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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 requirement​I go to my internship as normal and also complete career development assignments for class on the side.

I decided to enroll in an online course with DePaul career specialist and instructor Michael Elias​. At first, I was skeptical of the course's assignments. Would setting goals and having my supervisor sign them actually change my work habits? Did I really need to upload a recording of my elevator pitch and receive critiques from classmates? 

The answers? Yes, yes and yes.

Michael’s class has helped me not only in my internship, but also in my personal career development. I feel confident about going into my next networking event and introducing myself and my career goals to complete strangers. 

Our final assignment consists of making our own online portfolio, in which we showcase our accomplishments and essentially, our personal brand.  While the final project is somewhat intensive, the course load itself is very light, not causing students to be overworked with the balance of class and their internship.

Be sure to check out internship courses at DePaul for a great way to earn class credit and gain real-world experience, while also making a buck or two.​​​

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 belie​ve 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. 

Spring Quarter Fun on Campus

​​​​​I hope everyone had a great spring break and got to go do something wild and crazy and fun! Some of my friends went to Europe, some went skiing, I went to IKEA​ and got lost in the lighting department. But school has started back up and the mourning period for Spring Break is now over. But still, you need some fun stuff to do during your free time this quarter! So. It’s that time again. I’m back to tell you all about events happening this quarter!

At the beginning of each quarter, I always hit up the websites for DePaul Activities Board (DAB) and for the Office of Student Involvement . DAB releases their event calendar (around which I plan my personal calendar).  My favorite programs are usually the movie premieres, where DAB hands out free tickets to the premiere of a popular upcoming movie at the movie theater a couple blocks away. This quarter, the premiere is Captain America: Civil War​ on May 5th, which you know everyone will be trying to get tickets to. 

As you can see on the calendar, DAB hosts a wide variety of events. All I need to read is “Canines on Campus” for me to get excited. I’m definitely hoping to go to An Evening with the Upright Citizens Brigade​. If you don’t know what the Upright Citizens Brigade is, all you need to know is that Amy Poehler was one of the original members. And, of course, FEST, DePaul's annual end-of-the-year concert, is at the end of May, so keep your eyes open for more info about the headliner and how to get tickets.

I also visit the Office of Student Involvement’s website to find out about DemonTix​, DePaul’s discount ticket program, to see what events they’re selling tickets for this quarter. While the sporting events all went on sale last month and are probably sold out, you can always buy discount movie passes through Office of Student Involvement. And this quarter, starting on May 5th, you can buy discount tickets to go up to the SkyDeck​ in Willis Tower! It’s also definitely worth keeping up with both DAB and the Office of Student Involvement on Twitter or Facebook, since they sometimes announce impromptu giveaways (that’s how I got tickets to Book of Mormon​ last year!).

I wrote about the Humanities Center​ events last quarter, but I just want to review once again how amazing the events are. While DePaulywood Squares (a take on Hollywood Squares​, substituting professors for celebrities) most likely will have already come and gone by the time you read this blog, there are still four other events hosted throughout the quarter, including an event about Moby-Dick that somehow incorporates a screening of Star Trek II . It is my personal mission to make it to Hungry Hungry Humanities: The Secret Life of Food​, because you know I love my food.

Let me know what you’re planning on going to this quarter!​


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!


New Quarter, New Events Part 2

​​​​​Last week, I told you all about DePaul Activities Board​ and the awesome events they are hosting this quarter. At the end of that blog, I promised you more events and I’m delivering. I recently learned about the DePaul Humanities ​Center​ and I’m so excited to share this discovery with you.

I’m currently taking my Honors Capstone​ and my (incredible) professor is the director of the Humanities Center, which I had never really looked into (re: never really heard of) prior to taking the class. After he passed out a flyer in class with all the events for this quarter, I was instantly devastated that I had missed out on years of these… eclectic events. These events may be slightly more academic than you had anticipated, but there’s a reason that I’m so excited about them.

This is apparently somehow related to Moby-Dick. I need to find out how.

Now while I had originally intended to just write about the events that are happening during this quarter, one of the events for next quarter is too bizarre not to mention at this exact moment. Just to give you an idea of the insanity that has apparently been taking place at Humanities Center events for years without my knowledge: Next quarter, there’s an event​ about Moby-Dick​ that includes a screening of Star Trek II​. Let that sink in. Also next quarter: DePaulywood Squares​, a take on Hollywood Squares​ where nine professors from DePaul have to answer trivia questions about their areas of research. And the best part is that audience members have the chance to win prizes!

During this quarter, the Humanities Center is hosting five events and it is my goal to be at every single one. Each event is seriously like five events combined into one event, so let me break down a few for you!

I
This  is the band Typhoon. Come see (three of) them on February 1st!
f you love music, there are a few events perfect for you. On February 1st, three members of the Portland-based band Typhoon​ are coming to perform and then discuss their music and art. On February 8th, you have the opportunity to attend an event about Noah’s Ark​ comprising of an opera performance, a lecture on Noah and animal rights, and a climate change scientist giving his interpretation of the parable of Noah. Or perhaps you want to join me on March 7th for the newest installment in the “Hungry Hungry Humanities” series, “Eating is Understanding.” At this event, billed as a “multi-sensory, interactive foodie event,” the first 100 audience members get a bento box​ filled with food to eat throughout the presentation. And if you’ve ever read my blog before, you know I love food.

There’s so much going on this quarter. You have no reason to ever be bored. Let me know which events you’re thinking about going to!


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 I​nternational 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!


The Magic of Interpersonal Communcation

In my experience, flip flopping majors in college has been a weekly experience. I switched out of AND THEN back into the Communication school a whopping total of 3 times.

Why did I switch? I think it was a mix of fear and confusion. Will it happen again? I hope not. The point is, I am happy in the Communication school and am slowly but surely finding my niche in the career world. Along the journey of acquiring a degree, I have found myself being pushed out of my comfort zone in my Interpersonal Communication class.

Interpersonal Communication is a course that really narrows in on what shapes communication between two people. Topics range from self-concept, conflict struggles, and nonverbal communication. Sometimes I feel like some people don’t take a Communication degree as serious as a Business or Economics degree, but I am here to tell you that after all my schooling so far I have realized that proper communication is at the core of human relations. A business cannot function if they do not have the fundamentals of communication covered.

I think we all share a drive to communicate, regardless of if we see ourselves as introverted or extroverted. That being said, this course really pushed the students to learn how to communicate assertively and confidently. Ever since I entered college I have had an insane fear of public speaking. I can totally hold a great conversation in a small group of new people, but when it comes to standing up in front of a crowd….NOPE. This came as a surprise to me because I always thought of myself as an extroverted person. I mean, I was voted “Most Likely to Host a TV Show” in middle school.

I’m not sure what changed inside of me to make me such a nervous person nowadays, but Interpersonal Communication is giving me the tools to enhance my confidence in an interpersonal context.

Listening is also a HUGE part of communication. Less than 2% of people have had any formal education on how to listen properly. We have been learning how to shut of our internal noise in our own brains in order to listen more effectively. Fun fact: we listen at a rate of 125-250 words per minute, but we think at 1000-3000 words per minute.

Regardless of whatever career you go into, effective communication will create positivity in your profession AND personal lives.

Click this link ​below to see an infographic on how communication has transformed through the ages. Sharing ideas and thoughts has happened since the beginning of human life! Enjoy!


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.    Look for the “Student Center” section, which will be right on the main page.
3.    Click on “My Class Schedule.”
4.    Select the appropriate quarter. In this case, “2015-2016 Autumn Quarter.”
5.    Look for this sentence: “Click the appropriate link below for the textbooks at each campus location.”
6.    Click it, and your textbooks 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. 


Discounts at DePaul

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love saving money. I, like my dad, am one of those impulse consumers who just can’t pass up a sale or freebie. Fortunately for me (and you), DePaul is constantly offering tons of sales, discounts, giveaways, and free events.

Throughout my years at DePaul, I’ve come to the conclusion that either everyone else is very uninformed about these resources or that I may be slightly obsessive. Obviously the latter is totally not the case, so I’m here to inform you all about the deals and steals you are (most likely) missing out on. 
For just $5, you can be the owner of this framed​ article detailing how DePaul’s students are the happiest in the nation. While I’m sure this artwork will bring you joy, you still most likely won’t be as gleeful as the woman on the left.

You never know what you will find on here. Some days, there are pages and pages to look through. Other days (like as I’m writing this), there are only 12 items. Almost everything that DePaul has bought, no longer needs, and still functions is sold on here. I’ve seen chairs, cell phones, computers, framed pictures… Right now, they are selling a 17-inch MacBoo​k Pro ​(Apple doesn’t even sell those anymore). I mean, really. Can someone please buy the 33 silk ties​ and 50 rectangular dishes​ already?

Now this is the real discount area. DePaul has partnerships with a ton of local and national restaurants, shops, companies, etc. in order to provide students (and often alumni, faculty, and staff as well) with discounts. I will tell you right now that I’m getting 10% off of my AT&T bill​ every month because of DePaul. Demon Discounts also has a big selection of local restaurants that I check every time that I’m trying to figure out where I want to go to dinner. Definitely check it out.
Of note: the Software for Personal Use​ section is actually one of the most useful resources I’ve ever encountered while at DePaul. A few months ago, I had to buy a new laptop and I couldn’t find the disks with my license for Microsoft Office that I had bought years ago (as all of my elementary teachers wrote on my report cards, organization has never been my strong suit). Just as I was preparing to shell out over $100 for a new license, I found out that I could download Microsoft Office and use it for free with my DePaul login. I’ve never felt more proud of myself than I did in the moment that I put my credit card back in my wallet.

This picture is a little like Inception​. Anyways, the show was amazing and I’m still so excited I won DAB’s contest for the tickets!
DAB is best known for organizing FEST, but in reality, they’re constantly hosting events and doing giveaways. This year, they began hosting DePaul After Dark, late night events with different games (including bingo, where the prize is Whole Foods gift cards). DAB holds a special place in my heart because not only did I get a free ticket for the premiere of Maleficent ​a year and a half ago, I won two free tickets to The Book of Mormon​ a couple months ago! Two weeks ago, they gave away tickets to the premiere of Pitch Perfect 2​. This is definitely a resource to keep up to date with.


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!

Morning Classes and Breakfast

​​​​​I’ve had the worst sleep habits for as long as I remember. I always stay up way too late, usually engrossed in a Wikipedia article about the history of bread or something. For the past two years, I’ve given myself a pretty cushy class schedule to accommodate this (most likely) life span-shortening habit. I had the same schedule (1-4:10 Monday-Thursday) for five out of the last six quarters (studying in Madrid ruined my streak). This quarter, after so long of barely waking up in time for an afternoon class, I decided to become a productive member of society and take morning classes for the first time since freshman year.

At my core, I’m still sloth-like and I hate mornings. I knew that I would need an incentive in order to resist the allure of the snooze button (True story: One time in high school, I hit the snooze button so many times that I slept through my Algebra 2 final). I knew the only way I would voluntarily depart from my bed would be for food. Whatever works, right? As any of my friends will tell you, I get way too excited about food. And now for the first time in years, I’m regularly getting breakfast.

I have some serious recommendations.

I live on campus and have a meal plan​, so I almost always go to the Student Center for breakfast. The two main breakfast spots in the Student Center are Brownstones​, which is a more a café/bagel shop, and Scramble, which serves typical diner fare. My first plan of attack is always to check out the weekly special at Scramble (which was chorizo con papas this week). If I’m not feeling the special, then we go to Plan B, which is repeatedly texting my friends until someone makes a decision regarding what I should eat. These are the typical pre-approved options that they are permitted to choose from:

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know that it’s embarrassing that I already had all of these photos on my phone. I wasn’t lying that I get excited about food.  I knew they would come in handy some day.

So Cal Pita (with cheesy hash browns, from Scramble): If nothing else, this is probably the prettiest dish.
So Cal Pita
So Cal Pita
Mindblowingly, it tastes amazing, too. I wouldn’t lie to you. A grilled pita with guacamole, spinach, bacon, and eggs? I can even semi-convince myself that I’m eating healthy. I like to pair it with the cheesy hash browns because I’m fr​om Wisconsin and I refuse to eat a meal without cheese. 

Tuscan Villa (on garlic, from Brownstones): A modern classic. Pesto, egg, tomato, provolone, bacon, and turkey on whichever bagel you want. I get
Tuscan Villa
it so often that sometimes they just start making it as I walk in. This is usually when I’m running late and remember that there’s no discrete way to eat cheesy hash browns while a professor lectures. All in all, bagel sandwiches do not get much better than this.

Santa Fe Sandwich (from Scramble): If I’m being honest, this maybe the messiest sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life.  It starts with an omelette filled with hash browns, chorizo, tomato, and onions. The omelette is then covered with pepper jack cheese and laid upon guacamole-slathered sourdough. I can guarantee that you’re never going to look attractive while
Santa Fe Sandwich
eating it, but once you take one bite of this sandwich, all you’ll care about is taking the next bite (and avoiding the falling guacamole).

Honorary Mention: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread French Toast Bananas Foster (with cheesy hash browns, from Scramble): While this ridiculous
string of nouns was one of the weekly specials at Scramble, it holds a permanent spot in my heart (it probably also permanently holds a spot in my arteries, but that’s another story). I’m usually a banana bread purist, but I welcome the addition of chocolate chips and bananas foster sauce on this dish. I’m only slightly ashamed to say that I ordered this three days in a row.
 
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread French Toast Bananas Foster


If you have any favorite breakfast dishes at DePaul or in Lincoln Park, comment and let me know! I’m always on the lookout for more sources of food.

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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 opportunity to study abroad in France after my second year because of a scholarship I received when I graduated from high school. I didn’t do it through DePaul because the program I had my sights set on was an independent voice training program at the Roy Hart Artistic Centre​ in the south of France. 

After making my way across the pond and spending a few days visiting family friends in Lyon, I arrived at Malerargues; the home of the Roy Hart Centre. Two of my friends from The Theatre School​ were already there and we did our weeklong program together. The chateau at Malerargues is gorgeous in its simplicity. Originally conceived as a commune where a group of British expats gathered to explore the human voice and make alternative theatre, the collection of buildings has been restored by hand over the years and now yearly hosts hundreds of people from all over the world who want to explore their connection to the voice and the myriad ways they can use it. And even though my friends and I are actors, the vast majority of the people in our program were not. They were psychologists, microbiologists, teachers, musicians, roofers, and explorers. They were all there for different reasons. Some were having trouble in their marriages and wanted to improve their communication, some felt like they had never truly been heard, and for others it was medicinal. 

It was an incredibly inspiring experience for me because it offered me a completely different perspective on the kind of artistic work I want to do and made me feel like a fuller human being. I think about it every day.

I cannot recommend studying abroad more highly. DePaul has wonderful programs available to its students that will get you out there in the world and trying things you never thought you were capable of.  Do it. You won’t regret it.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
This song makes me smile. That’s a valuable thing.
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The Intricacies of Scheduling

This week is week five of the quarter, and I cannot believe that we are halfway done. I still feel like I am acclimating to my new schedule and teachers, and forming my routine, but we are already almost done with midterms! This weekend, I received an email from one of my academic advisors that included information and instructions on scheduling for next quarter. Now, that is really crazy! I’m still getting a handle on this quarter’s schedule, and I somehow have to think and plan out my schedule for fall quarter which is still five months away? Yikes! Thankfully, DePaul makes it really easy.

First, there is this thing called a Degree Progress Report on our Campus Connect pages, which is a gift sent from God. It shows all the classes and credits that you need to fulfill in order to complete your major/minor. You can also choose a “What If?” option, which allows you add a double major, a minor, or completely change your major, to see what classes you would need to take!
This is my Degree Progress Report. The classes I need to take are highlighted red, the ones I am currently taking in yellow, and the ones I have completed in blue. 

The Degree Progress Report will show how the change would affect what classes you had to take or what electives would need to be fulfilled. I always consult it before I schedule my classes or I make an appointment with my advisor, just to familiarize myself with what I still need to take and how I should accordingly plan. 

To schedule, you add classes into your course cart on Campus Connect. I actually think it is really fun. On the site, you get to search for all the classes available for that quarter and see what professors are teaching. So, I can search for any 200 level Spanish classes to fulfill my Spanish minor, or a specific health class I need to take, or just for a certain professor who I have really liked to see if he or she is teaching any classes in the next quarter. I usually try and come up with two or three prospective schedules to see what I like best and to have as back up just in case a class is full when I try and register for it. 

Every student gets a day and time slot for when they are allowed to register, and it is only then when you can officially register. Upperclassmen, athletes, honors students, and special students (like Pathways kids!) get priority scheduling, while freshmen usually have the last time slots. It’s like a big game. Scheduling can be frustrating and stressful, but it so relieving and kind of exciting when you have registered and get to officially know how the next quarter is going to be. The DePaul advisors are always very helpful and accessible during these few weeks of scheduling, too. There are always questions to be answered, and they truly want us to have the best quarter possible. 

Come One, Come All: The Honors Ball 2015

Springtime at DePaul alludes itself to many picturesque images of flowers, chirping birds, and kids running around at the surprising multitude of public parks tucked in between neighborhoods scattered throughout
the city. And, of course there is the not-so-picturesque sense of spring fever that makes it more challenging than usual to hit the books.

But for me, springtime also means the Honors Ball.

The Honors Ball is a formal event that Honors Student Government hosts every year during spring quarter. While our social committee heads up the planning of the events, all board members help with its execution.

Every year the dance is held in the charming location of Cortelyou Commons​. This special space was originally built in 1929 and remodeled in 2006. Some people on campus equate it to a medieval castle, and I would have to agree. With two upper side balconies, chandeliers, and our former university presidents on the walls (which can get creepy at times because they all are just kind of staring at you), this “party” space is definitely unique and memorable.

