer problems while you're in the middle of writing a paper. Last year, my brand new (well, refurbished) laptop suddenly refused to charge right while I was writing my final paper. As you can probably imagine, I just immediately started crying. After three hours of waiting, I was able to get an appointment at the Apple Store​ (conveniently located one stop south on the Red Line​). If I had been thinking at all, I could have brought my laptop to the Genius Squad​ at the library and I wouldn't have lost those three hours (and I probably would have had time to realize I somehow used two different colored fonts). The students working at the Genius Squad are always super friendly, helpful, and quick. I still owe them for helping me get WiFi on my Xbox during my freshman year.

I get way too excited talking about the library. I honestly had to delete stuff from this blog because I was going overboard. Rather than listen to me go on and on, go and check it out yourself next time you're on campus!


DePaul’s Shopping Week via Course Cart

A very common question among incoming students is, “What kind of classes will I be taking at DePaul?” In preparation for your first quarter on campus your schedule will be chosen at Orientation alongside an academic advisor who will guide you through every point, click, and submit button. For all quarters after Orientation you’ll always have the option to meet with your advisor in person or ask those questions via email, but most of the schedule making process will be put in your hands! Campus Connect is DePaul’s online hub for MANY things, Course Cart being one of them.

About two weeks before your enrollment time (a day and time you’re assigned each quarter where you can official begin to register for classes for the next quarter) the infamous Course Cart will open. Once Course Cart opens current students can see all the classes in every single subject that will be offered including meeting days, times, and professors (if they’ve already been assigned).

It’s easy to get lost looking at all the interesting classes DePaul has to offer, so I usually start building my Course Cart from my Degree Progress Report (DPR). In every major there will be a specific set courses you will be required to take. As an education major my required courses have covered planning, assessment, and teaching strategies. The rest of your classes will be made up of liberal studies learning domains and elective credits. Elective credits are a great place to add a double major or minor. Learning domains on the other hand are a great way to learn about things you’re interested in, but don’t necessarily want to commit to for a major or minor. Although my major is Secondary Education, I have the equivalent of a minor in Political Science and have applied a few of my learning domains to Digital Cinema courses.

The DPR (shown to the right) breaks down all of the requirements that will be specific to your degree plan. When you click on the blue hyperlinks a window appears that will tell you all the courses you can take fulfill the specific requirement and the quarter in which each course will be offered. If the class sounds interesting after reading the course description you’re just a few clicks away from adding to your course cart. Keep in mind that your Course Cart is just like your Amazon cart. By adding a class to it you’re not committing to it yet. So go ahead and load it up with everything that sounds interesting. Just don’t forget to run the final 12-18 credits you decide on by your advisor to make sure you’re on track before your enrollment date!


Visitng DePaul

​​​​​Hello, again friends! 

As some of you may know Fall Visit Day​ is almost upon us!  While I myself never got to attend a Fall Visit Day when I was applying for college, I highly recommend visiting any college you are interested in, including DePaul University! Scheduled visit days and other campus tours are an excellent way to get to see a school, learn what it is like, and get your many burning questions answered. When I was in high school, I went on about a million campus tours of various colleges and universities (at the insistence of my parents, ha!) and I can honestly say it is well worth the time and effort it takes to make it happen. 

For those who are not as familiar with Fall Visit Day, or what happens during a campus visit, let me lay it down a little for you. Visit Days and campus tours are a way to introduce prospective students and their families to the college or university they may be interested in. It is essentially a time when prospective students can learn about the unique qualities of that institution, view the campus, speak to admissions staff, and ask those questions that we all have when searching for the right school. Here at DePaul, fall visit day is a great way to tour campus, learn about admissions, housing, dining services, resources on campus, ask questions to current students or alumni about their experience at DePaul, and find answers to anything you have been wondering about. It is a fantastic way to sample what DePaul has to offer, and fall is the best time to do it, when the weather is nice, classes are in full swing and you can get the real experience. 
This is a picture of me, the summer before my senior year of high school. The new Theatre School​ building was still under construction!

While I mentioned before that I had not been to Fall Visit Day, when I was applying to college, I was able to take a campus tour during the summer. When looking for colleges I knew that I was very interested in coming to Chicago, and applied to a few schools here in the city. I was lucky enough to be able to take a trip out here to visit them, and that was the first time I was able to visit DePaul. There was an informational session about DePaul, it’s mission and values, a guided tour of the campus and facilities, and I even had a meeting with someone in admission of The Theatre School. It was nice to be able to see where I would potentially be eating, studying, working out, having classes, and learning about what makes this school unique. While summer worked out for me, I wish that I could have visited for the first time while school was in session. It is nice to get a sense of the vibe on campus, and see the facilities in use. I didn’t get to see the dorms, or see the students, which was something I was looking for. Fall Visit Day is the perfect time to check out what the school has to offer. 

My few tips if visiting a college are:

1) Plan ahead and check the weather- you may be walking around in unfamiliar surroundings and varying weather, so wear the right shoes, bring that umbrella, and be prepared. 

2) Do not be afraid to ask questions! Asking questions is a great way to learn! Big or small, it’s okay to ask about anything from tuition to laundry! No question is stupid. 

3) Write it down: if there is something you want to ask or want to see, write it down so you don’t forget when you are there. Also, if you are like me, and visit many schools, take notes of how you felt on campus and the answers you got so you can refer back to them later. 

To learn more or register for Fall Visit Day, visit the DePaul Website:


What Really Matters Through the College Decision Process

​​​​​I grew up in a town where the question was never, “Are you going to college?” but instead, “Where are you going to college”. With this you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you the first time I took the SAT – yes the real SAT – was in 6th grade.  I spent most of middle school obsessing over the Ivy Leagues, as I wanted nothing else but to be Rory from Gilmore Girls. However, in high school I learned that if you want to be a teacher it makes the most sense to go to college in the same state where you eventually want to teach.  So I traded my east coast Rory Gilmore dream for collegeboard.org​

Out of all the schools I applied to I was serious about three of them. DePaul was the only school out of my top three where housing wasn’t guaranteed to first year students, so we put down both the tuition and housing deposits early on just in case. It’s pretty obvious now that, to my parents liking, those three hundred nonrefundable dollars certainly did not go to waste! 

