It’s summer! Is it just me, or did this school year fly by? Three quarters
, forty-eight credits, thirty weeks of classes, six weeks of winter break, and three weeks of finals, finished off with three months of summer break!
As I have already mentioned, I am moving to Washington, D.C. at the end of July for graduate school, so I only have five or six weeks left in Chicago! That part makes me really sad, but I am getting really excited to move, explore a new city, and have a new adventure.
Before I move, I want to do as much in Chicago as I can! Some of the items on my bucket list are kayaking on the Chicago River, ordering the 25 scoop sundae at Margie’s Candies, and having one more beach day with my friends. I also want to work as much as possible. I can’t get a full-time job because I’ll only be here for a few weeks, but I hope to get as many random babysitting jobs as I can. You think Chicago is expensive? Somehow, D.C. is even pricier!
The highlight of my summer, however, will be the 10-day trip to Israel I am going on. It is through a program called Passages and is aimed at college students. We will get to tour a lot of historic Biblical sites and learn a lot about the past and present political state of Israel. Two of my best friends are going, too, and I am so excited to spend that time with them, explore Israel, and grow in my relationship with the Lord.
What are you guys up to this summer? I hope you have a relaxing, exciting summer!
Have I talked about how much I love Broadway in Chicago
? You guys, it seriously is one of my favorite parts about living in the city, and probably one of the things I will miss the most when I move away.
My best friend Lauren also loves Broadway, so we always get tickets together to see whatever show is playing downtown. Most shows do some sort lottery/raffle or cheap ticket deal, and that’s what Lauren and I have taken advantage of. You show up to
the box office the day of the show, and either put your name in the lottery to win $25 tickets to see the show or just buy $25 tickets from the clerk. It depends upon the show and how popular it is. You also have a better chance of winning or scoring tickets if you go on a typically uncrowded day, like Sunday nights. We won $25 tickets to see The Book of Mormon
– so cool!!
Most recently, we had the opportunity to see Rent as it made its 20-year anniversary tour through Chicago. I got Lauren and myself tickets to celebrate her birthday, and it hands down was one of the best shows I have ever seen. The cast was extremely talented, and the show itself it just incredible. We were really lucky to see it, too, as it is a show that tours very rarely!
One of the big items on my bucket list before I move to Washington, D.C. is to win tickets to see Aladdin – do you think I can do it? Wish me luck!
Well, it has arrived. My last quarter of undergrad. That went by so fast! I feel like it was just yesterday that I moved into Munroe Hall
my freshman year and started by first classes as a college student. Now that I have been here for almost four years, I have learned a lot on how to live in Chicago and perform well as a student. Here are some tips!
● Schedule your classes wisely: There are going to be required classes you don’t want to take, but don’t put them off until the end! I did that, and it was one of the worst things I could have done to myself. I am in three classes right now that I hate, and that is not a fun way to close out my undergrad career! Get the classes you dread out of the way so that you can take fun electives your senior year. You will not regret it, I promise.
● Take advantage of your professors’ office hours: Your professors are there because they want to help and teach you. If you don’t understand something or need clarity on a topic, go in and ask! They purposefully block off scheduled time just for their students, so take advantage of it. Not only is it helpful to talk with your professors one-on-one sometimes, but they have the opportunity to get to know you better and see that you are putting effort into their classes. That can really pay off in the end, especially if you are on the cusp of a higher letter grade. Plus, a lot of the professors are super cool, so talking with them is really enjoyable.
● Take advantage of Chicago. Guys, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. There is so much to do!!! Museums, restaurants, parks, sports, shopping, culture, shows...the list is endless. Take time to go exploring! Some of my favorite things? Rush tickets for Broadway shows, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Harold Washington Library, and all of the ice cream places in the city.
Most of all, enjoy your time living in one of the greatest cities in the world!
I think the movie theater is overpriced, kind of grody, and always too crowded. I am patient enough to wait until the movies come out on DVD or Netflix. I rarely go to the movie theater…except for this quarter.
My friends and I have seen four separate movies this quarter in theaters! That’s almost one every other week. For some people, that may be normal, but for me and my friends, it is not. Through this, I actually am learning to love the movie theaters.
First, movies are overpriced. However, the theater near DePaul (Regal Webster Place 11) offers $6.50 Tuesdays, where, as you can probably guess, tickets are only $6.50. That’s almost half price! My friends and I have also become experts in sneaking in snacks in our coats...I know that’s not really allowed, but $9 for popcorn? Really?
Second of all, you can buy tickets ahead at most movie theaters, which is especially handy when the movie you want to go see is a new release or a popular one. The theater on Webster also allows you to reserve your seat ahead of time. So, while the theater may be crowded, you don’t have to worry about not getting a seat next to the people you came with.
Finally, there is something pretty cool about seeing a movie on such a large screen. Plus, reacting along with the crowd adds a whole other level of experience. I still am totally happy renting or streaming a movie in my apartment, but going to the movie theater is growing on me (even with all its grodiness).
Oh, and what movies have I seen? Passengers
, Get Out
, and Hidden Figures
. I recommend all four, especially Hidden Figures
and Get Out
Oh, I am so looking forward to warmer weather. We have been super blessed this winter (this weekend is supposed to be 60 degrees!!!), but I miss being outside in the sun and wearing shorts and Birkenstocks
and sleeping with my window open. My best friend Steph is just as antsy for warm spring weather, and we have a bucket list going of all of the things we want to do this summer to take advantage of the weather!
Hammocking is at the top of the list. We both have hammocks (think ENO brand) and we cannot wait to hang them up at Oz Park
, by the lake, at the beach, on the quad, or really anywhere we can take advantage of.
We also want to go camping somewhere for a weekend! Starved Rock is about an hour and a half southwest of the city, and it would be so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a little bit. I really want to see the stars!
Ice cream of course is on the list. Annette's
, Jeni’s, Oberweis, Bobtail, Margie’s...so many delicious places. Of course, we still get ice cream in the winter, but it is so much better in the summer. Steph’s favorite flavor is Superman and I am a fan of anything with chocolate and peanut butter. Yum!