Events are constantly happening in Cortelyou Commons. However, I feel like the springtime contains the most notable events to occur in the space: the College Democrats of Illinois Convention, the amateur drag show, various weddings and receptions — is it just me, or is springtime party time at DePaul?​

I’m looking forward to revisiting Cortelyou Commons in the future, and of course, I’m planning on going to some neighborhood parks this quarter because who doesn’t love a good ride down the slide?​


The Recital Marathon of Spring Quarter

There are so many beautiful things about the spring season at DePaul: the grass is green again, the flowers and trees are bursting with color and life, outdoor events are actually enjoyable in the warmth of the sun, and ice cream shops are overflowing with hungry kids...and college students. 

Even though everyone tries to avoid scheduling their recital during the "rush recital time", it inevitably happens. This is mostly because everyone wants to have as much time as possible to prepare for their recital so they can sound the best they can. I also think that once the weather is so nice, it just seems more enjoyable to perform because we are all genuinely happy that winter is over! It adds a lightness to every music major's playing when the temperature rises above 50 degrees. 

​Like every school, DePaul has a specific process for scheduling and preparing for a recital. All performance majors must give a junior and a senior recital as part of their degree requirement, and there are certain guidelines for the genre and timing of the repertoire. I gave my senior recital this a few weekends ago (woo hoo!), and as a senior, I was required to play a program of at least 60 minutes, which had to include a piece written after the 20th century. As I prepared for my recital all throughout winter quarter, I also had to take certain steps to secure an accompanist, a date, and a location for my recital. This had to be scheduled with the facilities office months before. Juniors and seniors are also required to write and submit program notes about their pieces in advance, which is a great way to inform both the audience and the performer of significant facts about the pieces.

A typical weekend in the spring could have as many as three recitals that you will want to attend. While this seems like a busy day that could have been spent outside or practicing, it is really nice to spend time with your classmates in a more social environment and to also celebrate with your performing friends about their musical accomplishments. Another great thing about recitals at DePaul? The receptions! You can actually have every meal taken care of for an entire day some weekends. Students almost always provide receptions directly following their recitals (which are usually in the Recital Hall) and have their reception across the hall in the student lounge. It's fantastic! 

So as spring rolls around, prepare yourself to spend a significant amount of time sitting in an audience and stuffing your face with delicious finger foods. Try to enjoy the beautiful weather as much as you can, but embrace the wonderful music-making! 


Three Pre-Health Resources You MUST Know About

One of my favorite things about DePaul is the relationships that are possible with professors and staff.  Because of the small size of the science/pre-health programs​, and DePaul's commitment to an individualized education, there's a bounty of invaluable resources to help you navigate your time in college and figure out what to do after college.  

My main point is that it's NEVER too early to start getting prepared for these things.  Professors are an excellent resource to help with class and getting involved outside of class.  However, sometimes you need to talk to someone that can provide you assistance that a professor can't necessarily provide.  These people are pros (literally) at what they do.  They know how to help students get involved, how to mentor students to be more professional and job-ready, and how to help students in their preparation for life after DePaul.  

Here they are, three resources that you MUST know about.  I recommend that you meet these women first thing at DePaul, how about the first month you're here?!
Lindsey Burdick
Lindsey is The Pre-Health Advisor at DePaul (I put a capital T in THE because she's a very important resource).  Lindsey is an incredible resource for anyone looking to go in to a health related field after college.  She'll help you make sure you are on track for success in the future.  I appreciate Lindsey because she is very approachable.  There have been many times in my admissions process for medical school that I needed to ask a question, maybe a silly question, and Lindsey has always been there to help.  A few times I have made appointments with Lindsey just to chat and make sure that I'm on the right track.  And the best part is that Lindsey has always been perfectly fine with this.  She's very informed of application processes and realistic with you about your progress and position.  She'll give you advice so that you're better informed and prepared for whatever will come after your time at DePaul. ​

 
Hilarie Longnecker
Hilarie is the Career Specialist for the College of Science and Health (CSH).  When I was receiving feedback for a committee letter recommendation, the major message from my advisor was to meet with Hilarie as much as possible.  My advisor spoke of Hilarie as a type of professionalism skills goddess.  My advisor said that Hilarie would be able to get me in the place I need to be with interview, professionalism, and confidence skills.  I've met with Hilarie multiple times and she's exceeded all the expectations I had from her based on my advisor's recommendation.  Hilarie was clear with specific actions I needed to take to improve, and she was encouraging yet realistic of how I can overcome some of my interview struggles.  Every meeting I have with Hilarie I walk out with a sense of excitement for the practical suggestions that Hilarie gave me on how to improve.    ​    ​

 
​Michelle Johnson
Michelle just started a new position as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Resource.  I met Michelle because I started as a biology major at DePaul and Michelle was the biology academic advisor at the time.  Even when I switched my major to health sciences and then chemistry, I still went to see Michelle once (I probably technically wasn't supposed to do this) for her wisdom.  Michelle is really easy to talk to, yet you won't leaving a meeting not knowing the next steps.  I especially appreciate the way that Michelle makes you feel encouraged, supported, and motivated.  You can tell that Michelle really does care about the success of her students.   


Spring Quarter 2015 Has Finally Sprung

One week into the quarter and we’ve already experienced everything from sunshine and 60 degree weather to rainy, cold madness. Chicago has never been known for its consistent weather…

But I do see some buds on plants and trees and couldn’t be more excited for spring.

One week into the quarter and I can tell that I won’t have any trouble keeping busy. I’ve already had reading and writing assignments in every class, and I did shed a tear when I realized the total dollar amount of my textbooks. That’s never a good sign. But regardless of the future stresses that this quarter will inevitably hold, the weather taking a turn for the best will surely nurse my worries away.


Last weekend before classes started, I took a trip to the Lincoln Park Conservatory ​to see some tropical palms and ancient ferns. I forgot how relaxing and inviting this space can be. If you’re ever cold in the winter, or at all for that matter, make sure to make a stop to the LP Conservatory. It’s about 1000 degrees in there.


The LP Conservatory must mimic the environment of which their plants are originally from. This means heat, damp soil, and lots of light, which is one of my ideal environments. I must have been a fern in another life. 


Something I like to do at the LP Conservatory besides admire the beautiful foliage is to stare at the fish and turtles in the various ponds. Koi fish fill one of the ponds, and if you’ve never seen a koi fish before they are bigger than you would expect. They can grow to be 2-3 feet long and weigh up to 35 pounds. That’s probably bigger than your average Chihuahua​​. When they are well cared for, their life expectancy can be about 50-70 years long. Basically, koi fish are filled with lots of wisdom so you if you have any problems in life, I suggest talking to one of them. They’re great listeners.​


I would highly recommend a visit to the LP Conservatory if you ever feel like going on a fun, free, fast topical vacation to a faraway land that is actually located right in the heart of Lincoln Park. 


On another note, I hope to have many interesting things and events to share with you all this quarter. 


My life is getting more and more hectic, and subsequently tragic and/or laughable, so get ready to rumble this quarter for the journey of a lifetime...well maybe not a lifetime, but anything else just didn’t sound as exciting. 


Three Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to DePaul

1) You're about to have access to one of the biggest cities in the US. Take advantage of it, it's what makes DePaul unique.  The fun events, the food, the cultures, the companies, the volunteer opportunities.  Of course it depends on what you're studying, but the point is that there's something for almost everyone.  Unless you're hoping to work exploring the mountains, there's a good chance that you can find something to do off campus.  I waited too long to get involved in things off campus, and I regret doing so.  

​2) The Vincentian mission​ can have an impact on your experience, if you choose so.   I knew nothing about the mission before coming to DePaul, but freshman year I got involved in DCSA ​(DePaul Community Service Association) and went on a service immersion trip to New Orleans.  These experiences started something that made my time extra special at DePaul.  The experiences helped me better understand what I want to do after college and how I see myself staying connected to the values that DePaul is founded on.  The two pictures below are of my group on a service immersion trip to Philadelphia.


3) You're going to have more options of what type of people you're surrounded by, and they will deeply impact you.  Your friends and their interests, work ethic, and choices will change you, and it's important to be ready for that.  In some cases this might require adaptability and in other it will require strength to move on from new friendships.  There are a lot of different people here.  Some people are really
passionate about social justice, some are looking to be top business executives, some are here for more fun, and many are figuring out who they are.  You get to choose how to spend your four years and who to spend them around, but know that they go dang fast.  The picture below is of some of my closest friends at DePaul after our intramural inner tube water polo championship game.

Three Things I Wish I Knew as a DePaul Freshman

My freshman year was a whirlwind of a year. I cannot believe how quickly it went by, particularly the first quarter. Starting college in a bright, new city was exciting and I was blessed to have a great experience last year. I learned a lot my first year of college, academically and personally. Both my younger sister and
cousin are starting college next year and it makes me think of all the things I wish I knew starting my freshman year, especially living for the first time in Chicago. Having made it through my first year, here are a few things I wish I knew coming into DePaul.

1.    Explore Chicago. Chicago is a huge city divided into numerous neighborhoods​. As a new incoming freshman, it is easy to be intimidated by the sheer size of the city. Become familiar with public transportation. Always know how to get back to campus. Go to the famous places and discover the places that are not as well-known. Do not be afraid to take a cab. Visit the lakefront​. Eat a LOT. And most of all, relish the four years that you will get to spend in one of the most beautiful, famous cities in the world.

2.    Don’t worry about making friends. Making friends is probably one of the most nerve-wracking parts of starting college. Remember, everyone is in the same boat and everyone is nervous, whether they seem it or not. College is such a good time to make friends that have different majors ​and plans, and who offer different views on life. The people you meet the first week of school do not necessarily have to become your best friends, either. I still am very good friends with some people I met at the beginning of the year from my classes and dorm​, but I also have wonderful friends that I made during spring quarter or even earlier this year. Think of college as the chance to add on to your friend circle, not having to start completely over. ​

3.    Live in the moment. Looking back, I realize a lot of my freshman year was spent thinking about my future and all the things I had to do to make my future successful. Yes, it is important to have a plan and work hard, but college, especially a college in Chicago, is full so many experiences and memories that you do not want to miss out on. Study hard for your midterm, but also go out to dinner with your friends. Apply for that great internship, but also go see that awesome new movie. College is such a fun time, so enjoy every minute of it.



What I Wish I Knew as a Freshman at DePaul

​​​​​No matter how many “How to Survive College” forums you read online in preparation for the big leap into higher education, I feel like you never quite know how to navigate college life until you’re in the thick of it yourself. Trying to make new friends, figuring out career goals, and picking classes are all stressful elements that never seem to settle down towards the beginning of your college career. Although everybody adjusts to college life in a different way, here are a few tips from lil ol’ me that will hopefully make your transformation into a stellar first year student a smooth one.

​As a DePaul freshman I wish I fully wrapped my head around how expensive Chicago really is. I never regret moving here, but entirely understanding that the cost of living AND the tax is way higher here would have made me save a little bit more in high school instead of spending weird amounts of money on Starbursts. It really hit me that I’m going to need to pinch pennies where I can and spend time searching for free events around the city.  

Speaking of free events, that’s the second thing I wish I knew more about as a DePaul freshman. With another year under my belt living in this city, I have been able to scope out some places that are little to no cost. Like the free movies in the park​ events that take place in dozens of parks around the city. Although these events only happen towards the beginning and end of the school year, being surrounded by intricate architecture under the pavilion in Millennium Park​ to watch Ghostbusters for the 300th time gets me through the school weeks.

As a freshman I also wish I knew how to take advantage of the buses. I feel like in the first year many students rely on the El ​and don’t want to get out of their transit comfort zone once they figure out how to navigate just one. Buses are a reliable transit option during the day. And although they aren’t really good to lug big backpacks or grocery bags around, is the EL any better? The bus is also a nice change of pace too because instead of seeing what Chicago has to offer on an elevated train, you’re able to be on street level and potentially discover a shop or café that you never would have seen from a train cart. ​

Three Things I Wish I Knew As a Freshman

College can be a pretty overwhelming place. Coming from a high school with a total of 500 students, it was quite the change in atmosphere when I entered DePaul my freshman year. I was used to seeing friends of mine all throughout the day and knowing everyone in my grade level. I’ll never forget the first involvement fair I attended. I remember all the poster boards, flyers, people, and more. It was chaos for me because there were so many different things to see and there seemed to be no way to navigate it all. It wasn’t until this year (my second) that I started getting the hang of things. I joined DAB (DePaul Activities Board​), CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry​), DCC (Digital Cinema Collaborative​), MOC (Men of Color​), did intramural soccer​, and participated in several retreats and conferences. 

However, this amount of participation on campus stemmed from one single day in the summer. I was sitting on my bed thinking about how bored I was and decided to log onto OrgSync ​and join some organizations. It was then that I began looking at various student orgs and sent messages to random members asking what I needed to do in order to join. OrgSync is a great resource for students and is definitely one of the biggest things that has contributed to my college experience. I wish that I would have taken it more seriously when I first heard about it in my LSP course. 
Second to OrgSync would be have the courage to talk to professors and build relationships with them. In my fall quarter I was very shy and did not meet with professors during office hours or talk to them outside of class. However, when I finally began to speak with professors of mine later on in the year, I found them to be really cool and helpful. 
Last but not least, I wished I knew about all the events on campus that had free food. I could have saved a lot of money by attending more student org events and, at the same time, would have learned more about different clubs. So for final advice to anyone that may be an incoming freshman to DePaul talk to your professors, classmates, look at OrgSync for clubs you’re interested in, and try new things. 
Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome!


3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to DePaul

In the midst of finals, it’s weird to think that this is my fifth quarter at DePaul. While studying at DePaul has certainly taught me a lot, there are still some things I wish I had known my freshman year.

1.) The DePaul Meal Plan: I really wish I had known more about the meal plan​ before starting at DePaul. While all freshman pretty much get this plan, it’s important that you budget your quarterly funds accordingly. While I ended up having a surplus of funds at the end of the year (funds don’t carry on from year to year,) some of my friends ended up having a shortage. I enjoyed my surplus of funds as I got to bulk buy some Starbucks Frappuccino bottles at the end of the quarter. I think I ended up getting slightly addicted because I drank one bottle every day for about a month...It was hard to cope when I ran out of them. DePaul’s meal plan is unique compared to other schools because there is no point system or buffet style option. Everything is accorded its own dollar value. This means that if you want to buy a sub and cup of soup and it says this will cost $6.80, then it actually costs $6.80.

My fellow floormates and I outside of Seton Hall our first week at DePaul

2.) The Quarter System and the Long Winter Break: While the quarter system​ was at first hard to adjust to, as someone who came from semesters, I wouldn’t choose anything else. I like having three quarters for a multitude of reasons: it allows you to take more classes and professors, finals are easier because they only cover 10 weeks of content versus a standard 15 for semesters, and you get to enjoy the summer months a little bit longer than everyone else. While other schools get out in May when it’s too cold to enjoy the summer sun, DePaul gets out in June and doesn’t resume until the first week of September. However, the one thing that can be rough about the quarter system is the month and a half long break during the end of November and all of December. It might seem nice that you get a month and a half off from school, but if you live in the dorms your freshman year, they close for winter break and it’s mandatory that you move out for this period. I wish I had prepared for this break, because like many of my friends at DePaul, I was stuck back in the suburbs with nothing to do. My sister was at school, my parents were at work, and my DePaul friends were too scattered to hang out. I wish I had looked for a job or something to make some extra cash. However, this year’s break was a lot better! I stayed in my apartment and worked at my internship for a few weeks before going back to the suburbs to celebrate the holidays. 


3.) Free Classes at the Ray: One of the reasons I love going to DePaul is because we have awesome free classes​ at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center. While I admit I haven’t been working on my fitness this quarter (to quote philosopher Fergie), last year when I was right on campus I took advantage of many free classes. They range from yoga to cycling to strength training​. While some are easy and fun, others can get quite hard. I typically went to Wednesday morning cycling and Friday morning strength and conditioning. The Ray is really good about varying their fitness classes quarter to quarter, so if you can’t make a specific class one quarter, it will probably be offered at a different time the next quarter. Working out is a great stress reliever and it’s nice to know DePaul has people ready to yell at you to move. I didn’t discover these classes until a few weeks after my start at DePaul, so I wish I had known much sooner. I’ll miss these classes once I 

graduate! 
Shout out to the Honors Student Government ladies for supporting Blue Demon Week and wearing blue!

​​So there you have it! DePaul has a lot to offer, so if you’re coming here next year I encourage you to explore the city and our campus as much as you can before classes start picking up. What are you most looking forward to at DePaul? 


Three Thing I Wished I Had Know Before Coming to DePaul

​​​​1) You learn more outside of class than inside of class

Compared to high school, the amount of time you spend in a classroom is significantly less. All of this extra time gives you the opportunity try new things and utilize your time the way you want to. You will most likely have the most “free time” than you’ve ever had, and probably ever will. This free time should be used to
find internships, volunte
er, meet new friends, attend guest speakers, do homework, explore the city and
network. I wish I had known this so I could have planned what I wanted to do in my free time. Sure, a large amount of this time is spent doing homework. If I was given the opportunity to freshen up my time management skills, I would have been able to utilize my time better in the early years of my college career.
 
2) Take advantage of your professors

Your professors are there to help you. You would be in complete shock if you heard what they have done as a professor/ before becoming a professor. As a student you are paying a lot of money to go to college. It is important that you use every resource to improve yourself whether it be in your field of study or in life in general. Professors LOVE when you go and talk to them. I have had some awesome experiences with my
professors and it was all because I had taken the initiative to talk with them.

