Winter break for DePaul students is the best. This year the break is 7 weeks long instead of 6 weeks until we start our Winter quarter. We have so much time off to do whatever we’d like. Some people take trips, relax or work. With the great opportunities that DePaul has, we are allowed to take classes during the break.
Winter Intersession classes are a great way to open up your Winter class schedule. The way it works is that you can take a class during the intersession and it will count toward your Winter quarter which also means that the cost for your Winter quarter tuition is lumped in with the intersession costs. There are usually a very limited amount of classes available during the intersession but the list of intersession classes comes out at the same time as the registration period for Winter quarter so it’s always easy to plan out what classes you need to take.
These classes are very condensed over a few weeks depending on the class. Some can be from 9 am to 5 pm for a few days a week it might seem overwhelming but sometimes it’s easier to retain things if you were lectured on them a day before. Intersession classes also don’t take up the entire break, at most they can take up one-third of your 7-week break so you still have time to take a vacation and relax from school if you wanted to.
I highly recommend looking into intersession classes. You can also keep yourself busy during the break with a class and you can have a more relaxing Winter quarter with one less class.
DePaul has a work hard and study hard culture and I really appreciate that. A majority of the students I meet work while going to school. Whether it’s an internship, retail job, or a babysitting gig, many students here find the balance between studying and doing homework for all their classes and earning some money on the side so they can enjoy the things they like.
I didn’t start working any real part-time/seasonal jobs until my freshman year at DePaul which I consider a little late because some of my friends and family have been working since early high school. My parents never encouraged me to work because they wanted me to focus entirely on school but I find joy in the independence of working for money that I can spend on whatever I want. I also think I do better in school when I’m working.
Seasonal jobs are a great advantage to DePaul students. Especially now that we have a 6-week break, working during the holiday season at retail stores is a great way to get in a lot of hours and make a lot of extra money for the holiday season whether you are staying in Chicago or are going back home- so many employers are looking to hire during our Winter break.
Many employers understand the importance of school when they have college students as employees. I love working at DePaul because they are definitely the most understanding employer I have ever had and are always flexible when I have school work or events. Many of the on-campus jobs allow you downtime to do your homework and my favorite part is that depending on the department, you build good connections with professors and advisors.
It’s week 3 of Spring quarter and the common lack of motivation is striking students, especially me. It’s the beginning of April and all my friends are raving about how they are done with school in less than a month and I could not be more excited for summer. Although I love the quarter system, the Spring quarter always gets tough.
It’s kind of a good thing that it still feels like Winter outside because if it was 90 degrees I would be nowhere near the library or any enclosed building. The weather is keeping me still in school mode thankfully. I have been trying to stay away from the cold by staying inside at cozy coffee shops to get my schoolwork done.
The best way to motivate yourself the rest of the school year is to keep a countdown. I’ve had one from the start of this quarter and have been counting down the weeks until Summer. Planning out what I have, week by week, has also kept me organized as I’m drowning in deadlines and papers. Also crossing things off my to-do lists and calendar are a few of the best feelings in the student world.
It’s good to keep in mind that once you work hard to get good grades for your last quarter of the year you can treat yourself to a nice trip during Summer!
I’m really glad that DePaul makes it required for students to take a Chicago course, either Discover or Explore. I took Explore because I didn’t want to end my Summer early and I felt like I was familiar enough with Chicago being from the suburbs. But thinking I was familiar with as much as I could be with Chicago, I went to a lot of places I had never been to with my Explore class. I took Photographing Chicago Landscapes with Thomas Denlinger. I’ve always liked photography and wanted to do more with it so I chose this class as my Explore course and I loved it.
We visited Pilsen, where we did a street art/ graffiti walking tour and went to the National Museum of Mexican Art. We took a lot of pictures of the neighborhood artwork. We also visited Devon street which is an Indian neighborhood, we even had lunch there. In the first week of classes, we went to the Lincoln Park Conservatory where we were able to take a lot of pictures of nature. I made albums of the photos I took during this class and here are some of them.