Even with the deposits down I didn’t end up making my official college decision until April of my senior year. One of my Student Council advisors, Mrs. Manheim, was the one who helped me make that final choice. We were in the car on the way to a district board meeting when she had me list the pros and cons of each university. I remember sitting there and telling her, “and DePaul’s version of student council is called Residence Hall Council​, RHC for short. They have a website and everything. I’ve already read their whole constitution. They elect three senators from each hall, and one day if I’m President I’ll get to spend the whole summer on campus just planning RHC stuff”. Continuing to drive she said, “I think you should go to DePaul, but it looks like you’ve already made up your mind”. It was there ladies and gentleman that deep down in my heart I found my answer. 

The sixth grade SAT studying me knew that academics were important, and the twelfth grade me knew that student activities ranked in at a close second. The best advice I can give anyone heading into the admissions process is that picking the right school involves more than just looking at the fast facts. Do your research about everything else the campus has to offer, and most importantly trust your gut. No matter what you’re never going to know what exactly the future has in store. After all, three and a half years from now you might be the one who just wrapped up their summer “planning for the next year of RHC."

FALLing for DePaul

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” --Yogi Berra

As an indecisive person who has trouble simply getting dressed in the morning and choosing between waffles and cereal for breakfast, picking a college was the ultimate stressor. With thousands of choices in thousands of places, it’s insane that high school students are expected to choose their home and possible career path for the next four(ish) years of their lives.

Choosing DePaul for me has been one of the best life decisions I’ve made thus far, but I didn’t fall for DePaul during my first visit. Taking your typical college road trip, my family and I packed up our lives during Spring Break of my junior year and rode on down to the good ol’ South.

Yes, the South. Visiting North Carolina State, University of South Carolina, Clemson, and University of Georgia, I thought that destiny was calling my name where the weather was warm and I could always get a tan.
But I was so wrong.

I spent the summer researching schools and applying to colleges. If you’re at this point of life, best of luck to you. The process is more than daunting. With personal essays and ACT or SAT scores, the second-guessing can be overwhelming.

As the summer sun turned to shorter fall days, the admissions process progressed and I started to hear back from schools. I flipped coins and begged my advisors and teachers to tell me what school I should go to, keeping DePaul in the back of my mind and the Southern schools in the forefront.

I let my senior year progress without thinking about college until about April when the deadline to commit was fast approaching. At this point in my decision-making process, it came down to DePaul and University of South Carolina.

South Carolina was a beautiful campus. The tour I had went on a year ago was still very memorable, the traditions and school spirit at the college were very apparent, and the scholarships I had received topped DePaul by a significant amount.

DePaul was beautiful, but in a different way. The city landscape was unique to every other college I had seen and the lack of football team gave the campus an independent vibe. I liked how close to home I would be in Chicago and how accessible the city was.

I decided to give DePaul one last visit before I made up my mind. I met with one of the Honors Program​ Directors who gave me a personal, inside perspective on the university. She taught me about DePaul’s offerings, culture, and community, and suddenly, I was sold.

I knew in that instant DePaul was where I was meant to be.

The city will always be my home and I can’t imagine being on any other type of campus. I like the independence and the anonymity that Chicago provides.

If you’re stuck choosing a college, I encourage you to get in contact with a staff member at your prospective university. This eye opening experience allows you to ask questions to an expert in a private environment, rather than asking questions awkwardly to a student tour guide in front of other prospective students.

With student visit day coming up, maybe you’ll FALL for DePaul?


My First Steps in a World of Blue Demons

​​​DePaul University is awesome, that’s no secret. I’ve said it many times in these blogs and in casual conversations with friends. 

While there are so many great things about this institution that I can talk about forever, nothing can compare to the first few times I visited the campus. It was a long time ago, in a very different Chicago. Daley was still mayor and the Sears Tower, well it is still the Sears Tower, but you get the point. My sister was a junior at DePaul and asked me if I wanted to come to campus. Being in high school at the time, I was super excited to be on a college campus around college people doing college things. She brought me to the student center in Lincoln Park, showed me the SAC​, the Quad​, library​, etc. It was awesome, I was in love, and I wanted to be at DePaul that moment. 

Fast forward to a few months after that visit, my friend from high school and I are walking around Lincoln Park. Realizing we were close to the student center, I suggested we explore the campus. We entered the student center and saw the fast, busy hustle of college life. No one noticed us and we had no idea where to go so we just continued exploring. Walking without a purpose, I gave my friend a fairly poor tour of the campus as everything my sister had taught me had faded from my mind. Though the information I provided may have lacked accuracy, it was a joy to show my friend the college of my future. The moment I stepped in Blue Demon territory I knew it was the right place for me. No other place had the life of DePaul, the beauty, or the convenience of being in Chicago. 

While many students may be looking for the right college for them at this time, the best suggestion I have is to explore. Be fearless and ask questions, Google everything there is to know about the college, find out what it is they’re known for, what they focus on, etc. With this big moment in the life of a high school senior, I wish you all the best of luck!

Thank you and stay awesome my friends!


Fall Visit Day

Now that I have been at DePaul for a few years, it is always fun to look back on what my life was like as a freshman and how different my life is now. I loved my freshman year, the experiences I had that year have definitely shaped me into the person that I am today. Just recently I was in Munroe Hall, where I lived my freshman year, and it brought back so many good memories. Now that the fall tour groups are starting to make their way around campus, when I see them I always think of my first tour of DePaul. 

My mom and I took a trip out to Chicago to visit DePaul just as I was beginning my senior year of high school. We stayed downtown and I remember that the train was delayed and I was so worried about being late. It was one of my first college experiences and I was already making a bad impression! However, we made it and all was well. Someone who works for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions gave a presentation highlighting all the wonderful qualities about DePaul (and there are many!) and went through how to apply. The presentation, and the information packet that came along with it, were very helpful and answered many questions my family and I had about the school, for example: questions about the residence halls, public safety, and how the quarter system differs from semesters. 

After the presentation, the big group was split into smaller groups and we got a tour of campus. My campus tour guide took us to all the big, main areas: the Student Center, a residence hall, the academic buildings, the library, the dining hall, the fitness center, and the quad. I remember being very overwhelmed at all that he showed us, but campus is actually so easy to navigate. You get the hang of it really quickly and fall in love with the campus almost immediately. After the tour, my mom and I walked around Lincoln Park for a while and checked out what the neighborhood is like. Lincoln Park, too, is amazing and is a safe, great neighborhood to live in. I could not ask for anything better! 

I had a really good experience on my tour and it is what made me come back for another one later in the year. Most, if not all, of my questions were answered, the campus is beautiful, and I truly felt like everyone who I came in contact with was interested in me and my future. I know how great DePaul is and I hope other people will get to have the same wonderful experience that I have had, too. 