3) Do what makes you happy

Part of college is finding what you like and what you do not like. It is completely okay to change your major. It is completely okay to try multiple internships and jobs. Change is good. So many people are afraid to change their major and career path. As I said previously, college is about finding what you like. If you don’t like your classes, you cannot blame anyone but yourself. Luckily, DePaul has a ton of majors and classes that you can take while in college.


The Three Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Coming to DePaul

Entering college, it’s important to remember that everyone is starting fresh. No two people will have exactly the same experience. That’s the beauty of it.  My best overarching and admittedly cheesy advice is to thine own self be true. You want to be the most genuine, real version of yourself. It’s the only that college will really be a time during which you can figure out your own personal philosophy and how that will feed your future. So with that in mind, here come my three things I wish I would have known before coming to DePaul.

The first one is pretty technical. When moving in to the residence hall, you probably don’t need as much stuff as you think you do. I understand the idea that you want to have anything you might need at your disposal, but those rooms can get real crowded real quick. To my mind, you want to have your living essentials like clothes and all that jazz, and some comfort stuff like mementos from home, and then build from there. You don’t want to have an overstuffed room because then you’ll just feel claustrophobic and it won’t feel like a home away from home. Focus on making it feel homey over time rather than expecting it to happen right away.

Second, it’s important to have alone time. There is a typhoon of socializing when you first get to school. Endless recitations of your hometown, major, and what you did over the summer. At least for me, it was overwhelming. It can feel like you need to make best friends with people right away or you’ll be behind the eight ball. It’s just not the case. Your friend group will present itself over time as long as you are participating in the experience to some extent. But you need to have some alone time to decompress and actually process the whole transition to pseudo-independent life. I recommend taking a walk to the lake a couple times a week. It doesn’t take too long from campus and it’s a great time to think and then appreciate that beautiful lake we have here.

Finally, choose one person from back home and correspond with them in letters. This is definitely something I wish I had done. Letter writing takes practice and concentration and is very different from sending emails. It makes you a better writer, teaches you how to organize your thoughts, and is so satisfying when you seal that envelope. This will also create a tether to home for you. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in college life but, if this is something that you desire, having a specific point of contact and communication back home will be incredibly valuable.

Maybe these seem obvious but, in my experience, sometimes the most obvious things that can make us happy are the first to fall by the wayside. Be good and true to yourself and college will be a really transformative, enriching time.

Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:

Hozier's really been blowing up lately and this is my favorite cut of his that I've heard. Enjoy!

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Three Things I Wish I Had Known as a DePaul Freshman

I have learned many things throughout my time at DePaul. From discovering how to manage my time to learning more about how to be a great musician, I know that I will be able to cross the stage at graduation feeling like I really learned significant things during college. But as a freshman, I had no way to know what my college experience would end up being like. There were so many unexpected moments, lessons, and opportunities that I encountered in just my first year of college alone. As I look back on my time at DePaul, I ask myself what I wish I had known when I first began this crazy-cool journey of college. I think that I can summarize the things I wish I knew as a freshman at DePaul in three basic points: one that is practical, one that is profound, and another that is pretty straightforward.​

The Practical: Learn how you work best and go for it.

I can remember many-a-night during my freshman year when I was doing a lot of musicianship (music theory and music history) homework or was studying for an exam. By sophomore year, I realized that I often work best alone and that group studying or homework sessions only work for me if I feel solid about the material and just need someone to quiz me on it or check over my work. Although many people would regularly meet together to learn test material as a group, it didn’t feel rude to study on my own and meet with a classmate or two the night before the exam or before the homework was due. I discovered what worked for me and felt no shame in doing what I needed to do. But if you work best in groups, find other people who also do and form them as soon as possible!​

 The profound: Everybody else is just as unsure about life as you are.

It really is true. Although we all express it differently (or don’t ever express it!), most people have no idea what their futures hold. Many of us aren’t quite sure what we want sometimes, and all of us have insecurities. I entered college with high expectations of myself; I thought that I had to have everything figured out. I also thought that I had to have everything together all the time, and I kept to myself the fact that I actually had no idea what I wanted to do with my major or with my life! I would show up to lessons, terrified that my professor might find out that I wasn’t feeling confident in my playing that week. Or, I tried to not let my new friends discover that I was actually super homesick and stressed some days. And with time, as I discovered more of who I was and what my fears, insecurities, and dreams are, I realized that those are important things that I am allowed to share with others. Once I began to stop expecting so much of myself and allowed myself to open up to others about how adjusting to college can be hard, I learned that I wasn’t alone. You are entering a completely new stage of life when you start college. Entering college marks a time in your life where you are more independent than you have ever been before, and it’s scary. You’re faced with big decisions that must be made in a not-so-distant future. So, allow yourself to not know everything about yourself or about life. And tell people; you might just be surprised by how many others feel the same way! And this nugget of truth doesn’t even just apply to college freshmen- all of us are unsure and scared about life sometimes!​

Pretty straightforward: You go to school in an incredible city—embrace it!

College really does just fly by. They all said it to me when I chose DePaul and moved into my dorm. I can hear my parents saying it now: “You couldn’t have picked a better city! Take advantage of Chicago; it’s your playground for the next four years. And remember- college really does just fly by”. That’s literally what they said. So enjoy where you are. Go to random school events you just learned about 5 minutes before they began. Make new friends. Try different things. Take advantage of free things, both at DePaul and in Chicago! Go to artisan fairs and food festivals. Go to the zoo, go ice skating, visit the Bean and take as many selfies as your hipster heart desires; attend concerts, have a picnic in a park, have a NAP in a park, attend master classes, walk to the lake. Get your nature fix, your shopping fix, your I’m-going-to-pretend-to-be-a-tourist fix. Host movie nights in your dorm room. Try to be fancy and serve cheese and crackers and sparkling soda. Go to pet stores with friends. Take a random train route you’ve never taken and get off at a random stop (as long as it’s safe). I wish I had done more of these things as a freshman, when I lived in the dorms and had so many new friendships to pursue and no jobs or extra obligations to consume my time.
 
Freshman year is an irreplaceable nine months of your life. I grew so much, learned a lot, and I discovered so many incredible things. But there were still things I wish I had known—don’t let these be the three things you wish YOU had known as a freshman at DePaul! 


School of Music Classes

Something really great about being a music major is that you begin taking classes directly related to your major from your first quarter at DePaul to the end of your time here. From private lessons to orchestral repertoire, there are some very helpful classes that I have taken that have really prepared me to graduate and enter the music world as a cellist. 
Here is a list and description of some of the main courses most music performance majors (especially string players) take in their time as undergraduates:
​Private Lessons
This is a “class” that performance majors will have every quarter for their entire time at DePaul. Lessons usually take place once a week for an hour, although some professors travel to perform, so they may happen less often and in bigger chunks. Every professor arranges their lesson schedule differently, but our cello professor, Mr. Balderston created a set lesson schedule for the entire year. So I always have my lessons at a certain time for the entire year. Lessons are worth 4 credits, which is the maximum amount a class can be worth. So they are obviously a big deal!

Musicianship
Musicianship is a class that is required of all freshmen and sophomores. Even if you have taken music theory (and even if you scored high on the AP music theory test), you must take this course. Musicianship is taught by a number of different professors, and by the time you reach sophomore year, there are a little more options for what time of the day the class will be offered. However, my freshman year, I had musicianship class at 8:30 am, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It was a struggle! By sophomore year, you are assigned to a class that meets Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, and I was fortunate enough to be in the 11:20-12:50 musicianship class. Musicianship consists of music theory and music history. When you come to DePaul for orientation, you will take a theory placement test, and this will determine in which of the three levels of musicianship you will be for the first year. After those two years, you will have learned how to part-write using different chord progressions; how to listen to a piece and know its basic characteristics, time period, and its composer; you will do research on various composers; and you will write your own short piece of some kind. This class is very helpful in teaching you about the music you play!

Aural Training
Aural training is another class you are required to take your first two years at DePaul. However, at the beginning of the quarter, there will be a “test-out” day, and if you have experience with aural training before, you may never have to take the class. The test usually consists of a harmonic progression (progressions with changing chords), a melodic progression (just a melody without chords), and a rhythmic exercise (which is often played on the piano on a single note. You are usually given the time signature and must write out the rhythm). If you don’t have experience with listening to music and writing it down and with sight-singing, fear not! Most people don’t have too much experience with it upon starting college. And although this class can be difficult, as you learn a new way of approaching music, you sharpen your listening skills tremendously, which can only help you in the long-run. If you end up having to take this class, it is often directly before or after your musicianship class. 

Group Piano
This class is a little more self-explanatory. It is also a class that you can try to test out of! In the same way, you can go and play for one of the group piano professors at the beginning of each quarter to try to test out of the class. By the time you finish group piano, you will know all two-octave scales and arpeggios on the piano, different chord progressions, how to play sevenths and ninth chords on the piano, and how to play and sight-read basic piano pieces/exercises. This class can be quite entertaining, as piano is a brand new skill for some people (that was pretty much me!). And when it’s a new skill AND you don’t practice, it can sound pretty bad. My advice: practice! I tried to practice piano a few times a week because I really needed it. That way, I only embarrassed myself in front of my classmates a couple of times each quarter. Even though it can be embarrassing or scary playing in front of your peers and professor, group piano helps you feel more comfortable with the piano and with showing your poor or not-so-poor skills you have on it.

Music Traditions
Music Traditions is a required course that lasts only a quarter, and you can take it pretty much any time you would like to. I decided to take it my junior year, and it was offered twice a week for an hour. It depends on the professor, as this course is taught by a few different ones, but mine was lecture-style for the entire course. My professor had an incredible knowledge about the topics of the class, which included an extensive history of jazz and various styles/genres of music from around the world, so he would lecture by memory about each topic, and I took notes on every word he said. The class had no homework or reading, but you have to be there for every class, or else you will miss an important topic discussed in the lecture. I really enjoyed the class because I never learned much about jazz, Eastern, or African music, and it was great to learn about genres other than Western classical music.

Orchestral Repertoire
This class was one of my favorite classes, but it was also one of the most difficult ones. I am unsure in regards to wind instruments, but each string instrument has its own orchestral rep. class. The cello class was taught by Mr. Balderston. A group of 10 or less of us would get together for this class once a week for two hours, and we would each perform excerpts that our professor had assigned to us the week before. We always had a week to learn the excerpts, and we sometimes had to learn up to 5 of them for a given class. It took a lot of work and practicing, and the turnaround was so fast! But because of that, we got through so many well-known orchestral excerpts that are often given in auditions, and I got so many valuable tips on them. My teacher also gave a booklet of all the excerpts to each of us, so I now have music with his markings from his time in major symphonies for the rest of my life!

String Pedagogy
When string students become upperclassmen, they are required to take orchestral repertoire one year and pedagogy the other year. I am currently taking pedagogy and will continue to for the rest of my time at DePaul. This class is super helpful to me, as I am currently a private teacher and plan to continue teaching throughout my music career. For the first two quarters, each instrument is divided into separate classes, as they are in orchestral rep., and for the Spring quarter, all the classes of different string instruments come together as one class. It depends on your instrument and your professor, but the cello pedagogy class has been learning about different books teachers use with young students, different teaching techniques, and things of that nature.

Orchestra
Orchestra is another class that you will take your entire time at DePaul as a performance major. At the beginning of each school year, string students audition for the orchestra conductors and the professors of their instrument, which determines the student's orchestra placement and seating for the year. DePaul has two main orchestras: Chamber and Symphony Orchestra. Once you are placed in your orchestra, you will either rehearse on Tuesday and Thursday for two hours each (if you are in Chamber, which we call DPCO- DePaul Chamber Orchestra), or on Monday, Wednesday, Friday (if you are in Symphony, DPSO). 

Chamber Music
Students are required to play in a chamber music group for two years in total at some point during their undergraduate. However, if you wanted to play in more chamber groups after those two years, you can totally do that! I have played in a chamber group almost my entire time at DePaul. Once the chamber requirements are filled, chamber music counts as an elective. What I love about chamber music at DePaul is the amount of freedom you have to make decisions- you are allowed to pick the members of your group, the repertoire you play, and you can request a specific coach. Once you have those things determined, your group is required to rehearse multiple times a week and have a one-hour coaching with the selected professor once a week. Each group must attend and perform in chamber music class, which meets every Friday from 1-2:30, starting toward the middle of the quarter. I have played in trios with violin, piano, cello and with clarinet, piano, cello. I have played in a string quartet that accompanied a clarinetist, and I have played in the traditional string quartet.

So that is a brief overview of the main courses undergraduate performance majors (in particular, string players) must take during their time at DePaul. I hope it helps paint a picture of what your experience at DePaul would be as a music student! Each class has been extremely helpful to me, and although a lot of them required a lot of work, it was all worth it. I feel like a well-rounded musician because of it!


Whole Foods: The Grand Grand Opening

I know I recently blogged about the anticipation of the DePaul Whole Foods​ opening on the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton, but I believe that the grand opening morning warrants its own blog post, since the opening was exactly that – grand.​

I am in love with a grocery store. This Whole Foods is purely amazing. It knocked my socks off. Although I can’t afford a sole pack of gum or a singular apple from this organic, expensive and totally delicious store, I highly enjoyed checking it out. 


Let me give you the rundown. Whole Foods opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday the 25th. It was a chilly morning; one of those mornings where it’s particularly hard to get out of your nice, warm bed and start your day. However, I felt I had to sacrifice an extra hour of sleep to attend the hottest event of the month (just kidding, but not really) the much anticipated opening of Whole Foods. I woke up my roommate at an ungodly hour, forcing him to come with me, and off we went! 



Additionally, Whole Foods was giving away gift cards ranging from $5-$50 to the first 500 people to enter the store, with one big gift card with a $500 value. Well that was enough to get me out of bed, and just about the whole DePaul and Lincoln Park community as well. When we got to the store, there was a line crawling down North Sheffield that looked pretty discouraging in terms of obtaining a gift card. With people already packed into the store, Whole Foods was only letting in certain numbers of people at a time. Talk about a VIP event.


My roommate and I got in line with all the other eager customers and waited patiently. Whole Foods, being the amazing innovators that they are, even had heating lamps lining the sidewalk so that the people in line wouldn’t freeze to death.



The wait was worth it. As my roommate and I finally entered through the doors of Whole Foods, we were greeted with free samples of coffee and of course the coveted gift cards. Despite winning the lowest amount possible ($5), I couldn't’ have been happier. My lucky roommate won $25, but the way I see it, I basically won $30 because he wouldn't have come without me forcing him to, hence both the gift cards are mine now. Right?


The produce section of Whole Foods was completely mesmerizing. Who color coordinates their vegetables like that? Purely amazing. 


The grab and go items also didn’t disappoint. With fresh soup, sandwiches, salads, pasta salads and a pizza station along the back wall, everything was mouthwatering.


I talked so much about this store to people on Wednesday that my friends kept asking me if I worked there, or if I was some sort of student ambassador. Alas, I am merely an admirer of the grocery store, and they haven’t hired me as a celebrity endorser...yet. 


Whole Foods, if you need a student ambassador to promote and brag about the quality of your products and encourage others to venture into your stores with all its color-coded glory, you can pay me in organic food.



Loop Campus Eats: Good Stuff Eatery

If you’re new to Chicago, allow me to share some very important information with you: we have some of the best burger places in the country. My personal favorites include Au Cheval, Red Hot Ranch, DMK, and Edzo’s. Other top-ranked options include Kuma’s Corner, Butcher & the Burger, Rockit Burger, and Burger Bar. Seriously, the options are endless. Lucky for DePaul students, another fantastic option recently opened steps away from the Loop campus: Good Stuff Eatery​.

Good Stuff originated in Washington D.C., and decided to bring the party to the Midwest when they opened their Chicago location. There are 13 different burger options, including the award-winning Prez Obama burger (Applewood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese, and horseradish mayo sauce) and the Michelle Melt (turkey burger, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, and Southlawn herb garden mayo). Political opinions aside, these burgers are award-winning for a reason. The toppings are fresh, the sauces are unique, and the burgers themselves are cooked to perfection. Even better? For those health freaks out there – or am I the only one? – you can make any burger a chicken sandwich AND request to have a lettuce wrap instead of the bun. You simply ask for them to “shun the bun!”

My friends and I enjoyed a few different burgers: Spike’s Sunnyside, which had a fried egg on it. No other explanation needed for that one, it was amazing. We also enjoyed both of the Obama burgers, and I fell in love with the classic turkey burger. It came with fresh guacamole and the aforementioned lettuce wrap, and it was fantastic. The burger prices range from $7-10, and they are filling enough to help you conquer your classes with a full stomach and the ultimate level of happiness. It’s good stuff!

source: Good Stuff Eatery
Not only does Good Stuff have delicious burgers, they also have a generous selection of milkshake and malt options. They are available in regular size (read: giant) or the kids version. Creative options include toasted marshmallow, cookies and cream, red velvet, and your typical vanilla and chocolate shakes. We tried the “Milky Way Malt” and it was great. The milkshakes are super thick, which is always the best option in my book. For a perfect meal, I would recommend a burger, a milkshake, and a generous helping of their freshly made fries. There is even a dip bar for your order of fries, complete with four different homemade mayonnaise-based sauces. 

I think Good Stuff certainly sets itself apart from other burger joints in Chicago, and it is certainly a welcome addition to the ever-expanding urban burger scene. Add in the fact that it is a mere two blocks away from campus (it is right by Adams and Wabash), and you have got yourself burger heaven. I would recommend it as a place to grab a quick bite to eat when you find yourself travelling to or from your Loop campus classes. Or just take a trip down there for the food alone. Food is a good enough reason to go absolutely anywhere. Enjoy! 



The 3rd Annual Honors Student Government Alumni Panel

After a month of incessant e-mailing, scheduling on scheduling, and a mini social media campaign, the Third Annual Honors Student Government Alumni Panel was a go. 