We also want to explore the beaches more. The Fullerton one is the closest to campus, and Oak Street Beach is fun because it’s right downtown, but I’m sure there are less crowded and more peaceful ones more north and south of us. On Labor Day some friends and I went to the Foster Avenue beach, and it was so nice. It wasn’t touristy and was so much more relaxing. We want to find more like those!
This is just the beginning of our list! I know we still have a few more months of winter, but I am counting down the days until summer. I’m sure you guys are, too!
Breakfast is hands down the best meal of the day. No contest. There are so many options to choose from and if you choose the right thing, breakfast can sometimes fill you up for lunch (bonus!).
As every true Lincoln Park-er, breakfast is best consumed at brunch time. Just a warning though, expect to wait at least 30-45 minutes if you head to grab breakfast at 10:00am on a Saturday morning. It’s worth the wait though, because brunch is amazing. Below are some of my favorite breakfast places I have found in the city these past four years with some recommendations on what to order!
...The OG breakfast place in my heart. I LOVE Toast. It is close to campus and they get your food out to you super fast. It’s pretty small, though, so expect to wait a while for a table during peak hours. They make great omelettes and eggs, which is what I normally order, but friends have said that the stuffed french toast is awesome, too.
● Nookies Too
...Right down the street from Toast, this place rocks. It gets really busy, but the restaurant is pretty large and the service is great. I have gotten the best omelette I have ever had in my life at Nookies Too, which is really saying something (The Smokehouse, hold the mushrooms).
● Batter and Berries
...About a 10 minute walk north from campus, this is a fairly new restaurant that will fill you up for hours. The waiters are all super friendly and engaging and the menu is delicious. They have huge breakfast sandwiches and, from what I’ve heard, delicious french toast (the french toast flight is a fan favorite).
● Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe
...This place is downtown and is the favorite breakfast place of tons of Chicagoans. Plan to wait a long time for a table. You will not regret waiting, though! Their menu is huge, and you can’t go wrong with anything. They are known for their pancakes, though, so keep that in mind!
I could probably list ten more places, but for now check these four out! Your waistline will be a little bigger, but it will be so worth it.
Hi, readers! It is hard to believe that the Christmas season has passed, that it is 2017, and that we are already almost a week into winter quarter. I had a really nice break, and even though it was six weeks long, it still flew by. I went home to Ohio for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the rest of the time was spent in Chicago. I had the dream job of being a full-time nanny for a three-month old baby girl named Cecilia and did a lot of other babysitting on the side. I applied to graduate school, took the GRE
, celebrated my 22nd birthday, went to one of my oldest/best friend’s wedding, and caught up on all of the TV shows that I follow (Grey’s Anatomy and Law & Order SVU
, anybody?). It was a busy, but fruitful, break!
Now that we are on the other side of winter break, the end of my senior year seems so much closer! I graduate in six months! It is exciting and a huge accomplishment, but scary nonetheless. I do not have a lot of control over where I will be post-graduation - it really is dependent upon what graduate school(s) accept me and how much money they give me. Currently, I would love to stay at DePaul or move to Washington, D.C. to attend George Washington University. Stay tuned for more updates on my post-grad life!
I hope everyone is off to a great quarter! Per usual, I have a crazy schedule, but at this point that is what I am used to. I would not be productive if I had an overabundance of free time! I am excited to keep you all updated on my life here in Chicago, through school and nannying and the bitter winter weather!
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past month, you know that the Chicago Cubs are the new World Series champs. It is incredible that the city is still standing!
As you may know, I am from Cleveland
, so I did not get the outcome that I wanted. It was such an exciting and close series, though, that I cannot be too upset about Chicago winning. I mean, it had been SO LONG since they had won and Cleveland just won the NBA title so we’ve had enough winning for the year. We can share the love a little bit - ha!
I watched Game 7 with my roommate, who is a bandwagon Cubs fan. I did not dare go out to watch the game- I think I would have been attacked if all of the Cubs fan heard me cheering for the Tribe! We stayed in and ordered Chinese food and watched the stressful, nail-biting game. I am pretty sure we were both hyperventilating at some points in time.
I have never seen the city so excited after the Cubs won. People were speeding down the streets, honking their horns and waving flags and signs out the windows. Fireworks were going off and the Cubs song was playing everywhere. I have had that gosh darn song stuck in my head for WEEKS and I was not even rooting for the Cubs!
The city is finally starting to calm down after the big win. It has been an exciting few weeks and now it is time for my favorite season: basketball season. Maybe the Cavs
will pull through for us again!
The beginning of the school year has been a crazy one for me! I wrote in my last post about everything I have on plate for this quarter, and it has not disappointed in the busyness it threatened. That’s ok though because it’s my senior year and I have learned to embrace the madness that school brings.
Another cool life change that has happened this year is that I moved! For the past two years, I lived in a studio apartment half a block from campus. It was an incredible location, but it was so expensive and a typical crappy first apartment (slanted floors, a refrigerator that I was taller than, windows that leaked cold air in the winter...I could keep on going). This year, I moved a couple blocks down the street into an apartment with three other girls.
You guys, this apartment is the DREAM. It has a dishwasher, stained glass windows, a fireplace, more than one bathroom, an in-unit washer/dryer, AND is significantly cheaper than my other apartment. Plus, I get to live with three beautiful, awesome, Godly women. How could I say no to that? It’s literally the dream.
I loved living in the dorms my freshman year
and highly recommend it to any incoming freshman, but I also have loved living in an apartment these past few years and getting a space that I can truly make my own. DePaul and Chicago have so much to offer in terms of housing so definitely do your research and look around because you can absolutely find a home that’s right for you!
Can you believe that it is summer? I certainly can’t! This year has absolutely flown by and summer is here, much to the joy of every DePaul student on campus. Finals are over and now I’ll be a *gulp* senior. If you think that this year passed by quickly, it is nothing compared to my first three years of college. It seems like just yesterday I was a freshman moving into the dorms. Now I’m a year away from graduating!