Fall Visit Day

​​​​​I was terrible at planning college visits. When I was a senior in high school I thought I knew where I wanted to go to school; due to this I made the decision to visit no other colleges. Lucky for me, all of my friends were very excited to visit as many schools as possible. 

I was sitting in physics one day when my friend asked me if I wanted to visit DePaul with her. She needed a ride to the city, and I had nothing to do that weekend, so I agreed to go! I remember going to the store to buy a disposable camera (that I lost as soon as I got home) and registering for the visit day online. When Saturday finally arrived we headed to Lincoln Park, it was the first Fall Visit Day, and we were really excited (and also very nervous). My parents dropped us off in front of the student center so that they could go park our car, and we headed into the building with a large group of people.

I remember that during high school everyone kept telling me that I would “know” when I found the right school for me. Personally, I always thought that this was a lie. I always believed that there were way too many colleges in the world, and I wouldn't be able to find the school that was actually right for me. After attending a Fall Visit Day I realized that everyone was correct. 

The second I stepped out of my car I knew I belonged at DePaul. 

At the visit day, we went on a campus tour, I listened to a presentation about the psychology program, and I got to eat some free food. Overall, it was a really great way to get to know DePaul and the people who go there. Spending the day on campus helped me make my decision to attend DePaul. The second that I got home from Fall Visit Day I filled out my application. 

DePaul
There is a pretty significant difference between a visit day and a normal tour. At a visit day you get to go to a presentation from a major that you are interested, you go on a campus tour, and you can go to presentations from offices like housing and financial aid (among others). If you are able, I highly suggest that you try to attend a visit day. 

If you want to register for a visit day click here​! Or visit go.depaul.edu/visit

Picking My Major (And My Master's)

When I was little, I dreamed of being either a chemist or the next Brad Pitt. Turns out that I hated math and that I have a slightly more chubby build than Brad Pitt. So both of those were a bust. While in middle school, I started to become a little more realistic in my career aspirations, telling people about all the work I would do as a lawyer with the  ACLU​ (there’s literally an article in the local newspaper with a quote from me describing how I plan on going into tort reform or immigration law). This idea lasted until I read a random article about the overabundance of lawyers and panicked that I would end up like Warner at the end of Legally Blonde​: single and without any job offers.

The result is that going into my freshman year of college, like tons of students, I had no clue what I wanted to study. Having taken six years of Spanish throughout middle school and high school, I figured that I would just continue studying Spanish and get my degree in that. After a quick talk with my Honors academic advisor, I discovered that my (alleged) proficiency in Spanish meant that in order to fulfill my foreign language requirement for the Honors Program​I would either have to pick up another foreign language or pick up a second major.
Look at Freshman Willy! Vanessa (now the president of Student Government Association) and me on the El during our first week of our freshman year.

Not wanting to confuse myself with another foreign language, I chose to take on a second major, despite having no clue what that major would be. At the suggestion of my advisor, I took some sociology classes, but I quickly realized it just wasn’t for me. One night, after scrolling through the majors offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences​ while having a marathon of all four of the Halloweentown​ movies, I made the rash decision to declare a major in International Studies​.

I don’t know why I chose International Studies. I didn’t really know anything about the major and I didn’t know anyone else who was in the program. To be honest, I was just lazy and wanted to be done with picking my second major.

After the first meeting of my first International Studies class, I was pretty sure I could not have made more wrong of a choice. I was super intimidated by everyone and felt so out of place. I was tempted to drop the major right then and there, but my pride got the best of me and I decided to stick it out for the rest of the quarter. At the end of the quarter, I had made so many friends in the International Studies department that I decided to take one more class to prove to myself that it wasn’t the right major for me (that makes total sense, right?).

I walked into that second class prepared to drop International Studies and pick a new major. I had been looking at possible new majors the night before. By the end of the first week of the second class, I couldn’t remember ever wanting to drop. I was calling my parents and telling them that the major was the greatest thing to ever happen to me.

Two years later, I’ve just started the 5-year BA/MA program in International Studies. The BA/MA program is an accelerated program that allows me to get both my bachelor’s and my master’s within five years. Instead of completing my bachelor's in four years and spending another two on my master's, I start taking graduate classes during the senior year of my undergraduate career. Basically, I eliminate the second year of graduate school. Not only do I save that much time, but the graduate classes I take during my senior year are included in my undergraduate tuition and I get a 25% discount on the other grad classes because I also will have completed my bachelor's at DePaul (and you know I love to save money). 

The moral of the story is that if you're trying to find the right major for you, keep looking. I promise it's out there. And if you already have found the perfect major for you, push yourself and go as far as you can with it! And if your program offers a 5-year BA/MA, do it (it's a pretty solid deal).


Welcome Back!

The warm, relaxing nights have now passed and the days are starting to become colder. Starbucks has begun their Pumpkin Spice Latte season and Chicago gets ready to say goodbye to yet another summer. 

There’s always something happening on our quad!
Hello fellow Blue Demons and welcome to another new year of school, the third year in my college saga. With three years here at DePaul under my belt, I find it helpful to pass on a bit of advice to get the year started on a good note. 

Make sure to get involved! 
One of the greatest resources available to DePaul students is OrgSync. OrgSync is where students can find information on all clubs at DePaul.

Try new things!
With so many different opportunities on campus, your choices seem almost unlimited. Don’t see a club you would like to have? Make it! I’ve had several friends that have all kick started their own organizations this year including:  DePaul Eats, Doctor Who Club, DePaul Directs. You can read about more student organizations here​

Become close with your professor!
Professors are awesome here at DePaul, they come early to class and stay after class to talk. They will remember you more if you use them as the resource they are and might even help you out get into your field of interest.

As I sit here in the DePaul Activities Board office, I think of all the decisions I have made that led me to where I am now. The tips above, some provided by fellow friends, are all things that have changed my college experience here at DePaul. I’ll never forget seeing the theatre students perform during orientation. They asked questions like “Who am I? What do I want to do?” Being the cool high school graduate I was, I mistakenly found the skit to be cheesy and not appealing. Looking back to that moment now, I realize just how fitting it actually was. All those questions they asked were questions I was asking myself. The most important tip I would say is to be you.

Thank you for reading my blog, welcome back, and as always stay awesome!