The planning of this event had literally consumed my life for a good month, however, the success of the event was totally rewarding. 

​With the help of my fellow Academic Committee Co-Chair, the Honors Program staff, and the Alumni Office, I was able to put together a nice gathering of Honors students, former Honors students, meatballs, and cheesecake bites. Yes, of course there was free food. We scheduled DePaul catering which meant bruschetta, coffee, and lemon ice water. If that wasn't reason enough to come to the event, then I don’t know what was.


We had a diverse panel of four alumni come to share their knowledge of the job market and their respective industries with Honors students. This event was extremely helpful in gaining some affirmation that recent DePaul grads are doing some pretty cool things. For example, one of our panelists was the founder of his own startup company, while another was adjunct faculty in DePaul’s CDM College. All of the panelists brought great insight and were able to shed light on how the Honors program helped them prepare for their current jobs. 

They all recommended seeking out internships early on during your college career. This is important for gaining experience, and even if you hate your internship, it gives you information about what you don’t want to do. In the world of endless opportunities, every chance you can get to narrow your possibilities is helpful.


DePaul makes our alumni network super accessible to reach out to for advice. Through our College and Career Center’s ASK program (short for Alumni Sharing Knowledge), it’s possible to find a mentor to help guide you through your potential job field. They also can you help to prepare you for job interviews and look over your resume. The ASK program is a great networking source because you automatically have something in common: Once a Blue Demon, always a Blue Demon. 


Our event took place directly after our general body meeting for Honors Student Government and went as follows:

  1. 4:30-5:00 Set up and greet alumni
  2. 5:00-5:15 Head shots
  3. 5:15-6:15 Alumni Panel
  4. 6:15-6:30 Raffle and closing announcements

Overall, all the hard work paid off! The event went very smoothly, the alumni and students had fun, and there were those cheesecake bites...I had so many I lost track. It’s nice to know the DePaul community doesn’t end when you graduate. Through ASK and Alumni Panels, the fun is just beginning. 


Get Jiggy With it: Blue Demon Week 2015

​In the wise words of Michael Jackson, “Let’s dance, let’s shout. Shake your body down to the ground!” The highly anticipated and very fun event Blue Demon Week is happening this week. It is sponsored by Student
Government Association in cooperation with D.A.B. (DePaul Activities Board), DemonTHON, and the Athletics Department. There will be a huge variety of events going on from bumper cars in the Student Center to trivia night. I hope everyone is as excited as I am! Now is the perfect time to show your Blue Demon pride.

•         Monday (2/23):  7pm Student Center room 120 – We have trivia night
•         Wednesday (2/25):  6pm Student Center room 120 – Speed Demons Bumper Cars
•         Thursday (2/26):  9pm-12am The Ray – DePaul After Dark

Last but not least, Friday (2/27) night we have the Blue Demon Dance! If you know me, I take any opportunity I can to get my jiggy on. The dance starts at 8pm and goes until 12am. There will be food, a DJ, and more. The dance will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel and provides the perfect chance for people to show off their
footwork. I hope to see everyone I know there and cannot wait to get my groove thing on. Tickets for the dance will be on sale throughout these events. Come enjoy being a Blue Demon this week and show off your pride!  


Whole Foods is Coming to DePaul

On Feb. 25 Whole Foods will open its doors to the Lincoln Park and DePaul community for the first time ever! Located on the corner of Fullerton Ave. and North Sheffield Ave., this is a prime location for shoppers. Directly accessible from the Fullerton Red/Brown/Purple lines, I’m sure that people from all over Lincoln Park and Lakeview will be shopping at this new store.

Although I probably will never purchase anything from this Whole Foods because I am a poor college student that shops at Aldi, I am still excited for the opening. This grocery store space has been vacant and shuttered for a little over a year now. Formerly a Dominick's (RIP Dominick’s grocery stores), it’s been quite a while since the public was allowed in this DePaul building.​ 

The renovations for this Whole Foods have been pretty intense. Located in Centennial Hall​, this building’s past year has been marked with jack hammers, sawdust, and lots of paint cans. The new Whole Foods floor plan has completely revamped the space, even moving the stairs to the second level to a different location.

Despite Whole Foods extremely high prices, this specific location is trying to cater to students and commuters on-the-go. With a walk up coffee window and a salad and sandwich bar, it will be easy for anyone to grab a quick meal between classes or on the way to work.

Currently, there are always tons of people in Whole Foods setting up supplies and objects throughout the day. It’s interesting to see the store slowly come together. Earlier this month I would have never guessed that the space would be ready to open come Feb. 25, but a lot of progress has been made in these last few weeks. 

Whole Foods is now a staple of the DePaul community. If you happen to be on the Lincoln Park campus on Wednesday, stop by and check it out. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, I bet there will be some free samples there :)


Pick Me Up Cafe

This quarter I have been eating out more than I probably should. Living off the Belmont Red Line stop makes it hard to walk home without smelling the sweet scent of pizza from Blaze Pizza, bagel sandwiches from Chicago Bagel Authority, gourmet grilled cheeses and tomato soup from Cheesies, fresh falafel from I Dream of Falafel, fish tacos from Big and Little's, lemongrass chicken sandwiches from Banh Mi, gyros from Gryo-mena, -well you get the picture.

I could seriously go on for hours talking about the great places to eat, all within a mile of my apartment. I like to do this thing where I convince myself that going out to eat is a smart decision and totally economical. Case in point, I’ll be walking home from work around 4pm and my night class begins at 6pm, so I only have a limited amount of time to eat (approximately an hour and half). So if I factor in cooking, cleaning my cooking supplies, and of course, finishing up some last minute homework before my night class begins, then an hour and a half isn’t that much time.

However, I can save time by getting something to go at one of the various aforementioned restaurants! Genius, I know. Plus, I just came from work, which means I just made money, which means I can probably afford a meal. In fact, I deserve this meal! I just had a taxing day going to class, then going straight to work, and now I have more class. This meal is totally justified. Yeah, maybe I did just go grocery shopping yesterday where I bought some fast TV dinners and some pasta, but we just won’t talk about those…



That line of thinking only happens to me about 3 times a week, totally not a big deal. Just kidding, I’m really going to try and cut back on eating out for the month of February. It’s a goal of mine, so I’ll try and keep everyone updated on my success, or lack of success.

Regardless, last week I had a great meal at one of my favorite places to eat in Chicago. It happens to be in a very convenient location, and by that, I mean it’s 20 ft. away from my apartment.

Pick Me Up Cafe is a staple of DePaul student life. It has a 50's diner feel and has late hours for when you’re craving a mocha Oreo shake at 3am (that's my favorite flavor). My roommate and I went for a nice brunch the other day. Gluten and vegan friendly, the menu has a little bit of everything. My personal favorite would have to be the falafel wrap with fries. But a close second is an omelette with potatoes on the side.


If you come to DePaul, I’m pretty sure you’ll take a few midnight trips to Pick Me Up Cafe. In fact, it’s a necessity. In general, all the amazing food you can find in this city is enough of a reason to come to DePaul for school. Surrounded by amazing restaurants, your wallet might not thank you, but your stomach and taste buds will for sure.


****Pick Me Up Cafe was even featured in Time Magazine’s Travel Guide: Chicago Edition.



Screenwriting

This quarter I decided to give myself some creative leeway which prompted me to enroll in a class that would cultivate my artistic abilities. Intro to Screenwriting is presenting me with the opportunity to master the art of writing dramatically for motion pictures. I mean let’s be honest, I love sitting down with 1 or 7 bags of Doritos while watching a flick…but actually developing a solid idea for a film is a tricky thing. With the help of DC 201, I have been learning how to develop the correct format, visual writing style, scene, character, and dialogue for a screenplay. 

Every day we start the class discussing movies or shows we have watched over the weekend, which is the most entertaining way to begin a lecture. We are talking about pure entertainment, people. These conversations have brought to light how many films I have yet to see (and also how little time I have to watch movies). We learn these things through a series of writing exercises. I don’t physically exercise because…no… so writing exercises are going to have to do.

I like the feeling of having somewhere to go without moving anything but my fingers.  Creative writing is like giving birth to a world where you make the rules and the possibilities are boundless. When I write, I pull from personal experiences and mix and mash them with silly ideas that are not allowed in the typical “formal” college writing style.

The thing my teacher stresses the most is to never be boring. No, not every synapse that comes out of my brain is a solid idea, but this class had taught me to run with my gut feeling and develop something regardless of my confidence in the idea. In the end, the opportunity to write creatively gives me the opportunity to express my inner feelings and experiences through the creation of as story.

I never realized how important it is to have a creative outlet until I neglected it for so long. By no means is this class a blow off, but it utilizes parts of my brain that have been dusty while I’ve been busy critically analyzing philosophical texts and peer reviewed sources.

Try to remember that the classes you pick don’t have to be rigid all the time, especially at the beginning of your college career. Open electives and fulfilling learning domains are great opportunities to play around with different interests that might not run parallel to your desired major. Keep creativity and humor in the mix because it definitely takes the pressure off of stressful course work when you know at least one assignment is going to be about Guy Fieri falling in love with a strip of bacon.

Happy writing!

Student Jobs in the School of Music

As a student worker in the School of Music Admissions office, I have been fortunate enough to see how DePaul's School of Music is run from behind the curtain. Although there is no crazy scientist who is trying to be a large, powerful wizard back there, I have discovered some pretty cool things about my school! In fact, I have realized that DePaul's music school offers a lot of great job opportunities for its students, and through that, we have all seen how efficiently our school runs.

Here are some positions around the DePaul School of Music where students work:

Front Desk Worker- The front desk worker is essentially the face of the School of Music. These workers sit behind the main desk, answering telephone calls for the school, directing people, and answering their questions. They also handle the sign-out sheets and keys for the different studio rooms and classrooms, giving out keys to students who have permission to access those rooms. Front desk workers also sort the incoming mail on a daily basis and handle the lost and found bin.

Admissions Worker- I will warn you- I am extremely biased about this position because I love my job! Admissions workers learn to do many things: we answer emails and phone calls about admission-related questions, handle admission materials- which involves scanning, uploading, and updating the documents sent to our office, give tours to prospective students and their parents, and send mail. We also work on audition days, when applicants are auditioning for the School of Music!

Set-up Crew Worker- Set-up crew is a more labor-intensive job. Workers are assigned to set up and tear down all the chairs, risers, and stands for the rehearsals and performances of different ensembles. Workers show up before and stay after the rehearsal or concert, making sure everything is in place and ready.


Stage Managing Worker- Stage managers act as both backstage managers and ushers during performances. They often work student recitals. They are in charge of controlling the lights during the performance and changing the stage setup when needed. For ensemble and other larger performances, workers can be ushers and pass out programs in the front of the hall and make sure the concert will not be disturbed. Stage managers are also in charge of locking and unlocking the two performance halls within the School of Music throughout a given day.


Students do not need to be eligible for work study in order to have these on-campus jobs; once you arrive as a student in the School of Music, you may apply for any job that has openings and decide how often you are willing to work. Student workers are paid minimum wage, gaining important work experience while making some extra money!


Course Registration Week: Yoga Breathing Necessary

This week was class registration week at DePaul. This means that students all over campus anxiously checked watches and phones for the clock to turn to their designated time and then proceeded to click the classes they wanted as fast as humanly possible, trying to get their perfect schedule. 

A stressful week for many, class registration always occurs around midterms. Yoga breathing and hot tea are definitely necessities during this part of the quarter.


Thus far in my college career I have been extremely lucky in my class registration. I haven’t had to be put on any wait lists or re-do my schedule, which is a huge relief. While this is due in part to being in the Honors Program (we register a few days before the rest of the university), it is also due to being highly prepared for registration day. Here are some expert tips from someone who knows how to get your dream schedule:


As soon as the course cart opens, be sure to start dreaming up potential schedules. Don’t wait till the day before registration to do so, especially if you work. It’s important to have time to work out scheduling conflicts.


Make multiple schedules. If you find out you’re put on the wait list for a class or a class is too full, then it’s important to have other options to register for. DO NOT BANK ON THE WAIT LIST. It’s a dangerous game of Russian Roulette. 


Talk to you advisor. It’s important to make sure that you’re fulfilling all your major requirements, your core requirements, and that your GPA is up to par with your college and scholarships. No one likes to find out that they’re behind in their schedule because they took a class they didn’t need.


On class registration day, WAKE UP! I know plenty of people who have slept through their class registration on accident. My registration time this quarter was 9 a.m. so I set multiple alarms to make sure I registered as soon as 8:59 turned to 9:00.


Make sure to find out which campus your class is on. While room numbers and buildings aren’t available at this time, information regarding which campus the class will take place is. This is imperative to know so you allow yourself time to commute from the Loop to Lincoln Park ​and vice versa. Making a mistake of which campus a class is at can be pretty devastating to your perfect schedule. 


Following my tips can help you get the professors and class times of your dreams. The key to success is being prepared in the game of class registration. If you don’t get your perfect schedule, it’s important to stay calm. Factors outside of your personal control (a class was moved to a different quarter, the professor can no longer teach it, etc) can contribute to extra difficulties in registering for classes. Just remember that as you gain more credits, your registration time becomes earlier and earlier. 


And remember yoga breathing and hot tea. Especially, the yoga breathing. 


Housing

Belden, Clifton, Corcoran, Munroe, Seton, U-Hall and more!

DePaul has tons of options for any student that may be considering living on campus. Though a commuter, I have made many friends by visiting dorms of people I knew. I’ve been to Belden, Seton, Clifton, Munroe, U-Hall, and University Center. It has become kind of a game for my friends and I to try to get me into all the residence at least once before I graduate.
U-Hall at night

Aside from the friends, both the loop campus and Lincoln Park offer a variety of scenery and activities off campus. From the movie theater on Webster to the variety of restaurants on Halsted and Lincoln DePaul students can get a great experience no matter what time it is.

Conveniently located by the Red and Brown line, students can travel throughout the city with ease. Chicago provides a great learning experience for students outside of the classroom and I would highly recommend anyone considering living on campus to do it.



DePaul Housing: Residence Halls vs. Apartment Life

For most likely the first time in your life, it’s time to decide where you personally want to live. Daunting? Yes. Exciting? Of course. Expensive? Sadly, yes.

I had no idea where I wanted to room my freshman year at DePaul. It’s hard to know what the dorms actually look like from raw floor plans and some dimensions. Based on a recommendation from my advisor, I ended up living on the Honors Floor in Seton Hall. Living on the Honors Floor was one of the best decisions I made my freshman year. If you’ve been accepted into the Honors Program​ and are considering rooming on the floor, I would highly recommend it.

As an honors student, your classes are capped at around 20 students. You will most likely get to know your classmates very well throughout your 10 weeks in class. Because of this, it is really nice to be just around the corner from classmates for homework advice. It’s easy to collaborate on projects and be in the loop about Honors Program events.

If you’re not in the Honors Program, I would still recommend Seton Hall. Seton has the biggest rooms and the biggest closets. Last year, I didn’t have to worry about what shoes to bring or what clothes to pack; I had the luxury of being able to bring my entire closet. 


My walk in closet at Seton Hall was so large, that I would often use the space to talk on the phone. It was a dream come true. I hope that someday in my life when I’m a working professional I will have a closet like I did my freshman year of college. I never thought I’d type that sentence when I was in high school.


Additionally, having high ceilings really opens up the rooms in Seton as well. I could stand up on my lofted bed and still not be able to reach the ceiling to give you an idea of how tall my room was.


If this is your second year at DePaul, I would highly recommend that you go on the apartment search. It can save you a few thousand dollars by not living in the dorms. Grab a few close friends you can see yourself living with, and hit up websites such as Craigslist, Padmapper, and Domu. It’s important to be wary of false advertisements and always make sure to see the space in person before signing any documents or giving money. I found my current apartment via Craigslist. While this may seem super sketchy, if you’re safe and smart, there are definitely some good spaces on Craigslist.

My number one tip for apartment hunters is to respond quickly and act fast. Apartments go really fast in the city, especially around this time of year. Being on top of new postings and listings will only work to your advantage.

Living on your own in an apartment with your name on the lease teaches you a lot about living in the real world. While apartment life has been no means been a perfect experience (i.e. water heater/fireplace leaks, broken washing machines, pipes freezing, and loud neighbors), it’s been completely rewarding. 

Good luck as you search for a place to squat for the next year of your life. Remember it’s not about where you are, but what you make of it!


The Dreamy DePaul Dorms

Before college there were a few things that came to my mind when I pictured my future school: big lecture halls with nice desks, nature and beautiful architecture around the campus, decent cafeteria food, and a really nice freshman dorm. Except for being in a big lecture hall (yeah...the biggest music academic class I was in probably had 25 peo​ple!), all my other wishes for a school came true. Living in a nice dorm my freshman year and a great on-campus townhome my sophomore year definitely had a very positive effect on my overall college experience.
 
Something I love about DePaul campus housing is its amount of options. Although on-campus housing is not guaranteed, especially to students after their freshman year, there are plenty of selections from which to choose. When I made the decision to attend DePaul, I immediately started researching the dorm options that I could apply for. I knew that I wanted to live in a newer dorm that was close to the School of Music and in the center of the campus. I knew that I did not want to live in a dorm with communal bathrooms, and I did not want to share a room with more than one other person. I went through the search and was placed in University Hall.

For those who don’t know what University Hall is like (affectionately deemed “U-Hall”, which can create confusion due to the U-Haul storage building being a block away!), let me paint a picture for you: sitting in the center of the campus and separated from the DePaul Richardson Library by the “Quad”, U-Hall is four floors of greatness. Each floor has the same layout, with rooms nestled in pairs and a bathroom shared between the four people in those rooms. The bedrooms are spacious with a modern feel. I was particularly lucky to live on the top floor in a corner room, so I had twice the amount of windows to let the sunshine through when I woke up!
 
