I did not have a normal freshman year experience in Lincoln Park as many other students did. I was one of the few handfuls of people who chose to dorm in the loop at the University Center (UC). Not many people know that there is housing in the loop for DePaul students but I saw it as an option and finding out it was so close to the business school made me want to live there my freshman year. The University Center also houses Robert Morris University, Columbia College University and Roosevelt University students, so it’s an interesting way to dorm your first year of college.
The UC is very different from any Lincoln Park residence hall. It is a skyscraper, has laundry, a small gym, and good food all within the building. Also living in the heart of the city made it so much easier for me to explore Chicago. There are so many cool places around the UC and there is such easy access to all the train lines.
Also with the UC being a skyscraper, you can possibly have a great view depending on your floor. My roommate and I had a great view of the lake if you peaked your head out of the window enough. Living so close to the lake was also one of my favorite things about living there. The lakefront trail was less than a mile away and I could go for a short run to the museum campus with a beautiful view.
Although it sometimes feels like I missed out on the “normal” freshman year of a DePaul student I’m glad I got a different experience because I was able to see a lot of different things being in the loop that others didn’t. I’m more familiar with downtown than I thought I would be.
Getting your own apartment is one of the most grown-up things that happen during your college years. I know everyone wants to grow up, get away from their parents and do things themselves, but having your own place is a lot more responsibility than I ever thought I could handle.
If you thought you missed your mom’s home cooked meals when you were in the dorms, you were very wrong. Coming home after a long day of classes and having to figure out what you want to eat is one of the most stressful things. Of course, the possibilities are endless compared to the stu food, but who has the time to make food? You’ll most likely end up popping some frozen food in the oven or make some pasta. Also, don’t forget you have to go grocery shopping about every week. Where’s the best place to buy groceries ? What groceries do you need? What won’t go bad fast? Which brand is the best? Is $2.49 too much for strawberries?
I usually don’t mind cleaning, but there is so much more to clean and so many other housekeeping things that need to be done than I thought. Dust accumulates dramatically in my apartment and sweeping and mopping have become an everyday ritual. There are always dishes to be washed and put away, bathrooms that need cleaning, and tons of laundry to be done. I finally understand how much my mom does to keep our house put together.
The good thing is that I have finally become super aware of the value of a dollar (my parents have waited 20 years for this day). Having the amount of rent in mind along with having to pay bills for utilities has made well aware of the amount of money I have to put away for necessities.
Although an apartment is an absurd amount of work, it becomes a place that you can make your (and your roommates’) own. You can add the little things that make it cozy enough for a place you and your friends can kick it. My first apartment is making me realize how fast I’m growing up and is definitely preparing me for more adult responsibilities I will have in the future.