The Health Promotions and Wellness Center

I’ve come to learn that my 20’s are about self-discovery. Whether that discovery is finding out the perfect burrito bowl combination for my taste buds or the right work out plan my body can handle, I know that self-discovery is leading me to certain habits. I believe that the habits I will establish during my 20’s and 30’s will be the ones that stick the most and might become the foundation of my potential big girl adult life.

Although we all have our vices (neglecting important obligations to binge Friends reruns), it is important to establish positive behaviors and step away from the negative ones during the habit forming years that are your 20’s. We are not all superheroes and, sadly, are subject to the very human act of laziness and lack of self-actualization. Thankfully, the DePaul community has the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness to provide educational and holistic support to produce long-term, healthy behaviors.  

Instead of searching for yoga tutorials on YouTube once a month after the guilt of eating 2 bags of Doritos sets in, why don’t you just pop over to their office and learn about the wide range of health topics they offer support with? From proper nutrition to relationship violence, the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness covers many important topics. The faculty is there to improve help-seeking behaviors and enhance your ability for sustainable, positive habits.​

Personally, I have an issue with stress control. I was lucky enough to have a member of the office come into one of my class to discuss stress management and healthy coping strategies. She guided the class through a mediation session where we shut our eyes and centered ourselves by focusing on our body. Heavy breathing exercises were also a part of this session which helped me better learn how to steady my breathing and slow down my thoughts. I have never been the best with coping with stress, but I know good vibes equals good mood.​

A new campaign called Take Care DePaul has been launched recently. This campaign encourages students, families, and faculty to model choices that positively impact the well-being of themselves and the ones around them.

If you are in the market for better vibes or just need someone to talk to about obtaining a healthy life style, please dance your way over to the Office of Health Promotions and Wellness for some resources and community support.

Location: Lincoln Park Student Center, Suite 302. 2250 N Sheffield Ave.
Phone: 773-325-7129 

Be Well!


The First Week of School

After 21 years of life, I have finally accepted that I’m just an excitable person. Almost everything excites me. I genuinely called my dad at work today because I was so excited that there was a sale on yogurt at the grocery store. Five minutes later, I called him again because I saw a food truck. That being said, nothing excites me (and stresses me) more than the first week of school.​

It doesn’t help that I always see the beginning of the school year as the start of a new era of Willy. I get myself way too amped up about the possibilities of scholarly excellence. In my eyes, it’s basically the academic equivalent of New Year’s Day; each year, I make promises to myself that I won’t avoid homework by sitting in bed and binge-watching  30 Rock​ while eating a whole roll of Toll House cookie dough. I make my annual pledge to not procrastinate and to work ahead. Just like New Year’s resolutions, I give up my lofty academic aspirations by the end of the week.​

This is my ~special~ notebook that has led me to academic success for the past two years.

Nevertheless, the first week of school does bring many changes, even if I may not change. This year, for me, it means a new residence, new bedding (less than a week and I’ve already spilled pizza sauce on it), a new schedule, a new shirt, and a new notebook. It’s almost too much excitement for me. I found myself planning when to buy my ~special~ notebook from the bookstore a week in advance (I swear by this notebook and credit it for all of my success). But buying that notebook is part of my ritual that takes place before the start of each quarter. My ritual helps me to live my best life and to readjust to campus life.​

In addition to buying my notebook (and bulk buying Megabus​ tickets, but that’s another story), there are three other parts to my ritual:

1. I always hit up the websites for DePaul Activities Board​ (DAB) and for the Office of Student Involvement​. At the beginning of each quarter, DAB releases their event calendar (around which I plan my personal calendar).  My favorite programs are the movie premieres, where they hand out free tickets to the premiere of a popular movie. This quarter, the premiere is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II​, so you better believe I will be near the head of the line. I also visit the Office of Student Involvement to see which shows are being offered through DemonTix, DePaul’s discount ticket program. Last spring, I got tickets to Book of Mormon​ through DemonTix, so now I watch that site like a hawk.

​Check out what DAB has planned for this quarter!
2. I go to Demon Discounts​ and see if any new restaurants or stores have been added. I don’t really have anything really clever or witty to say about this one, but a discount is a discount and it makes me feel good about myself.

3. In general, I try to snoop around and find out what’s new at DePaul. For instance, I’ve discovered that the library now rents video games AND video game consoles​. So if you want to try out PS4 or Xbox One, you know where to go. Also, a lot of the menus have changed at the Student Center, so look for a future blog where I review those changes (and most likely mourn the loss of the Santa Fe breakfast sandwich).

Let me know if you have any sort of ritual that you do before you start school!​


A 20-Year-Old Senior Citizen

This year, I’m in limbo.

While it might appear that I’ve got all my ducks in a row – perhaps due to the new back to school watch on my left wrist, signaling that I always know the time – this honestly couldn’t be further from the truth.

To break it down for you, my watch is a “fashion watch.” Don’t fret if you don’t know the terminology because I just made it up to justify the fact that my watch, an object generally used for a utilitarian purpose, doesn’t tell time correctly. I learned this the hard way as I ran to class realizing that being early in fashion watch time meant being late in the time zone known as reality. Discount shopping is always hit or miss. 

Beyond my inability to tell time despite my new (fashion) watch, I have found myself already stumped by two questions presented to me in my classes. No, I wasn’t being asked the quadratic formula or in what year Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Nor was I asked who wrote “The Great Transformation” or what the scientific method is. The two daunting questions were as follows:

 1.)   What year in school are you?
 2.)   What do you want to do once you graduate? 

Clearly off to a great start in my classes, I “errr”ed and “umm”ed my way through my responses with the grace only a 20 year old millennial with a fashion watch that falsifies time can exhibit.

I acquiesce when professors make you introduce yourself to the class. It’s awkward as everyone digs around in the back of their minds for something remotely interesting about themselves. When put on the spot like that, I usually lie. Not on purpose, of course. But before I know it, my nonexistent skydiving experience leaves my mouth like hot lava spewing out of a volcano; unstoppable, unforgivable and dangerous.

As college credit from high school has saved me money, which I am very thankful for, I question if I am appreciative of the time it’s saving me. I’m a third year student at DePaul, but am set to graduate after next fall quarter (or possibly sooner). An odd time to enter the workforce and an odd situation to explain to a classroom full of people whom I’ve just met; hence, my confusion at the question, “What year in school are you?” As I debated being a junior or senior out loud to all of my peers and professor, I realized that I so don’t have it all together.