My roommate and I each had a bed, desk, chair, bookshelf, and closet, and we shared an end table. Our bathroom had a very large shower and a separate room for the toilet with two sinks in between the shower and the water closet. My dorm was very quiet and was kept pretty clean. I spent multiple times in our dorm study lounge on our floor when I needed space to study. U-Hall had plenty of laundry machines in the basement and a tv/entertainment room with a keyboard (which I definitely used to practice for my group piano class!) and a handful of computers. It was a great dorm. I spent some Spring nights in the Quad right outside my dorm, laying in the grass. I could then simply get up and walk a few feet back to the dorm lobby. I also loved the location of my dorm in relation to the rest of the campus: it was a 10-minute walk to the School of Music and a 3-minute walk to the Student Center (where our cafeteria and mail room is).
 
By the time I began to think about sophomore year, I knew that I wanted to have a different environment with a little more freedom. I didn’t want to make the big move to living off-campus, but I wanted to feel slightly closer to adulthood than I had been before. Because of this, I chose to live in Sanctuary Townhomes with 4 of my other music major friends. We were placed with two other girls, totaling 7 of us in one townhome. Although there were so many of us, I felt like I really only had a couple roommates because we had three entire floors to ourselves. Our townhome overlooked a lovely, small quad with picnic benches and trees that Sanctuary residents often enjoyed. Upon entering our townhome, there was a door that led to our family/living room, which was extremely spacious. We had two couches in there, a sofa chair, two bookshelves, and a dining table. Beyond that room was our kitchen, which contained two refrigerators, another dining table, a dishwasher, sink, microwave, and plenty of counter space and drawers.
 
The second floor had two double bedrooms and two full bathrooms and a laundry room for all of us to use. And the third floor- my home- had a single bedroom and a double bedroom with one full bathroom for those three residents to share. I had the single bedroom, which was pretty tiny, but I decorated it and cherished it so incredibly much! It was the first time in my life that I had had a room to myself, and I have now discovered that once you go for a single room, you can’t go back. On top of the 7 of us having our own laundry, and plenty of furniture and space, my two roommates and I on the top floor had the most amazing bath tub. And I am not even exaggerating- this tub was huge, with counter space surrounding it. Such a beautiful creation! We also had a shower and closet in our bathroom, and the whole bathroom had a wonderful tile in it. I really loved that townhome!

The only thing that I disliked about living in the dorms was having to swipe my DePaul ID to “check in” every time I came in or had guests. However, I understand that it is for students’ safety, which I know is very important for college students in such a big city. Even with that understandable and small hassle, I had an extremely positive experience living on DePaul’s campus both of my lowerclassmen years. After sophomore year, I felt ready to move off campus, and taking that “big leap” wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I even found a house that is still practically on campus, so that helped a lot!
 

Looking for a challenge at DePaul? Apply to the Honors Program

​When applying to DePaul, I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of the Honors Program. I was used to the extra rigor of honors classes from a high school career dictated by AP tests, so the transition from high school classes to college level honors classes was pretty smooth. If you are considering applying to DePaul, I highly suggest looking into the Honors Program. If you are ready for the challenge of more difficult classes, this is definitely the route for you.​


Honors Student Government Meeting​​

Being in the Honors Program at DePaul was one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far in my college career. Our class sizes are capped at 20 students, we register before other students, we have quarterly student-faculty dinners, and we have our own student government. I like the sense of community that the Honors Program has to offer. At a school with around 20,000 undergrads, being in the Honors Program creates some recognizable faces while walking around campus. 


The Academic Committee Chairs






This year, I am serving as the Academic Committee Co-Chair on the Honors Student Government executive board. My job is to help maintain the relationship between Honors Program faculty/staff and our club members. My fellow co-chair and I are currently working on planning for our annual Alumni Panel, so stay tuned for a post about this in February. ​


Honors Student Government provides honors students with many opportunities to become involved through and with the Honors Program. We have a Service Committee, Social Committee, Academic Committee, Newsletter Committee, an Ambassador Committee, a treasurer, vice president, and a president. Freshman can become involved too by either joining the general body, or running for a position called the honors floor representative, if they live on the Honors Floor (3rd floor of Seton). 

​​Some events that we have recently had has been ice skating, an internship tip information session, a scholarship information session, ambassador lunches, study sessions before finals, and the Service Committee is currently hosting a canned food drive. Each year we have a spring quarter dance which is always fun as well. It’s easy to become involved in any aspect of Honors Student Government and meet new people. I’ve posted a few of our event posters throughout the blog, but you can always check to see what we’re up to and what we’ve been doing at: https://dphsg​.wordpress.com/​​


While I will say that the honors curriculum can at times be very challenging (flashback to last quarter when I wrote a 25 page research paper double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font and I almost broke my brain), I think that my college experience has been really enriching because of it. 




We do have a lot more reading and lengthy writing assignments for our core classes, but the academic community that I am a part of makes it all worth it. I have formed many close relations with many of my honors professors and classmates, which has played a huge part in the positivity of my college experience thus far.


For those starting to make those tough college decisions, good luck! Wherever you end up, college is truly what you make it. 




School Spirit

​I cannot emphasize enough that the experience you get at DePaul is unlike any other university. Just like people’s preferences between a Mac computer and a Microsoft computer varies, so do people’s preferences regarding universities. Even though you are getting a degree, the route you go to get your degree and the experiences you have vary greatly. Also, like the Mac vs. Microsoft dilemma, people have different thoughts on which is better and there truly is no correct answer. Your school decision is no different. You need to make a decision on what you feel is personally right which may not necessarily be what your counselor tells you.

The reason why I wrote this is due to the fact that school spirit cannot be judged on a 1-100 scale. You come to DePaul and many people are wearing DePaul gear. Does that mean our school has school spirit? Maybe. I don’t know. DePaul’s school spirit comes in a very different form from many other schools. You go to a school with a successful football team and school spirit is driven by their sports team. DePaul’s school spirit comes from the experiences not only students have with the university but from the experiences the community has with DePaul.

My school spirit is directly derived from the experiences I have had as a student. From my awesome classes, professors and friends I have met to the experiences I have had at things such as my service immersion trips and field trips, I have school spirit because what I have gotten from DePaul is more than I had ever imagined.

Even people that have not gone to DePaul have spirit for the university. DePaul stretches way beyond its walls. It floods the workforce with employees, provides thousands of volunteers to needy areas and, creates jobs and educated individuals for the community. I have met many people that had never been to DePaul, but were positively affected in some way by the university. I would not be lying in saying that most people in Chicago are affected in some way by the university. 

School spirit is very important. A person needs to have passion in order to truly do something well. This ties directly to their education. DePaul breeds school spirit.


Back in the Windy City

After six weeks off, it is quite surreal to be back in the Windy City. As I got ready for the first day of classes and put on 3 layers of clothes, my long winter coat that stretches to my toes, my gloves, scarf and hat, I honestly wasn’t too pleased to be going outside. I’m hoping and praying that this winter won’t be as harsh as this first week back was. 

In other great news, I started off the quarter on a great note last Sunday. My friends from the suburbs came to Chicago to visit me before classes started, and it was fun to show them around the city. We spent most of our day eating and shopping, so I would say the outing was a success! 

After leading a group of girls around who aren’t used to the city life, I have compiled a list of things that everyone should know when traveling in Chicago: 


1. The art of the power walk: Since we were on a strict schedule due to limited Metra train times back to Naperville, we all engaged in the art of power walking. Power walking is a must in the city. For anyone in Chicago, I would suggest sturdy, comfortable walking shoes that can allow you to walk for miles, run when you see the L approaching, and of course, shoes that are fashionable because you never know who you’ll run into.


2. Use your own judgment with walk signs: not that I am encouraging anyone to break the law, but if you wait for the walk signs, you will seriously never get anywhere in life. In some situations, it is possible to look both ways and cross. Disclaimer: DO NOT ABIDE BY THIS TIP DURING RUSH HOUR. But all the other hours are totally up for grabs. While I admit I have made a few mistakes and crossed a little bit too liberally, resulting in a mad dash across the street, for the most part, I’ve effortlessly made it across when the signs say “Don’t Walk.”


3. Contact is a big no-no. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and can even be dangerous...well maybe not dangerous, but you get the gist. Never sit directly next to someone if there are open seats everywhere. It’s important to spread out as much as possible. Never read over someone else’s shoulder. Never get caught reading over someone else’s shoulder. And of course, give up your seat for pregnant women, the elderly, or anyone who generally looks in distress and needs to sit down (you’d be surprised how many people fit this category.)


4. Don’t buy what you can’t carry: While it may be tempting to buy everything in sight, or a singular item that weighs 50 pounds but is 75% off, be realistic. It sounds simpler than it seems. Sometimes this means walking away from the sale, and never looking back.


5. Always go for the $10 24 hour Ventra pass: Who has time to putz around at every L platform? I know I don’t. With my friends armed with 24 hour unlimited ride Ventra passes, we were able to travel anywhere at anytime. Definitely worth the $10 investment. (As a DePaul student you get a Ventra for unlimited rides during the quarter as part of your tuition!)


My friends and I were good as gold since we abided by the aforementioned tips for traveling in Chicago. To give you the quick rundown, we first made our way to Five Guys for burgers, then we ventured to the Urban Outfitters Surplus store in search of some post-holiday deals.


Next, we of course had to make a stop at Molly’s Cupcakes. While some say that Sprinkles Cupcakes are the best in Chicago, I fully endorse Molly’s. Located in Lincoln Park, it’s worth the trip if you’re coming in from the Loop. After our delicious cupcakes we took the Redline to Belmont and went shopping, and then we did some shopping, and then we did some more shopping. We ended the day eating gourmet grilled cheeses at Cheesies. 

With a great start to this quarter, I’m excited to see what else is in store for me. Be sure to stay tuned! I almost slipped on ice about 389349784 times so far, so my big wipe out is sure to be coming. Can’t wait to tell you all the juicy details. I’ll even try to take pictures when it happens :)





So Much to Do, so Little Time

Winter is no longer coming, people. It’s here. Wow. It hit hard. It seems fitting that today, the first day of classes for my final winter quarter, would also be the first sub-zero day of the year. But, I must say, my spirits are high. I have a really good feeling about this quarter and what it could be. As such, I have been working on my pre-graduation to-do list. Pretty soon, I’ll be off in the big bad world and I intend to do some personally enriching stuff and some uniquely DePaul stuff before I get out of Dodge.

One, I plan to read all of Shakespeare’s canon, sonnets included, out loud by the end of winter quarter. My Bard craze is well-documented in this blog’s archive and I figure now is the time to really go whole-hog on devouring this rich text. I have my favorites, obviously, but I am excited to see what will strike me from the less-celebrated work in the canon. My dear friend and I hope to do at least two plays a week together. It’ll be a great thing to do when going out of doors is simply unconscionable.

Two, I plan on attending a Blue Demon basketball game. This is something I am ashamed to say I have neglected to do thus far in my time here at the university. Granted, it would have been difficult to fit it in before now, what with my schedule as packed to the gills as it has been these last three years. But, there’s still time! I want to make sure that I take in our school’s marquee sport at least once before I’m no longer a student. Whether it’s the women’s team or the men’s, I’ll do it!

And three, I want to perform at an open mic somewhere. Stepping up at an event like that has always seemed like a very prototypically college thing to do and it’s certainly something that interests me. I’m not entirely sure what I will perform. It might be poetry or an Irish drinking song something of that ilk. It will feel good to do a little bit of performance outside of The Theatre School and share my work with a different section of the DePaul community.

This list will keep growing and I’ll be sure to share if I add any particularly interesting bits. Stay warm, blogosphere!

Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:

I’m on another Andrew Bird kick lately and here’s a track of his that struck me the moment I heard it.




Finals Week: Resources and Tips

Finals week, we all knew it was coming. The weeks were passing by and those dreadful exams, projects, and papers got closer and closer. 

The holidays are just around the corner, but between some delicious turkey and us lies the moment of truth, did we learn anything in our courses? Hopefully you have and your finals will be a breeze, but I know even though I may study and be well prepared for my finals, I still get nervous. Something I like to tell myself is, “everything will be okay and failing this test will not be the end of the world.” That usually helps calm my nerves a bit, and then I can focus better and doubt myself less during my exam. However, tests are not the only thing most people have to worry about. Along with the exams, there are usually major projects due and/or papers. So for those long nights ahead, here are some places you can go to rest in peace. I mean, study in peace.

One place to check out is the CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry) office located in suite 104 in the student center in LPC. They will be open every day from 9am – 9pm, aside from Friday (9 am – 5pm), and anyone is welcome to come in, sit on the very comfortable couches, and work. Granted the couches are extremely comfortable so you might fall asleep, but the invitation is there. 

DAB will also be hosting a finals study session in the LPSC (Lincoln Park Student Center) room 120 on November 23rd starting at 3pm. Just like CCM, this event is open to all students, but wait there’s more! Right outside of room 120 there will be a tea bar and free massages to help relieve some of the stresses of finals. 

Another thing to remember is the library will be open 24 hours starting November 18th and throughout the rest of finals. So, whether it’s at CCM on a comfy couch, with DAB and free massages, or just at the library in your favorite study spot I wish everyone good luck during this finals week and may we all pass our classes!


Thank you for reading my blog today and as always stay awesome.

Thanksgiving Tick Tock Clock Countdown: T-minus 7 days, 10 hours, 3 minutes, and 39 seconds 


Why Wait? - DePaul's Combined BA/MA Program

Why wait?

That’s the question I kept asking myself while looking at my plans for after graduation. I knew that I wanted to pursue my master’s degree in communication, but when? Fortunately, DePaul’s combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts (BA/MA) programs allows students to earn both a BA and an MA in an accelerated period of time. So, instead of graduating from DePaul, working for a while, and then coming back to get my master’s degree, I could complete both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at within 5 years.

How does it work? Well, when a student is accepted to a 5-year BA/MA program, he or she will take 3 graduate courses during their senior year. Here’s the cool part: those 3 graduate courses count for BOTH undergraduate and graduate credits, but are included in the undergraduate tuition price! Oh, and one more perk – students returning to DePaul for their graduate degree receive 25% off of their master’s degree tuition with our Double Demon Discount.

I applied to the 5-year combined BA/MA program in Relational Communication (yes, it’s a mouthful!) in the spring of my junior year at DePaul. Two weeks later, I received that glorious letter with the word “Congratulations” in the first line. Summer flew by, and it was time to start my senior year.

I’ll admit, I was terribly nervous. My first graduate-level course? As a senior? Yikes.

But, I have to tell you, it was awesome.

 I just completed by first graduate course: Foundations in Communication Studies with Dr. Lexa Murphy (pictured.) While it was a challenging course, it was the first time I could delve into specific communication topics. During the class, I chose to research topic of deception. So, look out, now I’m better at spotting liars.​

Me and Dr. Murphy after my final presentation on Deception Detection

I’ll be graduating with a double major in Communication Studies and Spanish this June, 2015. And the next June? I’ll have my Master’s in Relational Communication. Crazy!

Are you thinking about getting your graduate degree at DePaul? Check out the combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts (BA/MA) programs.

Because, well, why wait?​​


Week 9-10 Craziness

There's Jess working on her iodine lab report.​
Getting through the last week or two of every quarter is certainly a challenge.  It is a time when you’ve become pretty tired from the previous weeks, yet you can taste the freedom that's to come in the end.  It's also unfortunately a time when generally 30-40% of your grade for a class is determined, so it’s not a time to start slacking.  With that said, here’s a little update of what I’ve been up to this past week.  I've spent my time studying at the library, eating lunch/dinner out way too much, pulling an all-nighter for a lab report, and occasionally getting off campus (to study…).  

I’ve gone to the Bourgeois Pig a few times in the past couple of weeks.  It’s nice because it is real close to campus and there’s lots of space to study.  It’s generally pretty quiet in there, and it’s a big bonus that they have tasty food.  It’s pretty busy on Sundays, but it's a great place to go during the week if you want to get out of the library for a little while.

Bourgeous Pig... or the Pig for short. A snuggly coffee shop pretty close to campus.

Thursday night was a pretty long one for me…  The best part about my all-nighter was that I had the company of Jess and Huanna.  They’re both in my quantum chemistry class and senior chemistry majors as well.  We started our night in the library and were there until 2am (when the library closes).  Thankfully there is a chemistry computer lab in McGowan South that we have access to, and we were able to spend the night working there.  I had class from 9am until 1pm the next day, and then I was able to work on my report until it was due at 5pm.  It was a great feeling to turn in my report and rush home to sleep (for 18 hours... oops).

I’ve spent a good amount of time these last two weekends at a coffee shop in Wicker Park called Wormhole.  I try to take the opportunity on the weekends to spend time outside of the DePaul area.  This past weekend I had dinner at Dimo’s Pizza with my sister and friend Delaney before doing some work at Wormhole.  I also spent some time at a coffee shop near my apartment called Intelligentsia.  It's pretty great there too.

Wormhole, in Wicker Park.


Intelligentsia!

With that said, I’ve still spent the biggest majority of my time at the library on campus, and thankfully it’s quite a nice place to study.  It’s nice to be around people that you know, and the environment is pretty productive in general.  I know I’m going to miss being in this type of college environment next year, so I’m trying to soak it up as much as possible.

So, there’s a little eclectic taste of my past couple weeks of the quarter.  Finals start this coming Wednesday (November 19th), and then it’s time for six blissful weeks of winter break!  Those weeks are some of the best weeks of the year.  Not to say that school isn’t great, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t like six weeks of freedom.  I’ve got some fun things planned, but first it’s time to get through finals week.  


Get Involved!

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Today I will be writing about getting involved at DePaul. “Get involved” I am sure many of you have heard this before whether it was at orientation here at DePaul, from a speaker, or someone else. I am here to let you know, it is true! 


