Articles by Ruth Hogle

String Chamber Music

Ruth Hogle  /  05/24/2015  /  Posted in: Academics, Life in Chicago, Navigating DePaul  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

As my last few weeks of DePaul are quickly passing by, I have a couple more performances to look forward to. This week, I will be performing with the DePaul Symphony Orchestra in Symphony Center for the final time. The week after that, I will be performing in the string chamber showcase with my quartet, which will officially be my last performance at DePaul University. In honor of my final performance being one in a chamber group, I will talk about my chamber experience here and how that has been one of my favorite things about being a music student at DePaul.

For my first quarter of freshman year, I signed up for chamber music, remembering how much I enjoyed performing in smaller ensembles in high school. There ended up being shortage of cellists that year, and I ended up being placed in a string quartet with three graduate students that first quarter. Graduate students! It was a huge learning opportunity for me and was also incredibly overwhelming. To think that I am still younger than those players were when they played with me is pretty amusing to me. It was really great to work with such advanced, dedicated musicians, even though it was terrifying as a little freshman.

After that quarter, I played in a handful of other traditional string quartets, multiple trios and quintets with clarinetists, a trio with violin and piano, and I am now in a cello quartet (with two cellos, violin, and viola).

Something that I have learned from my experiences is that each group has its own personality and way of doing things. I have been in some intense groups that dedicate a lot of time and focus to the group. I've sat down with chamber groups for the first time, and we have all already listened to the piece and practiced our parts. I have also been in groups where we are still sight reading the piece in our coachings (oops!)! I have worked with people who have very particular ways of rehearsing and essentially run our rehearsals. I've also been part of groups in which we are all very casual and each have musical ideas to say and opinions to share, amidst the jokes and catching up about life.

In addition to that, who you have as a coach makes a difference. I have greatly enjoyed having coaches who play different instruments than I do. I have been coached by multiple clarinetists, pianists, violinists, and cellists. Each coach has their own way of doing things. Some have us run a movement each time we meet (which is usually every week for an hour) and make notes in their score for us to read later. Others have us go section by section and break everything down in a meticulous manner. Some coaches really emphasize the musicality and communication of the ensemble, and others let that be understood and work on the balance and technical aspects of playing together. Each time, I have learned something more about the music I am playing and how to be a successful performer in a group.

I spent two quarters in the same piano, violin, cello trio last year, which was the first time I stayed with the same group, and that was an extremely valuable experience for me. While I love having the opportunity to play with so many different people, having a sense of comfort with one another really brought our collective music-making abilities to the next level. We were also playing one of my favorite pieces, the Brahms Trio No. 1, Op. 8 in B Major. So gorgeous!

My chamber group this quarter has been one of the most enjoyable, as I am good friends with everyone in the group and enjoy working with them. We are able to have fun during rehearsal and be productive, since we all have a good amount of chamber experience. I am very excited to perform in the DePaul Concert Hall with them in a couple weeks for the string chamber showcase!

And my favorite part of performing with chamber groups? Getting to dress up in something other than my black pants and top that I wear for orchestra concerts!! It's always enjoyable to coordinate and get creative with different colors, as I believe the visual presentation is also very important in a performance. So that is something I've already carefully thought about for my final performance at DePaul!

The Ray Meyer Fitness Center

Ruth Hogle  /  05/20/2015  /  Posted in: Life in Chicago, Navigating DePaul, Student Life  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

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!

Late Nights in the SOM

Ruth Hogle  /  05/05/2015  /  Posted in: Life in Chicago, Navigating DePaul, Student Life  /  Twitter  /  Facebook
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!

Chicago: Feeding Your Shopping Addiction

Ruth Hogle  /  04/28/2015  /  Posted in: Life in Chicago  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

Now that my recital is over, I have been able to explore the city and all the amazing things it offers a bit this past week. And this weekend, I did one of my favorite activities: shopping! 