One of the great things about week 10 this year is that it coincided with Memorial Day, which means we had a four-day week. Memorial Day this year was SO nice. Memorial Day, of course, is so much more than a day off of school and work because it is so important and necessary to honor all those who are serving and have served to protect this country.
My friends and I took advantage of the beautiful weather this Memorial Day and spent the day at Oak Street Beach
It was great to take advantage of the awesome Memorial Day weather. That is the beach on the big curve of Lake Shore Drive near the Hancock building. I had never been to that beach, but have always wanted to, and I am so glad we went! The view of the city was so cool and being in the sand and sun next to the lake was relaxing and definitely renewed my energy to tackle the last two weeks of school. We played volleyball, packed a picnic, and enjoyed the sun. It was a wonderful day.
Now that summer is upon us, I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful break! It has been a pleasure this year getting to share my life and experiences with you. Come back next year and check in to see how my senior year is going!
Summer is finally here! I don’t know about you, but I am so excited. The weather in Chicago is typically awful for the majority of the year so it is so nice to spend three months enjoying the outdoors with no schoolwork to be concerned about. Chicago is awesome in the summer!
It is always interesting to hear about people’s summer plans. I have done something different every summer since I’ve started college. After my freshman year, I went back to Ohio and worked part-time. Last year, I stayed in Chicago for the summer and nannyed full-time, which was a super busy job. I really enjoyed staying in the city – I got to take advantage of all the cool things Chicago has to offer in the summer.
This summer, however, I am heading to Ocean City, NJ. As I have written about before, I am really involved with Cru on campus, which is a Christian organization passionate about connecting students to Jesus.
This summer, I am going on a Missions Trip to Ocean City this summer with Cru. I’ll live in Ocean City for 10 weeks, get a job somewhere in Ocean City during the day, and participate in Cru-related activities in the evening. There will be around 100 college students from schools all over the country on Missions, too, and I am so excited to get to meet and know all of these students. I am really looking forward to this summer and to all the adventures it holds.
I hope your summer plans are adventurous and prosperous, too!
One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is explore the different neighborhoods around the city. Did you know there are 77 total neighborhoods? That is a whole lot of places to visit!
Thething I like most about the different neighborhoods is that each neighborhood has its own unique identity and culture. You would get an entirely different experience visiting River North (right near downtown) than you would visiting Lincoln Square (way northwest of the city). Each neighborhood has its own collection of stores, restaurants, and cool places to visit.
Recently, my good friend Jasmine and I drove to Gold Coast, a very affluent and historic neighborhood right near downtown. We wanted to celebrate the end of the quarter and her graduation (she graduated a quarter early!) and she wanted to go the cafe located inside the Restoration Hardware store. I know what you are thinking. A cafe in a Restoration Hardware? That sounds crazy.
You guys, this was one of the most amazing places I have ever been in Chicago. It is four floors of beautifully designed rooms and spaces with an exquisite cafe in the center that has glass ceiling. It was STUNNING. While Jasmine and I waited for our table, we explored the different floors. I had a strong desire to marry someone rich and buy a house and start having babies just so I could afford/buy all of the beautiful furniture in this store. Once we got our table, the food was delicious (unsurprisingly). If you ever get the chance to walk through this store, I highly recommend it. You will never feel so simultaneously amazed and poor in your life, but it is an unforgettable experience. Continue to take advantage of all the cool places this city has to offer!
I love spring when Chicago seems to blossom again. People are less tentative to wear winter coats and wince when going outside, and are more likely to spend time outdoors and enjoy the wonderful spring weather. Not only are the people blossoming in Chicago, but the flowers and trees are, too. Lincoln Park is beautiful during this time of year. I was lucky enough to have my parents come and visit this past weekend and we certainly enjoyed the great weather.
One of my favorite things to do is head east to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory. Both are free and make for a very fun afternoon. My parents and I first went to the zoo and headed straight to our favorite exhibit: the gorillas. They were super active this past weekend and were really entertaining to watch. There was a baby gorilla, too!
Our other favorite animal to see is the giraffe, which we got a really good view of, as you can see in the picture on the side. It was the perfect day to visit the zoo and now that the weather is steadily improving, you can visit, too!
After the zoo, my mom and I headed over to the Lincoln Park Conservatory. It does not take that long to walk through, but is absolutely beautiful. It is filled with any type of plant, fern, or flower you could imagine. I have friends who will bring homework to the conservatory and sit in the midst of the flowers and study. It is so peaceful.
These are only a minuscule amount of the crazy cool and beautiful things we can do in Chicago now that the weather is warming. Make this the time to pack away your winter coat and start exploring the city again!
Have you ever noticed that the food you tend to eat in the winter is a whole lot different than the food you tend to eat in the spring and summer? I definitely have. The frigidness of the winter seems to permeate my entire body and that makes me crave heavy, rich foods. I made many pots of chicken soup and pans or casseroles this winter because they were filling and warmed me up from the inside. My friends and I always seem notice a little extra padding on our bodies once the winter is over because warm, comforting foods usually tend to mean unhealthy foods.
Once spring and summer hit, I no longer crave these comfort foods, but am excited to go to the store and buy lighter, healthier, more sustaining food. One of my favorite things to make is called a Buddha Bowl, which is described as a “grain-, protein- and vegetable-rich dish.” They are super customizable, meaning you can put almost anything into it and it will most likely turn out delicious! My favorite combo is quinoa
, broccoli, avocado, sweet potato, and spinach. Yum!
Now that we are (hopefully) nearing summer in Chicago, fresh fruits and vegetables will be available in abundance. There are many Farmers Markets around Chicago, and quite a few in Lincoln Park. The produce and goods at these markets is a bit more expensive than at your typical grocery store, but the freshness and quality is so much better and plus, you are supporting a small business. Let’s hope for a fast-approaching summer!