There's a fairly new app that is trending around college campuses called “Yik Yak” and on this app I see too many post about individuals not having friends, no events to go to, etc. Aside from Yik Yak, I recently looked up DePaul University on Google, because I was bored, and found that we actually have a Yelp page dedicated to us. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Yelp is a website where consumers can post reviews about a certain business, store, and now apparently schools too. While scrolling through the reviews, I saw a person post about how angry they were with the experience they had here at DePaul and I was shocked! This user gave DePaul a 1 out of 5 star rating and posted a very long and descriptive review of how DePaul let them down. 


I will not go into specifics, but one thing I noticed when reading the review was that this user was a commuter and not involved. In case you didn't notice, I am a HUGE advocate of DePaul University and am enjoying my experience here greatly. So to see a review like this, I had to take a step back and really think.

DAB: Michael Uslan Event
Michael Uslan speaking at DePaul - One of the many events held by DAB

The realization I came to was that if it was not for all the clubs and organizations that I am a part of my experience here would suck, and that decision to become more than just a student has to come from the individual themselves. DePaul supplies the resources but you have to supply the motivation. 

So to those who feel as though they have no friends, no plans, and nothing to do I challenge you to look on OrgSync and join random clubs. Cause the only way your experience will become better is if you take that extra step. If you are the type of person who needs an invitation to something or else you won't go, then consider this my invitation to you! I will be including a list of a few events going on that I will be at. If you see me do not hesitate to walk up and say “hi,” I love people and even more than that I love making new friends! 


Events:


  • Catholic Campus Ministry(CCM)

    • Food for Thought – Friday 11/14/14 1:15pm LPCSC 104

  • DePaul Activities Board(D.A.B.)

    • General Board meeting – Monday 11/10/14 5pm LPCSC 220

  • Ray Meyer Fitness Center

    • Intramural Sports registration for winter quarter teams starting

  • DAB

    • Mockingjay premiere event – 11/21/14 – time: TBA

  • OrgSync link: https://orgsync.com/login/depaul-university?redirect_to=%2Fhome%2F413


Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome.


Thanksgiving Tick Tock Clock Countdown: T-minus 16 days, 8 hours, 45 minutes, and 42 seconds


Fall at DePaul!

​I have thought long and hard about every season and why I like each one. I have decided that I love the beginning of every season- when everything feels new- because it is always nice to have a change, both in the temperature and in the way things look in the world around us. Fall is no exception. I love seeing the trees change colors; leaves become the reflection of fire, with their burnt orange and hot red appearance. The air has a slight sense of winter coming in it, with its crispness reflecting the crisp crunches of the fallen leaves beneath our feet. There is something so beautiful about the way the DePaul campus looks in the Fall, which makes me especially excited to walk to the School of Music building every morning. The trees that inhabit the School of Music parking lot are some of the grandest, most inspiring around Chicago. I love to sit at the table beneath those trees and eat my lunch or just sit for a second. In addition to simply enjoying the beauty of the DePaul campus in the Fall, there are other great activities I enjoy doing in the Fall at DePaul.

1. Going for walks to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool.
There is a gorgeous, serene pond full of lilypads, a 10-minute walk away from the School of Music. The benches and rocks placed around the pool are perfect places to sit along the winding, rocky path encircling the pond. The Lily Pool is a great spot to go sit alone for a while or with a friend, especially as the trees hanging over the pond are also a beautiful array of colors this time of year.

2. Drinking Bourgeois Pig hot chocolate.
“The Pig” is one of my favorite cafes in Chicago, especially because it is 3 minutes from the School of Music, and there is great oldies jazz music played through the speakers! The Pig serves a variety of food and drinks that are all very unique and delicious. One of my favorite things to order as the weather gets colder is a maple bacon scone and some Mexican hot chocolate, served in an inviting, homey mug.

 
3. Going to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
One of my favorite things to do when I have a few free hours any day of the week during the Fall is to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo is a 15-minute walk from the School of Music, and get this...it’s free! Completely free. Going in the Fall is always the perfect time to go because it is neither unbearably hot, nor unbearably cold. I love Instagramming the various farm animals, monkey, and seals. So if you are missing your pet at home and need an animal fix, go to the zoo!

4. Drinking Starbucks chai tea latte.
Yes, two of my favorite Fall activities is centered around drinking warm beverages! In addition to stopping by the Pig cafe, I also always enjoy going to Starbucks and ordering a warm chai tea latte. Chicago is home to many-a-great Starbucks, two of which are within 5 minutes from the School of Music. I love sitting down with my tea and journaling or reading before my day starts. It is also incredibly likely that I will run into a School of Music friend while I am there because it, along with The Pig, is one of our main spots!

 
5. Exploring shops around Armitage.
Armitage is a train stop right by DePaul and is a 15-minute walk from the School of Music. It is full of a lot of cute, unique shops that are very fun to wander through. There are shops with fun accessories, clothing, and items from all over the world. Armitage also has an amazing chocolate shop and multiple Italian ice places!

So whether you are looking for a relaxing day full of warm drinks and quiet places or are craving adventure and sightseeing, embrace all that DePaul has to offer in the Fall!


Connecting on Social Media

Hello and welcome to DeBlogs! I'm Anna Hanson, and I am currently a senior in the Honor's Program double majoring in Communication Studies and Spanish. Yes, I know, that was a lot of words. When I first came to DePaul, like many incoming freshmen, I was not sure about what I wanted to study. However, I discovered what I am passionate about through my coursework and experiences at DePaul. I am now thrilled to be working as the Social Media Coordinator intern for DePaul's Office of Undergraduate Admission.

I came all the way from Boulder, Colorado to attend DePaul. I didn't know a single person at the university, let alone in the Midwestern United States. Like many new college students, I was nervous for college. (It's okay, you can admit it, starting college is nerve-wracking!) So, what did I do? 

Like any other teenage human with an internet connection, I went on Facebook. 

I joined my class page and began to talk with other future DePaul students. Today, I now monitor the DePaul class groups on Facebook. You can join the Official Class of 2019 group and begin connecting with your future classmates today. I'll see you there! go.depaul.edu/Classof2019

I am excited by the power of social media. Everyday, I help to run our @depauladmission and @transferdepaul​ Twitter accounts as well as our Tumblr account, depauladmission.tumblr.com.  

You can start exploring DePaul before you even arrive on campus. 

Freshman Year

​​In my last post, I talked about being a senior and going through change. I also mentioned how much I have grown my past three and ¼ years in college. A huge time of growth was my freshman year at DePaul, and I wanted to take you all on the journey and time travel back to meet “freshman Ruth”.

There is one unique thing that greatly impacted my freshman year experience: I am an identical twin. I had never been apart from this best friend, and other half, for more than two months (and that was summer camp…). I entered college not knowing much about who I actually was/wanted to be or how to function as an independent, sole being. On top of this, I am a music major, which is very different than other college majors.

 
I lived on the top floor of University Hall in one of the corner dorm rooms my freshman year. It was a great room and a great dorm. I had a music major roommate and Theatre School suitemates, so we art-related majors were kept together. I will never forget the friends I made from my dorm (one of whom is one of my best friends to this day!), and I will also never forget having to say goodbye to my parents as they drove back to Michigan the day they dropped me off. I knew I was ready for college when I was able to contain my complete breakdown until I walked away from the two of them and got back to my dorm room. The homesickness subsided as I continued to develop friendships and experience the greatness of being in college. I went to cookouts at Lake Michigan, I went to the gym, I ate so many meals with new friends in the beloved Student Center (I really do love that place!!), I explored downtown, and I joined clubs that were perfect for me. 
 
Musically, DePaul was all I had hoped and never dreamt it would be. I went to an arts boarding high school and had already experienced the intense rigor of being a music major, so it was a fairly easy adjustment for me my first year at DePaul. I quickly adapted to the schedule: music history and theory, piano, orchestra, chamber music, general education classes, studio class. Something that I did not expect, however, was the friendly environment in the School of Music. Coming from a high school where students from all over the world are there to study and strive to get into the top conservatories in the world, I expected the atmosphere at DePaul to have a similar sense of unhealthy competition and social norms. But I was pleasantly surprised to suddenly be surrounded by friendly, well-adjusted, encouraging, yet talented musicians- people who love their art, but who also love to get to know their peers and their studio. I entered the cello studio of Steve Balderston, the kindest, most inclusive, and encouraging teacher I have ever had. I became a part of a cello family and noticed a similar feeling within other instrumental studios. I befriended vocalists, performing arts management majors, wind players, percussionists, composers- all different types of music majors. I loved being able to continue my studies in an intense, serious musical world while making incredibly great friends who genuinely love their peers.

 
At the end of my freshman year, I also got involved in the church that I still attend, and joined their worship/indie rock band that has pushed me to expand my way of thinking about music and has made me a better-shaped musician. I also discovered the music education program I am applying to get my Master’s in (El Sistema) because I saw a poster in the School of Music my first month of college. I began volunteering with a Chicago afterschool program that is structured around the El Sistema method my freshman year and eventually became a paid cello teacher there. After all of those experiences, I have discovered that I want to use my music to give kids who normally do not have many opportunities a chance to dream and achieve their musical hopes- all because of a poster I saw as a young, wandering freshman!

So, as I wrap up my final Fall quarter at DePaul, I cannot help but think about how much that first Fall at DePaul shaped who I am and where I am now. The changes were difficult, and it was not pretty a lot of the time. I had to adjust to being on my own, away from my twin sister and my family, being in a big city, and so much more. However, it was such an exciting time of growth and discovery, of excitement and fun, and I often tell prospective freshmen this when I meet them and will tell you the same thing: I am so excited for you to go through the craziness and coolness of being a freshman. In its own way, it is often the best and hardest year of your college career. Embrace it!


How to Make a Good First Impression

​Professors are resources. They do more than just teach you. They can help you with career advice, be great mentors, and provide you with seasoned life lessons. To get all of these great things, it always helps to be on the professor’s good side. Here are some things that you can do to ensure that you give a good first impression to the professor.

Step 1: Get to class on time or early
It is crucial that you are in class on time. Especially if it is an important or difficult class, the professor will start lecturing right when the class begins. Running in late is obnoxious and can be easily alleviated by catching the earlier train or hitting the snooze button one less time

Step 2: Be active and aware
It is one thing to be in class and another thing to be actively listening and participating in the discussion. Let’s face it, professors know if you do not care. They know if you are actually taking notes on your computer or if you are just tweeting about how bored you are.

Step 3: Make a connection
In my opinion, this is most missed step, the hardest step, and the most important step. If you are able to go to the professor and show interest, share a commonality, or ask a question after or before class, it will show your interest and desire to have a personal relationship with your professor.


College is more than just sitting in class all day. You need to take advantage of everything that DePaul gives you. Every student wants something different out of college. It is important that you look a professor as a resource and not an obstacle.

​​


Changes

​Now that I am in my final year of college, I have a handful of years at my disposal to reflect on and remind myself of how far I have come- educationally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I think that the older I get and the more that things change, the more often I need to reflect about who I have become and how.

There are a few big things happening in my life right now. First off, I am applying for graduate schools. And when I say “schools”, I actually just mean a single school. Although I entered my freshman year determined to never go to grad school, I completely changed my mind the past three months. Being a student at DePaul as well as traveling abroad and teaching in Peru has really shown me that there is so much I want to learn about music and teaching. I want to be the best I can possibly be at my craft so that I am able to help others more effectively. I am applying for a music-teaching program in Los Angeles to get my Master’s degree and be certified in something known as El Sistema, a musical education movement that began in Venezuela in the 1970’s. As I go through the application process and prepare to make recordings for my audition, I still can’t believe that I am a senior, am graduating, and am actually applying for grad school. I never thought this day would come!

While I am preoccupied thinking about my plans for the next year of my life post-graduation, I am still trying to focus on where I am this year. So far, my senior year has been full of many new experiences and lessons. I am finally discovering how to cook (oops…the secret is out!), how to budget my money better (after a few-too-many shopping trips), how to take risks and do scary things (such as recording an album with an indie folk band I have been involved with in college…something I would have never thought I could do before DePaul!), and how to learn how to present myself as an actual adult to society. This last one has been the toughest one- how does one go from being a kid who still greatly relies on their parents to an adult who is responsible, independent, and sure of themselves? Well, if I have learned anything, that sense of feeling sure of one’s self is not every fully attainable…so that is a relief! But I have learned a little bit about how to achieve the other two characteristics of being an adult. I have discovered the key to being a grown up: fake it ‘til you make it. Seriously! The more you view yourself as a mature 20-something (instead of a teenager), the more other people will view you the same way. I have gotten this act down so well that people even sometimes wonder if I am in my mid-20’s. Whoa. That is the age of a college graduate who is in the real world already- cool! As I have been teaching more and interacting with more adults than I ever have before, I have practiced this concept repeatedly, and it has worked without fail.

In addition to that, big changes are happening in my family. One of my sisters is expecting her first child (yay!), while my other sister is planning her wedding (double yay!)- and both events will be happening this summer. My dad is celebrating being half-a-century-old in a couple of weeks, and I am applying for graduation, making plans to hopefully move to a completely different city and possibly leave the country again within the next few years.

 
So in addition to learning how to act like an adult, I have also learned how to better adjust to these huge changes that are happening, both in my life and in my family and friends’ lives. What is the key to this one? Fake it ‘til you make it….again!! It helps me so much to reflect on who I was my freshman year. I entered college, ready to discover who I was and what I loved. I learned that I love children, traveling, Hispanic culture, and social justice. I learned that I could combine all of those passions and chase a wild dream. Although this year will be full of a lot of changes, I know that it will help me grow into the newest version of me- “college graduate Ruth”. I will no longer be a “DePaul student” or “undergraduate”, and I can’t wait to see what the next phase of the journey is! So, even when I am completely terrified and cannot handle the idea of me leaving this wonderful experience in my life, I know that if I continue to look back on the amazing experiences I’ve had and hold onto hope that the exciting reflection-worthy moments won’t stop here, it will be okay. It will be more than okay, even; it’ll be the next step in the adventure of life!

No matter what stage or year you are in in your life adventure, continue to embrace all that college (or high school, or graduate school, or work!) has in store for you and continue to enjoy the change. All we can do is keep discovering the way of the path laid before us this next year, this month, this week- and follow it with a smile on our face, excitement in our hearts, and a willingness to fake it until we know what we are actually doing and why on earth we are smiling.​ 

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

​Refresh the page, click the link, go to winter 2014-15, and repeat! Sound familiar? Well if you're like me, you have probably been stressing over enrolling for classes in the winter quarter. Yes, the course cart becomes available weeks in advance to the enrollment date, but many of the classes have yet to be listed and many more have yet to even have a professor assigned to them. In fact even up until the night before my enrollment day, all but one of my targeted courses had a “TBA” in the room column and a “STAFF” notice for the professor column. This, as you can probably figure, was nerve wrecking for me leading me to stress over my classes. Now I am enrolled for my first choices for winter quarter, and I can look back at my “method” of course stalking and laugh. 

So what's my method? Well I am glad you asked, it's very simple you see:

1.) Attack - Course Cart becomes available and within the first few days I must look at the courses listed for the quarter and pick the dream schedule, which since most classes do not have professor names or rooms, usually depends on times.

2.) Search – Keep an eye for emails from professors and departments that might tell you of a class you had not seen online. If interested refer to step 1 and attack it. 

3.) Hawk – Keep checking your course cart as much as you check your MySpace, wait, I meant Facebook. That's right, you have to be addicted to the point where it is just second nature to check your course cart every single day until you see information containing the professor or the location. 

4.) CIA – So now it's been a good amount of time and the professors are finally listed with their corresponding course. So you can relax right? Wrong!
Go to: http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/campusRatings.jsp?sid=1389​ and do your homework on the listed professor. I like to think of it as a background check to make sure I'm getting the right teacher for me. 

5.) A to B – So you found out your professor is a 1.2 out of 5, but it's okay because in A to B you make a backup list of courses you're interested in just in case something goes wrong with your first plan. 

 
6.) Tick – Tock – Everything is good now all your courses are in your cart, you CIAed your professors, and all you have to do is wait until your enrollment time. False, you should wait until 5 minutes before your enrollment time and refer to the “refresh, click link, go to quarter” method I mentioned earlier in order to make sure that none of the course you want get closed. In that case, please refer to step 5. 

7.) Now you have all your courses done and you are enrolled. The last step is very simple, write a blog about it and be prepared for all the “thank yous” you will receive for helping everyone out. 

Thank you for reading my blog today! I hope my advice helps you in your endeavors to get your courses. 

As always stay classy, stay awesome, and for enrollment week, may the odds be ever in your favor. 


How to Deal with a Difficult Quarter

​​One accounting class is a lot. Two accounting class is near crazy. This quarter I have the pleasure of taking two accounting classes at the same time. Most students that major in accounting spread their classes out so they only have one accounting class every quarter. Luckily, I have learned how to deal with taking multiple tough classes at once. 

Below are a few tips on how to cope with a tough quarter:

1) Acknowledge that you have a tough quarter
​No quarter is going to be a walk in the park; but, it is up to you to understand and acknowledge when one quarter is going to be hard. Being able to do this can get you mentally prepared.

2) Have some scheduling tool
​​​Whether this be a written planner or something on your phone, be able to organize what you are doing so you don’t forget anything. Even though this is a good idea for any quarter, it is pivotal for the difficult ones.

3) Stick to study plan
​In college there are a ton of distractions. Make sure that when you have a date with the library, treat it as a date: be early and don’t leave until the date is done.

4) Do not take important things out of your life to do well
​Even though you are going to be busy, don’t stop going to the gym, calling your mom/dad, talking to your friends, or having fun. Obviously you have to find time to study, etc., but make sure what you move around or get rid of is not something important.