Whether you're not that into it or are a shopaholic, it's helpful to know where some major shopping areas are, so I'll share about the stores I usually go to when I need a pair of shoes, a table, or a jacket.

North State Street​ (Off the Monroe red line​ stop):

Nordstrom Rack: If you are looking for classier, slightly more expensive clothing, go to The Rack. They have a great selection of accessories, and casual and fancy dress for men and women.

H&M: This is my favorite store! I view it as sort of an older version of Forever 21 with slightly better quality. There are a variety of styles of clothing sold in the store for both men and women. My favorite thing about the store? Their super cool chandelier!

Payless Shoesource: I am obsessed with this place! I have gotten multiple pairs of flats, heels, and sandals here. If you are looking for affordable shoes, go here. 

There is a Ross, TJ Maxx, and a Target store right around State Street as well with great prices and products!

Water Tower Place​ (Off the Chicago red line​ stop):

Macy's: This Macy's store, as well as the one off of State Street (check that out when you're hitting up the other State Street stores!), is beautiful! I highly recommend going to both Macy's stores during the winter because they put up beautiful Christmas decorations and have a giant Christmas tree inside, in a dining area called The Walnut Room. ​

​​Forever 21: While I have recently become enamored with H&M, Forever 21 is a great store for younger women- especially college students! They offer a great variety of styles of clothing, and the store inside this mall is two floors of fashion heaven. 

Marbles: The Brain Store: If you are tired of looking at so much clothing, check out this super cool store! They have a great variety of interesting games and toys that work your mind as well as your hands. The employees are super friendly and love to show you things. I just bought a complicated puzzle of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" that I cannot wait to start! 

The LEGO Store: Another fun place to go is this big LEGO store in the mall. It is full of different kits and huge figurines made up of thousands of Legos, making it a neat place in which you can explore and embrace your inner kid!​

Thrift Stores:

Plato's Closet: If you are looking for cheaper options and are perfectly fine with wearing second-hand clothing, I highly recommend all three of these stores. There is a Plato's Closet off Broadway Street that has so much clothing, you could spend hours going through each section (trust me- I have!). I actually got my dress for my sophomore recital there. ​

Crossroads Trading Co.: Crossroads is a slightly more expensive used clothing store with very fashionable, cute clothing for both men and women. My boyfriend and I stumbled upon this store one day and found so many great things for both of us! ​

Salvation Army: There is a large Salvation Army just a short walk away from campus, and it is full of excellent deals! I am not even exaggerating when I say that I got a designer blazer for $.50 because of a huge sale they were having once! They also have great used furniture, dish ware, decorations, and appliances that are perfect for college students who are furnishing their first apartments. ​

So if you want to explore all the retail options the city has to offer, start with these! But prepare yourself to be intensely sore, tired, and hungry after! Once you are at that point, you should check out my posts about junk food ​in Chicago! 

Teaching with El Sistema

Ruth Hogle  /  04/13/2015  /  Posted in: Life in Chicago, Jobs and Internships, Student Life  /  Twitter  /  Facebook
It has been a great start to my final quarter of college: I had a fantastic Easter with my family in Michigan, and this past week, I started a new teaching job! While I love working in the DePaul Music Admissions office dearly, teaching cello with El Sistema​ programs is my passion in life. 

In case you are unfamiliar with the El Sistema movement and have not read some of my earlier posts, El Sistema is an educational methodology centered around social empowerment through music. The movement began in Venezuela in 1975 by a man named Jose Antonio Abreu​; he started programs around Venezuela that provided kids with free music education, five to six days a week, keeping them off the streets and in a loving community. This philosophy is centered around the belief that every child deserves an equal opportunity to grow as a person, using music to encourage that growth. 

This is actually the third program I have been honored to work with in the past three years. I began volunteering with The People’s Music School Youth Orchestra​ program my freshman year of college. How did I find out about this opportunity? I saw a poster hanging on the DePaul School of Music bulletin board! I am forever grateful for that bulletin board. I taught cello for the first time with that program, leading group and private lessons with students who ranged from ages 8 to 14.