One of my best friends, Clay, recently celebrated his 22nd birthday. I was in charge of helping plan his party and when I asked him what he wanted to do, he replied with one word: Chinatown
Even though I am nearing the final quarter of my third year at DePaul and in Chicago, I had yet to visit Chinatown. It was always a fact that perplexed me because I love visiting those kinds of neighborhoods and my favorite food is Chinese food. Somehow, though, I had never been given the opportunity to make the trip down. I was so happy that Clay decided he wanted to go to Chinatown for his birthday. Celebrating Clay was the perfect excuse to venture to Chinatown!
If you have never been to Chinatown, I really recommend you go experience it! It was super authentic and beautiful. One of my good friends recently went to China and she said that walking along the main street of Chinatown really made her feel like she was back in China. The food was great, too, which was another perk. We ate at Seven Treasures, which was delicious. I ordered pork chow mein and ate the whole thing - it was so delicious. We ended up having a huge group with us - there was about 25 of us total! Luckily, we could make a reservation and all eat at one place. It was a great night.
My first visit to Chinatown was definitely a success and I look forward to heading back there soon to try a different restaurant. It was certainly a memorable evening and a great way to celebrate Clay.
Happy Spring Quarter! Wow, that break and the first 2 weeks of classes went by so fast. I have a feeling that this is going to be another fast-paced, don’t-blink-or-else-you’ll-fall-behind quarter.
I had a really wonderful spring break. If you read one of my earlier blog posts, I talked about my trip to Panama City Beach
(PCB), FL that I took with Cru
. PCB was such a nice change of pace from Chicago and I felt really refreshed coming back. Nothing beats laying on the beach at night, listening to the ocean waves beating against the shore and looking at the hundreds of stars above you. I absolutely love Chicago, but I really needed a break from city life for a bit.
I have an interesting class schedule this quarter. I am graduating a quarter early next year (!!!), so at this point, I don’t have many more classes to take and am left with the required classes that I have left or have put off. The mix of classes I have is a little unusual, so I am hoping and praying that I don’t get burned out and that I really enjoy all of my classes.
Even though I have a crazy schedule, I am really excited for this quarter and I cannot wait for the weather to warm up. My quarter is really reading-intensive, so I am looking forward to being able to do some of that reading outside. My best friend got a hammock for Christmas and I have a feeling we are going to be using it quite often. Thank you for following me thus far this year and I cannot wait to further give you a glimpse of my life here in the city this quarter!
There is nothing worse than trying to do homework in space where you cannot focus. It is so frustrating! Conducive study spaces are essential when trying to work on homework or projects, and you quickly learn what type of study space works best for you. Some people like the intense quietness of the library, while others need the hustle and bustle of people and chatter around them. Either works fine, as long as it truly does work! I find myself craving different types of study environments depending upon the mood I am in and what assignments I have to get done. Regardless, some of my favorite places to go and study are located around the city. I’ve made a list of them below and I encourage you to check them out! I promise, some serious studying will get done.
Harold Washington Library (The Loop):
There are tons and tons of spaces to study within the nine floors of the library, but my personal favorite is the Winter Garden on the ninth floor. It’s an atrium with tons of natural light and a beautiful glass ceiling. It is so peaceful in the midst of the busy South Loop. Plus, they have free Wifi!
City Grounds (Lincoln Park):
This café is a few blocks east of Oz Park and is a great space to study. They have both an upstairs and downstairs space, lots of tea and coffee options, and a good amount of seating. The café itself is located in a very quiet and residential part of Lincoln Park, which makes for a calming study environment.
Bourgeois Pig (Lincoln Park):
This place is hands down one of my favorite places to eat in all of Chicago. They have the best made-to-order sandwiches (they are named after famous novels- my favorite is The Great Gatsby), a plethora of drink options, and tons of seating. Their playlist is really good, too, which is super important, especially if you are like me and forget your headphones half of the time. It is a really homey café, and one of my favorites.
Two Hearted Queen (Lakeview):
This is a newer discovery made by a couple of friends and me. There is tons of seating (always a perk) and the drinks are so good. I have had some of the best hot chocolate at this café and my coffee-drinking friends enthusiastically approve of the coffee. They also do a cool card game when you are purchasing your drink. If you pick the Queen of Hearts from a deck of cards, you get a huge discount on your drink. It is a relaxing, warm café and I really recommend it!
Growing up, The Lion King
was my favorite Disney movie. I loved all the songs, Timon and Pumba cracked me up, and I had a major childhood crush on Simba. Imagine my joyful surprise when I learned that The Lion King
was also a Broadway musical! The Lion King
came to Cleveland the summer before I entered my freshman year at DePaul and you can guess how excited I was. As a special treat, my grandma and I bought tickets to the show. It was my first Broadway show that I had ever seen and it was absolutely amazing.
Watch the video below to see a song from The Lion King.
Early every fall, I check the Broadway shows are coming to Chicago. So far, I have been lucky enough to win lottery tickets to The Book of Mormon and Motown. Two hours before each show starts, you can enter your name into a lottery to win dirt cheap tickets. It is a great opportunity to see shows that you otherwise would not get to see because of expensive ticket prices. The only downside is that getting a ticket is not guaranteed! When I looked at what shows were coming this season to Broadway, The Lion King was one of them. I was pumped! My goal was to see it again on Broadway.
When I went and saw it the first time, my grandma and I had seats on the main floor on the aisle, which I think were the best seats to have for this specific show. During the opening number, “The Circle of Life,” a lot of the animals and characters walk down the aisle to the stage. It is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I knew that if I got tickets to see The Lion King this season, I wanted similar seats. I went out on a limb and asked for The Lion King tickets for Christmas and to my immense surprise, I was blessed enough to get them! The show was this past Thursday, January 14, and it was everything that I imagined it to be. If you ever get the opportunity to see the show, I highly recommend it! You certainly will “feel the love tonight.”
Welcome back to a new quarter, DePaulians! It seems crazy that our six-week winter break has already passed and it is now 2016. Where did the time go? I hope that everyone’s break and holiday was fun and relaxing and that everyone is enjoying their winter quarter.