It’s a good thing that DePaul has this as a required first-year course because many students that go to DePaul are not from the area so it helps them learn more about the city they’re going to school in. It even broadens the Chicago knowledge of those who think they are already familiar with the city like me.
Its midterms week and course cart has opened! How exciting? Everyone is asking each other about what classes to take and who is the “easiest” professor. I love making my schedule and I spend at least an hour every time when making mine because I want to make sure I can handle that schedule for 10 weeks. Here are some things I consider when I’m making my schedule.
Although many people look at ratemyprofessor.com and ask their friends who the “easiest” professor is, it’s important in addition to these sources to look more into picking professors than just this. Ask your friends about the professor's teaching style. Everyone learns differently and this is always my number one concern when picking a professor. So don’t fully think that a professor with a 4.8 overall and 1.8 difficulty will be your type of professor.
I just started taking online classes and I love them. These classes are what you make of them and I enjoy taking them because they allow me to learn at my own pace (along with deadlines) and free up my schedule. Online classes are not for everyone and can take some time getting used to so try one out and see how well you can handle them if you are unsure about them.
It may sound weird but I also consider the weather a lot when picking my classes. I don’t mind waking up early for a class when it’s hot outside, but cannot get out of my warm bed and walk to the train for an 8 am in the cold. So in the winter term, I tend to schedule my classes later in the day and in the spring term, I schedule them earlier so I can be done with my day early and enjoy the rest of my day on the beach.
My last piece of advice would be to make sure you leave time to breathe in your schedule. Don’t take the 5 hardest classes at once. Add at least one fun class per quarter so you don’t completely dread going to your classes.
“Hi, how are you?” “How was your break?” “What did you do?”
It’s the first week back from our six-week long winter break and I have been prepared to answer these same questions about 5 times a day. I’m glad I finally have something to talk about this time. This winter break I spent 10 of my days studying abroad in Switzerland and it was one of my highlights of 2017. I’m going to swiftly go through some of the things that we did on our trip and hopefully convince you to study abroad- or just travel in general.
The first full day we were in Geneva we had a tour at the United Nations in the morning then a meeting with the Ambassador from Costa Rica at the World Trade Organization in the afternoon. I still can’t believe I was at the UN and got to sit at a table with the Costa Rican ambassador with my classmates and hear about what he had to say- he was so personable I could have listened to him talk forever.
The next day we walked to cultural sights of Geneva after we had a morning at the Red Cross Museum. The Sunday we were there was our fun day! It was filled with good food and beautiful views. We went to a chocolate factory to learn about how chocolate was made and of course, we ate a bunch of amazing Swiss chocolate in the end. The chocolate from there was amazing, it melts in your mouth and tastes so clean- if that makes sense. After a morning of chocolate, we went to Gruyere Town which was a small town on a mountain where we had a raclette lunch and explored a castle.
Monday we had a visit at UNICEF which was one of my favorite visits. We met with a woman who knew so much about UNICEF and answered everything and more we asked. She was so knowledgeable about what she did and worked her way through a unique route to get to where she is now.
On Tuesday we moved from Geneva to Zurich, a larger more city-like area of Switzerland and along the way, we stopped at another castle and did some Christmas shopping in one of the many Christmas markets we had seen. On the second half of our trip, we did a lot of visits: we went to a college in Zurich, the World Economic Forum, WWF, and ROPKA. Our professor made sure we visited a good range of organizations, for example from a grassroots one (ROPKA) to WWF (such a well-known one).
Although it seems like what I enjoyed most about my study abroad trip was the food, I enjoyed every single educational visit we had more than anything. I have experienced so many different types of organizations of the nonprofit world and love the memories and knowledge I have gained from the visits we did and people we met.
I highly recommend studying abroad, especially this program if you are a business student and are interested in traveling. It’s good exposure to traveling along with an interactive way to learn about an interesting subject. I’m very glad this trip was my first experience in Europe. My Professor has created an amazing program and has inspired me to continue traveling and exposing myself to more experiences and cultures.