And then comes the second question, aka THE question that parents, coworkers, aunts, uncles and everyone else under the sun loves to ask young college students. I envy the people who explain detail for detail what they will do with the rest of their lives with a sense of precision and confidence that is reserved for talk show hosts like Oprah and Katie Couric.

Unfortunately, for me, my class was full of Oprahs and included a sprinkling of Courics. As my classmates described their aspirations to become lawyers and campaign organizers, policy makers and non-profit leaders, my fashion watch and I didn’t stand a chance. So we searched around for something exciting that might have been a stretch of the truth.

Instead, under the immense pressure of the question and the embarrassment of the preceding one, we said, “I’m just taking it day by day really. Trying to survive.” As I described my future as if I had a terminal illness, my professor gave me a half smile, pitying me and saying, “It’s okay. You’ll figure it out.” It was clear that school was back in session.

So here I am, buckling up for the long journey ahead and knowing that each step forward, or backward, at least means I’m moving.

Excited for the year ahead yet? I know I am. Just don’t ask me my year in school or what my future career is. Especially, don’t ask me the time.


Positive Learning Environment for the New School Year

Before I began my first day of junior year I tried to remind myself that academia goes more smoothly when paired with a positive learning environment.

Having a solid relationship with professors and peers is a good place to start! I have never been one to instantly introduce myself personally to my professor on the first day of school, but I do try to make it a point to raise my hand at least once during the first week. Honestly, I’ve noticed this makes me a lot more likely to contribute to class discussion later on in the quarter. By making an active attempt to interact with your professors and peers, this creates an environment that feels safe to ask questions in. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel apprehensive to ask certain questions in class because I think they might be silly or unnecessary, but more often than not someone else in the class has the same question. I believe that if you try to create relationships with your professors and peers it will make for a comfortable and fun learning environment that could last until graduation day. You never know when you will need those teacher recommendations.

Finding a comfortable place to study is also crucial for creating a positive learning environment. The most obvious choice on campus is the library with its beautiful stained glass on the third floor and easy access to printers, but I have friends that can’t concentrate in complete silence. If that sounds like you definitely check out Brownstones in the Student Center or the Pit area in the SAC. They both provide comfortable seating, printers, and glorious glorious coffee. Ain’t nothing like some good ambience to get you in the mood to crank out some essays.  

Also, keep in mind that a positive learning environment is not necessarily the physical place you are in, but could also include the mindset you have in your noggin. Creating attainable and realistic expectations while studying is crucial for avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed. Laying down the ground rules for yourself and how far you can push your brain is quintessential to your victory as a student. For example, give yourself a time limit on how long you will look over a particular subject or take a break from revising an essay when you feel the words starting to blend together. Sadly, we are not machines that can work days on end, but it is amazing how far we can push ourselves with a positive mindset and a little bit of scheduling.

Good luck this quarter, y’all!


Textbooks: A Guide

New DePaul students often have questions about purchasing textbooks for classes. This is a helpful guide designed to give you an overview of the process. If you have questions, you can always contact the bookstore at 773-325-7177.
 
You can find your textbooks by following these steps:
 
1.    Go to Campus Connect and log into your account.
2.    Click the “Manage Classes” section, which will be one of the tiles on the main page.
3.    Click on “View My Classes”
4.    Click on the arrow next to the room assignment for a class (this will bring up a pop-up window so make sure pop-ups are enabled. 
5.    Click "Textbook/Other Information"
6.    Any materials that have been submitted by your professor will be listed.

This is what it should look like. 
Most professors will not post textbooks until a few weeks before classes start, so keep that in mind. If you find that you click on the link and it says “materials not yet assigned,” this means that nothing has been posted yet. Do not fret, the textbooks will be listed soon enough!
 
Furthermore, some classes will not have textbooks. Remember, however, that there is a difference between "materials not yet assigned" and "no text required." Make sure to read everything listed on the page, as understanding the proper terminology is important.
 
These are the primary categories in which your textbooks will be sorted:
 
Required
The textbook is required for classes. In some cases, you can save money by purchasing an older edition of the textbook. Use your best judgement with this, as you probably do not want to buy a textbook from 1999. If it is from 2012 - present, you might be ok. When in doubt, check with your professor.
 
Package Component
Also required, there are often textbooks that have multiples “parts” to them. For example, a textbook for a math class might also have a practice book included with it. In many cases, you can purchase these items as a packaged deal.

The “package component” option is essentially like buying the different “parts” individually. Instead of making one purchase of the textbook + the practice book, you could make two purchases: first the textbook, and then the practice book.

If you purchase the textbook as a packaged deal, you do not need to worry about the “package component.” Again, this option is like shopping a-la-carte for different parts of your required books. It is probably easiest to just purchase the entire textbook at once, thus receiving one package in the mail instead of multiple packages.

From the bookstore’s website: “A ‘package component’ is a title that is part of a required course materials package for your course. Be careful not to buy both the complete package and components separately.” So basically - one or the other. Do not buy the required textbook and the package components.
 
E-Book Option
Some textbooks have an electronic version available. It will be the same thing as the physical book, so you only need to purchase this or the hardcopy. This is a matter of preference, as your professor will likely be okay with either option.
 
Bookstore Recommended
These are not required by your professor; rather, they are suggested by the bookstore to help you become familiar with the actual textbooks required for your class. You may purchase them, but you do not have to.

Go to Class First
Go to class before you purchase these textbooks. Typically your professor wants to give you more information before you purchase them.

Hopefully, this helps, and happy learning!

DePaul University Psychology - Q&A with Sophia Odeh

 
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. 

​​

Class in Chicago

​​​​​Like I’ve said before​, I’ve always known I wanted to go to school in a big city. I knew that I would function best (and have the most fun) in a big city. I also figured I could probably learn a few things from living in a big city that I hadn’t learned growing up in the Horse Capitol of Wisconsin.

As you probably know, one of DePaul’s slogans is “The city is your campus.” No matter how cheesy that slogan is (I’m from Wisconsin and even I think it’s ridiculously cheesy), it’s absolutely true. For instance, this quarter, I had field trips. Yes, you read that right. I’m a college student and I had field trips this quarter. And let me tell you: I learned so much from those field trips. And the more I thought about those field trips, the more I realized that my classes at DePaul have always pushed me to take advantage of the kinds of opportunities in Chicago that drew me to going to school in a big city.