That is always the goal of a new quarter, to be ready and motivated, but I feel like that is always wishful thinking. The beginning of this quarter was a rough one for me! I felt like I had very little time between the New Year and the first day of school and felt very rushed. Also, my computer completely broke right before the first day of school, which was a big ‘ole bummer. I signed up for an online class this quarter, so completing those assignments with no working computer was a struggle. I am thankful that I live so close to campus, so making treks to the library was not that big of a deal, but still a major inconvenience.
Even though the beginning of the quarter was stressful, I am happy to be back in Chicago with my friends and to be establishing a routine. I really enjoy my classes this quarter thus far and while I do not particularly relish the subzero temperatures, I savor the cup loads of hot chocolate and excuse to wear cozy sweaters. The winter can definitely be tough in Chicago with the seemingly never-ending wind and snow, but I have learned that finding little joys each day and week make this season go by quicker and less painfully. And to me, sweaters and hot chocolate definitely qualify as little joys.
I hate getting up early. I am not a morning person. I am not one to sleep until 1:00 in the
afternoon either, but I cringe anytime I have to set my alarm for earlier than 8:00am. Now that
winter is quickly approaching, getting up early means getting up before the sun. How depressing and miserable is it to wake up when it is still dark out? People who enjoy waking up at the crack of
dawn genuinely confuse me. It is not for me - I am definitely one with the sun. It takes a lot for
me to wake up super early, which means that I have never really seen the sun rise.
In high school when school would start at 7:30am, I often did see the sun rise. But, I did not
appreciate it. I did not wake up early solely for the purpose of watching the sun rise, and I
resented it because I hated waking up so early for school. Here at DePaul, I have a couple of
friends whose favorite activity is getting up early to walk to the lake to watch the sunrise. They
definitely do not do it all the time, but once or twice a quarter I hear of their plans to go watch
the sunrise and subsequently grimace at the thought of waking up at 6:00am. This past weekend, though, my friend got a big group of our friends to drive to the Adler Planetarium to watch the sunrise over the city.
It was a low-key struggle to get up that morning, but it was so worth it. If you have never been to
Adler, I highly recommend going at any time of day. The view of the city skyline and the lake is
so beautiful! Watching the sun rise over the city reinforced my love for Chicago and my
appreciation for living here. How blessed am I to be able to go to college in a city as amazing as
Chicago? It is one of the best cities in the world.
The other night was the first Cavs
game of the season. For those who don’t know, I am from Cleveland, Ohio and am a HUGE basketball fan. Sadly, the NBA championship last year did not end in our favor, but I am so excited to watch the Cavs dominate this year. They better do well - I’ve talked enough trash talk to my friends who root for the Bulls. I am too competitive for my own good!
I am not just a fan of basketball, but have played it since I was in first grade. It was something my father was passionate about and those genes seem to have passed on to me. Basketball is such a fun, exhilarating sport to watch and to play. It is fast-paced, physical, never boring, and something amazing always happens.
I’ll never forget the games in high school that went into double overtime or games that were won by a lucky half-court shot. I’ve made life-long friends through playing basketball and I am so glad it was such a big part of my life. I don’t play for DePaul, but sometimes will still shoot around or scrimmage with some of my friends, which I think is sometimes more fun than playing super competitively.
Speaking of competitive basketball, DePaul basketball will be starting soon! The men’s
first game is on November 7 and is at home, and the women’s
first game was on November 2 at home, as well. I actually have never seen the men play because the Allstate Arena, where they play, is a hike for a car-less girl like me. The women are super fun to watch and are really talented. If you are on campus during one of their games, I encourage you to get tickets! It is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Go DePaul, go Cavs, and go Chardon High School!
What is the best way to end the weekend? I have found the answer: go on a boat cruise! This past Sunday night, along with about a hundred other college students, I had a two-hour long dance party up and down Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. How did I get to do this, you ask? I am part of an organization call Cru
, a Christian group and community.
It is not just found at DePaul, Cru is an international organization. Students from DePaul University, Columbia College, University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Harper College attended this event. All of these schools have students involved with Cru, and collectively we are referred to as Cru Chicago. Since none of us individually have huge numbers, like a state school would, we are lumped together. It is great because there is more community. We experienced a lot of the CRUmmunity on the boat CRUise (get it?)! There is nothing like a good pun to truly brighten your day!
Back to Sunday night: the boat we went on was two stories and we docked right by Navy Pier. We then headed out to Lake Michigan and traveled north and south on the lake, which meant absolutely amazing views of the city. The lake was a little choppy, but that did not get in the way of picture taking or dancing. Thankfully, no one fell in! We then headed back to the river where we boated around downtown Chicago. We had left Navy Pier at dusk, so we experienced the sunset from way out in the lake. I sometimes forget how beautiful and grandiose Chicago is, especially when school is so busy, but it is evenings like these that remind me.
I feel so blessed to live in this magnificent city! As Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.” I agree with you, Frank. Nothing one-ups you, Chicago.
Hello all and welcome back! I am so excited to be joining DeBlogs for another year and getting the opportunity again to share my thoughts and experiences on this page. I truly am looking forward to this upcoming quarter - I think it will be a great one! Summer break, however, was definitely needed. It was a busy, crazy, but exciting and fun summer!
This summer, I worked as a nanny for a family with three beautiful, young children. The mom mostly stayed at home with the baby, so the two older boys and I were free to go on many adventures. We visited lots of parks (some with water!) and museums, made homemade ice cream, performed some science experiments, dabbled at potty training (I am now an expert at the potty dance), read many stories, cried many tears, and giggled many laughs. It was a jam-packed, but unforgettable job, and I discovered a new appreciation for motherhood. It is hard work!
My family also took a vacation this summer. We have been going up to Traverse City, MI
for the past few years and it is becoming our new tradition. We rent a cottage on one of the many lakes and sometimes hitch our boat to the car and bring it, too. The week is spent exploring the many towns surrounding Traverse City, trying new restaurants, and reading and relaxing on the water.