I worked with The People’s Music School (TPMS) until the end of my Junior year and then went on my summer adventure to Trujillo, Peru where I worked with a non-profit organization called VivePeru​, teaching cello, and also taught cello with an El Sistema program there called Arpegio Peru. My experiences teaching with Vive Peru and with Arpegio Peru were both phenomenal. With Vive, I taught lessons at the Trujillo Conservatory, working with Peruvian students ranging from ages 22 to 27. It was so amazing to not only work with students who were older than I was, but I also taught my lessons completely in Spanish! Working with Arpegio gave me a glimpse into the South American El Sistema experience, one that is characterized by deep friendship, great joy, and intense love for music. It was incredible to travel to the nearby city of Chimbote each weekend to teach kids and adults.

I returned to Chicago this Fall, extremely excited to enroll in North Park University’s Certificate in Music for Social Change program, a year-long study of El Sistema history, philosophy, and principles. I am currently finishing this course and have been learning so much about El Sistema because of it! ​

As of last week, I am teaching with an El Sistema program headed by Ravinia, as part of their “Reach, Teach, Play​” program. I am teaching once a week in the Austin neighborhood, which is a very different community than Logan Square, the neighborhood where I taught with TPMS.

No matter where I have taught- from Peru to Chicago- I see energy, eagerness, and passion in each student. All of them crave to learn more and be the best they can be. Although I am teaching them musical and social skills, I know that I have so much to learn from each of my students. I love being immersed in a very different culture and learning about my students’ stories and dreams. I am excited to grow more as a teacher in the next couple of months before I graduate, and I am also looking forward to what I will learn in the years to come because of El Sistema!

Chicago: Junk Food Heaven

Ruth Hogle  /  03/31/2015  /  Posted in: Life in Chicago, Student Life  /  Twitter  /  Facebook
Something beautiful about being a DePaul student is that, no matter the season, there is always delicious junk food to feed your soul. Especially when it is cold or rainy out and there seems to be nothing better to do; it's a great idea to go get delicious food with friends. Here are some of my favorite places: 

Insomnia Cookies 
This place is a beautiful creation. Insomnia Cookies​ sells amazingly huge homemade cookies that are incredibly delicious. You can have milk with your cookie order, or you can turn your cookie into a "cookiewich", if you want a cookie-ice cream sandwich! This is a great place to go after a concert at the School of Music, as it is only a few blocks away from school. They are open until 3am and also deliver, so go cookie crazy!

Vapiano ​is a classy, German-style restaurant full of delicious pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. It has a unique system: once you walk in, you are given a card that you use every time you order something at their various stations from personal chefs. You then pay at the end of your time in the restaurant. With a modern, warm vibe, Vapiano is a classier alternative to Papa John's or Domino's. They are usually open until 1am, so it is the perfect place to go for a long, late-night dinner.

Garrett Popcorn
Garrett Popcorn​ is a classic place that I highly recommend you visit once you arrive in Chicago. I have only been to the ones downtown, so it is a longer trek from campus. But if you are out shopping or seeing sights, I highly recommend this savory snack! It really is the best popcorn I have ever tasted. Flavors sold include regular butter popcorn, cheese popcorn, chocolate-covered caramel corn, and regular caramel corn. Caramel corn is my all-time favorite! 

Lou Malnati's 
If you want a classic, Chicago-style deep dish pizza, go to Lou Malnati's​! This restaurant has received awards and recognition for its outstanding pizza. There are many different options on the menu- they have even gluten free crust! Lou Malnati's is only a fifteen-minute walk away from DePaul, so it's a great way to satisfy a deep dish/regular pizza craving. 

So whether you want a midnight meal with friends or some snacks as you watch a movie at home, check out these awesome places!

Three Things I Wish I Had Known as a DePaul Freshman

Ruth Hogle  /  03/16/2015  /  Posted in: Academics, Life in Chicago, Navigating DePaul, Student Life  /  Twitter  /  Facebook
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! 