Midterms are brutal, but being done with them is relieving. My biggest motivation during midterms is thinking about all the ways I’m going to treat myself after. The minute I left my last exam I was out running errands and finding ways to recover from the excessive studying I did. I believe everyone should do a little something (or nothing) after a few tough exams. Spoiling yourself is one of the easiest things to do but if you can’t think of anything here are some ways to treat yourself .
Shopping: Retail therapy is real. Who cares if you failed your finance midterm if you look cute in your brand new shoes? It’s hard not to splurge when shopping , but it still is relaxing buying some new clothes or just window shopping after staring at textbooks for 2 weeks straight. I try to avoid shopping for clothes and usually buy myself flowers and some books because I finally have the chance to read something for fun.
Food: Order your favorite food! The best way to spend money is on food. I usually buy a bunch of my favorite snack foods which includes Jewel cookies, Reese’s, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The best way to treat yourself is to literally treat yourself- too bad it never involves anything healthy.
Shut Off Your Brain: Do nothing. After exams is the best time to start a new show to binge watch or stay in the night and watch one of your favorite movies (as you eat your favorite pint of ice cream). Being curled up in bed and not having to use your brain for something intellectual is so relaxing and rewarding.
Friends: After putting off hanging out with your friends to study you need to go out and socialize. Hang out with your friends and try to avoid talking about school. Get away from campus and enjoy some of the cool places Chicago has to offer.
From only one year at college, I have learned more than I ever did in my four years of high school. There are an endless amount of things I have learned but I’m going to highlight some of the most important things I learned my freshman year.
1. Don't stress about keeping up with friends.
You will go days or weeks without texting/snapchatting/ calling or just plain talking to your friends from home sometimes. THAT IS TOTALLY FINE. Actually, it is a good thing. When you and your friends get together the next time you all will have so much to say your conversations will never end.
2. Capture it. Write it.
You’re going to experience some cool things, document them somehow.
3. Do more of what you love.
You’re beginning a new life in a way; more of a life you’ve always wanted. You can be 100% in college. There are no cliques and everyone is who they want to be, so do the things that make you happy because there are no restrictions.
4. Keep an open mind.
This one is simple.
5. Adventure/ Explore!
There is so much to do! Especially being in the city. So go out, get lost and find some cool places. If you don’t know what to do, ask friends about their favorite places to go and check them out yourself.
6. You are more than a grade.
I know that school can be stressful and you will most likely spot me vigorously doing my homework in the library on a Thursday night but don’t stress too much about grades. If you make an effort in class, talk to professors and find study groups you can work with, you will feel a lot more relaxed. It is not healthy to overstress about school- there is more to you than your grades.
I believe that we are always learning which is why my favorite phrase is an Italian saying: “Ancora imparo” which translates to “I am still learning.” Michelangelo proclaimed this when he was 87 years old which is usually a time where a lot of people think they have seen it all and know everything with all the wisdom they have attained. These two words remind me how I can take any experience as an opportunity to learn. College is one great experience and I am still learning things about college and myself and continuously adding to this list.
My name is Richa (pronounced Reach-ah). I’m currently a sophomore at DePaul University double majoring in Accounting and Finance. I was born, but not raised, in Chicago. I’m from a close suburb called Des Plaines- known for being the home of the first-ever McDonald's and an absurd amount of trains. I am more than grateful to be going to DePaul and being able to take advantage of all it has to offer.
I enjoy a vast amount of things but my favorites would include playing basketball, taking pictures, reading (especially poetry ), going to the beach, visiting art museums and galleries, and exploring Chicago. Chicago has been my classroom and in my free time, I always explore the city for its never-ending adventures. The two distinct campuses allow me to grow, mature, and prepare more for the future. I’ll be sharing a lot of these adventures with you through my blog.
I also think music is very important. I have a wide range of preferences and can’t wait to share my love for music with you on this blog.