This year we experienced an unexpected occurrence: we lost power for almost four days! A mega hail and thunder/lightning storm hit where we were staying and knocked a power line down. Because we were located in such a remote area, we were one of the last groups of people to have our power turned back on. It was not the most fun way to spend vacation, but we made do and it certainly was memorable. Bathing and shaving my legs in the lake is a memory I will keep for a long time!
Even though this summer was really busy, it was refreshing and I am excited for the challenges and opportunities this quarter will bring me. Junior year is a big year where I will have to make many big decisions and start figuring out what life after DePaul will look like - yikes! However, I believe that I am ready for whatever this year will throw at me. I hope you all are look forward to this new school year, too.
It is the end of another school year. I cannot believe that I am done with finals, that this is my last blog post for the year, and we get three months of summer break! It has been an absolutely crazy year that has gone by so fast. I got an apartment, learned how to live on my own and as an (gulp) adult, became more involved around campus, got a hernia, changed my career path, and learned a lot about myself. Somehow, I came out alive! My sophomore year is over and I am now a junior, an upperclassman. Gosh, so crazy!
I am excited for this summer and I already know it will be a busy one. Hopefully, it will not fly by as quickly as this school year did. I have a full-time nannying job for three sweet children, which will keep me on my toes and surround me with lots of love. I have to go back to Ohio a couple of times for a few family graduation parties and I am looking forward to seeing lots of extended family and friends. My aunt, uncle, and two of my cousins are coming out to the city over the Fourth of July weekend, so it will be very nice to spend time with them as I do not get to see them very often. My family is also taking a vacation up to Traverse City, which is one of my favorite places on Earth. We have gone there for the past few years and it is such a beautiful area. Northern Michigan is the best. We always rent a house on one of the many lakes and this year, we are planning on hitching our boat to the back of the car and pulling it up to Michigan. I am really excited for a week of relaxation, beach, and sun.
I also want to get some peace out of this summer. This past school year was great, but really stressful, and I already am anticipating a busy, jam-packed summer. I want to take the time to find sweet, quiet moments where I can read a book or go on a walk, spend time with my friends, cook dinner for myself, and just soak up the beauty of Chicago before school begins again in September. I want to take care of myself this summer so I can begin the next school year healthy, happy, relaxed, and with the motivation and drive to do amazing things. I already finished a book the day after my last final, so it looks like I am already off to a good start.
It has been such a pleasure sharing pieces of my life with you all this past year, and I look forward to doing it again next year, as well. Happy summer!
This is the golden question. Even now, as a sophomore, I get asked frequently why I chose DePaul. The summer before my freshman year I felt like I was a broken record. Every time I get asked it, I seem to forget every reason WHY I chose DePaul. In actuality, there are many reasons why I chose to come to this great school!
I applied to five colleges and got accepted into four of them (gosh darn it, reach school). Of the four, I was torn between Ohio State and DePaul. OSU was closer to home and was technically cheaper due to in-state tuition, but I received the biggest academic scholarship from DePaul and truly loved the school more. I also was accepted into the Honors and Pathways Program. I was really excited about the Pathways Program as I was very passionate about becoming a doctor and the program was a perfect match for me. In my opinion, it would have been a silly and careless decision to say no to a school that was giving me the opportunity to shave a year off my undergraduate degree and create connections and a good relationship with a medical school.
Besides the academic and financial reasons of choosing DePaul, I really felt like I connected with the school and belonged here. Choosing a school is so important and it is essential that you fall in love with the university you will be attending for the next four years of your life. I love Chicago and was so excited to go to a college that would allow me to live in and explore the city. I especially loved the location of DePaul: it’s in the city, but not right downtown, meaning that I would get a break from the crowds, traffic, and noise. Lincoln Park is beautiful, safe, and is full of restaurants, parks, and so many things to do. The advisors, professors, and staff, for the most part, are friendly, helpful, and passionate about their jobs. I have made lifelong friends here and I encourage everyone who is interested in DePaul to come check it out and experience the same great things that I have. DePaul University was the right school for me and I am so happy that I chose it.
Go Blue Demons!
I am one of the least musically talented people to exist. I mean, I can sort of play the piano (I used to take lessons) and I can semi-carry a tune, but make me do those things in front of a crowd and I will most certainly get booed out. I’m sure my neighbors don’t appreciate my (loud) shower voice. Hey, I try my best. I do, however, have a lot of musically talented friends, which makes me feel vastly inferior. To name a few, I have one friend who is an opera major at DePaul
, one who was admitted to the Chicago College of Performing Arts
, and one who is in The Theatre School at DePaul
. Even though I have no talent in that area, I have grown up with friends who do have talent and who have been in many shows and performances. I think these wonderfully talented friends are the reason that I have such an appreciation and awe for theater and people who can sing and act so fantastically.
My grandmother and I have made it a tradition to go see a show in downtown Cleveland every summer. We leave extra early and have dinner at one of the restaurants in Little Italy and then grab dessert at this lovely little place called Presti’s Bakery
. I get a chocolate-covered cannoli and she gets a chocolate
macaroon, every time, and goodness, are they delicious. Then, we drive on over to Playhouse Square
and enjoy watching people vastly more talented than us. So far, we have seen The Lion King and Million Dollar Quartet. Side note- if you ever get that chance to see The Lion King on Broadway, DO IT. It is an indescribably beautiful experience and my absolute favorite show to date. Watch the opening number that was performed at the 2008 Tony Awards and see how superier the show is.
Coming to Chicago, I was excited that I would get the chance to see many more shows. Last May, two of my friends came out to Chicago for the weekend and we got rush tickets to see Motown, which was amazing. All the songs were popular ones from the Motown music era of the 1960’s, so it was really fun to recognize a lot of them and see them performed so well. Later that May, two different friends came out at we saw The Sound of Music at the Lyric Opera House
. We had seats that were really high up, but the opera house was built so that the higher up the seat is, the better the acoustics are. Gosh, it was beautiful.