The Dreamy DePaul Dorms

Ruth Hogle  /  02/10/2015  /  Posted in: Housing, Student Life, Navigating DePaul, Life in Chicago  /  Twitter  /  Facebook
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!

Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park

Ruth Hogle  /  01/21/2015  /  Posted in: Life in Chicago, Student Life, Miscellaneous  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

Something I love about winter is the fun dates. For those going on their very first one, or the long-time couples who have to make a point to go out and do something new, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the winter season. Instead of being discouraged by the negative-degree temperatures and slick sidewalks that could easily be the death of anyone, we Chicago inhabitants try to embrace the snow, ice, and sharp cold. So what is the best way to surround yourself with all these aspects of winter- the snow, the ice, the slick surfaces that will most likely cause you to slip and fall? Ice skating!

My boyfriend and I made it a goal to go ice skating at Millennium Park as soon as we got back from Winter Break. However, the quarter started in full speed, and it just felt like too much effort to put on an extra pair of tights under my jeans, find my thick gloves and skates in the back of my closet, and take that oh-so-long twenty-minute train ride to The Bean so we could skate right in front of it. So finally, here we were this past Sunday. We had both finished all our work for the weekend, and the temperature was almost 40 degrees. It was time. I discovered my skates were not actually as far back in my closet as I had thought, and I found mittens that would get the job done. Before we left for the park, my roommates reminded me about the new ice skating rink set up directly behind Millennium Park. It is called the Maggie Daley Plaza Silver Ribbon, and it is the same cost as The Bean rink. I had been to the other rink before, and skating around a winding course seemed to be different and interesting to both of us, so off to the Silver Ribbon we went!

We arrived just in time to get in line for my boyfriend’s skates and watch the Zamboni sweep the ice for its last twenty minutes. We stood, watching The Ribbon become transformed into a shimmering, sleek river of ice. We took plenty of selfies together to pass the time. Once my boyfriend rented his $12 skates, we picked out a locker, got a legitimate picture of us in our skates (and no, we did NOT use a selfie pole!) and set out to the ice. So you know how I said earlier that the zamboni had transformed the ice rink into this flowing, idyllic river? I took those thoughts back as I stepped onto the raging river of doom for the first time. I had not skated in over a year, and I forgot how terrified I feel wearing sharp footwear on intentionally slippery paths, while being surrounded by other people with equally sharp footwear and crazed looks in their eyes as they speed past you. I clung to the wall the first lap around and didn’t even last the second lap- I ended up taking a break halfway through, sitting off to the side of the rink in conveniently-located picnic benches that were most likely placed there for the tired, trembling, terrified, and totally scarred. I watched plenty of children and adults fall. The toddlers bawling their eyes out made me realize that that would be my future if I were to fall on that ice.

I let my boyfriend do a lap by himself (of course, he was thoroughly enjoying himself!), and he persuaded me to give it a try, stop clinging his hand (or the wall...or both!) and skate faster. I actually ended up enjoying myself, and I skated for another thirty minutes! And did I fall? No. Did he? Oh, yes. Victory! All in all, I had a fantastic time. He and I both agreed that we loved the rink layout; it was a great design because it keeps the traffic flow of crazed skaters going, it isn’t extremely boring, and it gives you different views of the city as you softly glide through each turn.

We returned to our locker, which held stable, non-life-threatening shoes, and made our way back to the El. The walk was not far and was enjoyable, especially the first time around. And then we got to the platform, went past the turnstiles, and were waiting for the train when my boyfriend realized that he had forgotten to exchange the locker card he had been given back for his ID! So he ran back to the rink as I slowly followed, and we reunited at the rink entrance. We finally set out for Lincoln Park, where we had pizza and a movie calling our names.

Fall at DePaul!

Ruth Hogle  /  10/31/2014  /  Posted in: Navigating DePaul, Life in Chicago, Student Life  /  Twitter  /  Facebook
​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’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!