Modern Language Requirements

We're often asked the question: "Do I need to study a foreign language at DePaul?"  The answer is "yes"... but sometimes "no"... and sometimes "maybe"... but nearly always "you should!"  The truth is that the requirement to study to a foreign language (note: we call them Modern Languages) really depends of the college in which you're studying, and even the specific major you're studying.

But even if you are not required to study a modern language per your academic program requirements, you're strongly encouraged to do so while at DePaul.  The reasons for studying another language are well-documented, and we tend to agree with the experts on this front. 

With that being said, we suggest locating your program in the DePaul University catalog to get the most up-to-date information on your major's requirements, including the modern language requirement. We also strongly suggest that you have a discussion about modern languages with your academic advisor once a student at DePaul. They will be able to indicate what is best for each particular student.

If you still have questions about the requirements for your program, please contact the Office of Academic Advising Support at 773-325-7431.

Au Revoir!

Yes, many of the languages from these countries can be studied at DePaul.


Countdown to Classes: 10 MORE Tips to Get You Ready for DePaul

We posted 10 tips to help you prepare for life at DePaul. Here are 10 more to quench your thirst for DePaul knowledge. 

 
1.      If you’re living on campus, move-in day will be the start of your DePaul adventure. Get a feel for this exciting start to your college experience.

2.      Curious about what awaits you at DePaul? Take a break from getting ready and explore #IAmDePaul on Instagram. Soon you'll be having experiences just like these students. 

3.      Put (773) 325-7233 in your phone. That's how you call public safety escorts and, during mid-terms and finals, the Vinnie Van! This off-campus shuttle that helps you get home safely after a long night in the library. 

4.      Have car, will commute? If you're driving to campus, leave your street-parking woes behind and purchase an on-campus parking permit.

5.      Make your space your own. Check out these decorating ideas for your residence hall room, apartment or bedroom back home.

6.      Meet "Vinnie." Do you know more than these students about our patron saint? 

7.      Bookmark Demon Discounts and follow it at @DemonDiscounts. You'll find over 100 deals ranging from movie tickets and restaurants to rental cars and moving services.

8.      Connect with the DePaul Student Government Association, which represents your interests on everything from tuition rates to sustainability initiatives to two-sided copying.

9.      Win DePaul swag. Visit the bookstore on either campus on Monday, September 8 between 6-8 p.m. for refreshments, discounts, personal help with your textbooks, and a chance to win prizes.

10.  Pick up your U-Pass from ID Services. The U-Pass gives you unlimited rides on CTA buses and the "L" train during the academic term—which means unlimited access to everything Chicago has to offer. 

You’re officially ready to start fall quarter at DePaul. But if you have a question once you get to campus, be sure to visit the Welcome Tables in Lincoln Park or the Loop. You also can follow @DPUWelcomeWeek on Twitter to keep up to date on all the goings-on around campus. And don’t forget, you can find all these tips and more by following DePaul University​ on Facebook.

See you on campus! 

Countdown to Classes

Countdown to Classes: 10 Tips to Get You Ready for DePaul​
Summer may be coming to an end, but that means new adventures at DePaul are right around the corner. There’s a lot to learn, so to get you started, we’ve compiled 10 tips to help you prepare for life in college, life as a Blue Demon and life in Chicago.    

 
  1. At DePaul, DIBS doesn’t mean “I saw it first.” Get to know your DePaul mascot, and get ready for some furry high fives.
  2. Stay in touch with New Student and Family Engagement (NSFE). They have lots of programs and tips to help you (and your family) get acclimated! Follow them on Twitter at @DePaulNSFE.
  3. Download iDePaul. iDePaul keeps your course schedule, maps, library info, campus events and more in the palm of your hand. It's available for iPhone, Android, and yes, even Blackberry. 
  4. Fall in love with Chicago. Start by checking out these 25 Chicago sights and attractions.
  5. Reserve your Blue Demon tickets. DePaul sporting events are FREE to you as a student. Make sure you get good seats! 
  6. Know where to find your morning cup of joe. And if it needs to be a latte and a blue-and-red frosted donut, go to Brownstones! Follow the cyber café in the Lincoln Park Student Center on Twitter at @DePaul_bstones.
  7. If you'll be living on campus, leave your lava lamp at home. Do you know what you should bring? Find everything you need to know on the Fall Move-In page of Housing Services' website.
  8. Learn from other students. For instance, Zoe Krey has some great tips to help you get ready for DePaul. Is she right about your parents?
  9. Organize your finances: Bank account, checkbook, credit or debit card, budget and calendar of payment due dates. If you don't already have a bank, check out DePaul's on-campus banking partner, PNC. They have a mobile app called Student Wallet designed for you! 
  10. The cow didn't do it. Read the real history of the Great Chicago Fire (not to be confused with Chicago's awesome soccer team).

Learn more great tips and see what others have to say by following DePaul University on Facebook, where we’re counting down to class with these tips and more for the next 20 days. And if you want to see even more from DePaul, you can check out #IAmDePaul​ on Instagram, where our students document their lives on campus and in Chicago.

Preparing for DePaul!

As you soak in the rays and enjoy your last summer before the beginning of your new life, your parents may or may not start to nag you about finding out what books you need. Or perhaps who your roommate is. And also the date you should move in. And if you need to increase your meal plan. And if you should get the towel hook with three hooks or four. And how many picture frames should you buy. And do you want to bring that chair in the basement that no one uses…you get the point.

While the summer before college can be very fun and somewhat nostalgic, there are some things to plan out before coming to DePaul in the fall!

Roommate decisions are mailed out with plenty of time to contact your roommate and make the necessary living arrangements. Pretty standard questions to ask are questions like:

  1.     What appliances should we bring? (I.e. fridge, microwave, etc.)
  2.     Shall we have a futon or chairs to accommodate our guests
  3.     T.V.?
  4.     The carpets are very bland so do we want a rug?
  5.     Should we color coordinate or just let fate decide?

Don’t worry about setting room rules with your future roomie or anything like that. RAs take care of all that fun stuff the week you move in. Getting to know your roommate through casual conversation before you move in can also be helpful in making your first encounter a little less awkward. My roommate and I met before we moved in and planned everything out so moving in was a cinch! I’m going to miss her this summer!

As for getting books and scheduling your classes, tell your parents that this cannot be done until orientation. At orientation this summer, you will play thousands of ice breakers. Regardless of the activity at orientation, you will more importantly register for classes. The earlier your summer orientation the better; classes fill up on a first come, first serve basis. If your orientation is later in the summer, don’t panic however! You have so many options your first quarter at DePaul that there isn’t even a chance that you won’t get some classes that you want.

When school is a few weeks in the distant future, normally professors will e-mail you a syllabus or a quick introduction to the class and themselves. On the syllabus the necessary books will be listed. I like to buy my books before class starts just so I don’t have to worry about the bookstore running out or shipping nightmares, but that’s just kind of a personal preference type thing. Make sure that your campus connect e-mail is up to date in order to receive this very important information!!!

Overall, just enjoy your summer! Odds are your parents are worried more than you are. Or, if they are like my parents, they will not acknowledge the fact that you are moving out because of the denial they feel. Regardless, just realize that everything will work out in the end! Be patient and figure everything out as it comes up!


Etc.

So my freshman year is coming to an end. Only four finals and I am finished! This is a bittersweet feeling because this has been the most exciting/challenging/scary/fun school year I have ever experienced. I will miss dorm life and I will certainly miss living on campus.

As I started to pack up my belongings I realized that my food plan still has $400+ on it. At DePaul the food plan money rolls over each quarter, but not onto the next school year. Although I am a food consuming monster, I know there is no way that I will be able to eat $400 worth of food in less than two weeks. THANKFULLY DePaul offers students the opportunity to bulk buy items from our little grocery/convenient store called Ect. located in the Student Center.

Being able to bulk buy has been super convenient because now I have enough salsa to last me for eternity. They didn't sell tortilla chips, so that is my most recent problem. BUT HEY, SALSA! I was able to purchase many non-perishables like an ungodly amount of Reeses, Cheerios, and granola bars.  Other things being sold were Gatorade, toilet paper, plastic cups/plates, Naked Juice, Starbucks drinks, and all the dip a college kid could ask for.

You guys should seriously consider buying bulk instead of letting that money go to waste! If you need any salsa please contact me.

Tips for Finals Week

Finals, that's all I can say and that's all I can think about. Finals here, finals there! What am I going to do? Well, here are a few tips to stay relaxed during some of the most stressful times of your life:

Number one:

Do you have a dog? Dogs have scientifically been proven to relieve stress in people. In fact, DePaul offers a fun activity called “Canines on Campus” were they bring dogs onto the quad and let students pet them and play with them. Not a dog person? No worries!

Number two:

Surround yourself with cool, fun people that will help you relax not add to the pressure and stress you already have. Friends are important and if you need someone to sing you a goodnight song, well they might just be the one. Don't like people? Once again you are in luck!

Number three:

Take five minutes out of your study time to enjoy something. Click away from your d2l tab and watch a funny YouTube video or buy one of those battery powered massage items and put it on your back. Don't want to take time away from your studies? Well you are again in luck!

Number four:

Set a goal for yourself. What are you going to do after midterms? Make plans with friends, family, loved ones for a super, awesome fun day of awesomness. Go out to eat at a fancy restaurant, go to an amusement park, or a road trip. You are in college my friend, the opportunities are endless!

None of these work out for you? Well, I tried. A for effort? I wish my professors believed in that.

Thank you - as always my name is Josue A. Ortiz. Keep it classy, keep it awesome, and most importantly, keep it as stress free as possible.

Phil

At DePaul it is common for every student to fulfill multiple learning domains. From philosophy to self, society, and the modern world, students are required to take classes that expose them to different topics that are possibly not discussed in their specific major. At the beginning of the school year I was bummed because I wanted all of my classes to be about public relations & advertising because I was so excited to dive head first into my major. Sooner rather than later I realized how fun and educational these classes are. I also realized that, if I wanted to, I could choose classes that correlate with public relations and advertising to get a broader understanding of the major.
 
During my first quarter at DePaul I chose to start with the philosophical dimensions domain so I added Love, Hate and Resentment into my course cart. Little did I know that I would soon meet a professor that changed the way I felt about those three raw emotions, and about knowledge in general. Professor Danielle Meijer is her name and she is a raaaaad woman. She is opinionated and, although some of our viewpoints clash, she is more than willing to hear multiple viewpoints and makes it a point to tell the class that just because she thinks one way doesnt mean it is correct. I respect her for those words because I feel like some teachers I've had in the past push their biased opinions on students, while Meijer avidly verbalized the fact that there is not just one way to look at things (especially in philosophy). Her passion for philosophy is contagious and a 90 minute class felt like 15 because the topics were so engaging and out there. Quarters fly by so at the end of week 10 I was sad that I was unable to continue seeing her every Tuesday and Thursday.
 
She is a wonderful professor that has made me pursue a minor in philosophy. I highly suggest taking a class taught by her or at least seek her out if you have any philosophical questions (or questions about belly dancing because she has done that too). For learning domains, I suggest taking classes that are beyond your comfort zone because sometimes a challenge is necessary. Who knows, maybe you will uncover a passion that otherwise would have been ignored.

Professor Help

“Help me I'm failing!” Ever screamed that out to yourself before, or thought it while trying to study for a class? No need to worry! For the first time in my college career I found myself looking for a little extra guidance for my class. It was my Intro to Computer Scene class and I was working on this one problem that for some reason I could not figure out. I had spent 8 hours working on it and had three different files saved that were attempts to complete the problem and yet, nothing. When I fixed one thing a different thing got messed up, or when I tried a new method I got an error. Needless to say, the whole thing was a disaster.

So I did what any good student should do, I gave up.

Just kidding.

I submitted what I had and told my professor if I could meet with him for some help. Even though I was getting a bad grade on the assignment I still wanted to know how to solve it for future reference. So I made an appointment with him during his office hours and we met, worked out the problem, and I learned. Moral of the story, do not ever be afraid to ask for help and get some extra assistance whether it be from a tutor, the professor, or anyone else. Failing sucks, but it can be prevented.

Thank you for reading my blog as always stay happy, stay cool, stay passing, and of course stay awesome!

Josue Angel Ortiz


Friendly Advice

Hello all, I hope everyone is having a great day. This week I'd like to take this blog and use it to offer some helpful advice for my fellow peers. Now I know that we all have different ways of strategizing our courses, but what I want to say is take your easier courses in the spring and the more challenging courses in the fall or winter.

This helpful tip was given to me a bit too late for my first year, but I will be sure to use this strategy in my second year at DePaul. Taking your more challenging courses in the fall or winter is overall easier than in the spring for this reason; in the fall most students are coming back from a long summer of either working, hanging out, or just catching up on all the sleep they missed during the academic quarters. Therefore, you are more likely to feel motivated to challenge your mind with harder courses and get that thinking cap going again after its summer relaxation time. This is opposite in the spring, though. Instead, in the spring the weather is getting nicer, students are more likely to think about summer plans, and some friends might be out for break before you and want to hang.

This spring of my first year, I am taking more challenging courses in my current spring quarter and let me tell you something, it has been quite the challenge on me so far. Granted, I think I'm doing really well and I'm keeping up with the demands of my professors, but the beautiful(and lucky) nice weather we have had in Chicago lately makes me think beaches, soccer in the park, and water parks not homework, extra credit assignments, and midterms.

Needless to say, school should always be the first priority, I am just suggesting that those extra, super hard classes are taken while weather is cold and you want to stay home and be warm because it is easier than to stay with your books. Netflix is always there...but that's a whole other blog to write.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Stay classy, stay smart, and as always stay awesome.

Josue A. Ortiz


Mother's Day and the Quarter System

Happy belated Mother's Day!!!! This past Mother's Day I planned the ultimate surprise: an unanticipated visit home to mi madre! I planned this exciting, undercover visit home with my sister and dad the week before Mother's Day and my mom was totally surprised. We got lots of pictures but since my mom started crying and I know that she reads my blog posts (HI MOM!), I thought that I should keep those photos to myself (or save for later blackmail).

Living in Naperville, I'm about a forty-five minute drive away from home or an hour Metra ride. I'm lucky to live so close to my family but for many this isn't a reality. Emergency situations do come up every once and awhile and I think that it is important to have a just-in-case plan should that ever come to be. As unfortunate as planning for these types of things are, it is definitely necessary. Many of my friends from Naperville go to various schools around the country where coming home isn't a reality for them. I also have made many California friends at DePaul which for them means only coming home for Winter Break.

Regardless of how easy it is to get home or not, DePaul's quarter system allows for plenty of family time to be spent during Winter Break. DePaul's Winter Break is six weeks long which is probably double the amount of time your friends will be on break. When they come home for Thanksgiving weekend, your winter break has just started. As you laugh at them for still having to go through finals before coming home for Christmas (or other winter holidays that are celebrated such as Kwanza, Hanukah, etc.) just remember that come Spring/Summer time, they will be laughing at you.

Being home for Mother's Day was quite awesome but as I worked on a religion mid-term paper and Spanish mid-term, they were working on their tans and celebrating the end of freshman year. That being said, there are definitely many pros and cons to being on the quarter system. Lucky for you, I will hash them out right here and now.

CONS: Staying in school until the second week in June can be a little rough. With the nice weather, all you'll want to do is go for a dip in the lake, take late night rips to Navy Pier, shopping, eating, walking, climb a tree, roll in the grass, smell the flowers, and such and such. Additionally, many of your breaks wont match up with your high school friends since DePaul's quarter schedule is so unique.

But not to worry! Because in my mind, the pros totally outweigh the cons.

PROS: I was on semesters in high school so adjusting to the quarter system was not easy at first. However, I have come to like it much more than semesters. So the quarter system at DePaul is broken down into three quarters (kind of confusing since quarter typically means four in the language of math). Each quarter is ten weeks. Essentially this means that you have three sets of midterms and three sets of finals. Although at first glance this may seem like a con, I digress. Having midterms means that the test is based off of five weeks of material and having a final means that the test is based off of ten weeks of material. Compared to semesters which translates to fifteen weeks of material covered in a final, quarter finals and midterms are much more doable. Additionally, every college has those unappealing requirements that must be taken. For me, I'm currently taking marine biology. Fascinating? Yes. Does it have anything to do with my political science major? No. (The mud-fiddler crab is closely related to the barnacle! I got that wrong on my last test and I will never forget it!) Hence, having a ten week class is much more preferable to a fifteen week class. Ten is manageable, fifteen is quite impossible. Also, you have the opportunity to take lots of classes! While in semesters, students may take anywhere from eight to ten different classes per year while those on the quarter system usually take about twelve.

Overall, I hope that you all had a wonderful Mother's Day and treated your mothers like queens. Hopefully you remembered to do the yard work and breakfast in bed and yadda yadda yadda. I hope my tips on the quarter system and being far from home help you get a feel for life at DePaul!

Apartment Hunting

Looking for apartments makes you really feel like an adult. You have a budget. There are contracts, tons of paperwork, research, negotiations, and credit reports. It feels like you are being thrown into a Financial Fitness Course with people that have already taken the course before. It is a lot of work and can be difficult at times but worth it in the end. The relief you get when you sign the contract and get the acceptance is an awesome feeling.
 
My guardian savior for apartment hunting is an app/website called Zillow. With this website, you can search nearly every apartment in the city, filtering your results to fit your criteria. It consolidates almost every listing, from Craigslist to private realtors.
 
My sophomore and junior year I lived off campus, even though I would hardly consider either apartment off campus. Both times I lived less than two blocks from campus in Lincoln Park. For students that live on campus their freshman year, I would recommend living in the Lincoln Park area to get accustomed to living off campus, while still staying involved in extracurricular activities on campus.
 