This year, my best friend, Lauren, and I are trying to get lottery tickets to see The Book of Mormon
. I have heard from many people how funny and great the show is, so we are excited to hopefully get tickets. I highly recommend taking advantage of all the opportunities in Chicago to see performances. There certainly are other venues to see shows besides the expensive ones downtown. I believe it truly highlights the amazing gifts that we have all been given. Some people are gifted at science, some at journalism, but the ones in theater definitely have the gift of music.
Now that spring break is over, it is time to get into the swing of school again. Spring quarter has begun, and only 10 weeks stand in the way of summer! That somehow makes the quarter seem a lot more manageable. Spring quarter is infinitely better than winter quarter, not just because of the lack of snow and bitter winds, but because there is so much to do around Chicago. Now that the weather is improving, I have actual motivation to leave my apartment and explore the city. It is amazing how much warm breezes and sunshine make the soul happy. Below I have listed some of the must-do activities that take place this spring in our newly awakened city.
• The beach
. Chicago has miles of beautiful lakefront to explore. Thankfully, most of the lakefront also has beach access
. I’ve been to the Fullerton beach and North Avenue beach, but I know there are many other amazing ones. And what better place to lie in the sand than with the city view in the background?
• Enjoy the parks
. Chicago is full of beautiful parks: Lincoln Park, Oz Park
, Millennium Park
, Grant Park
, the Maggie Daley Park
…I could keep going. Now that the weather is improving, take advantage of it and go outside! I love reading a good book and people watching, but you could hang out with friends, do homework, have a picnic…again, the opportunities are endless!
• Take advantage of random events. Just on Facebook this past week, I have seen event pages made for a ginormous book swap in Old Town, a vintage garage sale off the Argyle red line stop, and a massive kite flying festival on Montrose Beach. These types of events are the really cool, memorable ones. They are unique, interesting, and bound to make a fun impact on your day.
• Ice cream
. Ice cream is the essence of summer, but why wait until then to enjoy? Chicago has a bunch of delicious ice cream places: Annette’s, Jeni’s
, Ghirardelli, Oberweis, Margie’s Candies
…there is even a neighborhood guide to the best ice cream places in Chicago. Go get yourself a big ole’ cone and indulge in some creamy goodness!
Chicago is obviously full of many more wonderful outdoor activities to try now that the weather is improving, but these are the ones that I am the most excited for. It is an amazing time of the year- don’t waste it!
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.
It is common knowledge that Chicago winters
are brutal. We are not nicknamed “The Windy City”
for nothing. While winter is characteristically thought of as only a three month long season, in Chicago, we enter almost six months of blustery, frigid weather. I have been told by many people that I should not complain about the weather because by going to DePaul, I somehow consented to the horrible weather we get every year. Sure, in some sense that may be true, but there is a very drastic difference between talking about -30ºF wind chills and experiencing -30ºF wind chills. Experiencing the weather is 10x worse, but as Chicagoans and DePaulians, we have to know how to handle it. Below are my tips for staying warm.
• Invest in a great coat. When I came to DePaul as a freshman, I brought a normal winter coat. It was a little puffy and had a hood. After only experiencing Chiberia for a week, my kind mother sent me a new coat that went almost down to my knees. It helped, but still, the winds were too strong. This year for Christmas I got a huge, puffy coat that goes down to my ankles. It makes me look like an eskimo, but it is glorious and warm.
• Seriously, bundle up. This goes beyond having a great coat. A hat, scarf, and thick gloves are necessary. Brave one day without them and I promise, you will agree with me. Sure, you may look a bit silly, but that silliness is worth not having to be painful and numb for half of your class. Also, a good pair of snow boots are useful. DePaul does a great job of shoveling the sidewalks, but not a lot of other places do. I always shake my head at the poor soul who is wearing Toms when there is 10 inches of snow on the ground.
• Drink warm beverages.
Always have a mug of your beverage of choice at your disposal. I am not a coffee fan, but tea and hot chocolate never fail to warm my insides. It gets so cold out that you can actually feel the drink traversing your esophagus and warming up everything it touches. It is a wonderful thing. My go-to places to get that feeling are: Starbucks (there are three within two blocks of campus), the Bourgeois Pig (a cute, book-themed café), and Mindy’s Hot Chocolate (a bit far from DePaul, but just look at that menu
Obviously, even with these tips, you may still be freezing. Spring and summer in Chicago are worth the agony we experience every winter, I promise. Do not let these winters deter you from Chicago! You will become a true fighter and Chicagoan.
Chicago is divided into numerous neighborhoods, each with its own personality and experience. DePaul University is located in Lincoln Park (LP), which is one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods, in my opinion. One of the reasons I have loved my experience at DePaul so far is because the school is located in LP. It is far enough away from downtown that life is a little more relaxing, but close enough that it only takes ten minutes on the red line to get into the heart of Chicago. LP is full of restaurants, beautiful homes, numerous parks, a zoo, and is less than a mile away from Lake Michigan. Here are some of the best assets and excursions that Lincoln Park has to offer:
• The Zoo: The Lincoln Park Zoo is awesome. It is open year-round and has free admission. It is not huge, but every time I have been there I have had a great time. The monkey, lions, and giraffes are my favorite exhibits to see. The coolest part of LP Zoo is the events it holds. In the summer, it has movie nights on the main lawn. Last summer, my friends and I went and saw Harry Potter. During the winter, it is decorated beautifully with a light show and there also is an ice skating rink. The LP Zoo is definitely a place to check out.
• Oz Park: Right in the heart of LP is Oz Park, named so because of the statues of Wizard of Oz characters spread throughout the park. The park has baseball diamonds, basketball and tennis courts, a playground, and lots of paths to explore. It is the perfect place to read a book on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
• Homeslice: Homeslice is a pizza place a block away from DePaul’s campus. The pizza is delicious, with lots of options to choose from. The best thing about Homeslice is its patio out back. It has heated lamps, cushions, couches, and Christmas lights [Editor’s note: A really cute French bulldog named Gary also lives there!] It is a really cool environment to enjoy some really good food.