Exelon City Solar Power Plant: This power plant has been built on land that is essentially unusable due to pollution. How future looking, am I right?
At the start of my freshman year, I took the Discover Chicago​ class (rather than the Explore Chicago class). Discover starts a week before the normal school year starts, but that week is spent introducing you to the city and exploring a theme in the city. Of course, because I’m me, while other students were enrolled in Discover classes about biking or chocolate, I enrolled in a class entitled “Race, Gender, and the Justice System” that had us visiting museums, sending books to women in prison, and meeting with local charities that provided services to underprivileged communities. Not only did I meet 90% of my current friends in that class, but I also think about that immersion week all of the time.

Over the years, various classes have had me visiting the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Library​ to look at unconventionally assembled books, attending a Día de los Muertos party at a Mexican bar (one of many Spanish cultural events I had to attend), going to a play (which for some reason terrified me as a freshman?), and participating in a social justice event of my choosing (in which I marched with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless​).

As I said, this quarter has been no exception. As a member of Sigma Iota Rho, the honors society for international studies, I was invited to attend an event with keynote speaker Ambassador William Burns​, former Deputy Secretary of State. It was exciting to hear someone with such a successful and lengthy career speak about the same topics I’m studying. That same night, my Latin American and Spanish Cinema class met at a movie theater downtown for the 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival​, where we (obviously) watched a movie and attended a Q&A with the director. As you can guess, I bought way too much food and nearly went broke, but I don’t regret the jalapeño poppers and an ice cream cookie sandwich at all.

Later on in the quarter, my honors science course on solar energy had two back-to-back field trips. We toured Argonne National Laboratory​ one week and then Exelon City Solar Power Plant​ the next week. It was so helpful and enlightening to the see the real-world applications of what we were learning in class.

It’s been so amazing to go to school in a big city and be able to get out of the classroom and learn these subjects in the actual city of Chicago. Every time I get to do experiential learning, I’m reminded why I chose to go to DePaul.

Handshake at DePaul

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!

http://www.hiredepaul.org/employers

Happy job hunting!


Sound Design Studio

In my Introduction to Sound Design​ course we had the chance to use the professional sound studio in the CDM building. Although this course was one of my very first CDM classes, I never knew this part of the building even existed. According to the professor some of the equipment was out of date, but I feel like that happens extremely quickly since technology advances at warp speed. Nevertheless, the equipment we worked on for sounds mixing and recording was more advanced than anything I’ve ever seen. Buttons and switches GALORE! 

We first took a little tour around the studio before we dove into our final project. What we had to do was practice ADR. ADR means Automated Dialogue Replacement​ which is simply recording over original lines in a film. To do this we must match and synch the new lines with the actions on the screen. 

A few students got to be actors for a day and stand in the ADR stage which is the place where the actor can record their voice while watching the film to make sure their voice synchs up with the visual.  After this was done and their voices were recorded, we had to go into the original footage and replace the actor’s voices with the newly recorded ones. This was because our professor thought we needed a little more practice with sound effect and design editing.

Sound effects editors and sound designers are the artists who add the computer beeps, gunshots, laser blasts, and explosions (and more) to the film. If you can’t notice that the sounds are actually unnatural, than the artist is doing their job correctly. Sound designers use a variety of technologies to create unique sounds effects that have never been heard before, or to artificially create specific “mood” sounds to complete the filmmaker’s vision.

The best things we did in the sound studio must have been creating our own Foley. The word Foley was taken from the name Jack Foley​, a Hollywood sound editor, who is known as the father of these effects. Basically, Foley effects are sounds like footsteps, object handling, the rustling of clothing, ect…

This project made me realize that even the smallest details are needed to create a well-rounded film and that someone’s actual job is to make footstep sounds for films. If I could get medical, dental, and a decent salary I probably would do that too. All in all, I think this class was a success. If you are ever interested in learning more about sound in film, take Introduction to Sound Design. 


In Defense of Honors Students

In high school, I was an honors student. Like, I mean the textbook definition of an honors student. Anxiety-ridden, stressed and overloaded with positions on the executive boards of student groups. You know the one. That was me. The long-term effects of my honors-induced anxiety is a subject for a novel of Russian proportions, but the benefits I have reaped from the AP​/IB​/honors seeds that I sowed in high school are undeniable.

The later years of high school consisted of a combination of AP and IB work that helped me take care of a goodly amount of liberal studies requirements during my first couple years of college. I didn’t even get the highest scores on any of those exams and DePaul was still pretty generous with accepting the credit. I was able to complete all of my liberal studies requirements by the end of my second year. This opened my schedule up to take classes that I wanted simply for the fun of it. I took an Islamic studies class, a couple French classes, a German class, and a creative writing class. I was very glad for the opportunity to diversify my class experience outside of The Theatre School. But beyond that, the time gifted to me allowed me to see more shows, get to know more theatre companies, experience more around the city and figure out what my real goals are after school. That’s the biggest benefit. You have to have breathing room in school to be able to build relationships and just wander. 

In essence what I’m getting at is that if you’re in the thick of an AP or IB course load in high school right now and you want to pull out your hair, stuff it into your textbook and eat it with mustard, you’re going to survive. And you will reap some reward from the experience. I guarantee it. If nothing else, you’ll know that you can accomplish something you set your mind to and that’s a feeling worth its weight in gold. 

Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:

Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting on You)







Ethiopian Food for the Win

After eating, sleeping, and breathing tacos for a few months, I thought it was time to venture out into the world and find a new food group to indulge in. Since moving to Chicago, I’ve heard the buzz about Ethiopian food, but have always stuck to what I’ve known when it comes to food (hence the tacos on tacos diet that I have). But last weekend I was feeling extra adventurous— perhaps due to the warm weather or maybe due to the fact that I’m in denial that I’m still in school.

So off I went with my roommate to Loyola ​territory to seek out an Ethiopian restaurant called Ras Dashen​. The restaurant is named after the tallest mountain in Ethiopia​, which Zenash Beyene, the chef and owner, used to live by back in her Ethiopian days. Ras Dashen has won many titles and awards by Zagat and Check Please, and is recommended by the Michelin guide.

If you don’t know much about Ethiopian food, one thing to note is that it’s spicy. Like burn-your-mouth-should-I-go-to-the-ER spicy. But then again that’s coming from me who once cried while eating the mild wings at Buffalo Wild Wings​ and then begged my waiter for milk, water and ice cubes because I thought my tongue was going to fall off. For a better point of reference, my roommate who can eat the mild wings without a problem and frequently has spicy salsa verde as a midnight snack, said that the food was spicy but in a flavorful, delicious way and was certainly not enough to deter him from eating it.