As my senior year is coming quickly, I have decided to move to an area outside of Lincoln Park. This is the time when leases begin to become available and agents begin showing apartments. I am looking at Lakeview, Uptown, and Wrigleyville. Wherever I end up, I am sure that it will be a place that I will grow to love!

​​

DePaul's New Club!

Although DePaul has more than 300 organizations, their lack of a water polo club really put a damper on the continuance of my athletic abilities. Rather than complain or try to start playing a game meant for two teams of seven people by myself, I got involved in an up-and-coming effort to start a club water polo team. Within two quarter’s DePaul Water Polo Club is now up-an-running, or should I say swimming? 

I severely missed the smell of chlorine and the 5:30 am practices that come with the aquatic lifestyle of a swimmer and water polo player (haha jk about those 5:30s…purely torturous). I tried to play land games such as soccer or volleyball or running before getting involved with the efforts to start a water polo club, but with my whole life spent in the water, I didn’t get the same satisfaction from pavement, fields, and courts. I swam and played polo all four years in high school so its absence in my life was hard at first (shout out to Metea Valley High School!) 

Being a part of a club that has only had four official practices, no tournaments or games, and is about 75% boys is much cooler than it actually sounds. We have the ability to make this club what we want it to be and shape its future. Of course, our lack of a history also poses its fair share of challenges, but the payoff during these next few years is going to be sweet : ) 

I did not take the lead on starting this club, but the President of DePaul’s Water Polo Club did a great job of communicating with advisors, the Student Government Association (SGA), and club members on the status of this venture. With his initiatives and the SGA, we received $3000 in funding for our club. This supplies us with pool time, equipment, and liability something-something (not quite on the technicalities of that one..) 



I attended last Monday’s practice and it was great to get back in the pool with my other official DePaul Club Water Polo teammates. Despite being embarrassingly out of shape, we had a successful two hours together and the plans for a potential exhibition game with another Chicago area school is in the works. We currently practice at Northeastern Illinois University because DePaul only has a shallow pool and NIU’s is deep. The commute takes about 35 minutes with a 10 minute walk but it’s so worth it to be able to play again. 

Unfortunately, the DePaul Water Polo Club is classified as a men’s club but girls can still attend practices and exhibition tournaments and games. Some of the girls are looking to recruit more girls so we can establish a club of our own. Who knows what will happen in the future? But I know that for right now, our new club is perfection! Be sure to check us out next year!

BFA vs. BA: It's Your Choice

​So you’ve decided you want to major in theatre, huh? As a wise professor of mine would say, welcome to the group. As you, you budding theatre artist, will find out, if you intend to major in theatre, you’re going to have to choose between pursuing a BA or BFA. The Bachelor of Arts versus the Bachelor of Fine Arts essentially differentiates between a non-conservatory program and a conservatory program. And they each have their merits. 

Let me just preface this description by saying that The Theatre School here only offers a BFA in terms of an undergraduate theatre major. We do offer a theatre studies minor but the BFA’s all we got for majors. Just FYI. Anyway, the inclusion or exclusion of that F in your degree abbreviation is going to denote the volume of curricular theatre work you do. In admissions, we say it’s about an 80/20 split. 80% Theatre School classes and 20% liberal studies classes. In a BA program, that split is going to be slightly closer to even. In addition, the BFA is more focused in a particular field. For instance, the BFA in Acting focuses nearly all of its curriculum in acting related classes with the same being said for the BFA in Lighting Design, Sound Design, Playwriting, etc. You get the picture. The BA is going to have a much broader scope of curriculum. You might have the option to take a lot of classes in a variety of different branches of the theatre. That presents one of the advantages of a BA: it is more flexible and if you want to have a broader education in theatre that might be the option for you. It all depends on the college theatre experience you want to have! 

I’m very happy with choosing the conservatory path because I knew I wanted to have a very focused, pre-professional education in acting and TTS has given me just that. One of the best things about it is that it is a combination of abstract and technical. I am taking a movement class right now that is focused in the Michael Chekhov acting technique which is based on how we move our energy around on stage and how we can use the dynamics of our body and energy to great effect on stage. I’m also taking an audition technique class where we do mock auditions and learn in a very technical sense how to best audition for professional productions. Both are essential to a theatre artist, but very different in terms of how they fit into the actor’s toolbox. 

So you’ll have to decide which path is for you. As we all know, many very important theatre artists come from very different educational backgrounds and some from none at all but, in my opinion, having the hunger to learn the craft is the most important part. 


Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week: 

Some Blur for you this week. This one always gets stuck in my head for a good couple days after I hear it or think about it. Enjoy. 

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Vincentian!

It seems as if when many people look at DePaul, they think religious. Sure, we are the largest Catholic university in the United States and yes, being Vincentian is one of our core pillars, but hearing these words should not steer away any student from DePaul. There is more to religion than going to church and that idea is embraced at DePaul.

First of all, the Vincentian order was founded along the ideals of St. Vincent DePaul. Vinny dedicated himself to the poor in France, teaching them, feeding them, and telling them about Catholicism.

Tying this to DePaul, the university was founded to allow the marginalized in Lincoln Park, which used to be a very poor neighborhood, to get a quality education. Even today, education is a top priority of the university. That is why professors, not TA's, teach almost every class at DePaul.

DePaul also embraces the idea of doing community service and understanding what is happening in our local community. Many of our classes are geared toward understanding realities of society. There is also a plethora of volunteer opportunities and service trips that you can go on through DePaul.

You should not look at DePaul's religious identity as a negative aspect. The effects are extremely positive for every DePaul student. This creates a positive, effective environment for any college student to learn.

This One's for the High School Juniors! It's Your Turn Now.

​By now, most of the visitors we have been getting at the admissions office at The Theatre School are already admitted students or current juniors in high school since admissions decisions for this coming year have already come out. As such, I thought I’d throw out some advice for those current juniors, rising seniors, in high school who are interested in applying to The Theatre School. 

One of the things many people don’t immediately know about being a student at The Theatre School is that we still do have to complete Liberal Studies courses outside of TTS. These are things like the writing seminar WRD 104 and quantitative reasoning LSP 120. In addition to those classes, there are a certain amount of electives that can be satisfied in more diverse ways. You have a history requirement and a science requirement as well as a few others. Never fear, though. The general understanding is that, as a TTS student, if you take at least one Liberal Studies course outside of TTS each quarter then you will be able to complete those credits no problem. That being said, one of the best things you can do is take as many AP or IB or other college courses in high school so that you can get transfer credit. I was able to do this and, because of it, I have been able to take a lot of classes that were not required but simply interested me. Credit from high school transferring isn’t guaranteed but it’s absolutely worth it if it does end up applying. You’ll be able to individualize your college experience so much more. 

In terms of preparing to apply to The Theatre School specifically, now is the time to start searching for a monologue for your audition or putting together a portfolio for your interview. If you’re auditioning for the Acting major, it’s important that your two-minute contemporary monologue is as familiar to you as any monologue has ever been. You want it to mean a great deal to you and show off who YOU are as an individual artist. If you really, truly care about the piece you’re doing and do the requisite work to prepare it, then you’ll have a great audition no matter what. For those interviewing for the design/tech majors, you want to start compiling those portfolios of not only work that applies specifically to the given area of design but also includes your artistic endeavors in other areas. Are you a photographer? Do you paint? Or maybe build sculptures out of toothpicks? Include that stuff! That’s the kind of stuff that really shows who you are. Theatre Studies interview? You want to start thinking about that writing sample. What inspires you about theatre? Why do you want to live in it? Where do you see it going? Those are the kind of things you can keep in mind as you are applying to not only The Theatre School, but also any other theatre major around the country. They’re the most important questions a theatre artist must ask her or himself. 

It may seem early, but you can never be too prepared for an audition or interview! And you should definitely make the time to come visit us this summer and see what you think of the building. It’s good to have an idea of the place you’ll be spending four years before you apply. 


Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week: 

This week’s Hot Track is courtesy of my great friend Addi, who will be joining us as a Blue Demon this fall! She introduced me to this up-and-coming band from Ridgewood, New Jersey. It’s perfect spring, driving-around music. Hope you enjoy! 

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My Service Trip to Alabama

This spring break I participated in my second Service Immersion trip with DePaul. Both times I attended these trips, I was blown away by the amount that I learned and the experiences I had. For this Spring Break, I went to Montgomery, Alabama. The theme was Civil Rights.

Firstly, I had never been to the south before so I was initially enticed to attend the trip to gain a new experience about life in the south and how topics such as discrimination and religion affect the present time.  Learning about Civil Rights in the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement was also something that I was extremely interested in.

Once we got to our service and living site, I was amazed. We stayed at Resurrection School, which was a private catholic school. Compared to my previous trip, we had beds to sleep on. That alone was enough to make me happy after a thirteen hour bus ride. We did a lot of service at the school such working with the kids, assisting the teachers, and helping Doyle, the school custodian.

We went to many museums and took many tours of colleges, nonprofit organizations and different cities. One of my favorite events was the peace dinner that we attended, which was hosted by the priest of the school. Here we met many past and current community activists. We even met Dr. King’s barber!

For me, it was important that what I learned I would be able to bring back to my community and I know that, through sharing my experiences, I will be able to do this. It is hard to explain these experiences, especially in a blog post. The effect that they have had on me is immense and I encourage all students to take advantage of them.


5 Things to Do over Spring Break

You are given a week of freedom. What are you to do during that week? This is a list of five options I would recommend to you.

1. Go on a Service Trip

DePaul offers many service immersion trips that you can do over Spring Break. I have gone on two of them and they have been awesome trips that I would recommend to anyone.

2. Go home and visit your family

It is great to spend a week at home with you family and friends. Spring Break is a break so you should take a load off and do something that will give you the chance to relax and enjoy yourself.

3. Go spend a week at one of your friends schools

Not all schools have the same Spring Break as DePaul does. If you do have some friends at different colleges, it is a good opportunity to go visit them. There you can hang out with them, maybe sneak in to one of their classes as well as check out a different university.

4. Stay in Chicago

Sometimes a staycation is all you need to relax. If you stay at DePaul, you can relax, maybe get some spring cleaning done and rejuvenate yourself for Spring Quarter.

5. Vacation

SPRING BREAK!!! If you are a person that wants to go to Florida, Cancun, anywhere that has been in a Spring Break movie, go do it. Whether it be on land or on a cruise, make your Spring Break your Spring Break.

I Think the Library Is Almost Full...

It's 2:00 in the morning on Sunday (I guess now Monday) March 17th.  Today a lot of us will start finals week.  This is my 8th finals week at DePaul and every one of them gets a little more intense.  Before now I've always tried to avoid the library during finals week because it has seemed so stressful in there, but it's been pretty nice to spend most of the day here.  I can take a break from studying and walk around to chat with friends and other people that I don't see very often.  It's great.  The first floor of the library was renovated this past year and it's a whole new world.  It's perfect because if you need a really quite place to study then that is available upstairs, but there's also space to chat with friend or group members and not feel bad about disturbing the people around you.   

The pictures below are just the first floor, but it's this busy on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors.  I creeped so hard so that you could all see the real life of the library.  I'm no photographer so I apologize for the horrible lighting.  You should know that there's some real nice space in the JTR (the John T. Richardson library) that doesn't have fluorescent lighting. 

There's a ton of white board space in the library. There are walls of white board, moving white boards, and personal white boards. And you can rent out markers. It's awesome.
Sanna and Delaney "studying hard" for their organic II exam. But no really, they were working hard.

 


Discover Vs. Explore Chicago

First-year students get to choose to enroll in Discover Chicago or Explore Chicago. Both classes teach new students about university life, resources at DePaul, and how to be a financially successful student. I remember back in the day, or 7 months ago, when I had to choose between these two classes. Both courses have many class options ranging from underground music, Irish culture, AIDS awareness, poetry, jazz, ect..

If you’re as eager as I was to get started at DePaul, you might want to check out Discover Chicago. These classes are usually smaller (about 22 students) and you get to move in one week before the official start of Autumn Quarter.  With Discover, students get to be immersed in the city and get a feel for the campus before all other classes begin. For me, immersion week was the best! It is easy to bond with classmates even if you're as awkward as I am because the excursion are enjoyable and the class size is small. I even met my current best lady friend in my class and we are getting an apartment this summer! My Discover Jazz class wandered throughout the city every single day and enjoyed the sights. We went to museums, parks, the lake, and they bought us all Panera which was a plus. I’ve never learned so much about the city and I’ve been living 30 minutes away from it my whole life. 

Check out this link to decide if Discover or Explore is right for you:

Some Ideas for a Solid Visit to DePaul and Chicago

Ah, finally. The weather has decided to relent ever so slightly and give us Chicago residents highs in the balmy 40s. You know what that means? All you prospective DePaulians out there should come visit us! Yes, that’s right. Here comes my guide on how to best visit our fine institution and enjoy a little taste of the city as well. I’ll preface this by saying that a majority of my guide will be food-based. Hope that’s OK with all of you.

Any who, first thing you should do is schedule your visit. If you’re a junior or senior in high school, you most likely have a couple excused absences with which to visit colleges? Use at least one of them on us! If you can, make a weekend of it! Come up here on a Saturday and schedule your visit for the Monday thereafter. That way you can spend a good chunk feeling out the city and seeing the sights. If I were doing it all over again, I’d arrive on Saturday in the early afternoon and catch a show at the Steppenwolf that evening. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, they always have a production worth seeing. But before the show, I’d grab dinner at Pequod’s at Clybourn and Webster. My absolute favorite pizza in the city and a great place to watch a Blackhawks game if the stars align and there’s one on that night. On Sunday, I would go check out the Bean in Millennium Park. Totally cliché and touristy but entirely necessary. You then have an entire day to choose your own adventure. You could go to the Skydeck at the Willis Tower, go to the museums or the Art Institute, catch an artsy flick at the Gene Siskel Film Center, or shop on Michigan Avenue. The city is your oyster. If I were you, I’d hop over to Wicker Park at some point and browse through the shops over there. In particular, you should spend a good long while in Myopic Books, one of the best bookstores I’ve ever encountered anywhere. That evening, dinner could be at Topo Gigio in Old Town if Italian is striking your fancy or Longman & Eagle in Logan Square if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous. They have a unique take on classic American dishes and a wonderful atmosphere that will show you a side of the city you probably wouldn’t see if you stuck to the beaten path. Pay us a visit the next day and grab a classic Chicago dog at Chicago’s Dog House on Fullerton and no one could deny that you will have had a pretty stellar introduction to our fair city.

Visiting colleges is a very exciting time for someone in the latter stages of high school and can make for some great travel memories. Just remember to try to take in a bit of whatever town or city the school you are visiting inhabits while you’re there. It could be your home away from home for the next four years.

Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:

Spring always gets me in the mood for a road trip and here’s the song that will be the first one pouring out of my speakers when I inevitably hit the road sometime this spring or summer. Come on Spring, just get here! I know you can do it!



Visit Days at DePaul

As the weather starts to cool down, I can almost feel the excitement that comes with the beginning of the school year. The nervous, excited faces of new freshmen will soon inject a bit of excitement into the campus and remind everyone that these are the best times of our lives. The freshman awe quickly passes as students get familiar with the campus and begin to make new friends and create their own memories.

As soon as the school year begins, the whole campus buzzes with excitement. The first events of the year are the Fall Visit Days, held for prospective students to give them an introductory look at DePaul. This is the first time many students have a chance to see the campus, and it is an experience that can make or break the college search.

My senior year of high school, the visit to DePaul left me astounded by the seemingly massive college atmosphere. The day starts off with an information session from the Dean, where she highlights admission procedures. There are student volunteers all over the Student Center to answer questions and offer their own insights to what makes up the “DePaul experience”.

The tour was my favorite part, although I’m sure that’s nearly always the case for high school students. My guide was an enthusiastic political science major that gave me a ton of personalized information about my own program and really got me excited about DePaul. After the tour we separated into “major interest sessions”, where I actually got to talk with one of my future professors about the political science program.


Everything about that day, proved that this was where I belonged. I applied to DePaul that same day. This visit defined my college search. I definitely encourage anyone interested in DePaul to come to one of these days and have the “DePaul experience” for your selves! 

The Quarter System: Advantages and Disadvantages

Unlike most schools, DePaul runs on a quarter system. This means instead of two fifteen week semesters we have four ten week quarters (don't worry you're not required to be in school all year round. The Summer Quarter is optional). Personally, I LOVE the quarter system. But some people are not big fans. Here's why:

The quarter system leaves absolutely NO time to procrastinate, which is very VERY helpful for me (and probably the majority of us) who love to do so. There is no syllabus week, no time where you sit and just do nothing. Now granted, you may get out of class a couple minutes early the first week, but you will not be able to skip the class. The first day you sit down, you go over the syllabus for a few minutes and then jump right into the lesson. Most likely, you probably will have homework due the next class. But don't worry! It's not too hard. In fact, everyone that I talk to loves it.

Now one of the big points about the quarter system is how it affects the class/year schedule. First, there are (with some exceptions like science and foreign language and Discover/Explore classes) NO Friday classes at DePaul. Three day weekends every week is quite the nice bonus to DePaul! Also, we have a six week Winter Break! This gives students time to take additional classes, study abroad, work, or travel. It seems like a long time but it's a great break from the trials and tribulations of the college life.

Another advantage is that if you don't like the class, it's only ten weeks. For example, when it is midterms for us it feels like we just started school! If I were in a class that I absolutely hated, I could be optimistic and say, "Only five more weeks!"

Now, some people complain about the quarter system. Their main argument is that there is not enough time to thoroughly cover all the material for the class. But my counterargument is that it forces professors to get to the point. There's no busy work or time for fluff. We get the education about the course we need and leave. In my opinion, it's a great thing!

With that, I'm going to leave you with not-so-little Maru and his favorite activity - jumping in boxes!