• The houses: LP is full of amazing architecture. Some of the houses and apartments in LP are insanely beautiful (and expensive). I once walked past a house that was built on six lots, was fully gated, and had actual gargoyles built into the house. It is worth it to take a walk around LP and see some of these incredible places.
• Annette’s: Hands down, the best ice cream ever. Annette’s is a tiny ice cream shop in LP that never disappoints. Owned by Annette, who is almost always working every time I have been there, the shop not only sells ice cream in almost every flavor imaginable, but also homemade Italian Ice. I am more of an ice cream girl myself, but I have heard the Italian Ice is really good. I tell myself that I go to Annette’s so often in order to support a local business, but truthfully, it is just to eat a scoop of peanut butter cookie dough.
There is so much more to do and see in LP than what I have listed. Come check out Lincoln Park and see what is has to offer.
Chicago has a long-term relationship with disgusting weather. Now, granted, this winter’s weather is an immense improvement from last year. We have yet to reach -50ºF wind chills, thank goodness. However, this dreary, cloudy, overcast weather is quite a bummer. It makes doing even the simplest tasks a trial and severely diminishes the motivation and work ethic of all. This is not my first year dealing with such foul weather. Last year, Chicago became a Polar Vortex for four months, and I am from Chardon, Ohio, the snowbelt of northeast Ohio. Regardless, no amount of experience with nasty weather prepares you for the dull and dismal sensation of winter.
I have developed a couple of tricks that help deal with the overwhelming blanket of grayness that comes with a Chicago winter. They will not make winter go away, but hopefully they will make the sun appear to shine more frequently!
• Get enough sleep! Sleep is essential anytime of the year, but when the gray skies threaten to make everyone drowsy, a base of good slumber can never hurt.
• Find a good playlist. Music defeats the blues anytime, anywhere. An upbeat, catchy accumulation of songs will make it seem like a party in July.
• Treat Yo’ Self. The quote taken from the wonderful show Parks and Recreation reminds us that there is nothing wrong with splurging on a special thing every now and then. Whether that is a massage or a pedicure, the treat will feel extra special in this dreary weather.
• Watch Netflix. Yes, that’s right. I am saying that it is alright to watch a movie or binge watch a new TV show. This is not something that should be done frequently, but sometimes, a mindless activity like Netflix-ing is all that is needed to give your mood a boost.
• Surround yourself with loved ones. Whether it is friends or family, loving faces are sometimes all that is needed to improve your mood. Having a movie night, going out to dinner, or busting a rib from laughing are all phenomenal ways to spend time with those who matter the most.
Everyone has different tricks to help them cope with winter, but these are some of the ones that I find work pretty well. Winter is a very long season in Chicago, but hopefully, it will be springtime before we know it!
It is officially November, so you know what that means….it’s Christmas season!
If you should know one thing about me, it is how much I absolutely love Christmas. It is not only my favorite holiday but my favorite time of the year. Yes, it is cold, especially in Chicago, but it is a good kind of cold; the kind that is definitely crisp but not unbearable. The snow is perfectly white. Two words: gingerbread cookies. Christmas decorations and lights are on display and Christmas music is being played everywhere. In fact, I am listening to Christmas music as I write this (Michael Buble Holiday Radio on Pandora…check it out). Christmas movies are found on seemingly every television station. It is truly a beautiful season.
To me, Christmas is not about the presents or the nice, long six week break from school (although those are nice perks). It is the holiday spirit that makes me so happy. It seems like everyone is in a better mood around Christmas time; people are more giving, kind, and cheerful. Everyone is uplifted by a magical force. Christmas also gives us the chance to go home and spend time with those we love, whether it be family or old friends. As college students, that does not happen often.
Being in Chicago during the Christmas season is awesome. There is so much to do and see. At the end of November there is a parade and tree lighting ceremony on Michigan Avenue, complete with fireworks. In Millennium Park, there is an ice skating rink open. The Macys on State Street is decked out in Christmas cheer. A ton of Christmas-themed plays and ballets are open all over the city. And there is much more. Last year, I went home to Ohio for the whole break, but this year I am staying in Chicago for a few weeks. I cannot wait to explore the city’s holiday gems.
It is clear that I love Christmas, and it is pretty hard not to living in Chicago. We can miss the true meaning of Christmas as it can get lost in the business of school, money, and life. Take a break from studying and watch a Christmas movie (Elf is definitely the best), bake some cookies, or stomp around in the snow. You will not be sorry. I hope everyone has a truly blessed and magical Christmas season!
I absolutely love Chicago in the fall. Well, I love fall anywhere I am, but it is especially great in Chicago. There is nothing better than walking down the sidewalk and hearing the crunch of the leaves, or riding the trains and seeing all the beautiful, vibrant colors of the trees. Fall is also the time of year when Chicago is not unbelievably humid and hot or bone-chillingly frigid; right now, it is the perfect temperature. That is always a bonus in a city abundant in crazy, fluctuating weather!
Because Chicago is a great city for foodies, seasonal fall foods can be found far and wide. So many places offer fresh apple cider, caramel apples and almost anything pumpkin. Considering there is basically a Starbucks on every street corner, lovers of the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte are definitely in luck.
Coming from a small town, it was tradition that my family would carve pumpkins, go apple-picking, and get lost in a corn maze or haunted house. Urban downtown Chicago is not abundant with acres of fields for mazes and fruit, but there are tons of places right outside the city that are perfect for fulfilling everyone’s autumn needs. This weekend I am going apple picking at a farm about an hour outside the city, and I am so excited. I can’t wait to buy a warm glass of cider and smell the fresh air, crisp air.
Every season in Chicago is amazing because Chicago is amazing, but fall is definitely one of the best. Whether it is the noise of crunchy leaves, the breeze of the cool air, or the abundance of corn stalks decorating the city, experiencing autumn in Chicago is not a disappointment.