If you’re a wimp like me though, don’t worry! Ras Dashen​ had spicy options and regular items so everyone can be accommodated. Another thing to note about Ethiopian foods is that there are no utensils. You eat with your hands. Not exactly an ideal first date type of situation I would say. By the time I finished dinner I had basically put my hands all over the food…sorry roomie.

As the Ras Dashen menu explains, “A traditional Ethiopian meal is served on a round of injera ​and shared by everyone at the table. Each entree comes with a roll of injera to be used as your eating utensil. Injera is a sour, spongy bread made with teff, the indigenous Ethiopian grain.” Eating became an activity in itself. Trying to scoop up the food in the bread was not easy. We spied on other tables with seasoned professionals to help us get the technique down.

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience at Ras Dashen and will definitely be going back. Ethiopian food isn’t just delicious, but it’s fun. If you like spice order anything on the menu, but if you’re like me, ask the waiter for some more mild options.

Procrastination

With the quarter finally coming to a close and finals on the horizon, now is (supposed to be) the time to start buckling down and doing work. Everyone, especially professors and parents, always tells you that if you start early and study and write a little bit each day, finals can be painless. According to that logic, I must just be a masochist. 

I am one of the worst procrastinators ever. I fully recognize that almost everyone says that and I fully recognize that almost everyone (else) is exaggerating. I’m genuinely terrible. Over my near 15 years of schooling, I have perfected the art of procrastination. Obviously, as I’ve matured, my methods of procrastination have become more advanced and time-consuming. I’ve moved on from Procatinator to much more worldly and profound distractions, like Buzzfeed quizzes and repeatedly pressing the random page button on Wikipedia. It’s amazing how interesting the history of bread can be when you have so many other things you need to be doing. When I’m really desperate, I’ve even been known to clean on occasion.

Just to be clear, I know most of you reading this are expecting this post to be full of tips and tricks to beat procrastination and maintain your sanity (and a normal sleep schedule) during finals. That’s not what’s happening here at all.

Actual image of me actually procrastinating (I didn’t want to go get my laundry).
When I started college, I decided I should finally try to start listening to that sage advice from my teachers and my parents. I promised myself that I would stop cramming and speed-writing at the last minute. Instead, I’d design a plan of attack, spreading out the work I needed to do over a week and a half at the end of the quarter. For six quarters, I tried to make this work for me. For that week and a half at the end of the quarter, I’d lock myself in my room every day, vowing not to sleep until I had completed everything on that day’s to-do list. Every quarter, the result was the same: I’d get nothing done and, due to my brilliant no-sleep clause, I’d be beyond sleep deprived when I actually needed to start working. All of my friends have heard the story about when I was so sleep-deprived, I hallucinated that Michelle Obama had walked into my dorm room (not to mention that about an hour after the Michelle Obama incident, I called out to my dad to make me some food, which obviously didn’t happen since he was back home in Wisconsin at the time).

This year, for the first time ever, I chose to accept the fact that I’m inevitably going to procrastinate. I’ve developed a new strategy that works around my procrastination instead of trying to fight it: If I don’t have anything due that day, I take the day off. I eat and sleep as much as possible and rewatch as many episodes of Parks and Recreation as I can.  If I do have a final due that day, I will still eat as much as possible, but I’ll just work up until that D2L Dropbox is about to close on me.

The moral of the story is this: find what works best for you. You know your weaknesses and your strengths: play to that. I can’t spread work out over days, but I work incredibly well under pressure. It’s in my best interest to rest up while I can so that I can do my best work when I start my essay six hours before it’s due. What works best for me is ordering General Tso’s Chicken and having a Halloweentown marathon the day before a 10-page paper is due. 

Do you have any special strategies to get through finals? Let me know so I don’t feel so alone!

Showcase!

One week from today, I will be in New York City​ doing the first part of one of the major closing events of my time at The Theatre School​: Graduate Showcase. During the first two weeks of June, my class and I will showcase our wares in New York, Los Angeles, and here in Chicago for industry professionals. It’s our chance to blast off into the professional world as a team.

Since the beginning of spring quarter, we have been presenting scenes and monologues to our showcase director Lisa Portes to find a piece that works best to showcase our strengths as performers. The people that will be in attendance are agents, casting directors, and alums in the respective cities. Once they watch our pieces, there will be networking events where we can introduce ourselves to those people as human beings. In addition to the actual events planned for showcase in each city, there will be plenty of time for us to explore the cities and see shows. It’s a great opportunity for us to get a feel for the place and see if we could actually see ourselves there. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends in both cities and also taking a little road trip up the coast in California​. It’s going to be perfect to see the ocean in all its vastness before graduating and starting the next chapter of my life.

Ideally, some of the agents that see our work in any of the cities will call us in to audition specifically for representation but it’s best to go into the showcase just focused on the work. In my opinion, this event is going to be great because it’s one last chance to work with this ensemble with whom I’ve gone through so much these past four y​​​ears. One last hurrah is just what we need. And we’re going to do it in style.

Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:

Just trying to keep moving forward, ya dig?









5 Things I Wish I Did Before Coming To DePaul

​​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.

Four years go by fast! Make the best of every one of them.
(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 :) 

(3) 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.        

The Ray Meyer Fitness Center

Something that I will greatly miss about DePaul once I graduate is the Ray Meyer Fitness Center​. I headed over there this past Saturday morning to burn some calories and get my heart pumping and kept thinking to myself, “Why don’t I go here more often?!”. Especially when the weather isn’t desirable or you are looking to use a machine, this is the place to go.


Just a minute walk from the Student Center (where the DePaul cafeteria is), the Ray is one of the highlights of DePaul’s facilities and should be taken great advantage of by all students. A membership to the Ray is included in DePaul’s tuition, so students can go as often as they would like and go for a swim, play racquetball or basketball, run on the indoor track, or use any number of the machines and weights​.

Not only does the Ray have a beautiful track on its top floor that overlooks Lincoln Park, a large swimming pool with multiple lanes, AND an entire floor of machines, but it also offers a great variety of group fitness classes that are free to students. From boxing to Zumba, you can be led by motivational and inspiring fitness instructors and embarrass yourself in a group of other people who are feeling just as lost as you are! I tried a couple classes with friends, but my favorite group instruction class has been cycling. I’ve enjoyed how the instructors use different music, lighting effects, and images to motivate us to push ourselves. I especially enjoy when the instructor turns on the black lights so everyone is glowing in the dark!​


In regards to machinery, my favorite one to use is the elliptical, but I have also used the treadmill and stair steppers. A lot of the machines also have individual televisions connected to them, so you can watch TV as you work out, to distract you from the agonizing pain you’re in (or maybe that’s just me?!)! I enjoy listening to music as I work out or watching Netflix on my phone, especially because there is no background noise. Something that I appreciate is the gym doesn’t play music in overhead speakers, so it is a quiet, clean environment.​

Once you finish your workout, you can head downstairs to the Ray cafe that offers delicious smoothies with fresh fruit, grilled paninis, or quesadillas. There are also great snack items there. While I love everything about this place, eating its food is my favorite part about visiting the Ray!

FEST 2015!

“Ladies and gentlemen give it up one more time for [insert band/DJ name here]!” That’s more or less how my night was spent last Thursday at Battle of The Bands & Fest ​Big Reveal as the MC. It was a great time, as always, over at Lincoln Hall ​with the DJ’s keeping people jumping up and down and the bands giving the people a sound to sway to. 

Of course the big thing everyone was waiting for, the reveal! Sound unfamiliar? Well there was a reveal that happened at the event, a BIG reveal, and if you were there then I hope you know what I am talking about. FEST 2015 is on its way! May 22nd is the official day and it is something everyone should go to! When talking about amazing, awesome, fun, incredible, and (I’m out of adjectives) really cool events at DePaul it is essential to bring up Fest. It is the biggest event of the year with thousands of DePaul students attending and amazing artist performing. It is held in the beautiful Quad and students can enjoy it anywhere from front row to the UHall ​patio viewing area. 

Now, for the final part of this blog. Who is going to perform at Fest? Well, hopefully you have already heard as everyone has been Tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, and more about it. However, just in case:

FEST 2015 presents:

Opening – Milo Greene​

The poster makes it look a lot cooler!

Middle Act – American Authors​

Headliner – Big Sean​

But wait there’s more!​

After Hours:

Milo & Otis

So if you have yet to get your Fest tickets, what are you waiting for? I will be there, other awesome people will be there, and it is going to be a great time!

Thanks for reading my blog and always stay awesome!

P.S. I want to see YOU at Fest and if you see me come say hi I love making new friends! 


Sister Helen Prejean

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. ​


What Is My DePaul Legacy?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what my legacy will be at DePaul. I recently heard somewhere that the only reason humans do anything in their lives is so that they will be remembered when they’re gone. And it makes sense to a certain extent. We want to make our mark. And hopefully it will be a positive mark!

In a literal sense, I’m very proud of having been a part of The Theatre School (TTS)​ as we moved into our new building last year. It’s been a huge shift in identity for us as a community and it’s been exciting, frustrating, and rewarding to be at this school during this time of transition. I’ll always be able to say that I was among the first students to work in this building as it continues to support artists for many years to come.

I’m also very proud of the student organizations I’ve helped start while at this school. I was in the group of students that started TTS’s Musical Theatre Collaborative our first year. We started out doing a small-scale cabaret in a tiny room and we’ve grown to doing full musicals in the beautiful studio space in The Theatre School building. The Mildly Rehearsed Players is another organization of which I cannot express how proud I am. We had so much fun putting up Shakespeare’s plays​ in a way that we connect to in a deep way and sharing it with our community in a fun, engaging way. I also never thought I would be able to play Romeo in my life and mildly gave me that opportunity. I will always be grateful that we brought that together.

DePaul’s legacy in me is perhaps even more interesting. I did so many great things in school and out of school during my time here. I had major life events come and go; I fell in love for the first time, I discovered the kind of art I want to do, and I started down a path toward the kind of man I want to be. I like to think that the lives I encountered and the art I made while here will live on just as much as the experiences will live in me. That means I’m doing my job.

Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
It’s warm this week! Thank god!




Late Nights in the SOM

There is something special about being in the School of Music ​late at night. The incessant repetition of excerpts finally ceases, the rush of people going in and out of rehearsals and lessons slows, and all staff leave their offices for the night. Who is left? The small minority of late-night practicers, the janitor, and me and my boyfriend, Tobin.

Tobin and I are both cellists and are in the same studio, so we are able to see one another throughout the day in classes. However, when our school obligations are done for the day and we want to spend time together, we usually flee from the School of Music (SOM) as soon as we possibly can, just because we are there so often! As I mentioned in my post about DePaul SOM jobs, students can apply to work at the front desk, and those shifts can go as long as 10pm. Tobin picked up the 3-10pm shift one day this week, so we decided to do something new and have a date night in the SOM.

We have both been really looking forward to seeing the new Avengers movie; he's excited about seeing the actual movie, and I'm more excited about sitting in the incredible recliners in the Regal Webster Theater​ and
making popcorn my dinner. In preparation for that, we have begun to watch all the Marvel movies, and first up was Iron Man I. So I joined Tobin around 7:30 as he sat at the front desk and gave keys to people so they could practice in their teacher's studios. We saw many music friends as they stopped by to say hi, and I tried to remain composed and sit up straight because, after all, Tobin was still on the job.
But by the time 9pm rolled around and virtually no one was there, my shoes were off, and I was squirming around in my chair to find the most comfortable, lazy position I could. Once Tobin's shift was over, we decided to continue our movie marathon in the SOM Student Lounge, a spacious area decked with extremely comfortable couches, tables, and chairs. We situated the couches the way we wanted them, used the lounge microwave to pop popcorn, bought gummy bears from the vending machines, and we were set!

The School of Music is open until midnight during the school week, which gave us just enough time to finish Iron Man. It was really nice to spend time relaxing in the SOM and seeing people as they went about their nights and headed home (one of our orchestra conductors definitely passed the front desk as we were in full-out lazy mode, so that gave him a laugh!). It also made me realize that if I ever needed to live in the SOM and its three buildings, I could totally survive! So overall, it was an entertaining and enjoyable night spent in DePaul's School of Music!

What To Do This Summer

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:

• WordPress. 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.

• Knitting. 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.

• Calligraphy. 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 : )

• Astronomy​. 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. 


Abroaden Your Horizons

You know what I think anyone who has the means to do should do during their time in college? Leave the country for a bit! Study abroad​! Go somewhere and study your craft outside of the familiar landscape of the US. Or don’t study your craft. Maybe study something completely different. The point is that you shake up your perspective and challenge yourself by being in a new environment with people you’ve never met before and absorb a new culture. Just do it.

I was lucky enough to have the opportun